Sunday, December 25, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

Catching Up Part III: Work Disclosure

Sorry for the delay, preparing for fulltime and dealing with the holidays.

Well I don't recommend it.

Can you say busy?

I knew you could.

Thus between Christmas cards, Surgery, baking cookies, getting the final gifts, recovery, still finding things I need for myself, therapy, gift wrapping, electrolysis...ok I'll stop but you get the idea.

There just hasn't been time to write.

(Ok, I got caught up a little during the down time I had stuck at home. Yet not as much as I wanted to as I was tried a lot and resting as much as I could.)

After I got back from my trip down to Florida I had a busy schedule. My revision was on December 2nd. I would be off until the 12th. The team and department were due to find out on the 5th.

That all changed.

Upon my return to the office I got a call from my HR rep.

"We have to tell them on the 1st. We have some big corporation changes and we are going to use that time to add your news to it. Any issues with this?"

I was fine with it really. Though about an hour later my manager emailed me to "suggest" I work from home that day. Everyone knew I didn't want to be present in the room as I didn't want to be a distraction, so they felt it better if I could relax at home and just focus on work I need to do.

They couldn't have been more wrong.

About being relaxed.

Come the morning of the 1st I got up, did the usually shower and get dressed, I simply cannot work in my PJs like some people. I can be just as comfortable in jeans and a sweatshirt but I like to feel clean and presentable or I just feel lazy and useless.

I was doing ok as I sat at my desk working remotely doing just fine until about 10:45.

The reason was my team was due to find out at eleven.

The rest of the department between twelve and one.

To distract myself I started clear some old mail off my desk. Stuff I had been meaning to sort through for a few weeks when I found something important.

I had not rewed my vehicle tags.


With a DMV office not more than a half mile away from my house I can get out of the house for a few, pick up my prescriptions while out also, and hopefully keep myself from freaking out and remain calm.

I quickly sent out an email to the team right before eleven stating I would be away from my PC for about an hour but I would have my cell should anyone need to contact me.

One of my team members sent me an immediate response.

"Umm you do know we have a meeting at eleven right?"

My reply:

"Yes but I already know what it is about."

The response:


Knowing the person I could her the confusion and bewilderment in his voice through the email. It didn't matter I locked my laptop, my keys and things, and scooted out the door.

Turned out to be a great decision, as I was busy for over and hour with things, got a salad for lunch and was able to keep from completely focusing on it.

I got back to my desk relaxed. Well more relaxed than I was. I still was freaking out a bit on the inside. When about two o'clock I got the first email.

It was all positive as it was a woman in the department who actually was friends with an FTM. She understood it and supported me.

Than another. Followed by another, getting a total of two more that day.

All good, all positive and all repeating one theme. How brave I was and they would be completely supportive of it.

Well as I have made known I am not the brave one others are.

I replied to them all. Since than I have gotten more the following week while I was home recovering. Followed by a few more personal ones once I got back to the office this week.

Now I am not coming to work as me just yet. I did want to give people some time to process the information. With the time I already had off I would only be back for nine days before the holiday break. Then be off again from the 22nd of December until Jan 3rd.

My first day in the office as me.

Right now I am swapped with the things I need to do for the next few weeks. After that I will have to ready myself for the return to the office.

It will be then we see how others will handle it.

At least there hasn't been any negative reactions yet.

I like to think this can happen and go smoothly. I know there will be a period of adjustment for everyone including myself.

We shall see.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Catch Up Part II: The Surgery

I know, I know the work disclosure needs to be posted but this was a quick one I wanted to get out.

Mostly things have gone really well. It was a much easier recovery this time as it wasn't even a full rhinoplasty but two minor corrections.

I am at home recovering and I can tell you 7 days later and I feel really good and I am looking forward to getting the splint off soon.

The interesting part of the story is what happened before surgery. When I say before, I mean right before. As in when I was in pre-op getting changed and what not.

I was sitting there in sweats and old button down shirt and a zippered hoodie. (Really I would not be able to pull anything over my head so I have been keep some of this stuff around as I will need it at least one more time.)

A pre-op nurse was in the process of taking my vitals, heart rate, blood pressure, mini EKG, etc. When I saw one of the OR nurses start to enter the room.

Then stop.

Back up.

Check the name on the wall outside.

Then start back in.

She asked if I was ? I confirmed. She gave me a curious look, introduced herself as Lisa and then started in the pre-op check list. 

That I had not eaten, how had I prepped this morning, asked me what I was having done that morning and started on my medical history.

During this time the pre-op nurse got my wonderful hospital gown, a bag for items, surgical socks laid out on the bed.

While this was going on a second OR nurse came in to the room. Lori. Now I missed her entrance in the room but I did catch an odd exchange with Lisa.

Now I am at the point they need me to change. They arranged the dividers so I would have a little privacy and a changing I went.

As I am changing Lisa and Lori are on the other side of the curtain and we get into the part of my medical history that was covering my daily medications.

Obviously I have to reveal what I am taking and so I do.

Next we get into prior surgeries as I am finishing up and packing the last of my clothes away in the bag.

I explain what I had done before and it all get rather quiet on the other side of the curtain. Only briefly as I then get asked if I am ready.

I indicate that I am and they open the curtain.

(I should note that my mom was not yet in the room with me. She did get to come in a bit while I was waiting but so far I had been on my own.)

So the curtain gets open, they instruct and help me as I get on the bed and situated so I am comfortable and Lori comes around to connect the IV tubes to me and get all that prepped.

At this point Lori looks at me and said:

"Can I ask you a question?"


"Are you transitioning to a girl?"

(Should I be stunned at this point? Probably not and I don't think I was. Though I might be more realistic in saying that I probably feel a state that would be something along the lines of mild concerns. As I don't know what will happen once I confirm it.)

"Yes I am."

All I see are two big smiles appear and the response of:

"Good for you hun...but we had a hunch once you started telling us our medical history."

Now what I find out is that it was the medical history that made them think this.

No it was, as I discovered during the next few minutes, that my appearance was the first thing. Since it seemed both of them were confused as they entered the room expecting to see something that would reflect him. Only to see a girl sitting in the chair near the wall talking with the pre-op nurse.

That is what caused Lisa to back out of the room cause she thought she had walked into the wrong one.

Apparently Lori did the same but my attention was drawn elsewhere at that time so I missed it.

We then got into the conversation of where I was at in the process. They did and didn't seem surprised that I was on the verge of going full time so soon. That I was in getting the correction on my nose since everything else turned out well from the earlier surgery sans my nose. I told them I was waiting on my name change. HR was in the process of alerting the department and various parts of the company.

They also asked how long it had taken me. I explained to them that I started four years ago by finally having the courage to sit down with a therapist and talk about what was going on with me. Through all that was removing facial hair, losing extra weight, starting hormones once my therapist offered them and I felt I was ready for such a big step. That I had been on them for 2.5 years. All of that.

They both smiled and Lori said this as she was standing next to my arm arranging tubes and starting the drip.

"Hun you look great. This is going to be easy for you really. You look better than a lot of women I know." All said with a big smile.

Lisa followed up with: "You do, you really do look amazing. I would never have any reason not to think otherwise if I ever met you in public. I have known of a few who have done what you are doing, but never one like you. You going to do great!"

With that they both realized they had not asked me what my new name was going to be so I told them. The loved it an thought it fit.

Just before anesthesia came in the door to send me off to sleepy time land. The two of them were wrapping my legs with inflatable compression garments to help leg circulation. Almost at the same time said:

"Just remember you are a pretty girl, no one can take that from you. And don't worry we are going to take very good care of you. We wish you the best of luck!!!"

They left after this to prep the room as my mom came in just before anesthesia.

I explained to my mom that the nurses had figured it out and if she said anything nothing would be a big problem.

I will say the level of professionalism they should me was great. I know they were also curious about me since it was apparent that they don't encounter people like me and I was not meeting their impression of what a trans person was supposed to be. I think they were stuck with the mental image of a over the top drag queen or something like that. I know I thoroughly impressed them and they were genuinely happy for me.

I'll go even further, post-op. All the nursing staff helping me as I woke up and readied to go home all referred to me as her, she, etc. I don't think they ever looked once at the chart they were just doing all they could to get me safely out the door. They even gave me a different under the nose band to help save my skin from tape as what I had was just going to be awful if I wore it for a few day.

My favorite part was the nurse wheeling me out. Telling everyone she was leaving for a bit with me.

"I'll be gone for a bit as I am taking her out to wait for her mom to bring the car around."


I have learned a lot about myself over the last several months. I have learned even more about the world around me. One of the biggest reasons I finally came out to work was the face that I was no longer able to present the general public with a boy. It had become impossible. It was then that I realized I needed to finish this and start the new part of my life.

There will be some ups and downs mostly those will come from those around me who knew him.

Because honestly if I had my name legally changed I don't think those two OR nurses would have suspected anything at all.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Catching Up Part I: The Trip

Recently I mentioned taking a trip down to Florida to spend some time with a very dear friend and her family.

I don't have many friends right now and worse still, other than my mom, I have lost my sense of family.

In addition to that, over the last four years I haven't really met many trans individuals that I would call close friends. About six or so that I talk to with any kind of regularity. Two that I would consider dear friends.

One of them, however means so much to me that the only way I can accurately explain our relationship is to describe her as my sister.

It is truly just that.

She appeared out of nowhere with an email.

I didn't know why at first.

Until I discovered she had been reading my blog.

Even stranger.

I realized I had been reading hers.

Even though I have talked to a number of people who contacted me through my blog and email address. For some reason(I can only think it was meant to be) her and I immediately identified with the other. We also realized that even though we have encountered a number of people during the course of this journey that here was finally someone we really and truly identified with.

We found a bit of ourself in each other.

From there the friendship blossomed even though we live nearly two thousand miles apart. The truly incredible part was that we were transitioning at nearly the same pace. Though I would always joke with her that I was about six months behind her. (This came true as she went full time June of this year and I am going full time in January, roughly six months later.)

When last year I decided at the last minute to attend a trans conference in Atlanta it was for two reason. One I needed a break from my home life and some of my distress. Two, and more importantly, was she was going to be there.

She had actually asked me weeks earlier if I was going. At that time I wasn't planning on it but after events leading up to it prompted the need for a bit of a getaway.

I really would have rather gone elsewhere but here was an opportunity to finally stand in front of each other face to face.

I took it.

Even though I was terrified that she would not like me as much in person.

That is the truth.

Far from it and even though we were constantly pulled in different directions for the course of that weekend we got to spend some time around each other and together.

I can only speak for myself but I know she was everything I thought she was and more.

Since then the friendship has done nothing but grown.

As I have said, she is my sister, in far more than just being trans, but it is the only word I can think of. Besides it is true.

She is.

So this summer as my family structure was eroding and after disclosing to a number of friends and loosing their friendship. She learned that I was mostly likely spending my holidays by myself (Remember this was before Brandon's cousin C extended an invite to her thanksgiving dinner).

Almost without hesitation she invited me down to Florida to spend it with her family. There were some logistical issues and such to work out but needless to say I was speechless at the invitation.

Her words: "You are more than my friend you are family. You shouldn't be alone for the holidays."

Thus after spending a few weeks sorting out my personal schedule. Clearing the idea with my mom(She was disappointed but also understanding of what this meant to me and encouraged it). Finding a decent fare for a plane ticket down. I accepted.

It was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Even though I am still awaiting my court date for name change and working through the process to start working full time. I knew I was going to spend the week as me. Flying down to Florida. Cooking dinner with her family. Spending time with her kids and getting to know her parents. To attending a football game at her Alma mater(she is a undergrad and graduate there and a booster).

I had a wonderful time.

Even though I was pulled in many different directions. From accompanying them to work. (I think I failed to mention I was wrangled into working on three different computers there.) Getting to learn to cook a thanksgiving turkey (I had never had the opportunity to do so before). Playing games and teaching one to the kids. To meeting her co-workers(my sister has her own accounting firm) whom I bribed with shortbread cookies I baked the night before just in case my charming personality didn't win them over. Along with surprising her parents when they realized I was the Kelli that had been mentioned to them and that I wasn't living full time yet. They wanted to know how it was possible I was still going to work as a boy.

In all it was just a wonderful week to be myself. I enjoyed meeting new people playing, silly yard games while tailgating, to talking with my sisters oldest daughter. Who caught me totally of guard when she walked into the bathroom one morning when I was working on my hair. I, who was sharing one with the kids, naturally thought she needed to use it and asked her such.

She said no, proceed to close the lid on the commode and use it as a chair and opened up conversation with me. Talking about anything and everything. It was just nice to share that time with another girl(even if she is thirteen). Which just went along with the week I had with everyone.

The entire trip was worth every cent I paid for it with the experiences and growth I had a person and me. I never felt self conscious or out of place. My sister even told me how proud she was of me just being myself. That I came out very natural.

Though she did mention to me that I seemed a little awkward when greeting new people. I told her it was just a personality trait. That I really never know the right or wrong way to greet someone for the first time. It is something I have stumbled with my entire life regardless of my trans issues. Once I get past that though, I did find I was a lot quicker to talk to people and have a conversation in the past.

I wasn't quite as shy and quiet at I normally am. I had some great conversations with people because I was able to let myself go.

My favorite part of the who long weekend?

When I wasn't so much asked as I was told I needed to come back next year.

It may sound odd, but that time allowed me to regain some sense of family. I know they aren't mine by birth but I honestly felt a part of it. No one ever made me feel uncomfortable or unwelcome. Quite the opposite in fact.

So the answer to the question about next year?

It is already on my vacation schedule for that week.