Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sweeping the Ashes

 “Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn't stop for anybody.”

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next." - Gilda Radner

“I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.” - Marilyn Monroe

“Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.” - Ana├»s Nin

Rather interesting quotes.

In light of current developments they are quite apropos.

I have had some good experiences lately.

Some of them have been great, even amazing. Life can do that when you are actually able to live it.

However I feel it is important to point out that it is a double edged sword. While life can be amazing and spectacular. It can also be trying and miserable.

Life is going to always throw shit at you, how you handle it defines your character.

I should probably get to the point of this post. Simply put, there are going to be times where you can do nothing about something other than be sad.

No, no one has died.

I simply find myself a single girl these days.

For those that have missed it I have been dating for a little over a year and a half. Twenty Months?

Recently I decided to end it.

Why?

It was not working for me.

What makes it most interesting was not how I was generally being treated. The boy had come into my life and charmed me silly. During a period of time in my life that I absolutely did not want to date.

Full time was rather new to me and he appreciated my company so much that he refused to allow me to use my Trans status as a crutch to limit myself. I grew so much as a person and very likely accelerated getting over my Trans hangups.

There were two problems though.

First,

I have commitment issues. I will not deny this and I still have a long way to go to resolving them. My prior relationship had turned toxic, then bottomed out at the end. It left me rather deeply emotionally scarred. I know why some of it happened. I will take the blame for things I did. It just never was a healthy relationship and I often felt like as soon as I entered it I was told what to do and when.

Regardless that is a story I will not delve into out of respect for those involved.

Suffice it to say, I was still left with the aftermath.

Couple that with the emotional trauma of transition and I will freely admit I was not always in the best place mentally.

Which had me in a no dating position when I met him.

He managed to get me to change my mind about that.

Still a year later when he wanted to move in together. I ended up having a complete panic attack{link?}.

It was not him it was me. I was and still am too scared to do it.

I need more time to deal with that.

There was also the issue that I knew what he wanted. I knew not that long into it. He had felt he had met the girl he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. Without a shadow of a doubt. It was so obvious that not only did I know it, others did.

Many of my friend who had met him would go on to tell me later something similar to the follow:

"It is obvious that boy adores you."

This added to the growing pressure I felt in the situation.

There were a few moments that I put my foot down. I had to point out that even though I had grown as a person. I still had old wounds and emotional scars that were not going to be easily healed. I begged for a slow down in some things. Asked him not to mention others. It was an attempt to allow me to adjust while giving me time to deal with my fears.

Still the pressure was always there. His family often already assumed we were engaged and what not.

It had grown to be too much no matter how hard I tried to prevent it.

In addition to all this we lost the ability to communicate effectively. I think some of my fears and outside pressure had me getting defensive again. I often felt I had to be crisp to shut down or cut off certain ideas before they gained traction. It also did not help that he is still very young. He has a wisdom beyond his years but his maturity did not always match up.

All of this lead to more and more arguments or feeling of bitterness from both sides.

It finally reached a break point and I discussed things with him, found I was getting nowhere. Frustrated and hurt I decided I needed to walk away so that I could catch my breath.

Thus I ended it.

I do not think that it would be that hard to figure out that it did not go well.

One would think that with Thirty-nine years of life and wisdom of the past to draw upon, that a situation like this could be handled better.

It was not.

I know I broke his heart. I am not proud of myself for it. I will have to live with the guilt and pain of it for quite sometime.

I also knew that I needed some time, pressure free, to be myself. To relax and enjoy life. I have learned and gained so much, with a lot of help from him. Yet I just need to spend some time living life free of anything but death and taxes as they say.

I do miss him. I cannot say that I do not. It still has been such a relief for me that I know it was the right decision.

I often said he might have been the right person, just at the wrong time.

The reason I am telling you this story is for a number of reasons.

First life can be difficult. Trans or not. As much as I have been happy post transition there is still fallout, hurt and shitty things life throws at you to deal with. It is not all rainbows and puppies.

Sometimes things simply suck and you have to deal with them. It is not always total bliss.

I also know that I have issues still inside to work out. Most of these are the type that take time. I have talked to my therapist about them we have discussed them, but these are deep and will take a lot of work.

I would never go back to who I was, but I am still adjusting to who I am now. It has been wondrous and interesting.

And sometimes it is a bitch.


Monday, April 7, 2014

In & Out

An interesting comment was made on my blog after this post.

The general perception was that one should not tell others they are Trans and that individuals that do this are making a dire mistake.

Bad things would happen. Fire and Brimstone! Dogs and cats living together! MASS HYSTERIA!!!

Feh.

Honestly, this may or may not be true.

I make this statement because each transition is different. While often similar in steps we all have different issues within our own transition that makes each situation unique.

For me, while in transition, I told and explained what was happening with me to those I felt were involved in my life.

I had some walk away and I had others surprise me with unwavering support to this day.

It is, I feel, important to get as many people to stand with you as is possible. If I had to do it alone I would have but having the extra support was priceless.

The rub is what to do post full time.

Well....I think that is up to you and what you feel you are willing to do.

For me there are a few groups that will always get told.

First and foremost is Doctors. This I feel is of utmost importance. They are going to have to know that I am trans to take into account certain things while treating me. Honestly this is a no brainer and a must for any trans person pre, post, or whatever. Otherwise you could be taking a risk with you health.

This was the reason I had to explain to the pharmacist what was up.{Link} He is a new one for me since I moved.

Next would be old friends. People, who in some cases I have known since childhood or often since high school.

Most of these people have re-entered my life and have been extremely supportive.

And I quote:

Rogue: "Yes I have missed you and your smile. We have had some great times and I am glad we can now have more!"

Scholar: "Kelli-kins, I am glad you are back in my life. You are good people."

Professor: "Really it is just a different version of you, much happier I might add. Besides you will always be a friend."

Ginger: "I does not matter, you are happy and I have never seen you so happy!"

Pixie: "Lean on your friends- we all love having you around."

None of these people have bothered to tell anyone else they have introduced me to anything about my past. I am simply their friend Kelli. Sometimes quirky, sometimes snarky, but always fun and welcome.

In fact Ringo(The nickname he already had), Trinity(if you knew her you would know why the character from The Matrix fits), Edison, Trinity's husband(who is an electrician, but I have way too much respect for Tesla to use him as a nickname),  Critic(what we do not go through with him to pick movies), Kaylee(nicknamed for her favorite Firefly character), have given me a standing invite to Wednesday night dinners at Ringo's home. We enjoy dinner and some TV or a movie. Always fun and yummy.

Ringo actually said this to me: "We had a good idea we liked you because you like to game. Now we are finding out that you like a lot of the same movies and shows we watch too."

Trinity is almost my doppelganger, crazy how we grew up geeking out on a lot of the same things and sharing similar interest growing up. We have been talking more and more because it can be so hard to find a kindred spirit.

There are also my new roommates Bonnie and Clyde who have told me straight up they loving having me as a roommate.

My new employer has not been told except for my HR rep and HR department head. They had no issues with it and were happy to have my on board. Everyone else takes me as is. There is more coming is a larger post that I have been working on so I will save it for that.

Lastly is extend friends and family, most of them knew me since I was little. Sometimes from day one. I see them from time to time. My parents have stayed in close touch with them many of them. Of course they are going to ask my parents how their kids are doing.

To which I have given my mother cart blanch to discuss with them. She has been so proud of the person I have become. I also know it is not easy for her to share it with everyone but she does anyway. Many of these people she has brought up to speed regarding my function have expressed a lot of support to my mother. More so after some of them have met me in person.

Others have expressed an interest in getting a chance to meet me.

My extended family has been even better totally taking it in stride to the point they have been making sure that I am in the loop on family events.

I am perfectly fine with all this. People have been extremely supportive and my status as a Trans Woman does not come up after the initial telling.

I cannot say that this will work for everyone. If you are planning or have transitioned it may be better for you to not spread the word as much. I cannot say for sure it will be up to you to decided what you should do.

All I can tell you is my policy. Which is basically new people do not get told the old ones can be.

That is my story and I am sticking to it.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Moving on Up

The last few years have been interesting for a number of reasons. One thing that I have experienced has nothing to with Gender.

It has to do with relocation.

The reason why is I have moved twice in less then two years.

Sixteen months to be exact.

Prior to this I had moved twice in thirty-seven years.

I mean my parents moved into the house I grew up in three months before I was born. We moved out three months shy of my twentieth birthday.

Five years after that I moved out of that house and into where I would live for the next twelve years.

Thus moving was not a common occurrence in my life. Say as some Military brats or more nomadic people might have experienced.

I will say that it has allowed for some unique learning experiences in that time.

First living with my cousin {link?} who happily opened up her spare room to me last year. To the dynamic duo who are renting a part of their house to me here in Ann Arbor.

Bonnie and Clyde, as I will refer to them(Okay they are not THAT notorious but they are a ton of fun.), have been wonderful slum lords (total joke) and fantastic roommates. Often having a lot of fun with me since I am ten and eight years their senior.

Recently I mentioned I was going to be away one weekend since I had to travel to another part of the state for a family holiday gathering, then over to my parents to make cookies with my mom for the holidays.

immediately the comments came flying.

"What? You are going to be gone this weekend? Who gave you approval for this?"

"We need names and phone numbers of where you will be!"

"Have we met their parents?"

"We need to approve of everyone you will be hanging out with!"

"You are not going anywhere until you clean that room!"

All said with a glint in their eye. Which prompted a good laugh in the kitchen.

They have been wonderfully welcoming and extremely nice to me.

My favorite was what happened in early December.

I was sitting at the table in the dinning room writing out my Christmas Cards. When Bonnie walked into the room.

"Hey Kelli."

"Yes?"

"I am having a few of my lady friends over this coming Saturday night. We will have snacks, xmas movies, mulled wine. Would you like to come? I would love to have you if you have no other plans."

My day that Saturday was insanely packed but I knew I ultimately was going to be home around 9pm.

"What time are you starting?"

"Oh we will start around eight but anytime after is fine."

I explained my day to her but told her I should be home by 9pm. As it seems these days everyone is booking things all on the same day.

"Great I will see you then."

So what happened?

Well. I got to meet an incredible group of women you hailed from all corners of the country who all happen to be living in Michigan at this time. We had a southern belle, Minnesotan, two from Maine, One from upstate NY, another from northern Michigan. I forget where everyone else was from.

I had a great time sharing stories and listening to all the interesting things said in the 'knitting' circle. In fact it is not often I laugh that hard with a group of people. They compare with the Cabin crowd in that regards.

The amazing part was telling my stories, sharing things I have done and laughing about the silly things men do. Seriously if you had watch my previous relationship it would make total sense in regards to roles. So flipping the gender at times is all I need to do.

It was an empowering and gratifying experience. I thanked Bonnie the next day when I saw her downstairs. As I had gone to bed the earliest, mostly because I had been on the run all day.

She in turned thanked me for coming. She mentioned that she and Clyde really have enjoyed having me in the house and she was glad I enjoyed myself as much as I did.

It was a different environment than my usual geekier friends. Who are totally un-ashamed to have fun even at their own expense. Not to mention have a deeper interest in some of the same things I do.

Still this was something I had been craving. Just a group of women letting their hair down and being themselves. It reminded me of when I kept trying to do this during my middle and high school years but always felt I was being left out or worse pushed out.

It was carthic, empowering and energizing.

I cannot wait to do it again!

I am so glad I met those two and took the risk to rent their upstairs from them. I am even happier that they were willing to let me do so. No I have not told them I am Trans the need to just has not come up. It is not like I purposely hid it. I just do not feel the need to announce it to EVERYONE!!

I have definitely enjoyed this move.


 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Working Stiff

As you all know I left my previous job.

This would be the one that I transitioned at.

Now there were growing pains, but for the most part the company and colleagues were great. I honestly could not have asked from much more from them.

Still nothing lasts forever.

The first year was good after transition.

Then somewhere earlier this year things shifted.

I am not sure why or how either. To this day I am a little baffled by it.

Yes, the tone of conversation in meetings and between the team changed a bit.

Hey, there was a girl in the room now and they were on much better behavior. Not that they were ever bad about it but we all know men will complain about their wives. Frankly having worked in a department of mostly women when younger the same can be said for women complaining about their husbands.

Really both sides do it, even if they will not admit to it to the other side.

(I do wonder if the same happens with gay or lesbian couples. I have to imagine it does but I have not worked with many to know if they do it in the work place. Something to ponder.)

Still they did clean up their act with no prompting from me.

I even had my old manager apologize to the group once that if I was not in the room he would have had something to say about the woman we just talked too on a conference call.

I laughed and told him not to worry. She was being a bitch and I would not be offended at all. Seriously she was EXTREMELY difficult to talk to and reason with. Men do it and I call them assholes or jerks. Point is the label fit. Even if it some thing it is unpleasant.

Some people are just unpleasant period.

Now I know through all this perceptions changed regarding me. I also had to learn how I now fit into the dynamic of the team.

Which I thought I had done for the first year, but we had a number of engineers leave and get replaced. I feel that fact had something to do with it.

Some of the newer people seemed to have an issue with a woman being as smart or smarter than them.

This caused a few conflicts though minor.

I have never been a confrontational person. Ever. It is just not my nature. I have, however, learned to stand my ground in the face of much stronger personalities than mine. I have worked with a lot of arrogant or outspoken men over the years who cannot possibly be wrong. I have had them shout in my face or throw me under the bus. I simply learned to let my work speak for myself.

I am also not afraid to ask a person how they intend to make something happen. I hear it all the time with people wanting to install or implement some fantastic solution. At my old place of employment I would say "that is a great idea, but with no budget how to you plan to facilitate that implementation?" or "I would like to see that too, but there is no X resource available for that" or "Based on our current configuration that is not possible."

Or my absolute favorite:

"If we do that we will effect twenty-five hundred people."

Which usually gets management to raise their eyebrows.

I got the feeling that these other engineers did not like hearing the possibility of it happening might be no.

I understood this since I often come up with ideas and get told no. Usually because of budget sometimes because of the configuration of the environment. The difference with me is I would start smaller and keep moving little parts into place to eventually get it there.

I like new and shiny technology as much as the next person. I have just learned through management that sometimes I have to be practical and patient.

Still I think a woman NOT backing down from her position frustrated them. I also noticed it was the younger generation which I feel was more along the lines of they did not like ANYONE telling them no.

Whatever the cause was, it made my life difficult and I needed a change. I just felt it was time. This prompted me to put my resume up and see that I could find.

I generated a lot of interest early. Spoke to a number of companies and waited for the right thing to come along.

Even turning down two positions because I did not like to people interviewing me. Seriously is surprises me that people do not realize I am doing that. I have no issue asking questions in return and seeing the response I get.

I have worked for a number of managers either directly or as a consultant. I have learned that if you do not have a grasp of your environment and seem wishy-washy I am either not going to want to work for you OR I am not going to like working for you while I am there for whatever project I am there for.

I guess it comes from doing or seeing so many different companies and how they are run while I worked in the field as a consultant. When I started entertaining the idea of working for one company I want to get a feeling management knows what is going on. What they want and how to get it.

It makes my life more enjoyable.

Trust me I felt bad I was passing up these opportunities but I really wanted to find something I felt I would be happy with.

I was also looking rather hard at moving out of state basically I was not concerned with where anymore.

Eventually I got a call from a recruiter who mentioned a position in my home state that was in an area I always wanted to move too. It was one area that would make me consider staying in my home state.

At first I was skeptical when I was told who the company was. Though when I heard about the environment and how aggressive they were with technology I was very interested.

After three lengthy phone interviews I was given an in person interview.

Having gotten early interviews out of the way {link} I felt really good going into this one.

Coming out of it I felt even better. Although I was in there for a grand total of two and a half hours...

O_O

...it was one of the best interviews I have ever had. The management team that interviewed me were simply amazing and it was very obvious that they had a an amazingly solid grasp of their environment. They also knew the shortcomings and were working on plans to resolve those. They just needed talent to do it.

I walked out of there wanting the job badly. I wanted to work for these people. I wanted to live in the area that this company was located in.

And I did not have to wait long. I was in for my interview on Monday, I got a call Thursday night that the offer was forthcoming. That I needed to have a drug screen(which I am fine with), to allow it to happen.

The truly crazy part is that Friday I was off to Paris, France with the boyfriend and which left me scrambling a little.

It made the trip even better and I was able to come back to work post vacation and turn in my two week notice.

That is the second time I have done that.

Seriously I do not plan it that way.

How is it so far?

Well in just a couple of weeks I can tell you that I love the place. I am enjoying what I am working on. The people are great and I am excited to go to work in the morning again.

There have been some interesting observations recently, but those are for another post.

It might never know exactly why things fell apart at my old job. It could have been my being trans, the history, the new blood's lack of respect for women, or something I am not even thinking of.

I do not know but it is not the first time I left a job because the climate changed so much. In years past it was not me either it was new managers who completely changed the culture.

We shall see what happens here with this one, but I am far more relaxed and comfortable here.

So far...so good.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Closer to Fine

I am still coming off a cold so I have been a little slow on things.

For example I missed posting something about the fact that I am now two years full time. Holy Father Time where did the last year go?

Crazy, busy, confusing, challenging and exciting. My life has simply exploded in front of me. I had no idea that life could be his enjoyable or fun. That it was possible for me to experience it as I have. Unfiltered with raw exuberance.

There is so much to tell but I will leave it for posts you are about to read. I had started and completed most of these right before the holidays. However my return from Florida after Thanksgiving was overloaded with holiday things to get done that I was never able to proof them and get them ready for prime time.

As I mentioned my recent cold bought finally gave me some down time to get caught up. Which means most of those posts are now scheduled to go over the next couple of weeks.

That should get you significantly caught up on things.

In the mean time I had a chance to think about the last year while talking to a close friend about transition.

As much as there is a relief from going full time. There is still a lot of immediate fallout, headaches, story retelling, out of the loop people who you were unable to get to, and a period of adjustment. You cannot speed it up you just have to let it runs it's course. Over time a lot of these things fade away.

Well if you have been doing your homework and making an effort to build a good life it should hopefully work out that way. It has for me.

While there had been some residual drama, hey I am Trans it is going to happen for a while, it has largely been reduced. My dad for example has finally opened up and started talking to me again. It probably did not hurt that many of my relatives who had met me told him to get over himself. Plus they invite me all the time to things now so it is not like he can avoid me.

My mother has also told me about a number of people who have not yet had the opportunity to meet but want to. I know there is curiosity factor in there but I think some of these people also knew I struggled at times when I was younger. It probably does not hurt that they have been hearing good things from both my mom and others.

My brother is a different matter but as I really do not talk to him anymore it has not been an issue.

Regardless getting the chance to spend a year just being, doing, and enjoying as been profound. The difference between year one and year two has been immense. With all that residual post transition drama to a dull roar I was allowed to just focus on life. Not forcing anything but letting it come to me.

Enough were I forget that I am Trans for the most part. This was made very clear the other night. I was at the pharmacy picking up a new prescription. One of my meds needed to be switched out. Now it is an anti-androgen. Women would not be taking this. However I knew why I was so it did not phase me one bit.

Yet while standing there the pharmacist looks at me. Looks at the script and asks "Is this what you are looking for?

Glancing at the label, "Yes"

"Are you sure?"

"Oh yes."

"Can I ask why you are taking it?

Blink, blink. It occurs to me in that moment that why I would be taking this might not seem like a good idea to him. I was not understanding his hesitation to it. Duh.

"Oh, I am Transgender. I am using it as a Testosterone blocker."

"What? Really? Okay..." His eyes had popped out of his head.

That is right once again I totally shocked someone that I was, in fact, Trans.

You would think that this never gets old.

You would be wrong.

It does actually get old. While I am not afraid or ashamed of stating it, I just feel at times it is not a big deal. It also can get tedious because once I do have to out myself I often have to answer a bunch of follow up questions. Part of me feels I have moved past this, but I understand it still had to be dealt with at times.

I guess for me I just do not feel it is that big a deal anymore. So I get a little annoyed when someone else feels the need to get overly excited or act like it is some kind of earth shattering event.

It is not, I am simply another human being. Yes I took a different path to become who I am today but I am just a person none the less.

Everything is just normal. As you will see in coming posts about the new job and living arrangements among others.

Life not only is good, but has gotten better.