Friday, April 19, 2013

What if ... ...

I had an interesting day ... an interesting week at work, but I've talked about much of that already.

Today was another stressful day, which is becoming all too typical ... and it started with a phone call.  Another incident, and Maggie (the manager) is out sick ... so I get to handle everything.

Shit!

I pulled into the bus lot.  It was going to be a long day, and it was just starting.

I saw a car parked by the office.  "Nanette!"

I've known Nanette for 20 years or so.  We've worked together, I've trained her to drive a bus, we've played softball together.  Now she is the manger at one of our sister yards, and although we don't talk nearly as much, she is still a friend and I trust her.

Nanette worked under Maggie before Maggie transferred to our yard.  With Maggie going through some very difficult times, Nanette has been around a lot more often ... helping out at my yard ... training new payroll programs ... and just being there for Maggie.

Today she helped me.  She ran the interview for the investigation and took a lot of the pressure off me.  Later we talked.

"How are you doing?" she asked.  The conversation had gone all over the place.  We had talked in the recent past about my depression and how tough it could be to deal with.  "Last time we talked you said your depression was pretty bad.  You seem a lot happier now,"

"I know you and Maggie talk."  As usual, I didn't make eye contact.  "And if you already know this ... if Maggie told you I don't care.  I mean ... the depression was because of something personal."  I paused.

"I figured it was something personal," she replied.  "I mean ..."

"There's only two other people in our company who know this.  I trust you, that's why I'm telling you."  I leaned forward on my chair.  "I'm transitioning to be female."

"I know," she said.  "Back around the time of your surgery I asked Maggie.  I've noticed a lot of the changes."

I felt relieved.

"You need to do whatever it takes to get yourself to that happy place."  She smiled.  "It's going to be a tough road."

We carried on for a bit.  We both have to go to the office tomorrow to complete a project, so we were trying to coordinate our times.

"Hey ... I'm glad I told you.  Now I can wear one of Pam's tops and not feel self conscious."

"It's still going to take time to get used to this," she said, smiling.

We both laughed.

On the way home I began to wonder ... ...

*** August 1974 ***

I was excited about going to summer camp.  It was a Christian camp, and my older brothers and sisters always raved about how fun, and how nice everyone was.

After lunch on the first day we had our free time.  The boys ran to the pool and to the play field for a game of kickball.  The girls ran to the cafeteria for arts and crafts and to the pool.

I waited.

Sheepishly I walked into the cafeteria and sat at a table to play with the clay or the finger paint.

Not so politely, after a short while it was suggested that I should be playing with the boys.

I wasn't a boy ... I'm not a boy.  I went down to the creek and skipped rocks.

What if I had said I was a girl then??  How would my life turned out??

*** April 1984 ***

My friend Richard had come out to me that he was gay.  My feelings were mixed, but I figured he might be the ally I needed if I was ever going to pursue my transition.

We had only known each other a short time, but formed a close friendship playing volleyball and working for the college together.

When he opened up to me I tried to not show my shock.

I asked questions ... I accepted him and our friendship grew closer.  After a few weeks we were driving some place ... although if I thought hard enough I could probably recall the destination, it is not important to the story ... the conversation is what shaped my life.

"What about people who get a sex change?" I asked.  It was in line with what we were talking about, but still a bit out of the blue.

"That's wrong," he said.

I was baffled.

"God made them men.  Why can't they just be men?"  He became visibly uneasy.  "They need to just admit that they're gay and have sex with other men."

He continued to rant ... I crept back into my shell.

What if I had stood up for myself?  What if I had told him I was a transsexual back in the 80's?  WHere would I be today?

I could easily rattle off many other times where my desire to be me was squashed by friends', family's or society's expectations.

I do wonder sometimes ... but if I had transitioned when I was young, I likely would not have met my wife, I would not have had the privilege of raising our son, I would likely not be in the career I am now.

I will never know, but I do wonder ... What if??