Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wow ... !!!

It's wrong ... Really, it's just wrong.

The countdown timer in the right column is wrong!!  I'm not going to see my endocrinologist for my first visit on Friday ... I am going tomorrow!!

How am I going to spend an entire day worrying and going mental when I don't even have a full day notice of the appointment change?

Anyway ...

Somewhere around 7 weeks ago I set some goals ... here's the update:

1 - 1 more laser treatment.  The few dark hairs which are mostly on my upper lip and chin are a real bummer.  I must get rid of them before my appointment.

Yes ... I had a complete clearing at a very high laser setting.  I also pulled out my old Tria home laser and have begun giving myself treatments on my chest

2 - Because of how heavy I am, I can safely lose 3 pounds per week ... 21 pounds before the appointment.

Yes, but barely.  It was never really about the number ... it was about focusing on better eating.  I did.  If I had not reached the number, but managed to eat better I would still be happy with myself.

3 - I will start to exercise regularly.  Build a bit of a cardio base.

Not even close.  I am moving more, but my thoughts of walking even a few times per week did not happen, but that;s alright.  I will not make excuses, I will simply try harder next time.

4 - I will think of one positive thing to come from this appointment every day.

I will say yes.  Even though I stopped posting my positive thought of the day relatively quickly after starting it, the thought of the appointment helped me get through some very stressful situations.

So here it is, the eve before the biggest step in my transition ... and I have a strange, serene feeling building inside of me.  Not that I'm not a tad nervous, but it is not overwhelming.

It's almost like I have found my way through the labyrinth and I am grasping the doorknob to the rest of my life.

It's time to open the door.

In a manner that has been so typically me I am preparing for the worst but hoping for the best ... In the not so distant past I would expect the worst, and usually found it.  Perhaps the serenity I am feeling is hope ... hope that what lies ahead is the world I've been dying to live in my entire life.

I figured that the night before my appointment I would be babbling endlessly ... ranting and raving about everything.  I cannot seem to find the words to describe exactly how I'm feeling.






Saturday, May 25, 2013

Tiffanie emerges ... venturing into the unknown

I sometimes wonder how I would handle some of the situations I've run into over the past several months if I were not transitioning.

Would it make any difference?

Would I dissolve into a deep depression or other form of mental meltdown?

Would I have handled them better?  More professionally?

I will never know.

I do know this ... Over the past few weeks at work there have been an inordinate number of incidents.  Everything from having to terminate a driver for misconduct, having another driver on the verge of being terminated for misconduct to corporate considering terminating a driver for an accident that was not his fault ... oh, and I had to suspend the delegation process of a potentially great trainer because he also has been choosing to not follow policy.

We've had the area director of safety and the chp in the bus yard digging through our records, inspecting our buses and facility.

We've had several accidents ... too many to mention.  The fact that all but two were not preventable only makes things slightly better.  The amount of paperwork, the time diverted to accident investigation,  and other company requirements cause me to fall behind on other job requirements.

Work has been simply stressful ...

Hair before coloring
Hair after coloring
But, on the brighter side many drivers are now seeking me out to see what color nail polish I am wearing. I think that shows a great level of acceptance without even being sure why I am wearing it.  I can't wait until next week when I walk in with my hair dyed ... reddish blonde ... I literally just had it done last night.

I am feeling more and more comfortable as myself ... I feel like I am slowly emerging from the mist and the shadows for the world to see.

But there are still many hurdles to cross.

One of the smaller steps I took recently happened at a local store.  Pam and I had been out for a bit and I had to go to the restroom.  To get to the men's room you go through a door that leads to part of the storeroom ... but other than employee areas, that's all that is there.  The ladies room is through a different door leading to the back of the store.  This door is closer to the cashiers where many other people are.  I have not felt comfortable going into a public men's room for quite a while, but feel I am not ladylike enough to get away with the women's restroom.

After a brief discussion I decided to use the ladies' room.  Pam thought it was a single user restroom and I could lock the door behind me.

Umm ... nope.

But I went in anyway.  Nobody was in there, so I entered a stall and took care of business ... I washed my hands, left the restroom and headed back out into the store.  That's when I realized how many people could actually see the door ... but nobody said a word.

A few days later the restrooms at work stopped working.  I decided to go to a local drug store because they are usually not busy during the day.  I went into the ladies room ... empty ... I took care of business and was washing my hands ... the door opened.

My heart stopped ... it is strange how many thoughts can go through your head in a millisecond.

Another lady walked in.  In the mirror I could see that she glanced at me, but she went into her stall and closed the door.  I dried my hands and went to the cosmetics department.  A few momenta later the same lady was standing near me looking at makeup ... she never said a word.

Does she see me as Tiffanie?  The lady she happened to see in the restroom and then again in the store?  It does make me a bit more confident to have this little issue behind me.

The truth of the matter is, now that I have crossed this threshold I never plan to nor want to go into a men's room again.  I will likely battle some nerves until HRT starts to have some physical effects on me ... and even then possibly until I have my gender legally changed on my records.

I am likely worrying too much, but I do not want to be the next transgender headline in the news for being in the ladies' room.

Anyway ... ...

Thursday finally rolled around ... and it dragged on forever.  The usual 30 minute review of the driver records by the CHP turned into a 2 hour ordeal ... this after making me wait another 2 hours from the time they said they would be in my office.  It wasn't anything bad, but a new many was being trained and the inspecting officer was (and always are) looking with greater scrutiny to impress their fledgling.

They found one mistake ... I feel stupid because they usually find zero.  To listen to the inspector talk you would think that my single mistake would grind all school bus traffic in the state of California to a screeching halt while the transportation gods exacted torturous punishment on my ravaged soul.

But we passed.

I told Maggie about the mistake, and how I was going to rectify it.

I was a bit surprised when the pair of inspectors talked to the staff that suddenly this one mistake (not a little mistake, but not horrible) turned into "many serious situations ... but I will be lenient and give you guys a satisfactory ... ..."

Really??

So I go to see Catharine, my counselor Thursday afternoon ... and I went dressed as girly as I have ever been in public.  A nice top I picked up on our last shopping outing ... freshly painted nails ... Pam gave me a pair of earrings she made to go with the top ... and of course my shoes.

I felt fabulous ...

And I'm sure I looked almost androgynous ... possibly on the feminine side of the scale.

The session itself was not spectacular ... I really didn't feel like talking much, although going on a rampage about the CHP or whatever may have released a bit of tension.  We did, however touch on many interesting topics.

The fact that I had used the ladies room ... and the issues it could bring if somebody complains ...

My upcoming venture into hormone-land ...

The fact that I should wear a bra with my new top ... ... ??? ... Ummm ... maybe after I have boobs ...

Looking into voice therapy to help me sound more feminine ...

How comfortable I feel going into public dressed in such a feminine manner ...

Well damn ...

That last one got me thinking.  I haven't gone into public this girly.

I left the appointment and went to K-mart.  I couldn't buy anything because there is no money to spend, but I walked around and looked ... through the women's department ... the cosmetics department ... amongst the other women.

I felt like I belonged.

It was a week of progress ... a week of confidence building ... a week of emerging as Tiffanie in every way possible.

This was all topped off today.  Pam, Timmy and I took my niece to Los Angeles to run some errands.  It was a day much like a few weeks ago when we decided to go to the big city ... but there was one big difference ... I was dressed as Tiffanie.

New hair color ...
Pretty teal tank-top ...
My new shoes ...
Earrings ...
A touch of BB cream ...

I cannot say I looked beautiful ... But when I looked at a couple of the pics I will admit that I teared up because I see me ... Tiffanie ... a lady.

After our trip we went to dinner at a buffet place.  Pam and I went to the restroom together for the first time ... again, not a big deal, but a first.  I didn't flinch at the sight of a lady at the sink when we walked in ... we just went to our stalls.  I didn't even flinch when I saw the little girl and her mom outside the restroom when we walked out.

Dinner itself was fabulous ... not because of the food, but because of being myself in public, and having those closest to me their with me.

Today will be one of those days I will remember as milestones in my transition.












Saturday, May 18, 2013

Check those off the list ...

So, this week went by pretty fast ... and a lot happened.

Monday and Tuesday my area director of safety was in my office to see if I fixed some of the issues with the audit 2 months ago.

He was happy.

He talked with me ... interacted like he usually does ... joked around with me ... asked my input on situations, even though I was wearing nail polish and dangly earrings ... and on Tuesday I was wearing a women's polo shirt.

I feeling more at ease with myself ... and in turn I think others are feeling more at ease with me.  Several ladies at work are complimenting my earrings and nail polish ... breaking into "girl talk" with me ... letting me be myself.  I do still shy away a bit when it comes to behaving completely feminine, but more and more Tiffanie is showing through, and nobody seems to mind.

Wednesday was a bit strange ... happy, sad, anxiety, depressed, out of sync yet accomplishing a bit at work.

When I left for work I checked under the hood of my car because a feral cat has moved her kittens into our yard ... there were five little fur balls curled up on my engine.  I was so happy to see them.  I even picked one up that didn't run ... the others scattered.

I drove to work, prepared for the driver meeting, checked my emails and drove to the meeting.

An hour and a half later I leave the meeting.  I start the car and a little kitten runs across the parking lot into the bushes ... it looked just like one of the babies that was on my engine earlier.

I lost it ... I burst into tears.

Did I sentence this poor baby kitty to death?

Would someone adopt him or her ... or at least care for the little thing?

But how could this be?  I saw the kitties scatter.  This guy would have had to survive a 20 mile drive to work, stay hidden in the car for nearly an hour. Hang on for another mile drive and then choose to sit under or in the car for another hour and a half ... it couldn't be one of the babies.

I had to collect myself ... I had to return to the yard and teach class for the trainees.  My anxiety cranked up ... my brain seized up.  I had to get home to check on the kittens.

I haven't seen all five since that morning ... I'm still worried the poor thing didn't survive.

My manager, Maggie told me that the other supervisors (Tuti and Marcelo) were asking about me ... concerned about my well being and noticing the change in my appearance.  I wanted to tell them a couple weeks ago, but I also want to wait to hear from HR before making any official announcement.

Thursday was mostly about training and catching up with paperwork.  We were supposed to have a supervisors meeting with the manager ... that's when I was going to tell Tuti and Marcelo ... but the meeting never happened.

I was a bit bummed, but a little relieved at the same time.

I still felt out of sync and was still worried about the kitten ... but I was regaining my focus.

Friday was going to be busy.  I had to hurry to work with my trainees so I could leave early and take my mom to a doctor appointment.

Ummm ... busy, yes ... go as planned, never!

I was trying to stay in a relaxed mode ... not get wound up.  I said hi to the drivers, adjusted the thermostat, logged onto my computer and printed several items I needed, checked my email and ... SHIT!!, web conference in 5 minutes!.

WTF?!

Aren't they supposed to give me a little notice of these things??

I arranged for someone to work with the trainees, logged into the conference, noticed that Tuti was supposed to be in on the conference, ran down the hall ... yes she was going to attend ... ran back to my office as the conference was starting.

Whew.

The point of the conference is not important ... neither was the short conversation Tuti and I had about the subject after the call was over.

There was an awkward segue as I tried to change subjects.  "I know you've noticed my change in appearance ... the earrings and fingernails."

Tuti looked so serious, but attentive.

"I'm transitioning to female."  I think I said something else, but not sure anything intelligible came out of my mouth.

"I'm so happy for you," she said as a smile burst onto her face.  "I've known this since we worked for the other company (15+ years).  There was always something different about you ... and when you dressed up for Halloween that one year I knew you were a woman."

We continued with a bit of girl talk ... some questions about hormones, surgery and other issues.  She was truly happy and supportive.  She asked if I was going to change my name and tried to guess what it would be before I replied.

I smiled.  "Tiffanie," I said as I broke eye contact for the first time during the conversation.

"I like that.  That's cute."  She was so bubbly and encouraging, I couldn't help but smile.

"I'm waiting to hear from HR before anything is announced to the drivers."

"Don't worry about that," she said.  "Anyone that knows you will not be surprised.  And they will support you."

I am so happy I told her.

I had the chance to talk to Marcelo before I left the yard.  He was no shocked either, but did not seem like he was comfortable talking to me about it.  He is a very private person and does not like to get involved in anyone's personal lives ... but he did stay and talk.  He told me his issues with HR and knows my frustration in waiting for an answer.

He also told me that nobody will be truly surprised when I announce the truth to everyone.

My mom's appointment went well.  She had an epidural injection to relieve back pain.

After Pam and I got her home we hung around a bit to ensure she would be alright, then we left to run a few errands ... and to go shopping.

Pam decided she liked the shoes I bought and wanted to see if the store had them in her size.

Copycat!!

So we go into the store to buy one pair of shoes and leave with $$$$ of clothes and accessories.  I believe it is actually one of Newton's laws ... two women in a clothing store will always find a way to spend money or find outfits they adore regardless of the funds available to them.

All in all it was a great day ... a great day at the end of a pretty good week.

The only negative ... I have not gotten back into an exercise routine, but that will come in time.









Monday, May 13, 2013

Fallon Fox is my hero

Fallon Fox, Christine Jorgensen, Renee Richards, Caroline "Tula" Cossey, Chaz Bono, Jenna Talackova, Laura Jane Grace,  and far too many more to list are all incredible inspirations ... and they are all transgender.

I am relatively that none of them wanted to be a public figure ... none of them wanted to know as the first transgender tennis player, James Bond girl, Miss Universe contestant or MMA fighter.  They probably just wanted to live their lives and pursue their own happiness without drawing attention to themselves.

That's my goal ... just live in peace and not cause any waves or being in the spotlight.

Fallon Fox recently announced to the world that she is a transgender MMA fighter.  Wow ... just wow.  What courage.  But she wasn't treated like a heroic, courageous lady ... she has been bashed, trashed, hated and worse.

People are so ignorant.

In a day when a professional athlete announces he or she is gay and receives tributes and accolades another professional athlete is threatened, verbally abused, people want her to be bannished from the sport she has trained all because they do not understand.  But she did not let anyone keep her down.  She is preparing for another MMA fight later this month http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/13/sports/for-transgender-fighter-fallon-fox-there-is-solace-in-the-cage.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&.

I wish I could meet Fallon.  I would love to give her a hug and tell her how much she has inspired me to pursue my transition.  I doubt this will ever happen, but I can dream.

In a strange way it was Fallon's courage to come out to the media that motivated me to make so move forward with my transition.  I finally spoke to my doctor and will be seeing an endocrinologist at the end of May.  I came out to another coworker and called my HR department to let them know that I was transitioning ... like I said, I don't want to cause waves.

Sonia from HR called me back a couple days ago.  "Hi.  I just wanted to touch base with you."  Thee was a hesitation in her voice.  I could tell she was not completely comfortable.  "So, from our previous conversation I assume you will be having some corrective surgery soon."

"No," I said.  I was quick to correct the misinformation.  "I am starting on hormones.  That is when many of the physical changes will begin to occur."

"How long after you start your medicine do these effects become noticeable?"  She was grasping for information, but remaining professional.

"It is different for everyone."  I was staying surprisingly calm and well spoken.  "It may be weeks, it may be months.  We will not know until things begin to change.  I am already presenting in a more feminine manner.  I am wearing nail polish and more feminine earrings."

"Well I contacted my corporate supervisor to discuss your situation anonymously."  She paused for a moment.  "She has not dealt with anyone transitioning and does not kn ow what the proper steps we as a company need to take.  So I contacted our corporate legal department.  They have never dealt with your situation either."

At this point I am almost laughing because it was the only answer I did not expect.

"But don't worry," she continued.  "I've made contact without an outside company I'm associated with and they are sending me the laws pertaining to your issue in California.  There is a lot of research to do, so how about we talk sometime near the end of May?"

Although we talked a bit more, basically the conversation was over.

In my attempt to create this smooth transition I have drawn a spotlight onto myself.  I am the first transgender supervisor my company had to deal with.  Although I will not make the news and face public scrutiny that the brave men and women before me have seen, I will still be the focus of many new policies, discussions and attention from the corporate hierarchy.

I am not a trailblazer ... not a pioneer ... I am not a leader nor a role model.  I just want to live my life.  I want to transition and be the woman I have know I am since I was a young child.

I do not compare myself on any level to Renee Richards, Chaz Bono, Fallon Fox and all the others.  I will never understand the stress and public disdain they have endured.  I do hope to draw on their strength and learn from their character to help me through the next few months and years.

Thank you to all the true pioneers ... to all of those who have done the work and suffered the scrutiny so those of us who are following in your footsteps could travel the journey with greater ease.  I appreciate everything you have done.

To Fallon Fox - I hoe your next fight is incredible,  I would love for you to earn the notoriety you deserve and have better opportunities available to you.  Kick some ass in the cage on Mat 24.














Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cranking up the juice ...

So yet another post during the time I thought I'd have little to say ... and this one will meander all over the place.

Today did not start off well.  I awoke with a horrible headache, sinus issues and my stomach cramping really bad ... yuck.

I called in sick and went back to bed.

When I woke up (3 hours later) my tummy felt better and my headache had eased up a bit ... my nose was still running like a garden hose.  This really bugged me because I had an appointment for laser hair removal, and a mucus covered lip would probably not help the procedure any.

Luckily an antihistamine and a bit of sinus relief medicine brought the situation under control.

I applied the numbing cream and paced about the house before heading into town ... that's when my stomach started hurting again.

Crap.

I laid down on the table  and soon the familiar sounds, sensations and smells began.  The tech kept asking if I was comfortable.  I was not sure if she noticed I was squirming a bit from my stomach issues or what ... then it dawned on me.  "Are you using a higher setting?"

"Yes."  She smiled.  "But just a little."

We proceeded to have a wonderful conversation ... family, transition, cosmetics, shoes ... basically it was girl talk.

This week, and even last week has brought an unusual amount of strange events, bizarre incidents and stress.  Yesterday was no exception.  We had a driver who was taking her renewal drive test ... a procedure that happens dozens of times every year in our facility ... a procedure that we've had no issues with until lately.

Every trainee or driver who goes for a drive test has to take a training certificate to prove documentation of receiving the required training hours.

Last week an original trainee was sent to the CHP without his training certificate.  Luckily the CHP allowed him to test and bring the card afterward.  I carefully explained to the people helping in the office that nobody is to go to the CHP with the proper documentation ... This brings us to yesterday.  A driver is at the CHP ready to test.  This is when my phone rings.

"I need my training card."  The driver sounded panicked.  "If I don't have it he will have to reschedule me."

"OK.  Stay there.  I can have it up there before you're done with the paperwork."  I hung up and headed to the dispatch office.  "Where's Veronica's training card?"

"It's here, she left without it," the dispatcher said.

I grabbed it from her and headed out of the office.  I made it to the CHP in 12 minutes ... but the bus was gone.  "Shit ... Shit, crap and fuck."  I continued down the street hoping they had started the test and were in the cul-de-sac ... they were.

I dropped of the training card, but was far too steamed to return to the office ... so I went shopping.

I have gone to women's clothing stores by myself before ... I've even bought a few things when I was by myself, but this was the first time I walked into a women's clothing store carrying a purse and actually perusing the racks of clothes.  The bad part is I know we have no money to spend on clothes ... and I have enough clothes to wear a different outfit every day and not do laundry for about 2 months.

So despite the fact that I found many things that I would love to own, I resisted ... until I got to the shoes.

OMG!!  They had a pair of shoes I just loved ... and it was in my fat foot size!!

After a quick phone consult with Pam (aka begging and pleading) I grabbed the shoes and headed to the counter.

The cashier was very nice, engaged in a bit of chit-chat and then asked for my credit card.

I handed it to her without even thinking.

She stared at the card ... the card with my legal (aka male) name printed on it.  "Ummm ... Can I see your ID please?"

"Sure."  I handed her my driver's license, also with my legal name ... and a picture of me with short hair and a mustache.

The clerk tried to act nonchalant as she checked the picture, checked me and back to the ID.  After a short period she completed the transaction and said, "Have a nice day ... ... ma'am?"

So I'm still waiting to hear from my HR department ... I do not need permission to proceed with my transition, but I would like to make this change as seamless as possible.  The HR department is very busy with many other issues, but I am starting to get a bit impatient.

The next few weeks will bring more fun, I'm sure.





Sunday, May 5, 2013

Another week down ... a lifetime to go

So I have shamelessly spammed this blog many more places that I normally would.  It did seem to gain about 100 more reads than normal, but I feel a little strange advertising so people can read my private thoughts, feelings and emotions.

This past week was as hectic and difficult, but nothing earth shattering as far as accomplishments or hurdles cleared.  I'll start with the most depressing ...

I did not loose any weight this week.  And to make it worse, I've managed to have stress eating mini binges pretty much every day.

We had to terminate a driver for her recent conduct.  It was necessary, but these situations always suck.

There were so many little things that happened every day that I likely could have posted nearly endless rants on a constant basis ... but I shan't.  I'd rather focus on the positives ...

Monday was alright as far as everything goes.  I changed nail polish for the week ... a bronze / metallic color.  I like it a lot, but it shows the flaws and scuffs too easily.  I'm sure people noticed, but nobody commented ... but then again they didn't give me any strange looks, either.  I see that as progress.

Despite the stressful tone at work the day was relatively nice in general.

I got home and spent some time with Pam, relaxed and enjoyed the evening.  We filled the slow cookers with out kalua pork and set them to cook overnight for a company potluck the next day.

Tuesday was just as hectic, or even more so, but for different reasons. It was one of those days where nothing seemed to go right regardless of how hard I tried to correct them.  I was just plain frustrated all morning.

Then things turned for the better just a little.

While talking to my trainees the conversation drifted in a different direction:

Rita - Didn't you used to have facial hair?
Me - I shaved my mustache a year ago
Mary laughed - I cannot picture you with facial hair.

Now at this point I became quite happy.  I suddenly realized that anyone who has met me withing the last year are seeing me as normal ... and likely all the people who have known me for more than a year are now seeing how I am presenting myself as normal.

Me - At one point I had a full beard, but usually just a mustache.  I also used to have short hair ... but I won't be showing any old pictures of me.
Rita gestured at my hands - I've got to get that nail polish
Me - I love it.  It's so pretty.
Mary - What bran is it?
Me - I'm not sure.  Pam and I bought several different brands.  This one is bronze.

I really felt like a lady ... I did the girl talk thing and really felt like it was natural.

When I checked the slow cooker with the pork it was about empty.  I was hoping people would like it, but I didn't expect it to be all gone.  So many people who tried it complimented me.

Tuesday was such a good day.

Wednesday ... not so much.

We terminated a driver ... someone I dealt with on a regular basis, someone I knew had the potential to work her way into better positions.  You just can't make anything good out of that.

Thursday - Wow, Thursday.  So many things ... too many things.

A major fire started about a mile from me.  I saw the initial plume of smoke and was thinking how lucky it was that the winds had not picked up yet.  Within a few minutes I saw it raging up a hillside ... soon Ventura County was on the national news.

There was some good news for the day.  I had 2 trainees pass their tests, so we have 2 new drivers to take a little pressure off of our driver shortage.

Thursday afternoon I had another appointment with Catharine.  Before I headed to her office I stopped at a drug store and wandered through the cosmetics department.  I checked out some nail polish, mascara, eye liner and a few other things ... shopping with other women for cosmetics and I didn't care.

I was looking forward to talking with Catharine.  I had taken so many small, but important steps and I wanted to share my stories.  She is so supportive and kind.  She says I seem to be more congruent ... mind, soul and soon my body will all be in alignment.  She is very proud of the progress I've made in barely a year.

And to tell the truth, I am surprised at how far I've come ... but I want to go so much further.

The last two days Pam and I have gone to different beauty supply stores just to look around.  It is like an all new world for me ... so much to learn ... so tempting to buy about everything.  I am already planning on getting a cosmetics consultation to help me find the shades that work best for me.

With less than a month until I start hrt I am so looking forward to what this summer and the next year brings.