The last few days have been extremely emotional for me. A number of surprising things have happened this week; most of them very good. As I'm sure you all know, I've been behaving rather boldly through my Facebook account for the past few weeks. That boldness continued this weekend with my addition of the set of photos I shared with you all (actually I put them on Facebook first... nothing personal!). This isn't the first time that I've put pictures of Kate on my Facebook account, but it is the first time that I did it without restricting any friend groups. This meant that everyone including my work colleagues were able to view these. This, of course, accompanies all of the very "female centric" posts and comments I've been sharing.
It would seem that my actions finally poked the right set of nerves for some of my colleagues, which led to yet another moment of intervention / fact sharing... I don't know what to call it. We talked. It started with a significant increase in the amount of talk around work about me (all of which I hear through "my sources"). From the talk, I knew that two of my management folks - who are among my Facebook friends - were at a point of needing to talk about it. We made it all the way through Monday and half-way into Tuesday when one of them finally popped his head in my door and said "I'm thirsty," which is our code for "let's blow off work and go have a drink." I honestly didn't have time for it, but I knew what was coming, so I asked him to give me a few minutes and I'd meet him at our normal spot. I also asked him if our other colleague would be joining us. He agreed that it would be a good idea, and we made the arrangement.
An important thing to understand is that I am a fairly crafty person. I had spent a lot of time over the years feeling out beliefs and predilections, and making preliminary determinations of where my "trouble spots" would be when I finally moved forward with transition (yes, I pretty much do this with everyone). "I'm thirsty" was one of the people I had determined would probably not be able to accept me.
It took a couple hours, but eventually the subject did come up, and to my shock and surprise, both of my colleagues pledged their unwavering support and friendship. Noted, that "I'm thirsty" did admit that it was going to be a big struggle for him, but I cannot describe how impressed I am by his surprising display of friendship and support. Of course, as all of these conversations do, this one ventured into all of the fact finding and personal exploration - how long have I known? What does my family say? What about my wife? How far do I plan to take it? When do I plan to tell my boss? You can imagine. The conversation lasted into the late evening hours, by which time, my wife and partner had joined us and was actually taking care of most of the conversation for me.
The night ended with both of my friends and colleagues assertion of their support and friendship, after which I went home and had a complete emotional meltdown. I bawled for a solid hour, during which my wonderful partner gently held me and stroked my hair offering gentle encouragement. I knew this was going to be hard. I cannot begin to explain (or confirm, as I'm sure many of you have experienced or are experiencing the same thing) the toll these conversations take on a girl's psyche. With each discussion, I essentially relive all the struggles and all the hardships. I have to revisit the rejections and the hurdles. I am forced to reconsider decisions and discuss timing and next steps. The good news is that my resolve has never been stronger. The only thing that really scares me now is that I know the conversations only get more difficult from here.
I have handled the easy people - the acquaintances, the long distance friends, the people who already knew or I already knew would support me. Now we're down to employers and the "untouchable" family members. My mom. Ugh.
In other news, my brave and beautiful partner had surgery yesterday (yes, I had to drive her to the surgery center with a terrible hangover from the previous night's unplanned adventure). It was relatively minor surgery, but it did involve actually cutting two bones, so she is in a considerable amount of pain right now. The surgery was successful and no complications, so that is good. All that said, from the moment I saw her in her little surgical gown and cap, I've been fighting not to cry. I'm trying to keep a brave face, but every time I look at her, I have to fight back tears. I guess I'm just not used to seeing her weak. She is so strong; she is my rock and my protector, and she has been by my side supporting me from practically the moment we met. I know how much she hates feeling weak, and I know how badly she just wants to be back on her feet; and that breaks my heart.
Please keep her in your thoughts as she continues to heal and regain strength.
And have a wonderful week!
Oh, oh! One last note (sorry, this has been long one already!): following all the turmoil Tuesday night, I made one other change. My name... well, on Facebook anyway. I finally changed my first name on my Facebook account from Kyle to Kate. I had converted the email address a few weeks ago, but no one really sees that. There is no more hiding, everyone who knows me (on FB, anyway) now knows Kate.