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Me 2.0 is live today! The lie is dead!

First day outfit! Rocking the Oiselle!

First day outfit! Rocking the Oiselle!

Today’s the day! Me 2.0 is officially live!! I came in to work as Amelia for the first time ever and I’ll never living the lie again. From now on, I am one singular person with one identity.

I spent last night handing out candy to trick-or-treaters in guy mode after work which I thought was sort of fitting. What better way to spend my last day ever having to live as the lie than for it to be Halloween and me wearing the mask I’ve hidden behind for 30 years. Guy mode was my costume. Never again.

Anyway, since I’ve written something everyday this week, I’ll just keep this one short. I’ve got a few things planned to write for next week so I’ll see you then!

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For a year and a half, I’ve essentially been a superhero with a secret identity

I made my decision to transition a year and a half ago and I can say without any hesitation that it’s been the second best experience of my life, with only marrying my wife ahead of it. Transition has changed my life and how I feel about myself in ways I don’t have words to describe. However, that doesn’t change the fact that transition can be complicated and challenging and sometimes you’d give anything for it to just be over. For me, there’s one specific aspect of transition that I utterly and completely hate. It’s not giving myself weekly injections, it’s not the awkwardness of constantly being in situations where you need to explain that you’re transgender (e.g. getting carded at the bar), it’s not the coming out to friends and family, it’s not all the money transition can cost, and it’s not getting my face blasted with a laser on a regular basis to remove all the hair. I can handle that stuff. At this point, I’m not even phased by any of it.

The part that sucks is having to maintain two completely different identities during the “in-between,” that time between when you decide to transition and when you’re finally fully out and living as your true self “full time.” I hate this. Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! When I finally decided I was going to embrace who I truly am and transition, I was eager to choose my name and start interacting with people as myself. It didn’t take me long to choose the name Amelia and I quickly went ahead and created Tumblr and Twitter accounts, among others. As I came out to my friends, I asked them each to start using this name.

As much as I wanted to only be my real self and only be referred to as Amelia, I knew I had to be patient. So for the last year and a half, I’ve lived a double life. At times, I lived as my old boring self, the one everyone knew and, when possible, I lived as myself, as Amelia. Often times, I would be living both simultaneously, switching back and forth depending on who walked in and out of the room or whether I was talking to the person next to me or with someone on my phone via text or Twitter. In the beginning, things were a bit easier as I was Amelia only in very limited settings, but this progressively changed as my transition moved forward and I started spending more and more time being myself. In more recent months, I’ve been spending more time outside of my house physically being myself in addition to moving more and more of my online presence over to my to my new name.

During the day, I would continue to be my old self at work while chatting with people and hanging out on Twitter as myself. Because of the number of coworkers I’m friends with on Facebook, I was forced to leave this account under my old name and identity until just this week. I toyed with created a new account, but this just didn’t seem to be worth the effort. None of these people at work knew I had an entire secret life, that the person they knew me as was a lie. At night and on the weekends, I was Amelia. I only used this name and physically presented myself as Amelia as much as possible. I was like my own personal superhero, out there being awesome and people in my life didn’t even know about it.

I used to think it was hard to keep my real self hidden when I was still lying to myself about who I really am. I lived within a carefully scripted web of lies. Everything I said and every single move I made had to first pass through a conscious filter to ensure any trace of my real gender was either stripped out or hidden. If that sounds exhausting, that’s because it was. I didn’t think things could get more challenging than this, but I turned out to be wrong. Even though I wasn’t showing people the real person I was, I still wasn’t living a double life, that real person wasn’t allowed to actually exist.

Once you decide to actually explore yourself and you’re ready to go ahead with transition, it’s like opening the proverbial Pandora’s Box, you don’t know what you’re going to find and there’s no putting it back away. When I started actually letting myself out, the filter became something I needed to actually turn off and then back on again. I needed to constantly be on top of when the filter needed to be on. Letting nothing through 100% of the time is a lot easier than letting nothing through 50% of the time.

Finally coming out at work this week means I no longer need to keep my old identity around. I only have to be me, the superhero. I only need to use the name Amelia unless my legal name is required–and that’s only for another couple weeks. I can now talk about the things I’ve kept hidden. When coworkers ask the obligatory “what’d you do this weekend” question, I no longer need to either make something up or sound boring and tell them I just stayed in. When I go to Starbucks or Chipotle at lunch and bring back a drink or burrito with the name Amelia written on it, I no longer need to worry about hiding the name from everyone…or having to use my birth name. I don’t need to worry about mannerisms anymore. I don’t need to be secretive about doctor’s appointments and why all of a sudden, even though I’m a marathon runner, I started caring about my weight and not eating too much. I don’t need to worry someone will come over to my desk to show me something and see the name on my GMail (which I always keep open) or the name on the user account I use to test code on my local system.

Transition brings a whole lot of challenges, but most of them aren’t too hard to get used to. Unfortunately, living a double life isn’t one of those things I was ever able to get used to. I could and did do it, but I hated every moment of it. I was constantly on the verge of saying the wrong name, my birth name while out as myself or Amelia at work. Not even a few days would go by without having to either rely on a string of lies or clever wording to hide my real identity. If I couldn’t come up with a lie quick enough, I’d have to quickly change the subject or simply hope no one was actually paying attention or thought to question the words that just left my mouth.

I’m so glad this is coming to an end. Death to my old self and my old identity. That guy was a dick anyway.

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Today I come out at as trans at work

After 30 years on this planet, a year and a half of transition, seven months of hormones, and four months of working with HR, I can’t believe the day is here, but it’s finally time to come out at work. In just fifteen minutes, I’ll be heading into a meeting with my manager to tell him I’m trans and I am transitioning. As soon as I walk out of this meeting, I will be sending an email to my entire company telling them the same. Our parent company is around 3,500 employees, but I only have to worry about the 55 or so that work for my smaller company and around ten of them already know and support me. Once the email is out, my work life will be at the mercy of all my coworkers, but I don’t foresee any major issues. After working here for almost six years, I feel confident that most people here will be positive and supportive with just two or three exceptions. This Friday, I will begin showing up to work as my real self.

Once I send this email, I can also finally post about this on Facebook and update my profile to reflect my real name and show a more accurate photo. Unfortunately, I’m friends with too many coworkers on Facebook to have been able to do this before today and, after thinking a lot about it, I had decided not to create a new account. For Facebook, I plan on writing a very short message and then linking to this post here for a longer bit about it. I’ve already posted this letter on my old Twitter account and received a lot of positive responses!

Anyway, I wanted to share what my work letter will be just to give an idea of what I felt like I needed to say here and to also help any of my fellow trans sisters (and brothers) in the future who may be grasping at how to start writing such a letter.
Read my letter!

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T-minus 31 days until Me 2.0 goes live!

Today is October 1 which means the beta period is almost over and I am exactly one month away from going live with Me 2.0! Yes, I’m calling it “going live” instead of “full time.” It’s more fun this way and “full time” makes it sound like it’s a job. And while I’m on the topic my own personal nomenclature I use for transition, I often like to say things like “regeneration” (yes, like The Doctor) instead of “transition” and “running estrogen on unlicensed hardware.” The whole thing is completely life-altering, might as well have fun with it, right?

After spending the first 29 years of my life in denial about my need to transition, I can’t believe how close I am now. I came up with excuse after excuse to continue living a lie and I never thought I would go ahead with it, but here I am, just 31 days away from completely leaving the lie behind and living the life I was always supposed to live.

When I finally opened my eyes and accepted the truth and reality about what being transgender meant for me, I didn’t know what the road ahead was going to be like. I didn’t know what my timeline would be and it was hard to imagine I’d ever actually get there. By the time I go live, it’ll have been almost 18 months since I made my decision, seven months on hormones, fifteen months since my first laser hair removal session, thousands of tweets and Tumblr posts, and even more thousands of dollars. But it’s so close!

I still have a lot to do in this last month though. I’ve been racing over the last few weeks to expand my wardrobe enough to actually get by and I’ve made  a lot of progress, but I still have a few places that need some work. Over the next few weeks, I need to finalize my plan with HR for coming out at work—which will be fun since my HR person just quit—and write my letter to my coworkers. I also need to write a small message to post on Facebook for the remaining friends and family I’m not yet out to. Then there are smaller things I’d like to find time for like getting a haircut, practicing my makeup more (seriously, how the hell do you put on eyeliner?!), and getting my ears pierced. There isn’t some official list I keep, but in the back of my mind, there’s a mess of things I’d like to get done before November 1.

When I set November 1st as my target go-live date a few months ago, I didn’t know if it’d actually stick or not. At the time, it was just something to shoot for and I expected the date to change, but it hasn’t and, as it gets closer, it’s feeling more and more like I’m ready for it. I’ve reached a point now where I’m spending most of my time on the weekends with the switch flipped over to girl mode and I no longer care what strangers may think of me when I’m in public. Hearing my birth name and being referred to in any way as a man makes me cringe even when it’s from someone who doesn’t know I’m trans and wearing men’s clothes has gotten completely uncomfortable. At this point, I couldn’t be more ready for this.

T-minus 31 days and counting.

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Making a new ally at work

Today, I went into the office with my nails still painted from the weekend. I probably should have made sure to not forget to take it off since I’m only out to a handful of people at work right now, but I didn’t. I wasn’t quite sure how things were going to go down, so I had a lot of responses prepared for anything anyone could have said.

At one point in the morning, one coworker came by my desk, saw my nails, and made a comment about it which caused another coworker who sits across from me to turn around for my response. I just said “it’s a long story” instead of going with an actual lie. The coworker who sits near me then asked if it was really a long story or if I really just didn’t want to tell it. I said I didn’t want to tell it and he joked about making up his own.

Towards the end of the day, I got curious and asked what he came up with. At first he really fought telling me because he was afraid if he was wrong I would be really offended. Eventually, I got it out of him though. He said “I know you care a lot about transgender rights so…I was thinking…it was related to…that?” I wouldn’t have even started this conversation if I wasn’t prepared for it going down like this, so I told him he was right and that I’m transitioning. He was kind of quiet after that, but I didn’t read it as a bad thing, just as him sort of processing it. When I told him I’m changing my name to Amelia, he said “like Amy Pond!?” I told him he was right again!

After work, he called me and told me he was worried I might have taken him being quiet as something bad and he wanted to assure me he was just processing it and actually supports me a lot. He told me he felt “honored” that I trusted him enough to tell him at this point. We talked for a few minutes and I told him a little more about transition. He said if there was anything he could do to make work easier when I come out to let him know and that he supports me 100%. I just told him I was glad to have another ally in the office.

So…yay!