Tuesday, December 6, 2016
How I Live Now
Today I was sitting at my desk and broke down crying. Actually, the emotional break down was at my desk. I managed to not actually cry until I had ducked into a nearby conference room. Having nowhere private to run to, I contemplated barricading myself in a stall in the ladies room for a while, but instead went outside into the chilly air and found myself a bench in a public park. I sat down and I cried. It wasn't anything specific, it was just everything.
I've been full time now for a little under three weeks. And if you asked me how it's been going I would tell you, in all honesty, that things have been going wonderfully. They have. Everyone at work has been fantastically nice, I'm way more comfortable working as a girl than I ever thought possible. Going about my life; my commute, grocery shopping, grabbing lunch, running errands, has been no big deal.
And yet it has been. It's been harder than I realize, because I hadn't quite realized what was going on. I'd not really been processing this. In fact, I've been so caught up in my day-to-day life, and I've been so busy that I haven't really stopped to even think about things. It's a super busy time at work and it's been a super busy time socially. I'm a natural introvert and can only take so much social activity before I break and have to cloister myself away in me-time for a while to recover. So, it's been introvert social exhaustion, it's been my fast-growing work to-do list, it's been the fact that I've literally changed my gender, it's been worry about financial stuff, it's been lots of things. And I've been too crazed and frantic and busy to really even notice the change.
It wasn't anything specific. It was everything. Though I haven't noticed it, it's been building up. Little stressers like worrying that my wig looks fake, worrying that my makeup is wonky, worrying that my style is too feminine or not feminine enough, worry that my voice isn't good enough, worry that I'll give myself away by making too manly a pee sound in the bathroom, worry that I'm wearing the same clothes too many times to work, or that I don't have enough clothes or that I need new shoes but I can't afford them if I want to take a trip to Europe next year. Worry, worry, worry. All the time.
And even though on the surface everything is going gangbusters in my life, I've started to carry all these extra worries around with me, and all this extra stress. I can feel the stress knotting up the muscles in my right shoulder, I can identify it from dreaming about potential work screw ups, I can feel it in the existential dread I get at the thought of having to spend an evening hanging out socially with people.
Finally today it got to me. I sort of stopped working for a minute. Instead I just made a pile of all the papers for the work I have to do and stacked them on my desk. I'd look at them later. I tried to slack off but the internet wasn't helpful. All I really wanted to do was run away, lock myself some place quiet and cry. I wanted to go home but I had meetings later I couldn't miss. Still, I wanted out, to run away from everything.
Then, someone stopped by my desk and started to ask a question. It was too much. Right away, I could feel the tears bubbling up, feel my throat clench and I turned around. I didn't want a coworker to see me crying at my desk. So I mumbled a "I can't right now, sorry" and before they could respond I ducked into a nearby empty room and tried to compose myself. No luck. So I grabbed my stuff, hoping no one would see me, and got out of the office as quickly as I could.
Honestly, crying made me feel better. Maybe just letting it all out was what I needed. I don't know. But I felt better.
After about ten minutes I decided to go back up to the office. Luckily, crying didn't mess up my eye makeup too much. Sure, there were some smudges on my eyeliner and a little bit of a grey shadow under my eye, but it was easily fixed with a quick trip to the bathroom and a few dabs of foundation.
And if you asked me again how full time was going, I'd probably still tell you it's going really well. Because it is. But it's also something I still haven't had a chance to really deal with or reflect on. When I had my first talk with my boss about coming out at work, he had said "And if you ever need to duck out for a few minutes feel free." Thus far I hadn't needed to, but who knows, maybe in the future I will need to duck out again.
It's a big life change, but in a way, I kind of haven't let it really be big yet. We'll see how this goes and how the process of processing this progresses.