So, please believe me when I tell you I’m not fishing for birthday wishes, but tomorrow is my birthday and since it’s on a Saturday this year I feel obligated to spend at least some of it with my brother, which I rarely enjoy. I’m less than thrilled. Birthdays are kind of a big deal to me. Not in the usual, cake and ice cream, get lots of presents, aren’t I special kind of way, but in a marking of another year in my life, where I’ve come from and where I want to go in the next year kind of way. It’s a time of going inside for me. I like to spend the majority of the day alone. I usually take the day off of work and do some things by myself that I enjoy doing, reflect a bit, and just have a nice me day. I hate it when it lands on a weekend day. It makes it really hard to have my ritual of being alone without it seeming like I’m weird (which I probably am) or anti-social (which I definitely am most of the time).
For a change I decided to take some time today, on the eve of my birthday, to take some me time and work on one of my goals for the year which is to get my diplomas and college records changed to my new legal name. I live about 40 minutes from my college alma mater so I just drove on down there this morning and headed over to the registrar’s office to ask about changing my records and obtaining a new, updated diploma. Several years ago I invested in really nice matted frames for both of my degrees and I hang them in my office at work. I’d like them to have the right name on them. I probably could have handled this over the phone but it’s much more fun to poke around one’s old haunts, especially when one loves said haunt very much. The registrar told me I needed to go to the Alumni office and have them change my name and then they could get me a diploma so I headed over there and ended up talking to 3 very lovely ladies who really had very little clue about what they were doing. Ironically, it all ended up being handled by the registrar in the end. However, the first lady I talked to at Alumni remembered me from doing a small announcement in the alumni magazine last year on my business. That was nice. And now I’m standing in her office telling her I want to change my name in her database. She’s chatting away at me and all of a sudden she stops and says, “I have to ask you a sensitive question now”. I thought, oh God, here it comes and yes, Georgia, she asked me if I was changing my gender too. Sigh. No, I have not had that legally changed yet I told her. She said, “Are you going by sir now? You definitely don’t want to be a Ms anymore, do you? Would you like me to leave it blank?” Why yes, that would be wonderful. Thank you very much! It was all so pleasant and cheerful and left me feeling very good about my alma mater. She was still confused about getting my diploma changed when I left but assured me she would contact the person who would definitely know the answer and have her contact me. By the time I got to work I had an email from the expert on diplomas asking me for a copy of my court order which I emailed her immediately after which she told me I could send in my application for the diploma along with a check for $30 and they would take care of it. Done!
Next I needed to work on my other alma mater where I got my master’s degree. This is a major university in the Midwest, far from my home. I looked on their website and found the form for obtaining a revised diploma no problem (I learned a lot earlier that day from the other school about how this is done) and printed it off. Next I looked to see how I go about changing my name in the school records. It had stuff for current students but only said that once you graduate or leave the school whatever name you had at that time is what will be on you permanent records. It didn’t look like it was possible to get it changed. I sat back and scratched my head in astonishment. How can it be that my little rinky dink liberal arts college was more progressive than one of the finest institutions in the land? Impossible, I thought. So I called them. I was told that yes, it’s true you can not change your name on the records unless you fit one of two categories. I have no idea what the second category is because I stopped her after the first one which was if you had pursued a gender reassignment. Bingo!! I said, tell me what you mean by that and what you need from me to prove it. She got very excited and animated and was genuinely helpful in trying to find a way to get me what I wanted without having to have my gender marker changed on my license. I pictured her with her hand over the receiver pointing to the phone to her co-workers and mouthing “I have a transgender on the phone!” It made me chuckle a bit. She was super nice and gave me a couple people to contact that handled this situation, gave me advice on what to say and wished me good luck. It was, all in all, a pleasant experience. But unproductive. I emailed the lady in charge of the diplomas but hadn’t heard back by the end of the day. Hopefully Monday she’ll answer my questions.
I really don’t care about my transcripts having my legal name on them. I really just want my diplomas amended. But, especially at my home college where I do occasionally participate in alumni activities I’d like to make it easy for them to find me with the right name in their system. I think I accomplished that today. As for the other school, really all I care about is the diploma. I never participate in anything with them anymore. The graduate program there was only one year so I really never bonded with anyone at that school. Regardless, I’m curious about it and want to pursue this to see where it leads. I am confident they will handle it well. All in all, I got a good feeling about the high level of respect, care and concern I was afforded by both institutions today. It made me feel proud of my schools and of the progress that is being made on my behalf.
I have to admit that I felt a little melancholy driving back from my college today after I erased my former self from their database. It was a strange feeling of sadness that I hadn’t expected but it didn’t last long. The name has been changed and it’s for the best but I felt a little of my old self fade away today and that put a lump in my throat. Birthdays make me melancholy anyway for s0me reason. Candace never knows how I’ll be when the day comes. She’s been asking me for a couple of weeks what I want to do, where do I want to eat, what do I want to get, etc. over and over. My answer is always the same. I don’t really care. This year I’m very not into my birthday for some reason. Even tonight she offered to take me bowling with some friends of ours who had reluctantly agreed to sacrifice their Friday night to help me celebrate. I wasn’t interested in it even though I love to go bowling and rarely get a chance to do it. Turning 54 just doesn’t seem like much of a reason to celebrate.