Lately I feel so exhausted from dealing with my life. I live very close to where I grew up and went to college so there are a lot of people around here that have known me a long time. In some cases, they’ve known me most of my life. Most of these people I do not consider friends, but acquaintances from the past. Yet, I find myself hiding from these people and constantly worried that I’m going to bump into someone that I used to know every day. Last month, two women I went to high school with decided to have lunch at the restaurant that is two doors down from where I work and they called my shop and asked to speak to me. I told my employee to take a message. The message was that they were two doors down and would like to see me. Great, I thought, just what I wanted to do, go have lunch with two people I used to know 35 years ago who were never really good friends to begin with. I hid in my office and didn’t go. My mind went to thoughts that they just wanted to lurk and poke at the trans “friend” from high school to fulfill their own curiosity about me and my transition. I couldn’t deal with that and the questions they might ask. One of the women is very direct and I was pretty sure she would try to dig into what I consider private space in my head and I just didn’t feel like being probed. I know they’re hurt and disappointed but seriously, I was at WORK people!! If you want to have lunch with me why can’t you try to arrange that ahead of time and not surprise me at my place of business and sort of ambush me into eating pizza with you to satisfy your own curiosity. No thanks. This all happened while my brother was in the hospital and that particular day I was only there for a short while before I had to head to the city to go see him and I had a lot to do. I should have called them and told them I couldn’t take the time to meet but I know those two and they would have pushed me to take 5 minutes (which would have turned into an hour) with them and I just couldn’t do it. This stuff happens to me quite a bit. I never know when one of my employees is going to show up in my office and tell me that so and so from high school or college is in the store and wants to see me. Immediately my blood pressure sky rockets and my palms get sweaty. I have to steel myself to walk out there and greet them with a smile and act nonchalant about their unplanned and unwelcome visit. I guess they figure it’s ok to just pop into someone’s work place to say hi. Personally, I’d call first and make sure it’s ok to pop in because I don’t like being surprised like that. Anyway, I know people don’t mean any harm but it unnerves me and annoys me and makes work more stressful than it has to be.
My mind tries to work out a solution to this problem. Every day I fantasize about moving to some place where people don’t know me and starting a new life with a fresh start. It’s such a strong desire in me lately that it’s actually causing some depression. I feel like my new self as Shawn is always butting up against Dawn’s past and it’s kind of pissing Shawn off. It happens all of the time. I went to the dentist the other day. They have my new name but the last time I was there I didn’t pass as well as I do now so I was nervous about how they would treat me. It was fine but the hygienist started out using female pronouns and ended up using male for me at the end. Why did she switch? I never said anything about the pronouns either way. Which leads me to the other question bouncing around in my head these days. When and how do you decide to disclose that your gender has changed? Legally, I still have that F on all my records. I keep dragging my feet about changing it. It’s the last little step I need to take.
I can’t move though for too many reasons, at least not now. Maybe in the future we can relocate but it’s just not possible at the moment. So I think about how I can give Shawn a fresh start without physically moving to a new place. I could get all new doctors. I can’t use a different daycare place for my dog though. I guess those people, since I see them every day, really do need to be told what’s going on with me. The other day Candace told me that they use she and he pronouns for me and don’t know which one is right anymore. Did she help me out and tell them for me? Nope. So I’ll have to do that. I could move my business I guess. I have thought about it many times. I’ve thought about separating the two major aspects of the business and moving the part I take care of on my own to an undisclosed private location that only my employees know about so that these so-called friends can’t just pop in on me. The thought of doing all of that is exhausting. The thought of continuing to go to work and worry about impromptu visitors is exhausting. The thought of having to disclose to the doggie daycare workers that I’ve transitioned is exhausting. I don’t want to deal with any of it. If I were single and unencumbered I would just move and start fresh. That’s what I want to do and what feels the most refreshing to my spirit. But I can’t. I have too many obligations here and Candace can’t so easily just up and move her business. I’ve even thought about moving to a new area and keeping my business here but coming back once a week to get and return work and take care of any situations that I need to be here to handle.
Like it or not, I guess the bottom line is that I have to buck up and deal with my life. I can’t run away from it even though every fiber of my being wants me to. I chose to transition here and now in this place and time and I have to learn to be proud of my transition instead of ashamed or timid about it. I need to get my gender changed on my IDs and push people, including Candace, to use the proper pronouns for me. When people refer to me as she it hurts me now in more ways than one. Yes, it grates on my nerves and frustrates me but it also confuses other people and outs me as trans. A side note about when strangers realize I’m trans is that they no longer see me as male and revert to female pronouns and honorifics. Come on people!!! Do I really look like a ma’am and do I look like I want to be called ma’am? NO! I have to try to get that to stop. In the mean time, I really wish I could just take a really long nap because just thinking about doing all of that has already exhausted me. All this really does make it clear to me why so many people live stealth and are so concerned with “passing”. It’s a huge pain in the arse to constantly have to worry about being outed or explain your transition to strangers and acquaintances. It just adds another draining layer on top of a life that is already challenging enough and who needs that? No one.