I am out. I’m not far out, or way out, but I’m out. I’m not out to everyone, but can be seen by anyone. This can create a fine line separating me form the destructive fall to the rocks below.
This past Friday, while I was working my first ever Black Friday (no I wasn’t “working it”, just working), my wife went out with her 2nd in command of their department. They had a great time together and, while getting their nails done (a first for my wife) it seemed like the right time to include yet another into our world. The reaction is and isn’t what I expected to hear. The co-worker is from a small town south of Muncie. So small, they come here for fun (which is ridiculous). I expect most people to be ok with where I am headed, at least those who know me, but when are from such a small town it can be hard to be open minded. Not impossible, but difficult. She had absolutely no issue at all with me and my journey to womanhood. Again, I was not surprised, but I was. Then I learned she wanted to meet ME.
I had gone to a friend’s calling hours, so I was dressed a bit differently than most on this horrid day after Thanksgiving. As soon as I pulled up to her car, I was met with a huge smile and a “Get over here and let me see all of you!!” As soon as I walked around the car I received, “God I hate you!!!”. Then my wife and her began to talk about how they hate my thinness and it’s not fair, etc…. All with smiles and laughter.
I also met my daughter’s oldest girl friend. They have been close, even through up, downs and “I hate you”. We needed to grab some things, and since we were at Target, decided to shop there. My daughter and her friend were shopping as well, so she decided she would tell her friend AND meet up with us at the same time. OK, meet up with us just after telling her friend of my plans. We met, talked as always and then went our separate ways. My wife got a text from our daughter informing her that her friend thought I was beautiful and was jealous of me. Not sure why, but whatever. You know, if people keep telling me I’m pretty, I might end up believing it one day.
Being out in public all the time is going to end up with me encountering people who know the old me, but have yet to be introduced to Jenn. For the most part, I pass as someone that you “might” know, but can’t place. At the calling hours of a good friend, I was behind a girl I went to school with, and worked with, and she had no idea who I was. While saying my goodbyes in the lobby, I encountered another person whom I have known for quite a while. I would get the glance now and again, but nothing more. I wasn’t completely recognizable. Even when picking up my paycheck at Target, the woman who had the checks had no idea it was me, and she has worked with me multiple times.
With my being out, and the ability to be seen, my wife, today, decided to tell her HR person. Completely un-phased and completely accepting, she and my wife decided that they needed to tell their CEO before someone might see me out and try to use it as a tool of shame and judgment. Although I am out, this causes a bit of apprehension and nervousness. She works for a very conservative employer in a very liberal field, which is a bizarre mix, but still good. The company has some good people but it also has those few that are two faced and judgmental. These are the ones who we are beating to the punch.
Saturday evening was spent with friends. Despite having to be at work at 6 a.m. on Sunday, I decided I needed to have an outing with good friends. As it turned out, only 4 could make it, but we had a great time. Early clock in be damned! I was going to enjoy my friends and the conversations we were sharing. I even stayed about an hour past my plan. It was such a great night out. I must point out, that even a year ago, I would not have gone into a “straight” bar. Not only do I, but I was the first one there. Once upon a time, I would have waited in the car until I saw one of my friends go in first, and even then, I might back out. Now, I was on my own and I proudly walked in and sat down.
This is my journey, but sometimes the vehicle can move in its own direction and at whichever speed it so chooses. Please keep all hands inside the vehicle at all times. THis could get tricky.