Tomorrow looms upon me. The first day of the rest of my life. The first day of freedom. The first day I am finally myself. Daunting, exciting, scary all at once, I can barely comprehend the way my future will forever be altered.
I’ve spent the last week pondering my decision. Tomorrow I go full time. All Vanessa, all the time, never to go back and look on the other. I came out at work at 4pm this evening. I shared my true self with my team, with the people I spend 9 hours a day with.
It’s difficult to describe the doubt I endured the last week.
It started with confidence given to me by a sensitive, caring judge as she signed my official name change form. She never mentioned my former name, or broadcast the reason for the change, but carefully confirmed my intentions and set the legal process in motion.
I thought the start of medication would feel more momentous, yet holding a simple piece of paper shifted something deep within my psyche. I was me – recognized officially, undoubtedly and legally verifiable. Still thinking about it sends a shiver down my spine – I struggle to comprehend it’s true. As if in a dream I mentally pinch myself over and over – dreading to wake up yet, too overwhelmed with my good fortune to accept it’s truth.
Back to the doubt…
I carefully crafted my coming out email to those I hadn’t yet told. I wordsmithed and spell checked the follow-on sentiment I would share with those I had. This was it. After I hit send the world would know. My friends would know. My family would know. And I paused… A woman on a precipice about to jump into the sweet inviting water below. There is no unsend, no take back, no ‘just kidding’. *gulp* I steeled my heart and hit send.
Doubt gave way to certainty which gave way to doubt.
As right as I know it is, I needed to check, needed to confirm. Every moment the clock ticked closer to the coming out meeting scheduled at work. 4pm. Thursday. Tick. Tock.
I was prepared and ready. HR, and management, those closest to me at work knew already. Were supportive, were waiting for my announcement. My voice tutor walked me through the first moments of my first day at work as Vanessa. I cried. She hugged me. I struggled to move forward, to throw myself into the unknown waters of womanhood. I knew it wasn’t too late to back out. I recalled Donna’s story of her first aborted coming out attempt, and wondered whether that would be me. It was so tempting to take just another week. Just a few more days, just 24 more hours – please – to postpone the inevitable moment I had been living my entire life for. I felt like it was rushing up on me, and for all my months of preparation I was unprepared.
I take a deep breath and realize it’s Thursday morning. The day of my announcement. The busyness of the day speeds the moment along, until it’s 3:30pm. Thirty minutes to go. I send the email to HR telling them to start updating all their internal records and find refuge in my car for a few moments of silent reflection.
For the first time in many months I pray. A prayer of thankfulness and a prayer for strength. I quietly call on my God and feel time slow. With each breath I share a heightened awareness of how right this is. Of how true this is. Doubt melts. I cannot wait any longer to live.
I turn on the words to a favorite song – Art In Me.
….’and you plead to everyone, See the art in me.’
And it fades into timeless words of courage in the next track.
So if I stand,
Let me stand on the promise
You’ll pull me through
And if I can’t
Let me fall on the grace
That first brought me to you
With conviction in my voice I share my truth with others. And live to try the true test of my first day at work as a woman. Tomorrow…
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