In the end there was no need for any of the panic. I had my outfit chosen, actually I picked my outfit some weeks ago. The only change was the shoes (trust me this becomes important) as Mrs Stace suggested a pair different to my initial choice.
The change in life started from the moment the alarm went off. Normally Mrs Stace showers first whilst I make the breakfasts then I shower whilst she is getting ready.
Hmm... With my hair and make-up I now take a little longer than before, and so we we have swapped. I jump in the shower whilst Mrs Stace gets breakfast. I managed to get ready in time to get Mrs Stace to the train station in time for her train, not bad I think - alarm going off to sitting in the car was less than 40 minutes. Considering it used to take me an hour just to get ready I think I've got it down quite well. I certainly couldn't have coped with having to get up even earlier in order to be out of the door in time! 5:40 is quite early enough!
The drive to work was actually very uneventful, and without any stress. I got to the office changed shoes (I can't drive in heels so I always drive in my deck shoes) and... Stepped out of the car. I shocked myself there, I had expected to need some time to get out of the car before I started but in the end I just did it.
I always get to the office really early, in fact their are generally only one or two others there at the time. So I thought that the best thing to do was get the first introductions out of the way before more people started to turn up. I got some nice responses, again like when I told them the day before they were all supportive, and thankfully treated me completely normally!
With those out of the way I tried to do my normal routine. Going for the first coffee of the morning with our DBA, which we normally take in the entrance to the building. This actually had a very good effect - drinking coffee and chatting about both work and my feelings whilst people arrived made things much more normal than they could otherwise have been.
I'll be honest the rest of the day is somewhat of a blur. I got lots of great comments from the people I work with, both on how I was handling the situation, and how I looked. Normal was a word used regularly - and I can't think of a word that I would rather hear when someone was describing me!
Throughout the whole of the day I managed relatively stress free; I think that after telling people on the Monday them seeing me just didn't seem as scary. The only exception being just before lunch; it was the one part of the day that I was worried about, after all it's one thing see individuals on their own and quite another to walk into a room full of people! It passed without a hitch, though for the rest of the week I did not go on my own. Hopefully I'll get over that soon enough - I am certain that it's all in my head!
Something else started on Tuesday in the office. We had three Christmas trees delivered (well 4 - one of them was for the canteen decorated in the company colours) although for once there were no decorations on them. We found out why when someone from marketing came around with post cards. All of them with a different complement on the front, and then space on the back to write a message. You can then put your cards in the tree. Someone dropped a card off on my desk almost immediately, and apparently there are loads of cards to me in the trees; though I am being blind - I checked three times after 7 or 8 people told me that if I was still worried about reactions I had to check the trees and I can still only find a couple of cards...
The whole day passed without incident, lots of compliments, lots of people trying really hard to get my name and pronouns right (more on that in another post); but most of all it passed with people treating me just as they did. Everything felt so normal, and so right - but it is something that would not have happened without the support of all the people I work with day in, day out. It felt normal because everyone made it normal.
Remember I said the shoes were important? Well, I had planned on wearing my boots. They have a small heel, fit like gloves and are really, really comfortable! Only, Mrs Stace said that the black didn't really go with beige and brown of the rest of the outfit and suggested my shoes instead. So I had beige court shoes with 8cm heels on (I'm sure there is a picture of them on the site somewhere). Which brought some comments, people wondering how long it had taken me to learn to walk in heels (I've been doing it since I was a teenager so no problem), and people commenting that they were lovely shoes, but was I insane to pick those for my first full day.
I just said that Mrs Stace obviously hates me because at 10 in the morning my feet hurt like hell! Sitting in them was fine. Walking in them was fine. Being stopped in the corridor and chatting to people caused me a lot of pain! So did playing fussball before we went to lunch! Our HR woman told me not to remove them until I was ready to take them off for the day (we had arranged a chat to see how the day was going), otherwise I would not be able to get them back on. Good advice, but the next time I expect to be on my feet for most of the say I'll pick some different shoes I think :)