Saturday, 31 December 2011


Well I had a post to write for this week, actually based on the 'fun' I had dealing with banks and the passport office last week, but I think I'll wait for next week.

For now I'll do a quick end of year post and relax again.

End of a year, and end of 35 year period of my life.  Last night I celebrated my nephews birthday, as was previously discussed I went as him, and if luck holds out with deliveries it should be the last time I have to go as him.  The party was great, being him somewhat less so.  But that is now history.  On to a new year and new challenges.

Ow?  I had my ears pierced today.  Ow.  A little at first, growing to a lot and now a faded throbbing.  But at least in 6 weeks I can wear the one of the presents from Mrs Stace that I got at Christmas :)

Happy new year all!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Oh, er, oh...

Before I sign of for the Christmas weekend there is one last bit of my first week as Stacy that I wanted to post...  It was from the last day of the week, and put such a smile on my face that it was something I wanted to share.

We always do the shopping on Friday afternoons, on this occasion Mrs Stace had the day off of work so I was picking her up after she had finished the shopping so that we could get home after a stressful week and relax.

Before meeting her I wanted to pick up my St Christopher from the jewelers, where it had been re-soldered to the chain.  It's a really nice small pendant and chain that my parents got me to wear as Stacy a couple of months after we told them - and with the thought behind it makes it mean the world to me.

Now, the morning before leaving for work I had forgotten to pick up the slip of paper that says the pendant is mine.  I asked if this was a problem in the shop and was told it was fine, as long as I had ID.  Oh dear - all of my ID is still in my old name, with my old photo.

There were two ways I could do this.  I could either just say 'Oh well, I'll come back tomorrow I don't have any with me.' Or I could just get on with it.  I went with the second one.  'OK, but I do look a little different in the picture.'  Not to mention that they have a name and gender marker that does not match who I am, but hey...

I passed him my driving license.  He looked at it, then at me, then at it, at me again. One last time at the driving license and he said 'Well, you look very good!'  I laughed and said thanks, whilst he wrote the details down.  I had wondered whether it would be an issue - the owner is a very old man and looks very conservative, but no.  He was fantastic.  Sorted everything out for me and helped me look for a replacement strap for my watch that looks a little more feminine.  Fantastic way to end a great week!

With that I wish you all Merry Christmas (or happy holidays if you prefer)!  I hope you have a fantastic day celebrating whatever way you do.


PS Don't try to write a post whilst making risotto - I just nearly burnt our dinner whilst writing this...  Oops :)

Friday, 23 December 2011

First week

The first day in the office went smoothly, I was absolutely shattered from emotional exhaustion - with a little bit of physical exhaustion thrown in for good measure from the lack of sleep on the Sunday to Monday.  Everybody tried really hard and I had some great conversations with people from the different business units.

A few rooms have done something to try and help people get the name and pronouns correct.  One room is collecting a euro for every mistake and there are a couple of others (mine included) that have started a board to list the mistakes.  A friend started the one in our room, and named it the 'Shame Sheet'.  It takes up an entire white board and lists each person in the room.  Including me.  Each time there is a mistake it is marked on the board.  I have 2 (from signing emails, damn muscle memory ;p), both made within the first couple of hours.  I have now got to the point where writing Stace comes as automatically, thankfully! Most mistakes are made in the heat of the moment and are corrected immediately.

But I can't believe how much everyone is trying hard to get it right!  And most people have made the change in their head quite well - so well in fact that I have given a complement to them for making the change so easy and natural.  After all it has only been so easy for me because it has been made this easy by the people I work with, most comment that I manage help that by being so natural as Stacy that as far as them seeing me goes it's already normal in their head.  The name and pronoun don't come quite as naturally - after all most have known me for more than 5 years.  Whilst they are all trying you can tell with the pause and the way that Stacy or Stace is said who is having the most trouble.  It will come with time I am sure.

There are a few people who are not sure how to react to me when they see me now.  Some just utter 'Morgen' as they pass, some just make themselves treat me normally whilst they get used to it.  Either way there are not negative responses and hopefully once people get used to it they will just treat me normally again.

On the last day of the week I was speaking to my boss before the weekend, he asked how it had gone and I told him well, that the most exciting thing was that it was not exciting and that after the first hour or so it was just so natural that I wasn't thinking of it anymore.  He also commented that I made it easier for other people by staying myself, and just being natural.  And he was pleased to see that I still played table football before lunch - something that is a habit in our room and something he was worried that I would stop.

All in all it was an amazing week, full of moments where I caught myself thinking 'wow, have I really made this step' and full of many more where I could just get on with life as it should be.  Whilst the noise has not gone from head completely, it most certainly dwindled and people comment how much happier I look.  :)

Sunday, 18 December 2011


So...  After telling everyone on Monday - and being a complete emotional wreck in the process - I was kind of dreading Tuesday.

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 :)


Well actually that should read Sunday...  It's the day when the stress of the week really kicked off, and I became a bit of a wreck.  Well, a lot of a wreck actually.

For some stupid reason I managed to notice the clock at some point in the afternoon and the thought 'in 15 hours I'll be telling my team' came to mind.  Stupid!  If anything is sure to make me panic and stress it's counting down hours until something happens...  I called my parents and had a long chat with my mum - who again offered to fly here to be with me during the week and managed to get me somewhat calmed down - and ordered me to have a cognac (a Christmas pressent from my parents last year) to help.

Sunday night I pretty much did not sleep.  I went to bed and took a valerian tablet to help me relax and it worked; for a few hours.  Then I was awake, panicing and stressing in bed from 2:30 until 5:40 when the alarm went off.  I managed to do some breathing exercises to make sure I got some rest even if sleep did alude me.

I got to work on Monday morning then the stress hit me completely, I honestly can't tell you what I did for the first two hours (except check my watch every couple of minutes to see if it was time for the team meeting).  We all made our way to the meeting room and rather than try to talk around the issue and lead up to it I just said what was going to happen the next morning.  It seemed the easiest way.  Cue lots of shock, and one guy in the team looking like a bowling ball for a couple of minutes.  Then a few questions, a bit of explanation and a some talk.  All of it positive, no negative reactions at all.  Phew :)

When we ran out of questions I told my team that the other department meeting that was planned later in the morning was to tell everyone else, and at the same time the other business unit managers would be telling their people too; and asked them not to discuss it in front of others until that time.  Saying that caused the stress that was receding to start building again and our web master came out with a fantastic phrase for me...

'If anyone gives you any grief about this, just tell them that your team is completely behind you'

I don't think I could have asked for a better reaction than that from him!

30 mins of stressing again and we were in the biggest meeting room, with the whole department - about 30 people I think.  My boss was giving the news, with me there to answer any questions that I felt I could answer but with the instruction that if I got to stressed I was just to leave.  He brought the news over to the team 'X is in a process of transition and as of tomorrow we will have a female team lead in IT, Stacy.'  Cue lots of quizzical faces and our one female developers asking the question that I have since found out was in the minds of a few others. 'But what will X be doing as of tomorrow then?'  I couldn't help but smile here, and answered that I was going to be Stacy.  My boss said some other things (which I can't remember) and asked if there were any questions.  None came back and so we went back to work.  Well we didn't...  I got back to my room to find it filled with people and we spent the next 30 minutes chatting about it.  Again the reactions I had were great.  There were the people who were shocked, and the people who said something along the lines of 'I always knew that you were somewhat feminine, but never really thought anything of it.'

The rest of the day I tried to keep working (failed miserably) and tried to make some calls to ex-colleagues so that they found out from me and not from other people.  There were 4 people that I really wanted to tell in person (well 5, but one is visiting family back in India so I knew he couldn't be there) and so I tried to arrange to see them.  I think I managed to scare a few people that day.  'Hi it's X.  I have some news for you, but it's not something I really want to tell you over the phone.  Can you meet me in a cafe at 4:30?'  Now...  I made these calls between 12:30 and 2:30 PM, not giving people much time to be able to get there, and I was expecting a rather 'hmm, that could be really difficult' response.  The first person I called couldn't make it - he was in bed sniffling - so I had to tell him over the phone.

Wow...  Really!  You're not joking?! (I've become accustomed to the last one in recent days) was the response.  This is a person that I was dreading telling, there is a story somewhere on this blog about why - he has come out with a very scary story in the past - but he was fine.  'You are still going to BBQ next year aren't you?' was one of his responses.  We had a bit of a chat, which was cut short as my boss then called my phone to find out where I was as I was late for the team lead meeting (oops).

The others just commented that it was very mysterious and that they would be there.  Including a guy on the other side of the country in a business meeting (which he said he couldn't concentrate on after the call as he thought something very serious was wrong).

At 4:30 I got the cafe where two of the group where already there, we chatted for a while as we had to wait for the last to turn up (he brought his wife with him as we know each other as well) and when everyone had their drinks and we were all sitting down they demanded to know what was wrong.  I told them.  Three times.  Again: No?!  Really?!  You're joking aren't you?  When they understood that it was not a joke and the shock had worn off a little we chatted for an hour.  It turns out that they all had the same couple of thoughts.  I'd quit and wanted a job (they all have their own companies since leaving the company I work for).  I'd quit to start my own company and wanted some freelance work.  I'd started my own company and had an amazing idea for a startup but needed some collaboration to get it off the ground (I wish...).  I was seriously ill and not long for this world (thankfully not!  That is thankfully not serious ill, not thankfully not long for this world).

The wife of my friend said that we needed a getting to know Stacy party in the new year.  I like the idea, after all I don't see these people day in, day out and I would be good for them to meet the real me sooner rather than later.  I am just not sure if I am going to be hosting a winter BBQ (I like the idea I must admit) or just to go for drinks one evening after work.

The responses from all were amazing, and I was really impressed that I have friends who will drop everything and drive across the country if something is important.  We are not the closest of friends (we see each other 4 or 5 times a year at most) but obviously we are very good friends - that was a little overwhelming when I stopped to think about it.

We had to leave before one of our party had his car clamped - he had not put enough money in the machine to park very long :)  And I still had a couple of people that I needed to tell - unfortunately I knew that I was not going to be able to tell them in person so I had to call.

One was another ex-colleague from where I work now, and I always watch at least one match of the 6 nations with her.  I called her, told her and guessed correctly from her voice that she already knew (I kind of figured that she would do as she is close friends with a few people in my department still).  She was very supportive, and came out almost immediately with 'You're are still coming to the 6 nations aren't you?  You're not going to make me go on my own?'  Again we chatted for a while about this and other things before I had to go.  I was home by now and needed to cook, then there was one last call of the day.

This time to a colleague who I worked with a while ago.  Again he took it fantastically, and made sure I was still throwing my yearly BBQ in the summer.  I don't think I could have asked for better responses so far.

After that it's a bit of a blur and exhaustion was really setting in.  My parents called to check how I was doing, I watched Only Connect (wonderful program - makes you feel really stupid ;p) and went to bed.  And slept!

Sorry for the long post, but I guess there was a lot to tell!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

A very quick update...

Well, I'm absolutely exhausted!  The stress is finally draining and I am starting to relax but now the problem seems to be that recovery is now trying to take it's place.  Roll on the weekend!  And please let me have a lie in!

I have now been full time at work for three days after the company finding out on Monday morning.  I have had lots of support, lots of questions and everyone I work with is really doing their best to get the name and pronouns right.

There are, of course, far more details - but I think I will see if I have the energy at the weekend to write that up in a few posts, at the moment I just don't think I could manage something that is not a ramble!

But a very overwhelming (in the best possible way) week so far...  Now to try and chill for the rest of the evening!

Monday, 5 December 2011

One Week

Well, it's getting close now.  In just 7 short days everyone in the company should know about me, and I will be stressing about whether I have picked the right outfit for the first day working as Stacy (which I hope isn't really as shallow as it sounds).

The plan is that I will be telling my team first thing in the morning, then there will be a department meeting where those who are not in my team, but are still in my department, will find out.  From that point on the other Business Unit managers will be able to tell their  people - I have asked that they do not say anything before the people I work closely with find out and before I come to the office as Stacy for the first time.  There will also be a mail sent to everybody, from their own manager with a bit of text from me in it.

Then I have to see what reactions I get during the day.  It's not my choice of timetable - I would have preferred something in the afternoon, but it's a good enough compromise with the restrictions of keeping the company running, you can't shut down whole call center departments on the fly and I do appreciate that.

My boss has translated my personal message, and enhanced it in the (and I mean that in the best possible way - I'm getting a bit scatter brained at the moment) and this afternoon he sent it to me for confirmation that I agreed with it before sending it to the management team tomorrow.


Then I have the list of people outside of those I work with that I want to tell on the day. I would so much prefer that people find out from me and not from others - I can't de everyone face to face in one evening.  One of those who I would really have preferred to tell in person has made that all the more difficult by daring to go on vacation back to see his family in India for a month, leaving one day or so so before I am due to tell everyone.  I guess he gets told on Skype, damn.

Then I have to shock all the others by changing my LinkedIn and Google+ accounts and waiting for the WTFs to come in :)