Christmas and Birthday Wrap-Up

Christmas came and went without a lot of fanfare. My birthday is two days before Christmas (the 23rd), and it too was pretty tame.

I drove up to Arlington, TX on Christmas Eve to see my folks and stayed overnight until Christmas Day. I left in the middle of the afternoon to come home to Austin so that I could get ready for my move.

My grandparents came over on Christmas. They really are getting old. It’s kinda hard to see my Grandmother in the state she’s in (she has dementia), but I am happy to get to see them nonetheless. Lunch consisted of stuffed shells and tamales.

Christmas was one of the few times that I’ve gone around “in drag.” (Which to me means Men’s clothes, not the other way around.) I’ve chosen to not come out to my grandparents. At their age and background growing up, there is nothing good that would become of that. My grandmother already has dementia – her brain just can’t cope with change. And my Grandfather… well I don’t even want to find out.

It was weird not carrying a purse after I’ve gotten used to it. There’s a lot of changes I’ve had to get used to, but carrying a purse isn’t one of them. Purses pretty much rock.

My birthday was just a normal day, more or less. I set my title on SL to “Birthday Bunny” so at least people would know it was my birthday. I did the same on Twitter and I received a bunch of people telling me happy birthday. That was kinda neat. Also found out that I share a birthday with a bunch of people on Twitter, too.

I can’t report a list of gifts that I received, because I didn’t receive any.

I took myself out to dinner on my birthday over to a salad bar I like. It was good and I was able to say my goodbyes to a number of the staff there that I had befriended over the few years I was a regular there.

Christmas can be a rather difficult emotional time for me. It makes me wish I had a family of my own. It’s hard to watch other people have lots of fun with their families and stuff on things like Twitter and LJ, when I don’t get to participate. Maybe someday, I suppose.

Bothering People

One interesting thing about me is that I have a crippling fear of bothering people. I’m not sure where this fear came from.

Normally this really isn’t a problem. I guess it leads to me being pretty polite because I’m scared to interrupt people and all that… but right now it’s an issue.

I have had a whole lot on my mind lately. There’s a lot going on in my life. I’m kinda scared to go talk to people about it because I feel like “Oh, they’ve heard this all before. I just sound like a broken record. I doubt they want to hear me talk about this anymore. I’d better shut up so I don’t bother them.”

This is one reason why I’m using LJ a lot right now. Here I can post whatever I want to post, and if someone doesn’t want to hear it… they can just not read it.

I’ve gotten myself really down because of this. I want to go talk about things. I want to talk about some of the things that are going on in my life. I just want to talk to someone because I live alone and a lot of times I just don’t talk out loud… but I’m constantly scared of bothering people. This leads to me feeling all alone and isolated.

Even if they tell me “It’s okay Bun. I don’t mind,” it still bothers me. I start asking myself if they’re only telling me that because they think that’s what I want to hear, or do they really mean that?

Sigh. This is hard for me and I really have no idea why.

Moving Up!

My time in Austin, TX is drawing to a close. Next week I am moving to the Bay Area. (Alameda Island if you know the area.)

I got a new job in downtown San Francisco. I have been working there since Nov 11, 2013. I spent the first week actually in SF, staying in a hotel downtown, and I’ve been working from home here in Austin after that. (If you’ve been reading along, I went full time as a girl on Nov 9th…)

The office is closed for remodeling right now, so they figured rather than ask me to move out there and then work from home anyhow, why not just stay here in Austin for an extra month and enjoy the holidays here… and then move when things are very slow and we’re closed for the holiday break.

My old gig was for a company that I’m going to call Intergalactic Probes. (That’s not actually the name, hehe.) I worked on the team that kept all customer-facing web assets up and running. If someone from outside of the company could reach it, my team owned it. It was our job to ensure the stability and uptime of the website, a mission we took very seriously.

I’m proud to say that when I got there the website was really up-and-down, but 2013 was the highest level of stability that ip.com had ever seen in the company history. (Again, not the real URL!) I can’t take the credit for that, I was just a member of the team that did it, but it was a good challenge. One of our subdomains was “sine.ip.com” and the joke inside the company is that we named it that as a warning to our customers that it goes up and down and up and down. πŸ™‚

The old gig was very corporate. There were 7,000 employes in the company and it was publicly traded, which meant things like SOX were very much in effect.

The new gig is … totally different.

It’s a small company – around 200 – and while it’s not a startup, it’s way smaller and way more laid back. There are more people in the eCommerce team at IP than there are in the entire company here.

I’m on the operations team for the company’s products. We operate at a much bigger scale than I ever did at IP. At IP my team worked with dozens of production servers – here we have thousands. It’s going to take me a while to get spun up, but I’m enjoying all of the new things I’m getting to learn.

If there’s one thing I learned at IP, it’s that I am not a corporate kinda gal. When I worked for the school I was on a small team. We had the power to do whatever we needed to do to get things done. At IP it was heavily siloed, which I found extremely frustrating. What seemed like simple things to me became very complex because suddenly I was having to do cross-team communication and all sorts of cross-team things to do what felt like something that should have just taken me a few minutes to do.

I know this is very normal in corporate environments. The folks on my team were largely from the corporate background and were just used to it. Their normal response is “yeah, that’s how it works.” And I get that. In a big company, it has to be siloed like that… that’s how I was able to leave and it was not a big deal. My total impact, while important to the area I had control over, was not that huge in scope. It’s easy to replace someone in that sort of situation because everyone’s roles are well defined. I get it!

It’s just not my style. I like being on a small team that owns the entire stack.

I have zero ill will against IP. If I had kids and my job was not the main thing in my life, it might have been a paradise. They treat the employees very well and the management is very easy to work with. They were super, super nice to me and I am very thankful for that. Most of the people I worked with were either parents, or planning on being parents, and in that sort of lifestyle, IP is a great place to work.

I dreaded for years how I was going to come out at work. I’d been there long enough that everyone knew my by my old name. There were no unisex bathrooms. I am sure we could have made something work, but it was a huge stressor to me knowing that sooner or later I’d have to come out at work and tackle these issues head on. (To be fair to IP, the senior management of the company had my back and I’m pretty sure they would have done anything they could have to make it work!)

Oddly enough, even for a company that’s 30+ years old and founded and headquartered in Austin, I would have been the first openly trans employee. I’m not sure that’s an honor I really wanted to have.

On my first day at the new job, it went like this. “Hi everyone. This is Bunny. She’s our new engineer.” …and that was that. All the stress I had of coming out at work, and it was over in like three or four seconds. Switching jobs was the right move without a doubt! It took all of the stress away. I guess that’s a big benefit of working for a tech company in the Bay Area.

My new team is amazing. They didn’t even bat an eye. I’m just one of the girls there now. I wish all transwomen were as lucky as I am in this regard.

I was in the Bay Area last week looking for an apartment. I knew I had found the right place when the apartment manager and I had a long, fun talk about house rabbits. Turns out she fosters for HRS and has four rabbits in her apartment. She even brought me a cute buck named Clover to hug and play with when it came time to sign the lease. No, I’m not planning on opening my doors new bun just yet, but it’s really nice to know that when I’m ready, there will be no issues with my apartment manager. πŸ™‚

I always seem to find the house rabbit people no matter where I am. This time I did it before I had even moved in!

Religion

Union Lake Baptist Church

I grew up in the Baptist Church. I spent the first 28 years or so of my life very deep in the church. I served on committees. I was someone people could always depend on when things needed to be done. I was really, really deep into the church… yet most of it never really clicked in my head. I was just doing what I was suppose to do.

There was this long running dialog in my head for years that went something like this: “God doesn’t make mistakes. God made males and God made females. The roles are very well defined. God doesn’t make mistakes. Why do I feel the way I do? What’s wrong with me? Is this a sin? Am I going to hell? God does NOT make mistakes.”

I’ve had some very difficult conversations with my therapist working all of this out. Christmas last year was really rough, hopefully this year will not be so bad. (I had a big crying breakdown on Christmas Eve – there’s a big Baptist church near my apartment and the parking lot was parked for Christmas Eve services and I just lost it.)

I’m still really struggling with the notion of “God is Love” vs “Behave exactly the way God says the way you should or else he will punish you so hard that not even death itself will save you.”

These days I identify as agnostic. There might be a God, there might not be. I’m not sure. (And if there is, I have to keep reminding myself that Baptists do not have a monopoly on God.) For now I am focusing on what has always made sense to me – Science and Technology.

So that’s been my life for the last year. I’ve been working on all of this. It took a long time for me to get where I am and it’ll take a while for me to get it out of my head.

Coming Out

This may or may not be a surprise to almost everyone reading this, but about two years ago I started coming to terms with something that had been fighting and trying to ignore my entire life. It was not an easy road to get here.

I am transgendered. (If this is a surprise to you, I mean male to female transgendered.)

This is not a new thing by any means. I’ve had some really awkward times in the last ten years as I’ve gotten more and more active in the furry community. It seems that almost everyone I deal with on a purely text basis had been assuming I was born female and when we’d meet in real life for the first time they were all “Wait, YOU’RE Bunny??”

Even when I was still using a male avatar in Second Life this happened. One year at RCFM I had a really weird conversation with someone that assumed I was a female in real life but using a male avatar in Second Life for some reason. It took some convincing to prove to him that I am actually who I said I am. πŸ™‚ (I guess even when I was trying to be male I sucked at it!)

I’ve been in therapy for a while now struggling with this.

Coming out has been both interesting and oddly rewarding. I started coming out to my closest friends first. Every conversation I had with them went like this: “Bunny, stop. You’re not telling me anything I don’t already know. I just didn’t want to bring it up. I didn’t know if you wanted to hear it or not.” (This worked great, by the way. It gave me a feeling as if a large weight had been lifted off my shoulders!)

My family has been mixed but okay. My folks are accepting but not really all that supportive. (But honestly, this is the best I could have hoped for, I think.) My sister was like “about time you came out!” and my brother was clueless, but we’ve never been all that close. I have not been disowned or anything like that, so that’s good.

Work was… well… I just dodged a bullet and changed jobs. πŸ™‚ (More on that later.)

And my friends, of course, have been amazing. I feel closer to them now than ever before.

To answer the question I’m sure you’re wondering now… yes, I live full time as a female. I went full time Nov 9th, 2013. I have not yet legally changed my name but I will very soon. I only go by my new name these days, so that’s a bit of a conflict I need to address.

Getting zapped with a laser on your face is like the worse pain ever.

I’ve been working with a vocal coach on my voice. I’ll be working at this for years, I had a fairly deep voice.

I’m doing this all out of order. I’ve gone full time and live and identify as a female all of the time, but I haven’t started HRT yet. I hope to correct that soon. My therapist and I had a bit of a disagreement over this, and in the end I figured that he was most likely right and I decided to go slow. I don’t recommend doing it this way, but it’s the path I took. πŸ™‚

And yes, I hope there is surgery in my future at some point. It’s expensive and usually not covered by insurance, so sadly it’s most likely a looong ways away. 😦

So there. Hey everyone, I’m a girl. Duuuuuh. πŸ™‚

Lots of Updates Coming!

It’s been a long time since I posted anything here, so I figured I’d post a few updates. Since I’ve got a lotta things to cover I’m going to post several updates so people can comment on different things without having to stomp on other stuff. πŸ™‚