Work has been very stressful lately for me as I had been working on a big project, which meant that the day-to-day stuff I also am supposed to be doing got shoved to the back burner for the past several weeks. Today was the first day I finally was able to really take a look at my backlog and I didn’t like what I saw.
There was lots and lots of little stuff that needed to be taken care of that I dutifully started to chew through and then I hit the technology wall. An email client that would randomly stop responding. A browser that kept crashing. A system I need to pull data out of with duplicate data that forced me to manually add up all sorts of stuff in a spreadsheet. A laptop that took forever to wakeup out of sleep mode. Fat-fingering the phone keypad four times when trying to set up a conference call I was running late for.
The capstone was a half-hour chat with my manager at the end of the day about how I needed to get more organized. (“Did you get the memo about the TPS report cover sheet?”)
As many of you know, working through gender issues can be mentally tiring, and I’ve been working through a lot of those lately too, so I was fully burnt out by the time I finally left for home. I arrive home, and it’s a full house. It’s my wife and two young boys along with my sister-in-law and her young daughter.
I’m out to my sis-in-law, and she’s been very supportive, always asking how I’m doing.
Tonight I felt like I needed to just feel more comfortable after a long day and decided to change into a women’s top. A blue v-neck, mid-sleeve length, sparkly t-shirt. I had been wearing really guy clothes, with my only nod toward femininity being my earrings, which I always wear now, and a necklace with a blue, opal pendant. I immediately felt more relaxed and came back to join the crowd. My sis-in-law cocked an eyebrow, as it was the first time that she’d seen me in overtly female clothing before and I asked her if it made her uncomfortable. She said no, and we all sat down to dinner.
The kids were watching Muppets Take Manhattan and there’s a scene where Kermit the Frog dresses up like a smarmy producer from the 1970’s with a big, ugly, curly toupee, gold chain with medallion, and trench coat. My niece asked why Kermit was dressed like a girl, (and you can kind of see it that way if you don’t have the 70’s background,) and both my wife and sis-in-law explained to her that he wasn’t trying to look like a girl. I just smiled.
She then said that “boys don’t wear necklaces.” I almost laughed out loud at that point, as there I was, sitting there in my sparkly t-shirt wearing my necklace with a pendant. My wife pointed to me and said, “Boys do wear necklaces. Your uncle is wearing one now.”
That was a bit of a long story for a short punchline, but it did highlight to me that I can be comfortable with myself and not have to worry that those around me will not be OK with it. Compared to where I was a few months ago, this is really huge to me and is a concrete signal that being more accepting of myself makes those around me be more accepting as well.
I think I could get used to being comfortable.