Sunday, January 22, 2012

Prequel Part Three

It was about that time (April 2006) that Amy Metcalf felt she had taken me as far as she could. She, on her own time met with someone who had more experience in the field, Anne Boedecker. For a short time I was seeing both but eventually moved on to Anne Boedecker exclusively.

Anne also had a support group, which I attended. And my first night there I walked away with more information than I ever imagined. But as I told them my biggest fear was coming out in a male dominated place like my employer. I got a few chuckles and found out one of the girls there was a quality control manager at a metal shop, one worked at a naval shipyard and another was the head engineer at a nuclear power plant. And I was worried about a printing company?

But things were changing faster than I imagined. My chest was showing signs, facial features changing shape, skin softening. Plus I started having laser work done of my face, growing my hair longer and wearing light make up.

Slowly word started getting out and my friend Sue convinced me that we needed to at least tell the general manager of the company, Mark, whom was a mutual friend, of my upcoming changes. We went to T.G.I.F. one late April Thursday evening. Mark knew we had something to tell him but the guessing was bugging him since we made the date. Sue and I wouldn't budge a detail. Needless to say he was very surprised and seeing we had been very close friends for years, it complete caught him off guard, but I had his full support. In fact after we left the restaurant, as soon as I walked in my door, the phone was ringing. It was Mark. He was calling to reassure me that he was proud of me of doing what I needed to do to survive. He would also be there to help tell the president and owner of the company. But he did suggest that I not wait very long. Especially since my company is extremely conservative.

The following Tuesday, the president was in and in a really good mood, so Mark assured me today would be a great time to strike. I had already produced a five page letter to present to him Mark and the head of human resources. The transitioning letter was based upon a copy of a letter I had received from a girl I had first and only met once at Anne's support group. It talked about what I needed from the company and what in return I was going to do for the company. Many transitioning people get selfish and want, need, want etc. You also have to give, you can't just take.

The president read the letter in my presence, stopping to ask questions along the way. He was shocked but was willing to work with me and was glad to see I was willing to work with him. He stated the he would set up special rules, whereas I halted him immediately. Claiming I don't want special rules, I just wanted to be treated like everyone else, nothing 'special'. Having special rules could only lead to resentment and problems. He thanked me and said I just made his job easier.

Knowing my history of off-the-cuff humor and sarcasm, he said I should expect some razing. I told him I fully expected it and would feel as if I was treated different then before, if I didn't some good nature teasing. But he also assured me that if anything crossed a line, he wanted to know immediately. But I had his full support.

The next day, the president called Mark into his office to discuss my situation. In that meeting, I later found out, Mark was distinctly told if anyone crossed a line and I got any harassment or threats and the president didn't find out immediately, Mark would be held personally responsible.

Now that I had support of close friends, and work it was time to start moving towards letting the rest of the world know. But knowing I wasn't going to lose my job of my transittioning, was one major weight off my shoulders.

Anne had often warned me to slow down, I was moving too quick. I'm going to get burned. Which is quite common and to this day I try to warn others to take baby steps. Some listen. Some don't.

But in my late July appointment, after a day of complete breakdown (see "I Don't Think I Can Make It") and the enthusiasm I gained after the incident at Margaritas (see "The Ladies At Margaritas") I told Anne, I wanted to make a date to go 'full time", as you have to live at least one full year before being eligible for surgery. I thought eleven months, my next birthday in June 2007. Anne shocked me with her reply. of "Why so far? You're perfectly ready now." This coming from the person constantly warning me to slow down.

I was enthralled to say the least, and we decided for Halloween 2006. One, it's obvious timing, but the bigger reason was racing season would be over. I wouldn't have to worry about the name change or any other confusion. Until the Waterford Speedbowl rained out and the rain date was moved to early November.

In between, I had heard people talk about Racersbored and seen the name on many race cars, especially modifieds. I finally took a look at the message board and ended up signing up. Little did I realize that some very key friends would be made that not only took me in, got me through highs and the terrors, of the next few years. But most importantly, remain solid friends to this day and I can not imagine life today without them. Too many to mention all by name but they know who they are. But over time a group of ten girls (including myself) and a half chick (honorary member), would create a special bonded group, the "Mod Chick Mafia"

I had set up my retirement from NEMA due to the life change that was coming. But after the make up November race, Steve Grant, Deb Marvuglio and Mike Scrivani took me out for dinner and assured me they wanted me back in 2007. No matter who I was becoming or changing my name to, they felt I was one of the best race directors in New England and they didn't want to lose me. With the support from those three, Nokie Fornoro and Peter Falconi, I was locked in. I would return for the 2007 season. Against my better judgment and the warnings of racing friends "in the know" to just get out and live my life away from a race track. At a 'coming out' dinner in Portsmouth, Bill Quirk wisely told me "You've done everything you wanted to do in racing. Get out." Foolishly I ignored his request.

Once I went full time, I could show zero signs of going back to "John" or my eligibility time-line would need to start over. With the upcoming Modified Racing Series banquet coming, I thought I could revert back to "John" for a day. But was forewarned not to by not only Anne Boedecker, but peer pressured by two increasingly close friends, and MCM members Linda Kimel and Michelle Lavigne. (See Bizarre Few Days). I did it. I survived the banquet. a huge first step.

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