September 25, 2014

Ali Finds Her Self

Monday was possibly the best day of my life. And here’s the funny thing: it wasn’t even very atypical. And that was the glory of it.

It was in fact the total opposite of atypical. I woke up; I did some writing; I got ready for my first day of work; I headed to campus and taught a class; then I went home. That’s it. I did what a million people do every weekday of their lives. It was a day that I had, in one form or another, for the entire decade I was employed in my last job.

But there was one difference. Yesterday, for the first time in my life, ever, I was me.

I have been trying for days to express exactly how I feel right now. I’ve written and rewritten this a half dozen times. The above is about the best I can express it, and it sucks. In a way, nothing happened Monday. But in a way, everything happened.

Getting ready to go to work Monday was nereve-wracking. I changed outfits a half-dozen times before I was okay with how I looked, and then I spent forever on the rest of the “look”. When I headed to campus, the first thing I had to do was to get my parking pass and faculty ID. So I went to campus safety and asked for my badge.

“Last name?” asked the lady at the desk.


“First name?”

I hesitated. “Um … I may be under two different first names. My legal name in my new name, which won’t be legal until next month. And if at all possible, I’d like my badge to reflect my new name.”

Badgecropped“That won’t be a problem,” the woman said, immediately relieving a lot of the tension I had.

A few minutes later, she handed me my badge. “You’re all set Alison.” I put it on a lanyard around my neck, and in that moment I just felt invincible. I know, it’s just a stupid work ID, but it’s the most important piece of identification I’ve ever had with my real name on it. Here was something official. I was now an employee of the college – not Him but me. This piece of ID with my face on it, my name on it, was a declaration that the college itself recognized my authenticity.

I felt goddamn invincible walking into class. I had credentials. Even if the students made an issue of my identity, the college had my back.

But honestly, no one in class said anything untoward. It was just like any class I’ve taught for the last decade-plus. About twenty minutes in a student called me “Ms. Hudson” for the first time and I knew everything would be just fine.

It feels so insignificant to tell the story. Nothing really happened. But it wasn’t about happenings.

Here’s the thing: There are no more steps to take in my social transition. This was it. As of Monday, I am 100% officially living my life as my authentic self. No more hiding, no more fretting about going back and forth, no more worrying if I should be Him in this or that situation. When I started this blog last year, I called in Ali FInds Her Self because I envisioned this whole thing as a journey of discovery. And this week, I have discovered what it’s like to feel normal in my own skin.

He is gone now. I’ve found my Self. And I couldn’t be happier.

That doesn’t mean my transgender experience is over, nor does it mean I’ll stop blogging. I still have so many things I want to do for my Self. HRT continues to change me, slowly but surely; my legal name change is still over a month away; then there’s surgeries and gender markers to focus on. I still experience dysphoria every time I look in the mirror or hear my voice recorded, and that will probably never go away entirely. But for today, at least, I know who I am — and so does the rest of the world. Finally.



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