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January 1, 2010 / ebretzel

Enter 2010

It’s a Brand New Day

Well I can’t say that 2009 was a bad year for me. Trumped by the more volatile happenings of 2008, my life was more or less in a precarious holding pattern for the past 365 days. I keep waiting for things to unravel but somehow they manage to stay together. Every time something does goes wrong I am reminded again that life continues to go on and it’s up to me to make it worth my while

After the infamous FBI raid of ’08, my job actually seemed somewhat boring in comparison. I never thought I would be glad to be underpaid, but I do believe that it is a major factor that has kept me from getting the ax. Despite several rounds of cutbacks I am still hanging on to full-time employment, and in fact managed to snag 2 part time jobs.

Unfortunately, one of those jobs as a pianist for a church ensemble ended yesterday. After playing in about 5 masses I was gently told that “unfortunately things aren’t working out.” I attribute this not to my piano playing abilities, but to my lack of experience playing with a group and being expected to ad lib on the spot. It proved to be much more difficult than I thought it would be, as I am used to playing solo and not varying from the written piece. I was rejected kindly, but come on, rejection is always crappy. I’m left with a severe feeling of disappointment in myself.

New Year’s always seems to me to be a lot of crazy hype for a whole lot of nothing. Today does not feel any different than yesterday, and just because it’s a new year I don’t think I need to to join a gym or volunteer for charity in order to feel like I’m doing something with my life. But I do think there is something powerful about the idea of a new beginning. Having an excuse to resolve to make your life better in some way is certainly not a bad thing. I feel like I have grown a little bit wiser and a little bit stronger because of both the bad and the good that have happened to me. Looking forward and leave the bad bits behind is something that I struggle with, but I think I’m getting better at it.

Now if I think MY life is hard sometimes and I struggle with changes, I can only imagine what it’s like for a co-worker of mine who recently went through a MAJOR life change. This person had always been pretty quiet, and the nature of his work didn’t give him a ton of excuses to interact with many other people in the office. Besides that, some things about him just seemed… off. His hair seemed a little bit too long, his pants a bit too flared, his taste in movies… well, a bit feminine. But, not being one to judge I figured he was just an odd duck. After all he was nice enough, and has a wife and kids. Well, when we discovered that he was using the women’s restroom a few weeks ago it was pretty hard to dismiss that as only a little strange. “Maybe, he’s a woman dressed as a man!” we hypothesized (but not seriously) and swore to avoid using that restroom anymore.

Turns out, we were not too far off. On the day before Thanksgiving this co-worker came into the office (unannounced) dressed 100% as a woman. And I mean the whole shebang, makeup, breasts and everything. Now, I have nothing against transgender people. In fact, I feel kind of bad for them, it must be rough to go through. However, I didn’t know how to react! Do I pretend like nothing is different? Should I say something? Are congratulations in order? Do I still call him by his male name? What do I do!!!

I fretted about this for a long time, and avoided contact with him until (s)he came over to our side of the office upon which I blurted out awkwardly “So what’s new with you?” He then told us that he’s come out as a woman, and will henceforth for all purposes be a “she.” This alleviated some of the awkwardness since I can now acknowledge HER as a WOMAN, and eventually the company got an email explaining the situation. But man, does that take some getting used to. I mean, even disregarding the sex change, it’s just strange to have to call someone by a new name. I think I can deal with it though, it’s actually kind of a relief and seems to make her much more normal than she was as a man.

So here’s to changes and pursuing your life dreams. If it will make you happy and you will be a better person because of it, forget the naysayers! Go for it! Enter 2010.

-Emily

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