Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Just a Good Night

Some nights are just good nights. A friend came out as a woman at work Monday. Her HR department was fully behind her and announced the change at a meeting. She will report to work as woman for good on November 1. Until then, she will “morph.” She wrote about it beautifully on facebook. (Excerpted with her kind permission, unedited except to delete her name)

Tomorrow at 10 a.m., my boss will enter a room filled with my closest co-workers. They will be there for our bi-weekly meeting to discuss the business, administrative issues and technical problems that have arisen in the last two weeks. People will be gently sipping their coffee, eating a fresh-baked pastry, and expecting another boring hour wasted of their work day. My boss will start up his computer, dial-in to our conference code and make sure everyone is ready to begin. He will then stand, face all the people who do not know that the next words out of his mouth will send them along for a ride on a journey I started those many months ago with a step out of my home:

“I have a administrative/personnel announcement I would like to make..."

Then my boss will continue that over the past 20 months, I have been undergoing a gender transition and that at the completion of a 90 day period, I will start work full-time as *****. He will tell everyone that I wanted to do this discreetly as to not interrupt the business, and I wanted t make this transition as smooth as possibly. He will end his part by saying that I have his support as well as the support of the company, and will announce a Q&A session in two weeks attended by senior leadership, which everyone will be expected to attend. He will then hand the floor over to the HR representative who will finish up with a policy review and end that part of the meeting. Then my boss will quietly move on to the next order of business and that will be that...

...and from that point on, I will not be able to EVER take it back.

The Dream: reaching milestones. Becoming Yourself. And, of course, that night: Celebration. Her good friends, mentors, and allies gathered to celebrate this day and this person (whom I will call A). The location was an upscale bar called Redstone in Plymouth Meeting, near where she works. http://www.redstonegrill.com/

I was invited, and I was not going to miss it no matter what.

So that day was a big one for me as well. I started a new part time job (that’s two pt jobs if you’re counting along at home) at a nearby University. This job may someday be full time if we ever get rid of the GOP governor who cut the university’s money in half (literally.) So, my day looked like this: up at 5:30, work 7-2:30 at one job, and 3-7 at the new job. Then do Warp 8 for twenty minutes to the bar for the party.

So I arrived, in drab, and find them on the patio on a beautiful summer night. I know many of the people there, including *crash of thunder* HER. The bitch who publically threatened me on Halloween.

People who’ve been reading a while will remember this story. Summary: Person (we’ll call her B) was very angry toward me all night at a party. I had no idea why. Near the end of the night, she threatened me loudly and publically. I didn’t back down, but awaited her move. Full story is here: http://sophielynne1.blogspot.com/2010/11/originally-posted-nov-1-10-what-night.html

She really angered me that night and set off a lot of soul searching. I hadn’t seen her since that night. And there she was. Sitting at a table drinking white zin. I didn’t expect her to be there as she and A were very much on the outs, and hadn’t spoken in months.

Many thoughts flew through my head. Should I just leave? No, can’t do that- not to my friend A on her day. I decided to ignore B. I was introduced around using my drab name. Many knew me this way. Some didn’t. I bought A a drink, toasted her success, and settled in to conversation.

I just ignored B because that night she couldn’t hurt me. I was in drab, so if she even recognized me and started something, I would at worst end up in a holding tank in pants not a skirt. But I had many friends at this gathering, so I was confident that nothing would get that far even if I wished it.

I noticed B’s drink was all but empty. I decided to have a little fun and perhaps even build a bridge. I went to the bar and ordered a glass of white zin along with a cabernet for me.

I walked past A, who saw the drink and said “Are you sure you want to do that?”

I replied “Life’s too short to hate.”

I delivered the drink. B thanked me and asked if she knew me. I smiled. “Yes. Yes, you do” I said, and walked away.

And so I mingled, chatted and drank for a while longer. Note that by this point I hadn’t eaten since noon and it was past 8. I was hungry and drinking. Usually this is a recipe for total disaster. Sophie+drinks-food= run for cover.

Eventually, B asked again how she knew me. I smiled and said she knew me well enough. A was standing close by when I extended my hand and said “You know me as Sophie. Sophie Lynne.” I smiled slightly.

B looked confused for a moment, then surprised. “Oh my Gosh I would never have known!” (That’s a good thing, I think!) “It’s so good to see you!” she continued. I smiled, thanked her, and went back to the bar to close my one tab.

As the night wore on, people left. Eventually, it was just the three of us: A, B, and Me. We talked about many things, and there were no problems.

Being me, I tried to sort this out. Well, her issue was that I was friends with her girlfriend of the time. They had since(and long ago) broken up. I am STILL friends with that ex-gf. I told the ex-gf about the meeting, and she said “Perhaps she’s grown up a little.”


That said, the ex’s new partner was there at the gathering as well, and I noticed she didn’t interact with B. Never went near her. So maybe not.

Then there’s my anger with B. It was a potent, real thing. But what I said to A may have been true. Maybe life is too short to hate. Maybe I’VE grown up a little. Maybe being Sophie is making a difference.

After one last drink, toasted to Jerry Garcia’s birthday (which was also that day), I went to the bathroom and those two left. On my way to my car, I saw them talking in the parking lot, under a light.

Then they hugged.

For, A it was a great day. And for me as well.


  1. Wonderful post, Sophie! Best wishes to A on her transition. Having friends like you will certainly help.

    Congratulations (not sure if that's the right word, maybe "hurray for you?") on how you dealt with B. Life is too short to hate. Often, if we're courageous enough to take a first step, the other person will respond positively. Even if they don't, forgiveness and openness are gifts we give ourselves first. Too often, I've been too stubborn or afraid to take a step like you did. How smart and brave of you to act as you did.

  2. Good for you carrying a grudge is too much work and you are truly too big a person for that. By offering the olive branch ( or cocktail ) you have improved both of your lives. I don't know if I would have done the same thing,  but next time I might, and I'll be thinking of you. A Good Night indeed. 
    Thanks for sharing this Sophie. 
    Charlotte Sometimes