What about me and where I am, how I am so visible, so out there; I don’t have a clue just how many people in my community really know about my journey. Every week people speak to me because they somehow know me from somewhere, either they were the clerks behind the counter in the dress store, or shoe store, or make up store, or as waiters in restaurants around town. It’s like; “Oh, how are you doing, you used to come into my store.”, or I would wait on you; or some other connection in my past. What really makes me wonder is just how much and how many people really know about me; as happened last week at my elections poling place. For the past four year I have voted at the same place. The second year I voted, I presented myself as my female self with my driver’s license which carried my male name; for me no problem. The same staff people were there every election so they got to know me as Sarah; and when I changed the picture from the old self to Sarah, no problem. The third and forth years I had legally changed my name and the worker were so kind trying to help me change my name on the voters registration list; but when the voters list was purged and all the mix-matched names were dropped, my new identity as Sarah was dropped and my voter registration card reverted to my old name. So after a few weeks, I took a copy of the name change down to the voter’s registration office and together with one of the clerks we fill out a new name change with the court documents and that fixed the problem. Again, while casting my vote in the presidential elections, the staff manning the poling place very politely asked me how I was doing, asked about the singing group I was in and about that and that, and made sure that the voter roll had my correct female name in the system. I have never experienced anything but a friendly and helpful attitude from the voter registration staff, who went out of their way to ensure that my personal information be correct.
Kay and I have had several discussions about how everyone I have met treats me; about how they are quick to discuss how they know me. She and I both agree it might be my attitude and pleasant conversations with which I engage people I meet. That is something that my male personality would never have done; not so much. Looking back, I would say that all my efforts and energies were used to hide and shield my secret from others; I was hesitant in engaging people because I didn’t want them getting too close. I didn’t want them emotionally close because I was afraid they would ‘see’ what I was hiding. And now, with everything out in the open and no secrets, or fears; I can just live my life. Kay and I went to this year’s Southern Conference, which a lot of sister do; but these gatherings are the only few times they can be who they are without fear. These are their opportunities to eat out at restaurants, go shopping; just be out and about to socialize with other sisters and make new friends or to find support to venture out and about.
Everywhere I go with Kay it seems that we will meet someone who recognizes me from someplace else; what is strange is that I have never even once in the years since my divorce bumped into my ex; which is OK with me.