Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hmm...which gender shall I be today??

So I was reading Mommy with a Penis this afternoon. Hutchins posted a story about his son Bash walking in dressed in in a princess gown and sparkly shoes. Well, when it rains, it pours in PJ's world, because just last week, I was reading an article by my Human Behavior professor, that was written for the Advocate about Gay parents and gender-bending children.

Both of these stories got me thinking about a dress. My dress. The dress I wore up until the age of probably 6 or 7. I would really like you to think that my dress looked like the one pictured. Alas it did not. Oh my dress was green and white, floral of pattern, but it was not this well cut or stylish. No mine had a big full skirt, and poofy sleeves. I can't honestly tell you where the dress came from, or how it came to be mine, but it was. It was the dress I would pull out anytime I wanted to feel pretty, run around in my mom's heals, wear a few pieces from my earring collection (a whole other story) or be...wait for it...CATWOMAN. Yes, this little gender-bender had a fascination with Catwoman and somehow, in my mind, I thought that this dress and a black mask created a look very similar to hers (Ahh the power of imagination).

I remember one time, some friends came over and I felt like it was a CATWOMAN moment. To my horror, my black mask was missing. No sweat, being a creative child, I improvised with the folllowing perfectly acceptable substitution... is a Yogi Bear mask...and yes, it looks nothing like CATWOMAN...but...neither did my dress, so it worked in my world. I'm pretty sure I got in trouble that day...I remember getting in trouble anyway and I think it had something to do with my dress...again.

The funny thing about my parents was that I had a dress and a box of earring WHICH THEY OBVIOUSLY GAVE ME (dur), yet, they weren't real happy about either. They didn't take them away (although at some point I stoppped wearing them and they were no longer around) but they really didn't like it. And you know what, I'm pretty sure I knew it.

I loved dresses and heals and pretty things. I wanted girls toys, a sister to play with and I constantly told my mother I wanted to be a girl. Looking back, I knew that my parents hated every moment of it. I wasn't the child they expected. And in some ways, I wasn't the child they wanted.

I love telling the story of my dress. My audience usually gets a laugh and so do I as I remember with hysterics walking out in a green floral dress and Yogi Bear mask. I love that we; Arlene Lev, Hutchins and I are talking about it. Hutchins is my new hero. I love his patience and support of his son. I know without a doubt that his son will grow up to be whomever he is supposed to be...dress or no dress...and that he will think back to those moments and laugh/cry/be jealous of his size, who knows, but he won't think about the fact that his parents were embarassed by his actions and probably didn't like him.

Fast forward. I am a guy. I love being a guy. I'm a jeans and t-shirt wearing gay man who loves fixing his house, working in the yard, driving his jeep, lifting weights, etc. I don't want to be a girl (sure I have my girly moments...HELLO) and I dont' wear dresses anymore (that period where I was the drag hostess of a burlesque show aside). My dad and I have a great relationship (mom passed when I was 13) and I genuinely like the person I've become.

I'm also really excited. I'm really excited to be working on my Masters of Social Work and working to become a therpist. I look forward to the day when parents bring their children to me, concerned about the child's gender-bending and I get to help the parents become more comfortable, not the kid (he/she is probably already there).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

You get more flies with honey.

So I have been reading a phenomenal book for grad school, Management Rewired, about why traditional feedback doesn't work. The best part is that it discussed how you can get what you want more often by asking questions, rather than making demands.

Serendipitously, I also just got smacked with a couple overdraft charges because a bill and a deposited check hit at the wrong time.

I called my bank and stormed around and got ticked off...blah blah blah...and I got nothing. No offer to fix it, no offer to refund the charges, nothing.

So, the next day, I decided to try a different tactic. I went into the bank (to make sure I didn't get the same person on the phone), sat down with a financial services rep, chatted amicable, and asked her to remove the two charges. She did so happily.

It's fun to storm around and be the b1tch. I think deep down, we all want to be feared. We all want to be Alexis Carrington or Joan Crawford (played by Faye Dunaway) scaring the crap out of some board of directors into bending to their will. Ultimately though, it solves nothing.

You are no less strong and formidable, if you smile and ask nicely for what you want. Chances are, you're more likely to get it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tales of a 4th grade nothing.

Well, I'm not in 4th grade, and I am certainly am NOT nothing. I am however a new grad student. It's interesting being back in school after 12 years.

I'm a 12 year corporate dweller and senior first line manager. My job is to lead. I teach leadership and rate my employees on their leadership prowess. In the world of academia, I am not "the more knowledgeable other," so therefore not in charge. It's very strange for me to have to defer to someone who, while further along than me in their field, possesses none of the leadership, presence or professionalism that I would expect the "leader" to possess. For example, I finished a summer class almost 2 months ago...and we've still not received our grades (A peer of hers graded our papers and turned in grades in just over a week). When asked, the professor has more excuses than I have unnecessary purchases on my credit card.

Online classes are also a new and fun challenges. Um...for anyone who thinks that online classes are easy...FAIL. I have more work in this class than any other. And...instructions for projects can be vague and when the teacher takes a few days to respond...well, let's just say, I get frustrated.

Overall, I'm loving the experience, and really enjoying meeting people interested in the same area of study.