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Day 33: Embrace the Awkward

2014 October 25
by Jen DiGiacomo

If it’s Friday, I must be in Maryland.

I hope.

The result of traveling so much is that I sleep in several different zip codes on a regular basis. And because I can amuse myself to no end regardless of the situation, I invented a game to try and place where the hell I am every morning before I open my eyes.

Then open the eyes and… white ceiling and an unsuccessfully dislodged cobweb dangling Sword-of-Damocles-style over my head. In other words, I must be home. And home means a morning walk through the neighborhood.

This morning, I happen across a young Latino couple walking their dog. Very suburban, very sweet. Until I realize that the wife is gawping at me. Seriously, gawping. Mouth hung open, head swiveling as her eyes track me.

I look down to see how I’m dressed and all I can process are normal jeans, black high tops and a hoodie. Hair tied up as usual. Even my hands are in the pockets, the colorful hair ties unwittingly tucked under my sleeve.

WTF? Is there a slice of pizza stuck to my face?

I then turn to look at the husband and he gives me a knowing smile.

Seriously, WTF.

I give a head bob to the husband as guys do, and am on my way. But after about few minutes it dawns on me. This is the family that lives in the house directly behind me. As in line of sight behind me. An unobstructed view into my dining room and kitchen through my sliding glass back door.

In other words, they’ve been witness to me wearing skirts and leggings and what not with abandon the last few months. Why? Because I refuse to hide behind curtains now. Especially not in my own house when warming up day old coffee in the microwave.

The wife clearly has never experienced anything like this before in her life. Not this juicy. And especially not this close up. I stop in my tracks and start to laugh. I’m causing problems in the neighborhood. Not quite a revolutionary, more like a troublemaker, but close enough for one who embraces the awkward.

I return home in time for a transatlantic Skype session with a very, very, very energetic Australian woman I know from across the pond.

Yeah, nothing like an elegant segue. Embrace the awkward, right?

Perhaps a recap is in order. The Australian woman is, unsurprisingly, from Australia, but lives in the UK, and almost met me at the Monty Python Live reunion show over the summer. Okay, perhaps, that wasn’t as helpful as I had hoped it would be, but just roll with it.

Anyhoo, through an interesting chain of friends, we became acquainted online and now I’m helping her out with a cool narrative-fiction exercise app she successfully got funded on Kickstarter.

All good, right? Well, life tends to get complicated when I’m involved. Even moreso recently. The problem is that she started talking about adding photos of everyone who’s on her Advisory Board to the website. With bios. Bios that seem to use lots and lots of pronouns. Pronouns that scare the living shit out of me, not to mention the photos.

Pronoun trouble, right?

I realize it’s time to fill her in on what’s going on in my life so that my concerns might not seem so… well, as if they came from a raving lunatic. Because let’s face it, without context, requesting a bio sans pronouns is a little… demanding. No brown M&Ms, dammit!

Once on Skype, we talk about the app, talk about the narrative, talk about this, talk about that, before I finally break the ice. Now the trick here is that she doesn’t know me all that well, nor for all the long. So this doesn’t need to be a personal story, just a story. I dive into an abbreviated version of events, and while her head nods are all copacetic, there is no joy, there is no enthusiasm. Primarily because there’s no real history to our friendship. It’s like the fry cook at McDonald’s telling you about his pet weasel who recently passed away in a non-fry-related incident. The condolences are going to be lacking that personal touch.

Her resulting response is a pause, then, “Cool. Good for you.” Another pause. “So why did you wait so long to come out?” I don’t know what I was hoping for, but I mumble my response and get to the crux of my reveal. “So… not sure how I feel about posting a photo at present, and really not sure I want to use pronouns in my bio as I’m a little between genders at present.”

Again, all copacetic, but I can’t help but get the feeling that maybe she thinks I’m making a big deal out of something fairly minor. Who knows, maybe this is old hat for Aussies by way of London. The Brits did give Eddie Izzard his start, after all. The Aussies, they gave us Crocodile Dundee and Foster’s Beer, which is good enough for me.

We wrap the call on a decently positive note, but I still feel like I’ve lost momentum. A nagging feeling that I’m being observed in my own home, judged from not so afar, and wondering if I over shared across the pond.

Awkward, I can embrace. Revolutionary, I can embrace. But doubt, that eats at my soul.

Note: When I began transitioning in 2014, I was known by my nickname DiG, which sufficed until I learned my mom had chosen Jennifer had my birth gone differently. So for historical sake, I leave my posts and podcasts as originally conceived, but know that my name is and apparently always was Jen.
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