While I was writing poetry and worrying about swimming suits and work clothes and a thousand other little things, something happened.
I slipped into being Joyce full-time, well ahead of my anticipated schedule of July. Considering how much planning and processing and prognosticating I’ve done over every detail of my life for the past two years, this turn of events seems surprising. Funny thing is that I didn’t really even say to myself, “Joyce, today’s the first day of full-time,” or “wow, today is the very last day of George.” The concept never crossed my mind.
It’s just that when I got ready for work on Tuesday, having been the real me since Saturday morning, I just dressed normally and continued being me. It seemed the natural thing to do. I don’t think the idea that I’m Joyce full-time and forever actually crossed my mind until Wednesday or perhaps even today.
I think I would chalk up this turn of events to the students who were here in Bedford Falls for a 2-week seminar as part of their degree requirements. They learned of Joyce in April and were accepting and encouraging, going so far as to ask (when I came to work as George), “What’s up with this look? I thought you were Joyce.” Mary Jo and I held a party for them last Saturday, and many of them came to see the house and to meet Joyce, and I felt all my resistance begin to crumble in the presence of their acceptance and normal party activities. The next work week, George fell further and further away and felt more and more awkward to maintain. When Saturday, the last day of the seminar, rolled around, I went to work as Joyce–linen pants, white shirt, salmon blazer. And from 9:00 until the farewell dinner was over at 8:00 pm, that’s the way I was. I held a focus group, introduced a lunch speaker, did advising with my students, conferred with other faculty, went to a group therapy session, bought a few cases of beer, and went to a Japanese steakhouse for our final dinner together — and somewhere in the day, I forgot who I was.
And by “forget,” I mean that I quit thinking about who I was. Or maybe it was that I remembered who I was.
Since then, it’s been Joyce round the clock, experiencing the mundane world in really interesting ways, which I’ll catalog in short blog entries as they occur. For now, though, I am still a little dazed by these events — maybe one simply realizes she’s ready and regardless of the calendar, just steps through the gate.
Looking back, one notices that the gate is no longer there, primarily a product of one’s mind instead of external forces. I’m standing on the other side and see no portal, no reasonable boundary between the old me and the new me. I am very surprised to see how easily I fell through and how easy it is to be me