Over the course of a week, I often will interact with clerks at the store or counter help at McDonalds or even casual strangers and they will address me as ‘Sir.’ Thank you sir. You are welcome sir. How can I help you sir. I want to ask of this politely, ‘Please do not call me sir.’ However, that would suggest that they are to blame, that they are the ones who got it wrong, that it was their mistake. However, the truth of the matter is that while I have been on hormones for over two years, while I legally changed my name and my gender marker several months ago, while I have come out to my family and Facebook friends, as I present myself on a day-to-day basis is such that to those I interact with ‘sir’ seems both polite and appropriate.
Five years ago when I left Dallas for the fourth time to move home to Washington State, Bruce and Debbie offered me a place to stay in their home. The second floor of their house was once rental units and I now call three rooms on the second floor my home. I could not be more appreciated of their willingness to provide me a place to stay and there as never been a single day when I have felt unwanted or even unwelcomed. However, while I have come to call their home my home that is not to say that I feel any connection to the city of Hoquiam or the larger Grays Harbor county as a home. When I think of home in the context of where I live in a context broader than a house or apartment, Spokane is the place I call home.
In Hoquiam, I spend most of my time in my room either on my computer, reading a book or watching a show. I do get out and about to grab a bite to eat or do some shopping at Wal-Mart or check out new books at the local library. I do not socialize in Hoquiam. I do not immerse myself in the local culture. I do not look for new experiences to explore and hidden destinations to uncover. For the most part Hoquiam to me is simply an address where my mail is sent. Bottom line, I am not going out of my way to find people who will get to know me, the real me.
Over the years I have often found myself livng in Dallas or Minneapolis or Charlotte and speaking of Spokane as my home. I often would explain that regardless of where I may be living at any one time, it was always my plan to retire to Spokane. Spokane is my comfort zone. I was born in Spokane and became who I am living in Spokane. While we lived most of my school years in Rosalia, we would frequently spend our weekends and our summer months staying with my grandparents in Spokane. Spokane is where I got my high school diploma and my college degree. It is where I married and sadly divorced. It is where I was living when I made my first foray out into the public world en femme and, without getting into details, where I discovered my true sexuality. I have no interest in making Houquiam my home and I have always wanted to spend my retirement years in Spokane. Or to put it another way, I have no interest in building a life and friendships in Hoquiam and I would love to build a life and relationships in Spokane.
It bothers me when I am addressed as ‘sir.’ However I am the one who has most control over whether or not I am addressed as ‘sir.’ If I really wanted it to stop, there are steps that I could take. I do not see being transgender as being about the clothes one wears, whether or not one uses makeup nor the sound of one’s voice. It is a personal understanding of oneself that is independent of how one is seen by others. Because I am not looking to make Hoquiam my home, I have made little effort in terms of presenting myself as a woman. It has not been a priority.
However, I am in the process of firming up plans to move to Spokane. I will have more on those plans in the very near future. I do not want to move to Spokane and find myself falling into a ‘Hoquiam frame of mind.’ It is often said you can never move away from yourself so between now and my my departure for Spokane I need to become the person, the woman, I want to be in Spokane. I cannot move there to find her. I must find her here where I am today. So over the next several weeks, I will be sharing my journey to find myself in Hoquiam. Ideally at some point in the not too distant future, I will begin hearing ‘Maam’ more often and ‘sir’ will become a thing of the past. At that point, I will be ready to make my move to Spokane.