It's been almost a month since I've updated this, and while I can't say a lot has happened, enough has to warrant a rather large update. I'm not entirely sure where I'm going with this discussion, but I'll figure it out by the time I get there.

The situation at work is holding steady, I suppose. The person in HR with whom I've been working at furthering my transition there was out of the office through Thursday the day before I went on vacation last week, and so unless he scheduled and held a meeting with my higher-ups without me, nothing more has been done about that. If he did, that would be fine as well, but they'll probably have waited for me to return. The idea of going back to work, and not being myself there... I've honestly dreaded returning to work, especially after this last vacation.

That brings me to the major topic of this post: my vacation. On 5 July, Jess and I took off for Chicago to spend four days with a group of our friends from the Transformation Story Archive. We've both been connected to it now for at least three years, and that's actually where the two of us met, so we'd been waiting eagerly for this year's gathering. 

When I went to last year's Bash, it was in the guise of the person that, back then, I still thought I was. I actually served as the minister for two friends' wedding and spent three days in close proximity with several dozen people that all knew me under my old identity. Over the last year, I'd shed that skin and now had to face most of them again as myself. I was a bit nervous, but very quickly I learned I had no reason to worry.

The engine on one of the planes on the way to Chicago clunked disturbingly as we taxied for take-off, so we had to change planes and arrived at the hotel for the Bash two hours behind schedule. We looked around for everyone that was supposed to be there, but everyone was apparently out to dinner. About midnight, we decided to go to bed, and that was when everyone for whom we had been looking earlier decided to come by our room and see if we were there. It was almost Murphian in timing; I was very amused.

The next day was the opening ceremony, such as it was, and we gathered in the conference room. We did a round of introductions, and as everyone was rattling off names and reasons for coming, I wondered at first what I would say. In the end, there was only one thing to say: "My name is Kristina Davis, and I'm responsible for bringing Mao to the Bash." 

Here, I should digress a moment and talk about Mao. Mao is.. well, it's an evil game. I would explain the rules, but that's against the rules. I can say that much, at least. If you've never played, I highly recommend it. The only real way to learn is to play. If you do a websearch for it, you'll find several rulesets for Mao, which I consider a violation of the rules. At any rate, I brought two decks of cards to last year's Bash and approximately two
dozen people at various times spent some amount of time in the basement of Phil's apartment playing this game. We developed something of a reputation, as did the game, for being very very evil.

Needless to say, my introduction received a round of applause and catcalls from various audience members.

From there... I could go into detail but the truth is that what I remember most is not any given event but the general feeling of the Bash itself. I made a character for a Justifiers game but ended up not playing in the game
itself, going to dinner with my sister Joanne and her boyfriend Mike instead. I helped host a screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show and managed to get the police called on us, though we had finished and left by the time they arrived. I ate out far too much and had a wonderful time with all of my friends. I brought several games that never got played and kept talking about scheduling a time to play them that never happened. One of Jess's
friends came down from Michigan and the two of them got a chance to talk for a while.

Ultimately, I got exactly what I wanted. Shortly before I left, one of the girls in my therapy group asked, as a general question, what we would each consider "freedom" or "success". What was it that we wanted out of transition? I said, at the time, that what I wanted was for everyone around me to know the truth and treat me as I wanted to be treated anyway, as a woman.

This is precisely what I got at the Bash.

Several people apparently all told Jess how much more natural, how much happier I appeared than last year. Everyone called me Kris or Kristy. The one person who used my old online name apologized as soon as I asked him not to do so, and he had no problems adjusting. Everyone had their pronouns right. One person who had expressed concerns before about my ability to pass pulled me aside and told me how good I looked and that all of his fears were gone, having seen me in person. 

I don't think I could've asked for more.

Coming home was painful. I didn't want to leave. I have a few close friends in Dallas, but not nearly so many as I had there. I think we all wished we lived closer and that the Bash and other trips weren't our only means of seeing each other. It makes the get-togethers special, but in the end I think we'd all rather live closer to each other than we do. 

I can't wait to go back next year.

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