Monday, April 16, 2012

Why Baby Steps?

(please check out Friday's post and take part in the poll ~ if you're eligible!)

You're at the edge of a swimming pool that comes up to your chin.  You're not comfortable around water.  You can go in one toe at a time or jump off the side.

You have a self-wax kit.  You put on the wax and the strip and you can either pull it off carefully or just yank it off.

It's your first day on the job.  You're kind of shy, as a rule.  You've gone through the quick introduction of each of your new co-workers but you'll never remember everyone's name or what they do.  At lunchtime, everyone's in the cafeteria sitting around a couple of tables.  You can sneak away, and figure you'll get to know each person one at a time or you can walk in and say "hi!  I started today.  Mind if I join you?"

Baby steps are good if you're learning a new skill.  It wouldn't be smart to hop into a car for the first time and hit the highway, or try to play 18 holes or ski down the expert trail without some lessons and practice first.  Or make up your face and step outside without taking it slow first.

When you learn to walk, baby steps are good.

But in the examples I gave up top, baby steps serve to prolong the pain, or the anxiety, or whatever you're trying to avoid.

So why do we come out in baby steps?  Why do we wear a little mascara, or a women's scarf or shirt, or pluck our eyebrows a little bit too much, or tell one person or another?  I've done all of these baby steps and more (such as lip gloss, charm bracelet, women's socks, shaving arms and hands...) and each one is a new trip to Anxietytown.  I get nervous that maybe I went too far, that someone's going to call me out, that I won't have an answer to a question that I'm asking the other person to ask ("are you wearing lip gloss?").

Yet I keep taking baby steps.

I never thought about this until a gg friend said that her (cd) husband did some "baby steps" on a trip they took together.  That's a long-term problem of mine: I keep doing the same thing and it can take a long time, or an outside force, to make me realise that I should be doing things differently.

Enough baby steps.  Tomorrow morning, I will get up extra-early so I can put on my makeup before work.  I will come to the office in my nicest dress and finest heels.  I will send a brief note to all of my friends and family telling them how I prefer to dress, and that they shouldn't be surprised to see me looking like this in the future (photo attached).

I wish I meant even a single word in that previous paragraph.  But it's going to have to be continued baby steps for me.  Maybe that tomorrow will come some day ~ just not literally tomorrow.

Instead, I'll keep prolonging the pain and wondering why I don't just rip off the wax.


  1. I too have periodically wanted to say, screw it, and just show up in life one day, dressed and behaving as the woman I am... but I haven't succumbed to that impulse yet. I think part of the answer as to why we keep taking baby steps is that it's now just us that "jumping in the pool" affects - the resulting splash can hit the loved ones surrounding us with unwanted and negative attention simply by association.

  2. Why don't you find out your company's gender identity / diversity policy? You might be surprised.

  3. Here's your difference... you actually do go out from time to time fully dressed. If not to work, then to shop, or to dinner, or to an air museum...
    By doing these things you make it more acceptable for any who come after you. And you publish and encourage everyone as well. Talk about doing some fun charity work!
    It's Super-Girl stuff you do here Meg!!

  4. It doesn't matter the size of the steps, what matters is moving along our own path. That path may change, may take detours, may go on a lot longer than we expected. But, it's our path, our journey. And I'd like to thank you for sharing your journey with us!

  5. What a brilliant post!! You are totally right!
    I have spent ages coming out slowly to some people and ive jumped right in with others... It really makes no sense to go carefully unless you know the other person will be strange about it... And even then, should you care what they think?

  6. Hi Meg,

    I was in your position 7 years ago. I started that slow transition and most people transitioned with me, getting used to the new me. Please be patient with yourself and those around you, but it will happen someday - just believe in yourself!

  7. Maybe this is one area where it is truly better to travel than to arrive?


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