I have had another perfect weekend! 100% Andrea, 100% happiness and contentment, with no attention or reaction from anyone the whole time as far as I am aware. And rather than just give a catalogue of what I have done, events of the weekend have made me realise some of the things that make me feel really special about being a woman, and particularly the unique one that is Andrea:
- Yesterday I went for a walk with my group, and had the most lovely time out. As usual, I was a really chatterbox… and I just LOVE being a chatterbox, and a people person, because I never used to be either of these things. The first person I talked to (after the group leader, who I gave an update to about my news at work) was a nice guy called David, and we soon seemed to chat like old friends. Then a lady (Kathleen) who I had last seen on a walk in July recognised me and said a big “HI”, and we had a good long chat with another girl who was new to the group; later I chatted to Margaret, who I have talked to for ages and it really feels like friendship, and then I chatted to a girl I have seen before but never chatted to… who turned out to be another Margaret. During the two hour walk I chatted to another couple of women and a guy, and everyone was SO nice, the guy (who is maybe 50) said that he gets teased by his younger colleagues about being in a walking group but he says he loves it.
- I just LOVE being referred to as a lady, not just a woman, but a LADY… and this is because, although I know I am a woman inside I do try and be as ladylike as I can, because it is just me. After the walk had ended, most of us drove a short distance to the Hillside garden centre where there is a big and rather busy cafe. After I had gone to the loo, I queued up for ages to get some refreshment – in front of me were a couple of young boys with their mother and someone I think was an aunty. I chatted with the aunt a bit, and then the mother said to the boys “will you calm down, you’re going to bump into that lady”! (i,e. me). And later in the cafe I got ladied again. I sat next to David, Kathleen, and a new girl who had just joined called Jackie, and we had a good chat over coffees and cakes – David was talking to Jackie about the group and how many people one can meet and chat to, and he said “It’s like Andrea and I, we can have a conversation but it can end up being spread over two or three walks”, just as if we have been doing it for ages. Once most of the walkers departed I sat next to a couple of girls who had come in late, and we must have chatted for a good half hour before leaving.
- I LOVE that I have made so many lovely friends this year – I have actually made quite a lot more new friends this year than I actually had at the start of it! So after cafe time, I had a good look around the garden centre for Christmas presents for some of them… because the garden centre was MUCH more than a garden centre! There were household gifts, loads of pet stuff, a Santa’s grotto, and so on. Once I had shopped there, I paid at the checkout where I had nice chat with the girl who served me
- Then I changed out of my walking gear in the loo and went off shopping at the Abbey Centre, mostly for Christmas presents again, although I did look at clothes too, though resisted a purchase. I just LOVE shopping… now.
- It has been great to make friends with other TS girls who really know what this journey is all about, and who one can have such heart-to-heart conversations with and have totally empathy. Of course, my best friend Kirsty is one of them, and my friend Andrea D in Whiteabbey is another – I had arranged to stay with her for the night once shopping was over.
- It is SUCH fun being asked by a woman for opinions on clothes – especially a biological woman, it is as though one has made the grade!!! When I arrived at Andrea D’s flat she had just been up with her friend Natasha so, after dropping my bags, she took me up for more chat with her. Natasha was going our clubbing later on and did not know what to wear… and so she tried on a number of outfits in front of the two of us, and we gave out opinions, all of which seemed to go down well. Of course, the outfit she wore (white crop top, blue patterned knee-length skirt) was the first one she showed us! After the fashion parade, she put the chosen outfit back on along with a pair of black heels, and I asked her whether she had any other colour heels because I didn’t really think that the black looked quite right – she said she has loads and loads of black heels and that’s it… but something must of twigged because she went off and came back with a pair of high-heeled navy sandals, and it was such an improvement.
- It is SO nice to have a guy hold the door open for me, when a lot of effort is made to do so. We went out to an Indian take-away to get our dinner – as we entered, a well-built guy in front of us held the door open for us, and when we left, before we even got to the door a youngish lad who was waiting for his own take-away reached out and pulled the door open for me (Andrea D was behind me); I thanked him in my best girly voice, and he said “No problem”.
- I have become SO much more emotional and I have tears (frequently of joy) ALL the time. During some of the evening chat with my friend I got somewhat teary-eyed, and then this morning when I had a Facebook message from my lovely hairdresser Paul I cried too – he has been in India, on an amazing “mission” to teach young people there his trade, he was talking about how people there have touched his heart and both reading his message and sending my reply to this wonderful man gave me a rather tear-laden face.
- Once I had left my friend I spent some time nearby grocery shopping at a Tesco supermarket, where a guy made a particular effort to hold open the barrier coming out of the alcohol isle for me, and I had a lovely long chat to the check out girl who was at uni – I wished her best of luck with her studies as I left). Then I went to an exhibition of Bolshoi opera and ballet costumes at a former prison. I think I have become more open-minded about so many things, and this seems to include finding so much more in life of great interest. As Andrea I do like to do as many different things as possible, and some of it is to challenge myself to pass and succeed in as many situations as I can… and so this exhibition was something a bit different, I enjoyed it and found it very interesting, and the guys who escorted me to and from the exhibition were really nice; one of the costumes is on the right.
- I drove to Hillsborough where I had a nice but rather chilly walk around the lake, then went to Marks & Spencers where I bought a bra at one till, and then some biscuits for Christmas at another till – the guy at the latter was really nice and I asked him about how busy it had been while he had been working, and then I asked him how long he had been at the till… which turned out to be FOUR hours without a break! I really DO like to talk to people about their own lives, it can be so interesting and enlightening. It is also great if I can improve anyone’s day by engaging with them.
- At that point it was time for coffee, with my BF at Costa – she was about to embark on her own latest challenge (of which I will say nothing, that is her privilege) and was rather nervous, so it was rewarding for me to have a good chat with her and try and boost her confidence.
- I got home about 7.10pm and, once the contents of the car were inside, put my girly slippers on and unpacked my shopping and then my overnight bag, feeling so good about my weekend out and about – prior to this year I cannot recall feeling SO positive about my life.
- This may seem obvious, but I LOVE feeling feminine – but this is not just what I wear (which is pretty much all it used to be while I was, I suppose, categorised as a cross dresser), it is what I smell like, having a feminine hair style that feels natural, appropriate jewellery and make up, but also it is how I move, how my voice sounds (which, finally, I am happy to hear the sound of), and how I approach everything in life. This weekend I have not worn a skirt or a dress or any hosiery, although I have worn a couple of different pairs of boots the heels have been of medium height and not at all pointy… but despite all of this, apart from the unavoidable facial shave before make-up application, I have felt totally feminine.
So, having written that lot, there are a fair number of things about being my female self that I really do like and embrace SO much. And I have likely not covered everything. But most of all, what I like most of all about being a woman is that it feels right, it feels natural, and it is ME.
Thank you for reading.