So, as per my last post, the person that most people knew, and thought was ‘male’, is no-longer… and life for the real-me, Andrea, commenced today, 30th January 2015… and of course, for such a special day in my life, I just MUST post about it! That special day was my first day of full-time life living as Andrea… and quite a few firsts were achieved, as you will find out if you kindly read on.
I awoke this morning for the first time in my life in the knowledge that I do not have to do anything as a ‘male’ ever again… and that is because I am not a male. I may have male ‘bits’, but they are a mistake, and in time I hope they will be rectified. I set my alarm to allow a good amount of time to get ready for the day ahead… and, of course, as usual I broke no records – today was essentially a dummy run for going to work next week. My normal 90 minutes for getting ready turned into 100 minutes as I packed my handbag, but I still had more than enough time to drive to Dundalk to catch my scheduled train to Dublin… the first time that I, as my female self, have either been on a train or ventured into the city centre of Dublin.
I parked in Dundalk railway car park and entered the station with nearly 10 minutes to spare. I thought I would give the voice a quick try-out and so I asked the guy at the ticket counter which of the Dublin stations the train was going to; his reply was delivered as if I was any other person and, armed with the required knowledge, I boarded the train which, leaving at 10.10, was quiet enough. The train set off, on time, and I surfed away as it travelled to the next station, Drogheda, where quite a few people got on, including a broad-shouldered guy who sat right opposite me, our faces only a few feet apart… and alas he ‘read’ me. He said “You look well”, which I suppose is a compliment, but I felt that he had detected my transsexual nature and was trying to help my confidence. Some chat ensued, and was nice enough… and then he said that he liked my ankle boots and when I thanked him for the compliment he said that at home he liked to wear knee boots with heels… and I groaned inside, and I just muttered something and then changed the subject. After a couple of stations with a bit more chat he resumed gaming on some console (that Kirsty I am sure could tell me what it was) and I carried on with emails… and then received an email from the lady in HR telling me that the news about me had been communicated to everyone and that…
…the response of support was overwhelming and people wanted to know what they could do to support your transition, it was great to hear and see.
Some people might be a little nervous next week but will try and act as normal so bear with them but everyone I spoke with (and I do mean everyone) was great, so you have lots of support for Tuesday.
I was REALLY pleased to read that, and wrote back to tell her so… and very soon afterwards I had two email from colleagues, one guy and one girl, wishing me good luck and offering their support; it brought tears to me eyes, and I replied with much thanks; it is this kind of major event when you really find out what people are like. Arriving in Dublin the guy opposite me said that it was nice talking to me, and then left me to put my coat on; apart from him, nobody paid me any attention.
I got off the train and immediately had a bizarre feeling – over the last 15 years I have literally alighted at Dublin Connolly railway station THOUSANDS of time… and today it was as Andrea for the first time eve. I walked confidently to the barriers and swiped my annual rail pass (which I have just binned, as it expires end-January… and has my male face on) then, after popping to the ladies, walked along another platform, pausing to take a selfie – hardly the best, but I had to take it quickly. I then took the Dart train (a local electric service) a couple of stations to the south, receiving another ‘good luck’ email from a guy I have known for years, who said it as rather a shock but he had noticed me getting happier over the last year and so ‘it had to be done’; indeed it did.
From Dublin Pearse station I walked along increasingly busy streets to the city centre, to Grafton street which is full of high street names; I texted my boss to tell him I was there, then went into M&S to the ladies followed by a leisurely browse around to kill time while I waited for my 12.30 appointment to arrive… lunch with my boss… AS ANDREA.
So, my boss was the first person I know to meet the new-me now that I am living full-time as a woman. I walked right up to him, as he chatted away on his mobile, and it was only when I was right in front of him saying ‘hi’ did he realise it was me! We walked, chatting away easily enough, and he took me to eat at a place called Farrell & Byrne, which is a bit like a small Fortnum & Masons of London, with a ground floor of up-market food from around the world, with a restaurant above. Boss let me go first up the stairs, and once at the restaurant I took the lead and asked the lady inside the entrance for a table for two; our coats were taken, and then we sat next to each other and browsed the menu. Presently a waiter arrived and said “What can I get you, madam?” so I ordered cauliflour soup with bacon for a starter and chicken with mash in a red wine sauce for main; boss is a vegetarian and he went through the usual interrogation with the waiter to ensure that there was nothing that had been within a thousand miles of the vegetables that would be used to make his lunch. I have to say that lunch with him was pretty good, even if it was interrupted with a number of calls on his mobile, but we had some good chat, and not once did he use my old name. He had to rush to a meeting that did not allow dessert, but that was okay, so we parted there and I browsed around the food hall after a trip to the ladies.
With time to kill before my next appointment I wandered along Grafton Street for a while, and then decided to treat myself to some yummy Belgian chocolates from a place called Leonadis a street or two away… and having eaten two of the chocs today I can confirm that they are well worth the expense! The guy who served me was really nice, with huge discussion about the chocs available, and I departed happy. I ventured into the park at St Stephen’s green and sat for a little while watching the swans, and then walked along Lower Leeson Street to my counsellor.
To-date my counselling in Dublin has been a bit of a dead-loss, covering old-ground with her exhibiting some extreme views about coming out to my daughter. This session was rather more productive however… and positive! First of all, this was the first time she had met Andrea in the flesh, rather than me having to present as a male… and she said I looked absolutely great! I won’t go on about her other compliments, but it made me ponder in discussion with her how my clothing choice reflects me… Andrea – someone who tries to be as lady-like as possible, who is soft and hopefully dainty, and feels very feminine. We talked about all who I had come out to, and she was so very positive about everything and thinks I won’t have much to worry about at work, but made a few helpful suggestions; she was also more reasonable with her views about my daughter, and says that with time and counselling she feels daughter will come around, and she thought my approach with her was good. So, I left very happy… and crossed the road straight into a busy Starbucks for a skinny mocha, before time to head back to the station for my train home.
Contrary to the morning, the train I got home was one of the services that I get EVERY week… and as it was a Friday it was extremely busy – for a minute I was worried I wouldn’t get a seat, but eventually found one in a set of four with three guys occupying the other seats. I received an email from another guy in my department who congratulated me for my bravery, and said he could not imagine how hard it has been for me; how thoughtful! For the hour journey all was completely fine, no attention from everyone, and I got off the train along with a throng of other commuters all exiting the station to our cars.
Once home I hurriedly kicked my ankle boots off my aching feet and made a hot lemon and honey to sooth my throat (which I am a worried I will strain now that I am using my female voice every day)… and then phoned my parents, as arranged with them, for the first time in over three months since they found out I was a woman. They didn’t answer, and I worried that they didn’t want to talk to me after all, so left a message in a moderate Andrea-voice… and in a few minutes they rang back. The first few minutes were slightly awkward for my mum, and I got the impression that she really does not totally approve of the direction in which my life is going; she used my name wrong a couple of times, though did correct it, and I said not to worry and that it was only to be expected, she also used male pronouns a couple of times when talking to my dad and referring to me, but I let it go… but I sensed frustration. My dad, by comparison, was great, he used only my new name, and he did use ‘she’ as well, which I was very pleased about. But on the whole the conversation was reasonably good, and got increasingly light-hearted with some laughter towards the end. We must have talked for a good half-hour, and bid farewell with lots of love.
So, apart from the guy on the first train, who was pleasant but made a point of having noticed me, all was good… and once at Dublin NOBODY, on often busy streets, gave me any kind of look that indicated that they noticed anything other than a woman, I had a good lunch with my boss, the best session with my Dublin-counsellor, and solid support from work… AND telephone contact is now resumed with my parents. All in all, a 95+% successful day… and I am rather happy!
Thanks for reading.