This post chronicles the previous six days in my life and, perhaps surprisingly for me, is not one of doing lots of things as the real me, but more one of progressing my future and coming out.
Sunday 4th Jan I met with Kirsty and we had a good girly chat and shopping expedition in Belfast… though thankfully, for my credit card, my spending was really rather moderate compared to recent expeditions.
Monday was my first day back at work and it was a real hard slog getting back into the routine of commuting and, well, having to work… especially as it was such a long day.
Tuesday was on the whole rather a good day Andrea-wise. During the afternoon I phoned my daughter’s form teacher Maria at school as I wanted to speak to her before daughter returned to school about my news – I told her that I had had to give daughter some significant news on Friday which has upset her a bit, and slowly elaborated to tell her what the medical condition was… and she was really nice and understanding… and had actually heard of Gender Dysphoria. 15-20 minutes later I had a call from the school Principal saying that Maria had been in to see him, and he wanted to reassure me that they are a school who embrace diversity and that they will support both daughter and I in any way they can. He then proceeded to congratulate me on my journey, commented on how liberating it must be, and so on. Towards the end of the call I asked him about how to change my details with them, so he took down my new name and email and said that from now on he will call me Andrea, and bid me goodbye accordingly. Interestingly, or coincidentally, in September a pupil will be joining their school as a boy who is currently living as a girl.
A couple of hours later I had a lovely email from a good friend that I have known for 25 years, from university days. Sunday night I put a letter in the post to him, with my news, which he would have got that day… and his email started by calling me a “Pillock” for “thinking my news would make any difference at all to our friendship”! He then followed in a more sympathetic vein, congratulating me for my bravery for wanting to be “me”. So he has been great! Half an hour late another person in HR knew, who helped with my travel pass as Andrea starting 1st Feb, and she was nice.
But Tuesday wasn’t all highs – once off the train in the evening I went over to daughter and ex-, and although daughter was fine when in front of me once she disappeared as I chatted with ex- I was told that daughter does not want to see me as a woman, and may not want to even see me at all… at least for a fair while. Understandable of course, considering I only told daughter four days previously. But I had a really long chat with ex-, and although there were a few tears, there were also one or two hugs, and a lot of constructive conversation. I didn’t sleep a lot Tuesday night, partly wound up stress-wise about all that talk, but rightly or wrongly I don’t feel upset about daughter – I worried about telling her for over a year, there was never going to be a ‘right’ time to tell her, and now it is done, I was always prepared for the possibility that everyone could reject me… and so far she is the only one who might… but I have suppressed this for too long, I have given her nearly 13 years of dedication as a parent, and even though I still want to be a parent I need to finally look after my happiness too… because for the last few years, and particularly this year when not presenting as me (Andrea), I have been very unhappy and in the past 8-9 months have spent half the time wanting to burst into tears…. and daughter has noticed and commented on this unhappiness… and maybe one day she will remember this.
Wednesday I had possibly my last IPL session; Lynda turned up the setting once again, and quite a few blasts were really very sharp, and my face by the end was really very pink… but I won’t be surprised if once again there isn’t much improvement. I had a very good chat with her… and we are now embarking on a wonderful new relationship, not a medical one but friendship – next weekend we are having a meal out and then going to the cinema, but there is the promise of more things which we hinted at – she suggested walks, coffee, and so on, and I said that I was hoping we could be friends and it wouldn’t only be the one outing.
Thursday I left early again, this time to see my doctor. Firstly I dropped off 12 kilos of, mostly, male clothes off at one of these places that gives customers money for unwanted clothing, a full 50p per kilo! Then onto doctor… where I changed my name with her on my medical records, so the next time I go in I can go there as a woman, as ME. We then discussed a few other little medical issues, and I got two prescriptions, my first for “Miss Andrea Denise…”! After a trip to my sorting office, to collect two items of mail addressed to Andrea, I went home.
Today, Friday, I was due to pick up my daughter for the weekend… but got a text from ex- saying that she doesn’t want to see me. Ex- agreed I could pop around to talk about a couple of things with her, even if daughter didn’t want to see me, so once off the train I popped to my local, big Tesco and bought a couple of bunches of flowers, one for ex- and one for daughter, “to say how sorry I am for causing them upset”. I chatted with my ex- for almost an hour while she cooked their dinner… and I really can’t remember the last time we had such good conversation.
So I have an unsurprisingly non-daughter weekend, and so have painted my nails a lovely, dusky pink, ready for living my life over the next couple of days. Perhaps I am a heartless cow for not being upset over my daughter – I AM anxious for her, that my news will not disrupt other aspects of her life or affect her schooling, but I have spent a YEAR off and on worrying about telling her, always anticipating the possibility of total rejection, and now that I have told her I feel primarily relief, and simply resigned to the way she is feeling as an inevitable consequence of my news. Now that my news is out to all that matter to me, I am here to help them all in any way I can to come to terms with this, but after years and years of suppressing my feminine side to the detriment of my own happiness, with little thanks for all that I have done for others in my life, at the age of 48 it is time to finally LIVE my life, and be happy.
P.S. Today I had several letters addressed to me… and only one for him!