As the saying goes, I’m SO glad it’s Friday! But not because work has been a torture, it hasn’t been that bad, it’s just been a long slog, 12 days without a break. It’s difficult to believe that I have completed week 4 of my RLE, my Real Life Experience, as a woman… but the title of my log says it all – I’m just being ME… and it’s absolutely wonderful! Some highlights:
- Monday 23rd Feb – as per my previous post, I worked the whole weekend in Dublin, and so leaving the hotel in the morning I was into work just after 9.00am, much earlier than usual, in order to look after any immediate problems following system go-live… and thankfully there wasn’t much. I popped over to my company’s HQ building to arrange a few things, and everyone I dealt with was SO nice. Mary said she saw me in my skirt on Friday and I looked great, I organised a couple of things with system admin guys who were very obliging, and then another guy popped over to me who arranged access to my old email address to find contacts; he was very helpful, and he winked at me as I left the floor. After lunch, I headed back to my current desk, and had a wee chat with a girl I have known for years, who said she liked my handbag.
- Tuesday 24th Feb – hmm, not much happened today of any note… except for the feeling I felt inside – I felt beautiful!! I don’t mean that I thought I looked beautiful, I am hardly that modest – I think I present reasonably well, and I have an idea about how to dress – but inside I just felt wonderful, and content with myself. I was wearing a smart black dress with pink, orange and red butterflies and flowers, and black heels on my feet. Going to the kitchen to get cups of tea I saw reflections of myself in an office window as I walked, dress swaying, and I felt lovely and girlie… and that is me.
- Wednesday 25th Feb – It was a short work day, as Wednesdays generally are. At lunch time I had a nice long chat with my team colleague Fiona – now I am living as me, I can let my girlie side loose, and the two of us get on well. Later I had a wee chat with a guy called Suchen… who has never had any amiable chat with me at all up until that day. Once home I went to the post office to mail my driving license application; the young girl who served me was really talkative and very friendly. Onto M&S, where I reluctantly returned a pretty pair of shoes that were just too tight… and then bought another pair which were much better, if less adventurous in design; I also tried a marked down dress in the changing rooms… and totally lost my temper with the wretched thing, it was so difficult to get on, and then off at which point half my face came off! I headed onto a Clarkes shoe shop where I saw some GORGEOUS navy suede shoes that looked very comfortable – the middle-aged assistant was really nice, she came over and said ‘Can I help you madam?’, then went to check if the shoes were available in my size; they were only available in a standard width, which were a bit tight when tried on, so she called over to her colleague and said “Would you check online if they have this shoe in this lady’s size?” Alas they didn’t, but I got good advice and lots of help, and left very happy, especially that they do more or less every style in my size!! I drove over to Sprucefield for an emergency stock-up on foundation, tried some shoes in the large M&S (without purchase), and then rendez-vouzed with my two girlies friends for dinner at Ed’s… except that when I arrived there was a horrendous amount of noise from some live gig going on upstairs in the restaurant, a TOTAL turn-off. I suggested we go elsewhere and, whether I was bolshie or otherwise about it, my friends drinks were cancelled and we exited… with a waitress running after me almost begging for me to stay, upset that something was wrong – uh, yeah! We ended up at a place which I think was called Chicago Blue, a typical American-style burger and fried chicken restaurant… but at least it was quiet; my lasagne and salad turned out to be rather good and, as usual, so was the company of my friends. I decided to show my face at support group HQ for the first time in four weeks… and overall wished I had not bothered – it WAS really nice to meet a girl called Charlie who was working on a uni- project about trans people, but the whole idea of skulking in some safe room where some girls visit because they can’t dress anywhere else, so undercover, is just as far removed from where I am now as I can imagine… and of course it serves a purpose for such girls with restrictions and/or who are not confident, but that is not me at all.
- Thursday 26th Feb – oh what a lovely day Thursday was, despite being a longer work day. Well, I say longer ‘work day’, but I had a HUGE amount of girlie chat with Leisa – it started with some bitching about work, but it soon digressed to more pleasurable topics such as shoes, our weekends and favoured activities, and then onto her wedding and her dress… and MOI had much input about that, which all seemed to go down well, even advice! She is going to keep me in the loop with how her dress choices evolve, and said she liked my new M&S shoes, as did my lovely colleague Ram. At 12.30 I left for lunch with Karen, a girl some way above me in the department hierarchy but on a different stream, and I was not entirely sure what it would be like… BUT IT WAS JUST FAB!!!!! We had SUCH a lovely time, the food was reasonable, and although for a while the chat was about work I steered it onto matter such as family, children, and she also asked a few things about my transition which I didn’t mind; she actually said that when the news came out at work about me that she was quite upset, and had to go for a walk into town to get away from the office – I found it a bit odd, considering that we haven’t previously interacted much, but she said it was because she just could not get her head around just how hard it must have been for me to struggle as my former self. She said I look “SO much happier, and I look lovely too” (aw!), later I was talking about how I managed my previous team at work and how I treated them and she said that it was a “very female way of doing things”! She paid for lunch, saying that I can get the next one – so we will lunch again! In the afternoon I was in my largest work meeting for some time, and definitely largest as Andrea – I was one of eleven, talking about the next phase of the project and my stream… and I felt no nerves at all, and contributed quite a lot, and even though my voice is not strong nobody had a problem hearing me; I was very happy with the outcome of that meeting, and am looking forward to work content over the coming months. As I was leaving for the day, I had a quick chat with Natalie, who said my new shoes were nice and very ‘dainty’.
- Friday 27th Feb – I had a HUGE chat with Fiona today just before lunch, it started when I gave myself a quick spray with my perfume (Femme by Boss), and she asked what it was, so I showed her and then asked if she could give herself a quick spray – she said it was really nice… and then we talked on and on about perfumes, each others failed relationships, and so on; when I had arrived at work she had said that she loved my jacket, a white short bomber-style padded jacket with a lovely fluffy hood. I am training up a new guy in my team, who joined my company after I went to work as Andrea, so it is good that he doesn’t know about my former identity; we are getting on well enough so far. The rest of the work day was nothing of particular note… and yet it’s all so much more appealing now! Once home I went to Tesco and did a moderate shop, some essential groceries and clothes in the sale – for the first time in months and months (as Andrea) I didn’t bother going to a checkout person but to the self-serve tills, you see there were people with huge trolley loads at all the tills, I was tired after my 12 days of continuous work, and I just could not be bothered to queue to be served by a person… but that’s the thing, why do I need to worry about that now, I spend my whole day, EVERY day, interacting with people as my true self, and I don’t think I have much left to prove.
I’m looking forward to my weekend – it’ll be a very busy Saturday… and Sunday I may even stay at home to chill and tidy up my messy house!