My first week at work… as a woman!

As per previous blog posts, on the 30th January I started living the rest of my life as a woman, and on Tuesday 3rd January I went into work for the first time as my true self… as Andrea!

In summary, pretty much the whole four days have been absolutely magical, and as I sit here typing away on a Friday evening, life feels better than it ever has done! People have generally been incredible, in their supportiveness and kindness… and I’m sorry if I come across as at all big-headed when I quote some of the things that people have said, but this is the most astonishing week of my life and I’m afraid I have to preserve some of the commentary because some of it has bowled me over.

Tuesday morning I woke to the alarm I had set for myself at 6.45am, in order to hopefully give myself plenty of time to get ready… as well as cope with the wintry weather. Once up I jumped in the shower, feeling alive, not at all nervous, and with purpose; it took me a typical 90 minutes from out-of-bed to out-of-the-door, including a bit of handbag packing, but I left feeling happy with my work-look. The house didn’t really warm up that much the whole time I was getting ready… and I found out why when I got in the car and set off, with the temperature reading -6.5C! I drove slowly along my country roads until the dual carriageway, when a normal speed still got me to the station 5 minutes earlier than expected. I locked the car, and set off across the car park to the station… and felt absolutely bizarre and yet incredible too, heading to the station just as I have done for years… but finally presenting as the woman inside of me. With time to spare I just had to indulge in the novelty of using the ladies toilets at the station, and then showed my ticket to the station inspector… a guy who I have done the same to for years and years, and yet he did not notice any trace of the old-me in the new one. I did not have long to wait on the platform before the train arrived, and I boarded and found a two-seater row to myself, took my coat off, and sat… feeling just so natural to be living my life as me. The first half of the journey I spent catching up with emails and so on… and, refreshing one of my email addresses, I noticed an email from my daughter… the daughter that doesn’t want to see me again! The email simply said “Hi!”… but at least it is a start, and so I sent a quick email back to her, hoping for a response. I also had an email from HR telling me to delay my arrival by half an hour as she would not be out of a meeting to receive me. The latter half of my journey I closed my eyes to get a bit of rest… and soon felt a sense of total inner peace, as though I had reached some part of my soul not ever previously encountered.

At Dublin I alighted from the terminated train, for the second time as Andrea… but for the first time it was to go to work. I went to the ladies toilet, and then to an Insomnia coffee outlet to kill some time before I had to be at work. I ordered a coffee and a scone and, after paying, waited in-line for my drink; presently I was at the front of the queue and the manager of the barrista said “the mocha is for the lady”… which was me, and that was a good pre-cursor to my arrival at work.

There is a railway bridge over the street shortly before my office, it has three arches, a middle one for traffic and two small outer ones for pedestrians – as I walked through one of these outer arches I could see my office in front of me… but rather than feel nervous I felt a joyous exhilaration that I was finally there as me. I walked through the front doors, past reception, and to a break out area where I phoned the HR girl. While I waited for HR, one of the reception women came up to me and asked if she could help and I simply said that HR were on the way down; she had obviously not recognised me… which is good. HR soon arrived, with a warm smile on her face, and sat next to me and welcomed me, saying how fab I looked; I wore a silvery white satin top with a black and grey butterfly pattern, black work trousers, a smart black cardy, and black ankle boots. She talked a bit about my journey to becoming a full-time woman over the past year, a bit about the schedule to come, and at times I almost burst into tears, so amazed that for the first time in 15 years I was at my company’s office as Andrea. We went to get a photo done for my new security card, which looks reasonable, and then a couple of IT managers (one my boss) came down and explained about my new logins and so on. Eventually we went up to my floor and, after bumping into a colleague who wished me well, I walked all the way along the floor to my desk; a guy called Gerry said ‘Hello’ and indicated they wouldn’t make any fuss but just let me settle in, but I soon had a bit of chat with them because the girl who works for him was wearing the very same blouse that I had worn the Friday beforehand to lunch with my boss, and so I negotiated with her that I would wear it on Mondays and she could wear it any other day. There was an amount of laughter, and then I settled at my desk and entered into a really long chat with Kenny who sits next to me… which started with me saying “Well, you know last week when you said to me ‘I know you’re a male’, well, as it turns out, you weren’t correct!”. After him I then had an equally long chat with a young girl before being taken out to lunch by a colleague I have known for some time; we only had soup, but it was nice to be treated to lunch, and he held the door open for me everywhere we went.

In the afternoon I had a long chat with a consistently fashionable girl called Mary… who said I looked “amazing” – she said my nails were glamorous, much better than hers, and seemed astonished at the detail I went to with my jewellery too. Alas it was then time to do some work… but logging in as Andrea was really quite nice, and all I had to really do that afternoon was check what accesses I was missing and arrange it; I also had several people come over to offer support… and general amazement at “my bravery”. I was happy enough not to get an early train, and so left to get a train arriving at 8.15pm at Newry, where I got off with many others, just another girl heading home from a long day at the office. That was my first day at work as Andrea… and it was utter joy!

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On Wednesday the journey was similar to work… except that I thought I would treat myself to a cup of tea from the passing trolley, which sat and cooled while I touched up my make up at my seat… such a girlie thing to do, and rather a novelty. Walking towards the office in heels, I was amazed at how much they echoed as I walked through the office complex near the station… but it sounded great.

Outside my office was a guy I have known for years, and a colleague of his that I didn’t… and as I got close to him it dawned on him that the new-me was before him, and lovely chat ensued. Once inside at the lifts I bumped into another lady I have known for some time, who was really supportive. I walked up the stairs to my floor, feeling just a little nervous, but once at my seat I was okay. I had a nice email from a lovely lady called Audrey so, after breakfast, I popped down to see her… but she was in conversation with someone else and so I had a wee chat with Mary again, who complimented me on my top; Audrey then came over, and the three of us had some nice chat… including a bit of bitching! At lunchtime I popped to the canteen to get a wrap and, once again, the sound of my heels on the tiled floor was astonishing. The canteen manager, who had been briefed about me, was nice and said I looked good… but on the way back to the lifts I passed a guy from IT who I have known for some time and he did not look happy to say anything to me; oh well, can’t please everyone. But back at my desk I received another email from Audrey saying “I hope you won’t be offended when I say that you look AMAZING” – I wrote back, thanked her, and said “Why would I mind you saying that? I’m a girl, I love compliments”!

The train home was uneventful, but great at the same time, as usual the guard checked my ticket… and I doubt he recognised me. Later in the evening a meal had been planned, so with time to kill I went to Tesco to do a small food shop – as I queued at the till I overhead some talk with customers in front, who obviously knew checkout girl, that she was going away… which allowed me to subsequently launch into a full conversation with her about it, she was going on a mystery tour to a to-be-announced European destination, it all sounded very exciting. I could have popped home for a short while before dinner out, but I did not bother… because for the FIRST time in my life, I did not need to go home to change into my female clothes… as I was already in them! So I surfed the net for a wee while in Tesco, and then drove to Lisburn and parked at the leisure complex shortly before 8.00pm.

With a bit of texting and waiting my friends Kirsty and Michelle arrived and I exited the car to meet them and, after quick hugs, we went to Ed’s Bar & Grill for a return visit – I had suggested having a meal out to celebrate my first Wednesday living full-time as me. We had a lovely meal, though passed on dessert this time, and parted at about 9.50pm with those lovely girls treating me to my dinner – the two of them were returning to support group HQ… but, due to it being my first time being full-time with the pair, it really didn’t seem right to accompany them to the safety of HQ, and so I went home with the intention of getting to bed early.

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Arriving at the station on Thursday morning there seemed to be some issue with the trains, and confusion over platforms. I hastily showed my ticket and was about to go to my usual platform when an inspector behind me said “Where are you going to love?” Well, I told him, and he directed me to another platform where we presently boarded.

During the morning at work I bumped into Mary and, after a quick chat, another lady I have known for some time called Elaine was passing us but behind me – Mary pointed her out to me, and when I turned to her Elaine’s face looked rather aghast, and she gave me a hug! Then we had a long chat and, although she got my name wrong a couple of times (but immediately corrected herself), it was good to chat. I bumped into another couple of guys immediately afterwards, one of whom really surprised me and was really nice, and when I got back to my desk there was an email from a girl called Karen I have not really known to talk to at all asking if all was okay – during the day, a really nice email conversation ensued, with a possible lunch date on the cards.

Kenny was heading off for an early lunch… and asked me if I wanted to accompany him. Oooh, yes please! So we walked about 10 minutes to a lovely cafe, where we had lovely toasted continental sandwiches and a seriously good mocha for me; we were there nearly an hour, and had a lovely time, talking quite a bit about his musical career. Once we had returned, I had to join a conference call to discuss a certain work topic – I was slightly nervous, but got on fine, and with my best girlie voice I said a few things; a nice, big cuddly bear of a guy called John was on the call and, after I had said something, he was asked a question by someone and he had to ask them to repeat it as he said he was “away with the fairies”… which will become relevant later on.

At 5.30pm my project manager had scheduled a meeting at another building but, as his previous meeting was over-running, I suggested I would go on ahead of him, which I did. I was hoping that I would be able to meet a lovely lady called Breda when I got there (who I had told my news to the previous week), and indeed she was. A guy who works for me let me into the building with his pass, and was really nice to me, and then I walked tentatively up to Breda and said a soft ‘Hello’ – she turned around, said “oh my goodness”, and gave me a hug… and then sat me down opposite her and took a good look at me. Now, she is a pretty woman herself, but she was overflowing with compliments to me about so many things, she was literally astounded, and as we got into conversation she said “oh my god, even your mannerisms, and your voice…”. For some reason she thought I would be blonde… and, as it was rather hot in the room, I started taking my jacket off and she started to say “I bet you’ve got lovely arms t- oh my god, you have!” A while later she said “You really ARE beautiful!” and I had to tell her that if she said much more I would burst into tears. She then told me that once John had got off the earlier conference call that I referred to, he had rushed around to Breda and said “Gosh, she even sounds like a girl!”, which is a good compliment; Breda said he is very excited by it all. I eventually had to join the informal meeting with my colleagues… though literally a couple of minutes later, I took my girlie reading glasses out… and then rushed over to show Breda, and yet again she was almost beyond belief, she said they were lovely and that I had to stay elegant now! After about half an hour of meeting it was time to leave, and so I donned my jacket and coat, and then popped over to Breda who was at the desk of her manger called Tony – I gave a quick apology for the interruption and said goodbye to Breda; later on I got a text from her saying that once I had gone Tony had said “Who is she?”… and when Breda told him a huge jaw dropping moment ensued. So it is going to be really interesting meeting him I think!!! The text ended by saying “Lookin’ good girl!” 🙂

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Friday was smart-casual day at work so I wore berry-coloured leggings and a sheer patterned cream long-sleeved top over a camisole. I also took a more casual handbag… and was astonished by how much lighter it was.

During the morning a girl called Grace from the treasury department was at the coffee station when I got there for some tea. I have never spoken to her before… but she said hi, and offered congratulations and commented on my bravery. She said her colleagues and herself had noticed just how well I walk in heels, and how much more confident I walk now, how nice I walk without rushing around. So that was nice!

After lunch I popped to HR and saw the lady who had arranged everything for my transition over to working as Andrea. She was very nice… and she said that I actually look better than in Andrea at workmy selfie photo! Wow! She and another girl also complimented me on my top… which is from Tesco! I returned to my desk to get a lovely supportive email from a girl called Roz… and a lovely email chat ensued.

In the afternoon I emailed Karen to confirm a day for lunch and, after a couple of emails backwards and forwards, we are meeting up next Friday. Then she wrote this – “I saw you briefly early on, and you look AMAZING – I will have to step up my game”! A biological girl saying this about me!!! Alas my boss put a bit of a dampener on the day by ringing me at nearly 6.00pm asking me to start doing some work he had thought up, along with a hint about working next weekend… which he can forget.

The journey home once again was uneventful…. though once off the train I noticed a girl in front of me called Debbie who I have know to chat to at the station on and off for years, but she does not know about the real me. Along the car park I was right behind her, and I thought about saying hello… and then what? But my mouth was dry, it was late… and then the moment was gone. Maybe next time…

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So that was my first week at work, a four-day week at that… but a pretty eventful one, full of acceptance, amazing compliments and support; ya know, people can really surprise you!

13 thoughts on “My first week at work… as a woman!

  1. All I can say us WOW! What a wonderful week you have had. You really seem to have given some of the girls at work serious competition if that is the correct phrase. It is a pity you missed your opportunity with Debbie but you will get another. It sounds like you were nervous at the thought of approaching her which is so unlike you. She will be delighted at the real you.. I just feel so so happy for you.

    M xo

    • Thanks Michelle. I think the thing with Debbie was that she was the very first person who I would be telling after the event and not before…. and I hadn’t planned enough about what to say.

  2. I knew things would go well for you. Your confidence will always insure your success. I am so happy for you. Love, Julia

  3. I am a CD in New Jersey ( USA) and about 8 years ago came out to the extent I wanted – not often, but fully dressed with other cd’s, several TS’s, a couple wives of CD’s and experienced over-all good times. YOUR “story” is very uplifting. I am proud of people I have met who are in the transgender range and you just add to that feeling. You are just Delightfull dear and I wish you the absolute best! Hugggs, Robin

  4. Could your week possibly have been any better, Andrea?! I had an enormous smile on my face as I read every word, so goodness knows how you must have been feeling. It sounds like you have some wonderful colleagues, too – so friendly and supportive! It just goes to show that dreams CAN come true – you’re an inspiration, hun 🙂

  5. So pleased that you had a fantastic week at work and that every thing went well. Your latest selfie is lovely and your make up is just right for work you look as if you have a very petite figure. I think clothes wise most things will suit you.
    I’m pleased for you that your daughter sent that email hopefully she will be wanting to spend some time with you soon.

    Every day is a adventure now

    Leah x

    • Thanks Leah. Yeah, my figure is quite petite… now… after a lot of weight loss since end-2012… and it is flattering you notice just from a selfie. I am usually UK 10 on top and 8 below. X

  6. I can’t help from noticing that your BFF Kirsty Holland did not LIKE or comment on your most happy blog ever? Is she jealous and bitter? Just wondering. Julia

    • I don’t quite see the benefit of you having made this post Julia. It sounds like u have some negativity in your life, which is a shame, perhaps I will catch up with your latest blog entries to see what’s up. Or perhaps due to the negative vibe I shouldn’t…?

      My BFF hasn’t got a bitter bone in her body, because she is such a kind and considerate girl . We are close friends and she has consequently texted and emailed me regularly wirh tonnes of support, both wishing me good luck before I started work and subsequently to say in some depth just how pleased she is for me. I was also lucky to spend time with her both on Wednesday evening and also over the weekend, both of which u should have read about if you have had time to read all my blog posts. So ‘no’, she is not jealous or bitter… and it is disappointing that I have to reply as such to your comment.

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