Changing Views Of Me… and was I really ever anything other than a woman?

I suppose most of my posts that I write on my blog are along the lines of “this is what’s happened over a period of X days, and I felt emotions A, B, C…” and so on, along with the occasional selfie or two. And, for me, that has all been very well, it preserves memories of some really special times, and special people. I also up to now have written about the vast majority of activities done and time spent while presenting as the real me, because those were such high points in my otherwise dull and unhappy life. But now? Well, now, I’m me ALL the time… and SO much of my life every day is such a real joy! I can hardly write about ALL that I do now as Andrea… because that’s 24/7, and you’d all no doubt nod off if I wrote about it all.

So I thought I would pause in the diarying and reflect on a couple of things. Everyone is different… and thus the people that now know about Andrea (which is very nearly EVERYONE that knows me) have not all reacted the same. Some have taken quite a while to get used to the idea, many (especially at work) have taken to me instantly… and others not, and of course there is my daughter who is awaiting counselling and currently does not want to see me again:

  • My brother was the first person that I came out to, way back in September… and although our emails are ongoing and largely unphased it turns out that after all this time he is still trying to get used to the idea of me as a girl. One reason for this is that he does not talk to ANYONE about it, thus any thoughts he has about it are in his head and not channelled to anyone that can help.
  • My parents were the next people who I came out to. Their initial reaction was utmost shock, and it took them weeks to communicate coherently about it to me, then with a tonne of questions that I replied to as honestly and openly and helpfully as I could. Two months after I told them about me, it was Christmas Day, when I received my first email addressed “Dear Andrea”, a Dorothy Perkins e-giftcard for me to buy girlie clothes… and now they have photos of me that they have commented on very favourably and we are back to phone conversations. So, my ageing parents, having recovered from initial shock, have way-overtaken my supposedly open-minded brother in their acceptance of me.
  • Two old friends immediately accepted me… proving that they are indeed true friends.
  • My daughter is in email contact with me, largely around presents for her forthcoming birthday (typical teenager)… but other than that she cannot take this on board as yet, poor thing.
  • My ex- was initially rather positive and seemingly open-minded about my situation… but has now become less positive, blaming purely my transsexual femininity on the break up of our marriage… even though I suppressed it as much as I could at that time… and even though the legal process concluded that it was a no/equal fault break-up.
  • My boss was initially very supportive of me, although rather naive about the difference between a TS and a CD… but at this point, now that I am full-time, he seems to be becoming less supportive, or at least less sensitive, about this significant, psychological life-change that I am going through and is getting ready to pile stress and pressure back onto my work life as if nothing has changed… and I am worried I just will not be able to take this.
  • The vast majority of my work colleagues have been instantly accepting, and in only seven working days it has been really interesting watching the relationship between us evolve and, in some cases, blossom. People I have never had much dealings with up to now suddenly talk to me and we have good conversations. A girl I have never had much to do with has invited me to lunch… and her power-figure facade has fallen away, at least with me, and she has shown a sensitive side.

So all of those comparisons and observations are what I think of as changing views, generally positive, but sometimes becoming either less so or progressing slower than expected. All this does not mean I will push anyone, I am not a pushy person, I want people to come to accept me in their own time… as long as it takes for them to do so.

Today (Wednesday 11th Feb) is only Day 13 of me living full-time as a woman… and yet today I was thinking about the past… and, well, maybe I have a goldfish memory, but as the days go on it is already becoming difficult to believe firstly that I carried on so long pretending to be some ‘guy’ that people thought they knew, and secondly that I was ever really ‘male’ at all. Of course, if I think harder, then of course I realise that I did go through life life that, conforming to people’s expectations because I was afraid to do anything else. And, if I am honest with myself, I know I do have some good memories even when I was living as a ‘male’… but all the really vivid, happy memories that immediately spring to mind are of life as Andrea over the past year when I REALLY started to live life with no boundaries… and almost everything that I do now is SUCH fun, I notice so much more, so many interactions are more fulfilling, and I take less for granted.

The ONE person who I don’t feel happy dealing with at the moment is my boss – I don’t know whether that says more about me or him, I have not had a lot of time with him since I started my RLE… but the main problem I feel is that he continues to be a workaholic (who is far too dedicated to work to the detriment, at least time-wise, to his family… even if he may well be a fine parent) with the expectation that everyone else adopts a similar attitude to work; he generally treats people like commodities who fulfil an end-game for his own objectives, and I don’t think that is right. But he is possibly at least partly caught up with the general attitude going around in my company at the moment, which is the abuse of people’s personal time, leading to many poor work-life balances.

So I sign off feeling fulfilled with every-day life… and yet a little anxious about what the future holds at work.

X

7 thoughts on “Changing Views Of Me… and was I really ever anything other than a woman?

  1. A lovely reflective blog Andrea. What you have put in print is an excellent recap of the many significant events in your coming out process if that is the correct way to put it. All the large and small pieces of your jigsaw puzzle are really dropping into place. Do not be too surprised with regard to your ‘workaholic’ boss. In my experience they are all cut from the same cloth and when it comes right down to it they will not really care who they trample over, who they destroy, so long as they get the maximum possible from those below them to make them look good in the eyes of those over them. I really will be surprised if the pressure you were once under did not return. It is how you can manage it that will count for your own wellbeing. Also such a positive outcome with respect to your work colleagues.

    It was so wonderful of you to come round to chat to me this evening. Thank you so much it was great to chat to you.

    M xo

  2. Well well, less than 2 weeks in and you can barely recall life “before”, if that didn’t show just how right transition is for you then I don’t know what will. I find it hard to concieve of you ever having been anything other than the woman you are, the idea is just ludicrous.

    As for the boss, at least he’s consistent in his treatment of you pre- and post- full time. He was an arse before and he’s still an arse, but it appears not a transphobic arse. So that’s something.

  3. Hello Andrea

    I have been reading your blog with interest. I have transitioned twice… once from Northern Ireland to England many years ago and from male to female 3 years ago.

    I thought I would offer you some thoughts about your boss. Like you I got a large range of reactions to my transition from total denial to total acceptance and everything in between. I fitted into my new social role very well and all of a sudden I was being treated as an ordinary, everyday woman much faster than I expected. People stopped asking or talking about my transition and just accepted me as me. I never thought it would happen so fast, I thought it would take months, maybe years but it took about 3 days.

    From your description your boss is treating you no different from anyone else. He appears to treat everyone badly so it is a rather negative form of acceptance, but acceptance it is. The next thing you might start to experience is good old sexism and its first manifestation will be men who listened to you previously no longer valuing what you have to say or talking over you. I remember meetings where I made perfectly valid points and then the meeting continued like I had never spoken. When one of the blokes made the same point I did he was acknowledged. The ladies I spoke to just shrugged and told me to get used to it as they have been on the receiving end of that behaviour all their lives.

    As long as you are treated just like everyone else – just as badly as everyone else – then everything is OK. Being an everyday woman is like being an everyday man and life just has to be lived with a slightly different perspective than before. Transition is paradoxical, it changes so much but changes so little as well. Looking back from where I am now to where I was then I spend my life doing much the same as before, the ordinary things like cooking, shopping, visiting friends, feeding the cat, tidying the house, yelling at the kids. In many respects there is little or no difference except for one detail and it matters to almost no one else – I feel “right”.

    Finally, you say ….

    “it is already becoming difficult to believe firstly that I carried on so long pretending to be some ‘guy’ that people thought they knew, and secondly that I was ever really ‘male’ at all. ”

    I can understand that too. My old life seems to belong to someone else and even family members who see the old me in photos have found themselves wondering who “he” is before they remember with an embarrassed laugh. Was I ever “really male”? No, I do not think I was, nor was I wholly female either but I was definitely more female than male. The botch-up that Mother Nature made in my case has left me wedged somewhere in between but I am far, far, far more content as a female. At last, I can actually sleep at night.

    • Thanks for your detailed reply and valuable thoughts. Interestingly enough (to me anyway) I have been talked over in meetings for years, because I have always been softly spoken and refused to engage in the loud altercations of typical alpha males. And, as you say, most of what I do is the same as before…. and yet it all feels more fulfilling because I feel right and SO happy about myself…. except that I also do so much more than I ever did before too! Oh, and today, I had my first mild argument with my boss, ALL in my lovely new (work in progress) voice!

  4. Andrea, your journey is one I can never embark on but reading of your success and happiness is still inspiring. Oh, and bosses are bosses – had you turned into a goldfish he’d still be overloading you!
    Hope your other stuff works out. xSiobhan

  5. You’re absolutely right that people will accept you in their own time, and I admire your philosophical approach. Some things can’t be hurried.
    Workaholics can work all the hours they want as far as I’m concerned, but it’s totally unacceptable when they expect others to do the same. Sadly, some can’t imagine a life beyond the workplace. On the positive side, it could be said your boss has accepted you with scarcely a thought… but on the whole I couldn’t put it any more eloquently than Kirsty!
    x

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