As I write, I am on Day 15 of my Real Life Experience (RLE), and have just completed my first 5-day week at my office as my true, female self. The words ‘true self’ really do ring true to me, because life spent full-time as a lady really feels totally magical, and yet totally normal, and it feels rather longer than two weeks that I have been doing this… but in a good way, as though everything that I now am doing as a girl should have always been done as such. Maybe this is why, along with all my preparation for going full-time and lesson learned during last year, I have been living 24/7 and I have not actually had a stare or negative comment or anything in NINE days; I think that is pretty good going, even though I say so myself. Maybe that is because my confidence is through the roof… and maybe that is because I am finally living life as I should have done all along.
Here is a (quite detailed) summary of events of my past working week:
- Monday – up until this week, going back to work on a Monday after a weekend away from the drudgery of work has been a real struggle… especially if I had spent the weekend as ME doing girlie things and having to kick myself off a cliff and muddle along at work as that other ‘male’ person, who at this stage seems so oddly distant. But this Monday was surprisingly different from so many previous Mondays, and that was because, as usual since I went full-time, I got up and I felt EXCITED about life, going to work was another day of being me to look forward to, and there was no struggle! A while after getting to work I popped down to see Mary, Miss Fashionista of the department, and had a good natter; we talked about my forthcoming lunch with another woman in the department, and when I said I would feed back some gossip (to a limited extent) she said “good girl!”. A little later I bumped into a lady called Niamh, who I have known for years, and had a great chat with her – she said “you look great, and are showing up the rest of us!”. Another woman called Elaine, who I have to say dresses so very casual at work, said something similar… and maybe they are right, but I love to look smart. In the afternoon I had a good chat with Kenny, the guy who sits beside me; he’s really nice!
- Tuesday – at the station I went past the ticket office to head for the platform when the station head-ticket officer called after me, asking where I was going – I have been passing him, and chatting to him, for 15 years… and he does not recognise me! Tee hee! The following observation is not in any way a kind of thrill sensation, but more of an observation and something that makes me feel happy with my new body… even if it’s not all natural yet – I was riding on the train at speed, and I am sure I have become more observant about lots of things, but one thing that suddenly occurred to me was just how lovely it is to feel ones breasts gently shifting with the movement of the train! As I say, there is no thrill or excitement behind this, it is just an awareness of my body, and how I LOVE everything about it! When I got to work, I had to go to a different office as I have temporarily moved to a different building owing to a critical project I am working on; so that was a whole new set of people to present in front of… and I was not anxious at all. In fact, the head of the IT project on the vendor side said ‘Hi’ to me for the first time ever… even though he knew of me for a year. In the afternoon I had a really fab chat with a lady called Carol in the office building I used to work at, who I met for the first time after going full-time – she said I “look great” and “my eye make-up is really good”. We had fun chat about shoes and fashion, and I left changing into my ballet pumps to save my poor feet from walking in heels back to my new base. After posting my final coming-out letter to a friend, I headed on, eventually crossing a walk-bridge over the Liffey river… where I stopped halfway to give some coins to a homeless couple that I have known for a while and chat to quite often. Putting the money in their cup, the couple thanked me… and then I said “I don’t suppose you recognise me”, and they didn’t. I mentioned a few things that I had done in the past with them, including giving the guy a couple of pieces of cake shortly after his birthday, and eventually it twigged when they asked what my name was and I said “Well, it’s Andrea… now”. They were really nice, said that I was brave to be true to myself, and they were complimentary about my looks; the girl really liked my nails. That night I stayed down in Dublin at a guest house called the Townhouse, as the next day I had to leave early, and so I did a couple of extra hours work and saved myself four hours of commuting. I checked in, and all was okay; I was asked for ID, which was odd for Ireland, and I had to say that I didn’t have any as I was in the process of applying for a new passport and driving license. I checked into my room…. and Little-Miss-Fussy immediately went back down to reception to complain about the terrible amount of noise from the TV in the room next door, and so they gave me another room which was better. I dropped my stuff on the bed and went out to buy supper… as well as yet another hairbrush, as I had left my ‘normal’ one at work. While I was at the supermarket, a guy got in my way, but apologetically said “Sorry dear”!
- Wednesday – having set out everything to get ready the night before, with most stuff in an organised long line atop an old fireplace in the room, I managed to get fully ready 10 minutes quicker than normal, and went down for a cooked breakfast… which was rather staid and ordinary. When I checked out, the guy on reception said “Good morning my dear” and then addressed me as “me dear” again when I had handed over the key and bid him farewell. At work a nice young girl called Fiona sat next to me for a while, until it became obvious that the network cable/port at that desk was faulty. As soon as I took my coat off to reveal my black lacy chiffon top she said “Your top’s gorgeous!”, and when our Project Manager came over she said that her network connection was faulty but pointed to my PC and said “her’s is okay”; so great to be naturally addressed as a female! Later I had loads of chat with her about make up, morning routines, and so on. I had some fun jokey chat with some guys about how long it takes their colleague to make a good cup of tea, and then I had some nice chat with a really pleasant girl called Natalie who I have never had anything to do with until going full-time, which I find remarkable – we chatted about how warm it was on the floor, and how she is spraying herself with deodorant every five minutes, I said I was thinking about wearing a dress the next day to see if it was more comfortable and she encouraged “go for it!”. In the afternoon I went for my latest Gender Clinic appointment, which was positive enough… especially with hormones being mentioned for the first time; I get slightly perturbed with my psychologist who now and again keeps going on about “well, if we’d worked together more and done things over a period of time”… because frankly it just doesn’t work like that, they should know that everyone is different – my journey rocketed over the last year and although I managed to keep control of it the speed of acceleration astounded me. Afterwards I met up with my lovely BFF Kirsty for a coffee and chat, popped over to support group HQ and waited outside to say a quick hello to friend Michelle, and then went home happy with a cucumber that Kirsty bought for me when asked; WHY she thought it was a joke I don’t know… but I have eaten it with my salad tonight and it was just fine!
- Thursday things just got better at work, girlie-wise… and this was perhaps partly because for the first time IN MY WHOLE LIFE I went into work without wearing a pair of trousers, but instead a smart dress. Natalie said, a couple of times, the dress was “gorgeous”, and we had a real long chat all about shoes, with me getting some good tips from her. A little later my colleague and I were talking about the number of software fixes we had to deliver, and he said to our manager that he “had three and she has two”… so I loved hearing him labelling me as female. I went over to my old building to do a few things, and decided to pop into see a business manager I did work for up until a couple of year ago for some time – we had some really good chat, she said the usual stuff about how brave I was (which is always nice to hear), and went onto say how “fab” I looked, how “lovely my eyes are, and what great legs I have… compared to her tree trunks!”… and she is not at all over-weight. I popped up a floor to see Audrey for a couple of things, who said my dress was lovely, and later to see Joan (recruitment girl, mentioned in a few previous posts) who was the first person I came out to work to, and she also said how great I looked, and we had some good catch-up. As I started to head back I got a text from Breda, who saw the real me for the first time last Thursday, who said that Natalie told her that I was wearing a dress and looked “really pretty” – isn’t that nice!!! Made me feel wonderful! And when I got back to my office building Breda was there and said that the dress was lovely! SOOO good to get compliments – I NEVER, EVER had this many in my former life… and I’m only just into week 3!!
- Friday 13th– unlucky for some… but not me! YET another fab day at work! Today I was determined to wear a skirt and, as it was smart-casual day, I wore the Next skirt (that made its debut at the Ulster Museum with Kirsty which I posted about a few weeks ago) and a light polo top, over a lovely short slip, teamed with ankle boots. I enjoyed an early conversation with Natalie, who said my outfit was “very cute”, where we had some more fun shoe/boot chat, and later saw Breda who said gave me a very positive up-and-down look and said “Hmm, very nice!” We met in the kitchen over coffee and I commented that her top was nice and where did she get if from? She said Oasis, and then I commented that I went into an Oasis store a few weeks ago and thought their latest range had some lovely tops and she said “You’re such a girl” with a warm laugh; I said that I used to shop at Primark and she said “Oh no, you’re a lady now, you can’t do that any more!” I sent a quick email to Audrey wishing her a good weekend, and had a nice reply, which said “That dress you had on yesterday was absolutely fab!”. I popped out about 2.00pm for a wrap at a store not too far away, and was served by a really cheery girl at the till. Later in the afternoon my Project Manager sent an email to Fiona and I asking us to do something and the email was addressed “Ladies”! HOW lovely I felt. Late in the afternoon I managed to fix some urgent things and got on really well, and in a conference call that my boss pulled me into he started off on his usual speech with only half of the facts and I soon overrode him and managed to take control of the conversation, all in my girlie voice… and I felt SO confident! The train journey home was uneventful, though as I went to get off I saw one of the guys in my department and as always I made an effort to have a little chat with him and wish him a good weekend.
Not for the first time I got home, exited the car, and, with a full five-day week concluded at work as ME, I jumped for joy and giggled as I put the key in the door, feeling on top of the world and full of glee.
Life has never felt this good! And that is why what I have done is 100% right!