How much??? Another high-spend weekend.

I am starting to wonder whether I should tell you the bank that I have my credit card with, because if you buy shares in the company then you will probably do very well in the near future! Well, you’d do better if I didn’t pay my credit card balance every month…

After the previous weekend I thought that I might have a low-spend weekend this time… but that did not work out at all. First on the agenda for Saturday was the next walk with my group… but when the alarm woke me at 7.55 I got out of bed and felt totally wrecked, and pushing aside the curtain to reveal very grey skies and heavy, showery rain, and my enthusiasm for going walking vanished, and so I went back to bed to awake three hours later, a little more refreshed.

I left the house at 1.00, armed with a voucher to save £6 if I spent more than £30 in my first port of call, Sainsburys – well, I figured that if I bought a pair of trousers that I had admired the previous time, along with a few groceries, I might just scrape past the £30 barrier… and so it was slightly surprising when I paid the rather handsome (too) young check-out guy to find I had spent three times as much!! I met my two friends at Lisburn and we headed into Belfast city, parking as usual at Castle Court with the intention of shopping together. I say ‘intention’ because within 5 minutes we has split up… and met again two hours later! Kirsty and Michelle headed to Debenhams while I popped to Superdrug… with the ‘intention’ of picking up a lip crayon… except that when I passed the threading ladies and saw that they did eyebrows for only £5 I just had to get mine sorted out, they were well overdue; I had to wait quite some time for my turn, and then the threading took a long time, but the results were lovely with thin, curvy brows more than ever before. Then on the way to Debenhams I got ambushed by a Bulgarian lady at a beauty products counter and ended up buying some Dead Sea exfoliating salt… which I suppose I didn’t need… but I did get if for half price, after haggling with her, but I felt I should buy something as I enjoyed the pampering as well as quite a few laughs between us, and my hands felt lovely after her ‘demo’. At this point I got a message from Kirsty saying that the two of them had got to a support group meet, and so I carried on shopping, eventually ending up at a specialist outdoors shop which I had intended going to for quite some time to kit myself out with a good Goretex walking coat with a good, peaked hood to keep heavier rain off my made-up face. After a few minutes of aimless browsing an obliging guy in his fifties came and helped me out, and I tried a couple of jackets on, while rejecting a few others on the basis of awful colours… and when I say ‘awful’, that is partly because they simply weren’t feminine enough… and thus just not moi. Then I was getting texts and calls from Kirsty hurrying me up, so I plumped for the more expensive option, a lovely raspberry pink coat… at £184! Gulp… even if it was £46 off.

Back at Lisburn, my friends changed into evening attire, though I could not be boandrea and kirsty at tony roma'sthered, I felt my day dress would be smart enough for our dining venue… and once there, where I saw one or two girls in similar attire (as well as a fair few looking dreadfully casual) then I knew I was right; kirsty was wearing her very latest purchase, a black dress with pink stripes down the side and a touch of in-fashion orange too. We ate at Tony Roma’s, a steak-house… which I was not sure about, as I eat very little red meat, but it turned out to be great – I had three steak medallions with different sauces, and the meat was cooked vecoffeery well; I also shared a tasty flatbread starter with Kirsty and finished off with a brownie (not as good as ‘what my BFF makes’) and a very ornate looking mocha… which turned out to be one of the best I have ever drunk. The waitress who served us was really nice and obliging, she even turned down the music for us when I complained about how close our table was to a speaker, and we all got ‘ladied’ twice when apologies were made, once for when our main courses arrived before out starter plates had been taken away and also when chairs were being moved about for a new table. Overall, a reasonable day considering how it started.

Sunday was a very quiet day at home, with a break from a number of things – a break from spending, a break from removing the dreaded facial-hair (which I applied foundation over the top of), etc… but I did some nice girlie things including experimenting with eye shadow colours, painting my ever-lengthening nails a new colour, and rearranging clothes to create more space… something which I am fast running out of.

Full-Time Life As A Woman – Week 8 – Little Miss Chatterbox… and Agony Aunt?

Monday 23rd March:

Despite a typically poor Sunday night of sleep I was quite organised and fluid in my morning routineshift dress, white top of putting my face on; the day’s outfit wasn’t the first combination I had thought of, but I was really pleased with my appearance as I left the house. When I took my coat off at work Fiona said I looked very girlie, and then we caught up with each other’s weekends – HOW she prefers watching seven hours of rugby compared to my shopping and stuff I just don’t know! Late-morning I met Bernie, a lady I did work for a few years ago, and she said “You look great!”; I showed her my earrings and she said they were very nice, she thought they were diamonds, and she looked quite excited. I had a nice chat with Audrey, and complimented her top, which was a very nice wine colour with a rose pattern; she said she will organise lunch for us and Mary, which I really look forward to. In the afternoon I was in a meeting, and confident to contribute whenever required, and later had a chat with the security guard who I now know is called Peter, and is married… not that he is remotely my type! Too old for a start.

Tuesday 24th March:

Tuesday was a day of appointments, and by the time I got home I was rather weary. My initial speech therapy session was the first appointment of the day, at Belfast City Hospital; I was worried that I would not find a parking space in time, but I got to my appointment just a few minutes early having ascended about eight levels of car parking floors. My speech therapist came out to me a few minutes later and introduced herself; she seemed very nice, and explained that there was a new trainee who would be at the appointment provided that I did not mind… which I didn’t. The appointment went well, and she was very complimentary about my voice which made me feel very happy to have a professional say so – she said I have obviously put a lot of work into it, and feels that I am likely to need fewer sessions than most people, and they will predominantly focus on refining what I have done to date. She went through my recent gender history, a load of health questions, and then explained all the different components of the voice and how they are addressed when feminising the voice. At the end I had to read a passage, and then talk about my walking group, into a tape recorder… and overall it seemed to go well. Over the next hour I had a sandwich and tea at the hospital café, caught up with work emails on my mobile, and then drove to my next appointment, taking ages to find a parking spot – I did a video ‘interview’ with Charley, a student who is studying an anthropology-type degree (not sure of exact title) and has a project module in relation to transgender people, where I talked about how I came out to my family, how they have come to terms with it (or not), and how those relationships have changed; I was a little bit nervous talking in front of a camera, and was worried my voice wasn’t so good after so much talking with the speech therapist, but once we were done Charley said it was exactly what she wanted. After returning some clothes (and not buying a single thing) at a couple of shops I went to my final appointment, at the Gender Clinic with my therapist – overall it was fine, but the HUGE disappointment was that my hormone treatment may not start for MONTHS (at least partly because it is recommended to commence such treatment once laser hair removal is about half way through… which could be at least three-four months to that stage) AND, most of all, although I am living full-time, 24-7 as my female self this is not classed as RLE until I actually start hormones! How ludicrous! So I feel like my whole RLE is being delayed unnecessarily. (Have had to change the titles of previous blogs, to remove the phrase RLE… seeing as I am not on RLE at all as yet L ). I sent a text to my ex- to say that my therapist still recommends that my ex- sees the new-me before my daughter… and the eventual response was “Not at the moment”.

Wednesday 25th March:

Today was a great pronoun day and a poor boss day. As soon as I took my coat off I had a chat with Fiona, she said “Yesterday I was thinking ‘Where’s Andrea?’ and then remembered ‘Oh, yeah, she’s off’”… so that was a good start, and then I was copied on an email from a guy who previously mis-gendered me but this time I was referred to by name properly and also using ‘she’, so that’s an improvement from him. Later a guy from the business came over to discuss a few things with me and, after a while, my boss came over to hover… and eventually suggested a meeting, at which point time took on a whole new meaning, and the whole session dragged on and on as he got into the minute detail… and then we came out of the meeting and had to start looking at data on my screen, with me ‘driving’ on the keyboard; the business guy got increasingly infuriated as he was prevented from going to lunch, and by the time we were all done it was 2.00 and any chance of me feasibly going for lunch disappeared. Once home I went for petrol down in Southern Ireland a few miles away (as diesel is much cheaper there), then drove to Sprucefield for a quick grocery shop… where  I got a great bargain, a t-shirt reduced from £16 to half-price, which when scanned through the till rang up at £4.80! Final feature of the day was meeting my BFF – Kirsty was waiting for me outside M&S, we went into their café for a drink, cake, and a sandwich and salad for me; it was good to catch up… and be joined by Michelle who it turned out was clothes-shopping in the same store.

Thursday 26th March:

Another busy day at work when pressures prevented me from having a lunch break… or even a lunch. Late morning my PM (Project Manager) took me to a room to discuss something that was bothering him… and it was something about me! L Basically, both him and my boss are of the view that I am chatting too much!! I honestly didn’t think I was that bad and, as my PM said, perhaps I have not been mindful of the right or wrong time to be chatting to others… primarily girls. That is certainly something I NEVER thought I would get reprimanded for! The thing is, I have been living full-time as a woman for only eight weeks… and the world is so exciting and fresh, and I have so much catching up to do, having lived life for too long in the charade state rather than as the real me… AND I am loving having such enjoyable chat with some of the girls at work, some are so nice. I came out of that discussion and told my colleague about it, he said that he certainly hadn’t noticed me chatting a lot. Feels a bit like working at school! In the afternoon Carol bumped into me, commenting on my shoes “I see you’ve finally gone functional!” I was wearing a pair of Clarkes 1.5inch wedges which have a lovely decoration on the front, and she said that she liked them, they were “functional but also pretty”. By late afternoon I became very worried, as my voice was becoming quite hoarse – perhaps it was due to all of the appointments on the Tuesday, or due to me getting upset with someone on the phone due to slow progress on one of my work requests… sigh.

Friday 27th March:

When I got into the office in the morning Fiona was on a conference call and, after yesterday’s pep-talk from my PM, I thought I better focus more on work and not chat so much. After a while Fiona said she liked my dress; later we had some make-up chat, as she does a great job with her blusher and I sometimes wonder if mine is not so good. After the last two days of not having any lunch or break, due to work pressures, I was determined to make amends. I had shoes to return to Penneys, and that was my purpose for getting out of the office… eventually – I only stopped working at 1.40, and even asked permission to get out! Returned my shoes, bought cardigans in an assortment of colours, and once at the office tried one on and got Fiona to confirm that the size was okay; she’s great for talking about clothes and make up… and, well, most things really. Later on in the afternoon I became agony aunt for her – she is having an awful lot of problems arranging a hen party for one of her friends, trying to pick a date that suits everyone and getting little thanks, and she had just got a text from one of her close friends who was offended that the weekend chosen for the hen party clashed with her 30th birthday, for which the friend claimed a party would be happening… and so Fiona was asking advice from moi about how to respond! For some reason, she doesn’t think she is sensitive with her responses, so wanted me to help try and tone them down… which I did do. Later on, there were further replies from her friend… and further advice was required. It’s good to help, if I can.

So, a bit of a hectic work week and hectic appointments day… for which my voice is suffering; think I’ll be having a honey and lemon weekend…

x

My Gender-Journey Started Gaining Momentum Sooner Than I Thought! And a warning!

I am nearly 50 years old, and that’s a good enough excuse as to why I can’t remember in fine detail every aspect of my transsexual journey as a woman. The irreversible waterfall moment when I realised exactly what was going on inside my feminine head, and the gender I really am, I still recall with clarity as happening during 2012, and I still recall my early stages of puberty where I began showing an interest in women’s clothes… but the timelines in between are a bit hazy. I had thought up until now that my feminine side only started to mushroom once my marriage ended… but a chore I carried out at home recently highlighted that this is not entirely accurate.

In an effort to tidy up my house a little and also create more space for storing clothes, I decided to empty out a drawer of stuff that had been stashed away without particular attention for many years since my marriage ended – this largely consisted of credit card receipts, that I had accumulated since that time, the perhaps irrational reasoning being that if there was any question over my lifestyle and/or purchases since my separation became legal, or over how much I spent on my daughter, then I would be able to justify it all with receipts as not being in any way lavish. Sounds so irrational I’m sure, perhaps that’s more evidence as to what an unnecessary worrier I am. Anyway, in order to avoid potential identity fraud, I carried out the arduous task of going through every receipt and saving any with full credit card numbers for subsequent shredding… and as this task continued this is where it became a little interesting for me as it confirmed that I made a small number of moderate purchases while I was still married, in 2004. Some receipts also highlight that my purchases of ladies clothes from shops (and not just eBay) began rather earlier than I had thought, for example I have a receipt from M&S from the Christmas sales at the end of December 2006 (the first Christmas after marital separation) for £256.50… and although it did include three pairs of trousers to continue the pretence of living life as male (two pairs of which were returned) the other 15 items were all ladies wear or make-up (three of which were also returned). Another discovery was that below these receipts were a number of women’s magazines (e.g. Bella) that I had kept either the full publication or had torn out pages containing articles about dresses, shoes, or other ladies clothes of the season that took my fancy at that time… and these magazines also all date back to 2004! So, while I was struggling with marriage, where I now realise that in that relationship I was exhibiting many characteristics of a typical woman rather than the man I was supposed to be, my female self was also stirring and starting to reach out… and alas as I write that, I start to feel a bit sick, because it reminds me of a time that I now really want to forget, because it was not me at all, living life as a male person… even if it did allow me to bring my beloved daughter into the world. Of course, as one might expect, few of those purchases from that large receipt now remotely fit into my now well-defined soft, girlie image… and with much weight loss in 2013 none of them fit anyway, whichever of them I still do have boxed away somewhere!

Also, a warning for you girls who are not yet living full-time and are using your credit cards with a male name on for shopping – I came across just a single credit card receipt where my full, former male name, including the title, was actually printed on the receipt!! Now this doesn’t mean that this ever happens nowadays, and in the interests of credit card anti-fraud measures I can’t imagine that it does, but it makes me wonder whether if one is using a credit card in a store if the name on the credit card could potentially come up on the till screen…?

Saturday Tourist girls & Sunday Social Events Walk

As is the case for many of us, I have spent far too much of my life living in a place that I have not made enough attempt at exploring and getting to know… but all that started to change this time last year when my confidence started to mushroom and I did anything that I could to get out and about as my true female self. This continued on Saturday, with an excursion to Downpatrick planned with, and suggested by, my BFF Kirsty. After last weekend, and a recent credit card bill with quite a number of clothing purchases, my purse and I were looking forward to a low-spend weekend… but all that crumbled when Kirsty emailed me the night before with the news that Next had a flash sale on, and so that is where I met her just after midday, in Sprucefield-Next. I picked up a pair of shoes that I had ordered, then browsed the sale rails – Kirsty found me just as I picked up my second item of clothing and, after a bit of debate, she popped to Boots while I spent a few more minutes browsing. As I tried to look at a sweatshirt for my size next to a family with a large pram blocking the aisle the mum said to one of her sons “would you move out of the way for that lady?” (moi, of course). Once I had finished, and popped to the loo, Kirsty and I left for our destination, Downpatrick, to be local tourists.

Our first port of call was the cathedral where the grave stone of St Patrick is alleged to be, th??????????en down some steps we went to the St Patrick’s centre, the only ‘museum’ in the world dedicated to St Patrick. I bought the tickets, and the girl behind the counter led us into the self-guided exhibition. On the whole it was very interesting, and I think we both learned quite a bit, especially the English contingent of our party! For example, St Patrick was actually born in Britain, Scotland was named after the term Scotti which referred to tribes of Irish people (who settled in large numbers in Scotland in the 5th century), and there were perhaps as many as six St Patricks! Overall though, it seems that St Patrick had a cruel and sad life.afternoon tea

We exited the centre at around 2.45 quite hungry, and after a bit of strolling Kirsty noticed a place called Oakley Fayre; outside I pointed to a sign advertising afternoon tea, and we then eagerly went in. Eventually we were served by a waitress who said “What can I get you girls?” (Hmm, not just ladies, but girls!) Once I had ordered she addressed me as “love”, and when our afternoon tea arrived it looked truly wonderful… and tasted delicious! It was a really special lunch, and I am sure we will be back again.

Our next stop was Ballynoe Stone Circle just a few miles away, which we found after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing followed by a 5-10 minute walk; as with most stone circles, it would have been rather better to have been able to view it from an elevated position, but it was still fun to visit; there was also an abandoned railway station near where we parked, where the railway must have been ma??????????ny years ago. Finally we visited Inch Abbey… or In Shabby as Kirsty’s satnav insisted it was pronounced, a ruined former monastery of some size; it was a brief but enjoyable visit with much hilarity which largely revolved around a ‘piscina’ which seemed rather oddly to appear as though it was vertical! Then it was time to return to Sprucefield, where Kirsty and I parted after a best-friends hug.

My day was not done, as I ‘planned’ to do a few minutes of shopping. To Boots first for make-up… where I had a nice chat with a lady called Marie, who recognised me from many months ago when she had given me advice about foundation application; this time she said I looked good, and we had a lot of chat about the pleasures of visiting different parts of Ireland. Then time for the ladies again… and alas posters for an “up to 60% off” sale at M&S which I got sucked into… for a £154 shop, where I had an amusing and friendly exchange with the fitting room lady about my large handful of purchases and my poor credit card; included in those many sale purchases I bought my first necklace and earrings set which I look forward to wearing all of in due course.

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Sunday I was up early enough for a weekend, as I had a walk to look forward to… and it was not with my usual walking group, but a new group for me that I recently joined called Belfast Social Events – the events are very varied, including meals out, drinks, concerts, as well as a book group that Kirsty goes to, but they do walks too; this walk was to the east of Belfast in the Craigantlet Hills. Alas I was slightly late, because as per usual my female bladder can’t last a long time without release, so a Tesco petrol-station pit-stop was called for; thankfully the walking leader was also late, and it turned out that I was actually right behind him as we pulled into the car park. Apart from two girls, who are in my walking group, everyone else was new to me, including a nice woman called Joanne who runs Kirsty’s book group who I had a nice long chat with as we set off; alas her arm was in a sling after an accident at the end of another walk… in the dark! The walk last??????????ed just over three and a half hours, including a packed lunch stop, and I was chatting to someone or other the whole time. I had loads of chat with a lovely lady called Rebecca, who later on recalled to one or two others some things I had told her and it was great to hear her say “Andrea was telling me… and she said this… and she said that…” and so on, all those lovely pronouns were great; I had plenty of fun girlie chat too, especially about clothes, buying or wearing for different occasions, and talking about the advantages and disadvantages of heels, etc. Our lunch stop was at Helen’s tower, built around 1850 with a style emulating some Scottish castles; today it is possible to stay at it, though I am sure the cost would be sky-high. I had not brought lunch (didn’t have time, or ingredients, to make something) so just took a banana, but Rebecca took pity on me and gave me half of her M&S wrap and a Mars bar. Some group photos were taken by Rosemary, and I enjoyed a little chat with her; she has cast aside her iPhone and gone Android – like me, she thinks Apple products are obscenely expensive. Back at the car park we said farewells, then I drove to a nearby Tesco where I changed into a day dress to do a small grocery shop. Then onto a nearby shopping estate, where after much trying on I eventually purchased an outfit at Decathlon for playing tennis in (including trainers), and finally to Boucher Road Retail Park to Next and Matalan for more clothes purchases… though it included a return, purchasing a dress one size larger than yesterday, and accessorising it with light tops… as one does.craiganlet walk

As I tap away, I am watching Alex Cross on my television… and wondering whether as I have become more and more girlie that I have come to dislike, or shrink away from, brutal violence; a murder victim had all her fingers chopped off, and earlier the murderer was in a boxing ring pounding his opponent almost to death… and it all is so unnecessarily graphic for me.

x

Full-Time Life As A Woman – Week 7

I have a feeling that this wont be a very exciting blog post – I’m too tired after a long week to even think of an imaginative title for it! Considering I had a day off during the week, it’s been an awfully hard slog.

  • March 16th – Monday was a quiet day in the office, as many had taken the day off owing to the following day being a Bank Holiday in Ireland for St Patrick’s Day. Fiona was in though, so I could have some fun chat with her after the weekend… and show her my pierced ears, I was SO excited about them! Lunch time for once I had a good break, so I went shopping to a big Penney’s where Liesa at work had spotted cardigans in a style that I liked… and indeed there was a stand full of them in assorted colours, so I bought three… as well as a top and shoes, which I showed Fiona upon my return; Oisin came over but I think all the shopping chat got the better of him after a while and he said “I’ll leave you girls to it!” 😉 Later I was talking to Carol about how I don’t like clothes if the buttons on them have the holes and threads visible… and she said that’s a bit weird and I am very fussy! Once home I opened the post to find a European Health Card with my new name on it!
  • March 17th – a Bank holiday, and after a dreadful night of sleep Sunday night I decided to have a good lie-in and stay at home… which prompted an experiment. You see, I have finally been offered hair removal treatment with the NHS, with the first appointment (an assessment) occurring in early May, and the standard advice form that came with the appointment notice said I had to leave the hair grow for at least a week. AT LEAST A WEEK?!? Totally impractical for a full-time woman… and so that was the nature of the experiment, which was partly the reason for staying at home, I put my make-up on without shaving my face, just to see how it looked with only ONE day of hair growth… and it was obvious that the advice from NHS was ridiculous for me, as it took a shed load of foundation to cover the moderate whisker growth on my chin, and one or two other areas looked rather rough. I caught up with a few things around the house, including freeing up another drawer for my girlie clothes.
  • March 18th – back to work again to a busy office… and the opportunity for lots of catch up… and earring chat!! My PM Pat, a really nice guy who I wished I reported to for all things, said my earrings were nice, and several of the women I chatted to wereDublin Pig 2 very excited by this latest development in my new and wonderful life! I met Roz and Therese, ladies I had done work for a couple of years ago, for the first time as my true self – Roz said she would never have recognised me, and Therese said I looked great! Later I was handing out letters from the in-tray, including to Liesa who said “Are you playing postman?” – I said “Post woman… or post person”… but nobody says that, and it made me ponder with her how much of the English language is dominated by male-ness – Manager for example (a level of employment dominated alas by men… though I wonder whether that is partly because it strikes me that alpha males especially are so ridiculously pompous about impressing people with their career progress, whereas women are typically more interested in the welfare of other people), humankind, manhole, and so on. Once off the train I went to Tesco, and onto Boots where I stocked up on powder… and Plough CDwas upset when the ‘beauty assistant’ (who has known me since the start of this journey, including when I went in one time before I was confident enough to go out as my true self, for foundation advice) said “good man” to me as I handed her the goods. ‘Man’??? Excuse me… I am tempted to say something to her the next time I go in. Anyway, went on to the Plough for another fine meal with my two friends; Michelle even gave me a CD (which I hadn’t foreseen considering our generally different musical tastes), and I gave her and Kirsty my old clip on earrings, which I don’t intend to wear ever again.
  • March 19th – had a nightmare getting ready once most of my make up was on, I was very inefficient and almost ran out of time, and I got in such a state that I was almost in tears as I fretted; the new top that I had tried on the night before didn’t fit right once I had a cardy on, the camisole underneath it refused to remain centre-aligned, etc. I wasn’t happy with my wardrobe until about lunchtime, when I changed the camisole for a cotton version that I had brought with me, and ditched the cardy. I popped over to HQ to get lunch, and had a lovely chat with Ciaran, who is a manager of IT deskside support, he said I am “very brave”, that “we’re all really happy for you” and that I “look great”! How nice, huh! And, as observed by so many, he also said I look so happy… and went on to admit that before 2015 I was a bit of a misery; well, I know I was, and now everyone knows why. I had a nice chat with Audrey, who said she liked my earrings, before retuning to my office, passing the pig statues again. I had a lovely chat with Liesa, who said she really liked my top (which made me happy after the morning disaster), and then she brought over her prototype wedding invitations that she has made… and they are totally FAB!! She is really creative, and I was very impressed by what she had made.
  • March 20th – once at the office I was immediately in chat mode with Fiona… having a conversation about her spray-tan appointment the previous evening – why she had been embarrassed to mention it I don’t know (my daughter does it, albeit it herself with a tan mitt), and it looked very natural… and she gave an amusing tip to not go to such appointments while wearing deodorant, perfume, and so on… as one’s skin can end up looking temporarily green! I was pleased she liked my new plaid skirt, especially as it was in a sale in Tesco – she said I looked ‘comfortable but pretty’, which was nice to hear; later she actually asked me for an opinion on some photos of her mum in some dresses!! In the afternoon, after a negligible lunch, I had a nice catch up with busy-Natalie… and chat about my voice and appointments ended up with me reminiscing with her about my October-2014 trip where I won the Snow Queen competition; she asked if I had photos, and of course I did on my tablet, she said I looked so cute, was not surprised I won, and described me as a “skinny little bitch” which was a hilarious compliment. I was then on the phone to a guy who was producing a report for me… and alas he ended up using my old name, though he immediately corrected himself and apologised; early days for some people, I guess. I ended up in another conversation about clothes shopping with Fiona, and Pat asked “Do you like shopping?” What a daft question – I’m a girl, of course I like shopping!! Didn’t used to… but then that was because I was not able to shop for what I truly wanted, just spent endless occasions skirting women’s clothing departments, wishing I could explore and purchase without embarrassment… and now that I am naturally living as my true self then I can! I was talking about my ex- with Fiona and how our gender roles were reversed in our marriage, after her fiancé became late picking her up, and she said that she doesn’t like referring to my ex- as ‘her’… and I don’t either, that’s why I don’t talk about my ex- much (and why I always say ‘my ex-‘ without a gender reference) because I feel it hinders me being treated and seen as the woman that I want to be accepted as. Then I said I want to shop for a tennis outfit, except that I don’t have anyone to play tennis with, and Fiona admitted that her apartment block has a court to themselves, and she doesn’t have anyone to play with!!! So I may have found someone to play tennis with… and be able to justify that tennis kit after all!

x

A Dozy-Saturday & A Piercingly-Elating Sunday

As some of my geographically-local friends already know, I can be a bit of a dozy mare. I probably shouldn’t even write about my Saturday morning as you’ll all think I’m totally brainless, maybe I’m just too honest. Anyway, as I have detailed in many previous posts, I joined a walking group last May and they meet up every two weeks… and so as it had been two weeks since the last walk I was looking forward to my next walk with the group. I got up at 7.55, got ready, and drove to where I thought the walk was departing from… except that when I got there, five minutes early, there was nobody there that I recognised, particularly no cream mini which is driven by the walking group leader. How odd! But I assumed I was parked in the wrong place, as there weren’t loads of parking spaces, so I drove up the next road, where there was a large car park, but still nobody. I phoned walking-group-leader a couple of times, but no response, so I had a bright idea and phoned Margaret who I remembered was on the walk – she answered, and sounded quite pleased to hear me, and I asked her if she had after-all gone on the Stormont-Estate walk… and she said “Andrea, I don’t think that walk is for another two weeks”. Oh good grief, what an imbecile I felt… and unfortunately this can be fairly typical behaviour for me, when I am tired I can get very absent-minded and/or clumsy. Then Margaret admitted that she was miserable because it was the weekend anniversary of her husband dying… and I felt really bad.

Well, I was not intending to go all the way back home again, so I decided I would treat myself to a nice lunch. I was quite near Holywood where I remembered there was a lovely café that I had been to after a previous walk. I went to a nearby Tesco, changed into one of my favourite day-dresses from Next, then did a grocMy first flowersery shop; I wasn’t in a good mood, so did not chat much to the friendly checkout girl; as it was Mother’s Day I decided to buy myself some flowers (for the first time ever), maybe most people wouldn’t call me a mother, seeing as I did not give birth to my daughter, but I am her parent and I am a female. Then onto Holywood where I queued up at the Coffee Yard to order a roast chicken ciabata, which I enjoyed while listening to a couple of guitarists playing for customers. In the afternoon I went clothes shopping for several hours before heading home with only a few items after much time spent in changing rooms.

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Sunday was an altogether better day for several reasons, particularly as I would spend several hours of it with my BFF… but also because by the end of the day I felt even more of a girl… and in fact truly magical. I don’t know whether it was because I had a reasonable night of sleep, and also got a lie-in Sunday morning, or just because I have been full-time now for over six weeks, but I felt supremely confident everywhere I went and every time I spoke to anyone.

I don’t know why, but when I woke up a thought popped into my head – should I get my ears pierced today? After all, I have now lost two earrings from pairs that I like, and the last one I lost I was really annoyed about as I really liked it. But then I thought that maybe I should wait until my parents have visited, as maybe the shock of seeing me as a woman would be enough without that. Undecided, after putting on my face and clothes, I headed out. First stop was Argos, to get a clothes airer to hang my girlie washing on, as the tumble dryer is a no-go area for many of my girlie clothes – I paid with vouchers, and when the box arrived and the girl asked if I was okay carrying it I thought to myself “Girl carrying large box, not a good look… and NOT good for my bad back” so I asked if someone could carry it to the car and so the checkout girl said to a young guy “Could you carry something out for that lady?” (moi). He came out and carried it as far as the door and then an older guy took over, I chatted about training for lifting heavy things, and he was really nice. Onto Bowstreet Mall where I hoped I would have time to get eyebrows threaded, but alas no so I just went to Primark where I bought quite a number of lovely summery tops and a couple of dresses before meeting up with Kirsty outside support group HQ.

We spent the afternoon in Belfast centre, shopping for the most part. As usual, we parked in Castle Court and, after going in a couple of clothing stores, went to the far end, down the escalators, and towards the exit… past Claire’s which, for those of you who don’t know, is a shop selling earrings, jewellery, and other accessories. And I HAD to go in! Near the entrance was the chair where people’s ears are pierced and, as I um-ed and ah-ed, a family went in front of me with their little daughter to get her ears done; I was quite glad to watch her first, so I knew the process by the time it was my turn. The only problem was that when the girl’s ears got their rings in place her face collapsed into tears, and my legs went a bit jelly-ish; I said to Kirsty “Can I change my mind?” and she went “Uh, no!”. And then it was my turn!! I was presented with a picture-frame-type affair full of starter-earrings to choose from, and I immediately narrowed it down to two – I see myself as very feminine, and somewhat dainty, and so I went for a pair of 9-carat earrings with sparkly crystal inserts.

Ouch!

                          Ouch!

I filled out a long form with all types of questions and health clauses, I felt like I was buying life insurance! then the shop assistant drew little dots on my ears, one of which she corrected, then asked if I wanted them both done at the same time, and I figured that would be best, to get it out of the way all in one go. So another assistant came along, the first one counted to three with ear piercers (or whatever they are called) over my ears… and then it was done! For those contemplating it, there was literally a few seconds of stinging, a few minutes of my ears feeling slightly swollen, but otherwise fine. I paid, asked about follow-on earrings which I was showed on a stand, and then I headed out of the shop with Kirsty… and tears began to dribble down my eyes as emotions went out of control! I felt SO girlie with my newly-pierced ears, and I suppose that feeling rushed back agmy first earringain – only 14 months ago I was only venturing outdoors with any purpose… and NOW my ears were pierced, and I was into my seventh week of RLE. Kirsty and I spent the rest of the afternoon shopping – well, I spent a third of the time looking in pretty much any mirror I could find at my lovely ears, another third stemming the flow of tears from my elated feelings with Kirsty on-hand for support and make-up-ruining tear-spotting, and the other third focussed on shopping. Before returning to Lisburn and parting company, Kirsty and I finally had coffee and cake at a Café Nero, where I can now tell you all my latest news – I have my new passport, that I showed Kirsty as we ate… AND as well as having my girlie picture and name, IT SAYS I AM FEMALE!!! I was SOOO pleased when I got that in the post! So anyone who dares to question my gender I can now potentially show them my passport, should I have it with me, and say “so what does this say, huh?” FEMALE! ME!

x

Predictive Parenting…? My daughter may be on the way back to me…

In previous posts I have detailed how various people that I have known have reacted to the news that I am a woman, and how they have come to terms with it… or not as the case is, at least for now, for both my brother and my daughter. For both of them it is because they have not been encouraged to talk about it with anyone and, for my daughter, at the same time as trying to come to terms with me being a woman she is also dealing with her own hormones. As with everyone, I need to give them all the time they need, help them if I can, and hope they will eventually come back to me.

As for my brother, I don’t have any idea how he might come back to me. Now, he hasn’t rejected me as such, and emails me about once a week, but he is having difficulty coming to terms with the fact that he has lost a brother and gained a sister. Perhaps I am hoping that when my parents come over and stay with me in April, they will report back to him after their stay in a very positive fashion and it will bring him to his senses.

My daughter’s relationship with my ex- is very up and down. On the one hand their relationship is as close as one would expect between a mother and child where they spend much time together. On the other hand I consider that my ex- treats her like a slave with little reward and is very strict with her – she has to do a lot of chores (including vacuuming the whole house weekly and ironing their clothes, for example) and she is only allowed to do one outing with a friend per month, either going to a disco or going shopping down town.

In October 2013 while I was working late at night in Dublin I had a call from my daughter begging for me to come and get her because she “couldn’t live there any more” with my ex- and that she hated her; this was after they had a big argument after daughter was late coming home from being out playing/chilling, and my ex- had left her at their house and stormed off in the car after an argument that included physical contact with my daughter. From Dublin I was on the phone while I was trying to work for about an hour, listening to my daughter pleading with me as I tried to calm her down, sending texts to my ex- to try and diffuse the situation, and phoning the mother of my daughter’s BFF to arrange for my daughter to come over for the night if my ex- did not return home; I could not leave as I had missed the last train. Anyway, after all that phoning, my ex- eventually returned home and things calmed down.

So when I told my daughter about my feminine self at the very start of 2015, my pre-amble for this news served to remind her that I am not so strict, I don’t get her to do loads of chores, I let her do things with more frequency than my ex- does, and that I love her loads. When it shortly subsequently became clear that she would have difficulty coping with me being a woman (hardly a surprise), I clearly remember voicing the opinion to friends that I would give her all the time and support that she needed, but that I half-expected that the turning point could well be the next time my ex- and my daughter had a big bust-up…

…and last night that is exactly what happened! As is usually the case, these bust ups are partly my daughter’s fault, and frequently because she withholds the truth from my ex- because she knows the response will be in the negative. Yesterday evening my daughter wanted to go to a St Patrick’s Day disco, especially because it was the birthday of one of her friends, but because of a previous argument where my ex-who  said she would not be allowed to go to such a disco for a whole year (which seems extreme punishment to me) then she did not tell my ex- and was at her BFFs house ready to go… except that BFF’s mother rang my ex- about the disco, at which point my ex- hurtled over to collect my daughter and a big argument ensued…

…after which I got a load of phonecalls from my daughter!! I missed three of them as the phone was at the other end of the house, and then I heard the next one, ran over to get the phone, and when I saw it was her phoning I answered, took a deep breath, and spoke in my best girlie voice… and there was my daughter, sobbing at the other end of the phone, saying “I can’t live here any more… I hate her… I’ve had enough”, and so on. I talked to her softly, got her to explain to me what had happened, explained that I have told her before that she has to be honest and not lie, because it only makes matters worse between her and my ex-. Then I said to her that I hoped she didn’t mind my new voice, and she said that she didn’t. I said I understand that she finds our situation difficult to understand, and that I hope that she will go to counselling and she said that she will. I asked her if she ever talks about the situation, and she doesn’t… which is where the counselling must surely help, because at the moment her head is glued up with it. But I asked if she is sleeping better, and she is. I mentioned that my ex- said to me that my daughter sees no point in seeing me… but my daughter said that she never said that. I then said that in January my ex- said that daughter didn’t want to see me again, but my daughter said that she didn’t mean forever, only that weekend. After some time she calmed down a bit… and I eventually got cut off, due to poor signal…

…at which point I noticed a text had arrived from my ex- saying “If you want her, come and pick her up”, and of course I would have loved too… except it is not quite as simple as that. For a start, I had had a drink, and so could not drive to pick her up; not an insurmountable problem. But my ex- had previously told me that I could not see daughter until she had started counselling, which is sensible, and it would also not be wise for daughter to immediately meet the new-me without even knowing what I look like, and preferably until my ex- has met the new-me first, as suggested by my clinic; it could just make matters worse. The situation concluded itself by my ex- obviously having some word with my daughter after all those calls and texts from me, and daughter reluctantly agreed with my ex-‘s plan to go away to some family cottage for the weekend, and I gave her some suggestions on how to have a good time… because daughter said that she would be totally bored as my ex- just “spends the whole time in bed”.

Anyway, to me it seems quite a good step up has happened here in bringing my daughter and myself back a bit closer together – there’s still much to do I am sure, but my hopes are higher.

X

Full-Time Life As A Woman – Week 6 – work, chat, work, chat… and one or two blips

I suppose that quite a few of my recent posts, that recount how work went during the week now that I am living as my true, female self, come across as being a bit of a boring read – chatted to X, chatted to Y, and so on – BUT this is the thing, now I am able to live as a woman and not suppress my personality then this is what I find I just naturally do at work, not ALL of the time, but when I bump into someone I know and get on with then it just seems the right thing to do to have a chat. Some highlights – and low points – from this week:

  • Monday 9th – when I got to work and took my coat off Fiona said “Wow, you look glamorous!” I’m not sure that was quite the right word, though I think I did look pretty smart – black satin work blouse, smart black trousers with a textured pattern in them, and a soft scarf that Fiona confirmed I had tied just right. Later in the morning I was in a meeting, I was the only girl there and a couple of times one of the guys referred to us all as ‘lads’ – for a short while I was bothered about this, but a quick chat with Fiona in a meeting break confirmed that she gets it too, it’s like an Irish version of the dreaded ‘guys’ address (thanks America!) which is bandied around so readily however many girls are present. Welcome to inequality Andrea, I thought. Later had a sympathetic chat with Natalie, who is very run down.
  • Tuesday 10th – WHAT a load of girlie chat I had today!! (I DID do some work too!). Liesa was back from a long weekend and we had loads of chat about our weekend activities, wedding dresses, and so on; she is engaged and to be married next year, she showed me loads of wedding dress pictures she had put aside and then told me about a wedding dress fitting that she went to where the girl said congratulations on the forthcoming baby! Uh, what baby!! And Liesa could in no way be described as fat, poor lass! Had a chat with Fiona, and then one with Breda all about tights! Over at HQ for lunch I popped over to see Mary, the company’s fashionista… who said she liked my red coat, then said she saw me last week in a skirt and ballet pumps and said I have ‘beautiful legs and ankles’! 🙂 She said she hates her own legs which are like tree trunks… and I had never ever noticed it before, but compared to my own in tights I guess they do have a certain trunkiness about them if one specifically looks at them. Before leaving to return to my own building I had a catch-up with Audrey, with some advice about hair growth… and I sympathised with her about her own health issue. Before I left for the day my boss came over and talked about an email I had sent him about forthcoming medical appointments, and blundered on about referring it to HR… sigh; frankly, I found the whole discussion insensitive.
  • Wednesday 11th – I had a very poor day at work, partly worried about the leave in relation to my appointments, and hardly helped by a 90 minute meeting arranged by my boss at the last minute so I didn’t get to have breakfast until midday. I popped over to HQ, not intending to have lunch straight away but to pack things up at my old desk; on the way I stopped and had a chat with the homeless girl I normally see who as always said I ‘looked well’, I gave her some tights that I knew she wanted some of… and when I stood up I think I had crouched too long, coz I felt dizzy and I had a twinge in my back. In the afternoon I met the HR lady about my time off for appointments, and she explained it a bit better than my boss, in that it isn’t really sick leave but annual leave is not really right either… especiallyDublin Pigs when I told her some of these appointments would go on for three years, and that they are also in Belfast! On the way back I came across a curious exhibition of pig statues! Once off the train I went to Tesco and had quite an interesting chat with the checkout guy who had worked as an engineer submersed under the sea for months on end, then met Kirsty for coffee and a sympathetic ear.
  • Thursday 12th – got into work and almost immediately had a shoe disaster, one of the buckles on a pair of shoes that I store under my desk broke! But, solid proof that it is essential for a girl to have a spare pair or two of shoes at work. I had fun chat with Natalie, including about drinks, cocktails which she loves (and has threatened to take me to drink some time)… and travel sickness. Then bumped into Carol and chatted all about food and restaurants. I initiated my team’s first meeting in some time, there are five of us… and I drove the meeting myself, my PM did not do it, which I was pleased with myself about. Later I had a good chat with Liesa about all kinds of things… and she showed her really cool fashion accessory, a kangaroo-type pouch inside her handbag that can simply be slipped out and plopped into another bag. Compared to the day that followed, this day had some good pronoun usage, quite a few ‘she’, ‘her’, etc, which I always love to hear.
  • Friday 13th – unlucky for some… and it sure turned out to be a low-point of my week, a generally awful day. Got into work at 11.40 due to a train strike in Northern Ireland… and switched my screen on to an email from my ex- starting “I hope you are enjoying your new life, coz I’m not! “; then she went onto moan about having no break from my daughter, covering all the school holidays…. and finished up by saying daughter “…sees no point in seeing you”. Fiona said she liked my coat, which was a bit similar to hers, and later said she liked my tights (which she thought were those little sockie things). At about 1.55 my boss mis-gendered me to my new colleague who is working for me! I was totally mortified! He started calling me “mister”, then before my surname was out mumbled “Miss”, then just gave up and said “Andrea”. He apologised, but the damage is likely done, the point is that this new colleague is the ONE person I work with who did not know old-me and therefore potentially might not have known I am TS. Then had a 2.00pm meeting which was supposed to last 30 minutes… but my boss joined and so it ended at 4.00! Thus, no lunch. On the plus side I had enjoyable, as ever, chat with my new work-friend Liesa both before and after the boss incident, she said that his mistake was unacceptable and just not on…. and I ended up having a heart to heart with her about my daughter, and she said “Well I think you’re incredible”… and then I nearly cried. As we walked back to our desks I said to her that I am sure my boss gets annoyed with me chatting, and she said “Well, that’s tough”, and I suggested that chatting is actually moral-boosting and productive, as it breaks up the drudgery, boosts spirits, and is only the same as if people have smoking breaks… but much healthier. She said that she only recently commented to her fiancé that her office is fairly quiet, but I have come along and I am the chattiest person by far with her and she loves it!

There are a couple of things that happened in this somewhat-mixed week that have really buoyed me… and I haven’t written about them for reasons which will become apparent… because, for starters, that is not the end of Friday’s account!

A weekend of dining, shoe-shopping… and dreaming

As I even start writing, I wonder how long this post will be, for the weekend just gone I haven’t really done anything at all new (albeit with a couple of name-changes)… but it all includes the same, general enjoyment of life that never existed until I started going out as Andrea and living my life.

Once away from home on Saturday I spent almost half the day in a shopping centre, and not a very big one at that! Connswater centre to the east of Belfast city has a reasonable number of shops, though it is hardly the biggest shopping centre in Northern Ireland… so how I spent four hours there is a bit of a mystery! Part of the reason is that at the weekend, not commuting or bustling with work, sometimes I like to take things at a slower pace. My first task at the centre was a name-change one, to get a member of Halifax bank staff to sign a copy of my Deed Poll that was then faxed to another bank… and once that was done, shopping commenced. Firstly a visit to a Clarke’s shoe shop (with a net-negative spending experience, returning two pairs and buying one pair… which once home I decided were not for me), and then quite an amount of clothes browsing, but weariness eventually set in and so I retired to the Relish café-restaurant for a club sandwich and a mocha. After more shopping, where I tried on four different dresses in the same size to get the best fit in Peacocks – it’s just the way I am – and ended up having lots of chat with the checkout girl who struggled with the new experience of processing an e-giftcard, I drove to Lisburn where I knew there was a post office open into the afternoon so that I could post my V5 form… so that, in a short while, my car will be owned by ME and not have ‘his’ name attached to it! On the way back to the car I popped into a boutique where I bought my most expensive dress yet, at £55 – once I tried it on, I just had to have it! In the ladies toilets at Sprucefield (special mention, just for my friend Ruth) I changed into a velvet top and smart trousers and then drove to The Parson’s Nose restaurant where I met my BFF Kirsty. We had a lovely meal, with delicious food (apart from a lacklustre side order of veg) and numerous occasions of being addressed as ‘ladies’, and then headed onto the cinema in Kirsty’s car (as it can be really busy on a Saturday) to see a film called Kingsman, a spoof spy-training-type caper which was on the whole enjoyable… though I did shrink a bit at one scene where there was an awful lot of aggressive violence; I wonder if I would have done that a few years ago, but having found the woman in myself some time ago I do feel that my tastes have changed. Kirsty drove me back to my car and we parted with a little hug.

During my time with Kirsty we talked about dreams – she admitted that if she dreams with herself participating then she usually is in them as ‘Bob’… whereas I am the other way around – I am either an observer or neutral participant where it is not obvious what I look like (generally more action-type dreams), or I am Andrea, my true self; for some time I have not dreamt of myself as the ‘him’ that I was stuck in the world as for too long. So, it was with some coincidence after that discussion, that during my sleep on Saturday night I had a HUGE amount of dreams… and in all of them I was Andrea, and they were either positive, somewhat emotional dreams or alternatively I was a confident woman in them. Of perhaps some disappointment to you readers, I am not able to impart most of the dream content, though two snippets still spring to mind:

  1. I dreamt I was with my parents and we were preparing for a celebration… for goodness knows what, but a pale sky blue colour was a strong theme to whatever it was. I was getting dressed and ready with my mum, and I had a mass of long, frizzy hair and was wondering what to do with it. My mum produced a long ribbon in the blue colour and I could see myself in the mirror as my hair was tied.
  2. I dreamt I was in a meeting with my boss and in the middle of a point I was making he interrupted me. So, in a strop (very unlike me), I stood up, and said in front of everyone that if he didn’t have the manners to let me speak then I would go and do some work back at my desk. So he went all meek and apologetic, and so I sat down and launched back into my conversation, with him not daring to interrupt again.

Sunday I had a lie-in, and then took my time getting ready, blogging and emailing as I went. I pottered around the house for a while, converted my clothes basket into a dual-colour one (so there is a section for whites and one for dark colours now – as I am full-time, my dirty/worn clothes take up so much less room), and then headed out, shopping (again) though IMG_20150308_165033200only for an hour, where I bought a pair of shoes (oh no, another pair), and perused a Next-outlet store where they have a good new range of summery clothes that some time soon i am sure I will buy a few things from. I also day-dreamed yet again, as I paused in-front of the wedding dress shop where I saw a lovely, white lacy dress that made me a bit tearful… and I suppose the fact that I took a picture of the bloody thing, and even feel an emotion stirring as I have just cropped the picture and zoomed into the detail, means I got it bad! Or maybe I’m just a soppy romantic! I drove to Lisburn, where I picked up Michelle, and headed onto my second friendly dinner of the weekend, this time to one of our old favourites, Il Pirata; the food overall was reasonable, but a bit salty I found… and more than ever I frown at the appalling toilet facilities there, a very cramped Ladies… with a metal, utilitarian sink and no shelf for make-up for heaven’s sake! I had a good time out though, and it seemed as though I would have an early night as I had no desire whatsoever to go to support group HQ… but that all changed when Kirsty called to say that she had returned there from her book group and had home-made chocolate brownies with her! Yum!!!

Full-Time Life As A Woman – Week 5… with an amazing compliment to round off the week

Well, it’s difficult for me to believe, but I am in my second month of RLE already!! After such a length of time, I think the novelty of me has worn off at work at this stage, and there is perhaps less of interest to write about… but, as with all of my other RLE weeks, it’s been a good week, with some really nice moments every day. Some highlights:

  • Monday 2nd March – I started the morning at work with a lovely long chat with Liesa about our respective weekends; we seem to get on very well, she is very friendly, and has varied interests to talk about. I walked from my temporary office building to the main one, about 15 minutes away, and once on the floor had a bit of catch-up chat with a guy… who then complimented my hair!! He asked had I done anything different, and I said it was perhaps just that I had washed it the previous day, but he said it really suited me. Back at my temporary office I left for home and the friendly security guard said “See you tomorrow Andrea!”; I have NO idea how he knows my name… maybe he asked somebody.
  • Tuesday 3rd March – I attended an hour’s meeting with managers, and did not feel anxious. The definite highlight of the day was that HR confirmed by replying to my email that I am now allowed to use the Ladies toilets at work!!! Yippee!!! So, as nature dictated, I used toilets on different floors and in different buildings, and all was well; one woman who I have never spoken before said ‘Hi’ when we both came out of cubicles at a similar time.
  • Wednesday 4th March – Nothing of note to report about at work… apart from a small wardrobe disaster, by lunchtime I noticed that I had Nora Batty knees! Yes, my navy tights (which I presume were one-size fits all) appeared (perhaps after a few washes) to have lost all elasticity and were gathered in wrinkles at my knees – oh, what a sight! I left at 4.30ish, as I normally do on a Wednesday, as I was meeting Kirsty… and also her friend Jonathan who I was going to meet last year but then he postponed. First off the train I went to Tesco to do a moderate shop… including some new navy tights, I could NOT meet Jonathan for the first time with my knees like that – what an impression I would have given! I had a friendly chat about an assortment of things with the Tesco checkout girl, then went to the Ladies to put on new tights – OH, the relief, much better look… and feel to, Tesco 60D navy, lovely. I texted Kirsty to say I was on my way, and then drove to Belfast to meet the two of them at The Park Inn, a hotel quite near the Ulster Hall where I had been only a few days beforehand (as per previous blog post); I passed the City Hall, which looks astoundingly impressive lit up once night has fallen, parked the car, and after a phonecall to Kirsty walked into the bar where I could see her talking back to me! The bar itself was nicely decorated, with assorted Titanic memorabilia… though turned out to be rather chilly. The evening in summary, well, it was nice to meet Jonathan, he spark inn Belfasteems a pleasant and very clever guy… although considering he has a measured-IQ the size of a small moon it was rather disappointing that he mis-gendered Kirsty more than once – they have known each other admittedly for 25 years, but for him to address her as ‘man’ on one occasion when there is quite obviously (to me, anyway) someone presenting as female in front of him is just a bit strange, especially as this was not the first meeting… but at least he IS meeting her (and me, once so far, anyway) and socialising. Kirsty and I ate at the bar and, although the food was tasty enough, it was a bit minimalist. Jonathan missed his intended bus home (must have been the enticing female company), and so we all ended up leaving together at about 10.10.
  • Thursday 5th March – in the morning I had a long shoe-chat with Natalie, some of which Breda was roped into as well, and I got some recommendations for places to get more comfortable shoes… although one does not do wide-fit and another is astronomically expensive for what to me looks rather a bland shoe. At 1.00pm two guys in my team invited me to join them out for lunch, and of course I would hardly refuse such an invitation that to me shows acceptance. We went to a nearby mini-mall and, after much queuing at different outlets, settled down together to eat, with some nice chat. After a while one guy left, leaving the other with me – we get on really well, he is very nice, and we soon bitched about our higher-level manager who reigns in a chaotic manner, dreams up work out of nowhere, and generally abuses people’s time and does not trust anyone. My colleague said to me “Why can’t he be more normal like you?”… and of course it was lovely to be termed ‘normal’ – now I think I am normal, but some in society don’t. Late afternoon there was more shoe-chat, this time with Carol, with quite a lot of laughter; it turns out that I have more shoes than she does!! Also, both her and Natalie said they were amazed at my imagination for making shoes fit more comfortably. When I got home I found a letter from the health service saying that there was a place available for speech therapy sessions!!! So, finally, it felt like a bit of progress was happening as regards my treatment.
  • Friday 6th March – in the morning I rang the speech therapy clinic to arrange an appointment and, due to my commuting and working so far away from the clinic, the receptionist said she would find a therapist to ring me back. Within a few minutes my now-therapist Emer phoned me, and we settled on a Tuesday, late-March, she then confirmed that I was a trans-woman (which I didn’t mind, it’s relevant to the treatment)… and THEN she said that my voice is good, and that on her scale it is certainly more female than ‘gender-neutral’ – to have an actual speech therapist say that to me was just wonderful, and as I actually write that I am welling up with tears, how silly huh! In the afternoon I was over at my other building for my lunch and a bit of work; I chatted to Joan for a while (who is going skiing for the second time this year) who said my boots were cute. As I was leaving the building, at the exit/entrance after two yob-like cycle couriers had barged through the door a third guy, who works in the office, stood aside and held the door open for me – I thanked him and he said “you’re welcome” very pleasantly. I had a very dozy moment in the evening, which tends to happen when I get weary – I did some shopping in Penney’s in Dublin, buying myself two pairs of shoes and a top (total cost only €29), and then when I alighted from the train at Newry I left the bag on the train! Good grief, silly cow! However, I was cheered up when I got home by opening an envelope containing my new driving license – perhaps slightly disappointingly, there is actually no title at all on it (obviously no ‘Mr’ but no ‘Miss’ either, just a dot), but it has my new, girlie name as well as quite a good girlie photo too!!!

Today is International Women’s Day – I feel it is important for people to note it, and for the media (such as the classical radio station I have been listening to) to recognise it and make people aware of it, because although we generally live in a (semi-?) civilised world there is still inequality (especially with wages) displayed towards women, and in less developed countries women are still treated in appalling ways, deprived of equal right to even the basic things that we take for granted such as education.

Today is also the birthday of my lovely new friend, and former-IPL lady, Lynda – Many Happy Returns!

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