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 seems 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!