Monday 23rd March:
Despite a typically poor Sunday night of sleep I was quite organised and fluid in my morning routine 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…