The trial and tribulations of earrings… and my other weekend activities

My Saturday agenda was to include a morning meet with my walking group, but the weather forecast proved to be correct and a morning of grey skies and rain was enough to persuade me to stay in bed until 10.00am and not bother to attend; I had had a long week anyway and was tired, and still had another potential walk to look forward to. This meant that I had plenty of time (I thought) for a leisurely get-ready, and to take out my starter earrings and try on my new jewellery present from Lynda… except that taking starter earrings out, at least for me, was an extremely prolonged and tedious chore that took me an hour of fiddling… eventually aided by a pair of pliers! After tonnes of wiggling the studs with aching arms the first one was free and, after a dousing with the ear solution, the new earring slid in easily, and the dangling silver felt lovely; alas the second one was more troublesome, and the hole bled a little when I tried to slide the earring in. But eventually all was good. After a late breakfast and writing my previous blog post, I left the house at 3.20 and met Kirsty in Next at the Banbridge outlet – I had suggested to Kirsty that it would be a good place for us to go to get her kitted out with some affordable walking boots/shoes, while I was determined not to buy any clothes after receiving my latest credit card bill. As it turned out, I in fact bought minus-four clothing items… as I only returned £50 worth of clothes to Peacocks. I was a bit anxious that Kirsty would struggle to find shoes to fit her size 9 feet, and the first shop proved to live up to my worries, as the pair she tried on in the largest size was too cramped, however the next shop was much better and the sizes much bigger… and the styles prettier – we were served by a very obliging gentleman, who even picked out matching colour-coordinated socks for her, and we left happy and, I think, slightly astonished that Kirsty’s search had been so easy. Nearby was quite a good jewellers and so, now that my ears had cast aside their training-earrings and were into proper jewellery I fancied getting one or two more pairs… and, oh, what a prolonged task that turned out to be; thankfully Kirsty managed to maintain her patience with me. I spent ages looking around, and eventually looked at some that I quite fancied with pale blue glass… but some were two glitzy and the toned-down versions too plain and, as advised by my BFF, a bit old-fashioned. So we wandered on, eventually ending up at Claire’s Accessories… but their jewellery was very cheap, and the selection of Sterling Silver earrings was very poor… and so I stretched the kindness of my BFF and asked if we could return to the original jewellers, determined to leave with something… and eventually I did, a pair of gold Zirconia studs and a silver necklace and earrings set. We parted for our own agendas and met up again at Costa at Lisburn, which was blissfully quiet compared to previous visits, enabling good chat before meeting at support group HQ where we met Michelle aIMG_20150425_205722264nd changed for dinner. Owing to a bit of disorganisation the booking was last minute and we ended up at The Pheasant at Annahilt only 15 minutes away… but the food turned out to be the best we have had there, we all had a delicious seafood chowder (albeit with an unnecessary amount of peas… not my favourite vegetable), then I had a cod dish with a good risotto, rounded off by a delicious plum and apple crumble, the latter dish delivered with a “Ma’am” which was nice. We left quite late, and so it was straight home… to earring trauma again – I wanted to change out of my dangly earrings for bed, and so I put my studs in… but the clasps were do ludicrously tiny that it took me half an hour to achieve; oh deary me… I think they will be staying in for some time. And after all that I don’t even have any pictures of them!!!

Sunday I was once again disorganized – I woke and was out of bed before my alarm, and so thought I would have plenty of time to get ready… until I checked the starting time of my walk to discover that it was sAudleys Castle 1tarting half an hour earlier than I thought it would! So I had to fast-forward my getting-ready routine… but I did feel a little sense of achievement as I was ready around 10 minutes quicker than usual. I drove for just over an hour to a lovely spot near Strangford Lough called Audley’s Castle, which was the starting point for the walk with the Belfast Social Events group – the castle itself is about 500 years old, from which there is a lovely view across to Portaferry. There were 19 of us doing the walk, led by a nice guy called Jim, and we had a lovely walk of about 7 miles around the estate of Castle Ward, an old house under the care of the National Trust. I had a lot of good chat with a number of ladies… but, alas, it took its toll on my voice and by the end I felt it was terribly strained; maybe as we Castle Wardwere outdoors I was talking a bit louder than normal, to make sure I was heard, or maybe I was just talking too much, I don’t know, but it worries me greatly that I am damaging something… even if I hope that at the same time I am just stretching muscles beyond their traditional limits. At Castle Ward itself, about 80% through the walk, we stopped at the Trust café for lovely fresh scones and hot chocolate, and then made our way to the car park as the weather changed to cold winds and a bit of light rain. We said farewells and then I drove home. I had had plans to do a bit of shopping, but after a terrible night of sleep, I just couldn’t be bothered – of course, a few months ago, when living life as my true self was confined to mainly weekends and the occasional week evening, my attitude would have been different with a desire to live life and gain experiences out and about as much as possible… but as I have now been living full-time as a woman for over 12 weeks, the pattern of life is more normal and, well, wonderful… if only I didn’t have worries over my voice.

x

View from Castle Ward estate

Full-time living as a woman – Week 12… including a funny case of mistaken identity and a surprise gift

Week 12 of my new life was a fairly normal working week, albeit with a couple of social high points with valued friends.

Monday 20th April – work-wise, Monday was the best day of the week, due in part to my being on a high after my parents visit at the weekend (previous post) and great chat with an assortment of lovely ladies at work about it. Fiona was the first person I told the news too… after she first said to me “Wow, you look fab”; I love her compliments, as she always dresses well herself – I was wearing a skirt suit which is black with small creamy white polka dots over a sheer top. I told her all about the weekend, the things my dad said, and my brother still having issues with me – she said when my parents report back and “tell him how great you look then maybe he’ll come around”. Aww! Later I had a nice chat with Natalie and Liesa who were both excited and pleased for me that my weekend went so well; Natalie said I have a wonderful Dad… and of course she is right. After lunch I bumped into Breda who said “How much you spending on your wardrobe”? (Don’t ask). Then she said “You’re looking great” (will have to wear that suit again) and when I told her about my weekend and my brother she said that it is probably easier for my parents now that have seen how I am so obviously happy and glowing.

Tuesday 21st April – the only problem with my weekend was that with all that chat, and a speech therapy session on the Friday, by Tuesday my throat was really feeling strained. But my mood was buoyed by Liesa who, as well as having a nice chat with her, said my Wallis top (creamy white with butterflies and plants in pinks and reds with greenery) was “stunning”. I walked over to my main office to get a sandwich and on the way back passed a guy in his garden wearing no shirt, bearing his chest – he had a reasonable figure, but the sight of that flesh just made me ill; I’m still trying to work out why. I had a chat with the homeless couple I normally see on the walk bridge across the Liffey, the girl is 30 today and not looking forward to it.

Wednesday 22nd April – more voice struggles today, with it sounding somewhat croaky to me as the swan on hillsborough lakeday wore on. Liesa liked my Shamballa necklace and when I told Nuala and her that I got it for about £2 on eBay they couldn’t believe it, Nuala said “She always gets bargains, I don’t get any!” In the evening, after getting to Newry at a decent time, the weather was gorgeous – sunny and warm – and so my BFF and I met at Hillsborough Lake and had a very pleasant walk around it. About a quarter of the way round we were passed by two mid-teenage girls on their bikes and the older one said to one of us “Hello Lucy” in a cheery tone. Lucy? On the assumption that Kirsty and I don’t have an invisible friend, it was nice for one of us to be mistaken for one of their female acquaintances. After the walk we met up with Michelle for supper at the M&S café nearby; it was nice enough… but at a table nearby was a woman trying to break the Guinness Book Of Records for loud conversation dominance with her friend, and it really started to detract from my enjoyment of our own get-together after a while.

Thursday 23rd April – apart from some nice pronoun usage of me by guys at work I don’t recall anything of interest on Thursday; alas the train was delayed by a slow/broken down train in the evening so I didn’t get home until 9.00pm.

Friday 24th April – on the train journey to work I was sitting at a pair of seats diagonally opposite a total hunk, very handsome indeed… though his stubble would probably scrape half my foundation off if he kissed me and it’s probably not great if one’s boyfriend is prettier than oneself. Had quite a chat at work with Nuala about the unpleasant banter that we have to listen to from the dinosaur senior males from a system vendor company who are on-site during its implementation; they frequently make misogynistic or racist comments, and use an amount of vulgar language too – one is a Muslim, so that’s probably partly a sad reflection on how he treats his wife in their culture, but it’s totally unprofessional and Nuala and I will be lodging a general complaint at some point. I said to Nuala I am worried about hitting ten stone in weight, and she said to stop worrying about something that there is no need to worry about, especially when I have so much going on in life just now; she’s right I guess, I appreciated the chat though. I also appreciated the lunch invite from Kenny, who I have lunched with a couple of times before, so we hope to meet next Friday as the one just gone was out… as I had a dinner date with my friend Lynda who, for those who have not read my older posts, is the lady who did some facial hair removal treatments, and now we are meeting as friends. Before I met her, I got off the train feeling a totally nervous wreck, because on my carriage was a girl called Debbie who I have chatted to and occasionally sat with for years and years, but I had not met her as Andrea and she did not know the news; on a couple of past occasions I had tried to pluck up the courage to talk to her, but one time she didn’t exit the station with me but went to the toilet (and I could hardly follow her in there!) and the other I was too far behind to catch up. But today I was right behind her as we went out the station building, I was a total bag of nerves and voice all over the place, but I did summon up the courage to converse and this is roughly how it went at the start:

A: Hi

D: Hello

A: I don’t suppose you recognise me

D: I’m afraid not

A: Well if I tell you a couple of things then maybe you’ll know who I am, but I feel very nervous telling you. Anyway, I don’t know whether you remember someone who used to always wear a red coat… and has a daughter called <name>? Well, that’s me.

D: Oh, I do recognise you now (she said, looking closely), wow, you’ve had a bit of a makeover! I saw you pass me on the train going to the toilet but I didn’t recognise you…

We talked a bit more, she asked when I had started living as me and when I told her since end-January she said she had not noticed me the whole time… though maybe that is partly as we are on different trains quite a bit, but also she was not looking at someone she recognised. She asked about my daughter, and I told her things weren’t great, but she said it is a difficult age. Anyway, so I have made contact, and she was very pleasant (as always)… and hopefully the next time we bump into each other my voice will be better and conversation more natural.

So I headed onto dinner, and Lynda and I arrived at Hillsborough at exactly the same time; when we were out of the car and we had had a friendly hug she was all excited, which was nice… and I do wonder if I half ruined the meal because I was so frustrated with my voice which was affected by getting so unnecessarily worked up about meeting Debbie but also much conversation over the past week; she said I looked unhappy, which I did not feel, but the frustration obviously showed and I am disappointed in myself for that. She cheered me up no end though by giving me a gift, which I was not expecting – my friendly hairdresser Paul has been emailing Lynda copies of my blog, so Lynda read that I got my ears pierced and so she bought me some earrings! They are lovely, little dangly ones with a Celtic design. We ate at The Plough – as usual the food was brilliant and delicious, and the company lovely, though the service was slow and we ended up passing on dessert… partly also because our table was next to a radiator and we were both melting. We went onto the cinema and watched a film called Insurgent, a futuristic story with a thin plot-line that was half-lost on me, but great effects (typical American cinema, in my opinion)… though one good element was that a girl was a hero-figure of the story which is rare, even these days. Still, it was an enjoyable evening for me, and great to meet with Lynda again.

So, overall, a good week… though my voice continues to worry me – not due to me thinking it is rubbish, as I don’t – it is reasonable enough to get by in life, even if there is room for much improvement – but more because I worry that I am straining things and I may lose my voice… which would be a disaster for forthcoming holiday breaks.

x

The weekend my parents finally met the daughter they thought they would never have!

At the end of my last blog post I hinted at the events of the weekend that has now just gone. Twice a year my parents come to visit me, once in September and once in April – last September they visited someone that they have always considered to be their son and at the end of October 2014 I told them that in actual fact that was not the case and due to Gender Dysphoria I consider that I am a girl; their initial responses made me wonder whether I would ever see them again. But as time went on they have slowly come to terms with my news, learnt about my condition, and accepted me… and so their April visit went ahead this year.

Friday evening at 6.45 my parents eased up my driveway in their car and pulled up near the house; I was still cleaning, and so I anxiously stepped out of the back door and approached the car as they got out, my Dad a bit ahead of my Mum. I said hello and Dad said I looked very nice… and then he hugged me for, as far as I recall, only the second time in my life since my age hit double figures; and he gave me a little kiss on the side of my head, my first ever! Then my mum and I had a long hug, for over a minute, and we both sniffled a few tears – after a while she said “You know we both love you, don’t you” and I replied “I always hope so”… and after that everything was pretty much the same as it always was, except that I was a bit more chatty and so much happier than I have ever been with them before; unfortunately one thing that was also the same as normal was my mum’s use of pronouns, as she mis-gendered me a few times… and so I said that every time she did so I would call her ‘Mummy’ which I know she does not like. The evening flew by though, we caught up, watched some television, chatted, and all too soon it was time for bed; my mum said my nightie and nightgown were very swish… which made up for her earlier criticism that my make-up was ‘a bit obvious’… though as I have a facial hair issue to cover up then what does she expect… and compared to her make-up, which consists of pale blue eye-shadow and nothing else, then I suppose it is relatively obvious.

Saturday was a lovely sunny day and so I decided to wear a day-dress… the first time my parents have seen me wear anything but trousers. In the morning we went shopping into my nearest town, Banbridge, where my parents bought some natural herbal remedies while I acquired yet more shoes. Then we went to the nearby outlet, where I picked up a clothing order from Peacocks, we all went into a Clarkes shoe shop, and then went to Tesco… where my mum’s mis-gendering got a bit much – on the one hand when we were passing the ladies clothes she said “I bet you’re dying to look at the clothes” which was quite funny, but in the homewares area she said to my dad “he found a sugar bowl” (rather than ‘she’) and, rather worse, when we were queuing  up at  the checkout they paid for a few of things of theirs first and once they had been scanned by the guy my mum said “the rest is his”, indicating my stuff… and my heart sank; I had a word with Dad about it once home, and he tried to suggest that with the noise of the shop the checkout guy probably hadn’t noticed… but what if he did? I shop there regularly; sigh. In the afternoon I said my mum could choose a nail polish colour for me if she wanted from my selection, as she wasn’t that keen on the colour I already had on, and so she did. Later, when I was in the garden mowing the lawns Dad was having a wander around and he said he liked my ‘gardening outfit’; my mum had said she liked the top, but she doesn’t like my girlie wellies. In the evening mum and I made dinner and, as she had dressed up to eat after her bath as had my dad, I decided to do the same, and so I put on the navy lace panelled dress that I wore recently to the Plough (see previous posts) – when he saw me Dad said “Ooh, very nice!” while Mum merely said “Oh you are a big girl”… but at least she labelled me as a girl. At the end of the evening Dad kindly reiterated my appearance,  saying “Andrea, I really must say you looked very nice this evening” and mum simply matter-of-factly said “I agree”, then he said I would be very smart and elegant in any restaurant. Again we enjoyed nice hugs goodnight… which were a bit premature as I decided to try on some of my Peacocks dresses, going into their bedroom to show them a couple – they both liked one, the other one Dad also liked (complimenting the pattern) while Mum said it was too short… even though it was only an inch above the knee.

Sunday was a quiet enough day, but very enjoyable. In the morning we went for a gentle walk along a can??????????al tow path near my home, somewhere where we have been quite a number of times before – previously I have sometimes found such a walk with them tiresome, especially with their slow pace, but this time it was just wonderful to be out, enjoying one of our favourite pastimes together… but with me as myself and totally at home with them. After walking a mile and a half we sat on a seat near a lovely lake chatting… and as we were about to go I asked if they would take a photo of me with each of them, as it was their first time with the new-look me – they happily agreed, and took their own too, and then we walked back; we paused at a gate where a couple were watching some wild rabbits, and we talked with them for a while. In the afternoon mum asked for a look at my jewellery, which I happily agreed to. Later Dad asked if he could take some photos of me outside – can he ever! I readily agreed of course, and he took quite a few, with my mum watching (see below). I had a quiet word with my Dad, and one of the things I said to him was how very grateful I was that he has made such a huge effort to address me always with my new name and with correct pronouns; he said Mum finds it difficult to get used to anything ne??????????w at all… and of course this situation is still quite new to her. He said that “he liked everything that I wore and, as a man, could see what men might find attractive in me”! Isn’t he just great! He also said that when we had been out shopping it was obvious how confident and happy I was; I of course thanked him for his kind comments. I changed into another dress for dinner and once again Dad complimented me… and so we headed outside for another photo shoot! After dinner we played cards, during which we discussed my brother and his difficulty in coming to terms with me – mum said that he had been very upset after returning from the holiday when I had told him about the real-me… though they had not said anything about it to me at the time. I said that I was surprised at his ongoing difficulties considering an early, general chat that I had had with him about LGBT when he gave me the view of being very open-minded… though it’s different I guess when it’s your own family; in a previous post I have pondered various peoples reactions, which were not all as anticipated… mostly on the positive side. She also said how upset she had been at the news too, and I said that was why I had sent her flowers – Dad said to her that she was okay now though, and she said that now she has met me “and seen how beautiful you are” then not at all; aw, thanks Mum!

Alas that night we said goodbyes, as they were leaving very early the following morning – we had big hugs, and then my Dad said to me “It was lovely to finally meet the daughter we thought we’d never have”… and that is the FIRST time I have ever seen true, moving emotion on his face for just a few seconds, and of course I got emotional too at being labelled their ‘daughter’ and gave him another big hug, getting all sniffly after a while.

So that was my first weekend with my parents as Andrea, my true self. Apart from the mis-gendering from mum, it was a great success. I partly refer to many of the compliments I received to record just how wonderful the time was, partly of course because I love compliments (what girl doesn’t)… but it also highlights another difference between my mum and my dad – Dad complimented me so many times, and in virtually everything I wore, whereas Mum criticised quite a few little things and was not that forthcoming with compliments; maybe that is because she is still coming to terms with me as a girl. Anyway, I am looking forward to when we next meet… and they are already talking about when I can visit them, albeit trying to factor in how my brother will cope with it all.

Full-time life as a woman – Week 11 – sickness, death, and therapy

Week 11 of life as the real me was largely overshadowed by sickness:

  • Monday – I got to work and found a new neighbour called Nuala sitting at the desk next to me, which up to now has been a hot-desk. She is really nice, very down-to-earth, and lovely to talk to… so as I am a little chatterbox we had quite a chat; she said my dress (a new navy shift dress which I wore with a lacy cream camisole showing in the neckline) was nice. A bit later, on the way to the kitchen Breda was approaching and gave me an “Ooh, look at you” expression, and then said “pretty girl” with a big, kind smile; that REALLY gave me a boost… after the incident last Friday with my boss. I said ‘hi’ to Fiona who also complimented me on my attire – “That is such a nice dress, very professional”. With all those compliments, I had a pretty good day, and had obviously dresses quite well; my boss was not in as well, which helped, as I could just get on with what I was supposed to…. and was not intimidated which is a strong feeling I have with him.
  • Tuesday was when all the health-news came in a rush, not my health but that of other people. Firstly I sent my ex- a general email to see how things with my daughter, whether she had had a good Easter, and so on… and the reply I received typically answered virtually none of those things but simply said “She’s at home sick. Ring her if you want”… and so that is what I did. Daughter picked up the phone sounding all weak and teary-eyed – I checked that it was okay for me to call her, which it was, then asked what was up. Monday she had started with tummy ache and vomiting, then Tuesday the tummy ache remained but she also had chest pains that made it painful to breath; this did not sound good, and she had never had that before, but I carried on talking lightly to her and it seemed to take her mind off it and she did seem to perk up a little. A half hour later I had a phone call from my boss informing me that his father had cancer and had taken a turn for the worst, and so he would not be in for some time… and even though my PM had given me this news in summary an hour earlier I could not help myself but get a little tearful about it all, and I said how sorry I was to hear his news. Early afternoon I had a little chat with the security guard, and asked him how his weekend had been… and it turned out that his nephew had died, at age 27, and the funeral was the next day, so unsurprisingly he was a little subdued, so I sympathised with him. By 4.00 my daughter was in A&E, and half an hour later I left work; two hours later I was in Lisburn, having done some shopping, and received a text from my ex- saying that X-rays and blood tests has been taken, and were all clear… but that morphine had been administered, which had had no effect, so the surgical team were to examine her. As you can imagine, I was not in the bubbliest of moods for meeting my BFF Kirsty; we ate at Ed’s bar and grill, and the good, friendly chat took my mind off my daughter… as did the worry over what the chocolate sundae would do to my waistline, as I had already failed to lose two and a half pounds of weight having eaten an Easter egg and a slab of simnel cake over Easter weekend. By the timework20150416 we left, my daughter had been told to stay in hospital overnight for observations… and so I began to worry.
  • Wednesday – on the way to the railway station I was asked to drop my daughter’s favourite teddy (‘Bernie’, who is also an undercover spy) and Minnie Mouse slippers at my ex’s house (despite previous requests not to drive up to the house in daylight) and so that is what I did; I have no idea if any neighbours or my ex- saw me. During the day my daughter’s condition was unchanged, and more blood tests and ECGs were being done to try and figure out what was wrong. Later I had a nice wee chat with Liesa, who said I looked pretty. Aw! In the evening I had a text conversation with my daughter over her continued hospital stay, and at the end she said “I love you too” 🙂
  • Thursday – several people were kind enough to ask about my daughter’s health; Liesa was really so nice, and is a fab listener. Later I had a chat with Natalie, who was concerned about my daughter… and then told me about her tennis partner who had had a heart attack! In the afternoon I had a chat with HR about my boss mis-gendering me a number of times, and also health appointments… where the possibility of me eventually having to take some annual or unpaid leave was briefly suggested, something I think is grossly unfair considering that gender dysphoria is a medical condition which has resulted in me undergoing a huge life-change, I am going purely for medical appointments which are intended at various levels to get me to a more comfortable place, and also all the unpaid overtime I have done at my company. I got a reasonably early train, I thought I would have to stand it was so busy, but as I neared a fairly elderly guy his wife got to him, said she had found a two-seater for the two of them, so he got up and said to me “there you are, dear”. As the train left Dundalk I went to the loos, changed into walking gear which I had carried in my girlie rucksack to work, and at Newry legged it to my car and hurtled to my walking group meet at Crawfordsburn Park to the east of Belfast; the traffic was a nightmare, even at after 6.30pm, so I got there a few minutes late but thankfully they had not set off. The walk was lovely, if a bit chilly on the hands. I had a long chat with a guy called John, who is a sound engineer for the BBC, about all kinds of things. We stopped for a little while as our walking guide pointed out wild garlic growing, which we took turns smelling leaves of; Alan, the elderly guy who has a soft spot for me (as per numerous previous posts on my blog), picked a bunch and somewhat clumsily thrust them in my face! Then my chat turned to a couple of ladies, Sheelan and Nuala, and quite some time later when they found out I had been living in Northern Ireland for 16 years Nuala said “I think she’ll be here for good” (she being moi, of course). John caught up with me again, and almost ambushed me from Nuala for more conversation, which was all pleasant enough… although halfway back to the car park he farted! Bleah! (He did apologise though). Back at our cars I am sure John wanted to prolong the evening, but nobody else was up for a cup of tea, and could not think where to get one from at that time of night anyway, and so we all parted and went home.
  • Friday was the day of my second speech therapy session… and gee was it exhausting. It was all good, and very interesting, but I did quite a wealth of exercises and tests, and by the end of it all I was mentally and physically (aching throat) really rather tired. I told them about my parents coming over, and how excited but also anxious I was. She was very complimentary about much of what I have done… and of course speech is not just about the verbals, but also about how one physically expresses oneself, and even presents; I was wearing a smart cream blouse from H&M with black smart trousers, and she said I looked very classy! 🙂 I don’t mean to sound big-headed, but maybe others of you in my position will realise how wonderful it is to receive such positive affirmations from biological women. I left the session with a number of exercises to do to try and help my voice… some of which involve blowing bubbles in a cup of water!! The afternoon was a mixture of work emailing, calls, and trying to sort out my new name at various bank branches – one was straight-forward, one I did not have enough ID, and one was mildly upsetting in that the more senior staff member who was helping the girl serving me kept referring to my driving license as “his ID” even though there is quite plainly a picture of a girl, with a girl’s name, on it. Once home, after a Tesco shop, I chased my ex- for news of my daughter and thankfully was abruptly told she had just been released; I hurriedly finished cleaning the house in preparation for the arrival of my parents to meet the new-look me…

…and I will stop there, for my next post will be to detail how my parents and I got on!

X

Full-time life as a woman – Week 10… including historical house hunting

Wow, I am now into double digits in terms of my new life living as a woman, and in fact as I write I am into week 11. It has been a short working week owing to Easter… but it has felt long, partly due to having to get up at 5.50am two mornings in order to get a seat on the train, and also due to my boss’s insensitivity.

  • Tuesday – the train to work was packed with families on Easter holiday days out… and so I had to sit on the floor all the way to work. During the day I caught up with quite a few ladies that I am friendly with, including Mary who said my new H&M blouse was very nice.
  • Wednesday – I felt wrecked by the time I got to work, I had woken at 4.00am with my hand realAndrea at Hills. lakely sore and swollen, and Fiona and Natalie both said it looked bad… so I went to a pharmacist who reckoned it is an allergic reaction to either a plant or insect sting, and gave me some cream; personally I think it is a strain, I don’t consider it can be broken as I have not banged it into anything, even if I annoy myself by being rather a clumsy cow. I had a chat with Fiona about weddings and eye make-up… and something top secret that she had not told anyone else – it is nice to be trusted… so I can’t tell you! On the busy train home I chatted for 50 minutes to the woman sitting next to me, who said it was nice to meet me when she got off. It was a lovely evening weather-wise so after a quick Tesco-stop I drove to Hillsborough Lake and walked around it… pausing for a selfie in my new Oasis dress. Then I met up with my two friends for a coffee, sandwich, and huge crème-egg muffin at Ground in Next.
  • Thursday – several people were nice enough to ask about my hand, including the girl on reception who has not chatted to me much before. Other than that, a pretty normal day.
  • Friday was overshadowed by my boss once again slipping up in respect of my life-change; this time he phoned me on my work mobile and a few minutes into the conversation he called me by my old, male name! My heart sank to the floor L After a second or two he corrected himself, but there was no apology… but I have regularly thought his level of manners are unsatisfactory. The main purpose of the call was that he has assigned two people for me to manage, one of them is Fiona and I hope that it won’t mean that she is any less friendly to me, I enjoy all of the chat with her and I don’t want her to think of me any differently but just someone who can help her with her career and any work issues. Liesa came over to me with some samples for her wedding invitation envelopes, it was nice that she sought my opinion over her wonderful creative efforts.
  • Saturday – quite a few weeks ago I invited my friend Michelle to stay one Saturday night… and owing to a fortuitous turn of events it turned out to quite suddenly be the weekend just gone. We met at 1.15pm in Sprucefield shopping centre, and as Michelle had been on the go for some hours we decided on a bite to eat; she had sandwiches, while I ordered a tea cake which was whisked off to be toasted. We sat with our hot drinks and took off coats; Michelle was looking well, in a nice red top which suited her in colour and style – I can never decided whether most reds really suit me, apart from the M&S cardigan I wore that day. Out at the car park we transferred to Michelle’s car a??????????nd headed off to visit a National Trust property, a historical old house and gardens, called The Argory near Moy. We arrived at the car park and a girl in a Woolie hat emerged from a shed – she asked if we were members and I said that I was, she asked if it was a family membership and I said it was a one-adult card, then she looked at Michelle and said “Ah, I think you look under 12”! We laughed, then she went off to get us a map and returned saying “There you are ladies” and gave us directions. We had a very pleasant walk around the gardens as the sun was out, and then got tickets for a tour of the house, only having to wait for five minutes. The tour of several rooms was very interesting, including a sumptuous ladies room which was so much more pleasant than the Gentleman’s billiards room; I asked one or two questions as we went. At the end of the tour one of the guides said “Thank you ladies” and we in turn thanked them. Upon leaving the house it was raining and we hurried for shelter, eventually to a book shop, until the shower was over, then had another garden walk before driving back to Lisburn. We got therePlough 11042015 with much time to spare, so I popped into Sainsburys… and got addressed as ‘madam’ over half a dozen times in the space of three minutes by a very cheery girl who I chatted with while returning a couple of clothing items. I hurriedly changed at support group HQ where my friends Kirsty and Michelle were. I enjoyed a delicious meal at The Plough with my friends, wearing the most expensive dress I have ever bought… and the boldest lipstick I have worn out too; the food was once again great as was the company, we were addressed as ‘ladies’ a number of times, and it was wonderful to not have to put up with obtrusive music. Once the meal was over Michelle followed me home for her overnight stay; we had a really good chat until gone 1.30am over a glass or three of wine, quite a bit of which was surprisingly, for me, about music.
  • Sunday – Michelle and I woke up quite early considering chatting into the early hours and, after showering and re-applying our faces, met in the kitchen at maybe 10.30. I cooked scrambled egg and, of course (see October posts), mushrooms… which she has thankfully survived. We poured through tourist brochures and after a while decided to visit another historical National Trust property, called Ardress House; this was 30-40 minutes from my home, the route passing through Tandraghee where my BFF and I had been only a week before. We had a little walk in the gardens before entering the house for an interesting tour – the guide was very informative, though it was slightly disappointing that much of the furniture was not an original feature of the house owing to a family auction many years ago; as a result we were also not allowed to take any photos inside. I asked a couple of questions of the guide and, in the bedroom we viewed, also had a little chat to another female visitor where we compared bed sizes to?????????? properties we had each visited in the past week. After the tour, Michelle popped to the ladies while I waited, nearly getting attacked by a chicken (which I batted away with my umbrella) who got impatient that I had not fed it. We had a walk around a longer path, though wet weather curtailed it in order to preserve our footwear, and then Michelle returned to my house where, after a cup of tea, we hugged and she left. I spent the rest of the day tidying my house and doing washing in preparation for the arrival of my parents… though the ironing pile grows sadly ever higher.

So, overall, a pretty good week, one where I was very pleased to be able to provide Michelle with the opportunity to actually live life as herself for the longest period in her life; please come again.

x

My Easter Weekend 2015… including a treasure trail… and a hat

In the last post on my blog, which I suppose is becoming very much a this-is-what-I’ve-done blog without much intellectual value, I covered my activities of Good Friday, which was largely orientated around one of my increasingly favourite pastimes – shopping.

Saturday was a domestic-day, another one of those days where I don’t feel the need to get out and about and constantly live life to the full… and also give my face a break from hair-removal; now and again the domestic list of chores around my house reaches a limit where I must do something about it; this is heightened by the oncoming visit of my parents, and my desire to make my home look reasonably tidy rather than a clothes tip… although half of the time I ended up spending outside in the garden as the Irish weather has finally taken a turn for the better. I won’t bore you all with the detail of my chores… though I did indulge in some make-up experimentation and I have to recommend Maybelline Super Stay 18hr lip gloss, I bought this ages ago and of course now, with no need to worry if it doesn’t come off very well, I thought I would give it a go – wow, it really does what it says, I didn’t have to touch it up the whole day despite eating, drinking, and so on. I did also have a lovely phone call with my parents… and, for the first time, my mum didn’t slip up and accidentally call me by my old name.

Sunday’s highlight was my second event to Belfast Social Events Meetup group, which was another walk – this one was a?????????? very leisurely stroll along the banks of the Lagan river in outer Belfast, but turned out to be a perfect outing with so many places rightly closed for Easter Sunday. One or two people I met I had seen on the previous Social Events walk, but the others were new to me – they were all nice enough and one guy, who was on the first walk too, appeals to me somewhat, I don’t suppose he is devastatingly attractive but he is quite nice-looking considering he is 52, is interesting to talk to, and likes quite a lot of different things, especially walking like I do. I chatted to a French girl quite a bit of the way out from the car park, and to this guy on the way back. At the break halfway we had lunch at a place called the Lock Keeper’s cottage where I chatted to two girls from Bulgaria and a guy who works at Tesco who were all nice… and we were presently joined by another guy who was a bit creepy, he was sitting next to me and practically every time I said something to him where a response was forthcoming he touched me lightly with his hand somewhere, quite often on the back or my side, once or twice on my leg; maybe he’s just one of these touchy-feely people, maybe he was just helpless in front of an attractive girl (I AM kidding here), but it really put me off… as did the fact that he was incredibly messy and grubby, several bits of what he was eating went either over him or on the floor, his track pants were tatty and paint-splattered, and I later saw him wearing a strawberry coloured light sporty jacket which was just a total fashion disaster. At the end of the walk the group re-formed at the car park, with some light-hearted chat, but nobody suggested going on for a coffee or anything so I just drove home and ended up in the garden doing some hard grind… which appears to have caused me a hand injury 😦

Monday was the highlight of my Easter weekend. Why? Firstly, it was the most fun, and secondly it was with my BFF Kirsty. It took me ages to get ready, partly due to experimental eye make-up which I wanted a trustworthy opinion on, and also because I was feeling just so dozy after a very interrupted sleep pattern. Eventually we met at Sprucefield centre, outside Belfast, and after a quick stop at the ladies (mentioned, of course, for Ruth) and Boots (to get some high-SPF moisturiser to go under my foundatio??????????n), we set off in Kirsty’s car. After 30-40 minutes we reached the starting point of a treasure trail that we had decided to do – the previous one we did was on foot, while this one was a mixture of investigations on foot with driving between several clue stops, the idea being to solve clues that ruled people out of being murder suspects for an imaginary crime, while at the same time providing a fun way to explore the local area and learn a bit about its history. This trail took us from Gilford to the small village of Tullylish, where we spent ages roaming around two graveyards looking for names on grave stones (not with total success), then to Loughbrickland to another church and an estate… at which point we decided lunch was overdue; as the Belfast shopping outlet was not far away we went there, and ate a fairly average burger and chips Linen Hill, washed down with lashings of refreshing pink lemonade. As we were at the Outlet Kirsty insisted on wanting to some shopping, and so I had drag mysekf along as well; I thought I was very good and bought only one item, a floaty short skirt from Next for only £5. By the time Kirsty has bought herself a T-shirt, it was time to finish our trail, which took us to the picturesque village of Scarva, and the crisp-making capital of Northern Ireland, Tandragee. We managed to solve nearly all of the clues, with the help of Google for one where the promised tourist information board did not even exist, and got back to Sprucefield at around 5.25, where we sadly had?????????? to end our day together; the treasure trail was a fun way to spend a day… although I feel we were lucky to return alive the number of times the instructions started off with the word “with safety in mind”. I had a spend £40 save £8 voucher to use at Sainsburys, and as I was due to buy some wine then that was an easy task to achieve; I also bought a pair of trousers in their “save 25% off clothes” offer (and next time I am there I will return the other pair that I paid full price for!)… AND I finally managed to find a summery hat that fits my big head! I don’t suppose I look great in it, but it has a mainly practical purpose to keep the sun off my face during the summer while I am receiving laser hair removal treatment.

Back to work tomorrow after a fun  long weekend… BIG sigh.

x

Full-time life as a woman – Week 9… including a very good Good Friday!

Monday 30th March

I don’t remember all that much about Monday, other than it being a long day at work… but with plenty of good female pronoun usage! I also remember having a feeling about just how normal. but how RIGHT, every thing that I do is, and how it all makes to much sense to my life. Even going to the ladies toilet falls into this category – it’s all so easy and efficient, especially wearing a skirt or a dress – simply lift it up skirt, pull one’s hosiery and knickers down, do one’s stuff without having to touch one’s genitals (ugh), dress, wash hands… and check one looks presentable. The other thing that was vividly clear was that I am now into MONTH THREE of my new life… already!

Tuesday 31st March

Fiona and I were both wearing navy and blue, though her cardigan was thicker and she had on a blue shirt/blouse while I had a white/blue marl girlie top, so we joked that we were matching.

At lunch time I returned cardies to Penneys, then went to my bank in Dublin to take out cash and transfer money to the UK; that was the first time I got to use my new driving license photo ID, and all was well. On the way back to the office I got totally drenched in a rain and then hale shower with my poor suede boots totally soaked which I had to put on a radiator for hours; I then changed into reserve footwear, very high navy heels (4+ inches) and managed to live life without falling over for a few hours! I told Natalie about the shower and she said I had held up well looks-wise, as her hair especially would frizz up, I told her about my Primark £5 heels and she said as the rest of my outfit was very smart then it dressed up the heels! Aww! We had a conversation about heel heights, then I stopped bothering her and went back to work.

Wednesday 1st AprilPrimark black and white flower dress

When I took my coat off I had just a little chat with Fiona, and she said “You look really pretty”… which I was especially pleased about as my dress was from Primark only cost £5 in their sale, though teamed with a €8 (£6.10) black cardigan I thought I looked quite smart (see selfie). Fiona said I am very good at getting good bargains, and perhaps I should just buy two of everything, one for her and one for me… which is a real compliment! My PM Pat also said “Is that a new dress?” and when I confirmed he said it was very nice, which I really appreciated. Later I had a good catch-up chat with poor Liesa, who has been off for ages with flu; she also liked the dress, and could not believe how little I paid for it. After work I shopped in Sainsburys once north of the border, and had coffee and supper with my BFF Kirsty… although the experience was spoilt for me by far too much loud chat as Costa.

Thursday 2nd April

At work Fiona said she liked my jumper, it was really pretty and would “brighten the place up”; she couldn’t believe I paid £10 for it at Tesco; she also liked my butterfly necklace, which is bolder than any I have won before. I do appreciate all her compliments, especially as she is very pretty and has good fashion sense. Liesa also liked my necklace, and I had to compliment her on a really pretty, smart top that she bought at a store called Forever 21 that I had not heard of before; I had a long chat with her about all sorts of things, she is a sympathetic listener. We were all given big Easter eggs at work, which is quite a nice little gesture, and as I left for the day I offered the security guard one of the chocolates that came with the egg – he said “No, I’ve got my own, thanks… but you’re a lovely girl, Andrea”; aw, how nice, huh! I went shopping for an hour in Dublin, to Forever 21 (which had an awful lot of denim, and nothing that really grabbed me) and Mango (which I concluded is ridiculously over-priced for generally average-looking stuff… apart from some lovely suede jackets, which I did not buy).

Friday 3rd April – Good Friday

This was the first day of the Easter weekend, and SO good to have a bit of a lie-in… though I was up at a reasonable time as I had an appointment to get to… which was a first for Andrea, the new-me – a visit to the dentist!! I drove to Newry, parked at Tesco supermarket, and walked the short distance to my dentist where I arrived at 11.45 and checked in with reception… and the whole experience was just so lovely and, well, ‘normal’! I didn’t have to wait too long before a friendly girl called my name and directed me to the ‘chair’. My usual dentist was on maternity leave, and so a new girl was there – I did fear that my make up would be all over the place by the time she had finished, but I wasn’t at all nervous going in, and it was just like any other check up really… except that I was ME, and happy with it. There was a bit of light, friendly chat, she checked my details, and then my head was back and the check-up took place followed by a clean… with water splashing all over the place, and I reckoned my makeup fear would be realised… but no! Once I had paid, I went to the toilet, and the light amount of lip gloss was pretty much gone, but other than that not much wrong… although the hair was a bit messy.

Next stop was to a Cancer Research charity shop to drop off a bag of unwanted clothes and books… and a REALLY good moral-boost it was – the lady thanked me profusely for the stuff, and then wondered if I would fill in a Gift Aid form, asking “Do you or your husband pay tax?” ME AND MY HUSBAND!!!! That’s a new one I’ve never had before, but, WOW, she not only assumed I was a biological woman but also that I was married! I filled the form in (with title ‘Miss’), and then browsed, picked up a lovely wee red leather-look bag and a pretty dress which I tried on and then queued up to pay – the girl in front of me was chatting to the check-out woman who, after a minute or so, said to the girl “Do you mind if I serve this lady?” (Lady = moi, of course). I handed over my things and she said “Thanks very much love”, then I paid, and bid her a very happy farewell.

I had hoped to change my name on some accounts to my new name, but even though Good Friday is not a bank holiday in Northern Ireland all the banks were closed… so I embarked on what became several hours of clothes shopping in the sales of assorted shops, including Dorothy Perkins (where thankfully I could use gift cards to save my credit card), M&S, Blue Inc Woman, Oasis, and Debenhams; I also had a nice lunch about half way through. I bought a lovely mock-leather jacket in Debenhams… but while I was browsing a girl approached me and said “Do you work here?” – I don’t know why she thought that, but I felt flattered all the same. I eventually got back to Tesco, with extremely sore feet, where I did a moderate grocery shop – as I was about to enter the alcohol section two guys each held open one of the swing-gates to it for me, and I thanked them. After being served by a friendly check-out girl, I drove home, feeling very cheery after a successful day out.

One thing I have generally noticed now that I am routinely living as my true female self is that plenty of guys are kind enough to hold doors open for me, and it also seems as though people get out the way when I am walking outside – maybe it is the heel noise that warns them I am coming!

Happy Easter everyone!

x