Dear Diary… and readers, here are the highlights of weeks 20 & 21 living full-time as my true female self… into RLE week 5:
Wednesday 17th June
I had a lovely girlie lunch with some of my favourite women at work… though sadly half of the purpose of the lunch was to say farewell to two of them who are leaving the company. I had a delicious pizza, and fab chat with the three ladies for an hour and a half, and Natalie hugged me goodbye as her last day was the next day and I was unlikely to see her again. I was addressed as ‘madam’ or ‘miss’ by the two female waiting and counter staff numerous times, and of course enjoyed it all. Back at my car at the station, just before setting off for home I tied a dog lead (that had been left at my house by daughter) around a nearby tree for my ex- to pick up… such is her keenness to not meet the new me.
Thursday 18th June
I popped in to see Natalie on the way to my own office to drop a little good luck card off with her, as she has been so nice to me and helpful in my early days living full-time as my true female self that I wanted to show my gratitude as such, and wish her well too; we had a hug, and she wished me well with everything too. Liesa was over at lunchtime, and popped over to my desk for a nice chat, so we arranged a lunch for the next week.
Friday 19th June
Another cheery hello from a station employee, who says hello to me every morning now. The train was rather busy, and I ended up moving to another carriage because my seat was behind a crowd of very loud women knocking back vodka at 9.00 in the morning; sorry, but I think that’s a disgrace, and I couldn’t stand the din. I had pondered my outfit for the day, but my attitude was “what the hell, go for it”… and so it was fab to be rewarded with positive comments from young Fiona, who loved my almost-knee-length suede wedge-boots and black disco pants. Late-morning I went to a charity book/DVD sale at work, and came away with some bargains, as well as a yummy cup cake. I left the office early and went to bed once home, as by early afternoon was feeling rather dizzy and generally not right; this was partly due to the office temperature rising to unpalatable levels in the afternoon, but also due to exhaustion.
Weekend 20th/ 21st June
A generally lonely weekend. I did quite a lot of shopping, though have no recollection what I bought (clothes, probably), and early evening went to the cinema with five other people from a meetup group – we saw Mr Holmes, rather not what I was expecting, but a nice film all the same. Sunday I spent over three and a half hours ironing! Never before have I spent nearly so long ironing, but when one finally has so many nice clothes that one is so pleased with then the effort is worth it… and it passed the time while watching television. I also phoned my parents, mainly to wish my Dad a happy father’s day – he misgendered me just once… but that was probably my mother’s fault, because he was talking to her while on the phone about herbal sleep aids for me and it is almost certainly the case that she said “tell him to take…”.
Tuesday 23rd June
Another day of health appointments – three in total – though before the two main ones I went to my local electoral office to confirm my change of name and then ended up in a half-hour call with my ex- who spent half the time criticising me for something that was a result of her poor communication with me and the other half we talked about my daughter, where she mentioned the counselling sessions that she goes to where she “spends most of the time in tears which is heart-breaking to watch” – this isn’t the indication I got form her counsellor so, following an email of wise advice from my friend Michelle, I have since emailed the counsellor to see what the real story is. However, one plus with the phone calls was that when trying to get through to ex- a colleague of ex- answered the phone a couple of times and seemed to take me for any other girl… especially the second time when she said “Is that Hazel?” – no, it’s Andrea again, I said.
Early afternoon I was at speech therapy again, where the lady could see I was down-hearted from the conversation with my ex-, and so half the time we had a general chat, and the other half went through a few techniques. I left there nearly two hours later, a bit dizzy from not having lunch, so ended up in M&S where I had afternoon tea… which really was rather good, and just the thing to perk up my mood a bit – well done M&S! Then onto Gender Clinic for my monthly session, where she concluded that all is generally going well… which it is.
Wednesday 24th June
I left home in the morning almost in tears, having had a text during the night from my ex- saying the following
I hope you enjoy the rest of your life because you have turned our lives to hell.
Makes me realise how lucky I am to no longer me in a marriage with such a person… who, in my opinion, is another hypocrite in my situation where she preaches to a woman at work about her gay son and how there is nothing wrong with that, but when it is me then it’s a different story – another case of “it is fine to be LGB or T providing it doesn’t affect anyone you know”!
I received a cheery ‘hello’ from two guys working at the railway station, including one I have known for over 15 years… although whether he has matched the new me to the old one I have no idea. In the evening I met Michelle and Kirsty at Sprucefield for a nice supper and chat… and a bit of a shop.
Thursday 25th June
I had a really good day at work – my PM was off sick, I think partly because he was just run down after working at inhumane hours the previous weekend, and so I looked after some things he would normally have done… and I think I did a pretty good job… as did he, with a nice email later on. My boss also seemed very pleased, as I held a meeting with another guy that my boss failed to turn up to, and I thought of everything that he tried to fire at me afterwards. The highlight of the day was a lovely lunch with Liesa at the National Art Gallery in Dublin, where we sat and chatted for around an hour and a half over tasty vegetable lasagne; we talked a bit about my daughter and my journey, and she was very understanding and said some thoughtful things.
Friday 26th June
Another really good day at work, despite getting in early to check on a software release, when I thought I did very well… and so did my PM, he was off sick but monitoring emails and he sent me one at the end of the day saying “Smashing day, well done”; it’s nice to be complimented so well for my work. However, I couldn’t stand staying there beyond 4.30 because my boss and another guy were, off and on, on a conference call in our office for the best part of three hours, with the volume inconsiderately loud… such that I ended up with a headache. All I can say is, read the staff handbook guys!!!! Or, think about other people!!!
Once off the train I hit the shops in the Quays at Newry with the objective of finding a smart coat for summer… and ended up trying on trousers in Next, and a lot of other clothes in Monsoon and Debenhams, though coming away with only four items from the latter two, including a gorgeous John Rocha dress half price. As for Monsoon, although I think they have quite nice things, they are over-prices and the sizes and lengths are all over the place!
Saturday 27th June
A very active day, starting with a group-walking event… though thankfully starting at 11.00 so a bit of a lie-in – I was slightly late, owing to an inevitable loo-stop, but luckily the walks rarely start exactly on time. There were several people there I have met before, and so had a good chat with them during the walk, which was from Holywood to a bird reserve near Belfast called WOW, where we observed colonies of, mostly, black-headed gulls… though I was lucky to see a male sparrowhawk, even if the group leader tried to convince me (as he had not seen it) that it might have been a pigeon – excuse me, but I’m not that stupid, I think I can tell the difference… and a member of the RSPB staff confirmed that a sparrowhawk did indeed frequent the place. On our return we had a lovely lunch at The Dirty Duck pub, and I walked back to the car with a couple of the group, one of whom I have chatted to at length several times… and on this walk when we spotted a convertible I said that I had never been in one and she said “Well Andrea, you’ve gotta find yourself a man!”.
After over two hours of somewhat rushed shopping, I hurtled albeit-legally Nigella Mansell style to Hillsborough for a reasonable meal at the Parsons Nose with my friend Kirsty… although my starter was a bit bland, the main vegetarian course was a bit over-broccolied, and I ended up sending the dessert back as the meringue in the Eton Mess was rock hard and more like plaster of Paris… though I did end up with a replacement sticky toffee pudding which was acceptable (and free); we also got ‘ladied’ a few times by one of the waitresses. We then went for coffee in Costa followed by a trip to the cinema to see Spy – definitely recommend seeing it, really amusing, and well-done spoof spy movie about an over-weight woman who becomes unexpectedly active in the field… and really does rather well at it; however, the swearing was totally over-the-top, and generally not necessary – showing my age with that comment, I suppose.
Sunday 28th June
Just pottering around at home, taking things slow, not achieving all that much… and blog-writing. With my commuting-heavy life, now and again I need to take it easy and try to recharge….