Thursday 4th June
This was the first day in my new office, after yet another office move for my team back to the main building. I bumped into Karen for a chat who said “You’re SOOO happy!” and later “You’re in a frisky mood today” as we had a bit of light teasing! After a couple of meetings I had a chat with Fiona, including over the wording in an email, and she said something like “Well, I could tell them that my friend Andrea…” and, well, it would be nice if she really did think of me as a friend, I’d much rather she think of me like that and not as someone that she just happens to report to, as she is very nice, and good to chat to. Later I forced someone to talk to me who I consider has avoided any communication with me since I began life as the real-me – he was perfectly civil, and that is as much as I can ask.
Weekend 6th/7th June
It was a very quiet weekend, with nobody to spend any of it with, and no Meetup group events to go to. Saturday I managed to spend over five hours in and around Banbridge, which is no mean achievement considering the size of the place! Still, clothes shopping quickly passes the time! Sunday I stayed home, and just after midday rang my parents – quite a bit of the conversation was about the health of my Dad, as he has developed a heart condition, which worries me much… especially when he talked about documenting things for my mum in case he is no longer around! I also asked them about my brother who, as I mentioned in recent posts, finally talked to my parents about me following their visit to me in mid-April… but, in summary, he still “can’t get his head around it”… and then my mum said “I can’t either really”, which rather got me down as it seems a step backwards considering the visit seemed to go so well. In the afternoon an air display at a nearby country fair, which ended up being within half a mile of my house, provided an uplift – free entertainment on my back door step!
Monday 8th June
I can’t remember much about Monday… which is probably good, because it means that nothing much out of the usual happened… and that is the case pretty much every day at work, everything is pretty much normal (but GOOD normal, with bursts of positivity raising things now and again)… which is how I always wanted it to be. I was wearing what I think is a lovely cream, almost white, floaty top that I bought from Wallis on Saturday, and both Fiona and Mary said it was very nice, the fluted sleeves are just perfect, the way they split one each side around my elbows. I also had my annual appraisal with my boss, which I was dreading… and it turned out okay, we both agreed it wasn’t my best-ever year, due not only to exceptional work challenges but also due to immense personal challenges, that I have deliberately mentioned for the record on my form, but he was positive, said I “look so much happier which is a benefit to both me and everyone around” me.
Tuesday 9th June
Met Debbie on the platform just as the train was arriving…. so I slowed as I came up to her to she if she might say hello or anything after my initial “here-I-am” introduction of Andrea to her a few weeks ago… and she did! We walked to the train having a nice bit of superficial chat, and it was all very nice, and really not too different from ever before, even if I have a new slant on things. The train was quite busy so we didn’t sit together (and she likes to laptop-work on the train anyway), but I caught up with her once off the train and we chatted a little bit more before we went our separate ways to work.
Last week, as per previous blog, as I went out to lunch with Kenny I met three guys coming the other way, including a guy called Richie who I have known at work for many years (and was a bit shocked when he first heard the news about me), and although Emanuele gave me a cheery hello (he has always been really nice to me) Richie seemed to barely mumble anything at all, so I wondered whether he has a problem with me. Anyway, as I got to my office he was outside the back entrance having a smoke and so I said hello to him and got a muffled response… BUT then it registered with him who I was, and he rushed over and we had a good little chat, and he said we could do lunch with Emanuele in a few days… so hopefully all is good with him. Further to that, in the afternoon I ended up having a catch-up with Emanuele while I was waiting for someone to become free to meet them, and he said that after we had passed each other on the Friday Emanuele then said to Richie “Aren’t you going to say hello to Andrea then?” and apparently he said something along the lines of “God, was that her?? I didn’t recognise her!” – so, it hopefully doesn’t seem to have been a question of discomfort over me at all, one of unrecognition! Cool!!
Wednesday 10th June
I awoke very early, at a small-something past five o’clock in the morning and, as it soon became apparent I would never get back to sleep I got up to make the earlier train into work. For some reason, I was quite speedy getting ready… and had time to ponder for around five minutes just what to wear… and to completely change outfits after it appeared that the trousers in my first outfit were a bit tight (well, they are a UK 8) and also quite heavy for what was forecast to be a warm, sunny day. So I ended up in a summery, flowery dress in a thin, floaty material… which by the time I got to work turned out to be a great choice as, teamed with a black cardy for commuting, it was just the right amount of clothing for a lovely day.
To reward me for coming in early my PM Pat took me out for a coffee at a nearby Italian café, and we ended up having scones too. We had an enjoyable chat, some of which was work-orientated and some not. One of the things which filled me with joy was a tale he told me about one of his daughters – he was getting ready for work one morning recently and, putting on aftershave, his daughter said “Are you trying to smell nice for Andrea?” and he said “You bet I am!”. Also they ask him quite often “How is Andrea?” It was SO nice to hear a little conversation recounted between them where his daughter sees me as a woman… because, when I asked him later, he has told them about my history and my journey – initially once he had told them I think the youngest asked him “Does he come into work in a dress?”, and of course at her age of nine that is a fair question to ask, with no knowledge of transsexuality, but Pat has done a really good job of educating them and he quite obviously SO fully grasps the concept of gender dysphoria that it is heart-warming. So now, hopefully like others, they just think of me as a woman, and automatically think of me as a ‘she’… because that is what I am… and as each day passes I am more and more sure of this, if that is possible.
Wednesday evening, after a Sainsburys shop, I went with my BFF to a charity event at the salon of my fab hairdresser Paul Meekin, the event was for the Shaping Futures program, where hairdressers go to poor communities in other countries to train young people and give them a skill. So this time Paul is off to Jordan, and so the theme of the evening was Arabian Nights – this meant a Jordanian buffet, a belly dancer, a prize drawer, fancy dress, and a fire-eater! Thankfully the fancy dress was optional (as I was coming straight from work), but I ate from the buffet, watched the belly dancer (but did NOT join in when beckoned), did not win any prizes (as usual), and marvelled at the fire-eater. On the whole it was a fun evening once it got going, and I was so glad Kirsty was there to chat to before things started, it was also very nice to see Paul and the rest of his staff, his partner, and Lynda my former-laser-lady.
Thursday 11th June
During my journey to work the train inspector came round to check our tickets… and said “That’s fine, Madam” when I showed him my annual ticket; that’s the first time I’ve been madam’ed on the train! Had a long chat with Liesa at lunch time… and was VERY sad to hear that she is leaving in a few weeks time – the guy she works for is the most objectionable and disagreeable person I have ever come across, who gets angry and swears at people when things aren’t going well, and she decided she had had enough. And worse was to come, she then told me that Natalie is leaving at the end of next week! I will be VERY dismayed when they are gone, we have loads of nice chat and they are both really nice girls.
Friday 12th June
On the way into work on the early train I alas received an email from Natalie confirming that she is leaving the company in only a week… though it is a good move for her… considering the way my company treats people (over-worked, unrewarded, poor life-work balance). I had a meeting in her building first thing, and so stopped by her desk to say ‘hi’ and catch up – I was wearing a short leather biker jacket over a butterfly day-dress with ankle boots and she said I looked “absolutely gorgeous” and “really rockin’ with my boots” which really cheered me up for the day. After the meeting with Mary, and another guy, Mary walked over to our building with me, and she said I looked good too. There was an email to our department announcing Karen’s birthday, so when I saw her I wished her a happy birthday and had a nice chat… and then went up a floor and grabbed a pink cup cake to put on her desk, as she wasn’t sure whether her partner would be buying her a cake or not. I left early to go to a walk with my main group, and managed to get there just in time, at 6.00; I had been really tired on the train and had been wondering whether to bother going, but I am glad I did as I had some good chat with a few women… although dull chat with one guy who is quite loud and asks me nothing at all, so the only way to keep a conversation going is to keep asking him questions… which I just couldn’t be bothered to do after a while.
Saturday 13th June
Stayed home most of the day, tiring myself in my garden for over three and a half hours. After a nap I went grocery shopping, and then met up with my friends Kirsty and Michelle for a meal out at Ginger in Belfast – couldn’t be bothered to dress particularly glam, so wore a dress suitable for both occasions. The meal with my friends was enjoyable, it was nice to see them and the food was very good, with lots of fish on the menu; the staff were all very friendly, especially a woman who addressed us as “ladies” several times, also the guy who saw us to our table and attended to us some of the time insisted on making me a mocha personally when I reported that that was the only let down of the meal.
Sunday 14th June
I went for a walk with one of my Meetup groups; this one started at 1.00pm, giving me a lie-in… or just a leisurely morning as it turned out, at my age my body doesn’t really do lie-ins any more, I just get bored. The walk was seven miles, mostly along a path which used to be a steam railway from Belfast to Comber, before it was suspended in the 1950s; now there is just a tarmac pathway, although it does cross some of the former railway bridges and there are one or two rail track pieces used in fencing. The walk itself was nice enough, though alas it was all on tarmac and my legs were very achy at the end; however, I had a nice chat with several women along the way, and one of them, a girl recently over from French-Canada, asked me “What are the men like over here?”… which was quite fun, and nice to think that she either considers me a genetic woman or at least one who would be looking for a man like she is! In Comber we went to a café where I ate a nice bread and butter pudding, and chatted to another woman and also a nice guy who is fairly quiet and not overbearing like some on these groups. We took a bus journey back to Belfast, during which one girl asked the rest of us what breed of dog would we be were we a dog – I’m not into dogs that much so, after a few replies, I said ‘Beagle’ as I think they look like cute, and the girl said “That’s right for you, because you’ve got good eyes”, which is a kinda nice thing to say. At Belfast we said our goodbyes… and 45 minutes later, by the time I got home, three people had already said it was good to see me.