Monday 20th July
I wore a lovely, floaty John Rocha dress to work… that nobody commented on (grr), though Audrey liked my nail colour and Mary liked my shoes; had a nice, girly chat with both of them.
Tuesday 21st July
I got emails from my daughter, who is at Irish summer camp, and a guy that used to work for me who I haven’t heard from since Christmas… because at that time I was spending the last week with my daughter for what has turned out to be a long, long time, and then dealing the after-effects of my news to her… and then wondering ever since how I tell this guy that I am actually a girl. I had a really nice chat with an East European girl at work who I have never spoken to before, who initiated the conversation by saying how lovely my top was… not that I am likely to wear it that much because it creases while worn like nobody’s business!
Wednesday 22nd July
I was in a low mood as I realised it was six months since I have seen my daughter, as detailed in my previous blog post – I was weary, tired, disconnected, and clumsy. I had a meal in the evening with my two girly friends at Ed’s diner, and felt rather stuffed at the end of it; we got ‘ladied’ several times, and I got addressed as ‘honey’ for the first time which was nice.
Thursday 23rd July
I saw Debbie, a lady I have known to casually chat to on the train/platform for years, once off the train as we came down the escalator from Dublin station, and she said “I have to say, you’re looking fab!”, which was really nice, and appreciated as I was in a new summery outfit with wide-leg white trousers; we chatted about her recent hols before going our separate ways. In work Fiona said she loved my outfit too, that everything matched, and said “I’ll have to come to you for fashion advice” which is a huge compliment!! I was then mis-gendered at work by a guy who introduced me to someone and then started his next sentence “he…” though he immediately corrected himself… but it still made me feel really uncomfortable and deflated despite the earlier compliments… which I suppose proves that some people, such as me, tend to focus on the negative too much rather than the positive. I was quite happy with my voice on a conference call, where I was prepared to argue my point with someone trying to dismiss it. I met the nice East European lady again when I went to talk to someone else, and she said “you’ve brought summer into work”, then she compared the colours of our clothes compared to the guy we were with and she said that “we are two girls in pink”. On the train I was sitting with an oldish couple and their granddaughter, I closed my eyes as I was tired and after a while the girl announced that she needed the toilet “but the lady’s asleep”… so after a few moments I opened my eyes, and then the girl whispered “she’s awake!”. So, apart from one incident, lots of positive gender moments.
Friday 24th July
I wore a more casual, summery outfit, and Susan loved my trousers. For lunch I went out with Kenny to an authentic Italian restaurant where we had some nice paninis – it was quite loud in there, but most of the time he could hear me… something I often worry about, my quietly spoken voice.
Saturday 25th July
The forecast was, for once, good, and I was determined to do something different even though there were no meet up group events and no friends available for doing anything. So I drove for two hours to the northern Antrim coast to do some exploring of places that I had not been to before. I went to Downhill Demesne, a National Trust property that did not really inspire me – there was a huge, ruined house, but there was no interesting architectural detail at all as far as I could see; some of the coastal views were okay though, but it was cloudy, so after a while I headed east, and by the time I had got to Port Rush the weather had brightened considerably. Once away from the seaside town I was able to stop and explore the interesting scenery around White Rocks Beach, so named for the limestone rocks and cliffs that stood to the east of it, with some amazing arches sculptured by the waves. I drove on a little, stopped for a quick photo of ruined Dunluce Castle perched on the edge of the cliffs, then on further along the Causeway road, where I stopped to take a look at a ruined castle, then along the coast road with splendid views to Kinbane Head for a walk down the cliff path to a pleasant secluded rock beach and another ruined castle. After a stop at the ladies toilet in Ballycastle at 6.00pm, it was home-time, but barely 20 minutes into my return journey the main road was closed (due to bike racing) and the traffic was taken down an assortment of B-roads… which serendipitously took me to another, unexpected tourist attraction called the Dark Hedges, a tree-shrouded avenue used in the filming of Game Of Thrones (or so I overheard from someone who had also stopped).
Monday 27th July
I had a girly lunch out with my work friends Liesa and Nuala to wish Liesa goodbye on her last day at work… except that it turned out that her plans had changed and she was now staying on, which was good news… for me, anyway. I received a load of photos from my daughter from her summer camp, which I showed to Susan, Fiona, and my PM Pat the general consensus was that my daughter was stunning / beautiful, Susan said she should be a model and then earn enough money so I don’t have to work (LOL), I said I honestly don’t know where she gets her looks from, only her lips she really gets from me, and Susan said “Well, you hair’s quite long, like hers…” and, well, I can only hope that one day my hair will be that long because of course at the moment, as is apparent if you have read previous blog posts, I am still growing my own hair and currently still have to wear a wig… even if it is human hair, but it’s good she doesn’t seem to notice.
Wednesday 29th July
In the evening I met up with Michelle for a late supper at M&S café, the usual toasted sandwich and salad – she had told me to only come if it wasn’t out of my way, as it was late, but I was determined to… because I had a six month anniversary that I DID want to celebrate this time, it was six months since I came home from work, shed male clothes for the final time to start my new full-time life as the woman I now feel I should have always been. And this six months of life as a woman I have completed successfully without any hesitation or deviation at all (because it all feels so totally natural, like it should have always been, and every day has been positive), and I have also achieved my own little goal of not wearing the same outfit to work on any two days in that six months, I may have worn the same trousers or cardigans on several occasions, but there has always been one item of clothing covering, at least, my top half (either a top, jacket, or dress) that has only been worn once during the entire period! I am now also into week 10 of my gender-clinic Real Life Experience (RLE).
Thursday 30th July
OUCH! Today was my first, full-case and neck laser hair removal session… and it was REALLY intense and SO painful. I had applied Emla cream several times before I arrived, which is supposed to allegedly help with the pain, but I can only guess that I didn’t apply it very well because there didn’t seem to be much of a pain reduction as far as I could tell. When I arrived I had to wipe all the cream off, then wait for a while until paperwork and preparation was done, then the laser began, going backwards and forwards across my right cheek and neck, then my chin, then above my lips, and finally my left side. The nurse told me to breath deeply as she worked away, which I suppose was to try for me not to tense up quite so much… but when I climbed off the bed once finished my legs were like jelly, and she led me to a nearby seat and got a glass of water as I sat there trembling uncontrollably, and then eventually I went out to the waiting room so that the next person could go in… and then I cried, I don’t know why, whether it was because of the pain finally hitting me. Eventually I left, and got home about three hours after leaving, feeling totally exhausted and drained… and spent most of the rest of the day in bed.
Friday 31st July
I had hoped to get into work…. but when I awoke my face was still pink and blotchy, and also quite sore and tender too, and thus there was absolutely no way I could shave or apply make up to be presentable, and so had to stay home, though I did monitor my work email box the whole day and reply to a few things.
Saturday 1st August
This time I woke up and my face didn’t really look pink at all, though a bit tender but not actually sore, so I did shave, though left it until I really need to at lunchtime… and alas by the time I had finished my face was very pink and rather sore again; I applied lashings of aloe vera, which seemed to calm it down. At about 3.00 I went out, did some shopping and clothes-returns, and then met my friend Lynda at 6.20 at Sprucefield where we had a lovely chat for an hour over afternoon tea (well, for me, anyway). Poor Lynda was a little bit sad as her dog is going to be put down soon due to old age, and I was a bit teary-eyed over the phone when she told me earlier in the day, but our chat was good and not overly melancholy. Then we headed over to Lisburn Omniplex to see the latest Mission Impossible film, Rogue Nation… which was REALLY good, best film I have seen this year, great action sequences, with a Tom Cruise who never seems to look any older. About halfway through the film my face started to feel a bit itchy, and when I got home I wiped my foundation off as quickly and carefully as I could, and applied Vaseline as dictated by the laser nurse.
Sunday 2nd August
I woke during the night with an itchy face, though some aloe vera seemed to sort it out… but alas when I got out of bed at about 10.00am and looked in the mirror my face was a mess! Quite a number of little whiteheads all over my chin, and some also above my lips, and on cheeks and neck! Oh no, like teenage acne in miniature all over again… and then I remembered the nurse had said that I could get a skin infection if I shaved too soon, and so I can only presume that that is what it is… so I spent the whole day indoors with no make-up at all, cooling my face with a cold flannel, applying alternately Vaseline, aloe vera, and also savlon to the whiteheads that I just had to pop (I know I probably shouldn’t)… but more and more of them seemed to come during the day, I could literally feel them itching to break through and then an hour later they were there! I am SO worried what state my face will be returning to work on Tuesday, and have had to sadly cancel my plans with Kirsty for 3rd August (as I write) following advice from the laser clinic on my semi-ruined face.