Weeks 32-35 As a Full-time Woman – September 2015… and Silence Is Not Always Golden

It’s getting on for being nearly halfway through October and I haven’t posted about anything since my Slovenian holiday that occurred in the latter half of August. One of the reasons for this is that, on the whole, life has just been rather normal – not dull or unexciting, although I have had some weeks at work where I have had no break from the work-commute routine, just everything ticking along nicely. However, the other reason is that my mood has been all over the place, with some very low moments… and that is because in mid-September I hurt my throat muscles and practically lost my voice for several days, and even now I am only in recovery-mode from this with hospital appointments for it on the horizon. Hence the title of this post, because I have been much quieter than is usual for my new, happy self… and this silence has NOT been golden but downright depressing.

Sunday 6th September

At just after midday I met up with Charley, a uni-student that I met at my local trans* support group some time ago in 2014, and had brunch at a place called Jenz – we had a nice chat and it was good to see her after her summer away, the food was okay too, my panini was nice… although Charley’s cooked breakfast bun just looked half-heartedly thrown together. I headed onto Queen’s Uni to a Meetup to view an art exhibition by Julian Friars – some of the wildlife paintings were stunning, one or two almost 3D like. Later I met Kirsty for coffee at Caffe Nero.

Monday 7th September

Back to work after my hols. Aggghhhhhhhh.

Tuesday 8th September

My birthday, and my first birthday spent living 24/7 as the real me… and a year older! But what a year it’s been! I had some lovely birthday cards, including one from my brother which said “To Andrea”, the first, and only so far, time he has used my new name. My daughter wished me happy birthday by email, but no card. The day after I celebrated my birthday, and those of my friends, with a nice meal at The Plough.

Weekend of 12th/13th September

On the Friday my parents arrived from Wales… and within a quarter of an hour my mum squeezed my breasts! Why she thought they might have grown to full size in two months I don’t know…. much as I wish they had done. On the Saturday morning once I got to breakfast mum said “Hello Princess” which was really nice… though later undid that my criticising my legs, saying that they looked muscular with thin ankles and I’d be better in trousers; well, thanks a lot. On the Sunday was the disaster that affected my voice – I was getting ready and just as I was about to put my wig on (as my natural hair is not long enough yet) my mum knocked on the bedroom door and started to push it open… and so in a huge panic I raised my voice to her without thinking, or putting any of my techniques into play, and shrieked at her not to come in.  Later on we had a two-mile walk along country roads where I live and near home we passed my neighbour as he came out of his drive, we said hello and that was it, but I was glad my parents were with me the first time I spoke to him… as a girl. Overall their visit was good, and my mum’s mis-gendering has reduced.

Monday 14th September

The day soon went downhill as my voice became more and more croaky and hoarse and by lunchtime I could barely speak!! Pat, my PM, asked me why I was fed up, and so I told him, opened up about my voice problem and my worries; as usual, he was very caring. But as the day went on, I felt more and more down… and I eventually started to contemplate how much value I am to the world

Tuesday 15th September

I got on the train at Newry to find it full, standing room only. There were two bikes laid in front of about six pull-down seats and I asked the guard if they could be moved. “Sorry madam, there’s nowhere to put them”… but a girl vacated a seat nearby and a guy nearer to the seat than me gestured that I take it J

My voice was total rubbish today, and several days afterwards, barely a word possible unless I took a very deep breath, so I used hand signals much of the time. A nice girl from Poland said that she liked my choice in clothes, not just that day but generally… and as usual I appreciated the compliment, but almost wished I had not had it, because it meant I had to use my voice to thank her!

Thursday 24th September

After struggling on with my voice, or lack of, for a week and a half I finally made it to a doctor’s appointment – the lady was very pleasant, and gave me a prescription for two medicines. With time to spare before the next train I made a quick trip to a crash repairer to have damage inspected on one of my car doors – the guy was really nice, and courteous, as he gave me a quote. At Newry station the young guy checking tickets joked that I was up late, and at Dublin the older guy who seems to now look out for me said the same thing – when I told him I had been to the doctor he looked a bit concerned, but when I light-heartedly said that at least I had had a lie in he laughed.

Weekend 26th / 27th September

On the Saturday I met up with my friends Michelle and Kirsty to do a treasure trail at a place called Oxford Island on the shore of Lough Neagh, the largest lake in the UK. I was tired, noticed by Michelle, and on the way there I shut my eyes in the back… and so they chatted merrily away about assorted musical subjects. The trail was fun, the weather really good. Later, after a supermarket shop, we all went for a lovely meal out at a fab restaurant in Belfast called Blu that we had not tried before. I had the largest scampi that I have ever seen in my life, and they were delicious, as was the rest of the meal; the ambience of the venue was great, with cool lighting and subdued music, and the service was very attentive. Near the end of the meal I went to Las Vegas, well, actually, the ladies loo, but as you can see from the photo it was easy to confuse the two.

Blu toilet LR

On the Sunday I was at the end of my garden by the road, starting digging lawn up for a flower bed, when who should come along but my neighbour from up the road – my heart was pounding as I chatted to him, but the conversation was nice enough. He asked where I was from, whether I liked the countryside, and so on, he then said I looked a bit like the guy who used to live there that he had not seen in ages… and I felt SO anxious, unprepared for a revelation, that I merely said “oh”; the chat carried on a bit more, and then he said “well, it was nice to meet you”.

29th September

I got wolf-whistled as I walked to work – I have no idea whether it was someone who fancied me, thought I looked nice, or was taking the mickey… but it was quite fun.

30th September

I wrote a reference for my PM… seeing as my boss hadn’t bothered to make the effort – I was only to pleased to do so, as he has done a great job and been so very supportive and caring about my welfare since I started living life as a woman… though I practically cried doing it, thinking about him leaving. Must be the hormones!

Getting off the train after work a regular commuter who I have never spoken to before pressed the button to open the door, and then stepped back a bit and gestured for me to exit first – ah, what a gent, and I thanked him in a voice that, for once in those last couple of weeks, I was really pleased with.

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So that was my September, nothing outstanding I suppose… other than living in my true gender. I haven’t written about half the things that happened I guess, well not in any detail – I get complimented from time to time, and that is nice, guys working at both Newry and Dublin stations are regularly nice and friendly (the one in Dublin often chatting, and saving a paper for me for the train), and Meetup events which I have forgotten the detail of. But, overall, despite the voice problems, life still feels good… and, most of all, right.