In one of my recent blog posts (not that they are that frequent as of late) I mentioned the underlying issue that has made me so fed up in the last couple of months. It is nothing to do with my transition, all is going pretty much as well as ever in that respect (albeit with the occasional teensy blip), daily life is normal and satisfying, I love seeing my new face complete with lovely girlie hair, am happy with my new voice, and so on.
No, the issue that has made me so fed up is the leg injury that showed itself while I was away on the interesting island of Gran Canaria at the end of February… which remains an issue, with not a significant amount of recovery after two months. I had two doctor appointments in March, the first ruling out DVT (a small risk now that I am on HRT) and the second ruling out a fracture and concluding it was a severe muscle sprain most likely caused by the jogging that I started in early February. After that, and little recovery in another couple of weeks, I embarked on a series of three physio appointments where it was also stated that the issue was muscular (tendonitis) which the physio himself said he had had a few years ago after a jogging incident, although he seemed to think that my injury was caused due to a lengthy irregular driving position in a strange (or, awful, as it turned out) hire car for a prolonged period; personally I think it’s a combination of jogging high-impact physical stress, car driving position, and possibly due to feminine footwear. At my physio I could feel parts of my leg muscles that he kneaded were rather sensitive, so that I suppose at least also supported the muscle prognosis. After the third physio appointment he said that there wasn’t anything he could really do and all he was actually doing was helping to ease the pain, and so recommended going to a podiatrist… and so the weekend just gone, after a couple of weeks when I ordered arch support inserts and got on poorly with them, I went to an appointment at Newry Foot Clinic – on the plus side the girl who attended to me didn’t indicate anything untoward was wrong, the conclusion was that my feet have quite a roll-in which requires arch support… and so ballet pumps, which I love and have quite a few of, are a total no-no (sobs as she writes), heels are generally not great either, ankle boots are agreeable, but ideally I should spend most of my life in trainers. Sobs again (probably), I have spent the majority of my uncomfortable life in horrible trainers, and more occasionally ugly blokey shoes, and so that idea does not fit well whatsoever with me. Then she said that the best shoes for me are those made by the likes of Ecco and Hotter, and so after the appointment I went to a nearby shoe shop selling an assortment of styles and makes of shoes, including those two… and I nearly cried when I saw them, essentially if you imagine a frumpy grandmother with a typically fashionless dress-sense then you will just about have the shoe in mind. Ugh!! So, as I write, I am rebelliously wearing a pair of ballet pumps, albeit with the arch-support inserts.
All these problems with my legs (mainly the right one) have meant that activities that I have typically done for the last couple of years have taken a back seat – I have not been able to go to any walks with my walking group, I have not generally even been in a state to drive my new car any distance in order to attend any more social meetups in Belfast, or even meet my friends Kirtsy and Michelle very much… and in fact driving at all has been generally unenjoyable, and I have found if difficult finding a comfortable driving position for more than a day or so. And this is why a part of me feels like I have regressed, at least temporarily, not back as far as my incorrect gender because that will never happen, but towards the unsociable me that I used to be… and thus life has generally been extremely frustrating apart from the very occasional meal with my two friends and a hair appointment and lovely lunch. I have also not even dared book another holiday for fear that I will either walk or drive too much and further damage my leg(s).
As regular readers will know, and as mentioned above, I belong to a walking group… though my walking tips I am about to document are nothing to do with that hobby, they are not tips on places to walk…. but actually a topic relating to transition. Before I ventured into the world as the real me, and I am not talking full-time but in fact for the first time, I spent months and months and months researching and then practising various things, and one of these was on how to walk like a woman because once out and about I didn’t want to stick out as someone walking rather oddly and draw attention to myself; in fact, even when having to keep up the façade of a male persona I started walking like a woman, partly to practise and partly because the real me was eagerly trying to burst into the world. My research involved largely reading on various transgender websites for hints and tips on what to do and what not to do, and I put as many of them into practise as possible, and for me I believe they have worked… not that I think I actually ever walked really bloke-like, and in fact when I came out to someone at work shortly before going full-time he told me I ran like a girl! Anyway, my current injury issue has enabled me to examine the various aspects of the female walk, both in terms of what I really still need to do (which pretty much comes naturally now anyway) and also observing women around me, and my conclusions are as follows:
- As the girl at the foot clinic said to me, everyone walks differently… so just supposing you look at someone and think they have a very feminine walk that you’d like to emulate then look at another girl and they are highly unlikely to walk the same way… although as per the next point, there are certain things that most women exhibit when they walk.
- The vast majority of women walk with their body straight and, unlike a typical bloke, the torso itself does not move at all… so they don’t trudge! Women also rarely walk with their hands in their pockets, practically always swing their arms as they walk (and usually one arm as the other arm has a handbag hanging from some part of it), walk with their legs together (so not like a rugby player) so that the legs almost brush on the insides, and very importantly they take shorter strides than men do and therefore more of them; ignoring the latter can potentially mean that someone supposed to be walking like a woman will look more like they are moon-walking like Michael Jackson.
- Women in heels will to a certain extent swing their hips – this is at least partly because wearing heels naturally makes one do this. However, excessive hip-swinging, or ‘mincing’, is just going to look ridiculous and will make one look more like a very camp man; I have observed a girl in my office walking like this, and she looks idiotic! Women wearing flats or trainers generally don’t do much in the way of swaying, if at all.
- I read on one site that a woman’s body structure means that their torso is more forward in relation to their pelvis, which probably accounts for the fact that certain women have obvious bottoms (I don’t mean fat, just, well, stick-out shapely I suppose). To try and achieve this it is possible for a trans-girl to roll their pelvis forwards, and I have done this over the last two years… and although I think it helped me pass well on the whole, at this stage in my transition, where I think I pass well enough due to my naturally feminine hair, improved looks due to HRT, and confidence in myself, my injury has made me realise that I don’t need to do this any more… and in fact it may have contributed to my injury by putting undue pressure on my knees.
- A trans woman told me that women walk with their toes pointed inwards. Really? Not in general, from what I have seen.
I could think of more to say I suppose, but I’m weary so I hope the above tips will help some of you further back in the journey than I am; these are my opinions, I think they will help someone to blend in more… but that’s only part of the equation, if one doesn’t make much effort with make up, has poor dress sense or dresses out of keeping with their age, then no amount of walking practise is going to help an awful lot
Today I looked at the websites of Ecco and Hotter… and if one wades through the frumpiness there are just a few sensible and even pretty shoes and well-styled boots… so I may soon go footwear shopping!