Andrea’s Tips For Laser Hair Removal… as a Patient

It is probably at least a year since I finished my facial laser hair removal sessions with the UK NHS at Ulster Hospital in Belfast, so I thought I’d offer these tips to any women out there (transsexual or otherwise) with facial hair issues contemplating or currently undergoing this treatment… especially as a very good friend has just started this treatment:

  • It’s advisable to try and get an appointment on a Friday morning, as your face is likely to take all weekend to recover, and I really don’t recommend you shave or apply makeup until it has done so.
  • Prior to the day of treatment make sure you firstly have enough petrol to get you to the hospital and back, and some to spare – you don’t want to be stopping at a petrol station without make up on, and especially after the session with a red and puffy face, unless it is one of those pay-at-pump ones. Secondly, stock up on those little containers of Vaseline! Thirdly, as per the first point, you’ll likely want to spend the weekend after treatment at home, so stock up on food and goodies!
  • Make sure every tiny scrap of make-up has been removed from your face from last wearing it; I left a tiny bit of foundation next to my ears once, and my skin burnt a bit. Ideally use cleanser after a facial wipe to ensure your face is totally clean.
  • Shave the morning of the treatment. It is best for the hair to be as short as possible – it makes little difference to the effectiveness of the treatment (the nurse tells me), but what it does do is make the treatment less painful.
  • Take chocolate (or your favourite savoury treat if you don’t have a sweet tooth like me) so that once you come out of the treatment you will have a consolation treat. Also ensure you have a container of Vaseline.
  • Allow plenty of time to get to the hospital, park, get to administration, and go the to Ladies before getting to the Laser suite; drive below the speed limit and, if in traffic, don’t lane hop, the aim is to NOT get there already feeling stressed… cos you’ll likely be pretty strung out once the treatment is over!
  • I was prescribed Emla cream to help with pain relief on the face during the treatment, though I could never figure out how much it worked. One would apply this at half-hourly intervals from 90 minutes before treatment. Paracetamol beforehand might also help.
  • During treatment, take deep slow breaths in and out all the way through; if you know body-relaxation exercises, that’ll help too. If you smell burning, don’t worry, that’s only your face! Well, the hairs on it anyway, don’t worry, that’s normal… AND it means that the treatment is working!
  • I found the pulsing laser blasts pretty sore!! Maybe you’ll be luckier. My operator was very efficient, and moved around the face quite rapidly up and down; each zap is a bit like being the snap of being hit with an elastic band.
  • During the lasering, an assistant directed a blast of cold air at the area just being treated. Also, once a section of face had been treated then a pad of aloe vera was applied for a short while.
  • At the end of the laser treatment session, when I got up off the bed I was a trembling wreck! But a glass of water and a bit of chat with the nurse settled me down. Maybe that’ll work for you too. I generally found all of the staff at the NHS laser department very nice, especially my regular laser-operator.
  • Before leaving hospital, apply Vaseline to all of the areas that have been treated.
  • For the first hour or two after treatment your face, especially where the hair is more dense (typically above and below the lips) will likely feel the same as a severe sunburn; for this reason, stay out of the sun!!! Not only avoid the sun, use the sun visors in the car if the weather is sunny, have a window or two in the car open a bit, and once out of the car stay away from any heat source. Exposure to the sun after treatment may result in permanent spots of skin discoloration!
  • Pamper or treat yourself to keep your spirits up until the soreness dies down.
  • Make sure there is a constant coating of Vaseline on the skin, and do not be attempted to use anything else such as aloe vera or moisturiser.
  • As the day progresses to evening you may find some of the hairs that have hopped out of their follicles will come off your face, for example when applying Vaseline. You can use a dry fluffy towel or flannel to very gently try and brush hairs away if you want.
  • I do not recommend shaving for at least 48 hours after the laser sessions!! For the first few days after the treatment your skin will be very sensitive, I wet-shaved 48 hours after my first treatment and my face erupted into a catastrophic minefield of white heads! This was probably also exacerbated by me not using enough Vaseline, or mixing it with aloe vera. Anyway, that was NOT a good look. After the treatment I would hope that like me hair growth will slow a lot, try and shave electric for a while as that will irritate the skin less than a wet shave.
  • If you have a white head eruption, all you can do is apply foundation over it to hide the worst of the look… although your skin will look a bit like the surface of the moon. To get rid of the ‘eruption’ buy a good quality antibacterial wash, preferably from a good chemist, and DON’T pick or pop the white heads, however awful they look; in a couple of days it’ll look tons better!
  • Further to the above two points, 3-4 sessions my skin got used to the treatment and the pinkness had pretty much gone overnight.
  • After about four sessions, during which hair growth may seem to reduce, there may be a return of growth – this is normal, the hair tries to fight back, but further sessions convince it that this is just not on!
  • As the sessions continue the intensity of the laser increases, but as the amount of hair reduces then the pain does not proportionately increase.
  • 10 sessions is regarded as the optimum for effectiveness – fewer may not be enough, but to have more than that may also start to reverse the process and actually encourage growth again.
  • After the face’s skin has settled back to normality once the battery of sessions is over, it may become apparent that the odd coloured/dark hair has been missed… but experience to-date doesn’t indicate any resurgence of growth.

Laser works best on brown/black/dark hair – it will not work at all on grey/silvery hairs and is very unlikely to work on blonde hair either. Anything that can’t be removed via laser can be attempted using electrolysis…

NOTE – the above is all based on my experience, you may well experience less pain, be less sensitive to the affect of the treatment, and be less stressed by the whole thing!

Living Full-Time as a Woman – Weeks 25 & 26 – Six Months without repetition, deviation, or hesitation… but now marooned at home after a severe blasting :-(

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

White Rocks Coast 3The 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 WDark Hedges (V)hite 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.

Yours grumpily,



White Rocks Arch

Full-time living as a woman – Week 14… including some positive health appointments

Tuesday 5th – a fairly ordinary working day… though I had a really nice chat with Audrey, who complimented my dress, as well as a chat with Gerry, the leader of the work’s walking club, who said he will get me out walking one of these days… and indeed he will if it EVER stops raining for more than five minutes!

Wednesday 6th – before I got to work I popped into a nearby Spar to get a scone for breakfast. As I was about to exit a retired guy and his wife were entering – the woman walked on in, but the guy stepped aside at the entrance and let me out with a nice smile; what a gentleman! At work I caught up with Liesa and had a nice chat about our weekends… including an alternative wedding show that she had gone to… some of which sounded a bit extreme. At lunchtime I ended up walking to a nearby M&S Food with Fiona, and had a nice chat with her… though alas we spent so long choosing lunch and then something for her dinner that it was pouring with rain on the walk back to the office. Two guys from a software company were on-site to provide assistance, one of who had not met the new-me… but I had some chat with them and all was just as normal as ever. Alas I had to work late, and so no outing for supper with either of my friends was possible.

Thursday 7th – a day off work for medical appointments, the first of the day to one of the hospitals in Belfast I have not been to before, for facial hair removal tests. My mood was all over the place as I got ready to go, because I had had to leave my facial hair since Tuesday and not wear any makeup apart from on my eyes; I also wore my backup hair rather than that which I normally wear, in case the hair-removal equipment fried my hair. I wrapped a floaty scarf around my head to hide as much of the facial hair and then headed off, feeling very tense… but the appointment went well, the two nurses were very nice, and the hair removal equipment very high-tech – a space-age looking IPL device compared to the one I had been treated by before, and a laser device with a vacuum cleaner-type affair surrounding it. One nurse went through an assortment of information with me, and then asked if I was on hormones – when I said ‘not yet’ she said that the hair removal would be much more effective if I was on hormones… which got me rather annoyed with my therapist who seems to have been dragging her heels with my hormones. The treatment was efficient, and not any more painful than the IPL I have previously experienced; I left with two red patches of skin, and charred raised hairs on the laser patch. I returned home, exhausted, and had lunch, made up the rest of my face part from the treated patches, and went to bed for an hour… and then off again to my next Gender Clinic appointment. My therapist was prompt, and after complimenting me on my appearance we had a long update chat, the highlight of which of course (as per previous posts) I was able to tell her how well the visit of my parents went… and, as usual, I got all teary-eyed as I imparted the detail. We then talked about treatments and appointments, she went through questionnaires I had filled in which she said I had obviously thought a lot about, where I said that one advantage of going on hormones was that it would finally be recognised that I was on Real Life Experience, as two years of RLE are required before I can be considered for Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS)… except that she corrected me and said that this can be considered after only one year!! That made me really excited because even quite recently I have known people who have had to wait the two years. So I left feeling quite happy, with the expectation that I may be on hormones in three months… though, as with everything, there are waiting lists for appointments required before that can start.

Friday 8th – what a miserably wet day it was today… but there were some good moments. Shortly after I arrived at the office, I was chatting about work with my PM when Breda came up, and mouthed “look at you” with a warm smile before commencing a work chat. I had lunch out with a colleague called Kenny, who I have lunched with once before (soon after I started my new life) – we went to a Japanese outlet and both got bento boxes, followed by a coffee and cake at a coffee shop; the outing was very nice, with some good chat with him, as well as actually spending a significant break away from the office just for once.

So, a fairly quiet working week… with an exhausting appointment day that was overall rather positive.


Full-Time Life As A Woman – Week 7

I have a feeling that this wont be a very exciting blog post – I’m too tired after a long week to even think of an imaginative title for it! Considering I had a day off during the week, it’s been an awfully hard slog.

  • March 16th – Monday was a quiet day in the office, as many had taken the day off owing to the following day being a Bank Holiday in Ireland for St Patrick’s Day. Fiona was in though, so I could have some fun chat with her after the weekend… and show her my pierced ears, I was SO excited about them! Lunch time for once I had a good break, so I went shopping to a big Penney’s where Liesa at work had spotted cardigans in a style that I liked… and indeed there was a stand full of them in assorted colours, so I bought three… as well as a top and shoes, which I showed Fiona upon my return; Oisin came over but I think all the shopping chat got the better of him after a while and he said “I’ll leave you girls to it!” 😉 Later I was talking to Carol about how I don’t like clothes if the buttons on them have the holes and threads visible… and she said that’s a bit weird and I am very fussy! Once home I opened the post to find a European Health Card with my new name on it!
  • March 17th – a Bank holiday, and after a dreadful night of sleep Sunday night I decided to have a good lie-in and stay at home… which prompted an experiment. You see, I have finally been offered hair removal treatment with the NHS, with the first appointment (an assessment) occurring in early May, and the standard advice form that came with the appointment notice said I had to leave the hair grow for at least a week. AT LEAST A WEEK?!? Totally impractical for a full-time woman… and so that was the nature of the experiment, which was partly the reason for staying at home, I put my make-up on without shaving my face, just to see how it looked with only ONE day of hair growth… and it was obvious that the advice from NHS was ridiculous for me, as it took a shed load of foundation to cover the moderate whisker growth on my chin, and one or two other areas looked rather rough. I caught up with a few things around the house, including freeing up another drawer for my girlie clothes.
  • March 18th – back to work again to a busy office… and the opportunity for lots of catch up… and earring chat!! My PM Pat, a really nice guy who I wished I reported to for all things, said my earrings were nice, and several of the women I chatted to wereDublin Pig 2 very excited by this latest development in my new and wonderful life! I met Roz and Therese, ladies I had done work for a couple of years ago, for the first time as my true self – Roz said she would never have recognised me, and Therese said I looked great! Later I was handing out letters from the in-tray, including to Liesa who said “Are you playing postman?” – I said “Post woman… or post person”… but nobody says that, and it made me ponder with her how much of the English language is dominated by male-ness – Manager for example (a level of employment dominated alas by men… though I wonder whether that is partly because it strikes me that alpha males especially are so ridiculously pompous about impressing people with their career progress, whereas women are typically more interested in the welfare of other people), humankind, manhole, and so on. Once off the train I went to Tesco, and onto Boots where I stocked up on powder… and Plough CDwas upset when the ‘beauty assistant’ (who has known me since the start of this journey, including when I went in one time before I was confident enough to go out as my true self, for foundation advice) said “good man” to me as I handed her the goods. ‘Man’??? Excuse me… I am tempted to say something to her the next time I go in. Anyway, went on to the Plough for another fine meal with my two friends; Michelle even gave me a CD (which I hadn’t foreseen considering our generally different musical tastes), and I gave her and Kirsty my old clip on earrings, which I don’t intend to wear ever again.
  • March 19th – had a nightmare getting ready once most of my make up was on, I was very inefficient and almost ran out of time, and I got in such a state that I was almost in tears as I fretted; the new top that I had tried on the night before didn’t fit right once I had a cardy on, the camisole underneath it refused to remain centre-aligned, etc. I wasn’t happy with my wardrobe until about lunchtime, when I changed the camisole for a cotton version that I had brought with me, and ditched the cardy. I popped over to HQ to get lunch, and had a lovely chat with Ciaran, who is a manager of IT deskside support, he said I am “very brave”, that “we’re all really happy for you” and that I “look great”! How nice, huh! And, as observed by so many, he also said I look so happy… and went on to admit that before 2015 I was a bit of a misery; well, I know I was, and now everyone knows why. I had a nice chat with Audrey, who said she liked my earrings, before retuning to my office, passing the pig statues again. I had a lovely chat with Liesa, who said she really liked my top (which made me happy after the morning disaster), and then she brought over her prototype wedding invitations that she has made… and they are totally FAB!! She is really creative, and I was very impressed by what she had made.
  • March 20th – once at the office I was immediately in chat mode with Fiona… having a conversation about her spray-tan appointment the previous evening – why she had been embarrassed to mention it I don’t know (my daughter does it, albeit it herself with a tan mitt), and it looked very natural… and she gave an amusing tip to not go to such appointments while wearing deodorant, perfume, and so on… as one’s skin can end up looking temporarily green! I was pleased she liked my new plaid skirt, especially as it was in a sale in Tesco – she said I looked ‘comfortable but pretty’, which was nice to hear; later she actually asked me for an opinion on some photos of her mum in some dresses!! In the afternoon, after a negligible lunch, I had a nice catch up with busy-Natalie… and chat about my voice and appointments ended up with me reminiscing with her about my October-2014 trip where I won the Snow Queen competition; she asked if I had photos, and of course I did on my tablet, she said I looked so cute, was not surprised I won, and described me as a “skinny little bitch” which was a hilarious compliment. I was then on the phone to a guy who was producing a report for me… and alas he ended up using my old name, though he immediately corrected himself and apologised; early days for some people, I guess. I ended up in another conversation about clothes shopping with Fiona, and Pat asked “Do you like shopping?” What a daft question – I’m a girl, of course I like shopping!! Didn’t used to… but then that was because I was not able to shop for what I truly wanted, just spent endless occasions skirting women’s clothing departments, wishing I could explore and purchase without embarrassment… and now that I am naturally living as my true self then I can! I was talking about my ex- with Fiona and how our gender roles were reversed in our marriage, after her fiancé became late picking her up, and she said that she doesn’t like referring to my ex- as ‘her’… and I don’t either, that’s why I don’t talk about my ex- much (and why I always say ‘my ex-‘ without a gender reference) because I feel it hinders me being treated and seen as the woman that I want to be accepted as. Then I said I want to shop for a tennis outfit, except that I don’t have anyone to play tennis with, and Fiona admitted that her apartment block has a court to themselves, and she doesn’t have anyone to play with!!! So I may have found someone to play tennis with… and be able to justify that tennis kit after all!


My Mummy Still Loves Me! Even Though I’m TS!

Since my last update I have not actually done a lot while presenting as Andrea… but some progress has been made.

First of all, and most importantly, is my parents just at the moment. Last Sunday, their latest long email arrived, with more questions, some explanations for misunderstandings (mostly on their part), and some elaboration. I have a long reply in progress to them, but although it will take time I feel that progress is being made and that they want me in their life. That reply indicated that their feelings at the moment are mostly worry… but my Dad (who writes the emails) indicated that my Mum generally ends up in tears when she has to think about me. SOOOO… I thought I would order some flowers for her, I haven’t given her flowers for some time so I wondered if it would perk her up; I ordered them on-line on Tuesday and she received them on Thursday. Well, this Saturday morning, when I returned from home after picking up my daughter and getting my car serviced, there was a little card in the post… and it was from my lovely mummy!!! It said the following:

Thank you so much for the beautiful bunch of flowers. It was very kind of you.

I am so sorry for the way I have been feeling towards you recently.

I love you so much and I am still worried about you and {daughter’s name}, for both your futures.

I will try harder to adjust to the new you.

With all my love to you, Mum X

So, although she is finding it hard, which I fully anticipated, all is certainly not lost it seems!

This weekend I thought I would be able to have several hours as Andrea, but my daughter’s sleepover turned sour when she became sick, so I had to pick her up first thing this morning. Yes, I am disappointed that I will have no time this weekend to be the real me… but it is only five weeks until I tell my daughter about me, it really is not long to wait, and now I have told HR and my boss at work then some of that heavy, male weight that I carry around every day seems to have gone.

And, talking of my boss, yesterday he came to ask how I was, and he asked me a few things about my transition, which I appreciated.

Another reason why not presenting as Andrea this weekend is not quite so bad is because my poor face is still recovering from the torture of my latest laser session on Wednesday, when I did present as Andrea … and felt lovely, despite the obligatory hairy face. Yet again, I got Lynda to increase the setting everywhere a notch… and my poor chin ended up weeping, so I have putting antiseptic cream on it; it is also quite purple from the blasts.

Yesterday despite being at work, and therefore presenting as ‘him’, a couple of nice girlie things struck me. Firstly, for the last 5-6 weeks I have been starting to grow my hair and have now refused to cut it. For half my life it has never got to more than 20 millimetres, now some of my hair is nearly twice that and, for the first time yesterday, I felt the wind in it, and it absolutely filled me with joy. So, in a year’s time, it will hopefully be a lot longer and I may be able to go out as Andrea with my real hair – I am just SO looking forward to that. Also, late yesterday afternoon, I had to stay on late (yet again) to help with an IT release, and when it was done I had the best part of an hour to kill… and so I disappeared into the (disabled) toilet and filed my nails! I used to watch my mum file her nails and think what a tedious job it was… but now, oh no, it is something I really rather like, I find it therapeutic when the nails start taking shape and are lovely and curvy. Also, I remember watching women type on keyboards, especially on films, and wonder why their hands were up in the air when they typed… but it’s because with long nails there is a different way of typing, it feels a bit like playing the piano to me and it is really quite graceful.

So, I sit here in bed, typing away in only androgenous, but ladies, clothes (white boyfriend T-shirt, white knickers, and white ladies trainer socks), despite no opportunity to present as Andrea I am not too down… especially with womanhood (and girlie Christmas parties) fast approaching!

Why does it take me SOOOOO long to get ready??? Alas, it’s not JUST coz I’m a woman…

Somewhat unusually for me, I’m posting quite early in the day. Firstly, I am in SUCH a good mood, this weekend is a total-100% Andrea one… though that’s not the sole reasons for the good mood. As some TS girls will have realised, it is very depressing to see one’s male reflection when one is not able to present as one wishes… even if I tend to try and avoid this as much as possible. Anyway, this morning I transformed back into me and, with most of my make up done, I donned underwear, put on my lovely new hair… and I literally chuckled with pure glee and joy that I could finally see my reflection again. SO happy! I will never be a particularly pretty girl I am sure, even after HRT and any facial surgery, but it is difficult to express just how much joy I feel at being able to see my true reflection, one that matches my inside. I EVEN love seeing Andrea’s shadow with her longer hair… and last night I caught my shadow as male and I just HATED it. To some I know it will sound extreme, but anything to do with my enforced male appearance is just so wrong for me.

I am also posting early as I have to wait for another foundation layer to dry on part of my face – I think that after my latest laser session, the first shave since then has been a bit hit and miss and so my face and its dreaded hair are still recovering… and this is the reasoning behind some of the title of this thread. Years ago I WAS married, to a woman, and so I know just how long it can take a woman to get ready… but of course I have the added problem of trying to deal with covering up a face scarred by deeply-unwanted facial hair.

The other reason behind making this post is because over the last few months I have got to know a really lovely girl called Ruth via an online support group site. She also writes a blog (Ruth’s Odyssey), which is always an interesting read… but it causes me much consternation to read about the minuscule amount of time it takes her to get ready – her latest get-ready took her 38 minutes!! Mine typically takes around an hour and a half!!! Why the huge difference?

So I thought I would analyse this morning’s make up / get ready routine… which took an hour and 32 minutes… SIGH – now I could make excuses such as I have ANOTHER head cold (second in five weeks), I had not decided what to wear, etc. but any manner of excuses wouldn’t bring it down all that much. So here was my routine from this morning:

  • Shower, including arm/leg shaving            14 minutes
  • Shaving face (blade, electric, moisturise)  16 minutes (of course, most biological women wouldn’t have to do this – grr)
  • Apply first layer of foundation                       9 minutes
  • Pencil eyebrows                                           3 minutes
  • Eye make up (shadow, liner, mascara)      15 minutes (this stands out as taking a long time)
  • Second foundation (upper/lower lips)           2 minutes
  • Bronzer and blusher                                     4 minutes
  • Lip liner                                                         1 minute
  • Put on underwear, and hair, pin and brush  4 minutes (that’s SO worth it, I just LOVE my hair)
  • Decide on, and dress in, clothes/jewellery 16 minutes (must be less indecisive)
  • Pack hand bag                                             3 minutes
  • Apply powder and lip gloss                          4 minutes

There are a lot of small-time items but it all adds up. I wouldn’t have to shave arms/legs every shower, but that wouldn’t cut down too many minutes. Maybe after a few more laser sessions the shaving time will reduce a lot more. But it is rather an annoyance that I take so long to do all of this. And does it make me wish that I shouldn’t bother? HELL NO, I just LOVE that contented (no, NOT thrill, but joyous contented) feeling of seeing me again in the mirror and, for the first year of my life, being happy enough with the way I look… even if I wish I could magic the facial hair away.

That’s it for now, thanks for reading (and for any comments you add – I always love these), am off out shopping… and to meet my BF Kirsty!

Smoke… and tears

Yesterday was my latest last hair removal appointment in Belfast… which, from arrival until departure, lasted three hours! We always have some lovely, friendly chat after the treatment,  and particularly so this time. After the last session, when I felt my face had not had a serious workout I asked her to do it all one setting up, so upper lip (most sensitive area) was up to 18 and the rest of the face was 20; quite an increase from the initial session which was 8-10. All the blasts were very sharp, but at the end my face felt it had a much better going over; fingers crossed over the next few weeks, turning up yesterday my cheeks and lower neck were certainly patchy, but I wish progress was better. Then she blasted my chest, from neck line to the base of my bra at 30, the maximum setting possible for my hair type/colour, then she did my centre-back at 30 on red-hair setting with an additional pulse which translates to above maximum setting! With all that blasting there was a serious amount of burning smells, and some frazzled hairs, which is good!

After my face was done I was lying with cooler packs on my face after she had asked about my counselling (the one with the emotional abuse statement) and I filled up with tears until they overflowed. Later, as my back was being cooled after blasting, I told her about that counselling and, well, let’s just say she was not at all impressed by what the counsellor had said. Once we were done we had a really long chat, mostly I was doing the chat with lots of catch up of events over the past month, and after a while she was handing out tissues for me to mop my face of tears and blow my nose. She is such a good listener, so open-minded, she feels like a friend… even if at the end of my appointments (whenever that is) I don’t suppose we will communicate; I think she is such a lovely person, I feel I am so lucky to have her treating me. Then I asked after her; she says she has one or two regrets in life (I expect many of us do, and I will certainly not mention hers) but if I was related to her I would not be able to be prouder of her.

Eventually we both left once she was locked up, I helped her carry her stuff downstairs, and I knew she was just dying to show me her new car… and I sure knew why when I saw it in the metal, a lovely mini coupe in red/black. I even got to sit in it, it is a seriously cool set of wheels (very similar to that shown in picture below) – a special car for a special lady.images (1)

What’s that burning smell? Oh, that’d be me!!

One of the problems with being a girl, when you weren’t born as such, is all the body and facial hair! So, a few months ago I decided to be proactive and try to do something about it, in advance of coming out, and last night was my latest laser hair removal treatment session at the Belfast Electrolysis Centre.

Now prior to yesterday, I had had only two full-face sessions, and so it is a bit much to expect much in the way of results already. Another problem is that because the hair on one’s face is much more dense that on other parts of the body, then it is not easy to get the setting as high – the first face session was at 10, and the last one was 12… whereas treatment on my chest was done at 22. But, alas, such is the nature and momentum of this journey that I was determined to have my latest facial setting up a notch or two, and to make the treatment more effective I had two days of stubble… which rather disheartened me being otherwise dressed and presenting as a woman.

I arrived at 7.00pm for the session and went in a few minutes later. As usual, I had a bit of chat with Lynda, who quickly sensed my discomfort with the hairy face. We agreed to increase the setting and after one or two blasts at 14, I said to increase it again… and so Lynda carried on. Each blast was really very sharp, but after the increase I could smell burning hair… and was so happy about this, because it (hopefully) means that it is working! All around the mouth the blasts were particularly sore, but I adopted a grin-and-bear it attitude and eventually my face was all done… at which point Lynda told me that she had done it on 18!!! Talk about economical with the data… but I completely appreciate why, and am so glad Lynda did this and I was soon giggling that I had sat through all those blasts at a much higher setting… even though it took a couple of hours for the extreme-sunburn-type soreness to die down, and only after a lot of aloe vera and cooler packs from the fridge. Then I had more of my chest done and, for the first time, all around my shoulders. Finally, after about 2 hours, I was done… at which point we started our end-of-day chat, something I always enjoy a lot – Lynda is a lovely and honest woman, so easy to relax with and have a great chat with about all kinds of things. I kept her there to long really, after a long day, but eventually I left after a goodbye to Lynda and her sweet dog Sophie.

But my face was still sore, and I could not shave it or apply make up, so I did not want to go to my support group appearing like that so instead went home. For a change I got up this morning, alas as male, but felt happier than usual… and maybe that was because, looking in the mirror, although the unpleasant male face was there at least it was not sore, there was no blistering, and most of the redness had gone.