Life goes on, quality time with my BF Kirsty… and my favourite selfie to-date

As per my last post, my daughter allegedly doesn’t want to see me again… something which my Gender Clinic counsellor confirmed is hardly an unusual reaction. I will live in hope and with love that my daughter will one day come back to me…

…but I have to get on with my life and, perhaps I sound like a thundering steam train hurtling down the tracks, but I am going to do this with or without anyone who has been a part of my life to-date, however much it saddens me that they have rejected me, however much they mean to me…

…so after two days of a maudlin, melancholy mood following that blunt post from my ex- (see previous post) I awoke on Saturday without my daughter en-residence, adopted a positive attitude, and lived for the day. I broke no records getting ready, and this was partly because I started filling huge bags with unwanted clothes, mostly ‘male’ clothing (ugh) but also now some of my daughters clothes that she has well-outgrown. Her room is a dump, and I have emptied a couple of drawers into which I can put some of the rubble that currently lies on the bedroom floor.

I left the house in a seriously good mood… and this is because I took a quick selfie just before I departed and I am really happy with the result – see right. So, I drove to Banbridge, my nearest town, with an agenda to live life and do normal, every day things, like any other gal. Firstly I stopped at the shoe repairers (or whatever you call them) that I went to previously anAndrea Jan2015 lowresd left a pair of boots with him to be re-heeled, he was nice to me as before, and gave me a ticket to pick up the boots later. Then I went in a card shop looking for a card for my daughter, and picked a “Thinking Of You” card, although I am not sure when I will send it; I also bought a mug for my Dad (which says “greatest Dad in the world” on it – he well deserves it – and a Christmas present for one of my friends). Then off to the library… a visit which I was rather disorganised for, having left my library card at home, also my USB key… but it gave me the opportunity to interact more – I went to one of the library assistants, who verified my details before giving me my card number, and then I surfed for a while, loading a few photos onto my andrealough34 Flickr page of one of my holidays in 2011. Leaving the library I returned to pick up my boots, then browsed in a couple of clothing stores before getting in the car and driving to Sprucefield shopping centre. At about 5.30 I was quite hungry as I had only had a bowl of porridge for breakfast/lunch, and so I decided to go for another first, a very small one, to eat at the bar in M&S – for some reason I had been a bit apprehensive eating there, perhaps because it is a bar with stools all around a central preparation area, so everyone is looking at everyone else… but of course it was completely fine, nobody paid me any attention as far as I could tell, and I ate a really tasty fish pie there. The staff were very nice, I was addressed as “madam” when I arrived, and on departure I had some pleasant chat with the ‘waitress’ about opening and serving times. I had a bit of a browse, and at 6.50 rang Kirsty, eventually getting through and confirming that I could meet her at support group HQ.

Kirsty and I had agreed, at short notice, for an evening out on the possibility of me not having my daughter this weekend… which, as is apparent, materialised. We went to our local Costa, and had a good long chat and coffee, and then went to the cinema to see Boyhood. Kirsty’s other-half commented that it was quite ironic that us girls were going to see this film, but even if the main character was indeed a boy and it revolved around his progress through teenage years, the film encompassed all of this family including his older daughter, and though it was long it was enjoyable – it was just good to be out with Kirsty as two girls having fun and living life.

Sunday was pretty routine for me, though enjoyable all the same. I continued filling bags of unwanted clothes during the morning, and must have over 20kg at this stage. Sunday afternoon was pure shopping, firstly a Tesco grocery shop in Lisburn (where I encountered a friendly cleaner as I went to the ladies, and later an equally friendly woman at the till), and then I went clothes shopping (AGAIN), though only sale-rail browsing… and left with a few more tops for work, including one I had been looking for for absolutely ages, a long sleeved red top in a thin material to go underneath my black shift dress for only £9. All of the shops I went in I had a bit of chat with the assistants, all were nice, and I went home happy enough.

So, despite the fact that that weekend was supposed to be with my daughter, and despite my sadness from her reaction, I had a pretty good time. Early on in my journey once I started going out as Andrea, someone said that if one wants, neigh, NEEDS to go all the way on this kind of journey, then one has to be prepared to lose potentially everyone that means anything to one – so far, my daughter is my main and in fact only casualty, and as much as I wish she could accept me I must proceed on this journey with or without her, and live life as full as I can… because I have not been doing that for years and years, AND it was indeed HER more than anyone else who commented on my unhappy face. It is time for me to look after my own happiness now, and be there for those that I love with my own love when they are ready to receive it again.

X

Jan 22nd, the day my heart broke before the morning did… and my new look

I go through phases at night time with my sleep patterns, sometimes I sleep all the way through to after 6.00, sometimes I regularly wake up at a particular time, which can often be 3.00-4.00, or even earlier. On January 22nd I woke up while it was still dark and went to the toilet and, as the little light on my mobile phone was flashing, I took the phone with me – there was a text from my ex- which had been sent at 1.00am that morning saying the following (have replaced daughter’s name with ‘Your daughter’):

Your daughter does not want to see you again, but cannot tell you to your face. Please to not call round to our house again.

I did not cry when I read that… although I feel a bit teary-eyed as I write it now, but the day of receiving that message and the following one (yesterday) I felt really sad, as though my heart has broken. And maybe that is how my daughter feels, that I have broken her heart and as a result she wants nothing more to do with me, even though when I gave her my news I tried to be as sensitive as I could, and told her how much I loved her and want to remain inn her life. It has been a severe struggle remaining in one piece at work (especially as my boss said made a couple of little insensitive comments in relation to me) and not bursting into tears and running from the office.

Anyway, life goes on, I am not going to change or slow down my journey whatsoever, everything else is going smoothly so far, I will surround myself with people who do value me as a person (whatever I look, or sound, like) and want me in their life in whatever shape or form that may be. As everyone else I have told has been great, I will have to put down my situation with daughter as being due to her age… and possible influence from my ex-.

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The previous day I was off work on sick leave, having appointments relating to my gender dysphoria.

My first appointment was with the lovely Paul Meekin, who is my hairdresser… well, not just mine, but you know what I mean; he is a very kind, sensitive guy, and seriously knows what he is doing with people’s hair. My appointment was at 11.00, to have my latestPaul M Hair 1 wig styled – I scraped into his swish salon a minute after that and in a few minutes I had had a hug from Paul and was sitting in his VIP room. As soon as Paul saw the wig his enthusiasm went through the roof, it is made of human hair and he was very impressed with the quality and set about styling it; as it’s human hair it can be styled with moderate heat and so with a pair of heat paddles Paul set about giving it some shape and then trimming the fringe. Further down here you will see the new image – personally I am still getting used to seeing a different look in the mirror, but I do like it and the movement in the hair is great and natural… as far as I know.

With plenty of time to kill before my next appointment I drove over to the Abbey Centre for shopping and lunch. One reason for going there was that there is a big M&S and so I hoped I might find a nightie that I have already purchased in UK-10 but in a 12, because although I am generally a UK-10 on top I thought something a bit looser for nightwear would be better… but to no avail, none left at all. I went upstairs for a toastie and tea for lunch and all was fine there, it was really busy, I had a guy on the table right opposite me facing me and noticing nothing; on the way out I patiently walked behind a woman and her old mother, and she thanked me once we had exited and I then passed her. I went to the ladies and, after doing my business, at the sink was fine-tuning my make-up when a woman kindly pointed out that my ‘top’ (it was a dress) was tucked in at my waist, as though I was showing a bit too much leg – I thanked her… although it may have just been the asymmetrical line of the dress. Downstairs I browsed through the sale rails and tried on a dress in a couple of sizes, but it wasn’t really me, and when I gave them to the lady I went on about it being in a couple of other colours which I had preferred (which had sold out), but it was nice to chat. Then onto the Abbey Centre itself on a mission to find a smart woolly hat for work, costing less than the ridiculous £18 that M&S were looking for… which after a few stores was successful in Dorothy Perkins – I was able to use my Xmas e-giftcard, though the till-girl had no clue how to process it and had to call her manager, so much conversation ensued with another assistant joining, and I joked that they were having a mini training course.

My next appointment was with my gender clinic. It was another one of these ongoing assessment chats to see how things are going. Of course, I had an awful lot to tell her, she gave me a bit of advice about my daughter, ex, and so on… although some of that is a bit redundant as I can now not even go to ex’s house. She was very impressed with my new hair, which was nice to hear, she said it had been cut very well. I was there for an hour and a half, and left with letters from her that I can include in passport and driving license application forms.

I drove to the nearby Forestside shopping centre where I had a mocha and cake in the M&S café, and was served by a tall, slightly rough-looking guy I thought… but he was very nice and asked ‘madam’ what she would like to drink. I browsed in a few places there, and found a really pretty top in Next with beautiful trim around the neck and sleeve linesAndrea at Ed's Diner, then drove to Sprucefield where I bought a few things from Boots, including hairspray (for the first time ever) for my own hair.

Dinner at 8.00 had been planned with Kirsty and Michelle, with much to-ing and fro-ing about a venue. Eventually we had decided on Ed’s Diner in Lisburn, near the cinema, and that is where we met up. It is nice enough on the interior, with quite a few of the tables in booths which is good for a bit of privacy. It was nice to see my friends, and we had a good old chat and catch-up, and both seemed to sincerely like my new hairstyle… which is illustrated to the right. The food was pretty good value, and Little Miss Weightwatcher here had a carb-free chicken ‘burger’ with a lot of lovely salad… before consuming a huge chocolate brownie sundae. We eventually retired to Support Group headquarters for a cup of tea and more good chat before returning home… far too late again.

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Yesterday I ‘came out’ to the Project Manager that I work for about my Gender Dysphoria, and that I will be coming to work in just over a week as a woman. He was a bit shocked, but he was good about it all, and we had a nice chat. He asked me one question which stumped me a bit, which was ‘How do I actually know I am a woman inside?’, and my answer was more like how everything is wrong and out of balance when I have to lead my life as a man, with so much of the real me suppressed, and how when I look in the mirror what I see I either don’t recognise or fills me with horror. But then he went onto say that he does consider me very soft, and quite effeminate too, especially my run, and he pointed out even the way I was sitting in front of him, with my legs crossed and my head tilted. Around lunchtime I had a talk with the HR lady, who has put an action plan together for who does what and when around the communication about me and arrangements therein, such as pass cards, logins, and toilets – it all looks good. I had a good chat with Joan (recruitment girl) over mocha at a nearby coffee shop.

Later, because my boss kept piling on the pressure with me at work, I had to tell him the news about my daughter… and once that was out he looked like one of his own relatives had died, as though it was his own sadness instead of mine. He offered to put me up in a hotel if that suited… but it only suited HIM, because he wanted much more work doing in advance of the weekend (when some people are in work), and I almost packed my bag and left there and then. But I tried to stay calm, I said that although emotionally I would prefer to leave right then but I would stay until 6.30 and that is what I did. But although my boss is quite supportive, he always has his own agenda… and my team colleague is really fed up with him and as his contract is up in two weeks time I fear that I will not see him much more.

That Friday is the last Friday I will ever have to present as a ‘male’… for next Friday will be the first day of being full-time and the rest-of-my-life as Andrea.

Thanks for reading.

X

An admirer returns, an alarming shopping trip… and my daughter’s BF knows about me being a woman

Wednesday 14th Jan was a fairly typical Wednesday – shopping + coffee-with-Kirsty + support group – but there were elements of each activity that were a bit different:

  • Having left work earlier than normal I had plenty of time to get ready, and a reasonable amount of time to shop. But I have done far too much clothes shopping recently, as my credit card bill will testify, and so I started off going to B&Q DIY store – a bulb has gone in my kitchen lighting, and so I needed a replacement. Once in the shop I stood in front of the bulbs wondering which ones to get, and because I am Little-Miss-Save-The-Planet I was contemplating energy-saving units… when a male assistant soon came up to me and asked if I needed any help; I am sure I was not offered help so readily before I shopped as my true female self. Anyway, I told him the issue and he seemed to give me some very useful advice, so I ended up buying a complete set of bulbs to avoid blowing the rest of them; I looked at wellington boots as well, as I fancied getting some girlie ones for the garden, but the ones at B&Q were very dreary so I just bought the bulbs. After paying I went to the exit… and the shop alarm started going off! Oh, how embarrassing! A girl came up to me and asked me to show her the receipt, which I did, and then she pointed to some sensors on the bulb packets that had set the alarm off.
  • Then I went to the nearby Sainsburys supermarket… and as I entered the shop, Wellieswith bulbs in my handbag, the bloomin’ shop alarm went off again! I looked absently at the security guard and he just waved me on, so I went into the toilets to check my hair (as it was very windy outside) and realised I had forgotten my hair brush. Quel disaster! I ran my fingers through it as best I could, but it really wasn’t ideal, and then exited the ladies… and set off the alarm again. I had a look at the clothes, looking for a smart woolly hat for going to work… and saw the most beautiful pair of welly boots! I won’t describe them in detail but simply show a picture, I think they’re the most beautiful wellies I have ever seen… complete with bows at the back!!! Of course, I just had to have them, especially as they were reduced to £8 (US$12) in their sale so, after picking up a handbag-sized hairbrush, I paid – of course, with only two items I could have just gone to self-service… but where’s the fun in that, so I paid at a checkout with a nice young polite lad and had a nice bit of chat with him. Then as I walked to the exit I said to the security guard “I’m sorry, I’m going to set the alarms off again!”
  • Then I popped over to the ladies toilets in Sprucefield and, once I was done and washed, went to check my make up… and was scared to death by best friend Kirsty who came in right behind me; I can’t remember what she said, but it made me jump for sure. After a quick trip into Boots I joined her for coffee.
  • Our coffee and catch-up-chat in Costa was very nice, as usual, and fairly uneventful… apart from some very confusing chat with a new girl behind the counter who seemed very eager to pack everything away some 10 minutes before they were due to close.
  • The support group visit was rather better than normal… mainly because 15 minutes after we arrived a girl I had never met before, along with her companion, departed to leave me with just my two friends Kirsty and Michelle, at which point relaxed and quality chat ensued, with some very good advice offered on some things I was pondering. During the conversation I received a message from one of my ‘admirers’ that I thought I had some time ago convinced that I was only looking for friendship. Well, I was obviously wrong!! Perhaps it has been a case of ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ or maybe I chatted too much to him one walk in early December but, well, I think he rather fancies me! I am NOT going to paste what he wrote, but he does seem to have a thing about me… and we will see how my girlie friend’s advice of simply ignoring him will go down!

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This week I had a session with the HR lady who is managing my come-out-at-work strategy. We had a good long talk, and she asked me quite a few questions. She is going to tell people at work through several meetings rather than email, which would be a bit impersonal, and also fraught with the possibility of being forwarded. Anyway, some good ground was covered with her, and agreement reached as regards me using the female toilets… which I will do a month after going full-time, once people have had a bit of time to get used to me; until then, it will be the disabled toilets… which I have used all year, as I cannot bring myself to enter the male toilets – that would be completely wrong.

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I had an email from my brother wishing me a good weekend… and, for the first time, he has made direct reference to something to do with my coming out. He wrote about the reactions of my daughter and my ex-, and it was nice to read.

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This afternoon I texted my ex- to see if I should go round to talk about anything, including the possibility of ‘coming out’ to the mother of my daughter’s best friend (BF). The reply I got was uninformative, as is often the case, but I was to go round and take daughter and BF to get their dinner at a take-away; I was not sure whether daughter would come, there was also no response on BF’s mother. Anyway, I turned up, and was barely in the door when I was told by ex- that she had already told both my daughter’s BF and also her mother – their reactions had, obviously, been one of shock, the mother had apparently known that something was up, but not what it was. After a few minutes of chat my ex- went to get the girls who came downstairs with a bit of a commotion – for a moment I thought it was my daughter crying, but in they came with quite a bit of giggling going on… which after a while I figured was to do with me. The three of us got in the car, I engaged in a bit of chat with them, but they were a little bit quiet, then the BF said “this is a bit awkward” and I replied “I guess so, but I really am still ME, even if I will look quite different”, she said “I know”… and then they lightened up a bit. I dropped them at BF’s house for BF to pick up school uniform (it is school open day tomorrow), then I popped to a nearby shop to get cash for the takeaway, and returned to the house. BF’s mum answered the door, with baby son in arms, and she invited me in – I said “I gather you’ve been told the news…?”, she said yes, and then we just talked about it and she was fine, her chat was slightly at odds pronoun-wise when talking about Kelly Moloney… and yet, even though I hate the Big Brother show, I am thankful now that it exists and Kelly was on it, because it has made people more aware of TS people. We had some light-hearted chat, I told her about the walking group when she talked about me being more comfortable in life, and she laughed at my admirers. I gave her a little hug when it was time to go after she offered me best wishes, then we stopped at the take-away where the girls sorted themselves and my ex- out with food before I dropped them back at my ex-; daughter said ‘Bye’ in a cheery enough manner… and after that little trip I have a bit more hope that perhaps eventually my daughter will come around. I do hope so.

x

Gender Clinic Appointment No. 3, name change witness… and a chatty shopping experience

My third Gender Clinic appointment had been postponed from November due to my nurse being sick, and it finally happened on 10th December. I arrived at 2.00 and did not have long to wait this time. We chatted for about an hour and a half about all that I had done (as per what I have documented on previous posts), and she said “Wow, you’ve been busy” – I told her about my Eastbourne trip (and she was impressed with my winning costume), coming out to my parents, my walking group (I showed her a picture of the group, which she said would be useful for my transition assessment) and Xmas meal, coming out at work, and so on. At the end I handed her a photocopy of my Deed Poll form!

The only thing we continue to disagree on is coming out to my daughter (which I am scheduled to do on 2nd January) – she said it would be better leaving it until she was aged 16 (four years away!!!)… but considering the place I am at, all I have done, and where I am going, and how increasingly intolerable life is while forced to cross dress as a man and just how CERTAIN I am that this path is right, that suggestion seems rather pointless and indeed ludicrous. She also thinks I should tell me ex- before my daughter, as she thinks the court could take a dim view if a child access issue arises… even though I have explained how deceitful and manipulative my ex- is, how I need my daughter to hear this news from me and in my own words, and how I will tell my ex- almost the same time as my daughter, literally an hour or two after. I have left it that she will talk to another counsellor about it, and potentially arrange a social services session for me to tell my ex- in advance.

Sometimes she asks questions that she has already asked me before, or others I think to test me. Firstly she said “on the days when you are working, when you have to present as male, presumably when you get home you just stay dressed as a man” and I said “No, as soon as I get home I have to stop cross dressing and shed those dreadful male clothes, so I usually put on whatever I am going to bed in, either a nightie or girlie pyjamas”. As I was leaving she said “Are you going home now?” and I said “Oh no, I am off shopping, will go and get some lunch, do a grocery shop…. (deliberate omission here, see below)… and then meet up with my best friend Kirsty for tea and chat at M&S”. So hopefully I passed that test!

After I left the GIC my first port of call was Forestside shopping centre, I had an amount of time to kill before my next “appointment” and I was in need of refreshment and so a mocha and cappuccino cake filled the gap. Then I headed off shopping. My first port of call was a powder brush, as I had left mine at home, then I went into Oasis and had a browse, eventually buying a selection of girlie socks, including a pair for my daughter – the lady at the checkout was nice, and she complimented me on my jumper-top! That initiated a nice bit of chat, and I left there happy. I had a browse around New Look, and then in the middle of the shopping centre a chocolate stand caught my eye – I had a casualHoldens chocs 2 wander around and then moved closer to the selection of hand-made chocs on display (see right for a selection of their goodies) and the friendly guy offered help and he started telling me the different flavours. I asked him to pause, checked my purse to see how much cash I had, so as to not waste his time, and then he went through them and put 12 chocs in a little box; I said it was nice to find something a bit more up-market for a special treat, and then we got in a lengthy discussion about where he gets his ingredients from, the pricing pressures, all kinds of things, and that started me off about how my company is going the Indian-outsourcing route for some of its IT… and eventually I had to tail off because a couple of new prospective customers arrived. I went in a couple more stores, including Molton Brown with its ridiculously priced bathing/soap products and a snotty-nosed assistant to match, then drove a short distance to a Tesco supermarket for a grocery shop – that was all fine and normal, and at the check out was a lady who has served me before and she was really nice, she said “how are you today?” and a lovely conversation ensued.

My next “appointment” was with laser-lady Lynda, not to get my face blasted for once but for her to witness my deed poll form signing. I arrived about 10 minutes early, and so went to a nearby shopping centre to go to the loo – of course, I could have just gone to the loo at Lynda’s office, but where is the challenge in that? The shopping centre was quite busy… but no bother. It was lovely to see Lynda and, once the signing was done, we chatted for the best part of an hour, and she said that with me there properly made up and fully-presenting as Andrea I looked so happy… and she complimented me on my make-up again. I waited while she packed her things away, as I know she does not really like to leave the office on her own in the dark, also she has a dog that cannot walk down stairs, and so as usual I helped her carry her things out to her car. After a bit more chat we hugged goodbye, with best wishes.

Then it was on to meet my BF Kirsty at 9.00 for supper – we went to M&S Sprucefield cafe and, as usual, the time out with her was great. We had some nice toasted sandwiches and chat, and then did a few minutes of independent (i.e. separate) browsing and a loo stop before meeting at the entrance to see rain heavily pouring from the sky… so it was time to test the hood of my new coat and do some girlie trotting to the car before I got totally drenched.

The final venue of the day was my local support group and, as it was a Christmassy-type evening with cake (and also dinners for those who do not venture out, which I had to skip for that very nature… because I DO venture out, as much as possible) there was a good turn out. There was someone there who presents as ‘Sue’ I think it was (have never met her before), and a guy called James (I think I have got this right, have met so many people this year and am terrible with names), the discussion eventually came round to me and my journey, and my imminent coming out to my daughter, and as I brought them up to speed they both provided good advice and James in particular asked some very pertinent questions.

So, a pretty full day… and a successful one too in every respect.

Thank you for reading.

X

P.S. Have eaten a couple of those chocs while writing this – oh, yummeeeeeeee!

“As long as you’re happy that’s all that matters”

I was talking to my parents last night, just for a general chat which we do about every fortnight, and the phrase in the title is what my mum said to me. Unfortunately, it was not in response to learning that her offspring is now Andrea, because they don’t know about that… yet. They had tried to ring me on Wednesday, and I texted them back to say that I was out and that would ring them Friday… which I did. So my Dad said “Were you out with the walking group?” and I said, somewhat vaguely “No, something else; I’m out most Wednesdays” and so my mum, said “As long as you’re happy that’s all that matters”. I wonder if that is what she will say once they receive the letter from me telling them that I am a woman??? Anyway, I am going to use this phrase in my letter to them!

Wednesday I went out in the evening to have coffee with my BF Kirtsy, which was fab, as usual, and then onto my support group where we had some nice chat and laughter; Linda was there for a while (until leaving at around 10.00, saying farewell for two weeks as she is going on holiday to Germany to buy us some chocolates) and our friend Michelle too until we left. It was touch-and-go as to whether I had even gone out that night as I ripped myself to pieces with a new shaver – oh how I wish this facial hair would just stop growing!

Thursday I had an emotional conversation with my boss because for the third time in about as many weeks he asked me to work next weekend which I have already told him is not possible… and I think he FINALLY gets just how significant my “issue” is, that it is emotionally difficult every day at work, it is always on my mind and I worry every day, etc.

This weekend I thought there would sadly be no opportunity for me to enjoy life by being Andrea as my daughter is round the whole time… BUT as luck would have it she had a birthday party today (Saturday)… which at her age just means grouping up with friends at the local shopping centre. Anyway, won’t complain, it gave me the opportunity I wanted and I made best use of it, shaving before I dropped her off. Once I got home, I started making up my face and was getting on so well and fast… until I put my hair on and realised that having washed it there was a really annoying curl in the fringe, so that took AGES to sort out and ruined my timing!

Anyway, I finally left the house about 3.25 and went to my local outlet shopping centre. First of all I went into Next, had a browse, and picked up the same skirt I bought last weekend but in a UK8 this time. Also saw a lovely dress, which I probably don’t need, so bought the two items and returned the bigger-size skirt; the woman behind the till was nice and we chatted a wee bit. Then I walked all the way round the centre, popped into a couple of shops, then into Thorntons for my chocolate fix – picked up a couple of small boxes and was served by a really nice girl, and I had some nice chat with her too as I commented on all the delicious looking ice creams and how does she resist them. All good there, so drove a short distance to Tesco… where I got ‘made’ as I walked away from my car by a mother and a girl in their own car driving past – oh well, I know I can’t pass all the time, and I know what it is in my face that some people spot (mainly lack of cheek bones and consequent facial muscle, and sometimes the inevitable greyness beneath my foundation depending upon the light). Had a good wander around Banbridge along the main street, in several clothes shops, but alas I couldn’t find what I really wanted in the right size. Back at Tesco I first returned a pair of boots, and I had to wait while the till-girl got another pair to scan as mine had no label; while I was waiting, when the person next to me had been served a woman behind me said “Is this girl being served?”20141011_175408ed, pointing at me, and so I said I was and smiled – nice to be acknowledged as a female, and particularly a girl considering I am 48! Then I did a grocery shop, and also finally found the jacket in the right size to match my black work trousers; paid for the lot at a checkout, the girl was nice enough (even though my cold-laden voice was a bit poor), we had a bit of chat, and she laughed when she handed me some tokens and I said I was collecting them but had no idea how many I needed and for what.

So rushed home, unlocked the door, and as usual just LOVED my reflection in its glass; I know it’s hardly a perfect face, but I SO identify it as me; took a quick selfie (see right) and then unpacked the shopping… and wiped Andrea away, in the usual order. I picked my daughter and her BF up from the shops and took the BF home; as they parted I watched them hug in the rear-view mirror and it made me really melancholy, because it reminded me how I always hug Kirsty or Michelle when I meet them. On the way home I had this sad feeling that there was a layer missing now I was back in male mode… but I will be back soon enough… once I’ve sorted out my fringe!

If I come out soon I will “emotionally abuse my daughter”! Uh, what?!?

I’m afraid I am rather upset today. I had my latest EAP counselling session in Dublin and left it very upset, and partly stunned. Perhaps it is just a reaction over hearing advice that I don’t like.

Anyway, it concerns my daughter, who is nearly 13. Since I last saw the counsellor she has talked to a child psychologist (without me knowing) because she was “disturbed” by one or two things I have said. The comments that the two of them have concluded are that with daughter going through puberty that she is at her most vulnerable, and that I would be much better waiting until she is 16 (ie over THREE years from now) before I come out; this left me both upset and gobsmacked. Also, what upset me most was a comment that I would be “committing emotional abuse” by telling her so soon, and that “I need to remain a father figure for her as I have a legal right as a parent”.

Although daughter will almost certainly be shocked when I come out, who says I can’t be just as good a parent? Personally, I think I have become a better person as Andrea, and surely it is just as important for her as for me that I become emotionally much happier and more stable?

I KNOW I am on a selfish journey, but the thought of having to keep Andrea on a temporary basis for so much longer is not a thought I feel I can entertain.

All good things come to an end…

September 15th was the last day of Andrea’s first holiday.

I began the day with a substantial (but delicately-eaten) breakfast, and while I waited for it to arrive had another good chat with the guests from New Zealand. While I ate I had a good chat with the B&B owners, and when I left one gave me a hug ‘goodbye hun’ while the other one helped me with my bags to the car and then also hugged me and told me to stay in touch.

I drove up the Cornish coast and stopped at a car park near Tintagel above the sea in order to visit the island and ruins there. I walked along the cliff path, took a few photos, and said hello to a few passers by who smiled with their own greeting. I bought my ticket from a guy with some nice chat, then headed down increasingly steep steps to the small bridge that crosses the island; at times I had to hold my skirt down as the wind threatened to blow it to indecency, but I was glad I wore it after the two previous legging-days. As I climbed the steps towards the ruins a guy light-heartedly joked with me that there were oxygen masks at the top; I merrily agreed that the steps were getting very steep. I had a good walk around the top, took a few photos of the stunning views, and picked up a plastic bottle that someone had carelessly dropped and, with no bins, handed it over to the guy in the ticket booth and had a litter-chat with him before returning to my yellow car. As I changed my shoes a little dog wandered over and its owner came over and smiled, then told the dog to not be a bother. See below for photo of Tintagel island.20140915_132845

I drove onwards just a few miles to Boscastle, a village previously wrecked by flood water. I parked, wandered through the village, and went into the National Trust place to the cafe where I ordered a Cornish cream tea – the girl serving me was really nice, and I joked that I was desperate to have my first cream tea as my holiday was nearly over. After a loo stop, I wandered down the river a bit, over a bridge, then up the other side. I passed three people on a seat and the two women found me rather curious – perhaps they’ve never seen a girl in a skirt carrying a big camera before….? Oh well, bought a small cake from a bakery, then went into a Spar to buy water – a woman said “excuse me love” to pass by, and the lady who served me was very nice and we had a bit of weather-chat.

I then drove for over 90 minutes east and eventually stopped for petrol a few miles from the M5 motorway. I wasn’t sure of the best route to the motorway so I told the petrol-guy where I was going, and he said which would be the best route by far, though indicated it was rather a twisty road – I joked that as I was alone so that was okay as I was the only one I had to worry about getting car sick.

Near Bristol airport I stopped at a pub for dinner. I asked for a table and the guy behind the bar advised that there was a 30 minute wait as it was busy. I said no problem, and placed an order for food and got a drink. I asked if there was free wifi and he said it was broken so I said I wished I had brought a book or something to kill the time, so he offered a local paper. My table was right by the bar, with people coming and going, but nobody seemed to notice anything different about me, and the waitresses who looked after me were all fine too.

The last thing I did as Andrea was fill the car with petrol and pay… because then I had the demoralising task of removing all trace of Andrea so that I could return the car as male. It felt so awful changing clothes and removing makeup in a layby… but my BGF Kirsty has to do it a lot, so I can truly empathise with her now.

So, that was my three and a bit days totally Andrea. LOADS of positive experiences, LOADS of voice use and enjoyable chat… and only a couple of people obviously giving me a stare of curiosity, which I think is pretty good. Mega amounts of bliss and contentment!

My first vacation as Andrea (part 1) – New Friends

One of my favourite pastimes is travelling and seeing new places, and so a while ago I hatched a plan to have my first little holiday as Andrea… and this post is part one of this three night break.

Alas I had to fly as him, as Andrea cannot yet have her passport, but once I had got to the departure gate I was sparkling with teary-eyed excitement. The morning started badly though, I only got to bed at 2.30am after having spent four hours packing! Well, I had to pack for two, and I have never packed a girly suitcase before! At 2.30 I set my alarm for the following morning at what I thought was a reasonable time…. except that in the shower once up I realised I should already be on the road! So I frantically dried, threw on clothes, threw bags in the car, and hurtled off without breakfast. I flew from Dublin to Bristol where I then hired a car, a bright yellow thing! So much for Andrea’s desire to blend in.

I drove about 20 miles to the house of a (cross-dresser) friend called Siobhan who I have come to know on Transliving; we have emailed fairly regularly but never met before and, bizarrely, she left a key for me to let myself in. After a moment of panic, when the house alarm went off unexpectedly, I went to my room and after a wee nap I began to transform back to Andrea. Siobhan and her wife arrived over an hour later and once they had changed, and I was ready, I let myself out and met Siobhan and her wife; it soon became obvious they were just LOVELY people! An hour later we left (in a non – yellow car), picked up one of their friends, and drove to Bath, where we met up with more TG friends for a meal at a favoured restaurant. We had a good time there with lots of nice chat and tasty food, though the music was loud and on a busy Friday evening the chat around us was too loud as well. The staff were nice, and know the group who dine there monthly, fellow customers didn’t find us a bother, and I went to the toilet a couple of times without any acrobatics this time (compared to previous post) and in fact the second time a guy stepped aside to let me pass with a nice smile. We left after two and a half hours, dropped the friend off, and back at their house chatted for a while with Siobhan and much longer with her lovely wife until 1.30, a nice, kind, down-to-earth woman. Saturday morning, after my usual lengthy make up application, we had breakfast, chatted, and eventually I had to leave at 10.30, with fond farewells to my new friends.

 

September 11th – My First Gender Clinic Appointment

Considering the immense wait that some girls have to suffer for the referral to be converted to an appointment, I was really surprised that my first appointment was a month and a half after I was referred by my GP. The appointment date was 11th September.

I was only a tiny bit bit nervous transforming back to Andrea in the morning, hindered a little by heavy mist which made my decision on what to wear a little uncertain. But once my face was on the sun shone through and my choice was made – a lovely beige summer dress with blue and red flowers, a red cardi, and nude shoes.

It was my friend’s birthday so she had the day off and we met up for lunch before my appointment;  it was nice to see her, catch up, and have a joint birthday treat out. I had a slight incident while there, I went to the ladies loo and upon return one of my heeled feet slid on the polished wooden floor! Luckily I didn’t fall, though left a skid mark on the wood. Anyway, enjoyed the lunch, and the waitress referred to us as “ladies” when gesturing us to our table, which was great.

My appointment was at 2.00. When I got to the waiting room I was suddenly extremely nervous… but was soon invited in and calmed down quick enough. The session was in some ways similar to my first counselling session, in that it was going through my whole history… but MUCH more intense, it lasted 2 hours 40 minutes! It started from birth, went through all periods of my life and covered relationships with all categories of people at each stage, including family, daughter, teachers, friends, discussed me being bullied at school, punishment at home, marriage and divorce, and current events, including walking group, and Ivan. At times I was tearful so tissues were in hand. The lady was nice… but told me not to rush things, which I suppose is good advice, but difficult to take – when pretty much every day without presenting as Andrea is a struggle, I just wonder how much longer I can stand it, especially when I am sitting here typing away a few days later after a full day as Andrea (detail in future post), at 23.40 still fully me, feeling just PERFECTLY at peace with myself, feeling just wonderful. So I left slightly dejected, not just over the challenge of my timeline but also at having to cover in detail about my pre-TS experiences – I KNOW I will have to do this over any again with them, but it just seems like muck-raking, especially the TV periods of my past. So I went over to my friend (another Andrea) who I had had lunch with for an hour of heart to heart.

Then headed home, stopped at Sprucefield shopping, first went to loo (ladies, of course), then to Boots for cosmetics where I spent quite a lot of money. The girl who put the stuff through the till was really nice, we had good chat, and she called me sweetheart.

Then went to Tesco supermarket near home. First I returned a couple of tops and there was a lot of discussion with the girl at the till as someone (name of culprit not supplied, to protect against embarrassment) had got foundation on the neck line of one top and she had to ring supervisor to confirm I could return it – it was great to hear the conversation, her talking about me saying “The LADY said this and that”, “she this and that”, etc. Anyway, all good in the end, went onto do my shopping, paid at the check out where I initiated some good chat when the woman didn’t make effort herself.

Overall a good day, no negativity the whole time, and I’m in the door with the clinic now. Next appointment in a month….

Ivan The Incredible

As some of you lovely readers may recall, I have become quite friendly via email with a guy called Ivan I met once with my walking group. We have struck up quite a rapport, and have quite a lot in common and, with hints now and again of possible romance at some point in the future (that I said I could not consider at this time), I felt that it was time to be open with him about my “issue”. In emails I tried to prepare him for the discussion about “this significant issue, for which I have been attending appointments” and so on Wednesday 10th September we met at Hillsborough Lake at 7.00pm.

I was a bit nervous as I got to the car park but when he observed me parking and gave a wee wave he wandered over and he said hello. He complimented my hair, which has been, uh, restyled, and then we began our walk around the lake. After about 5 minutes he said “So, this issue…” and I asked if he would mind waiting until we had done a circuit and could sit down, and so he agreed. We carried on chatting, like old friends, and I felt SO at ease, and SO right, completely free and easy as the real me, nothing being suppressed. Once the circuit was complete we had only walked for half an hour… so we walked around again, with lovely chat, and at 8.00 we sat on a seat close to the car park… in case escape was called for.

Firstly I took out some things I had brought, mostly for him – tissues, in case I cried, and for him some paracetamol (he gets headaches with stressful conversation), a bottle of water for the pills, a sick bag (which he laughed at) in case his reaction was bad, and some cookies. Then I gave him an amount of pre-amble, about the length of time of the issue, my confusion, my shame, etc. and then I said that I had Gender Dysphoria and asked him if he knew what it meant. He said he hadn’t heard of it but he guessed and was more or less right… and he said “So, what you’re trying to tell me Andrea is that although you’re a girl there is a male inside of you”? So, HE GOT IT THE WRONG WAY ROUND! So, I corrected him, and asked him how he felt about it. He said he was fine with it, and was in fact was relieved as he thought it was going to be something much worse, like I wasn’t going to live for more than 6 months or something. So I carried on, saying that few people know about it, that work and my daughter don’t even know, and so I am only living as me part of the time and alas as male the rest. He was totally okay with it, he said it is Andrea the person he is happy knowing, and that he was privileged to have been told. I asked if he had suspected that I was not a biological girl and he said not at all… and in fact on the walk round the lake he had referred to me as a girl. Eventually we had to go as it was getting dark and we were afraid of being locked in, so he signed off by saying he very much wanted to continue with emails, walks, and meeting up from time to time… and he gave me a hug goodbye! WOW! I thanked him so much for listening, being understanding, and that I was so glad we could be friends.

So, I went onto my support group (after a pit stop at Sainsburys for the loo) and met up with Kirsty and Michelle, as well as Linda, Jane, and Michael… and my BGF Kirsty had bought a chocolate cake for Michelle and I, whose birthdays are 8th and 9th September respectively. After a while Jane and Michael left, and I was on Cloud 9 as I chatted away, with Linda still there for some time, looking rather smart… though still in guy-mode. Eventually the 10 o’clock girls were left for some girly, and occasional musical, chat… but all good things must come to and end and we had to part, with lovely warm hugs.

This morning I woke up in a pretty good mood, but wondered how long it would be before I heard from Ivan again. At 8.17 he sent a good-morning email saying the following:

Just a quick note to say that it was a real pleasure to meet you last night again and have our walk twice around the lake!  Thank you also for sharing with me on the issue! I just wanted to repeat what I said last night, that I am very happy to remain your friend, I think we have a chemistry and combination of interests which makes for intelligent conversation and I like being with you, I do feel comfortable…..

Isn’t he just, well, incredible! Of course, maybe at some point he may change his mind… but for the moment things are looking good, and I replied to him saying how overjoyed and tearful I was to read his reply.