Never had such a busy social life!

I have always been a shy, retiring type…. well, up until recently, anyway. I am becoming SUCH a different person… and it’s just such fun. And SO me! Well, real-me anyway.

As indicated in my previous post, I have had another walk with my group, this time to Lady Dixon Park SE of Belfast. There are very pretty Rose gardens there. As usual, I had a FAB time (once the awkward kiss with Alan had passed), met yet more new faces, including a newbie Angela and Ann, a friend of a lovely lady called Margaret in her 70s who always says it is lovely to see me every time I see her. Aw! Must have chatted to Ann for the best part of half an hour. But equally, if not more, important I had chat with a number of people I have met on more than one occasion before, and it feels like I am inching towards friendship every time I see them, especially when they seem as pleased to see me as I am them, with genuine smiles.

When the walk was nearing its end I was with two new faces and after one of them got a call about going for a coffee I was invited too!! Couldn’t believe it!! So, we met up with their friends, and a convoy of us went to Starbucks for hot drinks and, for me, my dinner. We chatted for an hour and, although I was a bit quiet-natured compared to them, had a pretty good time; as I left all the new ones said nice to meet me, then through Meetup got some ‘Good to see u’ messages from them too. Felt so good to be included in their outing, and to be fitting in. On the way home stopped at Sainsburys for petrol, all ok with the guy at the counter when I paid…. including when I went back in to complain to him that he’d put the wrong pump through on my receipt and charged me slightly too much!

So, Wednesday, out again, two days in a row! Hoped to break my world record for Andrea getting ready, and it was going SO well…. until a wardrobe catastrophe, and subsequent indecision about a substitute, eventually resorting to jeans. First went to Argos, and exchanged a watch/bracelet set… and will have to go back yet again to get links taken out. Then, after loo stop, met up with Kirsty for coffee and a good chat. Finally went to support group, which was nice enough…. though slightly disappointed by lack of time for chat with just my two girlie friends there. And, SHOCK HORROR, saw Michelle in a pair of trousers (girlie pink jeans) for the first time ever…. and they really rather suited her!

It is getting SO difficult transforming back to Bob after such enjoyable times, being accepted by pretty much everyone. When I am Bob I feel like I am suppressing so much of what’s really inside of me… and one day that is gonna have to stop!

My life…… a soap opera?

Well, the frightened rabbit email didn’t seem to work! I got an email back saying “Ah Andrea, I understand what u r saying… as much as any man can understand a woman” and he quite obviously didn’t understand at all coz he admitted that he fancies me.

I am launching into unknown territory. Walling on thin ice? Yes, it’s exciting and you spark something, and yes, I am attracted to you! Why shouldn’t I be, you’re attractive and intelligent. Hopefully it may be reciprocated.

So although it is amazing to be described that way and get such attention, it’s a bit scary…. so I sent a firmer email saying that I could offer no more than friendship… and with no reply, I set off for my next walk (more on that another time) with high hopes.

Arriving at Lady Dixon park, a lovely area with a beautiful rose garden, I wandered over to the group and said hi to a few people and had a wee bit of chat…. and then Alan purposefully strode over, put his hand out, and said ‘hi kiddo’ as I took it… and before I knew it he had leant in and given me a kiss on the far side of my cheek, which I reciprocated with a girly air-kiss. So my firmer email obviously worked! Not!

Admirers… are they worth the hassle???

Well, previously I got quite excited about the thought of having admirers… but when they appear to come on like an express train then it became rather less fun after a while… especially when I have so many things to worry about already being only part-time out as Andrea – especially changing job, fitting in at a new company… and then coming out.

IVAN

Well, when I met him on the walk he offered to meet up for lunch some time after one chat… and then within a week he had offered to take me to a classical music concert, have a meal out before a walk, meeting up to chill, and have quality time. All this after 30 minutes of chat and an email!!! And him married? So I put the breaks on, I had to say that this was all rather flattering but very unexpected, and I wondered what his wife would think. So over a couple of emails I think I have sorted him out, and he is very much looking only for friends, having become a bit lonely as his wife has health issues which means she gets weary rather a lot, especially as the day goes on. So, from some nice emails, I think he is sorted… although he then offered to come mow my lawns some time!!! Agghhhh.

ALAN

Oh deary me. Just over a week ago I sent an email to him saying I was slightly anxious about the flirtatious nature of comments he posted to me on my walking group profile, and he replied saying that it was just a bit of fun, and what was wrong with flirting… and then he kinda ruined it by saying he will be singing “You are always on my mind” while doing his next walk, which I wasn’t going to!!! Agghhh. So I sent another email, and I mentioned something about having worries and my life being a bit turbulent… and then he replied saying that his heart is turbulent every time he gets an email from me! Maybe I made a mistake sending him another reply (though, as always, it was only friendly)… and then the latest one I sent him he has said that last night he “dreamed about me” (I daren’t ask the nature of the dream), that when I reach my “grief-free horizon he will be there to meet me”, that he is “interested in me”, and in response to me mentioning dizzy spells he says that he has a cure and he said “Am I worried; Jesus I’ve just found you!!”…. and he too has invited me to a classical concert where he wants to dance with me! Oh good grief. So I have had to send him another reply saying that I have significant worries already in my life, that I can’t cope with any more worries, and that some of his comments make me feel like a frightened rabbit in the path of an oncoming car! I wonder if that’ll do the trick? I have tried to soften the blow, saying I look forward to talking about some other things, etc. We will see…

Do all girls have these problems????

Wednesday… is appointment day

Most Wednesdays I go to my local support group… but every four weeks just recently Wednesday gets a bit manic and this one was crazy, such that I hardly ate… and have suffered as a result with dizzy spells.

Owing to my appointments I was not in the office… though had numerous emails and calls to deal with as I transformed back into Andrea. At around midday I left home and, on the way to my first appointment, stopped at a couple of shops. In Argos I went to get Andrea’s new watch and matching bracelet adjusted, with a link taken out of each. Then went to Sainsbury’s supermarket to return a hat – I really don’t think I’m a hat girl… and it would attract too much attention.

So, my first appointment was with my Gender Essence counsellor, who I have been seeing for quite a few weeks… and this was the last appointment. I talked about all the lovely walks I have been doing, and my admirers… and she was amazed at my progress. When she asked how I felt about the admirers, that’s when the tears started – it is like it is the pinnacle of recognition for who I really want to be, and it makes me feel so special, something I don’t think I have ever felt in my life. Feel a bit scared too, my sexuality is pretty much in “No Person’s Land” at present. Near the end of the session the tears flowed again… as she handed over a letter to me that I will take to my GP, stating that I have been having sessions with her relating to gender dysphoria and she “recommends that I am referred to Dr Richard Ingram in Belfast gender clinic”. Wow!

After that appointment I popped into Tesco to go to the loo… and that was an experience in itself. Just in front of me as I went in was a younger mum with two daughters about 6 years old. She was a bit fraught with her daughters, and apologetic to me but I was patient. When I was done, I washed and dried my hands, and then I ended up having a chat with her in the loo! She looked so weary, so I said “don’t worry, it gets better when they get a bit older…” and then we started comparing my 12 year old to a 15 year old that she also has.

2nd appointment was my first at a hairdressers, the purpose was to get my duplicate wig styled, which I have not touched… and I had such fun there. Paul (Meekin), a hairdresser in Belfast, took me into his VIP room and we spent 90 minutes there, having loads of lovely chat as he gently-but-expertly snipped away. I was pretty happy with the result (though have to give it a proper outing), and he tidied up the wig I have been wearing since the start of the year too – the fringe is MUCH better now, and he has removed any lumpiness from both of them. Fab! So, from now on, I hope to have Paul do my hair – he’s wonderful at it, gave me great advice, I felt totally at ease… and he was very complimentary.

Went onto Tesco to get some groceries, where the checkout girl was really nice and we had friendly chat about the weather, then I stopped at a cafe and had a scone and cup of tea in the middle of the shopping centre floor.

My third appointment was for laser hair removal, which is done by Lynda, a LOVELY lady – if you need hair removal and live in Ireland, you MUST go to her!!! We always have really good chat. So I got my face lasered, and got her to put the setting up a notch, though it was rather painful. Then had the top of my chest done (which is visible above a camisole top), and then some of my back, all areas I got the setting put up. She showed me a video of her baby niece, and I showed her one email from both my admirers.

Then onto my last ‘appointment’ of the day, to my local support group. Firstly there was a committee meeting, where I raised the topic of derogatory posters of women being put up on the premises… much to the annoyance of the TV culprit who does not seem to empathise with someone who wants respect shown for women. Thankfully most left soon after that… to leave the three girlies to some lovely, relaxing chat.

All in all, a very busy day!

My admirers…. can you believe it???

I have only been properly out and about as Andrea for just over five months… and I seem to have acquired not one but TWO admires in my walking group! Can you believe it? Well, I certainly can’t. And although I am not looking for a relationship, I am enjoying the attention!

So, as per earlier posts, I encountered the first gentleman at my dinner out, and then the second one at the weekend walk just gone. So there has been a few emails and site replies flying around since!!

On Monday I had an email from each of them! The new one, Ivan, said this (abbreviated):

“…Any time u want to chill let me know and if free would love to meet up for some light hearted banter!”

And the original one, Alan, then said the following about Minnowburn, the next walk for the group that I cannot do:

“U must walk Minnowburn ‘cos I’m back with the updated BA version of the tango! For you and I to dance around the dolmen @ the Giant’s Ring!” and then added, to the other guy “But then why is my blood turning to green.”

Uhh….. gulp!

So, today I sent an email to Alan giving him a mild telling off for his online flirting in an attempt to flush out his sincerity, and also an email to Ivan about information for concerts.

Ivan emailed me back first. As regards my voice, he said this – “I was bowled over by it……..it was just so soothing somehow!” Wow, huh! Considering I have not had any voice training, I can’t be doing that bad. Can I? About the concerts he wrote this (well, a bit more) – “Andrea, *it would be lovely if we could do them together. Feel free to say no, but, I really do enjoy your company, well that is based on a 30 minute travel log, but you are an interesting person, I am sure of that!”. Probably wish he’d said ‘girl’ rather than ‘person’ but can’t have everything. And he signed off with best wishes and a kiss! Uh, more gulps!

Then Alan has emailed me this evening! He sounds rather sincere to me. I won’t paste the whole thing, obviously, but for example he wrote the following about me at the dinner – “I talked with a sophisticated and beautiful girl and I felt privileged to be so doing”! And in response to the walk I cannot go to he said “Yes, quite a number of people are walking Minnowburn; but a particular person is not. Well, as Joan Baez once sang, ‘Some days are diamonds, some days are rust!’ Rusty Minnowburn here we come?”

Am I getting good at this or what?!?!? Well, lots more to learn and achieve, but can’t be doing too bad, surely!

June 21st – My Magical Walking Day At Rathlin Island

Rathlin Island is a small isle off the coast of Northern Island, very unspoiled, with protected areas for bird life. I have never been before… and am subsequently likely to go many times in the future. This place was the venue for my latest walking group outing… and I had such an amazing time, full of lovely chat with many nice people.

I was in a bit of a panic getting there by 11.00, as I am not a morning person and it is quite a distance from where I live… and I had a wardrobe malfunction, made worse by doing things in the wrong order. Got my face on, pinned my hair up (to prevent dishevelled hair on a blowy day), then put my white T-shirt on… only to find that there were stains on it, and I have never even worn it!!! So T-shirt off… and then wrecked hair! Aggghhhh!!! Eventually got out of the door at 9.15, two whole hours getting ready (not good).

Took less time to get to  Ballycastle (where the ferry departs) than I thought, was bursting for the loo and so popped into a local supermarket (with attached petrol station). Bought a banana there (for lunch), am not sure if an old guy in front of me was suspicious of me, as he gave me a couple of once-overs… or whether I just looked a bit odd to him in my walking boots. Anyway, otherwise fine, voice okay, everyone else fine including the guy who apologised when I nearly bumped into him coming out of the shop.

So, parked at the ferry terminal, queued for tickets where I met a couple of the walkers, then waDSCN0141ed1lked down to the ferry with the group leader (another Andrea) and another walker Kathleen who I ended up sitting on an outside seat next to. Had great chat with her – she is really friendly – also talked to another walker John who is keen on photos (who I let tell me all about filters and zoom lenses and played dumb, even though I know much about this), and to yet another Andrea; never met any of them before. Getting ready to start the walk, Kathleen met two other walkers, Ann and Susan, and the four of us spent much of the four hour walk talking to each other about all sorts of things, and I had just the most wonderful time with them, even saying things to them that made them laugh – it sounds such a simple thing, but to do that as Andrea and get such a natural and pleasing response is such an amazing feeling. Had a bit of chat with a few other people now and again as I walked around, including John (a different one, who I met at the dinner) who was very nice, and a girl who I gave up with as she was rather grumpy and whatever I said did not induce much of a positive response; she asked me if other walks were more moderate, and in her squeaky trainers I think she was struggling. We all had a picnic and Ann, with her Tardis-like coolder bag, shared an amount of food with Kathleen and I. The picture of me is one that Ann took of me, she just asked me if I wanted her to take a picture of me, so why not! Not the best I suppose, it’ll do.

Once the walk was over we met at a place near the harbour for the loveliest, light scones and tea with cream and jam. Yum! And I ended up chatting to another newbie – Ivan. He has travelled much of the world, and gave us an instant common area of interest. Once outside we all lounged around in the sun, and I had good chat with a married couple, Kathy and Michael, who I met at the meal, and several others, including a guy Mark who I did not recognise with his sunglasses on. (By the way, photo below right is taken on the walk). Queueing up at the ferry I ended up DSCN0137ed1talking to Ivan again, as he has a camera very similar to my Bob one (which I did not take). On the ferry itself I talked to him for the whole 25 minute journey, much of it about travel, also about jobs… and as his wife hates travelling and he often goes on his own, he half jokingly (or was it??) said to me that if I was ever stuck for a travelling companion then to ask him!! And then as we got towards port he said that it would be nice if we could meet up for lunch in Belfast (where he works) if I was ever there!! That is after chatting with me for only 30 minutes in his life!!! Surely, I cannot be making too much of a mess out of being Andrea if that has happened. can I? I also told him about my wardrobe malfunction, and he said that being a guy he can just throw anything on but it is different for me! Oh, you better believe it! And he made a comment indicating I was still well turned out. I wonder if I am doing so well with this group purely because I am in an arena where I can really be my true self… and the real me is really shining? Or maybe they are all just nice people, can see through me, and are able to accept me. But I really think that at least some of them don’t know! Perhaps I am kidding myself. So, goodbyes were said to various people, and after changing into ballet pumps and sorting my hair out I left.

As it was such a beautifully sunny day, I took a leisurely journey home along the north eDSCN0156ed1astern coast, and saw some stunning scenery; see right for an example, this is overlooking Cushendell. At my first picture stop a guy walked past me and said hi, at another stop another guy in a peaked cap with a cup of tea also said hello in a very friendly voice and asked how I was. After a while I had to stop at a petrol station for another banana as I was starving… and, just as I parked, a van pulled up and three young guys (late teenage/very early 20s) got out. I was momentarily disheartened, I thought, “oh no, here comes trouble”… but went in anyway… and NO trouble at all, the lad behind the checkout was really nice too, even if I should have queried the outrageous price of my 44p banana!

And then I drove home… half the time feeling a lovely glow inside at such a wonderful day, full of people that either had no idea about my gender-nature or alternatively fully accepted it. And by the time I got home I had already received a greeting from Ivan, saying the following:

Andrea, It was lovely to meet you today. What a wonderful, awesome place Rathlin is, I am definately planning a weekend there sometime. I hope you enjoyed the run home along the coast, I am sure it was so beautiful. You are a really interesting person to chat with, at least I thought so! It would be nice to have lunch maybe some time if you were free or even a walk should we get some good weather at weekends or some evening. I wish you well with the interview, fingers crossed. Again thanks for being part of my day. Ivan

“Thanks for being a part of his day”! And the possibility of a walk with him! Crumbs! I am half-tempted to do the walking idea, as I want to do stuff other than just shopping, and it is much nice to do things with other people. But I wonder how safe I would be (though he seems a gentle sort)…. and where this could go…

WOW! What a journey this is!

The clumsy twins go for coffee!

Had a fairly typical Wednesday evening – left work alas not early, took 80 minutes to completely transform back into Andrea, and left home just before 8.00pm. No time to shop before meeting Kirsty – good job I didn’t as traffic was a nightmare with Lisburn marathon. Met up at Costa Coffee for a drink and chat – I had a yummy strawberry milkshake (with a fancy name, and price to match) while Kirsty had half a coffee… the other half of it ending up all over the table and her handbag. I exaggerate… and there was me nearly knocking a stack of saucers all over the floor as we queued up! Anyway, the clumsy twins had a great chat for over half an hour, and all felt good.

I headed onto Tesco for some food supplies… and ended up with a checkout girl who couldn’t hear anything I said… and I started to wonder if it was deliberate as my voice started to deteriorate, even if her eventual replies following repeats were okay. Anyway, put the shopping in the car, went back in to go to the loo at the far end of the store, then onto my support group… and was pleasantly relieved to find only Kirsty and Michelle were left (the male-dressed persons had departed) so had a nice chat with them and eventually got home at 11.50pm.

No negativity at all with my little evening out… confidence probably helped as I was REALLY pleased with my appearance – wore a perfectly summery dress I had bought in Sainsburys on Sunday that I just LOVE, accessorised with red cardy, and nude shoes. Wish I had a picture of the dress!