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Changing rooms

  • Posted on April 3, 2015 at 1:01 pm

I didn’t write last week; for the first time I missed. I had things that I wanted to fill my time instead, but in a way I feel I betrayed the blog itself rather than my readership. Hey, we all have time off. And times are changing, and it’s all about making room right now. Do I always want to write about being trans*? Actually, no. I don’t want to be invisible by any means, but I have said much of what there is to say for a while. I’m not an advisor, nor an expert, just experienced in transition. I feel very keenly for friends (local and via social media) whose journey is protracted and are still waiting for treatment. I feel the injustice of years of judgement before self-knowledge is acknowledged, and I follow all the debates about responsibility in being openly trans for the sake of all those who cannot avoid visibility. The world is still very far from accepting of trans existence as an equal status being human. But I am now nine months on from my final and very successful treatment, and observing what it means to remain different but to inhabit very much the same old world.

So what was I doing last week, to spend blogging hours differently? Actually, I was doing a 50 shades of grey 1,000 piece jigsaw. Sorry; much less intriguing really, it was a mainly monochrome scene in London, manufactured in Germany, which my partner received from her mother for Christmas, not an erotic experience! Jigsaws have great potential as well as being addictive, because they challenge pattern recognition, involve strategies, and create space for neutral conversation abstracted from the obsessions of working life. It was fun, and reminded me of happy times with my mother, when we were the only two interested in doing the Christmas jigsaw.

They are a great destressor too, because they require such concentrated attention, and both of us have had our recent stresses over work (she has too much to achieve and I have much too little), as well as thinking ahead to our future. Before too long we are planning to share our living space, rather than living in two places and alternately out of bags on each other’s bedroom floors. Life is a game of consequences, and we face more than some. My partner may hold admiration for the way I’ve travelled these past few years, but that doesn’t mean having a partner of different nationality, same gender, transsexual and considerably older is an easy thing to land on family, friends and colleagues! I am very aware that I am not an altogether simple addition to her life, and that we come to a place of increasing commitment from very different directions. We may fit very comfortably well and share far more in common than we could have expected but, as everyone, we gaze into the more distant future, where some certainties exist, a few challenges, many questions, and the choice of grasping opportunities while we can. It is a very different situation from the one I faced when I got married, young, inexperienced, naïve and very afraid of being discovered. I won’t try to speak for my partner, but what we have now is probably far from her expectations. And being unanticipated, not everything we think, or need to make our minds up on, lies on prepared ground.

We want to expand socially together, get to know each other’s circles, and I know that I have disappeared pretty much online in recent times. Social media was my lifeline for years, it was where I discovered I was not perverted but simply transgender, and found support and advice to set my life straight for the first time. I have needed to move away from social media again, and now to find a good role for it rather than an obsessive one. I think that together we can find new activities and social groups, gain confidence in making new friends, and make the most of the relationship we have. I find it exciting to know that life can continue to change and bring new experiences, and my motto remains ‘Warum nicht? Why not?’.

As we start thinking seriously about what it means to share a home, we turn to our things and where they will fit. For me, life is not what I have accumulated, it is what I can create and recreate every day. My things are just my things. Some have captured memories, some inspire, but many are just the skin I constantly need to shed, in order to grow. Some are simply useful, such as rather too many practical home maintenance spares and tools!

I am very aware that leaving my old life was not a denial of anything good I achieved, but a necessary separation nonetheless. Despite keeping the toolboxes, I had no trousers for years, I chose more overtly feminine things in order to create contrast, and I created a safe space where my intentions were obvious, and ambiguity or ambivalence were excluded. I bought many things cheaply because I was replacing so much at once. I did well, but it’s time to share the making of home again. I feel safe, with a very trusting relationship, and a security in my own skin that still delights me. My things, my rooms, can now belong to this, rather than define it. Maybe a better analogy is that I built scaffolding to support my transition years, and now I feel properly restructured and strong, the scaffolding can come down.

I’m sorry if you Googled this page based on trans* spaces, bathroom bills, and changing-rooms for trans women. I only meant to say that my living space is set to change again, for the better, and that I’m looking forward to it all over again. I have transitioned; I have moved over; and change remains a welcome thing because it is once more being led by love.

(And no stupid analogies about piecing my life back together again from a thousand scattered pieces!)


  • Posted on April 3, 2015 at 11:33 am

You said ‘bitch’ which I have not heard
you accuse before, like that. It is an unkindness
wedged amongst broken exposed neurons.

It is an insult without interpretation, a word
that robs our sense of kin-ness, confuses
kind in deconstruction with cruel revelation.

Where was ‘bitch’ before entering your mouth as
utter contempt for your consideration? Betrayal
of layers—or delamination of mind?

Somewhere between memory and repetition,
intent and imagination, lies the confluence
of meaning and demeaning in grey shadows.

This is the catch, as time tears your fabric,
like a wind reducing buildings to their bones in
an empty street, and wandering, a lone canine stray.


2015 © Andie Davidson


This poem was provoked by the experience of my mother, slipping from all we knew into degrees of dementia. Mainly at present it is forgetfulness, but in this, a forgetting of context, and of trust, in her own capacity and of others. There must be an awareness that all is not as it was. When reminded of things quickly forgotten or misplaced, in moments of greater clarity, a dawning, just as dawnings themselves become misty experiences, that mind is slipping, and with it the crafted character. How much of personality is soul, and how much a fabricated façade? Not to be false, but even to be what we want to be. Can memories of others’ patterns of behaviour and speech be as falling beams in a collapsing house? That fall into places previously occupied by our own character? Or does the fabric collapse just expose our more basic instinctive responses? I don’t know. The poem merely expresses this doubt and the sadness of it. Again, my written style is to use many ambiguous words, allusion and internal cross-reference to create layers of meaning from rereading the poem several times.