Ordinariness; nearly there

  • Posted on May 17, 2014 at 11:42 pm

There is a number in my diary this week: 8.

In 8 weeks I shall be changed for good. Now is the best time to test my conviction and all I have said and done over the past three years.

What if … What if in 9 weeks time I were to wake, as if from a trance, and come to my senses and think: ‘Oh my goodness! What have I done?!’ Have I just been carried along on a wave, retro-rationalising everything I’ve said, reconstructing a narrative out of a merely uncomfortable childhood, supported by people with ‘real’ gender dysphoria? What if gender is such a social construct that all of this has been unnecessary, and I could have lived some kind of a life as a ‘different’ kind of man? I guess it is conceivable that since gender dysphoria is primarily self-diagnosed, I have blind-sided four psychiatrists.

It is imperative that people like me force our imaginations into these places. What follows now is irreversible, so it had better be right. Changing my mind at the eleventh hour cannot be more embarrassing than coming out and being not very good at being a woman in front of a load of people who have never heard of gender dysphoria other than tabloid ‘sex-swap’ headlines.

So if you get to this stage too, I would urge you to think the unthinkable, take yourself there and see what you find. Stand on the edge of your current reality and play-act a realisation that you were wrong after all. Imagine the waking up and thinking it was all a dream, just as the anaesthetic starts to take effect. Any shadows of doubt in there?

I have done this – and I am still longing for the outcome.

Going solo

This feels a lonely time, all the same. It’s a door only I can go through. Eight weeks is a short time, and I need to be very well planned at home and at work. I don’t come home to a partner or carers, though I have one friend and a sister who will get me started on the road to recovery. A few have promised to come round in the following weeks, but I am expecting a tiring slog through very careful maintenance, accompanied by books, none of the usual social activities, recorded music, not played, and a degree of boredom. I must write poetry, though I don’t think much of the time will be inspiring!

This is the unglamorous reality. At the start, the realisation that I might be understood rather than wicked, was very comforting. Buying clothes, starting to look right, was a challenge I could at first retreat from if necessary, but it felt very good. As I moved on, came out, left to live alone, at least people were calling me brave and courageous! This now reminds me of an earlier poem ‘Guts’, and I am not sure as to whether I am giving birth or being born!

It’s lonely because I am gradually saying no to summer events, to projects at work, and cutting myself out of things I would normally throw myself into.

It’s lonely because I no longer have the one best friend who might have been close by and practical.

It’s lonely because the one person I loved most in the world is now living her own life with no reference to me.

It’s lonely because whilst I have friends on Facebook and ‘out there’, this time I need practical help to get through my days, get it right, feel reassured, know there is someone there.

And when I get back to work a lot will have happened in my absence, in the band the concerts will be over, and the dance will be cautious. I shall no doubt feel quite out of touch and tired, unable to commit so much, and not getting into work so early.

No-one can do this but me. I shall get there, the other side is in sight, but for the first time in my life I face a real physical challenge with no nearest and dearest. A friend told me recently to be really busy in the last three weeks. I feel the need already!


A friend said to me this morning that he had watched me changing a great deal over the last two years, from the nice man he met and who made him feel welcome, to announcing my change, reappearing as a woman, and gradually changing in shape and manner until now, when I appear so completely comfortable in myself. It makes me realise that, although two years is not so long, the journey has been. I am very settled, and I do admit that although I am still here the same as ever, inside this skin, I have come a very long way. I sat and talked with my ex-wife recently, and for all the total familiarity, I must seem so very different externally, especially since she has not watched it happen week to week. When I left her, I had just finished part-timing, just finished compromising, and had yet really to grow into myself.

I also am aware that just as I have moved away from trans spaces, this next step becomes the end of the conversation. If I can help other trans people find their way forward, then I will. But as for identifying as trans, though it was my starting point for how I am, it becomes my history. Do I still have gender dysphoria? In most ways, no I don’t. The end is so in sight, that the real work is done. After this I am just a woman, and my goals are anything other than further change. I shall continue to develop of course, but life plans and decisions go back to normal. And the conversations about gender will become fewer and further between. Everyone will breathe a sigh of relief. Maybe I shall find new friends who don’t need the resilience!

What feels important to me now that the dialogue is dying away, is that I come to real understanding with my ex-wife. I hate saying ‘my ex’, because it summons antagonism, falling out, acrimony, and I never felt that, only grief and disappointment. I can only call her by name, like any other friend, seek pre-booked time-slots like any other, and compete with better friends. Until we find what friendship either of us wants, all I can do is try to rebuild her trust in this woman who used to be her husband, and who still loves her, but will forever be separated.

It all feels very ordinary compared with the intensity and traumas of seeking treatment, learning to live differently, and being aware of stares and comments. It has been long and arduous, and I am amazed to be here and feel safe. But I am tired, very tired, because of all it has also taken away. I need to be ordinary. In a way I really do hope that’s what it will be. After all, the past is a sticky thing, and I am no better understood, not really. I was greeted on Monday this week with ‘Did you see who won Eurovision? I saw Conchita and thought of you!’

Oh for some real ordinariness!


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