I am not running, I am watching the sun rise.

19th April 2018

I remember as a child visiting my grandparents on the Essex coast on a frequent basis with mum and dad. Mums parents lived there and we would visit once a month, rain or shine, Winter, Spring, Summer or Autumn. I just loved the coast and had the advantage of seeing it in all weathers. My love affair with the coast started then. I continued to visit my grandparents once I came of age until such time as they passed away.

Fast forward to 2018 and I am now going to fulfil a dream of a life time. I am moving to the seaside. Holy mother of god, this is so damn exciting. I am turning cart wheels as I type I can assure you. This multi-tasking thing is a doddle you know.

I always thought that this would be a bucket list thing for when I retire, but no, I can do it with my work. A result. For those of you who don’t know, I have been working down in Hampshire since October at a sister site for my employer Airbus on the northern edge of the Portsmouth area. It is a 10 month secondment and I remain an employee at the Stevenage facility. Packing a case every week, living in a hotel for 2 or 3 nights a week and commuting round the busiest section of London’s M25 (western)  is no fun at all I can assure you. However it has paid me back.

I actually like the job and the people down there (I’ll write about that in a minute) and I have been offered a job, permanently.

Today I came out of a meeting with HR and my boss and we have in principle agreed personal terms. All I need now is the offer and I will put my house on the market. I am going.

If I did not like the job, I would not be going. The job is the most important part of this. But an opportunity to work on my bucket list at the same time, well, why the hell not!

For the past 6 weeks or so I have been browsing the market for properties down there and I have decided that a sea view has to be in order. This has to be about location for me. It’s likely to be an apartment and if the location is as I dream my garden will be the beach and the lawns on the Southsea common. It is going to happen I can’t actually believe it! I have looked east and west of the  coast from Portsmouth and also up into the South downs but I am always drawn back to the coast line. I have not physically looked at anything yet. This is a no-no for me until I have accepted an offer and sold my own place. I will of course look at other locations when the time arises but at the moment Southsea and Old Portsmouth are my preferred location. Whatever happens though. I will not be far from the sea or water.

But. I am not running away! Running from what? Life’s challenges. I have challenges in my personal life. Challenges that I am not winning. Challenges that upset me every single day. Those challenges will still be there I guess whether I am on the South coast or Hertfordshire so there is still plenty of opportunity to feel upset. What I am doing though is furthering my career and giving myself the opportunity to watch the sun rise over the ocean many times for the rest of my life.

A collection of sun rises taken on my commute to work January through April this year.

A view that will never tire of. I always prefer the sun rise, one because one, I am an early bird and two, it reminds me always of new beginnings, almost like the early buds of Spring as they appear from the harshness of Winter.

One thing I have noticed whilst being on secondment in Hampshire is how different it is working with people who never knew me before transition. It is much easier to be honest. They have nothing to get their heads around. They only know me as me and it is almost a breath of fresh air. That is not to say that transition in the work place has been difficult. Far from it and it has been by far the easiest part for me at least. I don’t think I will ever be “stealth”. I am proud to be a woman who is trans but, you know, it is “what I am” and not “who I am” and it’s nice for it not to be the first thing that people talk about. A lady who I work with has become a friend. She knows about me, but never knew me before. She said to me whilst we were having a meal before going to the movies the other week. “you know, I can never imagine you were ever man” of course I laughed and said I wasn’t, I just pretended to be one for a few decades. A flippant response I know but you know what, I need more people like her in my life.

Wish me luck…

All my love

 Veronica x 

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Dealing with my weight – 3 month update

8th April 2018

Back in January I wrote a blog about dealing with my weight. I am now 3 months into my diet and I have all but lost my post surgery puppy fat. Well puppy fat is a flippant way of losing 2 stone in weight.

I feel very accomplished actually. It’s been difficult. For anyone who had dieted you will know it’s easier at the start, you get periods where the weight does not seem to drop and then all of a sudden the lbs start to fall again. I am I one of those periods now.

I am now at the point where my appetite is suppressed enough for me not to crave food so the routine is relatively easy. Working away from home and eating out in restaurants most evenings does not help but I have now developed a routine that suits me and I plan to continue this routine until such time as I get structure back in my life. For me structure means either transferring permanently to another site or returning to my base in Stevenage.

So how have I lost weight? Well I don’t snack (at all) and my carbohydrate content is down to next to nothing. I don’t have treats or sins. I am just completely focused. It works for me. It’s not balanced, it’s not a permanent solution, but it is working. As I said, I plan to continue this. So I have set myself 3 baseline goals. Now I am going to introduce real numbers because if I write them down and publish them then it motivates me. It is my shame and my motivation you see.

My first target is 13st 2lbs,  that’s 2st down from the 12th January. And I am now 2lbs away from that, or at least I was this morning. When I am away I don’t weigh myself but when at home I jump on the scales every morning. So 13st 2lbs is my baseline and “outer marker” weight. My next baseline is 12st, which will be 40lbs below my starting position. This is not going to be easy. To put perspective on it. I have never been below 12st as a grown adult. I got close in those marathon running days but apart from that, never. Should I reach that goal I have a new utopia baseline that sits below. 11st or 54lbs below my starting position.

Last week I went away and stayed at a friend’s for a few nights after the Easter break. I forgot to pack my belt for my jeans. The bloody things just kept falling down. So I went and bought some new jeans. Size 12s. This made me smile.

I have set my bar very low and this blog I will use as my motivation to get down there.

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All my love

Veronica x

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The Gender Recognition Act argument.

21st March 2018

The proposed Gender Recognition Act (GRA) argument and proposed changes is a media distraction that is just driving me nuts at the moment. It is bringing out the worst in people on both sides of the argument (see below) and as far as I am concerned, even though there is a misrepresentation of fact from mainstream media and radical feminists, absolutely no one is coming out of this smelling of roses.

 

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Taken in 2017 in the ladies changing room at the gym

 

I call this an argument. Others will call it a debate. Let’s be clear though, there should not even be a need for a debate and what I write below is my view on why there is absolutely no debate to be had. There is sadly however, time needed for the mainstream to catch up with what being transgender is; how the law works; and  why there is no threat to mainstream groups from trans women, understanding that the caveat there is that there are bad people in all walks of life.

Just for clarity. I use the term “trans woman”. I am comfortable with this and other people like me are not. As far as I am concerned I am a woman who is transgender. I also use the term cis gender. This, for those of you that don’t know, is the opposite to trans. I do intentionally mean to offend anyone.

So let me first of all talk about the 2 main pieces of legislation that are relevant to the trans community.

The Equalities Act 2010

These are not my words – “The Equality Act brings together over 116 separate pieces of legislation into one single Act. Combined, they make up a new Act that provides a legal framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all. The Act simplifies, strengthens and harmonises the current legislation to provide Britain with a new discrimination law which protects individuals from unfair treatment and promotes a fair and more equal society.”

Basically, this is the legal framework that allows me to be me. It gives me the framework to transition and receive equality in society. Others did it before the act, before the protection and before this whole who-ha. They are my icons in life. They are the ones that deserve my respect. The framework does not make me, me. It makes me able to survive in this country as me. Without it I would find it much harder to exist and flourish.

Taking a step toward transition is almost like taking multiple driving tests back to back, relentlessly for years and years to prove your worth. To prove you exist, to prove you are transgender. As you pass those steps you can pass onto the next step, serially, not in parallel and very slowly. For example:

If you want to be referred to a Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) you have to see your GP first.

Assume you have a sympathetic GP (not a given) they will then refer you to a councillor normally, who then if you pass they will then refer you to the GIC.

Depending on where you live, will depend on the wait. I waited a year back in 2014. I have heard the wait is longer now.

You finally get an appointment and the first is always a bit of a talking shop – you talk, they listen. Actually all of them are talking shops. If you have already transitioned (legally changed your name and present in your chosen gender) they may put you on HRT straight away,  if you have not self prescribed or used alternate (private) routes by then. The former of these is very risky in my opinion, although I know many who have.

The assessments continue at least nine months apart until you get to a point where you feel comfortable in your life. Whether that be non op, post op, Miss, Ms, Mrs, X, it sort of does not matter. We are all different. It takes absolutely bloody years. But let’s be clear the moment someone seeks help, changes their identity and starts to present in their chose gender, then the equalities act is there to support them. Public lavatories, changing facilities, same sex only facilities, you name it. The only thing that stops a trans person from using those places is their own dysphoria, their own fear of abuse, their own fear of rejection, their own absolute terror of being called out.

So what all this who-ha over the GRA debate? Well it beats the sh*t out of me I can tell you because the proposed GRA changes have nothing to do with the fears that are being raised by some radical feminists and the media. Those fears of trans women using their “so called” facilities happen right here and right now. What data do we have that shows it to be a problem? None. It is all scare mongering.  As for men pretending to be women in order to invade our spaces, well, whatever! If they were motivated it could happen now with no change to the GRA.

Gender Recognition Act 2004

Again, these are not my words – The Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA) is the law that governs how trans people can get their gender identity legally recognised – and so have the correct gender marked on their birth certificate.

The GRA is a process of legally changing your gender and not your identity. Quite simply, the GRA sucks. Let me tell you why. My complete identity changed when I transitioned apart from my birth certificate. Name, Gender marker on all relevant documents (passport and drivers license, medical records). When few months after transition I was called for my first breast screening. They must of thought “oh crap we have a 52 year old and she has not been breast screened yet, best get her in”. I was even called for a cervical smear (of course I told them I would not need that one). But, the birth certificate; First of all you have to wait two years from the point of legal identity change to applying. You are assessed again by a faceless panel after you have handed over money of course and if the wind is blowing from the west and there is an ‘R’ in the month, you may get through and they will issue you a certificate. Let’s assume they do and you pass and get the certificate. You can then change your birth certificate. Whoop whoop! And get this, should you be naughty and go to prison, because you have that certificate you can go to the correct gender prison. Right now, I have not got a gender recognition certificate. I have the forms filled out. The cheque is written and not dated. Its all sitting in a plastic wallet on the dining table. I have not posted it yet. I am reluctant to. It not a money thing. It’s a principle thing. Wouldn’t it be nice if the law changed. I live in hope. Whether my principles hold out or I relent and post the thing remains to be seen. I actually went to see my MP last week to brief him on the bill as a way of trying to get my MP at least onside.

For the last eight years or so I have been using female rest rooms. Prior to transition only when I presented as female. Since medical transition I have also been using, for the last year female changing facilities at my gym. I could of used them before but to be honest I was terrified of being found out and hugely ashamed of what I was hiding.

So that’s it, in a nutshell That’s all the GRA is about. There are some other aspects to the bill relating to gender neutral identities but the real media storm is generally about trans women invading spaces of cis women. As I said, I have been doing this for years, well before I transitioned and in eight years I have had one adverse reaction where a guy took offence that I was using the same toilet at his girlfriend. His girlfriend was embarrassed by him I am sure (hope they are not together now). This was 6 years ago. Oh, the guy who took offence, he made a scene. The management in the bar threw him out. He waited around for me for an hour or so and started gobbing off in the street. Fortunately all it did was ruin my weekend.

I am pretty sure most cis females will if they read this I am sure have no problem. In my experience it has never been a problem until now (apart from that one incident for me). If a radical feminist reads this and believes I am a threat to them in any way then you should have said something when you were in trap 2 taking a pee the other month in Debenhams. Oh, and flush next time and wash your hands! Or when you was putting your makeup on alongside me in the changing room facilities at the gym. If I remember, all we talked about was the bloody weather and when spring was going to finally arrive.

All my love

Veronica x

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Dealing with life’s uncertainties

17th March 2018

rYou would think dealing with uncertainty in life would be a skill I ‘mastered’ long ago. Or is that ‘mistressed’. Oh it doesn’t matter what the word is but I guess I should use ‘overcame’. Don’t you just love Gender neutral politics 🙂 .

The most common response I get from strangers when they find out I am transgender is ‘oh god, you are so brave…….’ Not that I even like being called brave or feel anything like brave. You could think that transition and all that goes with it should’ve be the most uncertain period of my life so far. It’s pretty accurate to say it bloody was, however only the period of self-understanding, self-acceptance and coming out, which for me spanned a period of years. I am not counting those. It’s too scary. ‘No regrets’ I tell myself and it’s true, I believe it.

However I enter an unforeseen era of uncertainty that I did not see coming; where I sort of know the answers; but feel incapable of doing anything about it. Quite bizarre really.

After coming out it was less a case of uncertainty and more a case of ‘well I best bloody find out what happens next and then I best put a plan together of how to get there’. For me I was pretty sure but not 100% certain that it meant full medical transition, which turned out to be the case. Now planning I can do. Financial management, I can do. So plan I did. I got there. Patience, scrimping and doing. The plan had some re-baselines but only in a good way. I beat my own expectation of when I perceived I would be complete probably by around 18 months. So that was all good. I have a couple of ideas about some minor tweaks here and there but they are likely not to happen. It just depends on life I guess. 

So there in lies my latest uncertainty; ‘life’ itself. My head has been down executing plans to a point where life itself was almost forgotten about. It was my life for what seems like forever. Now I am thinking, Who am I? What am I doing? And, what do I want to do? 

I know the answers to all of those questions, yet still the uncertainty. I will take each question step by step. Oh I love to write, it helps me think

Who am I?

Well I am Veronica of course. That is the easy bit. A reasonably well adjusted individual. A good job, nay career, which I enjoy. I am single. That makes me sound like a spinster and that I am not. I have had a few careless owners and I show signs of wear and tear. My clock has been wound back a tad but all in all, I am a good runner with hopefully a long MOT.

I am a parent of three wonderful grownups who are busy off making their own lives for themselves. A proud grandparent of 2, nearly 3 wonderful grandchildren. Sadly 2 of which I am sadly going to see physically far less frequently than a blue moon (I actually looked that up and it talks about ‘synodic orbits’ and stuff) as they live on the other side of the world. My family is small and gets smaller as the years pass. Those people that remain are still as important to me as they ever were. Some not here anymore and some who have sadly let me go.

What am I doing?

I seem to be bumbling along. My mind set still thinks about what I want to do and I sort of plan for that but what I want to do seems unachievable to me so I am thinking of plans B, C, D, E……..Z Maybe I should not plan and should just bumble along and the plan will fall into place. Well if it does I will have a version written for sure because, thinking, I do.

I spend an inordinate amount of time on my own. This would have destroyed me in other stages of my life. Now it doesn’t. Being alone and being lonely are actually two very different feelings. I have experienced both and the former is more palatable for sure. I remember when I was married, to my first wife. All the kids had passed the point where I added value to them or at least that was my perception. I think that was the time I felt the most lonely in my life and I lived in a house with 4 other people and too many cats!

So the bumbling continues. I have short and medium term things on the go all the time but they just fit in around the shades of grey that I feel still exist.

My job is fab. In fact my job since around the early naughties has been my saviour pretty much. A blessing for me. I have travelled extensively with work and built a career that gives me so much more than financial reward.

For most of my adult life I have battled with my weight. Generally I lost most of those battles. It took on a new meaning for my final medial transition as the surgeons rules were to have a body mass index (BMI) of 28 or below. I went into surgery at around 26BMI but since then I have put on two stone in weight (28lbs). I am losing that now. In fact, over half has already gone. I have set myself a stretch goal of being lighter than I have ever been as an adult. Which for me means I still have 28lb to go. But it is a stretch and I just want to lose the post surgery weight first. I go to the gym as often as I can and that just compliments my weight loss and gives me interaction that I never had before.

In 2016 I stumbled across a Samaritan stand at a festival I attended. I talked to them, got the details and pretty much at that point vowed to get involved once I was out the other side of surgery. Which I did. I went to an open evening at my local branch. Passed a pre selection panel a couple of months later and then started the training a few months after that. People, the training is just brill. I would recommend it to anyone. Since November I have been in my probation period and on the phones as a listener. I take a shift once a week, which for me generally means at the weekend some time. I come out of Probation in April, a year after I first saw them. I would like to do more, but working away from home prevents me from doing that whilst on the probation. Once I am off of probation I will probably look to take on a shift at a different facility in Portsmouth whilst I am away with work. Its quite a commitment I think but for one who has struggled myself at times in my life, it is nice to be there for others who have their own struggles, whatever they are.

I see my family when they are free, which is never enough, but it is what it is.

I bumble along trying to make friends, which I am crap at to be honest. Well I am less crap at it now than I once was but generally speaking, I still feel crap at making friends. It just does not come naturally to me.

I have had a go at the dating thing but given up on that. I have written about dating before and I don’t want to go over old ground. I have ‘needs’ and an imagination but oh god, the companionship, I miss. You can’t talk to, cuddle an spoon with an imagination.

What do I want to do?

It’s pretty easy really. I want love. Elton, find me love immediately please. I want to share my life with someone who has the same love for me as I do them. Although I write flippantly about careless owners, my 3 major relationships have been with love and when they were good, they were very good. In those times I was at my happiest. Even though I probably make a shitty partner I still crave for that interaction because apart from my gender issues of the past, I am actually still me. I still have the same needs, the same likes, dislikes and loves. Darlings this is not a CV. This is just me writing out loud.

I want to retire before my retirement age. I want to live by the sea. I want to have a home in a warm climate as well as a home in the UK. There’s a lot of high level “wants” there eh! My second ex-wife used to say ‘“I want” does not get’. She was right.

So my thoughts and planning are all about being in a position to do that if the right person falls into my lap. Anything I do can then be sculpted to the reality of a relationship. Those high level “wants” are not set in stone. They are things that will undoubtedly change when or if the right person comes along.

One thing is for sure though, assuming I keep my health, work will not stop, until I have that person in my life that loves me, for me. In fact, plan Z is just to work until I drop down dead. I hope I don’t have to enact that plan.

All my love

Veronica x

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Well I tried, but sometimes, life is just shit.

28th February 2018

One of the things I never really told many people was that 3 weeks before my gender reassignment surgery last year, my brother, who had only days before said he would be down to see me in hospital, all of a sudden dropped me like a stone. His words paraphrased to “I just can’t get my head around this……..”. Over 3 years he had known about me and he waits for just 3 weeks before my surgery to tell me he needed a break. At the time I was devastated. I woke up on the 4th January last year to a message from him and cried my eyes out. The next few days were an emotional blur as I tried to come to terms with the message, but remained focused on my surgery and recovery and vowing to write to him at some point in the future.

Fate brought us back together in February of last year when mum passed away but as soon as the formalities were over with I disappeared back into ether. We met briefly at my daughter’s wedding reception in June but apart from that, nothing. Oh, I did get a birthday card 4 days after my birthday,posted the night before, on a Saturday, with a second class stamp. But apart from that. Nothing.

My mood went from upset, to anger, to well if he ever has a change of heart it’s too late, to always keep a door open and all in the space of a year or so. I have multiple variants of the letter that express my mood at the time of writing. However, I am so pleased I did not send a letter early on but I did send a letter to him earlier this month, around 13 months after he sent me to Coventry.

My final letter left the door open for him, should he have a change of heart. I think what I have learnt over this period is it is not just about me and my emotions. It takes time for others also especially those who have had an emotional attachment to me. I hate that it is this way but it is. I can say and do as trans woman ‘well who am I hurting?’ or ‘who am I really affecting?’ or ‘I am still me inside (and I am)’ or ‘would he rather see me broken, or worse’, but the bottom line is not everyone feels like that. You can debate that their views are tainted by media influence. You can argue until you are blue in the face that it is so unfair and it is. I have felt all of these emotions. But it won’t bring him back. He has to do this on his own time. Sometimes the harder you try, the further away they get.

He replied to my letter a few days later via a “WhatsApp” message. Thanking me for the letter and telling me he was not ready and could not put a timeframe on it, days, weeks, months, years (his words). Who knows!

Families fall out all the time and the reasons can be varied. One of you being transgender is just another variable in the equation of life. I guess that life is sometimes just shit.

 It changes nothing about me and my absolute relief that I finally found ‘the person I should have been’ and the absolute contentment I feel every day I wake up. That pinching yourself feeling is just as good today as the 1st November 2015. You know that feeling when you are walking along and you see a reflection of yourself in a window. I still just love that. However, would my life be better if I had my brother back? Hell yes.

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Trans rap.

9th February 2018

IMG_4477[904]

I just love listening to George Michael. Always have, even from his old Wham days and sadly I am old enough to know remember the hysteria around Wham. I can’t help it. Along with Freddie, this guy truly has the voice of an angel.

All his music is on my phone and I often have a good sing song on the drives to the south coast when the radio is boring me.

It was boring one Monday morning. After Pop Master on Radio 2 you understand (gotta love Pop Master). So on came Wham Rap! I sang along as usual. Never related to the lyrics really as it was all about that time in the early 80s when unemployment was high and I was one of the lucky ones who managed to stay in work. Still loved the tune though. Anyhow, I digress. Here is my attempt at tweaking the lyrics to suit a different theme. One close to my heart.

All I need now is someone to help me record it 🙂

[Chorus]

  • Trans! bam!
  • I am! wo-man!
  • Cervix or not,
  • You can’t tell me that I’m not.
  • Do! you! Dis-ag-ree with me?
  • If yes, just stop!
  • And stay there and rot!

 

  • You got soul
  • You got soul
  • I said get, get, get on down,
  • Said get, get, get, on down.
  • Hey everybody take a look at me,
  • I’ve got XY genes you see,
  • I may not have XX,
  • But I have a good time,
  • With the people that I meet “all of the time”
  • I said, I, don’t, need, you
  • So you don’t approve,
  • Well who asked you to?
  • Hey, TERF, you, stop
  • This girl’s got better things to do
  • Hell, I ain’t never gonna shirk, de-ny who I am,
  • I choose, to cruise.
  • Gonna live my life, true to my-self,
  • I’ve found my soul and I just can’t lose.
  • A.1. style from head to toe,
  • Cool cat flash gonna let you know,
  • I’m a soul girl, I’m a real girl,
  • Take pleasure in leisure, I believe in joy!

[Chorus]

  • Party nights, and neon lights,
  • We hit the floors, we hit the heights.
  • Dancing shoes, and pretty girls.
  • Boys in leather kiss girls in pearls!
  • Hot-damn! everybody, let’s play!
  • So they promised you an easy ride no way!
  • One, two, three, rap!
  • C’mon everybody, don’t need this crap!

[Chorus]

  • If you’re a pub girl
  • Or a club girl
  • Maybe a jet black girl with a hip hi-fi
  • A white cool cat with a trilby hat
  • Maybe leather and studs is where you’re at
  • Make the most of every day
  • Don’t let hard times stand in your way
  • Give a trans give a bam but don’t give a damn
  • Cos the ‘phobic gang are gonna pay!
  • Now reach up high and touch your soul,
  • The girls from trans will help you reach that goal.
  • It’s gonna break your mama’s heart, (so sad)
  • It’s gonna break your daddy’s heart, (too bad)
  • But you’ll throw the dice and take my advice,
  • Because I know that you’re smart.
  • Can you dig this thing?
  • Yeah!
  • Are you gonna get down?
  • Yeah!
  • Say Trans!
  • Trans!
  • Say bam!
  • Bam!

[Chorus]

  • Do you want to fight?
  • No
  • Are you gonna have fun?
  • Yeah
  • Said one, two, three, rap,
  • c’mon everybody, Don’t need this crap!
  • Enjoy what you do?
  • Everybody say trans!
  • Trans!
  • Everybody say trans! bam!
  • Trans! bam!
  • Enjoy what you do?
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Coping with change, post transition

25th January 2018

You would think coping with the process of gender transition would be the hardest part of my existence. What could ever be harder? I am forever told how brave I was for being true to myself. This is very flattering but not how I feel. From my perspective it did not require bravery, it required desperation and any person going through or thinking about going through gender transition has experienced or is experiencing just that in varying degrees.

The brave part for me is dealing with change, post transition which actually is after you finally reach the desperation tipping point. So you finally decide to take that leap of faith. Yes, you have a lot of learning to do, some adjustments to make in the way you behave and present. But this is surprisingly easy. Or at least this is my perception. I was practicing this for years before that leap of faith was taken. I still get things wrong now but much less wrong than before. The vast majority of women my age have a lifetime to learn. My learning is condensed into my perception of being a woman, picked up through initially watching for many years and latterly “being”. I will continue to learn for the rest of my days. It is just life.

So what do I mean “change, post transition”?  Well what I mean are the side effects. What happens around us when we transition.

Let me address if I may this in little mini chapters – Family and loved ones – Work – Friends – Relationships. I list them in this order as a means to establish a hierarchy for my brain.

Family and loved ones

Oh god this is so difficult. The people you hold so dear and hopefully always will. The people you do not want to lose. Whether you like it or not and I don’t, by transitioning you are affecting change on them, in varying degrees of course, but none the less you are affecting change on them. They will say or do things you do not feel comfortable with. They set constraints. They don’t realise they are doing it because in their mind I have brought this on them and I have to give them “time”. To a point they are right. I mean gender transition was mind blowing for me. Some of us fight it a life time. So why would I expect one who does not suffer with gender dysphoria to just, just say, “yeah, ok. That makes sense. Shall we go for a beer?” However, they don’t define “time”. Is it tomorrow, next week, month, year or sometime maybe? Patience to allow them to get up to speed is needed in abundance. Patience is a virtue that sometimes I have little of and I have pushed back a little too often sometimes and created problems for myself. My strategy going forward is to not push, just wait. Eventually they will see and if they don’t I have two choices. Suck it up or let them go.

What about the ones that let you go? It could happen. It’s happened to me. It has tarnished my positive outlook on life that is for sure. But there is actually nothing I can do. It will define me or break me. It really is that simple. It has not broken me and I am stronger if not bruised, better informed and more aware of the mistakes I have made.

Work

For me this is or was the second scariest part, which has in fact turned out to be the absolute easiest part of transition. For a long, long time the fear of transitioning in the workplace increased my desperation and stopped me from taking that leap of faith. “How the hell was that gonna work?” Christ, I deliberated over that question for way too long. Of course, I work for an international organisation and like all are governed by the equalities act. They embrace equality and diversity. But it is still a male dominated industry and very conservative. The fear in coming out in the workplace was intense. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but there was absolutely no need. I prepared with HR for 11 months before I actually transitioned. By the time the day came I was so ready. I think HR was more nervous than me in the end. They were amazing. As for the people in the workplace? Well the good news is, it’s just business as usual. The more open of people asked me questions and I made it very clear in the beginning they if they wanted to know something, just ask. Some would not dare. Some I am sure are appalled and disgusted that people like me exist and that this can happen. They dare not say anything. But a working life environment is just like a cross section of society, so I should expect that even if it feels unpalatable. The good thing about the workplace though, is no matter what they feel about you, if it’s adverse, it’s their problem and you are protected. There are exceptions in life to this I know. I am lucky.

I guess as time has gone on and the work place attrition has its affect, more and more people around me just know me as the person I am. This is lovely. The only negative I would say is that on occasions I do get to find out that my prior existence has been talked about as a way of an introduction to me. “Veronica Mead, you know, she used to be a man you know…….” (they maybe more or less diplomatic than this. I will never know), and not “Veronica Mead, the Project Supply Manager from Stevenage who worked on ………” This I find very frustrating. It’s naïve of me to expect this not to happen but really, is it too much to ask that my attributes in the work place should be measured against what I do and not what I am? In the scheme of things this is no more than an undesirable effect. I am proud to be Transgender and proud to share with those who are respectful to me.

Friends

So before I talk about friends it is better to talk about my personality. I am introvert by nature I do not crave people around me. I love my own space and certainly know when I need it. Although my own self confidence has grown exponentially since transition my introvert personality has not changed. Why would it. This has been the way of my life. Part of me wishes I was more outgoing and even had a best friend, a bestie. I actually am closer to that now. There are two people in my life that I consider besties. I decided, I cannot write too much in this chapter. It fits better in the next one.

Relationships

One of the reasons I have never really had really close friends in my life is because my really close friends have been my partners. When a relationship fails, you tend to lose contact with that partner. Not always, but generally that is the case. It is certainly my case. So this has left a void in my life and dealing with this change is very hard. I guess it will only balance out when I have a new partner in my life. That’s a tricky conundrum.

I fear I am destined to see out my days as a sad lonely old bitch lol. “Sad” and “lonely” I am not but the “old bitch” part makes me laugh as I write it and I like it a lot. This does not scare me, ironic really, as a recurring nightmare for me in my 20s and 30s was that I would be alone. How weird it that!

That said, I would like a relationship. I feel Life has more purpose when in a relationship. Although my track record of 3 major failed relationships in a lifetime should be enough for any woman.

So that’s sorted then. Just go find yourself a person that you can spend your life with. Easy! Oh how I wish it was that easy. How I wish I could write a script or algorithm to make this happen. It’s not easy. It’s pigging difficult.

Let’s just park sexuality and being transgender for one minute. I’ll come back to those.

When you are 55 and seeking a relationship you have baggage, excess baggage.  When I flew out to New Zealand in December, Virgin Airlines charged me £65 for excess baggage. If I measured my life’s excess baggage I would need a charter flight of my own. So anyone I seek of a similar age is likely to be loaded up and if they are not, or say they are not, they are either boring or a liar. Then we look at self-preservation. I would look for an equal in life. Someone I do not feel the need to carry or need to carry me. If those two were not hard enough, how the hell do I find someone whose strengths and weaknesses compliment my own. At 55 I am not flexible and malleable anymore. My personality, likes and dislikes have fully formed, shaped by the relationships of the past. This makes it ever so difficult. But let’s not kid myself that I am the only 55 year old woman who faces this dilemma.

That is of course until you overlay the fact that I am transgender. Now, I don’t want or need to play the “trans” card. I am just a woman who happens to be transgender. And if all the cisgender people in the world thought the same way then life would be so much easier. They don’t. They don’t have to. As long as they are not rude or abusive or try to alienate me or people like me, they are entitled to their view. But when it comes to relationships it is slightly different. I feel obliged to tell people before I meet them of my circumstance. The general view is after telling me I look and seem nice is “oh ok, good for you, but that is not for me” (that would be a polite response). Now I can’t make or even want to make people date me. I also cannot get overly fussed about people who have those views. It’s not pleasant for me to hear it but I do have to accept it. I try to educate people as I go, probably coming across as a patronising arse in the process but hey, that life as well.

One problem with dating sites, is you need to declare your sexuality. Woman seeking a woman or woman seeking a man is generally the setup. So there is the first hurdle. I am pansexual. I seek a good person. Their gender is secondary. I don’t need a woman AND a man or somebody who identifies in the beautiful gender spectrum. I need a good person. Their gender or non gender identity is not important. I am either gay or straight. So I could create two profiles one as a gay woman seeking a woman or one as a straight woman seeking a man. You know what? Screw all of that! I spent way too long thinking I have two identities and hiding the one I really was. I am not doing that again. So I have decided to not actively seek a relationship on a dating site, relying on fate and chance to bring me and a special person together.

 

So dealing and managing change continues to be show to me at least how brave I am. A single woman doing her thing in life. Trying to make the world a better place.

 

All my love

Veronica xx

 

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