There have been moments in my life that I’ve never really discussed with anyone before, small things that have accumulated in my memory over the years and are continually added to, here are a few recent ones. I remain unclear on just how much they affect me or not and have chosen to view them in a positive way.
There have been numerous occasions when things have been said to me that had an impact on how I viewed myself and the way in which I chose to present myself to the world. My choice of lifestyle has placed me in public view, becoming more self-aware and conspicuous of my presence, appearance, mannerisms, voice and height. Deep down, I knew all those things were only happening inside my mind and not necessarily elsewhere. As a consequence, I began to listen a little more carefully to what others said and how they reacted in my company; no matter how well I knew them I always looked for signs of reassurance in myself.
In the early stages of being public I visited a good and very supportive friend who was the first person that I came out to. She is cis gender heterosexual and a few years younger than myself, with a very full figure, long blonde hair and a heart of gold. We were sitting in her kitchen having a coffee, chatting had never been difficult between us. She was always complementary of my makeup and appearance, however, this day she revealed how unhappy she was about the shape and fullness of her lips; pointing out that mine were fuller and looked better than hers. I assured her that she was a wonderful person and that was far more important than fuller lips. I knew that she had suffered lack of confidence as a child and had been a victim of other problems. For her to mention the disappointment in her lips, showed that it was a concern.
People turning their heads didn’t always feel good
Some words and reactions have the ability to make you smile inside; during my early outings, being called Madame, hearing someone talking about me and saying ‘She’, the turning of heads as I walked by giving me a sense of joy. I knew that I stood out because of my height and in heels towered about most people. I am happier to mention that now, as I have met taller women than myself and some with deeper voices than mine; providing a great relief and confidence to my once delicate persona during that period.
Last year, I had been invited by a couple who live about a one-hour drive from here, for a lovely homemade lunch and a walk around the town on a Sunday afternoon. We were invited into a shop, although closed, the owners, and friends of my hosts, allowed us to browse leisurely hoping that we may buy something. Shortly after leaving the shop, we were invited into the home of another couple for drinks and chat. A few days later the French gay couple I had visited sent a message, remarking that none of the people I had met that day had realised I was transgender. I was surprised by the comment which left me wondering, what exactly my friends had thought of me. Perhaps because they know my history, they imagine that others can recognise that I am not a CIS female? So, not all remarks are not as you would hope or expect!
I make no secret that I have a daughter and son and proud of both. In conversation with another women a couple of weeks ago about my children, she referred to me as their Mother, something that I don’t deny while feeling slightly guilty for not being honest. Perhaps I prefer people to see me in that light, making me feel more of Woman than I am. It’s their assumption and one I am happy to agree with, it’s easier than explaining the truth. Generally, I keep my life private, people don’t go about announcing who and what they are whenever they meet someone new, why should I?
My natural hair colour?
One of the most humourous and recent moments happened while I sat on my terrace enjoying the sunshine, a friend was passing and stopped to say hello. Early into the conversation she warned me that she wished to ask a question and hoped I would not take offence by it. I gave her permission and braced myself for a difficult moment; replying, that I doubted if she would offend me at all. Somehow, I felt she was about to question my hair, was it natural or not? A question that has only arisen once before, but when the style wasn’t as natural as the present one. I laughed as she spoke, as she did ask about my hair but I could only see the funny side of the situation, ‘did I use hair dye?’ The style of wig I have is an ash blonde mix, dark rooted, with an under-cut at the back showing a very dark brown layer. I quickly replied, saying No! while continuing to giggle with the amusement of the moment. A second question swiftly followed, ‘what was my natural hair colour?’. Still laughing, ‘a dark brown with hints of grey’, I blurted out, falsely confirming use of hair colouring. I love that I am perceived as woman; three years into my new life and very happy, knowing that my presence emanates sufficient femininity without me consciously trying to create it
Talking in depth to some good friends nearby, who have never known anyone Transgender, they were above all else curious. I am comfortable discussing any aspect without slipping into sadness or regret – I am long past that stage. I have spent hours chatting, laughing and explaining much of my life and talking of my future possibilities, while they have listened with interest. I could never have imaged that I would have been able to act this way just a few years ago. I no longer feel awkward socially and am able to enjoy my time even more than before. Being open and without fear has changed so much that is difficult to capture here. I feel confident that by continuing to write articles, they will tell of more such moments like these.
I finish this piece, having offered a piece of myself and my time without expectation, sharing a few of the things I have discovered, experienced and developed over many years, with one simple ambition; that you may find one small thing amongst my words that will make a difference for you.