Six wonderful things from the first year of my transition

I’m feeling pretty jubilant at having made it through the first year, so I thought I’d reflect on what were the best bits:

  1. Getting my brows done for the first time
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    This comes across as slightly frivolous… and it is. But it’s a placeholder for all those things you can’t do as an in the closet trans girl. Every hair salon or nail bar I used to walk past and feel a pang of jealousy at all the aspects of female culture that were sealed off from me.Ironically when I first went to get my brows done – I was presenting as male. I was super nervous, but after I croaked “I want my brows doing” they were instantly warm and friendly. She said “oh, you’ve plucked an arch into them… We’ll have to let them grow into a more masculine line”. I hesitated and thought ‘go for it’ “err actually I’m transgender… I err don’t look like this most of the time… here let me show you” and showed her a pic of me. She then got it and gave me beautifully defined, feminine brows.IMG_20150724_182555I got a similar thrill from getting my ears pierced, getting my nails done for the first time, from my first hair appointment and from my makeup lesson at the Mac store.


     

  2. Coming out at work
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    I spent years reading people’s transition journals and stories. The one thing that seemed insurmountable was the whole going to work in a dress thing (figuratively rather than literally – although FYI I do mostly wear dresses). I had read about going full time as being a barrier to progressing thorough the medical journey. I always imagined that eventually some nasty doctor in a gender clinic would force me to tell my employer to access the next stage. I would then be absolutely ridiculed and then drummed out of the company and chased out of the town by angry villagers with pitch forks and burning torches.
    The reality was so different; Coming out was such a joyous experience. I remember telling the HR manager. Before I uttered the words “I am transgender” it felt like I was about to jump off a bridge to bungee – I’d mentally lean forward and prepare to go, then pull back and snatch for the railing. She was amazing. So were management. So were all of my colleagues. I received nearly 200 messages of support from my peers.I cannot believe that the fear of coming out held me back for so many years.


     

  3. Sharing it with my children
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    I am so lucky that my children are a big part of my life. They have both adapted remarkably well to the change. I prepared them for about six months before I eventually told them with probably 40 smaller conversations about gender variance. Eventually I told them and it was a complete non event.  We do all the same old stuff that any parent would do with their children – cooking, movies, eating, cycling, climbing trees, going to attractions. Our life together is wonderful.


  4. Getting my bank cards
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    My bank were extremely high friction to deal with. It took many hours of phone calls, long emails and eventually taking to twitter to get them to do something.
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    I cannot overstate how utterly bureaucratic they were (and later admitted to having no processes for Trans people). Eventually I got to someone sufficiently senior and with enough freedom of thought to help me. When I eventually received my cards I had the strangest feeling of happiness. Every time I used them for the next few weeks – I felt happy, validated, legitimate. I still get a little tingle a few months later.

  5. Visiting Santa Claus
    (Yes really)
    Santa
    For about a month to six weeks after facial surgery I’d not been feeling good about my appearance for a bunch of reasons (mostly post surgery blues and cognitive dissonance of new face). That “you’re just a man in a dress” voice had been quite loud some mornings. But, in parallel, I’ve been vaguely aware that I was passing quite a lot better. The eyes were not just sliding off me rather than culminating in an intrusive stare.I took my daughters to see Father Christmas. The helpers referred to me as mummy a few times. My youngest daughter corrected one of them: “we’re here with our daddy” (which she sometimes explains me as to 3rd parties). The elf looked bewildered and looked to the left and right of me and then returned to referring to me as mummy. This is stark contrast to before, where I’d get that knowing look and possibly a smirk.

    They took a picture of us. When I saw it, I was genuinely shocked at how I look now. Somehow the person I’d been seeing was a reflection of how I was feeling and not physical reality (actually kind of obvious now I think about it). I know you’re not supposed to say this, but: I look great. I just wasn’t expecting it. To my eye there is no doubt that the person in the pic is a woman with her children… And she looks pretty too. Amazingly I actually see more family resemblance now than before.


     

  6. Boobs
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    Taking hormones has been incredible. The new emotions, the calmness, the new super powers (my newly acquired ability to cry at almost anything and super human sense of smell), and the physical changes. I find it incredible that you can take these little blue pills and your body slowly reconfigures itself. Very slowly. There’s so much waiting… But I have little boobs now. They’re just 36As, but they’re mine and they’re real. It’s hard to explain what it means to suddenly have a body part that I’ve wanted for so many years. It’s magical. As a bonus, I also put on a pair of jeans that I used to wear with a bit of padding, I could barely get them closed – without the padding – and that’s not because of my tummy – it’s because I’m developing thighs and a bum. This is a truly amazing journey. I’m probably less than half way through my second puberty so there’s more to come.

 

I suppose the big take away for me is that it’s been wonderful, fun & exciting. Completely different to my expectations in so many ways. I was afraid of so may imagined negative consequences of following my dreams. My life is better in almost every conceivable way; 2015 was, without a doubt, the best year of my life. Don’t sit idly by as your life counts down to death out of apathy or fear at what might happen. Don’t settle. Whatever leap you’re longing to make – make it happen and start today.

Amy x

 

I went full time! – Four months ago!

Where have I been? I suppose the shortest answer is simply living my life. It’s been intense and fun and real. I also had a bit of writer’s block, but I’ve decided to push through it because I get so much out of writing this.
The massive news for anyone following this blog sequentially is: I went full time on the 30th of July. Four months ago today. I’m going to do a series of posts to catch you up with the last four months.
The Lead Up
I have already written this to death, but I had planed a party for my coming out. Except I came out early and the party was this weird date all by itself without a purpose. So then I decided to go full time the day of the party. But that made me stressed that I could never be ready in time, physically, logistically or emotionally, so I cancelled it & decided to push “going full time” back to October or something.
I had booked some time off before my party date to enjoy trans pride and get ready for my party. I decided to take the time off anyway and lived full time as Amy during that week. It was really nice – no uncomfortable switching back and forth between both lives. The night before I was supposed to go back to work as “him”, I had dinner with a friend and in the taxi back to my flat I started to think about the switch back. I got really emotional and basically ended up crying myself to sleep about it. I was really torn.
Another three months would give me time to change physically and develop a bit more emotionally and just take care of things like getting my wardrobe sorted.
In the morning I woke up and decided “I can’t do this any more; today is the day”.
The Day
Fortunately I was doing a half day (as it was supposed to be the day after my coming out party), so I had the morning to prepare. I contacted IT and got them to change my email address to amy@.
I wrote this email to the company:
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When I arrived, one of the women from our people team had left me a new ID badge with the security man in the foyer, which was so lovely:
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Everything was going smoothly – there was only one more obstacle. That afternoon – I was due to present the product roadmap to the entire company – 300 people. On the one hand this was a pretty terrifying concept. I think in some ways – the ideal first day at work would be fairly quiet, just hanging out with a few close colleagues – basically playing in the shallow end of the pool. By luck or by unconscious design I had picked the deep end of the pool.
I dressed in a blue skirt, white vest top and high heels. Again, this was the opposite of that I’d imagined for so long. I’d sort of imagined becoming more androgynous and sort of gently crossing the line. With barely an impact on my physical appearance, then journeying over a period of months to a female presentation. Somehow I’d decided against this. I wanted to make a clear statement about who I was. In hind sight (and I think I knew this at the time). the massive benefit of appearing like this was, that although high pressure, I only had to do it once. There was no meeting each department over days and weeks. One presentation – it was done.
The presentation went really well.  I wish I could go back to my past self and deliver the message “people care about your words and thoughts, not what you look like“. This was so true. It was one of the best received presentations I’d ever given. Interestingly although I was showing people the first view of the real me, I felt much less nervous than I ever have done before standing up in front of so many people. It turns out that the internal power of being authentic is immense.
I had for so many years thought this day was utterly impossible. I had imagined that some doctor at a gender clinic would force me into coming out at work and “going full time” in order to get the next treatment on their roadmap. In reality it was my own craving to be out and living authentically that made me do it. It was one of the happiest days of my life. Why had I waited so long?
Amy x