I asked my counsellor to call me Dee for the first time last session, I think I want to see how it feels to be called it in real life. Turns out it feels completely natural, it made me smile the first few times and I have to say that if anything I found it easier to talk about myself as Dee and what I do operating as a male in the 3rd person when it has usually been the other way around.
I may not have been going out but I had been determined that Dee would be the one going to the session so I put on one of my new favourite mustard yellow dresses, hurriedly applied some green eye shadow which matches my eyes and wee bit of mascara and lip gloss and with five minutes to spare stood in front of the mirror trying to decide whether or not to wear my wig. I put it on adjusted it and then changed my mind several times as I stood there thinking that if I was going out to a counsellor in person I would wear the wig, but just as the session started I ripped the wig off. I was unsure but I do know that I was not trying to impress anyone but see if it felt like me, and I know that I do not have hair, if I can I would either rock the shaved head look or wear headscarves more often than not. It shows how even the smallest decision has me immobilised though, yes, no,yes, no – it takes a lot of energy to care that much.
It is obvious in this picture but online it simply looked like I was wearing a jumper and I doubt the make up was visible as I had tried to be subtle. No comment was sought after and none was made, during the session I admitted that I had been beating myself up recently idling in an emotional slump, that despite myself and knowing that I shouldn’t I was comparing myself to all the girls I had met online who had progressed with their transitions so much farther than I, and they all seemed to be so much surer of themselves than I – many having been on HRT for a while or living full time and dealing with other issues that I am yet to encounter. That coupled with not going through with going out in public had brought back all of the – am I trans? am I really a woman on the inside ? is this just me being an unwell idiot? will I come to my senses and stop feeling like this soon? type questions. Indecision is not nice, once the voice starts it refuses to quieten down, each choice examined and re-examined, each feeling dissected – but it felt great being at that appointment, we talked about the fact that some of the things I had listed as things that I daydream about I am making concrete steps to make a reality.
I have had two sets of friends visit me too, one of the two couples that I told at Christmas came up for a visit, they admitted that they didn’t quite understand and found it all a bit weird but as far as they were concerned I am their friend, I have supported them and they want to support me.
They have no personal frame of reference to understand what I am going through, and I said that saying that is one thing but me turning up in female clothes and makeup would be different, they just shrugged and said that may be the case but they do know that it is something I am dealing with seriously and wanted to help me out as I explored my gender feelings.
They asked how I was getting on with it all and I said that my thoughts and feelings haven’t changed at all, but while I haven’t really done much what I have been doing is just stopping the wee things I have done for years – hiding my body language when I talk, responding more to messages rather than giving one word answers, watching romcoms without guilt or pretending not to like certain genres of music, and just generally trying to give my self space to simply be myself without controlling my mannerisms and emotions quite so tightly, me but less BS.
I used the example that while my male friend had offered me a night out with his cousins doing whisky tasting or going to a cigar place, I would much rather be out with his wife dancing to music in a club; that honestly the thought of going out with a group of men, especially ones I don’t know genuinely scares me because I have to pretend so much. I enjoy my friends company and do enjoy a wee dram of single malt now and again, but I am not an afficionado by any stretch of the imagination. Literally the only reason I drink it was because I taught myself to drink it so I could find common ground with the man who would be my father in law. My friend is great, he took no offence to that, he just said he will scratch the lads night out and will go out with me another time to the whisky bar – better still but his wife and he immediately began planning a night out to a cheesy club. Tunes galore – fantastic!
They have said that if I want them to call me Dee they will, if I want to use their place as a safe space to go out and experiment being out in public I can, if I panic or change my mind they will come and pick me up, no judgement, no pressure.
I am lucky to know that my friends will back up their words with genuine actions, I was almost tearing up with gratefulness when they left. I will definitely see them again soon. Perhaps as Dee as well.
Conversely a couple that do not know came to visit today, the time spent in their company was pleasant, and while we talked a bit about celebrating diversity in life I know that their personal views would not be positive – I have been invited to a murder mystery party that is aimed at 4 men and 4 women and I will be one of the men – as excited as I am at getting to dress up, a part of me would have loved to be one of the girls. It feels like I am being the diet/low calorie version of myself with them. All the sweet things removed and replaced with artificial ingredients. All the time today was spent wondering if they will still want me around if I brought up being trans with them.
Two very different examples of folks who are trying to be there for me in their own ways, the distances they both travelled to see me were substantial – it is not like they could pop in for a quick cuppa. Yet I am still stressed out because I have no way of knowing how people will react, I mean I am still struggling with myself, accepting who I really am and how I want the world to see me. Some days those feelings are stronger than others, but it always feels more like the real me when I am not trying so hard to be the “guy” that my friends came to see. I like having friends, I like being liked – is that really such a bad thing to admit?
Regardless of the people that may or may not remain friends if they saw me in a dress or jeans and a pretty top, what now?