The weekend before last I received a lovely email from my friend Michelle, a fellow tgirl and member of the Belfast Butterfly Club, on the subject of this very blog. However, Michelle’s route into the blog was rather unconventional. On a Wednesday evening a few weeks earlier she had taken a picture of me which I had uploaded to my Flickr page with the title “Belfast Butterfly Club 14/5/14”. Three days later, late on a Saturday night while I was with my extended family as Bob in a hotel in rural Ireland, I received an email from Michelle letting me know that the picture she had taken was now on the third line of a Google Images search for “Belfast Butterfly Club”. Aren’t I Miss Popular?
The following Wednesday, as an experiment, she took another picture of me which I again uploaded to Flickr, with the predictable title “Belfast Butterfly Club 21/5/14”. It was all part of our BBC Google Images Challenge. Sure enough, by the Saturday evening, up popped my new picture on the third line of the Google Images search. It was still two positions behind the picture of me from the previous week, but in between the two was a picture of Michelle herself from the Belfast Butterfly Club’s own website. Wasn’t that interesting?
A week or so later, Michelle was having a vanity search (we’ve all done it!) to see if her picture had overtaken both of mine (it had, but I fought back and my second picture is now on the TOP LINE of the Google Images search as of 10 June 2014, hers is only half way along the second line) and in the course of all this Googling she somehow stumbled across this blog. At 2.07am last Saturday morning I received an email which began;
I have just spent what must be 1 to 2 hours reading the most heart wrenching / heart warming / funny / sad / thought provoking / uplifting series of blogs all written by you over the last few weeks & months. They made me laugh and they produced tears…
…Your ‘one step back’ is what really touched me. I can see how much you love and care for your family and reading between the lines how difficult it is for your wife to come to terms with, never mind accept what is happening in your lives at present. The very fact she reluctantly seems to tolerate Kirsty makes her a woman in a million.
I was incredibly touched to receive this message. For all the joy I have experienced over the past few months in finally admitting to myself who I really am, and taking my first steps into a female life, there have been an awful lot of tough moments too. Being transgender is not easy. Being married to one of us is even worse. But still for all that, I wouldn’t ever want to change who I am. The thought of being a “real man” is just horrific, and while life may have been more straightforward had I been born into a female body, it would have been inconceivably different and most importantly, I wouldn’t have my daughters. And I wonder if a biological woman can value her femininity in the same way that a trans woman does. No, on the whole, I’m happy with my lot for now. It doesn’t mean I don’t want more, but whether or not I ever go further is a question I’m not even equipped to deal with yet.
What Michelle’s email really made me do was to think about this blog and the effect it has had on me. I started this blog as I suppose therapy for myself. As I said in my “About Kirsty” page, I’m a great believer that the best way to understand something yourself is to try to explain it to somebody else. I was, and to a large extent still am, confused about who or what I am and where I see things going, and I need to get my thoughts and experiences down. On a personal level I am not very good at opening up to people about my innermost thoughts. I get tongue tied and break out in shyness, can’t maintain eye contact and struggle to form sentences. For some reason I don’t have that problem in writing this blog, even though anyone can read it. The odd thing is and as my wife points out to me, in many ways I’m something of an exhibitionist – I love having an audience, be it playing guitar and singing in front of people, or standing up and giving a presentation in my day job. But ask me to talk about myself and I just clam up.
I began writing the blog back in February and since then it has taken on quite a significance for me. Through writing my own blog and then reading and commenting on other people’s, I have encountered people who have inspired and entertained me with their insights into crossdressing (Hi Val), people whom I see as something of a kindred spirit (Hi Ruth) and people who are much further down their trans journey than I am, or even may ever be (Hi Hannah and Teela) who give a foretaste of the reality of transition. There are many others who have given me inspiration, comfort and even just a bit of a giggle with their blogs and comments, and every one of you who has engaged with me has been a blessing. Thank you all so much.
I never thought anyone would be remotely interested in what I had to say. Ultimately, when I started out, it was the potted history of a bloke in a dress, and who really cares about that? Of course, as time has gone on, my view of myself has changed quite dramatically, and the blog has grown with me. But still for all that, why would anyone want to read it? As of now, Kirsty’s World has been viewed nearly 2300 times in less than 4 months and two days ago I had over 70 views in a single day. I have no idea how that compares to other blogs of a similar nature, I expect it’s still relatively low, but to me it is incredible. Everyone who reads this blog, thank you so much. Even though I would carry on writing if nobody read this, it is a remarkable thing to know that I’m not just writing out into the ether. It is even more remarkable that my words have been read in places all round the world – not just places I would have expected like Western Europe and North America, but places as far afield as Argentina, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. That is a lot for me to get my head around.
As a result of that lovely email I received from Michelle, there was quite a bit of chat about WordPress and blogging in general at the Butterfly Club last Wednesday evening. The next thing I discovered is that my closest TS friend Andrea has now started a blog of her own. She is out so much more than me, there’s lots of good stuff there so go and have a read. And she is so lovely and has been such a good friend to me since we met, I really do have to give her a shout out – hey!
Next for this blog? More of the same I suppose. While I have been writing this entry I received an email from the gender counselling service I had approached a few weeks ago. It looks like things are moving forward and I won’t have very much longer to wait before I can get started with that. I really hope it will help me get things clear in my head, and I’m sure there will be a blog post before too long. Although please understand, some things will always remain private.
Love & hugs