My wife reads this blog from time to time, although she doesn’t always tell me when she has read it. So when writing it I am always bearing in mind that she is going to be part of my audience. So far I haven’t pulled any punches and I have always been as honest about my actions and feelings as I can be – what’s the point otherwise? – but it could also mean that there are areas that I just won’t stray into. But that’s ok. I did have quandary though. I knew that after such an intense session first time round with my counsellor I couldn’t just avoid writing about my realisation that I am transsexual, not if this blog is going to be worth anything to me. This is a huge thing for me to self-identify as TS, and I can’t just not mention it on the blog for fear of offending my wife. And anyway, I think she has a right to know this very significant fact about her husband regardless of any blog. So a few days after that first session with the counsellor, I told my wife that in my next blog post I would be using a word to describe myself to which she might react badly. She replied that she knew what the word was – transsexual – and that I should feel free to use it. It’s not the words that she fears, it’s the actions. And anyway, she added, I have to be honest in my blog. Just like I said, she appreciates the need for me to be totally honest on here, and she doesn’t want to stop that.
As a little aside, Mrs Kirsty is a writer. Not a professional writer, not yet anyway, but she has a writer’s soul. I have only been blogging since February this year. She has been writing a diary daily for around 30 years. She has also written two as-yet-unpublished novels in the last two years. I have read them and they are good, and I’m honestly not just saying that because I fancy the author. The point is, I think she gets the need for me to write this stuff even if she finds it a bit bizarre that I’m putting in all up for public consumption. She is quite private, much more than me – I’m the loud one of the couple (actually, I’m not that loud at all, I’m quite quiet really. It’s just that compared to her, I’m loud). But I digress.
I wrote last week about how badly my wife had reacted to having to share a car with me while presenting as Kirsty. I have “been” Kirsty with her several times before, with varying reactions, but this was much worse. I think that the reality of seeing her husband out in the real world looking like a reasonable facsimile of a woman was just too much for her to handle, and it was a tough journey for both of us, literally and metaphorically. So out of respect for her feelings, I resolved that for my second session I would attend as Bob, even though that just felt wrong. However, as it turned out it was probably no bad thing.
Despite the sense that I was going to feel rather foolish going along to gender counselling as Bob (now there’s a role reversal), I stuck to my plan and at around 3.20pm I walked out of the office in the regulation suit and tie for the short walk round to the Rainbow Project. As I arrived at the building entrance, three other people had arrived just ahead of me and we all shuffled into the building to discover that there were painters working on the stairs. Not a problem, we all squeezed into the lift, except as the last person in line the doors began closing before I got in, then they nearly cut off my arms as I tried to hold them open. As I reached out to hit the button for the first floor I could sense everyone thinking “What an idiot!” I was the only person getting out on the first floor for the Rainbow Project, so I imagine the other people on the lift just thought me to be a rather clumsy and inept gay man. Well I am quite clumsy and inept, so that’s 2 out of 4.
I rang the doorbell, to no response. I rang again. Still no response. I peered through the little window in the door at head height to see what appeared to be a deserted Rainbow Project. After a couple of minutes I finally saw someone emerge into the corridor and then promptly head in the other direction. It was Colin Flinn, whom I had met here the previous week, and then again later the same day at the Butterfly Club. I hammered on the door and managed to attract his attention. He came and let me in. I said “Hi Colin, nice to see you again”, and he looked blankly at me. I leaned in conspiratorially and said “I’m Kirsty”. Still looked quite blank. “We met last week here and at the Belfast Butterfly Club, but I looked very different”. Suddenly the penny dropped. “Kirsty!” he exclaimed “I would never have recognised you”. My heart leaped in delight at this news. “You looked fabulous”, he added, as if I wasn’t feeling good enough already. I explained that I was here for counselling and he lead me upstairs to the same meeting room where I had had the first session the previous week.
The fact that I was presenting very differently this week compared to last didn’t seem to provoke any reaction from Colleen. I suppose she is trained to expect variations in presentation from women like me. We got started right away. I spoke about why I had decided to come as “Bob”, and how disturbed I was by my wife’s reaction to Kirsty the previous week. If the previous week was all about me and my internal feelings and self-identification, this week was much more about external stuff, my family background, working environment, wider family and friends etc, and how they would all react to me coming out or even going full time. To be honest we went round in circles a bit, but it was none the worse for that. I told her the story of how I had come out to a friend in work, and how it had all begun with a jokey declaration that as a male I am a bit camp. I said to Colleen that I don’t even think I am that camp as a man, and she smiled, raised an eyebrow and said “No, you are”. I think this was because she met a different version of Bob, where I know that she knows the truth about me and I’m not hiding or suppressing anything. In fact, on reflection she didn’t meet Bob at all. She met Kirsty cross-dressing in male clothes.
After about 45 minutes of this session Colleen was trying to take stock of where we had got to, and she said that after more or less 2 sessions with me it was very clear to her that there was no doubt in my mind that I was transsexual, but that I was full of doubts about what I am going to do about it. This was very perceptive of her, but more than that it helped me realise that yes, I am certain. I know what I am and I think I have always known or suspected, but decades of fear and conditioning have prevented me from realising until something changed in the last year. I’m not sure just what that was, but to reach a point where I can recognise myself for who I really am is really rather a joyous thing. I have spent the last four or five months since beginning to explore this aspect of myself constantly wondering and worrying about who or what I am, languishing in what I call “The Am I Or Aren’t I Zone”. Well now I’m out of it and it feels great. That’s not to say that there aren’t massive decisions ahead for me, but I’m removing a big variable. I know what I am.
The rest of the session carried on in much the same vein as before, just talking through my family and work situation and the various options that I have. I even managed to come up with a new option, but I’ll keep that to myself for now. These sessions have been hugely beneficial for me, and I can’t wait for the next one. It sounds massively introspective and a more than a little self-indulgent, but self-discovery is a remarkably liberating thing. Then again, as Cartman would say, “that’s a bunch of tree-huggin’ hippy crap”, but for once I’m staring down my cynical side.