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In my last blog post a few days ago I wrote about the decision I had arrived at after a few sessions of counselling, namely that I will remain part-time, and will not transition.  At least, not while my children remain children.  I have been quite overwhelmed with the empathy shown to me by many of you, both in the comments here, on the forum at TLI and also those of you who know me in real life. It has been tough dealing with this, and I would be lying if I said I haven’t questioned if it’s the right decision, but as I said last time, it was the only decision I could make, right or wrong.  I sit here now feeling better than I have done for several weeks.  And the reason for this?  For the first time I have spent a full 24 hours as my real self, with no maleness to interrupt me.  And it was just wonderful. 

A month or two ago Andrea had asked me if I would like to come and stay with her some time.  I had said an enthusiastic yes at the time, and we had said maybe some time in July.  So it sounded nice, if a little vague.  Then just last Sunday she emailed to say that she would be free this weekend if I could make it.  After a few hasty discussions with Mrs Kirsty (and not a little eye-rolling from her too) I was cleared to leave the bosom of my family for an overnight stay at my BGFF’s house out in the countryside.

I did a lot of packing on Friday night.  Far too much packing.  I wasn’t sure exactly what we were going to be doing, or what I would need to wear, so I just packed to cover all eventualities.  As I was packing my weekend case, I realised that this was another first.  The first time I had packed a case for myself as a woman, the first time I had packed a case that contained no male items.  I did have some male items in a holdall, but let’s not spoil the moment.  It just felt so right that this was my stuff, not fancy dress items or clothes for playing dress-up, I was going away to my friend’s house and so I just packed my own things.  Nothing more, nothing less.

On Saturday morning as I was removing a few rogue hairs from here there and everywhere I got a text from Andrea – apparently there was a sale on in Next if I fancied it.  Well yes, I did fancy it.  Although did she mean to meet me there, for me to go to her house first and then go to the sale together, or just mentioning it because I drove past a branch of Next on my way to her house so I might like to call in by myself on the way?  Why is everything so confusing?  I decided to just go to her house and see what happens.  Off I went after lunch to my usual spot for yet another roadside transformation, and by 2.30pm Bob was gone, cast aside, packed up in a holdall and thrown into the boot of the car.  It was Saturday afternoon, so I dressed pretty casually in a salmon pink 3/4 sleeve jumper, denim mini skirt with navy opaque tights and a pair of ballerina pumps.

I arrived at Andrea’s house at around 3.40pm and was immediately taken with the beautiful surroundings.  She lives in what can only be described as the middle of nowhere, or possibly the back of beyond, and it is completely gorgeous.  Idyllic, even.  I exited the car, walked to the front door and rang the bell.  No response.  I rang it again.  Still no response.  I knocked on the door, and then on the window.  Yet again, no response.  I tried the back, and you’re probably sensing a pattern here now.  So I got back into my car, took out my phone and was just about to text “Either you’re not in or I’m at the wrong house” when I spied her Volkswagen turning into the driveway

She showed me in and after putting away groceries and putting my bags in my room for the night, we sat down with a cup of tea for a wee chat.  It was so good to be here with my friend, not having to worry about leaving or scraping everything off, knowing that I could just be myself.  And I like talking with Andrea anyway.  But as time marched on towards 5pm, we decided that we weren’t just going to sit around the house all day.  So we hopped into her car and headed across to a nearby Outlet centre for a bit of shopping and browsing.

Andrea had been very keen to go to Fat Face, as she had seen a pair of wedge sandals that she really liked, and she was hoping to buy them.  But first of all we walked past a shoe shop and, seeing that they stocked ladies’ shoes up to a 9 (my size!) I went in.  Not good.  There wasn’t a huge selection in my size, and style-wise very poor, either completely frumpy, or sky-high heels.  Nothing that I would say fitted in with Kirsty-chic.  Because we all have our own style, don’t we?

The offending sandals, on my feet

The offending sandals, on my feet

Off we went then to Fat Face, and sure enough very close to the door there were three pairs of those sandals that Andrea had been so keen on.  And all three pairs were in her size – a 7, way too small for me.  I am very jealous of her smaller feet, she has such a bigger selection to choose from.  Anyhow, I must agree the sandals were rather gorgeous and I would have loved a pair just like that for myself.  Andrea took a pair off the display and tried one on.  I could see immediately that it was enormous on her, despite what size the label said.  Well, since they were so big there was only one thing for it – I was going to have to try them on myself.  And much to Andrea’s chagrin, they fitted me perfectly.  So I bought them!  First time I’ve ever gazumped someone on a pair of shoes.

Next it was Peacocks where I bought a pair of girly jeans – another first.  My first pair of women’s jeans.  They really are a different shape from Bobswear, and in particular they make my bum look rather good.  All thanks to the right padding of course, but still looks pretty good.  I only wish I had the real curves and didn’t have to rely on padding, but that’s a whole other matter.

Finally, on to Next where that sale was going on.  Turns out this was not the first time that Andrea had been to Next that day, and she had already spent…  well, I’ll not embarrass her.  But it was more than a pound.  We were in there for a good 20 minutes looking through all the rails and she even found a couple more items to buy although I gave it a miss.  I had this idea in my head that a stripy jumper would look great with my new jeans and sandals, so I searched all the rails in vain for something in the right style and in my size.  It just wasn’t to be.

All in all we were at the Outlet for well over an hour and I have to say – I enjoy going clothes shopping by myself, but going with a friend is just 100 times more fun.  It is so useful to have someone to tell you if an item is going to look good on you, and to be able to offer advice back again.  Or even just to have a laugh at the onesies.  We had a ball, I don’t think I have ever enjoyed a shopping trip as much before.  And here’s the thing.  I was there, with my friend, having fun.  Except right at the start when we first got out of the car, I didn’t think about what I was wearing or how I was presenting.  I didn’t think about what anyone else might think of me – not that I detected any reactions from anyone anyway.  And I certainly wasn’t walking round with a head full of gender issues like I normally do.  We were just two women going about our day.  I was just me, not pretending.  It wasn’t euphoric, it was just a relief.

Off back to Andrea’s we went for the rest of the evening and we had a lovely time.  Andrea cooked me a beautiful meal, the highlight of which was undoubtedly an apple tarte tatin.  Chapeau mademoiselle, as a French chef would undoubtedly say to her.  Then a few little glasses of wine (I fear she may think me an alcoholic), a few top quality chocolates and a selection of Andrea’s music collection, most of which I freely admit to never having heard of.  Although one CD did jump out at me when I saw them all, I won’t say what but if I owned that CD and I had someone coming to stay, I think I’d have hidden it.

As we were sitting on the sofa eating drinking and chatting, Andrea’s tablet beeped at her and she announced “Oh, an email from Ruth!”  None other than our friend Ruth Martina, with impeccable timing, had given us a little WordPress rendezvous on the sofa (it’s ok Ruth, she didn’t share the content, so anything private remains private.  Like if you told her what a bitch I am)

Finally at approaching 1am it was bedtime and off I went to get changed into my girly pyjamas.  I gave my face a quick wipe so as not to leave foundation all over Andrea’s pillowcase, but in another first I was most definitely going to bed as the woman I am.  I dropped off quickly with a big smile on my face, completely contented.

I think that since I have had such an eventful weekend the best thing I can do is split this up into two entries, so Sunday’s adventures will follow shortly