The last week has been a tough one. If dysphoria is what I am feeling, then I have been feeling it more strongly than ever. Every moment that I’m not presenting as Kirsty, which is pretty much six and a half days a week, I feel like I’m being suffocated, like I can’t take a breath for this oppressive frustration bearing down on me. The only thing that gives me a release is when I get out on Wednesday nights and finally get to be my real self. I don’t know how much longer I can cope with just this.
I told this to Michelle on Wednesday night and she reminded me that now I am a key holder of the club premises, I am free to go there at any time to transform myself and get out as Kirsty for a while, a release valve for these feelings. And while that makes a lot of sense, it’s the practical difficulties of absenting myself from my male life, my work and family, that make it unlikely to happen in sufficient quantity. Mrs Kirsty tolerates my absence from home every Wednesday, and the odd other day or evening here and there on an ad-hoc basis. But if that were to become two or three nights every week, or a full day every weekend, it would cause serious problems at home. And not just with Mrs Kirsty, there are the kids to consider too. As far as they are concerned, Wednesday night is my gym night. That’s where they believe me to be until after they have gone to bed, and the fact that I leave the house with a stuffed holdall helps this deception. If I were to go away more than that I would need to come up with multiple cover stories, which would stretch credibility to breaking point – my eldest at the very least is a bright girl, and she wouldn’t buy it. Even the little one asks where I am, why do I go on a Wednesday, what exercises do I do, do I have any friends at the gym and so on. (I do actually spend a couple of hours at the gym every Sunday afternoon, so I have very convincing answers for what goes on there at least). Of course there is the nuclear option of telling the kids the truth, but Mrs K is so vehemently opposed to this that it just isn’t an option at all.
So I’m left with this short time every week when I can be who I am, who I want to be, and I have to make the most of it. In fact, this Wednesday was very good indeed, despite the fact that I was missing my BGF Andrea as she was off having her own adventures in England and then Austria (I reblogged her post about coming out to her brother while away – go Andrea!). I did a bit of general grocery shopping in Tesco, and then bought a plain black cotton top in M&S in my ongoing quest to find something that I can wear with a beautiful skirt that doesn’t go with anything. I even paid a visit to the women’s loo at Sprucefield. Now I have done that before, but any time I have ventured into the ladies previously, it has either been in a restaurant with a single cubicle so basically unisex, or else that one previous time at Sprucefield when I had Andrea for support and encouragement. So this was in fact the first time I had ventured in by myself on a solo outing. And it was fine. There were a few other women and a cleaner in there, but nobody seemed to pay me any heed. I did get a little bit nervous when I heard a couple of teenage girls sniggering while I was washing my hands at the sink, but a quick glance at them in the mirror revealed that they clearly were just having their own private conversation and weren’t looking at me at all. It really is about time I got over these nerves.
When I arrived at the club itself I was greeted by Linda at the door, who had not followed through on her promise to come dressed this week. I said “Hi Linda, you look very… ” “..masculine” – she finished my sentence for me. I walked in and Michael said “Hi Kirsty, looking beautiful”. Oh Michael you lovely man, that was just what I needed to hear. Just a little unprompted compliment made me feel so happy.
We had a new visitor from Germany. A (genetic) woman called Monica was over from Berlin with work, and paid us a visit. She had actually been to the club about three years previously, long before my time, and her involvement with transgender people is down to her husband being a TV. They are both involved in a Berlin support group called the Transsisters (link is in German). She was really nice and it was lovely to talk to her. Michelle and I explained that while she had come from Germany over to Northern Ireland, ironically Andrea had made the reverse trip (she flew into Munich) and so they missed meeting each other. Monica may well be back next week, I hope so. We all have an open invitation to visit Berlin anyhow, so you never know what will happen.
One element of the plan that I worked out with my counsellor was that I would begin to come out to some more people, in the hope that I would be able to have friends to talk to about these matters, and also that I would maybe have some more people that I could see socially as Kirsty. So far this hasn’t happened at all, but not for want of trying. As Bob I am a member of a well known society (that shall remain nameless) and at one time I was very active in that society. What with parenthood and life in general, I have backed away somewhat in recent years, but there is a regular pub meeting on the third Friday of each month in Belfast. One of my oldest friends (in both senses of the word!) Vincent is the local organiser in Belfast, so he is always at these Friday meetings. In fact, he runs them. Well perhaps “meeting” is too formal a word, it’s really a handful of people having a few drinks and a bit of a chat. Anyway, when I was a regular attender at these things, it always used to end up with just Vincent and me talking away until far too late after everyone else had gone. So I thought, you know what, I’m going to go along this Friday and if all goes according to plan I’m going to tell him that I am TS. I built myself up to it all week, I had rehearsed how I was going to break this news, and I was ready to set off. I phoned Vincent on his mobile just before I set off, mainly to make sure the venue was still the same. He answered, I told him I was going to come along, and he replied “Well say hello to everyone for me – I’m in Cardiff”. Aaaaaarrrgghhh!!!
Needless to say, I didn’t bother going. I felt so deflated after building myself up to my first outing to a longstanding friend, and then having it pulled away from me so unexpectedly. Still, we had a good chat on the phone and a bit of a catch-up, and resolved to meet up in a week or two for a few drinks. So all is not lost. In fact, at my wife’s suggestion I may well invite another old friend (who also happens to be her ex, although he was my friend first) and come out to them both at once. Watch this space!
That’s your lot for now