Well I dropped a few hints (including a whopper last time round) so it’s probably about time I got on with telling you about it. Back in October last year my BFF Andrea and I did a 5-day trip to Eastbourne for the TransLiving October weekend, with extra stops in Dublin and Snowdonia. Once we arrived at Eastbourne, we met up with our fellow blogger Ruth, someone with whom we had both developed a strong virtual friendship in the preceding months. When we did meet up, we became fast friends in real life too, in fact at the time I dubbed us the “Superglue Three” because we bonded so quickly.
I wrote at length (serious length) about our experiences that weekend so if the urge takes you there’s plenty to read, but the short version is this: All three of us fairly quickly realised that the insular, closeted and slightly exhibitionist experience of a trans* weekend just wasn’t for us. So we largely absented ourselves from the goings-on at the hotel and instead had the most fabulous, liberating few days exploring the South-east of England. When it was all over, we agreed that we would have to meet up again, but that it was unlikely to be at another transgender weekend.
Seven months later Andrea and I found ourselves on the ferry from Belfast to Cairnryan en route to the beautiful garden city of Leeds, where we were going to spend three nights in the company of Ruth and her significant other, justifiably known as the Sainted Kate. In fact, it was in Kate’s home that we would be staying for the weekend, and a very lovely home it was too. And once our stay with Ruth and Kate was done, Andrea and I had a little extension to our holiday planned. Remember those walking boots that I had bought a few weeks back? They would be getting their first outing during a day in the Lake District. Plus, I would be confronting a memory from over 20 years ago. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
I’ll get into the itinerary and “what we did on our holidays” schtick in the next few posts, but for now a few observations. A lot has happened in the last seven months. On our last trip it was the longest that all of us had spent in our preferred gender so far. It was the first time that Andrea and I had taken a ferry, any of us had stayed in a hotel, gone into a pub, all sorts of firsts. Now Andrea is in her fourth month of a full-time female life, and has been attending GIC for longer. Ruth has taken the first step in that road herself, having been to her GP and been referred to GIC. By contrast, I don’t seem to have made any progress at all. I must confess that this realisation did bother me at first, and got me a little bit down on my first night in Leeds (I think I hid it well, until now at least). Over the course of the weekend however, something that I have heard said many times became clear to me and gave me comfort: it’s not a race. This is my journey, not theirs, and there’s no law that says I have to go to the same destination or even follow the same path. Where I am now is right for me now. Although Ruth did mention a question from her counsellor that has been on my mind for the last few days. I’ll save that one for later though.
I’ve also been thinking about the rationale for this trip in comparison to the previous one. Last time round, it was all about the excitement of being able to be my real self for an extended period of time. The actual itinerary was almost irrelevant, or at least it was when I made the booking. On this trip it was all about visiting a friend and having a few days to catch up and enjoy each other’s company, as well as the attractions of the Lake District and a very personal visit to an old haunt. This time round “being myself” wasn’t the central reason for going. It was more that I was going away where there would be no people or circumstances that force me to adopt a male persona, so if course I’m going to be myself. Who else would I be? That’s not to say that I wasn’t delighted to get another extended period as myself, but it wasn’t so much the excitement of being Kirsty as the relief of not being Bob. I hope that makes sense – I know what I mean anyway.
Well that’s my preamble done. There’ll probably be quite a few posts in the coming week or so as I tell the tale of our trip, so please bear with me. It’s mainly to save these memories before I forget the detail. This is my diary after all, just look at the name of the blog itself!
But I’ll let you have a few early spoilers. I had a wonderful time, it was so good to see Ruth, Kate should at the very least be beatified, and the Lake District is stunning. And coming back is very very hard to do.