No, that’s not the latest kids’ show from the makers of Peppa Pig, it’s a statement of how I have been suffering (if that’s the right word) with blurring of boundaries between my male and female lives. Unauthorised border incursions, if you will.
I have been going out and about in my female persona, what I consider my true persona, for well over a year now. After this period of time, I’m starting to feel the lines between that female persona (Kirsty) and the male one (Bob) becoming ever fuzzier. If I’m in a shopping mall, cinema or the like as Bob, and I need to go to the loo, I have to consciously think which one I should be going into. It’s only a matter of time before I walk into a ladies’ loo in male form, and I might not even realise my mistake if there’s nobody there. On the other hand, if there is already someone there I’m sure my mistake will be pointed out to me in the clearest possible terms! I don’t think the reverse of that is ever likely to happen, I can’t imagine Kirsty accidentally going into the men’s. Possibly this is due to a heightened awareness of my surroundings when I am presenting as female in the interests of safety, but it could equally well be the fact that my subconscious is increasingly identifying as female without me having to think about it. Maybe even it’s that I’m now expending very little thought or energy in covering up my trans nature, it’s only to be expected that things which were previously suppressed through fear and denial will now come to the surface.
I was driving as Bob a couple of weeks ago. The whole family was in the car – Mrs K and both daughters. As I scratched my chin I felt some sort of blemish, and wanting to see if it was a cut, a blackhead, a spot or whatever, a chanced a quick glance at my face in the rear view mirror. I can honestly say I was shocked to find the reflection of a man staring back at me. I was completely expecting to see me-Kirsty, and finding me-Bob in the mirror was initially surprising, then deflating, then a bit funny that I would have expected to see me-Kirsty when I was surrounded by the family. Yet again, it’s an example of how my existence as Kirsty is increasingly encroaching on my existence as Bob.I nearly outed myself in the biggest possible way during the week. I was out for a birthday meal with Andrea and Michelle on Wednesday evening. Their birthdays are on consecutive days, and it was Michelle’s birthday on Wednesday, so the three of us went out together to one of our favourite haunts The Plough in Hillsborough. I’ll not go into the detail although the meal (duck caesar salad, slow cooked shorthorn beef, chocolate brownie sundae) was great and the company better. But towards the end of the evening I got Michelle to take a picture of me, and I decided to share this picture on Facebook. So I clicked on the photo and hit “share to Facebook”. The post appeared, I then clicked “Check-in” and said I was at the Plough, and then I was typing Andrea’s name to tag her in the post and for some strange reason her details weren’t appearing. Friends’ names always appear on the Facebook iPhone app when you start typing their name, so what could be the problem? Obviously you’re all miles ahead of me and yes, the problem was that I was using Bob’s Facebook profile. Cue post hastily deleted and me left a quivering pile of jelly for a minute or so before logging on as Kirsty and posting the same thing. Must. Be. More. Careful.
In work, I’m forever getting pulled up on little things. Not just the superficial stuff, like the shaved legs that I wrote about in my last post, or the little flecks of nail varnish that sometimes doggedly refuse to vacate the base of my fingernails despite being repeatedly attacked with nail varnish remover. It’s other things that people notice, things I say, how I speak, vocal mannerisms, physical mannerisms, how I walk. It all adds to this impression people have that I am, as they say, a bit camp. I have never written my real male name on this blog (nor will I) but for illustrative purposes and since I use “Bob”, let’s say my male name is Robert. Well several of my closest colleagues have taken to calling me Roberta recently. It’s all good-natured, there really isn’t a problem with it at all, but I just let them carry on and respond in kind. But there’s a little part of me that wants to say “It’s not Roberta actually, it’s Kirsty” but I’m not going to open that particular pandora’s box just yet.
The cat is increasingly trying to make an exit from the bag in work. Nails get commented upon regularly. At one point last week it looked like I might be going to a training course in Dublin, and Siobhan pointed out “You can get the train instead of driving so you’ll be able to paint your nails on the way down”. I replied that no, I couldn’t, because the train would be too bumpy, to which the reply was “Sure judging by the amount you leave on your fingers you get it all over your skin anyway, a few bumps wouldn’t make any difference.” Must. Be. More. Careful.
Then there was the watch incident. I got myself an Apple Watch a few months ago (yes, I’m the one) and I have noticed that when using the sport band, a sort of soft-touch rubberised polymer-y watch strap, perfume tends to stick to it. I can wash my hands and arms as much as I want, that strap will smell of “Noa by Cacherel” for a couple of days. Not long after I had bought the watch, the subject of resting heart rates came up in conversation around our group of desks. Siobhan asked if she could use my Apple Watch to check her heart rate. I could hardly say no, could I? So she put on the watch, tested her pulse, and returned the watch to me again. Fair enough. Except around a month later the same subject came up again – it may even have been my own fault through talking about heart rate while out on the bike – and yet again Siobhan and also Lauren (who knows about Kirsty) asked if they could check their pulses using my watch. As I passed the watch to Siobhan she casually asked “Is this going to make my wrist smell of perfume again?” Very possibly, Siobhan, very possibly. I didn’t respond to the question, after all what could I possibly say, although if she had pressed the point I could always have claimed that perhaps Mrs K had been testing her pulse with the watch and her perfume had stuck to the strap. Like anyone would buy that! Siobhan is very observant. She is also the person who noticed little red marks on my earlobes after returning from five days wearing clip-ons while visiting Ruth and Kate with Andrea, and she asked if I had been wearing earrings. I just replied very casually that yes, I had been, and carried on with what I had been doing.
So between nails, perfume, marked earlobes and a lack of body and limb hair, not to mention my not-exactly-macho demeanour, I strongly suspect some of my colleagues strongly suspect me of being at least an occasional behind-closed-doors TV. But the more strongly I suspect that they know something, the less I worry that they would particularly care. That doesn’t mean I’m going to go out of my way to tell them the full truth, but as I wrote several month ago I’m not going to fully lie if asked directly. I think I have found on at least a couple of occasions that if I tell the truth with a straight face and an air of it not being a remotely big deal, they tend to think I’m joking anyway. Or do they? OR DO THEY???
To get back to the very loose point of this post, Bob and Kirsty are becoming increasingly entwined. I mean, obviously they are both me, but recently I have come to realise that in fact the core person, if such a thing can be said to exist, is female. I know I have written this type of thing many times, going right back to my identification as TS last summer, but it has become so clear to me that the person who I always should have been has been suppressed to a frightening degree for over forty years, and has increasingly been taking over as my internal barriers have fallen. I still have the male body unfortunately, and it seems unlikely that I’m ever going to get to reshape that the way I would like, but that’s almost a minor detail. Whereas a year ago it was a case of now I’m Kirsty, now I’m Bob, it just feels like I’m always Kirsty now. It might not look that way, but it feels that way. I don’t have to put on the clothes, hair and make-up to be Kirsty. I’m always Kirsty in spirit. And that is a happier place for me to be. I just wish I could have got here decades sooner. But I definitely need to be more careful.