I don’t know if anyone else is aware of this, but it’s 2016. I know, who’d have thought it? Happy New Year! I have a feeling it’s going to be a big year for me, because it may be the year when things cystallise and I finally decide where I’m going with the rest of my life. In fact I’m going to go a little further and suggest that January may even be the month when things become clearer. It’s obviously a self-imposed deadline, but I think it’s something that I need.A few months ago I wrote that in two years’ time, assuming I’m still breathing I will either be transitioning or purged. I still think that is the case. And yes, I have heard all the stories that purging doesn’t work etc, there’s no need to state it again. But I feel that unless I purge, or have a bloody good attempt at purging, that having everything there in front of me would make it too easy and too tempting to start again. If I stop, I stop, and purging is a way of putting obstacles in my way to make it harder for me to revive a dormant female existence. It’s a bit like local terrorists the IRA decommissioning their weapons – of course they can get some more any time they want, but it’s not as easy as keeping the old ones and the act of decommissioning is a gesture of good faith. So, rather than purging, perhaps I should talk about putting my skirts and breast forms permanently beyond use. But it’s a very scary proposition.
However, if that is a scary proposition, the alternative is downright terrifying. That’s not to say I’m not going to do it, but as plans form and become more concrete, it becomes all the more difficult to control my fear. Family, work, all scare the living daylights out of me. But I feel I need to do something, and I think I need to do something now.
I am 45 years old. If I’m lucky, I maybe have another 40 years left. If I’m unlucky, a lot less. I have already lived what will almost certainly turn out to be the majority of my life in the wrong gender. If I transition in the next year or 2, I still have a chance to live out the majority of my adult life in the correct gender. It might just be splitting hairs, but it feels important to me. I know that if I do transition and it works out, then I will be sure to have regrets about not doing it sooner. I mean, even being the part-timer I am I have huge regrets about not being honest with myself 25 years earlier. I know I will always regret not accepting myself for who I really am for so long, but what I don’t want is to have further regrets about the length of time I’m flip-flopping about trying to decide what to do. Really, it must be pretty tiresome reading posts like this (if anyone still is!) It’s all well and good with shopping and cinema and restaurants and fun and then suddenly every few months up pops anguish-Kirsty with another Groundhog Day-style post of not knowing what to do. I don’t even know why I keep writing stuff like this.
I hinted at something a few months ago and now I think I’m going to elaborate on it a little. I have a schedule. I have worked on it, fine tuned it, and it’s nearly ready to go. I am the sort of person who likes to plan things down to the finest detail. I want to know how all the moving parts link together, how everything works. I’m not one for the great leap in the dark. My transition will be carefully managed with everything hopefully happening in the right order. Because there is a lot to consider. Many of you will know this already, and will have been through it all, but I suppose everyone’s circumstances are different and so everyone’s schedule will be different. There are all the different people I need to tell, and the order in which I tell them – Mrs K, the kids, my siblings and their spouses, the wider family circle, in-laws, friends who don’t yet know, work colleagues, my immediate team that I work with, my line manager, my ultimate boss (my line manager’s line manager), other colleagues in the wider office, other people who work in the same building, my employer’s HR department, neighbours, kids’ friends’ parents, schools, the list goes on. Then who do I tell in person, who do I tell in writing, do I allow proxies to tell some people or do I need to do it all myself. And the other question about telling people, in what order do people get told? And how long before going full time do I tell them? How much notice do my siblings need, if any? Or my closest colleagues?
This is of course only the schedule of who gets told. There is obviously a great deal more to it than that. Do I really need to submit myself to more counselling? Do I just go straight to my GP and ask for a referral? Based upon current waiting lists, I would expect a wait of around 3-4 months for my first appointment at the Belfast Gender Identity Clinic – yes, I know that is a lot better than many of you in many parts of England, I’m not complaining. Should I be full-time before attending the clinic? I know there’s not a definitive answer for that, by the way, I’m just asking myself what way I would like to do it. If I’m not full-time before my first GIC appointment, when should l go full-time? I am given to understand that for the purposes of GIC, Real Life Experience (RLE) commences upon approval for HRT, although obviously I stand to be corrected by any of you with any actual experience of these things. However, assuming that is indeed the case, the next question is; how long is the gap between commencing GIC appointments and HRT approval, on average? In principle I think I would want my full-time commencement date to be shortly before the likely date for commencing HRT. Which means that if (for argument’s sake) I were to go to my GP now and request a referral to GIC, then I would have a four-month wait to get to the clinic, and then say a further six-month (for example, this is just a guess) wait until I can commence HRT. So as a first guess, I should be going to my GP 10 months before I want to go full-time.
In all of these various schedules and checklists that I have drawn up, the very first thing that happens every time is that I tell Mrs K that I have decided that this is going to happen. I think that’s only fair. Yes there have been rows, yes there have been some incredibly difficult conversations already, but that’s not to say that there’s not still something there. I don’t want my marriage to break up, although in a legal sense thanks to Northern Ireland’s continued lack of legislation for same-sex marriage, the actual “marriage” would have to end before I could obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate, even if we were still living together as a couple. So the very first thing that I would do is tell Mrs K that I intend to transition, to give her the maximum time possible to come to terms with it before it became a reality. And a target date for going full-time of early 2017, meaning that she has the opportunity for one more summer holiday and one more Christmas with her “husband” before he disappears forever. Everything else falls out of that. When I actually go full-time, when I go to my GP (around April I reckon), everything.
I know that the urge for me to become the woman I always should have been is something that will always be with me as long as I live, even should I ultimately decide to decommission my feminine accoutrements, but I hope I have explained why I feel that it needs to be now and not something I can just park until the whim takes me. Until the right time. There is never a right time, only ever a right thing. I just wish I could decide what the right thing is. However I think I need to decide very soon, and ideally this month. My heart says transition, my head says purge. I’m so scared.
I wrote this post yesterday (Monday 4th January), and then left it as a draft without posting it. I suppose I didn’t want to write something committing myself to making some sort of decision within a specific timescale, or as the vernacular would have it, I was worried my mouth was writing cheques my arse couldn’t cash. As it happens, things have moved on considerably in the space of a day such that I now have no qualms in posting this. And yes, that does mean decisions and discussions. But I’m not ready to write about that yet, it’s too fresh. I will write about it soon though because as seems to be the case with many major crossroads in my trans life, it is the writing down that sets it in some sort of order in my own head. So that’s to come next time. Probably. Unless I go to a restaurant or something.