Extracts from my Diary
What has surprised me?
The large number of people who have said, "I think you are so brave. I wish I had your courage".
The large numbers of people who have genuinely wished me luck and success on my chosen course.
The tiny number of people who have been unpleasant in any way at all.
What has caused me to appreciate other people?
Friends in unexpected places, such as when one colleague said he found the sight of a "man" in make-up offensive, another colleague, a territorial army sergeant, long distance runner and general macho man, came to work with a make-up bag and dared anyone to take offence at him as he powdered his nose!
What has caused me embarassment?
A yob in a crowded pub, who earlier had deliberately tried to trip up the young barmaid with a tray of glasses, clocked me and as he left, shouted out across the pub that they did not want transvestite wankers like me in their local!
But mostly . . .
What has caused me laughter?
My mother! Aged eighty-eight when I plucked up the courage to tell her, her reaction was totally unexpected. "Oooh! "she said thoughtfully," I've never heard of that before." (Long pause in which I hardly dared to breathe.) She suddenly gave me a sideways smile and said "I wonder if that was what was wrong with yer Dad!"
Later in the same conversation I was expressing concern about the reaction of the neighbours where she has lived since the 1950's. Again she gave me her sideways little grin. "Well if you turn up in a frock I suppose it 'll give a few of 'em something to get hot under the collar about!" at the same time rolling her eyes in the direction of her Jehovah's Witness neighbours!
The deaf children with whom I work seem to have accepted me, and have been the source of great delight. For instance one of the ten year olds came up and, quite out of the blue, we had a signed conversation which ran something like this:
Child: "Know when you go MacDonalds?"
Me: "Yes" (Trying to figure out what she might be leading to, but not thinking about my transition.)
Child: "Know you have Big Mac?"
Child: "Know you have Large Cola?" (She actually signed "enormous")
Child: "Well, before go home, Mum says go to the ladies, and I do"
Me: "Oh, good."
Child: "When you have Large (enormous) Cola, you go ladies too?"
Me: "Yes!" (Emphatically)
Child: "Oh good. Not the Men's now then?"
Me: "Definitely not!"
Child: "Oh. Right! 'Bye."
And she skipped off to relay this news to anyone who would listen. Evidently one little boy, who had never spoken to me before unless I spoke to him first listened, because about ten minutes later he came up to me and signed "Know you now. Man before. Now lady. You shaved your legs." And off he pottered. (If only life were that simple!!).
And finally one of the thirteen year old boys who is quiet and thoughtful, and came to our school only two years ago with virtually no language, came up to me on my first day back after an absence while I changed over from Steve to Anne. He signed with some difficulty, "Glad you back. You feel happy now? I don't like unhappy". Sometimes you could hug them!
When I have had a bad day I really do try to count my blessings and weigh them up against the bad things that have happened. Unless I am in a really bad way I can in all honesty usually say that the good things that have happened far outweigh the bad. Maybe I am lucky in that, but it helps me get life back into perspective.
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