Friday, 20 May 2011

Nothing lost in transition

I am approaching the third anniversary of my coming out in late July 2008, and that sort of timescale allows you to take stock somewhat, and compare your life then with how it is now.

In this post I'm focussing on what I like to do. One thing is stangely obvious: that despite all that has happened to me, my leisure interests have changed very little indeed.

Now that's most surprising. If you'd asked me to make predictions back in 2008, I'd have said that taking feminising hormones, or just adopting a female mode of living, would have generated many changes. I'd have surely taken up some traditional female skills and passtimes. For that very reason, I hung onto Mum's sewing machine and her big collection of knitting and crochet needles, and all the wool and buttons and clothes patterns that I discovered in cupboards. I thought that I'd be signing up to classes in cooking and cake icing. I even thought that my TV-watching tastes would alter, and that I'd be following Strictly Come Dancing, and crying over romantic drama.

None of these girly developments have taken place. I still think that one day I may want to knit myself something, but the urge is not strong. Nor will I be taking up dancing anytime soon. OK, I've been consistently serious and even passionate about clothing and accessories - but then I always was, and that kind of interest is nothing new. OK, I now do a lot of cooking - but then I always liked to turn out a nice meal if the mood took me. OK, I spend a lot of time in front of the mirror - but absolutely nothing new there, except a greater tendency to take photos of myself! But then those are mainly to get on record the ongoing changes in appearance.

Look at this list of things that I used to enjoy in 'male' mode, and still do in female mode:

Photography
Driving
Maps
Books
Food, especially when eating out
Visiting pretty places
Visiting interesting places
Caravanning
Art
History
Music

There's more, but this will do. A lot of these interests complement each other, driving going well with maps and visiting and eating out. And photography goes with almost everything.

All of these interests have easily been imported into my life as Lucy. They are the kind of interests that can. Indeed, I often say that I was living Lucy's leisure life years before she came into being. Which explains why nothing new has been acquired in the transition process. Nor have I had to forego anything. It has ensured that in my present solitary life I can console myself with all the good old familiar things that I've been doing for years. Many a stressful moment has been relieved by a spot of photo-editing, or a good drive.

Actually, there is one entirely new thing: blogging. But that's not a specifically girly activity.

I'd say that there's a tip to be taken on board here. Transition need not be a wholesale renunciation of the past. If you develop the right kind of interests well before you transition, you will find much more to enjoy about the process. It's much like people who are wedded to their jobs and have no outside life: they dread retirement. I recall my only visit to Birmingham, in 1992. I was seeing a senior tax investigator to discuss my skills. We quickly got through that, then fell into a general conversation on life and how it ends. The man I was speaking with was much older than me, and had no hobbies. He didn't even read much. His wife sang in a choir. He despondently said that he'd give that a go after retirement. It would please her. But he had no interest in singing at all, and had no idea at all what he'd do instead. I thought: if you're not careful, you'll go mad with boredom or frustration, or become a zombie whose chief frisson would be to push the trolley at the local supermarket once a week.

That's why (for instance) I foresaw the need to get Fiona. She could not only pull the caravan, and take me to the shops, she could give me all the thrills of a fast drive in a big, powerful car. And she does. It doesn't matter that fast, adroit and determined driving - some might disparagingly call it rude, ruthless and aggressive driving - is not meant to be a girly activity. I'm going to do it because I like it, and find it satisfying. And similarly, if you always liked potholing or mountaineering or hang-gliding, I'm with you absolutely if you see no reason to give it up just because you're now the girliest of girls.

There is no book of rules.

1 comment:

  1. I like your last line: There are no rules. And about old habits or interests, I still play the guitar, still like tin soldiers and Marklin trains and maps and Velo Solex and music etc. etc. What's new in my life is that I have finally chosen my tribe. I love the company of women and feel at home in their circles. I am not on hormones, but just being aware gives me all the satisfaction I need to be femme. Like you Lucy, I have only been out for about four years. WOW, what a journey. Love your blog.
    :0)
    Sejd

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