Friday, 19 October 2012
The Angels revisited
Cheers! Two days ago, in Kent. Lunch at The Brown Trout at Lamberhurst with E---, whom I've known since she was a teenager, lost touch with during my transition, but have now reconnected with. We had such a lovely day. We went to Scotney Castle afterwards, the nearby National Trust house with a garden, and chatted to everyone we met.
I suppose this stage of 'being out' is wistfully yearned for by thousands of trans people who can't press ahead in the way I did. Either because of despair as to how to begin, or frustration at the practical difficulties in their way. The bulk of the people on The Angels website, and on Rose's, seem to be like that. I do wish I could wave a magic wand for them all.
It was October 2009 before I registered for The Angels. I felt I needed to be in touch with the people contributing to that website. But I was already a little too late. I'd 'come out' over a year previously. The hesitations of how to make a start were well past. My parents had died. My partner was realising that the person she thought she knew was really someone rather different, and that events were moving out of her control. I was in the midst of an unfolding tragedy, but I did have personal control, and I had confidence, and I had a definite plan. I had passed beyond the initial phase, and was pressing forward with my transition.
I was able to fund it privately and therefore call the shots. I blew a fortune in the process. I was spending my life's savings. It should have been there for the rest of my retirement, but I spent it all on becoming Lucy Melford instead. Regrets? Absolutely none. Afraid of a future without capital in the bank, just a home and a car? Yes, a bit.
But really there was no decision, no choice, the transition had to go ahead or else I'd become bitter and twisted - or mad. I'm so glad I trusted my feelings. Well, just look at me now!
I had a look at The Angels today. The top posts that caught my eye had titles like these:
Out and about for the First Time.
A Theory about why I like presenting as Female.
The dam is about to break.
Adventures in Arm Shaving.
First gp visit.
Frustrations of being a TGirl.
Those post titles cover many of the challenges that bear down on trans people who have yet to find a way forward. They are answered by stalwarts who give reassurance and sympathy and good advice. The Angels is most definitely a place to get useful advice. It's sad that so many clearly need to be doing something about their lives, taking a big and irreversable step forward, but are in some way stuck. I was so lucky not to be stuck. I posted a reply on the Frustrations of being a TGirl thread, but although it read back fine to me, it probably won't be received too gladly. These women have to take things one step at a time. It must be offputting to hear from someone who has forged ahead and completed most of their transition - perhaps an impossible dream for some.
The very description 'T Girl' is something that never seemed to apply to me, and certainly doesn't now - disqualifying me from the entire social world of T Girls. I was too late to get excited about Sparkle, or a weekend girly get-together at Pink Punters. In 2009 I did try to attend a Christmas Lunch in Covent Garden, organised through The Angels, but I caught a cold and couldn't go. One year later, such a thing had much less appeal. That said, I'd be happy to dip into some of these events, to see what they might have been like. I'm thinking it would resemble a hen party - a chance to be loud and over the top. But could I do it with conviction? With authenticity? Or would I in fact be too 'finished' as a female to behave like a proper tranny? Or, in any case, too quiet and careful to fully 'let go' and rave it up in the way needed for these events? Let's face it, I'm a National Trust Girl, not a T Girl.
Yet I almost feel quite wistful at what I must have missed, the meetups, the company, the talk, the excitement of a long-awaited escape to a buzzing city, the frisson of public exposure in ultra-feminine clothes.
I can't have it.
But I have something else instead. Something of substance. And I'm not swapping.