There are people in my life - not many, but they exist, and I am so grateful that they do - who, from the beginning, have accepted me as Lucy. People who knew me as J--- but have embraced Lucy, the proper version of me. Bless them.
Their reasons for accepting me vary. Some are family members, and in that case there may be an element of family loyalty, even though the closest family members of all, my own parents, did not themselves offer unconditional acceptance to me, ever.
It obviously helps if I used to be peripheral to a person's life, not often seen, and they were never emotionally bound to me. In other words, distance and relative unfamiliarity are good buffers, and they make it easier to jump from one half-remembered mental picture to another. For someone who might see me only at long intervals, at funerals say, significant change is to be expected. They will be prepared to find me older and greyer in any case. So perhaps it's not so much more of a surprise to find me feminised on top of that.
But if I was a regular presence in anyone's life, an intimate companion even, then my transition to Lucy must be very difficult to comprehend. I can see how the adjustment needed could be too much to attempt. At the same time, a voice within cries 'why shouldn't they try? Is it fair and reasonable that they don't?' The voice seems to make sense. But it won't do: I am dealing with ordinary human beings. People will react according to their own feelings, independently formed or conditioned by their upbringing, and quite possibly in a very irrational way. That's how it is. Even if it causes me grief, I can't have things my way, I can't direct anyone to react perfectly. They are not programmable machines. I have to allow for the wayward human element.
For a long time I was shocked and greatly upset how so many in my old life withdrew into silence and did not try to establish any dialogue with me as Lucy. It seemed such a cruel and crass way to treat me, when clearly anyone who could think, or who had a spark of compassion, or wisdom, could see that I might be in trouble and urgently needing an outstretched hand. But with more and more hindsight, I am not so surprised, and I'm not so upset with them. The resentment, such as it was, has evaporated as I realise that, in the world as it is, people will go with you only so far. And that many will not go with you at all, if you seem too extreme, too bizarre, and might threaten their own standing. It's a pity, but there it is.
It may sound as if I accept all this with resignation, with thwarted anger still in my heart. No. There is no point in keeping the cauldron of resentment boiling. I can't be happy, or have fun, or make anyone laugh, if I am filled with rancour. I want to be known for having bright, merry eyes, and not eyes clouded with pain.
While in Gloucester Cathedral recently, I took an interesting picture of myself. Here it is. The way it turned out it was all soft and grainy, and someone who saw it remarked that this is how I might look in ten years time. Well, I like to think it's a nice face, the face of someone who has put all destructive negativity well behind them. See if you agree.