Crystal Clear

I opened the front door of the house, totally drained from a day at work, the door pushing letters on the floor like a cut-down version of those ageing penny pusher games at the amusement arcades. Before I could even lock the door behind me my head had already worked out the contents of each letter. Junk mail, something for a previous resident and a letter from the Mental Health Unit. There is no name on the letter that gives it away, not that it matters, it’s just the plain white envelope, the use of a stamp, the franking at the top right and even the style of the text on the address through the business-like envelope window that gives it away.

I pincered the lot with my hand and trudged my way to the dining room dropping my bag ever so carefully on the chair, as not to break the blogging laptop, my warm coat flung unnecessarily carelessly on the chair. I sorted a couple of things first in even more unnecessary avoidance of opening the letter including popping into the kitchen, looking at the clutter of everything that wouldn’t fit in the dish washer the night before and then sighing and brushing off the idea of clearing that lot until I eventually pushed myself into clearing the dish washer and getting more into it before then making dinner and then more clutter that won’t fit into the dish washer because of last night’s overflow. A never ending cycle of dirty dishes which I put in the washer to bond scraps of food to the plates which will never come off without washing by hand.

I think I may have even popped upstairs and changed into something much more comfortable like a pair of leggings with a soft cotton flowing plaid skirt on top or even some baggy linen trousers. Eventually though I submitted to the need to open some letters. The junk mail went straight into the junk mail filing system; also known as the recycling bin. Normally I write out the usual return to sender on the previous-residence-also-junk mail with the addition of something along the lines of, ‘Please stop sending these, they really really don’t live here any more’ but these seldom work and so they either hit the bin or if curiosity gets the better of me I open them for clues on how to stop them before shredding. This one was no exception. Inside, once the three-part folded concertina letter was unfolded, stood a shiny credit card branded with some non-high street investment bank complete with security codes and a blank signature area. In the stroke of a flash I could instantly ruin my own life with this, a massive spend on Amazon, fraud, investments, run away to a safe haven – if I were that person. I am not. I have more pleasure in shredding the damn thing or dropping it back in the post back to the bank with another self amusing message.

I finally opened the letter from the Mental Health Unit. Even opening the seal was like reading their address. After a few years I have come to know the feel of the glue they use and it’s strength. I pulled the letter from the envelope and allowed my eye’s to skip the usual formulaic standard letter directly to the time and date that was set for some random day in January next year.

I suppose I wasn’t that surprised. If I wasn’t to have a date set in the diary while I was standing in reception then an automatic letter would soon arrive on my doorstep.

As much as I’ve gone on about disappointment in non-news after weeks of waiting it is nothing really but just that, a disappointment. The reality is that I’m just looking for a little help along the way. Even the next step, which is likely to involve a gender identity clinic, probably in London, will not be a rushing sprint to surgery. The first transgendered person I ever spoke to back in the mid to late nineties, first across the internet over e-mail all the way to Australia and briefly on the phone told me one thing that I always remember, “Surgery is just the icing on the cake.” At the time I remember thinking, ‘Sure, but it really is the goal, to be complete.’ But since having lots of counselling and therapy through just talking I’ve come to realise how that icing really is just the part that completes such a big change in my life. It suddenly just cliqued. I’ve never been one to rush through this process which is something my psychologist took note of. So much so that it even felt like he had more belief in who I felt I was that I did. Of course I had all the guilt and shame trying to negate every time I tried to find self acceptance.

I took the letter up to my bedroom with my crystal filled pen. On the bedside drawers sits my diary, pastel pinks, reds and blues making a union flag with a little floral decorations around it’s cover. An item I bought in a shop with my parents. It’s unapologetically feminine and yet I found the courage to purchase it despite nervous feelings inside. It was one small step in letting out a little of my femininity and communicating with my parents and, in particular my Mum who was standing there when I chose it, to let out a little more of that side of me without actually having to say anything. In return my Mum might buy me a little gift at some point which has similar feminine traits that most men would probably just say, ‘er, yeah thanks.’ and as such seems to say to me, ‘message received and understood.’

I opened the diary and entered the new date, several pages on from now, and closed it unceremoniously. There is nothing more to do for a couple of months for the official medical process but plenty to do for me.

Until next time.


2 thoughts on “Crystal Clear

  1. I think it’s interesting how your perspective changes with time. I one time felt the medical professionals involvement was as enablers however it occurred to me that in the end they are simply observers just there to ensure no harm is done due to poor judgement due to other factors, such as mental health issues over and above gender dysphoria. In the end you are the enabler and you control your timeline to living the way you want. Of course you are right in what you have strived to say in many of your posts, it’s not so much about taking that step as being equipped to tackle any difficulties or setbacks that might come your way having taken it. And that is wise. Your email correspondent was also wise all those years ago in that the surgery is just a icing on the cake. It does offer a certain physical legitimacy once you do step over that boundary to live as the opposite gender and maybe becomes more important to you later once your outward physical appearance has been re established in your new role. It’s all scary with fear about how things might turn out and I think it’s a lot to analyse. In the end though it just feels right. Was it the film ‘What about Bob’ where Bill Murry’s character expounded the value of ‘baby steps’?
    Take care x

  2. I very much agree with you, especially so on the points of the medical professionals being more observers and protectors. This was especially the case with the psychologist who I found both protective but also surprisingly liberal on certain views when it came to transition and access to medication.

    I do feel, when it comes to the big picture, that I’ve been very lucky to have met people in the profession who have gone out of their way to help. Firstly the occupational therapist who went beyond what she was there to help with. She was incredible and started me on the thoughts about whether a counsellor or psychologist needs to be a gender specialist. The GPs at my local surgery who have handled it with delicacy. Then there is the psychologist who cemented the fact that a gender specialism is not required at all, just a good psychologist who can help investigate as part of the therapy and then the psychiatrist who had the foresight to refer me to the local psychologist rather than have me spend hundreds of pounds in travel for periodic sessions when weekly and thorough sessions were required.

    I’m not sure whether it was that film, may be that’s where ‘Nikki’ got the saying. 🙂

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