Crystallised by the Sunlight of the Heart

The baby looked over it’s shoulder at me and in an instant I was just goo. Instantly fully caffeinated maternal broodiness. No thinking. Entirely instinctual from the core. I was sat in the restaurant with my work colleagues, some kind of pre-christmas christmas lunch excuse-to-jolly-at-the-company’s-expense type thing, and it struck me. Many years ago I was talking to one of my full-time post-op friends and I remember how she had told me that sometimes she felt a bit excluded around women talking of babies. In fact I’ve heard it said from a few friends and I always felt this was sad that it was hard to relate to other women. It wasn’t just babies, periods and men, clothes and anything else you can stuff into a stereotypical conversation over a few glasses of white wine.

I don’t think this is quite the case though. I sat there in the restaurant, every colleague at the table man and the conversion turned to babies and kids. Being woken up at stupid-o-clock in the morning, night terrors or what their kid had done that was so funny. It’s not women, it’s parents. Men do exactly the same thing. The only difference is the contents of the conversation. Men tend to talk more about the hi-jinx of their little horror. The naughty thing they taught them. Some cheeky phrase that is so hilarious that it drives their the mother insane which in turn she talks about over coffee and push chairs at Costa.

This is all probably a little unfair. There are things that women talk about that men talk about differently. There are some experiences that one gender has that the other does not and so swapping gender socially will lead to just something things we’re unfamiliar with. Many years ago I went on a night out with my friend Alison and her wife. It was an old pub amongst the cobbled streets of Bristol just a few streets from the city centre water front. A straight pub and so my best make-up and blend in clothes were how the night would be. Whilst we chatted and caught up with each other a conversation struck up between myself and Alison’s wife and we were rabbiting away like no ones business.

It wasn’t until the day after that I realised that I already had this type of stereotypical conversation between women as part of who I am, without thinking, naturally. I only realised, of course, when Alison text me the day after. While she is a cross-dresser, or ‘tranny’ as she so politely puts it with fully saturated colour, she had said to me on a few occasions, ‘but you’ll never really be a woman.’ I didn’t feel betrayed, but it had set off some negativity until that day-after when the text came through. “Karen says you are a woman. She really got on with you last night.” Suddenly that day I actually felt confirmed more than ever. To have come from someone who is, for better a word, genetically female, was everything to me. Even so it would be a few years later when I would once again feel a bit nervous starting sessions with a female Psychologist and saying to her over the course of forty-five minutes that ‘I wanted to be a woman.’ I was almost expecting her to say, ‘don’t be daft, you’re not.’ Of course she didn’t.

Being single leads to recognising many of these social conflicts. Many of my friends and colleagues are married or in some kind of relationship. It’s been a while for me. I have set myself into some kind of frost of the morning. Crystallised until the sunlight catches my heart. While I am in this transition stage of my life, still not entirely decided how I will move on, I feel I have to remain single. Besides, how can anyone be in a relationship with someone who may be superficially, on the outside, someone entirely different some months from now? The aloneness can get to me sometimes but the tides of a relationship with dependancy could be the stresses that I don’t need at this magical time of change.

There is always the chance someone will capture my heart in the mean time that will be overwhelmingly too good to miss and with even greater odds be fine being in a relationship with Hannah. In the mean time that someone special who buys me that special gift at Christmas is going to be me. Christmas and even the new year is a time to celebrate Hannah, even if as a private quiet toast to myself, my spirituality, my new found ‘at one with myself.’ In fact I may as well say it’s time to celebrate just being me.

I looked at the photo I took at the beach last week. I look at that silhouette against the setting winter sun and it doesn’t just look like someone I want to be anymore but it just is me. Inline and at one. It’s not just visiting the beach to snap a photo to capture a manufactured version of that woman but enjoying a moment as that person and enjoying the beach and the serenity. It may not be every day at the moment but it’s a damp sandal in the right direction flowing with the tide.


I woke too early for a Sunday morning. There was a glow of sunshine seeping through the side of the bedroom curtains and no matter how hard I tried, despite how tired I still felt, it was impossible for me to fall back to sleep for a little snooze. After a relaxing breakfast with tea and toast with a lashing of jam it was time to face up to the fact I had to get to the supermarket and do the week’s food shopping. I knew I should have done it Saturday but there was such little time and the supermarket on Saturday’s is just unbearable.

My hair was a little greasy and nothing feels better than clean hair blow dried with a dryer capable of a force ten gale but with a heat so gentle that the drying alone feels like a beauty treat. My hair is always left feeling loose amongst itself in a way that I can just run my fingers through; if only someone else was doing the running through. The hair dryer was a present from my parents. A large lipstick red coloured dryer. Beautiful to hold and a treasure to me. May be they know a lot more about me than I realise.

Once I was suitably freshened up I grabbed the shopping bags and my list and headed to the supermarket. It was surprisingly calm. Even my trolley was heading in the direction rather than a wobbly wheel pulling like a dog on a lead in random directions. I stopped at the Lemons in the fruit section and picked a firm self contained natural capsule of vitamin C. Besides me was a young child, may be four or five years old with a mother and an older sister. They got their fruit and turned to walk past me but the youngest almost walked into me not looking where she was going like four or five year olds do and so the mother grabbed the little girl by the shoulder, “Mind the lady.” she said.

I felt good. Off they went further down the open plan isle and me smirking to myself. It was short lived. The eldest had looked at me and twigged. She nudged her Mum telling her the mistake she had made and laughing at her. I could read her lips at fifteen feet, “You called him ‘Lady’”

Until next time.


7 thoughts on “Crystallised by the Sunlight of the Heart

  1. Hannah your post struck a chord with me today. I’m not sure if it was me that you had that conversation with or if I remember having that same conversation with somebody else I don’t remember but I wish to expand a little on the dilemma. Having taken that big decision to step out into the world with a changed outward display of my gender I found a new confidence, one in which I no longer worried about being ‘found out’ by some friend, colleague or other, I was now wearing my heart on my sleeve. That was a wonderful feeling, and it brought with it much happiness. It was only later once I had begun to build a truthful backstory that carefully avoided some of the inevitable awkward questions relating to elements of my past that I found myself feeling unable to share in some of the moments that are only shared by our fellow sisters. Talking about clothes, school, was easy. In fact even first love wasn’t that difficult, I would even go so far as to say that talking about past relationships was fairly straightforward as to be honest I didn’t find it so difficult to be mildly evasive to my own satisfaction and the experience of period pain or some other generally female experience? well I had experienced some elements of that much later in life than your average woman but experience it I did in some form or other not wanting to go into detail here but monthly pain has been endured. No, where it really became obvious to me was the subject of child birth. I have never experienced the feeling of a baby growing inside my womb or the excitement, fear, pain, pleasure of giving birth. But then a lot of other women have never experienced that. You only have to begin to take note when those sort of conversations start in a group of women how there are others aside from me who look at the floor and back at the speaker with a look of quite agreement at what they are hearing but not offering anything to the conversation. It is no doubt to me that child birth is the ultimate female experience but one that not every woman chooses to experience or to their regret find that they cannot experience. Some brush that off with abrupt dismissal ‘why would I want one of those’ but how do we know what they are really feeling; a quite sadness or deep regret? At least I can talk of the experiences that having small children running about the house can bring but of course that is something I share with the fathers of this world as well as the mothers.
    As people with a trans history there will always be those unexpected moments when someone catches us unaware and asks us a innocent question that gets an quick answer that often feels later to have been rather an inadequate response. Sometimes I feel it has happened to me simply because I have been lucky and fit in so well that the questioner has no idea of my past and asks their curious question without realising it might be difficult to answer. Such is the nature of our dilemma.
    A good friend of mine told me once that she never really felt comfortable in herself until she was in her late 20s, up till then she didn’t really understand herself, was a bit unsure of things, often felt out of place – awkward even. I think I know what she meant. The first couple of years following my choice to live as a female I was learning and having to experience many many things in a short period of time that might take a younger woman years to experience. As an older woman it was expected that I would have had many life experiences already and would be worldly wise. Unfortunately some of the things I was expected to have experienced I had experienced as you say from a different point of view and so it became obvious to me that I was having to guess how those experiences would have appeared from the perspective of another gender. This occurrence repeated itself regularly and in some cases during conversations where there was more than one person taking part I would wait to see what the others perspective was before I answered, just to check as it were. When asked my closest friend says she never even considers how I might have been before and says that unless I happen to bring the subject up it rarely crosses her mind, she just can’t see me any different to the person I am now. That’s really nice of her. She knows everything and yet she only ever sees me, which just confirms to me that my natural persona is female. I think to myself that my past and previous experiences will always be with me there in background, not particularly bothering me but always there to remind me of who I am. You can never loose your past, it is completely part of what makes us what we are. Those things are to be embraced if you can, and accepted.
    I never tell people who don’t ‘need to know’ about my past. Let them be blissful in their ignorance. But if I feel the need to explain some diagnostic on my car to the garage mechanic or get a look of surprise from the local plasterer when he sees the quality of some of my diy projects I have to have a quiet smile to myself and bless my past experience.

    Enjoying your writing as always, love Debs.

  2. Ah a lack of proof reading on my part has allowed a few ‘quite’ to replace an intended ‘quiet’, well hopefully it still makes sense 🙂

  3. Hey Debs. I think it was an old friend who used to live near me, Claire. I’ve long lost touch with her though many years ago. I’m pretty sure we’ve had a similar conversation. It was a light hearted vehicle to have a go at *some* new parents 🙂 That said, it’s funny how some have spoken about this to me and that in itself I think makes someone as much a woman as a ‘genetic’, for a better word, woman and yet some don’t mention it at all and seem to fixate on some kind of pseudo womanhood. I guess we all experience a change of gender in different ways.

    Thanks for your insights, they’re so valuable. I think this might be a good start of a new blog from you? 🙂

    Take care,
    Hannah x

    • Haha maybe I should write a blog sometime, it’s been a while though, even if my comment on your post was long enough to be almost a blog of its own. I have been enjoying yours for a while now and I think where you are at right now has brought some interesting thoughts to your mind. My comments are always meant as good natured in return and I hope equally as thought provoking if not anywhere as well written 😉.

      Keep up the good work!

      Debs x

  4. Such a lovely post Hannah.
    I think the aloneness is something we all feel whether we are in in a relationship or not.
    At times the solitude can be a blessing giving us the time and space to explore ourselves and our new lives without having to worry about upsetting our partners. On the other hand the support that can be gained can be a great help in an otherwise unsupporting society. But the feeling of aloneness is still there.
    The conversations? I don’t have them. My Dysphoria destroyed my relationships with my childrens mothers. I could never be a mother and felt I was never a father. You made me smile with the descriptions you gave, to the point wher I could imagine having them.
    I love the sea, she always makes me feel so alive yet so fragile while in her presence. If the photo you mention is the one at the top of your blog. I love it, I think it totally transcends the physical body and shows only the pure essence, as does your gravatar (But not quite to the same extent)
    Your blog is such a joy to read.

    • Thank you so much for your lovely words. It’s funny how sometimes things can be so hard and yet other times it can be freeing and euphoric. It’s sad to hear how your relationship ended so low. Hope you find happiness again soon. X

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