I went to the in-person support group Thursday night and it was...
When I used the term 'alienate' in advance, I meant that I do that to others - I push away, I unsettle. Even at a group designed for people whom society deems unsettling I can unsettle others.
|I really need to get better at getting|
others to take a photo.
This is my attempt.
Not trusting my voice I managed to navigate to the group past people who did not immediately suspect (I was wearing my mask by this point) and join everyone else. The glasses gained a compliment or two (I know, right?) but I suspect the work here was being done with mascara as I had worn the glasses last time and no one seemed to have noticed.
I got talking- no, I got talked to by one of the older ladies there. Self-diagnosed with autism she was wearing an awareness band and I commented on it. She then proceeded to talk to me about her life for the best part of an hour an a half. But, see, I am there to listen so pipe down, Joanna, shut the fuck up and listen. She teased me to guesstimate her age. Ever the conversationalist and smarting about some erroneous assumptions about my experience (or, rather, lack thereof) I asked in return. She bade me lower my mask and I did. "Oh," she said, "Well, your beard ages you."
Beard. I'd only spent an hour trying to get as close a shave as I could. I wasn't prepared to have that comment.
|On my way to the free coffee.|
It was after lunch, so that may have
been part of the reason for the
I struggled to sleep.
In the morning I tried to set up when and where I was meeting Miss Warrington for a beer and a curry as arranged - you may recall I'd turned down going to visit my mother on this - and found out that She had forgotten. Other plans had been made. Oh. I went to charge the car - eschewing dressing, I wanted to but I looked in the mirror and that fucking beard is still there, if I can be embarrassed at a group for people on the trans* spectrum then I can surely be embarrassed out in public.
Tilly called asking if I would check that she'd turned the oven off - they're off on holiday - and so I thought I may as well go Oop North anyway. On a whim, I did it. There was traffic, stationary at times, and it was a frustrating and boring drive even with me playing the album from the artists I related on Thursday. It took about three hours longer than it should. And, in the evening, my mother asked me about the group and about... well, me.
I showed her Trans: A Coming Out Story. She shared how Eddie Izzard unsettled her but Julian Clary did not. She asked if I was like the people on Ru Paul's Drag Race, how they were "less than men" but not women (interesting phrasing). If I could wear a dress all the time, would I? Because she almost always wears trousers - clothes don't make you- I finished, no, clothes aren't the thing. They're part of the thing but they are not the thing. If I felt like I had never fitted in, counseled my mother, taking any action wouldn't help me fit in more - it may even make things considerably more difficult. She wants to support me, whatever I decide to do or not do, but she finds things difficult: she doesn't know enough, maybe she should, she mused.
WWW - what went well
- The 'look' for the in person support group was one that I liked, it felt right
- I engaged in actual discussion in the group and only once felt like I was dominating, well done me
- I took a decision
- I had a haircut. It is now 'layered'
- Tilly had not left the oven on
EBI - even better if
- I did not have a beard
- I packed some en femme stuff - I carefully kept everything male
- I accept that, maybe, just maybe, this is the latest in a line of things I leap into and then do nothing because, ultimately, I am incapable of feeling happy or fulfilled (I see you Sarah over at TransRetroGurl, I see you)
- I took better decisions
- I prepared for the return to work rather than mooning over existential dread
Two Stars and a Wish
* Wore mascara and it seemed to 'pop'
* New coat
- Maybe not in polite company next time
I managed to beat the original funk enough to get coffee, haircut and some new clothing to attend the evening; now all I have to do is be a better human being so I don't collapse over having a beard as a man; do that and I can succeed more in life.