Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Becoming Jen (Part 11)

Jen-tly Does It
Early Decmber about 4 plus years ago, maybe even 5. I must admit the last few years have been a bit of a blur and my accuracy of timescales may not be wholly trustworthy. I am fine on a weekly and even monthly basis, but give me a year and I’m stumped! I couldn’t even tell you with confidence what year I got married or how long I have lived in my house. Ironically I am much better with finer detail, especially with clothes. All those years of secret dressing and yearning means I can recall with absolute clarity, details of friends outfits! Anyway, I digress (for a change!)

I was still living my split existence. Caroline was the only person in my life who knew about my secret other half. Although Caz was really supportive when we were together, this was becoming increasingly rare, now that we were living effectively separate lives. My growing confidence in my appearance, and my acceptance that this was not some passing phase meant I had to face the fact that I could not live like this forever. Now I had started on this journey, I had to make it to the end. I didn't know where the end was or even how or when I would get there. I did know that I couldn't tread water for ever (I only got my Bronze swimming certificate) . I had to come to terms that if I ever wanted to progress I would eventually have to talk to my friends and colleagues. It must be better for me to do this on my terms rather than be seen, outed and confronted. On top of that despite being married and attending a support group, the Jenny part of my life was still a lonely one. The urge to talk to someone about the better half of my life became unstoppable.
There was always going to be a degree of risk in coming out to someone. How could I judge whether this would be a positive step for my progress, or an utter disaster for my personal life, career and everything! As a good one time failed physicist I decided I should come up with a formula!

G = ± (P x R) / (C x h) ,where
G= How Good the outcome will be for me, P= The positivity of the reaction from the individual, R= The closeness of my relationship with the individual, h=Planck's constant (my bit of Physics!). I precisely calculated (complete guesswork!) each value and fed into my old school Casio calculator...ERROR...tried again with my fat fingers....
Success G=42576.726 J/s. That must be a good score!
In the end this endeavour proved exactly 3 things
1) I was never really cut out for academia
2) I am clearly a complete idiot who has just wasted two precious hours of life
3) That school Lied to me. Algebra has no place in the real world!.

I was just going to have to Seize the Day and go for it!
(with just a side order of my usual caution)

I decided to aid my explanation to my colleague, with a couple of pictures. Now as you can see the camera is not my friend (more like my sworn nemesis), and sadly in the words of the mighty Bucks Fizz “The Camera Never Lies”. I would just have to make it fib a bit! I had previously experimented with the supermarket Photo Booth with mixed results (mixed being from awful to absolutely atrocious). So I turned to my cheap Web Cam. This had 2 things going for it. A low resolution meant that my make up didn’t suffer too much scrutiny and secondly I could look at the picture as I composed it. After many attempts I hit the spot. This is the pic attached to my profile on the right, which looks just like me, except younger, prettier and with someone else’s face! I love that pic, but I should really stop using it. Any male interest obtained by use of that image would have to be a serious breech of the Trades Description Act.
Armed with the picture I sat down in my office with my colleague. It was an apt venue as my office had been the first place I had gained the confidence to go out (see part 3). I had no idea what words I should use. “I have to tell you, I am a Transgendered” Seemed so clinical, and I wasn’t really sure it was the right term. In the end I just showed the picture to her and said. “This picture is of me!” She was understandably stunned for a moment. After all I was the official 2nd scruffiest lump in the workforce. My colleague was brilliant though. She stayed calm and said “I think you better explain more”. So I poured it all out, while she listened carefully with reassuring nods in all the right places. In terms of my stupid formula G was really high. I left feeling euphoric, and for the first time a bit unburdened. Of course afterwards I had the odd panic about what I had done. The genie was now out, and who knows where it would end. However on balance it was a big hurdle to overcome and I had done it without landing splat on my face.
There was always a danger with this positive experience. The euphoria would eventually fade. I would need more “victims”! If you have read much of this drivel that passes for my life, you will realise that Vicky is my best friend. At this point in my life I didn’t see so much of her. At that time she was in a relationship and living with her partner. The urge to tell her finally got too much to bear and on Boxing day I phoned her up out of the blue. “Hiya Vix. I need to tell you something”. I sounded unusually serious. “What is it?”, she replied with a degree of concern. “I don’t know how to tell you this“ I said. “Come on tell me, tell me”, she countered with even more concern. “I err…I am errrr…I am a Transvestite”, Im splurted
A moments silence,that was just short of being uncomfortable, then she replied “Thank god for that, I thought you were going to say you were ill or dying!”. “Can I see you. I mean can I see you dressed as a woman…today!”. Vix has never been the most patient of people. “Of course” I said “I would love you to see me, give me a couple of hour” I put the phone down. I was at once delighted, excited and terrified.
I have never taken so much care over my appearance. This was not like just being able to pass in front of strangers. Vicky was important to me and so was her reaction. I wanted to give the best impression I could. I knew that referring to myself simply as a TV would raise almost as many questions as it solved. I didn’t even feel the term TV applied to me. I probably used it for expediency, to save a longer explaination. I knew that she might imagine that I would appear like a screaming drag queen in stupidly high heels and even stupider short skirt, or I would be like a Mrs Doubtfire frumpy figure. I desperately wanted her to see me as I saw myself. An ordinary girl in her mid 30s. I again plumped for my long denim skirt, a fairly simple black short sleeved top, ruched at the bust, my brown boots and my black zip up jacket. I put on my makeup so so carefully, teased my wig, kneaded my false boobs into shape, pulled the belt holding in my waist as tight as possible and set off. I walked up her drive with so much trepidation. I was as scared as I had ever been. Vicky opened the door. I think I barged past her not wanting to stand on ceremony for all her neighbours, mumbling "Hi". I made some pathetic joke saying “I’ve done something different with my hair, can you tell!”. We both stood in the lounge looking at each other for one long moment. Then we hugged. We had never really done this before. I had never been particularly touchy feely as a man. This felt so natural and right as a woman. When we parted Vicky had tears. These were not tears of sadness but of friendship and of relief. She said I looked really good and couldn’t believe it was me. We talked and talked. This inevitably involved me trying to answer Vicky’s machine gun questioning, which was fine by me. It was such an utter relief to be able to talk. I thought back to the years of dressong in secret and the shame and guilt that went hand in hand. Now I was sitting there with my best friend, as almost any two girls would. I am afraid I tended to ignore her partner sitting In the corner. I wasn’t there to see him, and wasn’t sure how a man would react to me. I must admit to feeling a little self conscious at first. This was me and Vix chatting, but it didn’t feel like usual. Different, but not in a bad way. We had been good friends up to then, but now I had now shared the most intimate of secrets. She was the first person to meet me as Jenny apart from Caroline. That moment when we first met as Jenny and Vicky, strengthened our friendship for ever. That day, the idiotic nonsense we usually talked about, was replaced by something else, something much more personal, something that mattered. From that moment we would always be much, much closer (Although we still talk utter drivel at times).
I was sad when it was time to leave. We kissed goodbye, and then to my delighted surprise her partner insisted he kiss me goodbye on the cheek. As small a gesture this was, it was an important one to me. He had treated me like any other female friend of Vicky. I left with an added spring in my step, which resulted in me almost falling flat on my face again. I was so lucky that at that time, at that place, when I needed one, I had a friend like Vicky there for me. She would never see me in that shabby old redundant gender again.
I had taken another step towards that floor to be crossed..

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