I had taken my first steps across the floor. I had no idea at the time though. I still had no plans or targets. At this time I was just enjoying being along for the ride (mixed metaphor alert!). In some ways this was the most exciting time of my life. The success of my first daylight outing, meant the weekend couldn't come along soon enough. All I could think about all week was the freedom and elation I had felt from my first time out.
Never one to buck a winning formula the very next Saturday outing was to be Stafford again. Two main reasons. Firstly I was still confident of not being spotted by anyone who knew me. Secondly I knew the layout. An excursion out still needed careful military style planning, and having confidence in my surroundings meant that if things went pear shaped (and by that I don't mean my waistline!) I would be able to perform a rapid self extraction. How wrong I was. Things went really, really well at first. I even managed to be brave enough to clothes shop in Evans (The big girls shop of choice). I browsed the clothes, but wimped out on using the changing rooms. I wasn’t quite ready for that. This is the only place on the high street that sells shoes in my size 10 so I bought some flatter shoes for walking in (interestingly size 10 in women’s is equivalent to size 11 men’s.. Ok, not interesting really). It was a fantastic feeling to be clothes shopping actually dressed as a woman. To be able to rifle through the racks just like all the other customers. It was a long way from my first furtive purchase as an 18 year old, pretending it was for a girlfriend. I got the odd sideways glance from shoppers, but the staff were all welcoming and kind, and treated me just like the other customers. I was getting more and more confident and getting less worried about people noticing about me as I passed them.
Walking around town I spotted a wedding outside the church. Being a sucker for a wedding dress I sat on a bench to watch. Sitting there I felt ever so calm, relaxed and even a little proud about what I was achieving. It was one of those beautiful sunny and crisp early winter days. I could have stayed there for hours. However, I had to stir myself back to reality. As I carried on around town I found myself looking sideward at my reflection in a shop window, checking out the credibility of my female walk. I have no idea how, but suddenly I was tumbling (seems a small word, I went down more like a felled giant redwood). I was sprawling, face down, skirt up round my waist, fake breasts akimbo and my wig a full 2 foot away from head! As I lay there I froze. I knew the street was busy. As an exercise in fitting in and passing this was just about as unsuccessful as it could be! I would have drawn less attention If I was naked, shouting “look at me” through a loudhailer I looked down at the pavement, now touching my nose, not daring to look up. I heard a lady come over saying "are you alright love" I barely acknowledged this kind lady, and just shooed her away with a mumbled "I'm ok thanks". I sat up against the shop window and tried to get everything back in place. Everyone was doing the British thing of staring while trying desperately not to appear to do so. I heard some sporadic laughter mixed with mumbled “what a shame”s ,from somewhere amongst the throng. Pulling myself together I stood up and positioned my wig as best I could. Shaking I tried to find some sanctuary, and hobbled my way to the bench. As I sat there I felt at my absolute lowest. I just wanted everything to go away. Right then I would have sold my soul not to be transgendered. I felt so foolish, so wrong and so alone. I felt I had no place in the world. I couldn't fight back the tears, but I knew they would mess up my face so I unsuccessfully dabbed them away with my sleeve which probably made things worse. All my earlier confidence and swagger had gone. I couldn't stay on the bench forever and needed to get home. My upset started to turn to anger at myself for being so self pitying. This gave me the catalyst to get moving. As I got up I started to notice the pain and swelling in my ankle. Any semblance of a feminine walk was lost as I limped my way back, but I got back to the car with no further accidents.
Back home, debriefing my thoughts I actually gained some perspective and solace from the experience. As badly as it had gone no lasting harm had been done. (These days I’m sure someone would video me on their phone and put it up on YouTube). In the wide scheme of human tragedy my gender unhappiness condition was hardly Premiership material, more like a kick about in the park. I had just stumbled over, thats all. Still not quite sure what happened. Probably a combination of heels and lack of concentration! I vowed to get straight back on the horse and went out again on the Sunday, with just my now dodgy ankle to remind me not to get complacent. Now I only ever look in windows to window shop.
Next time.... support groups