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Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Differently Wired

Yes, it's been a long time since the last post. Sorry about that. More about that a bit later.

Meanwhile, in deference to this Thursday's Transgender Day of Visibility on 31 March, I have finally taken a step that I've been thinking about doing for a long time since I became a member of my company's Pride Network committee, and finally came out to my fellow committee members as bi-gender/gender fluid by sharing a version of the picture below on a Teams chat. 

The opportunity came after the end of one our our Pride Network virtual coffee mornings (I prefer real coffee) in which we flagged upcoming event days for the month to the members including TDoV and fielded a bit of discussion about the different descriptions and pronouns within the trans spectrum. (Well-meaning and supportive cis allies have a fear of 'getting it wrong' and being called out/cancelled after reading too many scare stories on social and redtop media. It's such a shame when it really boils down to 'don't ask a trans colleague  or friend something you'd consider intrusive or rude to ask anyone else'.)

Anyway, when we talked afterwards about how the meeting had gone, I got the opportunity that it had never been quite the right moment for before to introduce them to  Susie. (Though I've still to actually tell them her name.)  It's something that had been nagging at me for a while as a feeling of mild imposter syndrome, being a member of a Pride Network intended to encourage to feel safe about being out and open at work and yet not feeling ready to do so myself. It's still only the committee - five other people - so far. Whether and when I extend that wider is another matter, and frankly I don't see how that would make much difference to how I work.

Back to that long gap between posts: 
Can you forget about your transness? 

I don’t think you can stop being trans, or forget that you are trans/bi-gender/fluid/NB or how you think about about yourself.

But it seems that the importance, and the need or even desire to express that part of yourself can wax and wane. 

It’s been  while. Nothing drastic, but between the cold, the weather, various health problems (more L’s than mine, though that's little consolation) and current affairs, the opportunities or indeed enthusiasm for expressing as Susie have drifted into the background. There were even a couple of days when I did have the opportunity of a day to myself, and in the past, in better weather, I would have looked forward to all week as an opportunity to spend the day as Susie and even get out for a couple of hours for a walk. Instead I found that I really couldn’t summon any enthusiasm (or, to be honest, any real desire) for the prospect, or for the hassle of getting changed, and instead spent the day working, reading and picking over the one of the never ending rotation of jigsaw puzzles that have been a constant fixture on the dining room table since lockdown.

These things come and go. It’s hard to think that this is a permanent state of affairs or the ‘new normal’. More, perhaps, a timely and needed respite from the constant background insistence of Susie’s presence that will almost certainly return at some point, when we will have re-engage with that delicate negotiation between desire, need and opportunity. 

[Minor update. In fact, the combination of opportunity, weather and desire have come together on a couple of days in the last month when I decided it would be nice to spend the day, or part of it, as Susie again. I was also working remotely on one of those days, and thought it would be a nice idea to do it in a smart office outfit rather than the usual shabby and shapeless jumper.]

This next bit has lain dormant in my draft box for a while now. Perhaps now is as good a time as any to revive it.

I have been circling back to something I wrote around around the end of last year, in Domestic Bliss?  where I mentioned my reaction to being told in jest that I would make someone a good housewife. (I hoped it was in jest and not a veiled proposal, because the person who said it at the time was hardly a match for George Clooney - nor even, to be honest, for Osgood Fielding III.)

Anyway, it set me to thinking back to other times when my reaction to a comment made me realise that I was wired differently to other boys around me, and I wondered if anyone else had similar memories and might like to share them.

The earliest one I can remember was when I probably 7 or 8 when we were staying at a cousin’s house. For some reason a shared joke (probably rude) between the two of us had set us both off giggling and when this continued through the evening and into dinner the head of the house finally lost patience and exploded that if we continued to behave like silly schoolgirls then perhaps we should be dressed like that and sent to school that way the next day. We shut up, embarrassed and abashed, and the meal continued in silence. Looking back now, I know that the threat almost certainly wouldn’t or couldn’t have been carried out, but at the time it awoke a feeling that must have been dormant for some while: a mixture of fear, shame but also the thrill that it would - could - actually happen. Although not enough to want to test it. Indeed, I’m not even sure even now whether the overriding part of that thrill was the desire to dress or be dressed as a girl or the prospect of humiliation.

The image in my head
 
What was more likely (still weirdly cute, though)














I have to acknowledge that in my private moments that uneasy mixture still remains part of me. Some childhood things never completely go away, although the thrill still get from seeing a box of proper metal Meccano with it brass gears and screws or my abiding love for Milne’s Winnie The Pooh are perhaps a bit more defensible even in my dotage. There have been several other occasions in the intervening years, perhaps for a later post, but that first memory still feels somehow formative.