Today I finally had the opportunity to meet a dear friend of mine and her little newborn baby. I think I was a little nervous before meeting her maybe because there would be this other little person there also. I think I also felt some expectations on me as a woman and some image of how women “should” react to babies. I know this is a bit stupid but somehow these thoughs tend to find their way into my head anyway. She looked really happy and just beautiful with her little jewel in her arms when se opened the door. The first weeks were very tiresome for her so it was nice to see that she had got some strength back. The little boy was so sweet and cute and it turned out to be a little bit hard to not just sit there staring at him. There is something so natural and spontane how babies move and make faces. It is a little bit strange to see a person you know well in this new role as a mother I guess because of some sense of absolute responsibility for the child but also some degree of maturity, being a grown-up. I also felt a little bit proud to see her with her child, making it through the pregnancy and seeing how much she loves him. I had bought a tiny baby dress in green and brown which was for the baby and the grown-ups got chocolate! The parents seemed very pleased but the little one naturally had more important stuff to focus on: sleeping and eating 🙂 We had a rather long walk along the waterside and I had the chance to catch up and hear what these first weeks had been like. I wished I had been able to be more supportive then but I had this strange cold/infection that lasted almost two weeks unfortunately. Anyway it will be interesting to see him grow up (they say it goes real fast!) and will take the chances it get to do that. The chances of any children of my own seem a bit distant now so maybe this is as close as it gets.
Today my Dad came to visit me at work. We have not always had the best relationship because of my transition process which he had really hard to accept previously. However, it feels much better now and I think we are both are trying to make the best of our relationship. No matter how you put it family is family but on the other hand it is so important for me to be respected and accepted for who I am know. So I was a little bit nervous about his visit after all – not much but a little. Maybe because I feel so comfortable at work now that I don’t want them to see someone being less comfortable let alone my father. However it went just fine and I showed him around in our rather cool (and large) facilities at the experimentation lab. He had brought some presents for me from their last visit to France and it was a lot of nice herbs, soaps and the cutest node pad saying “Un petit mot d’Alexandra”. But there was a gift-wrapped thing as well and I was really touched by it. It was a beautiful necklace made of a piece of lava with silver details. It was exactly my style and taste and I could not have chosen anything better myself. No matter how I put it was a great affirmation that I really needed. Thank you, Dad!
I am watching CNN Live from Washington D.C. now and I am taken by the enthusiasm and mood that seems to be filling the city. Some expect 1 million people or more to see the inauguration tomorrow. Listening to all the comments from journalists and especially african-american civil rights activitists make me see a lot of parallells with the situation for transgendered people. The right to be treated equally in the judiciary system, discrimination, access to work and education. Comparing these statements with the viewpoint released recently by the Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner makes the parallell almost scary. Just replace a few words and it boils down to the same things. People are discriminated and abused based on the way they look. Just because they look a certain way (black or unclear gender expression) makes people with predjudices assume a lot of stuff about them as a group. I am also reading Barack Obama’s book “Dreams from my father” and I immediately recognised his experiences of being black as a young person with some of the experiences and fears I had 10 years ago. It is hard to be judged so hard just because you look a certain way.
I know the US is a very religious country and that the southern parts of the country (where many african-american people live) isn’t exactly known for being tolernant towards LGBT people but I hope that people who have experiences from being discriminated can also work to extend basic human rights also to our group someday. I hope President Obama will reach out to the LGBT community and use his own experiences to make true change happen. Maybe allow armed service members to transition while in service instead of a big risk of being discharged or otherwise treated badly based on a strict binary idea of gender.
Today I went downtown to pickup my new hairpiece (same hairdo and color as before) at my hair dresser’s and I was met by Gunilla who I think was the first I met there 7 or 8 years ago. Back then I had just moved to Stockholm and felt I needed a new palce where I would be comfortable to buy my wigs at. I had positive experiences from Carl M Lundh in Malmö so I went to one of their Stockholm stores. Today she was about to close the store and asked me how life was and how it felt to be a woman now. It is a hard question to answer other than that it feels great. It is such a lenghty process that I guess it is hard to notice all the differences and it is difficult to know why if I experience something particular. We talked for a while about how life is for transgendered people in general and how many that is probably out there but too scared to do anything about it. Then she looked at me and told me how much she thought I had changed over the years since she first met me. She thought I had become much more soft and feminine and grown into the woman I am today. It is interesting to hear these things from people who don’t really know you but see glimpses of you a couple of times a year. I talked to one of my closest friends in the evening and he also agreed that I have changed a lot since back then.
Today I met an old friend who has known me from my first years as an officer in the Armed Forces. She learned quite early about my life situation and was nice and supportive back then. However, it was before I had been able to make the decision to start the formal transition process (which I did in 2004). We lost contact after that I and was a little bit worried that I had lost her and it was maybe natural to think it had to do with the transition process since I have lost a few other friends (from the Armed Forces) who were close to me back then. Mainly I guess it was my own insecurity. However, this New Year I suddenly got a New Year’s wish on my phone and it was her. We decided to meet for coffeé (what else nowadays:) and I was really looking forward to seeing her but I guess a tiny bit nervous as well. The feeling when I saw her and the warm hug removed all of this and I was so happy to see her. We spent the evening talking about life, love and work and it felt like it was only a few months since we met. I remembered how wise she is and how I value talking about her about the experience of being a woman in the society but also in the Armed Forces of course.
Transitioning while in the Armed Forces went more or less just fine for me but there is always the past to relate to. I have found that people from Air Force that I have been working with during my early days in uniform are the ones that seem most insecure or even uncomfortable around me. It is of course a little bit strange for me because the natural instinct when you see somebody that you recognize you smile and says hello. Sometimes it seems like they don’t recognize me (which I guess is good) or they seem to be a little unsure how to react. So I usually have to wait until I have met them a few times before things starts to return somewhat to normal. This still makes me a bit nervous when I go bigger meetings where these people might show up.
Therefore it means so much to me to have at least a few people in Armed Forces who know me from before but still respect and value me as a woman. And being a good friend as well just adds icing to the cake.
I think I got to know Malinda when she was working for RFSL Ungdom (Youth) and through FaceBook we started to write to each other. We decided to meet at a place called Pause in the middle of the Södermalm island in central Stockholm. It was a nice place with a modern and airy feeling and more cosy than the first expression gave me the feeling of. We sat there talking for hours and I enjoyed it a lot. Was exactly what I needed again – talking about life and everything with a very nice person. I think it is something special to be in the middle of a big city, meeting a friend for a Café Latte, talking and occassionally glance on people walking past on the streets. I am a city girl, no question about it.
Finished off the day by picking up a dear friend at Arlanda Airport.
Although I was feeling a little bit sick today I went for a “fika” (Swedish that means anything from coffee to a full meal although not in a restaurant) with a new friend of mine. It was dark and just when I had parked my car it started snowing. The streets were not crowded at all and it was a rather cosy feeling to walk around in the increasing snow fall. I had selected a place called Café 60 which is open until 2 am which is quite unusual here in Sweden. We found the place very crowded but found ourselves a spot in the corner with two nice armchairs. I think I was a bit starved by social interactions by then so it was so great to sit down and talk to her. She is a bit younger than me but she is not a straight woman either which I always feel nice. We had long conversations about important things like love, life and dreams.
After a couple of cups of tea/latte we decided to head off to a theatre to pick up some tickets she had reserved and I learned that “Dårfinkar och Dönickar” was playing there. For some reason I wasn’t aware of the story which is about a girl who in a protest cuts her hair short and at the first day at school is called up as “Simon” instead of “Simone”. I think I like to see that play, maybe together with my friend.
We continued talking a lot more and I was again fascinated how rich and different life can be. I feel so grateful that there are people around me that I can have these talks with. It is good for the soul and I had a sense of harmony when I got back home.
This night a dear friend of mine went into labour at the hospital and gave birth to the cutest little boy early in the morning. Both P and the little baby are just fine and resting at the hospital right now. This is a lucky kid who will have a wonderful mother to introduce him to the life in our world. Warm congratulations (Grattis!) to her and to the dad M!
This has been a really intensive year for me. A lot things happened I think it could be good to try to summarize it a bit. Maybe I can go back later and compare my summary with what I have written during the year. In all I posted 134 different posts to this blog during 2008 so I guess there are plenty of emotions and experiences in there.
This I year I finally got my transfer to the Joint Concept Development and Experimentation Centre in Enköping and it was great to start working there, especially since the people there had been struggling to get me transferred there. It was great to focus on our project and I think we made nice progress over the year ending in a rather extensive report in the summer. Had a chance to visit Las Vegas this year which was great despite a nasty cold and the EMC World 2008 conference was just very interesting. Spent a lot time in the United Kingdom this year too which resulted in a lot of interesting discussions with smart people. I the autumn we worked like crazy to have our experiment up and running in early November. Made a speech at the Swedish Documentum User Group which later took me to Prague as a speaker at Momentum 08 which was also a great experience. Good some really nice feedback on my speech and had really interesting discussions with Managers of different Documentum products and solutions. It turned out that we are doing pretty cool stuff in our lab.
So that was work. On the personal side I think I got my energy back after last Christmas. The time after the second surgery was tougher than expected and it was great to be able to let that go. I started taking a new medication and I got another welcome boost in body a months or so after which felt great. Had my one-year checkups in Spring and everything seemed to be great but it was also rather nice to have a chance to sit back and talk to my counselor and psychaistrist at the Transgender clinic again. There are always experiences in life which is nice to talk about. The big thing this year was of course my breast augmentation surgery which I did in late August. I decided that I wanted to do it in January or so but it was not after seeing my surgeon in May it was decided for real. Looked forward to it but I did not really think I understood how important it was for me until now more or less. I was a bit nervous before the surgery but everything went fine and was at home 24 hours after the procedure. The pain wasn’t so bad this time (I have been lucky there) so again it was the psychologial aspect that was the hardest this time again. The mobility restrictions and sick leave made me feel a bit lonely and I struggled again to be able to ask my friends for help but I was glad I did although. This year I also felt more emotional than ever before and it made the summer the most intense one I have had so far. Being closer to my emotions is both great and scary at the same time because of the vulnerability it brings along. One of my dearest friends helped my buy a bathing suit which was an important step for me although I ended up being to scared and shy to actually use it later in the summer. However in December I felt really good about my new body and it was pure joy to go shopping for lingerie which also made me strong enough to use the women’s locker room for the first time. Those boobs really made a huge difference for me and I am not ashamed of my body the same way as before any longer.
The other big thing this year was that I met A and felt love for the first time in a long time, if ever. I think I felt more relaxed and open this Spring than ever before and felt more comfortable with myself then ever before. We started seeing each other in March and we found each other right away and soon sensed that there something special about her. We took it real slow and it wasn’t until Stockholm Pride that we got some more extensive quality time together. The evening at the opening ceremony at Skansen was just magical where I sort of felt “love is in the air” and the special feeling of being with someone enclosed by the spirit of Pride. Later in the evening we “talked” for the first time and things turned out to be more complicated then I thought. She wanted to take things further but couldn’t but I kept my hopes up anyway a couple of more months. Maybe I should have understood but I guess feeling the hope of love was a great feeling and it felt right to not give up. She seemed worth waiting for I thought but in November I guess I felt a need for some affirmation at least and ended up wanting to know how she felt for me again. Then it unfortunately became very clear that she wasn’t ready for a relationship for a while. I took it real hard so the autumn became a tough one of first feeling a bit lonely in my everyday life which I guess was because I longed for someone to be there for me. Losing the hope of love at this time did not exactly made it easier. A months or so later I feel much better and I am really starting to leave the sad feelings behind me and I hope we can continue a friends. I had a chat with her today on my computer and it felt better than I expected and her suggestion of us being able to talk about our feelings seemed healthy. I guess it is still hard to keep it on a good level. Sometimes I guess I also forget that this has not been easy for her either. Got a little sad anyway in the end and I guess that is why I am writing this post to be able to process it a bit further.
I hope 2009 will be the year when my princess will show up, seduce me and let me give her my love. I guess I can only be as open and positive as I can.