On September 12th I will turn 30 and in recent months I have been reflecting on life in my twenties. During that decade have gained several very strong friendships, lost more friends than I care to recall, ranted more often than any reasonable person would and even found very brief fame due to my exploits running a website based on Lincoln City.
This article will not be entirely linear, with me bouncing back and forth on several occasions, but hopefully it will all make sense.
And so it begins……
Well let’s start with the obvious, ten years I was obviously still male, it wasn’t until I was nearly 28 before I came out to everyone as, so the majority of this refers to me when I was male and therefore, during that part of this article, I will be referring to myself in my male form at the time, simply because it’s easier.
When I turned twenty I was a fairly laid back kinda guy, regularly seen dressed like I was about to go skating (such as on the right), sporting a beanie hat and a rather scruffy beard. I worked as a chef at Lloyds Bar on the Brayford in Lincoln and was a regular at Sincil Bank, this was back in the days where Lincoln were actually good at football and were winning on a regular basis. I had been running a website based on the club for just under two years and I was loving it.
I didn’t have a lot of close friends, but the ones I did have meant a lot to me, especially a girl who I still simply call M, who I was head over heels in love with. M brought out the best and worst in me, I never felt happier than when I was talking with her and even now she still has a very special place in my heart, but I was very paranoid about her, regularly questioning her motives and generally being a bit of a dick to her. It’s no wonder that she started drifting further and further away as time went on, so much to the point where we have only spoken once since New Year’s Eve 2010.
Anyway, also at the time I was a regular on a message board forum called Rant Rave, introduced to me by my friend Jodi in late 2004. It was a place where you could vent your fury at the world and I did. Social niceties went out of the window and I found myself often offending people, that’s probably one of the reasons why I struggled to hold down a job in my early twenties, not staying in the same job for a length period until I joined Vodafone at the age of 24.
Back in my teens I was fairly approachable, a generally nice person in many ways and I found it exceptionally easy to make friends, but Rant-Rave changed me. All of a sudden I was free to moan and broadcast my opinion about various subjects with as much vitriol as I wanted. If I hated something or thought something was shit, there were no restrictions. All of a sudden I wasn’t afraid of fitting in with the crowd.
Down with the Sickness…
Whilst working at BT (the first time around), I met two girls, Charlie and Ellen. Both would become very good friends and we would regularly go out to party at a place called Sugarcubes (regularly referred to as just Cubes). Even though I had been on nights out since then during my 20s, I haven’t been close to going out to the same level that I did during this time period and it was highly unusual to not see the three of us, and a lot of other people from the regular crowd, in Cubes on a Friday evening.
One night in particular stands out. It was April 2006 and Ellen had organised a night out at Cubes for her birthday. For those of you who aren’t from Lincoln, Cubes is pretty much the only rock venue in Lincoln, and given that I was heavily into my rock music at the time, it was just inevitable I would go. Infact, I spent most Friday nights out at Cubes, I loved the place, even though it was a shitehole and that they seemingly never cleaned it. Ellen then stipulated that she wanted all the lads to go as schoolgirls.
Me and the two Dans on the schoolgirl night out
For the sake of saving time I am not going get fully into what happened on the night out on this blog entry, but if you wanted to read about that night out, you can find it all here – http://www.katejackson84.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/back-when-i-partied-one-epic-night-in.html.
Although I haven’t been to Cubes since early 2012, it has given me some truly memorable experiences of the last 10 years and I would encourage anyone to go to it, if don’t mind sweat dripping off of the wall anyway. It was also one of the few places I could go and not have an ego, unlike many other places…..
I’m not only better than you, but I can prove it…..
It’s little wonder that I am unpopular in any work environment I step into. Despite not intending to upset people in the working environment, I have that ability to definitely do it and at the moment it seems to stem from when I was at Vodafone, more specifically around the age of 26. I had been at Vodafone for nearly 2 years at the point where my manager asks me to start doing something called “MACDs”, basically post-installation project management. My job was to effectively make an amendments to accounts of customers that had already been through the project environment. This wasn’t customer services and the third party consultants were definitely made aware of that by my blunt nature. If something couldn’t be done, or they had pissed around and given me information that wasn’t either correct or didn’t make sense, I would let them know, and that’s what made me gain a 100% quality rating on 933 out of the 934 MACDs I worked on.
The problem with this was that I wasn’t on my own in the team and I was proud of my high quality rating and the fact I never breached any time limits, something I kept making abundantly clear to my fellow team-members, and probably more specifically, Amy. Looking back on it, I’m amazed that Amy didn’t throttle me during our time working together, I am absolutely astounded.
I was such an ego-maniac and the 100% quality rating on all but one MACD was the evidence I would use if questions about my suitability to be there would come up as there were regular complaints from numerous sources about my attitude. As time went on I did become significantly less objectionable, but it’s absolutely amazing that no-one slapped me into next week. Even though I have humbled quite a lot over recent years, I still feel that I rub people up the wrong way at work, especially when I refuse to accept no for an answer.
Work certainly wasn’t the only place where I gained a massive ego during my 20s.
And it’s LLLIIINNNCCCOOOLLLNNN CITY, LINCOLN CITY FC………..
Another reason for my inability to hold down a job was my attitude towards working Saturdays. In my early twenties I was obsessed with going to Lincoln City games, so much to the point where I actually quit one job (part time) because they kept asking me to work on a Saturday. You see, at the time Lincoln City were doing exceptionally well (by their usual standards) and qualifying for the Playoffs on a regular basis, I loved going to watch them play because, unlike now, I had faith in them to succeed.
Most of my spare time was taken up by running a website based on the club and also a Youtube channel where I followed the club around, filming the experiences that came with supporting a lower league football team. This soon took off at a rate I couldn’t even imagine and soon I was featuring in national magazines, such as Zoo and Nuts. I was getting recognised at lower league football grounds that I visited by people that I had never even had a conversation with and although it freaked me out initially, eventually I started getting a bit of an ego with regards to the whole situation, especially when I finished as a Runner Up in Virgin Media’s Ultimate Football Fan competition (I was entered by someone else before anyone asks) in 2007.
Enjoying the delights of MK Dons
My new found ego started alienating a lot of people, that combined with my outspoken views on the club and how they were performing (which included calling the manager at the time an “incompetent piece of scum” (which I have since apologised for) and as fast as I was making new friends, I was making more and more enemies, not that I really gave a shit as at that point I had never been one that needed friends.
As time went on though I started lowering my involvement with writing and producing videos about Lincoln City. I stopped doing the website full time in December 2011 after years of not really caring, and the videos became very intermittent as I realised that I had stopped caring about the club. I still attended every game until moving up to Blackburn in August 2013.
I was still attending games but then on October 8th 2013, after a run of more than 400 games in a row, I missed a game. I had planned on going to the game against Tamworth but ended up being stuck in an unscheduled meeting until 5:45, by which time it would have been impossible for me to get to work on time. After that I still attended when I could until the end of 2013 when I decided just not to go at all and since then I have only been once, and the 0-0 draw with Dartford was not enough to convince me to go on a regular basis again, and now I will only go to games that are near where I am living at the time.
When I do go to games it is nice to see some of the people that I didn’t actually alienate, but all in all I am not that fussed if I lose the friendships with most people, and that extends to outside of football as well.
The ying to my yang…..
Despite that last statement, there was one friendship I was very keen to maintain and that was the one with
M. Oh M, how I do talk about you in so that people will understand both the positive and negative impact you had on me? Well let’s start with the basics, I had known M since I was around 17 and I had fallen madly in love with her and before I met her, I was a pretty normal kid, but M changed all that. She was Helen to my Paris, Sorsha to my Madmartigan, Leia to my Han, you get the idea, she completed me. Even now, even at a time where I will soon be the same gender as M, she still completes me to some extent.
Despite all the positives and the fact she has said otherwise on numerous occasions, I kept (unintentionally) treating her like shit, constantly being paranoid about her feelings towards me and looking back on it, even though it was my choice to end the friendship, it is now obvious that one way or another, the writing was on the wall for the friendship and although I was always love her.
M was one of the few people that could make me laugh and cry, love her and hate her, feel happy and feel sad all at the same time, and she is genuinely the only person who had she asked me not to, I wouldn’t have started to change gender.
We haven’t spoken for several years at this point and we are perhaps better off without being in the lives of each other. It’s a shame really, because that could have been something beautiful, but I don’t think either of us were ultimately good for each other.
M certainly wasn’t the only friend that I lost in my 20s and the one that changed everything for me was the falling out with Jodi. Now, I’ve covered what happened with Jodi far, far too many times in the past few years so I’m not going to go too deeply into it, but the reason I keep mentioning this incident in my blogs is because it is the moment I finally decided it was time to become Kate.
After initially being exceedingly down about the friendship falling apart, so much to the point where I started going to a psychiatrist for several weeks, I decided it was time to move on, and thus I decided it was time to do what I had been wanting to do for nearly 28 years at that time and become female.
And in strolls Kate
July 2nd 2012, aged 27……
During my teens I had been very open about wanting to change gender with my friends, although some experiences made me a lot more guarded to the situation and when I came out to everyone on July 2nd 2012, it sparked, as you would expect, a rather large surprise amongst the majority of my friends, and I can’t say that I blame them to be honest.
My colleagues at work reacted with the same shock that you would expect with people who saw me on a regular basis. They had found out a few days before I came out to my friends and started living as a woman, and it didn’t even really set in that people were being told until I was doing work whilst they were all being taken away in groups to be told. I was listening to the below song and all of a sudden everything was changing and it overwhelmed me to the point where I randomly started breaking into tears at work. Those at work that hadn’t been told at that point noticed and thought someone had died. It was probably the most intense and overwhelming feeling of emotions that I have had in my life up until now.
The first few weeks were really strange and looking back now all seem a blur. It’s hard to describe how easily and quickly life can change and even now, more than two years later, I still haven’t fully grasped how huge and eventful those few weeks were.
I’m not going to go fully into things as I’ve covered this subject far too many times before, but even now, over two years on from the first time I revealed myself to be transgender, I still get the terrified feeling whenever I leave my house, not to the same extent as the first time, but certainly still very active in my mind.
Ever since day one though, my friends have been awesome and even those that have ended the friendship haven’t used that as the reason, which is kind of cool.
Suddenly freeing myself from the burden of hiding that I wanted to change gender allowed me to pursue other previously undiscovered opportunities. I regularly started applying for new jobs and not just in and around the East Midlands. I came very close to moving to America and Canada at one point, but alas, neither came to fruition.
The story of my mangled Micra
Life during my 20s certainly wasn’t free from excitement though and after passing my driving test in 2006, at the first attempt might I add, I became a bit of a dickhead driver, regularly driving at over 100mph in my Micra, driving without my hands on the wheel and making my friends a nervous wreck by attempting dangerous overtakes. I was a horrible driver but in an almost ironc twist of fate, the only accident that I had was when I was actually driving sensibly.
I was driving home from work in September 2010, just a few weeks after I had turned 26, taking the back roads from the A17 to Brant Road when all of a sudden the back end of my Micra spun out whilst going around a corner. I didn’t panic and applied the breaks but it was too late and my car was heading to the edge of a hill and the car went over the side and flipped several times before eventually settling in the middle of a farm. It took me a few minutes for what had happened to settle in before I climbed out of the car and surveyed the damage. How I only escaped with some whiplash I will never know based on the state of the Micra, and to this day I have not been the same type of driver.
Despite the accident not actually being my fault or the fault of my driving, I became a considerably safer driver and when I do actually rent a car these days, I take my time with trips and the route from Manchester to Lincoln used to take me barely over 90 minutes, now it takes me close on 2 hours because I have changed my driving style.
And Megan puts everything into perspective….
So as I write this blog entry on the eve of my 30th birthday, what are my plans for my 30s? I’ve decided not to let other people control my life or emotions, it happened far too often with Marinda and Jodi and I finished my 20s with a far less optimstic view of things than when I had started. That was until I spoke to my friend Megan.
Megan is a great friend I gained from the Rant/Rave era. In a time where I don’t want to call anyone my best friend as that’s what’s driven me apart from too many people, Megan is the closest thing that I have to one, even though we rarely speak these days. Megan is from America and therefore has a different life perspective than me, and after talking to her recently about how my 20s have been, more specifically the negatives that were a result of the situations with Marinda and Jodi, she put it all into some context for me (the below is exactly how she wrote it).
“And with Jodi and M, I’m going to be real…. that shit sucks… they were fucktards, but fuck them. You cant blame them for your personal voids or unhappiness… that’s all you. It sounds shitty to say but staying hung up is no ones fault but your own. and Don’t take that as a tear-down take it as something empowering. You have all the power to move on and at the end of the day you’re the only one that effects how you live and act.”
“Hate is a pointless emotion… even if they were shitty they don’t deserve that and honestly hate is just a way to attempt to smother love.. the point is that you need to take responsibility for your emotions and feelings and own them. feelings can never be wrong, but you have to make a conscious choice to evaluate all of them and move toward what will make you your best person.”
She is right, what is the point of hating something or something because of what has happened in the past? After I spent most my 20s in such a negative space, I am going to end this all with a positive.
And my bucket list for my 30s……..
Although I have no intention of dying during my 20s, I have a lot that I want to achieve during it, and the below are just a few;
- By the time I reach 40, I want to have been to 20 capital cities. I am currently at 3 (London, Cardiff and Paris)
- To find a job I actually like and stick at it
- To conquer more of my fears, and if I lose the necessary weight to be able to do it, jump out of a plane
- Finish writing the book I have been writing for the past few years
- Learn how to play at least one instrument
- Learn to speak another language fluently
- Weigh under 15 stone, something which I haven’t done since 2005
And probably the most important one of all
- Be a better person and friend