Today marks seven weeks since I landed in Portugal and my new home of Lisbon. It’s been a seven weeks that have been very up and down, and that’s putting it nicely. I started by wanting to go home within just a few hours, but now it is the opposite as I want to stay. There is one particular reason for that, and it is a reason I’ve never used for wanting to stay somewhere, my friends.
So, as usual, a song, and there is a particular reason I have chosen this one, which I will get onto in a minute…..
So I should start at the beginning. I moved to Portugal in mid-April, but I had another job offer that I was waiting on confirmation of, meaning I was treating this very much as a working holiday. I think I came across as really arrogant because in my head I wasn’t going to be there long. I didn’t really attempt to form friendships in that time, but then the confirmation came that the offer from the other company had fallen through, I was suddenly stuck with people who must have had such a negative opinion of me after two weeks. I wouldn’t have blamed them if they had hated me. I’ve spent the subsequent weeks trying to mend those relationships, and it wasn’t until the last few days that I actually felt liked by them.
I spent the next few weeks following the collapse of the other job trying to figure out what to do next. I suddenly got contacted by an old friend from school. She was after some help for her husband, who came out as transgender to her and was having some difficulties in the early stages of the transition. I’ve always liked helping people, so I had a chat with him over Facebook and I realised that I was passionate about helping people. I’d enjoyed it during my time at Odeon, helping those I managed develop into managers themselves (and one would now rank above me if I was still there), so I decided that in the quiet times at work (I work in a call centre, helping the American and Canadian customers of a Boston based client) I would start writing a book about growing up as a transgender kid, offering advise to those who haven’t come out yet, and also preparing those who were planning on transitioning with what to realistically expect.
The format of the book is going to be that I offer a piece of advice, but then share a story from my life that corresponds, so say for example I have one that is basically about how your tastes will change once you’re on hormones. The book is coming on well, and I’m getting a lot of positive feedback from those I’ve sent selected chapters to (then again, they could just be being nice). However, the problem with going over past experiences is that whilst there were some very high highs, there were some horrendous lows, and reliving those has been very difficult.
Those of you who have known me for a while will remember the toll that what happened with Maz and a girl in the book that I have referred to as “Jane” took on me. The latter of which resulted in me finally deciding it was time to transition, and the other was seven years of mental toxicity. To quote my friend Charlie (who is one of the few friends I have from before all of this started happening) in a conversation I had with her last night, they were both “bat shit crazy” and “horrible people”. Both took it out of me at the time, and reliving both relationships over the past week has put me in a terrible frame of mind. It finally reached a tipping point when I was walking to a bowling alley with the group on Friday night. I was talking with Shantel (who I’ve previously talked about on here) about Maz, and how suddenly I felt guilty about what had happened between us in the end (which I won’t reveal on here).
Shantel assures me that what happened wasn’t my fault and that the toxicity was a two way thing. I had nothing to be ashamed of and it wasn’t my fault. I just freeze as the emotion pours through me and I can’t hold it in anymore. I walk off in tears. It’s the first time I’ve spoken about Maz with someone and they’ve said that it couldn’t possibly all me my fault, and I shouldn’t feel guilt for the whole situation. It was the first time that someone has ever reassured me that it wasn’t all my fault. It was an overwhelming feeling and I just had to separate myself for a bit, walking off in the tears that I was really struggling to hold back. After ten or so minutes, as well as Shantel and another girl (who I’m not sure if she wants to be mentioned by me, so I won’t name her) talk me into feeling better.
Or so I thought.
Joining the rest of the group, everyone is curious about why I suddenly left. I sit talking with one of the group about it, but I feel it coming on again and I couldn’t hold it in. Only one of the entire group (another who I’m not sure if she wants to be mentioned by name, so I will simply call her Nova for now) knows the full extent of what I’ve been going through, and she immediately moves from the other end of the table, helping me through it. She is with me for at least fifteen minutes, helping me through everything, again repeating what the others had said, and that this becomes the turning point. This is the start of recovery.
I now sit here, around 36 hours after all of this happened, still uneasy with my past, but I’m determined for it not to define who I am going forward. I can’t change my past, but I can learn from the mistakes and that pain to make sure I never go through the same sort of things again. I have a new life, both in gender and location. I have some great friends and they actually seem to care about me. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I belong.
Seven weeks ago I was convinced that I would only be here for a few days, but now, other than trips home to see family every now and then, I can’t picture myself elsewhere.
I am happy.
Humata, Hukhta and Hvarsta