Sunday, 26 September 2010

A great night out - sorry long post ahead!

Well I’m sitting on the sofa at my friends with a terribly sore throat, and a ringing in my ears, and more than a little tired after only sleeping for four hours.  But I feel great.  (OK it’s Sunday morning now and I am sitting on my own sofa ;p)  I have a feeling this one may be long…  Sorry.  (Gulp just counted and it’s getting on for 1800 words!)

Before going out there was a party in the office for a couple of people that left at the end of last month.  A good time was had, and it was possibly the last BBQ that I’m going to have this year.  It did mean that I didn’t even start getting ready until quite late – and that I couldn’t just get changed, I had to shower as I someone volunteered me to light the BBQ (I have a reputation as a pyromaniac for some reason…), so I smelled a little smoky.

I left to get ready, had a coffee and showered.  As I could not decide what to wear I had taken pretty much every outfit I had, plus some things that I had borrowed from Mrs Stace.  So I started trying on each of my outfits to try and decide what to wear.  I half-dressed when the earth trip switch for the flat tripped.  I am now standing half dressed in pitch darkness, and I have a suitcase on the floor open with all sorts of things lying around making moving around difficult.  The other problem was being half dressed.  It takes me back to something my mum said when I first told them.  In the mornings when visiting I would put on trousers and make myself and early morning coffee.  My mum commented on that saying surely if I feel I am a woman I would not do this topless.  In male mode I don’t have a problem.  However, here I was, as Stace, in a skirt and tights but with only my bra on top.  I struggled trying to find my jacket that I took with me and struggled into it holding it closed before going out of the bedroom to see what was up with the power.  There is no way I could have left the room without the jacket on, and yet 30 mins earlier I was walking in just jeans to ask my friend something.

Anyway, he managed to get the power back on (it seems my coffee killed his microwave – sorry) and then the fashion show began.  I tried on nearly every outfit I had taken with me, asking for input.  With the help of my friend I decided on a knee length beige canvas skirt (he said that was the one I looked most comfortable in).  I matched it with a splash of colour using a turquoise top under the black jacket and then started in the shoes. I tried all 4 pairs that I took with me and in the end I went with the shoes that Mrs Stace brought for the final dance evening in June.  Then it was just getting my make-up and hair done and I was ready to leave.  I managed to poke myself in the eye with both my eye shadow applicator and my mascara brush…  Still I managed to get everything done well enough (considering what I forgot this trip was my hair mouse and wax – when will I remember everything…)

And so we left, me more than a little nervous - walking there was one of the things that I was forcing myself to do.  It was dark, and the streets were empty when we started out.  We reached the first corner and there was a group of teenagers hanging around.  We passed them without difficulty, with a bit of distance between us though, and carried on.  We passed a few people on the way, and I started to relax when nobody gave me a second look.  I also started to question my shoe size.  I take a 39 (euro size wise) in most shoes, but court shoes I take a 40.  Or so I thought.  I am wondering if I should stick with 39 and just make sure that I break the shoes in - after a few hundred meters they did feel like they were starting to slip a little…

We reached the cafe and suddenly I got really nervous again.  This wasn’t passing people in the street anymore, this was going into a packed bar and being spoken to.  We walked in, said hi to a few people who knew me from drinking there occasionally, but had never met Stacy, and found a couple of stools by the bar.  My friend ordered the drinks and I tried to get comfortable.  So far, well I wouldn’t say so good, but I had at least managed not to run away… 

The evening was raising money for charity, and the two drag queens who were MC’ing the event come over and said hello.  And I did something really stupid…  “And so what’s your name?” “, um, Stace!”  Christ first time out with people and even I get my name wrong, at that point I did want the ground to open up.  But it passed and the evening carried on.  Until my friend also ‘him’ed me.  And then sat apologising, saying he had promised himself not to do that.  So that was two mistakes, one of them from me!

But.  I got into a few conversations, brought some raffle tickets, and was having a good time.  My friend made me order some drinks.  The entertainment was good, as I commented at the time; what is it with some Dutch music that when you hear it on the radio you want to throw the radio out of the window, but in a café with lots of people, and a bit of alcohol, it works.

One of the women that I met was someone who transitioned 15 years or so ago.  We had a very brief ‘hello’ type chat, but her parting words were ‘Maak je geen zorg, je zit er goed uit’ (Apologies to those who understand Dutch if I messed the sentence up).  Roughly translated: ‘Don’t stress yourself, you look fine.’ That comment put me on cloud nine for some time.

Then came the raffle draw, now I don’t have luck with raffles, and I only had 5 tickets.  But I also know how my luck runs and on the day when I’m out in public for the first time, not wanting to draw attention to myself I knew I was going to win something.

And so…  When a vibrator gets pulled out of the box of prizes I’m sitting in my seat thinking ‘please, no, please…’  It wasn’t, phew.  A few more prizes get pulled, and then there is another vibrator.  And I win it.  So I have to walk into the spotlight, in front of the entire bar to pick up my prize.  Thankfully I think that enough people know that it was my first day so there were not the calls from everyone watching that there could have been.  Either that or my terror blocked it all out…

A bit more music and the second draw took place.  And what do you know, I win again!  A DVD this time.  This time the walk to pick it up was much easier.  Maybe the more subtle nature of the prize helped, or maybe I was getting more comfortable.

The draw over, and with everything going so well (except someone stealing my stool when I went to the bathroom) when I noticed that the woman who complimented me was outside on her own so I went to speak to her.  Now I am not going to put the details of the talk into the blog, I am still working through some of the things that we spoke about.  But there are some lighter things that I’ll put in.  She commented that provided I learnt to do my hair (getting there, but forgetting the wax didn’t help…) that she thought I was in a good position to be Stace, saying my face shape was soft enough and my voice OK even without yet seeing a speech therapist.  It got heavy in places, which are the bits that I am not going to get into yet, and there were tears in my eyes at a few points during the conversation.

It’s the first time I have spoken face to face with someone who has gone through this and emerged o the other side, and it was so great to be able to speak to someone who knows what I’m going through, and the fears that I have.  She has a fantastic attitude, from what I saw, and I look forward to seeing her again.

The end of the evening came, and my friend and I left to walk home.  On the way to the café I forced myself to walk with confidence.  On the way back there was no forcing in there, I was just walking back being me.  And even with the wine inside me I managed not to fall off of the heels – which gave the bonus of not breaking my ankle.  But, by the time we reached his flat I was so happy to take the shoes off!  The balls of my feet were telling me that they had done enough, with one of them slightly blistered.  I asked Mrs Stace when I got home if where I got the blister was normal (I was still thinking about the size of the shoes) and to paraphrase she just said ‘Yup, it’s painful – get used to it’.

On the walk home he got an SMS from someone in the café: ‘Tell Stacy that I have respect for her’.  What a way to end the evening :)

My friend and I sat talking for an hour or so – about the night, about my life in general.  Some bits were again heavy.  There were a few more tears followed, but it was a good chat.  We gave up at 3:30am and went to get some sleep.  I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.  Unfortunately I was awake again 4 hours later – Saturday was not a good day for me, I was shattered!

Any regrets?  Yes, I got too emotional – I feel an idiot for the amount of times I either had tears in my eyes, or on my cheeks…

Thanks to all for making the night a good one, and to Dave for inviting me along.  I have to do that again!


  1. Congratulations!

    I am very glad to read that there were no confidence-ruining bad experiences and that everything went so well.

    "those" conversations do get a little heavy at times, don't they. Cheer up!

  2. Stace, this was a huge, no enormous step. I kept telling you that you were selling yourself short. But I understand the feeling we are our own worst critic. Only because we know who we are but always fear the outside worlds doesn't see us that way.


    And yes I have had a few of those conversations, myself. They are powerful but they do help.

  3. There you go, confirmation that Stacy is a viable life form and deserves to run free.

    I am sure you will soon find these excursions to be normal, good for you.

    Caroline xxx

  4. Wow. That makes for quite a story. Would it be wrong of me to say well done? I think you did brilliantly. I can think of a few folk who wouldn't have gone up to collect a suggestive raffle prize - so kudos to you for toughing it out.

    Bad news on the blisters, but are they a happy pain? Something that reminds you of how far you've come along? :)


  5. Congratulations Stace! It sounds like you did just fine.

    Here is a little something stop those blisters from forming in the balls of your feet, when wearing heels.

    Melissa XX

  6. Shoes too tight or too loose, both can be ultimately painful. The insert idea may be the best.

    Your description of your attitude to going 'topless' during the power outage was very interesting.

    In all, it does sound like a great night, with prizes to remind you!

  7. This sounds like a very successful evening overall. And you told it with humour and grace! So I imagine you went through the evening with humour and grace, even if sometimes conversations got heavy. It's OK to cry. That's what waterproof mascara is for.

    It's funny about shoes. I have shoes that I absolutely love. They hurt my feet, but somehow it's a pain I can endure. Suffering for fashion isn't really suffering at all. Well, until the next day. :)

    Congratulations on a great evening, and many more to come!

  8. Jenny: Thanks - don't worry I'm perfectly happy. I'm embaressed of the tears, but the conversation was a good one.

    Nothing confidence ruining thankfully, just a very good night!

    Kelli: :) Thanks. I suppose the confidence will come with time. Walking home I had plenty - it didn't even cross my mind that it was Stace walking back (something that was on my mind on the way there). Just that *I* was walking home after a great night out.

    Caroline: Since recently viable wasn't really the problem, cost was - both personal and work wise.

    I've got to plan more though. It was a great night out, and once I was settled it was indeed normal.

    Lynn: You can say that, and I'd say thankyou :) I even managed to walk up to the stage to collect my prize without running (and yes I can run in heels ;p )

    The pain? Not too bad, and gone now. What was the phrase that Mrs Stace used? Oh yes, 'yes it hurts, being a woman can be painful - get used to it'. Said with a smile I may add :)

    Melissa: Thanks for the link, I think I am going to see if I can find a european distributor... Something that stops pain seems like a good idea.

    Halle: I think that on top of the Tip Toes I may get myself some heel grips to stop the slipping so much.

    The topless thing was a very strange sensation. Never before have I had the feeling that I couldn't go out just because I didn't have a top on...

    Veronica: I love the comment about the waterproof mascara. I think when it goes so well it's easier to have the humour and grace. It took some time to get comfortable, but once there it was a great night!

    I have a pair of grey shoes that I love. Next time out will be in those, I hope that they don't fall into the category of love them, but they hate me. They're fine over a few hundred meters but I've never walked further than that...

    Thanks to all of you - so far this has been a difficult journey. I would add with lots of highs, as well as lows. Thanks for celbrating the highs with me, and helping me through the not so great moments so far... Here's to the future!


  9. Grats! You go girl!


  10. I'm so glad you had a good time, especially after reading your previous post.

    What struck me the most about this post was your chat with the woman who had transitioned 15 years ago. I just don't know what kind of mental state I would be in if I didn't have my friends who had "gone over to the other side". To be able to hold their hands and cry freely in front them is priceless for they truly understand me. These are friends I will have for life and friends who just make my male friendships seem so superficial. I'm so glad you found someone like that.

    Calie xxx

  11. Thanks - I was scared before hand, but the night went really well :)

    After procastanating for so long I am beginning to see that I should really make an effort to get to the support group. I think that I am going to arrange to go next weekend.


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  13. Typo!

    Stace, I've had a rough day today, and this story was just the tonic. You have gladdened my heart. You're gonna be a brilliant woman.