It was going to happen wasn’t it.. but missing one week in 66 wasn’t bad going and I have been on a weeks holiday so good excuse!
July, 2 years ago, a friend of mine moved in with me as a flat mate and from that point forward my life rapidly moved into fast forward. When I moved out from my ex and started living as ‘me’ I really only had one good friend, I so only, that’s probably not fair, the fact I had one is better than many people in my situation and the fact she’d stuck with me for 8 years so far is amazing. But the reason I mention it is the situation I now find myself in is a complete contrast.
2 years ago that changed, I started getting a social life, making friends, meeting people, that’s continued and snow balled. I now have friends, friends from the live music scene, from motorsport marshalling, from Live Action Roleplay, from Roller Derby and from other areas.
At time that’s become overwhelming for me, it’s not something I’m used to and more recently I realise that I’m having to learn about myself and understand social interaction quickly!!
I bet I’m not alone in finding that once the ‘burden’ of living the wrong gender is lifted you suddenly find a lot more about yourself than you imagine. So, as with a lot of people in this kind of situation, I’m learning a lot, fast. Fortunately I’m extroverted and have some very good friends, so being able to talk out feelings and be given constructive stuff in return has helped massively.
When I first started socialising I’d get very edgy, and worry if something went wrong, or someone’s reaction wasn’t what I expected, my older employment was a story of bad boss after bad boss, or good boss but bad luck, and when trying to socialise with the few people I could, I’d often not get anywhere, or be told I’m talking about myself too much.
While to a degree I am absolutely convinced I do talk way to much at times, and often a bit too much about myself, it seems to be much less of a problem than it has been. I think people find me interesting, or what I’m doing interesting so are willing to listen… which is a good thing because by and large I am TERRIBLE at small talk!! But more importantly I have a lot of friends with different passions so I can talk different subjects with different people.
But what I’m really learning is how to handle myself when it comes to my skills, my abilities and how I understand how to handle it. For example in Roller Derby I am doing better than I expected and most feedback is very positive, and not a false positive – if I’m doing something less well I get given constructive feedback. But that led to over-confidence and some cockiness, likewise within the LARP I do I’m realising that not only do I do a decent job, but I tend to overwork and wear myself out..
So what I’m learning and trying to improve, is essentially to control my eagerness, confidence and understand my strengths and weaknesses. That isn’t to say that being eager, and confident is bad, it’s not, but I’ve learnt it’s very easy for them to become negative if you become overconfident or talk simply way too much about a subject.
Roller Derby is the area that encompasses this best, due to how well I’m doing and how much I’m enjoying it I talk about it a LOT!! It’s incredibly easy, as a result, to respond to posts with enthusiasm rather than experience, and generally get over confident and if anything a bit cocky.
But, ironically, Roller Derby, LARP and courses at work have suddenly all combined and allowed me to start to understand where boundaries are, how to balance confidence and enthusiasm with experience and generally improve myself – and I think that for me it shows that becoming yourself is far more than just living as who you really are.. the weight it lifts means that suddenly you might be doing things with more confidence or more relaxed, might be socialising better because you can feel more comfortably socialising in circles that you feel attracted to and generally become more than just yourself in a new gender – your personality is possibly going to come out more, and learning or improving inter-personal skills is just another thing we have to learn quickly.
As with everything else in this crazy situation we’ve been placed, we don’t have many many years in which to hone ourselves, we are suddenly learning new interactions, new ways of dressing, skills such as makeup, how to interact as a different gender, and if that also throws you into new social circles, new adventures and new experiences it can easily get overwhelming but for me this journey is incredible, I continue to meet and make new friends, have met some fantastic new people and feel like I am a far better person than I was 2 years ago.
I’m still in many ways exactly the same person, and I like to think that my friends wouldn’t want me to change, but improving social interaction, and just yourself in my opinion is no bad thing.
Well that was a ramble and a half, I’m not sure if I completely hit the point I was intending but hopefully someone will understand what I’ve been trying to say, and naturally welcome any thoughts, comments, or questions.