This weeks post is influenced by a lovely conversation I had with one of my best friends last night. As with all my blog posts it’s being written ‘on the fly’, but unlike most of my posts I’m not sure I have an idea of what the conclusion is, so it’s going to be an interesting journey.
I expect this post to be something many people can connect with from all walks of life, not just those with Gender Dysphoria, but anyone who’s life up to a certain point resulted in a lack of development of a proper social life. In my case a number of factors, not least of which was the fact I had zero interest in stereotypically male activities at the cricket club, meant for most of my married life I was socially isolated.
This started to change when I went to University, but as I was studying from home, a 13 mile ‘commute’ social opportunities such as going out to the pub, or attending events were very limited, but I made my first true friends at this time. When I seperated from my Wife in 2010 I moved into a flat close by so I was close to my children, but 6 months later it was clear, moving to my current Flat near where those friends I had was the right decision. Four and a half years later it’s a decision I don’t regret for a second, I don’t see my children as often as would be nice, but they’re all adults so that’s not abnormal and they are always welcome to visit.
While I was now closer to friends, I was still not really developing a social life. I didn’t see my local friends very often, but a chance encounter, in early 2013 was going to change my social life for ever. I bumped into a friend who I’d only met a couple of times previously and was randomly invited to her place for cocktails, a few weeks later she was my flat mate and in July I went to my first Open Mic at the pub she worked at.
Things have snowballed from then as having a social life opens opportunity and if it hadn’t been for that chance encounter, on my way to town, I wouldn’t have the life I have now. I wouldn’t have found Roller Derby, done a race for life, started to learn Guitar, done an OCR, got involved in LARP, enjoyed many open Mic’s but most importantly for me, now have a fantastic group of friends.
But it’s socialising with those friends I struggle with most, I simply struggle with conversation – I tend to have a narrow range of things to talk about and simply don’t know how to do ‘small talk’ or general conversation. I find this immensely frustrating, I know it’ll improve – I have friends who I know will help! – but I think the reason I decided to do this blog post is to simply say “Your not alone.” – unlike many of my blog posts this is more about where I’m going, rather than actually offering solutions or past experience.
The friend who I was talking about at the start of this blog, loves telling me ‘Less is More’ and it’s a motto that probably going to stick with me for a very long time, much like ‘get lower’ in Roller Derby. I’m very much an outgoing personality type and live life very full on, but sometimes being patient and listening, being calmer and less full on is what I need to learn to do – and I think that’s what’s going to be the key, especially when I’m socialising with a group of friends.
I’m loving life at the moment, but also appreciating how much I’m behind with life experiences and knowledge, but I think the big thing is that I’m at the beginning to develop these memories.. and just have to be patient.
I like filling time with ‘stuff’ but that can definitely be inappropriate at times and sometimes just enjoying company and listening to a band playing, or watching the world go by, is entirely appropriate – Less is More.