“The longest journey is the journey inwards.”
The Longest Dawn Brings the Brightest Flower
A dawn is not just the coming of light
A dawn does not end the night
For light and night together lay
To make the fullness of a day
And absence of light has but held at bay
The softening of the hardened seam
Of the long ago sown seed
Unknowingly left covered to lie
Waiting as precious time went by
For the seasons to wear and crack
And give the seed what it lacked
The warm light to feed and guide
Taking the new bud on a upward ride
And opening in the brightest flower
Surrounded in a silver shower
The petals flecked in light and night
Radiating, showing the way
To be Angela in the fullness of a day
30th July 2004
Peter lived his life much like any other male except for the innate unhappiness that came on him time after time, leading him to do the unexpected, often the inexplicable, to change the way he felt. There was no identification of the reason for the sadness, just the continuous feeling that there was no satisfaction of self in his life. A life that would for most others be more than acceptable, no, those others would be happy to be in his shoes.
After 52 years of life and countless diversions, shields, walls and masks, a penny finally fell. He began to realise he maybe transsexual. For months he wrestled with this thought and all its connotations. He had only two very close friends to talk with. Twelve months later, Peter, in the continuing search for answers, took himself off to a psychologist armed with his feelings, fears and the results of a “Cogati” test he undertook, that said in black and white, it was probable he was in fact transsexual.
Good fortune led him to Mistress Adira, a wonderful Gold Coast Mistress.
Now this is not the place to chronicle Peter’s life to date, that will come later, it is instead to write of Angela’s continuing journey from the date of her birth 29th July 2004. I was Peter – I am now and for ever, Angela. The purpose of the diary is to help others in all walks of life to gain some understanding of transsexuals and hopefully give some hope and encouragement to anyone believing themselves to be transsexual.
I undertake to be totally honest about what has and will happen to me, I will not overly romanticise the facts or resile from expressing honestly any of the difficulties ahead. I also want to say this is not a how to become transsexual manual. If you the reader believe yourself to be transsexual (or as it is now referred to, “Gender Dysphoric”), I urge you to seek out a psychologist experienced in this field. Find your own answers but, and at the risk of sounding like an advertisement, if you believe Mistress Adira can help you, contact Her, you will be in caring hands.
I want to emphasise at this point that while Mistress Adira is a Dominant, that aspect has no place in my story. This is not a story of forced feminisation and to reinforce this important point I will now respectfully address her as Adira. I found Adira via her website and saw something in her face that told me she could and would help me with my rebirth, my rite of passage. From the first moment we talked, Adira treated me with kindness, understanding, caring and compassion. I freely confess that I am at times a submissive and that I mistakenly partially formulated my rite of passage on that submissiveness. This aspect Adira intuitively and correctly ignored. I haven’t thanked Adira for this, until now. Adira my finest friend, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Tears of gratitude and happiness are falling from my eyes and I can barely see my keyboard.
MY BIRTHING DAY
Peter arrived at Adira’s address at 9.00am on Thursday 29th July 2004, carrying bags containing female clothing, makeup and forms he felt necessary to look as feminine as possible. He had arrived early and waited nervously in a nearby park until it was time. Now standing at the dungeon door Adira had left open for him, he suddenly realised “he” would never leave this place. It would be the woman he wanted to be that would leave and begin to make her way in this world.
The door opened as he pushed on it and inside stood Adira welcoming him with the warmest of smiles. They spent an hour or so chatting and discussing the purpose of the day and how it would unfold. Then came the time to begin stripping away the layers of maleness and allow the woman within to walk free. Just a quick thought here if you have body hair you need to remove to feel womanly, prepare for the task before hand. If you are like Peter with an average amount of body hair, it will take a long time to remove and on the day and removing hair from scratch quickly loses its novelty. After the shaving Peter began to put on the makeup and then dress in one of the outfits he bought. Finally fully dressed Peter was no more, now consigned to be a past life and part of a journey to a happier life. Standing now was a new woman, me but without a name.
Adira had chosen a few names for me to pick from. Peter had asked her to do this because a newborn child has their name picked for them and he wanted that feeling of being a new child, to be reborn. When Peter was sixteen our Mother gave him a signet ring and it is very special to me. He asked Adira to find a suitable quote to be engraved in it. Adira put a great deal of thought and energy and care to find eight that were relevant. We adjourned to another room and Adira presented me with beautifully decorated list with names on it with their meanings. I quickly scanned the list but my mind had immediately settled on one in particular and I was named Angela. This is the name that will be on my drivers licence, phone and electricity bills etc. It is the name that will be on the take away Chinese food when I pick it up. When I hear the name Angela called, I will turn to the sound.
The inscription I chose for my ring is “The longest journey is the journey inwards”. It represents my truth and at the moment I can actually feel the new words against my skin.
My moment of truth was at hand, Adira opened the door and ushered me out into the world. A world I thought would be fraught with danger, ridicule and humiliation but a world I must walk into and find my place in it. We thought correctly it would be too much for me to drive, so we left to find a suitable restaurant in Adira’s car. Adira pulled into a car park of a shopping centre, the name of which escapes me, we exited her car and made for the lift, I was in a sheer panic. Only my desire (no need to publicly begin my transition), kept me walking at Adira’s side.
We emerged from the lift and the first person who saw me, a mid twenties man, knew immediately I was not a real woman. Thankfully, my past sales career experience, and not to mention living in the wrong body for 52 years, has given me the ability to mask my true emotions and while seeing this young man I looked past him and talked to Adira. I was “made” a number of times and each time it was less of a problem. No one said anything, sirens and flashing arrows pointing to the transsexual did not appear in short the world went on and my nerves dropped from sheer panic to mild terror.
We looked at a number of restaurants in the centre but I just could not go make myself go into them. They were mostly full and each one we approached a see of faces seemed to turn the eyes on me as we approached. On reflection they could have been looking at Adira, I know I am considered an oddity by many, but all would have to agree, Adira is absolutely stunning. We found a suitable place called Charlie’s where the inside area was empty! The manager came out to us as we were – no, I was – vacillating about what to do. He welcomed us, had the good grace to not do a double take at me and asked us where we would like to sit. For the life of me I do not know what made me forsake the relative safety of the empty inner dining area but I suddenly heard myself say “Outside would be nice” or words to that effect. There we were sitting in the sunshine, diners from other cafes all around us, and people walking past on the path. However the manager and the service staff all treated me politely and without prejudice.
We ordered and our meals and coffee arrived and we ate and chatted, about what I can’t remember. Adira just kept me talking to help ease my considerable anxiety. We finished our meals, well Adira did, I on the other hand managed only four olives, two pieces of fetta and one slice of tomato of my Greek salad. The bill came and I picked it up, Adira offered to pay but I wanted to do this, it was to be Angela’s first purchase and it was my first opportunity to stand face to face with someone I did not know and interact in a normal everyday way. It was wonderfully successful and I left with much greater confidence than I arrived with.
We returned to Adira’s home to give me a chance to recover from the adrenalin charged event and to plan the next stage, my shopping trip. On arriving home Adira left me for a little while, then reappeared and presented me with a beautiful purple gift bag containing three items. The first was a card depicting a new moon & sunrise behind a flowering tree. The second was a luxurious hand lotion and the third a beautiful pendant in the form of a five petal flower. The petals, made from shell, are white with dark brown flecks and they are surrounded by a silver border. For me it became the metaphor for my transformation and the inspiration for my poem.
During the luncheon outing I became very self-conscious of the wig I was wearing and we decided to check the Net for a possible replacement. We found a suitable style and with that in mind and my burning desire to find a chain to match the pendant Adira presented me with we headed off again, this time to Pacific Fair shopping village.
The first place Adira took me to was a shop called Gypsy Rose, it specialized in party fun items, costumes, masks and WIGS. A delightful young woman was serving a couple and the shop was full of browsing people but she saw us and called to us that she would be with us as soon as possible. While we waited we looked at the wigs on display and found two that were of the style we saw on the Net. The young woman came over to us and we told her I wanted to try on the two wigs and she told one had been altered by a hair dresser and therefore made it difficult to sell. She also showed me a little place where I could try on the wigs as I wouldn’t do it in the middle of the shop. I tried the unaltered one first and still thought it a little heavy around the fringe. Then I tried the other and I loved it. I walked out to show Adira and the young woman, they both loved the change, especially Adira. I wouldn’t take it off but the sales ticket was needed by the sales woman so she could register the sale, I went back into the changing area took the ticket off myself and gave it to her. Adira in the meantime had found a future birthday present for herself, a beautiful purple (her favourite colour) feline mask.
I haven’t mentioned terror and fear till now because while I felt uncomfortable with my old wig in public, I was just in a high state of nervousness, the earlier outing had not so much as calmed me but had left me somewhat numbed. However once the new shorter wig was on I was out and about with a new found confidence. I was ready for the world and everything in it and I wanted all and I wanted right now, I felt just wonderful. Adira, I don’t think quite believed the change and was staggered when I disappeared from under her wing at our next stop, Target, while looking for a top we saw in my size. I just went for it and we left there after finding the top and a pair of casual shorts. I asked for help in the store, paid at the checkout counter and did not even notice if anyone looked at me sideways and was treated just like anyone else.
Next stop was a jewellery store to find the chain for my pendant and Adira directed us to a store in the main complex and said there were others but I said we would find what I wanted here because that was the way things were now happening. Entering the store we found a few chains that looked suitable and asked to see them – one looked to me especially promising and I asked to try it on. Now I was at that stage not that practiced in putting necklaces on so Adira tried to put it on for me but because of a broken nail couldn’t quite get it. The saleslady then tried but she had an injured thumb and could only get it on with twist in it and the chain wouldn’t sit properly. She then called over a second saleslady over to try. Now here I am, a brand new, still wet, transgender woman just wanting to fit in and I have three ladies trying to get a necklace on me in the middle of a shop in the middle of a very busy arcade and even I could see how funny that situation was. However, this is what should be expected because it is normal for things to go pear shaped, it happens to everyone. So remaining calm, seeing the humour and appreciating the moment is the way to go. The chain was perfect as it was always going to be. I paid for it and we were off again, this time hunting for a set of false eyelashes with gold tips for Adira. They proved to be much more elusive and to date still have not been found. If any one reading this does see them or knows where they can be found please let Adira know where they are.
At this stage I am now starting to tire, the excitement of the day and my high heels are starting to win over the natural structure of my bones. Before we leave Adira wants some photos of me in the centre and we find a little pond and park bench and I happily pose for her there. Laughingly, I told her I have waited all my life to say the following “my shoes are killing me!”
We left to return to Adira’s home and on arrival another surprise is waiting for me, a bottle of champagne and very delicious chocolates, one of which was chilli flavoured and especially divine. We toasted my first day, we chatted and time came for me to leave to head back to my hotel. So I began packing all the things I bought while shopping, my make up etcetera and leaving Peter’s clothes behind for Adira to dispose of. Escorted by Adira, I, Angela, left her house to go down to my car and drive back to my hotel. But before leaving, Adira gave me more words of encouragement and actually thanked me for involving (if that is the right word) her in my birthing day. I was really touched by that because then as now, I feel I will never be able to properly express the depth of my gratitude for her care, thoughtfulness and the genuine love she has shown me. A love and friendship given that will always be reciprocated by me.
The First Night
I drove back to the hotel without incident, parked and carried my bags containing clothes, toiletries, makeup, shopping etcetera and my camera. With all that in one hand I juggled with the security key card to get into the lift foyer and thought to myself if I were a real woman I would probably not have the strength to lift the lot. Then immediately thought of the feminizing hormones I will soon be taking and looking forward to the loss of strength that will ensue among other things.
I encountered a middle aged male in the lift, he seemed agitated and was a little lost an asked me where a particular room was. I told him he was looking for it on the wrong floor and caught myself in an interaction that was not only “normal” but I felt normal and he did not do a double take at me. He just said thank you, we chatted till the lift arrived at my floor and wished each other goodnight as I left.
As soon as I was in my room I rang Peter the hotel manager to tell him I was back, he had known why I was at Surfers Paradise and since my arrival he had treated me with kindness and respect. If you, the reader, are planning a trip to the Gold Coast I highly recommend Paradise Towers & Peter. The rooms are clean, well appointed and comfortable, if perhaps a bit dated, with a very reasonable tariff. There are at least 6 restaurants within 40 meters of the hotel entrance and a very short walk to the beach.
He arrived at my room a short while later with a bottle of bubbly and two long stemmed glasses to toast my birthday and my new name. Peter was quite stunned at my new appearance and seemed to like it. We talked about a lot of different subjects for a couple of hours.
Finally my activities through the day and the wine caught up with me and I began to tire. Peter saw this and graciously said his farewells and left me to prepare to go to bed. Even tired as I was it took a long time to undress because underneath all the feminine attire there was a male body and it felt like a sort of self destruction to remove the clothes and finally the makeup. I also realized I had no feminine sleepwear and decided another trip to the shopping centre was needed the next day. With this exciting prospect on my mind I eventually drifted off to sleep.
20 MONTHS LATER…1st APRIL 2006
I am back…well I was never gone. Just couldn’t write – so much happened/didn’t happen – bringing action and inaction. I will explain a little further on, but firstly I offer my apologies to those who expressed their interests in my story and waited in vain for more. Also I wish to express my thanks to Adira for her understanding of my reasons for not being able to write more until now.
I know I said that I would write about my trip home in the first instalment but that part of my life, while momentous at the time, seems so inconsequential now. Suffice to say I had absolutely no problem except for a misadventure with a supermarket bought hair colour preparation. It took a hairdresser (now a close friend) four hours to remedy. I have been blonde ever since.
More serious issues had to be faced now that I was home. I was married to a beautiful woman who I loved deeply and passionately and she had to know about me. After spending a large amount of time while driving home thinking of how in hell I could tell the woman I loved, and who loved me, that her husband was a woman! I came up with what I thought was a gentle way of dropping this tonne of bricks on her. I needed confirmation that I was on the right track and took myself off to see my psychologist at Queensland Health and told her of my thinking. More than her confirmation that I had come up with a caring way in which to tell my wife I was transgendered, was the echo that came back to me of my voice which allowed me to hear out loud what I was thinking. It made it easier, a little that is, to go home and break the news. I was so afraid of losing her and yet in some way I was confident of her love for me. I believed with work we could get through this with our relationship intact. So sure was I, that when I told her of my situation, I was totally unprepared for a “game over”. That’s it. That’s what she said and all she said. No wailing, crying, anger, dismay, or sadness. Not even a slightly moist eye from an imaginary speck of dust. That nothingness of “game over” rang in my ears for 14 months. Even when divorce papers were served on me 12 months to the day I moved out it didn’t stop ringing. Only a few short weeks ago did I have some sort of epiphany and was finally able to stop being in love with her and just love her. We remain friends and still talk a couple of times a week.
For sometime prior to my birthing day I had been getting makeup lessons, trying to learn about the clothes that would work for me, and most importantly talking to a couple of friends about my feelings. One put me in touch with Queensland Health, Sexual Health Department, a good place to go even if just initially. I saw a psychologist there and started going regularly for guidance and just to talk. I was still living in the apartment with my wife – an arrangement we made to help me sort a few things out before I moved to my own place. It was difficult for me as while my wife was “OK” with seeing me in female clothing, my mother in-law, a person whom I love and I assumed frail, was being upset when she saw me come and go. So I found myself going to friends houses to change before going out to shop or see my local support group, counsellor or for any other reason. This is probably the main reason I needed counselling because I was still in a half male, half female mode. However the other reason is that Sexual Health is a good place to start to find help regarding gender transition or to find out how the system works and how it will affect transition.
In my case they arranged for me to see a psychiatrist before they would assist me with hormone treatment. By the way, I was the first they had done this with – it is a significant departure from the Harry Benjamin Standards of Care for Transsexuals. A number of things went wrong here: firstly my information was lost and the appointment was not made twice which delayed the appointment by 2 months. Secondly, even with that delay, I was in what a number of my TG friends call the “honeymoon” period, when one is in (other issues not withstanding), a state of bliss at having finally found where one belongs. This happiness shone like a beacon at the meetings with the psychiatrist and he concluded that while I was probably Gender Dysphoric (in his words he did believe I was suffering enough). He wanted me to live totally as woman for 12 months before granting me access to hormones. Thirdly, because of the delay in getting the appointment, the doctor at Sexual Health had gone overseas and did not return to work until 2 months after that time. It was then I learned of the ramifications of the psychiatrist’s “diagnosis”. It left me in a state of limbo because the psychiatrist went further on to say that it was also possible I was a “transvestic fetishist”. In other words, someone who was sexually aroused by being in female attire. A thought I found, and still find in relation to me, insulting in the extreme. I voiced my objection but it fell on deaf ears. As it was Sexual health who had instigated the psychiatric evaluation, they were therefore bound by it.
The reason I did not want to live as woman for 12 months without being on hormone treatment, was because I wanted to transition and not “crash & burn” as I put it. I had at the same time as my coming out to family and friends, started a small business which required nurturing to survive. And I thought, rightly or wrongly, that my new clients may find it easier on themselves to dispense with my services thus leaving me without a job or income.
With this in mind and now believing that my record with sexual health was forever tainted by that report, I had one final meeting with the S.H. psychologist to see if there could be any change in the way they were treating my case. The reply was no, so I informed the psychologist that I would not be attending the clinic again and would seek my answers elsewhere. That was in February 2005, 7 months after coming out, and my personal life was in turmoil and I had no clear path to follow. Now I am not stupid, so while being sure of my transgendered status, and I might add, so was everyone around me who knew (friends, peers etc.), I acknowledged that there was a possibility that S.H. was right. So for some weeks I did not present as female. I tried to as much as possible to assume my former male persona and started to contemplate getting rid of all my female clothes, make up and shoes. As I played this out I found myself becoming sad, then depressed, morose, and finally I recognised that I was becoming a danger to myself and I knew I was right! The experts were wrong. Reassuming my life as Angela, the dark veil lifted immediately and I returned to being my happy self.
It was now another 2 months on May 2005, what to do now? Knowing there were GP’s in my town who were TG friendly, I went out in search for one who would not only help me, but work in partnership with me. I had researched treatments and knew exactly what method of hormone and anti androgen treatment I wanted. In the beginning of July I found him. Such a lovely man and as well as being open to TG, he wanted to work with me to gain the best and safest outcome for me. My research also led me to a private psychiatrist who I was told was a decent human being and my GP, on request, wrote a referral to him for me. It was a 3 month wait but when I met him I was not disappointed. He was thoroughly nice and professional. He believes in me and after a couple more visits I should have my all important slip of paper stating I am Gender Dysphoric.
I have been (except for 2 months) on hormones now since the second appointment with my GP. The reason for the break was to have cosmetic surgery on my face in March 2006. Hormone treatment must cease at least 2 months prior to surgery to minimise the risk of blood clotting. My treatment and surgery was successful and I am happy with the result. My body has and is still responding well to the hormones and changes are happening at an incredible rate. In terms of symptoms and growth, many of my friends did not get this for up to two years, whereas they are already happening for me. My breasts are noticeably female, whilst still being small they continue to grow. My skin is clear and soft due to both IPL & hormone treatments. Body hair is noticeably finer and slower to grow. The greatest change, although not visible, is the peace of mind I have. In short, things are good.
Even though my name has not been legally changed I travel overseas as Angela. I thought I might have some trouble at immigration but no one batted an eyelid. The name change should be through soon. Now that my business is established and my clients are used to the money they save by using my services I feel secure enough to inform them of my gender change (although breasts, long permed hair, face lift, nose job and Adam’s apple shave should have them thinking by now).
I originally tried to hang on to my old straight friends and lifestyle, thinking I did not want to become a member of an isolated marginalized, demographic group. How wrong was I?!! The people I thought I knew drifted off, some running, and I was truly alone. A unit of one is not even enough to be a demographic. Through my local transgender group I found a GLBTI (Gay Lesbian Bi-sexual Transgender Intersexed) group and began attending meetings, functions, and dances etc. From there I have made friends with, and been made a friend of, the most wonderful group of people I have ever known. My fortune is now these people who are there for me in every way and to whom I am the kind of friend they are happy to have.
While I recommend being involved with local TG groups and good friends can be found there as well, it can be limiting due to age differences, lack of numbers, and I found with the local group here, that there is a general unwillingness to go out in public. I love going out: to the beach with my dog, dinner, movies with friends, or the occasional night out at the one and only GLBTI dance venue we have here. It is important to live your life outside your home, to be who you are and not be concerned what others may think. Try to get involved with others as much as you can and enjoy everything the real beginning of your life can offer you.
The most important thing is that you get some reputable help. Government Services are good place to start. The internet is an invaluable source of information. Obtain books on the subject, do everything you can to understand yourself. This one is really important even though my original psychiatrist was wrong in his diagnosis of me, listen carefully to yours. It is essential that if your psychiatrist says you may or do have other issues besides Gender Dysphoria, that those issues are dealt with first. GET A SECOND OPINION! It is possible another mental illness can have a negative effect on your transition. It is possible to go through the whole process and come out the other end irrevocably changed and discover it is not what you want or need. This path, however desirable, is not an easy one. If there are any other problems, physical or mental, making the transition can have disastrous consequences. So be sure of yourself, be aware of yourself and be as safe as you can be. Take responsibility for your actions and treatment and you will have minimal amount of difficulties to face.
Enough of the soapbox, I won’t promise regular updates and certainly my ramblings will never qualify as a diary, but I do hope to submit some writings in the future. Again I apologise to those who kindly expressed interest in my story and who I left disappointed. Thank you for taking the time to read about me.