Journal

Welcome to my online journal, which I started in December 2002 after several very persuasive hints from friends. Although I obviously don't write about everything that happens in my life here, I hope it'll provide an insight into who I am and what's happening in my life - whether good, bad, happy or sad.

May God Bless you and your family this Christmas

Posted by Anna at 12:37 on Tuesday, December 24, 2002
Wow. It's my last day as "Andy", and already it's lunchtime. I guess at least two-thirds of the company are off (lucky people) so the building is really quiet. My details on the systems here are all changed now, and a new security pass is being prepared for me. It's finally happening!

Last night when I got in there were several Christmas cards waiting for me, including one from my parents (the less said about that the better I'm afraid), a lovely one from my old friend Sam and a wonderful card from my brother which said simply "Have a great Christmas Sis". I nearly cried when I read it.

Well that's about it from the old me I think. I won't be online much over the holiday as I don't have an internet connection at home yet.

No matter who you are or what's happening in your life, may God Bless you and your family this Christmas. Take care, and be yourself.

Andy is gone. I'm here now.

Posted by Anna at 09:59 on Monday, December 23, 2002
I'm glad to say I'm feeling a lot happier right now. Just for a little while, I want to forget about the beaurocrats and their intransigence - right now there are more important things in my life.

Before I talk about happier things though I will say that I've received a letter back from my MP expressing his concern about the issues I've raised regarding the inflexibility of the CSA and the provision of treatment for transsexual patients. He's asked me to attend his next surgery (10th January) to discuss it all, so I guess we'll wait and see.

More fun stuff now. I spent Friday in London (again!), this time meeting a couple of friends who were visiting London. We all ended up at Russell Reid's place in Earls Court, which had a rather festive air after the party that was held there the day before. It was the busiest I've ever seen it there, and it felt more like a social gathering than anything. There were also several guys there this time too - the first time I've met any there.

We all had a blast, and although I'm normally very quiet (honest, I am - ask anyone who knows me) I was definitely the loudest of the bunch. It just goes to show that I was right about me not really being shy.

I got back into town at about 10:30 in the evening. As I was pretty hungry by now (I hadn't eaten anything substantial all day) I stopped off at my old Chinese takeaway to pick up some food. As they've never met me for real before they were a little surprised, but happy for me. I also took a bottle of bubbly home to finish off a great day.

One thing I forgot to mention � on Thursday when I got back home there was one of those Royal Mail "we've got something for you�" cards waiting for me. I finally picked up the package on Saturday and it turned out to be the certified copies of my Deed Poll. Time to start writing some letters.

On Saturday afternoon I had an appointment to get my hair done in town, which gave me an opportunity to (finally!) finish off the Christmas shopping. Afterwards I zipped around town delivering Christmas cards (including a bunch to friends in my old Church. I really hope they like them) before eventually getting home at 7pm.

I spent the evening mucking up my nails (I'm just too good at that) and watching "The Avengers" on DVD (corny, but fun. I really enjoyed it). Hmmm...Anna in a catsuit...?

On Sunday morning I went to Church as Anna for the first time, and I'm happy to say that everyone was friendly and showed no signs of any discomfort or awkwardness. I felt totally at ease.

I also went to the Carol Service in the evening. Words can't adequately describe what I felt during the service - the same deep feeling of God's Love that I've experienced before at the turning points in my life. This time of course, there was one important difference.

Although I still have to act at work for a couple of days yet, for all intents and purposes Andy is gone. I'm here now.

Anna-Jayne Metcalfe was born on the evening of Sunday 22nd December, 2002.

A call I've been dreading - but what a result!

Posted by Anna at 08:50 on Tuesday, December 17, 2002
Yesterday I finally made another call I've been dreading for months - I talked to my brother about my transition. I'm happy to say he was just fine about it - surprised of course (lets face it - who wouldn't be?), but accepting.

In the past we've never really got on, but I just have a feeling that's likely to change. Another little hurdle overcome...

Tomorrow I'm off for Laser treatment again (can you believe this will be the 10th session?). Sadly this time I'm not meeting up with any friends so I'm likely to be back by late afternoon.

I spent last night wrapping presents and doing the usual Christmassy stuff. I can never believe how long it takes each year. This year's a little different of course, because I get to send everyone a "Change of Name and Address" note as well...

Finally - this time next week is the last time I'll have to appear in public as "Andy" apart from when I'm seeing my kids (and hopefully even that will change after February). One week from today I become Anna full-time!!!

The date is set!

Posted by Anna at 08:37 on Monday, December 16, 2002
This weekend went pretty well so I'm in a pretty good mood this morning.

On Friday night I went to the Church Christmas Party (in drab sadly). At first I felt a bit out of place (I really don't know anyone there well), but as the evening moved on I began to feel more comfortable. I also came to a decision - I'm going to transition in the Church next weekend (when I thought it through there's really no reason why I hould wait until Christmas Day as I was planning).

On Saturday I had lunch with Tracy and her son Brandon, and in the evening they came over with Pete to help decorate my room. I must say the tree looks great and I just know the kids will appreciate it on Boxing Day.

I spent Sunday afternoon wandering round the town (as Anna, of course!) looking for those elusive few presents (I must admit I'm not at all inspired at the moment and finding it hard going this year). Although I hven't got everything sorted out yet I did make a big dent in it and hopefully it'll all be sorted out by midweek.

No longer mad, but resolved to do my best

Posted by Anna at 13:10 on Thursday, December 12, 2002
You'll probably be glad to hear I'm not mad anymore. Resolved, yes...but not bawling my eyes out or punching walls. Whatever happens, I'll do my best.

At least after Tuesday's upset I've some happier news - my Deed Poll has arrived!!. Regardless of how I appear for the next couple of weeks, my name is now officially Anna-Jayne Metcalfe. Woo-hoo!

If you know anything about Deed Polls you'll be aware that places like banks will want to see the original or a "certified copy" before making changes. After signing the deed and having it witnessed I have to send it back to the Deed Poll service to get the certified copies done, which of course takes a few days. Since all my debit cards are still in my original name (a real pain when I go out, believe me) I decided to speed things up a bit by taking the original down to the bank rather than wait for the copies. The bank staff were friendly and I felt very much at ease, despite going down there in drab (I was on my lunch break from work).

A few minutes, a simple form and a signature card later and it's done - new cards and chequebooks are on the way. Another little hurdle overcome.

After getting back late last nightLast night was the Christmas gathering at the Reading branch of the Beaumont Society, which I've been going to since late August (my friend Ellie persuaded me).

I'm happy to say that I had a great time, despite it being a little too quiet and civilised for me (I know I seem shy, but believe me I'm not really).

It was also the first time I'd had the opportunity to wear the cocktail dress which I bought way back in August (it seems so long ago now - so much has changed). I kept getting complimented on my figure which is nice!

Although the Reading crowd are mostly CD (which took a bit of adjusting to - it felt a little surreal at first), there are a couple of TS girls besides myself who come along regularly. Being able to chat face to face to others who are on the same journey helps tremendously.

When I arrived back home at about 12:30am I was definitely a happy bunny .

Broken NHS Promises

Posted by Anna at 13:54 on Tuesday, December 10, 2002
I hope you'll forgive me if I rant a bit. I'm MAD at the moment.

Last week I asked my Doctor if she was willing to take over my prescription for hormones (�182.50 for three months if I obtain them privately) as she'd indicated last September. She's now consulted with the practice and the Health Authority who've told her that they will not fund gender reassignment treatment.

I for one am sick of the way the NHS treats TS people like dirt and mucks them about. It's exactly this sort of high handed behaviour that is responsible for so much suffering among us. How many suicides does it take to convince them?

I've always been wary of obtaining hormones outside of a prescription, but if I can find any way to obtain the medication I need over the net at a lower price, I certainly will now.

And I promise one thing - I am not going to be silent anymore. There's a Parliamentary Working Committee on TS Issues so I'll certainly contact them, as well as Press for Change and probably my MP and the Health Authority as well.

Enough for now. I hate being mad - but this has really upset me.

Upsides, downsides, philosophy and healing

Posted by Anna at 21:24 on Friday, December 06, 2002
I'm glad I didn't try to write anything earlier - it would have been horribly depressing to read.

I wonder if the anti-depressants are starting to kick in a little now (only the second day I've taken them)? OK, step back and breathe deeply Anna...

Not much happened today really...everyone at work has been great (and curious!), and the Company Christmas do is on tonight in Basingstoke so the place wasn't particularly busy. I'm not going this year as I have a feeling they're not quite ready to see me in a cocktail dress yet. Next year, maybe.

One of the guys on the team is off on leave until after Christmas now which rather brought home how close RLT is for me - he'll never see me as a guy again. That brought a real smile to my face, I can tell you!

Now the downside (as ever, sadly). This afternoon my ex rang which is always stressful and usually makes me feel low - and today was no exception. It truly hurts seeing someone you love (she won't believe it, but I do. Love isn't something I can shut out) consumed by anger and hatred, and I can only pray that one day it will pass...but I daren't wait around this time. After that call, I didn't really perk up until about an hour ago.

Happier thoughts. I've got the kids again tomorrow afternoon (in drab as ever, sadly), and I'm looking around for places to take them, but there's so little around here suitable for a winters day. I'll get some more brain cells on order before tomorrow to sort the immediate problem, but at least once I've moved in I'll have somewhere to bring them back, even if it is a little cramped.

After I've dropped them at home I'll drive back here and get changed before starting to move things (clothes first, of course!) to my new room. I doubt I'll spend the night there until Sunday though.

After Church on Sunday I'll get changed and go and buy some groceries (and maybe a bottle of Archers to celebrate). Pasta and curry, anyone...? Damn I forgot - I can't drink on these pills. C'est La Vie sucks, sometimes.

Time for the philosphical bit. Looking back, I find it astonishing how much help I've been given (and so many wonderful people I've met) since I started to try to heal myself last year. I see all the doors that have been opened to me and think "coincidence - I don't think so!" Ultimately God's Love and my Faith is what keeps me going through the tough and painful parts of my life, and I just have a feeling that He's doing a little more than I can see or anyone else would believe. Let's just wait for the Plan to unfold, shall we?

I'm really looking forward to Church on Sunday. Time to say thanks with friends.

People, and the understanding and sympathetic way they've treated me

Posted by Anna at 09:55 on Thursday, December 05, 2002
I had a real surprise on Tuesday evening - an email from one of the girls in my old Church. After being out of touch with everyone since having to leave at the start of July, it was a very pleasant surprise!

Basically she said that she hadn't been in touch before because was still trying to come to terms with what happened, and while her Faith tells her that transition is not part of God's plan (which I totally understand - it's a lot to come to terms with, espcially for many Christians), she is trying to understand and wants me to know that if I bump into her there's no reason I should feel uncomfortable.

I was very heartened by the message and spent some considerable time yesterday writing a reply. I can only pray that this contact will go that little bit further towards helping those I've had to leave behind to understand. Who knows - maybe I'll eventually hear from others too! I certainly hope so - I miss them so much.

When I think of all the things that are happening in my life at the moment, it's all too easy for the difficult things (for example my worries over the costs of medical treatment and the horrible stress of divorce) to blot out the good things that are happening. One thing I do know is that the good things that are happening in my life right now are all down to people and the wonderfully understanding and sympathetic way they've treated me. Despite the pain, I've certainly got a lot to give thanks for.

Finally - I just realised there's now less than 3 weeks before I start RLT and the act that was Andy disappears for good (apart from seeing my kids, but hopefully that'll be sorted out by March). Although I expected to feel daunted by the prospect of changing my role publicly I'm actually very much looking forward to it, which I'm taking as a very good sign!

A new place to live

Posted by Anna at 13:39 on Tuesday, December 03, 2002
Great news - I've found a new place to live! More on that in a minute...

Yesterday afternoon I saw my doctor (she was sympathetic as ever) about my hormone prescription and the depression I've been suffering recently. In September she'd indicated that she may be able to take over the prescription after I'd been on it for 3 months, and as I run out on 28th January (I'm seeing Russell Reid again on 4th January) I need to find out whether that's actually doing to happen and if so what I need to do. When I asked she told me that she wasn't sure if the practice would take it on as the drugs prescribed (birth control pills and HRT gel) aren't being used for their normal purposes. She said she'd raise it with the practice and call me next week. I really hope they do - another bill of �182.50 for 3 months hormones is the last thing I need right now.

I was also given a prescription for anti-depressants (Escitalopram). After the way I've been feeling recently, it seemed the best thing to do.

On Sunday I was very low about the prospect of looking around yet more places and having to explain about my transition yet again. The worst part is that on the phone anyone I speak to won't hear a female voice, which puts me at a distinct disadvantage - a lot of people offering accommodation will say "I'm not sure" when you tell them you're going through a gender transition.

Anyhow, Tracy had offered to help look for me while I was at work. She called up about one advert, explained the situation and was told "I'm not sure...". However, she did manage to arrange for me to see it in the evening. After I got back from work I changed (I can do makeup in a hurry sometimes!) and drove back to Basingstoke to have a look. It turned out that the landlady had already talked to the others in the house (it's a share - 2 guys, 1 girl and me) and they were all fine with my transition. She was very sympathetic.

The room itself is a single, but fairly spacious and with an en-suite bathroom (no bath, but I can cope!). Storage is a bit lacking, but I'll figure out something. Overall, it's a very nice place and I had a good feeling about it. I gave her a deposit on the spot, and I move in at the weekend!

Afterwards I stopped off at Safeway and bought a few tinnies to celebrate. Tracy and I were pretty loud by the time Pete got back...

What a time to pick to start a blog!

Posted by Anna at 13:20 on Monday, December 02, 2002
I'm going through a bit of a bad patch at the moment - what a time to pick to start a blog!

Before talking about that though I think a quick update about where I am right now is in order.

The best news of the lot is that the end of my transition is now only just over three weeks away (probably on Christmas Day). The public announcement was made at work on Friday (29th November) and everything seems to be going well - I've had no negative comments or feelings from anyone, but only time will tell.

I should be transitioning in my church at the same time (if I make it to the Christmas Day service, that will be the day). I had a quick meeting with our Rector Jeremy on Thursday to sort out the details, and I feel very confident everything will be fine. I've even picked the outfit I'm going to wear!

Now the painful stuff. This last few days I've felt myself teetering back towards depression, and I don't like it a bit. I'm seeing my doctor this afternoon to talk it through and see if she can help in any way.

What set it all off was a phone call from the CSA (Child Support Agency) last Thursday to tell me they'd completed the process of assessing the maintenance for my two children. I'd previously asked them how much it would be at most, and been given a figure I felt would be a little tough to cope with (particularly while I'm pre-op and saving for surgery)...but the figure I was given for the final assessment was double that.

In fact, the amount they want is so high that I doubted whether I'd be able to pay and and save for surgery (I reckon I need to save at least �400 a month for 2 years). Not surprisingly, I fell apart and spent most of Thursday crying (and Friday morning wasn't much better). My colleagues at work were wonderful as ever, and did their best to help me cope. At the end of the day though, this is something only I can figure out. On Friday morning I visited the Citizen's Advice Bureau to try and make some sense of it and maybe I'll be able to convince them to take into account some of my medical costs. I really hope so - their rules certainly don't seem to rule it out.

Friday night helped a lot - we had a project Christmas meal. Despite having to appear in drab (hopefully for the last time ever on a night out) I really enjoyed myself and it re-inforced how much everyone cares. I owe them so much.

On Saturday I was fine, but Sunday afternoon after i'd dropped the kids back home after our weekly contact session it all hit hard again�compounded by my ex-wife's constant hostility to me. I still love her deeply (though she won't believe it) and seeing her turn into someone nasty and vindictive truly hurts (although I know it's her way of dealing with the pain).

The other thing preying on my mind at the moment is the question of accommodation (I'm totally sick of living out of a suitcase). Although I'd found a flat share a couple of weeks back it's now gone really quiet and I've been unable to get through to find out what's going on. I finally gave up yesterday and my friend Tracy has been helping me look. Wait and see.

Enough rambling for now. More soon, I promise.