Sunday, 4 May 2008

take a deep breath

I love this time of the year.

Katie and I walked up through Prior's Wood, overlooking the Gordano Valley, on Friday evening. The sun was low in the sky and getting lower. A pair of roe deer broke cover ahead of us and disappeared around the corner. We admired the bluebells. I asked Katie to practice walking as quietly as possible, because if you do that then you see more. I remember when I was her age, working very hard at walking silently and keeping my eyes on the ground, watching out for twigs to avoid stepping on, and so not seeing very much else... a cloud of swallows rolled past, hung over the valley for a while, and disappeared to the west as we descended the hill again.

I've been feeling odd, and almost tearful. It's a funny feeling, knowing that the book is out there and people who I don't know are reading stuff about me, and maybe judging me. It's as though I were on trial, somehow. Someone on a messageboard which I read, posted a link to my Flickr page with the walk pictures on it, saying that she'd found it when she was "hunting around, trying to ascertain whether this book was fact or fiction, or both".

There is a difference between the book, which is, after all, a book, and me, which or who is or am me. Er, if you follow me. On the other hand, the version of 'me' in the book is a pretty close approximation of the me who's writing this. I think. Am I fact or fiction, or both?

We should not seek validation in other people's assessment of us, of course.

I tell myself that, and then continue to worry a bit.

Back in the days of my Employment Tribunal against P&O Ferries, I closely monitored the Internet for references to me, to see how the reportage of the case was dealt with and understood. There was a fair bit of distortion to make the case fit the standard media tranny narrative; and the sort of people who you would expect to pick up on that to confirm their own prejudices, did indeed do so. But, though I was occasionally exasperated, I was also fairly impervious, because I knew the facts of the matter.

This is more personal...


  1. I suppose it's a little like how actors feel, not wanting to read the critic's reviews. Only worse, they're being critiqued on their performance, this is your life, not a performance.

    You wouldn't be human if you didn't feel the odd sting.


  2. It will do good Dru. It's a version of you, it could never been anything else I guess. Do you feel more conscious of the issue of truth vs fallacy because it's a question you have had to face very very starkly in your own life - having to work out a more profound answer than many others are ever asked to do?

    I spend my life seeming to ask the question too 'Is it true?', 'Is this real?'. Inch by inch the picture clears. To what? To my truth I guess.

    But the book is now beyond you...out there, not you, but a book about you now?

    It will do good, I'm quite sure. Quite sure. From what I read in the Guardian, it has an authenticity of purpose, a truth of human spirit, which reaches well beyond the trans issue. I'm sure people will see that truth, and find in it something of themselves.

    People understand us a trans people ...or frankly, as people...when we reveal in our experience something of themselves to them.

    Beautiful picture.

  3. Nerves are natural and feeling a bit exposed and vulnerable too.

    Remember the rescue remedy!

  4. True enough, Fiona; though Richard is the one who's reluctant to see the reviews. I obsessively hunt down references to the book. Maybe it's the birdwatcher in me :-)

    I recognise your description of an evolving self-awareness, Josephine; at the time, I likened it to unpeeling an onion layer by layer, which is a bit of a dodgy metaphor, but was the best I could come up with at the time. Every day seemed to bring fresh discoveries; it was such a dynamic time. God, must have been a pain for those around me... yes, this is Richard's version of me, but still an authentic version, and I hope it stands up well to the hobgoblins and foul fiends it may encounter along the way. And make some new friends, too, hopefully.

    Rescue remedy always close at hand, Caroline!

  5. Hi Dru - I was just sitting at my computer thinking of something else when suddenly I got a very strong feeling that there was a flower essence that might be really useful for you... I knew it was a Findhorn one and when I looked at their list I realised it must be their Lichen. I've not tried it myself so this is pure intuition / whatever... according to their website its good for:

    Clears karma. Releases anger. Letting go gracefully of old habits. Releasing traumas, which hold us back in life. Self-appraisal. Self-worth/self-esteem/self-acceptance. No need for remorse or guilt.

    Which seemed pretty close to what you'd been describing... though of course that's for you to say!

    I've ordered things from their website before and found them very efficient. (Usually next day).

    Hope this isn't an unwelcome thought!

  6. Far from unwelcome, Caroline, and thank you for the link. I'm ordering some.

  7. Glad you feel it might be relevant... I was encouraged by realising you'd put a lichen encrusted post on the photo below this posing... the post in the post below that is...

  8. ...with an arrow pointing upwards....