We are just about halfway through a fortnight's holiday in the Lake District, along with our good friend Susan. I will detail the holiday in more depth next weekend when we return. In the meantime I have found how interesting it is with regards how many memories being here has provoked, especially during the long walks I have enjoyed with Susan.
This is actually my fourth visit to the Lakes during my life and I have been reflecting on how these visits have been relevant to my life of gender dysphoria and eventual transitioning.
My first visit was during the eighties as part of a school trip. I was a very confused teenager, struggling with my hormones and my gender issues. I knew I had gender dysphoria (although I was not aware of the term); I knew I was a girl, but my body was that of a boy and this meant I was spending most of my capacity in trying to survive portraying the wrong gender. I could not comprehend the other boys, their behavior was baffling to me and this taxed my capabilities. During this trip, there were some extremely unpleasant memories including sharing a dormitory with probably 25 other boys. The bullying that I had endured during school was just the same on this trip.
There were some rays of light in this trip though. First was my appreciation for the beauty of the lakes and the ability to be close to nature with regards where our hostel was located. This led to me forming a rare friendship with three others, two girls and one boy. To be able to interact with girls was a helpful experience, but just to have a friendship was just as pleasing. I remember memories of the four of us walking up the river that cascaded below our hostel and swimming in a deep pool that was located a little way away. As well as that, we climbed Scafell one day and when fog descended, I was stuck at the summit (the Pikes) with one of the girls from my friendship. I remember us being completely free to talk, no inhibitions and being honest with each other. I think at that point I could have told her about my gender issues. I didn't and eventually the fog cleared with the trip soon to end. Sadly the friendship we had formed seemed to be destroyed when returned to the school environment. Those three that wanted to know me during that trip, did not want to be associated with me when back in the school environment.
The second trip was somewhere about 7-8 years ago when I was deep into my chronic denial of my gender issues. Mandy and myself booked a cottage near Carlisle that was also a coarse fishing complex. Fishing was one of my old life past-times and the holiday was to be a mixed affair with that and some visiting on the Lakes. It was a truly hideous holiday, the complex was just awful, the fishing was rubbish and we were some distance from the lakes. This holiday was a non-event.
3 years ago in 2011, we decided on a return to the Lakes and because we had missed out before by being so far away, we booked a place in Bowness-on-Windemere, right in the heart of the Lakes. I would have said at the time that I was happy with my current situation, I was a kind of working male, but living all my time outside of this as a woman. I had told my friends and family and thoughts of going full time were in the distance somewhere. This holiday was going to be different, I was going to live the whole fortnight as Lucy. Our living situation meant I could not leave as her and had to change in the local motorway services. I left those services as Lucy and stayed that way until we returned two weeks later.
The whole fortnight was a complete eye opener. My treatment by the residents of the Lake District was so completely accepting that it helped me to make the decision to go full time. This was not to say that I had had any serious problems close to home, but to go away to a strange place and be completely accepted as who I am made my decision easy.
Changing back on returning home was incredibly hard to do and I made the decision the very next day to meet the landlord who we rented our cottage from and explain the situation. This gave me much more freedom to come and go as I pleased. I started a voluntary post a few days after and then it was just my work situation to deal with. That happiness with my situation I had had prior to this holiday quickly became unhappiness. It took me until July 2012 to go full time, in the end out of sheer desperation.
So here we are now, having returned to the Lakes finished with the essentials of my transitioning. There are differences of course, I now have to contend with dilation and still twice a day too. Doing this in a different place and with a different routine makes it a little harder but it has not been too bad. There are also hormones, and I think the last couple of days have been PMT affected.
But I have that contentment now that comes with being complete and it has helped me relax on this holiday (outside of that PMT!). There is nothing to go back to with regards transitioning and it feels like this has been a very nice conclusion to my recovery period. My life is there beckoning to me on my return.
Hang on though, there's still another week to go! I will update about the fortnight in my next post.