On Monday I finally began my Real Life Experience. Yes, I've finally gone full time as Jenna.
I was nervous about returning to work as Jenna after 3 weeks holiday. Everyone knew what was happening but I was still feeling nervous about how people would deal with me in person.
I got up early, checked my emails and read through a couple of blogs while drinking my coffee. Eventually at 7am I got my son out of bed and began my preparations. The usual spell in the bathroom washing, making sure my skin was hair free, shower and then into the bedroom to dry my hair and allow my skin to calm down for half an hour before applying my make-up.
I'd decided that I was going to wear my hair pulled back in a bun style. A couple of hair pins and a hair slide kept it in place. A few strands were left to hang down over my ears and the sides of my face. Until I get more practiced with my hair this is going to be my work look.
I got dressed and applied my make-up. Some final tidying of my hair and I was finally ready. In total it took me over an hour and a half to get myself ready to leave for work.
I dropped my other half off at work, where she took a few pictures of me, and then I drove to work.
J, one of the receptionists, saw me coming in and rang V, one of my bosses, who came down to meet me. We walked up together to my desk.
I managed to log onto my PC and then after settling in and chatting briefly to people around me I went to the personnel office. L took me down to our IT department where we completed setting up my new email account. That done L and I returned back upstairs and I made my way back to my desk.
It took me most of the morning to work through my email backlog and I found a few messages of support from people. I answered each email with a message of thanks.
Lunchtime came and I made my way to the cafe and had something to eat. I'd already made a trip there to get some water for my instant coffee and also a second trip for a cup of tea. Eating lunch there got that experience out of the way.
The day passed uneventfully. At one point I realised that I was actually finding things a lot less distracting and was actually able to concentrate more than I'd been able to do before Christmas. Sitting at my desk, walking around the building, chatting with people, it all felt totally natural. As the week has gone on I've found myself settling into being myself more. Things feel more and more natural and correct. If I ever had doubts that becoming Jenna 100 percent might be the wrong thing then those ideas are no more.
The rest of the week has been as equally as good.
Monday evening I went to Bristol and joined the Pink Kitten intermediate burlesque class for the first lesson in a four week fan dance course. It was great fun and as the beginners class was also running at the same time and place I got to meet about a dozen new women. Somehow I've also got roped into performing as part of a group fan dance in the Valentine's show. The next thing you know I'll be performing in the Easter show as well.
Tuesday and today have gone well at work too. Yesterday I felt confident and more natural as I walked back to the house from the car when I got home. In fact I felt totally at ease when I walked around to a neighbour's house to put a note through her door explaining what I'm doing. The rest of the neighbours that hadn't already been told were informed on Sunday evening. All had notes put through their doors but I did talk to two of the neighbours in person. Both of them were fine with the news. On Monday when I got home there was a note from another neighbour to let me know that him and his wife now understood why I'd been growing my hair longer and that they had no problems with my plans.
Tonight I saw the daughter of another neighbour as she was walking back to her car. We said hello from a distance but I'm sure that she knew it was me as I was with my son.
Tomorrow I have my first speech therapy lesson, on Saturday morning I'm getting my hair done and may be driving to Petersfield in Hampshire so that my other half and son can visit my father-in-law in hospital, something we've done a couple of times over the last few weeks. To make the most of visiting hours I'm not going to have the chance to get changed and remove my make-up so I'll probably drop them off and go and do something for a couple of hours. I might go for a wander in Queen Elizabeth Country Park, I've not done that in a long time.
So far things are going really well, I feel at ease and happy. I know things aren't going to stay this way forever but while things are going this well I'm going to enjoy it.