Having read Cass's recent post that touched on community I had to share what happened today when I decided to participate in one of the communities that I'm part of.
Which one? Church. For the first time since I transitioned I went to a Sunday morning service without my family. Just me. On my own.
I've been to church on my own but its only been to evening services and not morning ones.
I'd not planned on going on my own today because its one of those services that we have at a local community centre and not the normal church building. We should have gone as a family but today my lovely family decided that they weren't going to get up in time to get ready to go, in fact it was 9 before my son emerged from the depths of his bed and shortly after that my other half emerged to bury herself in a mug of tea.
So with the rest of the family still half asleep I decided I'd get ready to go out but had decided I'd go and do some shopping. Even up until the last minute I wasn't going to go to church. Then as I was putting my boots on I decided that I would go.
Now the last time I went to the community centre service I found myself feeling very uncomfortable as pretty much everybody was ignoring me after the service. Before I'd transitioned I'd have had chats with lots of people. So with how I'd felt last time I decided I'd go along on my own and see what happened. If nobody spoke to me after the service then I'd leave my family to go on their own in future.
I arrived with a few minutes to spare and found a seat. One of the other families came and sat next to me saying hello and I chatted to the father briefly. The service was good, the choice of songs was good and I happily sang along to them, even going so far as to sway to a couple of them. Miss Von Risque, my burlesque alter-ego, has a lot to answer for at times.
At the end of the service I put my chair away and then made my way towards the exit. The vicar's wife said hello as we passed each other but I didn't speak to anyone else. Just before I reached the exit I got held up as everyone had to squeeze through a narrow gap between some chairs and a table. Coming the other way was K, an old friend of mine. I stopped and when it was clear waved her through. I'd seen her when I'd arrived as she was handing out service sheets and had said hello to each other.
As she was passing she stopped to say hello and then asked if I was going to get a coffee. Well I couldn't say no as we've so rarely talked since I've transitioned. The last time we saw each other we were stood in the queue waiting to get tickets at the local cinema.
Having grabbed a coffee we stood and chatted for a good 10 to 15 minutes catching up on what each other had been doing. We talked about my work, my son, my other half's new job, and about what's happening in her life. It was fabulous to be able to catch up with her.
The one piece of news that she had for me made me so happy to hear as its something that I think she deserves because she's been through such a hard time over the years.
Thanks to K I still feel as if I'm part of the church community which is something that I was beginning to think wasn't true so thanks to her I might just carry on going to the community centre services for a while longer.