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Transgender Support Group visit 1, with Transgender Model & Artist Sophie Lawson
ORIGINALLY POSTED 28th JANUARY 2015

Future me here *waves* It’s the year 2020, that sounds like the intro to a film lol but, rereading these diary entries from nearly 6 years ago makes me realise how important the language you use when dealing with Social Anxiety and stuff is. In this diary entry I keep referring to Social Anxiety as MY Social Anxiety. Removing that word MY has been so important, because it’s like you’re sending out a signal to the Universe to say, I no longer identify with Social Anxiety. It’s amazing how powerful this one lil action is.

*end of future me*

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, and welcome aboard this Great Western train travelling to The Laurels Gender Identity Clinic, *choo choo* lol Phase 1 complete, I’m on the train.

Today is the 28th January 2015 and I’m sat on the train making my way to The Laurels Gender Identity Clinic for my first Transgender Support Group. I’m feeling very on edge, in a way I just want it to be over so I know what to expect for next time. That’s it, it’s the uncertainty that has me on edge, *bing!* (just realised that as I wrote it lol)

I’ve never been to a Transgender Support Group before, as I wrote about last week, I’ve always wanted to but was always too scared to take that first step. The fear is … owwww, the Buffet is now open, serving hot and cold beverages, located in Coach K lol … the fear is still there, but I now know the truth; You have to face your fears to evolve, and we all have to evolve to reach our potential. I’m going to meditate for half an hour to get my mind into a good place before the train arrives in Exeter.

I’M WALKING ALONG THE STREET FROM THE TRAIN STATION AS I WRITE THIS IN MY lil NOTEBOOK. FEEL LIKE I’M ON AUTOPILOT, IT’S AS IF MY LEGS ARE WALKING ME TO THE GENDER CLINIC ON THEIR OWN lol

FEELING VERY NERVOUS!

I’m at the train station now, waiting for the Train home, it’s running 9 minutes late and my hands are freezing, even with my gloves on. It’s making me hold the pen and write all funny, doh! My Social Anxiety got in the way tonight, I showed up, I joined in, I asked some questions and I listened to everyone very intently, so I am happy, but it’s hard to not be annoyed when social anxiety gets in the way and stops you from really getting involved in groups.

I’ve been told not beat myself up if things don’t go as well as I’d hoped, and at least I showed up, that was a massive step for me, maybe next time I can join in more. I thought maybe being around other Transgender people would magically take away my social anxiety in group situations, but nope, social anxiety is a tough nut to crack! In fact, it’s more like an Onion, with so many layers and you just have to be very patient and slowly peel back each layer one at a time.

I’ve realised something very important tonight…this isn’t about my Gender any more, tonight wasn’t about my gender like I thought it would be, I kind of don’t care about my gender any more, I am what I am and that’s that, this is about my social anxiety. When I first walked out of the Transgender Support Group tonight I got hit by this massive wave of sadness.

It was horrible, like I had let myself down or something, I think the reason I was so sad was because the 2nd half of the night turned into more of a casual non-Transgender related small talk ting, and I’ve never been a fan of small talk; I find it very draining. The funny thing is, as I walked to the train station just now, and started processing the night, and changed my mind.

There’s so much to take away from tonight, process and learn from. This night’s been very very helpful and I have such a nice feeling of clarity now, I thought I was going there about my gender but it was more about my social anxiety, maybe my Gender is linked to it, but it needs to be separated and tackled on it’s own before I can make sense of the bigger picture and how everything links together.

I’m actually very proud of tonight. I asked what to do when someone close to you doesn’t accept you being Transgender, whcih is the case with my Dad, and one of the girls said something that made sense to me and I hadn’t thought about before. She said remember you’ve been struggling with these issues all your life and only now after all these years have you fully accepted it and can talk about it. So while you’re at a point in your life where you’ve made sense of it, and expect everyone else to share in your happiness and be happy for you, the reality is, they’re still at the point you were at when you hadn’t accepted it or made sense of it, so they have to go through their own process of understanding it themselves.

She said just don’t give up on them and try to inform them. Everyone there has lost family members because of being Transgender though, it’s pretty sad really, but then this same girl also said going through things like this in life you really see who your true friends are. There was also one girl there who is a mad anime fan, she was wearing an Anime outfit with ears lol So cool! We spoke about some Anime stuff and I said she should play Persona 4, but she’s only got an Xbox, she really needs to play Persona 4 to meet Chie, might have to lend her my Vita :)

Everyone there was living female full time, and there were no other non-binary people there so I did feel a little bit like the odd one out, but the host lady did say there is a non-binary support group near by. She’s going to send me the details, so it may be that this group helps me most by opening the door to this other non-binary group. I’m 100% planning to go back next month, and I will try my best to open up more.

Coolest thing about tonight, was how my Gender Therapist was just leaving to go home when I walked in. She personally came over and said hello and how happy she was to see I had made up… I’m smiling just thinking about her, she really is something special, never felt so happy around someone before! Talking about Therapists, my Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is ending next week and I’m so upset about that, not only because I’ll miss my Therapist, but after tonight I feel like I need another 6 sessions.

Train Ride Sketches at the Transgender Support Group visit 1, with Transgender Model & Artist Sophie Lawson

*Choo Choo* On the train now sitting with lots of cool Japanese people and I actually feel unbelievably relaxed and content, complete opposite to how I felt when I initially walked out of there an hour ago. I can feel things changing inside which is exciting. I know it’s going to take time, but I’m very proud of tonight, it was a big achievement for me to even go and I now have so much to process and learn from now.

I’m determined to not let social anxiety hold me back from my dreams. My earphones are in, trance tunes are on … it’s time to do some sketching with my ball point pen :) I just looked around at everyone on the train and realised, half the time we’re all in our own lil worlds. We need to make sure our lil worlds are the best possible worlds we can make them :)

IF YOU DON’T TAKE THAT FIRST STEP, A PATH WON’T OPEN FOR YOU

Satoru Fujinuma