For the past few days, we were at Boardmasters festival with my best friend. If you’ve read any previous posts, you’ll know how much I hate social events due to being so self-conscious and feelings of not fitting it in. But it was different this time. In the past I couldn’t wait to get away from whatever the event was, but since getting back from Boardmasters, I’ve been really down. Some would call it post-holiday blues but it’s more than that. I know it is. It all feels very different. I feel empty and lonely.
The festival was down in Newquay, where my best friend lives. It’s quite a long drive but it’s a chance to get away. I’ve definitely needed it. On a side note: I did smile when I drove past Exeter, which is on the way. When I spoke to my doctor about referring me to a GIC, I specifically requested the one there. Seeing the sign for Exeter reminded me of what I’d achieved recently. It gave me motivation and a sense of calm. This was the first time I’d seen my best friend since I made the decision to make a permanent change in life, and the first time I’ve seen her mom since she found out. I wasn’t nervous at all to be honest. They’re family to me and I trust them completely. I think the only thing I was worried about was any awkwardness due to all of us knowing about me – but my other half not really wanting to acknowledge it. Last thing I wanted was to make her feel uncomfortable or for anybody else to feel awkward, so I was happy to avoid the subject completely. It’s still early days and I don’t want to cause conflict, problems or upset by showing too much of the
new real me in case people don’t know how to react or they feel a bit weirded out by the change. It’s not like I was going to turn up to the festival in a dress, that was never going to happen!! It’s just that, at this stage, it’s still a little weird knowing when to make more changes without freaking people out.
As much as I love Newquay for being accepting and chilled/laid back, I’ll admit I was a bit hesitant, due to so many people coming to the festival from all over the UK, and even further afield. When I got there, I was surprised that nobody actually gave a shit about how I looked. Even the people who weren’t from Newquay. Words cannot even describe how liberating that was. People did make eye contact but they just carried on. No puzzled looks, no double takes, no nudges to their friend, no pointing. Nothing. People either thought I was female or they didn’t care what the hell I was. Well ok, not everyone. During the entire time I was there, only 2 people actually stopped to look properly at me: 1 person looked at me in disgust (which, quite frankly, is nothing new to me) whilst the other just looked at me in an inquisitive way as she continued a conversation with her friend. That’s it. Hundreds and hundreds of people and only 2 took any notice of me. Compared to anything in the past, that’s such an amazing and refreshing change. You know what? I didn’t even care about the 2 people that looked at me. The fact that I could just be myself was amazing. I was still a bit worried but I think that’s just habit. I didn’t look or dress any different to how I normally do either. I think my mentality has shifted which has helped me to focus on me, rather than how others perceive me. A small step in the right direction.
Being back home, I’m a bit of a mess. I really miss the feeling of being able to exist without drawing attention to myself or having to watch my back all the time. It’s like having to go back into hiding. I don’t want to. I want to be me. I also miss my best friend. As we live so far apart, we don’t get to see each other often. If only we lived closed to each other. I realised that here, I only have my other half – and even then I’m not sure how that’s going to work out. Other than her, I don’t really have anyone else around me here. I have friends but I wouldn’t say we’re close enough to be able to hang out all the time or for me to chew their ear off over how I feel. I do feel really, really lonely. I know I can’t complain too much as I’ve helped to shape the loneliness over the years, but I can’t help but feel empty and isolated. At times, it’s been unbearable. To the point where I almost told everyone around me that I’m transgender in the hope of recreating how I felt whilst I was in Newquay. I didn’t though. It would go down too well here. Attitudes are very different. Maybe people will surprise me and be fine with me. That’s a possibility. Based on what I’ve seen, experienced or heard I’m not too sure. The environment doesn’t exactly fill me with encouragement or motivation. Maybe that fresh start is what’s needed? I always thought I’d move to Newquay if I could, or if shit ever hit the fan in any other aspect of my life. It’d be nice to just get on with life quietly, without any hassle or judgement. Plus it’s close to Exeter.
Featured image: taken by me whilst at Boardmasters