Joe asked why I was surprised by this photo, well I suppose the first reason is to find that it was taken so long ago. Although I have not looked at it for a while the day is so fresh in my memory that it seems as though it could have been this summer. It was a bit of a breakthrough day for Paula I went up to town to the V & A to an exhibition and met an on-line friend for tea. Not that incredible but it was my first time on public transport and the first time that I met and seriously interacted with anybody socially as Paula.
This friend is of a quite philosophical turn of mind, but still with a well developed sense of humour, unfortunately I knew them through the forum that I felt obliged to leave so have lost touch. But the lessons of that day have stayed with me, that most people don't care who I am or how I am dressed, and even more won't notice (I know that it is difficult to have more than most but I see these two groups overlapping). Almost everybody at an exhibition, concert or play are more interested in the exhibition, concert or play than they are in the other people there. In a major urban multicultural environment there are worse things to worry about than a cross dresser. In short that it is perfectly safe to go out as long as I follow the rules that any sensible woman would follow.
The other surprise is for a photo that seems so recent I was surprised how "my look" has progressed. I am so much happier now I have decided to abandon wigs. I know I am lucky to have enough hair and the social and work freedom to let it grow, but I can see a certain self consciousness in photos from then, some of which I am sure comes from a certain insecurity that comes from the wig. I no longer have the grey one from that photo (or an horrendous brown curly one, that was so bad I will never share any photos of me wearing that!) but I do still have my blond one and think there is a brown one knocking around at the back of the cupboard somewhere. There is much about Paula that is false so I like to hang on to the real bits that I can.
My wedding ring, is real, pretty much all my other jewellery is cheap costume stuff, I use padding to help my figure, make up to help my face, at least now I can have my own hair!