1st April, 2013: It started deep in the night, probably about 3 am, in Fosse Road South, Leicester, my old address. I was lying awake thinking about making a hoax video for April Fools' Day, and something gave me a little nudge. The idea popped into my head that I should do a fake male pregnancy video as part of the year of daily YouTube videos I'd committed myself to in order to deal with empty nest syndrome. Our younger child had started at college the previous autumn and I was trying to fill the gap. As I've mentioned before, my involvement in their parenting, popularly known as home education, was partly an overcompensation for my failure to have them grow inside me, give birth to them and my almost complete failure to breastfeed them.
So I made this video:
Two things about this video: it is of course wish-fulfillment and it's also, in a sense, me being pregnant with the future female me. This is Mark pregnant with Amanda, although he didn't know it at the time. Clearly it's crazy and out there, but I did it, it's a matter of record and there it is. This video has a prehistory too but let's not go into that. For the sake of storytelling this is the start of the story.
The video became, by my standards, very popular. It was of course afflicted by the usual problem of our failure to engage in spite of perceived good quality and success, which is what I mean by "my standards". Consequently, I decided to extend the hoax and started a second channel, now defunct:
On this channel, I made weekly videos about my "pregnancy", and in order to duplicate the experience as far as possible, I took herbs intended to mimic the effects. Suspiciously, I took the wrong herbs, which considering my knowledge and experience I'm going to have to say suggests that all was not as it seemed to my conscious mind. I personally attribute it either to my subconscious or to divine intervention, or "the Universe" if theism isn't your thing, which in fact is how I see the whole sequence of events.
7th May (I'm not going to be able to keep these dates up): After about a month of increasing nausea, I started throwing up and felt really ill, provoking this rather unsavory but mercifully brief offering:
Shortly after that, I decided there was something unusual going on so I did the necessary research, which revealed that in fact the previous lot weren't oestrogenic and the current lot were. I then added more oestrogenics and started taking garlic to counteract platelet aggregation.
July: At a date I'm unsure of, a painful red spot suddenly appeared on my right forearm and stayed there for three days before turning dark and slowly fading. I had my suspicions about it and decided those suspicions must be delusional. I then bought into the delusions entirely and am now in La-la-land, and Xtine isn't here.
This was also the point at which I finally told my spouse what was happening. She saw it as a mid-life crisis, and she has more than a bit of a point. I see it as "so this is it, is it? I have no choice but to be a bloke until I die? Sod that for a game of soldiers." I also think there may be a link with a decline in testosterone, although this feeling has been going on since I was at the oldest six and probably longer. She was somewhat distressed when I said I wanted to wear a dress to Pride in early August. This surprised me since she had repeatedly and spontaneously said that she couldn't even imagine having a problem if I "crossdressed" (which doesn't exist of course) over a period of about twenty years prior to me actually taking the plunge. I appreciate that theoretically being at peace with it is very different than experiencing the reality.
It must also be said that a particular friend has been of absolutely sterling support to me and that without her I wouldn't have felt strong enough to do any of what I'm doing. I hope she knows how important that is to me. As well as that, people have been really generous with clothes and other stuff, and with advice.
Strangely, I found that as soon as I changed my clothing, rather than getting loads of harrassment in the street the harrassment I had been getting for much of my life prior to that point actually stopped. Yes, that's right: I now get less hassle than before I started wearing skirts and dresses.
Things continued. I went full-time in the autumn thanks to my mother seeing me in the street, then in December of course I got arrested. There are in fact a number of good things about this incident. With regard to the gender presentation, this made me think I needed to support any forthcoming case and do it quickly. Luckily, I had solicitors' contact details on me, which may have helped with the police. I do also have to say that whereas it wasn't exactly a bundle of fun being arrested, they did at least treat me as female and this was the first time any official body had done so. What it triggered me into doing, however, was to seek counselling yet again (I've done this about three or four times in my life in connection with this issue), to change my name officially by deed poll and to get myself put on a waiting list for psych assessment. In the end, it came to nothing due to lack of evidence, but it is nonetheless positive that it galvanised me in this way.
The name change is now almost complete. The only official document with my old name on it is now my credit card.
The next stage was make up. After months of trepidation I decided that the best way to hide my facial hair was foundation, which I now wear a thin layer of all day. It was surprisingly easy. I always assumed there would be no way I could possibly achieve the skill women often exercise in that area but in the end it turns out it's not that difficult and my wife didn't even notice for three weeks.
So this is me after a year. I often play a game where I pretend I've just woken up after, say, twenty years and imagine what I'd think about my life as it is at that point. Well, the shock value and the sudden changes which have occurred recently mean that playing this game even over the period of a single year is quite startling now. I never would've guessed on 31st March 2013 that today I would be called Amanda and be sitting here like this - almost hairless, with breasts, several stone lighter, speaking naturally using head rather than chest resonance (lots of work there still to do of course), in a minidress, tights and bra, with make up and nail varnish. Loads more still to be done, but wow, what a ride! What's it going to be like in a year's time?