I’m so glad I posted my last blog post. I was worried I’d regret it, but it’s been the opposite. Firstly, it was such a relief to (a) make a decision to move on and (b) get it all off my chest instead of bottling it up. Moreover, the number of people who responded to the post either here in the comments or on Facebook made me realise that even if one friendship has gone wrong, there are others that are going so right. People I haven’t heard from in months initiated contact and made me realise I haven’t lost them.
As a direct consequence of that post, I also ended up having a really long conversation — first in Facebook messenger and then via video chat — with someone I hadn’t got to know as well as I’d liked before they moved away from Cambridge. It was really nice to talk, first about the situation itself and then about any number of other things, and get to know each other better. As well as allowing me to work through a few underlying issues that I hadn’t realised were affecting my response to the immediate situation, it was good to feel that other friendships might be born of this one’s loss.
The conversations resulting from my post helped me get back in touch with a number of friends, as well as making me feel better about this particular situation and loss of friendship, and were generally just really reassuring. It also made me realise that one of the reasons I was feeling so upset and paranoid about that one situation was because I was feeling insecure about my other friendships. A lot of my friends have recently graduated or found new jobs, and it’s been hard not to feel left behind. It was good to know that there are still people out there who care what I have to say, especially as I’ve been feeling the opposite lately.
So, it turned out that 2.30am decision was a good one.
It did, however, distract me substantially from my Ireland preparation, not least because of the amount of time I spent the next day talking to people, replying to messages, etc etc. I’m trying to rectify that today by writing the world’s most detailed packing list, researching bus timetables, and trying to find where I put my passport and travel insurance information. This has involved fighting with the printer somewhat, as it ran out of ink, but I think I’m getting there now.
Next on my list I need to research both places to eat gluten-free food in Dublin and Donegal (I think in Glencolumbkille and Drogheda I’ll be entirely self-catering just for practicalities), places to buy gluten-free groceries, and also which museums and things I want to visit and how much they cost and what their opening hours are. I also need to find out British Airways’ policy on foldable metal walking sticks (e.g. whether I can have one in my hand luggage without running into problems), and how to get to the airport in the first place.
Oh, and I still need to get my euros.
As for my second Irish dance class on Monday, which was with a different school, that actually went really well. It was more intense than the other class I took, and after the warm-up I was wondering what I’d got myself into (and whether I’d ever be able to breathe again). The class split into two groups and I went with the more advanced one, not because I think I’m any good, but because they were focusing on solos while the other group was doing ceili. Although ceili seems like fun, if it’s a choice between the two rather than an added bonus, I’d definitely go for solos.
I now know a reel lead around that they said was probably Open-ish level, so a bit harder than what I’ve done in the past. It took me the whole class to learn it, while the other three in the group moved onto a hornpipe step, but it wasn’t a long class and I’m very rusty, so I’m pretty proud of myself for managing it at all. Although my legs felt like jelly, I was still surprised by how short the hour-long class seemed, and could definitely have stayed longer — even if my body wouldn’t have thanked me for it.
I found the bus journey there extremely stressful, which was definitely a negative when it comes to going to these classes regularly. It was a new bus route that I’ve never taken before, which is always scary, and there was a drunk man leering at everyone. I didn’t want him to read me as female and start treating me the way he was treating other women on the bus; since I was wearing a skirt but also a big baggy t-shirt, equally I didn’t want him to read me as a boy in a skirt as I imagined he’d be the transphobic abuse sort. Thankfully he didn’t seem to notice me at all, but it was still very stressful.
As for the gender issue… once again I avoided dealing with it and just let them read me as female, although I introduced myself to them as Finn. There was a guy in the class called Finn as well, which meant periodically I’d hear the teacher call the name out and think she meant me when she actually meant him. Confusing, but I guess most people get used to meeting other people with their name. It’s just pretty rare for me to run into a Miriam.
At yesterday’s class (back with the first school — both teachers said they were okay with me doing both) someone asked me if Finn was short for anything, like Fionnuala. A little embarrassed, I told them it was a nickname, but didn’t explain that it was sort of short for Delorfinde because that would’ve meant explaining that name and it’d take forever. They asked me for my real name, so I told them, at which point they said they preferred Finn. Then they asked how come I’d ended up nicknamed Finn if my name was Miriam…
… and that would’ve been the perfect opportunity to say, “Well, I’m non-binary,” but I didn’t. Just said, “Er, it’s kind of a long story, but I wasn’t really comfortable with how feminine Miriam is and wanted something more gender-neutral.” I guess I’m just too chicken to come out to people face-to-face.
Anyway, they carried on calling me Finn, and at least this way if I add them on Facebook they won’t be confused as to who this Miriam is. I think it was just curiosity on their part, because encountering girls called Finn is a bit more unusual and that’s how they see me. But it was the first test of how I deal with the perfect opportunity for coming out — aka I blow it.
Anyway. That seems a good place to end a post written on International Non-Binary Day (which is apparently a thing), so I’d best get back to my Ireland prep.
If you commented on my last post, either here or on Facebook or privately: thanks. I appreciated it.