My Story: Charlotte
My name is Charlotte,
I have been in contact with your service over the last two years and in truth your supporting me and prescribing hormones has probably saved my life.
Over the last 18 months I have been on the suicide watch list more times than I care to count, as well as staying at a suicide respite home. I was there for five days and they were exceptional.
I have been seeing a therapist for the last year over my suicidal tendencies and she has been a great help. In the last year, I have become far more confident in opening up to people I can trust and they have ALL accepted Charlotte into their lives, something which I find remarkable.
I started writing a book about my experiences called Blossoming in the Darkness. It tells the story of Charlotte finding herself – and finding love – in the midst of a broken marriage, children who have disowned her and trying her best to survive.
The majority of the story is true; the new found love is the stuff of dreams.
The book is a huge achievement for me. I hope that it will give others on their own journey some hope, and that it will go some way to helping those outside of the community to understand just how hard it can be to walk this path.
It would never had been written if it was not for your support. So a big thanks! I have attached a photo of Charlotte and the first few pages of my book, in case any members of the GenderGP community would be interested in reading it.
Thanks again for your support.
Blossoming in the Darkness by Charlotte Eden Hemmingway
Chapter one: The Revelation
Charlotte arrived at her Therapists office for the first time, parked her car and sat there with her favourite classical music playing. The engine of the car was still running as it was cold outside, so she left the engine running to keep warm. She was early and sat looking at the old building that at one time would have formed a stately home for some wealthy textile manufacturer at a time when the textile manufacturing business in England had been a vast money making industry. Things had changed and the textile mills closed down and sat empty for years, just like this once glorious country home. It had fallen into some disrepair as many had over the years. Few remained to be large stately family homes, but most had been demolished to build numbers of new homes, or had been converted into apartments. This building was no different, she could see the scaffolding sitting at the front of the building, clearly idle, having been erected to make repairs to the outside of the property, but seemingly never completed or maybe never even started. A green covering had built up over a period of time indicating that it had been there for some unspecified time. The orange debris netting was torn and hanging in places blowing in the wind and bits of rubbish, with an old shopping bag had caught itself in the netting and was making an annoying rattling sound. A couple of chickens ran around the overgrown grounds going nowhere in a hurry, like children without a purpose. The car park was in need of attention and sitting there was an old football that maybe belonged to a child or a dog, it was hard to say. It was flat, punctured at some stage in its life, useless rather like herself she felt. She felt that she was taking up space on this planet that she did not deserve as she felt she did not use it for the good of others or even the good of herself. She felt selfish, that she only ever thought about herself, her troubles and if she did think about the well being of others, it was that she just thought about it and did nothing more than that. She could feel herself sinking as she looked back over her life and the uselessness of it all, the pain she had inflicted, the hearts she had broken and a life that had been lost, never to be returned.
There were only two other cars in the car park, neither of them impressive, both mediocre and to some degree boring. One obviously belonged to someone who was disabled as there was a disabled sticker in the back, the other was old and tatty and had seen better days.Charlotte wondered what the Therapist would be like, what she would think about Charlotte being transgender and the transgender community as a whole. She knew different people had differing views about it, some accepting, but some were very anti transgender people and it was impossible to guess where she stood, but she would soon find out. She had already prepared the Therapist by writing to her about her condition, so she knew it would not be a shock and to some degree felt that the fact that the Therapist was seeing her, was positive. Charlotte was broke, money was in short supply, so her sister had paid for her therapy session or she would not be there. She was still paying for the family home and trying to now pay for herself and her own accommodation as well. She was seeing the Therapist because of her suicidal tendencies which had torn her life apart for over 40 years. It had been a lifelong dilemma which had nearly been concluded on many occasions through attempted suicides. She was dressed as John, not as Charlotte and to all intents and purposes to anyone she met she was male. The changing scene of her body was not obvious to anyone other than herself, unless of course she was naked and then budding breasts and large hard nipples would be seen. Her skin was the most noticeable change as it had softened massively and she had developed some puppy fat in her tummy region. Hair growth had reduced massively on her body and she no longer had to shave her legs and arm pits as often as she once did. The hormone replacement therapy was working and taking effect, but it was a slow process. She was older and that had its draw backs, time had set itself in her body and changes that could take place for someone much younger would not happen for her. She had to face it, she was born too early, 40 years too early. She wondered if it was appropriate to call it hormone replacement therapy, as in reality she wasn’t replacing what was lost but putting something there and changing the balance of what had always been there, but out of sync. There had always been oestrogen, but it was limited in volume compared to testosterone which had had the pre-eminence in her body. She hated it, it was wrong to her, why had it been that way? She had often prayed and screamed out that one night she would go to bed male and wake up female, that the pain of being in the wrong body would be gone forever and she could be who she was meant to be. She felt that she was dysfunctional, a bit of a freak. She was in a way now going through a second puberty but this time as a girl, not as a boy, if only it had been this way in childhood she wished.
She watched the clock move on with minutes to go before she was due for her first appointment. Charlotte was punctual, her pet hate being people who were late, particularly when there was no reason. She recalled the Sunday mornings trying to get the three young children ready for church and into the car. There was the regular countdown of minutes and it was like a NASA countdown to a launch. Looking back she wondered if this was all part of her OCD issues and her anxiety. She was now very nervous and her anxiety was once again kicking in. She felt like she wanted to put the car into reverse and head back out the way she had come and back to safety into the secrets and the darkness of her own world, but she was here and it was time to leave the solitude and safety of the car and head to the house. It was once clearly an impressive house and she could imagine the days when horse drawn carriages would arrive and leave with the rich and wealthy. They were days gone by and now only the residents who lived there, whoever they were would come and go. Charlotte turned off the engine, opened the door of her car to be hit by the cold of the day. It bit into her like a sharp knife. She had on her blue suit with a white shirt but with no tie. She regretted not having worn what she called her funeral coat, as it was most only ever worn to funerals. It was smart, blue and long and very expensive at the time she had bought it, but that was in another lifetime, a life-time when she had more money. She had bought a Harley Davidson, a speed boat and a jet ski. She was wild and sporty, spending the summers water skiing and jet skiing and often in the winter would snow ski. She had enough disposable income to live a rather lavish life style. She wanted for nothing. She was a Director of a large successful organisation that at its time was the largest in the United Kingdom. It was almost like that life was a dream, something that had never existed and often she would have to question her own mind as to whether it had ever been real. She would on occasions take out a photo album from her past life and look at the photos of herself as John, handsome, tanned, with dark hair and ousting confidence. There were the photos on the boat, water skiing, snow skiing and the pictures of his beloved black Harley Davidson Fat Boy. She would almost breathe a sigh of relief when she looked at them, knowing that she wasn’t mad or deluded, that those days had actually happened and that they were real.
She slowly and carefully went down the few broken steps to the worn out gravel pathway, to be met by the chickens that scuttled past her into the undergrowth. There was an outside swimming pool that had not been used for years with some white plastic sun loungers that had gone yellow in the sun, clearly unused for many years. The area looked tired and worn out. She imagined the days when children would have played and screamed for joy as they jumped around in the pool and parents sat drinking cocktails, whilst a maid and butler would probably pander to the needs of the wealthy home owner. She had to traverse the scaffold to get to the front door, passing a large grand bay window that sat at the front of a darkened room. The large old door was half glazed and she could barely see into the dark hall that sat beyond it. The old door bell sat to the left of the door, which always seemed to be the case, rarely did it seem that door bells sat on the right of the door. She wondered why that was as most people were right handed. She hesitatingly pulled the brass chain of the bell which rang inside and she nervously waited for someone to appear. She could hear a door open inside and saw the silhouette of someone approaching the main door to give her access, who she guessed must be the the Therapist. The old door opened with a creak and a semi mature lady stood at the door. She was in her mid forties, had an unusual hair cut in that her fringe was cut very high and showed a large area of her forehead. Her wavy hazel coloured hair sat just below her shoulders and was well groomed. She was dressed in clothing of what seemed to be of a bygone era. She was wearing a tweed suit with a long flowing skirt with some sort of boots and her jacket had what looked like part of a pheasants feather pinned to it. She smiled and invited Charlotte into the hallway with a greeting and stood back to let Charlotte through. Charlotte immediately noted her lovely smile. It was real, as though Charlotte was an old long lost friend from a past life. She could immediately feel the warmth which eased her nerves immediately.
‘Go straight in.’ She said gently.