Time With The Girls And A Few Good Men

Hey everyone. That’s me finally back on the blog after a few weeks of having no phone and believe me that  has been a challenge and a half. bearing this in mind, this post will attempt to look not one day in my life but will instead cover an eight day period in which I experienced both highs and lows and the value of real friendship.

The story  starts on the first Sunday of the month when I attended my local church for the dedication service for the 95th company of  the Glasgow Girls Brigade.  The  girls were as always a credit to themselves,  and their company, and I said as much in a chat to one of the leaders.  Though I had attended the Boys Brigade service the previous week and I am very proud of the boys we have in our company l do have to admit that the girl’s always get me that wee bit more emotional.

From the relative calm of an enjoyable Sunday service  I was about to find out what the phrase manic Monday really meant. You see being offline for a couple of weeks had a catastrophic effect on my social life and led  unknowingly to me to the cancelation of the monthly Words and Music event at Lebowskis. As it turns out the pub was undergoing refurbishment and it had taken a wee bit longer than expected. The management had to contact me but as  my phone was dead they had no way of doing so and as I  completely unaware of this I had ran across the  city to the Mitchell Library to assure the regulars that the night would be going ahead as usual. You can only imagine my horror on finding out  the bad news. It is however, on nights like this when you find out who your friends are and  I certainly found out that I am one very lucky lady in that respect.

As I arrived at the bar I was greeted by Steve Allan and David Forrest who informed me of the news that the night l had been looking forward to had been called off due circumstances beyond our control. Undaunted by this setback we decided to make a night of it anyway. As we chatted we were joined by Robin Cairns, and the talented twosome who would have been our featured acts Shaun Moore, and Alan Smart.  After enjoying some good quality social  time which as Robin correctly said we don’t get the chance to do when we attend regular spoken word nights we finally called time at around 10 o’clock when Steve said it was safe for him to go home as his daughter Georgia be or at least should be fast asleep.

On leaving the bar I was offered a lift by David Forrest which I gratefully accepted. On getting in to the car I thought David would be dropping me off somewhere in the city centre which would have been absolutely fine but instead he asked me for my postcode, put it in to his satnav and  drove me all way back to Baillieston. This act of kindness was particularly appreciated by my flatmate Janette who does tend to worry about me whenever I’m out and about.Talking of Janette, the fact she wasn’t feeling at her best on Thursday night led me to change my usual routine and head not to the Gallery of Modern Art to attend Glasgow Writers Group as I usually would but instead make the much shorter journey across the road to my local church where I would make first ever appearance at the guild.Though it has changed its rules in recent years and allowed men to attend its meetings the guild still perceived to be a women’s organisation and the fact  I had been invited to attend by a couple of  women in the parish I had never quite got round to it till Thursday and of I’m honest I must admit I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would and will definitely be going back some time in the future to a group where I was made very welcome.

Apart, from the  prayer and praise there was a very interesting  talk on Route 66 which is for  those who don’t know America’s most famous highway connecting no fewer than eight states  from the Midwest to California.  Maybe it was the inner geographer in me but I must admit that I found this presentation entertaining, educational, and engaging and part of that was due to the presenter having the kind relaxed, easy going style which made you want to listen. Speaking as someone who has previously worked as  a trainer it was obvious to me that he really knew his subject and the fact he provided a musical clue every time we changed state was both original and innovative. No doubt everyone who attended will have their favourite gem of information they learned on a truly excellent evening mine came not when we were told about the world’s tallest building or given the name of an endangered species but when we shown a picture of the original family home of Laura Inglis Wilder who wrote the little house on the prairie books on which the hit TV show of my early teenage years were based.

From sharing my faith with the ladies of the guild on a wet  and windy Thursday night Saturday afternoon saw me go to T-Time , a trans community social event at which I’ve become a regular attender in the past few months. Like many social gatherings  T-Time has a different theme every month. This month’s theme was remembrance,  but not in the military sense of the word. This was the trans community’s chance to remember court dead by which I mean every trans woman or trans man who has been murdered in 2015 for simply daring to be themselves.My contribution to this commemoration was to read one of my trans related poems entitled does my lipstick scare you? Personally I don’t think my lipstick would scare anybody but I can tell you what did and that was reading a poem out to my peers in a room where only one member of the group had ever heard any of my work. I needn’t have worried though my poem went down well and I even had some group members ask me where they could more of my poetry. Now that’s what I call a serious result.

At the end of the event I went to The Centre for Contemporary Arts and took an exhibition as part of the sonic festival. The exhibition concerned which featured only minimum lighting will no doubt be viewed differently by everyone who seen it, my take on it, is that it reminded of the power of darkness  and brought back memories of my early 1970’s childhood in which power cuts were a frequent occurrence. Bringing this theme to a more current setting I am reminded that the darkest time of night can be very scary for women. Speaking personally, as a trans woman I must admit I was fearful in surroundings with so little light. It is I think no coincidence that a significant number of attacks against women occur not only in the dark but also in the most dimly lit areas where the perpetrator is less likely to be caught. Make no mistake I found this exhibition a lot more frightening than most of the stuff on the horror channel but I’m really glad I went to see it as it will definitely make me take more precautions with regards to my personal safety issues.

Talking of safety I’ll finish this post where it started at St Andrews Church in Baillieston where I attended the Remembrance Sunday  service. As I stood in the silence I thought not only of those who died but also of my uncles who served in the second world war and gave thanks that every one of them were able to return home to their loved ones.  In my time of reflection I wondered what they would  make of the poppy debate and the political establishment’s attempt to try and force everyone to wear one or be branded as unpatriotic.  Personally I think they would be appalled by such narrow minded pettiness and would be in agreement with National columnist Cat Boyd who said in a recent edition of the paper that wearing the poppy should be a choice and not an obligation.  l have to say
I am in full agreement with her sentiments and let me say this loud and clear  I wear the poppy because I choose to my relatives in that way.  You see as someone who wears the poppy I fully support the right of those who refuse to do  so. To me if remembrance is about anything it is about remembering that when the allies were fighting the Nazis they were fighting for the right to have freedom of choice to live our lives as we wish  to do so within the letter of the law.

As I chatted to to friends after the service I thought how lucky I am to have the quality of life I do. You see to me  your quality can’t be measured in terms of wealth or material possessions as far as I’m concerned it has more to do with the way  you live your life. For me that’s being involved in politics as a member of the SNP and the west of Scotland transgender community and performing at as many spoken word nights as I can manage to fit in to my hectic but enjoyable life. It is because I have such a rewarding life that my time offline was more bearable than it otherwise would have been and I was lucky to be able to spend time with the girls and a few good men.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle XXX

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