Absent friends

I went as me to see Manic Street Preachers at the SSE Hydro tonight, assuming (correctly) that if any band’s crowd would be cool with trans people it’d be theirs.

But it was still a really big deal, a major step for me. I spent most of today absolutely shitting myself at the prospect.

I go to the Hydro a lot, but before tonight I hadn’t gone as me. It’s too big, too busy, capable of holding 12,000 people. That’s a lot of potential trouble when you’re tall and visibly trans. The long walkway you travel post-gig can be pretty rowdy too. For a while I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to do it.

So I’ve been working up to it. The bar of King Tut’s, capacity a few hundred. The new bit of the Royal Concert Hall, capacity 500. The O2 ABC, capacity 1,200. The O2 Academy, 2,500.

And tonight, the 12K Hydro.

Not so much out of my comfort zone as on a completely different planet to it.

And like every other big step I’ve had to take, I had to do it solo. No wingman to give me confidence. No voice offering assurance that I can do this. No shoulder to cry on when the sheer enormity of it all seems too much.

It’s a hard road to walk. Harder still to walk alone.