So I found myself sleeping in the old garage. Meant as a short-term fix while I bought a flat, it turned out to be for longer than either of us would have wanted. Effectively in self-isolation every evening, I spent far more time than I ought to on Twitter and Kik.
But it also gave me the opportunity to finally be Alice whenever I wanted and needless to say I took full advantage of my new circumstances. I shaved my legs and chest and painted my toenails for the first time
I really began to engage with people on Kik and Twitter rather than just the occasional like or comment. I made friends with them, and discovered a community where I felt comfortable and happy.
Eventually I took the step and met with someone from Kik. I took the sensible step of meeting them first in a pub so that we could get to know each other a little, and then a week later, drove to his house. This was going to be another first for me: a “meet” with a single purpose. (More about “meets” later.)
In early 2018, I finally left the family home and rented my own place nearby. The feeling of finally having my own place was wonderful. For the first time I was able to stop looking over my shoulder the whole time and just relax and be myself. The weight of everything I had been carrying around for years was shed and for the first time I felt free.