Monday, 22 December 2008

The dreaded mirror shot



I wasn't going to post this as I don't really like having to take shots of myself in the mirror as I think they look pretty tacky and remind me of when I didn't look that presentable (don't think I am now but that just makes it worse).

Anyway, it's the only shot I have of me in the outfit from Saturday night and I at least want to remember what I was wearing.

The one and only pic of me from the party


I'm being rather lazy sending this to the blog instead of uploading it properly, hope it doesn't get too squashed.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Flying as Fiona

Well I must have just had so much on my mind on the way out and so much of a hangover on the way back but the whole thing of flying to/from Dublin completely in my new idenity was totally uneventful and free from any problems.

One thing that did happen on the way back was that I set off the metal detector and had to be frisked - not a big deal since everyone seemed to be setting this particular one off and, in the past I've been randomly selected for extra checked before.

However, I did discover why they have a female security officer; when they frisk women they actually do check for the underwire in the bra so it's certainly a little more intimate that the male version. I was a little tired and hungover so I must have seemed a bit odd to say the least. In fact I wondered if they wondered whether someone would go to the extremes of dressing up to get the full female 'security' experience!

Anyway, no problems and everyone seemed to use the appropriate pronouns and I was treated fairly normally.

One thing I did notice was that people in Dublin seem to have less of a problem with overtly staring out you! It did getting annoying after a while so I actually starred back at someone which probably freaked her out - I try NOT to do this as I prefer to not make people feel uncomfortable so they come away from any encounter with a positive view rather than being creeped out.

Will write more about the weekend when I'm more awake - have only got one pic of me in my party dress which is a little disappointing but I'll post that tomorrow anyway. Time to chill out and try and get some sleep.

Drunk again

Well, it is gone 3am and I'm back for the work Christmas party and I talked to some wonderful people and ate some nice food and drank alot of wine. So all in all a really good Christmas party.

But, I am back in my hotel room with tears streaming down my face - why? Well partly alcohol-induced I guess I just feel lonely. I have no-one to come back to, no-one to share Christmas with, no-one to who fancies me or who thinks I am special.

Hmm, I could go on but it's self-indulgent self-pity really and I'm sure no-one really wants to read that.

I think the only think worth mentioning is that, while I can generally can keep things together on a day-to-day basis there comes a point when everything just gets too much - I've reached and past that point. This year can't end soon enough, it has been too painful and it seems to be coming to a close with more thing going adly wrong than I had expected,

F***, sh** ,,, I really don't have the energy for more comment.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Waiting at the airport


Not very original title but very accurate! Sat waiting for my flight to Dublin which is delayed for about 15mins, hardly surprising given the pants weather! Anyway will try and get more (and better) pics over the party weekend - I'll try not to send them while drunk though!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Lasted two weeks ...

... before going insane!

I'm not good with anything medical or in the slightest bit dangerous so I've done pretty well to last two weeks before completely freaking out over a slight twinge in my leg (likely due to sitting rather uncomfortably or because the cold I've got has started wandering around my body) which I immediately self-diagnosed as DVT and started to inwardly panic.

Of course, part of me is still ever-so-slightly sane so decided to drink some red wine (thins the blood) rather than jump to conclusions and start phoning NHS direct. Yes, I know, probably not the right thing to do if this really was a DVT thing but I'm not always entirely rational.

Anyway, the red wine took affect pretty quickly so I'm not in the mood to reflect on all of the things that have been going on recently that really should be crying out for good rant/whinge/cry but which I've been holding a bay.

Hmmm, I was going to start listing things but I think I can only come up with one thing at the moment: Christmas. My 'plan', if that is the right word was to basically just spend Christmas day on my own (in the absence of any opportunity to spend it with family) maybe enjoy a bit of relaxation, Christmas TV, wine, feel sorry for myself a bit and maybe even get some much-needed exercise by going out for a quick cycle around.

Boxing Day I was kind of unsure about as I might have got to see my son but probably not. Still I didn't mind hanging around in case I did get to see him though I have an invite from a close friend to spend that day with her which is really nice and is what I'm likely to do (about time I did some traveling to see friends!).

New Year is sorted out - going to spend that in Manchester and, while I've not really thought about it much, it does seem like a fab idea and, on paper, a much better plan than anything else I've ever done for New Year recently - mainly because it's a plan and it's in advance of the day! Previous New Years have kind of just been randomly organised and while fun I'm sure both B and myself wondered if we should at least have tried to get something sorted sooner.

Anyway, my very close friend today invited me to spend Christmas day with her and her family which is such a sweet thing to do and I'm really honoured to be asked (and wonder why on earth anyone would want to invite an almost complete stranger to Christmas Day ... which makes it even more special to offer really).

Of course this got me thinking: Someone elses Mum & Dad, who have never met me, are willing to invite me to spend Christmas day with them,, yet my own parents aren't even prepared to contemplate me coming up to drop off their presents let alone inviting me to spend Christmas Day with them when they are fully aware that I am, quite understandably, not going to be able to spend it with, what was my own little family (I don't harbour any grudges against B for this, I really don't want to spoil her Christmas).

Admittedly I have said to a few people that I would feel a little uncomfortable having to spend Christmas with my parents but that is just an independence thing since it's been such a long time since I did that feel somewhat 'too old' for that sort of thing. But thinking about it, I think it would be nice to have at least been asked.

I know that my transition has come as a huge shock to my parents and I know it is unfair to expect them to deal with all of this so quickly and be able to welcome me back with open arms when they really can't comprehend what is going on. Equally I can't help feeling upset that the only offer of welcome on Christmas day is from someone elses Mum and Dad - it just seems wrong that this is the case. I maybe should be more angry and upset about it but I guess I'm just accepting how things are until I get drunk enough to really feel sorry for myself.

One more thing: as a final touch of irony the red wine on which I am currently getting drunk is called "¬Lost Sheep" - I thought that was pretty funny when I bought it but it's absolutely hilarious now.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Drivers Licence

I should first say that the whole change of name with the 'important' organisations (Credit Card :D) has actually been very easy and very fast. I think it took my passport only 2 weeks to come back and my drivers license seems to have been done within a week! Nationwide were equally speedy (once I could show them originals for deed poll and letter from my specialist).

There hasn't been a problem with getting my gender changed either, up until now that is.

I got my drivers licence back and was over-joyed to see the new name and picture and was just about to put the photocard in my purse when I thought I should check the codes on the front. And it was wrong. For reference it's the driver number that contains the gender code, the 2nd digit is 0 or 1 for male and 5 or 6 for female.

I guess it was just a typo or minor clerical error but a little upsetting nonetheless. I've written a, hopefully, nice letter and sent everything back to the DVLA, hopefully there should be no problems and they'll be able to get the licence back to me without it going walk-abouts in the Christmas post.

Hate Excel 2007!

Was going to have a minor whinge about the DVLA but I'll save that until later, want to rant about Excel 2007 because it's driving me insane!

Here's a list of the things that are REALLY p***ing me off at the moment:

  1. When you copy something to the clipboard, merrily paste it into a sheet, then switch to another to carry on doing the same, it forgets what you had and you have to copy it again! WHY!
  2. If you copy and entire column you have to insert using "Insert Copied Cells" (what would be wrong with an intelligent paste?) and then it forgets what you had copied when you try and do this again! WTF!
  3. If you want to copy a sheet you have to select "Move or Copy ..." from the context menu and then select "Make a copy" and where you want it to be made! OpenOffice does exactly the same and it's just stupid!
  4. What's the deal with all the buttons on the top, why can't I just have the menus I was quite happy with in Excel 2003!
ARRRRRRRGHHHHHHHHH!

Just really frustrating when software makes it so hard to do simple tasks!

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Christmas time!


Just a quick post with a pic of the Christmas tree which, while cheap and not as nice as a real one, is still cheery and sparkly and looks fab when the lights are off. I've always loved sparkly lights and things.

Getting a bit repetitive

I do go through similar feelings every weekend I see my son and so apologies if this has been covered before (several times).

I just wanted to explain (again) why I'm doing this. I guess it doesn't make much sense why I would take a perfectly good life and smash it to bits. And in particular it is rather nonsensical given that I'm generally not a depressed or in any way stressed person who is so desperate to change that I've lost all reason.

I guess the only way I can explain is to say that I'm doing this because I feel I have to now rather than wait until things do get worse. I'm not irrationally obsessed with everything yet but I feel it is something that would happen sooner or later. I did think constantly about the changes that I am now starting, it's something that I just couldn't get out of my head.

So when I see my son and we do the sort of things that we use to, as a family, and then I see his Mum and things are going well and we're talking, I do wonder why I had to go and spoil everything. I don't dislike B at all, quite the opposite in fact, she is managing to be a single Mum, have more responsibility at work, and also get out and enjoy herself and have a life. She looks fabulous, she really does.

I thought at the beginning of the year that everything would be okay and that we'd stay together and just deal with all of this. That was naive and probably a bit lazy on my part. I'd like to say that I didn't start on this transition because of my love for B and our son. I think the truth is that I was just rather pathetic and scared and was just letting my life meander. I think this is one of the reasons I do so intensely dislike reminders of my previous life because I don't think I was a very good person, I was just there, not important and not worth anything.

Now that I have made hard decisions in my life I can at least have some pride and the fact that I am taking some responsibility in who and what I am. It would be nice if I could have done this while still keeping a family together but I don't think that was possible so I have to deal with that.

I, and more importantly, B and our son, have alot of support and I'm hopeful that, given time we will be a family again, though still apart but at least being able to be there for each other. Really, things are probably easier than for others in similar situations, though still harder than they should be and more than B expected or deserved.

Not sure if I've mentioned this before but I realised a while ago that you really can't help your feelings. You can try and make logical decisions and even try and ease how you feel inside but ultimately you can't change this. So that means I really do have to go through this transition but I will still miss having a home, family, and partner just as they probably miss having me.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Hurting People

I've always wanted to talk about, well, everything really. I like talking about things and I like telling family and friends about anything and everything and generally have always been willing to be open and honest. In particular I have always been close to my Mum and told her about most things that have happened in my life.

The problem is now, that alot of the things I'm saying probably hurt.

I guess this started when I first came out to B about my transness (it's like Loch Ness but better dressed - oh, I'm sooo sorry, I just couldn't resist that, another failing there, making a joke about serious things) and I did want to be open and share everything that was happening.

I'm not trying to claim that I was being particularly noble in wanting to be honest and open, like I say, I just like talking about things and like to kind of do a brain dump of everything to those that I am close to that are willing to listen.

Obviously achievements and humourous anecdotes about my trans life were not something that B wanted to hear (though in fairness she did tolerate and even joke about an awful lot). At the time I think I was a little naive and insensitive so I maybe didn't realise how much these topics upset her.

Now I essentially have the same problem with my Mum but it's much worse; I'm telling her things about how I am transitioning, my name change, my treatment, and my new friends. I want to be able to tell her everything.

I was just talking to her on the phone and just knew that talking about the estrogen patches and mentioning that what name to put in Christmas cards being problematic were topics that must have been making her cry inside even if she seemed to sound okay.

It's also been confirmed that, while my Mum has told most of the family about the separation, she has not said anything about the exact reasons nor my transition- which I knew would be the case and completely understand. But it's just the thought that I have already or will eventually upset alot of people and cause them a great deal of hurt.

It wasn't mentioned (though it might have been before in discussions with my sister) but it's quite possible that I will not be able to see my grandmother again. Too be honest I was never really a frequent visitor but did drop in at least around Christmas. It's probably not a good idea for me to go near my home town at the moment because it's a small place and people talk and I still could be recognised.

So on the one hand I'm trying to build a new identity for myself and at the same time I'm building a wall between myself and my relations. I should say that, in fairness, I'm not making the effort to communicate with them so I'm not trying to blame anyone here, just state how things are and how they feel from my point of view.

I guess this is really just part of what can happen, there's really no right or wrong it just is a little sad that's all.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Censorship is just wrong (again)

I'm not sure I'll be able to express my opinion or reasons any more eloquently than last time but I'll have a try in light of the recent mess over a Wikipedia article containing an album cover featuring "the image of a naked prepubescent girl whose genitals are covered only by what appears to be a cracked camera lens".

This has been covered extensively over at The Register where they have an article on the latest update which is that the IWF have reversed their ban of of the Wikipedia article.

The reason that this caused such an uproar was that an entire article on Wikipedia was added to the IWF's blacklist (apparently for technical reasons they only block the entire article not just the image - hmm, you'd think a URL-based filter would be fine with such granularity). However Amazon and many others weren't affected even though they displayed the same image because they carried the album for sale.

In fact the album itself, even with it's admittedly controversial cover, is, apparently available for sale and it is not illegal (well, it might be given the crazy new laws but no-one has been prosecuted as yet for owning it as far as I know).

First off, I think there has to be some level of common sense to take into account 'intent'. The picture in question is in a sense 'artistic' and was not produced for the purposes of titilation or sexual turn on. Just because an image, subjectively, may look sexual, obscene or disturbing doesn't mean it was intended for the perverts and paedophiles.

Secondly, this image, and I guess many others were produced perfectly legally, mainly in this case because it came before any of the recent legislation but also, from a common sense point of view that the subject concerned was, apparently, the artists relation and was happy to pose and, according to reports, now has no regrets about doing so.

I think that, if you are doing something illegal in order to obtain an image then you stop that act, not the image itself. If the image was produced in a legal way that, however distastful it may be I don't think anyone has the right to censor it - it would probably be prudent for any publisher to indicate the nature of such content so people can steer clear of it but that's it.

I know this is a difficult idea to accept and I'm sure there are images that I would find pretty horrific and not want around but the problem with censorship is where you draw the line and it's very easy for your personal line to rule out alot of content that other people are fine with, e.g. I don't watch horror films, they scare me, and a great many images in them I find totally horrific, distasteful and frankly scarey.

In fact I watched (against my better judgement) the film The Last King of Scotland and there are some scenes in there of horrific mutilation that really did scare me. Others probably don't find these too distressing and I'm pretty sure that the director and film critics would, rightly, argue that they are essential to the film and the points it is trying to get across.

The recently discussed legislation concerning extreme porn images does make some allowances for film and art but tries to close those percieved loop-holes by making it an offence to isolate particular clips from a movie.

As many have pointed out censoring the internet is technically impossible due to the scale of the problem. I would argue that time and money would be better spent on preventing illegal activities that generate obscene content than supporting organisations, and government departments, that try and enforce restrictions after the fact.

Update: As a side note, a friend of mine mentioned that she was no longer able to see my blog in school. Previously she had taken the odd peek at lunchtimes to catch up on things but since I mentioned certain topics (I think it was probably the CAAN and extreme porn legislation) she has been unable to see it, yet is not preventing from reading other blogs on the same server. A blanket ban on blogs I can sort of understand but filtering seems more sinister - particularly when I've only written about the subject and not posted any content that is offensive or illegal.

And that's the really scarey thing about censorship: preventing discussion of a topic.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

So?

Well, I've basically just typed everything I could think of from this weekend but really I've not said how I feel or what I'm thinking.

In reality, "I don't know" and "not alot" sums up the answers to those questions. I'm really quite tired from the whole weekend and just in a daze. I'm not thinking seriously about anything yet, it hasn't hit my yet.

I approached alot of this weekend in a very practical way to just get through it and that's how I'm continuing to work now - I think, after a few days I may have a better idea of how I really feel about the enormous change in my life that I have just made, even if it's not going to be really apparent what the affects are for some time.

Anyway, bedtime I think. Night x.

Sunday

It's getting a bit late now and I have a load of junk on my bed in a semi-unpacked state that I need to move before I can get the sleep I desperately need (the adrenalin is wearing off now and I just need to have some rest before work tomorrow). So this may be quick!

So, got up, breakfast (at the same Italian restaurant as Friday night - food good both times), then saying goodbye to Deborah at the tube. Really was a fun weekend, thank you so much to her for that.

Anyway, finished the packing, the ridiculously heavy, suitcase and thought I'd check the train times as I was meant to be getting to London Marylebone for ther 14:50 train to Birmingham and then change there (after walking to a different station) to get to Manchester. Anyway, I had to leave the hotel at 12:00 so I thought I'd look for an earlier train and try and avoid all the walking. Turns out there was one in about 20mins from Kings Cross!

Got to the station as quickly as I could with my arm feeling like it was being wrenched out of it's socket (really need to learn to travel lighter) and dashed to the platform after a bit of indecision about whether I should check with information if I could get on this train. There was a rail-type-looking person at the top of the platform so I asked him instead. Yes, my "Any Permitted" route ticket would be fine on this National Express train, no problem. Great!

Actually not great.

As it turns out my ticket wasn't valid on that route - apparently "Any Permitted" doesn't really convey enough information. It might be more accurate to say "Only the one we booked for you and don't dare try and make *your* life easier by getting inventive and trying to find the quickest way home".

The guard on the train explained that National Express wouldn't get any money for the ticket I had so it wasn't valid. But, I explained, I'd been told it was and that I wouldn't have got on the train if someone had said no. This didn't seem to sway the guard who pointed out that my ticket was cheaper than a valid one on this route and that I needed to pay £70! Said I wasn't going to do that so that meant he took my name, address, and other details and gave me an "unpaid fares notice" - their version of an ASBO I guess!

I have 7 days to appeal this which is exactly what I'm going to do. I don't mind paying (well maybe not £70) if I make a mistake but I did ask someone if my ticket was okay and was told it was, what else could I do!

Anyway, got to Doncaster where I needed to change train to get to Manchester. Ironically the guard on this train had no problem with my ticket at all - seemingly if you can magically get that far "Doncaster to Piccadilly" is part of the set of "Any Permitted" routes from London to Manchester!

Managed to get a fairly quick connection from Manchester to Chorley and then a swift taxi ride and I was finally back home.

Just in the interests of balance I'm clearly not a happy bunny when it comes to National Express and will post updates on here regarding this mess, but I think it's fair to give credit to companies when they do good things as well as when they are a pain in the neck.

So a few nice words about O2: I was due an upgrade today (contract runs out in March but as a long-standing customer I can a chance of a newer phone a few months early). I had whinged a bit and threatened to leave about a month ago (just impatient for a new phone), but in the end I was told I might get some discounts if I stayed. Too be honest I've never had any problems with O2 (or when they were called Cellnet) and it's probably a case of "better the devil you know".

Anyway, phoned today, explained all this and asked what they could do. So, by Wednesday (hopefully - postage permitting) I will have a nice new C902 (Titanium - James Bond style, think that theme will be getting deleted though) and 30% discount on my line rental. How happy am I :D

Saturday

Manic.

There may be better words to describe London but that's the one I would use, in fact I think it needs to be repeated for extra emphasis: manic, manic, MANIC!

Oxford Street was closed to traffic on Saturday so shoppers could wander up and down the roads, presumably so there could be more of them out and shopping to get us out of this financial mess we are in. Well I made a valiant attempt and Deborah and I spent some considerable time in Primark buying lots of stuff but in the end I had to retreat back to the hotel in the early afternoon because I was tired and hungover quite badly.

Mind you we did manage to have a nice lunch in the Food Garden at the top of Selfridges (I am such a snob it is untrue) which wasn't too unreasonable and had plenty of choice. I also managed to get the perfume I wanted (DKNY Delicious Night) as well as getting some gifts for my son and his mum.

Then I carried both mine and Deborah's bags back to the hotel so she could carry on shopping while I tried to sleep off feeling a bit under-the-weather!

Seemed to do the trick and by the time Deborah got back I felt alot better.

Cue extensive hair-straightening and getting ready to go out to see Eddie Izzard. I really need to allow more time for getting ready and need to include shower, complete wash of hair, and basically start from the beginning again. Trying to straighten hair that has had a day of being quite happily curly is 'challenging' at best.

So we rushed out, both quite dressed up, and in need of finding food and a taxi rather quickly - so of course we had the former in McDonalds and then rushed to the other side of Kings Cross to get the latter. Traffic also manic so ended up getting out of the tax at one end of Shaftsbury Avenue and walking (rather too briskly for the heels I was wearing - must get trainers for next time!) to the Lyric Theatre.

A friend had suggested that, when he went to see Eddie Izzard, that some of the material had been done before and that he seemed to have lost his edge a bit. The night that we went to see him seemed, to me at least, to be nothing like that; he was absolutely hilarious, I laughed and smiled so much that I had crease lines in my make-up!

Fabulous, just amazingly fabulous! As funny as ever if not funnier!

So after 3 hours (the set was over 2hrs 30mins, interval after about 1hr 40mins) of being in the, rather warm, theatre it was time to spill out on the busy streets of London to walk some more in a desperate bid to find a taxi! Finally Deborah spotted one and commandeered it! Got back after midnight still wide-awake and happy from the nights entertainment!

Friday

I'm going to try and blog about this long weekend in three seperate chunks to make it a bit easier to follow and for me to remember. I really should have done all this at the time but really couldn't manage to fit it into all that was going on. This might mean that I just skip stuff and shorten my rambling, probably a good thing :)

Anyway, Friday: Got up ridiculously early on Friday so that I could have my shower and then dry and straighten my hair. It felt very important to me that I look 'right' for such an important step in my life so I'd been planning the outfit and look for a few days and had to make sure I got it right. Anyway, no major stresses in getting ready and was only about 10mins behind the time I wanted to leave the house - about 7:15! (no wonder I'm tired now).

No big problems getting to Manchester in plenty of time via local bus and then little train from Chorley; got a few looks but no outright staring. Nothing really in Manchester either, everyone was friendly and helpful.

Just a point on the whole staring thing: I try and let people do it and get it over with. Sometimes it does bug me, particularly if it's totally blantant or constant, like the nosy old woman on the train to London who just kept looking. But generally if I can see someone is trying to have a surreptitious look I just turn the other way and let them not feel too awkward. I know I look 'odd' and I'd prefer people to not feel awkward so they don't associate me, or other trans people, as a threat or something difficult to deal with.

Anyway, got to London, got in a taxi, which included the mildly racist, anti-government rantings of the average cabbi (very entertaining), got to hotel, had to pay £10 to check in at 1pm because official time is 3pm (Travellodge money-making scheme), then finally wandered off to get to my appointment.

Can't remember now what I was thinking but I was pretty nervous, although I think I'd got most of it under control and had spent so much time going over everything in my head that there wasn't much else to think about!

Was early and ended up sitting waiting for my appointment and got talking to a lovely, beautiful and interesting woman whose name I've completely failed to remember. If you're reading this and you were at there around 2:30 on Friday; it was fantastic to chat to you and really helped my nerves, and get in touch :)

Dr Curtis was lovely as usual, and just asked how everything was going and how things had progressed since seeing him last. Explained everything that had been going on and how supportive everyone had been. Then came the topic of hormones and he simply asked whether I would be wanting to start treatment to which I answered: "Definitely".

Decided to go for patches instead of tablets - there is, from what I understand little difference in effectiveness but not hitting my liver as hard seemed like a good idea (particularly in light of the drinking that came in the evening - see later).

So armed with 3 months supply of patches I left feeling quite happy but with a little feeling of anti-climax. So, the plan was to go and spend silly money on a ring to mark this point in time and also to apply the first patch. Well, thought I better do that first so located toilets in Debenhams (snobbish and practical - reasoned the nicer stores would have bigger and cleaner loos) and stuck what looks like a square of sellotape onto my tummy. Hmmm, very much an anti-climax really.

Can't say I felt particularly different at all, but definitely happy, if still a little thoughtful and overwhelmed by it all. But that was it, I had started and it was all very real now.

Met up with Deborah and Sue in the evening and then with some other friends in a pub somewhere near Kings Cross (was quite lost at this point), and proceeded to try and drink WAY too much on an empty stomach. This was followed by a small amount of staggering (and things spinning a little) until with found a really nice Italian restaurant when we could drink more wine and desperately try and counteract this with food!

Can't remember what time I got to bed, think it wasn't too late but I was fairly drunk by this point and really just not thinking about much at all. Was still able to send silly txt messages to Lucy so I can't have been *that* drunk!

Hormones




I need to do a proper set of posts to describe all the fun stuff that has been happening this weekend but thought I'd cover the important stuff. First of all, thanks to Deborah for a FAB weekend! And now the fairly obvious (from the picture at least) news: I've started on hormone treatment so will now habitually be wearing something that looks like a bit of sellotape but is hopefully slightly more affective in feminising my body than something used to stick wrapping paper together! It's going to be a slow process but I'm VERY happy to have started! Anyway, more later when I get back home which hopefully shouldn't be too late.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Running before you can walk

I've thought a few times that I've kind of done things in a rather odd way regarding my transition and this may have made things easier or harder for me and everyone else. In some ways it makes me feel worse and in others better.

The facts are that I don't look passable, not by a long, long way. Nor do I look particularly 'nice' or pretty or any adjective that you would care to choose. Also there are alot of things I hate about my body that are a dead give-away if you looked at them alone (excepting the obvious bits here), for example my hands, arms, legs, face, etc - you get the idea.

I best I look like an odd guy with long hair and too much make-up on. I know friends will argue against this quite strenuously and sometimes I do believe what they say (I think because there is that part inside me that wants to believe it, is secretly thrilled to see even the tiniest bit right, and ultimately drives the self-delusion that I can look right), but really, you can't argue with the facts: this is not the body of a woman (yet - I thought I would inject at least some optimism).

I think alot of transexuals would have, quite sensibly, maintained a dual-life during this period until they got on hormones and felt more confident about how they looked. I didn't for various reasons, the main one being that it wasn't too difficult to go this route - I work in a very understanding and accepting environment.

That does leave me with the difficulty of being fulltime and increasingly being unhappy with how I look/sound etc but not really wanting to go backwards as that would feel like failure and almost a reason for me not being destined for this life.

I know others that have done this already and reached a turning point as important as this have got really emotional and depressed and generally gone through hell. It bothers me quite alot that I'm not reacting like that at all. I am definitely nervous and, as I said last night, everything is going round in my head but I'm not acting too extreme by any standard.

I guess, in defence of this, I have NEVER been an extreme person, I've always tried to appear happy and cheery to everyone and essentially do hide a little behind that image. But even though that may be a public mask, how I am inside isn't *that* far from the facade - it really does take alot to get me upset and with most things in life I've just kind of accepted them and got on with it (count your blessings and all that).

I think Friday is going to be done in somewhat of a blur and it's only going to hit me afterwards. I'm not really afraid of that day, though I am very concerned that I either will have failed to 'qualify' for treatment or that, several years down the line it won't have had the desired affect.

I'm also not sure how strong I really am to deal with everything that this could involve - I have in some ways not been running at all, I've been taking the easy walk doing all the things that really don't make an awful lot of difference to who I am, what is it going to be like when I have to face up to the really difficult and unpleasant stuff?

Monday, 1 December 2008

All over the place

Since the weekend my emotions and thoughts have been running at a ridiculous rate. I've had feelings that remind me of when I started this journey (I really need to find some better metaphors), when I was part of a real family, also when I was convinced that I did look quite good (they don't last long).

I can't slow down my thoughts; I can go from totally lacking in confidence to almost feeling arrogant and self-assured. The slightest thing can make me feel good or feel bad. All the while I'm kind of watching this inner turmoil and just trying to stop myself from getting carried away. I'm almost trying to think so much so that I don't think at all.

I read the comment to my previous post and was very moved by what Alex said about her experience, so much so that I started to get tears in my eyes but then my brain just whizzed onto something else; I'm trying to fill my head with so much to avoid facing reality I guess.

I don't feel depressed or anything like that, just kind of manic I guess and I know I will not be happy about that at some point soon. I also know that I'm going to seem very insensitive and selfish and totally self-absorbed and I'm sorry to everyone because of that.

Friday could be one gigantic anti-climax, or it may even be a complete and total disaster - I might not be doing the right thing; over the past few days I have certainly thought that. Maybe I am going to end up really becoming a woman - when I say it like that it seems unbelievable ... when I caught my reflection in the window at work this evening I realised how far I had come and how much I had changed already.

I suspect this and subsequent blog posts aren't going to be particularly coherent and interesting and will essentially be me just rambling randomly, sorry about that also! Please bear with me, normal, and possibly ever so slightly different and new, service will be resumed shortly.

[ Yep, pretty much self-indulgent gibberish all this is as well ... even mentioning that is probably just making it worse! ]

Friday, 28 November 2008

Be careful what you wish for

I guess most people would view starting treatment and making a transition as essentially getting everything you want/need and that it is as simple and clear-cut as that. As if that was the obvious thing that you knew would always happen. Like it would be the total solution to every and all of your problems. I can't really speak for other trans people but for me this isn't the case.

I'm actually finding this a little difficult to explain and to old onto the ideas to write about them.

For me it just isn't that glaringly obvious - maybe it is to outside observers but for my own internal struggle it is somewhat elusive. But it is constant. I've changed lots and I continue to want to change and make the bits of me I don't like look better/different. It's easy for me to ignore things as I can concentrate on something and almost forget but it always comes back eventually. And it's the constant nagging feeling that I need to be different that has now taken over and, because I recognise what it is I'm heading down this path. Don't for aa minute think that this is going to be heading for some sort of nirvana though.

My son is staying with me tonight and tomorrow and I just read him a story before and, as usual he asked me to sit with him for a while so we snuggled into bed and, as he curled up to go to sleep he found my hand and held onto it while he dozed off.

Tears were rolling down my face when he did that and they are as I write about it now. I remembered how I've helped look after my (our) son since he was born, how I rocked him to sleep, how I was there when he wa ill. His Mum has been the one to do the most to be fair (particularly while I travelled alot) but I've still been there at important points in his life and I love him dearly and so much that it hurts sometimes.

How can I go ahead with such a radical change in my life when I have such a wonderful son and had such a good, and 'normal' life? The honest answer is that I really don't know, part of me can't believe what has happened, but the desire to change has, I think always been inside me, it won't go away and has leaked out in many ways over the years.

I don't know how this transition is going to affect me or my son, his Mum and everyone else. I don't know what it is going to be like to hug my son or hold his hand when my hands, and skin, and body are going to change. I don't know whether how I look, smell, feel, act an sound is going to stop my son recognising me as a parent who cared and still cares for him. I guess all my thoughts and talking about losing importsnt things in my life are nothing when you're actually faced with the very real prospect that that might happen.

All I can say to my son is: I love you dearly and I'm sorry if what I do hurts you in any way. And to his mum: I am truly sorry to have not been what you wanted and needed in a partner.

"Wishing That"

"Wishing That" is the title of a song by Jann Arden and the lyrics are, in some ways pertinent and poignant at this point in time.

I've just been reminded that it's not just me going through extreme emotions and confusion at this time, B is suffereing a great deal as I guess are the rest of my family and maybe even some of my friends.

I guess it's nice to view my appointment in 7 days time as a "start" but equally, and more importantly for the others unfortunate to be tied up in this mess of a life, it would be seen as a bitter "end".

I can't think of the words to describe how unfair it is that B has to suffer like this. I'm not even sure if I can comprehend it to be able to write about it to be honest, I think alot of this really is just beyond rational thought and certainly something that my selfish mind probably doesn't want to consider.

I am sorry.

Last days of battle or just the beginning of the war?

Everything is wrong. I don't look, sound, act, or feel right. I guess this was to be expected I'm now approaching what is probably going to be one of the most 'real' experiences in my life and even my usually good level of denial simply can't cope with that. I am seeing everything in sharp, frightening, clarity and it's not pretty at all.

The fact is that the minor achievements pale into insignificance next to the overwhelming truth; I am not female (yet) in body or mind (well that bit may be closer but there's still an awful lot of junk in the way). I really do look horrible and this is not just an expression of self-doubt it's a simple fact. To even venture out means that I have to expend a great deal of effort to even start to hide some of the more obvious signs and to adorn myself with things that make me feel a little closer to what I want to be; make-up jewelery, and obviously clothes.

But it is a constant fight and one that doesn't seem to ever get completely won, the best I can hope for is a truce most days. I desperately need to have my next session of laser treatment (and probably lots more next year - no idea how I'm going to afford them) as that part of my appearance is upsetting me at the moment as my current body makes a desperate (and hopefully) futile attempt to re-assert itself.

I'm happiest when I'm not thinking and I managed that, briefly, while watching Mamma Mia on DVD last night. Of course I can't STOP thinking completely so I was trying to figure out which characters I identified with, or was attracted to, or would like to be. Can't say I came to a complete conclusion though the fact that I was crying at bits, jigging around on the sofa and singing like a lunatic is probably a pretty firm indication that I'm quite well away from 'male' in my reaction to the film!

I think the hardest thing is that, as I said above, I don't have the body or appropriate chemicals in my bloodstream to really help me feel the way I want to without as much doubt. I've always thought (and I think I have mentioned this before) that someones personality is not just down to their brain/mind/whatever but is a result of all of them. I guess for a trans person this means that, initially there is something of a fight going on (I appologise now for this blog post and the ones to come where I am probably going to be stating the blindingly obvious quite alot).

So where does that leave me? Well I have 7 days to go until my appointment so plenty of time to get myself even more confused. Will it make me doubt what I'm going to do? Almost certainly! Will it stop me? No. Will I stop asking rhetorical questions? Wow, I think I actually spelt "rhetorical" right!

I don't know how I'm going to turn out and what the future holds but I guess I'm just going to have to deal with it. I guess now would be the time when I could do with having someone special to share my life with, as Lucy noted, this time of year is best shared and that goes double when your Christmas 'present' is somewhat unconventional and life changing. But I have some amazing friends who have been and continue to be so supportive, with their help I have the best chance possible of getting through this.

[ I really would feel better to be able to indulge in a bit of self-pity and have a bit of a cry ... however I'm just so insanely naive and stupid that I often fail to see the full gravity of the situation and generally revert to being ridiculously cheerful or silly - I'm sure it's just a coping mechanism but it can be rather annoying! ]

Thursday, 27 November 2008

This is just getting plain silly now

For goodness sake, what is the world coming to:

'Bloody' is an offensive word declares ASA

Seriously, have things got that bad that we can't ignore a mildly offensive word that I would expect the vast majority of children who could actually read it have either heard it or used it themselves already?!

Should I stop my son watching Harry Potter and the Philosphers Stone as I'm pretty sure it contains the phrase "That was bloody brilliant"? You'll note from the link to Amazon that this is a PG film so should, on the whole be okay for kids (maybe a little older than my son to be fair) to see - with Parent or Guardian present.

It really is getting crazy now.

I think I CAAN

Well actually I never have, probably never will do and really it's not my thing! If you don't know that CAAN stands for Consenting Adults Action Network then you are probably a little confused at this point!

As well as Wacky Jacqui's legislation concerning prostitution, which I've already mentioned here, there is some more idiocy that I guess she at least is over-seeing now even if she didn't concieve it in the first place (not sure about the exact history).

Essentially from 26th January 2009 (as The Register reported) it will become illegal to "possess material that is both pornographic and extreme". You can read the full details of the bill here, having just had a more detailed look at this I'm intrigued by:

"(9) In this section references to a part of the body include references to a part surgically constructed (in particular through gender reassignment surgery)."

I wonder why they felt it necassary to be so inclusive/specific? Maybe it's just thorough, or an attempt to avoid calls of discrimination (though I would pretty much think that any transexual would accept that "genitalia" covers them both pre and post-op). Or maybe there is some specific set of images that they felt should be included in the legislation and concerned GRS. If that is the case then that section seems pretty much like discrimination, victimisation, or at the very least a little too targetted.

I have no interest at all in extreme porn, or really any variety at the moment but I see no reason why other adults can't enjoy looking at the things that do it for them no matter what, assuming of course that in capturing the pictures they aren't doing anything illegal.

And that's the bizarre thing: with this legislation you can still do lots of pretty unpleasant things (or simulate them at least) but you can't take a picture of it. For example there are, apparently, people into the vampire/goth kind of thing which pretty much involves lots of fake blood and other tortuous things - they can still do all this but a picture of it would mean then would break the law, even if it was just part of a private collection and not published.

This seems like pretty weasely legislation; if you don't agree with extreme sexual acts then at least come out and say that and have an honest and open debate. Don't try and stigmatise people and effectively threaten them into not being so 'perverted'.

And, even worse, don't try and propogate stereotypes which some people will not be able to live up to, it's not governments role to dictate how our relationships and sex lives should be and certainly not when this is based on some archaic notion that there is a preferred and 'moral' ideal.



Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Ringing the changes

There were so many puns to choose from but I thought this was the most apt! I had this silly little idea the other day, not sure where it came from but it just seemed like something I wanted/needed to do and now I'm thinking seriously about it. Still might be silly though!

I use to like wearing my wedding ring, I'd never wore jewelery before, but it was a nice feeling for many reasons; showing commitment, wearing a nice/different colour of gold (welsh gold), and having something to fiddle with while thinking. The ring never fit properly but I always refused to have it reduced in size or changed in any way at all. I obviously don't wear it now but do miss it.

Anyway, I'm trying to get more jewelery at the moment because I think it looks good with what I wears and it makes me feel good (normal reasons I guess). I'd mainly concentrated on necklaces and earrings but recently found some (cheap) rings that fit. They look okay for being at work or out but they aren't exactly hard-wearing (copper last well in pipes but not on fingers).

The other thing I was thinking about was marking a big step in my transition when, if all goes well, I will start on hormones (in about 10days time). While there will be no real physical change on that day it is still pretty important.

So it occurred to me that a ring would be as good a thing as any with which to mark this occasion and here is one that I have just found that I think is exactly what I want:

This is 9ct white gold (I like silver-coloured jewelery, I think it looks better against my rather pale skin), blue topaz and diamonds. The stones are significant as they are, according to the site I found the gems for birthdays in April, diamond, and December, blue topaz. Why is that significant? Well my actual birthday is in April and when I *really* start to become a woman will be in December - yes, it's rather cheesy I know but it was just one of those thoughts that stuck and wouldn't go away.

The ring is a little expensive and I have this nasty feeling that it may be difficult to get it in my size but I think I'll look into it anyway ... I just feel I have to mark this point in my life in some way and with something that will last for a long, long time.

As for my wedding ring, well, I've thought before that I wanted to wear that somehow, it probably fits even worse now (I've lost a little weight), and the gold probably doesn't go and obviously I can't wear it on my ring finger - but I'll maybe do what I've thought about before which is to get a necklace on which to wear it, I certainly don't want to just hide it away forever, it's still something of who I am.

The morning after the morning after the morning after the night before ... I think

I thought about this title this morning and I've just being discussing my inability to lead the party life with Sam at work; I'm now use to going to bed around at a reasonable hour, getting up early and having nice regular (boring) days. So it's taken me until Tuesday to get over the weekends activities - not a good sign!

Anyway, I promised a much expanded description of Saturday night now that a) I'm more awake and able to compose complex sentances (trust me this is complex compared to what I normally have to deal with) and b) Lucy wrote a fantastic blog entry which jogged my memory about several things!

First, back to the skating: it was FAB! It really was nice a fabulously clear evening with a chill in the air (and not just because of the ice rink itself) and lots of pretty lights. I've always loved cities (or even towns) by night and particularly at Christmas, there's just something magical about them, even if they don't look as good in the daytime!

I was going to post a pic of the affects of not wearing thick enough socks or doing up your ice skates tight enough but it's pretty yuck so I won't bother. Suffice to say that heed the advice to actually wear some decent, thick, long, socks and try and fasten the boots tightly and you won't have a nasty sore on a few inches above your ankle!

I probably could recount every detail of the ice itself because I did spend most of the time staring at it as well as looking out for adults and kids falling over in my path - I have to say that learning to skate as a kid must be great, not only do parents seem to wrap their little ones in padded, warm, ski-suits but you don't actually have as far to fall! I saw a few kids who actually seemed to be really enjoying falling over!

I think I managed some degree of multi-tasking as well since I was able to talk and skate at the same time! Chatting is definitely my favorite pass-time and Kim is very good at it! We've gone through many hours of talking without noticing the time passing. Sadly only had a few hours to talk as Kim had to get sorted for her World Tour of Scotland - well a weeks holiday in various locations in Scotland anyway.

So, now onto the main event for Saturday night!

Before it could start though I needed to help Lucy get into Manchester and to the hotel in which we were staying. Anyone that has tried to drive in Manchester will know it's pretty much a nightmare and easy to get lost or stuck in a one-way system. Any sensible person these days would use a SatNav to help out. Mind you they can be frustrating things and can often get so annoying that they are tapped, everso lightly against the dashboard and then cease to work. Hmmm, can't think who would do such a thing though!

[ Santa, if you are listening, I know a certain girl who would just love a new SatNav for Christmas ]

Anyway, after much logistics that I've already explained, we finally got to canal street and met up with Kate and Jilly closely followed by Charlotte and Abigail (I actually had to check the names on Lucy's blog because I'm really bad at remembering such things, particularly when I've just met people for the first time ... if it's any consolation I have a good memory for someone's personality and face!).

From left to right: Lucy (lesbian look), Stacey (looking fab and blonde), Jilly (looking just fab), and me (smiling at least). This pic and the one below were taken by Kate/Jilly and I think they must have a magical camera because I'm at least prepared to post these pics of me; not happy with photo's of me at the moment, hopefully I'll get over that eventually!

So as Lucy mentioned we meandered from bar to bar having a chat, look around and consuming lots of alcohol, in my case this was in the form of Cheeky Vimtos. For those that don't know the ingredients are Vimto (obviously), Port, and Blue WKD.

When I've had these before they have been pretty strong but I suspect that the bars on Canal Street are a little mean when it comes to the measure of Port so I really didn't get that drunk, honest! No really, I was quite sober I'm sure ... no, just ignore what Lucy wrote on her blog ... oh well, don't believe me then!

This is only the second time I've ever been out on Canal Street and while nowhere near as overwhelming as Sparkle most of it is all pretty much a new experience for me.

One thing I did think of about in relation to the night out was linked to something I read on Rebecca's blog about being careful out there. It's not something I know much about nor thankfully have any direct or indirect experience of but there are people out there that have enough hate in them to actually hurt and kill because of someones gender. I've not many trans, gay or lesbian people yet but everyone I have talked to before has been nice and, surprisingly 'normal'.

Yes, there are some 'interesting' characters out there who are maybe more unconventional than the rest of us but I just find every single person I have met and talked to absolutely fascinating irrespective of their gender. It's also moving when, after a bit too much alcohol people start opening up a bit and talking about what they have gone through and it makes me realise that I have been quite (very) lucky.

Anyway, enough of the serious tangents, back to the fun!

I can vaguely remember getting the taxi and arriving back at the hotel, not entirely sure how I managed to get all the make-up off, PJs on and into bed but I guess I was on auto-pilot at 3am and just needed to sleep! So it was pretty annoying when I woke up at 7am!

Lucy already mentioned about us chatting at that ridiculous time in the morning and we did seem to talk about all sorts of things and it was so nice to be able to do that. I'm really not good at the whole talking about deep and serious things and I certainly don't match Lucy's openess, hopefully that will come in time.

I know this picture is already on Lucy's blog but I like it so much I'm plagarising it for mine and well as printing it out and framing it so I can be reminded of my fab friend!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Girls night out

Well, I'm starting to feel tired now and will be heading to bed as soon as possible given the amount of sleep I didn't get last night! So probably not type much before dropping off.

There was lots of hectic getting ready and then we, that's Lucy, Stacey and myself, got out to Canal Street, this only being the 2nd time I've ever been there and it was certainly a little quieter than the previous occasion which was for Sparkle. Met up with Kate, Jill and then other people whose names I can no longer remember as I'm terrible with such things. Anyway, everyone was really nice, funny, and interesting and it was a great night out!

Even better was having lots of time to chat, even if that was due to waking up at 7am in the morning and not being able get back to sleep!

Hmmm, doesn't sounds like a good log post - I really am VERY tired! I think I'll update it when I'm a it more awake and also when I've had time to collect some pictures from the people that had camera's last night!

Skating on thin ice

Two blog posts coming up to cover everything thing that has been happening this weekend ... might even stretch it to three if I'm feeling really inspired!

I was meeting up with Kim today for a few brief hours between her unbelievably hectic work life! We met up in Manchester, which is all nice and Christmassy at the moment with the lights on, the German markets installed and doing a fantastic trade by the look of things. Anyway Kim had txt'ed earlier about there being an outdoor skating rink that has just been setup, took a bit of finding it but we got there in the end.

Can't say I remember skating before, maybe I have done it once but it was a long time ago - anyway, I was nervous about falling on my bottom and making a fool of myself! By some miracle that didn't happen and we did manage to have a good skate around and chatted during all of this which was pretty impressive considering I was concentrating intently on the ice to avoid getting a closer look at it!

Was fantastic fun and I'd really recommend anyone to go along and have a try - wrap up warm though I could hardly feel my fingers! Oh and wear thick socks, the boots can be a bit uncomfortable!

Friday, 21 November 2008

'Wacky' Jacqui is at it again

I must credit The Register with coming up with her title but I believe it is a fitting description of Jacqui (looks an odd way to spell that name) Smith our current home secretary. For a start she is responsible for the madness over the ID scheme and related propoganda as well as many other privacy-invading measures (okay I could have a biased view given the coverage of her in the aforementioned publication).

Her latest plan is supposedly an attempt to help women (and presumably some men in similar circumstances) who are pressured and exploited in the sex trade. From the coverage so far, e.g. this BBC article "Prostitute users face clampdown", it seems that that the proposals are actually going to impact 'legal' prostitution but probably have little affect on what the government claims to be targetting, helping women controlled by pimps.

Belle De Jour, the famous (maybe infamous) author of Secret Diary of a Call Girl has, given her experience, something to say about all of this. I'm sure there has been plenty of discussion and debate about it all as well - I caught some of an interview with Jacqui Smith on Radio 4 but I've so far missed question time and similar programmes.

There is just something about this that annoys me. I don't really have any right to comment as such, I have absolutely no experience or knowledge about this area of life; to the best of my knowledge I have only ever seen one person in my entire life who might have been a prostitute, I don't know anyone who knows anyone, was one or employed their services. I have led a sheltered life!

But it has always seemed to me, inexperienced (in alot of things) though I may be, that the most sensible thing to do would be to legalise prostitution and bring it out in the open for all the obvious reasons (regulation, safety, taxation). It is, as they say, just sex, why should this be any different to other areas of life? We can talk about love and relationships and everything else but sex is really seen as such a taboo.

Taking an adult approach to something that is clearly being viewed as a problem would show great leadership and illustrate that we can and should be open about sex. Instead this is just making things worse and stigmatising those who provide or use such services, but worse than that it makes everything related to sex feel that much more taboo.

Accepting the new me and killing the old

I'm pretty sure I look quite 'odd' to most people and I'm also totally convinced that I don't totally pass and probably never will. I could go on listing my faults and problems, though I just got a strange feeling of deja vu so I suspect this would just be a rehash of things I've already said.

What has just occurred to me is that my biggest problem is that it's hard for me to accept the new me and that is the thing that hold me back the most. It's also become apparent that, despite what I thought, and probably even said, some months ago, it's not going to be a case of just 'me' in a different package, the old personality will have to die.

I spent alot of my formative years building up mental defences to stop me changing who and what I am, I can even recall conciously being worried about being different to how I felt I was. This isn't strictly a trans thing, just how I am. I've always tried to keep a tight control on everything about how I think and feel. It's very easy to slip back behind the barriers in my head when I don't know how to deal with things and essentially my old personality goes into autopilot bringing back my old voice, mannerisms, and a flood of confusion with it.

I am happiest when I feel that I am fulfilling my female role and behaving, sounding, and acting that way. It only takes little things to make me feel good but equally the smallest amount of wrongness can tip me the other way.

In order to complete my transition I think I do need to dismantle all the mental defences so that I can feel and think freely without being restricted by how I was before. I think it is also very important that I let people in - I think a big part of my old personality was a big mask to hide behind and I can't carry on being like that, I need to be be more open and, if you'll excuse the cliché, in touch with my feelings.

It really will be a different me that comes out of this journey. I have already changed, but the psychological impact and also the pysiological affects of the estrogen, and other medicine that I will take, will mean that I will feel and act much differently to now.

It's going to take a while to accept all of this and I might not even notice when I have, but it is both sad to think that I really will be killing off the old me, but comforting to know that it was that person that got me here and will still be helping me along the way.

[ And I can't believe how incredibly moving it was to type that - I have tears welling up in my eyes ... not ideal in the middle of the office! ]

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Blogs everywhere!

Well, I can't believe people actually listen to what I say, it's such a shock! Lucy, who has been mentioned here several times has now, finally, got herself a blog:

Lucy's Blog

Now I should have written about the shopping trip that Lucy and I went on on Sunday but I kind of didn't get round to it ... and now I feel bad because her post was so nice (and written so well) that I wish I could come up with an equally touching entry myself.

Anyway, go and have a read of Lucy's blog, particularly after next weekend when, as she mentions, we're going out in Manchester and will probably be having alot of fun and ... erm, hold on a minute ... NO! Don't read the blog, just in case I do something silly and Lucy posts a picture of me ... OMG, even if I don't do anything silly I don't think I want any pictures of me ... I'll look terrible!

One final word on blogs; I've said before that people I know in real life read this but I just thought I'd say thanks to the friends in particular that *REALLY* pay attention and phone me up if I don't sound happy.

P.S. I'm going to try and keep this blog more up-to-date over the coming weeks and make a concerted effort to try and write shorter and more personal accounts of what is going on because I think there is going to be lots that will be happening to me physically and mentally!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Oh .... *&%*^%(*&*&%$&$£~:@~!!!!!

Feelings, thoughts, over-analysis, is all ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!

And to the person I was just talking to about this:

Thanks xxx

I still value your opinion

It's kind of strange that, no matter what we both have gone through and likely what is still to come that, deep-down, I still actually care what B thinks about me and react to how things are between us. This is probably not an ideal thing to publicise, given that she could read it as well, but I thought it was worth explaining just for the sake of balance.

I just got of the phone talking to B and we actually seemed to have a good chat and she told me how our son is doing at school and in general and we got onto how he is dealing with the seperation and the changes that I am going through. This lead on a bit to how my parents have reacted and I described the recent visit by my Mum. I made a few comments about me seeing the specialist in December.

Anyway, it was a nice, pleasant, and open conversation and, contrary to what you might expect I actually felt better, more prepared for my treatment, and overall more certain that I want to take that route and that it's the right thing to do. It's almost like, by being able to talk about this in some way it makes it alright for me to take this path. I guess friends and professionals may say that it shouldn't matter what other people think, but while I may agree from a logical point of view I still care how B reacts to this and value what her opinion is.

I guess having known someone, obviously quite inimately, for over 10 years does still count for something and it's not feelings that are just going to disappear because my life is changing, even in such a dramatic way.

Maybe dealing with feelings that, in the end can't really be controlled with logical or rationalisations is ultimately the toughest thing in all of this. The treatment will only go so far in making my life how I want it, there is still much to work out even after the transness is dealt with.

Stereotypes

It seems that innocent comments really can really cause problems and example being my latest Facebook status which read:

"Fiona is getting to be a stereotypical scatter-brained female already, psychiatrist appt is 19th DECEMBER!"

Also this kind of came up in discussion at work and lead to some talk about driving ability and the affect of gender. Seems that this is a touchy subject. So, to make it up to anyone who is offended or upset by this I thought I'd do a bit of research and put things straight.

First the driving:

"Women and Gay men are the 'Worst' Drivers" - According to the article from 18th April 2008. This only talks about navigational ability though, it's nothing to do with how safe you are just your ability in knowing where to go and getting there quickly.

"Men officially worse drivers than women" - Confused.com has this article from 8th March 2008 with some pretty large numbers to show that men are more often convicted of motoring offences than women.

"Why are men worse drivers than women?" - Trying to pick 'reputable' sources of information here so this article is from the Guardian and seems a little more balanced at the end. Based on the stats men have more accidents but apparently they drive further, correcting for this and things even out a bit.

"Women vs Men" - Not official in the slightest but seems to be based on a very interesting sounding presentation that at least illustrates some of the differences and their affects.

Just one thought on the driving thing: taking the eye-sight differences between men and women, the latter having better peripheral vision, and the navigational ability, it seems that a trans person *could* actually end up with the worse possible situation. I don't believe your eye-sight can be improved by hormones though I read that cognative ability may tend towards that of the hormones you take. So not so good eye-sight and no ability to find where to go!

Okay, onto the cognitive ability and the whole "scatter-brain" idea:

"Men and Women: No big difference" - Haven't read all of this but it seems to point to the idea that there isn't much difference between the genders on average.

"Thinking differently: Differences between men and women " - Haven't had a chance to read all this either (running out of lunchtime in which to write this), but seems to suggest the middle ground again but with some bias in findings for specific tasks.

I think there are differences in how male/female brains work and that does seem to be supported by things I've read. I also did once find an article about how brain volume and other attributes do change in transexuals and it looks like I'm heading for some interesting changes myself once I start on hormones - I'll try and do my own study and document it here.

Last word: things are different but everyone is ultimately an individual and even if they may conform to the sterotypes in some cases it doesn't mean this is a blanket thing that defines everything about them.



Tuesday, 18 November 2008

"Could I speak to ..."

I hate my voice. It really really gets to me now. I actually can be blissfully happy with things until the point at which I open my mouth! I no longer like how I sound or what I say!

So because this bit of me isn't quite sorted out yet (it matches the rest to be honest) I obviously have all the fun you'd expect when phoning customer services: "Yes sir, we can sort that out for you", "Could I speak to Fiona?", "Are you the account holder?", "Erm, have you changed your name?", etc.

Unless the person is REALLY nice, chatty, and friendly (like the lovely girl at MBNA I talked to ... hint: anyone at MBNA reading this, I'd really appreciate some mony off my bill for this free publicity I just gave you ... please? Pretty please?) I generally don't enjoy the conversation and feel bad about how I sounded afterwards.

But I just had the slightly opposite experience. Someone phoned asking to speak to "Mr" (it was an account for the house and I'm not bothering to change names on those, except maybe to remove me and put B on instead). Anyway, I felt a bit odd saying "Yes, that's me" but couldn't really get out of it.

During the conversation I realised that I actually didn't sound too bad and I was clearly making much more of an effort to avoid sounding like a "Mr" though obviously there was no pressure to do so.

I'm sure there's an obvious lesson there! More practice ahead I think.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Mum's visit

My Mum has just been down to visit me, mainly to drop of some of my old toys which are for my son (and me!) to play with, as well as some old comics and books that I hope to sell on eBay. Oh, and there were some pictures that B left with my parent because they were (wedding) gifts she gave to me and obviously have painful memories associated with them now.

The thing is though that my parents haven't seen me since June and obviously I've changed alot and obviously present a totally different image than I had before. Which is a rather clinical way of saying that this visit was always going to be awkward, emotional, painful and just downright horrible for my Mum and not too good for me.

I should say that the way I am writing this sounds detached and clinical and I think that it really how I am dealing with it at the moment.

So I spent most of the morning cleaning up, worrying, and finally making myself presentable - well not really the presentation my Mum would want I guess but I was trying to go for the new 'me' without going over-the-top. No matter what I did I was always going to be a hideous shock for my Mum and it was, she was heart-broken and in floods of tears ... and I'm really trying to write about this without thinking about it. I feel very selfish doing this and not being as upset and distraught as she was.

I guess I could reason that I've had quite a few months practice at keeping my feelings in check and just focusing on what I need to achieve in order to get treatment and progress along the transition route. I'm not suggesting that I have had any great barriers to overcome which have meant that I have had to be unfeeling and cold just to survive, but I have been very single-minded about what I am doing because that just seems to be the way to get through the minor ups and downs; concentrate on keeping my confidence up and just sorting things out.

Maybe I'm also a little defensive in my own mind about what I'm doing, how I am, act, sound, look, and progress through this transition. I kind of have to reason that I'm doing the right thing and that I'm not a horrible and selfish person otherwise I would just not be able to carry on doing anything and would just have to sit in a corner and cry about messing my life up in such a spectacular and stupid way.

Anyway, my Mum was very upset and I tried to comfort her and explain things and then just chat (I can actually talk really fast and cover lots of subjects and several tangents and before you know it anyone listening is completely confused) but just as she obviously can't understand how I feel I have no frame of reference to relate to what she is going through.

Again, I guess I feel that I'm being insensitive and just blocking out any thoughts about how hard my Mum, and my Dad, and even my sister, must be finding this. But I think from their point of view I am selfish and what I'm doing is wrong and not normal and in some ways I probably believe they are right because I don't really understand what this is all about and I've never really come across it before so I have plenty of guilt and confusion to try to control.

Really, it's just horrible. It's horrible that this can hurt the people closets to you and that you are powerless to do anything about it. It just feels like the pain and sadness sits in the pit of your stomach and sucks all the energy and life out of you (and that it probably way to many metaphors in a sentence).

I'm really just trying not to think at the moment and I'm waiting for a text or few rings on the phone to let me know that my Mum got back home okay .... and just as I wrote that she did txt!

I think I need to get something to eat, and just switch off in front of the TV and have an early night so I have a chance to, at least subconciously, try to make sense of what happened today.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Passport!!!!

Arrived an hour ago - still over the moon with it!

I know, it's just a boring bit of paper (actually this is one of those electronic ones) when it comes down to it but the significance is that it has my new name and gender in something that is considered the pinnacle of identity documents.

Not only does this mean that, for practical purposes I can now travel as Fiona anywhere in the world, open bank accounts, etc, etc, it also is something of a small validation of my identity. There's probably more real and tangible evidence to come and certainly I still have a long way to go in reaching acceptance, but from a legal sense my identity has been changed now.

I'm going to sort out my bank accounts shortly followed my bills, tax, NI, and the many other things that need doing. Also now that I have my passport I can sort out my driving license as well which will mean all my photo ID will be in my new name.

I'm rambling now because I'm so happy!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

23 days and counting

I guess it seems a long time since I started on this path (I really need to fine better metaphors for this - everyone uses paths, road, journeys, adventures, etc) but in reality it hasn't been long since I went for my first appointment and decided on taking the RLE (Real Life Experience) route.

I thought this would be the easy option as I was already spending more and more time presenting as the female me. In fact at the time I remember thinking, and maybe even writing here (too lazy to check), that it was the obvious thing to do and meant that I would feel better being able to present how I felt I wanted to.

But it's not easy. It is fun at first and certainly I can't see me presenting/living any other way, but after the novelty wears off I am now left with the sad reality that I have a long list of 'faults' and a long long way to go to rectify them.

Alot of people also suggest that things are done using a clean sweep, for example changing job or starting with a complete new image with everything intact and sorted out, e.g. appearance, name, etc. I think other people in this situation have actually kept the final 'coming-out' until they are well on their way in terms of hormone treatment and even surgery.

I haven't done it that way.

I think I have probably done it the hard way in reality. Yes, I am getting to wear what I like and change my identity (gradually), but I also have to live with my appearance and everything about me being far from perfect or complete. This makes it hard to transition properly in many ways, for example the name change has been okay but people at work still make mistakes, somewhat understandably*, and that grates at best and at worst knocks a chunk out of my confidence each time it happens.

[ * - Yes, I get remembering a name change being hard, particularly given my appearance, but it's strange how some people insist on using a name in normal conversation. It's fine to attract attention, e.g. "Fiona, can you just ...", but when in a discussion why do you need to use anyone's name. Exercise for the reader: listen to when people do this and see if it is a) just silly, b) patronizing, c) complimentary, d) just a quirk of odd people ]

So, I potentially have only 23 days to go before I may be able to start hormone treatment. As this time ticks away and other things in life affect my thoughts and feelings I'm obviosuly beginning to think seriously about what I'm doing. I guess to over-use some more metaphors I'm "taking stock", or looking at the "state of play". Here's what I've come up with:

  • I have limited confidence
  • I have limited finances (some of this is self-inflicted)
  • I am under pressure now to maintain a job so that I can keep both myself and the family I once had in a flat and house respectively
  • I have, what seems like, unlimited debt - okay maybe not the worst in the world but a big chunk (yes, self-inflicted I know)
  • I have little prospect of any normal relationship or life anymore no matter what
  • I have the propsect of losing touch with my son once the changes from hormones get noticeable
  • I have to live with all of this for the rest of my life
The above is a random list of self-pity, on the plus side I do have some fantastic and supportive friends and some vague, possibly unjustified, optimism and even excitement about how I may change once I start treatment.

I was trying to make a point and really make myself feel down but guess I've just rambled again. I would probably also count this as a plus; so far I've not had to deal with anything really difficult or what I have gone through I've coped with - either way I hope this is how it continues.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Annoying sanitary bin!

Sometimes I have to wonder what the world is coming to.

We have bins in the toilets that are for sanitary products - obviously not something normally discussed in polite company but one of those facts of life*. Now you would think that such a bin, even when it has this specific purpose, should be a fairly simple piece of engineering - container, lid that doesn't come off easy, add some seals to keep the germs at bay, etc, etc.

We have these though:
and they are REALLY annoying because simply being near them seems to be enough to trigger the built-in electronics which then opens the lid! Even more ironically is, once it's waited a few seconds or so it then closes the lid which sticks half way open!

So, why oh why do we need an electronic super-duper bin, which doesn't work properly, when the basic version without the technology is actually much better!

Okay, bit of a pointless rant but feel better now!

[ * - No, it won't be a fact of my life for obvious anatomical reasons apart from a, hopefully fairly brief time post-SRS when it might be until everything is healed up ]


Quantum of Solace

I have to admit that I wasn't a huge fan of the first Bond film in this new run, Casino Royale, because it took a more serious approach compared to the more comic-book versions before. Quantum of Solace continues in a similar vein but I think I enjoyed it more and it was certainly action-packed and the plot kept things going nicely without becoming overly complex or simple for that matter.

So, definitely worth seeing I think, I certainly didn't notice the time fly by - I thought it would actually be a longer film (over 2hrs) but I think it turned out to be about 1hr 45mins but alot was packed into it with plenty of action but also time for more sub-dued scenes which nevertheless kept the interest going and never got over-indulgent or too frivolous.

Gadget-wise things do seem to have been toned down quite alot though there is still the obvious and noticeble exaggerated product placement of a Sony Ericsson C902 phone - in one scene this is able to magnify faces from across an open-air auditorium which is quite impressive for a phone without optical zoom! Sending the pictures to HQ within seconds was also slightly over-the-top, and I think there was an amazing bit of marketing to link the phone with GPS (it doesn't have a reciever for this).

In summary, definitely worth a watch!

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Ooooo, aaaaa




Fireworks time at the Trafford centre! I have been feeling down recently (this may have been apparent from the last few posts!) and I couldn't see a way out of it apart from actually just trying to do something and stop moping around and feeling sorry for myself.

So first off I watched the handy instructional DVD that came with the GHDs (and figured out what I'd been doing wrong), got myself out to see me friend Kim (using just letters was getting confusing, fullnames now, wow!) and then on to the Trafford centre for retail therepy.

Yes, I know I spend too much, I'm past caring at the moment. Was going to head back but decided, what the hell, and stayed to watch the fireworks and watch a film (Quantum of Solace, will post what I think about that tomorrow).

Okay, it would be better to be out with friends but at least I'm out and don't feel like a hermit sat on my own in the flat. I think that's one of the reasons I like being here, proves it's real and it's nice to be around people.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Jealous, attracted, lucky to be friends with ...

... probably all of the above! When you have friends that are totally amazing and look this fabulous:
I'm sure I should be charging Lucy advertising fees or something for all the free publicity!

Sober rant

Still feeling a little hard-done-by at the moment. I don't see that it's fair that I haven't really done anything horrible or nasty and yet I'm the one who had to move out into a little flat (okay, it's quite a nice flat and I'm thankful for that) and am not in a nice warm and cosy house with a gas fire and lots of space and home comforts.

Not entirely sure what I'm doing for Christmas/New Year at the moment but I'm pretty sure I won't be seeing my family and I seem to only have the chance of being with my son on Christmas Eve and for an afternoon on Boxing Day, both subject to me presenting appropriately.

And the whole presentation thing is probably worth a rant in it's own right - yes, I know these things take time where children are concerned and I don't want to rush subjecting my son to the whole new image at once. However, the rule is that I must present completely as male when I see him, no ifs or buts or plan to gradually acclimatise him to how I will look eventually.

I'm having to deal with changing my whole identity and image and coping with this while not currently on hormones or having had any surgery or anything that might help me feel better. Forcing me to wear clothes and present in a way I am not comfortable with is, objectively, cruel at best and tending towards totally unacceptable.

Anyway, best get on with some work and calm down, will try to rant less in future.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Drunken rant time

Well, I've been good for so long and kept everything under control and not let anything get to me so it was bound to all explode sooner or later. I say "explode" but really I'm nowhere near as wound up as I can be so this is mainly fueled by the bottle of wine that my liver is, rather efficiently, disposing of at the moment - so it fact I'm not really that drunk anymore (which is a shame).

First of all I'm having nasty attacks of reality at the moment which is not good - it is very hard to maintain the self delusion that you are passable and that everything is going to be fine and you really will look and feel how you want to in the face of obvious and compelling evidence. This is a hard feeling to relate to unless you yourself have every doubted your own gender or identity. It can be like fighting against a whirlpool as you try to swim to the shore you know you need to reach but you are instead pulled round and round, and ever closer to sinking, into the identity that you have been use to for so long and that is expected of you. When you are trapped in the current and only get glimpses of the calm water and bountiful shore beyond, how can you see anything other than the black centre of the, seemingly, bottomless funnel that is dragging you in?

[ Note: yes, I'm aware that this is over-metaphorical drivel and totally self indulgent but it's my blog and I'm feeling down so I can write what I want! ]

[ Note on the note: I just thought it would be fun to do a note on the note I just wrote, I probably will find this cringingly embarassing in the morning so please ignore me ]

So, why did I even start to down a whole bottle of wine (yes, I can get to this level of verbal garbage on only one bottle of wine which is good and bad - I'm clearly nowhere near alcoholism but certainly not going to achieve literary excellence through drunken clarity either)? Well there were a few things; a general dip in self confidence and attack of reality where I can see things that make me doubt that I will ever look/feel right, but also some sense that things have been a little unfair on me recently.

The thing that is really getting me upset is that my parents are likely to be coming down to see my son next weekend. This in itself is a very good thing; it is always going to be hard on the family of the person "at fault" in a break--up where grand-children (or niece/nephews) are concerned. I really do want my parents to see their grandson and for him to see them.

What gets me is that I'm not going to get to see my parents even though they are going to be only a a few miles (literally) away when they come down to pick up my son so they can see him for a day. I mean, in the normal course of things if you were a few miles from a blood relative you'd pop in to see them wouldn't you?

But, no, I'm too weird, I've obviously done something so terrible that I can't be visited. Yes, I know it's tough on my family and friends that I'm a transgendered and that I look different to how I was before all of this. And yes, it's hard to deal with that I'm going to be taking hormones and doing all sorts of other things to change how I look and none of this is "normal" ... and of course, it's pretty bad that I've wrecked a marriage and possibly a childhood. I'm still their child and a human being though, why am I now so repulsive and repugnant that I don't deserve to even see my own parents?

It's almost sureal writing this - I live on my own, I don't have free access to my son and my family and I am, no matter how much I try and hold myself together, totally confused and adrift in my life. How did things get like this? Is it all really worth it? Is this some big joke or a ginormous mistake? I feel that I want to me something else but everything I know and have gotten use to is pulling me back. And I shouldn't be feeling like this when I'm so far along this path, I should be more certain and less consumed with doubt and confusion.

I had a good idea for a painting as well; not that I could ever paint it myself so I'll have to try and describe it: a figure ripping at her flesh and tearing away some outer skin to reveal, not a beautiful woman, but just a normal, plain, but most definitely female form. I'm sure this has already been done and I'm probably just remembering an image I've already seen. I think it would only be complete if there was some way to depict the act of pulling away some thoughts and, mainly, doubts, from inside this persons head.

Tired now, and sobering up so will post this before I realise what garbage it is.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

What to wear

I was just thinking about what I wear and how I select the clothes, make-up, hair (though that has a mind of it's own), shoes, etc every day.

One thing I do still do is kind of latch onto ideas and then go on a shopping spree for that one thing, e.g. recently I decided I wanted to wear skirts to work more often but didn't have many that were suitable so I went and bought three in one go. I wore one yesterday and I'm back to trousers today!

So why the change? Well I wasn't happy with how I looked yesterday as it didn't really work how I had expected it to do, really needed to re-group and try again!

Which leads to another method of selection: going for things that I'm comfortable with and I think have worked before, e.g. I like the trousers I'm wearing today as they fall nice and the blouse is one of my favorite silk ones in purple (I like purple) and it's also pretty expensive.

Yes, snob value can also be a selection criteria; if there is something that was expensive I can feel better in it if my confidence is a bit low.

Sometimes though I guess I go a bit OTT and that is because, when it comes down to it, one of the main reasons behind my choices is to try and overcome the doubt in my head and lack of confidence.