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.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Looking for love

Well, I'm not really as I'm clearly too f***ed up to have a meaningful (or even meaningless) relationship at the moment and probably wouldn't even know where to start looking. But since I mentioned having a rather quiet and empty flat (well I said bed in the previous post actually) I thought I would mention what my ideal partner would be like in the alsmost certain knowledge that I'll never meet anyone like that (though I can still have a glimmer of hope in dreaming about it):

  • Lesbian - and a very understanding one at that as I'm clearly not completely female yet (or ever if you want to get picky)
  • Rich
Yep, that's about it. Really one of the characters out of The L Word would do nicely!

Okay, on a more serious point I guess someone who can be understanding, supportive, and just accept me for me (and associated emotional and psychological baggage) is the main and obvious requirements.

Anyway, back to reality.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Where do I start?

I come up with all sorts of cool titles and ideas for blog posts which then evaporate when I actually get time to sit down at the computer. Probably not helped by me posting this after 9pm (GMT so really feels like 10pm BST) on a Sunday night when I really should be getting ready for work tomorrow and snuggling into bed*.

[ * - Was going to say "a warm bed" but it isn't until I've got into it and warmed it up. This is an overly accurate description of the fact that I have no-one else to warm my bed up for me, something I just feel compelled to mention at this point; just another consequence of the choices I have made ]

I've had lots to think about over the weekend in some ways as my son was over from Friday until Sunday and this is the one 'blip' in my usual fulltime regime - I'm not allowed to be 'Fiona' when he is around.

Of course I still am me irrespective of what I wear though it's not easy to remember that as alot of my identity still comes from how I present myself in the clothes I wear along with make-up, hair, accessories, etc. It would be nice to think I'm completely secure in who/what I am but I'm not and it is hard to disconnect feelings from my 'old' life from the idea that they are in some way 'male'.

I've actually noticed a pattern in my feelings when approaching a weekend with my son:
  • First I feel excited to be seeing him and looking forward to doing fun things
  • Next comes the wrench of realisation that I have to change from Fiona into someone (in appearance at least) that I no longer like being.
  • Then it's the horrible feeling of actually being dressed in, what are now really and physically, ill-fitting clothes and the added emotions of dealing with the situation of seeing my former partner (can't be fun for her either ... she's said as much - which is perfectly understandable)
  • Memories of how things were and how I was once a 'normal' father come flooding back and it feels like I've never been nor will be this 'Fiona' person anymore
  • Something then re-asserts itself and I maybe over-compensate a bit and try to think female thoughts and behave as less of a man (in reality I don't think this is hard - never really being a really good man/father)
  • I then start to dislike the slightest male thing and long to get back into the clothes and presentation in which I am comfortable though I do feel as if this is odd in someway
  • After my son leaves it is perculiar that I don't crash into the bedroom and throw on the girliest thing I can find. I do eventually get there and just feel natural and comfortable and almost back to my 'normal' self.
At the moment I feel tired and a bit drained, I wonder if I'm coming down with a cold or am simply just tired after the weekend. Or all of the things that have been going through my head could have finally caught up with me.

One thing that does stick in my head is a picture from a few months ago (actually maybe 6months ago now) when I still had relatively short hair and was out with my son in Liverpool. I worry (and probably with good reason) that I don't look good or particularly female now (even with straightened hair) but I can try and bury those thoughts under the idea that the hormones will help.

However, looking at this picture I have to say I hate how I looked. Really and truely I look hideous, a joke, just ... I can't think of the adjectives I just never ever want to look like that again, I just hate everything about looking male and stupid and just wrong.

Which kind of brings me back to what I feel about my 'old' and 'new' lives. I am probably floundering somewhat when it comes to presenting as the 'new' me and I can go a bit OTT when it comes to buying new clothes and things. I think this is down to some degree of desperation and futile belief that "this will make me feel more girlie" as a reason for any new purchase.

I don't think 'things' will help in the end (well they do I little I guess) but I'm hoping that the further down along this journey I go the easier it will be to feel right.

I think I really should get to bed as I doubt this is actually a really clear view of what is in my head anymore - things will be clearer in the morning I think.

Friday, 24 October 2008

More name changing

Filled in the online passport application today and submitted it, I now only have to wait for a few days for the print-out to be sent to me to sign and return. I'm thinking that I will see about getting an appointment at the passport office in Liverpool so that I can get everything done and dusted in person to avoid any potential delays.

I was going to apply to get my driving license changed but the on-line application for that asks for a passport number so it looks like it will be easier to wait until that is done. I'm obviously going to have to wait to change bank details and other more official things until I have my passport anyway.

One thing that has been changed is my mobile phone contract, just had a look on-line and it's now got my new name and gender! It was actually a wonderful feeling seeing that!

One thing that did suddenly occur to me is that my no claims discount on my car insurance will need transferring to my new name/gender ... and I also wondered whether I'll suddenly be classed as a safer driver because I'm female! Hmmm, think I might update the current policy and then try a little experiement when I renew and see if gender makes any difference (it probably doesn't given how long I've been driving and the fact that I don't do alot of miles now).

Monday, 20 October 2008

More surveilance madness

In a similar vein to the previous post about censoring/filtering internet content clearly the government is intent on a two-pronged approach; they'll stop people seeing things they don't want and monitor what they do look at just in case they missed something. Oh, and we'll add to that by tracking your calls as well since these will now be tied to your identity.

Looks like there is going to be a thriving market in stolen phones, activated SIM cards, forged identity documents and a whole host of other things to help those people who really don't want their identity to be logged to avoid that happening.

Surely measures like this just make the problems they attempt to solve worse? If you aim to catch terrorists, for example, with a measure like this then you will likely only get the stupid/poor ones that don't think about this problem or can't afford to get around it. So that still leaves the clever/rich ones at large and presumably means that only that variety can survive. So we have a kind of evolution of terrorists - doesn't this seem like a bad thing?

I'm not sure what the alternative approach is but such mass monitoring seems like using a 100lb hammer to crap a nut!

Censorship is just wrong

I spent most of my time thinking about transition at the moment with brief interruptions for shopping for clothes and such and the odd technical excursion. There are some things, however, that *really* get to me and censorship is one of them.

Just read an article on The Register about the possibility of the UK Regulating the Internet. As noted in the article itself the idea of providing any sort of filtering or content rating is technical insanity, there is just so much information as to make any implementation unworkable. Of course this would not stop the government trying - practical considerations never seem to stand in the way of policy making.

My approach is simple, if possibly a little naive: No censorship at all; no information should be restricted or considered un-publishable. Under no circumstances should anyone be able to make a decision on what information I or anyone else can access.

The problem I see with censorship of the internet, aside from the practical issues, is that someone must decide what is acceptable and what is not. Anyone would be subjective in their decision and any organisation would come have to contend with opinions from the multitude of charities, religions, pressure-groups, political parties, or even just a collection of disgruntled citizens.

I see no way that any level of organised censorship or regulation can be fair, there will always be subjective bias and that can be very dangerous - it should be avoided otherwise we are on a very slippery slope.

Talked to my Dad

But only for a few seconds.

I phoned home on Saturday and for the first time in a long while it was my Dad the answered the phone (my Mum was ill - nasty cold - so she didn't reach the phone first). We didn't really have a conversation or anything but I think we exchanged the usual "How are you?", "Fine, how are you" lines and then I was handed over to talk to my Mum.

My Dad actually sounded well and quite cheerful, certainly less evasive and guarded then when I talked to him several months ago. It was really nice to hear his voice and it made me realise how much I've missed 'normality'.

It did take me back a few months - I can associate lots of things with certain points in time and being reminded of one brings back the memories of the others - which was a bit confusing but it was still nice in some ways to feel I had both parents that I could talk to.

Maybe there is a little light at the end of the tunnel.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

'Get out of jail free' letter

I'm not entirely sure why this particular letter was referred to in this way but it is nevertheless an important document and another small (well actually big) step along the way.

It arrived yesterday and while I knew who it was from (I've only written to my specialist so far) but I didn't know if it would be a "sorry, not yet" reply or something better. It was something better: the letter(s) I have allow me to apply for my passport and other legal documents using my correct gender!

I was VERY happy to get these letters.

Of course now that has worn off I'm totally paranoid that I can't live up to what they state and am having a nasty attack of reality and lack of femme feeling - hopefully that will all pass without me spending too much money on retail therapy!

In related news I have my new work e-mail and account all setup and working which is pretty impressive going for a very busy and possibly over-worked IT department! Even noticed that the phone display has changed to reflect my name (VOIP phones).

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Still an idiot

A few things contributed to this title, the first being the stupid comment I made when someone at work said "See you tomorrow, Fiona" (the e-mail regarding name change was sent round the office yesterday) and I replied "Well done" - what an idiotic thing to say ... "Thank you" or saying nothing would have been more appropriate.

I talked to my sister in the evening and it was clear that she, and the rest of the family are not happy with any of this and this led me to think that, while I seem to be not suffering a great deal during my transition, I am handling it in such a bad way that I'm hurting other people around and likely just storing up pain for myself and everyone else later on.

So dear reader (pretentious but I just wanted to use that phrase 'cos I liked the sound of it) the lesson to learn from all of this is that gender change may make you look a bit different, maybe even sound and act in a way not like how you were ... but if you were an idiot before you'll pretty much still be one afterwards.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008


Well, it's done.

The e-mail from HR at work has been sent round the entire UK office informing everyone of my name change.

Kinda scary really and just a little bit weird - even I'm not use to my new name as it's not something that ever really got used much before nor do I think of myself in terms of what I'm called, it's just "me" in here.

I know people at work read this so I'd just like to say: getting the name, pronouns, or anything else like that wrong is fine, even I do it sometimes still and I'm not going to get upset with anyone for making mistakes, I'm just so thrilled to be making another step and that everyone is so supportive.

Now I really, really, must get something sorted out with my voice because I sadly don't sound like a "Fiona" much at the moment and I'm sure that is going to make things so much harder for everyone else as well as me.

Final word to everyone at work: Thanks :D


No, not me! I hope I don't look that old.

I talked to my Mum last night and she let me know that my Dad is now planning on retiring early next year at the age of 60/61. He had actually been aiming for 62 as this would have meant he completed 40 years service, but given that he is getting increasingly stressed at work, to the point that it's making him quite ill, he seems to have decided that enough is enough.

Of course, given the added stress caused by my recent changes I wanted to know if this has had any bearing on my Dads decision or at the very least his recent health issues. My Mum was honest (though maybe diplomatic as well) in saying that it was certainly an added stress but that the main problems were just the struggles with work and the fact that my Dad no-longer has the energy to fight against the system (which I think is probably something you have to do in his position).

I'm not really sure how this makes me feel. I think I should maybe feel some guilt for adding to my Dad's stress and maybe a little sad that what I have done has led, even in a small way, to him having to retire earlier than planned.

Too be honest I'm not really thinking about it, I'm more concerned about the wider issue that I haven't seen my parents in a long time and currently there doesn't seem to be much chance that I will in the near future. I'm just getting on with things in the same way that I have done before all of this mess in my life and not really concentrating on anything that I can't really sort out in terms of my family situation - it's selfish, and for that I am sorry, but I guess it's just how it is for now and hopefully it will change.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Being a father

I love seeing my son because he is so happy, funny and full of energy and it does actually make me forget all of my worries. I spend alot of my time now being confused about what I am, what I was, and what I will become but with my son, no matter what, I will always be his father ... well, okay, that might change slightly in other peoples eyes, and even his, but I will definitely always be a 'parent' to him.

In some ways it's quite hard to get my head around this because being with my son brings out the instinct to be his parent/father; I think that is actually something that is just built in and is a stronger feeling than most any other. Objectively I don't think that I ever was, nor will ever be, the best father or parent to him.

I tried to do the fatherly things and act how I thought I should and some aspects I might have got right but that's probably by coincidence of interests, for example I pretty good on the whole Sci-Fi toys, films, games because I grew up with alot of those things and I would freely admit to being a bit of a geek. Not too hot on the football and similar stuff and definitely not a good 'manly' role model - I never was too be fair, I don't think anyone would ever have said that I made a good man not matter how hard I tried, looking back alot of the bravado was just an act.

Being with my son does bring back all the happy memories and feelings of my life before starting, conciously, on this journey to change my whole life. I can almost forget everything and just enjoy not worrying for a while until it all starts to creep back into my head.

I think part of the problem I've had over the past few weeks is that I have been over analysing everything and almost making myself feel constantly unhappy about how I appear, behave, sound, and act. It's as if I think that my transition is only justified if I can be in permanent mental torment. The slightest lapse sends me into a spiral of confusion and worry that I'm doing the wrong thing - certainly with the bigs steps I'm taking that is probably an understandable reaction.

Strangely, not thinking about all of this last night and just being myself with my son actually gave me a wonderfully calm but still certain feeling (helped in some ways by my relatively successful attempt at straightening my hair and that fact that my son said I looked like a girl!).

It was really quite odd that when I had very little to make me feel female that I felt quite sure that this change was something that I wanted and that it didn't actually depend on a whole load of confusion and complex feelings and rationalisations. It just rested on the fact that I was trying to change my hairstyle and my look and the clothes I wear, simple signs and indications. I didn't need to be completely there (female) yet because that would be impossible, it was just enough to be heading in that direction.

It doesn't sound alot but I think it is when you compare it to a 'normal' male - I don't believe alot of the things that cross my mind would ever be given serious consideration or even occur to someone happy with their gender. I've never been completely unhappy about anything and I don't feel that I really have got myself totally depressed about this either, but I've just got all the thoughts in my head and that's why I'm heading down this route.

I don't think my serene attitude will last for long as there are still plenty of things that confuse me and make me concerned about what I am thinking/doing, mainly because I'm a perfectionist, well actually more an idealist (a less successful version of the former), when it comes to this. I believe that ANY thoughts that don't fit what I think I should be thinking immediately get serious over-analysis. I'm not sure this will get any better once I'm further down this road or if some things will become less relevant or simply I might relax a bit more and accept these thoughts in a totally different context, i.e. a female one.

Anyway, I best get on and do some chores and enjoy an evening of being back to 'normal' as tomorrow it'll be the usual wrench to dress-down so I can see my son again and the added uneasiness of actually going out in public presenting in the wrong gender, sadly I'm still able to pull it off quite sucessfully. Still least we should have some fun anyway - which is the most important thing in life when it comes down to it.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Too many thoughts

Before the usual ramblings I should mention that the title of this post reminds me of the film Sneakers in which the phrase "Too many secrets" is quite significant.

I haven't really posted for a while because I've just had so much running through my head ranging from achievements and plans to niggles, doubts, fear, confusion, and just generally feeling down. All these things also seem to be circular, I just wasn't getting anywhere with sorting them out and reaching any sort of conclusion.

So I managed to just stop thinking about them!

Had a few good things happen yesterday like my new, ridiculously bright, waterproof cycling jacket arriving and listening to some nice music and laughing at something funny on TV. Only little things but they can be enough to just break the cycle.

In terms of my 'plan' things seem to be ticking along and alot of my thougths are involved with trying to actually picture what is going to happen and to appreciate the reality of it; that's pretty hard to do, it's not like I have any frame of reference to relate to!

When it comes down to it everything is pretty scary, even if it's what I want to do it's still not without risks and problems and alot of those won't really be known until I make further progress.

Anyway, trying to stay positive, time to listen to some nice music again I think :D

Thursday, 2 October 2008

New haircut

This is the first time I've been to get my hair properly cut, coloured and styled. I had no idea what I wanted doing or what it would look like and I certainly didn't realise it would take 2hrs to complete the entire process - I spent alot of this catching up on my magazine reading (I don't do this much these days) and now know what's happening in celebrity land!

Anyway, here's the pic of the final result:
I'm certainly pleased with it but it's still a shock and will take some getting use to ... and alot of care and attention to ever get it looking anywhere near as good as the hairdresser got it.

Also it's another sign of how real this all is and just how much this thing involves.

How to make the hurt go away?

I don't know how to start writing this or to explain what I feel; it's like frustration and sadness and confusion all together. I have hurt B so much with what I have done, what I am, and what I'm heading for and there is no way that I can make this better, nothing I can do will ever make-up for that.

In fact I guess what I am doing is only going to make things worse and worse and there really isn't any justice in that at all. I think we did have problems in our marriage and maybe we weren't going to be able to stay together and I'm sure we could each make a list of reasons for this (apart from the obvious) but when it comes down to it B is a good person, she is a caring, considerate, thoughtful and the most amazing mother to our son.

She has said lots of times that she doesn't know what she has done to deserve all this and I would have to agree with that sentiment, no-one deserves to go through all of this pain. But I can't be someone different this is me, it's who I am and this is what I feel I must do. In fact I think I have no choice left but to continue on this path. I can't say I feel happy about that at the moment (even after the 'achievements' of this week, I'll post about those later) it's just something that is becoming more and more a reality.

I use to think I had very little impact in the world and generally didn't upset anyone, I think now my life has become so much more complicated and the decisions I have made are having a knock-on affect on so many people as well as causing a great deal of hurt and confusion.

I can't think of any other way to explain how f***ed up everything is.