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.


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" - 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


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.