Thursday, 30 July 2009

Curriculum Vitae

It just occurred to me that I have a means with which to advertise myself for a job, rather than the usual way these things are done, i.e. by looking for existing vacancies. So here, for the consumption of the internet at large is an extract from my CV:

Education/Qualifications

  • RedHat Training (2001): Red Hat Certified Engineer RHCE

  • UMIST: 2:1 (Hons) Master of Engineering (MEng) in Microelectronics Systems Engineering.

  • School: A-levels in maths (A), physics (B), chemistry (A), general studies (B) and AS computing (A). GCSEs in Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Technology, Geography, Latin, English, Graphics.


Key Skills

  • Programming

  • Java – from JDK 1.0.1 through to J2SE 1.6, Java EE 5

  • UNIX shell scripts (sed, awk, perl, etc)

  • XSLT 1.0 and 2.0

  • Jython/Python

  • C/C++ - on UNIX, Linux and Windows environments

  • Tcl/Tk


  • Application Servers

  • WebSphere 5.x, 6.x

  • WebLogic 9

  • Tomcat v5, Apache v2

  • NetWeaver Java Application Server v7


  • Databases

  • DB2 UDB v8 and v9 (Windows, Linux, UNIX, some zOS experience also)

  • Oracle 10g (Windows, Linux, UNIX)

  • MySQL


  • Operating Systems

  • Linux - Ubuntu 7.04 – 9.04, RHEL/CentOS 4.x, 5.x, Debian, SLES v9

  • UNIX - Solaris, HP-UX, AIX

  • Some exposure to zOS and iSeries

  • Windows


  • Development Tools

  • Eclipse v3 (Callisto to Ganymede)

  • Subversion (including administration)

  • Rational Rose

  • Enterprise Architect v6

  • ClearCase UCM v7 (including administration)

  • Axure v5.x

  • Cruise Control, Ant

  • JUnit

  • CVS, RCS, SCCS


So, if anyone has any current jobs going which my skills match, then let me know!

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Annoying GIMP!

Just spent a VERY frustrating 30mins trying desperately to make bezier curves using the path tool in the GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Programme), specifically I wanted to be able to turn the straight lines/vertices into more rounded shapes.

Normally you do this with 'handles' that are used to adjust the parameters for the curve, but despite following the instructions in the tutorials I just couldn't get these to appear!

After MUCH frustration and almost giving up I realised that I had the "Polygonal" option ticked (I was going to create a shape with many vertices and then curve these) which, according to the manual disables the handles and only allows straight lines! D'OH!

Music not to give up to

Following on from the previous post I thought I would list some of the music that inspires me and helps keep me going, hopefully it will have the same up-lifting affect on others.

  • Never Give Up On Me - Jann Arden, Blood Red Cherry
  • Breathe - Michelle Branch, Hotel Paper
  • Believe Again - Brinck, Eurovison 2009
  • Collapsed - Aly & Aj, Into the Rush
  • Never In A Million Years - Cara Dillion, After The Morning
  • Should've Been The One - Debbie Gibson, Electric Youth (and a few other songs on that album too!)
  • Just Like You - Jeni Varnadeau, Something Changed
  • My Life Would Suck Without You - Kelly Clarkson, All I Ever Wanted
  • This Love - The Veronicas, Hook Me Up

Won't give up!

The previous post was a bit (understatement) bleak and depressing, but I hope no-one thinks that this is a reflection on how I actually am, it is simply the situation that I am in.

I'm not going to let this get the better of me. I am ME, it may not be considered 'normal' and I may have to deal with alot of things that others don't, but I am going to do that.

In the grand scheme of things there are people much worse off than me. I think it would be wrong if I just gave in and said that this was all too much. I'm lucky, I have an awful lot and I've got to keep telling myself that.

So, I keep thinking positive, try and deal with everything that I can ... and listen to songs that have lyrics that mean something to me:

I won't give in
I can't give up



Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Staring and not looking

For a combination of reasons I have recently been noticing more how people look at me or, in fact, stare in many cases. I'm not sure that anyone can really appreciate how this feels if you haven't experienced it yourself. It's constant as well, not something that can be turned off. People will stare. I can almost guarantee that at least one person will gawp at me when I go out.

Sometimes people whisper, or laugh, or even pass comment out of ear-shot. I guess later they also gossip and tell stories of their encounter with the 'tranny' or 'weirdo' or maybe they feign sympathy and talk to their friends how terrible it must be and how sorry for me they feel. Maybe some will look it up on the internet and, search-engine-willing, find something informative that at least tries to help them understand.

On the other extreme there is my Dad. He refuses to look at all. I haven't seen him face-to-face in over a year. I guess that isn't too unusual given modern life, people can easily be separated by great distance such that they may not meet for years. In those cases people exchange calls, messages, e-mails, videos even, and of course photos. My Dad refused point blank to look at photos of his grandson because there were also one or two that contained me.

I don't think I can ever understand how my parents, family, or others really feel about me, I can barely express how this affects me, let alone them. The word "hurt" doesn't really cover it. Sometimes it feels like I'm completely surrounded by the pressure of disappointment, hurt, upset, fear, and confusion. I wish sometimes that those staring at me could have that explained to them, and maybe even shown what it feels like briefly so they would at least know how their actions contribute to my pain and suffering.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

New hair do


Well, nothing too radical really, just tidied up a bit, colour and highlights put in and then NOT straightened! This is just dried naturally but scrunched up so that it goes curly - can't really fight that with my hair!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

The Prophet Murders

I've been meaning to post about this book for ages but haven't got round to it. Now I have a bit of time I thought I would write a few paragraphs about it.

The Prophet Murders (Wikipedia entry, listing on Amazon) is written by Turkish author Mehmet Murat Somer, and has been translated into English. At first I thought there were a few things that seemed a little quirky about the translation, just odd phraseology, but I got over them and it could be more about the writing style than a difficulty getting it into English.

The main character in the book is a transvestite, owner of her own club and computer whizz. The murders obviously take place among the trans community and this provides the backdrop for the book. From the summary on the back of the book I thought that this was all going to be over-the-top with many outfit changes and ridiculous stereotypes, but it's not. Ignore all the glib sales-speak, the story is interesting, well-paced, and covers the characters honestly.

What I found particularly fascinating was the setting for the book; Turkey, a Muslim country with, if the depiction is to be believed, a very tolerant attitude to trans people. I wouldn't go as far as to say that the transvestitism/transexuals are fully accepted but it shows that they seem to be something like an accepted 'evil' in some ways. Whatever you may feel about the views portrayed in the book it's interesting to see a possible viewpoint of a different country/religion/culture.

One thing the book explains to me is why I get so many friend requests on FaceBook from guys in Turkey and similar countries!

I have the second book, The Kiss Murder, which I will get onto reading when I get through my current stack of books. Based on the experience of The Prophet Murders I'm looking forward to an interesting and exciting read and I would highly recommend this author and this series of books.

Crying making it hard to cry

I've always been fairly happy-go-lucky in my outlook; I don't let things upset me, I don't bear grudges, think the best of people, try not to bitch and generally attempt to just take what comes in life and be thankful and cheerful.

I guess to be fair I've never had much to complain about anyway; good job, nice house, nice family, fabulous friends, good marriage, in short I was doing everything how it should be done. Of course that all changed last year but I still tried to remain philosophical and pragmatic about it all and still firmly believed that I was lucky and things could be much worse. I guess I had a pretty good grip on the things that should have upset me and I just dealt with it.

Last night it all caught up with me and I felt the lowest that I ever have in my life.

Obviously losing your job is upsetting but it unleashed so much more pent-up emotion that I really didn't know how to cope. I think the thing that really did it was what my Dad said when I phoned up for advice. I got the usual stuff about being careful with money and dire warnings that the bank of Mum and Dad could not bail me out if I messed up. All justified and, even if said a little harshly, not that upsetting.

It was what wasn't said that hurt infinitely more. No mention of help if I have to relocation, no offer of just popping down to say hello or for me to go up there. No warmth, no concern, no recognition that I may be upset by everything that has happened or that now, might just possibly be a good time to be thinking about trying to deal with my trans life because I could potentially be moving further away and that would make even seeing my Mum much more difficult.

All I could think of last night as I cried into my pillow (yes, this sort of thing really does happen, it's not just the stuff of novels or films) was writing letters to say goodbye to them and that they didn't need to come and visit as it was obviously too difficult for them to deal with. I have never cried that much in my life, trying to cry more and not be able to.

This morning, I feel better. True to form, I bounce back, things are the way they are, they could be alto worse, I should be thankful, and I am. I only post this as a way to try to explain how much this can hurt, even when someone seems to be coping so well, when they can even convince themselves of that fact, there can be so much that is just being kept under control.

I wish I could be more eloquent in conveying how I feel and what happens in my life - I hope that it's some use to others going through the same thing, or thinking about this path. Be prepared and all that.

Oh well, onwards and upwards!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Redundant

Well, the title says it all really.

Nothing much more to say at the moment, usual roller-coaster of emotions and probably won't fully hit until later.

This is when I needed you most


I think that is a lyric for a song but I can't quite place it at the moment with everything else going round in my head.

Yesterday was my wedding anniversary (would have been 8 years), today I may lose my job or may not and yet still have an uncertain future.

I've spent the past few days doing lots of thinking about my life and the stress of that and everything else that is going on at the moment is getting to be too much.

This is when it gets to feel really lonely and it's the time when I really do need someone the most.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Weekend

I'm still waiting to hear definitively about my job and it may not be until tomorrow now that the final decisions are made which isn't ideal. Feel a bit run-down and pre-occupied obviously so wasn't going to post anything but felt I should keep up with what's been happening - particularly after my comments about going shopping!

So, Friday I decided enough was enough, I wasn't going to wait until Saturday as planned but wanted to go look for a new suit as well as see the new Harry Potter film. Add to that the fact that I just love being in the Trafford Centre as it's so busy and alive, it's certainly better than sitting at home all alone with no-one to talk to (now if only I could be given an unlimited credit card to shop 'till I drop, I'd be in heaven - assuming someone else was picking up the bill obviously!).

Managed to find a suit in M&S without much difficulty at all - their clothes always fit well, look and feel good, and generally seem to be value for money as well as being perfectly acceptable in terms of you feeling like you bought something fashionable and not 'cheap' (yes, I know the stuff you can get from Primark can be just as good but there is just that fashion snobbishness that is built in by all the magazines, adverts and life in general).

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was a good watch. Certainly a long film, but that was to be expected, but it kept the pace up and the interest going - no clock watching for sure. The characters now are very well developed and everyone seems to be very natural, I loved the exchanges between Ron, Hermione and Harry and was really pleased to see Luna Lovegod being completely sureal and strange. Also nice to see an appearance of Tonks as well, I liked her in the previous film. Overall very good and I think I need to re-read the last two books as I clearly don't know them as well as the others, I got the feeling there were a number of departures from the original story with some being obvious but others I was less sure about.

Saturday I had laser, which was the penultimate one for this lot and at this late stage I have discovered about Emla cream as the beautician doing my treatment mentioned it when I asked about ways to minimise the pain (I'd heard of other places that used anesthesia of some sort). I was (very kindly) given a free tube of the stuff so I will give it a try for the last laser session and see how things go with that. I will certainly need more treatment in the future so worth experimenting now.

Rest of Saturday consisted of more shopping (get several suits and a new bag from the Next Sales) before finally going over to see friends for the evening where I got a chance to catch up on their life (they have a 4month old son who was very entertaining) as well as reminisce about past work places and colleagues. It was all really good fun and surprisingly I didn't have a hangover in the morning, even after downing a whole bottle of red wine!

So, all in all, a good weekend. And one final thing to make it better was that B phoned me about our son who is on holiday with his grandparents, seems he's having a fantastic time which is good to know and nice to hear about.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Facing redundancy

I guess this isn't surprising news given the current state of the economy or job market in general but I now find myself in the position of possibly being made redundant from my job next week (the final decision on who is going has not been made as yet, at least the company has given us all a chance to prepare).

The reasons behind all of this and the impacts from a practical point of view for anyone, and my specific situation, are obvious and there is no need to really labour the point here. Losing your job sucks no matter who you are the the affects and remedies are pretty much the same; get another job quickly or you are in serious financial trouble.

I've obviously been thinking of what has happened in terms of my transition and how that has added a different twist to things. For a start my current employer is the one who supported me when I started my transition last year and for that I am eternally grateful. In some ways part of the new me is linked to the company and more importantly to the office and people where I worked since it was mainly them that have been such a great help in getting me through the past months.

So it feels a little strange to be potentially no longer part of that environment and thus almost losing some of what made my life what it is (this is obviously true for everyone else that will be affected by the job losses but for more conventional reasons).

In some ways change, as my friends have said to me, can be a good thing. There is certainly nothing I can do about losing my job if it comes to that, I just have to face the challenges that presents and have to admit it isn't without a degree of anticipation, new things can be exciting as well as frightening.

Of course one of the issues I will face is being transsexual and looking for a job in my new identity, something I have not had to do so far. Legally there should be no prejudicial treatment of me based on gender or the fact that I am transsexual but the reality is there could well be. I think it would be stunningly naive not to think that people are routinely discriminated against in the basis of race, age, appearance, or gender to varying degrees. Certainly when you have a job already it is a much better position to fight that kind of thing then when you are trying to gain employment.

I am optimistic that this should not present too much of a problem though. For a start I work in IT which is, at least anecdotally, supposed to be one of the most tolerant professions in general when it comes to transsexuals (or any minority for that matter). Also, while some complain of problems finding work because they are transsexual, I have spoken to several friends who have not found it a barrier in the slightest.

On a lighter note I have looked at the two possibilities and come to a happy conclusion; 1) I lose my job, I need to attend interviews, I need a new suit, 2) I keep my job but will likely do more travelling to client sites, therefore I need a new suit. So I really do need to go shopping at the weekend!

Monday, 13 July 2009

Sparkle 2009


I didn't go for the whole long weekend this year, I had other commitments (seeing my son) and couldn't afford the hotel costs nor the seemingly never-ending stream of alcohol. So instead I opted to just pop down on Saturday afternoon and see who I could bump into.

I think I got down there around 3pm in time to hear some of the music on the stage in Sackville Gardens - caught "Mustang Sally" which I love! After watching that, wandered along and quickly bumped into practically everyone I wanted to see in the space of 20mins! Had a quick drink and chat and then went off to meet Kim in Albert Square at the festival pavilion. Just as an aside I really should keep up with current events, the Manchester International Festival had been going on since 2nd July (finishes 19th) and I had no idea about it!

Had a good chat and people watch there for a few hours and then wandered back to Canal Street with Kim to grab some food from McTucky's - not exactly the healthiest option available to us but cheap and cheery and definitely filled a hole. Sackville Gardens provided a much more varied and colourful location for people watching than the centre of Manchester for fairly obvious reasons.
I think everyone was lucky with the weather through the day but it couldn't hold of forever and the skies opened later in the evening and it poured it down until the point where I left (at about 2am). It was a bit of a shame as it stopped people wandering around and meeting up, instead we were all a bit confined to only a few places, not wanting to get soaked by moving to a different location. Was a bit loud, cramped and warm in most places with everyone squashed in but people still seemed to be having a good time.

I obviously had good reasons not to be there for the entire weekend but in some ways I wished I could have done both nights and got to see more people and really make more of the time. Definitely need to have another night out on Canal Street at some point very soon to make up for it!

[Update: all the pics I took on the day/night are here. Was really impressed with the results from the SLR camera with built-in flash, might think about taking that again - even though it is a pain to carry around ]

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Holding back the tears

I saw my son on Friday night (went to the cinema to see Ice Age 3 and then onto McDonalds as a treat for him swimming 70m earlier in the week - so proud of him), then for a few hours on Saturday morning after which he had a party to go to so the plan was for him to come over again today.

Yesterday evening B phoned and said my son wanted to speak to me, he came on the phone and said he wouldn't be coming over today. I asked him if he was tired because I didn't want him to feel that I was upset or put undue pressure on him. I said it was fine and that if he changed his mind he could come over anyway.

Seems he had been a little upset after seeing me and was a bit tearful. Some of it could just be tiredness, getting to the end of term, excitement at things he's going to be doing soon and simply the fact that his house and the friends round it are way more interesting than what I can offer him here, my flat is never going to come close in that respect.

There is another reason and that is that he was upset by me. B had already told me that he'd said to her that he preferred seeing me in less feminine clothes and appearance, for example he liked it when we did the cycling as I obviously had no make-up on and looked like I always did before when I use to take him to school or go out on the bikes.

Yesterday he said the same thing to me directly as well. He was also staring at my chest at one point, obviously trying to work out why it looked the way it does (was particularly noticeable given the top I was wearing). We also had a brief conversation about 'moobs' and 'boobs' - I said I had the latter, he said that the former were what boys got when they had muscles.

Overall he's obviously been doing some thinking about this and it is upsetting him. So because of all this I said it was fine, I didn't mind not seeing him. I said the same to my friends, that it wasn't unexpected, it wasn't anyone's fault (he'd definitely NOT been pushed into this by his Mum or affected by her, this was his decision) and I just resigned myself to the fact and didn't think it had greatly upset me, obviously disappointed but it's one of those things.

Got back this morning around 3am and sat and watched a bit of a film while I had supper, it got to a sad bit and my eyes started to fill with tears, so I turned the film of, but I still kept crying and sobbing and it was obvious it wasn't about what I was watching. I thought I'd done so well keeping my feelings under control but clearly it couldn't last forever and I must have just snapped all the emotion came flooding out. Looking back I think I was dwelling on my son all night, thinking about him in the back of my mind.

So it seems my son isn't dealing with things as well as I'd (naively) hoped and in fact my transition is upsetting him a great deal. I really and truly never wanted to hurt him or anyone else because of this, but it looks like I must add him to the list of those that I have.

Friday, 10 July 2009

One pill too many

I'm posting this mainly as a reminder to myself that it happened and when (really must get a diary for this kind of thing instead).

I was counting the number of spiro pills that I have left today (need to pick up prescription today for more) and I've realised I've taken one too many this week. OR I've lost one, possibly on the other strip of 14 that I threw away a few weeks ago.

I'm racking my brain to try and remember when I might have taken an extra pill. Certainly not Monday or Tuesday as I took them at work after eating breakfast there and that is pretty much my routine time - take certirazine (for hayfever) first thing when I get up, then get to work, have breakfast and take spiro.

I've worked at home the rest of the week so my routine has been mixed up a bit - it's very easy to start doing things on the laptop before getting the basics like breakfast out of the way on the grounds that this is more efficient as long-running tasks can be set off.

I think Wednesday I took certirazine & spiro together ... hmmm, but I also remember taking spiro late in the morning, maybe that was when I took two. Thursday (yesterday) I think I was a little more organised, also changed patches as well so think I had pills under control also. Then again, I was really hungry and thirsty yesterday and a bit light-headed as well as being late to bed the night before.

I'm not going to take spiro today, just in case, I'll let what is in my system level off.

I think I'm more freaked out that I could accidentally take too much and that I can't remember doing it. I hate feeling that I don't know what I'm doing or that I could make such a mistake. That's more worrying to me than the possible side-affects of taking too much. Although, rather annoyingly, the side-affects of the drug include "mental confusion" so it could be contributing to me not keeping track!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Still in denial

I can come up with lots of logical reasons why I've taken the recent choices that have led me to transition. I can describe the confusion and upset and even that I worried that neither were sufficient. With the exception of those that have been really hurt by all of this everyone is convinced of my intention and need to transition.

But I still don't think I've convinced myself.

I have followed all the correct processes and behaviour and different stages in the journey and fully understand what is going on and why and can get, rightly, very wrapped up in trying to get things done right, or faster to speed the whole transition along.

I even have, as described in this blog, the odd bout of reality where I realise that there is still alot for me to change, develop and deal with. And sometimes I have real, genuine moments when I can speak with absolute sincerity and feeling about what is happening to me, when it's not just me saying things that I think sound good, or are well-worded and pithy. Even now, I suspect the words I'm using are more important than what they are saying.

But the truth, as far as I've been able to grasp it tonight, is that I really haven't admitted to myself what is happening, I still think I'm the old me but just with the trans thing thrown on the top. It is easier to think that I am dealing with this that to actually be so. It really is to big to handle or get my head round, I don't have any frame of reference, I can't control this or argue it or even describe the feelings.

I'm finding it hard to admit to myself that it really isn't just a differently packaged me, it's a me that has been totally supressed, a me that I don't really know and that I'm maybe still not comfortable with. I'm not saying this me is totally different in every respect but just that the small changes are actually so impossibly large to deal with.

I'm dealing with all of this by trying to approach it logically and do the right thing as best I can without letting any feelings out and by denying that I have any to some extent. I guess a tag line I've seen on a few peoples posts/e-mails is, glibly, appropriate: "If you're not confused, you didn't understand the question".

Monday, 6 July 2009

One of those "awkward" moments

I have been quite lucky regarding my ID, credit cards, and similar official or financial items, in the past I had a credit card in my 'new' name and didn't have to reveal anything else. Now almost everything is changed over, certainly covered all the really important documents (passport, drivers license, bank accounts) and anything else I'm either going to be getting rid of (old credit cards, previous utilities providers, etc).

There is one thing that I didn't get round to changing and that was my Costco card because I thought, first of all that people might just assume that it's 'me' dressed up and not ask, or alternatively that it was someone else's card and that would be fine, e.g. I was doing the shopping for that person.

Never had any problems until Sunday:

Assistant: "Is <insert my old name> with you?"
Me: "Erm, no"
Assistant: "I'm afraid you can't shop without the named card-holder"
Me: "Oh"
Me (leaning in conspiratorially): "Erm, well, actually it is me, erm ... I just haven't got round to changing the card yet, erm"

Assistant (being very nice and understanding: "Oh, don't worry, say no more, completely understand"

There then followed lots of hasty comments, hand-waving and general bustling of all concerned to mask the rather embarassing situation (sure I was glowing red at that point) as people do when they want to quickly move on and not make others feel bad. Another assistant was equally sweet and took my card and said she'd get it changed there and then. Only took a few minutes and now have a new card (yes, not much to see but the picture wasn't too bad!)


It's really nice when people are understanding and helpful like this, it really can leave you happy for days afterwards and make you pass on the same kindness and consideration to others. It's equally nice when someone is at least a little suspicious that the person in the old photo just simply isn't the one stood in front of them.

P.S. I just remembered another fairly recent occasion when I was overcome by how generous and thoughtful people can be. I was queuing for a space in a local car park and too be honest was resigned to the fact that I might have to wait or go elsewhere when an oldish gentleman waved at me through the window and, having opened it to see what he wanted, offered me his space and a parking ticket with 3hrs remaining on it!

I was very grateful, he didn't have to tell me he was going, nor give the ticket to me, he could have passed it to someone on the way out and still left with a clear conscience, but instead he was simply being thoughtful and considerate. I was sure to pass the ticket on to someone when I left as well (only seemed right) and it still had 2hrs left on it. One persons kindness at least doubled that day.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

I like to ride my bicycle ...

Went for a bit of a long run today, managed about 24km, took about 1hr40mins, average speed 14.4km/hr ... think I managed 45km/h top speed at one point (going downhill, obviously).
It was a really nice run out actually, I was aiming for Go Ape as this is somewhere I might be going with work and I wanted to see what it was like beforehand. Basically it's a trail through the woods but high up in the trees. Not entirely sure I can cope with those heights though there were certainly plenty of people on it today who seemed to be having fun.

Had a good cycle around, had fanstatic music to listen to on the way there and back and arrived back home just as the rain was starting, perfect timing. Really want to do more trips like that, it was good fun and good exercise.

Tinkering

You may have noticed a bit of a change in the layout and format of my blog. Think I just needed a bit of a change and to get away from the rather overly-coloured (pink) format I had before. I hope this new layout is easier to read and looks a bit more professional and stylish (even if the content doesn't). Actually I'm not really too bothered if it doesn't, I just had a nice time fiddling with CSS and HTML tags, was nice to do something geeky AND useful!

Anyway, if anyone has any remarks/criticisms on the new look, feel free to comment.

Betrayal

I keep coming up with random words, thoughts and concepts as I try to come to terms with everything in my life and just thought of writing a few words about this one.

I've just been looking at a picture of my (ex)wife, it's from our wedding day and she looks amazing. It struck me that I will never ever fully appreciate how much my leaving and transition has hurt her and how much she must feel betrayed by the man she married.

But then I also thought that, in reality I have also been let down; just as she has lost me, I have also lost her. Both lives are in ruins and while it is *my* issues with my gender that are the cause that reasons has not been wholly responsible for the affects. It didn't have to be this way, being excluded from family life, from my home and blamed so utterly and completely for everything. Those were not my choices, they were hers.

The problem is that it always has to come down to absolute blame, there is no space for objectivity or the possibility that, without sounding clich├ęd, "it's just one of those things". Facts are not allowed to get in the way of blame. It can't be that given our differences now that we just can't live together. No, it's my fault that our marriage is wrecked. And it's not conceivable that, been unable to cope with the change in gender/appearance of a partner is not my fault, surely it has to be as I'm the one that changed.

I'm not trying to blame anyone else, I'm just trying to point out the unfairness of complete and total fault lying with me. Also the futility of blame is worth considering; I can't help being made this way and feeling how I do, nor could I help taking so long to realise it, why persecute me for something I have no control over particularly when nothing I have said or done as a result has been out of malice?

[ Update: it's been pointed out to me that this reads as if I'm blaming my wife for how things turned out, that is not my intention. I'm really just trying to say that we have both gone through alot and that it is all too easy to make out that the other is to blame for something. There isn't really any blame on anyone, it's just a tragic and unfortunate situation.

I've left the post un-edited to show that sometimes even I get angry and say/write things I may regret or that are mis-interpretted. This blog isn't about attacking anyone, I'm sorry if this article read as if it was ]

Friday, 3 July 2009

An interesting night

It sounds quite a bland title but I mean it most sincerely and completely, I had a fantastic time last night at the launch event/party/celebration (not entirely sure what to call it) for the book Single Mother on the Verge written by Marie Roberts and based on her blog of the same name.

I should explain that I was there because my friend Kim invited me along since her and some other friends, also there that night, were friends with Marie; I did have all the history of where they'd all worked together and the whole history but it's way to complicated to go into here.

Anyway, back to last night. The event itself was fun, a few readings from the book, some extracts from other books by different authors, art, music and the inimitable compere for evening who introduced herself as Precious Cleaver, one half of the folk-singing duo The Cleaver Sisters (very entertaining she was too). I wish I could remember the names of the woman from LA who sang as well as the duo who did a few of their songs too, they were all very good.

The night was also made more enjoyable by just meeting fantastically fascinating people, like one of Kim's friends who works for the company that produced the Super Lamb Bananas that recently graced the city of Liverpool with their colourful presence. (I believe the company is called Wild in Art and they have lots of other similar art projects on the go).

The art on display last night was by Anne Earnshaw and both pieces were actually photographs though this was difficult to tell so I had to ask. One of them, not shown on her website unfortunately, was of oil on water and captured lots of different reflections, colours and shapes and was just so intriguing because at times I was convinced it was an abstract painting.

Another person I met and have a wonderful chat with was an author, Qaisra Shahraz, writing of several novels including The Holy Woman which I think I shall add to my must read list (after completing Single Mother on the Verge obviously).

Of course I did get to talk to Kim as well, who is interesting herself!

So, this is probably a bit of a name-dropping post but the aim is not to make me sound more interesting by association (it reads a bit like that, not intentional honest), but simply to promote people who I found so intriguing.

[ P.S. I desperately need a thesaurus! ]

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Regret and understanding

It's very easy for those who are not trans to see the transition in very simple terms; someone is unhappy in their gender, they get help, they get treatment so therefore they are 'cured' and should also be relieved and elated that they have got what they want and need.

It really isn't that simple though, and I don't really think it's possible for anyone, unless they go through this as well, to fully understand it. In fact I didn't grasp the true ramifications of the choices I made and failed to appreciate really how imense the impact is. I probably won't really get it, apart from in retrospect, when I can look back and take stock of what has happened.

I've spent so long trying to control my emotions and myself that it's even more of a shock when sudden realisation hits, like the other day when I remembered being in a family and doing 'normal' Dad-type things. I remember a picture (I still have it here actually) of me holding my son up for a hug, he has his arm around me and is pointing at something while I smile at the camera. I remember feeling immensely proud when that photo was taken. I've always felt that about my son, I think he is the most amazing little person, even more so now.

I also remember being proud of having a fantastic wife, a good job, nice house, all those things that I worked hard for, the things you dream about having in your life and that make you feel you are someone, they give you confidence and inspiration. I think I did so well to hold off the regret of losing those things but that just made the instant I realised their loss even more painful.

I'm also beginning to understand that how people treat you can have such an impact on your self-confidence. Before my transition I never really thought about it and was either lucky to not encounter much in the way to affect my confidence and feeling of self-worth or was simply naive and blissfully unaware of comments or looks or anything else that could have upset me.

Now I'm beginning to see that it's so easy to be undermined by how I think other people see me, whether this is paranoia or real doesn't matter, the end result is the same; self-confidence diminishes. This is somewhat a vicious circle as it's easier to get upset with yourself the worse you feel about who and what you are.

I probably sound like a broken records but it's worth saying it again; despite appearances this really isn't easy, it's pretty horrid when it comes down to it.