Monday, 24 May 2010

I would have been early, but ...

... I was busy taking pictures of the balloons!

On my cycle route to work I pass the York Race Course and I'd seen one balloon lift off from there earlier in the week but just hadn't got close enough to get any decent pictures.

When I had a second chance I made sure I got really close and took as many pictures as I could! It really was a quite amazing sight and the glorious sunshine and clear blue sky just made for, hopefully, fantastic photographs.

I'll process the rest of the photos soon and put them up on my deviantArt page.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

What a mess!

For the past three days or so I've been really under the weather with a nasty cold/virus/bug which has meant I've pretty much stayed in bed and look and sound pretty rough to say the least. Not been able to get dressed, do my hair, make-up or anything like that.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I went to see my son on Sunday, and for that trip I didn't have time/inclination to do my make-up which is something of a novelty, in fact I'd say it's the first time I've ever been out without my 'face' on. I'd like to say it was a momentous achievement and that I looked fine but in reality I was just too tired to care and I probably looked absolutely terrible.

Anyway, as I've been shuffling around the house looking, and feeling, a complete state, and it's strange how androgynous this can make sure feel. In fact I had a long soak in the bath yesterday in an attempt to keep warm and kill of the bugs by sweating them out, and was shocked to realise I still had a body with a figure under all the baggy PJs and dressing gown - it was like some amazing discovery!

It's interesting how much your sense of self is affected by your appearance, clothes, and presumably how all of your senses react to your immediate environment. There was even a recent study into this involving virtual reality projections of different bodies to see how people reacted.

Anyway, I don't want to be repeating my own experiment of being ill and androgynous for a while, much prefer being well, even if it does mean going to work and running around with lots to do!

Monday, 10 May 2010

More Regret

I'm sat at home trying to get over a pretty nasty cold at the moment; it's one of those that gets into your muscles and just makes you feel weak and lethargic as well as adding the cough, ear-ache, and sore throat into the bargain. It started on Friday, held off a little on Saturday but was pretty much dragging me down on Sunday.

So, I didn't, and don't feel well. The letter concerning the divorce that was waiting for me on Saturday night when I got back from seeing my son was therefore not particularly welcome. I was quite upset when I got it, maybe a little angry, certainly a little confused as to what it really meant.

By Sunday morning I felt terrible and thinking about the letter was really getting to me along with all the other recent pressure and stress ... and I snapped. I just couldn't take it any more, I dissolved into floods of tears. I think I only stopped because I was just so tired. I phoned up to say whether I was going over to see my son and, when asked what was wrong, just cried and screamed down the phone because I was so upset and distraught. Surprisingly it didn't turn into a huge row. It was suggested that that I should feel better for getting everything of my chest and maybe a did a little or I was just too tired to be upset anymore.

I went to see my son in the end as I wanted to see him in his new football kit that he was so proud of (I'd bought him the boots on Saturday). We went to the local park and I tried to play football - he thinks I'm good but in reality he'll likely be beating me easily by the time he's ten (or probably sooner than that)! We didn't spend long out as I still felt really tired so we headed back and I got to have a sit with him, watching telly, for half an hour or so as B gave me a drink, paracetamol and cough sweets. It was really nice to be sat there, I wish it could have gone on forever.

There are so many good times and good memories and occasions when we were all happy and got on. I can't really remember many of the rows now - well, apart from the one where I had a chicken sandwich thrown at me but that was funny in the end ... even more entertaining when we kept finding bits of sandwich over the subsequent weeks. I miss it all, I really do.

I have made choices along the way and I know that these have upset lots of people who I care a great deal about but honestly, I never chose to have this much hurt and pain, it really wasn't what I wanted at all. Unfortunately none of us in all this got to choose some things; I really didn't choose to be trans, I didn't even know, nor fully understand what that meant until about 4 years ago! My wife didn't get choose to fall in love with someone who was (unknowingly) trans either, and of course our son had no say in any of this.

It's all such a horrible shame and I so wish there was a way to make it all right again and for us all to be a family again. But there isn't.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

"Christian Cop arrests Gay Protestor for anti-Church comments"

I'm paraphrasing this headline: "Gay Cop arrests Preacher for Antigay (sic) Comments". The story was carried in a few places, e.g. Telegraph, and many pro-Christian and pro-Gay sites. My version of the headline looks a little odd and out of place, and would either make people do a double-take or get quite annoyed.

The balance of feeling now is that gay is fine, it's been incorporated into 'normal', and persecution based on sexuality is fading fast. All good. It's also been shown that religious fundamentalism is seen as just that, an extreme, containing views that the majority of the faithful would not really hold.

So we would, rightly, be quite upset and angry if someone used their faith/belief as bias to persecute someone. Strangely though, it's fine when we do exectly the same but just under a different banner, that of gay-rights. From the reports on this story it seems that the preacher concerned stated opinion, quoted scripture, and was engaged in a debate. He wasn't hurling abused or threatening or "inciting hatred". In my opinion his views are wrong and I agree that, to me they are "offensive" in the sense that I'm gay/lesbian so he's, in a very minor way, insulting me for my sexuality. But it's his right to hold that view, in doing so he's not harming anyone (except maybe himself).

My (vague) understanding of the bible is that same-sex relationships are pretty much painted as a bad thing, you could argue this is devine proclamation or simply practical advice from the time, nevertheless that's what it states. Why persecute someone for stating something that is historical fact?

Seriously, there are lots of opinions that people hold that I could take offense at, and vice versa. You can use the law to force people to comply with what you believe - we really don't want to go down the 1984 route of having the thought police. This arrest was a bad thing, it shows that we've replaced anti-gay bullies with pro-gay ones, is this progress?

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

"British People"

This may be a little rambling as I don't seem to be able to get the ideas about this in a coherent form at the moment, needs more thinking about.

Anyway, I was listening to radio 4 this morning and a few things caught my attention, one was the criticism of an idea by the Lib Dems (I think) to have asylum seekers doing work, presumably while they wait for a decision on their case. The interviewee was against this but it made sense to me; why have people hanging around doing nothing when, for their sake and ours, they could be doing something useful with their time.

The other thing I heard was some rambling from UKIP about wanting to take us out of the EU and to limit immigration and concentrate resources on the "British People". So I started to wonder what "British People" meant? Who is "British"? Given our cultural, social, racial, and genetic mix, the only real common thing is geography, though the likes of the BNP would have you believe otherwise.

Which got me thinking some more; there are many people in this country who would vehemently claim to be "British" and yet live off the state, probably don't have much claim to any (spurious) genetic ancestry, and bemoan the fact that we're being 'flooded' with illegal immigrants and asylum seekers. On the flipside there are people that want to come to this country and work hard, not live off the state, and generally contribute society in this country.

So I wonder whether we should stop thinking about nationality strictly in terms of location, surely that means you can adopt a quite lazy attitude to being British; "I'm British therefore I deserve ...". If instead being British, or any nationality, it about contributing to the society as a whole then that mind-set leads to a much more positive and inclusive definition of what it means to be and to belong.

That probably didn't make sense at all!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Through The Lens

This was a little bit of an experiment to see if I could get a nicer shot over the back of York University without the glare from the sun that had just decided to come out from behind the clouds that had been giving a nice pattern to the sky as well as doing a good job of blocking out the glare from the morning sunrise.

Not sure whether this really works too well but I think it looks quite colourful and would certainly qualify as "different" photography. Well I thought that until I was told by B that the idea of taking pictures through sunglasses has been shown on the kids art programme, SMART, a week or so ago! I wonder if my son is going to want to try this out at some point.

Anyway, the set of images have been uploaded to my deviantART page where you can download the full size photo or leave critique (if you have a deviantART premium account).

Monday, 3 May 2010

Finally Photo-processing

Just to boost Rachel's ego some more (not that it needs it at all) the above is one of the pictures I took while practising with the new lighting set I bought. Rachel didn't need much of an excuse to get herself made-up and looking sexy and was more than happy to pose, pout, and occasionally offer advice on how to get the best pictures.

I have actually got a rather large back-log of pictures of all types that need processing though today I've at least managed to make a significant dent in this. I should be finished by the weekend anyway and then I need to keep on top of any new pictures that come along.

The majority of the pictures are going to end up on deviantART as that will host the full resolution shots and also allows me to sell prints - once I get this all setup. The idea being to try and make a small amount of money out of photography which really is something I need to do given the amount I've invested in camera, lenses, lights, etc!

If anyone wants any photographs doing, let Rachel or I know :)

Second Thoughts?

This is probably a bit rambling, sorry about that!

I've been spending a lot of time recently really thinking about my transition and what I really want to do and be. This is partly because I do need to consider next steps like surgery, which scare the hell out of me, but also it seems that I'm having a nasty bought of reality due to getting older, my divorce, relationship with my son and many other things related to life that just need to be dealt with. Also I'm putting in lots of hours and effort at work and, ironically, this is meaning that I'm thinking more - I think this is down to my mind constantly being on the go and carrying on at full speed even when I should chill out.

The fact is that I can't really allow myself to think about before and what I was like and why I felt the need to change. I look at old photos and in the mirror, pulling my hair back and out of the way to see what I'd look like. I don't want to go back to my previous appearance, I like my hair how it is, my face, figure and look. I don't get the urge to go back to old clothes and style - it may seem odd to place so much emphasis on what I wear but that is the thing that does define who/what people are most of the time, the outer appearance. The only way I could start emulating the gender that I later realised I was involved only outward appearance.

I noticed things about my figure this week, specifically my bum and legs. Strangely my bum is taking some getting use to; its bigger, more rounded and smooth/curved. I don't think I'd considered bums much nor other changes to my hips tummy etc. Legs were something I'd thought of and mine are now more of a female shape and I'm pleased with that. the same goes for my chest, I'm pleased with that, it could be bigger but it looks right.

It may seem odd that I'm looking at myself in the mirror but I'm really trying to figure out if this really is the body I wanted or expected and what else still needs to change. Also I'm trying to remember how I felt and what was so wrong before that made me take this path. I do still strongly dislike hair on my legs, I know that is hardly sufficient reason but it, and a few other things stick in my mind.

So, am I happy? Yes and no. I do prefer how I look now, if I try to imagine cutting my hair and reversing the last few years of development I really don't like that idea even if I can't easily put into words all of the reasons. It does just come down to this feeling more right than wrong.

In terms of life though I'm maybe less happy than I would want to be. A marriage, close relationship with my son and a family life with a whole extended family of my relatives, my (all too soon to be ex) wifes relations also, has been lost. There is so much of that which I miss and, if I could I'd go back to that life in and instant. But I'd have to go back as the new me. I miss everything I had, and still care deeply about, with all of my heart but I couldn't give up being me.

I think this is the hardest thing for everyone to deal with. I think alot of my journey to get here would have seemed, and sometimes was, selfish and thoughtless. But I am who I need to be, this really is what all the signs pointed to all along. Why now? Why couldn't I wait? The truth is that it just happened, my life unfolded in such a way that I could start to transition and, once you begin to realise who/what you are you just take every opportunity you can and the process accelerates. It may seem cold, calculating and selfish from the outside but it's not, it's driven by desparation to overcome an image that doesn't feel quite right and to achieve one that seems more comfortable.

I managed most of my transition in blissful ignorance of how traumatic and confusing this whole process and life in general can be. I think anything that may be what I feel is a second though is really just me finally dealing with the harsh reality of the choices I've made and the path I've taken. Things could have been so much worse, I hope they can get so much better for all concerned.

One final point; it may seem that, to take this path in my life means that I don't care enough about my son and wife. Really I care so much about them and, like I said, would love to have the life we all had back ... If I can still be me. And that's the saddest thing; I still am 'me' and there is so much of me that is identical, I just now look how I really felt inside all along.

To my son: I really do love you so much, you are amazing. To my wife: I am truly sorry.