Saturday, 10 December 2011

An unexpected outing...

Let me ask you this: how many times has someone told you a secret and followed it up with, “you mustn’t tell anyone else” or “please don’t tell anyone” or “I’m telling you this but only between these four walls”?  I’m guessing lots of times.  As a community, we have a higher capability than most to keep secrets.  As well as my own, lots of people have shared things with me that they wouldn’t tell anyone else.

My experience tells me that asking someone not to pass on your secret often has the opposite effect.  Especially when its about our particular situations.  I mean, come on, how juicy is our secret?  In my case that I’m an ordinary, straight laced guy who works hard, is seemingly very normal and relatively successful.  But lurking underneath is a tortured transgendered bi-sexual who struggles with their gender and sexuality every day, and has been known to go out in public wearing a skirt etc.  I’m not being funny, but seriously, that is far better than many of the very mundane secrets that get shared with me.

My point is that it's the kind of secret that some people are going to find hard to keep.  And that telling someone they can know my secret but that they can’t tell anyone is a recipe for disaster.  I’m sure you know the feeling when you have trusted someone with a secret and that they have let you down.  You feel utterly betrayed.  Hurt.  Offended.  Upset. Numb.  All those words and probably more.  Don’t get me wrong in all of this, I think I should be able to share a confidence and it not go any further, but I’m also realistic about human nature.

So as a result, I have a policy.  Its not written down or formalised or anything, but its a policy all the same.  When I let people in on my big secret, I don’t ask them to keep it secret.  That perhaps sounds bizarre, but it isn’t really.  At this stage in my journey, I choose to tell people who I know care about me and who have my best interests at heart.  When I out myself to them I say something like, “Clearly, I’m telling you this because I trust you and I want you to know that if there is anyone that you feel you really need to tell, then I understand that and I don’t mind.”

Most people’s responses to that are looks of horror.  They say that they wouldn’t want to and that it isn’t their news to tell etc and I know that some won’t pass it on.  Often, particularly with my male friends, they say that they want to tell their partner and I don’t have a problem with that at all.  In all the time I’ve been doing this I think I have only twice named specific people I would rather weren’t told.  To be honest, even those were a while ago and I’m not sure I’d be bothered about them knowing any more.

What’s really interesting is the way 'the policy' makes me feel.  I care about the person I’m telling and the effect that the news will have on them.  We all know people who have been badly affected by finding out the news that we are transgendered.  But its me I have to live with, not them.  By not restricting people and showing that I trust them, I have found that on the few occasions that someone has told other people and passed my secret on, I’ve been really pleased and thought, “actually, I would have told that person too, I’m really happy they did that.”  But it also leaves me not worrying whether someone is going to betray me and that if they do tell someone, they are not going behind my back.  99% of the time they tell me who they've told because they know I'm unlikely to be upset about it.

Long preamble, but assuming you are still with me, the game changed this week.  Someone who has my secret passed it on to someone I wouldn’t have told myself.  Its really the first time that has happened and I have to say that initially I wasn’t completely sure about it.

Its interesting but recently, a few people at the edges of my friendship circles have been asking the people who are close to me whether I’m gay.  I’m not sure why, I act and behave the same as ever, nothing is really changed day-to-day but it has happened a few times.  So in fairness to my friend who gave away the secret, she was directly asked the question, “Is he gay?”.  The person who asked is someone she trusts, so it works in terms of my policy, and I don't think he'll spread my secret.  I know him too a little, but not well.

But in writing all of this, I realise what the problem really is - it's the first time (that I am aware of) where I have lost control of the message.  I could write you a list of people who know my secret and how they found out and how I gave permission for them to know.  The person who now knows my secret is the first one on a very different list.   This list is of the people who have found out without me being able to protect myself, where I couldn’t give them my story, my way, with my controlled version.

It’s left me feeling like I’ve entered a new phase that I really don’t know how to navigate yet.

Monday, 28 November 2011

I'm scared

I have just finished writing an eloquent blog on why I’m feeling angry and frustrated and that it’s spilling out.  The paragraph from that, which is the only one that has survived, is the one that made me realise what the problem really was:

“As I write this, I realise my train of thought is in the same direction as my last post.  I’m just looking for a way to cope.  I’m just looking at the same problem again from a different angle.  I’m wasting my mental energy on a problem I’ve already solved, but that I’m afraid to take action on.”

I now know what I need to do, but honestly, I’m scared to do it.   My last post on how to cope received some elegant and helpful responses from some very kind ladies.  Together with my mulling, I realise there are five things I need to do urgently:

  • Seek professional support – my doctor is a good place to start and I think they’ll be able to help.
  • Find people to talk to about it – ‘nebby’ (Midland-ish for nosy – who knew?) bloggers and other people who I know care about me.
  • Go to a support group and talk to other people in my situation.  Does anyone know if such groups mind having really fat girls attending their meetings?  Most seem more glamourous, skinny and chique than I could even dream of being.  
  • Find ways of incorporating Rhiannon in without it necessarily being too obvious. 
  • Cut down my work and find time to relax properly.  I’ve been overdoing it for far too long now.

Lynn Jones captured it well, as she tends to, with: “it's not going to be bad forever.... but you may have to step out of your comfort zone to get out of the mire”.  That’s the problem and therein too, the rub.  All five of those things are outside of my current comfort zone and I’ve never been well known for being able to ‘man up’ to the challenge.

I’ve cogitated on the advice for a while now.  Tried to find ways of getting different advice that was easier to do.  Ran in and out of the heavy storm a couple of times.  But never really stood out in it properly and got soaked to the skin.  I guess it’s just about putting one foot in front of the other and to keeping doing that until you aren’t angry and frustrated anymore and that instead you are in a happy place.  Not sure that place exists at the moment, but its time to find out.

Monday, 21 November 2011

How do you cope?

I don’t know about you, but I find this life quite tough.  Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want to change it.  I live for the times when I’m able to present the person I actually am on the inside to the rest of the world.  But it happens only infrequently and it is that infrequency that is the cause of my angst.  And it causes me to have to try to find a way to cope.

It seems hard for people who don’t live with it to understand.  Maybe I’m alone in feeling like this, but it is there with me all the time.  I never go for more than a few minutes without thinking about it.   Every time I look around you, everything I watch on television, every day at work, whenever I go out, there are reminders of what I can’t be and what I can’t have. But worse than that is the ongoing pangs of regret at how things turned out.  Don’t get me wrong, my family, in particular, is important, but I also know that the more I increasingly follow my heart, the more hurt and pain I am likely to cause to them.  Its hard to live with that and it tears at my thoughts all the time and makes me feel sad.  

I clearly don’t begrudge women their gender.  My position is nobodies fault, there is no-one to blame.  If anything I blame myself.  Why did I not realise that this was inevitably going to be the final conclusion in the final analysis.  Why did I not stop the world and get off when I was 30 or 20 or even 10.  Its not like I didn’t know what I was, even then.   When I was growing up, before the internet age, all I had to go on was that transvestism (as it was presented then) was for perverts and weirdos and that society found more deplorable than gay people.  I was both of those things (well, bi-sexual at least) and was horrified at feeling like I did.

But the point is that when you have this secret and know what you know, how do you live a normal existence day-by-day?  I’m afraid to say I don’t.  I work as hard as I possibly can for most of my day - I try to dutifully put the thoughts from my mind and get on.  Some days I succeed better than others.  But then the evening arrives and the structure disappears.  I hold onto work as late as possible - 7, 8 or 9 o’clock.  But with that gone, I found the only thing that numbs it all: I eat a hearty meal and drink more than my share of alcohol.  Alcohol is useful in this fight.  Drinking causes some people to be aggressive, some to gain bravado, some to get loud.  I sleep.  The soporific calming makes me forget about my feelings.  I’ve questioned at times whether I’m an alcoholic if I’m perfectly honest with you.  But I know that I can stop for periods of time if I have to or want to, but there is an addiction of sorts in there.  The release from my thoughts in exchange for a bottle or two of wine or beer.  It seems like a small price to pay.

Except that I'm paying the price: the classic, “moment on the lips, lifetime on the hips” situation.  My weight yo-yos anyway, but I’m at the larger end of it at the moment and that makes it worse.   The small price is becoming a bigger one that is sitting on my body making me look even less like the beautiful girl I want to be.  But also that its not doing my internal organs any favours and I don't want problems into later life.

It strikes me that the only real way of coping is to be what I truly am. 100% out 100% of the time.  But its not possible right now.  So I found myself wondering what others do to cope with this turmoil.  For some I’m sure its sex or drugs, or depression pills or even a shrink.

So can I ask for advice please?  I know I’ve asked for it a lot of late, but you are all a lot more experienced than me and it would be nice to have some new strategies to try to master (or mistress) my thoughts and to take control.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Fluffy Posts Inc.

A non-content entry today.  So apologies to those who like my sparkling wit and eloquent ramblings (an oxymoron if ever there was one).  But I had myself snapped this week and I wanted to share them with you.

I will resume normal service as soon as possible, but in the mean time, I hope that you'll forgive my self indulgent narcissism.  And that you won't be too harsh on a fat chick.

          

 

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Female ratings? and androgyny

Don't worry, this isn't a Strictly Come Dancing situation where we have to hold up funny sticks indicating what score we are giving to any passing woman. Or to each other for that matter. Although I think there are some sites that allow you to do that. Off topic, but based on Strictly, wasn't Jason D amazing this week. This girl is in serious danger of getting a crush. Inappropriate, given my 37 years.

Anyway, to the point. I had a fun, interesting email exchange recently with Becca of http://rebeccas-introspective.blogspot.com fame. I was talking about how I want to try to start to blend my male and female personas together a little bit more. Effectively trying to wear female clothes or accessories while ostensibly in drab. I've heard tell that some people out there do this successfully. For example this might be (stereotypically) wearing more pink, or buying and wearing girl jeans, sporting girl socks or even wearing female body spray or perfume. Brave new world.

I'm struggling with this a little and Becca posed one of her usual insightful comments: "it sounds like everything you buy has to go through an internal check as to it's 'female rating' - if it's too high then it's not bought."

This really set me thinking and my reply was: "I definitely do have an internal female checking monitor.  I guess that it is to do with the fact that I've spent my life paranoid that someone might find out my secret.  The challenge now is that I want to raise the female rating level and I'm not quite sure where that new level should be. I need to be both happy personally and also have it so that I draw only the right level of attention to myself.  For example, and it sounds small, but I've started to use Oil of Olay as my moisturiser, but so far it's not drawn any attention, but ridiculously I was nervous when I started because it doesn't smell like a man should. I particularly try to think about what level will avoid tipping off Mrs A so she doesn't ask awkward questions.

"If we use a scale out of 10, previously if an item was above a 3, I'd have to reject it. Now I wonder how I could push it to level 5 to make me happy. And is that noticeable? In reality I want to be an 8 or a 9 out of 10. 

"In guy mode, I'm not very good at working out how to blend androgyny into my wardrobe.  So I have no real clothes that I can wear in boy mode.  I have a couple of pairs of girl jeans that I could wear, but I'm not sure if they look too obviously girl like.  I should ask one of my girl friends for a second opinion.  I think they are more obvious because they have that style of being tighter around the thighs and then they flare out.  Great for heels, but that might be too obvious!  But if I bought some girl boots with a low wedge heel, would that look to girly because they are girls shoes? I wear pink shirts and clothes etc, but they are very much in a man's style.  

"At the moment I'm growing longer nails and am determined to grow my hair out a bit. Things are starting to creep through. But wearing body spray or perfume would probably be a step too far.  I don't know anyone who wears ambiguous or even vaguely womanly perfume - if they did, I would assume that they were very gender ambiguous.  I'd assume that it was a big tell that they were transgendered."

The conversation went on and in reality I want an 11 where I present as a girl all the time, but given that is not realistically on the horizon, what to do? I was wondering what other people who have to live in male mode did to blend in their girl side - to be happy do you have to go to a 5 or above, or do you avoid it completely and push it to 3 or below because dressing as a girl a couple of times a month is enough? If you do try to blend, what do you do -- this girl for one is curious to know.

Monday, 24 October 2011

I panicked...

Last night, I was sat next to Mrs A, watching television. My God isn't X-factor rubbish this year and that was soooo unfair on Rory Bremner. Anyway, the fire was on next to me, and it was a chilly night. That meant, that owing to me occupying the warmest place, I was hot and she was 'just right'. Oh, the sacrifices. It was so hot for me, that I ended up dressed in t-shirt and shorts.

Perfectly normal so far, nothing crossed my mind. Suddenly Mrs A remarks,"have you shaved your legs?" In that moment, the world inverted.

For those of you who aren't regular readers, the current plot is that Mrs A and I split up. We got back together on the basis that I would, by hook or crook, stop my transgendered ways. I genuinely tried for 4 months-ish to do so, but couldn't and have lapsed into my old girl ways. The first step of which was to shave legs, armpits and chest. I'm practised, after 17 years together of hiding this in a stealthy way. Except last night, I forgot. Idiot that I am.

So when she asked, I panicked. Don't you think that's ridiculous? I just completely overreacted and started saying that I hadn't shaved and that my leg hair is always that short and it's really fair and that of course I didn't shave it. Now, neither of those things are a million miles from true, I don't grow much hair naturally, and my leg hair is very very fair. But I'm still not sure I was believed.

Why didn't I just say yes and tell the truth that I had shaved? Believe me, that was the question I asked myself straight way. I reasoned that whether I'm dressing or not, she knows I hate body hair and might actually just think it was a vestige I was holding on to, without actually dressing. But the thing that panicked me was that a scarier line of questioning could result from saying yes. I already think that my reaction will lead to more scrutiny. Upto press, I think I've not done anything (that she is aware of) that would lose trust. And if it's a measure, I've only dressed a dozen times in the last month or so. But her thinking that I'm shaving, could lead to her noticing more and getting suspicious of everything. Or you could say that she already was and she'd been waiting for an opportunity to say something? In my gut, it feels like I'm on the brink of her asking directly whether I've returned to my girl ways and of me having to decide how to answer that.

I thought I was hiding it well. But just writing this post has shocked me. I always say that articulating this stuff makes me look at it in a very different way, yet again the blog delivers for me personally. Why has my life, yet again, become one of sneaking around, hiding, lying to the people I love to protect something I'm proud of and that is not wrong or shameful, but instead is a big part of who I am. Why, in the place of greatest intimacy and supposed trust am I forced to be the pretend me?

Many people I have spoken to have encouraged me to keep the lie in order to keep the marriage. To keep everything that I love - my home, kids, job etc. But I am increasingly uncomfortable with the level of compromise it leaves me with. I'm a heart on her sleeve kinda girl and this is not playing out well for me. I don't want to be the kind of person who lies all the time, it makes me so sad and makes me feel somehow, dirty. I've reluctantly agreed with my advisors and counsellors that it's best to keep the secret, for everyone's sake. Seemingly except mine. I am such a selfish bitch, does this mean it's time to face the music?

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Help needed: how do you explain it?

I’ve come out to a fair few people over the last year and am really happy about it.  I have a script that I use now that allows me to test the water and to reveal my secret bit-by-bit.  I start with the ‘easier’ parts of my story and finish up with the doozy that I’m transgendered.

But, having explained it and my situation, many of the people who I tell frustrate me by saying, “So it’s a bit like being an alcoholic then?”  Their meaning behind that is that it’s an addiction that I can’t give up.  To them, this would explain why I would be willing to sacrifice my family, home and life to still be able to be a girl.  I have to say, I blanche every time.  This analogy they use is one that I find almost upsetting.  It implies that this is something that:

a. I’ve chosen to do
b. I could stop if I had enough willpower
c. is deliberately debilitating to my life and health
d. is a negative bad thing that is horrible for the people around me

You get the picture I’m sure and like me I suspect you will find the analogy quite insulting really.  Nothing against people who suffer with alcoholism, but transgender-ness is very different surely.   So, I always disagree with them when they say it, but I’ve never managed to come up with an appropriate alternative.   I toyed with likening it to a terminal disease: it’s something you didn’t chose, won’t change and actually have little control over.  But the issue with that view of it is that you presumably don’t enjoy (in any way at all) having a terminal disease.  Whereas I love being able to be Rhiannon.

So to be honest, I’m stumped.  I was wondering whether anyone else had an analogy they use that I could borrow for when I’m trying to help people understand what is going on with me?  Any help would be gratefully received.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Camp or kitsch

Is it possible for t-girls to be camp?  It probably sounds unusual but it is one of the many questions that have been playing on my mind for a while.   No, I really don't have too much time on my hands - honest.

A few weeks ago one of my friends, who knows about Rhiannon, said that she thought I was camp.  The thing is that I never ever considered myself camp at all, so to be honest I was a little surprised.  My definition of camp is fairly stereotypical and probably slightly prejudicial if I’m honest.  What I mean is that I wouldn’t consider myself camp because I have a normal type of voice and when I’m not in heels, I don’t mince.  Actually I more lumber really.

So I couldn’t fathom what prompted my friend to make the comment and actually why it jarred so much with me.  But in talking to her, we arrived at an understanding that it was things I talk about that make me sound camp rather than me actually ‘acting’ camp, if that makes sense?  

Anyway, I parked it for a couple of weeks without consciously thinking about it.  But every so often I would mention something or a point would come out in a conversation what would make me think, ‘oooh, that is SO camp’!  But I still dismissed it.

Then, last week I started to listen to a new book.  One of the things you need to know about me is that I read and listen to books a lot.  I drive for many hours each week and I voraciously consume audio books. My tastes are wide and varied – I’ve even owned up to recently discovering a penchant for chick lit.

The book in question is Seth Rudetsky’s Broadway nights.  If, according to Wikipedia, the original definition of camp, in the 1909 Oxford English Dictionary was “ostentatious, exaggerated, affected, theatrical; effeminate or homosexual”, then Broadway Nights is 100% well and truly camp.  And Mr Rudetsky, who voices the book, is camper than a scout jamboree .   But the thing is, I loved it.  It was fun, sparky, bitchy, laugh out loud funny and, did I mention, very very very camp?

If I like campiness and am happy to revel in it, surely I must be camp?  And then the thought struck.  Camp is a term applied generally to gay men – so is it even possible for t-girls to be camp too?  Partly I guess it depends on how you view your t-ness…  But assuming we aspire to be more feminine than masculine, I tried to recall whether I’d ever heard of women being referred to as camp.  I couldn’t think of a time when I had seen it – it certainly doesn’t seem to happen very often.  Instead of referring to a woman as camp, people seem to say that they are either being retro or kitsch.  

So, girlfriend, that’s where I arrived – and next time I see that friend of mine I’m going to tell them.  They can call me kitsch and I will own that label, but, as fun as it is, I’m rejecting any campiness.   But the question it leaves me with for you is – are you camp or are you kitsch?

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Weird, or wonderful?

Up until 2 years ago today my relationship with my camera was shaky to say the least.  There were a couple of classic photos that featured on most of my profiles.  One was a shot of me in my favourite skirt – a close up that revealed, well, a skirt.  The other photo I regularly used was a full-ish length shot with me in my denim miniskirt, pink gypsy top and a big black photoshopped box over my face.  I even cropped it carefully as it was taken at home and might have given away more than I wanted.

I was paranoid about revealing anything else, to say the least.  I was obsessed with the idea that I was going to be recognised and outed.  I was in the closet with the door locked from the inside with a pile of furniture holding the door closed and a grand piano blocking that furniture.  It was the last thing that I wanted anyone to find out about me. I’m not saying I don’t care about that at all, even now, but I also am sure that it is not the end of the world.  At some point I’m going to have to deal with people hearing about my secret whether I like it or not anyway.  Too many people know about me now. At some point it will break as gossip amongst the people who know me.  It may already be out there.

But that’s not the point.  The point is that two years ago today, the trepidation of being photographed vanished.  For the first time ever, I visited a dressing service and had some photos taken by a pro.  The first time I arrived, to be frank, I was scared witless.  I was about to completely lay it on the line and show everything about me to someone for the first time.   Could I trust them?  Would they laugh at me?  Would there be a collective gasp, followed by a ‘god, you are ugly’ comment?  I really didn’t know what to expect.

I don’t know what the view of this community is of dressing services; but that first time I went, I found a caring acceptance I had never known before.  I met people who had seen it all before and who helped me to embrace myself in a way I had never done before.  On my own, in the closet, there was a certain amount of sexualisation and fear of my girl side.  Through the eye of their camera lens they introduced me to someone I’d never met.  I met Rhiannon for the first time and despite her flawed appearance they allowed me to see a curvaceous sassy girl who didn’t want to be sexual fantasy, but instead who just wanted to be a normal woman.  One who didn’t revolve around a secretive ‘existence’, but instead wanted to find her place in the real world.

The first time I came back and posted a photo taken on my visit, face included, I held my breath.  But the feedback was so kind and uplifting that in an instant I profoundly changed.  My paranoia disappeared.  Since, I have shown my photos to countless people who know me.  They never twig that it’s me until I point it out or wait for them to guess.  They normally, very kindly, say that they would never believe that I could look so pretty. The photos capture my inner happiness of being who I really am and that is transformative of itself.

I’ve been back to the service since and they have taught me the art of make up. They helped me to see what looks good and what looks disastrous.  In the absence of girlfriends I see regularly, they provided a place of reflection where I could make decisions about what kind of person Rhiannon was to be. I’m not sure I could have found a better starting point.

Next month I go for my next appointment and I’ve been excitedly planning my outfits, working out what I need to buy, considering how I can lose a bit of weight to hopefully fit into the next size down before I go.  Honestly, I can’t wait.

But above all, and this is an unsolicited advertisement, the owners of Trans-Femme in Swindon, where I went and still go, are singularly lovely people and if you are up for that type of thing, I heartily recommend them to you.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Well, I did it...

After months of resisting and pushing back and trying not to, I retrieved my clothes.  Sat in my make up, wig, jeans, cardigan, I've not gone completely over the top glamourous - just a normal girl really, but it feels so relaxed.  I feel like I'm me again and all's right with the world.

The reality is that this big step means that nothing is right with the world.  The world that I hoped to be part of, that I strived to enjoy, may just have departed me. The trade off is that my sanity remains - I'm not actually sure it would have lasted much longer without taking this step.

The journey resumes and come what may, I need to stay on it.  Where are the exits somebody, I have a feeling this is going to be a bumpy ride.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

The Crying Game

I am, as usual, behind the times.  But I recently watched The Crying Game.  A film that features a transgender character and I really enjoyed it.  I’ve read the many blogs on the subject of films featuring t-girls of varying hues.  The reviews are often not very complimentary – e.g. whether an actual transgendered person should have played the character, whether it was representative etc.  To be honest I’m not even going to go there: it’s not an argument I’m qualified to get involved with.

Whilst the character was an obviously flawed person (which of us isn’t) I merely wanted to comment on some of her very endearing points that, on overall reflection meant that I really warmed to her.

Worryingly, I fear that these say far more about me than about her, but I’ll go for it anyway:

1. I loved the fact that she was so willing to be vulnerable.  Don’t get me wrong, she showed her strength overall, but her points of vulnerability were so touching.  I’m just such an old fashioned girl and on the few occasions I have been with a man as a girl, its one of the things that I most enjoyed.  Letting someone else control the situation.  I take control at times, but trusting that he was kind and would act in my interests too is very special.  It is an amazing gift you can give someone.  I get that this is not always through choice, but it’s a gift all the same.

2. Her neediness and humanity was so well played.  At one point in the film she assumes that the main character knows that she is transgendered.  He finds out in the worst possible way – staring at a pre-op girl with everything on display.  His reaction was pretty sad, but she seemed genuinely traumatised that she felt she had let him down and that he was upset with her.  Her neediness really set in from that point and knowing she’d found someone who was truly a gentleman (to her knowledge at that point) made her not want to lose him.  He was her hero and in true cinematic tradition, she became his heroine at the end, just before he rescues her right back.  Her spark of hope for a genuine relationship with the person she loved was compelling, especially when you consider that it could so easily be extinguished.  She bravely went with it anyway.  Some people hate neediness, but knowing someone else is relying on you to emotionally and physically support them is not a bad thing?  It was almost in the vain of Nancy from Oliver - another character who breaks my heart.  Women and bad boys.  Terrible combination.

3. She uses her femininity so well.  Clearly she is someone who (apart from the hands) is very convincing as a woman and she really does work her assets so well.   Oh to be able to do that!!  I said this didn’t reflect well on me!

And finally, I’ve thought this for a while, but Stephen Rea, the main character is quite attractive.  It seems we have very similar taste in men too!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off

I haven’t blogged for a while.  Sorry.  I have got several drafts of blogs written, but to be honest I lost confidence in my ability to do it,  Don't get me wrong, I don't think my writing is deep and meaningful and that I was lacking a muse or some divine inspiration or anything of that nature.  But I felt like I sounded purile and couldn’t find my groove.  The reason for that, I’ll explain later.  

I know that you all warned me that putting Rhiannon back in the closet was an impossible thing to do.  Deep down I knew that you were right – but I needed to try.  So try I did.  I went for 4 months without so much as presenting any part of me as Rhiannon.  I resisted completely and whilst I was deeply unhappy and conflicted, the effect on my home life was extraordinary.  Things were really happy and relaxed and loving and unpressured.  It was exactly what I hoped for.

Maybe I have something in me that can’t cope with things being too good.  But I really don’t think so, it was the girl in me resurfacing.  Every day she crept up on me.  Small, definite reminders that she was there, that she hadn’t gone.  Every time I thought of her I was sad.  I didn't want her to go and maybe that subconscious need was what meant that it never worked.  Sometimes she was all I could think about.  It is almost as if writing this particular blog was an inevitability.  She would eventually win over in time.

The last two months have been particularly tough.  The real reason I didn’t blog perhaps?  I felt it building up into an all consuming crescendo.  And I crashed, burned and cracked.  Cracking was expensive on two levels. 

Firstly you’ll remember that all of my clothes are in storage.  My kind friend is housing them for me.  Without access to them and in such a desperate need to look at the girl again in the mirror, I hit the shops and one LBD, a white vest top, top, boot cut jeans, underwear, tights, belt, patent black shoes, powder blue pyjamas, nail varnish and body spray later, I had well and truly blown it.  It was bliss.  I then shaved as I used to do until everywhere was hairless and smooth and I smiled – the first really satisfied smile for a long time.  But my bank account was seriously raided!

Secondly, it means that in terms of my partner I am now in a very compromised situation.  If she finds out, I am in so much trouble.  Gender aside (I get that it’s a big aside!), as I said, it’s been happy.  A blip in concentration, coupled with contriteness would have been forgiven and we could have got back on the horse.  Unfortunately I’ve gone far further than only blowing the bloody doors off.  The van got totalled too.  Michael Caine would have been proud. 

So I am back at square two.  I am Rhiannon again, but I have some new knowledge: no matter what I try, she won’t be put into the corner.  I'm going to have to do something else to try to reconcile my life with my need to present as Rhiannon.  

Any advice right now would be greatly appreciated, it really would.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Is passing actually necessary?

This is not necessarily an original thought, but I had my thinking challenged today on the subject and I wondered whether I was alone in this revelation.    Being a tall (5’11) fat (don’t ask) girl, I have resisted going out and it’s been an achievement when I have.   The resistance to going out has always been that I don’t pass and that I would attract too much negative attention by doing it.  People would stare at me and I would feel uncomfortable.  What I thought instead was that if I could lose weight and become thin, I would be less obvious, maybe even pretty and then I would be able to go about my business unnoticed and gain the acceptance as a woman that I really crave.

I’ve been reading the book, “The Emancipated Crossdresser” again today.  Apart from the idea of carrying a handgun around in your handbag (it’s a UK thing!), I think that the author makes some really insightful points.  She has clearly been on a fascinating journey to feel as free as she does now.

But the idea of passing is one that she addresses head-on fairly early in the book.  The point she makes is that she is quite an attractive woman.  There are photos – she is not just saying it, she really is a nice looking lady.  But she says that even though that is the case, she still gets read.  She is that little bit too tall, her hands are too wide, her chin is too square, and her forehead too broad.  All the calamities us t-girls have to contend with.  But that she still goes out and presents as a woman anyway.  Her experience is that most people aren’t bothered to even notice her and don’t say anything and that if she goes to a restaurant that they are more interested in her cash than what she is wearing.

On reflection, I think I feel the same.  Don’t get me wrong, I still want to look as good as I possibly can, but the reality is that I’m never going to pass.  Even if I lost loads of weight, I still would get clocked.  I have rounded, soft feminine features, but would still be read.  So given that there will never be a point where I’ll pass, why not just put up with the looks and go for it anyway.

Aside from the fact that I’ve given up the girl, if I hadn’t I would now be considering that I’m wasting my life away waiting to be the right size and to have the right look.

So my question is for those who do go out.  Should one just go for it and go out in public anyway?  Whether it is in t-girl company or “normal people” company, it doesn't matter, but we should just put up with the resultant issues in the unlikely event that they arise.   The book does give great advice on handling difficult situations by the way too!  Or is the book only to be applied in America and that here in the UK you would just get beaten up, hassled and abused.

Like many of you I’m sure, I watched the programme  “Jamie: Drag Queen at 16” recently on television.  The reaction to him was very positive and that’s not surprising I guess.  Would people really reveal themselves as being horrible on camera?  Probably not.  But the interesting thing is that if you Google that documentary and go onto normal, straight people forums and chat rooms many people have been talking very positively and kindly about the programme and the boy.  It makes we wonder whether acceptance of us is getting there or whether we still have a long way to go.

And if the acceptance is getting there, can I go out regardless?

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

I may be a drama queen after all

This little episode has got me accused of all sorts (thanks Sarah!).  Not least that I have achieved new levels of drama queenery (is that a word?).  At the weekend, despite the best-laid plans to be incredibly cheerful, I was not feeling very well.  I don’t get ill that often, and when I do I always exaggerate my symptoms.  I am one of those recklessly foolish people who ALWAYS take the…I’m searching for a word that would make me not seem so stupid…but I can’t find one, so imbecilic will have to do.  I made the imbecilic decision to Google my symptoms.

After a half an hour of searching I realised to my horror that my illness was likely to result in having one or both of my feet amputated.  I kid you not.  I am normally a very rational, sensible person who is quite intelligent and relatively articulate, but I was genuinely fearful.  I spent the weekend under the fug of fear, worrying.

Anyway, despite the fever pitch I had got myself into by Monday, I forced myself to ring the doctor.  If I was going down, I was going to go down as a big girl’s blouse – quite literally.  So I booked and went to the morning emergency appointment.  After about 5 minutes of time with the Doctor, I realised two things.  Firstly, that I may have a problem with overreaction.  Secondly that he was about 1% as concerned as I was and that there really was nothing that abnormal.  Blood tests – why do they always send me for blood tests – needed to be done, but apart from that, no need to worry to these hysterical levels.

Instead of walking out relieved, I started thinking – ooh, he’s very young.  Does he really know what he’s doing?  He could be mistaken.  Google is well known for its medical expertise.  Maybe I should get a second opinion.  I didn’t.  I went back to my first realisation – i.e. that I may have a slight tendency towards overreaction.   I’m sure he knows what he’s doing and despite everything, I might be ok for another week or two rather than imminently facing destruction.

But what’s the point of all of this?  Its simple really.  When I got my Google diagnosis, as even more stupid and facile as this sounds, the big thought that crossed my mind is that I might never wear heels again.  For someone who is trying not to be the girl anymore, don’t you think that’s an odd thing to think?

Saturday, 23 July 2011

The Happiness Manifesto

I spent some time reading through my blogs yesterday and realised that over the last 6 months, I have become seriously miserable!  Those with a longer span of blogs will be able to see the trends in their moods even further.  But my trend is from hopeful wonderer to grumpy cow.  This is a trend that I intend to reverse, whatever happens.

Whether I am presenting as a girl or not isn't the issue.  I need to work on me.  The question is what happened to that person who until recently was actually happy and moving forward with their life?  I’m a lucky person - I have two great jobs, a wonderful family and people who care about me.  Surely that’s enough?

In the words of Captain my Captain from The Dead Poet’s Society, “Sucking the marrow out of life doesn't mean choking on the bone.”  *coughs up a big bit of bone*

So today, right now, the rot stops.  The experience of the last 6 months has led me to put on even more weight.  I really am a heifer now and would look terrible in my favourite LBD, even if I was wearing it at the moment.  I’m about as unfit as I have ever been. I’ve been quaffing more wine than I ever have before (ok, some bits aren’t as bad!).

But I want to get more out of my life.  I’d love to be healthier.  I need bit by bit to let more of Rhiannon back into my life.  Missing her makes me cranky.  I just want to enjoy myself again.  I want to laugh and I want joy to be the default setting.  I look at the world with such excitement at its many possibilities.  I have so much, why do I obsess about what I don’t have?  Its all a matter of times and seasons.

Many wise people on here have said that I can’t get rid of the girl and they are, I have found, completely right.  But I’m going to relax about it and just bit by bit work out how some of her can be there and bleed through so that I’m not a miserable wreck and that the people around me will still be around me.

I don’t know what’s brought this on, but I am filled with hope and optimism this morning.  Long may it stay.  Hope you have a great weekend...

Friday, 22 July 2011

Numbness - with the odd reprieve

When I thought about how I was feeling at the moment, several words sprang to mind.  Detached was one of them.  Like I’m looking at myself from the outside, an out of body experience if you will.  Nothing seems really real.

And then like piano falling from the sky came the word numbness and I knew that was what it was.  Numbness is a partial or total lack of sensation in a part of the body.   It’s the summation of where I think I am in my life.  I can see things wandering up to me and touching me, I can see people smiling, laughing or even being sad and unhappy, but its like its not real and I certainly can’t feel it.  Its like watching a movie in slow motion where the words are slurred and you know that its just being played for you and that you are not actually part of it.

I have some work colleagues who sometimes can draw me out of this preoccupation.  This morning was the funniest half an hour of telephone conference call I have had in a very long time.  Mostly the jokes were at my expense of course.  But both the other people on the call know about the girl in my life, are incredibly cool with it.   Some of the best comments from both them (and me) headed in Rhiannon’s direction.  Rhiannon liked that a lot.

And despite everything and being supposed to be stopping, I told another friend about me.  She was, as I expected, lovely.  One day I’ll also have the confidence to tell her that I think that she is the best-dressed woman I’ve ever seen.  She would disagree, but her taste in how to look feminine is perfect.  She really knows how to put outfits together and to play to her considerable strengths.  I’m glad she knows - I’ve wanted to tell her for a while.

So today was a day of reprieve, but I expect the numbness to return and in some ways that protective shield isn’t a bad thing.  It helps me get through the days and gets me to the moments when family and friends can take it away for a while and bring me back to life again.  Some will see that as a bad thing and perhaps they are right, but either way, I focus on the happiness of the people who get to have the boy in their life.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Odd decision

For someone doing their best not to be the girl anymore, I made a very odd decision. I told someone else about Rhiannon - and showed them a photo. Why did I do that?

I'm starting to suspect something that is probably blindingly obvious to everyone who reads this: I'm actually not doing very well at this giving up malarky. Yes, I've stopped wearing her clothes, but I still think like her and she is still there inside me. I still have no spatial awareness and can't tell my left from my right. Actually, I'm not sure that point is significant.

But the point that is important is what happened today. I've been at a conference for a few days. It is a conference that is attended by a lot of women and today they really let loose. There were pretty dresses, gorgeous shoes, great make up and more. I was supposed to feel in control and together. Instead, something shifted in me and my heart was so desperately sad. I knew that in reality I would never be one of them and I definitely wouldn't be thin and dainty, but I could have felt a skirt swishing around my knees, been wearing nice tights and enjoying walking around in heels. I just wanted to cry. And I wanted to be a confident, happy woman.

What on earth I'm going to do, I really don't know. I feel like I'm in a worse position than even where I was at square one. I hope against hope even now, but the experiment is starting to derail. The thought of giving up what I've recaptured again is just painful. But I can't block who I am anymore. It hurts too much to pretend.

I was driving tonight just willing myself not to go on a shopping spree so I could just be her again. If only for one night. But it's also probably not the answer.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Overwhelmed

Sometimes, the whole thing is overwhelming.  Exchanging my Rhiannon time for work time is starting to take its toll.   The question becomes whether it is realistic and sustainable to maintain this kind of pace indefinitely.  The answer is obvious; it’s a total “No”.  But easier said than done.  I enjoy both of the roles I’m doing, I have a favourite, but it’s the one that at the moment is not enough to pay the bills.

On a different note, I was cursing this blog the other day.  When you stop to blog, you stop to think.  Stopping to think turned out to be quite painful.  I’ve never wanted to be Rhiannon more in my life than I did in the hours following my last blog.  I didn’t do it in the end – mainly because I was too busy and as I noted before, I’m at least 100 miles from my wardrobe!    

It was an odd experience bordering on grief with sadness and loneliness mixed in – very strange.  Maybe ditching the girl isn’t going to be quite so easy after all?

Sunday, 19 June 2011

I’ll cross that bridge…

So, it’s been a while.  Not deliberately so to be honest.  I’d planned to be more regular here after taking ‘the decision’, but somehow I wasn’t sure how.  I’ve written several blogs in my head over the last two months, but somehow I never put finger to keyboard.

The support and kind words you all gave me made me cry.  Taking a decision to go in a very opposite direction from the one I wanted was so hard.  I thought that the very friendly people I have interacted with on here would be upset and that I’d be accused of letting the side down.  Surely, when you feel like you should have been born as a girl, its impossible to change that or to ignore that side of you.  But instead the words were so warm, wise and sincere, they were like being hugged by a best friend.

So the last two months have been an experiment with very mixed results I have to say.   If you have to give up something like this, the only real advice I can give is to put yourself into a position where you are so busy that you notice nothing else in your whole life, let alone how you are dressed and feeling!  2.4 jobs at the same time have been my curse and my salvation.  I just simply don’t have time to think about it.

I continued to allow myself the indulgence of this blog.  I’ve not stopped voraciously reading and regularly cheering at the continuing experiences of people who I can only say make me feel so proud of how brave they are.  Tales of going out and about, putting up with mean families, attending GIC clinics, nights out, new shoes, new make up etc, have kept me smiling and feeling like there is a bit of me that hasn’t just died.

I think with sadness of my entire wardrobe being packed into two (large) suitcases somewhere in a UK loft that isn’t mine.  And I thank my friend for the kindness of being my storage haven.  I haven’t so much as worn a necklace, a heel or one of my favourite skirts for the whole time.  But what does make me smile in all of this is that the people I am making this sacrifice for are happy.  My family relationships are healing and it’s been a good time for them.

In my heart I’m not sure I’ve moved on, in fact I know I haven’t.  But every day I feel stronger and more at peace with myself over it.  When the jobs start dropping off and I have time on my hands and allow myself to think, I’ll probably be horrified with what I’ve done, but for now I can live with it.  I guess I’ll just have to cross that bridge when I come to it.

But in mean time, please keep blogging.  Selfishly, if it is only because somewhere in your consciousness you know its because this one-time girl is reading and sucking every ounce of hope for you (and me) from it, then do it.  The creative words that pour out from you mean so much more to people that you can ever possibly imagine.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

This is really tough


That probably sums it up.  And was written three days ago because I’m struggling to find the right words and am finding it hard to even tell myself without crying.

Further to my previous blog and in a desperate (and I mean desperate) attempt to save my relationship with the people I love, I’m trying to detach myself from my transgenderness.   This is probably the opposite blog from most you have ever read before on that basis.  Instead of making myself more girly, I’m trying to be a boy again.

But OMG is it hard.

I’ve promised myself that I will try.  I will never be able to live with myself if I get to the point where I lose those people without having tried everything that it humanly possible to overcome what I feel inside.

I’m so sad and I feel like I’m letting myself, and all of you, my sisters, down by even trying.  I’ve known I felt like a girl and not a boy for the last 30 years. Through a lack of bravery, a massive amount of stupidity, a dash of false hope and a terrible context, I’ve allowed myself to create a non-girl life that now demands some payback. 

I’ve tried to stop feeling like this before.  Who hasn’t?  I’ve never succeeded.  Why should I now?  I’m not sure that I can.  But I’ve surely got to try.  To be honest, I’ve never had so much at stake before, so much that I could lose.  That really is a motivator.

I’ve read hundreds of blogs and know the price that most transgendered people have paid for their intent to be female. I see every hard decision they’ve agonised over when they are in my shoes.  And perhaps you could say, they’ve been braver than me – or maybe just less stupid.  But I keep coming back to the point that unless I try, unless I do my best for my loved ones, they’ll always wonder and so will I.

So please, bear with me.  I need you, the kind people who read my blog and then comment, encourage and empathise with me, even more now.  My journey forges on and I still want to record it here.  Going back to my original aim, I need a place where I can think – and this continues, rightly or wrongly, to be it for now.   

Friday, 15 April 2011

The big crisis experiment

OK, so here’s the thing.  I’ve reached the crunch point.  For many different reasons, everything has aligned and it’s now or never.  But I’m faltering.  I’m really struck with anxious uncertainty.  The stark choice (and it genuinely is a stark choice) is between Rhiannon and my family.  I am not allowed to have both.

I have spent the last three months pushing down the Rhiannon route over everything else.  This week I had the chance to push the button on cementing her into place.  But I flinched.  I’d found the perfect new flat to move into – it was actually (quite literally) my dream place.  It’s the kind of place that I’d never been allowed to choose for myself because there were other people’s requirements to take into account.  I have spent years longing for the features that were in this flat.  It was within my budget.  All I had to do was make the call and I didn’t.  And in not making the call it quickly went to someone else.  It was that good.

It was like the scene in the film, Four Weddings and a Funeral where Hugh Grant is in a Landrover with his friends driving away from the woman he wants to ask out.  He gets them to stop the car, gets out and they drive off jeering at him.  Introspectively, he says, in the British way that only Hugh Grant can, “Odd choice.”  That’s how I felt.

So where is this leading to?  It’s making me realise that maybe I actually want my family more than Rhiannon.  Everything within me is screaming no and that it’s an impossible choice.  It’s telling me that the girl within me won’t be put in the corner (to use another hackneyed film cliché).  Sorry, I talk in film clichés when I’m nervous.  In fact the thought of never dressing again, never seeing my toe nails painted or of tottering around in heels so high that they make me smile makes me feel sick and like I want to cry.

I’m not even sure that it’s actually possible to give up.

But the thought of my wife, that I love with all my heart, being lonely and upset without me and knowing that I’m not able to wake up to my kids capering around me whenever I want is too heartbreaking.  And I’ve rehearsed the reverse arguments.  She’ll get over it eventually and find someone else and be happy.  Kids are resilient, they’ll get used to it and they can always visit you.  But the point I keep coming back to, heartbreakingly, is why should they have to?  Why should my priority be greater than theirs?

I’m really sorry if that offends the many hundreds of you who have made that and even greater sacrifices to be who you truly are.  I don’t mean to belittle you or what you have achieved.  But I’m not sure I can actually make that sacrifice.

I am wondering whether, as an experiment, I can live a Rhiannon free six months?  And in doing so, whether this aching need to express myself will go away?  It’s probably complete nonsense, but when I get to my deathbed (cheerful I know) and I look back, having not tried to save my family situation, will I regret it so much that I’ll die unhappy?  Is six months too much to give to find out if I can be the person my family want me to be?

I’m locked on the horns of a very wild dilemma, but now is the crunch point.  In the next few days, one way or another, my life changes dramatically.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Is there any way back from this?

I’ve fallen a long way now.  Its one thing to be a complete girl, to dress up prettily and put on make up.  It’s even fine to think that men are attractive and to even want to be romanced by them.  But over the last 24 hours my condition has become much worse.  Its regretful, but I feel the need to unburden myself.

I love reading books – a lot.  I have a Kindle, a room full of books, several large drawers full of audio books and loads more on my various iPods. I read a range of books from crime to thrillers and have always been fond of books about relationships and friendships.  My favourite authors often manage to combine comedy, excitement, fun, love, humour within their pages.   Regularly, when I’m reading or listening to a book (even thrillers), I start blubbing away about things that would not even be considered sad or touching by most people.

But therein is my confession.  Despite high standards of literature and being the owner of a veritable library, there was one genre I’d resisted.  For the last couple of weeks I have felt it creeping on.  Little niggles.  Occasional ideas.  Furtive little glances when I’ve been in the bookshop.  But yesterday, despite all my best efforts at resistance, I gave in.  The desire overwhelmed me and…and…I downloaded some chicklit.

Not just any old chicklit either.  A book by Sophie Kinsella no less.  One of the royalty of the modern chicklit novel.   To my guilty shame I downloaded ‘The Undomestic Goddess’.   And it gets worse.  I’ve read the whole thing.  Cover to cover.  And I enjoyed it.  And I cried.  Now, I want to download more.  This is not the action of a sane man.  This is the action of someone who is having their life taken over by a romantically obsessed girl.

When I read it I was caught up in the main character’s plight – I understood why she reacted as she did.  My heart heaved as she ran away from her ideal man before, (and sorry to ruin the end) they got back together.   I wanted to find someone and to fall in love all over again and to feel like she did with someone wanting to consume me with all of their heart and to think that I’m the most gorgeous thing on earth.

I guess its more than having bought a book from a genre that I never thought I would buy.  It leads me back to the question I posed: is there anyway back from this?  And the answer?  I sincerely hope not.  But that said, surely it can only go downwards from here…

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Risky Risky Risky

Whenever I have gone out dressed as a girl, I never seem to do it in the sensible way.  Let me caveat that.  I’m a outsized girl who has hardly ever been out so I possess a limited experience.  Combine that with my lower confidence because I worry about some of the stuff you hear from other girls who go out more often.  Large groups of teens, disapproving women, sniggering men.  And I'm not sure I'd know how to deal with that yet.

So sensible to me, probably wrongly, but as a starting point in the journey to being a public girl, is to get dressed up in a nice dress and go to a safe t-girl bar or nightclub, dance away and then return safely.

But the other night, for reasons I still can’t quite explain even to myself, caution got thrown to the wind and I took another risk.  I went to a place where the general public are found.  Brazenly I might add.  OK, so I mitigated it a little.  Admittedly I was wearing low heels, girl jeans, a blue top and a purple cardigan.  Possibly this might have meant that people didn’t clock me as anything more than a boy.  But when you know that the shoes were v girly, the top had lots of pretty detailing, I carried a handbag, my wig and breasts were in place and there was a whole load of make up going on, it was probably quite obvious really.

I’m probably making it sound braver than it actually was.  The trip out consisted of walking 300 yards to the car, driving for an hour to the hotel I was staying in, walking into the hotel, checking in and walking to my room.   But it seemed more than that at the time.

The whole car journey was spent thinking about how I would react if someone said something.  Or was negative.  Or even horrible.  I obsessed with the fact that I might see someone I know.  As I pulled up at the hotel, I nearly gave in.  In fact, I had brought my boy clothes with me in case I chickened out. I really couldn’t help but wonder if I was making a really bad decision.

But the words of comedian Dave Gorman came to me.  In his Googlewhack routine, he makes a decision to do something crazy and he says [and I take artistic license due to memory problems], “I thought fuck it, I’m Thelma and Louise going over that cliff.  I’m Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  I’m David James fucking Gorman. And I’m just going to do it.”

So I opened the car door and got out.  I put one very nice heeled foot in front of the other and I walked into the lobby.  The receptionist in the hotel clearly realised who and what I was, but was genuinely kind and lovely.  I felt such a relief as I got my purse out of my handbag and paid.  I really smiled.

I regularly stay in hotels, arrive late and want Rhiannon time.  It takes a while to transform and means I’m often up late: this girl is not good at doing late!  This night was different and fantastic. I got ready first, went to the hotel, was already dressed and ready so got to my room, watched some crap TV, drank far too much diet coke and relaxed.  It was how the world was meant to be.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Boring Old Boy

So, after regaling you with my depressed feelings at the weekend – sorry about that.  Today, well some of today, was better.  First things first, thank you.  Becca and Karen – your kind words were so appreciated at a low point.  I'm really grateful that you took the time to encourage me.  I don’t get upset that often, but when I do, it can be spectacular!

Work was mad today.  As usual I am trying to do much in an unrealistic timeframe.  But that’s what I’m like really.  But I got back late today from work and just was in the mood to do the whole works. So I shaved, put on my glad rags, took ages to put on my make up and really enjoyed doing it.  Ate pasta and had a nice bottle of wine.  Whiled away the time watching TV, responding to a few emails, chatting to friends.  Vacuousness alert: friends are really fantastic, I really love them!

Anyway: at the risk of sounding schizophrenic – sometimes being Rhiannon is the best thing in the world.  Challenging and in many ways difficult to accept.  Always hard when the look isn’t completely what I want, but its still better than being a boring old boy anyday.  And feeling normal in a dress is priceless.  I wish it would be more than a few hours at a time.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Who am I trying to kid?

I’m getting this funny feeling that somehow trying to be a girl is not all its cracked up to be.  I guess for me the issue stems from what you want to get out of it.  What I seek, seems unattainable.   I suspect that there are as many motivations for doing it as there are people who try.   In my case, I want to be what I can never be.  For a long time I’ve swept the fact that I look more like Homer than Marge under the carpet.  So what if I’m quite a bit big, ungainly and never in a million years passable.  But tonight the ‘so what’ has come home to roost and hit me like a hammer.  

What is my motivation to do this?  I find it hard to say it out loud for fear of being mocked.  But its not dissimilar to others I have read about: its being able to walk down a street with minimal fuss with as few people as possible turning their head.  It’s that someone who I love sees only the girl that I could be and would love me back, even knowing that.  That they would ‘get me’ in a way that no-one else does and that as well as everything else they would make me feel like the most pretty, beautiful creature in the universe.  I know that its stupid romance and many, even highly attractive real girls don’t receive that precious gift.  But against all circumstances, against all logic and against all realism, I’ve spent a long time hoping for it.

I’ve been going through a difficult time with my wife to the point where we could split over Rhiannon.    Being able to be me, really me, has been such a precious aim that I’ve been willing to sacrifice everything to follow it.  Willing even to give up a family for it.  But then sometimes I look through reality’s lens and feel that I’m never going to get my dream.  I know that looks are superficial, but how I look stops me in my tracks.  And even though on the inside I feel differently from the outside, I can’t see how anyone would ever spot it.

This is neither a plea for help, nor a self-pitying statement.  It’s a rambling that wonders whether a sacrifice is worth making if you do it and you still don’t get the thing you sacrificed for.  If all you end up doing is hurting the people you love and still being alone, then what’s the point?

Today I read a book.  Probably a mistake, but I found it heartbreaking.  A week or two ago, someone had blogged that they had really enjoyed and been moved by the book, ‘Almost Perfect’.  I downloaded it last night and finished it this afternoon.  It probably is designed to be uplifting and I’ve missed the point.  But truthfully it terrified me.  It’s a story of a t-girl who actually passes, who actually finds someone who sort of accepts her, who started their journey young enough to be a long way on the road to transition before puberty and nature ruins their body.  But even that wasn’t enough to stop her life being wrecked by this seemingly impossible dream.

Don’t get me wrong, I realise it’s a fictional account.  But in the context of my motivation and my dream of going out without much notice and finding someone who loves Rhiannon, it might as well be true because it feels like it is the reality.   I’m not sure that this post will see the light of day as I don’t want to piss people off or put people off.  And I could certainly do without any abuse from offended people.  But I wanted to honestly track my feelings here and if I can’t do that, then I should stop.  On some levels it feels like I’m just taking myself too seriously, but it goes back to your motivation for doing it.  For me it was never an easy thing to do, a passing phase, a turn on.  It’s always been much more and as much as I try, I can’t escape that.

But to cut to the chase – it has honestly made me wonder – who am I trying to kid?

Friday, 18 March 2011

From the sublime to the ridiculous...

OK, so some progress made on the decision.  It’s a bit of an all or nothing situation, but I think I’m nearly there.  As usual, blogging is is a great catalyst to my thinking.  Even if it is just telling myself that I’m useless at making decisions!  Its really odd how that works with me.

But that’s not the thought that grabbed me this morning.  The thought instead was one of pleasurable experiences.   This one may not be something that most people actually enjoy. In fact, on reflection, this also might have the effect of making you think that I’m weirder than you already do, but there you go.  The point is that I love shaving off my body hair!  There I’ve said it.

There is something really fun about the both the process of doing it and the result.  Lathering up with nice smelling shaving foam and therapeutically concentrating on removal.  Its really enjoyable.  I think it may lose its edge at some point, but I have been doing it for quite a while and not got bored yet.

Sometimes I Veet. Nothing wrong with that, my skin takes to it very well.  And the effect is long lasting.  But it feels a bit like cutting the lawn with a superfast mower instead of getting a perfect job done with scissors!

I’ve never been for a wax before, but have some back hair that is fluffy, non-gorilla like and completely impossible to reach without some kind of unachievable contortion.  I am contemplating booking in because I hate seeing it every time I get near a mirror and it ruins the effect of a backless frock :-).  So any advice on that would be appreciated.

But however I do it, the smoothness afterwards is just the best feeling ever.  Its not fair that for so long that sensation has been the reserve of girls, swimmers and cyclists.

As a final point: (a disclaimer) please accept my apology if this was far too much information to share.  Especially this early in the morning.  But as I said before the thought grabbed me.  And sometimes, for better or worse, you just have to go with it.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Its been a while...

Not ages, but a while.  

I guess there are always lots of little things that occur to me and sometimes I think that I’m missing an opportunity when I don’t post something that other people may find interesting, moving, eyebrow-raising or even humourous.  Except that I have found in my 36 years, I am a very poor judge of funny.  In the UK, there is a TV programme called ‘Shooting Stars’.  Every week, one of the hosts would tell a joke and the whole studio would come to an embarrassed silence and the crew would waft tumbleweeds across the stage to emphasise just how bad the joke was.  I have more tumbleweed moments than even I would care to admit.

But this week, no thoughts have struck me in a way that galvanised me to blog.  You know the ideas.  The ones that make you think, “I must share this with the world” and out of my fingers, tapping furiously across my MacBook, pours literature.  

Instead, all my waking time has instead been preoccupied with two things:  the busyness of work and trying to make a decision about my future.  

I’m not naturally one of the most decisive people in the world anyway.  Where the decision doesn’t affect anyone negatively or even enhances someone’s life its dead easy for me to make.  For example, ask me if I prefer pink, red, blue, purple etc nail polish and I have no difficulty at all.  If you want to know whether your bum looks big in something, I can very quickly give you an answer.  I don’t even mind too much if its what you wanted to hear.

But the decisions laying before me at the moment feel too tough to make.  So I’ve put them off.  In fact, my ability to procrastinate on these decisions is so good that I should be reclassified as legendary – I should be a legend in my own lifetime.  But now the window is closing.  Whatever way I turn I feel like I'm going to disappoint someone and I don’t have a strong enough feeling in me of what I really want to help guide me.  Or if I do, my mind is hiding it from me right now.

Obscure film reference: ‘Wimbledon’ (the film).  There is a scene where the tennis player’s manager is asked to chose which of his children he prefers.  He has a boy and a girl.  He responds incredulously saying, “how would you expect me to chose between my two children.”  Then with very little prompting and as if it’s the most natural thing in the world he says, “my daughter”.  

Why can’t I be like that?

Give me a choice between two dresses instead any day.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

I want to dance...

So. Imagine the scenario. You're all dressed up in your nice closet where no-one can see you - which is actually quite sad really. But hey, honestly, that's where I dress most of the time. Not literally in a cupboard obviously - but anyway. What is it that you would like to do most of all in the world? If you could be transported anywhere looking great, dressed and lovely where would you go and what would you do there?

Clearly based on my previous post you would assume that for me it would be walking hand in hand with someone down an empty, warm beach. Small floaty sundress flouncing in the gentle wind, strappy sandals in hand, feeling the sand crunch beneath my feet. Actually that does sound very appealing. But truthfully, there's something else...

A lot of times recently, when I think about this situation, all I really want to do is to go dancing. Not in a 'Strictly Come Dancing' ballroom extravaganza type way. More think cheesy disco. 80s music. Crowded. People mainly tipsy, not really drunk. A vibe of togetherness in the air. That's where I want to be.

You might say to me: well such a scenario is easily obtainable - and it probably is. I guess my concern is twofold: I look like a heifer and I dance like a heifer. Before anyone objects (please at least one person object, please...) I am heavier than I've ever been. Whilst I am beginning to tackle that for the millionth time in my yo-yo diet history, it still puts me off. I have only strayed outside my door dressed twice. Loved it both times, so not against the idea, but lack the bravery currently based on the heiferishness factor.

The other issue is the dancing. When I dress normally, Rhiannon takes over. Not in a kind of weird possession kind of way, but subtly I change: I become softer, gentler, kinder, more patient, I listen more carefully and intensely to others. I'm not some perfect girl, but I'm different than my boy self. The question I have is whether the same works for dancing. As a boy I can't dance for toffee. Uncoordinated, unsure of what to do and which bit to shake when. Girls, even ones who can't dance, manage to look good on the dance floor. They really do: I've always assumed that there is some innate confidence there. Truss me up in my favourite party dress, put on 3 inches of heel and see what happens. Ugly ducking or graceful swan? I wonder...

Either way, I can dream and my dream is to dance.

Monday, 28 February 2011

A very British blog...

Since becoming a blogger, I have to say that my interest in reading all things blog has increased even more.  I was fascinated before, but now I can happily spend hours perusing other people's stories.  In some cases wishing that they would blog again soon because I can't wait for the next installment.  I was going to go for another obscure film reference there, but I resisted.

But in reading these blogs, two things seem to stand out to me.  The first is that they are often deeply sad, moving or 'depressing' due to which, the second, is that the blogger feels the need to somehow weave in a very self conscious apology for glumming down the blogosphere.  I too feel the temptation to do the same.  Having started writing my blog at somewhat of a low point for me personally in my life, there is an inevitability that some of the content is going to be less than upbeat.  Its an outpouring of my feeling when I don't have anywhere else to outpour.  When I examine my motivation for blogging it is not (probably wrongly) to entertain, but instead to just cope.

Last week when I was really low and sad, I went out and bought shoes.  I actually felt better.  I wondered why I'd never done that before - its a well known tactic.  They are really cute too and go well with my jeans and have a 4 inch heel.  Sorry, distracted by shoes...where was I?  Anyway, blogs, that's it.  I realised, (having parted with cash for shoes and understanding that if you are shopping you can't just buy shoes and that there was a nice top that I needed - oh and some very nice underwear - oh, and I must have that nail polish, I don't have that colour) that being sad could get expensive.  A blog however, is a reasonably priced way of getting all the emotion out.  And therein lays the issue.

The trouble is that when you let the emotion out in the words of a blog, there is a danger that it will be very un-British.  It might be messy.  It might say things that one shouldn't in public.  It might open me up to be thought of as mad, a bitch, a weirdo, a less than intelligent specimen, a freak.  But if I preface it with "I'm a bit upset today", "sorry for the depressing theme" or some other self-deprecating line then the madness seems less mad.  I've managed to save some face.

So what's my point?  I am really willing to read blogs where people are talking about how unhappy they are, where they are feeling a bit down, where they wish that they could be more cheerful.  I know that over time that I too will get more cheerful and I'll get things back on track and my blogs might even be funny sometimes.  But while you're miserable and upset, you shouldn't have to apologise for it.  I want to read the sad blog as well as the happy blog and I want to celebrate that you were frank and candid in both places.  And I want you to be able to be you.  We often have to hide so much of our trannyness away from those that judge us.  Surely our own blogs are the one place of sanctuary where we can let our full, multi-coloured outpourings outpour.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Inside I'm Screaming!

The boy version of me is not particularly either camp or even that femme.  If you look closely you may spot the odd thing - and, upon hearing, some of the people I have told have not been surprised.  But that's mainly after retro-fitting the evidence.  They wouldn't have naturally arrived at that point of realisation.  So what's my point?

This is probably just me, but as a wannabe girl being viewed by the world as a boy, I feel so excluded by women.  In reality, I completely understand why.  Apart from the fact that I am mostly dressed as a man and in fact am really a man.  Bypass that in a million years they would never think I would be interested in being included anyway.  Ignore that on the surface I feign disinterest.  Its a pretty compelling picture.  But inside I'm screaming.

Recently I had a conversation about cars.  I can pretend with the best of them to know things about cars.  I try not to reveal the fact that I only really notice the colour of the car and how many doors it has!  As an aside, I have perfected the ability to talk, albeit shallowly, about football as well.  But anyway, to the point. In this conversation I was told, "you're a man, so you should know about cars."  I felt really glum for the rest of the day.  Why can't people realise that I'm not a boy really, I'm a girl.  And its not that girls shouldn't know about cars, some do.  Clearly.  Its that I'm stereotyped in a stereotype that I don't want.  It made me scream inside and to want to escape.

Then just yesterday, a facebook status arrived about a woman who's perfected a new method of attaching false nails in a way that doesn't cause as much damage to your existing nails.  In the status she said, 'girlies, you'll know what I mean'.  This blog is making me realise that I am far too sensitive to these things.  But I realised again that my real reply of 'not just the girlies' or 'that would be perfect solution for the cutically challenged' or 'just give me some now', would have been misinterpreted as a joke at best or made me appear weird and pervy at worst.  Inside I really wanted to scream, why not me.

Maybe its just that I need to get over myself and be even more open about who I am and be more 'out', but I'm not ready yet and am not sure if I ever will be.  But resigning myself to being on the outside looking in, is really hard.

Obscure film reference, but I was always struck by one of the scenes in the Gene Wilder version of 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'.  It is when poor Charlie Bucket spots the other children eating lots of sweets in the sweet shop and puts his nose to window wishing he could be with them, enjoying what they have, but knowing he'll always be too poor.  Clearly he doesn't realise that all the chocolate is really going to do is make you fat and that many of the children inside were probably wishing they didn't have to be there.  But the grass is always greener over there isn't it?  And while I think that and won't do anything to actually scream out loud that 'I am girl, hear me', I'll just have to carry on screaming inside.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

How did that happen?

So, yesterday was the first counselling session and I have to say I actually feel different, which leaves me rather agog.

The format and approach was not a million miles away from what I expected: lots of talking about my past, what I was trying to achieve etc. I have talked about what and who I am with other people, but talking to someone who is experienced in this area and who possesses a profound understanding of transgender issues was such a relief.

I didn't get any startling revelations, there was no Damascus experience. But I came away with a deep peace of knowing that I'm on a path to making some decisions and that I'm not alone in trying to make them. Instead, someone who's been there has got my back.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Hope

I have two favourite themes in films:
1. Friendship
2. Hope

It's why 'Shawshank Redemption' is my favourite film. As well as being the original 'bromance', it contains one of the most amazing lines in a film: "Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.". I get very emotional when I see people demonstrating that they have and are trusting in hope.

So today, judged by the 'Shawshank standard', has been a good day. For half a hour this evening I got to talk with a friend who has my happiness at heart and offers unconditional care, kindness and love. She is such a special lady.

And in terms of hope? Tomorrow I see a counsellor for the first time in my journey to understand where the future of my girlness is heading. Do I need to give up everything to be Rhi, or is being a girl something that I can choose not to do. Nervous about "walking on glass barefooted" but am hopeful that I can begin to get some answers.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Why is it so hard?

My intention is not to deliver depressing blog after depressing blog. But I fear cheerfulness will need to be put off for the next one!

Why is it so hard to come out to people. I've now told the sum total of 18 people about Rhiannon. 50% have been extremely positive about it which has made me happy. They have been completely understanding. In fact my favourite person who literally left me knocked for six said, "I feel so bad that you have had to live with this by yourself for so long." it finally dawned on me that I have been living with a nightmare of a secret that has left me not showing my true self to anyone really. The 'negative' 50% were unfortunately the first people I told.

But since telling the positive people, something strange has happened. I now find it really hard to be myself around them. I question everything: what was my motivation for telling them: validation, shock factor, for their benefit, for my titillation? I also expect them to be different, to treat me like more of a girl I guess. As well as being a weight off my mind, it leads to different issues.

It sounds weird, but the real problem which has arisen is actually a degree of paranoia and fear. I find it hard to take it on board that they are really ok with it. I'm waiting for them to turn round and tell me what a weirdo I am and that I'm wrong and need to sort it out. So when they don't reply to messages, when they delay texts, emails etc, I get nervous, worried and fear the worst.

Until I started telling people I rarely feared the worst about anything. I think I'm starting to sound like a complete mess.

I miss the sea

Odd place to start.  It  might seem vacuous, but it’s a theme of my life so far.  It’s always good to start with a metaphor I suppose.

The truth is I love the sea.  Sitting by it.  Staring at it.  Walking beside it.  Letting it lap against me.  Riding on it.  Smelling it.  Touching it.   Playing in it.  Swimming in it.  Feeling alive in it.

For the last 18 years, I have lived in a place where I couldn’t reach the sea easily.  In getting married and settling down, I sacrificed the thing in the world that I thought I could never live without.  Part of me went missing.  I replaced it with a happy family life and always felt I was happy, but there was always something missing.  My thoughts turned always to the sea.

Sacrificing what I really want in favour of what others want is one of the things I do best.  Its sad and I suspect I'm not alone, but its the story of my life.  Sometimes I kick myself and say that I should take control, that I should get my own way, that I should stand up for myself.  But at the end of the day, I want the people around me to be happy - even if its at the expense of my own happiness.  I'm no saint.  But whether its my wife, my kids, my friends, my boss, the people in my network, I genuinely want them to be happy.  So I try to fix it for them.  This includes sadly sometimes fixing me for them too.

This blog has already given me an insight I've never noticed about myself.  I am not the girl I want to be because I sacrifice my desire so that other people stay happy.

The question I want to explore here: can I still be Rhiannon or is it time to smile wryly and give up on another part of me.  Let it die a slow death.  To keep everyone happy with me, except me.