Sunday, 26 February 2012

“And nobody else is going to put it right for me...Nobody but me is gonna change my story”

Do you ever get niggling little phrases that won’t stop going around in your head?  The above phrase is one of those.  It just won’t let up on me.  I blogged about a week or so ago on those words.  They are taken from the musical Matilda written by the sublime Tim Minchin.  But its almost like someone is putting them into my mind and whenever they go out of my mind, they pop straight back in.  Or maybe its just a catchy tune.

But its made me realise that there are areas in my life where I really need to take control.  And that at the moment, I’m not doing that.  At all.  I want to change my story.  I have an amazing story that I want for my life, but its not the story that I currently have.  The song from Matilda talks about the inevitability of stories.  For example that Jack and Jill were always going to fall down the hill and that ‘it was written in the stars’ that Romeo and Juliet would die.  She asks why didn’t they just change their stories.  They could have done.  Surely?  What would I say to Matilda about my story?

I’ve talked about this before, but the thing really that is wrong with my story, in the main, is that I seem to largely refuse to take any kind of responsibility for it.  There are only two situations where I get things done.  When someone else is chasing me for it.  Or where there is a deadline date that is within the next 24 hours that I’m scared about.  That is a sad state of affairs.  I almost never get things done in advance of deadlines and could even be accused of being late on occasions.  Where its down to me, things tend to just drift.  

I wish I could be different - I wish I planned and thought ahead - and therein lies the problem.  So I’m exploring ways of planning around taking a different approach.  I’ve realised that my ‘fire fighting’ of issues is becoming such a cause of stress to me and others, that I want to stop it.

In this case the thing that’s bothering me the most, that I allow to drift, is my weight, exercise and alcohol consumption.  All of them, with the exception of exercise are too high.  And I’m not tackling it because no-one is chasing me for it or chastising me because its out of control.  My whole story is one where since being young I hated exercise.  From 16 I began to yoyo weight.  And since about 25, I’ve drunk too much, too regularly.  I really have had enough.

So I want to change the story.  And I'm going to report on how the story is changing right here.  I'm going to address these three things and I'm going to put how I'm doing on-line.  It is only going to be one measly blog post per month, but I am going to report on my progress.  If you don’t want to read it, you don’t have to, but your kind support would be appreciated of course.  And although there is a danger of it being a car crash of a blog, I am going to report on three statistical figures:

  1. How much weight have I lost during the month.
  2. How many periods of exercise have I undertaken during the month (period = any time of physical exertion over 20 minutes)
  3. How many units of alcohol I have consumed over the course of the month. 

I’m going to be brutally honest about those three things.  You don’t need to do anything, but I think that some of you I consider to be friends and I know you’ll just stop by and look.  Given my determination, I hope that I’ll even get the odd yay for my now inevitable success.

It feels like the story is starting to change already.

Friday, 24 February 2012

And outings that make you beam

So for some who read this, their response will be a big “so what”.  If it is, I apologise for taking up your time.  My blog is probably too fluffy for you anyway!! :o)   But for those interested, it was a HUGE wow moment for me.

As you will know from my last post, I had some new photos taken this week and I was really pleased with them.  I emailed them to a couple of friends who for various reasons don’t read blogs very much.  One of my good friends, who is an awesome (rg) lady and a great supporter of mine, showed my photos to her sister.   The sister and I are unlikely to ever cross paths and I have no issue with her knowing my secret at all.  See previous blog on my ‘secret keeping policy’!  In fact, if she's anything like my friend, I want her to know!

The twist that made me smile is this.  When my friend showed her sister the photos, she didn’t tell her that I was really a boy - and her sister didn’t twig.  She just thought that I was one of my friend’s girlfriends!

Plus they loved the green top.  Yay me!

I know that its a small thing and that some of you are beyond needing this kind of affirmation or (lucky you) get it all the time.  But the reality is that I don’t (yet).  So it absolutely made my day.  I was delighted.

I’ve since had other really nice feedback from friends who have seen the photos which is helping to create a very positive feeling in my heart and is edging out the sadness.

Told you that you might think, “so what”!  But another milestone for me.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

More frippery...

Given how sad I've been recently, particularly about my self-image of Rhiannon, a photo session I'd set up before Christmas was perfectly timed to happen yesterday.  I booked a longer session so that it could be really relaxed and could enjoy myself.  Anyway, apologies for creating another self-indulgent narcissistic blog, but hey, you only live once!

My normal miserablist blogs will return soon, never fear!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Amazing songs...

So I’m very overly sentimental and a huge fan of musicals.  I’ve just recently downloaded the soundtrack for the new musical “Matilda”.  I’ve been a huge Tim Minchin fan for some time, but he really has surpassed himself with this one.  The score is multi-layered with clever interchanges between songs.  It is just a joy.  So much so that I now want to go and see it on stage.

The song that I love the most is called 'Naughty' and its because of these words that have been inspiring me all week:

“Cos if you're little you can do a lot, you
Mustn't let a little thing like 'little' stop you
If you sit around and let them get on top, you
Won't change a thing
Just because you find that life's not fair, it
Doesn't mean that you just have to grin and bear it
If you always take it on the chin and wear it
You might as well be saying you think that it's OK
And that's not right
And if it's not right
You have to put it right

And nobody else is going to put it right for me
Nobody but me is gonna change my story
Sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty”

My millenary, and indeed fascinator, is dothed to Mr Tim Minchin for capturing, deep down, how I feel.

Have a happy Friday...

Monday, 13 February 2012

Weird moments

Being transgendered does lead you to some pretty odd moments. Yesterday was no exception.  Much to my genuine happiness, Mrs A has begun to wear make up.  She has phenomenal skin and looks much younger than her age, so she has always avoided it in the past.   But a combination of us both nearing 40 and children keeping her, in particular, up at night has led to some darker circles appearing below her eyes.  As she uses darkish eye shadow and has fair skin just below the brow, the total effect is that her eyes look like they are more sunken than they are and that her eyebrows protrude slightly.  

Noticing this, I wasn’t sure that it was actually a good idea to say anything.  For a start, I didn’t want to remind her that my knowledge of woman’s make up is quite good and lead her to start asking me difficult questions.  But, with no attempt on my behalf to raise the subject, a discussion began about her make up.  I pointed out that I’d noticed she was wearing some and asked whether I was allowed to comment.  It went slightly weird for a moment, so I pulled back and didn’t say anything.  

Working in my office a little later in the day, she came in and asked me what I was going to say about her make up.  So I basically gave her the benefit of my knowledge and we talked about the kinds of products she could use to help reduce the problem and how to apply it.  I said that she should get some and she said she would think about it and left the conversation there.

Given that she is very anti-Rhiannon, it was a genuinely weird conversation to have with her to be honest.  If you are against your spouse having gender issues and wearing clothes and make up, would you even enter into that conversation?  While we were finishing talking, there was a moment when I almost asked whether she wanted to borrow some of my product.  I have the same problem and use this great product that was recommended to me.  But I didn’t.  I really did think that would make the conversation go in the wrong direction: I’m not supposed to have anything at all.  I got rid of it all remember?

Its almost like she likes that I have a feminine character and that I know lots about clothes and make up, but that I’m not allowed to express it at all.  Except when it’s helpful to her of course.   Still it was really nice to be able to talk about it with her, even if it was just fleetingly.  Part of me is tempted to read too much into it: that she is coming round to the idea.  But seriously, that isn’t going to happen.  But it was nice to have five minutes knowing how the other half live!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Numbness - part 2

Sorry, it’s been a while.  And actually whilst lots of things – very positive things have happened, I’m left currently with a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach.   One that leaves me quite unsure about myself.

So first, the good stuff.  Over the last couple of months – shamefully since my last blog, I’ve had some real highs.  In addition to having come out to a few more people, who were lovely in their responses, to having setting up a profile on Roses Forum, which provided some interesting and useful advice and to having bought some new breasts, I have pushed the envelope further.

Before Christmas, I went shopping.  Not just shopping you understand. Shopping.  I went shopping in girl clothes.  Well, boots, jeans and a girl top.   But when I was out, I didn’t just go shopping for clothes, I went for make up too.  I stood in a department store in the centre of a city and had make up applied to me while the ordinary punters milled around.  And actually, I didn’t really care whether they liked it or not.  I was trying to improve on my foundational make up and facial preparation and the male make up artist slash salesperson was very helpful indeed.  Set up by one of my fabulous real girl friends who then went for supper with me.  I had a ball.

Then in January, despite having the most horrendous time at work and not to mention an even worse workload than ever before, I took the evening off and I went out.  Full on Rhiannon – the whole shebang.   ‘She’ being the operative part of that sentence.  Before you start thinking I was actually brave, it was only to a support group.  A fantastic support group (Nottingham Chams) nonetheless, but still a safe haven of other transpeople.  The brave part actually was walking from the hotel room to the car.  It was a very fun evening.  Lots of very kind, very interesting characters.  From the photos that the very lovely and spectacularly amusing Lynn Jones took, it was clear that I was having a wig malfunction.  I’m growing my hair out and the fasteners had snapped with too much hair volume under the wig.  I know – I’m getting a skullcap for next time.

But its what has happened since that is odd and slightly inexplicable. I just don’t feel like wanting to be the girl anymore.  I’m feeling numb to the world around me.  I had a similar experience back in July last year and blogged on the subject.  I normally have an irrepressible need to dress like a girl, to blog, to talk about it, to email my t-girl friends, to engage with the community I have fledglingly become a part of, but at the moment I’m not.  Three things have happened recently that have just winded me completely:

Firstly, at work, I’ve had a several negative sets of feedback about work I’ve done.  It has been like the feedback just drained all semblance of confidence from me.  I was feeling fragile already and now I feel worse.  I wonder whether I can ever bounce back from what I’m feeling inside.  I always considered myself to be good at what I do, but the last 3 months have stripped me bare in how I feel about my capability.  I tie a lot of my self-esteem into my work and nothing feels right anymore.  I just stare at the screen not knowing where to start.

Secondly, I seem to lack any motivation and the energy to want to do it.  Its like a switch has been flicked off inside.  I have regressed into myself where work is about the only thing I force myself, kicking and screaming, to do.  I’m really not sure what is wrong.  For the first time this morning in weeks, I thought that putting a skirt on would make me feel normal again.  So maybe I’m coming up the other side.  But it is like when you have an injection in your gum for dental work and you can’t feel it, when you touch your face afterwards you can’t feel it and its almost like its someone else’s face.  I just don’t feel like doing anything at all.  Combine that with the fact that I’m supposed to be losing weight and I’m not.  I just hate the way I look at the moment – all chubby and horrible.

Thirdly, that night at the support group, as wonderful as people were – and they were lovely, I looked around and felt like a man in a dress.  I felt like I was a fraud.  Most of the people there just carried it off better and were womanlier in their mannerism, speech patterns and in the things they said.  I guess when you hide in the closet for a long time, you don’t know how far behind the curve you are.   Or maybe too many curves is the problem.

I know the immediate thing to say is that I’m probably being hard on myself.  But I’m really not.  Actually I feel I’m lazy and self-pitying.   I feel like I should tell myself to just get over myself and to stop being such a wuss.  But when I do that, I make myself cry, so I’ve stopped that.  I’m not coming from a place of wanting attention either. Recording these things on a blog may say the opposite, but I write more because I haven’t blogged for so long that I wanted to explain a little of where I'm at.  I actually hate drawing attention to myself.

I don’t want to go back to being really negative in what I write, but this is a weird thing that I’ve caught and I sometimes don’t really know what to do.