Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Another TED talk

I don't know about you, but I find TED talks incredibly helpful and a friend sent me the link to this one which is so great - and she is very funny and honest.  Worth a watch!

In other news, there is a blog brewing with more revelations from the daytime soap opera that is my life... :o)

Friday, 2 August 2013

Time for an update - part two

So, to carry on from yesterday, I tantalised with tales of a trip out.  Here you go...

On Monday, I had the chance to do lunch with two of my girlfriends.  Honestly, even writing that line makes me smile ridiculously.  We went to Pizza Express for lunch and Costa for, well, coffee!  Except none of us actually had coffee.  I don’t have a photo from the day, but the outfit was this one.

The day was a mixture of great and tough moments as I continue to learn to cope with being out amongst the general public and with the continuing heat we are experiencing.

I woke up really early in the morning because I needed to get a load of work done before I left for the day.  So a 5am start, work done, time to get ready.  First job was obviously to try to get my make up on.  Disastrous.  I pride myself on the fact that I’m getting better at make up.  By no means am I an expert, but I’m improving.  That day it was like trying to paint water.  My new place, whilst lovely, is very hot and after I had put on my foundation, bronze and blush, I was dripping and dripping and dripping.  Horrible.  A full on fan was employed and I rushed through the rest of my routine.  My car has air conditioning and all I could think about was getting into it and cooling down.  In the rush, it also meant that I came away without my glasses and had to survive two days without them.

After a long drive, I arrived at Pizza Express.  Both L and S, my girlfriends, were already there and waiting for me.  S is used to being with me in Rhiannon mode and is one of my biggest advocates.  She is lovely.  For L this was the first time, but for various reasons she is very comfortable around trans people.  So when I arrived, she didn’t bat an eyelid.

I will hazard a guess in a moment as to why, but suffice to say, when I arrived, I really felt out of sorts.  The place was heaving, full of families, lots of noise, screaming kids etc.  All the other women were wearing sandals and I had some ordinary small heel shoes on my feet.  It became apparent that my foundation had dropped off in places which meant that some of my shadow was showing through.  And finally, the people at the next table decided that they would just take their time to look grumpily in my direction for a long time.  All small things, but I went quiet and felt like crying.

Half way through the meal, S asked me if I was ok because I was being uncharacteristically silent.  I owned up to how I was feeling and we talked about it and I started feeling better.  S stared out the table who were looking at me and they largely stopped.  What is it with some people?  We made plans to get my foundation fixed and I began to cheer up.

Given it was L’s first time meeting me, I was absolutely intrigued by what she thought.  L has the most wicked sense of humour - I absolutely love spending time with her and her response was typically L.  She basically said that she was relieved to meet me as she was worried that in real life I wouldn’t look like my photos.  Given that situation, she felt there would have been no option other than to lie or at least to be nice whilst thinking ‘ugh’.  Instead she was pleasantly pleased at how good I looked :o).  That’ll do for me :o)

After lunch (small salad and sparkling water), we went to sort out foundation.  S and L are both complete fans of Bare Minerals and felt that it would help me with my perspiration issues.  So we went to a concession and the very helpful lady at the counter helped choose my tone and applied some to me.  She added some more blush and as well as being amazed at how good the stuff was, I was back to looking properly made up again with no shadow.  Double yay!

So we headed to Costa.  By this stage, I was comfortable and back to my normal self and was really starting to enjoy the day.  We went in and ordered our drinks.  The barrista took time to use lots of female pronouns, ‘ladies’, ‘girls’ etc.  Probably a bit too much, but I’m seriously never going to complain about that. Quite the opposite in fact. So we sat down and continued our nattering, or as Sheldon Cooper would put it, ‘jibber jabber’.  I felt for all the world like just another girl, chatting to her friends and enjoying a nice day out.

Complete kudos to S and L.  They treated me as they would treat any of their girlfriends.  In doing so, they gifted me with another day I can look back on and smile about.  They are both completely fantastic.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Time for an update - part one

So much has happened lately and yet things have been so busy that trying to find a slot to write has been impossible.  Hence it is 4.50am, I’m in a hotel room in Glasgow and trying to bash this out before the next mad day gets going.

There is lots to tell that is more interesting, but probably the place to start is following a particularly tough time, I have begun seeing a counsellor.  About a month ago I went to an annual event that I’ve described before on my blog.  This event has every one of my worst situations rolled into one.  It is predominantly filled with women making an effort to look fantastic for one another.  There is a black tie event.  And for added fun, this year the weather was traumatically hot, which brought out the most impossibly cute sundresses while I was uncomfortably buttoned up in my male suit most of the time.

Honestly, in those few days of the event, I quite literally had an emotional meltdown.  Some of the people who I turn to in tough times got some of the most painful texts and emails I have ever sent.  I got to the point where I just didn’t know what to do with myself.  I didn’t know what to say, to think or really how to carry on.  In my pain, I reached out instead and contacted a trans counsellor.  Amazingly, I think she saw the gravity of my strife and just hours later we had our first discussion.  It was such a refreshing oasis of calm.  Together with some friends, I came back to myself and got through.  This was even when on top of it all, I’d hired another straight-jacket of a dinner suit for the black tie event and the shirt didn’t fit my collar even though it was the right size.  I contemplated not bothering going, but I summoned the fortitude to carry on.  I did go and it was ok.  I survived.

That preamble was to say that I had my latest counselling session this week.  I opened it up by saying that I’d not done many Rhiannon things this month - that I was putting it on hold a little.  Then I listed a long long long list of all the things I’d done in the last four weeks or so and I realised that I now do Rhiannon things without even thinking about it sometimes and that I’ve stopped traveling between him and her and have largely merged them together.  Even if I’m not presenting as Rhiannon at a given moment, I am still who I am.

Anyway, so what’s happened?  Well, three main things really...

Firstly, I Sparkled.  For the uninitiated, Sparkle is the UK’s preeminent trans festival, held in Manchester’s gay village and attended by seemingly hundreds or thousands even of trans-people.  I have to say - and it is with no shadow of a doubt down to the company of Becca of Mutterings fame - I had an absolutely fantastic time!

Becca and I are good friends and we have talked about going to Sparkle for a few months now.  I was reluctant at best.  A weekend as me, wandering about doing girl things was a bit scary.  However, I did it.  I went through it and enjoyed it.  There are a couple of photos here that are slightly low quality.  Becca is a wonderful lady, a great friend, a wise sage and a courageous human being.  But she is a lousy photographer.  So I can only really apologise for the photos. :o)

My main memories from the blur that was that weekend will always be the pleasure of going out on a Friday night with my legs out in my favourite LBD with some great heels, getting slightly (ok a lot) inebriated and walking back to the hotel holding my shoes.  I have always always wanted to walk home in a cute dress holding my shoes.  Another one off my bucket list!   The other memory is that I spent the entire weekend melting.  I have just the worst propensity towards facial perspiration and it was the hottest weekend ever.  My make up and I suffered.  So I extend my apologies to those people who had to endure looking at a rather wet looking large woman like person dripping all over the place.

But I met some great people and had a lot of fun and am keen to go back.

Second, along the way this month has been dressing rather more than usual around other people.  I have had a selection of visitors to 'Rhiannon's Place', including said Becca and (on a different occasion) my mother, which was great fun. The heat has curtailed some of my make up application, so some of the Rhiannon time has been hair and make up free, but its still me!

And thirdly I went out, Rhiannon-style, for another day out with two fantastic GG girlfriends.  But I am conscious that some stuff happened on that day that I want to share with you and that this is already a long blog, so I am going to do that annoying thing of deferring telling you about that.  Plus, its nearly time for the day to start!  So, give me a day or two and I’ll put it out there...