Monday, 29 December 2014

An added extra?

I find this topic challenging to say the least - and I know it is one that many of us grapple with.  Its also one that gets everyone riled up and that seriously is not my intention.  I just wanted the that chance to think it through and to start my thinking process.   As its my blog, it seemed to me that it was as good a place as any.  Also, sorry that this is a long blog, it just didn’t seem appropriate to split it.

The question I want to try to consider is: where do I sit on the transgender spectrum?  Am I transsexual or am I not?  It's a really critical question for me to answer at this juncture, because I know that fear of the answer is what is holding me back from moving forward.  I know there are lots of people who would say that if I have any confusion over it, then I can't possibly be transsexual.  You have to hate your male body so much that you can't bear even one moment more in it and that's how you know.  But there are other schools of thought too it seems.

So what do I know already?  Probably the best place to start is to summarise my current thinking and issues.

1. I know that my life as a man makes me despair.  I almost constantly wish I was a woman.  At least every 20-30 minutes my thoughts turn to the fact I am not the gender I want to be and a part of me sinks as I remember it and I'm overcome by a wave of sadness.  Even as I write now I could burst into tears of sadness.  When I get to spend time as Rhiannon conversely I feel relaxed, happy and content.  When someone mistakes me as a man, even when I am dressed as a man, it makes me feel even more sad inside.  I feel like screaming that I’m not a man and that they need to understand.  I physically feel an internal shudder within me when it happens.  Why can’t they just understand that I’m not what I seem to be on the surface.  Being a man all the time, hiding who I feel I really am tires me out.  The thought that I would live a female life and be accepted in that gender, even now, puts excited butterflies in my tummy.

2. I know that I have always felt like this. 34 years is a long time to try to work it out. Since I was 6, I knew that I wasn't a "normal" boy.  I remember the relaxation, happiness and joy I felt when we were able to use the dressing up box at school to put on dresses.  I longed to be in school on dressing up day and to be wearing shorts so that I looked properly dressed when I put a dress on.  I hated having my boy trousers sticking out of the bottom of a dress.  But even at that stage I was hugely aware that this wasn't what I was supposed to do.  Throughout my growing up, I did the same as many other trans people, I borrowed and took my mum's clothes before I started buying my own.  Any chance I had to dress and to feel like a girl, I took it.

3. I know that transitioning would never be an easy prospect for me.  On the outside, when I’m in man mode, I’m never mistaken as a girl.  I get the feeling when I’m in girl mode at the moment that I’m not fooling anyone.  I’m 5 11 and very fat.  People notice me and don’t seem to have any confusion about what I am.  Surgery, weight-loss, hormones etc would make a big difference I’m sure, but I need to recognise that I’m not one of the girls who will have a head start based on their body.  That said, I have virtually no Adam’s apple and am very rounded and have been told that I have a certain prettiness.   I know that inside me, the story is very different.  I relate to the world in a non-male way and whilst people don't see me as female on the outside, when they get to know me, they very quickly behave towards me as they would to a lady.  That doesn't make me a woman, but it makes me feel very caught in the middle.  I rarely get people reacting to me in a ‘blokey’ way, I think my internal ‘femininity’ shows through - even if its in a fat suit.

4. I’m not sure whether or not I hate my genitals.  I certainly dislike them a lot and would be much happier if I could have a vagina, but its not reached desperation levels quite yet.  Over the years, I have learned to switch off my brain and to not feel anything towards my male parts.  I’ve talked about my numbness before on this blog: I have developed a self-preserving survival mechanism.  I don’t know whether it is the ability to numb my feelings that has reduced the hatred.  I also am incredibly pragmatic and if I can’t easily resolve something, I move onto something I can do.

5. This is the one I’ve never really addressed on this blog.  Is all of this just a sexual kick for me?  A fetish, if you like.  As you probably could predict, the answer is no.  I am bisexual - I like both men and women sexually.  When I am dressed as Rhiannon, the act of dressing does not do anything for me sexually.  It just brings me a huge sense of wellbeing.  However, the thought that a man finds me attractive and wants to be with me as Rhiannon is the thing I most crave.  It is the thought or on a few occasions the actuality of that which does it for me.  I can literally feel my heart racing when I think a man is enjoying seeing me as an attractive woman.

So there you go, that is my summary statement.  The five things I know or have learnt over my 40-year long life about my gender.  There is probably more - and certainly a lot more detail, but over the last few days as I have reflected on my situation, these are the things that have come to mind.

There was one other: the fact that I enjoy the things traditionally associated with a ‘female role’ in terms of UK societal stereotypes.  I am much more driven by emotional relationships and connections and I have a strong nurturing and peacemaking side to my character as well as the things we laugh about like the fact that pink is my favourite colour, that I love cooking, shopping for shoes, reading chick lit, watching soppy films and I cry at everything.  I even cried recently at an Enid Blyton book.  I’m nosy, curious and ask lots of questions.  Conversely I hate a lot of the opposite things often associated with male traits including and up to football, fighting and being laddish.  I left it out as something I know about my gender, because how many of these things truly make you a woman?  None I suspect.  A stereotype is never a good yardstick.  Many of them could just being conditioning: I feel like a woman, so I want to do things that mark me as being more associated with that gender.

Given that this is a really difficult topic, I asked a friend, Becca of the Muttering blog, who has herself successfully transitioned to read and comment on my blog before I pressed the button.  She offered some really powerful insights which she gave me permission to replicate here:

“You really don't have to hate your body to be TS. You don't have to be trapped in the wrong body.  Even if you do get a sexual kick out of dressing - forget that as well.  Also, forget about the passing bit - whether you think it's an easy prospect or not. I tell you in time you will blend. You, (if you do this) could easily pass as female.  Yes it will take time, it might need help but you can do this.  I have seen pre pictures of so many woman and met many afterwards and they look amazing.  Sure some still look a bit male but many don't and they are treated as and seen as female 100%. The reality is there is always going to be a time until you have practised enough when you might stand out - but so what? You were born male and have lived as male for quite a time - it's going to take time to unlearn and relearn. After a time you will forget you are playing any role - because you aren't. You are female.  

The absolutely critical thing, what we are really talking about is the incessant desire to be female - Gender Dysphoria.  What I can tell you is that presenting as a woman ~ (which for me turned into being a woman) - however much you need, will cure Gender Dysphoria. Period. The cure works.  The question you need to ask yourself  is whether the Gender Dysphoria is great enough to actually do something about it. Not whether you can pass, not how old you are, not how tall you are and not how healthy or big you are now.  Is being happier in your life worth the potential cost?”

I need to now think, but am interested in what strikes you from all of that based on your knowledge of the subject or just your general views.  Please be kind - I know that it is tempting to berate me - or to comment that I don’t seem woman enough to transition or whatever, but I am genuinely trying to think about this.  Should I do this in such a public forum?  Perhaps not, but my regular readers on here give me such sage advice and support, you are very wise people - and I’m interested in your views.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Being kind to yourself & lowering the bar of happiness

You will, I’m sure have spotted that I’ve not been happy of late.  Despite my best intentions, I seem to have developed a tranche of searingly honest and raw posts that would depress even Eeyore...from a mile away...with one the dark.

A possibly throw away comment on my last but one blog, threw me.  Becca, who is a friend in real life as well as in Blogland, is renowned for cutting through the fog and saying what needs to be said.  It is an instinctive strength that she possesses and is one that I value.  But her latest comment was one that prompted the title of this blog and kind of stopped me in my tracks.

People have said it to me before, “be kind to yourself”, but tonight (the night before Christmas - I delayed the post), instead of sleeping, my mind decided to tackle this particular conundrum.  Because honestly, really honestly, I am not kind to myself.  Becca knows me well enough to know that.  It is really true.  I act, most of the time, like I hate myself.  Like many of us I guess, I have low self-esteem.  It takes a lot for positive comments to reach my core.  So I go through my life feeling like I’m pretty worthless.

So I started to think about what I need to do to be kind to myself.  What does that look like?  Inevitably, what came to mind when I asked myself that question was the answer to a different question: what effect has being unkind to myself had?  The sad thoughts tumbled out.  I’ve disbanded Rhiannon for 12+months to try to make my family happy when its actually causing me excruciating anguish.  I’ve convinced myself that I’ll never pass and that this a good reason to never bother trying to be Rhiannon outside of my closet again.  I’ve prioritised work and specifically clients over my health exacerbating a hernia problem that I don’t have time to fix and that makes me look pregnant in any girl clothes.  I’ve allowed my weight to go out of control to the point where I am unhealthy and hate my body again.  I’ve allowed a problem with my car to fester so that its nagging on my brain all the time.  I’ve got behind on my work again because I’m unhappy about being unhappy and find it hard to concentrate and I’m scared I’ll get things wrong because I see myself as pretty useless.  I put things that everyone else wants to the front of mind and what I want to the back of my mind - even when what they want is unreasonable.  I’ve stopped having any kind of meaningful relaxation because despite a massively high work ethic, its never enough and if the volume of work done was ever was enough, it would never be of a high enough quality.  I beat myself up for the 6 things I haven’t done, instead of feeling good about the 60 I have completed.  I’m using my spare time to do things that I don’t care about because someone else thought it would be a good thing to do.  I obsess that I’ve offended people because I talk about Rhiannon regularly with them and I sound like a broken record.  I’ve stopped facing up to my problems.  I could go on, but you get the idea.  I am really unkind to myself.

The question is, given 40 years of being unkind to myself, how do you change that pattern?  I don’t really do selfish very well and to be honest, that’s why I am where I am.  So how can I be kind to myself without being selfish to others?  Where else do you go to find out?  Google of course!  Search: “be kind to yourself.”  Hey, its the middle of the night and I don’t have a therapist to hand.  There was one that I settled on which was quite interesting.  The positivity blog.  Of course.  There are some really interesting steps in there which I am going to try - my three favourites were, ‘set a low bar for happiness’, ’if you stumble, be your own best friend’ and ‘remember, the future is still in your hands - and it is never too late to change.’  I want to take baby steps towards being more positive and thinking more highly of myself - and I will.  Just listing out the list above to be honest was cathartic.  Realising I’m unhappy on so many fronts and that I need radical change has been a huge insight.  I’m going to go back to seek counselling in the new year.  But for now, I’m going to tackle some of the above and see what I can do, one-day at a time, starting with today, to be really kind to myself.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Merry Christmas! :o)

Merry Christmas! :o)

I've been up for several hours writing a deep and meaningful, cathartic type blog which I was going to post, but I realised that it was Christmas Day.  No-one wants to read that sort of stuff today of all days.  [When you read it, the fact that I did that, will be amusing!]

I have scheduled it though for some time tomorrow.  In the mean time - pictures of me feeling happy whilst Rhiannoning.  Whilst I won't get to look like this today, I hope to very soon...

Have a fab day! x

Friday, 19 December 2014

2014 refections start here...

Just a short one today to reassure you that I’m ok - just been monstrously busy for about 4 months now.  Another month or two of pushing and hopefully I can relax a little.  She says.  She is also filled with doubt about that.  I think I just keep telling myself that to try to keep going!

I was prompted to write really by an email that I sent to a friend this morning.  Feeling in a very reflective mood today, I was thinking about my relationship with my wife and why I’ve stayed and even more, why I left and came back.  It is fundamentally that I care about our kids and her - and that however confusedly I feel about our relationship, that I highly prize our friendship.

But anyway, in the email, I wrote, “Knowing that the one person I care about the most hates the real me and only wants to love me when I pretend to be someone else is actually heartbreaking.”

I know I’ve covered this before here, but it was a timely reminder that bought tears to my eyes.

At the end of the year you do reflect and my conclusion is that professionally 2014 has been a great year.  For Rhiannon, its one that I would rather forget to be honest.  I’ve gone a long way backwards: in health terms, in confidence, in time actually spent being me, in having fun shopping for shoes :o), in times out with friends.  I thought that I’d done all that for the right reasons until that sentence flowed from my mind earlier and I realised instead that I’m still trying to maintain a relationship by pretence.  I want to be loved for 100% of who I am, not for just the “acceptable” bits.

Another friend recently has reminded me how short our time is - and having reached 40 this year, I’m at least a third of the way through my life now :o).

2015 needs to be a different year altogether.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Make Up Analysis

Sometimes, I’m just confused by my other half.  She’ll divorce me if she found out that I’m continuing with any vestige of my female life.  But then she asks me a question that relies on my knowledge of the female arts to help me answer.

We were watching the news and there was a lady who was being interviewed on an ad hoc basis about some serious expert scientific content and, into the mix, who’s make up could have been better.  I was listening to what she was saying and she was really interesting.  But before I considered what I was doing, I impulsively commented that, “Her make up doesn’t really seem to work very well for her.”   I’m not presenting myself as an expert, nor was I trying to be mean at all, but there were a few problems with it.  Mrs A, instead of sneering as I expected, or providing an ominous silence, asked me what I thought the problem was.

Not that I have been a close observer of make up for very long time (ok, maybe I have) or that I am opinionated (ok, maybe a little) but immediately, I gave a thorough analysis.  Her foundation needed to be slightly heavier and applied more thoroughly, some extra concealer was needed as she had dark rings under her eyes and some spots that needed covering.  She also had a colour of lipstick usually reserved for a party nights together with the shiniest lip gloss I’ve seen for a while.  It was just incongruent with what she was talking about. She had a nice face and a couple of changes could have made a big difference.

Anyway, that aside, Mrs A responded with, “Oh” and then said no more.  I have to own up to being slightly gutted.  I'm not sure why, but I thought, “why did you bother asking.”  Unwittingly - again - I have shown a level knowledge she thinks I shouldn’t have, on a subject about which a ‘man’ should just be ignorant.   I felt guilty for knowing these things.  Again.  Can I go back an hour and press the 'undo' button please?

Friday, 17 October 2014

A night of Rhiannon...

Last night, I decided that a Rhiannon night was in order.  It was only in a hotel, only on my own, but it felt great.  I know I shouldn't have, but I did and whilst these are definitely not my finest selfies, I enjoyed and I think you can tell I was happy and content (oh, and yes, new hair!)...

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Courage and relationships

Its been a month and I’m sorry for the delay.  Last time I blogged, I was in a very sad place.  There was a lot going on that made me feel helplessly distraught.  You might have noticed if you read it.  I'm also sorry for not responding to the comments - you can't begin to imagine how much they are appreciated.   Particularly when I was feeling as low as I was at the time.

I'm finding that the longer I go without Rhiannon in my life as an integral part, the harder things get.  Firstly, the dysphoric feeling grows and I feel increasingly out of place and wrong in my own skin.  Secondly that my confidence about my presentation ebbs from me.  There is something about the dynamic of frequent presentation as Rhiannon that helps me grow more into it, to push it further and that makes me happier and more assured.  Having dressed only twice in the last 10 months (I have no idea how I managed that), I am scared of stepping outside my door again.  I am back into the frame of mind that says, when I go out, that I look like a man in a dress.  I can go out, but I don’t think I fool anyway.

Another very lovely local lady who lives within 10 minutes of me and I had planned a trip out for lunch.  Other things came up for me that meant that I had to do something else.  But also part of me wonders whether I would have had the strength to do it anyway?  In a weird co-incidence, I went, with my kids, to get haircuts done yesterday morning.  Weirdly, the chef at the place we had planned to go to was in having a haircut.  I’ve always been careful about mixing up Rhiannon life and guy life, but that was a bit close for comfort.  Do I think for a moment I’d have seen him if I’d have gone to the restaurant?  Given that I look very different when I’m Rhiannon, would he have spotted me and put it all together?  Never.  But when you have the wrong frame of mind, you can’t help but wonder can you?

Previously, I did various things to get back on the horse and maybe I need to do them again.  Having been ‘discovered’ by my wife on my first occasion of dressing this year so quickly, the guilt of doing what I was trying not to do was overwhelming.  Maybe getting back to the basics would help?

On a separate note, one of the things that struck me in the comments on my last blog was the comments about my wife and how this impacts on her.  I wanted to address that because I think that unless you read back into my previous (nearly 100) blogs, you probably aren’t aware of the situation.  I have some new readers I think.

My wife and I have been married for nearly 20 years.  I told her about Rhiannon before we married.  Her belief (and mine at the time) - I was 21 - was that this would go away.  We felt that we were safe to get married because once we got settled into our relationship, it would be a thing of the past.  Naive, I know now, but I didn’t know back then.  At varying times through our relationship the subject has come back up and she is incredibly unhappy that I have chosen to see this as part of my life and to allow it to continue.  You might dislike her for that view, but it is consistent with her strong Christian belief structure.  She has in fairness to her, never wavered from it.  I think that if she was dealing with another trans person, she would have all the compassion in the world, but not with her ‘man’.  In fact over the years she has become more anti-Rhiannon.  To the point where she and I have separated twice.  The last occasion was for about 8 months.  She is less bothered about the dressing in reality and more unhappy that I think of myself as a women and that I give myself another name.  She feels that I am saying that God made a mistake by making me a man.  She’s right, that’s exactly how I feel.  We tenuously got back together, on my part because I couldn’t bear to not see my kids whenever I wanted, every day if possible.  I missed seeing them wake up happy because their ‘nuclear undivorced family’ world was intact.

The recommendation in various comments have implied that I should stop withholding the fact that I feel like this again from her.  Those of you who know me personally know that I feel an incredible amount of guilt for lying in this way.  But also know that if I decide to go back to Rhiannon more regularly and to make it part of my life, that divorce will inevitably, definitely and completely ensue.  Conversation has been had over 20 years and I’m left in no doubt whatsoever of my position.  There is little point talking with her other than to say how wonderful my life is without Rhiannon.  There is certainly no compromise or possibility for understanding.  My options are stop or hide it and stay married with my kids.  Or to continue and break up forever with no possibility of getting back together.  Therein lies the root of my sadness.  I can have a relationship that I’ve held onto for 20 years or Rhiannon.  But not both.

To be honest, I’ve never really worked out where to go from there.  I want Rhiannon desperately, but I don’t want to break up my kid's home to get what I want.  Other friends counsel me to wait until the kids leave home and then leave my wife.  I feel cruel doing that - at least if I broke it up now my wife would have some years to find someone else - and I might too.  If I wait 10 years, it will probably be harder to do.  I know that many reading this have made this sacrifice to be the women they were born to be.  I'm probably just weak, but I'm still holding on for dear life.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Very sad really :o(

Do you ever get those moments when you are just inconsolably sad?  I just want to escape from myself, but there is no way that I can that I would do.  I know that it has been building in me for a while and it creates a feeling of overwhelming need just to withdraw from everything.  I just feel like I could burst into tears at any point.  The happy outward exterior that I put across is sometimes just too difficult to maintain.  I want to laugh loudly.  I want to feel at peace.  But I just can’t find it.

I’ve always said that I write this blog as my own catharsis - and its true.  Today I need it more than I ever have before.   I feel like I’m letting people down all over the place and its one of the things that triggers my sadness.  Especially when I feel that moving to a place of being helpful to people is not possible.

I feel like I’m letting my family and my wife down.  I have started allowing myself to be me again.  A fantastic and almost euphoric decision.  But the first time I spent the day in Rhiannon mode it went horribly wrong.  Somehow I managed to get some foundation on the collar of my polo shirt.  Arriving home, I hadn’t spotted it and the moment I walked into the kitchen, it was spotted by my wife.  It was an inconspicuous brown smear.  Small in size.  But she went quiet and within hours had told me she was suspicious again.  The next day she told me she wanted answers because it even smelt like make up.  Which meant she must have even got it out of the laundry hamper and smelt it.  Its been frosty since.  I was hoping for a couple of months of trying it out to decide what I wanted, but now I feel like a complete bitch for starting again and letting them down.  I've had to lie through my teeth to try to get it on an even keel again.  Lying makes me hate myself.  The positivity I feel from dressing again, from getting a new wig and making some new contacts is being overshadowed and obscured.

I feel like I’m letting work down.  Cardinal crime, I went on holiday.  But by going on holiday, I didn’t get everything done.  I took my laptop on holiday, but somehow just didn’t get everything done I should have.  Since coming back its been horrible - trying to catch up on the busyness has been impossible so far and whereas before I was on top and ahead, I’m now behind and worrying.  I know that I need some sustained time to get it back, but there is a lot of things that are taking up time in the way.

I feel like I let some people down.  This is the worst.  Two of the people who are my biggest advocates are also co-workers.  They have had a very stressful time of late - taking on new tasks, huge volumes of work and some really difficult things they have never done before.  I’m usually the rock who tries to help and to be strong and I’ve not been there.  My busyness has got in the way because I should have done more already.  I know they are very likely ok with me again, but inside I’m heartbroken because I just feel like I’ve let them down completely, not been there for them and they both reach their own very low positions as a result. They have both had very difficult conversations with me or gave me very difficult messages that were hard to hear about how they were feeling.  Particular when I'm part of the problem.  The positivity I had managed to get back just crumbled.  It feels like its my fault, I should somehow have found a way of stepping in or of having an answer, but I didn’t.  And I feel like I’ve eroded some great relationships.  Just small chips off perhaps, but trust is easily lost and difficult to win back.

Inside I just feel lost again and I don’t really know what to do with myself.  Blogging today helped?  Maybe a little.  But I find it hard to claw my way back from low points.  I know I’ll get there, but at the moment, I feel very sad. I’m so sorry that I lay it on the line to you here and that I'm being so down and dismal - I feel very vulnerable writing this, but I need to vocalise my feelings, even if just to myself.

15:12 - I’ve just read myself back and I know it all sounds trite, like I’m blowing it up in my own mind.  Like I’m making a big deal of small things and I’m sorry.  There are loads of other issues linked to these, which I’ve not really shared on here so far that are just compounding my declining feelings.  I’m hate posting blogs like this and I’m not even sure this will survive the day, but I just needed to get it out.  I really do appreciate you reading and understand that these things are not earth shattering really.  Just are important to me…

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Getting back on horses

Two weeks of deliberation has got me there, you'll be relieved to know.  I want to get back on the horse.  The big thing now is trying to figure out the best way to achieve that aim.  You might say that it's obvious as to how to do it, but I need to be sure about why I'm getting back on and to make sure I can stay on this time.  The last couple of times I have been thrown off.  I want to be ready for that sucker.

I have thought about little else of late and the idea of getting to be me again makes me feel an internal relief that I can't even begin to describe.  There is a relaxation and assurance that comes with it that is so fantastic.

As I said in my last blog, I still have a number of hang ups, but I think it's important to develop thick skin.  I felt overwhelmingly supported by the comments on my last blog.  The people who read this and help me are genuinely awesome.  They really helped me to look at the problem of my lack of confidence differently.  I do just need to get used to the fact that people stare anyway at people whether they are trans or not.  It's no different and that even if it is, does it matter anyway?  I need to stop being ashamed of being me.

I've also been bad.  I know I said I wouldn't dive in and do loads of shopping, but I have done a little and am a dress and two pairs of shoes better off.  I love shoes so much.  I saw a pair of ankle boots I liked.  I've always wanted some, so they were a yes immediately.  The other pair of shoes match the dress.  Of course.  You can't buy a dress without shoes, surely?  Based on a recommendation from another blog, I have also set up an appointment to get a new wig.  I've always struggled to get this right, so it'll be great to buy it from a professional and to have it cut to shape.

Beyond that, I'm starting to think about plans for trips out and Rhi time.  Things are in the offing with not much confirmed yet.  But that will change and I'll keep you up to date in terms of progress.

I guess the biggest thing is that now I'm back off holiday, I'm tackling the weight issue with a vengeance.  I know I've said it before, but I have improved appearance to strive for, a small operation to go through and I want to improve my healthiness and fitness.  You know, just in case things move forward.

Thank you so much for your continued readership.  It's been a tough year and I'm sure there are horrible times ahead, but I think I'm taking the right decision for me for once.  I think that equally its exciting...

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Judge, jury and executioner

Following my last blog, this will be of no surprise to you.  I’m grappling with the idea that I might need to just re-emerge again after 8 months of hiding away.  I guess there are some internal challenges with doing that.  Mainly that I have developed some fantastic coping habits relating, for example, to how productive I’m being.  I need to find a way to be Rhiannon, holding all the other things in check and maintaining some things I’ve discovered that I love about my core personality.

But there are also some things that I really need to work through.  Last time I bounced out from a hiatus, I didn’t really handle it well.  I jumped straight back in and to be honest, went a little bit crazy.  I spent loads of money on Rhiannon, work took a dip, personal life got short changed.  Like Dracula let loose in a blood bank, I greedily went mad for everything girl.  I need to learn to integrate a little more this time and to decide how it is going to work.

A key focus is going to have to be to gain clarity about my longer term objectives.  Where do I want this to go — is it going to be full or part-time?  What are the knock on effects of that decision?   Moving forward in anyway, means very likely going back through the horrible loop of potential divorce.  So how can I deal with that a little better than I have?  Or should I not manage it and hide again: lying and fibbing to maintain my family.  That isn’t really me, but its an option that needs consideration.  I can't keep going through a boom and bust cycle.

There are also a number of issues around my confidence that I need to address: I need thicker skin.  My thinking was pushed forward by April’s fantastic and very honest blog.  One of the biggest issues I have is that when I’m out and about, I am ashamed of being Rhiannon.  I feel like I’m being judged constantly by everyone I meet, which creates a real insecurity.  A stray look can be enough to send me in a spiral.  I feel like in the two seconds of someone looking at me, they have spotted from a mile away that I'm trans.  My brain then thinks that they have acted as jury, judge and executioner, instantly thinking I’m stupid, ugly, horrible or worse. When an actual judgement happens, the impact is even greater.  The waiters at last year’s Christmas party have a lot to answer for as their reaction really got to me.  I desperately need to get to get more assured about my appearance.  Not that I need to "improve" it, I know it is ok (apart from my weight), but that I need to feel more relaxed and comfortable in my own skin.  I have to believe that its ok.

There is a lot to do and to think about, but the journey starts...again.  Albeit from a very different place of thinking now.  Internally, I’m breathing a sigh of relief though.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Can we ever really escape?

Of late, this is the question that I have pondered most.  As I commence my annual holiday, it is probably the first time in months that I have had an opportunity to think.  The other allied question is do I ever want to escape?

Anyway, by way of update.  Things are going ok.  Mainly because I have thrown everything: heart, soul, blood, sweat, tears. Literally everything, into my work.  Is it any wonder that work is going well? Those of you who have read this blog for some time will know that I use work as a kind of transgender escape tunnel. It pushes girl thoughts from my mind.  Not completely. Obviously. Like most of you, approximately every 10 minutes, the pang of desperation to be a girl haunts my mind. The feeling of inadequacy that I'm not female.  The constant wish that I was able to be myself.  Pervading every thought.  But when there is so much work to do, I can mentally push her to one side and robotically get on with the next tick item from my list.

Since I have given up alcohol too: the result of my January illness, none of my "vices" are allowed to flourish.  Jill is a very dull girl.  When you are trying to escape from the biggest of all "vices" (who you are) and alcohol is not available, where else do you turn?  I have never even tried smoking or drugs.  Given that I have an addictive personality, I'm not sure either is a good idea.  So work it is.  To quote Grease's Rizz, "there are worse things I could do."  I guess its the way I'm wired.  I have to be full on with something all the time.

The outside world is astonished at my increased productivity.  My friends see the underbelly.  The sinking into regular despair.  The inability to reconcile my "new life" with the reality of the old.  The desperation to be Rhiannon.  The days that work doesn't win and a kind of depression lands bringing the futility of pointless resistance into sharp contrast.  The jokey comments about nail polish or nice dresses that aren't really jokey.

Really, despite everything I might think, the success in leaving the girl behind and being a high work achiever is not really a success.  There is never ever any escape.  And more importantly, I don't want there to be.  She needs to rise.  The consequences for my marriage and family of allowing that to happen do constantly play on my conscience. But I know that the pull to be myself, to deny her no longer, is stronger.  I know it's a matter of when not if.  For now the fight, rightly, continues. I win battles, but never the war.  Can you ever win a war that deep down you want to lose. Prolonging it for the sake of others is perverse, even if it is the right thing to do.  But bit by bit, day by day, losing I am.  And I've never been happier (or prouder) of being a complete loser.  The woman who is winning is beautiful, kind, loving, fun - and most of all, she deserves her time in the sun.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Drowning in dysphoria

Sometimes, its like the desperation is just overwhelming.  Its like a deep down sadness and unhappiness that just cause me to sit at my desk and instead of working, to just cry.  Its like you want your insides just to rupture out of your body and to turn you into someone different because what you are just isn’t right. Its like you need someone to reach inside of you and bring peace because there is none available.  Its like there is nowhere you can go to escape from your self, I go with myself wherever I am, even when I would prefer myself to leave.  Its like a detachment where nothing is quite real.  Its like an isolation you can never explain.  Its like you are alone with a problem you can never understand. Its like wishing the numbness I sometimes feel would come back because at least then I’d stop feeling like I do.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some very happy, productive times.  This morning just isn’t one of them.  With nowhere else to turn sometimes, my thoughts are laid bare for you here.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

And a butterfly emerges…

Just a really quick blog tonight.  I am on my back from London to home on the train having had a long, but fun day working in the capital.  I visit a few times most months, so it is a very routine thing for me.  Probably every 4-6 weeks, one of the pleasures of going to London is that I get to go for dinner with Becca of Muttering fame.

For those who don’t follow her (why not?) you need to know that Becca has made the fantastic and enviable journey from male to female.  Having been her friend for a number of years, I have had the privilege of seeing this journey happen through a series of regular snapshots of meeting her.

Our first meeting made me realise that we would forever be friends.  It revolved around a very expensive bar bill in a plush London hotel bar.  We were both in man mode and both equally hated the fact.  We nattered like we’d been friends for ever.

Several meals later and fast forward a while, we ended up last year at Sparkle together where her strength gave me the confidence to enjoy a weekend in Rhiannon mode and to build on the start I’d already made.  Tonight we reflected on that time as we talked.  That weekend really was a turning point for her too and since then she has never looked back.  Her transition started later last year and she has faced, head on, her challenges, with an internal resilience that I personally find inspiring.

She is beautiful, feminine, poised, feisty, challenging and kind hearted.  Everything a woman strives to be.  I blog because spending time with her tonight made me realise that I am so so proud to call her my friend.  As you know I grapple with my future and my gender and Becca’s single mindedness, focus and attention to every element of her transition shows and helps me see that there is an art of the possible in looking like, and being accepted as, the woman some of us were born to be.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Struggling on...

I’m so sorry I’ve not blogged for so long.  Truth be told its been a very weird few months since Christmas.  Driven by (and I’m not trying to exaggerate) a life threatening experience and fuelled by what I last blogged about.

Over Christmas and New Year I was hospitalised with an illness with a 40% mortality rate.  Fortunately I got better, but after days of worried looking Doctors standing over you, you begin to be a little afraid.  After nearly 3 weeks, I escaped hospital and got home.  Much more quickly than they expected thank goodness.  Together with some necessary life style changes, I’m feeling better than ever now.

But what it did do was to change my attitude to life.  I’m sure I’m not alone, but it led me to think two things.  First that being Rhiannon alienates me (literally) from my family and the people I love should be the most important thing to me.  Second, that being Rhiannon complicates my life to such a degree that I needed to find a way of simplifying my existence.

Before Christmas you will recall that I had an upsetting experience of being sirred a lot in a restaurant when I was out as Rhiannon.  That, combined with the above meant I really got the bit between my teeth to not do this anymore.

So I stopped.  Completely.  Totally.  And without looking back.

Since January therefore, whenever I have thought about being Rhiannon, a numbness has kicked in so that I didn’t feel like talking or thinking about her.  I almost felt sick when I thought about any aspect of my gender confusion.  I haven’t dressed, blogged or done anything in general.  It still crossed my mind from time to time, but almost was other worldly with it being about someone else and not me.

A couple of months ago, I rejoined a tg website I was once a member of for a few days, but left very hastily. It didn’t feel right.

My friends have been impressed by my resolve.  Even I thought that after so long, I’d cracked it.  I no longer felt the urge to dress and the mental cruelty of feeling like you are really a girl had disappeared almost completely.

But as I’m writing, I bet you can guess what has happened.  Over the last few days, the feelings, the desperation to be a girl again have begun to awaken.  No action taken so far.  It is still very early, but it has.  I can feel the numbness fighting it back, but bit by bit it is asserting itself.

I think that the rational side that sees the complexity it brings and how unhappy it makes other people and is screaming “no”.  So I await what happens, unsure of how I feel about it.