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.

11 comments:

  1. You should know from my own experience that confidence is not something so easily found. It takes time and effort and my transition took years in planning (even if I didn't see it as planning at the time). You will have knock backs - that sir I got with you was a big slap in the face - but you pick yourself up and you brush yourself down. The female presentation and looks aren't far away for you - the rest is however harder and I wish there was an accommodation that could be made. I hope you can find a way.

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    1. Thank you B, as you note, in some ways the appearance is more straight forward - and that’s saying something. As you say, its accommodating the rest that is going to be more challenging…

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  2. Some male waiters can be deliberately crass. They see all sorts of customer. They know what trans people are, and what will hurt them.

    These men all have low-status jobs, and I think they sometimes want to get back at the customers generally, because it will make them feel like real men again. Foreign-born men, reduced to being servile, and having to be polite on occasion to idiots and drunks, may feel especially like lesser men.

    You may consider this poppycock, but I am sure they sieze on suitable opportunities to assert their threatened masculinity. One such opportunity is when they detect a trans person presenting as female. They are not going to have it. So even if your presentation is wonderful, and your companions obviously accepting, they will 'sir' you to prove they are not fooled. It's a rapier thrust, and I use the language of the duel on purpose. They feel your presentation is a challenge to their manhood, and by devastating you with a 'sir', they have got their killing thrust in, and eased their wounded feelings. It's not a mistake, nor ignorance, nor misplaced politeness. Politeness is the cover for what amounts to an insult, a slap of your face. It's usually done deftly and if possible with a smiling face.

    It's been done to me.

    I don't know any way of countering it, except to boycott the place in future. Or to pass so well that one is undetectable. But who is that good? Well, maybe some trans women are. Perhaps it's worth seeing that as a glittering prize, the ability to deceive all waiters!

    I thought it was really nice of you to reply to every comment made on your last post. There are many people who want you to find a way that works. They may be unseen, but they are there all the same, right behind your shoulder, wishing you success.

    Lucy

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    1. Thank you Lucy. For my own piece of mind now I really wish I’d said something. I really won’t be going back and I think the genetic girls I was with were shocked when we left and I told them what had happened. I just need to try again. I need to focus on the experience I had the next day when the person who served us was lovely.

      I’m not sure why they chose to do that - but your explanation doesn’t sound unreasonable. They did seem to be very pleased with themselves despite all the effort I’d gone to trying to look nice.

      I really appreciate your ongoing encouragement Lucy - it is gratefully received.

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  3. Eight months seems a very long time be hidden away. Can I say, I'm impressed by your willpower. <3

    Please don't feel ashamed about who you are. We met - and I don't mean this as a platitude or the pink noise ('you go girl') of stereotypical chat - more than once and I've never thought of you as anything, but charming, impressive and interesting. Don't let the b*stards grind you down. You can do this. The confidence will come, you just need to take is steady and if someone 'sirs' you, that's their problem, not yours. Good luck.

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    1. Thank you Lynn, it is not taken as a platitude at all. I know that you are very capable of being direct and honest when needed and so I take your kind words knowing that they are meant. They have really helped.

      I’m not quite sure how I did 8 months either…

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  4. Hi Rhiannon,

    First, let me say that you are a very pretty girl. Whatever you've been doing is obviously "on the right track"...keep it up!

    Everyone has a different outlook on this TG issue we all are facing...family things, work, and so on. So everyone may take a different approach, and whatever a person chooses is not "wrong," as long as they've thought it through.

    As you may have noticed from my blog 'From "Me" to "Mandy"' my professional situation is "retirement", with a less-than-fully-supportive spouse at home, and the ability to travel "solo" to various events, typically in the spring, summer and fall.

    What's currently working for me is an androgynous everyday presentation, with women's pants, tops and shoes, along with my long hair, nails, purse and makeup - all tolerated by my spouse. My unseen skirt wardrobe is for when I'm traveling solo.

    My wife still has the "Not My Husband" syndrome as far as skirts, obvious fingernail polish (toes are OK) and pierced ears. This road I travel may not be suitable for everyone, but for now it's OK for me. Your mileage certainly may vary, and yes, before you ask, my own future may also take a different direction! Time will tell.

    Initially, when I first ventured out in androgynous mode, I was very self conscious. I'd constantly be looking over my shoulder, listening for laughs and wondering if people were clocking me - but never ever making eye contact. You know the drill. Over the years, I've de-sensitized myself to it. I truly don't care any more what people think, whether I'm in capri pants with a blouse, sandals, and painted toe nails while walking with my wife, or wearing a skirt and blouse with Mary Jane heels on a solo out-of-town trip. I'm being myself, in the best way I can, at this point in time. And I find that eye contact - with a smile - goes a long way toward blending in with the other ladies.

    Unfortunately, my voice can still be a giveaway if I'm not careful...but that's something I need to work on!

    Yes, my wife and I are frequently addressed as "ladies." She's learned to tolerate that over the years. But occasionally I still hear the dreaded "S" word, and yes, it's typically by male servers...hadn't made that observation till your post. And, typically they are not "better," high-quality servers. You know - the attentive ones you'd want to leave a nice tip for. Instead they're trainees, or second-or-third-stringers.

    In following along with the girls above, I've developed a "tin ear" and have simply been ignoring it. I just consider that the "boorish, simple-minded a**hole is just trying to make trouble." IMHO most of the time it's not even worth dignifying it with a response.

    But I admit to considering saying something like: "Madam will be fine for you, thank you very much" - but only when I'm alone, and only after I size up the server. (Wouldn't say that to someone bigger than me...LOL!) And then if necessary, be prepared to escalate to management on site. Haven't tried this yet...and it may never happen. It just may not be worth the effort...the thing that comes to mind is that I'd be "bumping my gums" and not getting anywhere.

    My dear father (who passed away in 1997) always said "consider the source." That may be very good advice for anyone in this situation!

    Hang in there, and I look forward to following along, as you travel this path toward femininity!

    Be safe,

    Mandy




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    1. Mandy - thank you :o)

      Your advice is spot on and really helped, you have some great experience o draw on. Your blog is also fantastic - I really enjoy reading it when it comes out - and am frequently cheering you on! I don’t think my wife will ever support me or be out with me in female presentation, but that shouldn’t stop me. I’m too sensitive generally…

      Rhi x

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  5. Girl, I don't want to hear this “being ashamed of Rhiannon” your talking about yourself here. Of course you are being constantly judged - we all are (I include all social animals here) its part of our makeup. We judge and pigeonhole everyone we see and meet either consciously or sub- consciously, its part of our primeval survival program. Being “judged” is normal, ok, maybe you are getting looks, but they are not all negative by default, I know is hard but try and think positive!
    If I (not Abigale, the other me) passed you on the street, it would go something like this: healthy complexion, cute face, goes well with the long hair, red hair would suit her, nice casual look, likes her food, heels, yes like the heels, wonder where she got the jewellery .. turns back to look at legs.. (now was it that bad?).
    Here is one of my pet theories. Some people get very frustrated if they can’t pigeonhole everything and everyone. So what happens they end up getting annoyed because they can’t get their mind around what they are experiencing and so it’s either the evil eye or they lash out verbally to compensate for their inadequacy to relate to what they see.
    The use of the 3 letter word “Sir” is not uncommon. Kim’s (travelling transgendered) blog is full of experiences with it at hotels and airports. The use of Sir is synonym with politeness, but as you have experienced, its use was, on purpose, to have just the opposite effect. It delivers a first blow by trying to show one and all, that the user is being clever in seeing behind what they believe is a masquerade. The second blow is devilish, as it goes direct to your inner core for presenting to the world your true and natural self. I may be wrong but I don’t believe that the majority of these people realise what unseen devastation they cause. Their only thinking of primitive self-preservation and the back patting they are giving themselves for being in their eyes “clever”. The Sir syndrome will not go away, it will always be there waiting to show its ugly head. One must be ready for it, a thicker skin as you said will help and cultivating your own evil eye (practice in the mirror and show us some pictures) is a further option.
    I can only wish you lots of luck.
    I would hug you if I could.
    And remember, we are watching you.
    Abigale

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    1. Abigale, I have to say that your opening line made me cry. I’m so fearful of being Rhiannon a lot of the time. The responses to this post have moved me so much and have significantly helped me - my next blog shows just how much! Then by the end of your post I was laughing. I really am going to post pictures of my new and improved evil eye :o) Thank you so much for your advice.

      Rhi x

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    2. Rhiannon, thank you for your kind words. It took some time to get my thoughts down, my eyes kept watering up! If you found my rambling helpful then it was worth it, I must admit it helped me too! Believe me I' m also fearful of Abigale, she has been only around in the open these last few months. If anyone needs advice then its me! So get ready, I've been asking the other girls for advice, your turn will come soon! ;-)
      If I made you laugh ( which was my intention..) then it was well worth the effort. If we can't laugh then I don't know where we would be. I'm not kidding, if you laugh a lot, you can also lose weight!
      Lots of O&X
      Abigale

      P.S. I' ve just read your new post, go for it girl, proud of you!
      To misquote the one and only Dave Allen: "good night and may your evil eye go with you"

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