Monday, 14 December 2015

Another party night

Last night I got unexpectedly sideswiped.  One of the groups I lead was having its annual Christmas party.  In 2014, it was simply a case of going for a really nice curry to an Indian restaurant and I enjoyed myself.  This year, a different group of people are in place after a number of staff changes.  They wanted to organise the party themselves and just for me to turn up.  They decided to go to one of these 'organised parties'.  I had, in my head a template of the evening.  You see, I recently went to another one: it was fun and very relaxed and I thought I knew what to expect.  So I ‘dolled up’ man-style: pressed trousers, shirt and wool jumper - same as the last one.  Grabbing my money, wallet and keys, I headed out.

The cab arrived and I hopped in the front without looking at the other passengers.  We conversed on the way but I didn’t look round.  We arrived and I gulped.  As the other passengers got out of the car, they were all in suits, shirts and ties.  The ladies we were with - who were all in their 20s and early 30s and who’d travelled ahead - were dressed for a prom ball.  As I started to look around there were a lot of men in black tie and dinner jackets.  If a pavement swallowing service had been available, I would have paid good money to disappear.  Not only had I unexpectedly turned up to my worst nightmare - women in the most beautiful make up and dresses, I was the scruffiest person in the room and wasn't appropriate as a man either.

Needless to say, perhaps, that it got worse from there.  We sat at the table.  Men on one side, ladies on the other.  Younger ladies (20s-30s) in low cut tight dresses one side, older men [me included :o(] aged 40-60 on the other side.  People having fun, running around, enjoying themselves one side, me looking everywhere else trying not to appear lecherous on the other side.  The thing is that my usual defence, of ‘I’m admiring the dresses and the clothes’ (which is true), feels so lame when you are a fat 41 year old looking at a 20 year old young lady with everything hanging out.  Whilst I genuinely am not trying to cop a look, that is not going to be what it is going to seem like to them.  Plus these are people that ultimately report to me and I don’t want them to feel like their boss is like that - they need to be able to come to me when they need to talk / have problems etc. They can’t think that I was the one who ogled their breasts at the party.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt more uncomfortable in my whole life and I couldn't get my head back into a positive space.  The men went into stereo-typical British middle aged man behaviour: we shouldn’t dance, we are embarrassed by this lively party atmosphere etc.  Whereas at the last one I was appropriate, I fitted in and I ‘enjoyed’ it and danced.  This time, being dressed wrong, even for a man, feeling old AND dysphoric - I’m not sure how I didn’t go and cry in the toilet, because I sure felt like it.  In fact I want to cry now.

I just hid at our table all night, smiled as much and as widely as possible.  I clearly didn’t do a good job of it.  People were concernedly asking me if I was having a good time.  Always happens when people think you aren’t having a good time.  The trouble is that they don’t know about my dysphoria and transgenderness.  My discomfort looks like social awkwardness and being a boring old bloke.  Actually, I was just losing a massive fight against my demons for the night and instead contemplating running away from everyone and everything and hoping never to see anyone again.  Ever.  Quite literally for the rest of my life.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Hiatus

Sorry, its been a while.  Again.  Even starting now, I don’t really know what I am going to say.

I guess my silence, as is often the case, is reflective of two things.  Busyness and confusion.  My word, has it been busy - work has been all enveloping.  Every day something happens that means my main place to be Rhiannon has not been possible.  Add in that I have lived on a building site for 6 months and Rhiannon-time becomes a little more challenging.   That’s even if I wanted it.

Did I want Rhiannon-time over the last 6 months?  I’ve just stared at that question for a while to try to think about my answer.  Yes, desperately, is the answer.  So why haven’t I?  Why have things been fallow for so long.  Searching inside and I know that the answer is shallow and stupid - there are a few.  Weight and appearance is one.  I know that it seems ridiculous and eminently fixable, but being 41 with a very  large and obvious hernia and looking like a massive rugby player, is, in my own mind a real blocker for me. Others have commented on it too and what precious little self confidence and esteem I once possessed has of late floated into the breeze.  In truth, it has made me very sad.  I regularly find myself staring into space, frozen, unable to act.  Not knowing where to turn or how to reboot my life.  Or crying and not knowing where to reach out.  Instead I google, 'why am I so sad' and find no answers.

I have had some contact with some great people and in particular, a few months ago, had a lovely lunch with a local trans-woman, Ruth, which was just lovely.  We enjoyed lunch together and it was so relaxed from the first moment.  I love it when I immediately connect with someone.  Ruth is the epitome of a feminine personality: some trans people look the part, but the personality sometimes feels a little like their wrong gender.  Ruth is female to the core of her being.  Gorgeous inside and out.

I want so much to just get on with it it but I just find it so hard.  Add in that I continue in my disapproving marriage and its just been on the back burner.  Interestingly over the last few weeks, the urge has started to come back.  I can feel that desperation growing again to spend time as who I really am and I’m glad.  Maybe the hiatus is over?

Monday, 20 July 2015

Struggling...

I can tell that this is not going to look or feel polished or even probably articulate.  But some days I just don’t care about that to be honest.  Honestly, I’m really struggling at the moment.  Two things are bothering me and just won’t go away.  The first and most important is that I know deep down that I am increasingly unhappy with my gender.  It is getting harder and harder to live as a man when I know that I’m not of that gender.  Sadness just fills me all the time and despite trying to put a brave face on it, its not working any more.

I know I need to do something about it, but the ramifications of the impact on the people around me continues to yell, ‘what are you thinking’ in my face at a ridiculous volume.  Honestly, I’m probably more conflicted and in pain than I ever have been in my whole life.   I’ve been reading several books recently about transwomen who have transitioned to full time and it just makes a huge amount of sense to me.  But I still can’t believe that it could ever be me.

One of the things I am struck again and again with is just how much this has affected my whole life.  I’ve just been fighting forever against myself and felt unhappy, tormented and in pain every hour of every day of my life and I just want it to stop.  I need it to stop.

Even when I dress, I’m only 75% happy because I know that it is going to end.  Sorry if this sounds moany, but the torment of taking off my make up and ‘changing back’ often causes such anguish inside that I just feel like getting in my car and running away.  Although like most people who are trans (I assume) I have considered whether it is worth continuing with my life.  I know that I could probably never go that far, but I have certainly considered just running away and disappearing to a place where no-one can find me and just starting again.  Deleting my whole history to be someone new.

I also know though that my health is suffering because of my weight and this is the second thing.  The lack of control I feel about changing my gender is ‘coped with’ by eating and drinking.  Despite all of my promises to myself to lose weight, I don’t.  That internal desperation to find some way out has always been channeled to food and drink for me.  I stand at the heaviest I’ve ever been.  It used to be that dressing and going out was an answer, it relieved some of the pressure.  It still does to a degree, but the dread of changing back and of being perceived as a man rather than as a woman is just to painful.  I’m at the point where it has to be all or nothing, but I don’t think it can be.

My head is near to exploding and I needed to write it down.  I’m not looking for answers, there aren’t any, only difficult choices.  But thank you for reading and caring.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Watch out, girl at work

As you are probably aware, I can, when I wish (a lot) go into Rhiannon mode in the office.  The kind people I work with are lovely about it and treat me perfectly as a woman.  It makes me very happy and I smile a lot as I work away.  Thought I'd share these with you...one was today, one was a couple of months ago.  Also a few outings coming up which I'm looking forward to reporting - a couple of lunches and my second Pink Punters night.  The dress is selected as are the cute sandals (ones that actually fit this time!) :o)

  

Thursday, 2 July 2015

The case of the irritating sandal…

I really love sandals.  There, I said it.  Perhaps not the most glamourous of footwear, but comfy and shows off painted toenails a treat.  Over the last few years the trend has been in my favour - lots of sandals with just a toe post and no back to them.  Perfect.  I have a size 10 wide (oaf) feet and that design works for me.

This year, naively, I decided to update my sandal collection.  I love the fact that you can buy sparkly jewellery topped sandals.  They are sooooo cute, I just couldn’t resist.  They have a leather back but my foot still fits perfectly into them, they look wonderful.  Cinderella shall go to the ball.

Except.

Except they have a mangle of straps that are supposed to go over the top of your foot and clearly the designers have not thought about oaf feet when they supplied the straps.  The straps are about 4 inches (9-ish centimetres) too short.  I have a lovely thing on my foot, but I can’t do it up.  Irritating.  Surely the fact that someone has bought a size 10-wide means that the rest of the foot is also larger and isn’t a weird flat shape - i.e. the length of an overgrown woman and the height of a prepubescent 8 year old.

Another shoe sadly consigned to the charity shop.  Shame really as I saw a lady the other day wearing the same sandal.  With jeans and a cute top, she looked amazing.  I was looking forward to emulating the look, but clearly shoe designers (as ever) hate us…

Saturday, 27 June 2015

A night out

As you will have seen, I have been trying to get my confidence levels back up and to begin to go out more again in Rhiannon-mode.  I’m a firm believer in the idea of trying to make an easy start.  Why tackle Mount Everest when you haven’t climbed the local hill?

The target of the next step in my ‘easy start’ was Pink Punters (a LGBT bar based in Milton Keynes, UK).  As well as being known for having brilliant security and a zero tolerance approach to homophobia and transphobia, it has a (cheap and cheerful) hotel within a 2-minute walk from its front door.  I have been planning the trip for a while and two cis-gendered girl-friends had kindly agreed to join me.

I got ready in my room: make up done, perfume squirted, nails polished, new wig placed on (still loving it), purple dress, nude tights, black clutch bag, black patent leather block heels and some sparkly jewellery.  Accessorised by a glass or two of nice wine / dutch courage and I was ready.

There were lots of great highlights to the experience, but the first was simple.  My two friends, L and T (who were wonderful the whole night), texted me to say that they were ready and so I went up to the room they were sharing.  I got to join in the getting-ready-to-go-out ritual that I have longed to participate in rather than just watch.  They complimented me on my make up and dress and how feminine I looked.  T was still doing her hair, L was still in her socks and was joking about wearing them out tonight.  It was relaxed girl time fun.  Cheese straws, humous and a touch more wine was being consumed and I just felt part of the girl group rather than the outsider.  We talked and laughed and eventually, at a fashionable time of night, got ready to go out.

Heels on all around, I took a deep breath and walked out the door.  We passed several people who stared [am I really that attractive :o)] but I smiled and walked on.  Cleavage out, lots of teeth on show.  We took the short walk to the club and down to the door.  Before we went in, L took a couple of photos for your viewing pleasure.


We went in and toured the place to scope out the best places to sit.  It was not like any LGBT bars I’d been to before.  Only one floor was open and it was like an outside bar with a roof for the large part with big fire pits located throughout.  Given my propensity towards perspiration, that worked perfectly for me.  Despite the high temperatures, I barely broke into a sweat all night.   We grabbed (another) glass of wine and found some seats and just sat for hours talking and laughing and the time went past so fast.  I just felt like I should have been able to do this for my whole life.

One of the early things that I put in my blog, here in fact, was that I always wanted to go to a club as a woman and dance.  The night finally arrived and after we had talked for hours, we hit the dance floor.  It was packed and I have to say the crowd was young.  Made me feel very maternal!! There were only one or two other trans ladies there who appeared to be enjoying themselves too.  We found a spot and honestly, I’m not sure that my dancing was much improved, but I did enjoy it more.  Some of the self consciousness I feel as a male disappeared very quickly and I was shaking my booty like the best of them.  Every so often I’d get excited to hear a song I knew and then they’d do something weirdly clubby to it.  L and T danced with the confidence I expect from girls.  I used the night as a chance to watch how girls were dancing and to emulate.  I think that this is going to involve a learning curve.  Does that mean I’m going to have to go back?  Yes.  The sacrifices we make for our art eh?  :o)

All good things come to an end and eventually we got off the dance floor and went back to the bar.  One final drink of the night ordered and we looked at our watches for the first time to realise that it was 2am!  Standing up this time, we chatted, finished our drinks and left.  My feet were killing me.  I really need to work on having heels on for longer.  Once back on the carpeted floor of the hotel, they were straight off!  Goodnights were said and it was back to my room.  Make up off, nightdress on and such a happy smile from a happy girl and sleep.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

What a difference a day makes…

Its been a while (again), sorry.   Things have been very busy and work and other charitable interests have kind of taken over my life for months now.   To be honest, I’m always up and down, but I’ve been in a downward funk for a while too.  You could probably tell that from my recent posts - its all been a bit half hearted.  Over the last year and a bit, the issue I’ve had is diminishing confidence.  You will recall that last time I went out publicly in Rhiannon mode, I was sirred for the whole night by the waiters.  This set me off and together with spending increasingly less time as me, I just gave up on myself.

Of late, the desperation and longing to stop pretending that I’m male has grown.  The internal voice that reminds me that my outside doesn’t match the inside, has been bellowing louder and louder.  Several months ago, this voice caused me, almost without thinking to make a very out of character hair related decision.

Since I began presenting as Rhiannon, I have had a succession of relatively inexpensive, lower quality wigs.  They have been perfectly serviceable, but I obtained them in the least obvious way - i.e. not going into a shop and saying, “I’m trans, give me hair.” but more either on eBay or when I was visiting the lovely Tracey at the now defunct Trans-Femme.

About 8-9 months ago, the very lovely Ruth from the blog Ruth’s Odyssey, who also lives in this part of the country, recommended Andrea’s Hairroom in her blog.  I went once and got new hair - as featured here previously.  Despite it being a big step up, it wasn’t my forever hair (!) and I wanted something that matched more closely to my eyebrows and that fitted my head a little better.  Andrea is genuinely joyful to visit - an amazing ball of lively and engaging Trans-friendly energy.  I started talking about what I was looking for and Andrea responded that what I probably needed was something that was fitted properly for me so that it was more difficult to tell that it wasn’t my real hair.  We discussed the options and I decided to really go for it to get a very high quality human hair - from the right sources - wig specifically created for my head.  I knew that it was going to be expensive and in the aftermath, it seemed very frivolous.  What had I done?  I don’t even present as me very much before.  But she was right, it was what was needed, so I went with it.

Three and a half months past and last Monday, the date for my fitting arrived.  I was excited and scared at the same time.  Excited to see how I might look, but nervous because it could be that despite spending all of this money, I might still not look that great.  Would it really make any difference?  Even nice hair doesn’t change the confidence that you feel inside, surely?

So I went along for the fitting.  The first challenge for someone with my confidence levels was that this time it needed to be in Rhiannon-mode.  To properly see the effect of it, to make sure it worked with me as a woman, I needed to be presenting correctly.  I haven’t been out publicly since I can’t remember when.  The thought just terrified me and I was tempted to welch on the appointment.  So I did what any girl would do, I sought moral support.  I asked a girl pal, A, to accompany me to and thank goodness, she graciously agreed.

I arrived early to work, got ready and spent the day very happily working as me.  Its amazing how my whole mood and countenance changes when I get the chance to present in this way.  Then after several telephone conferences, at 2pm, the time arrived.  The toughest part for me is always ‘the walk of shame’.  Getting from my office to the car is the most difficult part - will I be seen by people who otherwise see me as a boy every day?  Will they put two and two together?  With A there by this stage, I was calm and a grumpy stare from one man didn’t phase me too badly.

Once I was in my car, I was ok.  Surprisingly calm and by the time we arrived for the fitting, I was relaxing.  Andrea was her usual amazing self and I was immediately sucked into a time of acceptance and happiness.  But more than that, new hair.  I’ve never really thought of myself as the type of girl who has epiphanies.  But at that fitting I had one.  To say that I walked out completely different is probably overstating the case, but its not a million miles from the truth.

I messaged a few friends that evening with a text along the lines of: “I got my new wig today.  Felt amazing. Very happy.  I don't think I've ever felt so amazing, relaxed, unafraid and happy. So exhilarated. x such a big smile.”  I will do another blog about the mechanics of the new wig at another time (with more, better photos!), but for now, I want to focus on the effect of it.  I’ve never worn a wig that wasn’t in some way flawed.  It never quite looked, from all angles, like hair should.  It never really passed as hair.  In the last week, just simply having something that looks like it grew out of my scalp and that it has always been there has almost, in one go, restored my confidence to where it was before I lost it.

Immediately following my fitting, A and I had discussed going out for dinner which I never for a moment thought I would actually do.  I thought that I would chicken out.  Whereas actually, this time, I felt so lovely that I wanted to go.  So we went.  I’m sure I got clocked, but actually, I didn’t care, I just was floating on a cloud of confidence.  So much so, I went shopping afterwards in Rhiannon mode too.  I’m not sure what’s happened, but something just clicked into place in my head.  Two days later, I spent the whole day in the office in Rhiannon mode again and usually when I’m like that and we have visitors (e.g. deliveries), I scuttle out of the room and hide.  That day, I felt happy with how I looked and just smiled sweetly and stayed at my desk.  The next day I was desperate to be me again.  The weekend has disappointed because I’m at home and can’t be me.

I just can’t wait for the next chance to go out publicly as me.  Maybe you could argue that I’ve just found a new crutch that has helped. but if that’s the case, I don’t care.  I’ve not felt like this for a long time, I’m enjoying being me, again.  I’m excited to push the boundaries, again and finally, again, it starts.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Emotions

They say that girls are more sensitive (for that, read emotional).  Personally, I don’t think that is strictly true.  I think that it is much more person specific.  I do buy into the idea that girls are "allowed" to show their emotions more than boys.  Boys are encouraged to button up their feelings.

Imagine for a moment that the scale of emotion is 1 to 10:
1 equals unemotional and where emotion is completely inwardly contained
5 equals feeling emotions inside, but not showing them outwardly
10 equals being visibly upset and crying at the drop of a hat

If a someone is at 5 and something upsetting happens that moves them to 10, they cry.  If someone is at a 1 and the same thing happens, they could move from 1 to 5.  For them, this would be a really emotional response, after all they have reacted similarly, but no-one would spot it because outwardly, it doesn’t show.

What I was wondering was whether men, in general, were conditioned to be 1-5 and women something like 5-10?  If that is true, where does a trans person sit on this spectrum -- is it in line with the gender they feel inside or with the way they were brought up?  Or neither?

I've had a couple of upsets of late.  Silly little things, not meant by the people in the way that I took them, but they still got to me.  One of them was a weight related comment.  I am fat.  In the past I always said that I yoyo'd my weight, but over the last few years it yo'd up and stayed there really.  My genetic family are all on the large side and I use food and where possible alcohol to forget how sad I am most of the time.  The effect of this means I’m large and that I hate my appearance and by association I hate myself.  It is part of the reason why I don’t present as Rhiannon so much.  5’11 and really fat makes me feel like I stand out as a ‘bloke in a dress’.  It is a point that has been raised to me in the past by not nice people.  And at the end of the day, I am fat, so despite having the wrong motivation to tell me, they are speaking the truth.

What is interesting me is that when I do get these negative comments about my appearance, how do I react?  Sometimes, it is like water off a ducks back.  I just ignore it and laugh it off.  As I said, it is in reality true.  Other times, if I get the same comment, it's the end of the world.

So why is it that sometimes I react like that and sometimes I don't?  Is it that when I am in (or thinking in) male mode, I have a reaction more aligned with my up-bringing?  At those times,  I feel like an actor pretending to be something different.  When comments are made, they are not really talking about the real me, so I'm not bothered.  Its like I’m at a 3 on the sensitivity scale and a comment might push me to a 5.  It hurts inside but wouldn’t outwardly register.   The training to feel like this was good and despite being a relatively emotional person, I have always been good at controlling my feelings -- it is why I was able to hide Rhiannon for so long.

But increasingly, I am trying to stop it and to respond in accordance with my true feelings.  This isn't without its problems.  When I expose my true self, I just can't cope with any negative comment.  It feels like I can spend days going up and down between 6 and 10.  So, for example, when comments are made about fat people, I feel that everyone is looking at me and directing the comment at me because I am like an oversized elephant.  10 is reached with no effort at all.  Despite it being horrible to get upset and to feel the pain of it, somehow it makes me feel alive.  I need to find ways of not overreacting, but at the same time being ok with letting my emotions run their course.

It strikes me that this is one of the battlegrounds of changing your gender.  I am really comforted by my ability to be more emotional.  It probably is sexist and for that I apologise, but being sensitive or emotional makes me feel more feminine and in tune with my true gender.

Monday, 30 March 2015

I wish was that brave...

So.  Tomorrow is the Transgender Day of Visibility and I've toyed long and hard as to whether to go through with becoming more visible.  I fear that it wouldn't end well, but I'm just sick of hiding.  So I prepared this for my male Facebook page:

And this to go alongside it: "This is probably not the wisest decision I have ever made, but I’m in my 40th year and the thought that another Day of Visibility goes by without me saying something just seems wrong.  Truth be told, however, I’m terrified of doing this.  Whilst some of you lovely people know already and have been fantastic, for some it will be surprise or a disappointment.  I guess I can’t control or help that.  For some, it will be a source of embarrassment and pain.  But I can’t stop being me.  You see, I’ve known about this my whole life.  Well, since I was 4.  I’ve been ashamed of who I am and hated and loathed myself for most of that time.  Much as I’ve fought this, I’ve never won.  So here you are.  Me.  Now you know and I hope with everything in me that you stay my friend, but if you don’t, I understand.  I want you to know that I don’t think any worse of you, whatever you think of me.  To the rest, thank you.  If you ever want to discuss it or to know more about who I am, you only have to ask.  Take care x"

If only I had the poor sense and judgement to push the button.  Just as I have on here...

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Cinderella…you shall go to the ball, just as you are

Of late, I’ve been fine.  Sorry that I’ve not been on here, but work has been busy, immersive, non-stop and intense.  I also have various out of work commitments - committees, trusteeships et al, that have been all encompassing.   Rhiannon days have come in fits and starts.  A month or so ago, I had three or four days in a row where I presented as I feel inside and it was lovely.  But really, it is too time draining for this time poor lass.

Work are very kind to me and let me dress when I want, but we work in a complex with other companies.  I don’t necessarily want to make it too obvious to the other people around that I’m trans as I’m not fully out to them all.  I’m a little bit in a weird limbo.  If I was going to go full time, it would be fine, but in this weird in-between stage, letting a load of people know about me who don’t know me would be weird.

When I do it, I tend to get to work early to make up and dress.  Just before the end of the afternoon, I undo it all and get ready to go home.  Mrs A still disapproves, so I just have to pretend.  When I have a dressed day, it is an hour out of my day that I need to use for working at the moment.  If I could get ready in the morning, before I get to work and then have it on all evening, it would be different, but that’s not how it works - I have instead to get dressed and ready twice.  During the day I’m distracted by it because I’m worried that people are going to traipse in the office - postmen, couriers, workmen etc.  And I just am not ready for everyone to know.  I find it hard to keep taking my armour on and off.

Essentially, I rhiannon when the pain and mental anguish of not being Rhiannon is so strong and palpable that I have no choice but to do it.  That happens fairly frequently.  But the rest of the time, if I can resist, I resist.  Its horrible knowing that I have this pain in my life and to be made to feel so sad for being me is just horrible.  My life consists of working, going home, working some more, eating, falling asleep, starting again the next day.  I’ve gone back into the mode of not thinking about it and avoiding it by replacing it with distractions.

Then there are days like yesterday.  I’ve blogged about it before, so you won’t be surprised.  But it was a special day.  My wife and mother were getting dressed up.  Just like Cinderella, I was helping them look great and feminine.  Touching up nail polish, advising on dresses, discussing make up options, making them feel great about combinations of clothing.  But I had to put on a suit and tie.  The thing that I am straight jacketed with every day at work.  Instead I just wanted to scream, weep, cry and run away.  But I can’t.  I just have to endure it.  Unlike Cinderella, no fairy godmother is coming for me.  No-one is going to wave a magic wand.

I thought about the Cinderella analogy a lot during the day.  Its interesting isn’t it.  The Fairy Godmother is the best that could have happened.  Imagine instead that Cinder’s family had inflicted a worse punishment.  Imagine instead that they said she could go, but that she was have to go in the rags that she wore in the kitchen cellar where they kept her.  How ugly and inappropriate for the ball she would have felt.  The prince probably would have looked twice at her, but only to wonder why someone bought her amongst the finery looking so wrong. That’s how I felt yesterday.  I was dressed completely wrong for the ball.

If I want to change it, I have to do it.  But I come back to the cost.  Lost home, family, wife, and on and on and on.  And I stop myself.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Never met another Rhiannon?

Just a quick one today.  Do you ever have those moments when you just wish you had the wherewithal, albeit dressed in boy mode, to just yell out that you are not the boring guy sat in jeans and a horrible top, but that you are really a girl just dying to leap out of yourself?  I’m guessing that for the majority of my readers there is a simple yes answer there.

I keep myself under control most of the time.  The number of times per day that I out myself has significantly reduced.  But today I was sorely tempted.

Just for context, not for boasting, I’m in Washington DC.  For those of you who don’t know, I sometimes travel with work and this time, en route (ish) home, I stopped off for 4 days in Washington.  I arrived at the end of last week and have been on a mad museum, art and famous place fest for the last three days.  I’ve just had the most brilliant time.  I’m on my own, so am free to do whatever I like, when I like and how I like with no reference to anyone else.  This is the only time my work travel will seem glamourous.  Normally when away, I work Monday to Friday, seeing only hotels and the office and do my flying on Saturday and Sunday, effectively losing two weekends every time I travel.  Not glamourous at all.

Today is the last day of my time here and so I went for breakfast (in boy mode) this morning and was munching away (in a delicate lady-like fashion) when a very exuberant twenty-something American lady walked past.  (Is everyone exuberant in this country? It does feel like it.)  Anyway, I was sat at my table when she excitedly went past saying, “The most amazing thing happened this week.  I met another Rhiannon for the first time ever.  We were both (like) talking and she said that she was Rhiannon and I was just so amazed because I’ve never met another one before.” (etc, etc, etc).

You can imagine why I was tempted.

There used to be an advertisement in the UK where the tagline was something like, “When a man you’ve never met before suddenly gives you flowers…that’s Impulse”.  it advertised a body spray.  Well, this scenario was a bit like that.  “When a man you’ve never met before suddenly tells you that he’s the second Rhiannon you’ve met in one week…that’s probably weird and a little creepy.”  So I didn’t.  But today I was sorely tempted.  And hope that one day I will.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Dysphoric Moments

So truth be told, I’ve not been diagnosed with gender dysphoria.  And I’m relaxed about getting the label - if I am, I am, if I’m not I’m not.  I know that whatever medically or psychologically the Doctors decide, I can’t bear being in the gender that was assigned to me at birth.  I saw my GP and told them about my gender confusion a few weeks ago and so the process of thinking about that has begun.  Normally the feeling of awkwardness and dislocation is at a low-ish level of volume in the background.  Granted, it is there all the time, and I can feel it.  I’ve said it before but at least every 15-20 minutes of my life, something reminds me and my mind turns to it.

Last night, I had what I describe as a ‘dysphoric moment’.  Irregularly, and fortunately not frequently, I get a burst of intense panic where I have the most intense emotional feeling that I can’t live for a moment longer without expressing myself as a female.  When I say “can’t live”, you understand my meaning - I’m 100% not saying I’m suicidal.  My thoughts rarely turn that dark.  But when these ‘dysphoric moments’ strike, I feel beside myself with strong, difficult to control emotions where I feel that I'm about to explode and am literally beside myself.  Given that, knowing my personal circumstances, I can’t get into Rhiannon-mode as I desperately want to at that moment, I just have to ride it out and wait for it to pass.

Sounds easy doesn’t it?  But those of you who experience this, also know that it is more complicated than that.  My problem is that I'm a bit of an externaliser and when provoked, a talker. Bursts of intense dysphoria normally make me want to talk to someone, anyone about what is going on in my head.  I wish that my answer to it would be a cup of tea or a drive or to play some music.  But it isn’t.  In the past, these moments have led me to undertake some fairly stupid (and not particularly well thought through) self-outings to people.  I’ve done it, just so that I could talk to someone.

The worst thing is when I have the combination of having those feelings and being sat near any device or laptop with access to my Facebook account which remains in my male name for now.  It is a recipe for disaster!  Many times I've written and deleted statuses (or is that statii?) that have told the whole world who I really am! Fortunately tonight two people - a very good friend who, when the mood catches them, will talk the hind legs off a donkey and a female friend who knows about Rhiannon and is completely lovely - were both on line and willing to talk.  It meant that I could just blow off steam, have a general chat, and talk until the moment past.  I’m ashamed to say that my old coping mechanism that I shouldn’t revert to - i.e. a glass of wine, also came into play.

I got past it.  The intense period passed reasonably quickly and the residue went after a while and I was back to low level background noise.  It gets set off so easily that I’m now just waiting for the next one.  I hope its not soon…

Thursday, 1 January 2015

2015 Anthems

Happy New Year!  Let's see what 2015 has in store for us.  It is at least going to start positive.

I know that this is probably little behind the times, but as a sad 'Legally Blonde' fan, over the last few weeks, I've been drawn again and again to the song from the soundtrack, 'Watch Me Shine' by Joanna Pacitti.  The lyrics really do encapsulate how I feel:

"I'm not your average type of girl
I'm gonna show the world the strength in me
That sometimes they can't see

I'm about to switch my style
And soon things may get wild
But I will prove that I can conquer anything

So from my head to toe
I'm taking full control
I'll make it on my own this time
(Better watch me shine)

Better watch out going for the knockout
And I won't stop till I'm on top now
Not gonna give up until I get what's mine

Better check that I'm about to upset
And I'm hot now so you better step back

So get ready here I come
Until the job is done, no time to waste
There's nothing stopping me

Oh, but you don't hear me though
So now it's time to show
And prove I'm gonna be the best I can be"


Apologies for a schmaltzy New Year cheese fest, but occasionally I feel the need to be inspired and right now this is helping! :o)  I think this might be playing on loop for a while...


(One of the YouTube offerings of the song, incase you are feeling the same!)