Saturday, 29 October 2016

I hate my name

I’m probably just being weird now, but I find that the things gender dysphoria chooses to settle on to be very odd.   I’m used to frequent lows and constant desperation due to the massive incongruence.  But of late something new has started that is very weird.  Really weird.  And a little upsetting I guess.

I write a LOT of email.  I don’t get 100s a day like I know some people get, but given the type of work I do, I generate a lot of email traffic as I’m regularly badgering people for work / to meet deadlines etc.  When I have been writing emails recently, I have been getting a palpable sense of dread as I near the end of the email, knowing that I am going to have to, yet again, type my boy name.  Its almost like it is quickly becoming an obvious and painful reinforcement of who I am not.  Each time I send one, I contemplate whether I can reduce the formality of the email by leaving my name off altogether and bypassing the problem.  It can last at least a few minutes debating with myself over a 3 sentence email.

Sometimes it goes further and I feel a desperate compulsion to change my official email signature to Rhiannon [insert real surname].  On days when I’m feeling that way out and am sending an email to someone I know well and who knows I’m trans, I gleefully make the change.  They probably think I’m just being a bit mad.  I, however, am feeling relief like you can’t imagine…

I’m starting to think that I have this thing quite badly.  That its getting worse.  And that I’m sliding inextricably towards a need for radical change.  If an email signature is now causing me pain an extra 50 times a day, I think I might have a real problem.   It seems so small and stupid now that I write it down, but I guess I can't really help it, I lay bare my madness.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Praise for another ally

I know that there are some people in the world - many people in fact, who just hate the trans community.  I get that, but today, I think we should celebrate once more, our friends and allies who, frankly, are just so awesome, kind and who take acceptance to a whole new level.  I have many of those people in my life and I am so thankful for it.  This week, I added another.  As I have mentioned in recent posts, I have just joined a diet-group-slash-slimming-class-slash-fat-club (delete as applicable).  It is going well so far - 22.5lbs lost - clothes that were tight are miraculously fitting again.  My favourite dress still eludes me, but I’m nearly there with it.

Anyway.  I have an issue with slimming club leaders and Doctors for that matter.  When I say I have an issue with them, let me rephrase that, I have an issue with them not knowing something I never told them.  After all, surely they should be mind readers?  I don’t tell them I’m trans.  I know that you might roll your eyes at this, so I apologise, but part of the reason I’m large of body is that my trans-ness makes me desperately sad sometimes and I comfort eat (and drink) to overcome it.   Its a bad coping mechanism, I know.  The best one (full time as Rhiannon) is a work in progress.   So I am choosing to go somewhere to get help.  The issue I have is that when I go, I’m presenting male and so that’s how I’m treated - I’m a man losing weight to become all buff and handsome.  Having my motives for losing weight misunderstood, is a really painful thing for me that makes me very unhappy.  I want to be understood as Rhiannon and for the people who support me to know why they are doing that and what I’m really trying to get from their help.

Recently the diet-group-slash-slimming-class-slash-fat-club have run this thing where you set your short-term goal of what you want to try to achieve by Christmas.  I’m still in the ‘lots to lose’ category, so I realise that I’m not so much interested in my promise to myself for this Christmas, but that my goal is for the next one - 2017.  By then, I want to be comfortably fitting into a size UK14 dress.  Its a big ask as i’d need to lose about 5 dress sizes, but I’ve already lost 1 and I think it is do-able.

The leader of our group is such a supportive lady and we recently connected on Facebook.  Our group members regularly and spontaneously stand up to sing her praises as to how she has helped them and made a difference to their lives and I’m really not surprised.  She is total bundle of positive energy.   So I figured in for a penny, in for a pound, I’ll tell her.  So tentatively, with a terrible opening message along the lines of, “Hello. Ok. So. Support. I'm nervous. Scared more like. I've sought help on my slimming before, but to my regret, I've never told any of my previous people why I'm slimming which is actually the most important bit really.  Not sure how you'd take it and whether I'm about to make a mistake that will alienate you forever...this is really not something I'm sure about.  Can I confess the secret only selected friends and family know...? If this is already TMI, honestly, I won't say, but clearly, it already sounds too interesting I suspect…”

She gave me to ok to go ahead, and so I did: “The target by this Christmas is interesting, but my target by the following Christmas is more revealing.  I want to be a size 14.  I’m transgender.”  Way to blurt it out.

Following my shaky start what unfolded was probably one of the most instantly supportive, accepting and enthused conversations I’ve ever had.   One of the opening lines from her was that she had suspected something.  Clearly this just confirms that they are mind readers after all - I’ll never have to out myself again! :o)  It continued through her saying it is awesome and exciting.  I showed her my Flickr page and this blog. She responded that I look beautiful.  I told her about the medical reasons for losing weight to help get prescribed with hormones etc and she offered her absolute support with helping me to achieve my goal and my dreams.  Her recognition, from her own past, that people can be judgemental and ignorant really helped.  Her perceptive responses really amazed me, the genuine depth of understanding is really unusual.  It left me happy, elated and reassured and was really lovely.

All of this happened on FB messanger and I’m not at group this week as I’m away on holiday, but I am nervous about the next group session.  I’m always a little more shy in person about this stuff.  My work persona, for example, is different - I have to present confident and accomplished - but secretly I’m shy and a little bit (or a lot) insecure and lacking in self esteem.  But I’ve been bowled over so far by her response and, who knows, one day, I might be able to go to the group as Rhiannon and be welcomed by the other slimmers.  Certainly that dream feels a step closer and I know that I have another amazing fierce strong woman helping me in my corner.  I’m very grateful.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Desperation is growing

Sometimes you realise that some old sayings are indeed, true.  In this case, ’you can have too much of a good thing’ is something that I’m suffering from at the moment.  This week has been very very Rhiannon.  Sunday afternoon and evening, Tuesday afternoon and evening, all day Wednesday and all day Thursday, I’ve been in girl mode and have been very very happy.  Weight is going down and confidence is growing.  But honestly, its causing me to really struggle.  Every time I have to return to my male disguise, my heart breaks and I want to cry.  Desperation is growing.  I just want to be full time right now.

This week has seen me driving to Birmingham, UK, in Rhiannon-mode, checking into a hotel.  When I was in my room, I fancied a night in one of my favourite normal girl dresses.  Upon realising that I’d left my mobile phone in my car, I thought sod it and I popped out in my dress.  Exhilarating and felt great, even with a group of loud men looking on!  On top of that I had a lovely evening in with A2, diet food and wine.  Then time out watching the new Bridget Jones movie at the local cinema and today, lunch at Nandos.  Add in that I went shopping in Boots and I think I’ve been really brave this week.

I got noticed very little and anyone who did, just didn’t say anything.  The weight loss means that clothes are fitting me again.  A lot more to go, but I suspect that by Saturday, the total dropped will be 21lbs which is a fantastic achievement so far - given that I’m enjoying eating still!!  All of this means that I’m not just content, but desperate to get out more and more in Rhiannon mode.  I’m not being stupid and risk taking, but I am focussed on getting on with life.

The challenge is twofold with going full time.  Work won’t be an easy one to resolve - lots of thinking and work to do to decide how to move things forward.  Financially, full time leads to splitting with my wife and funding two households for a time.  Neither easy, but I’m giving a lot of time to working out how I can overcome both challenges.  The problem is that in the mean time, I’m struggling.  I need more of my good thing.  I daydream about being full time and long for when I can be myself all of the time.  And right now this is making me desperate.  I’m not going to do anything stupid and rash - its a time for careful thinking and planning, but I wish it wasn’t.  I wish it was already happening.