Saturday, 31 December 2016

End of Year Outtake Selfies - me unedited?

So, as a final hurrah to 2016, I was going back through my selfies taken on my computer's camera and found a few *ahem* that I thought were nice, but got missed on previous blogs - or I deselected them because I was looking daft, doing something odd or showing off far too much chinage (is that even a word?).

Having started on this weight loss journey too (they are on in chronological order) - it was fascinating to see the effect of slimming down... hey, its new year, indulge me!

And have a fantastic 2017!  Wishing, hoping and praying that it is an amazing year for all of us. :o)




Friday, 30 December 2016

Scary Experiences Part 2 - The Update

Thank you so much to you all for your encouragement earlier in the week —I really was feeling very nervous about my lunch today.  When I met with them though, as some of you said, I’m really not sure why I was nervous as they were completely lovely and awesome.

The day started this morning with the lady I was meeting sending a group text to confirm that everyone was ok and to make sure we had the right time etc.  We agreed the time and I have to confess that I sent a side message to her to a) own up to my nervousness and b) to ask her what she was planning to wear.  She is one of the people I most admire from a fashion perspective - she spends a lot of money on clothes and particularly on shoes - and everything, expensive or not, is tasteful and completely suits her.  Today’s Jimmy Choos were a complete triumph!   She looked incredible.  I didn’t want to look frumpy or overdressed, so I thought I would check in to make sure.  Between us we agreed that what I was going to wear was perfectly right for the occasion, so I went with it.

So I got ready as usual - clearly paying a good deal of attention to my make up to make sure it was as good as I could make it.  I have been experimenting with eye shadows recently as I’ve nearly run out of my now discontinued favourite colour.  Today - they got some of my final precious supply on my eyes.  Anything to try to impress!  I even spent lots of time sorting my hair out - hairdryer - special hair product etc.  I just wanted to look tip toppety.  Because - and genuinely this isn’t to provoke a response, but I look at myself and just see a fat bloke in a dress.  Its hard to see anything else I guess when its you.  I’ll look at photos and purely see the bad bits - but I guess we all do that.

When I arrived the chap was already there and we waited about 10 mins for the lady.  We were talking away - he was really lovely.  He said that he was really impressed at how well presented and appropriate I looked.  He even said (with the appropriate caveats so as not to offend me) that he thought I look much better as a girl than when I’m in boy mode.  He really meant it too - not just flattery.  Honestly, I could have cried.   The lady then turned up with flowers for me which REALLY could have set me off.  I’ve only ever been given flowers once before and her ones really were lovely.

So we passed a few very happy hours talking about everything - people we’d worked with and where they were now, each other’s lives, boob jobs (not mine), my transition plans, hair extensions, transphobia, shoes.  Just everything.   It felt so normal and so relaxed.   I even brought a new dimension to ‘getting them out for the lads’ by handing over one of my silicon inserts so the chap could see what we meant by them!!  The staff were even fantastic where we were eating.  My friends said that I seemed happier than I ever have been before with them.  Which was really true inside me.  Sometimes you just feel like you could glow from the complete happiness of acceptance and feeling like you look lovely.  They made me feel every inch like just any other girl in their social group and more than that, they made feel like I could gain acceptance from the whole world.

I need more days like today, I really do.  Would it be greedy to ask for every day to be like that?

PS Lynn J, in the comments on my last blog said that if there are no photos, it didn't happen.  Hence the photo!  I need to remember to take some more often - I quite liked the ones taken today! :o)

Monday, 26 December 2016

Scary Experiences

Help - so scared!  I have two friends (a chap and a lady) who I’ve known for around 8-9 years, they are both completely lovely.  We started out as work colleagues and over the years we grew closer.  When we all stopped working together, it started out with lunch meetings and over the years has turned mainly into an annual meet up for lunch.  This year its happening later this week.

They are familiar with the fact that I am transgender.  Since they found out, they’ve always been supportive and very kind about my gender issues.  Yesterday we were sharing a joint text conversation wishing each other a Merry Christmas and I’m not sure what grabbed me, but I finally thought that it was time to introduce them in person to the real me.  Oh my goodness.  It seemed like a very good idea at the time, but today the butterflies have already been flying around in my tummy and I’m scared.  This is the first time I’ve introduced Rhiannon to work folk in such a formal setting and am scared - they are people I really respect and I care about their views.  I don’t want them to just see a man in a dress and to pity me.  I want to hold my own as a girl with them.  Did I mention that I’m feeling a little bit of pressure.

I’m thinking that I’m going to wear my favourite dress that I’ve been talking about obsessively.  And I’m hoping that it goes ok and that its not a complete nightmare.  Oh goodness I’m so scared.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Its Official!

So apart from taking to the blog to wish you a very very Merry Christmas, I went to fat club this morning for the pre-Christmas weigh in and... a week ahead of when I thought it would happen, I managed to get my 3-stone lost award which was just a fantastic feeling.  Clearly I have a long way to go still.  2017 is going to see another 7-stone+ melting away, but its a good start and I’m feeling very happy and encouraged.

In other news, I've just had a week with lots of Rhiannon time which never fails to make me feel very happy.  Monday saw me going out with two girlfriends for Christmas lunch.  I was going to go originally in boy mode as I’m always conscious that I don’t want it to be forced on people all the time.  But I couldn’t resist and my favourite dress beckoned.  So out again in a dress it was.  My friends were lovely, the staff were friendly and kind and just accepted me as another lady out for lunch with her friends.  Complete bliss.  One of the things I'm always wondering about is my confidence when I'm out.  I asked S, who was with me,how I did and she said that she felt that I was much much more confident today than ever before.  So so happy!

Then we had our office mini-party later in the week.  Another Rhiannon day and my favourite Christmas present of the year from A who got me a Radley compact mirror.  I’ve been coveting hers all year and it made my day to get one of my own.  We drank nice wine until much too late and had lovely food from the on-site caterers.

I even had a lovely evening alone in a hotel this week which was so nice.  Don’t do that so much these days.  An evening of tea, work and slobbing in my favourite skinny jeans and a nice top.  Even got my nails painted a festive red! :o)

Rhiannon goes quiet now as I do the family thing for the next week, but I really hope that 2017 is both a year of growth as a woman and fingers crossed may include an opportunity to take things even further.  Full of hope and excitement for the year to come.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

So frustrating…and so stupid

Grrrrrrrrr.   Argggghhhhhh.   I’m at another one of those points where so much good is happening to me as Rhiannon that its causing even more frustration.  Going to the support group, Chameleons a week or so ago has unstuck some issues in my mind.  But its like one of those logical Yoda-isms (Rogue One is fantastic by the way) - “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”  OK, OK, enough fan girl stuff and to the point.  I’ve had some real successes in the last week or so and lots of me has been very happy.  But “happiness leads to needing to more happiness.  More happiness requires sacrifice which leads to frustration.  Frustration leads to stupidity.”

So, on happiness:

1. Weight loss is helping.  39.5lbs now lost since August which is great news.  This has increased my confidence.  Clothes that have been my staple for a long time now don’t fit me - I put on some jeans the other day which were just sagging around me.   Conversely clothes that were too small are now fitting again.  This is one of my favourite dresses and the fact that it fits me again is just a miracle.  Knowing that if I carry on it won’t any longer is bitter sweet.  Mainly sweet.  What other dresses await?

2. A long-standing friendship that I have which went south a few years ago, finally started to heal.  A couple whom I love a lot, but had drifted apart when I perceived their poor handling of Mrs A and my last break up, thawed.  I came out to them and they understood and were beyond accepting.  Hopefully a meeting in January will move it even closer to being resolved.

3. So much positive feedback about the picture I posted last time.  I've shown several of my friends and they have been lovely.  One friend, who I've blogged about before - L, was so amazingly fantastic.  I've re-read her comments loads of times because they were just so kind.  I wish I could publish them in full - just to be able to say, 'look someone knows I'm trans and still said these amazing words about me'.  I'm not saying this for effect, I sincerely believe the opposite from what she said and her words hit me deeply in my inner most soul.

4. The conversation that I talked about in my last blog where I was really struggling about how someone close to me was feeling got resolved.  We had a very good conversation where I was very honest about how I was feeling and my fears and she reciprocated with how it was impacting her and why.  I cried.  A lot.  Tears of relief but also of a frustration that is growing.

So these and other things are making me very happy at the moment (I am SO up and down aren’t I?).  Despite the fair warnings from some wise contributors, this happiness and acceptance can be very addictive.  Pretty much all the people who I want to know and like me as Rhiannon know, so to move further is to push the envelope into the world beyond that, which is scary.  I know that I’ll have to go further to transition which I think increasingly in my mind is the pathway I want.  But I try to balance that with doing it by my rules, in my timeframes.

So anyway, I went to a Christmas meal and had one too many wines.  Before you worry, I’ve been keeping my alcohol consumption under control of late happily.  But I was out with a group I do some work with and drunkness, frustration and need to be accepted combined in a sudden decision for me to out myself to a couple of the people there.  They are probably amongst the few people I have told who are a) out of my normal circle and b) could impact back on my life in an uncontrolled way.  To be fair, they were lovely, but I have no idea if they will report back on our conversation.  Normally when I tell people, I know that there is discretion and in this case I don’t know that at all.  I’m bracing myself for a circle of about 500 people who know me to potentially find out about Rhiannon.  Its either going to be ok or the most stupid thing I’ve ever done because I also have no idea how the broader group would respond.  Given that many of them are ruffty tufty men, I’m not sure if it’ll be positive.  Today is the first day I go back into that world and I’m actually a little scared.

I really do need to get my frustration under check.  My fat club Facebook group was posting before and after weight loss photos yesterday.  I was so near to posting a very different type of before and after photo that also included a dimension of weight loss.  I didn’t.   But I am a little worried that my usual patient and careful side is a bit raggedy at the moment and I need to get it under control before I do something that I need to do, but in a stupid timescale before I’m really ready.  Like now.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Tough times…off track…head back in the game

You’d think that an alien had taken me over and that a different girl was writing blogs if I didn’t throw you the odd rollercoaster.  Things have been very happier and steadier for a while, but the last two weeks have been very VERY up and down.  Its amazing what unexpected things affect me.  My gender issues always leave me in a volatile place I guess anyway.  I’m prone to undulating bouts of dysphoric misery.  But when negative stuff happens around me, I guess it triggers unhappiness too.  No-one’s fault - its my issue to deal with, but certain things have made me sad.  Sad and me (and diets in particular, I’m finding) don’t mix well.

Someone who I’ve felt very close to of late has been having a hard time, also through no fault of their own, although I think they feel like it is.  Horrible position for them to be in and its caused me to feel down on their behalf.  Combine this with an odd conversation where I, probably wrongly, got the impression that people in my life feel that hiding my thoughts on transition from Mrs A is a really awful thing to do and I got in a funk about it.  I think I’m open to feedback, but that hit me absolutely for six (or out of the park in a bad way?).   There was almost the sense that others are getting uncomfortable about being a party to my hiding of Rhiannon away from my family and being careful about who knows what about me.  I can understand that, I’ve been living by lying and hiding for 42 years, so I’m used to it.  It makes me feel awful that I put anyone under any strain by telling them my secret.  I felt that maybe my reaching out for support among my friends isn’t the best idea in the world for some people.  Add on top that its been a very busy and challenging time at work with lots going on and major travelling and…so on...

Last week in a desperate moment of indescribable sadness, looked around my world for someone to talk to and in a stupid moment of panic, I didn’t know where to go.  So I reverted to type.  My go-to people for help are Mrs Wine and Mr High Fat Food.  I’m ashamed to say that for part of the last fortnight, I got into a very unhelpful spiral including the appalling night I consumed two bottles of wine and a 14-inch pizza by myself. As well as my dinner.  Eating to the point where I almost felt sick.

I know its not good and probably points to underlying issues and all that jazz, but remember the title of the blog.  Its a story of redemption.  I realised just how badly I was doing and I found someone in my world who I could reach out to and I did.  As usual A2’s advice was amazing in response to my very long and traumatised email and she really helped me get out of the bad place.  She also realised that I completely overthink everything and when in a bad place can be a complete worrier.  I normally try to hide those two things too.

Today (I write this before I've left) is my weigh-in at fat club and I’m going to see the damage for the week.  Given that this was about a week ago and that I’ve got my head back in the game, I think I’m going to be ok, but its been hard.   Despite 'recovering', there will, I'm sure, be consequences.

This week though, I have to give a shout out, I was considerably helped by visiting Chameleons (trans support group) in Nottingham, UK.  How anyone can go to that group and fail to be cheered up is beyond me?  Not only was there dancing, food and the opportunity to put on a great dress, there was fantastic company, not least from the very lovely Lynn Jones of YATGB fame.  If you are ever down, you need her to help!  Thank you Lynn, you probably didn’t know how down I was feeling because I hide it well, but you really did make me feel so much better. :o)  I took this selfie before I left (forgive the bathroom behind it) and felt great.  Lynn shared the other picture, below, on her blog, so I’m hoping a reciprocation is ok, but whether I’ve changed or not, I’m not sure, but is that really what I look like?

Postscript:  I’m now back from fat club and…well, amazingly 2lbs off.  Its horrible when that happens in some ways.  I know people in the room who have worked hard and sacrificed - and I’ve done the diet for 5 out of 7 days and then had two days off the rails and still lost weight.  I’m sure I’ll reach the point where I can’t.  I hope I reach the point where I don’t go off the rails at all.  Of the rails normally means something has happened that I can’t deal with.

Anyway.  I know I’m going to regret posting this because I’m embarrassed by my human failings and weaknesses, I find this post mortifying, but I know that I try to be honest here - there has to be one place where you are I guess.