Saturday, 28 January 2017

“I get by with a little help from my friends”

I apologise for my relentless cheerfulness in yet another happy blog.  Don’t worry, my normal sadness will resume at some point I’m sure.  My highs are high, but my lows are bad.   I can’t remember if I’ve said, but one of my favourite themes in films is friendship.  Of course I love romantic films as much as the next girl.  Who wouldn’t love the press conference in “Notting Hill” for example?  But for me, friendship movies trump that: Samwise and Frodo, Andy and Red, Han and Chewie, Woody and Buzz, ET and Eliot, Elle and Paulette - there are just so many. :o)

Anyway, I digress.  I sometimes feel very isolated and alone.  But then there are other times when I realise the richness of the friendships I have and know that they are enough to give me strength and to sustain me through the tough times ahead.

This week has been a case in point.  It opened with a Rhiannon dinner with a great friend, wine and laughter and feeling normal and accepted.  I resisted all bad foods and made sure I stuck to some great veg dishes.  The conversation flowed and no matter what nonsense I talked and the obsession I have with gender, we both enjoyed ourselves.  I also walked to and from the restaurant - and am really feeling amazingly comfortable doing this now.

Another night at Chams, in Nottingham, later in the week saw me meeting some new folks as well as seeing the second ever lovely Mrs Jones (the first being her wife).  A greater, warmer welcome couldn’t be asked for - as well as Lynn being genuinely as lovely as she sounds in her blog, the rest of the group are pretty special too.  We covered a range of topics and there is always laughter on tap.  Its amazing how great it is to sit amongst a group of trans-people knowing that they completely get me, my history, my fears and my worries.   And Lynn takes a mean photo!  My goodness, no-one’s captured me that well for ages!

The following day was a meeting that, if I’m completely honest was making me nervous through the week.  I recently reconnected with a couple who I’ve been friends with for a long time, but have not seen for 5-6 years.  I only told them about the fact that I am trans about 4-5 weeks ago.  I thought I would be rejected out of hand as they have a very strong Christian faith and that’s often the outcome.  But I honestly couldn’t have been more surprised and moved by the compassion, love and acceptance I received.  Before arriving, I suddenly had a panic moment: were they expecting me in female presentation?  They reassured me that they were and I arrived (see photo left).  3 hours later and two cups of tea and we were chatting like we’d never been apart and like I’d always been a woman.  He is a church leader and if every church group behaved like they do, they would win over most of our community (me included) in no time.  Our conversation was wide ranging and meaningful.  I didn’t want to leave, but knew that work beckoned, so I pulled myself away and hope that its not long until I see them again.

Alongside that, all week, people have been dipping in and out on Facebook, on the phone, on WhatsApp and email and I’ve felt surrounded by people who really do care about me.  I really am a very lucky girl - fun conversations, heart pouring out conversations and lots of joy.  And more meetings being set up all the time, so more time as me which is never a bad thing.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

The crazy days of 2017…

Wow, what a start to the year!  So, I’m really sorry that I’ve not blogged and have had to resort to a bumper blog to bring you up to speed!  I have had the craziest, busiest start to the year that I think I’ve ever known.  For those who know me, that is really saying something!  My feet have honestly not touched the ground.  I’ve been up and down the byways and highways of the UK relentlessly - and have to say that despite another few weeks of this continuing ahead of me, I’m really tired.  42 year old lasses shouldn’t put their bodies through this stress!

That said, I’ve also been moving forward on the Rhiannon front too - and in the middle of all of this busyness, I’ve managed several outings which have been fantastic.  Several days have already been spent being me and it has made me so much happier.  That I seem so happy is the number one comment I get these days.  Clearly, that is also intensely confusing as it continues to raise the thorny issue of transition.  Thorny not because I don’t want it, I’ve realised that I’ve never wanted anything more with my whole heart, but that the implications for both home and work are huge.  Conversations are looming that terrify me.  But I know that for my piece of mind and sanity I need to get on with it.   My counsellor has agreed to write a referral document confirming that he agrees with my self-diagnosis of gender dysphoria.  He is asking my Doctor to think about moving me to the next stage of transition.  So assuming that my system can cope, I could start my hormones in the next few months.   He can’t believe how much I’ve changed and grown in confidence over the last 6-8 weeks alone.  To help that along, I’ve continued to lose weight - and despite an early year slump (just busy), I’ve got another 4lbs off, so I’m up to 3 stone 4 lbs lost (46 lbs / 21 kgs).  I’m aiming to lose 10 stone in total by the end of this year.  So far, this means I have dropped 3 dress sizes which is really exciting!

I have continued to discreetly bring a few people into my circle of trust and they have been very supportive including the wisest person I’ve ever met - an amazing lady who in her early 20s already has the most incredible insights.  She has made several observations that have had a huge impact on changing my thinking.  A complete shout out to her.   I’ve also had support from some surprising places and this week have a meeting with some old friends which equal parts scares and excites me.

This month as well as just coping and trying to get through the work, I’ve tried to make time for Rhiannon.  So as well as my usual nights in at hotels working and watching TV, I’ve been busy!   I’ve been out for dinner with girlfriends twice, spent the day out and about including my monthly counselling appointment and waxing, I’ve just been braver and gone out of my hotel room on short errands as me rather than changing back before I open the door, I popped into Pink Punters on my own and had some interesting chats with drunk 19-year olds who were completely lovely.  I’ve had to buy some new dresses because I’ve shrunk and a third of my wardrobe is too big now.  I’m wearing dresses a lot more out because now I’ve lost weight (and discovered Spanx), I’m feeling so much more confident.  Its still fragile, but it really is getting there.

The next month or so has even more planned and I promise I will blog as it happens — there will be a lot to share.  But in the mean time, I thought you’d be interested in seeing some of the photos from the year so far…