Highs and Lows

Well we’ve come to the end of another year. Can someone tell me where it ran off to? Seriously, where has 2015 gone? It’s like someone’s held down the fast forward button down or something. I’ve never known a year to zip by so fast. Anyway I’m going to be real original here tonight as it’s new year’s even tomorrow and take a look back at the year, do resolutions etc.

So anyway, the highlights. The biggest (and probably most obvious one) has to be coming out, transitioning and becoming who I’ve felt I’ve always should have been. I’ve a long way to go but physically and mentally I’m in a far better place because of this. I’m also blown away by the amount of love, support and encouragement I’ve had from family, friends and work regarding my transition. I’ve also made a great many new friends along the way too who have been so helpful and supportive for me and Richard as we work things out and go forward together. I have another sister too as a result of all this. 🙂

Transition has brought me and Richard closer together, something I didn’t imagine happen when I was contemplating coming out. Now I’m not hiding myself I’ve not got a load of barriers up and I’m not keeping him at arm’s length any more, well apart from when he wants to get intimate, but that’s one of the things we’re still working on right now and hopefully making steps forward in the department as I become used to the various new sensations I feel as a result of being myself and being on hrt.

Work has been another highlight. Last year I landed a job at a company who offer various care services for adults with autism and learning disabilities and quickly found it was the right job for me. This year having settled in at the home I’m at now and having built up a great working relationship with the residents there I was put forward for a promotion to a senior role in recognition for my hard work and for really getting stuck in and helping with the everyday running of the establishment.The fact they have been brilliant at supporting me with my transition is only a bonus.

Meeting a lot of new friends who have been wonderful and really helpful with transition and helping with getting to grips with things. Some of you I’ve met, some of you I haven’t but plan on doing so next year. I loved Brighton Trans Pride (We’ve been wanting to go back to Brighton for ages) and the girls night out in Manchester in October and I hope to do a few more of these events next year. I’ve also recently learned about a transgender peer group in Medway. It’s a pretty small group but they’re very friendly and this is now becoming a regular fixture for me and Richard.

This year has seen me get back into do some of my creative pursuits. I’ve gotten back into writing this year after several years of not bothering for one reason or another. Obviously this blog is one result in this creative renaissance. Another is my transition diary/scrapbook I’m keeping and I’m also keeping a visual diary too.

Richard is teaching me to sew and with his help I put together one of many new outfits for our re-enactment hobby and hoping next year we’ll expand on this further so long as he doesn’t try to get me onto his sewing machine again. I know I’m not brilliant at sewing by hand but at least I feel in control and able to do what I want to do. It’s one of those funny quirks of mine.

I’d love to get into drawing or something along those lines, but it’s something I’ve never felt happy with on the rare occasions I’ve tried. I just can’t get what’s in my head onto paper and feel happy with how it looks. One day perhaps.

I also ditched my old motorbike at the start of the year, though my plans for this was brought forward somewhat. It was due it’s first MOT in March but there was so many things wrong with the thing it would have been more economical to scrap it and buy a new one. I had planned on putting in overtime at work to save up for it. I ended up taking delivery of my new bike two days after new year. This was down to me coming back from the GP of all places on the old bike, skidding on some ice and crashing the bike into a salt bin. Funnily enough that was a year ago today. Luckily I wasn’t going fast and the only injury I picked up was a cut to my leg, but it was enough to bend the steering column so badly that I had to use full right lock to wheel the thing in a straight line home. Out with the old and in with the new, and the new has been a hell of a lot more reliable so far.

Health wise I’m by and large in a better place now. My arthritis hasn’t bothered me so much since I started taking linseed capsules daily (an apparent side effect is they lower testosterone) and it’s been a long while since my knees have been bad enough to warrant needing a stick. I know my joints are slowly going to get worse over the years but with some care I seem to have slowed down the worst of things for now. I’ve even become bold enough to order an exercise bike for the new year, though I’ll be going easy on this. Mentally I’ve finally shrugged off the cloud that has been bothering me for so many years now and no longer feel depressed as I’m out and no longer hiding myself away.

One last and little thing, a perennial resolution that has always ended in failure was promising to stop biting my nails. Years spent trying various yukky solutions to stop an annoying habit had failed. I’m very happy to report this year I’ve finally did it, as various pictures I’ve posted have shown. I’m also quite surprised how staff at work have commented on my nails. Apparently I do a pretty good job painting them, which they seem to find surprising until I mention it’s something I’ve done for half my life.

So that was the good, and now onto the bad and sad.

The start of the year was pretty hard. I’d been struggling with myself for a long while, feeling rather trapped. Trapped inside myself, trapped because of worrying about Richard and family and trapped because of work. I had everything in life sorted except myself but I was terrified that in getting myself sorted out I’d lose everything else. Eventually I put that right and you know the rest, but the first part of the year was pretty miserable because of this, and it came to a point where if I did nothing I was going to slip back to the dark old days where I took things out on myself.

Richard and I have lost people who were very close to us. We lost my dad, which has been a hell of a shock given he was still fairly young and had been in good health until this year when all hell broke loose and in the space of three months we went from a scenario where everything was going to be ok to having to say our goodbyes.

We also lost Richard’s granddad, who we’ve lived with for all these years. If I’m honest he hadn’t been the same after a lengthy stay in hospital for pneumonia last year but June was when he really started going downhill. We almost didn’t go to the Waterloo Bicentenary, which was something Richard had been looking forward to for so many years and only went because we had a kindly neighbour who would keep an eye on his granddad. Alas the day we travelled back he took a turn for the worse and spent another couple of weeks in hospital and then a couple of weeks after returning home was admitted again, all COPD complications. He was only allowed home because we ended up moving his bed downstairs as he was unable to get up to his room and efforts to get a stair-lift for him had been unsuccessful. Once he learned he wasn’t getting a stair-lift he gave up and withered away over the next few weeks. Richard by then had given up work and become a full time carer for him, wasn’t sleeping because he was often called down at night and was trying to make things so that I wasn’t disturbed too much as I was working.

Needless to say this put a hell of a strain on our relationship at a time we were still uncertain we would stay together anyway because of my transition and various issues this has caused and I was in a position where being at work was preferable to being at home, especially when his granddad was taking about ending things, which I found hard to deal with at a time when dad was fighting for every day he could get. I remember one day where he snapped at me at a particularly bad time and I spent the next three days avoiding him because I was so pissed off and angry with everything going on at the time. Eventually Richard’s granddad got his wish and passed away the day after my dad’s funeral. I’ll add learning what you need to do in regards to funeral planning to stuff I really wish I didn’t have to educate myself on this year.

Seeing my sister go through the troubles she has when finally splitting up with her controlling and overbearing ex has been a mixed bag of feels. I’m glad she’s away from him and has her own place, which is much nicer and the kids love it but I’ve hated seeing her having to put up with the abuse he’s sent her way since the split and I’m hoping in the new year something more permanent can be done to stop him for good. What I’ve really wanted to do is stand up to him and slap him so hard I knock him on his arse but the kids have seen enough distressing fights and goings on and I have no desire to lose my job over him.

So, going forward into next year, 2016 will be the first full year I’ll be living as myself and all the fun that entails. I’ll start the year with an appointment with an endocrinologist and get my hormones sorted out once and for all, then later on it’ll be appointments at Charing X CIG and maybe get referred for surgery by the end of the year (I can dream, right?). I’ll also be continuing my appointments with laser hair removal and probably switching over to electrolysis later on in the year.

Richard will hopefully be going back to work part time in the new year too and he’s busy with re-enactment project which is taking up a fair bit of time and helping him out of his malaise and we’ll be both looking into getting back into re-enactments next year as this season was cut short. This I’m looking forward to as I am enjoying playing an officer’s wife so much more than portraying an artillery gunner.

We’ll hopefully finish getting the house decorated too. The living room has been in need of redecoration for years, not least because the century old lathan plaster ceiling has seen better days and the carpet is knackered so we’re in for a full tear down and start over in the room. While this is something I’ve done elsewhere in the house, this time I’m getting the professionals in. I just don’t have the time to do it all myself I’m really not in a position to do heavy duty stuff like putting a new ceiling up, partly because of not having the strength and partly because of my joints not being up to it. That said I’ll add a few creative touches once the main work is done and I’ll likely take that chance to finally get the last of my old pictures down and away so they’re not bothering me any more, (they’re slowly going).

We’re also both looking forward to going to a few events and meet ups we hope to have planned in the new year with various people. I’m already looking into going to Sparkle next year and have the time booked off of work as well as some other events and generally meet up with more of the amazing people I’m in contact with in the new year.

As for resolutions, I have a few now, some that have been ongoing for a while. I’m continuing to work on my voice and fine tune things, along with my speech and use of language. I’m also doing something about my handwriting, namely get away from the kind of scrawl that GP’s tend to use when I write and some of you have seen.

I’m going to get into doing some more exercise as I really need to do something about improving my stamina, cardio and breathing. I loved cycling and had to stop because of my knees but I’m giving an exercise bike a go and see how things progress from the comfort of my own home

I’m also going to work on how I act in social situations, try and not slip in to my happy bubble where I say very little and kinda disappear.

Finally I’m going to try and slow down a little next year. I’ve gone through 2015 at breakneck speed and that’s something I don’t want to keep doing, so I’m going to try and take more time for myself to chill out, maybe take up meditation of some sort and generally try and help calm my mind.

All in all I’m looking forward to 2016 and hoping it’ll be a wonderful year all round, so whatever you’re all doing to ring in the new year, stay safe, have fun and happy new year to you all, and I really hope it brings all that you wish for.

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