Category Archives: Everyday life

Trans Pride 2017

Well Trans Pride is over and done for another year and I’m at home and in bed writing this even though it’s only 8pm. I’m that tired, so tired I can’t concentrate and then spent most of the next day feeling rather ill.

The past few days have taken a lot out of me, more than I thought for a number of reasons. On the physical side of things my phone recorded 30k of walking spread over four days. Factor in the fact I went to Brighton a week after smashing my toe at home and then picking up a massive blister on the first night I’m quite surprised I managed to hobble and curse my way along such a distance.

Mentally I’m feeling very frazzled. Social events have that effect on me anyway but this year it’s been pretty brutal at times. I overdid things on Friday, had a meltdown on Saturday and spent a fair bit of Sunday in an unfocused haze. I’m starting to realise how neurodivergent I am and becoming more aware of how it impacts on a lot of things. As a kid I was diagnosed with ADHD and I know I have a number of sensory issues, such as being very sensitive to loud noises and bright light. I really need to sort out my glasses instead of having to choose being able to see clearly or being blinded by strong sunlight.

For instance Friday night we went to the Trans Pride Film Event. A series of short films by a number of different independent groups revolving around different aspects of gender identity and how they play out. The films themselves were interesting, but for accessibility all of the films had closed captions. This was brilliant as I was able to read what was being said instead of listening, or tying to listen to the films while trying to tune out about a million different and distracting noises. It also meant if there was a particular noise that was bothering me, I could block it out. Case in point, a droning sound in the first film resulted in me covering my ears until it had gone away. With the closed captions I could still follow the narrative while this was going on. I’m also realising if I am having to block sounds out by covering my ears when out and about no-one pays any heed, which is nice.

Thursday night was pretty good, Rebecca and I had made plans to meet up with our friend the lovely Kate and go for dinner out somewhere, which we did after we checked into the hotel and chilled out for a couple of hours. We were later joined by Lisa and had a good catch up over a couple of drinks. I think Rebecca actually got a bit drunk that night. The only downside was my feet acting up. My shoes weren’t comfortable and I later found I had a huge blister on my right foot on top of the bad toe that had been playing up. I walked back in my socks, which was another poor idea as walking for half an hour with no support on my arches meant I was almost in tears by the time we got back. It also resulted in me buying an emergency set of trainers while out and about on Friday.

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A lovely evening out with Kate (Far left) and Lisa (Far right)

Friday was a long old day, a bit too long looking back on it. We had a wander round the shops, lunch out and a trip to the Brighton and Hove art gallery afterwards. The gallery was interesting on a couple of fronts. For one they had a big Constable exhibition on display, secondly they had the museum of Transology, which had an effect on me. Basically it was a museum of curios donated by various trans people that symbolised their journeys and I can see myself writing a blog about something based on this in the near future. I do hope the exhibition finds a permanent home because it deserves one. Transgender history is rather fragmented thanks to a lot of stuff being destroyed and also serves to shoe people that we are not a recent trend but an integral part of society for as long as there has been a society to speak of. For anyone interested, go look at http://brightonmuseums.org.uk/brighton/exhibitions-displays/the-museum-of-transology/

The aforementioned cinema event followed in the evening and by then to be honest I was struggling, having been out all day and not really had a break or somewhere especially quiet to unwind. The films were fantastic, two in particular stuck with me though. One called Skeleton in a Beret was about a couple of people who used gaming to explore their gender identity, an avenue I’m familiar with in my own way. The other (Mum) was about a family, the mother was suffering from a long term illness, one of her adult children was trans and had transitioned and family relations were somewhat strained. It brought back memories, lets just say that. Again, link below for anyone wanting more information on things http://www.eyeswideopencinema.co.uk/blog/2017/7/11/trans-pride-2017-programme

Saturday was the protest march through Brighton, though not before Rebecca and I raided a couple of comic shops we saw the previous evening and got some goodies. The march itself was as expected, a lot of noise and visibility along with a lot of walking before getting to Brunswick park and having a wee chat with various people we know on Twitter. Then the rain came, then my mood crashed. It was cold, wet, my foot was in a lot of pain by then and we retreated to a pub where some friends were staying for a while before we got a bus back to the hotel. Next year I need to actually plan stuff rather than try and drift along and see what happens. I just feel very unfocused and isolated that way. Tears were shed and pizza was consumed.

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Getting ready for the Protest March, before the weather closed in

Sunday was another day out and about with Kate, coffee, lunch and shopping as well as a good chat about a couple of serious things going on. I hope she’s ok now. Again, after a couple of hours out and about I was flagging and needing peace and quiet and looking a bit ill too (which fits given how bad I’ve felt today, Tuesday). Eventually we picked up a small wardrobe of spare clothes Kate was giving away and returned to then hotel. That just left Monday and a quiet trip back home after having spent Sunday evening mostly talking to Rebecca through Twitter as I was trying to get my head and some thoughts in order while having a non verbal spell.

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More fun and adventures with my Rebecca and the lovely Kate

The main theme behind this long Twitter chain I was typing out was a theme of feeling a bit adrift and lost, which seems ironic being in Brighton of all places. It was here two years ago a lot of things transition wise swam into focus and I got into gear. I went full time soon after and haven’t looked back. I made some great friends who I was happy to see even if it was all too briefly at times for various reasons this time. Two years down the line I’m at a stage of transition where I’m ready to move forward and sort surgery out, but still waiting for the system. I’m also still waiting to get up and going with my new job, which as it turns out I shall be starting next week, but that’s not all.

Putting things into an understandable concept is hard for me at times. With what’s going on in my head I likened to seeing a load of threads on the ground. Are they mine? Do I pick them up? Throw them away? Leave them alone? Some things I’m sure of, like my gender identity, being madly in love with Rebecca and my gothy/witchy leanings. A lot of other things I’m less sure of and there’s a couple of things I am frankly terrified of picking up and looking at because of past experiences. I suppose I’ll figure it all out in time but right now it’s only adding to this sense of feeling adrift right now.

In the end we came home Monday and to be honest, I was looking forward to going home. I’ve not felt like that when away somewhere for a long while. A few times Rebecca and I have asked if we would go back to Brighton next year. To that I will say yes, but next year I’ll have to do a few things different. First off, next year I need to stay somewhere in town, nearer to events. Being half hour walk away from the hotel messed me up. I needed the room to be close by so I could easily duck in for an hour or so and reset up head when being out and about got a bit much. I stupidly chose our hotel based on the fact parking wouldn’t be a financially crippling issue that it was last year. The logical thing would have been to book in town and taken the train down, like a lot of people do. It would have made it easier to plan things with friends, being nearby. Next year I need to plan going out better. The days where we had planned to meet someone and do stuff worked a lot better than just winging it and hoping.

I also need to do other, smaller things as well. For one, remembering to pack a couple of extension leads in case the power points are miles away from the bed. Packing more shoes better suited for walking around and finally, if I get new clothes, try them before packing them and taking them with me. I had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction in Brighton. Namely I put on a new top and realised it was pretty well see through.

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Emergency trainers

On the plus side, I spent a whole day out in leggings and another day out in shorts and at no point worried about or thought about my tucking arrangements. This is nice and is one of several reasons why surgery can’t come soon enough for me. I also paid very little heed to my make-up during the day because the hair removal’s gotten to a point where I can go out for the day and not worry about covering stuff up. On that front at least things are slowly moving to a point of comfort. If nothing else I could go back next year just to add to my t-shirt collection.

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I have a collection happening now

Oh well, I’m going to finish up with some other pics from the weekend below. Enjoy 🙂

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Yup, travelled to Brighton in last year’s t-shirt 🙂

Perks of our hotel on the outskirts of town. Views, namely of the park. Also, a rainbow while in Brighton, how apt 🙂

Yes, we lost ourselves in the comic shops. Castle in the Sky is mine, a film that left a long lasting impression on me when I was growing up.

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Rebecca’s pet bee. It just randomly landed on her hand while we were forming up for the march.

The Great Scrapyard In The Sky

Yup, that’s where my bike’s headed, I’ve officially had enough of trying to keep the thing going. A week ago and fifteen miles away from home I turned the key in the ignition to be greeted by a whole load of nothing. the battery and fuse check out as being ok but something in the electrical system’s given out, so that’s that.

In theory I could pull the bike to bits, track down the issue and fix it, but I can’t be bothered, and the way it’s been the past couple of months even if I did get it going again it’d only be a matter of time before something else went wrong and screwed me over. It’s been sitting  where it got dropped off a week ago and though I’ve had more than enough time to investigate things I’ve had zero inclination to do so. I’ve got the tools and possibly the know how to fix this. Even if I did fix it I now have zero confidence in going anywhere and getting back again.

I’ve not long replaced the spark plug, done an oil change and swap over a few hoses that were on the way out. I can strip the back end down to get the wheel off as well, useful when the rear tyre gave up the ghost a while back. However it’s so tiresome to do. I’m not all that keen on spending ages scrubbing my skin raw to get all the muck off after messing around with something mechanical and I sure as hell haven’t got the strength I used to have. HRT and arthritis have seen to that, probably for the best given I used to be able to tighten stuff until I cracked the socket and ratchet, or put enough stress on my joints to really set them off.

More than the less being able to physically do stuff is the fact I’m through sinking time and money into the thing so I’m making arrangements to get rid of it. When it’s gone, that’s me done with bikes, I’m not getting another. I’ve had five years of hooning around on the damn things and lately I’ve been getting fed up with doing this. I’m fed up with wearing enough layers to go on a polar expedition to keep warm and allegedly dry, and wearing a helmet that wrecks my hair. I’m fed up of being jolted about on poor roads and I am especially fed up of being almost taken out while on the damn thing because I apparently ride wearing an invisibility cloak. Even with high visibility clothes and a colourful bike I’ve lost count how many near misses I’ve had with myopic drivers who have pulled out, pulled across or are just being an intimidating dickweed in their vehicles.

The last three months where I’ve had to do a lot of driving for work purposes have driven this home. Funnily enough I only started driving because at the time I was working three separate part time cleaning jobs and was struggling to get about on my pushbike. Being told by my then GP I was tearing my knees to bits cycling was the main reason why I got up and on the road. My ex hated the idea, which probably made me want to do it more. It was also a lot cheaper to go see my family than by train. Faster too as I could get to theirs in 20 minutes or so. Can’t do that now though. These days to get to theirs would be a good couple of hours, impossible with my back. I found that out going to see my nan and granddad one time any more than about half an hour’s my limit on a bike. Any more and my lower back flares up thanks to me jarring it so badly falling while rollerblading when I was 15 or so. I slammed down on the base of my spine hard and it’s never been right since. I hit the same spot again some years later and had trouble with the nerves in my legs for a year or so. I really don’t need anything else to add to that.

Where I live now has a great bus service (provided I don’t get drivers coming onto me, but that’s another story in itself) so I don’t need to drive places very often away from work and whatever my next job will be I’ll be using public transport and walking so all in all the bike is pretty redundant now.

In the not too distant future I shall be learning to drive a car so with that in mind, I’m going to hang up my riding gear and moving on with things.

Where Does The Time Go?

Serious question, where has it gone? I’m asking because in a couple of days (Thursday 27th April) marks two years since I came out as trans and set things in motion. Anyone expecting then and now pics you’ll be disappointed, because I’m not doing that. I can’t look at my old pics, it’s just a reminder of so many painful events that happened in the past. I haven’t got many anyway.

I was pretty lackadaisical about printing pics in the past and thanks to a brace of hard drive wipes over the years I lost most of them. The ones I had printed out I last saw in my old house somewhere, left behind along with most of my stuff when I moved out. The few I do still possess tell the same story: A husk of a person, drifting through life, half not there and half dead. Someone and something a world away from where I am now, trying to figure out what was wrong.

Suffice to say I got there in the end, then spent weeks agonising on how to come out and how everyone would react. I remember coming home from a late shift, going to the bedroom and sitting rigid, choking back tears and trying to find the words to tell my now ex partner. I took the plunge and blurted out that I was trans and felt ready to start doing something about it, whatever the cost. A this point I felt all but dead anyway and probably not long for the world, I was that depressed, anything from that frame of mind was an improvement.

Over the coming weeks and months I told everyone else, saw my GP, had two attempts at getting referred to Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic (My first referral got lost) and went about into the world, feeling I had finally awakened. I started finding what I liked, my own style and so on and began to grow.

I won’t lie and say it’s all been plain sailing. Transition costs a lot in terms of outlay. A new wardrobe of nice clothes for a start. I’ve spent a good couple of thousand pounds on laser hair removal and a fair few quid on a couple of private appointments to get myself up and running and onto HRT as I’d probably still be waiting to get onto that now if I sat back and waited for the GIC.

Transition also finished off my relationship with my ex, partly because he’s not into women, but transitioning and seeing what there was out there in the world opened my eyes to a lot of things that were not right and I wanted out before any more damage was done.

I saw a counsellor a little over a year ago, initially to help deal with the grief of losing my dad to cancer. A lot of stuff came out and she basically said I hadn’t been able to celebrate and embrace my transition up until then. With a relationship that was falling apart and dad suddenly becoming ill and leaving us it’s not hard to see why my early months that should have been happy ones were overshadowed.

Thankfully things have changed for the better. I’ve been with Rebecca for just over a year now. She has been amazing and supportive throughout, my rock and my world, my everything. Mum’s commented numerous times I’m the happiest she’s ever seen me now we’re together and yes, transition has become more of a celebration, for both of us. We’re both free to be ourselves, pursue our interests, have a lot of good times and get up to all sorts. We both had our first proper holiday in a long while last year and we’re quietly getting on with our lives and building a future together. In a lot of ways we’re both on a similar journey and helping each other heal from a pretty crappy past in a lot of ways.

Going forward, by the end of the year I’ll hopefully have a second surgical opinion out of the way and I’ve finally settled on what option I’d like to pursue on that matter. I’ll also hopefully have this hair removal business taken care of to a point where I’m reasonably happy. It’s funny how the goal posts change over time.

For instance there was a time where I wanted to get to a point where I’d never have to shave again. Now I’ll quite happy deal with shaving if it’s just to get rid of the blonde hairs I now mostly have now most of the dark hair has gone. I’ll be quite happy the day I don’t need to go back and get my face blasted by the laser.

I guess what I’m trying to say with all this is yes, transition is a daunting idea to go through with. How anyone thinks we’d do such a thing on a whim, or for some sort of kick I don’t know. You’re gambling at the highest stakes possible with all this. Some people get lucky and keep their partners, family and so on. Others aren’t so lucky, they lose can lose some of this, or all of it. Some people don’t make it at all. The rewards are worth the risks though. You get to be you, you get to live and that’s why we do this.

One of the best things about this journey is seeing my friends progress through their own transitions, overcoming obstacles and growing into the people they’ve always wanted to be. Here’s to the journey.

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Gamer Girl

Rebecca and I have a couple of days together and for once we’re not running around doing tons of stuff. In fact yesterday, aside from a quick trip to the local shops or essentials (fuel, HRT and food),we stayed in and relaxed. So what did we do? I spent most of it playing Diablo 3 and Rebecca wrote at length about her history of gaming as it’s something she had planned on doing for a while now.

https://rebeccawhite2016.wordpress.com/2017/01/07/the-history-of-my-gaming/

https://rebeccawhite2016.wordpress.com/2017/01/07/after-rpgs-and-consoles-there-came/

For those of you interested there’s her thoughts on things, a good and fun read too. Of course we got chatting, sharing memories and so on about gaming and how it’s run through our lives in one manner or other. It’s also something I’ve been getting back to in the past year after not really doing all that much for some time now and realising how much I’ve missed it.

When I think about it, gaming for me anyway invokes a lot of happy memories involving family and people I hold near and dear to me who are no longer here, and that will become clear as I go on with this. I may as well begin from my earliest memories and go from there really.

The first memories I have are at school actually. I was five years old and the school I went to had a computer room. I can’t remember ery much though, other than the fact whatever education game we were using ran off of those huge old floppy discs and was made by the BBC.

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(Ah, old tech, got to love it)

I wasn’t at that school for every long in the end as my parents were in the middle of moving back to mum’s home town where she lives now, though my next school also had PC’s and games. Anyone remember Granny’s Garden? I loved that game but the wicked witch terrified me.

witchanim

Yeah, that’s the one, with the creepy as fuck 8-bit music that went with it. The game itself was a RPG of sorts and you had to solve puzzles to progress and find the missing children of the king and queen, while keeping out of the way of the wicked witch. It’s very basic by today’s standards but as a wide eyes five year old? It was something else.

It was around then (and looking back probably on the back of dad’s nostalgia for games) I was given a C64 for Christmas. Not the full blown rig, but the main bits, keyboard/processor, tape deck and joystick and was able to be plugged into the TV. Games back them mostly came on cassettes which took a good ten minutes to load, depending on game size, though there were a few cartridge games too, which started up almost instantaneously. Of course, being a five year old with attention span issues, these were a boon. In amongst the various tapes we got, dad found a set which had the old arcade games, such as Space Invaders, Galaxians and Pac Man , which he and mum played extensively when they were arcade games in the 70’s, and got me and later on my sisters into as well.

Other games I remember was Dambusters (you could pilot an Avro Lancaster Bomber, be pilot and bomber while evading flak and fire over occupied Europe and try and relive the famous raids of WWII. (Spoiler alert: I sucked at this).

The Captive was played a lot because it was a tape that only took five minutes to load up. It was also pretty weird as a game. You’d escaped from somewhere or other and went through an abandoned and haunted town where ghosts would kill you, finding various items for quest progression, though I never found out what the actual quest was. You could gain abilities such as swimming and flying a helicopter. I also remember a time limit factor where after spending so long, arrows would fall from the sky and try and kill you. There were other items you could pick up, some useful, some not so. There was also a booby trap. You could pick up a magic mushroom but for frak sake don’t use it because this happens.

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Your character would flip sideways, float up and off the screen and it would be game over. A novel approach to teaching the perils of drug use, eh?

Bullseye (remember that darts game show?) got in on the act and released a game. Bully’s Sporting Darts. You used a joystick and controlled a disembodied hand to throw darts. You played the classic darts games, as opposed to the game show format, so you’d have 501 and Round the Clock. Some clever person figured out how to play a dartboard based version of cricket, tennis and snooker, mad as that sounds. This was one all the family played, even my grandparents, albeit it not so well. Words don’t do the game justice so here’s a video.

High tech stuff there, from the age when internet was the preserve of a lucky few and most of us made do with Teletext (I loved the artwork people came up with on that thing)
Dad tried to encourage me to get into coding when I was 8 years old or so on the C64. He got hold of a couple of books where you basically typed in a load of stuff, record it onto a blank tape and in theory you’d have a game at the end of it. Little miss ADHD here tried a couple of the shorter ones, which required a mere three or four pages of input to do this and grew frustrated as it failed each time. Dad got involved, first watching and proof reading my attempts and then had two goes himself, but nothing. The books were forgotten about and a possible future as a programmer died there and then.

The future beckoned and it came in Megadrive format. Yup, dad brought two in the end, one for the family to share and when he realised he couldn’t get a look in got one for himself. Sonic the Hedgehog were the games of choice for us then, all of which were great fun, aside from Sonic 3D, which I never got the hang of because I could never judge where to aim for in a 3D layout. Dad had his golfing games and we also had the Lion King, which we used cheat for to go through in the end. Dad got cheats off of a friend of his and introduced me to that side of easy, risk free gaming.

I  also bought a game or two. I remember a friend flogging Sonic 1 at school for a fiver. No box or manual, just the game, which I promptly raided my piggy bank for. I really went for the Sonic series as a kid and poured an awful lot of time into the games trying to get all the Chaos Emeralds and so on. I remember playing in the mornings before school, sneakily leaving the console on and paused and hoping mum wouldn’t see the little red light that indicated the thing was on and turn it off during the day as you couldn’t save your game until Sonic 3 rolled around. Fun fact, mum still has the Megadrive and games. The grand kids play it occasionally and my dad’s duplicate purchase means we still have a couple of working controllers and working TV lead after all these years.

1512604-sonic1_nostalgia

(Those bright colours and crisp graphics that look pretty good even today if I do say so myself.)

By now I was in secondary school and being taught how to use a computer properly as this was now a thing. A room full of 486’s that ran Windows 3.1 was what the future looked like, and those who were more tech savvy than I was had great fun trying to worry around the filtering system put in place to access restricted and probably pornographic content during lunchtimes.We had a pretty good teacher too, Dr Wilcox, though we all called him Moses because of his wild and grey bushy beard he’d grown over the years.

Back at home and seeing the future, dad, who was now self employed and now needing a PC to do his admin work and quotes for his interior design work, and changing with the times did two things: Bought our first home PC and our first internet connection. The amusingly named Mitsubishi Apricot came into our lives, complete with Windows 95.

ms540

https://www.inversenet.co.jp/pclist/product/MITSUBISHI/N2A1.html

Specs are in the link for the curious, though most of the page is on Japanese. A 166mhz processor, 16mb RAM, 1.7 gb hard drive were the main specs, a pretty good machine for it’s time and within no time it became the latest family gaming hub. For me I was often playing the early Worms games on there, Rollercoaster Tychoon too, as well as the Shareware version of Doom. Shareware back then was you got part of the game for free, on a floppy disc. If you liked it, there were details on how to purchase the full game. With Doom I ended up doing so, albeit with parental help as it had a 15 rating at the time. Demonic carnage ensued when I should have probably been tying up some homework. It was much more fun with cheats and going around with infinite BFG 9000 ammo. There’s a group that’s modded the classic Doom and done all sorts of amazing things to update the game. Brutal Doom if you’re curious enough to look it up. You can even flip off demons in that and watch then take offence now.

A Playstation 1 also came into the house in the late 1990’s, another dad purchase. I remember playing Bust a Move with him, trying to beat him at the game and more than once staying up till midnight trying to beat him in a Best of 20 match. Crash Team Racing with my youngest sister got played a lot too because it was fun and quirky and we had great fun setting up booby traps that became impossible to pass without driving through and so on. Truth be told, I didn’t get too much into the Playstation as I was more of a PC gamer and this happened a couple of years before I moved out anyway.

I also got a Game Boy Colour for my 15th birthday and spent a fair chunk of time playing Mario 1 and 2, Warioland 2, Bomberman, as well as the early Pokemon games. Revise for GCSE’s? Nah, too busy trying to level my sixth Mewtwo to level 100 without using Rare Candies so I could unleash a devastating team upon anyone daft enough to link up and battle me. Pokemon Red/Blue were seriously broken, game mechanics wise. A level 100 Mewtwo with Psychic Attack, Amnesia to boost it’s power, recover to heal and Substitute to hide behind while setting up was unstoppable. Having a team of six was just obscene.

A couple of years after our first PC, dad bought a more powerful machine for his work, with the side effect that it could run newer games and in among various things, I got a little game called Birth of the Federation.

st-birth

I had other Star Trek games, most notably A Final Unity, but this one really grabbed me. I don’t play too many games, they either grab me or they don’t. But if they do grab me I really throw myself into them, reading up all sorts, trying new things and develop a minor obsession, as Rebecca has seen with me and Diablo 3. Anyway, this game, you can be the Federation, Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians or Ferengi. You start with your home star system and a couple of ships and you go forth, terraforming or conquering other star systems and build up an empire. There’s micromanagement involved so you can set up star systems to focus on research or intelligence, or ship building and you can go to war with the other A.I controlled empires. Or you can just sit back and let your intel agency sabotage and gut them that way, if you’re so inclined and you have built up right. Beware the Random Events though. The Borg are one of them and they can decimate a game quickly. Oh, multiplayer was an option too so if you were bored creaming the A.I you could go try and cream some player sitting in a faraway land thanks to the magic of the internet.

This is one of those games that has followed me from system to system and I still play occasionally now. There’s a community out there with it’s own forum and more game mods than I can count. http://www.armadafleetcommand.com/onscreen/botf/
This game is 20 years old and people still play, do multiplayer, mod and chat.
Even I had a go at modding the game a few years ago. There’s a lot of resources and tools to help on the site so even an idiot like me can get her head around basic hex editing and so on to create something. I even released a mod there, called All the Ages, thanks to a lot of help from a guy called Thunderchero who pretty well runs the forum.

http://www.armadafleetcommand.com/onscreen/botf/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=760

It took several months to do and it helped me focus on something during some dark mental health times. It also drove my ex nuts as I was putting so much time into doing this.

After leaving home and moving in with Richard, the gaming quietened down. I carried on with Birth of the Federation, as I’ve already mentioned, but aside from the odd game, such as the later Worms games where I played to the point I could launch grenades as well as the hardest A.I could so so that was it. He couldn’t stand games, and like so many things, if I don’t have someone to share an interest in things that I like, I kind of lose heart and drift away. All he was interested in was re-enacting, which I suppose is an RPG of sorts, albeit with real guns and uniforms and whatnot, but a decade of that left me so physically and mentally broken I never want to do that ever again.

The last couple of years I did have something of a resurgence.I got a few of my old games back from mum and dad’s while they were preparing to move house and I had a big fit of nostalgia. I looked into emulators and found a Megadrive one for my PC and then laptop and played some of my old favourites. I also found a Game Boy emulator for the Pokemon games and a community which dabbed in modding. This time I was content to just play mods rather than get my head around doing it myself. I had other things on my mind, namely coming to terms with being transgender and gaming was a support. Being able to choose the female character, to escape, to dream was a release at the time. I ended up at a place called the Nuzlocke Forum.

http://s7.zetaboards.com/Nuzlocke_Forum/index/

Basically  place where people who wanted to make the Pokemon games more of a challenge congregated, but discussed other things as well. Modding and game mods, and there was a community spirit there too. People could also post their game runs, turn them into stories and all sorts as the games are essentially RPG’s to begin with. It was something I did myself at one point, partly as a release while struggling with my own identity before coming out and getting on with things, and also when I was dealing with my dad’s illness and eventual passing from this world.

There’s even a section where various members who were LGBTQIA hung out and discussed their various identities and supported one another. Needless to say this was a very useful place for me and helped me with coming to terms, figuring myself out and then getting up and going with this transition business I’m doing right now.
With my relationship with my ex coming an end and having moved in with Rebecca my gaming interests have been rekindled, thanks to the fact she’s a gamer herself and we can play things together, have discussions and she’s noted how I light up with I’ve got an interest in something and chatting about it. She’s show me all sorts of games and got me into the Final Fantasy series, something I’d seen but was never properly introduced to. Thanks to her getting me up and going on Steam, I went through FF7 and cried my eyes out several times over and tried a few other games as she’s got a dozen different consoles and games spanning a couple of decades floating about the flat.

Right now my present gaming obsession is the Diablo series, again something I’d seen in passing years ago but wasn’t really introduced to. Diablo 3 is often on the go here, we can play together or on your own, though I do prefer playing together, it’s just more fun that way and I’m doing my usual thing of reading up on different ways to play, trying different things and really throwing myself into the series.

Going forward from here, who knows what’s next? I am interested in the FF7 remake, though slightly wary in case they make a mess of it. For that I may well need a more powerful machine than my present laptop. I can just see me and Rebecca someday building our own gaming PC’s for future games. As for right now I’m off to go try and drive demon forces back into the Burning Hells, allied with my usual witty commentary as I try not to suck at the game and die repeatedly.

Have a good day everyone 😀

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(Diablo 3: Where while battling the hoardes of Hell you can pick up a wand that trolls you when you die)

Happy New Year

Well 2016 has been and gone now, and taken a load of celebs with it and I’m presuming everyone’s just about recovered from their ‘seeing in the new year’ hangovers. No hangover for me to deal with, partly because I had work the next day, and partly because I no longer have any need to get drunk to blot things out.

No, new year’s eve for us was spent staying indoors and having a mammoth Diablo III gaming session, complete with mine and Rebecca’s oft inappropriate sense of humour and commentary.
“Oh look, that fucking monster’s here and didn’t drop that fucking gem”
“My logic hurts just thinking about that”
“Ahhhh! Shit!!! Nooo!! I’ve just aggro’d every mob in the Desolate Sands trying to run away from this monster”
“I’m going to die!!”

And so on. Of course, me playing Hardcore, meaning if I died my character’s gone forever only added to the madness, but it was funny, so funny I had a minor asthma attack because of laughing so much. That’s not the first time that’s happened lately and won’t be the last.

It’s far more fun than going to some overcrowded, overpriced pub/club and then promptly leaving because of having a sensory meltdown. It’s also something I wouldn’t have expected to have been doing at the start of the year. 2016 has been a huge year for me, a year where a lot of big things have changed and I am in a far better place for it.

I got my hormones sorted out out and been on them for coming up to a year now and on that front at least things have been pretty stable. Getting them was a challenge but there’s been no incidents, no changes and my body has responded well as a result. It’s been great taking pics throughout the year and occasionally looking back to remind me of the progress and reassure myself at times. That aside, transition has been pretty quiet for me, aside from putting a lot of thought into what surgical option I want to pursue when the time comes, but I’ve already gone into some depth about that elsewhere.

Mentally I’ve noticed a change in myself. I feel like I’m a lot more self aware or mindful in myself. I’m far more aware of things that can unsettle me, make me anxious and so on so I can do something about what’s causing the issue before I slip into a hole and struggle to get out again. There’s probably a better way of describing that, but I can’t think of how. I’m also aware I don’t need to tough things out all the time, or ‘just deal with it’ all the time now. I can pick my battles now instead of fighting all the time, so to speak. If I’m not feeling right and it’s not important that I don’t do something, I don’t have to do it. It can wait.

It’s because of all this I’ve just left a job I’ve only been in for seven months. I was aware that it was hurting me mentally and I was aware I could do something about this before it got too bad, so I have, and all being well I shall start my new job quite soon.

Of course, all of this has come about from the biggest change of the year and of my life. I ended my relationship with my ex husband in the early part of the year as it had become clear that things were going nowhere and it had been hurting me in a lot of ways for several years. Thanks to a few friends as well as a counsellor I had initially gone to see for grief counselling I had my eyes opened for the first time in a long time and saw what had really been going on. I also met Rebecca face to face at around this time after spending many months chatting away on Twitter and then over the phone.

Well you know the story by now. I ended things with my ex and spent some time at hers to figure out what my next move would be … and fell madly in love with one another. With my ex now seeing other people and bringing them home I got out of there ASAP as this was really messing with my mind. I ended up moving three counties and a hundred miles away to live with Rebecca and haven’t looked back since.

I am in such a better place mentally, she is ever so loving and supportive and understanding,  and has done so much to encourage me to open up and talk when I’m struggling instead of hiding away as well as encouraging me to pursue my own interests and try new things. I like to think I’ve done a fair bit in helping her through her own issues and we’ve done so much to help one another transition wise as well as supporting one another with various trauma’s suffered from past relationships.

It’s been great getting out, doing girly things together and going out to all sorts of places instead of being dragged along to re-enactment events and wrecking myself. We’ve been to Brighton for Trans pride together, met a lot of great people we both chat to and in October we went on holiday together. Rebecca showed me the sights of Hunstanton and the surrounding area and we had a lovely quiet time together. It was also my first proper holiday in a decade. Well I could go on for the next week about all Rebecca has done for me and I for her, but I think all the pics we’ve put up throughout the year tells the story.

The smiles says it all really and my family have noticed too. Mum’s said to Rebecca that I’m the happiest she’s ever seen me and all of my family have really taken to her, which is always a plus. Well when mum tells you Rebecca is your soul mate what can you say? Anyway, as they say, mother knows best. 🙂

Going forward into this year, I’ve not really got any resolutions as such. I hope my new job works out well and I feel a lot more stable than I did with my old job and I also hope we both continue to progress smoothly with our transitions. As it is Rebecca and I are looking ahead to the future and we’ve both agreed that once we’ve both sorted ourselves out transition wise, had our surgery and so forth, we’re going to tie the knot. She proposed a little while ago and I instantly said yes. Well how could I not? She’s amazing and she’s my angel and I have never been so sure about anything in my life as I have with being with her and spending the rest of our days together.

And on that note, happy new year everyone.

A Grand Old Mess.

Well today is going quite grand as I now have a crying and upset Rebecca to try and settle.

Why is this?

Her GP. The thing is they’ve been wanting to see her about some issue or other, which we think is in relation to a letter both she and they have received from Charing X GIC regarding her self medicating on hormones.

The GP phoned yesterday and wanted to do a telephone consultation with her next week. Knowing this wouldn’t work I made arrangements to see the GP today so I could be there with Rebecca and give her some moral support while we sort out this mystery issue (as we’ve received no actual confirmation from the GP what this is all about). Doctors stress Rebecca out at the best of times given she’s had a slew of rough experiences in the past with them over a number of issues, so she’s been pretty on edge since yesterday.

(Rebecca: I’ve had so many care failures and obstacles before that I am disheartened and now even afraid to go to the GP. It took so much and the help of my Chrissy to just simply go and say “Hello I have a problem”. I am so distraught with it all.)

Just as we were about to head off out the door we get a call from the surgery. They’ve cancelled the appointment as the GP isn’t sure if he can sort out this issue in a 10 minute slot. I explain to them how stressed out Rebecca is over all this and why I need to be there with her. They insist they can’t sort things out today and insist on an evening appointment a little over a week away as this will be the first chance me and Rebecca will both be off work together. With all this going on I now have Rebecca in one arm sobbing her heart out and the phone in the other.

This illustrates a larger problem though, namely the detrimental effect on the mental health of so many transgender people who have to wait a ridiculous amount of time to get any support with transitioning due to the increasingly ass backwards setup we have in this country.

Most trans people have spent years dealing with their inner demons and finally deciding to speak up and ask for medical help with transitioning. To be told it’ll be at least a year for any initial consultation, several months to a year for a second opinion before they’ll think of dispensing hormones puts an incalculable amount of stress upon individuals. Add in the fact the total crap-shoot that is the process of obtaining a bridging prescription, dependant on weather your GP feels competent enough to monitor your levels or not and it’s no wonder so many trans people take matters into their own hands, as my partner has.

(Rebecca: It is not fun for your partner, who can’t stand needles anyway, to watch you on a Sunday night sticking a needle in your backside as you perform your own intramuscular injections or taking medication that’s actually for people who have heart disease in quantities that should kill you. And this isn’t just about getting a girly look. This is to improve my mental health and stability so I can function as a normal person. Or as normal as it gets when you’re transgender in a society that shuns and ridicules you for trying to live.)

If that’s not enough, when you finally see a GP, they pass on the info surrounding your self medication record to the GIC. They then send out a shitty and condescending letter on how dangerous it is taking matters into your own hands, as Rebecca has had recently instead of offering any meaningful advice or solutions. This is not on.

We KNOW the risks. We also know what hormone levels are ideal for the results we want to achieve with this and know it’s a simple case of frequent blood monitoring and either upping or lowering dosages until they sit right, and then routine monitoring to ensure they stay that way. It’s not hard. Most of us trans people feel capable of doing this, so why not your average GP, who has to do the EXACT SAME procedure with most other long term medication? Do you really think we WANT to go it alone on this? Do you think we do this for a laugh? No!

(Rebecca: All I need is my blood tests so I can manage my medication. Ideally I would be on “official” HRT as well and doing the same thing anyway. How will I know that I have to much potassium or to much oestrogen, if I can’t have bi weekly or monthly blood tests so I can regulate what amounts to quite deadly substances entering my body? I have already had an incident where my oestrogen was 4600 and I had to stop for 7 weeks to let it all drain out and start again. And even now I am cautious and deliberately missed this weeks dose because I don’t know what’s in my system and the doctor wouldn’t give me a batch of blood tests to find out. We need to be able to have small gender clinics in every town so we can just go and at least start and have the facilities to just have tests ordered or done. A blood test will not kill anyone.)
If we had a modern system where we can gain access to care in a reasonable time we wouldn’t be having such issues on  routine basis and my girl wouldn’t be in the sobbing mess she is right now. Needless to say I am very angry with the whole thing right now. All we want is to be able to feel comfortable in our own bodies. That’s all it is. It’s not a mystery. We’re fully informed and aware of the consequences of pursuing this course of treatment and we go into this with our eyes wide open and until the powers that be get their heads out of their asses and stop all this gate-keeping nonsense, what played out today and even worse scenarios are going to keep on happening.

Once Round The Clock

In a manner of speaking I’ve gone once around the clock, and by that I mean it’s been a year since my transition really picked up the pace. The other day was the anniversary of me getting my Deed Poll completed and I wasted very little time putting it to use and getting my main documents reissued in my chosen name. So I’ve been living as me for a year and trying not to sound big headed I think I’ve made a good job of it, certainly well enough to prove to anyone I can get by and survive socially as a woman. The GIC insist on us proving we can fit in as our acquired gender for at least a year before letting us go have surgery, (Well for those of us who want surgery as it’s not mandatory to have surgery of any kind and  be whatever gender you identify as)

On the physical side of things, I’ve been going through another growth spurt, so achy boobs are in vogue at the moment and apt as it was about this time last year I got my first round of boob ache as they started to form and do magic things. It also means having to have a good clear out of the wardrobe. I’ve now gone up two dress sizes since I first began transitioning and this is entirely down to the fact I now have a nice set of boobs on the go.

I had a dig through my PC the other day to compare pics I took last year and pics I took the other day (I like visual records of things). It’s staggering how much I’ve changed physically in a year just by taking a couple of little pills each day. Having a look back gave me a boost in another way. As well as going up two dress sizes I’ve also put on weight. A stone and a half to date and lately that’s been bugging me. Now I was prepared for thus in a way as I’m aware boob s weigh a fair bit and I know thighs and bum like to get in on the act too, and I like this. It’s helped with giving me a nice a feminine shape. No, it’s my midriff I was concerned about and looking back, yes there is a bit more on there than there used to be but not nearly as much as I have had stuck in my mind lately though I daresay I could benefit from doing something to tone things up a bit if I can do so without breaking myself.

Continuing the theme of the morning, it’s been a year since I started doing the laser hair removal. I’ve finally found a place up nearby to continue this labour and had my first session there and got Rebecca signed up to this too as it’s something she’s been wanting to do for a while. I’ve reached the stage where I’ve cleared most of the coarse stuff and have a lot of finer hair left. This means turning the dial up, quite a way up. So much so I ended up having a bit of a panic attack, (though to be fair I did have a lot going on and causing anxiety at the time). On the plus side the higher setting has really done the job. Aside from a stubborn patch right under my nose, I can have a shave and there’d be no tell tale giveaways showing any more and even the following day I could get away with minimum make-up.

Case in point this morning, when I accompanied Rebecca to work at 5am because she was going in fully dressed as herself for the first time, having recently organised her name change at work. I look rather zonked but I’m also wearing not a dot of make up and pretty pleased with how I look here.

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(Tired but happy biker girl)

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(I think it’s fair to say Rebecca’s very happy with being able to go to work as herself at last, and why not? She is bloody gorgeous)

Lately I’ve had this growing feeling that I’m moving to a new stage in my transition. I’m moving out and away from the early stages and into a mid point, somewhere between the people who’ve gone before, done all they need to do and are now getting on with their lives and those who are just coming to terms and coming out, much as I was a year ago.

I’m also feeling very much in limbo at the moment. There’s actually very little left I want or feel the need to do to feel at peace with myself but that what I do still need to do feels very much out of reach and not likely to get closer any time soon thanks to a system that really needs expanding to cope with demand. Not much I can do about that, short of robbing a bank at any rate.

Mostly though I’ve been feeling quite positive and having a phase where I’m feeling pretty good about myself, so I’m going to finish things off with  some pictures.

(Nothing to see here, just your basic trans person getting on with a very ordinary life)

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(Me and Rebecca doing our thing at Herts pride, as it was held in our home town this year)

Pride Season

Yeah, it’s that time of year again, the weather’s sunny and hot, and there’s no need to add “allegedly” to that for a change, and so pride marches are in full swing up and down this country. I missed Sparkle in the end, which is a huge transgender celebration up in Manchester. I had intended on going and had a hotel booked but a few big things happened in between (such as moving in with Rebecca) and I ended up getting a refund on my booking to tide me over until I had a job. I do still have my hotel for Trans Pride in Brighton and as me and my girlfriend Rebecca have managed to get the time off we’ll be going.

I went to Trans Pride last year and it was a real eye opener for me and running up to this year’s event has brought back memories and feelings and an inevitable look back and comparison on where I was then and now in my journey. A lot of firsts have happened, there at Brighton and since then for me.

For a start I’m a full year further down the road on my transition, whereas then I’d only been out for a couple of months, still finding my feet and still unsure on how to do a lot of things and even how far I wanted to go with things. I remember being awake most of the night both nights I stayed in Brighton wondering how the hell I was going to tell work and various scenarios running in my head. I had a good job doing something I actually liked (caring for autistic adults) and I really didn’t want to give this up as I’ve had my fair share of barren times looking for work in the past.

A couple of months ago I went to my first and hitherto only interview as me and got the job I’m at now, caring for adults with mental health issues and learning disabilities, which I am thoroughly enjoying as it’s not too dissimilar to my last job as well as the freedom of not having to deal with the issues that come with transitioning in the  workplace I had beforehand. It’s a clean slate. Everyone knows me as me and not some miserable, broken and lost thing I was beforehand.

I was also daunted by the whole process of going to the GIC and jumping through all their hoops in order to get onto HRT and referred for surgery. There was still a part of me then who wondered if going on this journey at all was what I wanted or needed to do back then. Things are different now. Now I know who I am, what I want and what I need to do and I’ve gotten on and achieved a lot of that in the past year so I am a lot happier with myself on the whole now.

I was also unsure about surgery and if I wanted any. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve never had to have an operation for anything. Surgery in general terrifies me and the idea of surgery being performed on one of the most sensitive parts of one’s anatomy even more so. Now I’m at the point where I know I need to get it done for my own peace of mind and sanity. I’m still scared of surgery, just like I still have a huge phobia of needles but they’re both things I’m going to have to cope with in order to get to where I want to be.

I was also still deathly afraid of how my transition was going to affect my relationship with Richard at the time. As you know by now my relationship with him ended some months ago, though to be honest, my transition was only a part of the reason. I will speak more openly about this some day, but today isn’t that day.

The weekend meant meeting up with people I had been speaking to on Twitter, so my old enemy Social Anxiety had come along for the ride too as I’m very quiet and shy around people I’ve never met, even ones I’ve spoken to online for ages beforehand. On this I had nothing to fear and those of you I met all turned out to be very kind and friendly people all too happy to listen to my fears and confusion, reassure me and point me in the right direction on a number of things. For that, on that day where a beach picnic ended up becoming a liquid lunch at the Marlborough pub because of the foul weather and we ended up discussing all these thoughts about surgery and hormones I am so thankful. You know who you are if you’re reading this and I know all being well we should be meeting up with at least two of you over the weekend I saw there and a few more I’ve met since then 🙂

This year I’m going to be coming back and really enjoy myself this time because I’m me and a lot of my fears about being out socially have faded into the background as time has worn on. Brighton last year was one of the first places I’d been out and about as myself, other than the odd trip to town and my parents. It was also the first time I’d really plucked up the courage to do little things that shouldn’t been an issue but have been made into big news by bigoted idiots lately and frankly is none of their business (like using the ladies’ loos). Yes, a bit of a strange milestone, but it was at Pride last year I felt able to do this and I’ve never looked back.

I came back from Brighton last year with a confidence I was lacking beforehand and a belief that I could really do this, as well as a sense that I’m not alone in the world, as this can be an incredibly lonesome journey, thanks to some of the opposition and hate we have to face and put up with just because we want to be our true selves. Being together with so many other people who broadly felt the same as me and had similar experiences was lifting in it’s own way. I know we’re not all the same, we all want different things to feel more comfortable in our own skin but this was what I felt at the time and still feel now.

I was looking back at the pictures I took while at Trans pride last year and I noticed I wasn’t really smiling in any of them, or in many of my other early pictures come to think of it. This year will be different as I have a lot to smile about now in my life, not least being able to share this years experience with my beautiful Rebecca 🙂

And on that note, I should shut this down and start packing, organising what to take, wear and so on. Have Pride in yourselves everyone, have fun and stay safe 🙂

Anxiety and dysphoria – Just an average day.

So I’m going to write down what a typical day is for me and probably a lot of other trans women. I don’t dare assume it’s the same for all of us as we all feel things differently, but anyway, for anyone who wants a deeper glimpse into my head, here goes. This may go some way to show people why I act as I do when I’m having a rough day, how I cope with things and how present circumstances have a bearing on everyday life. As usual I’m not leaving details out so expect talk about my body and various functions.

I usually start off waking up and disappointed that a certain thing hasn’t dropped off in the night and a foof has magically appeared. This is doubly disappointing as I usually get woken in the night because the thing is still somewhat active as I’m presently going through the process of getting onto testosterone blockers which will more or less kill any remaining functionality it has. Basically I don’t use it for intimacy and because it doesn’t get used it’s shrunk a great deal and any time it does move and grow it’s horribly sensitive and instantly wakes me up. Even though I’m wearing knickers and a panty liner for comfort and to keep it tucked and out of the way I still feel it and it bothers the hell out of me. Basically I wake up set to a default state of moderate dysphoria. Getting up and getting ready for work only notches the background dysphoria up further as shaving is still a thing. I’ve lost some 60% of my facial hair now, there’s a hell of a lot less to shave and I’m typically done in 30 seconds instead of taking 10 minutes and looking like I’d fit in as a victim from a slasher fic or having tried DIY follicle removal but it still feels wrong in my mind.

Getting dressed is next, great because I can see how the hormones are taking effect and how my body in general is being reshaped into something I’m finally comfortable with. This time is also bad because that means changing knickers and liner and seeing and touching the thing and resisting the urge to take something sharp to it. Reminding myself I need to reluctantly look after it until I can have surgery I pack the thing away so it doesn’t move and cause distress during the day and try and forget about it at least until I need the loo, which is usually ten seconds after sorting myself out because I’m amazingly organised like that. Hair gets done and make-up goes on, which I keep simple but pay a lot of attention on covering up the give-away shadow caused by my facial hair (snow white skin and jet black body hair, awesome combination for laser removal, terrible for concealing) and I’m more or less set for work.

I inevitably spend some time on Twitter and Facebook while doing breakfast and wishing I had a magic wand to sort out the troubles various friends and family are having with their own lives, being the empathic person I am and wishing there was more I could do from the end of an internet cable half a country away than offer reassurance and advice where I can. Plodding along on the new exercise bike before work most days is also a thing, because keeping the BMI somewhere sensible is required for the future as well as the fact I need to do something about my general fitness which has gone to hell since I quit cycling four years ago.

In short, most mornings I’m dysphoric, anxious about my friends and family, anxious about myself and how I appear before going out and anxious about work as there’s stress from transition related issues and because we’re due an inspection any time now and people are panicking about stuff.

Some days I cope better than others and some days my anxiety is heightened for a combination of reasons, be it knowing work will be particularly trying, my dysphoria’s being particularly bad, if I’ve had dreams which have upset me in one way or another or I’m having a particular bad day emotionally, either because of mood swings or because of grief surrounding losing dad and Richard’s granddad. Richard’s health is another concern of mine, especially when his chest is playing up like it seems to be doing so often these days. If I’ve got an appointment coming up is yet another thing that can set my anxiety off.

When my anxiety is high my tolerance for various social situations drops even lower than usual. On these kind of days getting out of bed and doing anything is a struggle, never mind going out, doing stuff and being a halfway functioning adult.

Case in point this morning, I got so worked up over a number of things I got stuck mentally and my sister ended up organising my mess of a mind for me so I could figure out what really needed doing and what could get lumped onto another day. A few days before I got so anxious about something I had a panic attack and Richard had to physically drag me out of the house to go do something else I had planned to try and snap me out of the stuck phase. I sometimes wonder if I have a touch of autism about me but I only get this way when there’s a lot going on so I don’t know.

Getting back to the point, because of my anxiety I ended up ditching several things I’d ordinary like doing, including going to a trans support group I enjoy going to, but I was trying to juggle that in with chasing up an appointment, supporting mum with an issue to do with dad, do a couple of important things for myself and trying to support a couple of friends with some big things going on. I also wanted to spend some time with Richard and as he said he wasn’t going to meet me at the group tonight that would have meant me working all day, going to the group and not seeing him at all. It was too much and I became an anxious tearful mess again, hence needing some help to trim things down into something manageable.

Now I do have some coping mechanisms for when my anxiety gets a bit much. My favourite is music and I often have the earplugs in when I’m going out as I find I can cope better when I’m away in my little isolated bubble. This is in part down to a decade of bullying at schools when I grew up and shrinking away into my bubble was the only way I barely able to cope with everything that was thrown my way, and then various experiences as an adult which required similar reactions. I’d retreat into myself and not come out as that was preferable to getting hassle for various things. Another thing I do is find something to keep my hands occupied. If you see me steadily shredding a tissue in my hands absently then that’s a good sign I’m struggling, flexing and bending my fingers is another giveaway and both are preferable to the self destructive and stupid ways I used to cope.

Anyway I get to work after the usual fun and exciting bike ride in where I may or may not have to rely on Jedi level reflexes to avoid being run off the road by idiotic drivers (I swear some days the bike has a cloaking device). I sort my hair out and touch the make-up up and get on with things. Transition at work has been pretty good all things considered, but there is one resident who’s struggled and as a result rotas have been changed so other staff are doing the shifts I can’t do now and I feel bad about this because it puts a strain on them and I have heard comments about this. Not about me and not aimed at me but remarks about how they’ve had stressful days with the resident and not getting too much of a break from him because of this. Needless to say I’m feeling amazing around about now.

Work goes on, I get stressed to various degrees, depending on what we’re doing and who I’m working with and I spend most of the day wearing a mask and trying to hide the chaos that’s going on upstairs. It’s something I’ve had a lot of practice doing over the years. Some days I may take to twitter and chat away with friends, either for support or just to have a laugh and joke about the maddest of things and then we’re all wondering how X led to Y and so on. It breaks the day up and makes a hell of a difference to me especially on a bad day or if someone’s said something that may seem innocuous but because of how I’m feeling it rips through me like a hot knife through butter and triggers a dysphoria attack which usually results in me finding somewhere quiet and shedding a few tears before trying to regain my composure. Because of the hormones I’m generally going through a second puberty and as such my moods and emotions fluctuate wildly and has made me very sensitive to anything that can set me off like this.

Somehow or another I get through another day at work (often reminding myself this is paying for useful stuff like hair removal and appointments and generally helping do something about the things I listed earlier that make me feel dysphoric) and I get back home to Richard. I’ve usually been messaging him during the day, especially if things have been tough and we have a good hug when I get in before I disappear behind the laptop and unwind, usually to a combination of music, video, writing and twittering away for a bit.

Showering and getting ready for bed gives the general dysphoria a good kick. Showering means seeing and touching the thing as keeping clean avoids nasties like UTI’s and taking the make-up off reveals the facial hair I’d almost forgotten about until that point. Bedtime causes anxiety of it’s own if Richard feels frisky. Intimacy is a tricky subject right now, as this just magnifies the general battle that goes through my head all day everyday. I enjoy it, but then the thing pops up, my mind goes ballistic and then the mood is killed and tears ensue. I hate keeping him at arms length but right now it’s the only way I can deal with this right now. I hate going to bed fully clothed so I can avoid being reminded about the thing as we love being skin to skin and just cuddling up, again it’s the only way I can cope right now and the knickers at least mean when the thing tries getting up at night it has nowhere to go and can’t get up.

In short a large chunk of an average day is spent dealing with the open warfare that goes on between mind and body because of my ongoing dysphoria and why I need to get things sorted out as soon as the GIC will let me.

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.