Friday, October 29, 2010

"Somewhere on a Monday morning,
In the rush hour of another day..."

Hi,

As way of a change this post is live and direct. Actually, no, that's not true is it. What if you are reading this a week later? :-) Okay, what I mean is that I've not been working on this one, adding bits and bobs as the week rolls along. I suppose that may be in part because I've had Monday and Friday off this week. It's half-term, so me and Wee Man have been amusing ourselves with this, that and the other. That's a lot of words when really I could have said: this post is unplanned ;-)

Tuesday saw my last session with the counselor. I think it went well, although I still feel that I've yet to hit upon the answer. Hell, I think I've yet to hit what the issue is, let alone the answer! :-) But, looking on the bright side of it all, talking about matters - sometimes in lead pipe honesty - has helped. As I said to Ali  - sorry, Alison - t'other night, being able to talk things over with someone who doesn't have any emotional link to what's going on is rather helpful.

As I posted a few week's ago, I've had my meds upped to 30mg. I guess they must be floating through my system well enough because I've not had any more dips recently. Instead, I've pretty much had typical days. Some fun, some boring, some average, some tiring - really, a return to how things were and for that, I guess you've got to be thankful.

Did I learn anything from the introspection and intellectual scrutiny? I think so, yes. There were not any hard or fast truths: more a collection of observations and possibly things that I've avoided. Some on purpose, some accidentally. Whichever category you want to bump them into, they included making sure I wasn't ignoring the couple relationship between The Ever Lovely Mrs Jones and myself (hence today's lyric) and also, had I done the come out journey on my own? For the latter, I don't think it was on my own - I had help from friends (real world and on-line), but Mrs J was on the fringes of that. I'm not going to say that's a good or a bad thing, it's just the way things are. It can be tough to balance your time between your kids, your work, your family and your relationship. There are but so many hours in the day, but I guess you make time for what you need to. Of the people I know, I don't think anyone has some magic ratio for keeping all those plates spinning. On a closing note for that, it being the last appointment - and big softie that I am - I had brought along a small box of choccies as a thank you.

I got my bag packed ready for Thursday and with a pair of boots and some heels, it was rather full. I wouldn't mind, but I only had two outfits in there. Both dresses - the brown wrap one and the skater dress - plus some tights and leggings. I could not make my mind up, so I cover the odds and see what takes my fancy when I get there.

I arrived earlier than usual and I bumped into one of the Avon Ladies who rents a meeting room every now and again. She asked if I knew anyone from the Chameleon Group and I said that I was & that we'd met last time. I suppose with the whole en drab look and lack of wig + heels + lippy, I did look rather different. :-) Somehow, I do take a bit of reassurance from that. Maybe close friends would spot us in the street (so to speak) and while most of us aren't going to pass, do we look different enough from our male image? There's a thought. Anyway, we got chatting and we swapped a few ideas about them running an evening with us. Something I'll come back to later. The downstairs hall was still busy, so I headed upstairs to get changed.

Everything went to plan, although having treated myself to some false eyelashes - well, it was a party night, so why not? - I was a bit miffed to find that the set I bought didn't have any glue with them. Bah, humbug! Still, the Boots nail varnish I got for a quid worked a treat. Even if I did forget my base coat. Outfit all done - the skater dress and funky tights - I headed downstairs to help set up. A lot of folk had already arrived and two of the trestle tables were groaning under the load. I added to that with a half dozen bottles of soft drinks and then the laptop for some tunes later on.

On the way back in, I bumped into a lady called Christine and her wifey. It was a first time for them at the group, so I lead them in, sat them down with some other new-ish couples and made them a brew to be getting on with. It's a fine line, you sort of want folk to feel welcome, but at the same time, you don't want to be all over them in case they want a bit of quiet time and/or to circulate themselves. Nicole also came along for the first time (fab dress) and Katy returned after her last visit (killer heels, BTW). Sophie was full of cold (bless her!) but had soldiered in to ensure the biscuit supply was truly in effect.

Midway through one of the Avon Reps popped in and handed over a catalogue and some suggested dates. That lead to me giving an impromptu public announcement asking folk over what they wanted to do about the Christmas Do, Avon and Boots coming. A few suggestions were made and we've agreed to have Avon around first, move the Xmas Do to the end of November and try to have the Boots event at the end of January. I've already made a few phone calls, but nothing's come back as yet. Fingers crossed though eh?

The night rolled on and we nibbled, chatted and drank the night away..... at least the drivers amongst us didn't drink. The raffle did rather well and that put the group's funds up nicely. Later on it was time to cut the cake - Val, myself and Jane - before having a bit of a boogie. Me being me, and it's usually me who instigates the disco-noise - I'd brought along some new tracks. Some I found easy to dance to: Hummingbird Heartbeat by Katy Perry and Crush by Pendulum. I'm not so sure the last one when down well with the older contingent, but hey, you can't have it all. :-) I did take my camera, but in all the goings on, I didn't get any snaps off. I know Sandi and Val were doing the rounds, so maybe you'll see some later on.

Take care,
Lynn
x

[ Today's Lyric: The Loving Kind by Girls Aloud ]

Friday, October 22, 2010

"I was breaking out of my own skin,
Choking upon release,
I'm in no state, to judge you..."

Hi folks,

Winter seems to have arrived. Frozen windscreens, leaves turning brown and a rush to get the kids into their coats before we go. All the apples have gone from the trees in our garden. Many have been boxed or given away. We had a bumper crop this year. Stuff to be thankful for eh? Then today, a bright dose of late sunshine to melt the cobwebs away.

Tuesday

Therapy time again. We seem to have fixed it all to the trans railroad and off we go along it. I've been keeping a track of my moods, just a series of dots in Notepad. Any day that's more than a 5, I think of that as being typical; normal even. It's been helpful. Being able to look back and see a small pattern and one that's slowly rising upwards. Sure, I'm not fully out of the woods, but I can see the hedgerows and open fields. At least I'm out of the darkness and there's no distant bark of wolves. Okay... that's enough with that metaphor ;-)

So what have we discussed? Initially, turmoil within my family - not my as in Mrs J and the nippers - but Jones Senior. Then the birth of Little Miss and how it affected me. To be honest, the birth was fine - no complications for her or Mrs J. Little Miss is by no means a screamer (not like my friend had). Lastly, the trans stuff and perhaps most accurately, my body image. Not that I need to have bits amended - let's keep it clean ;-) - but certainly appearance plays a part of it.

Sure, many days I sport a day or two's stubble because I'm in such a rush and I'm just not bothered about a bit of beard hair day to day. Yet, arm-wise and leg-wise, there are days when it does bother me. It is those areas that seem out of kilter, even when I can't see them as they're under a top or shirt. I had a chat with the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones about this. I picked a time when neither of us seemed uptight or where tired and hoped we could talk about this without it getting into an argument. We kept it civil and while I won't be sporting smooth pins, we didn't have a bust up over it. That was the Monday and the following day I talked it over. The councillor suggested that the depression maybe down to the fact that I'm as 'out' as I can be and if I wanted to push things further, it would need to be done with Mrs J and not alone. Given the finite nature of the appointments, I think next week will be the last one.

I've talked again to Mrs J about all of this and she says she's not keen on the idea of couples counselling. Even if we went at different times - because, what about the kids? - she said she wasn't sure what value it would add. She also said, how much to you trust these judgements? A little part of me (Ed: no, not that bit) wonders if the trans stuff has flared up because I'm upset, rather than it being the cause of the upset. There's a difficult call to make. As I waited for the bus back, I caught sight of water running down the gutter (hence the snap). If there's a blockage, the downhill flow doesn't stop - it just backs up, the pressure building up and up until something gives. Maybe that was the problem. Just a build up of lots of small things?

The interviews, if you want to call them that, have been effectively three periods of an hour. Can you really say what's troubling a person in that time span? I think... I think she has a point, yet so does the councillor. I guess it's a case of that old adage: three sides to every story: yours, mine and the truth. Where all of this fits in those categories I couldn't say.

Oh and talking of categories, I was asked *that* question. Not by Mrs J, but by the counsellor.

Do you want to transition?

I said, no as for the most part, I like being a guy. I guess, just a very metro one ;-)

She then said, Mrs J's not here, what do you really mean?

I was a little thrown by that and then I smiled. My answer was this: if there was just me on my own and I thought work would be cool about it - I would probably flip flop between appearances as the mood took me. One day him, one day her or maybe a row of each depending on my mood. I don't fancy going full time. She accepted that answer and we moved on.

I'm just too lazy and I know I'll always look like a bloke in a dress. Okay, on a good day, I may be lucky enough to look well groomed / turned out, but with my height, shoulders and jaw - I'd be fooling no-one but myself..... but really, that doesn't bother me. I accept how I look and I'm cool with that. For me, it's not about fooling people or being mistaken, it's just about feeling right and cross dressing helps me feel that way. There are times when I need to feel well dressed as a guy and other times, well dressed as a woman. I never said it would make any sense though :-)

I think that there's also a danger in that when you concentrate on what is wrong, you can't always see what is good. You dwell on what you don't have. I'm seeing the doctor on Friday (or will have by the time you read this), so we'll see what happens about the pill dose. I may be feeling slightly more level as my dose went up about two weeks ago.

Wednesday

I also went shopping for the first time in ages. The new Autumn/Winter fashions are out, but really, I'd look at them and think meh. Nothing has really grabbed my attention and I've heard the same story from a few (genetic) ladies too. All much of a muchness they say. Too much beige and the same old story with heels and the air hostess/MadMen fitted dresses aren't really my thing. Sure, I've seen the ankle boots and cable cardies people are sporting, but they don't hold my attention enough to want to buy any.

Disillusioned with the web, I decided on a spot of a bit of real world retail therapy and as I wandered through the store, I did clap eyes on a cute top and two rather nice panelled skirts. One was dark denim and the other more kilt like. I tried them on in and both fit - which was nice. I did try a jumper dress, but I wasn't sure about the V neck - it gave a rather odd fit across my shoulders.

The Ever Lovely Mrs J and I had another chat about the trans stuff. Again, a level conversation where we talked about it and neither of us go uptight. I know I find it a bit troublesome: embarrassing sometimes, but so it goes. We talked about why Mrs J wasn't involved and I said it was totally up to her. I mean, why should she be? If I may pry, how many of you are out to your partners and of those, has she seen you and what happened?

Other News

After a chat with my GP, I've got another batch of pills to keep me on the straight (!) and narrow. He asked about the counselling process and we talked briefly about that. He said that the aim of the chemical treatment was to take your mind off the depression and give you room to think about what may be wrong. Watch this space I guess.

This coming Thursday is a party at Chams. We've had a number of birthdays and we like to have a shindig when we can. This time around we're forsaking the Chinese food and going for a fuddle. I think I've mentioned this word before; it's when everyone brings a few dishes with them. I've got a list that needs posting on the forum.

Also, I've had a provisional date come back from Boots. It should be good, the last one was excellent and it was enjoyed by Boots and the Chams massive. The only snag is that it's the same night at the Xmas Party. But, that may not be a bad thing. We may be able to have Boots do something between 8 and 9.30, then do the Xmas food and dance later on. Boots have said that this time they'll try to bring products (with 10% off - woo!) to buy on the night. I know that was a problem as some people wanted items on the night. Brand wise, we're talking No 7, Clinique, Estee Lauder (hopefully), Lancombe and possibly some folk from perfumes too. Sounds like a go-er and fingers crossed people will be amenable to it.

Lastly, I've just noticed this little blog is now five years old. How time flies eh? I wonder what the next five will bring? There's a thought ;-)

Righto. That's me done for a rather long entry. I hope the weekend is kind to you.

Take care,
Lynn
x

[ Today's lyric: Crush by Pendulum. ]

Friday, October 15, 2010

"You're in and you're out,
You're up and you're down."

Hi peeps,

Before we dive into this week's wittering, I think I should take the time to say thanks. A number of you commented, PM'd or emailed me over last week's troubles and I found that deeply touching. You didn't have to and for you doing so, I'm grateful. Thank you.

Tuesday

Laptops, they're a bit Martini aren't they? Not so much shaken not stirred, although today's appointment did turn over a few stones... Where was I? Oh yes, tortured analogies. :-) Any time, any place, anywhere. All you need is a WiFi signal and you're good to go. Well, okay, a full battery helps too. ;-) So here I am, holed up in a quiet room, sarnies to the left of me, laptop to the right. Hmmm... this is rapidly turning into some type of song isn't it. (Ed: concentrate, dear, concentrate).

How did today go? I talked... a lot... as per. That poor lady, having to sit through that eh? :-) At least it's for a reason and it's part of her job. I wonder what it's like on the other side of the fence? Sat, listening; picking out the details from the roll of chit chat and explanations. Hmmm, something to think about another time I guess.

It's funny, from the initial appointment - although perhaps 'review' would have been a better choice - I felt that we were going to talk about unresolved grief. Something I alluded to in a previous post. But, the more we talk, the more light is thrown on my life. Through the questions asked, it seems that we come back time and time again to the trans elements of it. Not so much how I struggle with it, dare I say I am happy being a tranny. I think the problem may be that I'm not a happy tranny. Does that make sense?

In some way, I find it helpful. To stay on the sunny side of the street, I feel I can talk fully and openly about this. I guess it's a more... clinical? Is that the word I'm looking for? No, not clinical. It's more analytic. Dear, this is becoming a stream of consciousness isn't it. :-)

So, it's more from an analytic point of view on the whole situation. The history, the narrative, the internal workings and my relationships with people. The summary of our conversation seems to have moved on from the idea of smoothing things over, in that I seem to be masking. There's so much I don't talk about: emotions, the trans life and my feelings. Not because I want to smooth stuff over, but maybe because I don't want to share it with folk. Why do I say trans life? Well, much as I don't split myself up between Richard and Lynn (Ed: oops, real name alert!), I do keep the two social worlds very much apart.

Hey, I find that somewhat ironic because here on this blog I do not that. [pause] No, that's not true is it. There's stuff I don't mention on here. Certain elements of going out, how the kids are doing. Pants, I've just proved it! Whoops. :-)

The counsellor in question is very good and she was honest enough to say that the trans stuff is very new to her. Sure, she's aware of it, but not to the depth of someone who lives within that culture. It's going to be an interesting journey for both of us. To be honest, I've asked if it would be helpful if someone from Chameleons, maybe even me, answered a few questions on the subject. Not that I'm an expert, moreover, just a peak into what goes on with the social circle and what type of issues trans folk may experience.

As to the masking idea, I guess that feels a bit easier to talk about with the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones. I mean last time, it didn't go that well did it. I suppose you could construe the idea of 'smoothing' as I'm holding back because of you. Again, maybe the truth is deeper than that. Maybe I'm holding back because I fear what the truth will bring. There is something to ponder.

Talking of pondering, I have to decide what to wear for Thursday. :-)

Friday

Last night was just what the Doctor ordered. How do I feel? A lot better than I did over the last few days that's for sure. Maybe some quality tranny time was all that was needed. Makes me wonder if there's a pattern beginning to form.

I'm not normally this camp.
It's usually far worse ;-)
Anyways, I got their early and got the tables and chairs ready. The place had been locked up, but thankfully I had a copy of the codes to open the doors. After that, it was nip upstairs to get changed. As per, I had my outfit and backup outfit :-) With that careful planning, the jeggings stayed in the bag and I went with my funky leggings. They're not shiny nor matte and feel good, so on they went. I decided on a long pink top and as I wanted a bit more coverage, I had a long pale blue wrap top too. I had to let Maddy in as someone had shut the door downstairs. As I finished getting ready, I had a good long chat with her and Alison about this, that and the other.

Downstairs, Sam had turned up and although the evening started off quietly, we all got nattering and had a good laugh. Not all of it was quite so politically correct as it probably should be, but hey, we're a minority right? :-) Sam and Maddy spilled the beans on the exploits of PP. Sophie was kind enough to bring a few boxes of cakes - bless you mrs! We also talked about the pain of laser - something I'd like to sort out when I get on top of the money situation. Maybe not face, but certainly chest as that's pretty patchy to be honest and I really wouldn't miss that. I guess I'm lucky in that my beard is a bit here nor there. As to chest hair, an epliator takes care of it, but on a bad day, I still get a bit of razor rash or the odd spot and that kinda ruins the look. Trannys, we're such vain creatures aren't we. :-)

Talking of vanity, there was the obligatory fashion shoot - or turkey shoot - depending on your point of view. I'll forward those around. Val has started to take snaps of people during the evening and they're very natural shots. It was also her birthday the other day - so many happy returns if you're reading this. Val!

As Tracey wasn't about, I counted up the money and put it away until next time. I locked up and that was that. Meeting up with everyone and a bit of Lynn-time has really helped. Friday passed without any visit from the Black Dog - perhaps its off burying a shoe some place? - and for that I was grateful. My memory seemed to be a little more on track and while I didn't do a huge amount at work - so it goes - I was in a much better news. The Ever Lovely Mrs J is out tonight, so I've got time to go through the photos that people took and pass those around on email. All good stuff really.

On that contented note, take care and I'll see you next week.

Lynn
x

[ Today's lyric: Hot and Cold by Katy Perry ]

Friday, October 08, 2010

"Owner of a lonely heart
Much better than a,
Owner of a broken heart."

Howdy,

How's tricks?

This time around the post is, to coin a well loved phrase, a game of two halves. Well, not so much on the game front. That would imply some type of playing about or.... actually, I don't know, but something less than serious. :-)

Earlier

As I write it's Tuesday afternoon and I've just come back from my first counselling session. It was a positive experience and we talked about a number of issues. How do I feel right now? A little calmer than when I left. Back then, I left... well, not upset, but like I had been shaken up internally. As if there was a swirling wind within me; something pushing at the metaphorical bars trying to get out, but it couldn't. So, I sat and ate my lunch in the autumn sun as I waited for the bus. Eyes now safely behind dark glasses and the anonymity of the street to let me think. I gazed out of the window on the way back, trying to ignore the people I could see and make sense of what was going on internally. Like other t-folk this week, I seem to be feeling jealous of the female form. I hope it's just a side effect of being down. The alternative scares me too much.

Matthew Johnstone's I Had a Black Dog
Some of the things we spoke about, well, they're deeply personal and I won't reveal them on here. Not that I don't trust you guys not to take it seriously, but not everything is about me - there's family stuff too and I try to keep the Jones Massive out of the limelight. What I can do is talk about in vague terms. We talked about work, home-life, relationships and - of course - the T word. The councillor, was insightful and lead me down a number of paths through conversation. She said that she has to try and not make a snap judgement, but probe around the subjects and find out a general picture of what may be wrong. Talking of pictures, the image to the right is by Matthew Johnstone. He wrote/drew a couple of books and that's from I had a Black Dog. He has a blog and it makes for very interesting reading. Hopefully he won't mind me using one of his excellent illustrations.

Last time, the lady in question had said that it may be undisclosed grief. I guess mentally I'd prepared myself to talk about that... yet, instead, I found my barriers falling down and being completely open. I told myself that I needed to be open, open so that I could get everything in the open. No secrets, no lies. It's not something I do very often and I found it tough. I know the young lady does this as a job (and well I might add), but opening your heart to a complete stranger: I found that tough. Hell, we talked about some things that I don't tell anyone: not even the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones.

After about 35 minutes or so, the councillor said that she had a feeling towards a pattern appearing. That was that I smooth things over. In order to keep stuff going - work, socially and personally - I disconnect and compromise to keep the peace. Yes, it gets the job done, but there is a price. The price is this: I don't always get to be me. She said that maybe in the last year or so, maybe I smoothed things over so much... that... that I forgot to be me. "Will the real Slim Shady please stand up? Looks like we're going to have a problem here." :-)

Ironic in a way I suppose. At work I can be immensely forthright - double barrel blunt on many an occasion. Yet socially and at home, the opposite can be true. Maybe I feel that work, it's not personal so in the giant swing of things, it doesn't matter? I don't know, I'm not a professional headologist ;-)

Where do we go from here? Well, another session: same Bat Time, same Bat Channel. It's left me with a number of questions and a lot of think about. One of them is how much am I holding back on the trans front. We talked about body image at one point and that I don't shave my legs. Most of the time it doesn't bother me, I can work round it (two pairs of tights or leggings and I'm good), yet... Yet, there's something else that lurks along with those thoughts. They don't look how I feel. I don't consider myself female, I never have. I'm somewhere in the middle: mentally, bits of both as I've blogged about in the past. But being hairy, I've never liked it. It just.... it just doesn't feel right.

Coming back to smoothing things over, Mrs J isn't happy about smooth pins. It upsets her a great deal. I guess the question is this: what price freedom? How much do I push for me to feel right at the expense of others? Can you have your cake and eat it?

Decisions, decisions eh? :-)

Later

Sometimes, things just don't work out. I'm not going to the Big Night Out. I am up and down like a yo-yo today. This morning, parked up in a layby sobbing away, I was worried that I'd wrecked things between me and Mrs J. I dried my eyes, pulled a brave face from somewhere and went to work. How very British. ;-) Things are better than they were, but I still seem to be slipping back into the dark mire. I wish it would just f*** off, I really do.

Still, it's the weekend (for us at least) and that means no work to do, time with the family and maybe a trip to town for a spot of shopping. All stuff to look forward to.

Take care,
Lynn
x

[ Today's lyric Owner of a Lonely Heart by Yes ]

Friday, October 01, 2010

"When it comes to men like you,
I know the score, I've heard it all before."

Hello again,

The 1st of October rolls into view and - depending on your time zone and when you're reading this - will mostly be over I guess. The rain is doing its best to give the hedgerows and wildlife a good soaking before the sharper winds blow in. Autumn is truly here and it makes a sharp change to the bright sunshine and good weather I enjoyed with a friend on Thursday.

An email arrived from an old blog friend who happened to be in the area. We got talking - as trans folk seem to be able to do in spades - and plans were made: appointments set, brollies packed, sarnies bought and much was said. All in all, I had a very good time and it made a  welcome change from the usual lunchtime route and topics of conversations with co-workers. They're a good bunch - don't get me wrong - but there are times when you'd like to talk about fashion et al, and that's not the done thing. Actually, that's not true, it can be, just don't expect to get the same level of advice or experience ;-)

Headwise, I've felt pretty good this week. I had another dip around Tuesday, but I'm - or more accurately, the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones - noticed a pattern. It seems to be midweek that my mood seems to begin to spiral down. Maybe it's the level of pace, burning the candle a both ends or a push from the I-don't-like-Mondays vibe from the start of the week. Who can say? You just get your head down, plough on and tell yourself it's just a bump and all will be fine. So far so good. Talking of which, I'll be seeing the Counselling folk next week. I think that'll be interesting.

Oh and it's the Big Night Out next Friday (8th October) down in Milton Keynes. It's going to be a bit of a run / late night out, but I'm looking forward to seeing friends and enjoying a dance too. You know me, I do like to plan my outfits. As is traditional, I've got it down to two choices. My only dilemma at the mo is what shoes to take. I'm thinking either my heeled sandals or stick with tradition, and go in my dancing shoes. Either work - outfit-wise - but I did put on some Faithless to test drive my ability to move in them. Oddly the sandals seemed okay for dancing in despite their height. Dear oh dear, road testing shoes at home to your own disco. Call the copssss.... :-)

In other news, I was in the barbers t'other week with both nippers. Wee Man's hair was getting a bit spiky, I was the wrong side of bushy and Little Miss? Well, a long fringe (or bangs as I think our American cousins say) might suit Lady GaGa, but on my daughter, it was becoming a health hazard. Not that she looks where she's running at the best of times. Kids eh? ;-) Anyway, the place is run by two young mums and they're a) very good hairdressers, b) very good with the kids and c) pleasantly chatty. One of them had on a new pair of knee boots, I made a passing comment about said items being very nice and she said she'd had them ages. Then, cue a story about one of the customers oggling her in them. "Sorry," I said. "Say that again. He was perving at you?"

Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoy the view - shall we say - or the the female form as much as the next guy. Hell, I might go so far to add that I appreciate it when a woman rocks a look or outfit. But... I do draw the line at staring or oggling. That to me is rude... and... why do some men feel the need to say something gauche. One gent - I use the word loosely - had said: "Oh I love mums to be - they look dead sexy". Ugh. Keep your comments to yourself! We don't want to know! I suppose at this point in the conversation I should say: Men eh? Tsk. But that may be a bit camp.

Men eh? Tsk :-)

Take care,
Lynn

[ Today's lyric: Ladykiller by Lush ]