Saturday, December 29, 2012

"It sounds like a million mad clocks"

Hi,

It's all over, bar the shouting.  Christmas, that is, rather than any specific political event. It's only the small stuff here at YATGB. The world shaking events, you can find on the Internet and BBC news. :-) So, the big day went well, thanks to the careful guidance of the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones. We had the Out-Laws round, but other than holding up a stage coach on the way, they were well behaved. Little Miss and Wee Man loved it. They are at, what I think is the right age to get the most out of Christmas. That giddy feeling of magic and fun, which if you can channel it properly, you're on to a winner IMO. I think it was a little much for Little Miss, but she held her own and we had no tears before bedtime.

Despite my pre Xmas jitters over my collection of pressies for the Ever Lovely Mrs J, all went well. So it was very nice to see their collective faces beam with happiness as they opened the presents. Me? Oh. Mrs J was kind to me (as per) and I did well on the technology don't and she also got me some primer (Your Best Friend, and I've liked that product since it was Model's Prefer.... Crikey, that takes me back to visits to Leicester about seven years ago).

Which in a round about kinda way brings us to the concept of time and the close of the year. In dime ways, 2012 hasn't been great (car crash, depression lows, etc), but I wouldn't say it's been a bad year... not by a long stretch.

From a good news point of view, we're all pretty healthy and home life is relaxed. Indeed, Mrs J and I seem to be coping with the Lynn element in our relationship much better (not that it was bad before. Just it's better now than it was). We're both much more cool about it. If that's because my depression has eased massively in the last few months, or the more relaxed approach has helped the Black Dog go, I can't say and I'm not fused which came first.

What I will say is the advice in A Love Less Ordinary about honesty and caring is very valuable. I guess, when you slip into those dark depths, you can lose track of those close to you. Maybe it's because you're preoccupied with trying to hold yourself together, that time for other people's feelings seems to be another casualty.... Yet, when the clouds part and you feel the warmth of the sun again, your mind clears and you realise you are not alone and sometimes, other people hurt too. Waking up and being there to support Mrs J was a Christmas gift in itself.

As to what 2013 holds, I don't know. I can only say, I hope it brings you good luck and if there are troublesome times ahead, I hope they are over quickly and that they are blessings in disguise.

Good luck for the new year and thanks for reading,
Lynn x

[ Today's lyric: Clocks by Doubting Thomas... the Industrial soundtrack to my 20s :-) ]

Saturday, December 22, 2012

"It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine."

Hi,

Yes, I'm a day later than usual, but I have a good excuse; I was living it up on an Invasion night out. I could have gone with the dog ate my blog blog, but as the hound has her own Blogger account, what's the chances of that? :-)

For those of you who've still got a turkey to wrap and presents to stuff, I've prepared two versions of tonight's post.

Abridged

Changing issues. Got fab. Had a truly great night out. Got home. Slept.

Unabridged

Good News from the War on Moping


Not sure if I alluded to this in the last few posts, but in recent months, life - from a pro-celebrity miserablist point of view - has been very kind to me. Yes, the nights have drawn in, the weather is damp and cold, yet, my mood has been remarkably buoyant. Indeed, the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones commented that I seemed different: more relaxed, more caring and less tense. What the root cause of this wonder is, I don't know. Likewise, I don't know what tipped me in the darkness before and to an extent, I'm not really sure knowing would really help. 

I'm just happy to be me once again. It's been great not to be mulling things over, or metaphorically looking over my shoulder for the distant bay of the Black Dog (Ed: Bay of the Black Dog? Sounds like something from Pirates of the Caribbean. 'Bring me that horizon and some ballet pumps, my feet are killing me'.) Being out from under the cosh, so to speak, I can and do find it easier to think of others. I think it's that that Mrs J has noticed. I have tried to listen more - to actively listen - rather than have half an ear on what she was saying. I know that is just plain rude and I feel bad for it. It's not so much that I wasn't listening.... more that I was distracted by my own thoughts. I've heard it said that depression can be a selfish condition and I think it's easy to take that as a negative. It is, at least speaking personally, not untrue, but not altogether a helpful statement. After all, when you feel down, the last thing you need is a bit more negativity coming your way. :-) Still, bygones.

Outing Lynn

With what seemed like a much happier Jones household - and Xmas pretty much sorted - I checked I was okay to head out with the trans massive to Invasion. It didn't clash with anything we had planned, the Ever Lovely Mrs J was cool about it, so it was all systems go! Yay. Happy times. Mrs J and I seemed to have reached a new level on our collective acceptance of my requirement for an extended wardrobe. It comes up in general conversation, rather than hushed, hurried tones. We joke about it and we talk openly.

Indeed, that was put to the test this very week. For some reason, I'd left an envelope from Chameleons on my bedside table. It simply said 'Lynn' on the front and I got a text about it late afternoon. It wasn't so much a confrontation as a "is that your weekend name ?:-P" vibe. I didn't think a text was the right time to explain, so we talked about something else and I addressed it when I got home. Now, I could have said it was for someone else, but it felt wrong to do so, so I didn't deny it. I felt a bit.... funny? guilty? ill-at-ease?... over the whole thing. I started with, I'll be honest with you.... Mrs J (bless her) laughed it off with, I sort of expected you to have a girlier name. We had a chuckle about it and neither of us could really get worked up enough to become upset. I think that can only be a good thing! I know a few people have said that how couldn't she know? Simply, I don't dress at home and I don't refer to myself with that name, so it never comes up.

Christmas Invasion!

Apocalypse avoided, nippers snuggled and Mrs J kissed goodbye, I headed out to Invasion. The day before, I had the good luck to be working from home. While I waited some some systems to finish patching, I wrapped a few presents and tried on an outfit. Now, I was pretty sure that I wanted to wear my black & white skirt. Sure, it's shorter than I'd normally go with, but hey, it's Christmas and it's very much a going out number. The only question was the top. I didn't want to do a plain black top. To cut a long story short, I decided on a little black vest (thank you Next Outlet!) and a lacy top I borrowed from Mrs J. Bless her, she offered to lend me a jumper top, but with the puff sleeves, it made my shoulders look huge.

Now, because I can't change at home, I'll often nip up to the Centre where we run Chameleons. There's usually someone in, so it's not a problem. This time, there was just the local police in (they have an office upstairs), so I was in and getting ready. So far, so good. I'm just putting the last of my industrial strength shapewear on, when there's a knock at the door. Just about to head out and we need to lock up.

Bugger. :-)

Okay. Don't panic, Jones! I get my hoodie and jogging trousers back on (Ed: had you gone as a burglar, Lynn? :-P), wish the coppers merry Xmas and wait in the car until they'd gone. Well. Other than driving down the M1 to find a service station to use (no thanks), I made the best of it and finished getting ready in the car. Sure, the arc light and map-lamp in the car were not as good as I'm used to, but you gotta make the best of what you have sometimes. Besides, the tricky part of getting the clothes on was pretty much done. Face, hair and nails done, it was off into town.

The Main Event

Now, I arrived a bit before nine and I thought I was late. I bumped into Rachel first and the place was quiet. More and more folk turned up. I realised I'd left my false eyelash glue in the car, so there went my plan of fixing them. I headed to the loo to fix my mascara. Not wanting to cause offence, I headed into the gents. Yeah, it was a gay pub, but I don't like to push it. Anyways, as I was stood by the mirror. I notice this chap behind me standing with his trap open looking at me like I'm the first trans person he's seen. Okay, curiosity. Whatever. I carry on. Eye one done. He's still looking. Ignore. Eye two. He's still gawping. Deep breath and face him.

It's okay, honey. It's a gay pub. This happens. 

He shut his mouth and walks off. The bloke spending a penny behind him was trying so hard not to laugh and we had a chuckle at Mr Stare-o-tron's expense once he'd gone.

Make-up fixed, it was time to mingle. Sam turned up, then Maddy. I bumped into Jemma and I got to meet Justine for the first time (who is lovely and I still miss her blog). I had a good long chat with her about stuff and after a quick photo opportunity with Jemma and Maddy, we headed to the next pub and finally a club.

Now, the club is more a straight venue than a gay one, but the group haven't had any trouble and once folk seem to get their heads around the fact that the Invasion massive are just there to dance and have a good time, curiosity fades and we're left to get on with the important things: like having a good time. ;-)

Rather than go with the more up-to-date rave-esq numbers upstairs, on recommendation, we opted for the 80s/90s retro stuff downstairs.... and I'm glad we did. I had a really good time dancing to some old school pop classics. Stuff I wouldn't have danced to during my teenage metal period. Funny, that I knew all the words to the Whitney Houston numbers though eh? Self denial, it's an ugly thing :-)

As we sat down to get our breath, Maddy mentioned something along the lines of this - the situation we were in right now - was beyond her dreams when she was younger. I think I've got that right and I'm with her. The idea that I'd be out with friends in Lynn mode and it wouldn't be a problem, well. Back in the 80s, I would never have believed it would be possible. How things change eh?

Eventually, it was time to head back. So I bid fair well to the rest of the Invaders and made my way down the street to the bottom of the hill. Honestly, a hill in heels after you've been discoing it up all night? I think not. :-)

All in all, a very good night out. I got in about half one and strangely, I've not felt to tir....zzzzz :-) Ahem. Yes. Right. One last thing to do: to wish you and yours a very merry Christmas and good luck for 2013. Make it glam, make it happen.

Thanks for reading,
Lynn
x

[ Today's lyric: It's the End of the World by R.E.M ]

Friday, December 14, 2012

"No matter gay, straight or bi
Lesbian, transgendered life
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born to survive"


Hi,

I've finally succumbed to partially decorating the office. Not that I'm a Scrooge like character, far from it. I draw the line at enforcing festivities on other folk..... as a rule. ;-) The office was looking very grim with the dark windows and sometimes, a bit of tinsel lifts the spirits. All I need to do now is smuggle in some baubles and a tree or two. Sorted. :-P

Changing Faces

Earlier this week, I was daydreaming (Ed: as per) while waiting for a batch process to complete. Yes, in IT, part of your worth seems to revolve around the ability for the percentage bar to creep across the screen until.... you run another installation to patch the first one... and the second one. Then the software starts.... without you having to switch the machine off and back on again. :-) But this is what was in my head. Oh and those of you who don't dig wordy stuff, just skip down to the Thursday bit ;-)
It starts with the view in the mirror. The male face staring back. A cleanly shaven jaw. A make-up bag rests by the side. Sometimes, there is a sigh as the would be transformer doubts themselves for a moment. Wondering, even after all this primping, will what is shown on the outside, will it match the inside? Then, out come the brushes, the compacts and pots & packets of glamorous goodness. It's a level of effort rarely applied to traditional male grooming: ex foliation, moisturising, brow trimming.
Concealer is dabbed around the eyes. The pale greyness under the new colour, while a wide brush softens the lines, blends. Foundation is tipped out to the lid of a waiting pot. The male face changes, the tone softening as the brush is worked across the features. Nose, cheeks, brow, jaw and down the neck. Powder is whisked across the new skin. The cast lightens.
Items are taken from the open bag and the half done face looks back. Too much of the old look remains. Elbow and lid are steadied as eye-liner is worked on. Upper line and lower corners are smudged with a practised finger. The eyes begin to take shape: colour under the brow, a mid colour along the lid and the darkest at the edges. One eye done. It seems okay. The second eye done and now mascara. No party look this evening: the false lashes remain boxed. Now blusher and lip gloss complete the shift. The face is the same, yet different.
Lastly, the wig - that old enabling glory - is raised. The fibres are combed and teased into shape. The head dips forward and with a backwards flick, returns its gaze to the mirror. All is not as it was. The structure has not altered, only now the eyes are brighter and a small smile plays at the lips as the wig is combed. The image blinks. It is also time to go.
Thursday

This week, it was actually time for Chams. I was later than usual as I had to pick Wee Man up from his school play. He didn't have a big part to do, but what he did - and yeah, being his dad, I'm biased :-) - he did very well. Funny thing was, a number of other people - and I didn't know all of them - said that same thing too. Well done Jones Junior. Clearly those DVD lessons on comic timing are paying off. ;-)

Chams itself was by turns fairly quiet and oddly, rather lively. Quiet on numbers, loud on presence. We had a visit from a gent from Nottinghamshire Constabulary. I had been under the impression that it was a fact finding mission to see how we - we being trans folk - fitted in with Police policies etc. It seemed to be more a fact finding mission to see what we thought of the police, political policies around them and what we thought contributed to criminal activity.

Obligatory photo
I won't go into the points that were raised. What I will say is that the opinions were varied and I found it very interesting to hear the various different views that people held. Some I agreed with, some I didn't. But I dare say that the same could be said for the comments I made too. We did, sadly, get stuck on the political bandwagon and government bashing. I didn't see the point of the latter as that ship has sailed. Weather you agree with this government's policies or not, this wasn't the place for lobbying IMO.

Later on, we headed off to the pub and carried on talking - as we seem to spend a lot of time doing. Then again, sitting down, looking at each other and not talking would be far weirder IMO. ;-) Anyway, the owner, Debbie (lovely lady BTW) was chatting with Sam as Soph and I took our seats. The conversation came around to visit at Chams. There was a discussion about the concept of LGB or LGBT (Ed: Lesbian  gay, bisexual and transgender; if you're none-the-wiser). One of the points raised was that each group has its own needs. Sometimes I wonder if we trans-folk stand out more, but then being straight, I don't really know what issues gay people have to deal with. I can hazard a guess, but it'll always be that. Maybe I should ask, or maybe I should just follow the sage advice of my gran: "Just be nice." The latter seems to cover a lot of bases.

Anyhoo, the conversation with Debbie and Sam rolled on and we seemed to draw to the conclusion that from a policing point of view, it didn't really matter about a person's race, sexuality or gender: no-one wants to be discriminated against. That and for those folk who are not out, meeting in a neutral place and keeping that person's secret would really help. I know that if I  (heaven forfend) had a crime to report and it was related to my trans life, I know I'd want to keep it quiet.

In the main, society is pretty good to us. I think I've only had one iffy comment in the time I've been out and about. It was from three youths as I walked to my car. "Oi. It's a transvestite. F*** dat sh**." Well done, Sherlock. You spotted me. :-P Now, I'm not down with the kids, but I'm guessing the latter part of the lad's sentence isn't not a term of respect. :-) Still, bonus points for not saying 'tranny'. Part of me wanted to stop and ask the lad why he said that. Not in an accusatory way; more just curiosity  Maybe it is as the rather talented Andrew O'Neill quipped: "I'm an alpha male shout generator." The young chap was black and I wondered how he would have felt if a couple of white blokes had said something insensitive / politically incorrect to him. For the record, neither is acceptable. Would he have seen the link? Should I have attempted to talk to them or would I have been setting myself up for some oh-so witty comeback from his mates? I guess, we'll never know. Still, in the long swing of things, that's very minor stuff.

In other news, it's Invasion next week and the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones is cool with me heading off. I know, two nights out on the trot. Dirty stop out. Now.... what to wear? Hmm. I think a week should just about give me enough time. ;-)

Take care,
Lynn

[ Today's lyric: Born this Way by Lady GaGa ]

Friday, December 07, 2012

"I am the god of hellfire and bring you.... fire!"

Hiya,

After an unusually productive week, I've a bit of a spring in my step. Top that off with the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones has surprising me - via the middle class telegraphic system, Facebook :-) - that our new fire has arrived, I'm feeling particularly chuffed. Now, I don't mean, a small lump of fire arrived in the post. That would be a bit odd. Obviously. :-) No, the new fire grate, log basket et all turned up. Bless her, she and the nippers put it all together, so all muggings here had to do, was light it. Thanks to various happy holidays, fire-making is one skill have just about got the hang of. Now, I do love a good fire. Okay, not a house fire, that's a bad type. But a good old fashioned, roaring log fire where you can toast your tootsies (toes, not Dustin Hoffman) on a cold autumn night. Things to be thankful for eh?

Talking of thankful, after much note taking and therapy, I've got the root cause of my depression. It's to do with my interest in a tight top and a cute skirt. Apparently it's not to do with being trans, it's to do with being partly Scots. ;-) (Ed; Ya gret hairy numptae! Mincing aboot like thaat. Shoulbae ashamed o' yerself!!)

Okay, iffy stand up material aside, what else has been doing on? Well, other than attempting to play the fool, I was rather foolish the other day. It had been a week since the last Chameleons meeting and I was all ready for a night out. I'd packed just the one outfit (unusually), got the kids to bed after a story and off I went through the driving Nottinghamshire rain. Traffic was good and as I rolled up, I thought: the Centre looks a bit dark. Then it hit me. It's the second Thursday of the month..... so.... umm.... not tonight then.

Bugger. :-)

A little bit of me thought I could nip upstairs, get changed and go & meet up with Sam. But.... I didn't. Not that Sam's company is lacking (Ed: stop digging, Lynn! :-P ), it was more that if I went out this week, and then to Chams next week.... and then hoping to make Invasion the week after. Yeah, it would be pushing it a bit. Instead, I called the Ever Lovely Mrs J (who saw the funny side) and then stopped off at the supermarket to snag a few gifts (including a few for the lady of the house). So, back home, feet up and nice cup of tea and a chat. Oh, and home made biccies. What's not to like?

Talking of lady stuff (Ed: don't be filthy!), Mrs J didn't bat an eyelid as I packed my bag for Thursday. She's become very cool about the whole trans thing and find that...... Okay, words fail me at this point. Happy doesn't quite cut it. Loved? Accepted? I guess that's all most of us want. To be loved for who we are. Trite, but true.

Anyhoo, she asked if I wanted any make-up, or such like, for Christmas. In all honesty? Not this time around. It's crazy in a way. I'm being offered presents (clothes, make-up, skin care, etc) that I'd longed for, but could never talk about until the last few years. Now, I'm good. She kindly gifted me a set of unused Urban Decay she didn't need and I've still got a few items from the Clinique Bonus Time (love Clinique!) set. The only item I'm short on is powder, but that's not big on my list.

What will I get for Xmas? I really don't know. Nice things, I hope. Things I wouldn't usually get myself, but really, what I'm truly after is that the present buying I've done for everyone else to be a success  Yeah, that may be a bit cheesy, but that's what I'd really like.

Oh, that and for the Xmas tree not to be pulled down by our two wee monsters. :-)

Take care,
Lynn

[ Today's lyric: Fire by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown ]