Friday, March 29, 2013

"And who would have thought that I'd be so content in my own skin"

Captain's log. Star date? Oh, I don't know. I hope the Blogger software will fill it in. Maths was never really my strong point. Ask me one about this season's fashions or something.

What?


Oh, give it a rest Spock. I don't want to hear about your Countdown pwnage story and Carole's mistake with a four category prime and the imaginary number. Go and annoy, Bones or something.

___________________

I've not idea why I type that in. Perhaps in the pint of Hobgoblin I sunk earlier, has left me a little confused. What a lightweight. I'll be mincing it up in lady's clothes at this rate.... :-P

( Ed: c'mon Lynn. Concentrate, dear )

The Goldilocks Post

The observant amongst you will have noticed that I didn't go to the last Chameleons meeting. A combination of cold and the Meh Factor. This time, however, I was in finer fettle and a more interested mood to boot. Indeed, I popped in to a shop on the way home to see if they had anything nice in. I had had my eye on a monochrome top, although as it was in the petite section, I was hoping it would work as a tunic. Sadly, it did not. Not because it was too short, but - and perhaps trying it on sans false boobs - it didn't hang right. Even with a bit of imagination, I felt that it might be a tad low. So, I didn't invest. The jeggings I'd taken in with me, they were too baggy, so I left feeling a little out of kilter. Funny how a less than successful shopping trip can do that to a person.

Once home and fatherly duties over with, it was time to pack a bag for the night out. Now, I can rarely make up my mind what to take...... Except this time, I found two skater style dresses in the cupboard. Much as it may be a bit of a downer to leave a shop feeling nothing fit right, finding two pieces you do like and that make you feel good; well, that's a feeling you just can't beat. With a spring in my step, I headed off to Chameleons the day after.

Dare I say, it all went very well. If it was the absence of not going previously, or just Things Falling Into Place (tm), I don't know. But, hey, don't look a good mood in the mouth. Hmm, does that even make sense? :-) I went with my first choice and that seemed to work just fine. Plus one of the good-mood-o-metre. Next, on with the slap and having tried and failed with the bold red lippy this time, I went with a more subtle look for the eyes and then careful application of said lippy. Again, I was happy with the result and everything was coming together nicely.

I was putting the finishing touches into place, when Alison, Sophie and then Val popped in. I guess they know where to find me, 'cos it takes an age for me to get ready. :-) We chatted about things (as we do) and Alison recounted about how well her coming out at work had gone. Talk about brave and also, she seemed so much happier in herself. That really is good news. Face set, clothes on and boots ready, it was time to mingle.

I decided not to head out afterwards. It was very cold outside and having had such a lovely evening with friends, I was happy to head home a little earlier to see my beloved Mrs J. Indeed, I got a text just as I parked up on the drive. Timing eh?

Dramarama

Oh, one final bit of news. The other month, a drama student contacted Chameleons asking about the idea of a stand-up story. No, not stand-up as in make them laugh; more monologue on what it's like to be LGBTQ. I'm one of the fabulous five, so why not? A short ponder and then my fingers danced across the keys as I typed it all out. I won't say it's brilliant, that's down to the magic of the performance and any tweaks the students make. I believe the production is under way and with a little luck, there will be some YouTube videos of the actors. If there is, I'll post a link up.

Take care,
Lynn

[ Today's lyric: Beautiful 'Cause You Love Me by Girls Aloud. So long you fab five. It's been a good ten years! ]

Friday, March 22, 2013

"RSPC Everything"

Hi......

.... and a deep breath to relax.

Hear that? That's the end of the week. Not a particularly taxing one, but one that's left myself and the Every Lovely Mrs J at Tired Station, waiting for the last train home.

So......?

Shop

In the absence of Go Go Enhanced Gender Fun Time - a.k.a, cross dressing - I had a small shopping trip today. I spotted some cute shoes, well, cute IMO, at Dotty P's and I felt the need to wander lonely as a chap through the rails of fancy female fashions. I guess in days gone by, I would have picked up a pair, looked about furtively and then scurried off to pay. I say this next bit with no great pride, more the gentle sigh of a person who just doesn't give a sh** :-) Select, ask, sit down, boots off, ankle highs on and test. Happy? Check mirror. Check comfort. Boots back on and off to pay.

I did see a lovely pair of blue courts, but sadly, not in my size and the next nearest pair - in design - were too expensive. Shame, I think they'd have looked lovely in summer and just right with jeans or my white cotton trousers. Not that summer seems it'll arrive soon. We had more snow today. ;-)

Common or garden arty nut project

On the back of the stand-up, I've half had my eye on doing future gigs. Well, looking at how I can do some open mic stuff and see how it goes from there. A few irons in the fire, but nothing really ready. In lieu of that, a mate suggested I pop along an improvisation group. Well, why the hell not, eh? I'm a vainglorious show-off and I've a mouth that runs at 80 mph on a good day. Sadly, the brain only runs at 40... meaning I do get into trouble... but you can't have it all.

The group was in the frozen wastes of central Nottingham - and on a Thursday too! - but not too close to my usual tottering grounds. Hmm. That would make for an interesting project meeting the day after! Fingers crossed not eh?

Where was I? Oh aye. The event was different to what I'm used to.... and I've been to some odd team building exercises in my short time on this rock. We did the mouth warming up noises, shaking your limbs to loosen up and all that stuff. Then, it was a few team building / party games to tweak the collective noggins and then getting down to some seriously making stuff up as you went along.

It was interesting coming to it as an outside. Some of the activities - such as story telling - I found very easy. I guess my mind just works like that. Ironically, that's not so good for stand-up. Or, more accurately, I've been told that to have a skill where you can prattle on.....

[ looks at the above paragraphs and sighs ] :-)

... is okay for getting paid by the word, or making-sh**-up, but not so for stand-up. That needs to be set-up, punchline, set-up, punchline. Or, if you're clever: set-up, punchline, second punchline off the back of the first and bonus points if you can strap on (leave it!) a third.

So a pleasant evening of mindjitsu and it certainly provoked the old creative cogs in my head. I'd have liked a go at the Accent Game, but you can't have it all. Basically, someone suggests a situation and then you and a partner talk about it. Each time the bell rings, someone shouts out and accent and you do the next minute like that. Will I go again? Well.... maybe.... so long as it doesn't clash with Chams ;-)

Anger

But away from the middle of the road, middle class life I lead, there are other, and I'd say, more important issues to mention. Namely, the death of Lucy Meadows. Now, I don't read a tabloid. I can get all the misinformed, half researched, bigoted junk I need with a quick search via Google. :-P Are all newspapers the same? No, some are better than others when it comes to the moral view on a story. But others, I wonder how they remain being able to in print with the vileness they dress up as 'news'.

Before we get into the politics this, let's go with the crux of it. Someone died. A person with feelings. A person just trying to make their way in life. They are no longer with us.

Would it be acceptable for me to berate a person where I work over their decision to transition? Maybe take a few pictures when they come into the room and post them on-line, so we can all have a chuckle. It's just good fun right? They do look so silly after all. :-(

It's bullying and when is that ever acceptable?

Perhaps those who hunted Miss Meadows would like to come to the funeral. You know, witness the suffering first hand..... assuming they are capable of feeling and not thinking how much the photo of a grieving parent might fetch.

[ sigh ]

I appreciate I'm probably preaching to the choir, which is ironic being a godless heathen, but the above tragedy makes me so cross. On a related note, I spent an hour on the phone today talking with a member of staff who is off due to stress induced depression. We'll call them Person A for ease of reference and I'll spare the full details. Yes, I'm aware that there are various sides to a story - yours, mine & the truth, as a mate once said to me - yet, when another co-worker has to physical intervene to remove the manager from the room, because Person A sits at their desk crying from the shouting, there's something very wrong IMO.

As an advisor, we're not supposed to get involved. We're supposed to remain neutral and offer explanations as to how a person might go about dealing with the issue. There are times when you listen and you look and you think..... would it be okay if I got into the accused's face and yelled until they cried and I had to be dragged from the room. Yeah. I would be fine.... so long as I was a certain type of journalist.

Shame on you, bullies. Shame on you.

Lynn
x

[ Today's lyric: RSPCE by Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine ]

Friday, March 15, 2013

"Okay, let's get down to it boppers."


Hi folks,

Another week, another post..... but a different week to the usual.

"Laugh it up, fuzz ball."

Hmmm. It's seems we are caught in the midst of a film quote-a-thon and for that, I can only apologise. Glib comments aside, this Monday saw me take the stage and perform stand-up for the first time. Well, I say first time, I've been laughed at in public before, but that's just part of growing up trans, right? :-) This time, it was with rather than at, which made a nice change.

Was it scary?
Hell yeah.
Was it fun?
Hell yeah!
The event itself was down in Leicester and that added a slight strange turn to events, as most of my visits to Leicester are in Lynn mode. This time the nerves were really kicking off. It's a good job I'm not fresh off the happy tablets eh? ;-) (Psst: all seems to be going well in not going postal or buying razor blades. Yay! So nice to be able to mock one's own conditions eh? :-D )

So, parked up and after a brisk walk through the cold spring air to the venue, it was time to say hello to my fellow stand-ups. It was great to see a few familiar faces and we chatted as the venue was readied. It was an early door for us, so we could go through the running order and practice. There were a few folk from the other training events and hearing their acts for the first time was great. Some were very professional. I hope they keep going as they've got talent.

That handful of hours went quickly and I was glad of the practice I'd been putting in while driving around for work. If you saw a tubby, bald bloke appearing to talk to himself while waiting at the lights, feel free to wave next time ;-) My memory isn't great, so trying to get a routine lodged in my head was a bit tricky. A friend who does stand-up professionally, she recommended getting a few laughs in quick - to break the ice, I guess - and to think of an image to help you remember the gags.

Not this size.... but that's how it felt! :-)
Practice out of the way, the gig was upon us and the place began to fill up. A good time was had with plenty of laughs and it was all very good natured. The compere did a great job of getting the crowd revved up and in all honesty, the nerves started to go as I started to enjoy myself. It was only when he yelled my name, that I realised I wasn't part of the crowd. Whoops! :-)

The applause died down, the lights hit my eyes. I took the mic into my hand......

< insert dramatic bullet-time whump whump whump of a heartbeat here >
Kirk: Engineering, set exhaust port to maximum closure and disengage the adrenaline!
Scotty: Aye, sir! Shields are up, but we cannae stop the nerves, cap'tin. We're running on full improv!!
..... and my carefully crafted plans started to drift away with each hammered heartbeat. Well, what's a wise-arse to do? Ahh, fall back of showing off and making it up as we go of course! :-D

A few quick one liners out of the way and I was beginning to think I might actually be able to do this. I was - dare I say it - starting to enjoy myself. The routine was coming back to me in brief hashtags (yes, I am a nerd remember) and with a few key memories in place, I ran through the jokes. People laughed in the right places and I'd like to think I didn't make a complete fool of myself.

One particular gag went down rather well and got a very good reaction - which a) I'm very pleased about and b) that's not bad considering I chucked it in on the way there and c) the compere picked up on it. I did miss a few items out, but the audience weren't to know and I ran to time too. Maybe I can save those for another time? Hmm....

All in all, it was a top night out and my fellow conspirators did an excellent job. Thanks to the kindness of friends, family and work-mates, I've managed to raise just over 500 quid. Five hundred quid for five minutes work? It's like being an IT consultant.... only I left people smiling and nothing was broken. :-P

Friends who couldn't make it, some of them have been kind enough to say a few kind words and Rhi offered her professional opinion on the presentation of it all. Thanks Mrs! <3 nbsp="" p="">
Will there be another time? Possibly. I did enjoy it. I do wonder why I fancy another go, but it was fun, so why not? It's not for the fame, nor the money, that's for sure. I guess, as a distant Jones relative would say: it's just for the craic.

Staying In

I guess with the combination of the post-nerve come down and a not very pleasant cold, I decided to stay in on Thursday. It's Invasion tonight too, but I find myself in a bit of a take-it-or-leave-it mood. Trans folk eh? They're not happy being cooped up and when the cure of disinterest comes along, they're navel gazing. :-)

Maybe that's part of the drive... Hmmm. Let me explain. Maybe beating the fear and getting out - en femme, to use a cliché - is part of the attraction of being in the Real World(tm). A heady brew of good times, good friends, a fancy outfit and then the gentle drift down of 'I survived'. Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

Whatever. I'm going to rock out with a hot chocolate and write a bit.


--

So, whatever you're up to, I hope you have a good one.

Take care
Lynn
x

[ Today's lyric: Can U Dig It? By Pop Will Eat Itself. Bonus points for remembering the sample's source. ]

Friday, March 08, 2013

"Hello, good evening and welcome to nothing much."

Hi folks,

Welcome to another dose of the irreverent - and many would say, irrelevant. :-)

Fatal mistake that. Pausing to think. Well, not so much if you're about to cross the streams or cut the blue wire (Ed: no! the RED one!!), but personally, from a blogging point of view, it tends to make me.....

.... stall.

To many brain cycles (#nerd) wasted on thinking what I should put, rather than just getting on with it. Think is, there's not been much going on. I do wonder why you come here to catch up. But then, when I read some of the Name columns in the paper, I wonder why are folk paid to write this? :-P

Not Investing in People?

Work? Meh. People-wise, it's been a good week. We've had a chuckle and everyone's been really supportive around the comedy stuff (see later). Technology? Pah. Some of it needs to be taken to the naughty step and have its rights read. That, or take half of the system outside and let the half remaining, hear the gunshots. Maybe then it'll buck its ideas up. :-)

I don't know if it's a cost cutting exercise, or a f***-'em-we'll-get-some-contractors-in mentality, but training has been very thin on the ground. Thin as in pretty much non-existent. Sure, Google, forums + an inquisitive nature and helpful friends will take you so far. But I don't think it is a sensible route, when you're banking on the back-end systems being up almost 24/7 (Ugh. I don't like that term!). It seems as we start to ramp up on the reliance on fairly modern technology, so the lack of investment in the staff is beginning to come to light. Previously, when something went off-line - or to use a technical term tits up :-) - most of us had a good idea how to get things up and running quickly. Minutes or seconds, not the hours, or even days that we're into now.

Does it sound like I'm moaning? Perhaps, but there is a point to this and it's this: if you want a cutting edge IT system (or anything else, like engineering?), you need to keep the staff up to date too. I can only hope that the amount of evidence I've been feeding back to management will help. I know I've now got some courses lined up and with luck (!) - which isn't the way you should run an IT service - we'll get through this by migrating our way out of the problem.

Three Minutes

This Monday, I shall be performing a short stand up set. I've rehearsed and rehearsed and rehearsed. I think I am about as ready as I'll ever be. I have now memorised what I've got to do. Funny thing is, when I asked, I start to feel The Fear. That quivery shaky feeling you get. Even now, my mouth has gone a little dry just thinking about it.

That's not particularly unusual, what is, is that if I go out, I get the same type of jitters too. I wonder if post-gig, I'll get the same post-adrenalin ride? You know, that endorphin pat on the back your animal brain gives you and says: well done, we didn't get eaten.

Friends and work-mates have been curious as to why I've decided to do it. No, I didn't mention this blog, I said it was after doing some writing for a mate, that someone suggested it. Partly true..... ;-) The good news is that with the kindness of friends, family and people I've met along the way, I've raised over four hundred quid. Hell, I thought setting the target at one hundred was hopeful. People have, as ever, surprised me.... and in a good way too.

For those of you kind enough to have over a few quid, you may now bask in the feel good vibes. You'd think I'd be used to people laughing at me..... I'm trans, remember? ;-)

Take care,
Lynn

[ Today's lyric: The Only Living Boy In New Cross ]

Friday, March 01, 2013

"One by one we gonna stand up with pride"


Hi folks,

Happy Saint David's day to the Massive from the Valleys. So.... what's occurring?  :-)

Stand Up

This month sees Comic Relief starting its charity events and this year, as I think I've mentioned in previous posts, they are running a gig - literally - for folk who fancy a go at stand up comedy. Yours truly, has decided to give it a go. Not that I consider myself to be funny per se.... and that's not false modesty. There are plenty of people out there sharper, wittier or just plain 'out there', than I. Yet, it's not a competition - as it states that on the T&Cs, I should add. If it was, I don't think I'd be as interested. I'm not after fame and while a little fortune would be nice, I think it's more that I'd just like to have go and see how it is. Personal challenge? Maybe. A few (trans) friends have asked if I'll be doing it in Lynn mode. The answer to that is no. I've enough to remember without having to worry if my outfit is right or people are being weirded out (Ed: Oh the vanity!)

Well.... I can say this, it is scary. Even if you're running off some routine in front of half a dozen like minded folk - training plus hopefuls - the butterflies / shakes still kick in. Much as I can gibber on for England, being able to focus and trim the words down so you can go from set-up to punch line delivery in just the right timing, it's tough. I am a natural born waffler, so I know I've got to keep practising and learn my routine off by heart.

We covered some of the basics - projecting confidence, mic work - and then mechanisms for drawing from your own experiences, to techniques to help you draw new material from the everyday. It was tough in places, but if you get the chance to go to such an event, I'd say do it.

What next? Well, it's the waiting game as there is one training session to go and then the organisers will see who's stepping up - so to speak - and then we'll know for sure. My work mates have expressed an interest in going and I know a few friends from here/Chams have too. It may be an interesting experience as the two social worlds collide.

Media

A little earlier in the week, an email arrived detailing the start of a documentary project. I'll be honest with you. I get about one a month of these blind drops. Unless the email is really spammy (Ed - is that even a word?), I'll take a look. If the item catches my eye, I'll share it. The film is called Finding Kim. I'll let the producer explain, so I don't make a hash of it.
The message of "Finding Kim" is one that speaks beyond gender. It's about knowing and understanding yourself & who you truly are as an individual. We want to unveil Kim's story in the most organic way possible while staying true to the documentary film making process. We wish for Kim's voice to resonate with anyone struggling with gender identity or self-acceptance. We will follow Kim around for the next year filming the most intimate parts of his life, including his top-surgery, struggles and moments of happiness. We will also be interviewing the individuals closest to Kim. We wish to discover their thoughts on his process and how this will affect their relationship with Kim. Other segments will include others who have gone through the process of gender reassignment. Ultimately, we want the viewer to walk away with a new outlook on gender.
You can find notes about the film here.

Dirty Stop Out

Yes, it was time for a night out and I was determined not to get into a state over packing, or the perceived lack of time on my part. Wednesday night I had everything packed ready. Including the new lippy and mascara I bought the day before.

I thought I'd try a new high gloss lippy, but it was rather vivid and as I'd done my eyes a little strongly, the two didn't work together. It did go on nicely, although you do need a steady hand to get a good line. Still, back to the free lipstick from Clinque! Like all IT (un)professionals, I keep a backup. The mascara, Maybeline The Falsies Express, worked a treat though. Easier to apply than my usual Clinque one, although I'd say that the latter is far more 'day time', if that makes sense. Usually, I used Maybeline's Great Lash, because it came recommended and I lie the effect. I guess I'm a sucker for those adverts.... the ones where you think wow and then realise the CGI effects and 'filmed with lash inserts' disclaimer. What next? Filmed while high on acid and completely fake? :-\

While I'd been shopping, I spent a few minutes reading the reviews on my smartphone. As I stood up to go and pay, one of the shop assistants smiled and said, "I don't think I'd trust my husband to buy my make-up." She meant it in a nice way and the old Motor-mouth was in action before my brain could stop. "True, but they're for me, so if I mess it up, it'll be me who looks like a pig in knickers. Best get it right, eh?"  :-) Luckily, she laughed.

Where were we? Chams.... So, happy with my look for the evening and after a lovely chat with Sophie, it was time to catch up with friends. I saw Rebecca for the first time in a while and actually got some time to see how she was getting along (very well, despite the slings & arrows of oft quoted literacy . M - not Bond's ex-boss - but our media student visitor had popped into to catch up and update her project (more on that in a mo). Time was zipping by as I was trying not to ignore anyone I hadn't seen in a while.

M's original project with us - us being the trans massive - had stalled a little. So, she'd had a shift of focus to do interviews based around the investigation into the prevalence of depression within the trans community. Well.... I think you just hit pay-dirt :-) That was the reason I was late home. Given M's excellent questioning and my inability to keep my trap shut, I was late home. I think it was coming up to 3 AM when I got home. Far from ideal and I did wake the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones up too.... and yeah, I felt like a such a sh** for doing so. Husband fail :-(

Although I spoke about some rather scary parts of the depression to M, it didn't get me down. It's like that old line about the past is a different country. It certainly feels like that. Although I have the memories of what happened then, I don't have the emotional memory - bad after-taste?  - of those darker times... and that may not be a bad thing. Having rattled on (at length), a few thoughts were left floating around as I drove home. Namely, enjoy the moment by concentrating on the good times; and should I slip towards the darkness, I know it's not forever. I can get out..... and that's not from being alone, but with the help from friends.

Good times.

Take care,
Lynn
x

[ Today's lyric: Caravan of Love by The Housemartins ]