Friday, April 26, 2013

"In violent times, you shouldn't have to sell your soul
In black and white, they really, really ought to know "

Hi,

A bit of a different week this time around. Rather than facing the commute along the ring road, I've been at home working. Well, on a training course. It was all very modern and made me think that in some small way, the future had arrived. :-)

If you build it, they will log in....

Rather than travelling down to Dat Lundun,  I had the chance to try a remote training session. Basically, crank up the Analytical Engine and PigeonNet... sorry, I've been reading SteamPunk again... start up the PC, say a prayer to the Digital Pixies and hope the Broadband Goblins aren't chewing on the lines.  Low and behold, my screen was filled with a video feed of the classroom, which you could easily emulate by sitting on a very tall stool at the back of the class and occasionally putting your fingers in yours ears. :-)

Anyhoo, the IT massive fixed it and it all went well. It was different, but not in a bad way. To be honest, once the session worked, I was fine with it and it meant that I didn't need to be away for a week (meaning the Ever Lovely Mrs J wasn't too put upon for extra school runs) and I didn't have the faff of being away either. All good!

Oh, chuck into the mix that I managed a full dinner hour (at home) without any pesky calls or clock watching, it was rather good. Indeed, I managed to get out for a quick jaunt with The Hound, who was very happy to get an extra walk during the ever improving weather.

What's not to like?

Tipping Points

This Thursday was Chameleons and I was lucky enough - thanks to the kindness of the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones - to get away earlier than I would usually. That little change seemed to make all the difference and I rolled up with plenty of time to get ready. Unusually for me, I had one outfit packed....

okay... one point two five...

okay, one and a half.

.... namely colour pop jeans and a small collection of tops. I wasn't sure what the temperature would be like, so be prepared and all that. I also packed those leopard print flats I bought the other month in the sale.

I was just finishing my nail varnish when Pat popped in to say our visitor had arrived. The group had had an email from a clinician - I think I'm right about that - who wanted to discuss our experiences of the medical practise and associated care; care from a psychological point of view. So I popped down and did a few introductions etc and let her to chat away with folk.

After coming back with a drink, I heard that one of our number had challenged - let's call our visitor Dr C - on the nature of the work and - please don't read this next line harshly - "what good will it do?"

I didn't get to hear the whole conversation, but I think that the party in question feels that it is all well and good [these studies being done], but what really changes? Shouldn't we be trying to get the Man In The Street to accept us?

This caused a few questions (in a good way) and - as I found later on - had made Dr C look at her research and plans from different perspectives. Again, not in a I've got it all wrong stylee, but more how the research could be different, when you take that point of view into account. So, we chatted about this, that and the other - from a trans point of view - and various people came along, said hi and added a few comments. Dr C says she'll be back at some point and will mingle more. One thing I did try to stress was that while there are stereotypes, there is a hell of a lot of variety of backgrounds. Yes, we have some commonality, but our final destinations, if you will, are as varied as the next person.

One thing we did talk about, was what is the tipping point? At what point does something in society, become okay, or even the norm? Is it a case that a few brave trans souls, take a deep breath and go out to face the world? Is it then the proverbial trickle that's now a flood? I mean, look at the social scene of the previous decades, against the far more out & proud events such as Sparkle et al.

What about acceptance? I don't mean self-acceptance, although really, I think that has to come before you can hope to make it out of the closet. Does it start with a few good folk saying it's okay and then the right-on folk (yes, I'm one of them ;-) ) follow? Then tolerance/acceptance are encouraged through company policies..... and by that I mean that there are rules (not just social ones) where discrimination is bad (and not just because someone will sue our arses ;-) ).

Then there's the view the media take in all of this. Some media pieces are wonderfully positive and informative. The bad ones, well, let's not go there! The bad ones, I think - no, I know - I switch off, although I have noticed that the truly negative ones, they do kick up a storm over in non-trans social networks.... which I think is a good thing.

As someone who is still very much in the closet at work, and to a large part, outside of my trans circle of friends, I get to see/hear the occasional moan from folk who feel the Politically Correct Agenda has gone too far. I find it both fascinating (I'm the enemy within) and also a little disheartening too. Yes, I can understand that there are times when it's possible to feel that a certain section of society are being held up for a better treatment than others. Yet, as someone who is an Occasional Other, for someone to make the effort for you to be treated like everyone else - i.e.: with respect - it's great.

I know of a chap at mate who - in his own words - is a bit freaked out by blokes dressing up. Is that ignorance or the tip of the iceberg of disgust? I don't know and I've not challenged him on it. I did ask why he felt like that and to be fair, it seemed it was more the fear of the unknown, rather than something nasty.

Not sure if I put my foot in it during one meeting. Someone asked why we had to have all these special days or emails going around. Well, so long as we need International Women's Day, the words 'closet' or 'out', we've a little way to go. ;-)

Take care,
Lynn

[ Today's lyric: Shout by Tears For Fears ]

Friday, April 19, 2013

"A life to call our own,
That is ours alone,
Is as hard as hell to come by these days."

Hi,

The Past

The other day, over on 'Straightbook' a friend request popped into my inbox. It was from an old school mate. Now, I've probably used up my quotient of ironic quote-marks. If I had any more, I guess they'd be around the word mate. ;-) I was a little thrown by this and me being me, I was in a bit of a spot over to accept or not.

Seems silly now I look back. Not so much the outing that happened back then, but more me taking the time to consider accepting. I guess I was thinking forgive & forget but at the same time, I was worried that if I did, would he have another pop at outing me again?

Sure, once bitten and all that.

I think - no, actually, let's go with know - that some of my non-trans friends, a) wouldn't be really surprised and given the reaction my social circle has against articles from the Daily Heil...

(Ed: to overseas readers, it's a stereotypical right wing tabloid that frequently prints alarmist and homo/transphobic articles. It is in no way bears any resemblance to any real newspaper :-P ).

.... wouldn't be too bothered. Hell, a few of them already know and it's a total non-issue. Which, I think, shows how cool some folk are and that we've come on a long way.

But as I've said before, there's more than just me living at Chez Jones. There's the Ever Lovely Mrs J, Wee Man, Little Miss and the Hound. I'm not sure the Hound would be too bothered about the gossip.... being a dog and all, but the others may well be affected and there are times when I try to take my gung-ho, eff-you,  take-me-as-I-am hat off (bet you didn't you could get one of those on Amazon! ;-) ) and think about how they fit within this mess we call life.

So, I asked the Ever Lovely Mrs J on her thoughts (she said she'd just ignore him as he's not part of my life) and then I asked some Facebook friends. Okay, not on my Richard account, I should add. That would be a be self-fulfilling really wouldn't it. :-)

Various answers came back and all of them interesting. For me, the themes were could he be trusted, why now (after all this time) and how did I feel about the contact?

I'd like to think that someone might be a bit more sensitive, but then that's a weakness of mine. I do look for the best in people - even..... even when it might not be there. You'd think that someone who projects such a sceptical (even cynical?) nature in his working life, would be a bit more discerning in his private life? Ah well.

So, no. I doubt the trust element and lastly, the feelings? Mild concern, disinterest and also an overall feeling of why? It's not like we've not bumped digital shoulders through mutual friends before. With those thoughts in mind, I clicked ignore and put the past a little further behind me.

I guess you could dwell on what happened and be angry about it. Really, it was so long ago and I really cannot be bothered to work up an emotion either way. Best just let it go. I think I've learned a little from what happened and now, I can leave it all behind. I'm pretty sure it would be a waste of neurons picking over what I could have done differently and really, in the long run, would I be here as I am now, with my lovely wife, cute kids and good friends, if it hadn't have happened? There's a thought.

Our Different Journey

On a more interesting note, Amanda and Jonathan were both kind enough to put a few words together for the Our Different Journey project. You can read their journeys here.

Take care,
Lynn

[ Today's lyric: The Devil You Know by Jesus Jones ]

Friday, April 12, 2013

"If ever I would stop thinking about music and politics"

Or more accurately, gender politics..... not that I'm particularly politically active. I guess I'm just not 100% content with the current two party system. :-) Sh**! I'm the LibDem option of gender! :-)

Too late to say hi? Hello, it is then.

It has been a rather eventful week and pretty much all in a good way. Well, mostly, but we'll come to that later on.

Stop Press!

After last week's dysphoric disco of distress I would like to report that I had a very good day today. That may not mean much in the great scheme of life, but to Yours Truly, it means a great deal.

There was no rush to school - it's the Easter holidays - and the drive in to work was smoother than a posh pair of tights. Top that off with a meeting being cancelled, meant I had a morning back to catch up and dare I say, all has gone well.

Chams

If part of my good mood is due to the very pleasant evening I spent with the Chams crew, I'm certainly not going to inspect the proverbial horse's orthodontic situation. :-) Sometimes, you've just got to enjoy things as they are.....

Which brings me on to a Only Now Do I Get The CBT Concept moment. Feel free to sing that last bit or make up your own Intel-esq tinkly musical bit. I shan't. I couldn't hold a tune in a bucket, but you can't have it all. :-)

So, 'The Moment'.... It was down to me getting into a bit of a flap about setting off to Chameleons late and arriving about half past eight. To me, I look at the clock, add an hour on for getting ready and then there's a little drop of the shoulders, as my mind works out how long I'll actually be there before it's pumpkin o'clock and I have to de-fab.

The (now) obvious thing is to enjoy the moment. Not to worry too much about how long I'll take to get ready (Ed: the journey, not the arrival, Lynn. Or more poetically: 'to travel in hope' as a wittier person once wrote.) and that it'll be 'just two hours' of Lynn time.

I found last night, that although I was late getting in. It wasn't really the time that was the problem, it was my interpretation of it. I wonder that with the previous years of taking Little Miss to Granny's house, has meant that I've been lucky to arrive earlier than I would do (by an hour at least) and that I've got used to doing so. Now I'm arriving at a more typical time, I'm panicking over clock watching. Which I think, is not a good way to spend an evening. It makes me very tense and not very pleasant.

Soooo...... deep breath and try to think of the good things. Think of the times when I've done my make-up and felt happy with the look. Also, when my over-packing has somehow paid off, and for me, my outfit is working. Those moments, the ones when you look in the mirror and think, That'll do, pig. No, that's not right! Ack! :-) Those moments when for just a moment, you look and are content - even happy - with your image.

Music...

Two things about music this week, three if you count the usual lyrical reference.

Firstly, and more a personal one, I'm a little surprised at how my mood affects how I listen, or more accurately, interpret lyrics. Two good examples are Nine Inch Nail's Leaving Hope and Katy Perry's Just Like the Movies. Yeah, I know. Katy and Trent on the same playlist, it is unusual, but so it goes. Yesterday it was Public Enemy followed by Lady Gaga.

With both songs, if I'm in a good / steady mood, I find NIN's track beautiful and haunting. The piano parts lift my soul and while I'm not usually a fan of the slower, more ambient tracks, I keep coming back to this one. Likewise, with Miss Perry's number; sure, it's a little poignant here and there, wistful, but not sad.

However, on a downer level, what was haunting, becomes melancholy and the words of Just Like the Movies, somehow they twist and turn in my head so they become about what I'm not feeling so good about. Take for example, this... and I hope there's no issue with copyright.
It didn't fit, it wasn't right
Wasn't just the size...
Also:
The fairy tale feeling, no
Am I a stupid girl, for even dreaming that I could?
A body that doesn't always fit the way I feel and dreaming that I could? Sometimes, those words hit hard. Melodramatic? Maybe :-) But when things aren't going well, it doesn't make them feel any less true. But, if I put my feeling to one side and think about what I really want and where I am now, they're just words. They're not a siren call to me, they're about something else entirely and just maybe, it isn't just like the movies. There are dull bits where not much happens and the long, slow burn of good things, peppered with great events.

Get the girl and kill the baddies? Maybe I have and I'm riding this one to the end credits. Again, to travel in hope and all that.

....and Politics

For those of you who've been living under a rock this week, one of the UK's former prime minsters passed away. It's been a long time since Margaret Thatcher was in power, but judging by the vitriol - from supporters and detractors - you wouldn't have thought so.

I can just about remember the Labour government from the 70s, I guess I would have been at primary school, but I don't remember the strikes, nor the power cuts. Skip on a few years and we had the Miners' Strike, the Poll Tax and - to a lesser extent - Clause 28. All of those, from my sheltered middle class rural backwater upbringing, have shaped who I was. I could then, as now, see both sides of the arguments about the economy..... and that doesn't win you many friends when it seems that there are two camps: those that loved her and those who hated her. :-)

As to Clause 28, I might be straight, but why shouldn't teenagers be educated about different sexualities / trans* people? This was the era of AIDS and it seemed to me, that everyone was protesting against the government. Gay people wanted acceptance, rap was trying to break into the mainstream, ravers wanted to dance and most of us didn't want to pay the Poll Tax. ;-) Things have (thankfully) moved on since then and society is very different as it was in the 80s. In some ways, the teenies and the noughties seem a lot calmer.... well, at least to me, but it's quiet out here in the sticks. Are the battles of equality all won? No, I think we've got a little way to go yet, but we're getting there.

There are two things that amuse me - in a wry way - about the whole affair. The first is the attitude that she was universally reviled and while she certain gave people a figure to fight against, the Conservatives won many elections with her at the helm. In the end, her own party turned against her and managed one more term, before losing out to Labour in the 90s.

The other element is this attitude that you shouldn't speak ill of the dead. Yes, I think there is a time and a place for comments, and yes, what about respecting her family's grief, etc. True..... and yet, here comes the other side. :-) Margaret's supporters are busy proclaiming what good she did for the country. Then there are her policies that had a great deal of an effect on people's lives in the 80s. To some, she let them ride the economic boom (was that government policy or a world thing?) and become upwardly mobile. To others, her policies drove them further down the wealth ladder and many folk argue that those who worked in manufacturing / the coal industry, never recovered.

I'd like to say, history will show us the facts, but what is the truth in those situations? It is possible to look beyond your own memories and views, to look at the event as they happened? Should you let go of the past and move on, or are some events just too hard to forgive?

Take care,
Lynn

[ Today's lyric: Music & Politics by the Disposable Heroes of HipHoprsy ]

Sunday, April 07, 2013

"A m*****f***ing chain saw, what!!"

Gah!

Seems I've moved on from 'meh'. What's this two posts in as many days? Well, strike while the distress is hot, I say.

These last two days have been less than ideal. Not that anything bad has happened: my loved ones are all safe, there's no Great Disaster looming..... well, I hope not. I know Kim's thinking about kicking off, but really, just calm it down chap, okay? It's not going to end well and really, a war? C'mon. Save the big talk and sabre rattling for another day. Turn the nuke plant off - unless you're running the country's AC with it - and have a look at Dorothy Perkins' new stock. You'll feel better for it. :-)

Where were we? Yeah. Two days.....

Saturday, Little Miss and I went to a party for one of her school friends. Again, it was at the village hall and we had the usual routine of music, balloons, fancy cakes and party games. This time I wasn't token dad, there was one other chap - looking equally lost and a little out of place. Normally, these things don't bother me. I guess.... I don't consider myself a regular bloke. Atypical, yes. Regular, no.
New Bloke '72 R2 - Less sport! Less beer! Loves shopping!*
* Warning: new release code may have gender issues.
With spring finally here, it seems it was time to break out the new wardrobe - well, for the ladies, anyhoo - and I think that wasn't helping matters. The negativity within seemed to clutch at this as 'look what you cannot have....pretty things!' Cue ten second daydream of being Lynn while at the party. Thanks, Inner Golum. I really needed that. >:-| I did my best not to think about the negative stuff and instead, pass the hours by drinking tea and playing games on my smartphone, while Little Miss enjoyed herself.

Pink Fog vs CBT Jedi - no score draw.

Sunday.... after a lovely stroll in the park. Well, stroll for me, a bike ride for the kids and a good run for the hound. BTW, proper hound, not the Black Dog. Lunch and then a quick pop to the shops. The Ever Lovely Mrs J needed to call into Boots first (don't look at the make-up, Lynn) and then a look through Outfit for some things for the holiday (don't look at the clothes, Lynn). I took Wee Man into the men's area because.... because, I thought it would be more interesting for him and it would be better if I wasn't near temptation. Just put it all behind me and look at the Quicksilver t-shirts.

Back home sometime later, I retreated upstairs to leave them all at it. I did my usual coping mechanism: twit about with my phone and try to distract myself. Think of the now, Lynn. Enjoy the moment. Things were not right in the state of Denmark. I was angry at myself and I was hurting.....

But why? How had I arrived at this state? It's not like I'm cooped up in the closet. With a little luck, I'll be out this Thursday and it's not like the Ever Lovely Mrs J and I are in a bad way. It really does feel like a flap over nothing..... only..... why, when the Pink Fog rolls in like a camp remake of the The Fog and sinks its claws in, why does it hurt so?

Does it only hurt if you let it?

I put the phone away, put my wellies on and took action: it was time to break out the sheers (no, not the fabulous ones - garden sheers), sharpen the axe and sort out the bramble patch. Lord of the Flies meets Alan Titchmarsh. Judgement day cometh, brambles. I have gloves, safety specs and a mood you could cook a chicken with at thirty yards. Bring it! :-P

Three hours later, the bonfire was roaring away nicely. My muscled ached and Little Miss had had many a happy hour on the trampoline. Chuck in the mix that I'd not thought about being a miserable c*** for three hours and that's not a bad afternoon all things considered.

Pink Fog, Nil. Psycho gardening, One.

I don't like these occasional emotional mosh pits. But, there is good news in the above. With the CBT stuff, I know it's not the End of the World. I'm not sliding back down the walls of the pit. It's just a bit of bad luck.... a Series of Unfortunate Events if we're going for a book and film tie-in. :-)

Deep breath. It'll be Thursday soon.

Take care,
Lynn
x

[ Today's lyric: Break Stuff by Limp Bizkit ]

Friday, April 05, 2013

Meh.

I'm knackered. I wouldn't mind, but it's been a short week. Three days isn't really a full week is it. Ho hum.

So.....

I'm a bit meh really. How's things with you?

_____________________________________

Don't ask why, but I stumbled upon the quote (see image) the other day. I was going to pop it on Facebook, but for some reason, the broadband pixies had other ideas.


I will be honest with you and say that many times, I forget the above. I would like not to, but I do.

Should I be a walk over? No, and I don't think that's what the saying means. But, I think I should be a little more forgiving (Ed: look out, Brit understatement approaching team) when it's required.

Lynn
x