Friday, August 28, 2015

Travel and Tiaras

Hi,

A short week, this week. The Jones Massive have had another summer break, albeit a long week. I know, lifestyles of the rich and famous, eh? Not that my bank account is looking well, that's for sure. Still, a good time was had by all and despite the dining out, the sheer amount of walking we did, has worked wonders. I feel I have much more energy and, I get finally get back into my 36" bloke jeans. Clearly, the daily 5 - 7 mile walks, have paid off. Note to self: more exercise. :-)

We went to Prague and if you get chance, and for what it's worth; I thoroughly recommend it. I think adding up the cost of the flights, the hotel and the food; it's not much more costly that London by train. Well, unless you live in London that is: I'm sure the Tube fair, is very reasonable :-P Plus, Prague's architecture and the sense of history, is fantastic. Yes, there's a stag do notoriety, but we didn't see much of that (two kids, remember?), so no problems there.

The climate was on the warm side and, me being me, I did keep an eye on the fashions and styles people preferred. It felt very UK, if that makes any sense. Mind you, skinny jeans with ripped knees don't seem to be in. At least, not as 'in' as they are in Nottingham. Fashion, go figure.

Ethnicity

There's no Chams for me this week, as the Ever Lovely Mrs J is away on business. I'm home being Dad and, dare I say, it's all going well. It's a bit of a rush in the morning, but I think we're on top of things. Go Team Jones :-)

I happened to see the Channel Four programme, Muslim Drag Queens. I won't review or spoil any of it, and it's on C4's catch up service for the next 28 days, if you fancy watching it.

One thing I've noticed over the years at Chameleons, is that we don't tend to have many people from Black or Asian backgrounds, attend. I think I've seen one Asian lady (who looked utterly fab in her sari), and that was at least six years, or so ago. A quick look on t'internet and the census stats for the county are 71.5% White, 13.1% Asian, 7.3% Black British and 6.7% Mixed Race. Given the struggles and abuse faced by some in the above programme, I guess the lack of attendance, given our mixed community; it makes more sense now.

Sure, trans and drag or trans and sexuality don't always go hand in hand. Ignoring differences, it is about being true to your feelings and being accepted for who you are. I think, regardless of what label, we pin in ourselves - and we're back to last week's talk around identity - we just want to be accepted and to be ourselves.

I thought we, as a society, were getting there. After watching this, I feel, we've still a long way to go.

Lynn
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Friday, August 21, 2015

The C Word

Hi,

On the way home from Chams last week, BBC Radio 4 had a large night edition of Woman's Hour. It's not a programme I usually listen to, as I'm at work, but if it's on; I'll listen. Not from some faux woman within malarkey (well, false for me - it may be very true for others).

Moreover, you get to hear different topics of conversation. The Late Night Edition covered fanfic, cosplay and sci-fi & fantasy, albeit with a view of what it means to women today. If any of the above are your bag, there's a podcast you can download here.

So what's this got to do with being trans? Well, it wasn't discussed directly, although there was talk about identity and how different on-line communities allow people to experiment. Change who they are, how they wish to be perceived, etc. In the final segment of the show, one of the experts was talking about the drop of organised religion's hold over the UK, since the 80s. She went on to say that people have filled (or maybe, replaced) that community with their own.

What struck me, was the talk about religions and fan communities allowing people to be different from their usual life. A sense of belonging and a place where you can be who you want, without the binaries if everyday life. Hmmm. What does that remind me of? :-)

Part timers, full timers, partners, F2M, M2F and the undecided
So is Chams - or indeed any trans support group - effectively a church? It's not like we have worship, although do we have rituals. The getting ready, photos, parties and the return to drab, at the end of the evening.

All tortured similarities aside, the sense of community is fantastic. A mix of short, medium and long term visitors. You don't really know who will stay and who will drift away, or move on. All part of the variety of life.

Take care,
Lynn

Friday, August 14, 2015

Breaking the dry spell

Hi,

This, is very much the life. I've had the luxury of a week off at home. I appreciate that may sound sarcastic, and in many ways, that's my default tone. One of continual dry humour, but honestly, the Jones Family Staycation (apologies for anyone who dislikes portmanteaus), worked rather well. It's not often you do the tourist thing in your local city.

We've visited some ruins, been on long walks in the woods, had some very nice lunches out and risked a family day out, ice skating. Me and sport go together like ham and bicycle clips. But, you do your best and try not to break anything, when you fall over. I've worn some, shall we say, impractical footwear, over the years, but ice skates take the prize. Tight and and loose in the wrong places. Pretty much like a bad pair of cheap opaques, I guess. :-)

Chuck in some time for reading and a better diet (thanks to the Every Lovely Mrs J's expert knowledge), and things are going well. All in all, reasons to be cheerful.

Chams

You may well recall me mentioning not being 'in the mood' for any trans stuff. Not that you can ever seemingly switch it fully off, but - and shall we say? - finding enough interest to express all aspects of my gender, was definitely lacking. Having written that line, I'm still not 100% behind it, but it sounds more in-depth than I couldn't be a**ed to get dressed up. :-) Hell, it's only been two months and a day, but who's counting?

With my customary large travel bag packed, and two outfits within, off I went. It took me a while (as per), to get ready and part of that was a pause. I took a look in the mirror and wondered: just what on Earth am I doing? Perhaps just uncertainty calling, than any panic, but I felt decided confused, if not a little odd. Still, when in doubt: accessorise. :-)

Thanks to Valtography
Skinny jeans, a borrow top and some Clinque CC cream worked their wonders. I skipped on the corset and the weight loss from the last holiday is still a work in progress. Getting there, mind, and gradual is probably the way to go.

Feet in my heels and I felt my posture change. That seems the second to last step, before the wig goes on and you're finished. All that remains is a wry smile in the mirror and a quick thought of "that'll do, Pig." :-)

Regular Folk

Once downstairs I said hi to the usual folk and took a seat. There was a chap on his own, so I struck up a conversation with him. I didn't know who he was and thought he might be a first time visitor. Most people email before coming along, but some just turn up and fair play to them.

Turned out he was a carer for one of our regulars and not one of our number. Cue a few jokes about "Okay. Well no-one will try and convert you, although I did visit just to sort out the plumbing.... then it all got out of hand." :-)

Conversation drifted around various topics and one thing he said had me thinking long afterwards. The idea that the carer expected us to be a bit more flamboyant. He said he only had to go on what he'd seen on TV, or what had been covered in an old diversity training programme.

I think the better elements of the media do try. Sometimes, they get it right and I think we're seeing things change for the better. There will always be a few voices; you know the sort: troll with an opinion column, or lazy editors. But, just as other discrimination is frowned up, lets hope things continue to move in the right direction for us trans folk.

Anyhoo, none of the above had really helped him decide, who we - we, being trans people - would be like. How would we behave, what would our ages be, our style of dress, what would we talk about, etc. Turns out, we're just like ordinary folk, and I'm fine with that.

Mind you, it's a good job the weather was bad, and we'd delayed the Wicker Man tribute. :-D

Take care,
Lynn

Friday, August 07, 2015

Step away from the pie

Hi,

To tell, or not to tell? That is the question. Let's give this record another spin. :-)

With apologies to the Bard, the above is a question that floats around my noggin from time to time. Perhaps, more accurately, you could ask, out or closet? I remember a news report about a researcher who revealed all of his secrets, on the basis that no one could hold anything over him, if he was totally open about his past.

So, why this thought now? Not that you asked ;-) With the Ever Lovely Mrs J's folks house-sitting, or Wee Man staying home alone (yeah, he's grown up quickly), I wonder, if either party are looking for something, if my extra clothes will be found. Now, I'm not saying they'll go rummaging around in our bedroom, that would be rude. That said, I know Little Miss has a treasure hunt for her Xmas presents one year. Not that she's done it again, because she found it took some of the magic away.

My wardrobe has bloke clothes on one side and my other clothes, on the...umm... other. I suppose there's the line that it's the Ever Lovely Mrs J's overspill. So far, so typical. Now, what about large cupboard near my computer desk? A fine selection of heels, more than one bag of make-up and a large cardboard box, that houses a wig stand and old Ginger? Well, I suppose, if you go digging, be careful of what you may unearth.

Years ago, I used to keep the more transtastic items in a locked treasure chest. The kids would gather around and wonder what wonderful secrets where held inside. It seemed a locked door had more interest than anything else. So, I moved it and once it was opened - behold, the wonder of old blankets! :-P After that, they were suddenly a lot less bothered.

Health kick

I had my over 40s health check this week. Hmmm...

F-- off, I'm thinking size 14.
Well, my blood pressure isn't great and my cholesterol levels are also the wrong side of healthy. Not dangerously so, but to ignore the warning signs, would be unwise.

The Ever Lovely Mrs J, bless her, has been working up a culinary storm; changing out diets for the better. Less trans-fats (wrong sort of trans, apparently), less salt, proactive yogurt (que?) and more veggies.

I'm trying to avoid thinking about being hungry and at work, that's easy enough. Just get stuck into a report or some coding; the time flies. At home, temptation is a little closer and I'm doing my best. Today's trip to the Lard Van, where they do the most fantastic bacon & egg rolls, was probably not the best idea, but I didn't crumble under duress. ;-)

Last week's holiday certainly didn't help (hello, weight gain), but I've got a reason to ditch the pounds. I've also promised myself, no new clothes until I fight the flab and there's a lovely new Autumn/Winter collection due out soon.

Fingers crossed eh?

Lynn
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