Friday, March 27, 2009

"And it feels like running with your eyes closed,
If you forget what you're supposed to be."


This week I feel like I've been dragging my sorry ass through what seemed like a desert of tedium. I don't know where that is on the planet, geography was never a strong point of mine, but I'm guessing it's somewhere were it's hotter than a clingfilm catsuit. Wow, those last two words are really going to throw my input from Google :-)

But over the top drama and negativity aside, I've had a few patches of welcome shade and comfort in the last week or so (Ed: don't oversell the metaphor, Lynn). Firstly, my little girl has learned to wave. Sure, she won't win an award for that, but it's a parent thing. :-) I've still got a job (when lots of folk haven't) and there's been a few of those little things than make life flow so much smoother.

I had a bit of a spring clean at home ready for last night's trip to Nottingham Chameleons. The group were having a bring & buy sale. It's a good way of recycling things we don't want and it helps boost the group's coffers. I decided to be brutal. Okay, not iron fist in silk glove, more brutal over what items I should really let go. I looked through the cupboard and pulled out items that while I still liked, I hadn't worn for 9 months plus. Still, you know how it is. Once you get some wardrobe space, you kinda have the need to go and fill it back up don't you? :-)

So, in an effort to break the cycle of work, working lunch, work, home, veg out, sleep, repeat until Friday; I headed into town to see what's new in the clothing line. Luckily I didn't see any of those scary Dallasty power dresses I've seen in the glossies. Great if you're doing a Crystal inspired drag act, but not exactly stuff I'd want to wear. Mind you, I did see a very cute pair of acid bright heels (Ed: or Day-Glo as they were called it back in the day) and some denim leggings. Obviously not together! :-) I don't know if the latter will prove to be a step too far into the 80s, but I like my jeans snug. Anyways, while the above wasn't in my size, I did get a rather nice stripey top and a denim skirt. The latter got shortened as it was a touch too long.

Suitably armed and fabulous, I made my way to Chams. To be honest, my heart wasn't really in it and I wasn't sure that I fancied going through the whole dressing up gig. But... I was glad I made the effort! Arriving early, I helped Gillian set the tables up. We made some inane gag about them looking like a table tennis venue and then that was it, imaginary paddles and a non-existent ball was... ummm... not zipping between us. I think we both need to get out more. :-)

I got changed and usually I have the room to myself. We had four new people turn up and, well, I struggle with names so hello new people! :-) Two peeps on their own and a couple too. I had a bit of a natter as I got dressed up before heading downstairs.

Debbie - the photographer from last time - was kind enough to drop off the CDs with our photo sessions on. She has a real talent there. While I probably should have smiled a bit more (nerves eh?), I'm very impressed with the end product. I'll get round to uploading one at some point.

The bring and buy went well. The group made enough cash to avoid dipping into the funds. Nice to have that stash for the slow months and also to save up for the Xmas party too. I bought a necklace - too cute to resist. My old wig went quickly (lucky Tina! Blond to brunette eh chuck?) as did the books and my paisley skirt. A little bit of history disappearing I suppose, but then I wonder if people will link their own history to the item as they go through life. Life? Made up of good memories.

Take care

[ Today's lyric: Raoul by The Automatic ]

Friday, March 20, 2009

"Watch the way we drop our scars"

Hey y'all,

A slow week this week - which makes for a nice change. So... umm... not much to say really :-)Not that that'll stop me. I am a blogger :-P

While poking around this blog, I stumbled upon the Blogger news feed. I don't know if you read that feed or not, there's an entry about Plinky. Not a person or the sound a coin makes when dropped in a jar, but a web site that asks you a question in case you've got blogger's block. When I looked the neural prod was: name a book that changed your mind or opened your eyes.

Well, I used to read. Not quite as voraciously as other people I knew but over the last year or so my reading habits have dwindled to just about zero. Oddly, so has my television viewing. I might catch the news while eating my tea, but a quick flick through the telly's what's on feature and most of the time I give up and go and do something else.

I am, at heart, a fantasist... or perhaps more accurately: an escapist. I like to day dream and the obscure and the whimsical hold my attention. To that end, I don't read biographies, watch soaps or straight dramas. I'm more of a science fiction (or fantasy) fan.

The BBC recently ran a series called Being Human. That I thoroughly enjoyed. Sure, it was effectively 3 people sharing a flat and while the motifs of the vampire and werewolf as people first, monsters second isn't brand new, I was gripped.

While I said I don't watch dramas, I did watch Queer as Folk when it was on. Why? Because it was a subject outside of my world. The characters interested me and while it was still very much this world, the side world that they seemed to inhabit was so different to my middle class white boy suburbia, it could well have been Moonbase Alpha. :-)

So to get back to the question in hand: which book? Gibson's Neuromancer holds a special place in my heart. I came back to sci-fi after a long break and while it was a good eight years after its release, the idea of a broken future seemed fresh and it appealed to me. Don't get me wrong, I like were I live (now anyway), but a dystopian future was an interesting place to read about. It certainly gave my imagination something to mull over. Perhaps it was my teenage nihilism, but looking through the cracked mirror you saw people who while flawed, strived against the environment. Is there a moral to this? Maybes... If I give my head a shake [ow!] some fortune-cookie soundbite may rattle out. Now doubt something along the lines of: no matter how bad it seems, there's always hope.

So, it is Neuromancer? No. Excellent though it is, it didn't change my world view. Neither did the Bible (in case you were curious) nor a couple of self-help books I made my way through. Instead it was a book the dear Mrs Jones gave to me in passing. It was one of those society/psychology books you get, although to be fair that doesn't to it justice. The book is Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps by Allan Pease & Barbara Pease. It's by turn serious science, witty anecdotes and wry personal observation.

The book discusses the differences between men and women in a friendly, light hearted manner. Frankly, it's a miracle either couples manage to stay together when we're so seemingly damned incompatible. :-) But beyond the witty banter, the more serious subject of us being very heavily influenced by our brain chemistry started to ring true for me.

So why did this change my world view? There's a section on gay folk where the authors state that being gay isn't a lifestyle choice: it's a physical state of being. If that's true of gay people, my brain wondered, is the same true of trannys? For years I wondered if I could or should stop. Why did I keep coming back to this 'lifestyle' if it - as it did years ago - freak me out? Why do I share the same pattern of behaviour with other trannys? The early memories, the teenage panic, the 20s purging and then the deep dive back into it during my 30s. [ Although technically, that's not 100% true: I was seriously off the wagon in my late 20s - just seriously in the closet. ]

I settled on brain chemistry... or hormones... or genetic differences - whatever science you want to wrap it up in, that's cool. The key thing - and to be honest, it's more my interpretation of the book rather than proven science - is that I'm wired this way. Which brings us back to Neuromancer and what Molly Millions said:
"'Cept I do hurt people sometimes, Case. I guess it's just the way I'm wired..."

Wired. I am built this way. To me it's a natural as breathing or wanting to care for my family.

I felt... relief? No, more than that. Like... like I had the answer. It may not be the answer for you, but it was the one that made a little light go 'ting' in my head. After that wee Epiphany, the whole 'Sh**! I'm a tranny' gig slowly wound down and fizzled away, until one day, I realised it just didn't bother me. Sure, I have the odd blip, but then I do over being a good husband or doing the right thing as a dad.

So you go. Plinky to the rescue. Stay safe and I hope you have a good weekend!

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: Kissing the Sun by The Young Gods ]

ps: Talking of writing, you know what they say: you wait for ages and then two TG themed articles appear on the Beeb's website :-). This time it's the turn of Boston Belles.

Friday, March 13, 2009

"He'd come in third in a two-horse race."


Considering it was Friday the 13th today, things have been pretty good. I dropped Wee Man off at school - suitably equipped for Comic Relief - and after a hug goodbye, I drove off into the glorious Spring sunshine. Ahhh, that weather's a welcome change: the warmth of the sun on your face and a lovely blue sky. Good stuff.

Yesterday was Going Out Night and I thought it went pretty well (Ed: Brit understatement). The group had a visit from a lady called Debbie who'd come along to do a photo shoot. To be honest with you, I hadn't planned on having my photo taken. I'd only brought one outfit (yes - unusual for a tranny, but there you go) and didn't have much cash on me. Well, not strictly true. I had the takings from the last meeting, but that would be theft wouldn't it? :-) So that was a no?

After a few folk had had their snaps done and the rush had died down, I asked nicely if Debbie how far a tenner would stretch.... from a photographic point of view (for those of you with dirty minds). The Lady from DeMonte said yes and a number of shots later it was all over. I didn't feel a thing. :-) All I will say is that Debbie is a *very* good photographer. I'm always slight in awe of those who have the knack of taking the right shot. I had look at the images she'd caught, but she said she'd drop the finished versions off at the next meeting. Something to wait for eh? Good times! :-)

We also had a visit from two new folk: Angelina and Stacey (I'm sh** with names). I wasn't sure if they were BF + GF or just friends. I didn't like to pry - it might sound dodgy :-). That aside, a lovely - umm? - couple (apologies if you're not together!) and we had a nice chat about this that and the other. That's one (of the many) good things about Chams. You get to catch up with friends, make new ones and generally have a good time. We can also be there if you've got questions or are worried about something.

At the end of the evening, I got changed back into Bob mode and headed downstairs to say goodbye to people. I'm trying to clear a bit of space in my wardrobe, so I gave away some black heels (not a good fit) and some unopened make-up (which I'd won weeks earlier). Dropping my bag off to help with the chairs, I bumped into them both again. Stacey was surprised at the (reverse) transformation. Strange what a good wig and padding in the right place can achieve. :-) I'll never pass, but frankly - wait for it, wait for it - I don't give a damn. :-) Why fret over the unachievable? All the wishing in the world wouldn't change my shape or face, so why waste the energy? Just enjoy what you've got....

... which brings me round to Comic Relief. I've put a few quid in (Ed: again, understatement) - well, more than last year - have you done the same? It's odd how the programme seems to affect me more that it used to: certainly more now I've got kids. I know it's charity and I know that'll make some people's lips curl, but f*** it. Given all that I've got - environmentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually - will I miss the money I donate? Do I really *need* another meal out or a pair of posh shoes? Maybe someone else needs a little luck and here's my chance to do something. It's a small something, but if enough of us do it, good things can happen.

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: Last of the Secret Agents by Nancy Sinatra. Why? I didn't get the job I told you about a few entries ago. Perhaps it wasn't meant to be. I gave it a go and that's cool. On the up side, I don't have to switch teams and who knows - maybe other possibilities will arise. ]

Friday, March 06, 2009

"The writing's on the wall,
It won't go away."


How's things with you? All Cool and the Gang I hope.

As I walked through the warm Spring sunshine my mind, as ever, started to drift. A young lady crossed the road in front of me, heels springing her across the road (not literally) in a way that seemed effortlessly glamorous. How do some women do that? Practice maybes. Anyways, her black on black office outfit reminded me of a night at Chams a few months ago and when that thought drifted into my head: what if people at work knew? I pushed it away not wanting to tempt Fate.

Skip back a few weeks and the Nottingham Chameleons got an email from a local paper asking if they could come and do an interview. We had a brief chat about it and decided against it. I mean, this was about 2 weeks after the events down south in Liphook. I'm sure the paper meant well, but the current venue is out of the way enough to be off the radar unless someone's specifically looking.

Anyhoo, jump forward to last night's telly programme - Inside Out. For those of you outside of the UK, it's a regional magazine programme that features events, places and people within your local area. This episode featured a local lass who is in the process of transitioning but that's by the by (Oh - good luck Debbie! :-D ). The BBC's website has a little more information about Debbie and... a link to the Nottingham Chameleons website.


So I had a little touch of The Fear the other day. Not the stomach dropping panic I felt when someone outed me back home, but it wasn't pleasant. Still, a nice cup of tea - honestly, I'm so British it almost hurts - and a quiet think certainly helped keep some perspective.

The reason I'd like to keep this part of my life away from work is because of my family. I think I could handle the well meant joshing from my work-mates. But what about outside of work? I don't want my kids to be singled out because of who I am. Other than the concern for my family, I think that people knowing would alter the dynamic between myself and friends. Gee, that sounds fancy doesn't it? :-) I think I'd stop being "------" and be "------ the tranny". I'm not sure I'd fancy being pigeonholed - nay, stereotyped - like that.

I suppose the obvious answer would be to remove this blog and withdraw from the Internet. Why not? Simply because I get a lot of out of blogging - both the process of sharing what's going on in my life, reading what other people are getting up to and - as I've said before - the exchange of views via comments.

Oddly, I'm in touch with a few mates from back home (Facebook, it's a strange beast) who could know - yet either they've ignored it, would like to ask but daren't or - and I'm hoping this is really the case - it's a non-issue. Yesterday's news. SFW and all that. (SFW? So f***ing what).

To wrap this us - if some new friends are reading this. Two things: 1) Hello and 2) Buy me a pint and I'll answer your questions if you like.

Take care & stay safe,

[ Today's lyric: The Omen by The Prodigy ]