Friday, July 30, 2010

"Not with a bang but a whimper."


There. I've cracked the ice. The empty white background that's the backdrop of the Blogger window. Now I feel galvanised into action, the breakage freeing my mind to actually do something. Something. Anything. For a bloke who can talk until the cows come home, there are times when words don't come so easily. That's why the quote: almost high brow compared to my usual pop-scene. :-P Is that how blogs end, they slow up and eventually stop? Anyways, for the last ten minutes, I've sat; staring into space or studying the fact that my keyboard could do with a clean. So it goes sometimes. I so didn't want this to be another post about darkness or shadows (Ed: any other band references you could fall over?) because it p*sses me off.... and I don't want it to rule my life.

< deep breath >

Let's talk about nicer things eh? It's late summer and already there's fruit to be picked from the hedgerows and garden. The apples on the tree are looking good and my local bramble patch up the hill is coming along nicely. There's also a spot not too far from work and I have been known to take in a plastic box and go blackberrying in my lunch hour. I don't know about you, but I find picking fruit very relaxing. I wonder if it's down to the fact that you have to concentrate on it rather than on anything else. Stop paying attention and you find a thorn in your finger, or your jeans caught on a bramble... so you focus on the task in hand.

Once the box is full, I head back and it's not long before it's time to go home. The berries freeze well and provided I remember to pack the apples properly, there's a chance for apple pie - or better still, apple crumble - well into the later parts of autumn. Food-wise - and, being an earth sign - I enjoy creature comforts and I think there's a special treat in being able to have such a wonderful summer pudding in the depths of winter (and without the air miles). What about you guys out there, any particular pudding favourites?

In other news, the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones is after some new shoes (as she's got a work thing soon) and therefore we'll be visiting town for a spot of shopping. Little Miss is with us, so no doubt she'll be raiding the stands and picking the most glamorous shoes she can find. I don't know where she gets that from. ;-)

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: Longtime by EMF which samples - quotes? - T. S. Eliot's The Hollow Men.]

Friday, July 23, 2010

"Jump back and forth,
And feel like you were there yourself,
Work it out..."

Hey all,

There are times when I feel I've got plenty I want to say, but I'm not quite sure how to start. Maybe it's procrastination, or that the thoughts flutter around my head so quickly, I can't quite decide which one I should try and grasp first. Okay... deep breath and focus :-)

This week's been good. I've been for a check up and despite the dip from last time, the mood sine wave - as the doctor said - seems to be settling to something all the more typical. Less dips, which I think can only be a good thing. Let's hope the tablets keep things on the straight and narrow. The drop in the the searing summer heat may also have helped a little. Sure, it's still been lovely and sunny, but not that baking heat we had earlier in the month. In other small joys, I fell upon a lovely bright blue nail varnish from Rimmel. Little things eh? ;-)

Thursday saw the Chameleons Summer Party in full swing. Lots of folk turned up and there was plenty of good company, tunes and food. We opted to repeat the idea of having a big Chinese meal and, again, it went really well (Props to Tracey & Sandi for the organisation!). Sophie, Tracey and Alison gave us the goss on what happened at Sparkle. I found that very interesting: what they go up to, visits, the event itself, a few choice sights, etc. I did manage to find a cable to hook my laptop up to the stereo system, so the music kept on coming. For some reason though, perhaps it was the late summer evening or me feeling tired, I just didn't feel like a dance. Still, I think the others may have preferred the room being quieter :-) There will be other times to cut some rug. While the photo backdrop didn't make an appearance, as we were rushed for time, there was time to grab a few shots of the Chams Crew.

Later as I got changed, one of the girls - and I shall spare her name - came in very upset. I think that there are times when you - and I mean 'I' in this context - need to shut up, put your own issues aside and just be there for other people. I mean, my friends at Chams have been there for me when I've found life hard going, so it's only right and proper that I do the same. Besides, the lady in question is a good friend of mine and seeing someone that upset really hits you in the heart.

I think this is the one bit of being a tranny that I dislike: that it can upset other people, particular the ones closest to us; our partners (Ed: Wives & Girlfriends sounds too Footballers' Wives). There are times when what I do (tranny-wise) upsets the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones. I think she does her very best to be understanding, but hell, I don't understand it fully! Even thought I've felt like this for as long as I can remember. Nowadays, I'm mostly alright about it. Why mostly? Because sometimes I overindulge and that causes upset.

There are cliches (or tropes?) that we go though. The talk about a magic tablet that would make you 'normal'. Although, I think that being a tranny is natural, we're just slightly different from your stereotyped bloke portrayed in popular culture. Besides, normal is a relative term I think ;-) The other one is, and I think this is before you come out to your partner: what if she (or he even) says you have to choose between dressing up or them.

Honestly, I don't think you can chose. Being a tranny, it goes right through who you are. It's not just about the clothes or your appearance. It changes your behaviour on a fundamental level. Can you stop being who you are? Honestly, and hand on heart time: no, no I don't think you can stop that. Maybe you could bottle it all up and stop dressing, but I think the feelings will be with you... always ;-) Now where have I heard that before? :-D I know a few people who've gone cold turkey, to coin another phrase, but it rarely ends well. It certainly didn't work for me, but maybe it'll be different for you. Thing is though, is being a tranny a bit like the opening line from Satan by Orbital: Well son, the funny thing about regret is... Is it better to be yourself and ride out the good & the bad with those you love (Ed: slings, arrows, outrageous fortune, etc) or to live as others think you should, only dabbling here & there... or maybe not at all? Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: Dare by The Gorillaz ]

Friday, July 16, 2010

"One life with one dream on repeat.
I'll escape if I try hard enough,"


How's things with you? Stuff here is... is better than it was. The earlier part of the week was not so good. Oh arse. I was hoping not to write about this type of stuff because it's all rather negative isn't it. Rough with the smooth I suppose. :-)

I think that's the difficulty with a blog. Okay, they say 'write about what you know', or in my case, perhaps what's going on on Planet Jones. I guess the down side of that is that when it gets rather personal and heavy going, it doesn't really make for fun reading. But equally, life isn't all smiles and happy stuff. Some days things don't go so well and you just have to make the best of it. Plus, there are only so many times you can say "there, there, there" without it sounding like you're stuck in a loop - ditto from this side of the screen :-) I don't want to write about being upset or unhappy.... Really, I just want to get back to feeling normal.
So, taking about feeling normal, there have been some good points to the week. Firstly, the mad panic project at work wasn't a mad panic. No-one "crossed the streams" so we're all good. Any IT work that doesn't involve a full restore and hoping the back-up tapes hold out is a win in my book. ;-) Wee Man did well on his School Report and he had a great time at his birthday party a few weeks ago. Little Miss, I can't believe how much she's grown up. She's on her way to being 3 and both her - and her brother - are a delight to take to the park. I think it's the reckless joy they seem to have. The Ever Lovely Mrs Jones is hanging on in there, she's been there for me and I don't know what I'd do without her. The weather's also taken turn to a more traditional British summer - as in, it's raining. So good for the plants, water supply and it's no longer baking hot. Good stuff.

For those of you who went to Sparkle, I hope you had a good time and I've been reading the posts about it here and there. Did I miss going? Yes and no. 'No' because if it was important enough to me, I'd push and make the effort to go. But, being a Dad, I like my weekends with my family and being away for the whole weekend would be too much. I guess I'm a cake-and-eat-it kinda guy. :-) Besides, that weekend felt far too hot to be glamorous. :-) So a nice to have, but I guess if you don't know, you don't miss out on it.

While not quite in the same as the Sparkle event, there's the Summer Party next week at Chams. I'm looking forward to that and with a bit of luck, the weather will remain cool and it'll be a good one. Stuff to look forward to eh?

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: Mowgli's Road by Marina and The Diamonds ]

Friday, July 09, 2010

"Press the button to eject from the cartoon frame of mind that won't connect"


Let's start with some good news eh? I'm feeling much better than I did a few weeks ago. I guess, and unlike the song, the drugs do work. ;-) The doctor did warn me that there may be a little dip, due to chemistry, about mid week and I think I've hit that yet kept on trucking. Good times.

I suppose the cliche is 'coming out from under a cloud' and while I know a little about coming out (Ed: groan), for me, once the tablets had kicked in, it was more that I woke up. It was quite startling. I mean, just walking through the supermarket, my memory of what we needed to buy was there; I took an interest in what we were doing and no-one was annoying me just for the cardinal sin of being where I wanted. I know it's early days, but I do feel that I've got my calm back. I no longer feel disconnected from the world and I'm back to my usual unusual self. It's a good place to be. :-) I'd like to say a big thanks to those of you who offered a shoulder to lean on or a listening ear. I won't name you publicly, you know who you are and I hope that's enough.

In other news it was time for a visit to Chams. As per, I got my bag packed the night before and again (Ed: not that she's predictable) I had two outfits ready to rock. This time it was my wrap dress (from yesteryear), footless tights and my heeled sandals. I felt rather comfortable, despite the warm weather and everyone was in good spirits. Taking the dress out of the bag reminded me of earlier visits to Chams. I mean, the dress was one of the first items I bought when I started coming out to the group and, perhaps as you do for favourite items, there are memories associated with it.

The evening rolled on and we hung the backdrop up - thanks Dunelm - for a few snaps. Sure, I had my mug taken, but it was nice to be able to offer that to other folk. Val, Adriana, Maddy, Gayna and Pat all stepped up. Talking of Pat, we had a little Bring & Buy going on and her new wig looked great.

Oh, the Pulp Fiction pose? Well, you have Sandy to thank for that brainwave, so it's a break from the norm. There are also some ones from outside too, the trusty seat at the top of the field, but there's only so much space for snaps (yay FlickR!). Talking of which, I tried the bird's-eye-photo-from-a-chair routine with Adriana (see below).
Tracey and Sandy mentioned that they'd dropped into Boots the other day and the staff were thinking of visiting us again. I think that would be a great idea, so I need to get my finger out and try and sort out some days. Boots were kind enough to say they would do one on site - in store - and while that's a good offer, I think we'll get more folk to one done at Nuthall. I guess we'll see what Boots can do and what the group wants.

Next time around it's the Summer Party, so I'll have to pack my dancing shoes and cross my fingers for some cooler weather.

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: Eject by Senser ]

Friday, July 02, 2010

"If life seems jolly rotten,
There's something you've forgotten..."


Today has been one of those odd days. Not in a bad way, instead the beginning of something good. Don't worry, it's nothing major or life threatening - thankfully. There isn't an easy way to put this and I've spent a while wondering how to put this in words. Hell, I had the same problem when I went to see the doctor. Let's just dive in eh? Depression. There's a word that's both easily banded about and, if the language experts are to be believed, overused too.

So over the last 2 years or so, I've been okay. I've had a few blips - doesn't everyone? - and I put those down to being tired, stressed from work, not enough dressing up perhaps or the push & pull of modern family life; name the excuse. But in the last month or two, things have really come to a head. The Ever Lovely Mrs Jones was worried and said that I wasn't myself. Funny, but until May time I didn't think there was really a problem, just me being a little overstretched. Looking back, I've been unusually tired (even for a layabout like me) and I just felt/acted as if I was disconnected. Very little seemed to engage me, not fun, friends, company, music or even shopping. (Ed: you know something's wrong with a tranny when they're off their shopping). But the worst of it was that things that wouldn't normally raise a thin eyebrow, could send me in to pointless fits of rage. Clearly, there was trouble brewing in the state of Denmark. :-)

Anyways, this week has had me feeling lower than I have done in many years. Finding myself parked up in a lay by, just looking out of the window and wondering why I kept going? Would it matter if I got out and just laid down, not to get up again. Looking in the warm light of day, they seem like silly thoughts, but emotions aren't supposed to make sense aren't they. While the emotional part of me was all over the place, cold logic provided the facial slap to say "You don't feel right because something is wrong. You need help." I finally got my sh** together to go and see the doctor. Why the delay? Well, I felt a bit of a fraud you see. Your mental health? Well, let's look at it another way, if you got a bad back or a painful tooth, there are tests you can do to prove that it's not just in your head.

So I sat down - as nervous as a MP in front of an expense's enquiry - and said my piece. Obviously not a life story, the poor chap certainly didn't deserve that. :-) He asked various questions: family history, home life, work and if I'd felt like this before. I said yes because I felt the honesty was important. That was way back in my teenage years. He asked why and I simply said gender issues. He asked if that was part of the issue and - hand on heart - I said no, it wasn't. With the help of Mrs J and good friends, I don't feel abnormal.

We talked a bit more and after a few more questions - including a multi-choice one from the computer, he said it was likely that my brain biochemistry is a little out of whack - I'm paraphrasing. So... I'm on the happy tablets and will be for the medium term. Did I want tablets? Not really, but then I didn't know what I wanted, other than I just wanted to feel well again - to be my old self. If it's tablets or talking that gets me through all of this, then so be it. I know people go through a lot worse than this.

Why am I telling you all of this? There's a few factors. Firstly, this diary (although it doesn't say all about my family) is pretty much wards and all - sorry, warts and all. ;-) I'm a bloke, despite the extra tranny powers, the party's, fancy clothes and all round gladraggery, real life goes on. Births, deaths, marriages, work, etc.

Why mention it at all? Well, it seems that there's this look but don't say vibe going on. I can think of 4 people within my social circle (extended family, friends, work mates) who've had similar issues and a dose of salts, so to speak, did them the world of good. I feel that there's a stigma attached to the term 'mental illness' - it's something that can make certain folk react as if you're some type of nutter. I know I felt odd saying I was depressed to the doctor, yet saying I was a cross dresser was easy as pie. Go figure! :-) What's that all about? Tranny pride? I'll be flying a rainbow flag trimmed with lace and sequins next. FFS ;-)

But there was this little voice... not literally I hasten to add, I don't actually hear voices. (Ed: Do we? No we don't. Now sshh) :-) Where was I? Yes, a gentle tap of fear and it was this: What if I'm lying to myself? Not about being under a cloud, but that I'm happy being a chap. Can I say it? Transition. I think it's right for some people and it's up to them, but I don't feel that way. I may not be a typical male, but I don't feel like a woman either. Betwixt and between: best of both worlds I hope.

So, on to brighter news. On the way back from the doctor's I flicked on the radio and Desert Island Discs was on. I won't explain that to our overseas readers, that's what Google's for ;-) Off you go if you need to, I'm not going anywhere just yet. Back? Righto. So the guest was Tony Adams (I think I got that right) as tuned in he was saying that a particular Python song always made him smile and rethink no matter how bad things have got: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.

How could I not listen to this? Weirdly, I seem powered by lyrics - this blog certainly is - and if you chuck in the daintily manicured hand of Fate to bring that particular station on the dial, it would be rude not to reference it in someway. So, yeah, maybe I was in danger of forgetting to laugh and dance and sing, but hopefully not now. Maybe it'll be rocky road, but I'll get there. Anyways, I did the last proverbial one in heels. Anything after that should be a doddle :-D

Take care,

[ Always Look on the Bright Side of Life by Monty Python ]