Friday, February 24, 2012

"And then I'm happy for the rest of the day,
safe in the knowledge that there
will always be a bit of my heart devoted to it."

Hey all,

I don't know if you get this or not, but there are times when there are so many thoughts rattling around in my old brain, that it's difficult to really know to start. Okay.... deep breath and concentrate, Lynn... and stop talking to yourself too. People talk as it is. :-)

Shall we start with good stuff? This Thursday was Chameleons and as I hadn't taken ill or broken anything (yay!), off I went. In time honoured tradition, it was a case of two outfits, but on this occasion, three sets of boots as I really couldn't make my mind up. Ditzy eh? ;-) I was a little late than usual because I got caught up with work, but that was no great shakes and despite being slow getting there, oddly I was still the first to arrive.

Getting changed, perhaps unusually, is a time for a good old chat about various things. Sue (honestly: I'm terrible with names) popped in to say hi as she spotted the lights on upstairs. She was sporting a new wig and looking v nice too. We chatted while I did my face. Always a slightly strange experience; being stood in your guy clothes sans shirt (Ed: those tell tale make-up marks, eh tubby? :-P ) while you sort your slap out. Anyhoo, another lady - well, lass I guess at 20 something drifted in from Sheffield way. No, I can't remember her name either and I don't know what's worse: not remembering, or not remembering and then asking. Oops. :-) Anyways, time rolled along, so Alison and Maddy came in too. I ended up being mother hen (again) talking to Foxy 20s T-Girl about how to put a wig on, swapping boob tape tips with Maddy and then padding with Sue. Honestly, I don't really think I know what I'm doing and - with no false modesty - I don't consider myself to be an expert. I suppose with a few years your corset - sorry, belt - I guess you work out what works for you and if folk like that approach, so it goes.

I'd just about finished getting ready and then Mrs Alison dropped in to say we had a visitor. There had been a few emails in the group's inbox: two from students doing projects. They'd asked to come along and why not? Anyway, the young lady in question had come along as she was doing a project on the concept of love. For you witty folk at the back, no, not the egocentric self-love that some of us have.... and shame on you for thinking that too. ;-)

No, this was about relationships and Miss C wanted to talk to a few of us and, if possible, arrange to make some portrait shots for an art installation. I hope I've got the latter right! I did say to her that while most of us would be happy to help with her questions, getting candidates for a public gallery may be difficult. Yes, I do appreciate the irony of me saying no and then posting a picture on this blog. However, I feel that here, it's far more hidden and really (hopefully?) folk would have to be digging through the t'interwebs to find me here. If my gurning visage was to grace a local art gallery, that's a little different, so for me: it was a no. I did say that if we could do something artistic and avoid including my face, I'd be open to it, but that was a no-no.

So Miss C and I chatted a little about her project and why she'd decided to do what she did. From what I recall, she'd spoken to a few folks at Derbyshire Friend, a few gay people and she was working her way through the various parts of society. We talked about how long the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones and I had been together (many excellent years), when I told her about me being trans-something-or-other, how she took it and what effect, if anything, it had on our relationship. In all honesty, there are times when the trans stuff annoys - and I mean me as well as Mrs J. Yet, and please forgive me if I've said this before, but being trans, it's not just about make-up, photos and fancy frocks... or partying and Facebook. To be serious for a mo, I feel it's something that goes right through your core and helps make you, you.

I would like to think being trans makes me more sympathetic to minorities. I mean, the whole wanting to be treated fairly, not being stared at and just being able to get on in life. I would hope that being trans also makes me a little more understanding towards women. Now, please don't think I consider myself to be a woman, I'm a bloke and I always will be. Yet, when you're out and about and you see a group of rowdy men, there's that little part of you that thinks what if they get violent? Fashion, lovely though some of it is, it's not always comfortable and with clothes being fitted, there's a pressure - perhaps from within (no pun intended) - to stay trim. Does that mean I experience sexism / the glass ceiling, or understand women? No, I very much doubt it. I only see the issues from the side, quite possibly through the lens of being trans and no doubt that distorts the picture somewhat..... Yet all that said, it doesn't stop me being emphatic towards the issues people face.

Moving off the soap box and back on to what else has been happening, a few of us decided to go to the pub afterwards. Honestly, with the day I'd had at work earlier, I needed a bit more R & R time to reset my head and remind me that life's better with friends rather than project deadlines. The pub delivered that rather well. The four of us - Emma, Maddy, Sophie and I - crashed out on the comfy sofas while the music played on. We had a chat with a somewhat drunken lad who'd been falling around the pool table. It was karaoke night, so Maddy and I were soon in the queue to maul - sorry, perform - our take on Blur's Parklife. I had a chat with the DJ - lovely lady - about first albums (mine was Blur, her's was quite a bit earlier!) while she found our choice.

Maddy mockney'd it up with some gor blimey, guv'nur rap while I attempted a spot of singing. Regards of the vocal quality, the rest of the pub started to join in and the place was really going for it by the end. A quality experience. By sheer good fortune, the DJ played Song 2 straight afterwards and dancing queen that I am, how could I resist? After a leap around to that, I was on cloud nine.

With our little turn done, it was off into the night to head home and off to bed. What a cracking night. Batteries fully charged. Thanks, girls. <<>>

Take care,

[ Today's lryic: Parklife by Blur... and top news on the Life Time Award from the Brits. ]

Saturday, February 18, 2012

"I left my head and my heart on the dance floor."


A day late with the post. Tut tut! :-)

Okay, I could say I'd planned to upload a scheduled post, but in the words of Mr Callahan; "Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself." Really, one of the best quotes from prime-minster's question time. (Ed: That was Callaghan. Honestly! Look out, Lynn's about to go into a day dream about Dirty Harry running the country during the 70s!!)

Where was I? Oh aye, a scheduled post. Yeah, I had planned to do it, but... umm... two things got in the way. A) My complete inability to prioritise and B) how would I tell you how good last night's Invasion was? :-) I'm sticking with B as my answer. Yes, final answer if we're staying with the pop culture references.

So.... having not been up to going to Chameleons last time (Ed: booo!) I was all geared up for a big night out and Invasion delivered that in spades. Now, that is a funny saying. I could understand it if it was 'in buckets' or 'via a delivery truck'. Honestly, when has anything arrived by spade? Well, unless we're talking about cleaning up (in a Steptoe stylee) after a horse. Oh dear, we've drifted off again.... I blame the meds. ;-)

Invasion! Yes. Umm. I'd managed to get my outfit choices down to two - which isn't bad going for yours truly. Okay, maybe two and a half as I wasn't 100% on my choice of hosiery. Despite being late home from work - which (understandably) wasn't appreciated that well, I was into the Dad routine running - dog walk, bath, story, bedtime kisses, etc - before making my way to Sophie's place around eight-ish. Bless her, she'd offered me the option of getting changed at her place, so a fist full of win: we share a car and get to chat while faffing about.

Now, orange dress or wrap dress? Umm... Wrap dress. Pink or black tights? Panic!! Black or pink tights? Black! Shoes or boots? Faff... shoes! :-) You get the picture. I decided to pass on risking false eyelashes and much as I do like a bit of glamour on a night out, I didn't want to make us late - no, later! - and I'd bodged the application last time. Clearly, more practise is required! Now suitably fab, Sophie and I headed off to New Foresters to catch up with the rest of the Invaders. Luckily for us, there was a car parking space right outside, so no need to bother with a coat and off we went.

The evening was very good and I bumped into various folk (in no particular order): Emma, Kate, Alex, Sam, Maddy, Jonathan, Chrystal, Penny, Tiff, Gabrielle and at that point, my memory buffer for names + faces ran out. If I have missed your name, sorry! Time didn't fly away, so there was plenty of chance to have a chat and mingle. I had a heart to heart with a good friend (no names) and Miss X, I hope your luck changes soon. <<>> Oh another note, I'm not a massive fan of pubs per say, but maybe it's a case of not having found the right one. Foresters has a fab atmosphere and you can be in the thick of it, or chilling out on the sofas. Good times!

As the clock rolled round to the next hour, we headed off to a club. It was a tad cold out, but as it wasn't far and I've braved worse (Ed: probably twenty years ago and if you're clubbing, taking a coat is just a pain.). There was a brief chat with the club's manager - in a positive way - and we were inside. The music was loud and I think I recognised about two songs while dancing away madly. Everyone seemed so young, but maybe it's me getting on! :-D Next time I'll pack ear-plugs. There was no trouble and for once, the trans massive weren't the ones in the highest heels. Everyone was really cool with us and that just added to the night.

It wasn't long before the witching hour approached and it was time to head home. I climbed into bed just after one and I woke up - as in bang, you're back in the room - at 8am sharp. Now how come I can't do that during the working week? Body clocks eh? ;-)

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: Telephone by Lady GaGa... which was on Let's Dance earlier tonight and the soap actresses  rocked it! ]

Friday, February 10, 2012

"But you light up, and keep me out the cold."


After posting earlier in the year that it was rather warm, Winter's icy blanket came to rest across large parts of the UK. Now, I like walking in snow, I like the look of it and I particularly like the odd crunching sound it makes as you stroll around though it. Yeah, I'm odd like that. Childhood memories and the magic of a snowy winter with a good sledge. Anyways, the only bits I'm not so keen on are that it's been so cold and driving in it, is not so much fun. Still, the roads are pretty clear right now and what with winter boots being the sale - yay! - bargains were snagged by the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones and I. I had wanted some biker style ones, but having left it a bit late, there wasn't much left in my size, but at least I've got some comfortable (and warm) flat boots. Much as I love my heels, there are times when you have to admit defeat and go for safety. :-)

So weather report aside, things are going okay. I had a visit to the hospital to get my arm checked out and all seems to be on the mend. It's feeling a lot better and despite a bit of ow once in a while, it's a Hell of a lot better than it was last month :-). The CBT appointment went okay too. It felt more focused this week and yes, I did come clean about my trans history. The therapist asked for a brief history - youngster, teenage, young adult to now (Ed: borderline duffer? :-P ) - and I mentioned in it there. He didn't latch on to it as a 'source of all woes' - which it isn't - and neither did he ignore it. It was added to the list along with the rest of my mostly idyllic upbringing and off we went. The Ever Lovely Mrs Jones also picked up on how it was handled and we had one of those pleasant chats about how it didn't freak her out and that she was happy with the balance we've agreed. Good stuff really and a nice finish to our anniversary outing - just shy of twenty years. My, where did the time go? Probably spent waiting for a bus :-D

Talking of trans, although it was Chameleons this week, but I didn't go. I'd been off work the day before sick - a dose of something from Wee Man, I think - and although I was well enough to face work, I didn't feel 100% come the evening, so I skipped on going. Partly I was tired, but also a little part of me wanted to prove that I didn't have to go every time. Yet.... having done that, I missed going and seeing friends. Perhaps not the wisest move! Still, judging by the risk of another heavy snow fall - well, heavy by UK standards - I wasn't the only one to miss it. But, it's Invasion next week, so hopefully there'll be a chance to see the unusual suspects then.

While stopping off at the garage, I noticed that Marie Claire had an article on couples where one of them was trans. I had a brief flick through it, but lacking a few bob on me at the time, I didn't buy a copy. Has anyone read it? If so, what did you make of it. I believe it features parts from Laura Newman who writes the Angel & Princess blog (worth reading if you get time!).

Oh, and one last thing - as a famous fictional detective used to say - TVChix are now doing a banner exchange thingy (Ed: are those things still going? :-P ) and the secret foxes have added yours truly to the list. If you fancy a look, the haul is here.

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: Untouchable by Girls Aloud ]

PS: The new logo is courtesy of the rather talented Maddy Watson.

Friday, February 03, 2012

"Hello, good evening and welcome to nothing much"

Hello dear reader,

How's things with you? Things here on Planet Jones are good.... no, actually, good is perhaps overstating it; interesting may be more accurate :-) Bad would be the wrong choice of words as I've a lot to be thankful for: my arm is on the mend, the replacement car is working out nicely, etc. It's great to be able to get out of the house and take the kids to school / walk the dog. It's also fairly easy to get to work and, yeah, working life can be a pain at times, but it's also a very social place - or certainly, where I work, it is.

So why the use of the word 'interesting'? Well, as your sitting comfortably, I had my first appointment for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy this week. I'm still not sure about it and I feel it would be wrong of me to write it off after just one discussion.

However.... :-)

Having read a little about it, it all seems to make sense and seems a good idea from my layman's perspective. It would be trite to say 'postive thinking helps', but that's not wholly inaccurate. I do know that while you're off it - or seriously down in the case of some poor souls - the last thing you / they want to do is anything. Yet, getting up, taking some exercise, visiting/talking with people is often just what's required. I'm doing all that and I'm not feeling the cloying embrace of a deep blue funk. Again, more to be thankful for.

So we come to the discussion about what triggers the darker episodes. We must have spent about forty minutes going over the idea and I just didn't get it. I did start to get very frustrated, partly at myself for not being able to articulate what I felt. That and my inability to understand what the councillor was talking about - and yes, I did as him to explain it in simple terms. :-) It didn't help. Doh.

Perhaps that we've (I've?) not hit pay dirt on the concept of what  triggers the depression, I'm still thinking that it's very random. What I mean is, there are days - no, were days back in the past - where I'd wake up and just getting out of bed was a big deal. Times when I'd sit in the car and the effort to lift my arm to open the door and pull myself from the seat seemed like I was lifting a telly. I never thought it could be like that and having gone though that, when someone says they've got depression, my heart goes out to them.

Sure, I know that the Pink Fog - or maybe more accurately, the occasional jealousy - I get when seeing womenfolk may not help. But.... I've not mentioned this because I'm slightly concerned that if I do talk about the trans factor (Ed: it's like the X Factor, only the outfits are sooo much better :-P), the session will lock on to that and lead us down a dead end. Not that CBT seems to hold any answers about the past, apparently it's all about protecting yourself against issues in the future. Somehow you're supposed to not talk about the past but look at what happened. I find that rather confusing.

I also know that if I upset the kids / the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones, or foul things up at work, the guilt seems to twist around on itself and come back to far more negative feelings. Y'know, I really don't want to have to concentrate on the negative and have to trawl up bad feelings to play pin-the-tail-on-the-depressive as I can't help but think that stirring it all up - but "don't talk about the past" - isn't healthy. It's almost like I'm having to analyse my feelings to the Nth degree and pour over them so we can fill out some boxes on a sheet. Ahh... maybe shouldn't be so negative, perhaps there'll be some colouring in later on. :-P

Early days I guess, so I hope that I get my head around the concept and the course improves. I do know of two other folk who've been down this route and they were less than positive about its use. Ho hum! Third time's a charm eh? :-)

In other news, it's Chameleons next week and a fortnight today, Invasion. I guess I better get my finger out and find out if Mrs J's got any plans. Again, you can but hope.

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: The Only Living Boy in New Cross by Carter, the Unstoppable Sex Machine.... only 20 years ago. Sheesh. ;-) ]