Friday, November 28, 2014

Not so much back to black


Am I glad it was pay day! The Jones Massive have nearly completely the Christmas shopping - yay, Interwebz! - and we will soon be moving on to the wrapping. By all that's unholy, the mountain of wrapping... Yes, I know it's not yet December, but we start early. Mainly to spread out the cost and also to avoid the seasonable comedy mess ups and risks of:

  • I'm not sure what I want 
  • The well loved (!) I'd quite like so-and-so, which you can't get in the shops, or on-line
  • Nothing really.... Thanks, very helpful! :-)
  • Spending each morning at the Post Office, queueing for a recorded delivery that has hidden itself at the back of the sorting office.
So, yes. For the sake of our collective sanity, we start work early... like any good project manager worth his, or her, salt would know. That said... I do need to get a few more things for the Ever Lovely Mrs J. :-)

Acceptance Rocks

Talking of said lovely lady, while I was getting ready for my usual Thursday Night Out - by the way, I should add, I don't mean slipping into some fabulous, just a wash and a don't cut your face close shave. Where was I? Oh aye, talking. Yes, we had a chat about what was left to sort for Christmas and then my lovely wife offered me some of her unwanted earrings. Some were gifts that while very nice, where never quite her. The others, just ones she's tired of. A quick dunk in the silver cleaning fluid and they were as good as new. Sure, pretty jewelry is nice, but it's nothing compared to the acceptance.

Back to my roots

It being the Christmas season, I have snuck a few items into my shopping bag over the weeks. Some 'day time' false eye lashes, a shimmer stick (Boots) and some pre-glued false nails. The latter were on a 3-for-2 deal, so I effectively got them for free (yay). I should add that there's a variety of sizes and they went on well. Certainly worth a punt given there are a few quid.

Maddy was also kind enough to post my old wig back - I know, the rock & roll lifestyle we lead eh? :-) - so I thought I'd give Old Ginge another spin. Dare I say, I felt very happy with the style and the colour. I think... I think that the cut helps with my jaw, whereas, much that I like the darker locks of my other wig, I think the ginger one is more flattering (as it's wider).

Make-up wise, I was aimed for a bold lip, subtle eyes and the No 7 Shimmer stick worked well. It's basically a fat lipstick, but for your cheeks and brow (I was careful there). When applied, you blend in carefully and it adds a summer glow to your complexion, rather than the matte look, we seem to get during the winter. So, pleased with that, but a complete and utter fail with the false eyelashes. I guess I must be doing something wrong, even though I gave the glue time to become tacky, still no dice with getting them on and to stay on. Any suggestions, ladies?

I decided on a new dress that I'd had in my wardrobe since spring and after the Ever Lovely Mrs J's suggestion, went with some colour pop opaques. Yes, I did over-pack, because I always take a back-up outfit, just in case. I needn't have, because I didn't have second thoughts.

The evening itself went well and we had lots of new people come along. We also had a trans-man (or F2M person) come too, and I think that'll be good as we have another regular F2M person. Sure, our paths are similar, but the journey's not 100% the same.

As a warm-up for the Christmas Do and because I've got a key to lock up, I got the group's photo backdrop out and took some snaps of the new folk. Hopefully they enjoyed that and it'll make a change from the usual spot on the stairs. I think the lighting is better, but I'll let you be the judge of that. Tracey has offered to bring her fancy camera at the party and we'll set up away from the main area. Sounds like a plan and I hope we can get a big group shot in, because it's been a while since we had one and I like to get a photo of everyone who comes along.

Lastly, I visited a researcher at a local university and she's coming to the end of finalising her work into releasing a survey on minority stress in our community. I think the findings could be interesting, but then I love that type of stuff.

Take care,

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ghosts of the Past

Hi all,

How's things with you? For me, it's been a bit of a strange week. A gentle dusting of dysphoria, the work/home/work/home treadmill, and yet... it's the weekend, which always gives me a reason to be cheerful. Oh and Old Ginge - my wig has kindly been returned from it's holiday. I shall look forward to retrying being a temporary redhead. :-) All good things. Oh and I've had a whiskey and ginger too. Mmm....
The Girl of Christmas Past

I don't know what it is. For me, I've always found a Friday night to have a certain amount of magic about it. The magic of potential, or just an escape from the regular, I couldn't say. It might even be a mix of the two. That or the knowledge that I don't have to be in bed early, because there's a chance of a lie-in. Oh, and a lie-in now that the kids are a little older? A very welcome luxury.

Earlier in the week, I'd decided to tidy up my photo collection. Like a lot of us trans folk, I've got a reasonable number.

BTW, what is a reasonable number? 8: that's nice a round, with soft edges. 13? That doesn't divide well and poor old Judas's coat ticket is rarely popular. How come 7 gets to be lucky and not 2? What's so perfect about ten? You can't divide it by three. Perhaps this explains why Maths and I have never got on well. :-)

Anyhoo, working through the images brought some mixed emotions. Some good memories (see right) and some not so good ones. Early efforts, where I was a bit of a mess (but, we all start as beginners). I noticed a lot of people who no longer come to the group, the changes in my own style and the not-so-good snaps which don't make it to this blog or otherwise. The ones where you are all to aware you're just a bloke in a dress. Sure, it's a nice dress and fancy shoes, but if the snap's not right, your male qualities are more obvious than you'd like.

That did send me into a bit of a tailspin - "Pull up! You're too low!" (name the film) - it didn't last too long and other than a few stabs from the Pink Fog, all was well. Strangely, about three days later, another trans friend posted very similar body image feelings. Surprising in that I always thought of her as very stylish and seemingly happy with her image. I guess we all have our insecurities and while I think the trans mentality is a particularly interesting mix, it is by no means just our own. I know from chats with female friends, that some of them won't allow a photo to be put online, or taken in some cases.

It's easy to say 'be happy with what you have', although maybe that is the choice that I, and perhaps others have. Sure, you can diet, you could even have surgery. Although, like a lot of things, the rub is what is achievable rather than what is possible. Much as I'm a day dreamer, I still have my feet very much on the floor over what I think can be done.

Navel gazing aside, it's coming to the end of November and the Xmas season is very much upon us. Time to crack on with the gift wrapping and start think about putting the tree up. Plus, party season: fancy frocks, fine footwear, fab friends and.... I've run out of Fs. Umm. Music? :-) What's not to like? Talking of parties, I may try and punt out some invitations to the old guard and see what happens. Be nice to catch up.

Take care,

Friday, November 14, 2014



How are you all doing? After last week's blog birthday celebrations, I am quite worn out. :-) Then again, maybe it's the late night I pulled, after being out at Chameleons and then visiting the all-night supermarket to grab some supplies. When will I learn eh? :-)


On the way to work, I listen to the radio - Radio 4 in the main, because I'm incredibly middle class and a bit farty. As in arty farty, rather than just full of gas, although... But self-depreciation aside, it might well be more because I don't like a lot of the music they play on the radio. Even as a yoof I didn't, but I'm drifting off topic. :-)

This month I've heard two news stories about former prisoners. Both men had completed their sentences for serious crimes. One of them had completed a life sentence for murdering policemen, the other, a convicted rapist. Now, I'm not going to go into the arguments about their guilt or in's & out's of the cases. No, my question is this - or perhaps more accurately, my initial question is: if you commit a crime and you complete your sentence (and are deemed not to be a threat to society or yourself), at what point are you deemed to have 'done your time' and you can rejoin society?

On a personal note, my (late) sister was involved in a road traffic accident many years ago. The anniversary - if you can call it that - of her death, was this month just gone. The accident didn't kill her outright, more complications during treatment much later on. That aside, the cause of her accident was one man. What should have happened, is that he should have not turned in front of her - and I'm trying to not use any loaded language, at this point. For whatever reason, he didn't and the die was cast.

I met him for the first time at the inquest. We sat about five foot apart, while the evidence was given. It was the same day I saw the Police photographs of what happened. The reports, the images, the analysis of what an awful, bloody mess the whole thing was.

What I remember, is just.... sadness. Grief, if you will, or loss. Knowing that I'd never see my sister again. But... I didn't feel angry toward him. At the end, when it was time to leave. I went up to him. My voice, in that terribly restrained, British whispered: "I'd like you to know... that I don't feel any ill will towards you. It was a terrible accident. I'm not angry with you."

That man was banned from driving. He lost his job and then his house. I'm not saying his actions aren't without repercussions - I mean, if you've got someone whose driving record isn't great, I guess you'd want to try rectify that. :-)

I think the lack of anger was because I felt that throwing the book at him, wouldn't bring her back. Maybe it's different with accidental death rather than murders or sexual crimes. Thankfully, and let's not tempt Fate, I've no experience of the latter, nor has anyone I know of.

Maybe want I meant to ask is, are there crimes for which you can never be forgiven? If a person is truly repentant and somehow rehabilitated, what then? Where do you go, how do you live? Is your sentence not the four walls of your cell, but the fear you might have, should people find you?

On a lighter note....

On a less deep note, I've been following a few more Beauty Blogs (the joy of smartphones) and trying to pick up ideas. Ideas on new products and the ever challenging how to.

One article made me chuckle this week. It was a review of a lip stain by Rimmel. Provocalips 16 hour Kiss Proof, if you're curious. Well, as the famous advert says, it does what it says on the tin: stains your lips! :-) The reviewer, bless her, tried everything she knew to shift it, but it would not come off....

...and there was me thinking a cool, ruby red, matt lip stain would be perfect for the Christmas season. Maybe not. ;-)


I was in a bit of a quandary about what to wear this time around. Torn between leggings + top, dress or office smart, I laid a number of items out on the bed, in an effort to get an outfit together. In the end - and thanks to some Facebook suggestions - I opted for office smart. Not that that stopped me packing a 'fall back' outfit, should my plans not work.

The Ever Lovely Mrs J was kind enough to let me borrow one of her rather posh skirts, but it didn't quite fit. Bah, humbug! I also thought I'd risk sheer tights as a spot of variety. Odd, considering the current fashion seems to be opaques. :-)

Anyhoo, I was okay about my final look and I did make sure I didn't re-wear my best party shoes. No, these babies are even older. I think they might be my second pair. Again, New Look, but New Look shoes are fab. A good fit and so well priced. Perhaps it's a good thing there's not a shop close to my work, That could only end up with me requiring an extra wardrobe.

Take care,

Friday, November 07, 2014

Nine years later


Once more into the Blogger interface, dear friends, once more. I could continue to torture that fine piece of English writing, but probably best not too. :-)


I've missed a week, given that the Jones Massive were away on a much loved holiday. A week away over half-term, somewhere up north and on the coast. Very windy, rainy and somewhat cold to boot, but that didn't put us off. I over pack for Thursday, so we're not short of coats and waterproofs. However, my T powers must have been a little off, because the Ever Lovely Mrs J had to nip in and by some extra scarfs and gloves for us all. Still, brief periods of horizontal rain aside, much fun was had by all. Forest parks, cream teas and long walks on the beach.

Our week away was also Mrs J's and my wedding anniversary. Not quite twenty years together, but we're getting there. I did manage to sneak some new jewelry into the luggage for her, because she's worth it. Not every wife is as cool nor as accepting and I feel very lucky to have found her. If I hadn't, I doubt I'd be as happy as I am, nor probably as tired, as my lovely kids like to keep me busy, bless 'em ;-)


October was also another little anniversary. Back in 2005 I started this blog and, nine years later, I'm plodding along still. How life has changed. We've two kids now, both young, but certainly growing up into fantastic young people, and each very much, their own person. I'm a bit wider than I'd like to be, but that may be as much the holiday, as middle age. ;-)

Each time I prune the Blogs I Follow list, I feel a little sadness, that there's another one gone. I guess all things have their time, and maybe those who have stopped blogging, have other things to do with their lives. Maybe they are content with who they are, or are busy, that they don't have time for it. It's part of the reason I started the Our Different Journey story collection, although, perhaps, interviews would be more accurate. People come and go, yet having a record of those I've been lucky enough to meet, is for me, at least, good to have.

This month, Calie, she of T-Central fame, was kind enough to ask me to put a few words together about this blog and also about me. Well, the post is now up, so if you're a new reader: hello :-) As the post says, I thought it would be fairly easy to rattle off a few lines about what YATGB is and me.... but it wasn't. Part of me felt - and I still do - that this was a bit of an opportunity. I could blah on - as I am now - or, I could take the chance to put a message out. I'll let you read the post and make up your own minds.

Oh, one thing that made me chuckle, is that one of the T-Central bloggers, has taken three of my photos and it's a bit like a short history of the looks I've tried. I did like being a redhead, although I think a darker version would work. If you look from the right to the left, it looks like I've grown my hair out. Which, I think is quite an achievement seeing it's artificial.

Too fab for one gender? Then why decide!

In other news, a Facebook friend put a link up about The Mirror's article on being 'bi-gendered'. From a positive stance, I think the article is well written and is sympathetic. Props Ria (Ryan) and Krystal, her partner, on coming out. Also, to The Mirror for getting it right, IMHO, because the piece is a far cry, from some of the horror stories (pardon the pun), put out by other aspects of the media. There's video from a well known daytime TV programme too, which adds more and is worth a watch. Oh, you may need to enter your UK postcode (assuming this isn't on YouTube somewhere).

Rocking the goth look. x
Do I get the term? Hmm.... I'm not sure. Not from I don't believe it's a real thing, nor to snub Ria's own identification. Maybe I am old-fashioned and I'm Trans 2.0, and the next generation are Trans 3.0? There's a gap for a Star Trek gag if you can be bothered (to go fabulously where no one as gone before....!) :-) So, iffy gags aside, is being bi-gendered a bit like being trans-something-or-other (waves) and being out? If so, I think I can get my head around that. I am, for the most part, in the closet, but if being bi-gendered is the next wave for people who don't want to be full time A or B, then I think that's very cool. Whatever it is, good luck to the pair of them.

Thanks for reading,