Friday, January 26, 2018

Back in the zone


It feels very much that I'm back in the swing of things. We're heading towards the end of the month, and there's a few more days until payday (eek!), so I shall have to be frugal. Perhaps buying a dress in the sale, and *ahem* taking advantage of the Boots vouchers for some press-on nails and a Nyx lippy, was a little extravagant. Still, a treat here and there's not so bad. Instead, I'm going to blame the service on the car. ;-)

So what's been going on? Well, since you asked, it was Chams last night, and yes I double checked I had packed what I needed. No missing bra & boobs this time!

It was also Helen's 70th, so in between meetings I nipped out at work to grab a cake. I'm glad I bought the larger size, as it was rather popular with the Chamemelons folk. We had a quick chorus of Happy Birthday, so there's probably some royalties owed to someone if we'd filmed it. :-)

The new matt red Nyx lippy went on well and stayed put without any LipCote. Plus, having picked up some pro-tips from the make-up lady at Boots, I think I've sorted out the right way to line and fill. Sadly, I've yet to master the application of false eyelashes so some practice may be required ;-) Still, every day's a school day, right?

Taking of school, I had an email to the Chameleons inbox from some theatre students. They're planning on putting on a play, and one of the characters will be a transman. They wanted to ask a few questions and make sure that they weren't going to get it horribly wrong.

Now, I might be a man and trans, but I'm not a transman. I also didn't want to throw any of our transguy blokes in at the deep end, so I met with them to check things out. From the small number of trans blokes at the group, and having listened to their stories, there are many similarities to what I've heard from male-to-female folk. Yeah, every person is different, and yet we do share some things.

There was the talk about the mask and having to pretend to be someone. Gah is that draining! Then there's body issues (natch), plus the proverbial earthquake around Just Who Am I? The challenging of how you've grown up, with who you want to be. Lastly, there's triggers; moments where sights or sounds will sucker punch right in the heart. Remember that anecdote I told you about seeing a lady driver at the junction? Her hair swished as she checked the road was clear, and I heard the thought: You'll never look like that. Yeah, thanks Brain, just what I needed, a timely reminder of being a tubby dad with thinning hair. :-D

We talked a bit more about terms, and how mental health issues - particularly depression and anxiety - are higher in the trans community. Now, if that's the stress of pretending to be 'normal' (whatever that is!) or conflict around who you are; well, I'm not qualified to say.

Still, an hour passed and by the end of it, they had a few more questions, and I've asked Ruben from the group if it would be okay if he got in touch. Best to hear things first hand, I think.

A good end to the month all in all!

Oh, last thing: I've been using Elegant Touch 3 Minute Manicure (see here for image) for the last few meetings. They're about 8 quid a box, and while the sizes aren't very big, there's a selection in each pack so you may be okay. Certainly, a lot quicker to apply and remove than my trusty nail varnish! If you're careful when you remove them, they're sticky enough to get a number of wears.

Take care & stay fab!

Friday, January 19, 2018



Over a handful of months, I've had the good fortune to attend some workshops on coaching people. It's something that I've somehow found myself doing through work, and to small extent, at Chameleons too.

One of the things we spoke about the in class was, what do we mean by coaching? Well, if you imagine a line with counselling on the left, and on the right, telling people what to do; coaching - at least as the tutor pitched it - would be sort of left of the centre.

It's been a fascinating few months, and I'd like to think I've picked up some quality advice and ideas over the sessions. Certainly, the listening skills, and how different people react to things, has been both useful and challenging. I do love to talk - as those who've met me may attest to - so knowing when to shut it has been a learning curve.

What I've really enjoyed is mapping some of those ideas to things a work-mate has taught me. I guess it's a bit like only knowing about plumbing, and then someone tells you how electricity works, pumps, and design. Slowly a whole new picture starts to form, and its by joining those elements up, you can see something new.

I think that at Chams, and also at work, if someone does come along and wants some encouragement, my role in it is to help them on their way. Not by telling them what to do, but by asking them what they'd like to do, how they might do it, and how - if at all - I can help them get there. With the latter, it's certainly not doing anything for them, but helping them make up their mind on how they might do it, and supporting them in doing so.

I've said this to colleagues and to folk at Chams too; my role in all of this is just to help you move on. A certain point, you will know more than me - if indeed you don't already - and it's fine to be passing through. I know I wouldn't be who I am, nor enjoying being what I am, if it wasn't from the help of those who helped me at Chams, and the Ever Lovely Mrs J.

If you can, play it forward.
Much as seeing someone gain confidence at Chams and go on to live their life as they want, is somewhat bittersweet. At least when I think of them, I know they've gone on to do what they want. Hell, even if it's just a chat here and there, and people get their head around the idea that it's okay to be trans, that's all good.

If there's a point to this week's post - and apparently Rhi says I do seem to try and make one :-) - it's making yourself available to help. Not stepping in and doing, but making people know through conversation that you're there for them. Maybe if enough of us look out for each other, we'll all get on in the direction we need, whatever they may be.

Lastly, my questions to you would be what would have helped you get out and be you, and what answers (if any) were you looking for?

Take care,

Friday, January 12, 2018



Gah, it's nearly 9 o'clock and I'm struggling to get started blogging. Funny how life gets you like that. I think, for me at least, it's a lot to do with being in the right mood to write something. Okay, I could go with 'when the Muse takes me', but... well, it seems more to do with not being out-and-out knackered after a number of long days at work. Oh, and by long, I mean working to about 5pm. Frankly, it's touch and go between 10am and 4pm, but it may be best not to say too much in the office, eh? :-)

First Meeting

So it was the first meeting of the new year for Chameleons. I was sort of in two minds about the whole faff about getting ready. But, and as events unfolded previously, I thought about outfit would put a spring in my step, and brighten my day? Well, dear reader, I thought back to my lovely rose print dress, and in between the DIY projects - mostly drilling holes in things at home to run wires about the place - managed to pack a bag.

Cue Thursday night and I'm a bit late back from picking up Wee Man from his visit to a mate. I wasn't too fussed, because unlike other times, I was quite relaxed about the whole thing. All in all, this worked out rather well. Traffic was okay, the changing room wasn't too busy, and despite a *cough* few Xmas pounds on the old frame, all the usual corset went on.

Where's my bra? Oh, bugger.

Yes, after doing some laundry, I'd not put my bra nor boobs in my bag. I did try my dress on, but without the right curves in the right places, it didn't quite work. If you imagine a bloke wearing a somewhat flowery bedspread cover while balancing two fried eggs on his chest, you get the picture. :-)

[ Update: The bra has now been found. Praise her Lady Eddie of Izzard! Mind you, I'm not sure if I should rename this entry to Dude, Where's My Bra? ;-) ]

Back when I were young, like...

The odd thing is, thinking back to when I bought some bra fillers (aka chicken fillets) and a bra that worked for me; it took some time to get used to. Sure, it's not like I was dressing very frequently back around the 2000s, but sometimes enough to ease the necessity, so to speak.

But, the odd thing was as I worked at home, or whipped round the house with the Hoover, I still hadn't worked out that there were two somewhat larger bumps that aren't there usually. I'd find myself bumping them, or failing to reach certain things as they got in the way.

That was back then, and now? Now I seem to cope with switching easily between being flat chested and, if you will, with suitable curves. Maybe I've just got used to that size? I did wonder about trying the pair left behind on one of our Pink Thursday Sales, but those are much larger. Would a bigger set balance out my shoulders and Xtra Xmas weight, or would they just not be me? After all, I seem to have arrived at a shape that feels right, and one I can identify as me.

Meanwhile, back at the farm...

So, off it all came, and I joined the group en homme, as they say. Not that it mattered to me. I had a lovely evening talking to new and regular folk alike. I think one or two were a bit weirded out seeing me in Richard mode. Hopefully not because I'm too freakish, but more - and this may be true for me socialising with Chams regulars - that we're used to seeing each other in particular garb. When that's not the case, confusion may arise. Still, all good fun.

Tea and a chat

Talking of being seen in bloke mode, I did have the good fortune to catch up with another trans friend for a tea and a chat. 'S' had some business appointments near my work, so with a gap in both our calendars, it seemed too good a chance not to catch up.

We talked about her transition, me not transitioning (I've thought about it, but I think I prefer the choice of being either), how things have and haven't changed for her. Good to see someone flourish really.

We also spoke about some of the support/coach training I've been doing, and how that spills into helping at Chams, as well as at work. Funny, when I'm doing this, I do wonder why if this is something I enjoy, how did I end up working in IT? Well, there's a post for another day. :-)

So highs and lows in terms of meetings this year, but things will change. If nothing else, something funny and something cool for the Memory Jar.

Take care,

Friday, January 05, 2018

Turning a page


Sometimes, a new year can feel like a newly opened exercise book. An empty and pristine medium full of promise. There's that beautiful first page which is both yielding and opening to writing on.

Conversely, the second page is thin, provides little comfort between you and the desk. In some ways, page two is like the first week back at work ;-) But, hey, I turned up, and therefore get paid.

Whatever you got up to over the festive break, I hope you enjoyed it. From a T point of view, I find that after the Chams Xmas party, it all kinda tired quiet until the first meeting of the year. Not that the trans stuff switches off, although there is more distraction with visitors and family time.

The Ever Lovely Mrs J bought me a very pretty black top. I've yet to try it on, mainly through laziness, but also because I've eaten rather well over the last two weeks. Still, making busy at work means less temptation, and, if this week's errand-running continues, a better chance of exercise. Not that I've managed a spin on the old bike I left at work. It's been too wet & windy. But enough of my dietary issues ;-)

Have any of you faced the sales? I had a look online, but there wasn't anything I needed, nor that caught my eye. I wonder if a shufti in Boots may find some reduced Xmas glamour? Something to look forward to.

I did take great pleasure in going through my Happy Memory Jar at New Years. Just over 100 scraps of paper, with scrawled jolly thoughts, cool coincidences, and good times. Nothing T related mind, given that we often have a look as a family :-) But, IMHO, a great way to look back and see what's been great, so you can step into the new year with a smile.

Take care,

PS: Props to Pandora for the idea about the jar!