Friday, May 25, 2018

A series of fortunate events

Hi,

It's been a bit of an iffy week if I'm being honest. A right old riot of negative emotions chucked into the tumble dryer and given a long spin. At least, that's how it felt. I should stress - and we may come back to that word -that it wasn't anything serious. It was, what I like to call, some Work Toss. Things that really don't matter in the big picture, but that somehow get under your skin.

I guess, and maybe like a lot of folk, I don't like doing things I'm clueless about. Yes, I'll try leaving my comfort zone, but heading into something I just don't get (like maths or the offside rule) really isn't my bag. Plus I may be working with a colleague who can best be described as an utter tool... and that's his good points. He is to manners and modesty what bigots are to inclusivity ;-) So yeah, not exactly brimming with excitement for this project. Add in a dash of matrix management and egos - and I don't mean mine - and, yeah, a wiser person would retreat to a safe distance and enjoy the fireworks. That, however, is not an option for me. Oh well! :-D

Thing was, all the stress signs were kicking off. Distracting myself with other work, nerves, feeling panicked, withdrawing from colleagues, and being a bit grumpy at home. I felt tired even though I was sleeping enough, and in the morning, well, I was not good company. That's just not right, IMHO. The Ever Lovely Mrs J, Wee Man, and Little Miss all deserve better, so I did try to keep my cool. Thing was, I had wrongly assigned this to trans stuff because it can manifest like that too. As Diane said at Chameleons last night, it's easy to blame being trans when things aren't right upstairs.  But, I shall put on my big girl pants (figuratively speaking), paint on a smile, and give it go.

So, ignoring the negative, what's been good about this week? As things cooled off a little in the for Thursday, I was in a better mood. I also managed to finally find on some white leggings in tall! Result! It's only been a two year search :-) Plus, the Ever Lovely Mrs J let me borrow a summer tunic and fielded the nippers so I had an early pass out. Chuck all that in with some time between travelling to appointments, and I had chance to paint my toes. All things considered, I felt rather blessed.

Chams went well with a number of new folk popping in and a return of some recent visitors. Good to know they're coming back. Due to that early doors pass from the Ever Lovely Mrs J, I was early arriving and I got ready pretty quickly too. I had packed way too many shoes though! A pair of heeled sandals, two sets of flats, and two sets of wedges. Yeah, I wasn't sure about the weather, so I'd hedged my bets!

But, a quick try on was done and the wedges had it. I was downstairs in record time (for me), hence the clock photo. Oh, there was also a sign for a weight loss group and the line about there are no strangers made me chuckle. Yeah, we're pretty strange for some ;-) The bit about friends though, that's more like it. With the evening sun being out, Val and I nipped out for a quick photo outside. I know, no stairs, right? Shocker! :-)

I had a long chat with an older chap about his life through the 60s. I guess it shows how far we've come compared to those dark days of secrecy for survival. His carer had accompanied him, so she asked some fascinating questions about what it was to be trans. As someone who's not trans, hearing her take on the situation was very interesting.

So, remember I mentioned stress earlier on? I had the good fortune to attend a lecture on that subject. When I can go through my notes I may use some of the ideas as posts later on. But, today's takeaway -to use a modern term - would be to make a note of three things that have gone well for you each day.

By either dumb luck or serendipity, I guess blogging helps me think around that. Sure, sometimes things don't always go brilliantly, and I write about what's bugging me. Thing is, by looking back at photos, or thinking about what we talked and laughed about, it's not hard to find twinkles of gold amidst the muck and mire.

Just looking above there's my family, laughter at home, a walk through sunlit trees at work, pretty nails, feeling good in a summer outfit, and sharing honest conversation with friends. Oh, and I'm off for a week too. Here's to a week of taking it easy.

Happy days!

Take care,
Lynn

Friday, May 18, 2018

Work, doubt, and clothing confidence

Hi,

Another working week out of the way and we're into the weekend! It's been an odd one for me given the amount of time out of the office. I've been working, just not at my desk. Thing is, there's this little twinge of guilt that I just can't seem to shake. The feeling that if I'm travelling from A to B, I'm not actually doing something.

I get this sometimes when I'm working outside of the office. Maybe I'm coaching someone, or (hopefully) helping a team of people organise a project, or train them in the Tech Du Jour. The worry, if I had to give it a name, comes around like a lazy comet. I look at the thought, and it spins back out again on that long orbit.

Maybe I've got a hang-up from a few years of a presenteeism boss, and I'm still under that shadow more than I care to admit.

That or if I'm enjoying what I do, there's that odd quirk that if I'm having fun, am I working? Truth is, if I feel useful, have fun, and be out and about, that's a bucket load of win for me.

As to the work guilt, anyone else with this or is this another quirk of the Jones' psyche? As Ron said: "mental, that one." ;-)

___

BTW, in an effort not to feel quite so 'drab', I've taken to wearing fancy shirts. Nothing too femme, if that can be said about a man's shirt, but certainly bold, bright, or (hopefully) tastefully patterned. It seems there are two shirts in my collection that cause commentary from female colleagues (although younger male staff sometimes ask).

One lady spoke about her wish to wear brighter items but said she lacked the confidence to wear them. She looked very professional, BTW, and we had a brief chat about clothes and I found what she had to say interesting. She spoke about her dilemma of dressing so she felt confident versus wanting to look smart, but not dull.

I think I get what she means about the confidence thing. I have to be wearing something that feels 'me', otherwise my confidence isn't quite there. It's not that it's a fragile thing, gone like a balloon in the wind, but more like the right look makes me feel right. Stuffed in a suit doesn't work for me as a bloke, yet ironically, in Lynn mode, I'd happily wear more work orientated outfits and feel both smart and confident. Weird huh?

On a partly related note, I've been through a few shops looking for either white leggings (well, it is summer) and a maxi skirt in tall. I've not found the former, and the latter seems to be out of stock. Either I'm looking in the wrong place, or I'm just way too fussy. Actually, don't answer that. ;-) Still, a lunchtime perusing the shops was good for the soul, if not the wallet.

Take care,
Lynn

Friday, May 11, 2018

Choosing

Hi,

If you're a blogger do you find that even if you prep something to write about, you just can't seem to connect with it later on?

Old Research

So it was that I had an idea to write about a rather old research paper that I'd found: The Gender Variant Phenomenon. I popped it on the Chameleons Forum and there was a bit of a discussion about it. Not from a naysaying point of view, but more that it connected with a lot of people. I've since done a bit more Googling on it and it does data from 2001.

I'm not here to knock the research and I'm wary that just because I've found something that hits the old 'bias confirmation' buttons, is it true? I mean, just look at the modern print media at the mo. I mean, is anyone reporting the truth, or is it all through a filter of what sells to a particular political class? Has it always been thus, but now we're more wise to it? Ah, questions, questions.

Where was I? Oh aye, bias. :-)

So the bit that leapt out at me was Anne's phrase Gender Expression Deprivation Anxiety Disorder. Now, this next segment are my words, not Anne's, so if I'm horribly wrong here, please don't flame me :-). To me, at least, the idea behind GEDAD is that not expressing who you are, is what drives you nuts.

Okay, so I'm trans-something-or-other and ignoring labels, the concept of Lynn/Richard is just a name that match a presentation that I give. I dial up the 'Richard' behaviour in some circles (work/home) so people don't find out I'm somewhere on the gender spectrum, rather than your typical white cisgender male. I guess, what Anne may be suggesting, is that what gets to me isn't that I'm trans; I'm okay with that. The thorn, if you will, is that I don't present as I'd like to at certain times.

For some trans folk, I guess that must be all the time. For part-timers - like me - it's less, but when I find I don't have the option, that's when it stings a bit. Are we moving into a discussion about choice? Some may say that being trans is a choice, and I'd say I don't agree. If your birth sex and brain sex match - please excuse the clumsy phrasing - I guess that makes you cisgender. For me, I don't quite feel I'm a bloke, and I wouldn't same I'm a woman either; I'm somewhere in between. So much so, that I can't bottle it up and when I've tried, that leads me to a bad place.

Instead, I think the choice thing comes in as I don't push hard enough at home/work to be as I wish; which is to be able to be male or female in appearance as I felt that day. I find it a bit funny that I'm saying I don't really know which gender I'd present as. But, wry looks aside, I think it's because I'm just me, and the current binary choices of M/F aren't quite enough some of the time.

Thing is, I'm just not brave enough to push for that. So there, after much waffle is the concept of choice. I'm choosing not to push for the sake of a quiet life. It's not a bad life by a long stretch, but wouldn't it be nice if.... :-)

Chams

Luckily the Bank Holiday heatwave had run its course and the idea of dressing a little more fabulously was back on the cards. I had a few tops that had come my way as the Ever Lovely Mrs J and I had been having a serious chuck out at home. It was a case of playing Yes, No, Maybe with each item. Once the Yes stack was packed away, we were on to the Sudden Death round. Cue two bags going to the local charity shop, two tops for me, and some shirts to our transmen at Chams. What's not to like? :-)

I was a quiet night at Chams but a good one. Sometimes having less of us there means we have chance to talk more as a group. I like both busy or quiet nights, neither is better, they're just different. It was great to catch up with folk and listen to what they'd been up to. As we meet only twice a month, time goes quickly in the real world, so there's usually lots to talk about.

As with every night, we end with a quick photo shoot on the stairs. Maybe I'll get my act together one day and sort out the frame and background. It certainly makes for better lighting, but time is against us, so we often just use the space midway up the stairs!

Still, I was pleased with my outfit and make-up attempt. Unusually I didn't have an outfit panic when things didn't quite work. Yay for contentment eh? There was even time for a quick trio shot of Val, Steph, and yours truly.

We don't often do group shots because - and understandably so - people can be very concerned about their privacy. I get that, and yet not having semi-regular photos of the group, well, we miss people as they come and go from the group. Still, getting a snap with everyone looking and being happy with the end result is quite the art. If you've any tips on that, do let me know :-D

Take care,
Lynn

Friday, May 04, 2018

The Good Day

Hi,

I don't know if the planets aligned or it was just a series of very fortunate events, but today was completely spot on. Earlier the Ever Lovely Mrs J had suggested we both take a day off together. Like I need much encouragement to take a day off! :-) As Jimmy Cliff crooned through his exit from the dark, I thought just how good things had gone.

We dropped the kids off at their respective schools and headed into town together. There was much laughter, bright sunshine, and that cheery upbeat mood you get when enjoying time off. Mrs J had her hair done (looks fab, BTW), I had a run back to the car (who forgot the wallet?), we visited a few shops, and, of course, had some lunch together.

All of the above - sans haircut (as I don't have much) - were spent together and much fun was had. We chuckled at some of the wilder outfits in some shops and probably had a bit too much cake in the afternoon. Oh well!

Over lunch, we chatted openly about various things. The kids, her work, makeup, and what we might do for a holiday.

The makeup chat was brief but one of those moments where there's no judgement, just conversation between two people. Perhaps traditionally, that's not somewhere a man - or husband - should go, but being out to Mrs J, we can go there and it's no big thing. As she said to me once, at least it's not sport. :-)

What we didn't talk about is the collapse of a friend's marriage. It seems both parties have had enough of each other. The thing was, we could see it coming and then playing out like the obligatory slow car crash. Not through infidelity, trans stuff, drugs, or any of that. Just good old-fashioned love into loathing. L & J were pretty well off and never seemed to worry about money. Not that that suggests success or happiness; just a big bank balance. Perhaps others looked in at the material wealth and thought all was good. It wasn't.

I had, perhaps somewhat egocentrically, taken it in and worried if one day we may go that way. There are times when I don't feel like I'm a proper husband. You know, manly, buff, DIYey, hairy in the right places, and more interested in bloke stuff than what's pretty and being able to accessorise.... Mind you, if anyone knows if there is a typical bloke anymore, answers on a postcard to the usual address. As an outsider looking in, masculinity seems to be as varied and under reinvention as much as being trans is. So many labels, so little interest ;-)

As we got into the car, Mrs J squeezed my hand and gave me a smile. "We're not like L & J," she said. I guess we may be yet another middle-class couple keeping a secret (YAMCKAS? :-) ), but we get by. Conversation, compromise, and humour; they help keep us together. Oh, and a love of dogs and long walks.

Take care,
Lynn