Friday, July 27, 2018

Being me once again


This week, a blog post of two halves, or what a difference a night out makes ;-)


It's midweek while I write this and I'm beginning to feel the ache - because 'pain' doesn't quite nail it - of having been 'Richard' since late May. Sure, I've missed a meeting or two here and there, but mostly I get by. This time, there's been no dressing while working from home to help fill the gap, and with Wee Man and Little Miss now on summer break, that's not an option right now.

The ache, if you will, goes in fits and starts. I can feel my temper coming too quick, which I know is wrong. The excessive heat isn't helping either. It's not that I'm angry, it's more than I seem to find anger more readily than before. This is my problem and not my family's. They've not done anything wrong, so I'm doing what I can to keep 'the beast at bay' as it were. Plenty of distraction techniques (TV, gaming, reading makeup blogs, napping, getting out in the sunshine, etc), and I seem - oddly - to have rediscovered a taste for apples. That is helping me move to a lower weight, as that's crept up with the beer I've been drinking.

Ah, the joys of being trans-something-or-other eh? :-)


Given my mood around the heat and a lack of dressing up, the Ever Lovely Mrs J asked me why didn't I get my things together and try to dress in cooler clothes. I'm hoping she meant dressing in less warm fabrics, rather than gah, you're such a square. :-)

This I did despite what felt like the hottest day of the summer, and - as per - Mrs J was right. I did find an answer to my problem. The community centre where Chams is based has air-con. There's a bar area - although no beer - which has A/C. Given that's fairly private and with an early pass from home, I cranked the temp down to a more pleasant 19C and started to get ready.

I never knew how cooling maxi skirts were! Well, you live and learn. Even with some shapewear on, I wasn't melting - always a bonus! :-) Chuck in a cute vest top, painted nails, and a smile - I was good to go. 

Steph from TrendCo had very kindly restyled the long red wig of mine into something shorter and (hopefully) a little more me. It really needs to be 'set' with a wash to help the new parting settle, but a few squirts of wig conditioner did the trick.

It felt great to be all of me again. Just talking with friends at the group and having some laughs. This night out - and respite from the heat - really pepped me up, and I feel a lot better.

Funny how a night out can set you straight, eh?

Take care,

Friday, July 20, 2018

The cure for the summer time blues?

Hi folks,

I've watched the little white box of the Blogger window on and off for one too many minutes. For someone sat so quietly, listening to the distant and infrequent sound of passing cars, you would think that something would come forth. But, not yet. The memories and hopes spin around my mind, fleeting in focus, and then fluttering away. A quick diversion to Pexels finds a suitable graphic and my imagination - or improv - kicks in.

Much like the long, slow, loops of a butterfly's drift, so too has this week been a case of gentle drips and rises.

The temperature continues to frustrate me, although I did get out on my bike a couple of times to stretch my legs. It's either that or I'll be needing to stretch my clothes. :-)

The dips have been around the feeling that the heavy heat will remain. As I posted last time, I don't really do hot weather, and chuck in a wig, shapewear, and the need to cover up Ol' Wookie pins.... well, it's hardly a recipe for summertime bliss.

But, not wanting to back into the dark woods (yay, CBT for the win!), I decided to try and do something about it. Hence, moderate exercise, time outside of the office, engaging with people, trying to create things, and, that old devil, a bit of material non-therapy.

Why that last term? Because I think I think I now know that retail therapy isn't a fix for me. Sure, the search for something 'just right' - feel free to think of a new riff on Goldilocks's story :-) - helps distract, but that's about it. I'm wary of using shopping as some type of medication or tool to hope me cope with what's lurking within.

But, this time I felt it was different. Ah, addicts, how they lie to themselves and others :-D Could I work around the problem? Did I have to do vest top and skinny jeans or tunic and leggings? Could I do a maxi dress? Well, I have *ahem* invested, so we'll see I guess. It's certainly long and loose enough. Maybe with the right wedges and a top....?

So, perhaps when the butterflies of wish and memory circle, I should let them flutter by. Maybe they will land and show me something. Maybe not being too hands on is a way to let the world - and I  - be, and, just maybe, I'll find a little corner of peace that is more just so than anything from a shop.

Take care,

Friday, July 13, 2018



I think I can safely say that I'm not a hot weather worker. Come to think of it, too cold and I'm not exactly spritely either. Maybe I'm just not cut out for the office life? :-D Could it be my odd Celtic/Nordic genetic cocktail? I'm all in when it comes to a nap in the sun, but it's touch and go for anything more taxing than fetching me or the Ever Lovely Mrs J a cool drink. :-)

With the heat and the bright earning mornings, my sleep hasn't been what it usually is, so I'm kinda not in the zone when it comes to T stuff. So, another Chams meeting in bloke mode. Maybe to 'cure' the outward symptoms of being trans I just need to move somewhere hot! :-P Not that the internal mental processes switch off, they're just lurking unseen. Hopefully, they're not saving themselves up to pounce! :-)


Any more pies and I'll be this shape too.
Maybe without the slit at the top tho.
With summer being in full swing, numbers are down at Chams. This is to be expected, but it doesn't help when it comes to the finances. We need to hit just under 200 quid every month to cover costs and we're not making that sum as things stand. I had a brief chat with Val and Nicola about this, so I think we're going to have to increase the subs by a quid or a quid fifty. This may not be popular, but if we want to keep the venue we know and love, it'll have to happen. In fairness to the Centre we get our upstairs changing room for free, and very good rates on the hall plus bar area..... Not that it's a bar with drinks.

I'm not hearing anything back from the places I've sought funding from and I know last year's shortfall had eaten most if the funding gift we got.  Based on previous experience bring & buy sales make a little bit of difference, but not enough to keep the subs down. Maybe cake is the answer? But then I'll need a new wardrobe and I've too many nice things I like to wear. No, maybe not a cake sale :-)

Take care,

PS: Apologies to Val for not using her photo from last week. Slight comms issue. :-)

Friday, July 06, 2018

Stories from others


This time, a guest post from Val about her trip to Chams last week.


A woman's handbag is a repository of many things, as well as an accessory that must suit any outfit.  The last time I was out shopping, I selected a brown 'patchwork' shoulder bag. It is easy to keep it under your arm, maybe with a light jacket folded over the top, warding off unwanted attention from any thieves and leaving both hands free for the tasks of selecting and analysing your prospective purchases. But when it comes to Notchams on a Thursday night, I fall back to a favourite black handbag.

This weeks outing was touch and go, we had friends coming back to our house after a meeting – there would be tea, cakes and talk, but we needed to herd them discreetly out the door at 5.30 if we were to eat and I get into Val-mode. I warned Lynn by text that I might be late and to get some milk in.

5.30 went to 5.45, then 6pm, and finally they were away at quarter past.  My wife rustled up dinner while I showered, did the food justice, then back upstairs to finish converting him to her.

As you get older, the makeup routine I find gets a little quicker. It's not that I am getting better skilled, or more dexterous, rather than as my eyesight fades, I don't see the imperfections, as well as I, used to. It was a hot evening by UK standards, and a long soft stretchy dress in cobalt blue, combined with a contrasting belt in the hope of suggesting a narrower waist, blue necklace and earrings, and with the hair on and a pair of blue-strap wedges I'm ready to go.

Apart from the bag. I get the two together and start swapping things over – spare glasses, makeup bag, tissues – then add the envelope with last time's takings in for Lynn to pay in, and the float (a few £ coins as those without change always arrive first) then Val's purse is opened up, his jeans raided for coins and paper money, and I wonder how many times spouses and girlfriends have raided their man's trousers for a bit of extra cash like Val is now. Still not finished. I need the mobile, my Bluetooth earpiece for driving, car keys and my camera for those vital 'how well did the outfit work?' photos at the end of the evening.

Then the phone rings, and I am stuck explaining what went on in the meeting for the 55th time, the clock is ticking and it now after 7.20. Finally, it's out the door into the car and away and a dash down the M1. It's a nice relaxed evening. Lynn has let the side down by staying in him-mode, but in a sense, she's here with the same distinctive laugh, just less hair, curves and fashion-sense.

When it's time to head home there's no desire to go haring back up the motorway. It's about midnight, the roads are quiet and I'm at that stage when I know it's nearly over but I want time to stand still. I pick the B roads back, up into the hills of Derbyshire. Not a straight line home but a wandering route through sleeping villages and a stop in a lay-by where I can look up at the stars and feel the cool night air blowing the cobalt blue material around my bare legs. Oh, that this sensation of comfort and calm could continue forever.

But it can't and I've a couple of miles to go on a very minor road, some nights where you'll see the occasional badger or fox going about their business in the headlights. As I drop down the hill into the valley, I reach into my handbag with my left hand to dig out the house keys, for my wife will have been in bed for over an hour and the lights will be off so as not to illuminate the strange woman at the door.

My hand continues to rummage. My keys live together attached to a sheep mascot, presented to me by a good trans friend knowing my penchant for Shaun the Sheep. It is hard not to find it in my handbag, but tonight my fingers scavenge in vain. The zip pocket is also empty – I usually raid his card holder to put in there – not just for the VISA but the AA card in case the car breaks down and I must do my damsel-in-distress act, after all, I am not turning the cobalt blue into greasy black when a man can come and fix it for me. But tonight, I realise, for the first time after 17 years of Val being out and about, I have left Sian and the house-keys in the other bag.  Nothing for it, ring the phone and get her out of bed to open the front door. Keep calm, apologise profusely: no point in turning the cobalt blue into a nightie and waiting for morning.

The man in me ponders a handbag checklist, pasted to the inside of the cupboard door, consulted at every outing to ensure that it is never forgotten again. But right now I'm Val, and here's to the next 17 years.


Take care,