Friday, August 31, 2018

The balancing act


I was sat in traffic the other day listening to the radio. By the way, and just for clarity, I do mean sat in a car waiting for the queue to start moving. I wasn't actually in the road with a radio next to me. That would be odd. Even for me. :-)

One of the interviewees mentioned that now well-loved phrase: putting on your own oxygen mask first. As the traffic began to move, so did the rusty gears in my head. :-)

Thinking about some of the parenting books I read - which, admittedly, is now some time ago - they also used that phrase. Looking after yourself before you can truly be able to look after others.

But, and here's the question, what happens when your needs create friction with the needs of others?

I'm being hypothetical here: does my partner need her hubby to be all man all of the time? Is it selfish for a person to ask for time to be themselves? Is it better than some hobbies/activities are solo? Is compromise always the answer or it is a case that one party should always have a red warning card if things go too far for them?

Is the answer to any of the above: well, it depends? :-)

I think it comes down to balance. A balance of each party's needs, where no one feels too put-upon or denied. Walking such a line won't always be easy. Juggling the needs of others and your own can be tricky at times. Perhaps, provided there's always some give and some take - and not all on one side - the balance can be maintained.

Take care,

Friday, August 24, 2018

Better with friends


Another Thursday, another good night out.

A few weeks ago, I'd caught sight of a news item about how modern life is making many people lonely. Social media may connect us, but - IMHO - it's not the full experience of meeting someone. Text on a screen with no tone, sparkle of eyes, or knowing look. Not that the article was to demonise such technology, more draw light on how it affects us. Have you sat in a restaurant or similar, and seen couples or families all looking at their phones, rather than talking to each other?

A new top thanks to the
Ever Lovely Mrs J and a snap
by Val.
Now, don't get me wrong, I find using my smartphone to stay in touch with trans friends really helps. Just, not at the cost of not talking to people who are with me. Certainly, the Chameleons' forum helps with that, as does this blog and I'm always grateful for a comment. Not because I know folk are reading, but that they've something to say. Just because I'm not in Lynn mode all the time, it doesn't mean I can't be partially in the zone, if you will.

Going back to the article, as I read it, I was reminded of my family and also friends over at Nottingham Chameleons. Sure, we may meet only twice a month, but it is a community. There are those you are close to and those you know vaguely, but we do listen & talk to each other. There is, at least for me, a connection with people, with friends. People I care about and when I had the car accident, or a visit from the Black Dog, I know they care about me. Sure, some folk may come and go, but there's a core bunch of us who keep on coming, even if they're regular regulars or irregular regulars. :-)

That sense of belonging with people who get you, understand, and support is worth so much. Certainly, something to be looked after and very much appreciated.

Happy times!

Take care,

Friday, August 17, 2018



Over on the Chameleons' forum, one of our members, Steph, posted a happy incident in which she'd complimented a stranger and had a very positive reaction. I think paying someone a sincere compliment is both great and yet, sometimes tricky.

I think it's tricky because well, there's A) a chance that you'll get it wrong and offend, and/or B) that the person may not take the compliment. In terms of the latter, there's the whole gig around what are they after?, are they hitting on me?, to I'm not used to strangers saying this!

That last one - people saying nice things - is something I struggle with. With family, well, most of the time it's good-natured teasing, so compliments are rarely directed when you're a dad. Not that I mind and it's not why we had kids. Children are, if you'll forgive a brief diversion, both the most challenging and at the same time rewarding thing you may ever do. Both kids know how to drive me up the wall, but equally, I wouldn't be without them; they really are an adventure. Mind you, maybe I'm saying that because they're out of the baby stage and not yet in full teenage rampage. Ask me again in a few years :-D

Where was I? Oh yeah, I guess there's a blurred line between saying thank you and a compliment. Take Little Miss or Wee Man doing something kind for someone or helping out, I'll say something like That was really good of you do to that. Thank you! Equally, the Ever Lovely Mrs J gets nice things said because, well, she's ever lovely. Not that any compliment isn't earned, if that makes sense.

So when folk do say something nice about me - how they like my shirt - or someone at Chams, I try not to shrug it off and say thank you instead. The shrugging off isn't that I don't appreciate nice words, it's that I'm struggling to accept them. Me not them, so to speak... but I do try!

As to saying nice things to others, while I'm not sure if it's right, I usually say something like "may I say your blah looks great/fantastic/brilliant" where blah is makeup, outfit, nails, shirt, etc. It's fairly generic, but it's legitimate and doesn't have that personal touch - unlike what the kids get - where there's some feedback linked to it.

So, yeah, I might say "May I say your new dress looks great", but I won't say "Your new dress looks great and makes you look slim." I guess I'm worried that someone may read something too personal into the latter and I only say such things to people I really know.

Has it worked?

So in general just saying something nice has pretty much always gone well. A few years back I was out with my family shopping in Boots. The lady who served me had the most beautiful nails. Classy, well painted, with a length and shape that suited her. I said, "I hope you don't mind me saying, but your mails look amazing." She said thanks, I paid and took the goods, with nothing more of it.

Heading back to Mrs J, she asked: "What did you say to the assistant? She's grinning like she's just won a prize." I took a quick peek over my shoulder and indeed Mrs J was spot on: said assistant looked most chuffed. I hope she enjoyed those words all day.

Likewise, if a colleague I like is sporting a fancy hairdo or is rocking a new shirt, I'll mention it politely. Just a question if it's recent and conversation rolls on from there. Not that I go around commenting on what people wear that would be rude. I have this blog to do that ;-) I am surprised on how people will happily talk about their new top or suchlike. Maybe it's people taking an interest, but you may feel differently.

Last week

Due to being away there was no time to post a snap from last week. Now we're back at home, there's a chance to show Val's photographic handiwork. Oh, to which I'm always grateful for, even if Muggins here isn't always the best subject :-D

In the spirit of trying something new, I'm giving my re-cut wig (thanks Steph!) another run. It does take me a while to get used to new things, but I think I'm getting there.

Take care,

Friday, August 10, 2018

Good things


I think that there are times when it's all about the simple things in life. Take today for example, the cooler weather meant I could ditch the baggy trousers and sandals, returning to my preferred jeans and Converse trainers look. Yes, I am a Dad of a certain age, but team the previous with a fancy shirt and I'm feeling more myself. Funny how the right clothes help you out huh?

With all the sun of late, it seems it's an early blackberry season too. Now, other than feeling okay with how I look, if there's one pleasure of the summer.... okay, other than a nap in the sun or ice cream on a hot day... for me, it's got to be picking blackberries. I think the concentration and simple movement from patch to patch very relaxing; almost mediative in a way. Like losing yourself in painting, baking, or doing your makeup.

Funny thing is, I'm not really a fan of blackberries on their own. But, maybe as jam or in an apple pie, and, wooo, now we're talking. With the any of those, they're a dish to be shared and for me, that adds to the happiness.... even if my daughter ate half the stash ;-)

Take care,

Friday, August 03, 2018

The Second Train


Over in the Chameleons milabox, we recently received an email from a media company, TellyJuice, about a short documentary they'd made. Usually, media requests are for people to appear in a production, or take part in some reality TV production. The better ones - the education, the sensitive, etc - I post on the forum. The other stuff, welcome to /dev/null/ (Ed: for non-nerds, Lynn means the bin. Or t'bin if you're proper North :-) )

So, this video, which may appear below if I can get the web code right, was very different. I found it moving, deeply personal, sensitive, and beautifully filmed. While it brought forth a tear, I think that was bittersweet: I was happy that they'd made it. Happy that they had found themselves and found the courage and support to make the journey they needed. Maybe it's never too late to get another train, whatever your preferred destination.

The Second Train
from TellyJuice on Vimeo.

Take care,

PS: I'm not sure how, but somehow I've snuck on to No 3 in the UK Trans Blogs.... which is nice ;-)