Nice wee surprise

Other than three non movable work commitments I have spent the majority of this week in bed. I could tell I was unwell because I could not go out for my morning run (I tried and was back before 15 mins had passed) and driving and looking at screens – pretty much anything that involved concentration made me nauseous.

So almost two full weeks of feeling sorry for myself later I am only just starting to be able to look at my screen long enough to be useful.

My mood however was lifted yesterday when the following slightly edited message arrived from my sister:

“I have found a nice Christmas present for Dee although %^&*$ might have to get a poorer present x”

Having felt so let down at my birthday even though realistically I know Dee is still very much a secret from all the kids, nieces and nephews, but especially my mum; it felt amazing that she had gone out of her way to make sure Dee will get something.

It is such a small text but it totally validates my feelings and could no have come at a better time – as a family rule we stopped buying presents for each other once children started coming along because 5 siblings plus their children was just getting too expensive, but sometimes we still get wee things for each other (you know – thanks for being okay with me being trans kind of gifts) Honestly it does not matter what the gift is – the fact that Dee is the person she thought about buying for means so much more!

I didn’t quite cry, but I wasn’t far off it – the %^&*$ gift will be o make sure I have something to open as my mum will be staying with me over Christmas, i will be nice to have her up as the children will be with me for Christmas and then going to their mum for Hogmanay, but it means I will be spending the whole time wondering if I should tell her yet – eventually I am sure the time will be right.

Take care

xx

Slow puncture

Sometimes I wonder what is wrong with me, even when I want to cry I just can’t. I feel my eyes welling up and then…… nothing. A couple of deep sighs later and I am back to levelled off.

I am still slumped, still struggling to care about my day to day work life. I am coping with whatever comes in but minimal outcome with maximum effort seems to be my current ratio.

I’m starting to wonder if it is worth going to my GP to see if they can do something, I hate it when I am in a slump, it takes so much effort to actually do anything, I am exhausted every day and yet struggle to go to bed to sleep. This morning I went  back to bed rather than go for my morning run. Then later on in the morning I was invited for a coffee and turned it down because I just don’t want to do the whole small talk chatting game today.

My life is fairly stable, my work is regular and provides me and my son with food and shelter and other little luxuries like the vacuum I bought this month because I was finally fed up after 3 months of not being able to clean the floors properly with the old one my ex left. (Yes I know it is minging but no one really likes hoovering!)

I am drifting around waiting for January for my next clinic appointment because I stupidly said that December was too busy for me, I wont get the chance to go out, I have too many bills to pay off before I can go back to my electrolysis and I don’t even have the energy to stay on top of my shaving so I am back to being the little gorilla-man that everyone sees me as.

I know Christmas will soon be upon us and that is going to be a lovely reminder that I still can’t go out anywhere as Dee, if I do get invited out over the festive period it will be as I am now 😦 I feel like I am stuck, like a car with a slow puncture just coasting to a safe stop. I feel too emotionally flat to enjoy and appreciate all that I do have and zero momentum to change the things I would like to yet.

I wonder if I can look up pride/trans events for next year and see if there is a way to go to a few different UK ones to give myself some more me time…

 

Self Identifying

In the UK we have colour coded bin collection systems for what is landfill and what is recycled, the colours can change area to area but blue and green are fairly standard. I have seen a “joke” post being shared a lot recently where someone had put landfill rubbish in their blue bin and then stuck a label on it saying I self identify as a green bin.

Now I do not mind the fact that I know many people who do not share the same world views as I do, they have different beliefs than I do and most I have either met through school and work or through being friends.

I was at a games night recently hosted by a friend I have not seen in some time, no one at the party knows about my journey over the last year even though they all know my wife left me, most if not all of them come from a fairly traditional christian perspective and at one point one of them recited the joke during conversation and I was the only one who did not laugh, but I did not say anything either.

As I was staying the night in the spare room, when it was just the host and I catching up I brought it up as an example of something that I believed was just wrong to mock, I conceded that a major part of this year has involved me trying to discover my own identity after living for almost 17 years trying be something for someone else. I did not talk about gender, but I said that it is easy to mock when you are still in your 20’s and you are absolutely certain about who you are, but unless you have been in a situation like that you cannot speak for those that have.

My host listened and agreed, there are many things I could be honest with her about and many that she could share with me – we were in the same year at uni and ultimately ended up being the only 2 full time 4th years in our course.

It made me genuinely sad that in a group that could laugh their heads off playing exploding kittens (a card game, which is basically uno for adults) that there was so little empathy.

Perhaps I should have said something, but it is difficult when you are obviously the only person in the room that does not find it funny.

Often when I am sat in a room with people talking I find myself wondering if the night would be going along the same lines if I had arrived as Dee, this was one party where I felt I would not be welcome. I do not really know two of the people there, but a couple of them I have known reasonably well, I suspect they would assume I have completely lost it, or am simply winning/losing a dare or something if I turned up as Dee. It reminded me that while there are some groups of people I feel safe around, and those are the ones where I know Dee will always be welcome there are others who are simply acquaintances and would either ignore me or insult me at best, as such I still need to keep my guard up!

 

Post Birthday Blues

I have officially been dissecting my emotions, my thought processes and my motives for a full year now. My blog anniversary will be in just over a weeks time. Literally 12 months obsessing about who I am, what parts of me are real and what parts of me are put on for show because I think that is what people want to see.

My birthday was a bit surreal, my kids forgot and moaned at me making them go and visit my family, my son even argued with me that it was not my birthday and refused to believe me until he went and googled the date.

There was some unrelated family drama which is par for the course when my family try and get together but eventually we did manage it.

I was feeling good, but then I got my “Happy Birthday brother” cards.

I love that my sisters thought enough about me to get me cards and they even clubbed together to buy me some running tights and very fancy wireless headphones that use bone conduction technology so you can still hear everything around you, they went out of their way to organise the presents but I wish they had bought me just a generic happy birthday card as it really felt like a huge blow to read the brother bit. Like me telling them all that I had realised that I am transgender and was exploring what that will mean for my life hadn’t happened – those big scary conversations that I had worried about for months were all negated bu those cards. I never said anything, I feel bad for feeling bad about it – I present male 99% of the time, I never pull them up for calling me bro or brother because we all have kids and until I am consistently expressing myself as one gender it seems like a lot to ask.

So I feel annoyed with myself, I do not want to but I still fill in any forms that ask with my male gender and name if there is even the slightest chance that my kids could somehow see it.

Yet I have created a log on for myself as Dee for a fitness app I use, again not the one that I am connected to my sisters with but one that makes me feel happy when I see my name and my female profile pic pop up.

Last night I sat up chatting to my friend in Canada and so today has been a lazy day.

I have the house to myself so I painted my finger and toenails, but I have just spent the whole day sat around in my grey with pink poodle “cuddle up” nighty drinking cups of tea and starting to play through Horizon Zero Dawn because I actually have the time to.

I laughed at myself when my feet became icicles and I put on a pair of socks, they are my Dee socks and have little love hearts on the soles of the feet, but I have definitely come a long way from dressing for thrills to dressing for comfort. There is nothing sexy or attractive about how I am dressed today! I do not intend to move for the rest of today either, so without a big comfy dressing gown to snuggle under I am hiding under a blanket instead. Hopefully I will get up and get out for a run tomorrow morning, as I finally completed my first parkrun this weekend without walking and really want to build on that success.

I do not mean to moan, but I am tired, my babies are away now for the next week with their mum and that feeling of regressing when it comes to how my sisters see me has jus not helped.

Tomorrow is a brand new day though

xx

Thoughts now the dust has settled

I was warned by some good friends that I have made online that my initial appointment might be somewhat of an anti climax.

While it did not make the papers (something I am glad about lol) it was still very much a milestone.

I know that my NHS record will permanently list this contact as a part of my medical history and that whenever someone accesses my notes the gender clinic contact will be there, it was that thought that made me hold off making my appointment while I was still panicking last year and I wish I had been brave enough to simply make the call as this moment would have been a few months in the past by now.

There is no getting around the waiting times if you access NHS services and mine are actually pretty small compared to other areas, months can seem like a long time, but it is the same no matter which service you are trying to access because we have a conservative government that doesn’t believe in our healthcare system and is deliberately overloading it to make the excuse to privatise it. (IMHO)

The thing about waiting though is that it gives you plenty of time to think, and I do that a lot!

Not once, not one single solitary moment have I thought to myself, you know what? I am really happy with who I am.

Which tells me I need to keep working on it.

I admitted to my sister that I do not message her every time I dress as Dee because I do not want her to get sick of seeing me wearing her hand me downs, I had said that none of this is really about clothes and if men wearing womens clothes was as much of a non issue as women wearing mens clothes then they would not even feature into the equation, one of my sisters regularly buys mens teeshirts because they are baggier and she prefers the fit, no one cares.

If all of this was simply about me wanting to dress up I do not think I would have told my sisters, simply indulged my hobby as I had done in the past. Dressing as Dee was something I had not done for a while before my appointment so taking the time and going out were not only a reward to myself, but a reminder of just how unburdened I feel when I am out as her.

Actually a lot of the things I did at the beginning are not so high on my list, I do not shave my arms and legs every day but wait a week or so, I simply couldn’t afford the razors or the depilatory cream for my chest, especially as I know it will not help when it comes to my back.

I still hate my hair, and I still resent the fact that I will have to wear wigs to blend in, but have become a bit more practical about it all and I suspect it is because I know I can change the outside to match now, it is not so much about whether or not I am transgender but about whether or not I am brave enough to continue looking at who I need to be, I did not hesitate to say yes when I was asked if medically transitioning was a path I could envision for myself, I really can see a future where I am known and interact as DeeDee (still torn as Deedee was the nickname but in my mind Dee seems a bit more grown up lol)

I am making changes in my life to be happier, I am getting so close to being able to jog all the way around a parkrun course, according to my couch to 5k app I am only 2 weeks away from my goal. It is hard work and I do not seem to be losing weight, but others are telling me that they see a difference in me. I know I feel better when I have gone out in the morning, even if that is the only thing I do that day. I could not think of my own mantra but the one that the trainer in the app has given me is “You’re strong DeeDee, be strong.”  I still do not feel it, but I am stronger than I was.

I think at this point in my mind it is just a case of plucking up the courage to tell my children.

None of the other hurdles scare me anywhere near as much as what my kids will say, or even how I broach the subject with them.

Overall I am calmer and happier with the path I am on then I have been for a long time. I have an official expert to talk to for support who has already told me not to be concerned about my mental health, and that while transgender folk do have higher instances of depression and other mental health conditions they are usually directly related to the struggle of not being free to be themselves, she is someone I can discuss access to services with, I am on the waiting list for the gender psychologist so I have some concrete plans for this year, overall I would have to say that things are starting to look up 🙂

xx

 

GIC Initial Appointment Recap

I was a bundle of nerves today, I had to leave my house at 9am to make my lunchtime appointment and simply because of childcare issues I had to take my son out of school and drop him off en-route.

My last minute prep consisted of me reading through the first 3 months of my blog posts to refresh my memory on how I felt and why I made the choices I have to date. Anyone exploring their gender should write things down to refer back to!

I made good time and was met by one of my older sisters who had promised when she encouraged me to call at the beginning of the year that she would come with me – life had intervened, but we met for a coffee and she showed me the correct building before grabbing a quick lunch which I could barely swallow down as I had an hour to wait before I was due.

The administrator gave me some forms to fill in which along with a request for name/gender/D.O.B and preferred contact details however it also included a quick quiz on allergies and my drinking habits as well as asking about my sexual preferences and the last time I had sexual intercourse… 5 yrs plus – It was easier to work out when I tried and stopped smoking as a teen! So for initial forms they were a bit invasive, but understandable given that the Gender Clinic comes under the department of Sexual Health in the NHS system. I used my male name but left the space for gender blank.

I am used to waiting in hospitals and unless the appointment is scheduled for first thing in the morning they never run on time, so I had taken a book I was given called, “The Transgender Guidebook” which was conveniently hidden inside the paper cover of “The chess men” a thriller by Peter May set in Scotland that I would recommend even if you aren’t looking to disguise what you are reading in public.

Eventually my name was called and I met the doctor who surprised me by introducing a second person who specialised in gender. I was so nervous that if I tried to specify which doctor I would be guessing. My initial assumption was student/trainee but after introducing herself she sat at an angle out of the way and was definitely there in the role of observer.

I was asked how I was feeling and had to acknowledge that I was incredibly nervous, but glad I was here. I was told to basically just explain why I made the appointment, so for the next 2 hours that is what I did – jumping back and forth a little chronologically I started with last year and my Youtube obsession with gender videos, learning about the differences between gender identity and expression as well as birth sex, realising that on some level I did not fit with the definition of cisgender.

The failed attempt at making an appointment in a different healthboard area for anonymity and the avoidance of my GP because of them knowing my business, I included the marriage failing and some of the highlights of that coupled with the fancy dress party and going out openly dressed as a female for the first time ever, the multiple dropped calls before booking this appointment followed up with a quick recap of my trips out, the feelings I had and have when I go out as DeeDee, the people I had told and their responses to me, the worries I had about it being a mental health issue as well as the shame and the testing to see if it was connected to the pornography that had become so easily obtainable and abundant as an adult even though I know how harmful the sex industry is – I pointed out that while I have no dysphoria around my genitals being there – it is pretty much because they never get used, my disgust is more with my libido. This was after I was asked.

The confusion about getting to 40 before this wreaked havoc on my life. The almost all encompassing fear of being rejected by my children. The knowledge of having to relocate eventually and only wanting to do that once rather than multiple times, so I also included my self diagnosis of mild depression.

Both women sat and listened to my patchwork story, I explained that I found it ironic that in order to be honest with myself I had to remove physical gender based around sex organs out of the equation but then really struggled to define what makes a man a man or a woman a woman because all that is left is gender stereotypes and I know that men can embrace most of the things I listed about myself that I consider female traits.

I mentioned blogging to write my feelings down and I mentioned joining the tg groups in the hopes that I would be able to say that I was not trans and could go back to the old me before realising that elements of my life fitted in with others.

I spoke of that almost constant feeling of being a cuckoo in the nest and never fitting in, of living up to the roles I thought I should and my lack of self esteem as a result of never being able to live up to expectations.

I was the living definition of oversharing, but by the end of it all I felt glad that I had made the appointment in order to get a non biased opinion. I am sure I missed plenty out but what really struck me as I was describing all of this was just how exhausting I find being a man, while being DeeDee just seems far less effort even with the shaving/makeup/wig issues.

Although she covered herself by stating that she was not a psychologist the very first thing she did was assure me that this is not a mental health issue. (yay!)

I was given https://www.ngicns.scot.nhs.uk/ to look at as a hub for resources and facts. I realised tonight that I have actually come across it on my travels, because I watched the mini video on attending appointments the other day.

I was asked after I had mentioned transition and hormones whether or not I saw myself taking that route and I said yes. I didn’t hesitate. But then I felt the need to qualify it by saying that where I am intellectually is a slightly different place to where I am emotionally. I was assured that I do not need to take any route, there is not one way of doing anything but that now I have linked in they will see me again for support.

Although they do not see gender as a mental health issue legally anymore there still has to be a required appointment with a psychologist at Sandyford before they can start to offer me anything so she will refer me there. If between now and then I change my mind they can cancel the appointment but it is better to get moving down the list then sit and wait until I feel ready as there are waiting time issues due to them being short staffed. I acknowledged that I am not in a hurry and I will be going back to see them in January, that way they can ask me a few questions based on the information I gave to them today (I apologised for just dumping it all out on them) and we can see where I am and how they can support me.

I confessed my indecision about names and presenting female and was assured that how I present is up to me, as are the pronouns and name they use in the room with me and what they keep on the system, none of it makes any difference to how seriously they take the information I give them. We stuck with my male name but knowing that even if I present male at my appointments that I can request to be called DeeDee really lifted my spirits!

We stopped for a takeaway on the way home and I relied on energy drinks to get me through the driving because I now have an emotional hangover – I am tired, have a headache and am full of stodgy food and fizzy juice which I know I will regret tomorrow, but I needed to get it down while the feelings were still fresh.

I know I have taken my first steps towards becoming comfortable just being me.

 

Unexpected Experiment

As I mentioned in my last post I have my initial appointment with the closest gender identity clinic to me this coming Wednesday.  I know it will pretty much be a fact finding mission with me learning not only where they are (must look it up again!) but also what they can offer me as I explore.

This morning was absolutely wild. Wet and windy barely start to cover it and so after my son had gone off for his school bus I put on my running tights and top (quick aside – men’s running tights are literally just the same as ladies leggings – its like I can finally wear what I want to when I go out jogging and no one will care!)

It is one of the few things I do that I consider self care – I am just over halfway through the couch to 5k app and I swear that woman is trying to kill me! But I am definitely getting fitter even if the weight does not seem to be coming off.

Once I got in I got myself cleaned up and decided that as I will be going to the appointment in man-mode that I should spend some time today as Dee.  I put on a top that I found in a charity shop, a dungaree dress that is too short, but when combined with leggings over the top I think it looks respectable.

Once I had put on some minimal makeup and put my hair on, it was after I brushed it and began painting my nails that I realised that I was getting ready to go out.  I had not planned anything but I definitely wanted to go somewhere.

I am quite proud of the outfit combo pulled from clothes I was not likely to find a use for any time soon so I took some obligatory photos

I put on a pair of sensible boots and my decent but very pink waterproof jacket, struggled to zip it up because I am now trying to wear breast forms appropriate to someone of my stature and those pups were definitely getting in the way!

With a bit of very unflattering squishing I eventually got the zip over the point of no return and then remembered that I am at my house. In broad daylight. I have to walk to the car and drive out of the area. The blond woman in the bright pink jacket was going to be noticed by the friendly neighbourhood watchers.

So I went and found one of my big blokey jackets with a hood, tucked my hair in, took a deep breath and then off I went.

Quick look in the car and no one was around, but I kept the hood up and my hands as low on the steering wheel as I could as I drove.  I had to go through some workmen, but after that I was on the open road.  After a few minutes I removed the man coat, tidied my hair and that was that, I became one more female motorist.

It felt so good to be out as Dee again, I put on one of my favourite Spotify playlists (It’s called songs to sing in the shower) and just enjoyed being out and about.

Due to where I live there is only so far I can drive before I need to worry about timescales, so I did a big loop, I stopped at a petrol station and braved the weather as I refilled the car. No one batted an eyelid at me, but I still used the pay at pump.

I then remembered that there was a tourist stop not far from where I am and reasoned to myself that I could possibly go and get a cup of coffee.

I was relaxed into my drive again, when I arrived at the tourist spot I waved thank you to the man in the lorry who stopped to let me skip across the road past him as he was turning and then went and took some photos and was pleased to share a few smiles with at least 3 women who were also holding their hoods down or constantly pushing the wind out of their hair as we passed one another.

By this time I needed the loo and reasoned that due to the weather they would be empty so approached without thinking only to have to wait for a lady to come out. She smiled a silent “thank you” at me as I waited for her to get down the few steps and I returned a smile of my own which I hope was accepted as a “you’re welcome. Take your time” and then I just continued past her into the relative warmth and peace of the ladies loos. When I came out there was a man obviously waiting for his partner who sidestepped out of my way, I went round to the coffee shop but only saw a white van with 4 labourers inside getting drinks – at this moment my confidence vanished and I started worrying that my voice would out me even though I am obviously passing well today. I reasoned that they would be busy getting their lunch and would not pay attention to just another tourist coming in, but without many people to create background noise and keep the staff busy I just walked past the entrance. I so wanted a Starbucks selfie today!

From that moment on the bubble had burst, I did not feel I could go and browse through the tourist shops at some of the lovely tartan dresses and shawls, and there was no way I was going into any of the smaller shops which are more like an indoor shopping arcade where the retailers spend their days sitting chatting to each other and waiting for someone to browse their wares.

Once back in the car I calmed myself down and checked my reflection. Everything was exactly where it should be despite the gale blowing outside and the rain beating down.

As I drove home I reasoned that it was still a successful outing – I used a filling station like an ordinary person, I passed well enough to mingle with the tourists and take photos. I almost stopped at one of my local shops to use the self service checkout but stopped myself at the last moment as the likelihood of meeting someone I know is just too high.

Once I got closer to home the big bloke jacket and hood were put on until I reached my sanctuary and then I checked through my photo gallery while the kettle boiled.

I was not going to dress today, let alone go out anywhere, once I was not worrying about the car being recognised by someone I knew I was just another person out for the day and it was a couple of hours spent smiling from ear to ear.

Male me hides in the house and doesn’t want to go out unless he absolutely has to, but I know for a fact that I really do enjoy getting out and being Dee in the world!