Social clues

One of the obvious impacts of everyone being at home all the time is that my FB feed is full of chain mail posts and fun quizzes.

For the most part I ignore any 3rd party site quizzes, and ocassionally join in with the copy and paste ones, but am mindful not to share anything that I would use as secure information – just in case. I am pretty sure most of my life has been harvested online until I was able to choose “reject all” as an option when clicking on links, but why make it easier.

There have been 2 chains doing the rounds recently, most of my female friends have been doing a build each other up chain and it is nice to see everyone complimenting each other, but there has also been a mental health anti suicide one for males going around, and while I agree with the statistics, I have, for obvious reasons, not put my ugly mug up in solidarity.

I think it is because even though there are literally hundreds of pictures of male me, I genuinely struggle to perceive myself as male now. While I was thinking on the subject, if I was to suicide – which I wont ever do due to too much personal exposure to the impacts of it, it would be due to the internal struggle of which me I keep letting everyone see.

I never realised just how much I allow what other people think of me to shape who I am.

So for now I will sidestep gendered posts when I can, and continue to share pictures of my kids dirty washing pile and moan about getting him to tidy his room or do his chores!

Stay safe folks

xx

What is normal anyway?

With the world sitting on the naughty step I have the perfect excuse to spend more time finding an online community but instead I have found myself watching Youtube videos almost constantly – they are short for the most part and if I wander off I can always come back and re-watch the section I missed. They suit my short attention span and ennui.

I have cut live TV out of my life – any news bulletin is almost instantly on a feed somewhere online and other than the BBC which I have not watched since their heavily biased election coverage I have not missed it – well except Doctor Who, Jody Whittaker was amazing when I was watching it, but I cannot afford all that money each year for one decent show.

I cannot decide if I am losing patience or just adjusting to a life where people are judged by the number of tins of beans they put in their basket.  I read an interesting article that said that panic buying was not actually as bad as the media have claimed, but because the supermarket chains rely so heavily on the stock replacement ordering to prevent having to keep loads of items in each store they simply cannot replace them quickly enough, and unlike Christmas when alcohol and premium goods are sold TP is a low value commodity and almost not worth the cost to fill a lorry with – as someone who has worked in a few supermarkets the stock system is pretty delicate so it makes sense – the slowest part is transporting the goods from the depots to the stores, so if everyone added an extra pack of loo roll or instead of their usual 2 tins, bought 4 tins of beans (say one for the foodbank and one for Mrs Robinson next door) then the system can’t cope.

Or using another example the broadband companies save money by putting in the minimum amount needed to sustain 70% of their personal customers because they know that big business pay the bills and most folk are out working during the day and suddenly they have 100% of the people trying to get on 100% of the time and are scrabbling to cope.

Big Brother harvests so much of our information that when we act unpredictably the system breaks down – fascinating and slightly terrifying all at the same time!

I have been considering purging again, as a single parent I am considering the possibility of what happens when I die, and as of this morning I now have a kink case – all of those embarrassing internet buys that I would be ashamed to let people see are in a very small case until I decide what to do with them.

The interesting thing is that the cupboard of ladies clothes, wigs and shoes, the drawer and small travel case of makeup and the drawers with my smalls in are not embarrassing to me.  I realised I do not mind if someone found them because Dee is not something I am ashamed of right now. I think that with everything else going on I am starting to gain some perspective. I would not be embarrassed if my quest for my identity was known at my funeral, if there were photos of me as DeeDee they would show me smiling and would certainly give my sisters something to talk about with the people who came to pay their respects lol (imagining a memorial service – simply as a practical step my family could not gather right now as it is simply too many people in one place).

Perhaps as the world adjusts to its new normal, I am slowly adjusting to mine as well. I know I am not sat wearing the clothes I would choose to, but equally I am starting to think more and more about building an everyday casual/smart wardrobe with each item. Life is so precious and so very, very short – am I really so scared that I will not push forwards and just retreat back to my old, “normal?”

 

Take care

xx

Is it really whats on the inside that counts?

Like many other UK/US parents I have suddenly found myself with a teenager who is now working from home.

As my newly crowned teenager is on the Autistic spectrum although he is still mainstream educated (or was until he decided a few days before the government that school was too big a risk for the corona virus and declared himself to be self isolating) it means that he constantly interrupts me to tell me his thoughts and opinions, especially if I have gone to the loo, most parents experience this with younger children but I guess I am a lucky mum(?) in that my son is still very dependant. He will hold my hand walking down the street – partly as comfort and partly so I can catch him when he trips, until he remembers that he is too old for that and decides to let go.

Other than school his life has not changed dramatically – he never really went out, apart from for meals or to the cinema so he was frustrated he could not do that, the majority of his time is spent honing his skills on Fortnite or mimicking his favourite Youtubers on Roblox, he already socialises online the majority of the time.  The other major change has been the fact that my sone enjoys eating the same breakfast over and over and over and over and over… now he cannot because of all the panic buying, he is adjusting but “that blooming stupid Corona virus!” has become a regular utterance whenever I have to break bad news about his routine.

Add to that the fact that I am trying to keep some semblance of school work going for a child who has had clearly defined boundaries about school work being for school and not home since he was in nursery and this is a big adjustment. Fortunately a class size of one makes for much less distractions and he has not gotten into serious trouble yet! lol.

I have plans to start a couch to 5k app with him as where we are we could walk all day and not see another person let alone get within 2 metres of them, but he has to be onboard to stay motivated as we try and put a loose timetable in place to allow for school and chill time.

I have cut down my social interactions as well but work in an area where I still have to come into contact with families on a daily basis. Sadly I know that I am far more likely to be a carrier than be seriously ill, but I worry for us as I worry for those who are not as fortunate as us to have homes to hide in.

Dee is having to be entirely inside, I see her smiling sadly when I look in the mirror, but with young ears either next door or always on the cusp of walking in I am not going to get any chance to express yself through dressing and I just received my official notification that my GIC appointment has been cancelled – I already knew that it would be, with the best will in the world when faced with a medical emergency on this scale I would have been disappointed if anything else had happened.

The small chink of hope is that I can still interact online as myself and I have just installed a new game that I hope to try towards the end of this week – I cannot really voice chat yet, but perhaps that is a bullet that will have to be bitten.

Morbidly I have been wondering about what would happen if I died, would my sisters acknowledge DeeDee when they came to empty the house or compile my tribute or would they just dismiss her?

If I live, and while I am in a reasonably safe age bracket there are no guarantees with this virus, but will we value our lives more? Will this reminder of how short and precious our time is spur me on to be more of who I see myself as? Will I become more lady and less tramp? Time will tell.

I did read a really interesting blog from someone who was refuting the idea that rapid onset dysphoria was a fad, the idea being that with free access to just about anything online we gravitate to those things that we define ourselves by – (her example was that while perhaps isolated in real life a racist will drift towards racist cliques and transgender individuals will drift towards transgender information) neither one of those things will make someone else become that if they are not already predisposed even if they do not see it when they are looking. Which would have been me. I went blissfully through life until I turned 40 and now I am drifting on the edges of Trans circles and considering whether or not to enter fully, I already think of myself as a stay at home mum even if I never used that phrasing to describe myself before!

Who we are is more inside than out, I want to love me and build myself back up, but all things considered I think that right now, in this moment, I would rather consider myself beautful on the inside than handsome 😉

Take care and stay safe

xx

Achievement Hunting

Achievement hunting is something computer game designers rely on to give games longevity, someone will go back and keep replaying a game until they have collected all of it’s secrets.

I am a long way from knowing myself well enough to have collected any achievements, but this weekend I took on my biggest physical challenge yet and passed it. I ran 10 miles (16km) up and down hills, through boggy fields and waist deep streams and slid down muddy mountain bike tracks and all of it was in the dark. This is the furthest I have ever tried to run and I did not know if I could cope with 10 miles, but not only did I finish and get my medal, but I know if I went back I could easily beat my time.  Two of the people who formed part of our group suffered from cramping and were pretty much unable to run, only completing the course thanks to their combination of youth and stubbornness – if we had ran more we could easily have knocked 45 minutes to an hour off our time, the important thing is that we all finished though, and the adrenaline from that still feels like it is in my system.

One of the best parts of the weekend though is that whenever my sister texted me she called me D, a nice – nosy person friendly way of publicly using my name. I don’t think she knows quite how much it made me smile because I never got a chance to thank her, but that in itself felt really good.

As a UK resident in Scotland of course everyone is talking about the fact that supermarkets are fast running out of stock – what started with loo rolls and hand sanitiser, has now spread to long life milk, frozen pizzas and pasta. In and of itself a couple of extra items here and there would be fine but the shortages have become self perpetuating as people see all of the media headlines about shortages and then think that they better go and stock up while they can which leads to shortages for people like myself who simply buy what they need a week at a time.. I live in a rural location and so do not really have to work very hard to socially isolate myself, but many in my community are elderly and I do feel for them as there is very little that can be done to prevent risks in the coming weeks and months.

Perhaps people will start to appreciate our free healthcare system a bit more.

Which leads me to the fact that while it has not happened yet, I fully expect my next appointment at the G.I.C. to be postponed, it is unlikely that they will choose to use Video Conferencing to talk although other departments already are. It could also impact any chance of seeing a therapist or even getting out to a Pride event this year depending on how things go. All in all I am in a relatively good place mentally, while I know I want help I have already sought it, others will really struggle though and so I feel for them this coming year as the delays are only going to get longer.

To finish with something a little more cheery as I was always taught to sandwich any bad news between two pieces of good news if I could, I ordered some Aliver hemp mascara and it is amazing stuff! My lashes really looked a lot longer after applying and it did not clump or smudge at all!

I am hopeful that the quick 3 second (lazy) twotone eyeshadow I have ordered online will also work well as my eye makeup still needs a lot of work, especially eyeliner – that is the bane of all of my current attempts as without it my eyes just do not pop the same way; but it is good to find something that works fantastically rather than just does the job.

 

Take care

xx

Quietly Confident

As the rain batters itself off the window panes I always utter a quiet word of thanks that I am sat inside cosy and warm and dry and not cold and damp and homeless like so many others.

I have always found being thankful for the little things extremely useful, it gives me the chance to regularly exercise perspective. Something  I feel everyone can benefit from.

I had a fantastic time out as Dee last week, not only because I physically went out alone in a place where I knew there would be lots of people but also because I interacted with two members of staff at the cinema, a male and a female and both were very respectful.

In the UK we do not get “sir” or “ma’am” very often, in fact a meal out at a fancy restaurant is about the only time I can remember it happening to me; so in that sense misgendering is not a real worry, but there is a huge difference between a warm smile and a mocking one.

It has helped galvanise me somewhat in that I know I will be asking about voice coaching at my next clinic appointment. I am still waiting to hear back from either of the 2 therapists I was promised I would be put in touch with (one through the GIC and one through my workplace) but as time continues it just allows me to keep plugging away.

I took out a decent sized loan recently which has allowed me to pay off my share of the costs of my divorce, clear the credit card from my last doomed family holiday, buy my son his birthday present and still have enough left to now start looking at flights to Canada for a holiday next year.

I continue to exercise and have finally stopped late night snacking, I do a competitive race this weekend, but they require passport level ID for participants and so it will be a long while before I could signup as DeeDee, though I did find myself daydreaming about it yesterday when I was out for a run. I average 4-5k three times a week and do not worry too much if I pause for the dog or to catch my breath; but the race I am entering is roughly 10k, with hills and rivers, oh, and it’s at night too so I will need a head torch.

Overall while I know that I am still feeling fairly hollowed out emotionally I do feel pretty good that I am taking the steps I need to lose some weight and be happy with who I am.

Now if only I could find a way of expressing that I could become more confident that I am on the right path and not on a fools errand!

 

Take care

xx

Big City, big night

I had to travel to a large city for a work meeting, after taking a detour to drop my son off my total driving time just to get here was 8 hours. I felt that justified an overnight stop, and so I booked myself into some cheap lodgings within easy walk of the city centre.

My meeting is only one day but I took my large case on the off chance that I would be brave enough to venture out as DeeDee. I put no pressure on myself because the last few times I have taken a case to change and go out my plans have changed or been changed for me and the frustration and disappointment is worse with each failed attempt.

I was worried about booking into my room as a man and then wandering past the desk staff as DeeDee, but when I arrived I discovered that there is a self check in system in the evenings and that reception was unmanned.

I was not brave enough to go and sit in a restaurant and order some dinner and after that much travel my stomach was not hungry, but then I remembered that a big city also meant big cinemas and the Harley Quinn film might still be playing.. now that is a film I really want to see and it is not showing anymore where I am.

If it is not on Little Women is out too and both of them are films I would like to see but have not gone to because single parents do not get to go to the cinema very often.

In my head I reasoned that it was roughly a 15-20 minute walk, pretty much down the same street and so I could not get lost, but it would be busy enough for me to blend in and dark enough for people not to look too closely as long as I did not draw attention to myself.

I could even buy my tickets from the machine so I would not have to speak to someone as I have never attempted to use a feminine voice outside of practising with my phone app. Worst case scenario I could just walk down the street and back and consider going out on my own somewhere public a win.

I spent over an hour shaving, and applying as little makeup as possible so that at a glance it would look like I was not wearing anything other than lippy, I took time with my eyebrows and even attempted some light eyeliner to go with the mascara on my natural lashes, I put on a dark blond hombre bob wig that was cheap but had a fringe and was shoulder length and I felt it looked natural; and then I dressed in a nice red top and jeans and sat and painted my nails.

IMG_1149

It felt like a proper pampering session, but even after a quick selfie or two I was still sitting in my room. I berated myself that I had not dragged my case all that way and up 3 flights of stairs just to sit and watch Netflix so I put on the black ankle boots with kitten heels and spent another few minutes just sitting and building up my courage, listening to footsteps in the hallway coming and going and waited until I thought all was quiet before putting on my red jacket and the Christmas scarf my sister had bought me and opened up the door…

I was terrified, as I crossed reception I noticed the massive cctv screen and almost went back to my room, but I quickly reasoned that even if someone watched the footage back it would be too late as DeeDee was on the screens, I took a breathe and continued forwards, down the 3 flights of stairs, I was a little unsure of myself as it was last May when I went out and had to negotiate stairs in heels, even small ones. I made it out onto the street without incident and started my walk.

I passed a man chatting to his friends as they stood smoking beside their taxis, I passed groups of people sitting and drinking at outside tables at bars, I had buses and cars stop so that I could use the crossings and no one stared, what laughter I heard was from people engaged in talking to each other and with each step further and further away from my lodgings I felt more and more at ease, after 10 minutes I was actually just enjoying myself, I did not have to think about my steps and my walking style and I was a perfect 10 or so paces behind two women walking in front of me, the click of my heels on the pavement did not make them turn around, because in a city other people is common.(where I am in my rural location at 9pm at night it would be a very noticeable sound)

At one point I crossed over as I had to skirt around a small park and there were a couple of guys sat on a bench watching the world go by, male me would have walked right past them, but I did not want to risk having to speak.

It took me just over half an hour but I made it to the cinema about an hour before my film was due to start, I waited until the group crowding the ticket machine seemed occupied before I went and stood beside them and ordered my ticket – only to discover someone had left their debit card in the machine, at that time of night the kiosk was not staffed, do I leave it and hope they come back?

I couldn’t, so I bought my ticket, went to the refreshment stand and waited my turn, then asked for a medium coke zero, this was the first time I have ever spoken to a stranger as DeeDee on my own, last year I had my sister and my niece to look after me and this felt like a big deal. The girl smiled and offered me the large for 50p extra which I accepted before giving her the card I had found in the machines. I paid for my ticket and then waited until 30 minutes before the film started before trying to go in – the person checking tickets said they weren’t open yet, obviously another country/city difference is how early they let you into films before the scheduled start, I wandered off and took a picture of my ticket and another subtle selfie, at 15 minutes to the start time I went back and he explained that they were still cleaning and so I stood around waiting, it was 5 minutes after the start time that he called me over and tore my ticket so that I could go in.

Only now I needed the loo because I had been holding onto and sipping from a cold cup of soft drink for like 40 minutes. I went into the ladies and took a stall a few away from the only other one occupied and someone came in and used the one right next to me, I waited until I heard the hand driers before leaving the cubicle and after checking my hair was still okay, I went and found my seat. I took of my handbag, my scarf and my jacket and folded them neatly onto the empty seat beside me and took a deep breathe.

I had done it!

The film was deserted, me, one person sat at the back and a young couple that came in after me that were laughing and chatting to each other. I have know idea if they had spotted me as trans or not as I do not sprawl, but my seat was right at the front so they had to walk right past me. The film itself was amazing, I love the character of Harley as she is so flawed and knows it, but this film just kept moving along, the fight scenes were totally amazing and actually realistically done for the gymnastics/brawler fighting style that Harley has (believable for an action film, there were no totally beyond belief wall runs or anything) the strong female leads were great and it did not feel like they were being over shadowed by Ewan Macgregor’s sufficiently creepy bad guy.

When the film finished I loosely put my jacket on and visited the little girls room before finding my way outside. After turning my phone back on I realised that it was now 00:30 – very late for a woman to be walking around on her own. I didn’t want to talk to anyone again, but reasoned that getting into a taxi would be a whole lot safer than having to walk back past the park and I could see a rank close by so I headed towards it…

As I took out the phone I use as DeeDee because I can take photos on it without it linking to any of my other accounts I realised that while I had taken a photo of the code instructions to get back in I had not actually taken a note of the address! What do I do? I tried googling but could not remember the name of the guesthouse, nor the long winded street name it was at. Without an address how could I take a taxi?

Cursing my own stupidity I set out on the way back. I quickly took to walking beside the kerb because the dark shadows beside the shops and houses were just too much for my overactive imagination. In my head I had visions of being grabbed and pulled into the darkness. Every time I passed a drunk guy I kept my head down and kept going, clack, clack, clack, clack… Each footfall felt like an announcement of where I was. I was so tense! Three times a group of four or more guys walked close enough to touch me and I tensed up every time determined to just keep moving – every horror story I have ever heard about women being attacked at night, and about transphobic attacks in the street kept rolling around in my thoughts, if I was hospitalised there would be no change of clothes – if someone wanted my purse they could have it!

I was so grateful for choosing something close to the city centre because at least I could count on light regular traffic, if I needed to scream someone would notice.

Twice I had empty taxis pull into the kerb just in front of me only to pull away again as I kept walking – I have to say my heart was thankful for those drivers who were silently offering their services to the lone woman in a bright red coat walking out at night.

I reached my lodgings without incident and almost ran back up the stairs and into my room. I have never been so happy to lock my door and sit on my bed. All the tension left as I removed my makeup and took my nail polish off. I feel vulnerable enough walking through late night streets dressed as a guy, but I have never experienced paranoia on that level before.

I had a rotten nights sleep, between the adrenaline in my system and the noises that carried through my room, but I have gone out by myself, I have spoken to people as myself and I even did a good deed, for when the owner of that debit card realises he has lost it I have no doubts the cinema will be his first port of call.

It is a lovely sunny morning and I am enjoying my morning coffee while I wait for my meeting to start.

I feel lighter than I have in weeks, it will take me a few days to process my thoughts but I am so glad I took my things and went out.

I have learnt that single women do not frequent the late showings at the cinemas, and if they do they take a note of their address so that they can catch taxis home safely.

I know nothing happened other than in my own over active imagination, but I am very grateful to be able to learn from my own experiences. That I plucked up the courage to open the door and that overall I had a fantastic evening 🙂

Late night cities are the domain of men, and I do not belong no matter how I am dressed!

Take care

xx

Am I martyring myself?

It has taken me until now to get enough peace to sit and type this up, I had to work on Monday and then had to go and collect my son from school as he was ill.  It does not seem to be too serious, but he has been around me all of the time! I will miss it when he is all independent, so I do not mind moving my own plans around to take care of him 🙂

I am still waiting to hear back about either of the two therapists I was told I would be put into contact with, but this week I have had a couple of really interesting discussions with my sisters that have made me take stock a bit.

Apparently they have been getting worried about me because I am so obviously downhearted, withdrawn and isolated. I replied that it is because I am stuck in limbo, I cannot move forwards until I have spoken to a therapist and exorcised the mental health demon – mine is obviously suffering, but I cannot stay where I am and transition, and I cannot move and then transition somewhere else.

Of course I chose to move to the place where I live and work at the moment, I knew it was physically a few hours away from the people I have always used as a support network, but it was the right thing to do at the time, it was the fact that it is a small, close knit community that was a major drawing point.

I also know that I could not stay here, present as myself and keep on working – the local populace are just not that caught up with the idea of equality and acceptance, they are pretty traditional in their views.

I mentioned that my mum (who has no idea) had offered to move in with me if it would help me work and parent, but if she moved in then it would stop me doing the one thing that makes me happy, which is of course dressing occasionally around the house.

For me that being my response was something I needed to consider, I think the pull to do something is starting to compete with my intention to relax and just go slowly.

When I was catching up with a different sister she asked where I was with it all and I had to say that I am frustrated, I am fed up, still torn, and annoyed at waiting (even though I know my waiting times are so much less than others).

My sister said that perhaps I need to speak to someone, not necessarily a professional, but either the local trans group down where she is or a colleague of mine who is an open LGBT ally. It is worth thinking about, if nothing else it would at least be doing something that is practical, perhaps by putting the effort in to meet other trans or questioning people it would help me move forwards, the issue is getting there for the midweek evening meetings, an issue for a single parent with a school aged child when they round trip would be over 5 hrs..

During the conversation I said that while I am still struggling, I know that if I could transition without fear of any backlash or negativity then I would.

After patiently listening to me moan for almost 45 minutes my sister said that it seems obvious, if I can’t move anywhere and become Dee then I just have to stay here and do it.

In a way she is right, and I know it, no matter what happens I am going to take sh*t from people who have previously been friendly to me, and I know this, I know that half of the people I work with will ostracise me, again, something I knew when I first started questioning. Yet not continuing does not seem like an option. I need to start where I am, wait until I know I want to continue, start to become more certain that I am who I think I am, stop getting so hung up on my old binary definitions, which I only ever seem to apply to myself! and start to love myself a bit more.

That way the therapists will hopefully keep me heading the right way, and because one of them is linked through my work I will be able to get some advice for when I  speak to my work and find out what the best way is to work with during and after transitioning. All before I get to the point of needing to move.

As a total aside I have been wearing black leather flat ankle boots to work and no one has looked at me funny, while they are ladies shoes and thinner than my old male boots they are just as comfy because they actually fit my feet and I have actually seen a man wearing a similar style.

I also bought some stick on toenails from Amazon – I am rubbish at painting my nails and I love the temporary nails because I can take them off in a hurry if I need to, but I had never tried them with my toes, they are cherry red with a slight glimmer and were super simple to just take out of the packet and stick on, to take them off I just need to soak them for 15-20 minutes in warm water to heat the glue. I would definitely buy them again, they were pretty cheap at just over £5 and the only annoying part was that my piggy that stays at home toe is in between sizes and I had to cut that nail to size – as it needed a wider nail with a shorter length.

Really they are obviously designed for wearing with open toed shoes when someone is going to actually see your feet, and not winter/spring but I don’t care.

I only see them once my son is in bed and I can walk around barefoot, but they are my own little secret and this week they have really cheered me up when I see them so for that I love them!

Good talk, take care

xx