A little late

I couldn’t write this Monday because I was having a surreal visit from my ex mother in law. The school’s had in service days and so she had brought my daughter up to visit for a couple of days and had literally just invited herself to stay.

I have said previously that I have always made a point of keeping things okay between my ex and I but having my ex in law over to stay felt quite odd. She and I have always got along and that hasn’t changed, I listened to her moaning about how my ex was messy and agreed because her expectation for me to do all the household chores was a bugbear of mine (I didn’t mind doing them, just the expectation that it was okay for her to mess up everything and not help)

The visit went smoothly, I got rid of half the boxes I have been storing in my garage that my ex left when she moved out, only a half dozen left belonging to the ex father in law that she has has promised to bring up and drop off to him.

The weirdness of the situation was worth it for the cuddles with my daughter, but it did mean no time for DeeDee.

Well, almost no time, I spent a couple of hrs trawling a few online shops and purchased some eye shadow, a dark wine coloured lipstick and some sales clothes. I was hoping they would have arrived by now, but it is so exciting I can’t wait!

It did make me wonder when I caught sight of myself in the mirror why I do not get excited about the thought of ordering mens clothes – I could look pretty dapper if I chose, but the whole prospect feels – meh.

I also sat and shaped my nails last night, they are at optimal length for me and would look really nice if I was brave enough to go and get them done, but if I don’t shape them then they will start to catch and break. This buys me a couple of weeks of not hating my hands when I see them and having that nice sensation of my nails making contact on the keyboard rather than just my finger pads.

I also sent off some hair samples to a lab to do an intolerance test for my son and I. Now the science behind them is sketchy at best from what internet research I have done, but I figured it couldn’t hurt – according to my results I need to cut out all grains as my body reacts to them, the same with cinnamon which is a favourite flavour, coconut and mustard (with a caveat to be careful of the broccoli and kale type plants)  Given that I have been switching back to a more Gluten Free and Dairy Free diet for my son whose behaviour does seem to be linked to the foods he consumes even if he has tasted negative for coeliacs, this is quite a limiting diet.

My veg and fruit intake has gone through the roof, but I am struggling to give up bread, it has always been a mainstay and and even GF bread is better than no bread (only the artisan loafs are even close in taste and texture, yet the price is doubled for a worse experience) – though the sweet potato wraps are too strong in taste to be nice with a salad inside them.

As far as I know the intolerance lab could literally just be cutting and pasting common things that people react to and sending it to me in an email why they throw my hair sample in the bin – but if it mentally helps me to switch to a healthier way of eating then the money was still worth it. Adding more veg to my plate is easy, removing the pasta/pies/bread/rice from it is really difficult.

I feel like I am rambling so will cut myself off now, but take care

xx

 

Who would you choose?

Today has been my day off and although I have not been as battered as most parts of the UK by the winter storm, it has been a mix of sleet and showers and strong winds.

I did go out and do a 5km run this morning during a brief sunny interval; but have spent the rest of the day snuggled under a blanket binge watching the Hunger Games films.

In the first and second films I love the outfits that Cinna prepares for Katniss, they are elegant, the makeup is incredible and they make such powerful statements that I thought they would be wonderful to cosplay.

As the films wore on though I start to empathise less and less with Katniss, I dislike the way she manipulates the men in in her life as portrayed in the films, and she comes across as frustratingly shallow, selfish and callous. The only other time I like her outfit is very near the end where she is watching the rain out the door with Peeta, and that is because I love the giant baggy jumper.

As the mockingjay I do not connect with her character enough to want to be her. Which in cosplay is kind of the point, the character portrayal is a homage and the time and effort put into creating them are always labours of love. Do a quick search and you will see what I mean.

Interestingly I then started wondering about Effie Trinket, she is the OTT costume wearing announcer/escort for District 12 and over the course of the films she goes through a total transformation.

She starts out totally clueless, a symbol for oppression and someone whose identity changes as often as the fashions do in the Capitol. She is an unwitting accomplice to the oppression that is all around her, and even when she sees the punishments being doled out to those making the mockingjay symbol in the 2nd film she argues it all away as being normal because it is just so far out of her perception of reality.

During part 1 of the 3rd film she is stripped away of all her masks and costumes and must face up to the world in nothing but a boilersuit and a head scarf. She has to ask herself who she is and what is important to her. She has a massive arc of personal growth, and by the end of the films she has become firm friends to those she was going to send to their deaths, connected with Haymitch who would previously have been considered beneath her, and while she still enjoys the finery, it no longer defines her. Effie is someone I can identify with. Perhaps one day I would consider trying to create a cosplay outfit for her.

At no point in the whole thing did I consider what it would be like to play Peeta or Gale, (I still wish the casting had made it a bit fairer on Peeta) or Haymitch, or Snow, or any of the other male cast, although as I think about it now, the only fun one would be the TV presenter Caesar, but that would rather unironically require me to be loud and brash and and just a puppet churning out the script until the cameras turn off.

I don’t know, perhaps I just do not see myself as the main protagonist, or perhaps I have made too many judgement calls but it has been a fun day.

If you have read the books, or watched the films, then I ask you this. If you were going to cosplay any of the characters from the Hunger Games, or in fact any character at all who would you choose?

xx

Heart to heart

I finally had a chance to sit down with one of my sisters and update her on my appointment, between my ex being around when I arrived home and then my son pottering about we just haven’t had a chance to talk properly.

I re-capped all of the things I was asked and said, and mentioned the fact that I am annoyed with myself for not pushing for voice coaching or going to see someone about wigs.

Her response was that I just did not want to start any of these things before I know if I am going to transition. It seems obvious to her but was not first and foremost on my mind.

So how do I reach that mental tipping point? how do I stop myself yoyo-ing back and forth in uncertainty?

I realise I am looking for someone to tell me with certainty that I am not using Dee to escape the pain in my life, that Dee has actually always been who I am and that my struggle now is like a kid trying to open an overly taped present at Christmas, it might be difficult but I will get there. With the amount of emotional trauma I have had with a mum who has told her children repeatedly that she loves them but has also tried to kill herself over and over and over and over (and who has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder but refuses to accept it, but is very manipulative – for instance a few years ago she told us she has a blood clot in her brain and we still do not know if that was genuine or not) with an ex wife who still does not seem to realise how much she controlled and shaped our relationship – always expecting sacrifice from me, but calling me selfish when I asked for anything from her and effectively gas lighting me to the point that if it weren’t for the support of friends I do not know how I would have coped, with a vocation that is emotionally demanding all of the time and trying to be the best parent I can to my children, how – in the midst of all that am I supposed to untangle what is real, what is imagined and what is me projecting or protecting myself?

I know simply dressing up in womens clothes or wearing nail polish is not enough for me – it is not simply a form of self expression. I know that if it was not such a big deal and would not impact my life that I would embrace transitioning in a heartbeat now.

If my life did not change I could still be happy living it as Dee, but I know that where I am is not trans friendly, and that many of my work colleagues are even less aware of what being transgender is than I was, they certainly care less.

I know that a huge part of me wants to just jump in with two feet and embrace who I am, but until I can quiet the voice in my own head that is screaming mental illness at me how can I refute those who will say it to my face?

I talked about how upsetting it is sometimes to me that my sisters are still using male terms when they think and talk about me – even though I know that with all of the people who do not know about me it is really an impossible task, she explained that she spent nearly 3 months plucking up the courage to buy me my scarf at Christmas, that she does not have the courage to buy me clothes any more than she would have the courage to buy the others clothes. For her she does not want to buy me something that I do not want, or embrace me being DeeDee before I have done it – how would I feel if I changed my mind and then received this really feminine present?

The way that she talks though is all “when” you do decide… “once” you have that awareness of who you are..

Before she left she gave me a hug and said I don’t care if you want to be my brother or my sister, just know that I love you and support you.

Those hugs are worth their weight in gold. This afternoon I feel more grounded, more like DeeDee again. Yet I know it won’t last forever and soon enough something will  happen to make me doubt myself.

I find myself more and more wanting to tell my friends that I am transgender, I find myself thinking about how to break the news to my mum and also how I will tell my children and my ex wife – because once one knows the other will have to too. If I am not trans would I really be going out of my way to risk such self sabotage? Am I just doing what my mum does?

Why is life so irritatingly complicated?

 

Take care

xx

GIC Appointment 2

I am feeling upset with myself today, my appointment was pretty short – in and out in under 45 minutes and I came away feeling annoyed.

I do not know why I am annoyed with myself, because the outcome is a positive one, I am going to see a psychotherapist who has a special interest in gender identity. This is because I still regularly flip flop between the male me I have always known and then DeeDee who I have been starting to get to know over this last year. There is, of course, a few months waiting but as I said in my appointment I am not in a rush. I am still on the waiting list for Sandyford and that will still progress, but I need to get a clearer idea of who I am.

I go back in April, but I am realising that while she asks questions, the place I go is effectively for signposting – she will make sure that I know what I want and then do her best to link me in with the right people, I warned her that electrolysis is still high on my list, but I am not sure why I did not feel right mentioning seeing someone about wigs or voice coaching.

I think it is tied in to my hesitance, if I embrace being DeeDee I will do so wholeheartedly, this is me playing chess with myself to see who wins.

I was asked who I see when I look in the mirror, and I had to say it changes, the Days I see Dee staring back I am happy and relaxed, when I dress that feeling increases, yet when I have to go back to my parent role it is like the air going out of a balloon.

I was asked about how I have been feeling and I talked about the awkwardness now when I have to introduce myself as my male name, but also the silent questions about what would happen if I didn’t; but I was also jealous that everyone else in that room knew exactly who they are.

Also i mentioned the fact that I struggle to call myself a woman out loud, it is a lot simpler on the internet but out loud my voice and my physical appearance do not match how I feel.

There was, as with all my most embarrassing meetings a student sat in on the session, so naturally I was asked what I think about my penis.

Completely nonplussed was about as descriptive as I could get, I always struggled when being intimate unless there was a deeper connection, and my marriage was sexless for most of the 14 years we were together, so I just don’t think about it much, I don’t hate seeing it because it’s always been there.

I also asked if I was attracted to women or men, and again my answer was women almost exclusively, apart from the odd fantasy when I was the woman in the scenario, however apart from a teenage fondle I had never been with a man and assumed I was a straight male.

Another question was whether or not I was a drinker/smoker/or on any medication. No to all of them apart from the occasional social drink.

Finally I was asked if I had ever been diagnosed with any mental health issues or depression. I said no – I have gone through slumps but have never been diagnosed as depressed.

I have had counselling in the past, but my gender was not the issue, dealing with my last marriage separation and the death of my young nephew were seen as the causes.

I again had that awkward moment when I went to leave where I really wanted to hug her for listening, but didn’t because as a man that is all sorts of inappropriate – I may just ask next time!

An odd positive to come out of my work conference is that a colleague pointed out that I was unlike the men she knew when I went to clear the lunch dishes, after a small pause I just told her that it is because I do not fit most male stereotypes and kept going.

I have also asked my work for some emotional support, citing my divorce this last year and the fact that I have been carrying on but struggling with my core identity. So I will  be going from talking to myself, to talking to two therapists, though depending on how it goes it opens up the chance to ask for help and advice for transitioning in my workplace – though I already know I would be a very visible guinea pig for that.

The question I need to answer before I can progress is who am I? Am I a man using DeeDee to escape to a place that feels safe for me, or am I DeeDee and just too scared to give up the security blanket of the man I have been pretending to be for the last 40 odd years?

Answers on a postcard…

xx

Away from home

My trips away are few and far between, almost always work related and always in small budget, share accommodation. I do however usually get a private room so I can wear my Dee pj’s to bed knowing that if a fire alarm goes off I will need to do a speedy dress before opening my door.

Roughly this time last year I was thinking how many people in the room would still talk to me if they realised that I am not the person they think I am – how would I handle the introductions and getting to know you bit at the beginning? How would folks react to hearing me use my referred name? (lately I have been leaning back towards DeeDee again)

This evening I ignored the guys drinking whisky and had a glass of wine while chatting to the girls, I was wearing one of my favourite male tees which is from the show Critical Role and features d20 dice with many of the LGBTQIA+ flag colours and the words, “Don’t forget to love one another” written on it. From my perspective the trans die is top right and I love knowing it is there.

I will be leaving this work conference early for my 2nd GIC appointment so if I am able there will be a midweek update on my thoughts from that, this has seemed like a really long 2 months!

I had an epiphany/panic attack that because I was driving up and down alone I could actually dress for my appointment as DeeDee if I chose to. Part of me was super excited at the prospect of showing myself to the therapist who has already said it is no skin off her nose how I present to appointments, but then the worry about where to change safely when my options are basically toilets in supermarkets or shopping centres; and whether or not to risk makeup knowing that I would have to remove it all in a public loo in dodgy lighting after nightfall before my son would see it. So much pressure and all just me putting it on myself because I shouldn’t squander this rare opportunity.

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After telling myself I wasn’t going to I packed a spare case for DeeDee – it contains a smart but casual outfit, boots, dark blue jeans, plain black hooded top, winter coat and new Christmas scarf, and now my “spare” bag is currently sitting in the boot of my car, and in my mind it is staring at me accusingly whenever I look at it because I left it outside in the cold.

If that is not a metaphor for my journey so far I do not know what is!

Tomorrow we shall see where the day goes, but Wednesday will be for DeeDee whether I am dressed properly or not – I am starting to understand why people use the term “drab” when talking about going out in their male clothes – when wearing them it is almost the difference between colour and black and white  emotionally.

Take care

xx

Mental milestone

Yesterday I ran my first ever official running race – I completed a 10km “epic” hill run. My aim was just to get across the finish line because it is the furthest I have ever tried to run, but I placed myself a target of completing it in under 1 hr 45 mins. The timing is done by electronic chips on the numbers so my official time ended up being 1 hr 19 minutes and I was absolutely delighted. I was so happy to have completed it that I was openly tearing up in front of my sister.

As these races require medical contacts I had to list my gender as male which made me a bit sad, but I now wear running tights which are basically leggings anyway so it is not any different to what I would wear if I could go as Dee.

Unfortunately halfway around the course I tripped over an old chain link fence buried under the long grass we were running over and did a full on superman dive into the muddy trail. A lovely woman made sure I was okay when I stood up before we all carried on, but by the time I had finished the race, and driven home I could barely walk and I could not put much weight on it at all – one sleepless night was enough to convince me to call my doctors and so they sent me for an X-ray to check and see if there was a fracture – it is only a sprain but it does mean that I have to try and rest up, this impacts my aim to exercise every day of January to improve my mental health, and it definitely stops me trying to get more comfortable at running longer distances. Thankfully though because of the NHS it was all free and I was back home inside of two hours with an ankle support I bought at the shop..

This time last year I was still emotionally a big gooey mess, not much has really changed, but I am not so terrified of admitting that I am Dee as I used to be – the fears are all around whether I should transition, not so much for the impact on me as I am starting to come to terms with myself, but for the potential impact on my children.

My emotional eating was out of control and then when I did not want to eat I was using meal replacement shakes to try and rapidly drop my weight, of course things went well for a little while but it was in May that my sister encouraged me to start going to Parkruns, I literally could not run 1km – after nearly killing myself that first time getting numb in my hips and wanting to actually throw up.  I was the second to last person for the next 3 weeks, just in front of the tail walker who volunteers so that no one has to be last. I started going out during the week too and usined a couch to 5k app to encourage me along. In October I completed my first Parkrun without stopping to walk, and now I have just competed a 10km run.  I walked up most of the hills, but where it was flat and where it was downhill I was jogging, I could, in theory call myself a runner even though I still do not see myself as one.

What’s crazy is that I am back to 16 stone (101 kg) so I am running with just as much weight as this time last year, only now I can run. Even with all that extra weight – it is just that I am carrying 3 stone of weight that I do not want.

My sprained foot would normally have me reaching for the chocolate to console myself, proof that I am a loser and cannot do it – but instead I am trying to work out what exercise I can still do so that I do not lose my aerobic fitness while I heal. I have other races I want to do this year.

I still have to sort out my eating patterns and habits, but I will get there. I think a part of me wants to lose weight so that if/when I decide to start hrt then I stand the best chance of being happy with my body, after all I am not in this for the boobs but for the peace of mind that I hope will come.

I am trying to acknowledge to myself that I have actually achieved something over this last year, because physical well being definitely contributes to mental well being.

I also decided not to reschedule my hospital appointment again, instead I will just leave my work conference early and catch a train to get there on time, for me it is the right choice to make at this moment in time.

Take care

xx

Just a quick thought

It has been a busy but quiet week, my son was ill and so I was being a mean parent not letting him play online with his friends and insisting that he actually spend some of the time in his room.

I have done at least 15 minutes activity every day of January, it is for a mental health awareness charity and is called Red January; the premise being that intentional activity is good for you, especially at this time of year, it has been cold and icy and windy but I have felt good going out, even on the really short walks – due to the increased exercise I have already done 45km of walking/jogging this year, which when I look at it that way seems like a lot!

Today has also been wonderful, I was dressed as Dee around one of my sisters for the first time, all we did was share lunch together but it was nice and relaxed, I was just in jeans and a top, but she is visiting with me for a while and I was explaining that I liked Mondays because I get to be me for a little while, I then realised that having her around does not mean I have to stop that anymore and so I went and got changed and it took my sister a while to recognise the clothes as Dee’s.

I have since had to change because the school day will be ending very shortly, but it was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon.

Unfortunately I have also already had to book out all of my holidays for this coming year and so I know that I may not get to any/many of the Pride days, which makes me sad as I was hoping to increase my time out and not decrease it.

It seems odd having a week with so little to moan about or digest!

Take care

xx