This time it’s for science!

Over the next few weeks it is my turn to have the kids, I have a course to attend for work and then I am taking the children camping, for obvious reasons it means expressing myself as a woman is not an option.

 

I have decided that this is a good time to stop doing any outward presenting as Dee at all. A test of who I am and where I have come to – I have stopped shaving my body hair, I will not wear any of my clothes or even under-dress and I will even start using male body wash and deodorant.

I am looking forward to the time with my children but I am very apprehensive about locking Dee away again. I have spent 10 months allowing myself to let her out more and now I will be cutting her off cold turkey. Going back to pretty much how things were before last October, but with the knowledge that Dee genuinely enjoys being perceived as a woman.

The outcome should be obvious – either I will be desperate to get back to expressing myself, or I will not miss her – but it is a good experiment to try before my initial appointment at the gender clinic in October.

This is an experiment someone suggested I try a while back, but I was not ready, now that I am more certain that Dee is a huge part of me emotionally and intellectually it will be a fairer experiment rather than a burying of my head in the sand to hope it all goes away.

Interestingly even though I could not dress these last few days due to visitors I have spent time playing games and inventing crafts to do at a local kids club and then in the evening talking about hearing every mumble, groan and movement your children make in the night while your partner lies unconscious. I have talked about the fear of losing your child when you turn around for 2 seconds because your attention is on something else and they just somehow drift off and the panic, joy and shame that follows even though you find them unscathed and unaware of what they put you through. The triumphs and agony of being a parent and trying to avoid your child having to go through the bullying or teasing that you endured; and of course the fact that it can be great to share those good moments – the little triumphs and wins as they do something they haven’t ever done before; and the frustrating, buttons pushed, hanging on by your last nerve moments too with women who understand the feelings.

While the messages to my male friends are mostly infrequent moments consisting of ‘sup? not much – you?  not much, S.S.D.D, and then being told yeah – that’s because they’re men (by someone who is oblivious to what I have been questioning this last 10 months)

Should be an interesting and most likely very frustrating few weeks, but the time with my children is going to be wonderful and I am really looking forward to it.

 

Take care

xx

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Not the foggiest

I very nearly did not post today, the things I have been thinking about just seem like daft little things to me but I decided that they were still important for me to record so, like my thoughts it is a bit disjointed and all over the place.

I spent a small amount of time wondering about the change going from being little brother big bro’, and uncle to big sister, little sis and aunty. I do not feel any sense of loss with the idea even though being “the only boy”, has been a core part of my male family identity. Of course I have no idea if anyone would ever use those terms and certainly not while I am still out and about as a male but it is the confusion and sadness over losing the title of being “Dad” that I find hard – my children already have a mum, and will likely have a new stepdad some time in the next year but I do not know what I will become if I am able to maintain my relationship with my children. I hope to continue raising my children and being in their lives but my daughter wanted to move and stay full time with her mum and my son with me – but this will not be a boys only house like my son likes to claim at the moment.

I have enjoyed having the freedom to wear my Dee pj’s around the house but am preparing to put all my clothes away for a few weeks as there will be someone staying with us almost constantly from the end of this week until the end of the school summer holidays, Dee will have to hide away for a while, not even deodorant or under dressing allowed, I am starting to accept her more and more, and I know that I am starting to research what it is that happens so I can answer the question of what I want initially from the gender identity clinic and possibly start to look for places that may be more accepting to work in. Really being told I am not seriously mentally ill would take some worry off – bizarre that I find it easier to accept the diagnosis that I think I am a woman in a mans body then I do the diagnosis that I have one or more of the same mental health conditions as my mother, and she thinks we never think about her!

I did a trial run for being Dee in my work by taking a day where I was the only person in the building and locking all the doors before doing my wig and makeup and discovered that quell surprise – it felt just like being at work except that someone might see me through the window. I have completely normalised wearing ladies clothing – underwear and day to day clothes have lost that spice appeal that they used to have, I had been looking for ideas for costumes for a club and after looking through the adult mens section I looked at the adult ladies – there was a time when my testosterone addled brain would have ooh and aahed – yet I basically saw the same short skirt and tight top combo in different colours with very little originality, wearing them seems more like a badge to be able to say you are skinny enough to fit in them than because they are good costumes. I have always made my own fancy dress costumes instead of buying but I may need to up my game, with a bit of weight loss and some effort I think I could put together an awesome Nebula outfit. Now that would be something I would be proud to wear out.

I also popped in to a friends BBQ the other day and it was the first time in ages that I have been comfortable as man me, sitting in a circle catching up with good friends while they enjoyed some liquid refreshments (I was driving). It was like when I was younger and more comfortable with being my male self. I could hug everyone because that is how I greet both male and female friends, and the conversation just drifts without being particularly gendered either way unless you count parenting – because most of us have kids now and even though mine weren’t there it is still a huge topic of conversation as a a parent.

I spent the whole time looking surreptitiously at what the women were wearing, shoes, trainers, sandals, trousers, jeans, skirts, kilts and the same with tops – a whole array, some of my friends were dressed up because it was an excuse to be out as a couple, others were dress down because it was in a garden and a few stood out because they are musicians and had been playing at a function – if anyone ever wonders if live music including pipes and traditional instruments are ever played outside of concerts and formal ceilidhs – at the kind of parties I go to, they were for a while and it was great!

Interestingly I could easily imagine myself sitting there as Dee, none of the conversations would have changed, other than if I had turned up as Dee I would have monopolised the conversation for a while as folks cracked a few good natured jokes about me just wanting my own boobs or hair and tried to work out if I was being serious or not. Ultimately I do not worry overly about how most of my friends will accept me but I do worry about how to tell them, and of course how their children will react – or how they would react in front of their children and I wouldn’t turn up announced like that and put everyone on the spot, it would be unfair. I would want to make a good impression and not come across as a joke or take over someone else’s event, as someone who has spent a lifetime blending in and who hates being in the limelight the appeal to get it over and done with is strong, but the appeal to just do it in small groups or a few folk at a time is strong too. Nothing would happen until I am ready to be seen full time either, it would be too awkward afterwards otherwise.

When it comes to making decisions I am like a steamed up mirror – all blurry and vague and not the foggiest what I am seeing!

Take care xx

Magic mirror on the wall…

I spent almost this entire weekend as Dee. I cannot afford the petrol to go away outside somewhere or I would have gone for a drive somewhere to go out and about, but it is effectively a day trip. Even now I am sat in my pink & lace boyshort pjs with my legs tucked under me hiding the deep red nail polish on my toes.

It is amazing how much of a difference to my mental state this has made. For me, this weekend I needed to distract myself, as my previous few posts have indicated my family life dynamic is changing and I have been finding it pressing down on me more and more, because I know I am stuck where I am for the moment.

I am two and a half months from my initial appointment at a GIC. If I move now I lose that place and have to go right back to the bottom of the waiting list. Something I am not willing to do.

Anyway, I was definitely down in the dumps and feeling like sad sack from the raggy dolls cartoon (search Youtube if you don’t get the reference, it was an amazing cartoon!).

I spent a lot of time pampering myself in the morning and removing all of my obvious body hair, as soon as I came out of the shower I made a point of putting my wig on and it honestly changed the way I see myself in he mirror. Instead of looking at the him that I always do I could see the her that I want to see.

A little while later I was appropriately dressed in hosiery and a summer dress with only eyes and lips made up – which seems to be something I like to do. (I wish I could have gone for a drive and a picnic but maybe next time)

A while ago people were throwing around the snapchat gender filters – I thought it could be dangerous because it offers a false version of you, the app changes your face shape to fit, which coupled with some soft focus and makeup can make you think you look like someone you don’t.

While I do not have anyone to snap or chat at, I do have it on Dees phone and decided I would have a look at it. I spent almost an hour going through every single filter and pulling faces and genuinely just having a giggle. I saved half a dozen to my phone and though I am saying it myself I think I could pass as a cis woman if I used those photos online.

The one I found most intriguing was the male filter – I fully expected to just see myself with stubble, but it turns out my face shape is genuinely far closer to a woman’s than a man’s because I did not recognise the person it showed back, the square jaw coupled with head hair just changed me too much, in all the other photos I could see me underneath, but not him.

Image-1 (1)

When I talk about seeing my female self in the mirror this is what I mean, I can see a woman who is just going about her everyday life. Still reading, still playing video games, still raising her child, still working, still spending time with her family and friends.

Snapchat cheered me up because it allowed me to briefly glimpse her again, and then for the rest of the day I was her. My favourite two pictures were not overly different to my actual look, it gave me a nose ring, dark lipstick and pink hair, but it actually is a look I could do now if I went out and bought plum lipstick.

When I was chatting to one of my friends and we were talking about my journey he has offered to call me Dee and use her/she pronouns when we speak. The difficulty with that is that I am not out to many people so it will require switching back and forth depending on the company, plus it requires changing 20 ish years of habit. I have not asked anyone to do so until now, but because he has offered I accepted. It will be an interesting experiment, I wonder how it will feel. I already use female avatars exclusively now rather than switching back and forth between public and private versions.

I am starting to feel like I am being split into two people. I do not know if this is good or not, but there are days when I would become Dee full time in a heartbeat, and others when I think life would be a lot less complicated if I just accepted that Dee is just a facet of my male personality and then went back to living exclusively male.

I cannot deny that as Dee my mood shifted, I was deliberately distracting myself and making time for some self care but was the shift because I was totally relaxed and free? or was it because I am used to using Dee as a distraction and she is simply an overly complicated avoidance technique for my personal issues?

I was watching a few de-transition videos this week of older trans people – I think it is good to be aware that it happens – and a trans man that de-transitioned after 16 years decided that it was just her way of escaping from her trauma and she was no happier male than female. It made me ask the question do we become trans due to trauma we receive or do we receive trauma due to the underlying vulnerability of being trans?

Everyone experiences trauma in their lives whether physical or emotional regardless of their gender so as a question it is somewhat invalid, but in my case it was my marriage ending coinciding with an opportunity to openly present female for a night that opened this can of worms so for me the two are intrinsically linked.

 

Move along, nothing to see here..

For the last 4 days I have been sat in my empty house, “enjoying the peace”. I love the peace and quiet and I love being left alone. Between Amazon, Netflix and Youtube I have plenty to distract me, if that doesn’t work I can play my playstation and if that doesnt work I can re-read one of my books.

I am definitely in a slump, I should be excited, we have sun! but I do not want to go out in it. I could go for a walk, but that would involve moving.

I am exhausted, I have been trying to mow my rather large garden which had grass up to about a metre high (rough guess, but it is the same height as the fence) with a lawn mower designed for gardens that are only a few metres square. I am almost 2/3 of the way there after 5 hours of mowing, 4 yesterday and 1 today, three sides of the house are done and I look over and covet my neighbour trundling around in her ride on mower.

I also had another man-fail as I attempted to get an old petrol mower in the garage started to make my job easier, but I am just not mechanically minded.

I should be happy, I have booked pitches to go away camping with my kids next month, I beat my local park run 5km pb – I am slow but definitely getting a little faster and jogging a little further before walking. I have started on a complete meal replacement diet to lose my excess weight and it is not too bad though I do not have the energy levels I should. (Of course I am craving a spicy pizza today but that is probably a combination of tiredness and comfort stodge)

I keep flip flopping in my mind as to whether or not I want to keep exploring being trans, there is a part of me that wants to tell more of my friends when we meet up next month and get it out in the open, but there is a part of me that just wants to forget it all and just go back to the way things were before I started all this. Without the stress that all this is adding into what is already (for me) a complicated place in my life.

I can barely be bothered talking to anyone online at the moment, I love interacting with them, but just the thought of talking to people makes me deep sigh.

In real life I am about as isolated from my friends as I can be, I live hours away from them and rarely talk to anyone. I see my family more but that is because I can tie it in to my laser and electrolysis appointments. I feel very physically distant. I have no friends where I am, just people that I know or work with.

Everything is effort at the moment… I de-fuzzed my arms and chest for the first time in 3 weeks and it made me feel a little better but not by much. I wore some nail polish yesterday and my female pj’s last night and other than signing for a parcel today (oops) there was no euphoria from them.

I do not know if this means anything to any body, but it certainly means very little to me at the moment.

(I am sure normal service will resume shortly but for now… meh)

Finding balance

I spent today helping my ex move some of the last of the large pieces of furniture out of my house, the items too big to transport without being dismantled she had bequeathed to me, the paperwork and random models of her dads are still here too, but the warning was there that I do not want to have to keep them in my house when she moves. After we had moved things she treated me to lunch to say thanks.

She only moved out 10 months ago, why is it that the only time anything of hers leaves the house is when I physically shift it myself?

Realistically and practically I have more space, it is easier for me to keep things until she has a chance to come and collect them but she never does, apparently there was a snafu with the paperwork and so our divorce is still not through.

We are friends – she talks to me more now we have separated than she ever did while we were married, yet she is completely re-writing the way we separated – that we both knew the marriage was a sham and not working, and while deep down some of that may be true I was doing my utmost to make it work (and was ignorantly thinking we were succeeding and finding a level playing field) until she sat me down and told me she wanted to leave. We are friends because we have two gorgeous children and the thought of dragging either of them through a custody battle makes me physically sick. We are friends because I refuse to badmouth my ex or her new man and can choke down my own feelings to make sure that there is no awkwardness around them for the kids to pick up on. The fact that they were openly seeing each other immediately after our separation, and engaged within 6 months and had previous history does not get a mention. We are friends. Even if most of what used to be our friends are no longer her friends and she feels that they just do not understand how amicable we both are.

As you may be able to tell a lot of the relationship is me just sitting quietly while my ex talks – in a way not much different to most our marital conversations, as long as I make the right noises if she stops for breath we know that whatever she is thinking is right.

She talks about her new man becoming the children’s step dad and how they are both uncomfortable with that phrasing. (both kids are diagnosed ASD, but process and present very differently)

She talks about how she tells them that I will always be their dad – and inside I feel like crap because if only they knew that most of the time I feel more like a mum.

She talks about me finding someone new and settling down and how the kids would have to respect my new partner and inside I scoff because I do not know who I am, while I desperately want someone to hold and feel physical intimacy with I have not known what it feels like to be cherished in a very long time and fully expect to grow old single and alone – something made even more likely if I transition. Bald women who used to be men and have kids are a very niche market to appeal to.

It may not sound like it but honestly I do not bear any ill will to my ex – I am emotional at the moment because her moving away means my daughter is choosing to move with her and I will no longer get to see her all the time like I do now.

I will become one of those occasional weekend and holiday parents.

It is eating away at what little calmness and serenity I had and I am finding myself snippy and quick to growl at my son and anything else I would normally take with stoic silence and process later.

I genuinely do not believe she understands the pressure that remaining friends puts on my emotions as the “scorned/betrayed/used/dumped” person in the relationship. I try and help her with things that I would say yes to any of my friends doing, (which is basically anything I can any time I can) but when I try and describe it to others it makes me sound like a doormat.

I am really looking forward to that divorce being finalised, it seems to be taking forever to come through, I am looking forward to my ex moving away because it will put less strain on me helping her out.

Yet I am losing my daughter – she knows I love her and she can visit any time she wants, my son will miss his sister but wants to stay here with me. (both children have been repeatedly told they can stay with whichever parent they choose to). We will work out a system for seeing the kids, at the moment her whole family is still talking to me, but who knows how long that will continue for.

She is also moving to the one place I have gone out as Dee, the one place that I thought was safe to explore and build confidence and go out to experience life with my friends. I have now got to be very careful with my timings and outings, or risk bumping into my ex and kids in the street as Dee before I have decided that Dee is my future. Or go out somewhere new where I will not have the same support available.

At the moment I am tired all day and then struggling to sleep at night, myself and my ex have self diagnosed this over lunch as being a sign of stress. Aren’t we clever?

Divorces are tricky things to balance and remain amicable over, adding a gender crisis into the mix just makes that fine line I am balancing on slick with grease.

xx

Dream Weaving

This is the second week I have sat down with my coffee and literally started to write without any clue about what will come out.

I have had both children staying with me and we took the opportunity of some warm weather to go swimming. I had to laugh at myself because my children wear wetsuits when they go in the water and I never do – after that initial dunk my body gets used to the cold shock and I can swim about for anything from 5-15 minutes without getting fatigued. That was not why I laughed though, as they were getting changed I found myself putting on swim shorts and wondering if I could wear a swimsuit under my shorts and tee. I didn’t – the risk of it being spotted was too high but for a few seconds I seriously considered it.

I loved having my daughter around the house even if the stress levels in the morning were through the roof, as she gets older I see more and more of myself in her and how she interacts with the people around her.

I have reached a point I think where I am okay with the idea that Dee is a big part of me – with that point reached the urge to dress and “look right” has not been so strong – don’t get me wrong, when I am wearing my male clothes I would rather be dressed as Dee even of the clothes are a tighter fit and the pockets if there are any are tiny, but I am not in the mindset of “I have 6 hrs to myself quick, lock the door and get the makeup on”, I am sat in my comfy chair with my legs crossed and stretched out (and desperately needing shaved) while I type and I feel every bit as much Dee. Internally I am reaching an equilibrium, there will be lots more for me to think about but overall at the moment I am okay where I am.

I am waiting on my divorce to come through, my ex will always be a part of my life as long as the kids are either with me or visiting me, but I no longer take on her stress as my stress and while in her mind the split was amicable and we are great friends and can all get along with her new man I remind myself every so often that she said she found me physically repulsive and that even the thought of me going to hug her made her shiver in disgust and then my resolve is strengthened.

I do not know where I am on my gender journey and I do not know where I am going. I watched an 11 year old trans kids on a Youtube short documentary say, “I know who I am and if you don’t like me just go away”.

I don’t know who I am yet – there are major aspects of my personality that are genuine and that I would not change for the world, but there is a lot about me that I do not know yet – how much is smoke and mirrors? how much is wishful thinking? how much is necessary to be happy?

I realised not long ago that if I could become a woman overnight without anyone knowing or caring I would do.

I had been binge watching Stranger things and had watched the remake of Footloose before going to sleep.

I dreamt that I was out as Dee and was being called it – it must have been a fairly formal whatever because I was in a dark blue 20’s flapper inspired dress, but I had popped to the loo and another woman who must have known me as she called me Dee wanted to come in and wait because she was desperate, there were no stalls it was just a fancy but typical toilet and sink with mirror style room.

I did not want her to but she came in anyway and saw that I was sat on the loo upset.

After a bit more prompting I started crying and told her that I had a penis and not a vagina, and right at that moment my body’s self preservation panic mode kicked in and I woke up instantly in case I did actually need the toilet, which I did (TMI? – Sorry).

The dream has stuck with me – partly because that is only the second dream I have remembered in the last 9 months where I have seen myself physically as Dee and partly because I am trying to decide if there was a deeper meaning to the dream or if I just woke up at the wrong time. This is my brain without drugs and alcohol!

My self analysis is that I am accepting that Dee is a big part of me and how I see the world, I am accepting that emotionally and intelligently I accept her, but I am scared about taking those steps into the unknown and being Dee socially and physically – especially for the “real life test period”.  Of course it is also highly likely that should not have eaten that cheese sandwich earlier on and that I just needed the loo.

Take care

xx

Dithering

Well Fathers day was unnecessarily weird. I dislike Mothers and Fathers day anyway because I know too many single parents that are both mum and dad so for me it should be one single Parents Day if there is any need for “a day” at all… which there isn’t.

Also I have to admit that pretty much since I became a dad the unbalance in the relationship has always meant that mothers day was more prepared and thought about than fathers day ever was. I got the full weekend with my children, we ate together around the kitchen table and played together all day and both kids had made me cards which were super sweet. We even had one of those most rare of days – a day without arguing!

But for a few days leading up to it I was feeling like a fraud – when people commented on my feeds on the day itself while I know that the motivation was to help someone they knew was single to feel good, I just felt like I was stringing them along.

When did I disassociate from words like dad and father?

I am not dressing as much as I used to – normally today I would be taking the opportunity of a few hours of peace to be wearing the clothes I would actually choose to wear if I did not have to go out later, but I can’t be bothered.

At the moment I am in a bizarre place where my brain refuses to accept that it is male any more. I am almost but not quite thinking of myself as female, I say not quite because while I can look down and see an instant reminder of everything society deems male and masculine – physically I tick the box- but it does not feel right any more.

When I was younger I never questioned being male, transgender wasn’t a term I knew. In my 20’s I probably spent almost as much time out drunk as I did working or being sober, but as I had a decent group of friends I was the most comfortable that I had ever been. For the first time in my life I did not feel like an outsider.

I worked out when I was 16 that my parents had moved on average at least once every 3 years, so I was used to being an outsider, I always seemed to make a few friends, but I always seemed to make enemies too – this post is not about bullying, but a lot of that never really leaves you.

I became aware of LGB as a term and it was always to do with sexual orientation or preference as it was known back then – I didn’t really get it.  Then it became LGBT (GBLT in my brain was easier to remember and possibly my way of playing it down) but I still didn’t get it. I met my first few openly gay, bi or lesbian friends and co-workers and developed more of an understanding that people are just people and all of the boogieman type stories were out of ignorance and fear and that strangely enough being gay did not make one a nymphomaniac or a sexual predator, but I still didn’t really get it because I would never ask a personal question.

The “T” in my brain stood for transvestite which in my ignorance was synonymous with transsexual and I never knew or saw anyone that openly matched to that letter other than the odd one or two people that seemed to be universally picked on by ignorant teen lads. From a distance I felt sorry that they were not left in peace, but not brave enough to say anything out loud and risk having that spotlight turned on me.

A couple of years ago I saw LGBTQIA+  become more main stream and letters have been added and removed but I developed a much better understanding of the letters and what they represented or so I thought. I didn’t get the gay marriage campaign because civil partnerships were legal by now and granted the same legal protections, but I had never had to fight anyone to say that my marriage was sanctified, I was living in a blissful cis-het bubble and probably said more than a few stupid things that make me sound more ignorant than the things I’ve mentioned here.

I never thought of myself as an ally, more simply as a decent human being that was willing to treat others with respect and dignity, and hoping that I could encourage others to do the same, sometimes I am more vocal than others, but that hatred of sticking my head above the parapet has never gone away.

Today I sit looking like a man, but feeling like a woman. When I see my reflection this is what I would rather see instead:

hiddenselfie

But in order to do that I kind of have to pick a side.

I cannot be both as I have read about others doing, staying male in my day to day life and then just sometimes allowing Dee out to play.

If I accept my thoughts and feelings as female then it follows that I am identifying as female – whatever that is.

Over the past 9 months my understanding of gender has grown exponentially, I do not just think of sex organs as being the deciding factor. My understanding of gender identity and expression is still expanding and I still have little knowledge of all the correct terms and definitions because as soon as I read a blog or an article written by someone I see something else that either contradicts it or chooses to not recognise that definition.

I am not in contact with any groups in real life and other than re-posting the odd thing I am still not vocal about LGBTQ+ issues, more than I used to be for sure, and as Dee I went to a Pride event and loved it. I was free to engage with people as the person I like to be instead of the person I think they are expecting.

I am still an introvert, I still do not want to get noticed, I still do not want to do more harm than good by publicly coming out and then saying or doing something stupid..

That may seem cowardly, especially to anyone who is “out and proud”, but I am still battling years of social conditioning – I haven’t just been hiding my more effeminate reactions and thoughts, I have been actively camouflaging myself so as not to stand out and be noticed. To be noticed is to be picked on, and to be picked on is to get hurt.

If I really want to become Dee across the whole of my life it is not about deciding what clothes to wear, or which films I like to watch or what name to use or how to talk – for me it is about my willingness to stand up and be noticed.

Why does it always come back to fear?

xx