Wednesday, 27 January 2016

End of the Journey

I've been trying to write this post for a few days. This is actually the third version I've come up with.

Its been 7 years since I started this blog. In that time I've written a lot about my transition. That was the reason for starting it in the first place. To have somewhere that I could share my experience of transition, particularly through the UK NHS route. To share with people what transition can be like and to hopefully create something that people might come across and find useful.

During the time I've been posting I've enjoyed reading and responding to people's comments, I've also loved finding and reading other people's blogs and seeing their experiences. Through this blog I've made some lovely friends.

This blog has been about transition though and depending on my mood I see transition in one of two ways, a bit like light being waves and particles.

Sometimes I see transition as the point in time where we go from being the old self, that we showed to the world, to our true selves. For me that was the 9th January 2012 when I left my house and went to work for the first time as Jenna, as the real me.

At other times transition is where we move from being that same old self and go through a period of time where we learn how to be our true selves without hiding that person away, its a period of making mistakes and trying new things, its a time of learning to be a man or woman. It can be a time of joy, happiness and wonder.

It can also be a time of pain, heartache, a time of experiencing people who are ignorant or abusive; and for some its a time where they experience physical pain and injury, and far too often death.

The last few days I've been trying to write this post, in some ways I was spurred on by something Cass said in her post about the blogs that she used to read when she realised she had to transition. Today though something happened that made me realise that its time for me to finally put transition behind me.

I was talking with someone at work and during the course of the discussion we got onto operations and anaesthetics. As we were talking I found myself talking about some of the aspects of my surgery last summer. Nothing too detailed, stuff about anasesthetics, pre-meds, medication to help you sleep and needing to lie flat on my back for several days. I also mentioned the lovely liquid diet I had to ensure for the first few days.

This evening I came to the conclusion that that discussion was one that I really didn't need to have, I didn't need to share that information about what happened while I was in hospital with a colleague. That conversation clarified for me that my own transition has truly finished.

I have a few things I need to do, like electrolysis and sorting out my GRC, but my transition journey has finished. Come May this year I'll have been discharged from the GIC and as a result the only trips I'll make to Exeter will be to go shopping there or for other reasons, none of which should be for medical reasons.

Today I also managed to remember the password to my old Facebook account, which has been sitting around for the last 4 years even though I thought I'd asked for it to be deleted. Well in two weeks time it actually will be. Already the account doesn't show up if I search for it and doesn't appear in at least my son's friends list.

Life now revolves around my family and friends, burlesque (Mira will be performing in 5 shows this year but hopefully more), running and triathlons (still have a half marathon, two triathlons and the long course weekend planned for the next six months); and a newfound passion for photography (I'm doing a 10 week evening class which is proving to be interesting, especially as it will involve taking pictures using 35mm film and learning to develop it in a darkroom).

So this is going to be my last post on here. I have no plans to delete the blog. It continues to serve its purpose which is to provide anyone on a similar journey with something that may help them to realise that it is possible to be true to yourself and to live your true life.

The media has been full of articles about trans people, Jeremy Clarkson is the latest to cause a bit of a rucus while writing in the newspaper. The temptation is there to write things in response to things like that (although in Clarkson's case I think anything I'd write would be drowned out by the screams from angry statisticians who were mortified by his blatant abuse of statistics). Besides  people like Paris Lee and Jane Fae and so many others write far more eloquently than anything I could produce. The temptation is still there though and I might one day succumb to it and find a quiet corner of the blogosphere to put my jottings but that's not for now.

I'm not going to disappear completely though. I've had the support and friendship of others and so plan on doing what I can when the opportunity pops up to help others.

There are so many blogs that I'm following and I'll carry on commenting on them so you don't get rid of me that easily either. I'm also on Reddit and will post on any threads there where I think my experience will be useful.

The last 7 years have been interesting, they've been fun, and sad, and depressing, and joyful. Pick an emotion and you'll probably find it expressed somewhere in the 372 posts here.

The time has come after 7 years though to bring this journey to a close and to start a new one. A journey where I'm simply a not quite 50 year old woman, who has a trans history, and has a tendency to do nutty things like endurance sports and getting up in front of an audience and removing her clothes (some of them at least).

Thank you to each and every one of you that has followed my ramblings and provided support through your comments when I've needed it. Without each one of you then things would have been just that little bit harder.

And so to close I think I'll let the incredibly funny Dave Allen have the last words

"goodnight, thank you and may your God go with you"



Wednesday, 20 January 2016

You Look Great

Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It finally happened.

At least I think finally. To be sure I'd have to go back and read through all my posts on this blog.

Hmm!

I think we'll go with:

Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It finally happened.



Sunday, 10 January 2016

Goodbye 2015

10 days into 2016 and I finally get around to writing my first post of the year.

Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of my going full time properly and returning to work as me, tomorrow it will be eight months since I stepped onto the train that would take me from home to Brighton and Tuesday will mark eight months since I corrected the physical defects that nature gave me.

2015 was a better year than 2014, but even so it was a mixed one.

I completed my latest marathon and actually managed to run all the way (apart from a tiny, tiny amount where I walked while I was taking on fluid at the drinks station). Having been on hormones for three years, and not having completed a marathon for even longer than that, I was pleased to just miss out on beating my personal best for the distance.

May, finally saw the culmination of a long journey with my GRS, and the beginning of a new one as I move on with my life and put behind me the need to have surgery to correct my genitals. The summer was an interesting one dealing with some of the problems that arose following the surgery. As much as it was a relief to have the surgery over with it was tinged with some sadness because Mum never got to see me reach that point and I never got to tell her what it felt like.

The rest of the year revolved around Rhys' surgeries to remove tumours from his stomach and head. For those that love what technology allows us to do this is what the surgeons used when planning out the operation to remove the brain tumour. A 3D printed skulll based on scans that had been taken of Rhys.

Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull
In October and November I got to perform as part of the Burleskin troupe at Trixie Whipp's Halloween show in Puriton, Somerset and at a birthday party in Yeovil. My burlesque went from strength to strength in 2015 with not only those two performance opportunities but also beginning work on a new Christmas routine, one which I plan to have at a performance standard by next December, and also a new Doctor Who themed routine which is in the very early stages of development.

2016 is looking like it will be a good year. More performing in burlesque shows and finally getting back into racing with my local half marathon entered as well as sprint and middle distance triathlons and a weekend of races based on Ironman distance swimming, cycling and running.

I've been a bit under the weather so far which has had an effect on my training but I'm slowly getting over that so will hopefully be throwing myself back into training this week.

And finally, this week saw my son reach the jolly old age of 18 and being able to legally buy alcohol in pub, restauran, club or shop. Not that he would have tried to buy it illegally. We went out to celebrate his birthday and gave him the chance to buy his first alcoholic drinks. It was a complete failure as we must have gone to the only place that was out of anything that my wife will drink. Typical. I'm sure he'll eventually manage to buy some though.

Here's to 2016. Wishing everyone a wonderful and safe time.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Sleep

Some time back I started to do the writing prompts at Laura's Writer's Journey Roadmap. This year I've not been very good at keeping up with the weekly prompts. I plan to change that in the New Year.
Although I've missed submitting them to the Laura's site I've made a record of all of the prompts so that I can work through those that I've missed. For the ones that I have missed I'm going to post them here, if anyone would like to comment then please feel free.
Last week's prompt was entitled prompt and this is what I wrote.

Sleep
“All I know is that while I’m asleep, I’m never afraid, and I have no hopes, no struggles, no glories — and bless the man who invented sleep, a cloak over all human thought, food that drives away hunger, water that banishes thirst, fire that heats up cold, chill that moderates passion, and, finally, universal currency with which all things can be bought, weight and balance that brings the shepherd and the king, the fool and the wise, to the same level.”
–from Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervates, published on 1605

 Tell me about your relationship with sleep. 

Sleep. Eight hours of lovely uninterrupted slumber.
Yeah! Really!
The last time I had that much sleep I was probably a baby.
I can’t remember when sleep and I fell out of love with each other. I have a feeling that it may have been when I was a teenager.
Way back then, as my memory reminds me, I had a period of insomnia that lasted three days. Every night I would go to bed and find myself denied entry to the realms of slumber. For three nights I would lie awake until everyone else was asleep and then turn on my bedroom light and read.
And read.
And read.
Yawn.
Until dawn had passed and I heard my parents stirring.
While they got their day started I would lie in bed for a while and then get up.
Three days before I got any sleep.
In the years since then I’ve managed to get a couple of hours’ solid sleep every night and then the rest of it is spent drifting in and out of sleep tossing and turning trying to get back to sleep or getting up to have a drink and do something to pass the time before I feel ready to go and try to get back to sleep.
Don’t get me wrong though, as much as it would be nice to have a full night’s sleep, my relationship with sleep has its upside. When I wake up in the middle of the night there’s a good chance that I will remember my dreams. Good ones or bad ones I get to remember them, and there have been some wonderful dreams.
Like the time I sacrificed myself by blowing up a planet in order to allow its inhabitants to escape an alien horde that wanted to destroy them, or the time I saved people from lava flowing across the landscape.
Even the nightmares aren’t too bad because over the years I’ve learned how to take control of a nightmare or if I’ve woken up how to drop back into that same nightmare but this time with me being in control and directing what happens. In my nightmares the monsters quickly learn to run away.
So a full night’s sleep may not be something that I’ve been blessed with but for what I miss out on there I make up for in other ways.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Rant

Apologies for this, just have to get it off my chest.

As anyone that has read this blog for a while will know we've had a lot to deal with over the years with my son's Leukaemia, bone marrow transplant and tumour surgeries.

In all that time I've done everything I can to make sure that my family have a roof over their heads and all the support they need. Some of that has meant that I have had to be at home in order that I can work while they are staying in Bristol for treatment, and while that is happening travel to and from Bristol (a 80 plus mile round trip, at least twice a week, with weekend trip being done either because they can come home for a couple of days or to allow my partner to go off to her Mum's for a few days break.

Even during the recent surgeries I did my best to make sure that she could get a few days at home, which allowed her a bit of normality by going to work. I even made my way in the rain to meet her so that she could come back up and not have to drive through fairly empty city streets first thing on a Sunday morning.

So after all that what does she go and do. Post something on Facebook which is the result of missing her Dad, my Mum and also her Aunt.

Now I wouldn't mind but when she turns around and says that her Aunt was her rock then after everything I've done; not just while our son was ill but before he was even born; if it wasn't for us getting together then there is a distinct chance that she would either be living in her Mum's spare room, in a bedsit somewhere or, like she was when we met, in a friends spare bedroom; then I feel like I've been kicked in the teeth.

In the discussion we've just had about it she said she didn't mention me because she didn't know how to refer to me. For goodness sakes, the majority of our friends know I'm trans and that I've transitioned. Some of them don't care about that. Some of them, I personally think, have been arses about it.

I suppose some of this is me expecting too much. After four years I sort of expected that she would have come to some sort of terms with how our relationship is but it appears not.

Grrrr!!! Life is so frustrating at times.

Rant over. Thank you for reading.




Monday, 9 November 2015

A Hard Day

Today has been a hard one. Suprisingly hard in fact and all from the silliest of things, an email.

Of course it wasn't an ordinary email. This was an important one as it was a response to me applying for a newbie slot at a burlesque show. Although the original email turned me down, subsequent ones did say that I was welcome to try again and that the promoter looked forward to seeing me perform, but when I was ready to perform a solo on stage, but at the moment based on the video I sent I'm not at that point. If I work on it then I should be able to send another video in a few months time.

None of that was really comforting though. I found myself fighting back tears as I got ready for work, the smile I put on for my family, and throughout the day as I worked at my desk and talked to colleagues, was one that I am very familiar with. Its the one that I used to wear day in day out before I transitioned, part of the mask I used to wear to hide the real me away while letting others see what they expected to see. The mask that I thought I had finally put away for good.

Its funny really how such a trivial thing can have such a big impact on a person. That email made me start thinking about a lot of stuff.

I've loved doing burlesque as anyone whose read this blog, and the stuff I've been posting at Mira's, and watching my performance videos will know. Although doing the show with the troupe the other weekend was great fun, and performing at a birthday party the weekend before last, with a couple of the girls, was just as much fun, watching back my performance from the show, seeing how I looked; and hating the fact that there was a masculine face, his face, which even the make-up couldn't hide, atop my body.

Being so picky over my performance that I found fault with everything I did. My timing was out at some many points that even though I knew the routine by heart I still found myself out of step with the rest of the troupe. I had a couple of nice comments from people, one even asked if I planned to go solo because its so much easier not beign part of a troupe when you perform. The cynic in me sits here wondering if she so all of my mistakes and this was her way of telling me I'd be better off performing solo.

All day I've been wondering whether I should pack up all my burlesque things and drop them off at the studio so that the other girls can make better use of them. I still haven't made my mind up, although I've not admitted that to our troupe's leader and choreographer.

I thought that after everything I've done in the last year that I'd have been ready to perform on stage, especially after doing a couple of group performances now. I was so wrong and honestly don't know where I am with burlesque. It would be so easy to just give up, to accept that this is a dream that was never going to become real.

As the day went on everything else began to unravel. So many things seem pointless. The temptation has been to just withdraw from things, to delete or deactivate my accounts on various websites; Reddit, Facebook, UK Angels, Pink Essence, all the places that I frequent. To quietly disappear from the online world.

Where would that leave me though? Well I'd still have my running and triathlons. I accepted that I was ever going to be any good at those. As long as I can get across the finish line then that's good enough for me. I might long to find myself standing at the water's edge in Kona, waiting to take part in the World Championships but that is never going to happen.

I know what I'm feeling is likely to be part of the emotional rollercoaster that we go through post-op, that doesn't make it any easier to deal with.

Today has been a long hard one.

It hasn't helped that in 11 days time its the first anniversary of Mum's death. This evening I found myself wishing that she was still alive; that she was still around to look after Dad and make sure that he was alright. I found myself wishing that, instead of Mum getting ill and dying last year, it had been me that has died.

So from a simple email turning me down for a place in a show I came to the conclusion that I'm not special, I'm not talented, I'm not here for any purpose of significance; and if the universe has any sense of what people really need then 12 months ago I would have been dying because of terminal cancer and Mum would have been the one who was going to be around to look after people and do more worthwhile things than I ever will.

So with misty eyes, I'll say goodnight and thanks for reading my meanderings.


Saturday, 31 October 2015

Mira update - Hoots n Hooters

Last weekend I did my first burlesque performance outside of a student showcase. I've posted over at Mira's blog about it.

This evening I'm performing with Burleskin again at a birthday party, 3 routines this time because I'm not confident about the fourth one.