Really short post, this cold weather and snow is giving me plenty of time to sit at this computer.
I've just uploaded my first attempt at my very own website.
I'd really appreciate any feedback that I can get as to its look and contents. If anyone feels like being a guinnea pig then please pop along to Jenny's Transgendered World and let me know what you think by posting a comment here as I've still got to work my geekiness and figure out how to get a guestbook working properly.
Last Thursday I had an appointment with a speech therapist for a voice assessment. To say it was fun doesn't do it justice.
Initially the therapist went through the usual form taking a case history. She asked all the usual personal and health questions. Eventually with all of the paperwork out of the way we go down to some actual tests.
Each of the tests is designed to determine the frequencies that your voice operates at and from there to work out how far up in frequency the voice needs to be shifted in order to be more feminine.
The first test was simply counting from 1 to 10 and gave one range of frequencies. The second test was reading an extract from a magazine. Again this gave a second range of frequencies. The final test was to simply talk about what I would be doing over the weekend. One last set of frequencies.
I work with computers so a lot of this was actually good fun and very geeky. For each test I had to simply speak while wearing a head-mic and a wonderful piece of hardware and computer software recorded what I was saying working out the frequency ranges and even told me what musical range I was hitting.
With the results in the therapist showed me the frequency I would be aiming for, 185Hz for the record. The top end of my speaking range was 150Hz so I just have to shift the top end of my speaking range up a bit which the therapist thinks will be easy enough to do.
As I'm not currently formally full time she didn't want to start regular sessions with me. The reason being that I would have to switch back to my male voice for every day use and so my new found female voice would end up being a bolt-on. Both the therapist and I agreed that we didn't want my voice to be a bolt-on but to replace my normal voice.
When I'm ready to go full time I can refer myself back to her and we can start sessions properly. In the meantime I simply need to practise humming and getting used to hitting that magical frequency of 185Hz.
To help me do that I've downloaded some software. A tone generator and a sound editor to check the frequencies I'm hitting.
I know that someone out in blog land was using something like computer oscilloscope software application to help with improving their voice. I've just got to find who it was! If anyone knows and can help save me searching through lots of blog posts in order to find who it was then pllllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaasssseeee leave a comment letting me know who it was.
I've finally had my second visit to Sugar and Spiced in Portsmouth and what fun it was. The trip didn't exactly go to plan as I'd intended to travel down to Portsmouth on the Wednesday so that I could go out for a meal at La Tasca in Gun Wharf, my first time out en femme. In the end things didn't pan out and so I changed things. On the Thursday morning of my trip I drove to my hairdressers as I'd rearrange my appointment to get my hair done. I'd made the decision that I didn't want to end up wearing a wig after I'd been made over by Jo. Lou did wonders with my hair, as usual, the highlights left me looking a lot blonder than last time. By the time she'd finished styling it I had a lovely feminine style. I couldn't wait to see what I'd look like with make-up and and outfit on. The trip to Portsmouth was pretty uneventful. I did have to make a stop at a services on the way in order to top up the screen wash in the car and also to pay a visit to the little girls room. Before I'd left Mere I'd put on a coat of red nail polish so that my nails would be ready for when I arrived at Jo's. Going into the men's rest room was interesting. I'd worn a pair of gloves so that my nails weren't visible. The place was empty but I still nipped into a cubicle. While I was in there I heard a lot of noise as a group of boisterous guys came in. It sounded like a stag party had come in to use the facilities. I was not looking forward to leaving but couldn't delay any longer. With gloves hiding my lovely red finger nails I emerged and found myself having to walk past a couple of soldiers. Safely back at the car I topped up the screen wash and set off again. Arriving at Jo's I found that the lovely parking space that I'd been able to avail my self of in the summer wasn't available. In the end I had to drive several hundred yards down the road and park the car. My plan had been to drive back home en femme and to either return to the house in that way or to get changed and remove my make-up at some point on the journey. With the car this far away and a large bag with all my stuff to get from Jo's to the car I wasn't looking forward to it. In the end it wasn't to be a problem and the few people that I passed didn't take much notice of the loan female putting her bag into the car. When I arrived at Jo's she was pleased to see me. We moved through to the room that she worked her magic with make-up and clothes. Jo had already picked out a few things for me to wear but as I already had my own outfits with me we went straight to me slipping into the outfit that I'd planned to wear to La Tasca the previous evening.
Once I was dressed, and with the help of my gorgeous black corset to provide a bit more shape to my figure, Jo made up my face. With no need for a wig we were soon ready for some pictures. We went through to the lounge and wow! Last time things were really simple, a camera and me. This time I felt like I'd walked into a photoshoot in a big studio. Everything was high-tech, which for a girl like me was ever so slightly distracting. I posed and pouted as best I could for Jo. I really did feel like a model, even to the point that I said that perhaps there was a career change possible for me. My purple dress was followed by a leather buckle dress and jacket, very biker or rock chick. The jacket was something I'd seen someone wearing in a picture with a leather dress and thought that looks fabulous. When I originally bought it I found it was a size too small and on taking it back the store had sold out. The other week I happened to be back in there looking for some stockings and something to wear during the morning before going to Jo's and I found the jacket in the size I wanted. Fate was smiling kindly on me that day. More pictures followed some with we wearing the jacket
and some with me just wearing the dress.
With both of my outfits out of the way Jo and I went for a bit of fun and got me into a Mrs Claus outfit which was so much fun to pose in. I loved posing in it so much that I'm considering getting pictures taken at Easter of me in a bunny girl costume. Hmm, who knows maybe I'll try and get some themed pictures at Valentines and Halloween too. Now that would be an interesting project for next year.
After having a bit of fun with that outfit we went for the last change of outfit but one. This time we went for a glamorous look and I slipped into a gorgeous blue evening dress. Oh boy, it clung to every single curve of my body. With my own little black jacket finishing it off I would have been proud to go to any black tie event wearing it.
More pictures followed until there was just enough time for one more change of outfit. This time I slipped into the outfit that I was planning on wearing to travel back home. Unfortunately there aren't any pictures of this outfit but it consisted of a pair of brown corduroy trousers, a beige tunic top and brown wrap cardigan, a pair of calf length boots and I was all set. I looked at Jo and asked if we could go for a walk. She was more than happy. By now thought it was too dark for a walk in the cemetery so we simply went for a walk around some of the streets in Southsea. It was so good to be out and about again. Even though it was dark there were quite a few people around. A few people glanced at me but Jo reassured me that it was, in the case of the guys, that they might find me attractive. Most people didn't give me a second glance, or if they did it was behind my back and I certainly wasn't going to look behind me to see if anyone was looking at me. During the entire trip there were only two women who I thought might have read me. They were standing at a bus stop which we passed just as the bus was arriving. Both of them glanced at me and I thought the looks that they gave me said that they had read me. I might be wrong about it, I'll never know. When we arrived back at Jo's I asked her to refresh my make-up and then I gather my things together and having said my goodbyes walked back to the car wheeling my bag behind me. Nobody paid me any attention, not even the young woman who was stood outside a house about 10 yards from where I was putting my bag into my car and changing my shoes for something that I could drive in. The trip back was uneventful. I stopped and saw Lou so she could see the end result of her handiwork, then made my way back towards home. At the last possible moment I stopped, removed my make-up and changed my top for a more masculine shirt. My shoes I changed for a pair of trainers but I did leave on the cords. Just like in the summer the day was absolutely fantastic and takes me one step closer to going out during daylight somewhere more public. Shopping, eating out somewhere. The possibilities are endless and I think my confidence is so high now that it will just be a matter of time before it happens. When it does I'll be telling all about it here.
When I saw Doctor Brooks for my second appointment in Taunton and discussed what I could do while waiting to go forward with transitioning I mentioned electrolysis and voice therapy. From recent experiences I'm able to pass as female when out and about. The thing that is going to let me down is my voice. If I can work on that so I sound like a woman then my confidence levels will be so high it will be unbelievable. When the gender identity clinic got back to me and told me that they didn't recommend people for electrolysis or voice therapy until they have started to transition I was disappointed. However, Doctor Brooks told me that there was a speech and language therapist at my local hospital who I would most likely be referred to and that she might be willing to do a voice assessment. I asked the her if she could see if that would be possible, even though it seemed unlikely. Well, this week I received a letter informing me that I have an appointment tomorrow morning at the Speech and Language Therapy Department for a voice assessment. Even if she only gives me a few pointers on how to sound more feminine when I speak then it will be worth it. With plans to go out more next year to clubs, shopping and for meals and the odd drink while en femme then being able to present as completely as female as possible will be a big boost to my confidence. I'll be posting later to tell how things went.
Last weekend we paid a visit to my in-laws in the Cotswolds. The trip had been postponed by a week due to the bad weather that had descended on the UK.
My mother-in-law had gone to visit her brother for a week so we only had the pleasure of my sister-in-law and her family.
On Friday evening my brother-in-law slipped over to the village pub. What an experience that was. There was a party of about 10 guys in the back of the pub for a Christmas meal. In the main part of the pub there was my brother-in-law and me.
We had a couple of drinks and sauntered back to the house.
The girls were asleep in the lounge so we sat in the kitchen with a glass of whisky each.
While we were chatting and my brother-in-law was starting to tell me something about my nephew which was a bit disturbing, my wife came in. We tried to get her to go back into the other room so that we could finish the conversation but she wouldn't go.
We started talking about other things and things actually got a bit heated between her and myself as she was descending into self pity as she usually does when she has had a glass of wine to many to drink and its the early hours of the morning.
Eventually nature and one too many drinks called and I had to visit the little girls room. While I was in there I could hear my wife saying to my brother-in-law "you need to ask my sister what she found out about him when we first got together". She was oblivious to the fact that I was only about 10 feet away from her and could overhear what she was saying.
When I returned both of them acted as if nothing had happened.
We carried on talking for a while until again I decided I needed a visit to the little girls room. This time I didn't fully shut the door and again overheard my wife telling brother-in-law to talk to her sister and ask about me.
When I returned my wife decided it was time for bed and left us to it.
As soon as she had gone I told my brother-in-law that I had overheard what he'd been told to do and that it was fine by me if he wanted to go ahead and ask. He responded by telling me that he wasn't going to ask.
Although I didn't tell him any details I told him that it was something quite important and that he'd know what it was next year anyway. I also told him that I didn't want to lose either his or my wife's stepdad's friendship over any of this. I know though that things will change, for starters I'm not going to be going to the pub with them after I've gone full-time. I'll be lucky to be in the village at all.
Anyway, if my wife is telling my brother-in-law to ask his wife about me then it will be only a matter of time before she tells her stepdad to ask her mother about me. I'm hoping that he will react in a similar way. As far as I know the only time that he has seen me breakdown in tears with only him around he's never mentioned it to anyone.
I know that when if I become persona non grata with the family then they will side with their wives but I do hope that they will still be able to be friendly even if they can't be open about it.
My only decision know is do I contact my sister-in-law to let her know what her sister did as I'm sure that she wont appreciate being put in a position like that.
I'm also wondering just when my wife is going to mention to me what she did. She has to know that it could make things difficult if my brother-in-law reacted badly. Its almost like she is trying to force some discussion of things by her family without having to start the discussion herself. She'd already decided that she didn't need to tell her mum about my plans to transition but then goes and tries to stir things up by getting her sister to reveal what she knows about my femme side to her husband.
One thing is for sure, whether or not I decide to contact my sister-in-law, and that is that if I had any qualms about deciding to ask for a referral to the gender clinic when I see the doctor next year those doubts are gone now.
I know that this is a bit of a long post but so much happened and I'm so enthusiastic about this its hard for me to find ways to shorten it.
I've had my second burlesque lesson.
It was a bit frustrating getting to this lesson.
The day before my lesson I still hadn't heard where it was going to be so I rang the dance school but only got the answer phone. I emailed Poppy at the school email address but still didn't get a response. Finally I sent a text message to the mobile phone number that they provide on the answer phone message. Within 15 minutes I got a reply from Poppy telling me that we were at her friends place again.
I was more than happy with that as the room we practice in is really nice as is her friend. Besides I know where it is and the parking is free.
The trip to Bristol was pretty uneventful. It was dark when I set off but by the time I was halfway into my journey the sky was brightening up.
We've had a lot of snow in the UK recently but where I live in the South West its lasted until the first waves of rain arrived last weekend and melted it all. During my journey to Bristol I passed through Shepton Mallet and found myself entering a Winter Wonderland. All of the trees and fields are still frosted with snow. Everything for miles is white. I only wish I could have stopped in order to dig out my camera and take some pictures but parking areas are few and far between on that road.
Before I set of I had decided that I was going to wear my costume to practice in so slipped into my corset, stockings, bra and panties. Over the top I slipped a red top and a pair of jeans. With a red fleece jumper on I was able to hide what I was wearing and left the house with nobody any the wiser.
The journey to Bristol should have seen me arriving at Poppy's friends by 8:20am. My lesson was at 10am. About 20 minutes into the journey I pulled into a lay-by and sat in the car for about 15 minutes before setting off again. Driving steadily I reached Bristol at a reasonable time and slotted into the rush hour traffic which slowed me down even further and pushed my arrival even closer to lesson time. Eventually though no matter how slowly I drove or how much traffic I ran into I arrived at my destination with about 40 minutes to spare. There was no way that I could go and knock on the door that early so I sat in the car.
While I was waiting I sent some messages to a friend, wrote a bit in my journal, flicked through a hair magazine and then rang the friend I'd sent the messages to on their mobile phone. We chatted for a while by which time it was a much more reasonable time to be ringing a doorbell.
When I did ring the bell there was no answer. Nothing. Even some of the curtains were closed. I was worried now. I walked away from the house and waited a few minutes. Still no sign of Poppy. I went back to the house and rang the bell again. Still no reply.
By now it was gone 10am and I was beginning to think that I'd made the journey for nothing. I decided to ring the dance school and when I got no reply rang their mobile number but got no response.
At this point I was getting really worried. Had I made a trip to Bristol for no reason? I rang the dance school once more and this time left a message. Halfway through leaving the message a figure appeared pulling a bag along behind them The figure waved at me and I realised that it was Poppy. I finished up my message with a “oh she's arrived, never mind”.
Poppy's friend was away but her children were likely to be home. There was all possibility that her husband would be home too.
Poppy let us into the house and shouted to see if there was any response. Nobody replied so we assumed that everyone was out.
We made our way upstairs and into the practice room. Poppy put on some music for me to warm up to and then left to make us each a coffee.
I finished putting on my costume which basically amounted to sticking my breast forms to my chest and slipping on my heels. To avoid getting a chill I slipped in to a black cardigan I'd brought with me.
Finally properly dressed I began to warm up with a number of stretches.
I'd just finished warming up and was standing with my cardigan wrapped around me when I heard the sound of someone outside the door. Assuming that it was Poppy I wasn't too worried, she'd just come back with our coffees.
The door open and Poppy wasn't standing there. Instead Poppy's friend's husband stood there. “Sorry, I was wondering what was going on” he said.
“Dance lesson” I burst out in reply.
As he disappeared and closed the door I found myself wondering what he though of what he'd seen in the room. I'm not sure who was the most shocked. I think it was him, after all its to often that you see a scantily clad pre-op TS in your house.
A few minutes later Poppy returned with our coffees.
In order to continue with the lesson I needed to decide whether I wanted to learn the techniques and then when I'd mastered them fit them to a routine or start learning the routine and work on the techniques for the parts that I use in the routine.
When I learn things I like to be able to apply them in some way as it helps me to fix them in memory. I do this as part of my day job. Although I love to learn things just for learning sake if I need to know something then I have to apply it.
It was an easy decision therefore to go for learning a routine and picking up the techniques I need that way.
Poppy and I sat down and listened to the track that I'm planning to perform to. Its Clare Teal's Stone Soul Picnic. Its got a nice steady beat to it and its quite slow and sensuous. Ideal for a demure girl like Jenna von Risque.
We decided that the first thing I should practice was how to remove gloves. I'd picked up a pair on eBay and so off we went. The technique isn't too difficult and once you've got the hang of it then you can have immense fun with it.
After Poppy had demonstrated it I had a go. After she'd watched me do it once Poppy made me do it a second time, this time without looking at the gloves.
With a new technique to use we began to put together the start of a routine. With Clare Teal sensuously filling the room I began to bump my hips and then strut around the room. Removing my gloves, playing with a feather boa and twirling both around my head before discarding them.
Poppy kept getting distracted as I practised as instead of watching to see what I was doing she kept finding herself just enjoying the show.
After half an hour of practising we stopped so that I could learn a couple of new moves. Poppy and I lay on the floor and we worked on different ways to use the feet. Nothing difficult but very much girlish. Next time she might even show me how to get up off the floor in a graceful way. Personally I think I might need a way to get down to the floor gracefully as well.
The lesson was all too short. I could have carried on for hours as I'm enjoying this oh so much.
Towards the end of the lesson Poppy said that she was starting up an intermediate class in the New Year. She asked if I wanted to come along to the classes. I had two thoughts about that, one then and the other a bit later. My immediate thought was would the rest of the class be Ok with me being there. I asked if the class was all women and when Poppy said it was, suggested that she might like to ask the rest of the class if they have any problems with me joining in. She's going to do that but doesn't think it should be a problem. My second thought was that its an intermediate class that she wants me to join. Does that mean that after two classes she thinks that I'm more than a beginner? Wow! I'm impressed if she does.
This week is going to be a very special one for me, weather permitting. The last few days have seen the UK hit by a cold spell and snow across most of the country. I'm hoping that by Wednesday morning the weather will have improved because I've got quite a bit of driving to do over Wednesday and Thursday. On Wednesday morning I have to drive all the way to Bristol, about an hours drive in normal conditions, for my second burlesque dance lesson. I've been practising everything that P, my instructor taught me. In fact last weekend I even managed to spend a bit of time on the Sunday morning practising in the costume that I plan to wear when I eventually perform. I've actually been invited to perform at a venue in front of people by someone I know, more about that if and when it happens. Practising in costume was absolutely wonderful, I felt so sexy. Wednesday morning I'm going to try and get dressed in as much of the costume as I can so that I can do the lesson while wearing it. After the lesson I have to drive all the way from Bristol back to my hairdressers as I have another appointment with her. We're going for more highlights, which maybe a little lighter than last time, and also styling my hair in such a way that I don't need to wear a wig when I go out Wednesday night. Whatever Lou comes up with has to be easily repairable the following day. After Lou has worked her magic on my hair I'll be travelling to Portmouth where I'm staying overnight with a friend. For the first time in my life I will be going out en femme to a restaurant. In fact from the moment I arrive at the hotel room in Portmouth I will be doing everything as Jen. This will be a real first for me. Although I've spent a couple of days as away as Jen its always been in a completely safe environment. This time though I'll be out in public and at the mercy of the attitudes of the people around me. I so want to be able to get through this without people noticing me or commenting. If I can get through having a meal in a restaurant then I know I'll have the confidence to do anything in the future. Go shopping, go for a drink, eat out again, I'll find these things so much easier to do. Thursday I'll be spending at Sugar and Spiced where I went in the summer. A certain young lady has an appointment, or at least she should have if she has booked it, there in the morning for a makeover and photoshoot so I'll be hanging around. I've got a new outfit to wear when we go out to take pictures as I'm sure we will. In the afternoon I've got my session planned and I am so very much looking forward to it. I'm putting a lot of trust in Jo in the afternoon but know that I'll be completely safe. The entire trip is going to be one big photo opportunity so you can expect to see at least some of the pictures appearing in posts once I'm back.
This week is going to be a real turning point in my life and I am so looking forward to each and every moment of it.
The last week has been interesting. On Wednesday evening after going to see the new Harry Potter film, an ok film but I do hope that the second part is better. The scenery was lovely and I even recognised at least one place that they filmed as I've driven past it a few times. On our way home I told my son that I had the pictures of me from the summer and asked if he wanted to see them. He said yes so I showed him a couple of the pictures of me that Jo had taken at the cemetary. His only comment was that it didn't look like me. I didn't mention my plans to transition but told him it was something I'd always done and filled in a few details. He seems fine with it. His biggest worry though came out as we drove home. "When are you going to be getting your hair cut?" he asked. "I'm not" I replied. "Its going to look a bit girly" he said. I explained to him that there are several people that I work with that have hair far longer than mine. One of them is into martial arts so if its ok for them then its not a problem with me having it longer. That seemed to satisfy him. The following night I was in the kitchen cooking dinner and watching White Christmas. At one point he came in and both of us were dancing along to one of the songs. It was a bit of a giggle. As he was walking out I did the Showgirl pose that P had taught me. He laughed and went into the other room where his mum was and said "Dad's a girl". I have no idea what her response was but I'm sure she wasn't impressed. It made me smile though.
Thursday saw another visit to Zee at the salon. The bodywaxing is still a little bit painful but I'm getting used to it. Having my eyebrows plucked I don't think I will ever get used to. It certainly made my eyes water. As promised though Zee got an early Christmas present. I'd agreed to it so she applied a blue black tint to my eye lashes. I now look like I'm wearing mascara. So far nobody seems to have noticed, if they have they've not said anything. When it came to having my eyebrows waxed I threw aside all caution and let her wax and pluck them much thinner than we've dared to go before. Again nobody has said anything. I like my eye the way they are now. My first thought when I saw myself in the mirror was that even without makeup the top half of my face is looking more feminine. My eyes are much more open as well. I am one very happy girl.
The weather here has not be very pleasant recently. On Friday I decided to walk to work, a journey of about a mile. With multiple layers of clothing, gloves, scarf and hat, off I trudged. When I arrived at work I started shedding layers. I had just removed my hat when I walked past one of the women I occasionally sit with at lunch. She saw me and said "very fetching hair". I wondered what she meant and then realised that my hair must look a right mess, grabbing a comb I disappeared to find a mirror and repair the damage. Back at my desk we traded a couple of emails about my hair, the last of which informed her that if she thought my hair looked fetching now then she should wait until I have it coloured. Funnily I didn't get a response to that one.
The week has been interesting and has had lots of fun moments and I've met a few new people and made some friends. Tuesday night I went out and met some people at a local pub. We chatted over a drink until I had to leave to walk home. It would have been even better if a certain young lady I know hadn't been so tied up at work and as a result very tired could have made it too. I know she reads my blog so I'm going to forgive her for working far too hard and make sure that she slows down and relaxes a little bit more real soon. When I got back home though things were decidedly frosty. I have no idea why my other half was upset. I expect it had something to do with me going out for a drink. I could understand her being upset with me if I'd come back in drunk, I'd only had one drink, or if I was leaving her at home and going out drinking on a regular basis. I don't though. Tuesday was the first time this year that I have gone out for a drink in an evening. The only other times I go out for a drink is when we are staying with my other half's sister. The only other times I tend to go out are to our cell group, which she also goes to, or to other events organised through our church. My other half on the other hand goes out for meals and girls nights with her friends. To me it seemed as if by going out I'd done something really wrong. Coming home to that slightly spoilt was an otherwise lovely evening. Still the rest of the week more than made up for it.
Last Friday my wife went to a friend's house for a girls night as it was her friend's birthday and they were celebrating. That left my son and I on our own at home. As soon as she was out of the house we sat down and watched an episode of Warehouse 13 that we had recorded. Once we'd watched it I got my son to get ready for bed as I wanted a bit of time to myself. By the time that his hamster had been fed and watered and had a run around in his ball it was 9:30. Off to bed went my son. Once he was settled in bed I popped up to say good night. I've started to raise the subject of Jenny with him a few times but not the subject of transitioning. The closest I've come is showing him a picture of me in stockings and basque that was taken at a showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. A couple of days after he'd seen the picture we had a conversation which ended with him asking me if I'd worn a blouse. I told him yes but that I couldn't tell him anymore. A few days later I mentioned it to him and said I would tell him when I wore a blouse but couldn't at the time.
On Friday night, with my wife out and him in bed, I mentioned it to him again. I told him that I'd worn one in the summer. He didn't believe me so I told him I had pictures to prove it. He asked to see them so I told him I'd show them to him on the Saturday when his mum was out for a drink with another friend who has just had a birthday.
Well Saturday morning arrived and my wife phoned our friend to confirm when they were going out. That was when my plans went pear-shaped. My wife came off the phone and said that she wasn't going out as our friend had a soar throat. She's been unwell this week and so it wasn't really surprising. They decided that they would go out another time. Any idea that I had that I'd show my son the pictures from the summer went right out of the window as I wouldn't have any opportunity. Later on we went out shopping and I had an idea. On Wednesday night my wife is going to be out at a church group we attend. I wont be going as I'm taking our son to see the new Harry Potter film. The good thing about doing that is I will be able to take the pictures with me and when we are on our way back, or back home if the film finishes early enough, I'll be able to show them to him and explain things. Not everything but at least some things. If I can get him used to the idea of my female side then life will be a bit easier in someways but also a lot harder in others. I doubt if his mum will be deliriously happy about him knowing but then again I'm not happy about the idea of having to hide this side of me from him. In 4 to 6 years time, if my wife has her way, when I tell him about all this then he's going to wonder why I didn't tell him sooner. How much trust can a young adult have in a parent who has kept such a secret from them. My son trusts me so much. To find out that I have kept something this major from him for his whole life will be very difficult for him to comprehend. Best to start getting used to the idea now.
I've been keeping a journal for the last couple of months. What I've been journalling is based on some ideas I've been getting from a site I found a little while back. Mostly what I've been journalling is to share with a one or two particular friends. My latest journalling idea though I thought I might actually publish more generally.
What do you hope for this Christmas? Is it something material or something intangible?
This year I'm hoping for both material and intangible.
Various family members have been asking me what I want for Christmas. Do I have a list?
Usually I've got a half a dozen books and CDs that I want for Christmas. This year I've not got anything. I've got all the books I want at the moment, in fact I've still got books from last Christmas that I've not finished reading. For some reason this year I've not read many of the books that my favourite authors have released. I've read a few books but not those by the ones I've been following for years.
When it comes to music I've got pretty much all of the CDs that I want. I don't tend to go for what is being released around Christmas, anyway. If I want a CD then it will be something that I have seen at another point in the year and then I'll probably have bought it then.
This year I have nothing that I want especially.
In fact that's not quite true, there are things that I want but I can't get the family to buy them as it will be awkward on Christmas Day opening presents where I get a girls leather jacket or a new pair of heels!
What I have suggested to people is that they might like to give me money. I'm planning to get either a Sony 350 eBook reader or alternatively the Kindle from Amazon. I'm not sure which. I'm leaning towards the Sony but the books for it are apparently slightly more expensive and also Amazon sell books that are aimed at the Kindle. Although when I buy books on-line I tend to buy them from Amazon more than anywhere else so again that might be the simpler option.
Its still 5 weeks until Christmas and although I've got the cost of a Kindle pretty much covered already I've got plenty of time to decide.
So materially its a book reader that I want for Christmas.
What intangible things am I hoping for this Christmas? That's a lot easier as I can rattle off a list quite easily.
World peace, an end to suffering... Oops, that's my Miss World speech, or Miss Fabuliss if I get persuaded to enter by my Sweet.
This Christmas I would really to be stress free and peaceful. No snide remarks from my wife, no comments about scruffy hair because I'm growing it longer, no moaning about things while we're at my parents and no talking to my family and sounding (at least to my overly sensitive ears like she is talking down to them). Just a nice peaceful Christmas. Its likely to be the last one that she spends with my parents and sister, although she doesn't know it and neither do they, so it would be nice to get through it without everything blowing up big time.
What else would I like for Christmas? Well I'd love to wake up on Christmas morning and find that Santa had left me the best present of all and had gifted me with a totally hot female body, or even just the knowledge that next year I really am going to take those final steps onto the path to becoming a woman.
This has turned out to be a really long post. Please stick with it. If you do find that it is too long then comment and let me know. I really appreciate your feedback as it will help me to gauge just how long posts should be before I have to break them up into multiple posts.
Last Friday I drove up to Bristol to have my first ever Burlesque lesson. It was a one-to-one lesson and not a class. I had considered doing a class but decided that it might not be fair on the rest of the students as they would probably all be biological females so instead I booked a one-to-one lesson.
Its a more expensive way to do it but it does mean that I get an hour of instruction that is personalised to me. Maybe after I've had a few lessons and have learnt a routine that I'm able to perform for others then I'll think about joining a class.
Up until Thursday I still didn't know where the lesson was going to be. Repeated phone calls to P, the instructor, failed to get an answer. Eventually, however, I got a response to an email telling me where to turn up for the lesson. The place sounded idea as its used by all sorts of performers, is central and if I'm early gives me the chance to wander around the shops.
That email was soon followed up by another informing me that our room had been double booked. It turns out that the group that run the place are busy preparing for a performance at the moment so there had been a bit of a mix up. Fortunately P has a friend who works from home and offered the use of the room she uses with clients.
I'd been told to wear something loose and if I wanted to bring heels to work in then that was fine.
There was very little chance that I wouldn't take heels to work in so right after making the booking I was in Brantano buying a suitable pair of heels. Not too high a heel as I wanted to be able to move in them, not too thin a heel as I didn't want to lose my balance and sprain and ankle. In the end I chose a pair of 2 inch, sturdy heel shoes that fastened with a buckle.
As I'm keeping quiet to the family about the dance lessons I packed my bag discretely with my shoes and a few other things. My cover story for going to Bristol was that I was attending a lecture and would be back at lunchtime. I got dressed and slipped a pair of leggings on under my jeans. A man's tee-shirt completed the outfit.
On my way to Bristol I popped into a local supermarket and picked up a couple of ladies tee-shirts, one of which, I changed into for the lesson. Not in front of P I hasten to add.
As the lesson was at 10am I managed to avoid the rush hour traffic and made good time arriving with hardly any time to spare. P's friend offered us a coffee. I love her house, its huge. I would so love to have a place like it. Hmm, maybe one of these days if I win the lottery!
While the coffee was brewing P and told us about a hen party that she'd been too where she'd been teaching the ladies how to dance. It had been great fun. P has done a few of these and invariably there is a male stripper turns up at the end. Now some might see Burlesque as a form of stripping but it isn't. Its much more fun than that. It does draw on the art of stripping for some things but it also draws on belly dancing, ballet and other forms of dance.
The young men that are working as strippers aren't necessarily employed for their artistic flair, especially if they are resorting to entertaining at hen parties. Most are obviously doing this for money and some you have to feel a little bit of sympathy for when they end up entertaining women old enough to be their mothers and may actually mother them more than enjoying the entertainment.
With coffees in hand P and myself adjourned to the room that we were going to use.
The room that we'd been loaned to practice in was great. It wasn't clinical and full of mirrors like the dance rooms you seen used on shows like Strictly Come Dancing or even the exercise rooms that you might get in some gyms. Not surprising really as this was a room that someone does all sorts of work in.
Before we started P and I sat down so that she could get a better idea of what I wanted to get out of the lessons. I told her that I had no preconceived ideas about what I wanted. I slipped over to my bag and took out the corset I bought recently and showed it to her.
“I'd love to learn a routine and to wear this while doing it” I told her.
The corset is gorgeous and will look really good if I can get the rest of the costume to go with it. What the costume will be I don't know yet!
After a short chat we were ready to go. P told me that I didn't have to practice in heels this first time but I shot over to my bag and dug mine out. I quickly removed my jeans as well so that I was in my leggings. Much more comfortable to wear.
P and I slipped into our shoes and we were ready to begin.
We started by working on my posture. P asked me to pull my belly button back towards my spine. Well the couple of Pilates lessons that I had really helped there as I was easily able to do that. Next I had to roll my shoulders up, back and then down in order to cause my chest to thrust forward. Finally I had to push my tush back. By the time I'd done this my figure was in a very sexy S shape.
Next P got me to place the toe of my right foot under the arch of my left foot and to bring my right knee across in front of my left leg. Finally she had me raise my arms above my head and strike a Showgirl pose.
I was able to do this all on the first attempt which P was really happy with.
Next I had to take 4 steps across the room and then strike a Showgirl pose. Again I was able to do this, OK, I was a little bit wobbly in my heels but I can remedy that. A few more practices and I knew what I was doing.
After this we moved on to a couple of other poses. P demonstrated a few poses and then told me to come up with a few poses of my own. While she nipped out of the room to see if she could find a CD player, as the one in the room was being temperamental, I thought about some poses.
When P returned she asked me to show her what I'd come up with and when I struck the poses she was delighted.
With that out of the way we again sat down for a chat. This time we talked about the three things that any Burlesque dancer needs to think about.
What was my character going to be like. There were three options, bawdy, demure and naïve. The first character would have been really interesting to portray but is so far from my usual personality that it would have been a real challenge in addition to concentrating on the dancing. Of the other two demure is closer to the normal me as I'm quite shy by nature and naïve is not too different but again would require a bit of acting to pull off, not as much as trying to be bawdy though.
In the end we decided that demure was the character to go with, although the other options are still there.
The second thing that needs to be thought about was which feature of your body is the one that you are going to use primarily. It doesn't have to be your best feature but one that you can tease the audience with.
In the past I've been told that I have good legs so I decided that would be the feature that I'd choose.
The final thing that P said I'd have to think about was a name. That was easy. I looked at her and told her that a friend had already given me a name. I told her that my Burlesque name was Jenna von Risque. P was pleased and told me that the name fitted with the demure character that we were going with.
With all of that covered we got back to practising.
My next challenge was to take 3 steps across the room, turn towards an imaginary audience and point my leg. I repeated this a couple of times.
P then rummaged in her bag and took out a couple of feather boas. I took one and she kept the other. I was shown various ways that a feather boa could be used. It was incredible the number of uses such a simple item could be put to.
Then came my next challenge. I had to repeat the walk, turn and point activity, only this time there was more to do.
Once I'd finished with pointing my leg I had to take the feather boa and run it down my leg while looking at the audience and making them believe that because I was running something expensive and luxurious over my legs then they too were luxurious and special. Once I'd done that I had to whirl the boa around my head before throwing it to one side.
The first time I did this the boa was all over the place. P suggested that I took hold of it somewhere in the middle in order to twirl it as it would make it shorter. Sure enough this was the case.
I practised this a few times before P added another element to it.
Once I'd run the boa over my leg I was to walk in a circle around the room before stopping and twirling then discarding the boa. Again I tried this a couple of times. My balance is still a little off in the heels but I didn't do to bad a job.
With the lesson coming to a close P showed me how to do chest and bum shimmies. I managed to do both quite well at the first attempt. When she asked me to a chest shimmy while leaning forward and then back I went to pieces as I lost my balance. Between now and the next lesson I have to practice leaning forward and backwards while wearing heels.
Of course I also have to practice the rest of what I was shown.
The final thing that P showed me was a way to move from almost a squatting position to a post with the arms held out in front of you while you rear is thrust back and you are bent over. I know its really difficult to describe without pictures but it was very simple to do. Especially when P said to imagine that I was holding a pole as I lifted myself up. She did point out that I might not want to hold my hands as if I was holding a pole as that would look really interesting as I lifted up.
With my hands face down and one on top of each other I struck the pose.
Just before I did though P asked me “have you ever done pole dancing?” When I shook my head she continued “you might want to try.” Now that is a thought. Me and a group of women doing pole dancing. I wonder what they would think of that. I might just think about it if there is a one off session on a class running locally to me.
At that point the lesson was at an end. P asked me if I had any long evening gloves. I haven't so she dug out some for me to try so that we could work out what size I needed. By next lesson I need to get a pair of my own. If I can get hold of my own boa before then it will be good. P is going to think about the routine that I'm going to learn based on what we did and the character to be portrayed. The music that we'll be practising to is My Heart Belongs to Daddy by David Rose, the composer who wrote The Stripper. We might need another song too depending on how long the routine ends up being.
Well that was my first Burlesque lesson but definitely the last.
A number of thoughts have gone through my mind since the lesson.
Firstly, that once I've taken a few lessons and have perfected and performed the routine then I would like to actually take a class with a group of women. If any of them are worried about have me in the class then I can turn up and do my routine for them to show what I've learnt and achieved.
Secondly, once I've got the routine to a standard that it is ready to be performed then I would like to book the room that hopefully we'll be practising in and invite a select group of people who know about my transitioning and also know about my taking up Burlesque. That means that I'd be inviting Lou, L (from work) and K (my friend who I told about my plans the other week). A small and select band. The other person that I would have to invite is Zee, she doesn't know about my dancing, yet, but will do before my next lesson. A small audience of four plus myself and P. I think that should be enough.
The final thing that went through my mind was that during all of the lesson I was completely relaxed and felt confident in what I was doing. It felt really natural to me to be doing those moves and poses. I've tried various things in the past, puppets because of working with the children's group at church, learning to play the guitar, drawing and even writing. Nothing has actually felt so right to me as what I was doing during that lesson. Maybe, just maybe I've actually found something that I might with practice actually be good at. I've thought about performing for an audience, bigger than 4 people that is. Although the thought does make me feel a little uneasy because I am a shy person my nature, if I could overcome the obvious disadvantages I have, i.e. I don't have a women's figure (not yet anyway) and at present would be seen as a man in drag (there has to be a way to come up with a routine that gets around that and allows me to do female Burlesque), then I would really love to give it a go and perform live in a show.
My next lesson is at the beginning of December and I'll update about the routine and what else I've learned then. The couple of days around then are going to be really interesting as following that i'll be going to see Lou to have my hair done, highlights put in and hopefully cut and styled into a feminine enough style for me to wear for the rest of that day and with a bit of touching up the following one. After Lou's I'll be going to Portsmouth and going out for a meal as Jen for the first time to a restaurant. I don't want to have to wear a wig to go out so hopefully Lou can work a miracle so that I look totally feminine once I've got my makeup on. How I appear and how people react to me will give me a good indication of people's reactions when I am full time.
The following day I'll be spending pretty much as Jen including another visit to Sugar and Spiced. More details about all of that once they've happened.
When I saw Dr Brooks the other week she told me that she would be writing to The Laurels on my behalf in order to see if they could suggest anything that I could be doing before I ask her to refer me onwards. Today I had a letter from Dr Brooks letting me know that she has heard from The Laurels. They have said that they do not refer anyone for speech therapy or hair removal (I wasn't expecting them to) before patients begin the Real Life Test. However, they have given Dr Brooks the name of a speech therapist at my local hospital. The lady in question might be prepared to offer me an assessment and some advice.
Dr Brooks has asked me to let her know if I think that it would be helpful as she will write to the speech therapist. There are no guarantees that she will agree to see me though.
I know what I'll be doing on Monday then. Phoning Dr Brooks to get her to write a letter. It certainly wont harm to ask and the speech therapist might just have a bit of time available to provide me with some suggestions as to how to start working on getting my voice to sound right.
The other evening I was on Facebook using my male account and not my femme account when up popped a couple of friends. I started to chat to them. After a while one of them had to get off to bed as she had to be up early for a day out. The other friend had confided in me that she was going through a rough patch so we carried on chatting.
With everything that she was telling me at some point I decided that I was going to share about my transitioning.
She took it in her stride and our chat got deeper and more personal. As a result of this our friendship has changed completely.
I've known her for a good few years now and have to admit that personality wise we are very much alike, I've actually thought that if I had been born into a female body then I would have been like her.
I like the way she dresses and behaves, if I had to make a list of people who I had to use as role models then she would be one of them.
We chatted until gone midnight when I finally had to bow to growing fatigue and the fact that I had to be up 5 hours later in order to get ready to go to work. 6am starts in work aren't fantastic, especially when your job is pretty much deskbound. Although realising that you've done half a day's work by the time everyone else has finally arrived is nice as is finishing work when everyone else still has half their day to go.
The both of us promised to keep each other up-to-date about what was happening.
I found myself thinking about her the following morning and hoping that we will be able to become even better friends once things are sorted out in both our lives.
That same evening I had to collect my phone as it had finally been returned from being repaired. As I was walking back through town with the plan of popping into a local department store to have a browse around and maybe buy some new lingerie before meeting up with the family who should I spot but my friend.
She was wandering around killing time too. We chatted briefly and were about the part company when I turned to her and asked if she wanted a coffee. She agreed so we went into the local Starbucks and spent the next hour chatting about out situations face to face.
I'd been thinking that morning how much it would be nice to get together with her for a drink or a coffee and suddenly there I was chatting about her problems and my transitioning over two mugs of cappucino.
Fate? I'll leave that up to people to decide but it certainly means that I have someone who knows me who can be a shoulder to cry on and who I can provide a shoulder for her to cry on.
Can't wait to have another coffee with her in the next couple of weeks so that I can find out how things have gone with her.
They say that there is no smoke without fire. Well that was certainly the case last week. My father-in-law has been down for the last week. On Wednesday the whole family were having showers. Father-in-law had had his, wife then had her shower, son was next. Finally it was my turn to make use of the bathroom. I was heading towards the bathroom when I found myself wondering what my son had being doing because it was full of steam. As I got closer I noticed that some of the steam was black. Eek, with a shock I realised that it wasn't steam but smoke. I raced into the bathroom, pulled back the door and found the electric shower in flames. Dashing back out I shouted to the rest of the family that there was a fire and then told the wife to turn off the electricity at the mains. Grabbing a towel I was back in the bathroom beating at the flames. Eventually I managed to put out the flames on the outside of the unit but it was still burning inside. Grabbing hold of the housing with the towel I pulled it from the wall. The inside of the unit was still on fire so I continued to beat out the flames until finally they were all out. At that point I went downstairs in time to take the phone from a neighbour who had started to dial the emergency services. Within 5 minutes the fire brigade had arrived. The firemen made sure that the fire was out, that the loft hadn't been set alight above the bathroom, fitted a smoke detector to the upstairs ceiling and turned on a giant fan in order to ventilate the property. With all that done they were able to leave. The next couple of hours were spent arranging for an electrician and plumber to come round and make the shower safe and reporting the fire to the insurance company. The bathroom is pretty much out of use at the moment. The bath certainly is. A specialist cleaning firm came around on Friday to see what needed to be done to clean up the place. We're waiting for the insurance company to authorise the work. Its amazing just how far the soot particles carried. We've found them even in the kitchen downstairs. Even more amazing is the fact that it is going to take 2 days to clean the areas that are worst affected, the bathroom, part of the landing and my son's bedroom. The fact that the fire was contained within the bathroom doesn't seem to have stopped it affecting other areas.
Hopefully we'll have it all sorted soon and can at least get back to using the bath. Having a new shower fitted will take a little bit longer but hopefully not too long.
The only good thing is that I was home and that my son had had his shower when he did. I would hate to think what would have happened if I'd been the one having the shower and he'd had his later on during the day as had been planned. If I'd been the one to shower then it might have been 15 to 20 minutes before the fire was discovered by the time I'd got dried and dressed in my bedroom and come back out again. By then the entire bathroom and loft could have been well alight. I shiver to think of what that would have been like.
The best bit of all this though is that on the Monday and Tuesday I'd been on a First Aid Refresher. What was the most important point that was drilled into us over the two days. Check for danger, don't put yourself or a casualty at risk. First chance I get I put myself at risk.
At least I know that in an emergency I wont get flustered and will simply get on with things.
For the last week I've been more or less offline. Making up for it with an explosion of posts.
Over the last few weeks my laptop has been playing up. The screen has been flickering, it has gone blank if its been in the wrong position or even if I move it while the laptop is on. Eventually I contacted the repair people at PC World and they sent a courier to collect it so that they could fix what appeared to be a faulty connection between the screen and the main part of the laptop. 7 to 10 days without a laptop but up to a month I was told. Ok, I can cope with that, I still have my Blackberry.
Huh, the day after I contact PC World about the laptop my phone decides firstly that it wasn't going to turn on. After an hour of charging the phone turned on. Oh joy, now it started to dial someone from my contacts. Before I finally took it back to the shop to get it repaired, or in this case replaced, it must have dialled the school room at the local hospital a dozen times.
The shop told me that it would take 7 to 10 days to get it dealt with.
I have to admit being without my phone has been good, without the laptop not so.
As of today my laptop has been returned and appears to be working fine. My phone is due back in the shop on Thursday so I should be able to pick it up either at the end of Thursday or on Friday.
By the weekend I should be back up and in contact with everyone I need to be again.
The last couple of weeks have been simply one thing after another.
A couple of days after seeing Dr Brooks again I went to see one of the vicars, D, at the church I attend and his wife, B. Earlier this year I had dropped out of a number of groups that I'd been involved in. One of the reasons for this was a course I'd been doing which had made me think about who I really am and who others see me as. Dealing with this made me bring forward my plans to transition from the end of this year to the beginning. When I'd dropped out of leading Sunday school I hadn't told D and B the actual reason why I was doing so.
The other evening was my chance to explain. With S there I sat down and after a bit of general chat got down to the reason for the visit. Amazingly I actually found that I couldn't speak, the words wouldn't come out. S had to step in and explain things.
Once S had told D and B what had been going on I found that I could tell them about things and we were able to discuss everything.
Well the conversation pretty much went the way that you would expect. D and B didn't really have any experience of transsexuality and so asked questions. I did my best to answer them.
While we were chatting I noticed that B has a sad look on her face a few times. I've not had a chance to talk to her properly since. Hopefully I'll have the chance to do so soon.
At least they now both know what is happening and why I dropped out of things.
The interesting thing though was last week we had an All Age Service at church which B led. The theme of the talk was "the masks we wear". B talked about the different masks that we wear and even mentioned the material from the course that prompted me to take action earlier in the year. I'm sure that it was a coincidence. It did feel that the talk was aimed at me. I'm sure that others felt exactly the same though.
I bet that we wont be talking about that talk at group this week. I'm sure that S will be steering clear of the subject to avoid any sticky moments.
I had my appointment in Taunton with Dr Brooks. It was an interesting experience. I set off with plenty of time to get to the place. Last time I got lost as the address on the letters that they send you is near the train station while the actual place is about 2 miles away. Anyway, I knew one of the addresses was wrong so picked the address I thought was right. Doh, blonde moment. Ended up near the train station again so had a lttle detour while I reprogrammed the satnav for the correct place. Finally I arrived with 20 minutes to spare. I thought about sitting in the car for a while as last time the place was full. In the end I decided to go in as I only had 15 minutes to wait and had a book to read. Walking into reception I found that there was only two other people there. I spoke with the receptionist to tell her who I was and who I was there to see then sat down to read. While I was sitting there and making a few notes on a pad I could hear the two women around the corner groaning at what was on television. Curiosity got the better of me and I went around to join them watching Life On Earth. After a couple of minutes the one woman was called through which left me and the younger one. I was making some notes when she shrieked and started going on about a spider. I looked up to see what was going on and she was gesturing at this tiny spider that was dangling just in front of her. I put my book down, got up and took hold of the spiders thread and carried it outside before letting it go. Apparently she was scared of spiders. My good deed was done for the day. She was called through just after that so I was left sitting in the waiting room with this guy in a wheelchair. He was called in to a small interview room just of reception which left just me. I sat there for 5 minutes waiting when suddenly there was a lot of shouting and the door to the interview was slammed open. The guy in the wheelchair came hurtling out, yelling at the women in the room that he pitied them for not understanding, slammed the door shut behind him on a startled looking woman and stormed across the waiting room. I stared at the television ignoring him as I didn't want to engage with him. His incredibly pissed off and dramatic exit was unfortunately halted by the doors when he attempted to open first the wrong one and then the right one the wrong way. :-) A couple of minutes after this I went in to see Dr Brooks. The interview itself didn't take long. I went over what I'd done with talking to family, including that I can't tell my son just yet. I told her that I didn't want to have to go back to square one so she suggested that I have another appointment in 6 months time. She said that is probably a good thing as The Laurels have currently put a hold on all referals and so even if she had written me a referal I'd have still had to wait. I'd read about The Laurels moving to Exeter and a halt to any new operations but since they don't do operations there its a halt to new referals that they have put in place. So in 6 months time I can go back and see Dr Brooks, or even bring the appointment forward if need be. When I originally sat down to write this I couldn't see me bringing forward the appointment. Events since then have left me thinking that maybe I could end up bringing the appointment forward. In the meantime Dr Brooks is going to write to The Laurels to see what things they recommend that I can get on with in the preparation for seeing them, I'm thinking things like speech therapy so that I sound more like a female, maybe even electrolysis. Once Dr Brooks has heard from them she will write to me to let me know what they say. In the end I was back out again by about 10 to 12. When I got in the car I rang my wife and told her what was happening. I told her that she could now talk to her mum. Her reply was that there was no need to as things were still a long way off. I was a bit confused by this until she said that its going to be 5 or 6 years before anything happens! I know that we'd agreed to wait until Rhys was older, 16 years of age at the earliest, which is why I wanted to see what other options there were. As it is I'm not sure that I can wait 4 years. I fully expect that something will happen to change that, probably Rhys finding out before then. Once that happens then my wife is not going to be happy and I suspect the marriage will be over. The fact that she isn't going to tell her mum right now means, I think, that she is in denial over all this and expects it to go away by the time 5 years is up. I think that she is hoping that by putting this delay in my way then in 5 years time things will be different. Alternatively she's probably thinking that another reason for me not transitioning will come up, probably she's hoping that we'll have another child and she can use that as an excuse to stop me going forward. Personally I can't see me being able to deal with 4 years let alone 5 or 6. I said to Dr Brooks that if it was up to me then I was ready to be referred to The Laurels right now. Only time will tell but I'm not expecting to be waiting to transition in 5 years time, either I'll be in the middle of transitioning or have completed everything and finally be living full time as a woman.
Earlier this year I had a conversation with one of the vicars at our church and his wife in order to explain to them that I would be standing down from helping out with the children's groups. It was at the time that I was looking to get my referral to the gender identity clinic. Having discussed my plans with some friends they suggested that I should step down from the leadership roles that I was involved in at the time. This I duely did but without explaining to the vicar and his wife. Our main vicar and his wife are fully aware of what is going on and also the reasons for me stepping down. At our church we use a cell group structure where everyone who wanted to is allocated to one of a number of small groups. The idea is that is provides people with the chance to get together with several others, grow to know them better while praying, studying the bible and socialising together. It also provides people with a support network so that when things happen the rest of the group are available to provide help in whatever way they can. Each of the groups has a mentor who looks after several groups. The mentor is there to help smooth any issues that may arise between group members and the leaders of the group. They are also there to provide support for the leaders. My cell group has had our main vicar's wife as mentor. Being fully aware of what is going on in my life this has made it easy for my friends who lead the group to talk to her about things. Today I got a phone call from S, the female leader, to tell me that our groups mentor was changing and that it was going to be our other vicar that is taking over. He does not know anything about what is going on. S told me that her and her husband had been asked to go and talk to the vicar. She wanted my permission to explain what is going on. I told S that I didn't want her to say anything as I wanted to do it myself. I'd decided months ago that I owed this chap and his wife and explanation. I'd planned on telling them after I saw the psychiatrist next as by then I would know exactly what is happening. Even though that is two weeks away now it looks like I'm going to have to explain things to them before then. I've emailed to try and find out when they are both around and to make an appointment. Hopefully that will be this week some time. So it looks like I'm going to be having another of these coming out conversations. I might just be getting good at doing these. At least I wont have to stand up in front of our church and explain things. That's what the vicar is there for.
I had another session with Amz at the salon yesterday. Body wax, eyebrow wax and pluck and an eyelash tint. Even Amz acknowledged just how long my hair had grown, not the body hair but the hair on the top of my head. At the start of the year my hair was very short, now it reaches down below the bottom of my ears.
Anyway, hair aside yesterday I did something that made Amz bounce around for joy.
When I first had my eyelashes tinted I went with a brown tint so that it wouldn't be at all noticeable. After that first time I have had my lashes dyed black. However, Amz has been teasing me by asking if I was going to go for a blue/black tint each time I've seen her. Yesterday I yet again responded to this suggestion by choosing the basic black. As I was putting my things back on after the bodywaxing I turned to Amz and told her that next time I come, which is at the beginning of December, I will let her use the blue/black tint.
I swear that she jumped for joy! She was so excited and happy that she said that it was her Christmas present.
After I'd settled up and was heading out I reminded her about the next session and she was bouncing with happiness on her chair. She even said that she was going to write it down on the card she keeps notes of the session on.
Yesterday was a good day as I made someone really nice, really happy. I can't wait to see what she is like when I see her next.
I've just come across Josie's website and her Writing Workshop. I thought I'd have a go at one of this weeks assignments as it was something I so wish I could actually do.
Its not often that a person gets the chance to give advice to their younger self. For quite some time now I've wanted to have the opportunity to go back in time and talk to my younger self and give you the chance to make different decisions in life based on my experiences.
OK, before I get into the major life changing stuff there is one thing I really want you to do.
You are working part time in a supermarket at the moment. One of the women there and you rub each other up the wrong way. You know the one, she's older than you and has children. At Christmas both of you will go to the staff party. There will be a disco and the two of you will end up dancing together. You'll bet each other that you can out dance the other. My young friend, you are going to have a thoroughly enjoyable evening and both of you are going to find that you actually like each other, the reason for you rubbing each other up the wrong way is because you are actually attracted to each other. A couple of months after that you are going to leave that job and at your leaving party you are going to chat with her and things will be going really well until your best mate gets drunk and messes things up. My suggestion to you is that as soon as you dance with her at the Christmas meal you ask her out on a date. Do it quietly so as not to embarrass her but ASK HER OUT. If you don't then you will regret it!
Right, that is that out of the way. Now to the really life changing stuff.
For a few years now you have been struggling with the fact that you want to be a girl. Everyday that you go to school you see your female classmates and you ache to be one of them. You'll remember the article in the newspaper about the boy who dressed as a girl and won the beauty contest, before been discovered and disqualified. You remember how you wanted them to want to spend their life as a girl and how you were prepared to protect them and wanted to be their partner. Well I know that you actually wanted to be that person, you wanted to be the girl so badly.
My young self, you think that you are a crossdresser but you aren't. You are going to spend the next 20 years struggling with this before finally realising that you are transsexual and have to act to become the person that you are inside on the outside.
Trust me when I say that your feelings will not go away but will get worse as the years go by. You are going to reach rock bottom emotionally before you finally start to deal with things.
I don't want to see you going through all of that. You have the chance to live the life you should have been born to, don't waste it.
Yes, if you don't change things now then you will have a good life. You'll get to travel the world a little bit, you'll have a home of your own, a wife and a son. But you will not be true to yourself or to anyone else. You'll spend a long time being who others think you should be and not who you are.
Go to your doctor, tell them that you want to be a woman and ask them to refer you to people who can help you to do that.
I can't offer you any career advice, if you follow my route then you will work on some incredible projects over the years and meet a lot of interesting people. You'll be able to do all those things equally as well as a female, probably more so as you wont be hiding who you are from your friends and colleagues.
At the moment you are also at a low point with your faith in God. That will change. If you transition to being a female it may even mean that your faith grows considerably as you wont be presenting yourself as one thing to other people but will be able to be open and honest with fellow Christians. If you end up living in the same place as I am and going to the same church then that openness is going to make a huge difference.
My young self, please don't follow my path and ended up wasting so much of your life and hiding who you really are from people. Transition now and live your life as the female that you were born to be.
All my love, and lots of hugs. The road wont be easy but it will be worthwhile.
Tomorrow I have my second appointment with the psychiatrist. Unfortunately I'm going to have to rearrange it as over the weekend I developed a cough which was bad enough for me to make an appointment to see my GP yesterday and also to phone work and tell them I wont be in for a few days until I'm no longer coughing.
My boss agreed with my decision as we can't afford for me to pass on whatever I've got to the rest of the team and to have large numbers of them off sick. We have a tight work schedule between now and next February and anything that impacts could cause major problems.
I saw my GP and after checking me over she told me that I had a viral infection. Well as the worst symptoms were the cough and a few aches I was happy to take a few days off work but still planned on going to see the psychiatrist as I felt I should be OK by Wednesday.
Last night things changed and after getting out of bed to grab a quick drink of water I found myself feeling chiilly when I returned to bed. Well within half an hour of this I was lying in bed soaked to the skin. Taking my temperature showed that it was just over 38 Celsius (100.4 Fahrenheit). Even taking paracetomol to try and bring down the temperature didn't help too much as I spent the rest of the night going through periods of sweating.
Even though the appointment isn't until tomorrow and its only about a 30 minute drive away there is no way that I am going to drive there and back in this condition. Looks like I'll have another couple of weeks to wait until I see the doctor again.
On the brighter side I was able to update my GP on some of the other things I've been to see her about recently. I was actually quite impressed as I must have been in there for 10 to 15 minutes and she took the time to talk through everything with me and wasn't rushing me back out the door. I like my GP!
Last Wednesday I had another appointment at the hair salon. As usual it was an interesting experience.
I've recently started going to a Pilates class. This week was my second one. Apart from the woman who takes the class there are about 8 to 10 women, one guy who seems to be coming every other week and myself. After my knee playing up back in early July and my visit to the physiotherapist I've determined that I really have to get back into exercise and to do something about building up some core body strength.
Last Wednesday, after my class finished at 6pm I took a leisurely drive the 30 odd miles to Mere where the salon is. Lou was alone in the salon as usual doing a bit of tidying when I arrived. As I was 10 minutes early we had plenty of time for a chat.
Lou made us both a coffee and we sat down. The last time I saw her was before I'd spoken to my wife about transitioning and so I had a lot to fill her in on.
Last time I saw her was after my trip to Portsmouth and my drive back so that she could see what I looked like with make-up on. When I left I'd been going to see my friend L. Lou was keen to find out what happened so I told her about going to L's for a 2 hour chat and eventually getting home after midnight. Lou was pleased for me that the day had gone so well.
After that I told her about my chat with my wife, not all the details as I didn't think she needed to know about everything that happened before hand. Lou is a great listener and it was fabulous being able to talk through things that I haven't been able to talk about with others.
I told her about the two hour chat, the fact that she wanted me to hold off from telling our son, her plans to discuss things with her mum once I've seen Dr Brooks, her wanting to try to be more supportive and about my having the opportunity to really be myself the weekend after.
In order to explain some of my feelings that weekend I had told her about Sam coming over for lunch and spending the afternoon. I also told her about my conviction during that afternoon that I definitely wanted to have what was between my legs removed. We talked about a few other relationship things. She agreed with me when I said that my life is definitely complicated.
While we talked I explained that although I had agreed not to tell my son just yet and was willing to wait a bit, I still want to carry on transitioning. If I hold off now then I fully expect the doctors to make it even more difficult for me to do later on. I really don't want to have to go back to square one and start the process again in a couple of years time. To be honest I'm not even sure that I could manage to hold out the four to six years that the wife would want me to. If I did manage to hold out that long then what would my son think about me keeping such a secret from him for that length of time. If I do that then I'm going to be nearly 50 by the time I start transitioning properly. I really don't think that I can wait that long.
I am so glad that I have Lou to talk to from time to time as other than her total enthusiasm for styling my hair and wanting to take me out shopping, she has no vested interest in what I'm doing.
After chatting for nearly half an hour over coffee we got down to the real business of sorting out my hair. A little while back Lou had got me a pair of hair straighteners. Really dinky ones. She told me that I had to bring them with me last time but I ended up leaving them in the car, although I didn't know it at the time. Lou had given me strict orders to remember them this time.
While sorting out my girl things the other week I found a pair of GHD hair straighteners that I'd bought the last time I grew my hair out. These are full size ones, exactly the same as Lou uses in the salon. Well, seeing that I had my own full size straighteners she took the smaller pair back as she can use them in the salon.
Lou got to work straightening my hair and it was lovely to see it looking so long. She trimmed the ends to make sure that they were tidy. Having done all that she looked at me and said that she was so tempted to cut some shape into my hair but wasn't going to. If she started cutting any style into it then I would end up with a bob. Since I still have to go to work as a male for the time being, turning up with my hair in an undeniably female style would start people talking.
Of course I was also tempted to let her get cutting but as there is no way to hide a hairstyle like that then we had to leave it for now. However, she raised the issue of possibly adding some highlights to my hair, something I like the idea of so next time that is what we are going to do.
Once again I had a fantastic time with Lou. One thing did come up though which I missed the opportunity to comment on but fully intend to ask about next time.
When I walked into the salon Lou greeted me as normal. She then went on to say that she loved the rope pictures. I had to think what she was talking about for a moment before realising that she was talking about the bondage pictures that I had taken in Portmouth. Lou didn't say anything about the pictures of me dressed in the clothes that I'd worn to go for the walk to the cemetary and back or even to wore the rest of the day, just the rope pictures.
As she's not seen the pictures that Jo took I'm going to take all the pictures that I've had developed along to my next appointment so that she can see them all properly. When I do I might just ask why she liked those specifically.
Next Wednesday I have my second appointment with the psychiatrist in Taunton. Having done what she asked and talked with my family it will be interesting. Especially after talking with my wife about my plans and how we are going to handle things because of our son. I've got the whole day off so will have a couple of hours to go over whatever happens during the appointment.
I' ve just bought some new nail varnish. Its a beige/toffee colour and is almost the same colour as my skin tone. I'm thinking of wearing that to the appointment. In fact I'm actually wearing it now but will probably clean it off this morning in case my son notices it.
I've been growing my hair longer for quite a bit of this year so that I can ditch the wig and go with own hair instead. I've had a few comments from people about getting haircuts and its length in general. Today topped it all. After showering this morning I dried my hair but didn't have enough time to run the hair straighteners through it properly or gel to hold it in place properly. As a result I left the house and went to work with my hair having a bit more volume to it than normal. Everything was fine until I had to have a chat with my boss, V, at her desk in our open plan office. Very quickly I was feeling as if I'd gone bright red. Last Thursday I left work early as a couple of early mornings, one driving to Heathrow and the other rescuing a neighbours cat from two foxes that were trying to eat it, left me incredibly tired. On Friday I phoned in and said I was taking the day off. This morning I sat down to discuss some work with V and she immediately said "Good morning, slacker". J, who sits next to her turned around and said with some astonishment "Slapper, why is he a slapper". V and I looked at her and I mouthed "slack er". Well I've been called a few things but never a slapper. At this point I could actually feel the colour starting to rise in my face as I was now the centre of attention for those within earshot. V then looked at me and said "having a bit of a bouffant day today", drawing attention to my slightly more voluminous than normal hairstyle. I muttered something about having washed it and now haaving a bad hair day, while feeling like my face was going to burst into flames. I'm just glad that V didn't make any comments about me blushing as that really! Of course that fact that someone has described my hair as bouffant really made my day!