Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Day out - almost

Today was supposed to be a my first time out anywhere in public as Jenny. Although I was a bit nervous about it I was looking forward to spending some time wandering around the shops in Taunton with a female friend of mine.

It looks like that isn't going to happen though.

Last night my son came home from school last night, he pottered about for a few hours until at about 5pm he came into the kitchen where I was preparing dinner and said he had a headache. I gave him a couple of paracetamol and he went upstairs to have a lie down on his bed.

Within minutes he was fast asleep under his duvet and with a small blanket pulled over his head. Its been very warm recently and he had a few times over the weekend, especially Saturday, when he has complained of being cold and shivering. On Saturday I was supposed to go to a burlesque show in Bristol but since it would have meant taking the car with me then I had to stay home in case he got worse and needed to go into hospital.

Last night we left him sleep for an hour and then got him up for dinner. He came downstairs, said he was cold and then disappeared only to return moments later wearing a jumper. We sat down to eat dinner but for someone who usually doesn't have a problem eating food he ended up leaving most of his.

He came to sit next to me at the dinner table so he could have a cuddle. I sent him into the other room to have a cuddle with his mum before the two of us went upstairs to watch a couple of episodes of A Town Called Eureka, which was his Easter present. He spent the rest of the evening shivering quite badly even with a jumper on and under the duvet while we watched television.

Eventually he went to bed just before 9pm.

Even if he goes to school this morning someone has to be here first thing, as his mum has to go to work for an hour or so, in case he feels so unwell that he has to come home. This means that I can't go to my friend's and get ready to go out in case the school send him home before his mum gets back. With the restrictions on what I can and can't do at home I can't even get ready at home.

My friend and I are still going to meet up at lunchtime but instead of Jenny going out it will be me in male mode. We're going to go for a swim, which will help with my triathlon training anyway, and then get a coffee afterwards. If we have enough time I might drag her into a couple of shops and see if we can find some perfume for me as I'm not got any at the moment and I really could do with some.

In the meantime I'm going to ring the hospital first thing this morning anyway because we need to sort out what is causing all of this shivering. He had a MRI scan the other week didn't show anything but we've not heard from the hospital with regard to what they want to do next. They seem to be as much at a loss as we are. There was talk about him seeing the endocrinologist that he is under in Bristol for his growth and hormone levels and also possibly seeing a neurologist from Bristol, both of these were supposed to be in Yeovil during April but we've not received appointments to see them. Time to be proactive, again, with the hospital.

I'll have to arrange my day out for another time, perhaps when we both have more time and wont be rushed getting back. As you can imagine, despite feeling nervous about it, I'm pretty gutted by not being able to get this first milestone out of the way.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Smiling again

I have some of the most awesome friends!
Two of them in particular will know who they are if they read this post.

Thank you both for spending time chatting with me tonight and making me feel so much better than I was feeling at 10pm yesterday (its 1:30am as I write this).

You can guess from my last post just how low I was after my discussion with my other half. Well not any more. I'm all fired up and the sassy, confident Jenny is back.

If my other half had planned today in order to keep me under control then its backfired. This evening I sent my sister an email telling her that I'd asked for a referral to the GIC. Something that I hadn't done because of her reaction to my news last summer. With my enthusiasm for life fired again I've sent her another email, this time including my last two posts so that she is aware of what has happened today. If she gets back to me then i might share a few more of my low points with her so that she can understand how bad things are for me at times.

Tomorrow I'm going to start working out what my way ahead is. One thing is for certain though. My other half, if she really did plan today, is in for a rude awakening. If she didn't plan it, well she's going to find that she needs to put some effort in and try to understand where I'm coming from otherwise a number of decisions will be taken out of her hands.

Jenny is back, alive and kicking.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

D Day Part 2

Well I met up with my other half at lunchtime to discuss what is happening.

The pub that we'd arrange to meet at was packed solid with families making the most of the school holidays to eat out. We adjourned to another pub that was near where I work. Even that was packed but we managed to find a table where we could have a private conversation without anyone else overhearing.

I made sure that she'd read the letter and we started to discuss everything.

After talking through everything I now know where I stand.

I'm not allowed to tell my son about my seeking gender reassignment, at least not until the last possible moment so that I don't have time to explain it to him properly and certainly wont be able to give him the time he needs to adjust to the idea.
We're not going to tell my in-laws because it will cause an atmosphere and make people uneasy
We're not going to tell out bible study group until after out church weekend in Devon in mid June so that we don't cause any awkwardness.
I'm not allowed to be Jenny at home while my son is around. As the only times at the moment that he's not likely to be around are in August when he goes to Ireland and September/October time when he goes to France I'm pretty much restricted to finding places outside the home to go to.
I'm not allowed to go somewhere and then come back home and get changed, which means that I either have to change and remove my make-up where ever I go to or I have to resort to getting changed and removing make-up in lay-bys or car parks. Just the sort of place to get questioned by passing police or picked on my trans-phobic idiots.
We have to make the effort to do things as a family on weekends and over the summer and I need to spend more time with them in the evenings. Apparently its likely to be the last year that we'll be able to do that.
As far as my other half is concerned she wants to protect our son.

Sorry this is such a depressing post but all of this has got me really down. I've taken the time to spell out to my other half how I feel and what she needs to think about. I've arranged to meet up with her and talk things over. After doing all that where am I. In the same position that I've been since the day my son was born. My other half has been trapped and as long as I abide by what she wants then she gets to keep the status quo. Without doing something radical and upsetting everything then I'm stuck. If I do something radical like walking out then everything comes crashing down around her and then my life will be really hell because I'm pretty sure that she will do her best to get her own back somehow.

I'm at a loss as to what to do. All of this is just going to get worse before it gets better.

Next Monday I was supposed to be debuting the burlesque routine to some friends. I'd planned to get my hair done especially. Maybe get it lightened a bit more, some curls put into it and then have it set. Possibly even clip-in hair extensions to give it a bit of length. I'm giving serious thought to cancelling it as I'm struggling to find the energy or enthusiasm to go to the length of having hair extensions that I'm going to have to sit in the car somewhere on the way back and remove somehow.

Anyway, that's enough for now. Going to go and climb back into my little box before somebody realizes that I've gotten out of it.

D Day

In previous posts I've mentioned that my other half wont discuss what is going on when it comes to my GRS and everybody who knows my plans agrees that she is in denial.

The other weekend I spent 77 minutes on the phone to a friend S that knows all about my plans. I'd only rung her to have a 2 minute call in order to tell her that my other half had missed out on a job that S had helped her complete an application form for. The other 75 minutes were spent with S trying to persuade me to sign up to attend our church parish weekend in June and eventually discussing my other half's refusal to discuss things.

I don't think that S realized just how much my other half was in denial. After I'd explained a few things she came up with a suggestion as to how to proceed. S suggested that I write a letter explaining everything that she needs to think about, list the options that we have for how to proceed with our relationship and family life and set a date, time and place for us to meet up on neutral ground in order to discuss things.

I sat down and over the next couple of days wrote the letter. Last Friday morning before I left for Southampton I passed her the letter, told her what was in it and said it was up to her if she read it or not.

I know that she has read the letter as I had a text message from her as I was on my way to Southampton and she has also said things that relate to what I'd written and the options that we had as far as I saw them.

Today is therefore D Day. At 1pm I will be sitting in a pub that is halfway between where I  work and where we live waiting to see if she turns up. If she does then we will discuss the letter and work out where we go from here. If she doesn't turn up then I'll have my answer as to where we go from here.

Today she finally has to face up to what is happening and make a decision as to whether she can in fact support me through what is ahead like she said she would when all of this still looked to be several years down the line.

By this evening I'll know one way or the other.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

It might be sooner rather than later

Today was my first day in work since I had my hair done last Thursday evening.

I arrived in work about mid morning because of a hospital appointment first thing. Having switched on my computer, checked my emails and gone over a couple of things with a colleague I went and got a cup of coffee. As I was heading back to my desk I bumped into one of the receptionists. She looked at my hair and asked "have you changed your hair colour?" I laughed off the question and said no just highlights. She looked at me and asked "is there something you want to tell me?" Again I laughed off the question and we changed the subject.

Now it my own fault but curiosity got the better of me and I emailed her to ask what made her think I might have something to tell her.

The response I got back was interesting. She told me that growing my hair longer and changing its colour, the way my skin looked softer and also the fact that she thought I'd been wearing eyeliner a few weeks previously and made her wonder about me.

Initially I denied the eyeliner but the tone of my response was such that she was mortified that she had got it so wrong. We traded a few more emails by which time she was almost ready for me to never speak to her again. Instead I got up from my desk and walked to reception.

There were just the two of us there so I went over and asked how long we'd known each other and then asked her what she thought was going on.

Again someone surprises me by noticing the changes and putting two and two together and coming up with the right answer. She looked at me and asked "are you transsexual, transgender?" Well there was no point in denying it so I told her I was TS. We were able to briefly finish the conversation and traded a few more emails.

At lunchtime as I was sitting alone eating one of the women that I've sat down and had lunch with in the past got up from her table and walked passed me. She smiled as she did. Now it could have been a completely friendly smile or something about me had amused her.

It looks like no matter how much I think that I've been keeping things under wraps, I've given off enough signs that observant people are noticing things and working out what it happening. At this rate lots of other people will begin to work out what is happening and I might have to go full time a lot sooner than planned. If I do then it will be time that counts towards my RLT, much as I really want to get this show on the road I want to do things with as much knowledge as possible.

Whatever happens from here on in I know that I have got two allies at work, not including HR. In a couple of weeks time I'll be going out for a drink with both of the women that know so that they can ask any questions that they want to and which I'll answer as best I can.

I was hoping that I could go full time after I'd been to The Laurels, which would have hopefully meant going full time in the New Year, but that might just not be possible and I might just be going full time a lot sooner than planned.

Friday, 8 April 2011

High pain threshold

As promised in my last post here is an update on my laser hair removal session.

A few weeks ago I started looking for someone to perform laser hair removal of my beard area. Zee had told me that I needed to go the laser route as the system she uses and also a lot of IPL systems wont do anything to my hairs as they are the wrong colour.

I searched on Google and then went and looked on UK Angels and Transgender Guide. I managed to come up with a few suggestions, both of which were in Taunton, that were within a reasonable traveling distance.

The first place I contacted the lady who ran it asked me a few questions about my skin type and hair colour and then told me that I wasn't a suitable candidate. After a few more minutes conversation I managed to persuaded her to at least do a consultation in person rather than over the phone.

I drove to Taunton, found the place and at the agreed time rang the doorbell. We went through to her treatment room where she promptly told me that by just looking I wasn't a suitable candidate. She handed me a leaflet on IPL to read so that I could understand why. I asked if she new of any other means for me to get rid of the hair in my beard areas but she wasn't really interested and didn't offer anything constructive.

I was a bit upset by this visit because its an hour round trip from my home to Taunton and back. To be dismissed within minutes with no real suggestions of any alternatives was a real letdown. On top of that plastered across the front of her home were a lot of signs, one of which read "Laser Hair Removal".

I contacted the other place that I'd found and was told by the lady on the other end of the phone that they didn't treat areas as large as a beard area. A bit disappointing but at least she saved me a trip for a consultation.

The third place I tried was a clinic in Dorset. Their response was even simpler. They didn't do hair removal.

By now, all of my initial options had panned out so I expanded my search. Eventually I came across Dr Emma Scully, who is based in Southampton. I'd found another couple of options but Emma was the person I contacted first.

I rang her one lunchtime while sitting at a picnic table outside work. I explained  what I was looking forward to and Emma spoke to me for about 30 minutes explaining about hair removal, the problems I might face and ways to overcome them. I have to admit that I did suffer from information overload, although most of what Emma told me I could follow.

A couple of weeks later I rang Emma and made a booking for today, 8th April  2011.

After a perfect drive down I arrived at Emma's.

We went over a lot of the same information about problems and ways around it. Emma also asked me about when I was out in the sun last as I was a bit red, slightly tanned. Emma told me that we could still work at removing the hair but I have to start using suntan lotion when I go out in order to make sure that my skins is as pale as possible. I will be doing that as of tomorrow.

Emma eventually wrote up some notes and filled in the necessary paperwork. I have to admit I could understand the problems and if Emma had said that she would treat me this time I'd have been happy to leave things until next time.

In the end after being there an hour my skin had calmed down and was a lot paler. Emma decided to do a treatment.

We went into the treatment room and I lay on the treatment couch.

Emma kept telling me to put myself in a happy place and to try and stay relaxed. Emma started off with a patch test and when everything went fine she started with the proper treatment.

What can I say? Having the hair stripped from your body by means of applying hot wax to it which then gets torn off was no where near as painful. However, I was able to stay relaxed enough that it stung but didn't hurt too badly. The initial zaps were at either 17 or 21 joules which was sufficient to kill most hairs.

Towards the end of the treatment Emma used an air blast to numb my skin while she used and even powerful laser to zap the hairs. I think this one went up to 30 joules.

All of this actually brought tears to my eyes but I persevered and we were done.

After a few minutes any pain had gone and after another short chat I left and headed back for home.

I have to admit that the session went really well. Emma certainly knows her stuff and is able to explain things clearly. My next appointment is in 6 weeks time so I'll have to book off the afternoon.

I was quiet emotional in the car on the way home. The realisation that I was finally doing something towards going full-time was amazing. I did think that I was going to cry at one point. I may still do.

Roll on the next session.

Hair today, gone tomorrow

Yesterday evening I had another appointment at the hair salon.
As I sat in the chair Lou looked at me in the mirror and asked "highlights?" I nodded and then said "can we go a bit blonder?"
An hour and a half later and my hair is pretty much blonde. If there are highlights there then they are my natural hair colour. By the time that Lou had finished she was clapping her hands and telling me that she had been waiting ages to do what she'd done to my hair.

In 10 days time I'm finally going to be debuting the burlesque routine that I've been practicing. Before I went to the salon I had my last practice with by teacher. At the end of the lesson we talked about what I could do with my hair and she's lent me a book with pictures of Marilyn Monroe. Yes, I am going for the blond bombshell look.

Lou took a look through the book as she will be doing my hair on the day. She's going to put rollers in and set my hair and then we are going to play with it and see what looks good. I'll either be putting it up or we'll be adding clip-in extensions to give it a bit of length so that we can do something a bit more ambitious.

Oh, and I'll be going totally blonde, not just highlights (even extensive highlights).

I am so excited by the prospect and I am sure that my dance teacher is going to love the look. I know Lou will.

Today I'm doing something different with hair. I'm going to Southampton to have my first session of laser hair removal to get rig of the beard. Without the beard shadow I shouldn't need to use things like Dermablend to cover that part of my face when I wear make-up. With a bit of luck one of these days I might even just need a suitable foundation that I can pick up from Boots or the make-up counter at a department store.

I've spoken with the person that will be doing the hair removal, she certainly knows what she is talking about. I've also heard her recommended by others on some of the forums that I'm on. It should be an interesting experience at the very least and one that I'll share once I get back.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Etiquette and things not to ask

Jane recently published a post over at her blog with some links to two posts that I found really interesting.

The first is Trans Etiquette for non trans people.

The second post was Ten Things Not to Say to a Trans Person.

I quite enjoyed them both so I'm quite grateful to Matt Kailey for writing them.

However, today I got my first experience of any of these in person. Today I got number 6 on the Trans Etiquette.

Got talking with a friend at work who I was thinking about coming out to. Hadn't meant to have the conversation today but she made some comments which made me realise that she guessed that I was planning to GRS.
As we were sat talking she leaned towards me and asked me whether I was going to fancy men after I'd completed GRS.


Fortunately I could answer the question as I've been thinking about that question because its the 4th time that I've been asked it by people that I know who have been told of my plans. On two of the occasions, the same person was involved in asking the question. On the third occasion it was Zee from the salon who asked me. Of the people that have asked Zee is actually the only one that I was happy for to ask me the question.

So what was the answer to her question, am I going to fancy men or women after I've completed GRS. Um, you'd better go and read that etiquette post again. There's just some things that you don't ask a trans person.