Thursday, 30 June 2011

Burlesque Debut

As I've mentioned before last November I decided that I would start taking burlesque lessons. I decided that I would have one-to-one lessons rather than join a class. After having taught me the basics, M, my teacher who is simply amazing, and I began working on a routine. In April this year after a couple of prompts I joined her intermediate class. Last Monday I finally put all that hard work together and performed my routine in front of a few friends in Bristol.
I'd had my hair done especially at the salon by Lou, lots of blonde hair, curls and waves and all the curls at the back pinned up. Definitely not a look I've tried before but absolutely fabulous.

I'd gone to Lou's in boy drag but had managed to find a place to park about 30 yards away on the main road. With my hair done I had to walk out of the salon and walk to the car. Two years ago I'd have never dreamed of walking to my car with my hair in such an obviously feminine style. What a difference time makes. I walked out of the salon door and turned to say goodbye to Lou who had come in on her day off especially to do my hair. I'd been nervous about making my way to the car but as I stood there in public talking to her any nerves simply evaporated.

I strolled down to my car, got in and drove from the salon to my friend K's house. Nerves began to set in when I got there as I'd asked her at the last minute if I could pop in and get changed and put on my make-up, she'd agreed but I knew that I'd have to get a move on before her children got home from school.
Its amazing how quickly you can change your clothes and put on foundation and lipstick when you try.
Monday was the hottest day we've had for a while so between the heat and getting flustered about getting ready so that I would be away before anyone got home I started to perspire. K helped me finish getting ready as my hands were beginning to shake. She managed to calm me down and with several minutes to spare I was ready to leave and head to Bristol.

The drive was long and slow because of traffic but it gave me plenty of time to calm down.
I finally arrived at my M's house and parked up. There was only one person in the street and although she looked at me she soon went back to tidying her front garden.

After a bit of a chat about how we both were I changed into my costume for the performance and I did a walk through of the routine. With that out of the way it was time to get changed into the dress and shrug that I was going to wear to go to the pub where I would be performing and finish my make-up.



It was so hot that I ended up having to borrow a gorgeous fan in order to cool myself down. Sitting there fanning myself I felt so feminine, even a bit old fashioned.

Eventually the other student from my class that was meeting up with us in order to go to the pub arrived. We grabbed our bags and with a deep breath I ventured out into bright daylight with the other two.

Any hopes I might have had that we wouldn't see many people were immediately dashed as we walked down the road and a couple walked passed us on the other side of the road.

I'd been told that it was a ten minute walk to the pub and it was definitely that. It was also, along Staplegrove Road which looked a bit of a rough area. Three very glamorously dressed females are going to draw attention and I saw quite a few guys looking at us but nobody said a word and nobody stared at me. I was so thrilled.

Then M dropped a bombshell, she needed to pop into a shop on the way.

We stopped outside a convenience store and she went in leaving me and my companion standing outside. I found that I had to make a decision. I could stand outside the shop with lots of guys around or I could take a big step and go inside. I've never been inside a shop as Jenny, of course I was currently walking through an area of Bristol that I'd probably not have gone through in boy mode. I looked at my companion and both of us decided to go inside.

We stood near the entrance and chatted, dodging the young child that was running around the place. Eventually M came back to join us and we left the shop.

As we continued on she turned to me and said “I was watching you as you two were stood there and from the way you were standing you looked completely at ease and also completely like a woman.”

I remember trying to make sure that I was standing properly but didn't think I'd been that successful.

As we got closer to our destination we passed two guys sat in a park, I glanced at them and then back to the path in front of me to watch where I was going. From their direction I heard a wolf whistle and some comment about hot looking women. I couldn't help but smile.

Eventually we arrived at the pub and went inside. I bought a round of drinks for the four of us that were there, M's friend had managed to make it, and then we wandered outside to sit down at a table to wait for the rest of the people that had been invited.

One by one we contacted people that we knew were coming only to find out that they couldn't make it. Zee, my beautician had got home late and didn't have time to get to Bristol, K had got as far as Shepton Mallet before being defeated by all the traffic resulting from people leaving Glastonbury and also everyone who was trying to get the Bristol for a Bon Jovi concert. I certainly can pick nights to do things. I think I might just have to do my routine again especially for Lou, Zee and K. More locally this time, I'm sure that I can find a suitable venue.


The pub is on a corner and the table was on the pavement alongside the main road. After a half hour of sitting there chatting and watching people walk or drive by we went inside and I did my routine. Again I managed to achieve a first by stripping out of my outer clothes in a pub, admittedly without anyone else around, and getting down to my costume which I'd been wearing underneath.




After so much preparation and so much build up the performance was absolutely brilliant. I couldn't have been happier with it. It wasn't flawless but you try performing a burlesque routine on a slopping floor. Yes, the pub has a floor that slopes, quite impressively, from one side of the room to the other, a good foot or two in fact.

After doing my routine I removed the corset that I'd worn as part of the costume and slipped back into my dress and shrug. We all went back outside and sat down at the table to have another drink. The rest of the night passed with us sitting chatting outside the pub watching people go passed.

By the end of the night I'd managed two further firsts. I now know what the inside of a ladies toilet looks like and I've also ridden in the back of a taxi in girl mode.

We'd talked about me having ticked off everything I could possibly need to do as a girl and certainly I managed to do quite a few things. I'm sure that in time I'll do everything.

It was an absolutely wonderful evening and it marked a major change in how I see myself. Until then I'd always had my doubts about whether or not I'd be able to cope with going out in public as Jenny. After Monday I now know that I might not pass completely and I will get stared at and most likely have people make comments but certainly if I've got friends with me then I have the confidence to strut my stuff down that catwalk that is life. I can do this, I've changed so much, I'm no longer shy and timid. I'm more confident and more chatty, I'm strong and sassy and I'm continuing to grown and change and in the next few weeks that's going to be tested to the max.

Monday, 20 June 2011

First appointment at The Laurels

I came home this evening to a houseful of people.
After getting rid of everyone but my son I nipped upstairs to get changed.
On the bed was my post from today.
I leafed through it and found a brown envelope with an Exeter stamp and Private and Confidential written across it.
As I opened it I wondered if it could be what I thought it was.

It was!

I have a date for my first appointment at The Laurels GIC.

4th July 2011.

A week next Monday.

Just about 4 months since I asked the psych to refer me onwards.

Oh
my
God!

I don't think words can describe how I feel at the moment!

Friday, 17 June 2011

If only you knew

I have one of the best comments ever.

Last weekend I was in Tesco doing some shopping with my family. As we were wandering around I bumped into one of the guys from work. We stopped and chatted for a couple of minutes before we both had to go off and finish our shopping.

Yesterday in work I was going to get a coffee when I bumped into the same guy. We greeted each other and as we were walking along the corridor he turned to me, apologised and said he hoped that I wouldn't take any offense by what he was about to say.

Before I could get a word in, he continued to tell me that after we'd been talking he'd caught up with his girlfriend who had asked who the woman was he'd been talking with.

I immediately thought "Oh, I didn't introduce you to my other half." I'm terrible at doing things like that. Sorry hun if you ever come across my blog and are reading this.

He continued to tell me that he'd asked his girlfriend which woman. Her response was what tickled me.

"The blonde woman with the frizzy hair."

Blonde woman? My other half has dark hair.

Oh! Blonde, frizzy hair. That would be me then.

Ok, his girlfriend was the other end of the store so can be forgiven for being mistaken but from a distance, with my hair loose, I must be starting to look like a woman from the right angle.

Of course if I look like that from a distance in a supermarket then I'm not surprised if people at work are starting to figure out that something is happening with me when I wear my hair loose.

I don't know if this guy has kept this conversation with his girlfriend to himself or mentioned it to other colleagues. I guess I'll find out in due course.

Anyway, what he told me made my day so much that I was giggling with delight as I stood washing my hair and tidying my appearance in the toilets after parting company with him.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

In My Thoughts

"The baby I lost will always be in my thoughts – but considering how early I miscarried and all that, here I won’t refer to that pregnancy as my first (seeing as I barely even realized I was truly pregnant).  That does not mean it hurts any less, it just means that I don’t have any real knowledge or experiences from that pregnancy to share"

I came across this comment at the end of an article by the Undomesticated Housewife after she left a comment on a blog I use for the Writing Workshop.

It made me stop and think.

When I was younger I was never really successful with the other sex and very rarely went on dates. Eventually I decided that I had to do something about that so I put an ad in the paper and joined a dating agency. My advert in the paper resulted in my receiving a couple of letters from women who were divorced and had children. I wrote back to both of them and after swapping letters with both a few times arrange to meet up with M.

My relationship with M lasted for all of 6 months. Certainly not an uneventful or boring 6 months though.

When I met M I was completely inexperienced when it came to the sexual side of relationships. Yes, I was indeed a virgin. It didn't take long for that situation to be rectified.

M and I were so smitten with each other and before too long I'd proposed to her and she accepted.

Shortly after that we discovered that she was pregnant. Neither of us had been expecting that, although we should have as we never used any form of contraception.

M and I got over the shock of becoming parents, me for the first time and her for the second. We began to make plans, started choosing names for the baby.

Then everything came crashing down.

One day M went up to the bathroom and while she was sitting on the toilet she began to bleed. Worried we got her to a doctor and it we were told that she had had a miscarriage and the baby was gone. M was so early in the pregnancy that it would have still only been a tiny embryo at the time.

Although the pregnancy wasn't planned I would have loved to have had a child then. I have a son now and he is wonderful and brave and fun and the light of my life.

My son was born in 1998, I met married his mum in 1995 and we met in 1993 not long after M and I had split up. We would have lost our baby that same year.

I've always thought of my lost baby as a girl. M and I had decided that we liked the name Kayleigh for a girl and so that is how I think of her. She would have been born around November or December of that year and so at the end of this year I would have celebrating my Kayleigh's 18th birthday.

I don't think however long I live that I will forget her, even though I never really knew her. Even though she was never born, never really had a chance to live she will be in my thoughts, how can she not be.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Catch up, again

Yesterday as I was sitting at my desk in work the phone rang, it was our personnel department.
A few weeks ago I'd had a catch up session with the person who is my point of contact, as far as transitioning is concerned, so that I could explain to them that there were two people that knew what was going on. At that time we talked about what I was going to do if the news got out more generally. As a result I agreed that I needed to work out a transition plan and how we were going to announce things to people.

When the phone rang yesterday my contact asked if we could meet up so I said yes, I needed to explain about the weekend's events anyway.

At lunchtime I popped along to the personnel department and we went and sat in an empty office where we weren't going to be disturbed.

After a bit of general chat my contact took the lead in the conversation before I could tell her what was going on.

What she had to tell me was, as I told her, the worse possible thing she could have said at that time.

It would seem that at least one other person at work knows what is happening with regards to me as they have been to discuss the matter. I don't know who it is, how many people actually know or how they worked out that I'm transitioning. Neither does my contact in personnel.

OK, I've been growing my hair out and also having it highlighted a blonde colour but that doesn't mean that I'm having gender reassignment. Its a big leap to make.  Yes I've had my eye lashes tinted but again, even if you noticed it, then it would be a massive leap to come up with what is happening.

I have no problem with people knowing, it was bound to happen at some point, it would be nice to know who it was discussed me with personnel and how they managed to come to the correct conclusion. I doubt that I'll find out though but who knows, that person might decide to come and talk to me in person. It has to be someone that I know though because otherwise how would that person know who I am?

Maybe I'll find out, maybe I wont. This weekend we're away so I'll be taking time to work out how I'm going to deal with people at work knowing what is going on if it does become general knowledge.

I did find out last night while talking with a friend that people are asking about me, specifically some of her family, they'd noticed my hair and also thought that they'd seen me wearing mascara.  Damn that blue black tint, fat too noticeable!

I did manage to tell my personnel contact about telling my son last weekend and what had happened and why her news wasn't the best. I've got a few days to think about things and then I'll sit down to go over things early next week with personnel.

Aaaaggggghhhh! Why can't life be easy.

Game Over - maybe

Last Saturday we sat down and told our son that I was transitioning. His reaction exceeded anything that we could have expected and brought my world crashing down. The following is what I wrote in my journal shortly after it. I thought about publishing this at a later point but today decided that I'd post it now, rather than later.


Be warned, this is not pleasant reading as it was my raw emotional state for the next 24 hours after we sat down with him. If you find you can't read it then skip ahead to the end.


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2:30am
Sleeping on the couch.
Its 5 hours since my world ended! 5 hours since I died!

We sat down and told R what was happening and he burst into tears, clung to me and sobbed his heart out. He wouldn't go to T at first, eventually he did. Eventually he calmed down and went to bed. I went up with him but he was still upset so I told him that I'd have to think about things.

T went upstairs to him, while she was there I put on some clothes and went out for a walk. I wasn't out for more that it takes to slowly walk three and a half miles but that was where my life ended.

If I can't transition because of him then my life has finished. It is only a matter of time before this body runs down and stops working. Only a matter of time before I stop fighting to get through each day and let the weariness, the disgust and loathing I feel for my body and the lack of support I will have take its toll.

R doesn't understand that it is only a matter of time before I can't deal with things and take my own life. T doesn't understand that either.

T thinks I can carry on going to my burlesque classes. How can I? How can I possibly go to classes where I see the other girls with female bodies that I don't possess. Even if I put everything on hold it would mean I would have to spend time each week in the company of women while knowing that I was so far from being one of them.

My body is physically going to break down. It wont take long. It will be very easy. All I have to do is increase the amount of exercise I do while reducing the number of calories I take in. The weight will drop off and eventually my body will start to fail.

If I can't transition then I will have to give up my support network, give up my new friends because I wont want to talk to them, wont want to see them doing what I can't. I'll be so alone.

Sam said dreams can come true. Huh, not mine. My dreams ended years ago.  I'm living in my own nightmares now, my own personal hell. Well at least we don't have to worry about telling cell group any more.

T doesn't have to worry about telling her family. Mine and everyone that knows and even understands slightly what I'm going through will realise what I'm going through.

They say a good number of transsexuals take their own lives, great I'm going to be just another statistic.

My life from now on is going to be pretty crap. I'm going to end up a mess. I'm going to end up dead. Rhys will never understand this, not until its too late. Maybe not even then.

I'll be stopping going to St James. I honestly don't see any point in carrying on going there. I don't see any point in going somewhere to worship a God that made me what I am so that I have to spend my days in pain and torment. What kind of a God does that? What kind of a God gives you things only to snatch them away?

Look at my life. He let me meet Marina, let her get pregnant and took our child away.

He let me meet T and fall in love with someone who accepted me only for her to reveal that she didn't once she'd got everything that she wanted, a way out of where she was living, a white wedding, husband, house and child.

He gave me a child and then nearly took him away. He still could. R doesn't realise that he is still at a significant risk of further cancers.

He gave me a chance to teach at junior church. I might not have been a good teacher but I had a chance.

He let me get involved in Street Pastors.

Then he let my gender disphoria get the better of me, get so bad that I couldn't cope anymore without doing something about it.

When I did do something about it the work I was doing with Junior Church and Street Pastors stopped.

All my life I've tried to stay faithful, tried to get on with things while dealing with who I am. I've tried to deal with how I was created until it go too much and I had to do something about it.

Now he's ripped that from me too.

I think he wants me dead.

I don't understand what I've done to deserve all this. I don't understand what I've done to be punished like this. I wish I did but it doesn't matter anymore.

We all knew that if I didn't do anything now then I wouldn't be around in 6 months time. That is now the case. R goes to B in August. When he comes back I wont be around anymore. I'm so sorry but I can't deal with it anymore.

God can punish me properly then. He can punish me for the hurt that I'll be causing friends and family, why not he might as well heap all the pain and torment he can on me, he's doing that anyway.

T could have tried to be supportive when we were talking to R but she couldn't. Did she try to be when I was out, who cares, I have no real way of knowing other than what she says. She wont have tried to explain to R that is for certain.

I'm so angry right now. I want to tell R exactly what this all means, what the likely outcome is going to be but that would be mean and cruel and something I would never do.

I've been there all his life for him. The one time that I need him to be there for me and he isn't. I understand though. He's 13, he's not mature enough.

Time is running out now. 3 months and I will be dead. 3 months and T and R will have to fend for themselves. When I put together my transition plan I didn't realise that it would turn into a plan for how Tracey would have to deal with things after my death! Well I have a new date to work towards. Unless something major happens I wont be seeing September, I wont be seeing R and the twins grow up. I wont see anything happen.

I'll either move on to a new level of pain or find peace. One way or the other I wont be alive to tell anyone.


------------------------------------------

The morning after I wrote that I got up at 6am, watched a bit of television and had a couple of mugs of coffee but nothing to eat. When T and R got up I put on my running gear and went out for an hour and a half run covering just over 8 and a half miles. When I came home I had a glass of energy drink and another mug of coffee. I had another mug of coffee later on but no food, then I took R to the gym for an hour. When I got home I had a pasta dish with home made tomato, onion and mushroom sauce. The only food I had all day.

That morning while I was out running I spent time speaking with God and informing him of my plans. He's known what I'm like all my life. He's also known that when he pisses me off then I make up my mind to do something and am perfectly willing to carry out what I've decided. I told God that he was going to have to watch me slowly killing myself and that I'd be making sure that I spoke with him every step of the way.

Since those events I've calmed down and spoken with friends who know what is happening. I've got over the immediate aftermath. I've distanced myself emotionally from R a bit but even that's changing as we had a pillow fight during the adverts for one of the programmes we like watching together last night.


I'm going to have to give R a chance to adjust to things. I can't not go ahead with transitioning because in all honesty things will probably get worse if I don't like I wrote in my journal. We're going to explain things to a number of friends later this week, I told one friend on Sunday evening so that R could talk to her as he goes to a group she runs. I've also arranged for another friend who R trusts to come around to talk to him after school today because he was asking if anyone at his school knew. With a bit of patience hopefully he'll understand that this is something that I have to do and although physically I'll change, I wont change in any other way. The interesting thing about his reaction is that the reason he burst into tears was when we got to the part in the GIRES information that we were reading to him that talked about how he would have to refer to me as a her or she. I managed to get him to tell me that much about why he reacted like that.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Bonding session

Today I had a nice hour and a half bonding session with my son.

Back in March I joined the local leisure centre and have been using their gym. At the time I joined the young lady that helped me to complete my application told me that if I had any teenagers at home then I could add them to my membership for a couple of pounds a month. At the time I didn't think too much of it because other than swimming and cycling around near our house, my son isn't the most sporty of people.

The other week while he was getting dressed I couldn't help but notice how thin and gaunt he looks. His past medical history has not lent itself to him carrying a lot of bulk around. Even so I thought that he looked too thin.

I mentioned to him that if he wanted we could get him membership at the leisure centre and he could use the gym and work on improving his cardio fitness and also do some work with weights in order to build up his muscles. It turns out that he can't use the weights for another 6 months because he's not old enough just yet. However, he can use the cardio equipment.

We got him membership last weekend and today he had his gym induction. The two of us went down and the gym manager showed him how to use the equipment. She was really good and made it all fun to do.

After she had finished the two of us went back onto the running machine and then he had a few more goes on some of the other equipment. I think his favourite is the rowing machine.

It was good fun being able to spend some time together and hopefully we'll be able to have two of these sessions each week from now on.

Tomorrow evening we're going out for a meal and when we get back home my other half and I are going to be sitting down with him to explain about my plans to transition. He knows some things about me and knows that we're going to be having a chat about things, just not what exactly. We almost had this conversation last year but it got put off. I'm just hoping and praying that he takes this in his stride like he's taken so much else in his stride over the years.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Counting down

Less than a month now and the invite has gone out to a few more people.

The rearranged date for me performing the burlesque routine that I've been learning is now approaching. Even more important at last night's class my teacher mentioned it to me and asked if I'd like to share it with the rest of the class so I did. I've now invited the 5 girls that were there to come along to see me dance as well as the friends that I'd already invited.

The invite will go out to the rest of the group at some point after I've spoken with my teacher properly.

The routine has change a little bit since she saw it last as we've had different teachers at the class for the last couple of weeks and as a result at least one of the poses that I was going to use has changed.

Last night's class was fabulous, we put together a routine to a song that we weren't totally comfortable with and then went over the routine, developing it and refining it to various other songs.

I have to admit I was feeling a bit down as I drove to Bristol last night, I just wasn't happy with my body and its current unmistakeably masculine look and so was feeling depressed. I almost turned the car around at one point and came home. In the end I got to Bristol, made it to the class and had a great time with the girls, even met someone new.

I do wonder if my future actually lies in Bristol rather than where I live at the moment. If the right opportunity came up to allow me to move live there either in the week or all the time, and to transition, then I'd take it. At the moment there is no sign of anything.

I had an email from a friend this week which mentioned that burlesque classes have started locally. Tempting as it is to go somewhere local, its going to be a lot cheaper, I'm enjoying the lessons in Bristol and my new friends. It would be interesting to go to a couple of lessons locally to see what they are like, but I might just arrange to meet up with my friend when she goes along. Perhaps I should go to a couple of lessons to give her some moral support!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Some progress

The other week my other half and I went around to a friend's house. Two of the cell groups from our church had decided to meet up and have a bit of a get together. It was a good evening and everyone enjoyed themselves.

A few days later I was getting ready to go out and switched on my mobile phone to discover that I had a voicemail message. I was tempted to stick the speakerphone on and listen to it but for some reason changed my mind and listened to it normally. I'm glad I did as what I heard took me by surprise and would have caused some awkward questions as my son was stood a few feet away and would have heard what was said.

The message was from a friend, S, who had been at the social and who had, along with our vicar's wife, spoken to my other half. She'd asked them if we could meet up so that we could discuss how we were going to explain my transitioning to our son. The call was to arrange a time to meet up.

I got back in touch with S and we arranged to meet up the following Monday.

On the Monday evening we met up with S, our vicar and his wife. We talked about what was happening, I didn't say any more than I needed to and left everyone else to do most of the talking. In the end we agreed that we would sit down and explain things to my son next Monday after we returned from a weekend in mid Wales.

The trip to Wales has now been cancelled and so we're going to sit down with him and explain things on the Saturday evening which will give him the Sunday to take things in before he has to go to school. Also gives him the chance to talk to his youth group leader if he wants to on the Sunday.

The wife admitted while we were discussing how to tell him that she'd got upset at church one morning recently and had told our son's youth group leader what was going on. At least she told me about it eventually.

The Wednesday after we've told our son we're going to explain things to our cell group so that they can provide my wife with the support she's going to need in the months ahead. It will also stop them from wondering what is going on as we've been told a few of them have noticed that things haven't been right between the two of us for a while.

At the end of the evening as we were heading back to our car my other half decided that as she was in a sharing mood that she'd carry on with this. As we were just about to get into the car she turned to me and said that she had told A and J, two of our non-church friends, that I dressed as a female. She'd done that a little while back. Recently she told them about me transitioning.

Now I've no idea when she told them so I don't know if I've seen them since. Now that I know it will be interesting to see how they react when I do see them next time. Especially if I meet them without the rest of the family around.

Anyway one more week until my son finds out about  my plans. I'll post about how it goes afterwards.