Sunday, 20 May 2012

Letting it all out

Reading Kelly's update about 6 months of HRT made me think about letting my emotions out.

I've always kept my emotions under control and not allowed others to see them. While I was at school I think there were only two occasions when my emotions got the better of me and others saw.

The first was when I was at primary school and a friend and I fell out to such an extent that we ended up fighting in front of a large group of people. I don't like violence and will try to avoid it but on this occasion there was no way out and the two of us punched each other until the fight was broken up. By the time that happened I was in tears. Of course whatever had caused it was forgotten about within days and we were back to being friends again.

The second occasion was at home when I was a teenager. My father had been winding me up and I snapped. I picked up a chair and had it over my head ready to swing it at him when my mother shouted at me to put it down. My mum can be really scary when she wants and her shouting ended the matter. It was at that point that I started keeping my emotions tightly under control.

Over the years since then I've gotten very angry about somethings but I've kept it in check. I surprised everyone on a team working course once when we were going round the group and giving feedback about what we liked about each other and what we'd have liked to see the other people do that they hadn't done. When it came to me one of the guys said he'd liked how I'd stayed calm no matter what we'd been asked to do. Everyone's jaws dropped when I told them that I'd had to keep my anger under control at one point during the course due to one of the participants running down some Royal Navy personnel he was working with. I'd spent a lot of time working with people in the RN and it got me very angry to hear someone talking about them the way that he did.


As I read Kelly talking about emotions and the need to let them out I found myself thinking about when I've allowed myself to do that. As I thought about it I was shocked to find that I've only ever allowed myself to let my emotions out in front of other people since I was 16 on four occasions.

The earliest occasion that I can remember where my emotions got the better of me was when we had to put down our dog Judy. We'd taken on Judy after my grandfather died. Judy was very old and she'd reached the point where she could barely walk. We could tell she was in pain and not at all well and so the decision was made that we would take her to the vet and have her put down rather than see her suffer any longer.

My Dad and I took her to the vet's one evening. We didn't have a car and so we walked there. Judy lurching as she walked from time to time.

When we arrived at the vet's my Dad told them what we were there for and we took a seat to wait. Judy kept looking up at me with soulful and trusting eyes. Eventually when we were called I couldn't take it any more and left my Dad to take her in to the vet while I went outside, put on my sunglasses, leaned against the wall and let my eyes fill with tears. I kept the glasses on all the way home and went straight to my bedroom and cried for half an hour before I got myself back under control.

The thing that always struck me about that day afterwards was that I could get so emotional about Judy dying but had never felt as emotional when My grandparents had died.


The next occasion that I got emotional in front of someone was when I split up from my ex-fiancee Marina. We'd been together for about 6 months, had got engaged, she'd gotten pregnant and then had a miscarriage. It felt so right being together and then I realised she was seeing someone behind my back, and even towards the end right in front of me. She denied everything but I couldn't trust her anymore.

The day we finally split up I went to collect my things from her place and as I packed my bag the two of us were in tears. She was sorry but I couldn't trust her and didn't want to be in a relationship where I would always be wondering about her relationships with others.

Leaving her was the hardest thing I ever did. I was an emotional wreck for weeks afterwards. My friends were very supportive and put up with me being a complete and utter ass at times, especially one of my closest friends who I upset hugely while we were out for a drink one evening by overstepping the bounds of decency.


The third time that I allowed someone to see me getting emotional was the night before my son's Christening. Six months previously he had been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.

I've always been of the opinion that a child should be old enough to understand what is happening when they are being Christened, even if its their parents making the decision to get them Christened. As a result I'd always refused to allow R to be Christened when he was a baby.

When he was diagnosed with A.L.L. I agreed to him being Christened once we he had got through all three of the intensive treatment phases that he had to have. I agreed to the Christening because it would give everyone something to look forward to after such a rough time.

The night before the Christening we'd had all of my family and my in-laws at our house for dinner. My parents and sister had gone to the bed and breakfast they were staying at which left us with my in-laws at our house.

Everyone had had a few drinks and as we got to the end of the evening my other half had gotten emotional about the fact that R was being Christened. Her Mum began to comfort her and told her that I had finally realised that I'd been wrong not to get him Christened and that it was the right Christian thing to do.

I listened to my mother-in-law telling her all of this until I couldn't take any more and had to leave the room.

I was followed into the kitchen by my other half's Step-dad. As we stood there I told him that his wife was wrong, I'd not changed my mind and I'd only agreed to the Christening to give everyone something to  look forward to. At that point tears started flowing and I lost control. For about the next 30 seconds I struggled to get myself back under control and just managed it and got back to a semblance of normality seconds before my mother-in-law walked into the kitchen. The rest of the evening passed without incident but I came very close to cancelling the Christening that evening.


The last occasion that I allowed my emotions to get the better of me was when R had completed treatment for his A.L.L after he had relapsed and then within months it had returned. He'd been having headaches and so we'd eventually ended up at Bristol Children's Hospital for him to have a lumber puncture as a precautionary check. Nobody believed that he could have relapsed so quickly after completing treatment.

When we sat with the consultant to go over the test results she told us the bad news. She then went on the tell us that we could either do nothing and it would be a matter of time before the Leukaemia would claim him or we try and find a bone marrow donor, with all the risks that a transplant would entail and only a 30% chance that he would get through it and the cancer would be gotten rid of.

My other half was distraught at the news and I had was left to contact our immediate family to give them the news. I managed to contact my mother-in-law and inform her as my other half wanted her Mum to come to the hospital straight away.

When I contacted my Mum and Dad and gave them the news I managed to get part way through the conversation when I broke down and couldn't carry on talking to them. I had hung up and simply stood there trying to get my emotions back under control before I could call them back and finish the conversation.


I know that I've had a few other occasions where my emotions have got the better of me but on each of those times I've been alone. I shed tears when my other half told me that she'd always pretended that she could deal with my female side when in fact she couldn't. I swore to myself as I stood in the garden shedding tears that I'd never ever allow someone to hurt me like that again.

I got angry and shouted at God, at 3am while driving to Bristol on my own, when we were first told that R had Leukaemia. I shed tears in the early hours of the morning while praying to God that he would get R through his bone marrow transplant.

Seeing my son stood at the front of the crowd near Big Ben when I ran the London Marathon last because he had been allowed out of hospital for an hour to see me run past made me choke up as I ran onwards towards The Mall.

I've gotten depressed and scared and tearful at various points while working up to transitioning at the beginning of this year because things have not gone to plan and people have let me down or made things difficult for me.

I'm pretty sure that the hormones that I'm on now are going to make me get emotional at some points. I just need to learn that at those times then I need to get together with those people that I trust and let those emotions out. Fortunately, I've got friends now that I've let inside the barriers I've built up over the years and can really open up to.


  1. Jenna,

    As I said in my response to your lovely comment on my blog, you are a wonderful writer. I can only imagine your abilities will further deepen and grow as you're better able to finally access the emotions you've been forced to keep hidden your entire life. I hope that is the case. I look forward to following your progress.

    Your son sounds like an exceptionally brave and sensitive young man. (And he loves The Beatles, which is a sure sign of excellent taste in my book!) He's fortunate to have you as a parent. I wish you both the best of luck.

    Thank you again, Jenna, and keep blogging! I'm enjoying my race through your posts to find out more about your journey to become yourself. Take care in the interim!


    1. Cass,
      I'm glad that you've rediscovered my blog. I've loved following yours.

      My son is one incredible young man considering everything that he's had thrown at him as he's grown up. We're very close.

      Thank you for the lovely comment about my writing. I've always enjoyed it, just don't have the time to do some of the stuff I want to do. Have something I'm working on as an exercise from my burlesque class. Really, really must finish it.