Friday, 21 August 2015

Twirly Whirly

Last night I did my first ever tassel twirling workshop. It was awesome fun. I've added a post over at Mira's blog with all the details, although no video I'm afraid so you'll have to use your imaginations.

It definitely looks like I'm going to be performing in front of people 3 times over the next couple of months. So looking forward to doing what I've wanted to do for ages.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015


The last 8 hours have been rather interesting.
Rhys received his provisional driving license, its a temporary one for 3 years because of his health issues, DVLA will review the situation then. So with that in mind I've broken my decision to have an alcohol free August and had my wife pick up some wine and whisky, the latter being to celebrate Rhys finally getting a license after months of waiting.

After a large whisky and two glasses of red wine I think the alcohol hit me in a way I wasn't expecting. I found myself feeling a bit annoyed and down because stuff hadn't been done and we have my in-laws visiting tomorrow.

Strangely the thing that really hit hard was when Rhys jokingly made a comment that assumed I had a boyfriend.

I've made joking comments to my wife at times about having boyfriends but they've not been serious. However, over the last few days, she and I had been talking about our relationship, partly because of some stuff family stuff that's been going on but also because of my wanting to get a Gender Recognition Certificate and then a new birth certificate.

Rhys' comment stung a bit because I know that if I really, really wanted to then I could have a boyfriend.

I know that where I am post surgery my emotions are going to be up and down at times but I didn't expect it to get triggered like this.

The next few days are definitely going to be interesting as I deal with in-laws and fluctuating emotions if they don't settle down.

Splitting things off

I've decided that I'm going to split my burlesque and sports posts off from this blog so that I can share those with the wider world go stealth as far as my burlesque and sports, plus I'll be able to share some of those posts with family and friends without having to worry about them reading anything that I've written here which I don't want them to read; unless of course they decide to go to the lengths of searching out anything else I've written which is something I can't see them doing.

So with that in mind the new blogs are:

Tri-ing To Go Further which currently has a couple of posts about my race plans for next year.

Mira D'Glass which has my burlesque CV and details of my repertoire but no posts at the moment.

In due course there will be some posts there and hopefully links to videos and pictures because it's looking like although I missed out on Home Farm Festival this year I'm still going to get the chance to perform as the troupe have been asked to perform a show in Taunton in October, at someone's boyfriend's birthday party at the end of October; the venue being literally around the corner from where I live; and at one of the troupe's wedding in September; something which could be very, very entertaining.

I'm planning on putting either a link to any posts on the other blogs here, or including the entire post, or even a mixture of both, haven't quite decided yet.

Thanks for following my writing and my journey, your support has been really important to me as it would have been a harder journey otherwise.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Your thoughts

For some reason I've been struggling with what I've been posting recently. Admittedly there's been a lot of focus on surgery and recovering from it. Since that's a big part of what the blog is about then it would be silly to have avoided the subject.

No, the actual subjects I've been fine with. What I've not been happy with is my style of writing. I've been thinking that its getting more and more like I'm keeping a diary.

I enjoy writing, I enjoy blogging. I'm just not sure that people are enjoying what I'm writing and the way I'm presenting it.

At the end of the day this blog has always been about my journey since I started actually heading towards transition. Its covered the bits and pieces that undertaking a journey like this entails. At times it has included family events because even though being transgender and seeking gender reassignment is a very personal thing it impacts on so many others; family, friends, colleagues and many others. At other times it's covered my burlesque and sports endeavors because to some extent they have also been effected by my being transgender.

So now I need to decide where to go from here.

Do I keep going with this blog and include all of the things I have been? I've gotten to the end of surgical side of my journey. In about a year's time, if that, I'll be discharged from the Laurels and that part of my life will be behind me. All the surgical stuff, all the therapy, done and dusted. I wont really have much more to say about it.

Do I start some new blogs and keep the burlesque, the sports and transgender separate? If I go down that route then I'll probably start a new blog where I write about transgender themes but leave this blog here for anyone who is starting out on the same journey as I've been on.

Whichever way I go I'll certainly carry on blogging. Its just that it might be in a more focused way than at present.

So I'd like you thoughts on the matter. What is it about the blog that you like? Is there something that you'd like to see? Are there things that you'd like not to see? Have I written something that you've really liked or really hated? Please share your thoughts so I can take my writing and blogging forward in a way that people will enjoy reading.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Making a Splash

As a transsexual one of the things that has been an issue for me since transition has been swimming. I know its not uncommon issues because I've seen a number of discussions about how to go swimming turn up on the online forums that I'm signed up.

The moment I transitioned I had to think carefully about how I was going to manage to go swimming, especially as I was still training for triathlons at the time.

So what to wear.

Continuing to wear men's swim trunks and going bare-chested would have been possible right up until my breasts began to develop from hormones. Who would know? Without make-up, my hair in a ponytail, flat-chested, wearing swim trunks and with my features; no way would I be mistaken for anything but a man. But it wouldn't have felt right. Besides what if I bumped into someone I knew while swimming, how would they react to seeing me in just a pair of trunks when the rest of the time they see me as a woman.

No, to carry on swimming would mean covering up my top half.

There are several ways to achieve that.

First would be to wear a women's one piece swimsuit. The problem with doing that was that I'd most likely get stared at because I'd still appear like a guy and it would probably result in complaints from the other pool users.

The second option would be to wear a tee-shirt and trunks. A bit more acceptable. The issue with this would be that it would slow me down while swimming and when your training for the swim legs of triathlons then you don't need the additional drag.

The final option, other than to stop swimming altogether, would be to wear something that covered the top half, didn't create a lot of drag and could be worn by men or women. As a triathlete the solution was therefore really simple, a tri-suit.

Tri-suits are designed to be worn for swimming either underneath a wetsuit or on their own depending on whether it is a pool-based or open water race and also the water temperature. They are also designed to be worn during the bike and run legs, enabling a competitor to switch between disciplines without having to worry about changing gear. As a triathlete I have several, of which two are men's and one is a woman's.

A tri-suit also has the advantage of being quite form fitting and so even as my breasts developed they weren't very noticeable.

Eventually though I stopped going swimming because I was more focused on my running. No need to worry about what to wear when doing that, especially as you can wear make-up when running, which you can't when your swimming.

Now that I'm post-op I have to face the swimming challenge once again; especially if I want to start doing triathlons again next year. Once again I have the dilemma of what to wear.

My local leisure center are now doing a pool only membership which I've recently signed up to. I don't need to be doing all the other gym work. I can run and cycle outdoors and any other cross-training I want to do can be done without the need for complicated exercise equipment.

So back to the pool and what to wear.

The tri-suit still works, although now that I've had surgery I have a few bumps in places I didn't used to and a few missing from where they were. The new curves are going to get noticed, especially when I'm not wearing make-up, and even more so if I'm having a bad day and look more masculine than usual.

Having spoken with the duty manager when I set up my new membership the other option is to wear a bathing suit with a tee-shirt over the top. As before this will cause drag which wont help when I'm training but it will allow me to wear a bathing suit but not to be self-conscious about it.

Finally there is the option to just wear a bathing suit and let people react however they will. The duty manager didn't have a problem with it so its definitely something that has to happen at some point.

So where are we now?

I wore the tri-suit for my first time back in the pool. It was a weekday morning and I just wanted to get used to being back in the water without being self-conscious. My first swim went off almost without any problems.

Have way through the session my hand brushed against my front as I was doing front crawl, I'd been doing a mix of breast stroke and front crawl as I knew I'd not be ready for just doing front crawl. As my hand caught my body I felt the zip on my tri-suit, it had come undone and the only thing that was keeping the puppies in place was the built in breast support. A bit of fumbling as I swam and the zip was done up again. Eek!

My second swim was again wearing the tri-suit but this time because it was a Sunday morning and the swim school runs in parallel with the public swim session. With so many children and their parents around I didn't want to have anyone staring, making comments or complaining to the management. Again it was nice to be back in the pool and was as much fun as I remember the Sunday morning sessions being, while navigating around all the other swimmers in a lane free pool.

Eventually I knew I'd have to avoid putting it off and go swimming wearing the one piece bathing suit and that finally happened this week.

Monday morning I got up early, got myself sorted and then headed to the pool for 7am and the early morning swim session. No chance of lots of youngsters having swimming lessons at that time and no parents hanging around waiting for them. Still lots of adults to notice me and possibly make comments.

Removing my outerwear in the cubicle leaving me in just my swimsuit I was nervous. No make-up is not my best look. Bags into a locker and double checking that I could open it again; I've got caught out before when the locker wouldn't open and I had to get one of the staff to come and use a metal rod to bang on the lock to jar it free.

Swim hat on as I looked in one of the mirrors and then it was out poolside and into the water as quickly as I could. Goggles on and off I went.

31 minutes later, according to my swim watch, and I finished my 40 laps. I took a moment to catch my breath and then pulled myself out of the water in as dignified a manner as I could then headed back to the locker to get my things.

No stares, no comments, and as far as I'm aware no complaints. 

Almost a total success. Almost.

At times I think I have some mild and highly specific OCD.

When I go somewhere like the hairdressers I'll check, and double check and triple check and... well I do it a lot of times, that I have the money to pay in my purse.

When I go swimming I check and recheck that I've got my swimming costume on and that my bag has everything I need in it.

This week I did all that and still forgot two things. When I was getting changed after my swim I went to dig out my bra and knickers from my bag and... they weren't there. I distinctly remember putting them on the couch next to my bag when I'd been getting ready to leave the house but I'd not actually put them in my bag. Going bra-less under my tee-shirt was something I could live with. Going commando under my shorts, not something I looked forward to but I'd have to live with it, at least there was no danger that anyone would know. Its not like I was wearing a skirt on a windy day and would be running the risk that the wind would cause my skirt to billow up revealing my secret. At least it taught me that checking and rechecking my bag is not a bad thing.

I still feel a bit nervous about swimming in the one piece. I've gotten over that first hurdle now, feeling totally comfortable wearing a swimsuit to the pool will come with time. I just need to put in that time. Sunday morning swims are still going to involve tri-suits for the time being. Getting to the point of feeling comfortable enough wearing one when there are going to be lots of parents poolside as I get out is going to take a while, and if I'm honest will be something that will take me a while to achieve.

It would be nice if we had a transgender only swim session at our local pool. I don't know what the demand for it would be. There are a few transgender men and women in the area I live, how many of them would be interested in something like that I don't know. It would certainly be a less stressful way for people to overcome that first hurdle, especially for trans women, of swimming in a bathing costume.

So now its over to you. Do you go swimming? If you do, what do you wear? If you don't go swimming but you do like to swim what's holding you back? Is it the thought of what do you wear? Please share your thoughts, and maybe any tips that you have for others in the comments.