How do you spell 'woohoo'? is it 'woohoo' or is it 'woo hoo'? One word or two?
I've just had confirmation that the Dr is going to write me prescriptions for testosterone.
Not sure which emoticon to use...
Me, my thoughts, my experiences. My analysis of myself.
How do you spell 'woohoo'? is it 'woohoo' or is it 'woo hoo'? One word or two?
I've just had confirmation that the Dr is going to write me prescriptions for testosterone.
Not sure which emoticon to use...
I have wanted to write this down for a while. But it never seemed to be the right time. I always found an excuse not to. Whether I was too busy writing other stuff (fiction, mostly), whether I was playing my music, whether I was busy working or doing general activities that constituted trying to live life, or whether I was too scared to analyse myself too deeply, I've always managed to find reasons not to find the time and the space to do this.
But a couple of things have driven me to introspection recently. Firstly, I'm apparently splitting up with my long-standing partner and I'm trying to find the time to find somewhere else to live, whilst feeling guilty about all of it. Secondly, I have been asked to speak, at work, about my experiences and thoughts revolving around coming out.
These things have led me to a place where I've done an awful lot of thinking lately. Thinking and contemplating and reflecting. Analysing myself, my attitudes, my behaviours, my life and my experiences. And I decided that maybe it was the right time to try to write this down.
I was awake before 3 am, having had one of the most disturbing dreams I've had for some time. I didn't get back to sleep; instead I got up and browsed the internet then I read for a while. And now I'm back on the internet.
Yesterday was a good day for some reasons and a bad day for other reasons.
Good: I got another appointment with the doctor for the end of this week. I got assigned a specialist trans* case worker by our HR department. I bought a train ticket and reserved a room in a posh hotel for a trip to London next week.
Bad: I got stuck at work longer than I'd hoped for and this meant I hit the traffic when I finally finished. I then got stuck in more traffic heading into the city and realised I wasn't going to make it in time for my monthly FtM group meeting in the city centre so I had to abandon thoughts of attending, turn around and go home, which made me angry. I'd been looking forward to that session for three weeks.
This morning I feel weird. I feel full of doubts. I'm questioning everything I've done recently. I'm questioning everything I've set in motion. The dream has caused these feelings, I know. I dreamt of my mother. She said to me, in the dream, "You're so self-absorbed. This is the most selfish act of your life. You're going to ruin everyone's lives. Everyone around you is going to suffer because of what you're doing. You're going to kill your father. He won't be able to cope."
I know what she was referring to, even if she didn't actually say it in the dream. She could only have been talking about one thing. And of course I know it was only my own subconscious mind. But now I'm thinking, "Am I going to kill my father? Am I doing the wrong thing?"
Well, I'd better log off and get ready for work.
Yesterday I went to three different banks to ask for a name change on their systems. And I went to the bank we have our mortgage with for the same purpose. I had my Deed Poll certificate in a cardboard envelope inside a plastic bag (because it was raining). For some reason I don't want to get that certificate creased or folded yet but I'm sure the novelty will wear off at some point.
Bank number one: I nervously watched the expression of the guy behind the counter as I asked for the name change and handed over my certificate. Not a flicker of anything appeared on his face when he read it. He just took the certificate, tapped away on his computer, told me he was just going to step away to take a copy of the Deed Poll and then he brought it back and handed it over with a smile. "That's all done," he said. "I'm going to order you a new card now. Would you like it to say Mr <first name> <initial> <last name> or just Mr <initial> <initial> <last name>?"
I hadn't even considered that. I asked for just initials. "Great," he said. "That's all ordered for you now, Mr M*****. Have a nice day!"
So simple. Five minutes flat and it was all done. I'll get a new card in a few days with my new name on it and I'm looking forward to seeing it. And he called me 'Mr' without batting an eyelid!
Bank number two: The lady behind the counter looked really young. Early twenties, if that. Again, I watched her face carefully to see what she might be thinking as I handed over the certificate and explained what I wanted. She smiled and got on with the job of changing my name on the mortgage account, chatting away to me about the horrible weather as she was doing it. This took a little longer than at the first bank and she explained that the system was really slow for some reason. But within ten minutes, it was all completed.
Bank number three: I dashed to the third bank which was only a few hundred yards down the road. It was quicker in there. I had already found a change of name form online and filled it out and so I took that with me and handed it over with the certificate. The guy copied it, stamped the copy on the back and signed it and then he said. "Right, you can leave that with me. I'll send these to the department that does this stuff for us. Your new card will arrive within a few days. Is there anything else I can do for you today?" I said no and wished him a pleasant afternoon. He grinned and said, "You too!"
It was only when I got outside again that I realised I hadn't even bothered to look for any kind of a reaction from him. And he hadn't given any, except a nice smile.
Bank number four was closed by the time I arrived. But three out of four ain't bad!
I know these people get paid to do a job and be pleasant to their customers and all that, but I was convinced at the start of the day that I'd get some kind of funny look from someone. But I didn't. And next week I'll have new cards to prove my name really has changed. Not only my name, but my title.
I just called the doctor's surgery to find out whether they have sent my test results to the GIC. I had a bunch of blood tests last week because the GIC asked for them. They won't accept my referral until they get the results and they gave a 4 week deadline to receive them, otherwise they would reject my referral. That was a little tight, given that it took two weeks for their letter to arrive at my GP practice, requesting the blood tests in the first place, because it's almost Christmas and I presume the letter got stuck in the backlog of Christmas mail.
As soon as I received my copy of the letter (because they sent it to me too) I called the doc and made an appointment for the blood tests. My letter arrived two days before it arrived at the GP practice. So it's a good thing I called them otherwise we'd have lost another few days.
I want that referral.
I know that, even if they accept me, it will be months and months before I even get to see anyone at the clinic. The last time I checked, the waiting list was 8 months. It's probably longer now. And that's one of the shorter waiting lists - another clinic has a waiting list estimate of 3 years.
The lists are growing daily. I've been looking at the stats. So, there are more people requesting referrals to Gender Identity Clinics all the time. Are there suddenly more of us around? I don't think so. I think we're just getting braver, or more desperate. I know that, in my case, it's a bit of both. I am braver than I was a few years ago. But I'm also definitely more desperate for something to be done. I went to my monthly FtM meeting last night and, while it was a good session, and the other guys are great, I kept looking at the people who have completely transitioned and I knew I was envious of them. The guys with the beards. The guys who don't have hips that are larger than their waists. The guys who don't have to wear binders. One bloke caught me looking at him and he smiled at me. I felt myself blushing but I smiled back. I don't know what he was thinking when he caught me. I don't know whether he thought I fancied him or something, but I don't care. I was definitely admiring his body.
I want one of those.
It's raining - again.
It's the middle of summer here... "Summer" is a relative term. It means it isn't freezing cold but it doesn't mean we necessarily see the sun. I haven't seen any blue sky for around a week.
But I received a reply from the online doc who told me that they "don't have any reservations about proceeding".
It seems I might have passed their assessment process - or at least, I passed that part and I'm moving on to the next part of the process, whatever that is. So I didn't blow it completely, with my questionnaire responses and with the content of the conversation I had with the 'assessment counsellor'. I think that means I might be allowed to think that the doc is going to write me a prescription at some point.
In my dreams, I've always been male. I don't often remember my dreams - not unless I'm woken up in the middle of one - but when I do remember them, my image of myself is how it should be. I remember telling a friend about that when I was a kid and they laughed at me and thought it was weird that someone with a girl's body saw themselves as a boy when they were asleep. Apparently, that wasn't 'normal'. Most people didn't dream like that, it seemed. When I got laughed at, I decided to keep that little nugget of information to myself for many years.
This morning, I was woken from a dream when our dog barked. At the point in the dream where I left it, I was looking in the mirror. And I had a very nice beard.
Too eager? Most definitely.
So, I told my dad and my brother that I am going to transition.
There was the expected silence, and then I waffled a little more to fill in the silence, not entirely sure what I was saying but I knew I was rambling. And then I asked if they had anything to say.
My dad said, "It's your life and I wouldn't dream of trying to tell you how to live it. Do whatever makes you happy."
My brother said nothing, but I did notice he suddenly found the rugby on the television rather fascinating. So I said, "You're very quiet. What are you thinking?"
And he turned to me and had a go at my husband, blaming him. That was totally unexpected and, I think, a little unfair. Admittedly, while I was considering moving out - thinking about splitting from my husband - I did talk to my brother about it. I've moaned about things my husband has said and done in the past, and so it's more than likely my fault that my brother now has a lower opinion of my husband than I'd like. But my brother's words were pretty venomous. Not what I was expecting at all. He blew up, spouted a load of hurtful stuff and stormed out of the room.
I decided not to go after him, having realised that it was probably better to give him some space. My dad said, "Give it time; he'll be alright." Then he told me it's going to take a while for him (my dad) to get used to it, too. He said he wanted to apologise up front in case he still calls me by my old name occasionally, because it's going to be a hard habit to break.
My brother returned and repeated what he'd said previously and then he left the house. My dad and I stared at each other for a while and then we started talking. Initially about my plans to transition and then onto other things. My dad talked about my childhood and how he'd noticed plenty of times that I was never really a girl and how it all kind of makes sense really although he will never fully understand it. He said that all he ever wanted for his kids was for them to be happy and then he talked about his own childhood; about how his parents fought all the time but that they loved each other madly and they loved their children. We did a lot of reminiscing and then he reiterated that he wants me to be happy, before I decided it was time to leave.
I haven't seen my brother since that day. I don't really know how long to leave it before I approach him. But I did receive a message from him where he apologised for the words he'd used. I replied to say it was fine (which it wasn't really but that wouldn't have helped) and that I thought he should concentrate on himself and his family and forget about me for a while. He replied to say it was just a lot to take in. And I suppose that's exactly it. It is a lot to take in. It's a lot to process. I've had forty years to come to terms with what I am and what I was going to do about it. It's only in the last three years, give or take, that I've actually thought that I could do something about it.
People around me have known, to varying degrees, and for varying lengths of time, what I am. But now that I'm actually doing something about it, from their point of view I suppose it's a major shock, and they're facing a new reality that they never expected. It's just that, from my point of view, that happened the wrong way around. I expected my brother to be the one who said, "Fine; go for it." I expected my father to not understand and to be upset and to reject what I said. But to have my father say it's fine and my brother to storm away, well, that was unexpected.
Yesterday was a strange day. It was difficult at times but ultimately fulfilling.
Trying to avoid yet another argument with my husband, I went online, searching for my own place to live (my husband knows I've been doing this). I found a place that looked great and I called the estate agent to make an appointment to view it (I'm going to see this place today). My husband overheard me making the appointment. I could tell he wasn't impressed so I started a conversation about why I felt I had to move out. After I'd explained my point of view, he said he agreed with all I'd said but that he didn't want to lose me.
That started a whole new conversation where he said he would totally support me if I wanted to transition and he said I didn't have to move out - but if I really wanted to, maybe I should just make it temporary rather than permanent. I had been thinking about purchasing somewhere, but now I'm thinking about renting, for maybe six months, just to see how it goes.
I still believe we need space from each other. He doesn't want me to go. He said he would always be here when I wanted to come back. He also said he would come with me when I try to find a therapist and a sympathetic doctor. He said he fell in love with what's in my head and in my heart, not what my body looks like.
Everything looks different today. He wants to support me. I asked him if he still wanted to be married to me and he said yes. When I pointed out that, if I go ahead with transitioning, he would be viewed as gay by many people, he said he didn't give a **** what other people thought of him. I asked if he would be okay with a same-sex marriage and he said yes, because he married me, not my body. He wants me.
He still wants me.
We spent hours discussing my options. Through our talking, I now have a better idea of my end goal. I think I know now what I would be most comfortable with. And that's because I understand his point of view better.
I laughed at one point. He got annoyed and offended when I explained how the law works here (England) with regards to obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate. He said the law was obscene. Which it is. He said there was no way he would veto my application for a GRC. That's comforting. But that time is still a long way off. Even so, I feel so relieved today. It's going to make coming out at work next week so much easier.
What a training course. Enlightening, saddening, revealing, a little scary at times, but ultimately well worth the investment in time and money.
Do I feel confident in giving first aid in a mental health emergency? Not 100% but it's like physical first aid - you hope you never have to do it but it's reassuring to know you have the skills and knowledge if it comes down to it.
I will be better at spotting signs in myself - signals that my own mental health is suffering a dip. I will be better at spotting it in others. I have a far better understanding of mental health issues than I did.
I have knowledge of symptoms, physical, psychological and behavioural. I have knowledge of help resources. I know what to do in an emergency situation.
My own mental health is good right now. The trips to see the psychiatrist and the psychologist were positive experiences and I'm still feeling buoyed by them.
I hope it lasts a while.
Peace and love to everyone.
I'm currently heading home after day 1 of a two day training course.
The training is in mental health first aid. Not only is it fascinating and educational, but it's also enlightening from the perspective of my own mind.
I've learned a lot today. About how to spot signs that a person's mental health may be taking a dip. And that includes my own.
Day 2 promises to be just as educational. The trainer appeared to be a little worried that she might have stressed us out and she has sent us home with homework: take an hour when you get home to do something that you enjoy.
I'll be getting on my bike. And I'll be asking my husband how his day has gone. And I'll be taking the time to listen to what he really says. I think he's under stress too at the moment. I think I've neglected him somewhat recently.
Time to start to put that right.
I've just spent a week away from home, working. Early starts: late finishes. Not so much sleep over the past few days but it was a good week, nevertheless.
I've spent the last few evenings in the company of my team mates and my manager. It was the first time we had all managed to get together like that for a couple of years. And it was great to see their initial reactions to my appearance were positive. It was great to experience their total acceptance of who I am first-hand, in the flesh, because while we've all interacted over the phone many times, that was the first time I've been in their presence since I began to transition.
I'm lucky to work with people like that. I'm also lucky to work for the company that I work for. The acceptance is almost universal. Over the course of this week, I met many of the other employees and had to introduce myself and talk to them; the vast majority were strangers to me before this week. Not one person looked at me oddly when I gave them my name. Not one person avoided me when they realised I was transgender. Everyone behaved impeccably towards me.
This week has boosted my confidence and self-esteem enormously.
Peace and love to everyone.
I can't believe it's been so long since I last wrote something here. In fact, it's been weeks since I even visited this site. I seem to have got caught up in so much stuff that I've been too busy to spend time on the internet. I've missed it, though.
Yesterday was TDOR and I was surprised that our company LGBT network didn't even mention it. They always make a big thing out of IDAHOT and Coming Out Day and the various Pride celebrations around the country and other days that stand out as something to be celebrated or remembered or promoted. But yesterday? Nothing. So I wrote something on our company LGBT notice board and a bunch of other members jumped on there and complained about the lack of shouting too. So I don't think the network will make that mistake next year.
Tomorrow is Sunday, and where I live there's going to be a big memorial event for TDOR. There will be readings and prayers (although I'm not religious) and a candlelit vigil and a bunch of people will walk through the city to gather at the trans* memorial in the park. I attended this event last year, but I stood on the fringes and I wasn't trying to be involved in any way. I just quietly stood at the edge of it all and paid my respects in silence, and then I went home. Tomorrow, it'll be different. I am going as myself, for the first time. I've also persuaded my husband to join me. If I'd asked him last year he would have laughed and said no. This year, he didn't hesitate to say yes. And then afterwards we will spend the evening with a bunch of other people like me. That will be a big step for him, because he hasn't really been involved with other trans* people before.
I have to say, his support, just lately, has been amazing. He's the one who keeps telling me to get back in touch with my doctor and ask where my referral to the GIC is up to. He's the one who, last night, helped me clear out every single piece of female clothing I still owned and stuff it into bags and take them to the charity shop. He's the one who is correcting people, before I even get a chance to open my mouth, when they misgender me. After more years together - and sometimes apart - than I would care to admit (because then people would know just how old we are), he has finally accepted me.
Things that make me smile…
Seeing the leaves appearing on the trees in spring. Watching winter give way to spring always makes me happy. The leaves are bright and vibrant and fresh. It seems that, suddenly, everywhere appears to be more alive. People smile more and I guess it’s because they are more hopeful and filled with expectation now that the darkness and cold of winter is becoming a memory.
Blue sky. Don’t get me wrong, I love clouds (I’m even a paid-up member of the Cloud Appreciation Society) - but you can’t beat a blue sky. There’s something basic and primeval about the way humans react to certain colours - and the blue of the sky is one of those colours that homo sapiens have reacted to for millennia. It’s ingrained in our DNA, I believe.
Seeing Valentino Rossi win a race. Go Vale!!! You’ll always be my hero. #46
Jumping on one of my bikes when the sky is blue and heading through the countryside never fails to put a smile on my face. If you’ve never ridden a bike, you’re missing out on what could well be one of the best experiences of your life.
Watching children jump into puddles left by the rain. Or watching them play in the leaves when it’s autumn. Reminds me of when I was a kid.
The smell of good coffee. Heavenly. Also the smell of nutmeg or cinnamon.
Talking of smells... There’s this aftershave (cologne) that I fell in love (or lust) with when I was a teenager. It is called Aramis. One of my teachers wore it every day at school. If I ever catch a whiff of Aramis, I grin like a fool.
Music. Music always calms me. Or it invigorates me. I’ll listen to many types; there aren’t many genres I don’t like. The only exceptions are musicals and country music - I’ve never managed to get into them. But most other types of music will make me relax and smile.
Writing. That’s another thing that calms my mind and makes me happy. Except when I have a block.
I no longer have any desire to see a "therapist". I think it will perpetuate the medical profession's opinion that I somehow have a mental illness if I sign up for that. It's hard enough to get the medical types to take us seriously as it is. I have friends to talk to, I have my husband, and I have my FTM support group. For now, that will suffice, I think. At one point, I thought it might have been a good idea to talk to a stranger about stuff, but... no. I don't want to. Not anymore.
I know that at some point, I will have to sit in front of one, while they ask me probing and insensitive questions about my sex life, my sexuality, my body image, my feelings, what I had for breakfast. But I'm prepared for that because it's part of the process I have to undertake, if I'm ever going to get the treatment I need, want, desire, whatever you wanna call it. I've heard horrible stories about the kind of questions they ask and how seemingly irrelevant they can be. And having to answer questions like that makes me shiver. But it has to be done at some point. I'm resigned to that.
Until that day comes, I'll stick to my current support network.
I haven't been around for a while (sorry!) because I've been burying myself in work (lot and lots of it) and in other stuff, to occupy my mind, or to distract myself from unwanted thoughts to be more precise.
Been doing a bit of training for ATH (Action for Trans* Health) here in the UK - training to become an Advocate. I'm also volunteering for the Trans* programme at the LGBT Foundation here in Manchester, so I have been spending a fair amount of time hanging around the LGBT Foundation headquarters on Richmond Street. I was there all day yesterday. That's where the monthly FTM group meets although it seems like months since I've been to one of those (but it hasn't been months at all).
I've been preparing a bunch of articles and stuff for LGBT HM to be posted on our company LGBT+ internal website, and also preparing information and biographies of notable trans* people for the week leading up to 31 March (International Transgender Day of Awareness) - the plan is to have a different article and a different bio uploaded to the site each day of the week leading to ITDoA.
I've done all this (and I am continuing to do it) because I still have my writer's block
If I can't write something, I send myself crazy.
I hope everyone is doing ok... xxx
Tomorrow, I'm talking to my team. They know I'm transgender but they don't yet know I'm transitioning. We all work in different locations, so we're a virtual team. I haven't seen two of them since February, one of them since some time last year, and my manager since maybe June.
A couple of weeks ago, I hinted, none-too-subtly, to my manager that it might be a good idea if we could all arrange to meet, in the same location (probably London), before the end of this year. I suggested we could make a thing of it, planning our work for 2016, going out for a meal and a drink in the evening, and while we were all there together, I could tell the whole team, face to face, about my plans. Unfortunately, the getting-together in the same location part hasn't worked out. So tomorrow, I'll be in Manchester while the rest of the team will be in London and Edinburgh when I tell them, via telephone, what my plans are.
Plans that are already well under way.
I may or may not have already mentioned that I was assigned a 'specialist' HR case worker by the company I work for. It's his job to help me with stuff like getting my name changed on all the HR and IT systems. It's his job to help with guidance and 'awareness training' for those who need it - my colleagues, I mean, not me - I'm fully 'aware'. He is supposed to be able to help me with the planning of communications, whether it's via emails or face to face meetings or briefings. He's supposed to explain to people the company policy regarding transitioning in the workplace, diversity policies, reiterate what's acceptable and what's not acceptable with regards to how they treat me. He's supposed to be available to explain to people and plan the practicalities of such things as using toilet/washroom facilities. He's supposed to be assisting me, basically.
So far, he's been useless.
I'm not sure if it's only my perception, but I get the impression he's uncomfortable talking to me. Or uncomfortable talking about the subject. I have to keep chasing him for information.
I fired off an email to him before I left the office today, asking him to update me on progress with the changes to HR systems. If I don't have a reply waiting for me when I get back into the office tomorrow, I'm going to request that someone else is assigned to me. It's stressful enough without having to wonder what he's up to and what progress he's making.
My manager has been great. He even said to me yesterday, "I want to make sure you understand I'm there for you; 100% with you in this. I think what you're doing is really brave and I know the whole team will support you. And I completely support you. And I'm not just saying that because I'm your manager and it's supposed to be my job to support you."
So, tomorrow, I tell the team. And then I want to tell a few other people around the office; people I've had some kind of working relationship with over the years; people who will be sharing the toilets/washrooms with me soon, even though they don't yet know it.
And then I'll have to tell the security guards, because if I don't, they'll wonder what's going on when a new ID badge appears with a new name on it and I go to the reception area to collect it. They're a generally nice bunch of guys that I've had a laugh with over they years, but they don't know about me. And they're all incredibly big and masculine, as security guards tend to be, so I'm not sure how they're going to take it. But I shouldn't really care about that, I know. It's not really their concern what I do with my life, as long as I flash my badge and follow the procedures and do the job I'm employed to do.
And that sums it up, really, doesn't it? These are a bunch of people that I have become acquainted with over the many years I've worked for that company. They don't know me, really, and I don't know them. They're not my friends. We don't hang out after work. We don't socialise. I know all of them enough to say hello to them and to ask whether they had a good weekend. And they do the same to me. And as long as I continue to do the job to the best of my ability, the job I get paid to do, then whatever else is going on in my life is not their business.
That's what I keep telling myself. So, why is it that I find myself rehearsing conversations with all of them in my head, night after night, keeping myself awake?
I know what works for me. The best therapy for me is immersing myself in my music or my painting or my writing. So I just bought myself a new synthesizer. It was either that or download a shed load of new music. And I've spent quite enough money on music downloads lately.
I seem to have lost my muse when it comes to writing. The stories are in my head, but they aren't making it onto the virtual paper of my computer screen, for some reason.
It's annoying; having all these tales rattling around inside my brain but unable to get them out. I have this one story on my mind at the moment that is almost perfectly formed. I have the characters, the storyline, a lot of the dialogue and most of the action between the two main protagonists, but each time I sit down to write it, there's a block - and I sit, staring at the screen, thinking, "How do I start?" It's stupid. I know the whole story; I know how it starts, how they develop their relationship, how their tale ends. But can I get it out of my brain? Nope.
The last time I had a block like this, I worked out what I'd done wrong. On that particular story, I had backed myself into a corner, leaving me with a chapter I knew I had to write, but unable to get it out. So I went back and changed the previous two chapters, allowing me to then attack that next chapter differently. It worked. But now, if I can't even make a start on this new story, I can't get myself out of the corner. And these two characters are occupying my dreams as well as my waking mind, so I have to do something about them soon. Otherwise, I may have lost one of my therapies for a while.
Maybe that's why I'm rambling on here. Sorry
Well, nearly. I ordered my first month's supply two days ago and received confirmation yesterday that the order had been fulfilled. It's on its way.
When I was getting ready for work this morning, after spending entirely too much time watching the news and the discussions about the UK referendum and the decision to leave the EU, I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror. That's something I don't often do - not unless I have to - and I realised, with something of a jolt, that I look like my brother.
People have occasionally in the past told me that I look like my dad but I've never been able to see that resemblance. I have thought that my brother looks like my dad, though. And then suddenly, today, I could see my own resemblance to my brother. After all these years, I don't understand why I could see it today. Maybe I'm looking at myself differently somehow? Maybe I just looked properly for once. Maybe it was there all along and I never saw it.
To me, my brother bears a striking resemblance to Matt Dillon. I've always thought that about him but never told him. I'm kind of glad I kept my mouth shut now. But I certainly wouldn't mind looking like that one day.
Yesterday I ordered my second month's supply of T. I received an email from the online doc to tell me to order it because she had sent the prescription to the pharmacy. She also said I need to arrange for more blood tests before the end of September, to check my testosterone and estradiol levels.
I can't believe I've managed to get through almost a month's worth already. Time has passed so quickly. And, apart from the almost immediate effect on one particular part of my anatomy, and the increased appetites (plural - it hasn't just made me hungry all the time, it's affected my libido too), I haven't really noticed a whole lot else. But my husband says I have more muscle definition in my upper torso and arms. I'm not sure about that, but I'll take his word for it.
I have been trying to work out more, particularly when I realised I was eating more (or wanting to eat more, at any rate). It might have been my imagination but I thought my stomach was starting to get fatter. So I'm on the bike every day and I'm working on my shoulders and arms as well. Having said all that, it might be the fact that I drink too much beer that's making my stomach fatter. I need to check out some additional stomach-specific exercises. I'm never going to have a six-pack and I probably don't want one, but I don't want a beer gut either.
I'm not at work this week. I decided to take five days, to do some stuff at home and to watch some of the final week of the Tour de France live (as opposed to watching highlights in the evenings). And it looks like I chose a good week to not be at work. It was warm and sunny yesterday. Today, it's scorching with unbroken blue sky. Apparently, tomorrow will be just as nice. So I think it's time I turned off this computer and went outside. There's some weeding to be done in the garden.
Peace and love, to everyone.
So, I changed my name with my banks without any problems. I've received two replacement cards with my new name on and I'm only a tiny little bit irritated that I'm still waiting for a card from one bank. But at least I have access to my money again.
I've changed my name and payment details with online sites such as Amazon, ebay, Beatport, Juno, Smashwords, and other places where I spend money on a regular basis.
But the only one that's causing me a major problem is PayPal. They won't accept me trying to change my bank details, even though the name on my bank account has changed. I've amended a credit card on there but they won't allow me to amend the debit card I have registered with them, even though the name has changed on that debit card. And they won't let me delete it. AND they won't let me change my name!!! Not without a Photo ID. So I need to get my new passport or driving licence before I can change my name on my PayPal account.
But what makes me laugh about that is that when I opened that PayPal account TEN YEARS AGO they never asked for Photo ID. So they didn't know what I looked like then and they don't know what I look like now.
Why is PayPal being so annoying when all the banks and credit card companies and everywhere else have been so great? I'm thinking now that the easiest solution is to close my ten year old PayPal account and open a new one in my new name, which is, after all, my real name. But then I will have to go back to ebay and Beatport and Juno and Smashwords and... change my payment details again.
it's a good thing that I like merry-go-rounds
On my way to London to see the psychologist from the GIC. Sitting at the station waiting for my train.
It's windy but the sun is shining and I'm feeling good.
Step 1 was getting the T prescription. I ordered my supply for the fourth month yesterday and it arrived today.
Step 2 was getting to see the psychiatrist from the GIC. That was weeks ago. Today is step 3.
Goodness only knows what step 4 will be. I haven't a clue.
The T is redistributing my body fat already. It has also given me a few whiskers on my chin. I shave them off.
I decided to stay in London tonight. Have a quiet night to myself. Maybe use the hotel gym. Read my Kindle. Listen to music.
Have no idea what this psychologist is going to ask me but it'll be fine.
I know I'm lucky to live in Manchester. This city has a big LGBT+ contingent and a lively LGBT+ scene and a city council that supports its LGBT+ people. We even have our first out gay Lord Mayor now.
He was at Sparkle last weekend. Sparkle styles itself as the "National Transgender Celebration" here in the UK. http://www.sparkle.org.uk/ It's also a trans* charity. I don't know whether Sparkle weekend really is the biggest trans* get-together in the UK, or whether trans* people really do descend on Manchester from all over the country, but I was there last weekend, with my husband. And there were an awful lot of other people there. Definitely several thousand people.
The only disappointing part was that it had rained throughout the Friday night and for a good few hours Saturday morning, before Sparkle was due to kick off on the Saturday. When we got there, the rain had stopped, but the gardens where the main Sparkle event was scheduled to take place were awash with mud due to all the rain. It was a mudbath. The organisers had sprinkled some sawdust around the place to try to lessen the mud, but it didn't really work. And so everyone got messy. I felt sorry for all the ladies in their high heels but there wasn't a lot they could do about it.
But it was great to see so many trans* people in one place. We wandered around the gardens, checking out the various stands, and then we decided to head back to Canal Street for a drink. We ducked into View for a quick one, but it was pretty quiet in there so we only had the one drink and then headed for our favourite bar, Bandit.
It's actually called Bandit, Mugger & Thief, which is a tad too long for a bar name, in my opinion, but it's a great place. It used to be named Taurus, which I think is an eminently more sensible name for a bar, but whatever. Taurus/Bandit is a great place to hang out on Canal Street. The people who work there are friendly and the bar is comfortable and usually pretty busy but not too full that you can't get a seat.
We discovered a beer called Barista stout. I'd never had it before, although I will be having it again. I like stout and porter - dark beers are my favourite and I usually drink Guinness. But this Barista stout... the first mouthful tastes like vanilla ice cream and then it starts to taste like coffee and chocolate - like a mocha milkshake. Oh my goodness, it is gorgeous! So we had more than one.
While we were sitting there enjoying our drinks and chatting about stuff, my husband said, "That woman behind you has been standing on her own for ages. Do you think she's waiting for someone?" I turned to look and realised I had seen her earlier, standing there, and she had been alone for a while. So I hopped off my chair and moved to say hello and invite her to sit with us, while she waited for whoever she was waiting for, because it was fairly obvious that was what she was doing.
And that was how I met my newest acquaintance - or friend - Emma.
Emma joined us at our table and we all chatted about whatever came into our heads. Inevitably, I suppose, some of the conversation focused on transitioning and our different journeys. By the time her friend arrived - it could have been an hour or two later; I have no idea how much time had passed - we had exchanged phone numbers and agreed to keep in touch.
I'm hoping that we do keep in touch. I hope I don't have to wait a whole year - for next year's Sparkle celebrations - to meet up with her.
Yep, changes are afoot.
I did notice something Monday morning that surprised me. But I'm not going to explain anything about that here. Suffice it to say that there was a noticeable difference in something after only two doses and I spotted it as I was getting ready to administer dose three.
Today is Tuesday and I've had only four doses of the hormone. I can say with certainty that my appetite has increased. I feel hungry all the time so I'm going to have to watch that carefully.
The headache must have been a coincidence. I haven't had one since the other day. I'm relieved about that.
I have noticed that I smell different. And that the skin on my face is different. I don't know whether it's just my imagination, but I think it is also affecting my sleep. But generally speaking, I'm happy with how things are going after such a short time.
The title of the blog entry... it's not what you think.
When I arrived home from work Friday there was a small package waiting for me. Upon opening it, I found thirty smaller packages inside. Well, sachets. My first month's hormone prescription, in thirty neat little packets. As today is Sunday, I've used it twice. And now I have a banging headache and I'm wondering whether it's the T, because that was one of the listed side-effects. It's noted among the many side-effects that could assail me. Of course, the headache could be a complete coincidence. I'll just have to wait and see.
It feels good to be finally, officially, changing, even though I'm not stupid enough to think any changes have actually taken place after just two doses. But you know what I mean... If anyone knows what I mean, it's likely to be someone reading this.
I'm looking forward to seeing a little redistribution of body fat, and I'm looking forward to noting any changes to my voice. Some of my friends assume that what I'm most looking forward to is growing a beard. But that's not top of the list. I'm assured, by people who have been there & done that, that I'll change my mind. But I am looking forward to shaving properly - or, as someone else suggested I'd soon get fed up of shaving, maybe I'm looking forward to getting fed up of shaving. I shave already - have done for a while - but there's not a lot to remove so I only do it a couple of times per week. So I'm looking forward to having to do it on a daily basis, but that's probably way off in the future.
In the meantime, I'll just make a note of anything else that I see happening, to my body or my disposition, over the next few months. And I'll check in regularly on here.
To anyone who reads this, have a great week.
My first relationship was with a girl. At the time, I told myself that it was alright to be with a girl; in fact, I was supposed to be with a girl, because inside I wasn't a girl. I never told her that, though.
During my teenage years, I convinced myself it would be okay if everyone thought I was a lesbian. It was preferable to the truth. I looked female and, if I was with a female, I could play the more masculine role in the relationship. And I did. It was only years later that I realised that I had been using women in that fashion. Guilty secret.
My first relationship with a man happened when I was nineteen and at university. I never told him I had been with women. He had long blond hair and he had a slim build. He was quite feminine-looking, although I didn't think, at the time, that had an influence on me. But maybe it did.
I was also attracted to a woman named Pippa at university. She was the girlfriend of one of Mike’s friends. A year into the relationship with Mike, I discovered they had been secretly seeing each other. I split with Mike. Pippa found out that I knew and she ended her relationships with both men. And then we got together. But it didn't last long. Eventually I returned to Mike, after seeing a few people in between. I told some of those people that I was bisexual and invariably that caused problems. Issues that made me regret disclosing that aspect of me, too. I was still with Mike when I met my husband.
Looking back, I can see that none of my relationships were especially healthy. I was never very good at them. And I can blame all kinds of things for that but I know it’s me. My opinion of my own body gets in the way. I can playact at things for a while and then it gets too much to bear and I stop pretending. That means the other person in the relationship stops getting the things they need from me. And for a lot of people that’s a rejection and invalidation.
It’s funny that I know I need my own validation but I'm very good at dishing out invalidation to others. That’s wrong and I understand that now. And I also know now that I could never have received the validation I needed because my persona is based on lies and deception, because I've never really been straight with anyone.
Sometimes I wonder whether my attraction to women is real. Sometimes I wonder if I've constructed it to give myself opportunities to act out my male-role fantasies. Sometimes I wonder, because I've always been attracted to the male form even though I threw myself into relationships with women first.
And sometimes I think about something else that scares me. If I think about the possibility (an extremely remote one, I know) of undergoing gender reassignment surgery, and if I ever received the male body that I always wanted, I would still be attracted to men, first and foremost. And what gay man would ever want me, when there’s a whole bunch of attractive, real gay men out there that they could have instead? I would still be a freak. I'm always going to be a freak, no matter what my body looks like.