JayM

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About JayM

  • Rank
    Advanced Member
  • Birthday September 13

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  • Gender Male
  • Location UK
  • Interests Reading, writing (gay fiction), painting (acrylic on canvas), making music, listening to music (usually while painting or writing), cycling, motorbikes, football (the UK variety - "soccer" - although I've been known to enjoy American football too), Manchester City FC, rugby, shoot-em-ups (I played DOOM incessantly when it was first released and have stuck to FPS ever since).

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JayM's Activity

  1. JayM added a blog entry in In and Out of Darkness   

    Not sure if I should be here anymore
    I have been quiet over the past few months. I have visited the site but have not written anything. Not commented on anything, not added an entry to the blog, etc. All I've done is read what others are writing about. I've noticed a few people sign off lately; saying goodbye; moving on. I've wondered about their reasons for leaving. I've also wondered what I'm doing here. 
    To be honest, one of the things that has bothered me is whether it's safe to post here. I've thought about the way the political landscape has changed in the USA and what that might mean for people who are based in the USA - and also what it might mean for people like me who are not based in the USA but whose words are, in all likelihood, being stored in a US data centre as I type. Am I being paranoid? Probably. Do I have cause to be paranoid? Not sure, yet. Probably not. But I am also wondering whether I have anything useful or interesting to say anymore.
    I could tell people about how I've visited the gender specialists three times since i last added an entry to this blog, and how I have another two appointments lined up - one later this week and one next month. I could talk about the fact that my GP still isn't prescribing my testosterone and I'm still getting it via a private prescription, and that my GP has received written instructions from the gender specialists about what to prescribe and how to monitor my blood, but that she still doesn't seem inclined to do it. I could talk about my relationship with my husband, or my brother, or how things are going at work, or how one phone call from me to the psychologist at the gender clinic is all it would take to set up a referral to a surgeon for top surgery. 
    But I don't really want to. I've realised that I'm being self-indulgent on here. I've recently read through some of my previous posts and it seems to me that I've felt sorry for myself quite a lot and I don't want to do that anymore.
    Everyone has problems. Everyone has things they need to work out or work through. I have it quite easy, really. I have a good life and I have family and friends who care about me and respect me. When I come here I seem to forget that and I only dwell on the negatives. I've used this site to moan and complain when, really, I have nothing to moan or complain about. 
    I wish everyone well. I hope you all get what you want out of life and I hope your journeys progress the way you want them to. I hope the destination is as wonderful as you envisage it to be. 
    Peace and long life.

     
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  2. JayM added a blog entry in In and Out of Darkness   

    Introspection
    I've been seeing a psychotherapist for a few weeks. It was a recommended course of action by the psychiatrist at the GIC and so I signed up.
    AI couple of weeks ago, I had a moment of clarity in one of our sessions. Yesterday I had another one. 
    I have to give myself more time to grow into myself. Into the 'new' me.
    I've spent so much time and energy in the past year trying to speed things along, with GPs and the medical profession; trying to prove to others that I need treatment and I need to transition; trying to convince everyone that I am what I say I am, that I haven't given myself time to experience it. 
    To feel it.
    I am changing - and I have refused to acknowledge or even recognise those changes. I've been so wrapped up in trying to get from A to B that I haven't stopped to admire the scenery or enjoy the ride.
    So I am slowing down. I'm not going to get anxious about the T not affecting my body as rapidly as I'd hoped. Because, it IS affecting my body. And it's affecting my mind. My personality and my disposition.
    Last month, my prescription was late. The delivery of the hormone was late. I went five days without it. At first, I was annoyed and anxious. By the time it arrived, I had realised that I was actually calmer and less aggressive than I'd been for a few months.
    That was a surprise at the time. I hadn't noticed how much it had bumped up my aggressive tendencies until it was gone. I explained to the therapist that I had noticed this about myself. Guess what she said?
    "That's why the RLE is so important. It's not just about proving you mean what you say to the medical professionals. It's about giving yourself time to experience and understand the changes you're making. To your personality as well as to your body. You're becoming a different person even if you've always thought of yourself as that person."
    That was a bit of a light bulb moment for me. Sounds silly, but I really hadn't thought in those terms before.
    I'm a little embarrassed to admit that.
    I had always thought that I knew who and what I was. I thought the RLE was a step I had to take to prove who I was to others. 
    Now I know it's more important to me to view it as a step to take to learn and accept who I'm becoming.
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  3. JayM added a blog entry in In and Out of Darkness   

    Tiring week over
    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.
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  4. JayM added a blog entry in In and Out of Darkness   

    Training Over
    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.
     
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  5. JayM added a blog entry in In and Out of Darkness   

    Training
    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.
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  6. JayM added a blog entry in In and Out of Darkness   

    Good night
    It was a good night.
    My train arrived late into London and I had to double-time the walk to meet with the psychologist, but it all went well enough.
    I was hot and sweaty and feeling dishevelled by the time I arrived but, to be honest, I didn't look as bad as she did. It was evident that her office had no air con and she had had precious little fresh air all day. She looked more tired and dishevelled than me.
    The interview went well. We covered old ground but that didn't rattle me at all. I simply answered the questions honestly and straightforwardly. I've been asked the same questions so many times now, and while they would have annoyed me six months ago, they didn't yesterday. It's as if these people don't read each other's reports - or maybe they're trying to find a different answer. 
    Anyway, a little over one hour after meeting her, I was checking into my hotel.
    I found the gym and used it then took a shower and ordered room service. Great food, I have to say. I spent the rest of the evening reading and listening to music until my eyes started to close.
    This morning, after another trip to the gym, I showered and checked out before finding a great coffee shop along the street from my hotel, which is where I am now. My train departs in around 50 minutes so I'm just passing the time and reflecting on yesterday's interview.
    She told me to schedule a follow up appointment with the psychiatrist next month and then another one with her in January when she will recommend top surgery. She's already emailed the psychiatrist to agree with his assessment that I need a better T prescription than the one I currently have.
    All in all it's been a worthwhile trip to London. Again.
    Peace and love, everyone.
     
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  7. JayM added a blog entry in In and Out of Darkness   

    Step 3
    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.
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  8. JayM added a post in a topic: NYT: "Is God Transgender?"   

    I can't comment on whether God is transgender, but I have to admit I find it all a little strange - and depressing - what's happening in the States with regards to 'restrooms' or 'bathrooms' or whatever people care to call them. It's all over the news here in the UK - well, in the 'pink' news, anyway. 
    In the UK, there's one rule about toilets/bathrooms/restrooms, and this is it: You can't use a toilet that is designated for use by those with disabilities, unless you're entitled to use it. In other words, unless you're disabled, don't use the disabled toilet facilities.
    That's it. That's the only rule. There are no other rules about who is allowed to use 'male' or 'female' facilities. Anyone is entitled to use any facility they want (except disabled facilities). And I hope, for sanity's sake, it remains that way.
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  9. JayM added a blog entry in In and Out of Darkness   

    Clarification
    I thought I'd better clarify that last entry. Because, if anyone has been reading these entries, they might have noticed that, a few posts back, I was bemoaning the lengthy wait I had ahead of me for an appointment at the Gender Identity Clinic, and how it had pushed me to seek a T prescription from somewhere else in the meantime.
    Well, I did seek a T prescription, from a private source, and I received one. And I've been taking it for almost two months. No ill-effects, so far, but not a lot else happening, either. I feel good, and I've noticed a little redistribution of body fat, and perhaps a slight increase in muscle mass - but I've been working out so that muscle might be because of that.
    The T prescription was sought with the full knowledge of my GP - in fact, it was her idea for me to try to find some private treatment. And I decided that, if I was going to get interim private treatment, while waiting for the GIC to send for me, I might as well consider private treatment for the whole lot.
    And that's where the last entry comes in. The psychiatrist and the psychologist I mentioned in the last entry both work at one of the top GICs in this country, but I'm not on the waiting list for that particular GIC - instead, I've gone to them privately. And now I'm being officially, properly assessed by that GIC - and, judging by the report that the psychiatrist has written, he has few, if any, qualms about treating me. He believes me; he's not doubting the things I've told him; he's not questioning whether I have 'gender dysphoria' - and in the initial interview, he didn't give me a hard time or try to catch me out or ask any of the horrible questions that I had assumed he would.
    I've heard horror stories about how people are treated at GICs - about how they try to disprove your story or try to catch you in a lie or tell you you're not what you say you are. I didn't get any of that. Instead, I got a doctor who was sympathetic, maybe even empathetic, and when I left his office I felt happier than I've felt all year. I think I even had a stupid grin on my face as I walked out of the hospital.
    The night before, I hadn't slept. I had been too busy worrying about how it was all going to pan out. That night, I slept like a log.
    I'm still waiting for the second appointment - the one with the psychologist. I've called her number and left messages, and I've emailed her. But I'm not so worried anymore. I know the appointment will happen at some point fairly soon. And then I'll see where we go from there.
    In the meantime I reckon I need to go back to my GP and get her up to speed. She'll be getting a copy of the psychiatrist's report soon. He wants some blood tests - of course - to see what my hormone levels are, amongst other things. And so I'll have to get those done too.
    And then, I suppose I need to consider taking myself off the waiting list for the original GIC. I've been on that waiting list for eight months. But I've kind of jumped the queue now, having managed to get myself into this other GIC. It's amazing what throwing a little money around can do. I'm lucky that I can afford it. I find it annoying that private treatment can be obtained within a couple of weeks whereas NHS treatment can take years to materialise. I feel really bad for people who can't afford to do what I've just done. I also feel a little bad that it will appear to others that I've jumped the queue - but at the same time, I will be freeing up one spot on the waiting list, so that's the thought that is consoling me at the moment. The NHS system is in such a mess that just freeing up one spot for someone else to get assessed and treated a little sooner is probably a good thing.
    But I ain't removing myself from that waiting list until I'm sure I'm going to get proper treatment privately.
     
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  10. JayM added a blog entry in In and Out of Darkness   

    GIC
    I went to my first appointment with the head psychiatrist at a well known GIC this week. He has already written his report, sent me a copy and asked for my permission to forward it to my GP and to the head psychologist at the GIC.
    Of course, I gave my permission and now I'm waiting for an appointment with said psychologist.
    The psychiatrist was nothing like I'd imagined and the session or interview or whatever you want to call it went well. Better than I'd anticipated.
    He's already said he wants to increase my T dosage. And he didn't question my sincerity or motives. Or try to trip me up.
    I'm getting treatment, officially, it would seem.
    Yay!   
     
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  11. JayM added a comment on a blog entry: How I present myself   

    Female hairdressing salons are scary places when you know you don't belong there.  
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  12. JayM added a blog entry in In and Out of Darkness   

    How I present myself
    I don't like the term 'passing' because it sounds to me like I'm trying to fool people. I'm not 'passing' as male because as far as I'm concerned, I am male. These aren't 'tips for passing' as such, because it's just how I am and what I do, and my way of doing things won't work for, or resonate with, every trans male out there. I think we each need to find our own way of feeling comfortable with what we are and how we present that to the world. There is no right or wrong, and what feels natural for me won't necessarily feel good for another trans man. But here are my thoughts anyway.
    My husband has told me, more than once, that I have always 'walked like a man' - whatever that means  - so I thought I'd try to describe what that is for me. I have never attempted to walk in a consciously masculine or feminine fashion. I have to admit. I just walk. When I asked my husband to describe my walk to me, he said I take longer strides than the average cis woman, and I don't sway my hips. He also said I walk purposefully, as if I know where I'm going and want to get there. Since I ditched my last piece of 'female' clothing last year, he said he's noticed that I pull my shoulders back more and that sometimes I 'strut' when I walk. I'm not entirely sure what that means.
    I do think I'm more comfortable in myself, now that everyone knows who I am, and now that I don't have to dress in any female clothing anymore for appearances' sake, so maybe that extra comfort has made me a little more confident.
    I've never worn high heels. I've always been more comfortable in flat shoes and boots. Maybe that has influenced my walk.
    My hair is short. I cut it myself. I trim the back and sides with an electric hair trimmer and I cut the top with scissors. I admit that I haven't yet found the confidence to walk into a barbers' and ask them to cut it for me. But I hardly ever went to visit a 'female' hairdresser, even before I came out. I've always cut my own hair.
    I don't wear makeup and I didn't like to wear makeup even before I was out. Lipstick, on the odd occasions I wore it in the past (such as on my wedding day), never lasted more than ten minutes before I wiped it off - it always made my lips feel funny. I was never very good at putting on makeup when I had to and I always felt wrong in it, so it was something I avoided.
    ​I've always had a thing for aftershave rather than perfume (I think it smells nicer, generally) and I've bought 'male' deodorant for years because I preferred the scent. There's a thing I did discover, many years ago, about the difference between 'male' and 'female' deodorant. When I was supposed to be female, I shaved my armpits, as 'women' are encouraged to do in our society. If I had 'female' deodorant and used it after shaving, it stung horrendously - and women were supposed to buy special 'no sting' deodorant (which was more expensive) if they wanted to avoid that particular discomfort, not just use any old female deodorant. But here's the thing - 'male' deodorant doesn't sting after you've shaved your armpits. Whatever they put in 'female' deodorant that they don't put in 'male' deodorant is the culprit. But male deodorant smells nicer anyway so I've used that for years. And I stopped shaving my armpits a long time ago.
    My clothes are mostly casual. I have a couple of suits, dress shirts, ties and the like, but they don't come out often. Mostly I'm in jeans with button flies (I like button flies far more than zips) or chinos. I will wear a t-shirt over my binder and a long sleeved shirt over that. Sometimes I will button up the shirt but usually I like to leave it unbuttoned. I rarely tuck in my shirts. I find that if I tuck in a shirt, it's a little more obvious that my hips are larger than my waist. I haven't been taking the T long enough for it to have had a noticeable effect on the shape of my body (although it is happening, slowly - my waist is thicker and my thighs are thinner than before I started the hormone). When I do need to tuck in a shirt, I wear something over it, such as a jacket or waistcoat. My jeans and trousers sit on my hips, not my waist.
    Obviously, I wear a binder. Not only is it there to change my shape, it makes me feel more comfortable and confident. I've been wearing binders for years but only started wearing them seven days a week last year. It's probably more psychological than physical, but I feel more 'me' since I started wearing them full-time. I've bought binders from three different manufacturers but I prefer one of them over the others. It's easy to get them, too, because they're available online from a stockist in this country. I wear a packer, too, and they're available from the same stockist. That's also a psychological thing, I've found. I feel better when it's there. I feel bereft when it's not. When I bought my first packer, I soon realised that the one I'd bought was too big. I switched to a smaller size soon after and I tend to re-order the same 'make and model' when I need to.
    I have, in the past, spent a lot of money on STP devices - some very expensive ones have turned out to be a complete waste of money - but I didn't know that until I'd tried them. These days, I make my own. I know what works for me, now, but it did take a little experimentation.
    I don't think I'm 'fooling' anyone with how I look and behave and dress - but I do now feel more at ease with myself. Whether other people think I'm female, or male, or neither, doesn't matter to me as much as how it makes me feel to be presenting myself as me. 
    And I'm not trying to be a 'typical male' - because there is no such thing.
     
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  13. JayM added a post in a topic: The Importance of Body Language in Passing   

    Here's another one I've found to be true most of the time:
    When nodding the head (e.g. in the affirmative or in acknowledgement), women nod downwards, men nod upwards.
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  14. JayM added a blog entry in In and Out of Darkness   

    T for Two
    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.  
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  15. JayM added a comment on a blog entry: Sparkle   

    Thanks, Stephanie. I hope everything is going well for you. xx Enjoy yourself at whichever Pride events you go to. Manchester Pride is next month, over the Bank Holiday weekend in August. I'll be there.
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