Friday, September 22, 2017

Today, only the sky is blue

Hi,

As I drove to work the other day, the radio presenter was waxing lyrical about the new Apple smartphone and it's unlocked using a view of your face. I was perplexed in as much as my old droid phone had this a while back, how well does face recognition work when you've, ahem, two appearances? :-) Also, politicians, usually two-faced; how do they manage? :-)

Sometimes, I wonder about reverse image searching or facial recognition. How hard is it to spot the connection between Richard & Lynn? One's just a fancy outfit, slap and a wig from the other. But at the same time, I think if you worried about everything, you'd not do anything.

Anyhoo, I switched off the news and having been lucky enough to buy a new-to-me car, I can now listen to downloaded radio shows - or podcasts as the hepcats say, Daddio :-) - without A) having to faff about with wires, and B) when Google's in a good mood, it'll listen to my request.

As I drove along, I was struck by the thought that sometimes, things do get better. Sure, there's the occasional pang of trans-based regret, but pushing that aside, I don't do bad, all things considered. Sure, I've not had a raise in many a moon, but I have more choice over my work, and dare I say it, this last two years, I've enjoyed going to work. Okay, as much as having to get out of bed before 10am and put the hours in, but compared to other gigs, this one is just fine thank you.

Likewise with the car situation. My little car might not be the fastest, the most expensive, but it does what I need it to do: take me and Little Miss to school and back on a morning. Then, I pootle through the post-school run traffic down the ring road to work. I might queue a bit on the way back, but the podcasts keep me company, and the stop/start & automatic gears make for a comfy if a sometimes slow ride home. Still, it's a lot better than taking the bus. What a faff that is. :-)

Talking of good fortune, some of you over on Facebook were kind enough to wish me many happy returns. The Jones Massive celebrated with a particularly tasty curry at our local, and as the kids have got bigger (and hungrier), the bill was somewhat higher than expected. Still, it's all good in the long swing of things.

My folks had bought me some booze and a voucher for TopMan. I had a look, but nothing really grabbed me online. But wait, aren't TopMan part of the same group as Dorothy Perkins? Ten minutes later I'd found a pretty nice dress (in the sale too!) and a sheer Kimono top. I tapped the voucher code in and the Shopping Fates smiled.

Skip on a few days, and I even managed a quick try on when I was working from home on Thursday. It seems an age since I've worn such a pretty number and it did my spirits the world of good.

Clearly, I should work from home more often. :-)

Take care,
Lynn



Friday, September 15, 2017

Found my smile

Hi,

Last night's visit to Chams was just what I needed. Funny isn't it, how just a few hours as you (or more accurately, all of you) makes so much difference.

Firstly, a note of thanks to those of you who asked after me. Either via PM, email, this ol' blog, or face to face. Secondly, an apology from me over the somewhat darker tone of late.

How can I put this? I had the most excellent holiday with my family. Some travel, a variety of hotels, great food, beautiful scenery, and many days together, rather than at the colouring in department. What's not to like? :-)

/sighs

I can't put my finger on things exactly, but my guess would be the lack of retreat and being Dad 24/7 had quite an effect on me. I suppose the ability to go away and/or a mental space where I could express all of me - there's that phrase again - was something that a) I'd not considered before, and b) couldn't really do while we were away. Ho hum.

So yeah, things got a bit heavy for a while..... But, that's what happens I guess, and you have to pull the Stiff Upper Lip routine until you can come home and let it go.

But, on to brighter news!

Found my smile
I got to Chams early and despite my inability to tie my own corset, was ready pretty quickly. Well, for me :-) I had, somewhat naughtily, been a little more daring in shaving. I get by, by not clearing my legs, just ankles. This lets me wear leggings, footless tights, or skinny jeans.

Perhaps as a push against those feelings from earlier in the month, I'd gone further. Hence, a slightly more 50s jeans rolled up look which I really liked. Plus, teamed with my new ballet pumps. Yeah, after pretty much stopping looking, I found some in my size and the material I wanted in a local supermarket. Result!

The night itself was busy, with a full contingent of our trans guys. Often it's one chap mucking in with the rest of us, but what felt like the first time, everyone was in. Great to see our community moving forward.

Oh, taking of that, while at the Doctor's earlier in the week, I spotted the Nottingham Self Help guide. Ah, I felt a flutter of pride when I spotted Chameleons in there!

Andrea ran another of her structured talks in the second room, and I hung back to let others attend. Plus, I wanted to catch up with the unusual suspects :-)

Come the end of the night, it was time to remind people of our Start Up event at the next meeting. A sort of bring and buy + advice session. I'm hoping people bring what they can and that they get something out of it. I know I've got two boxes of 14/16 clothes, some wigs, and shoes that'll be up for grabs. I'm seeing if I've anything from my bloke wardrobe to help our trans guys out.

Val was kind enough to be on camera duty, although I broke one of the Ever Lovely Mrs J's fab purple heels. They're now on the side waiting for me to get the sewing kit to them. Luckily, I think it's just a popped stitch on the fake button, but without that, the strap comes off. Not exactly the easiest way to walk in heels :-D

I had a chat with two good people about their fundraising efforts for the group. It's great that folk make this extra effort and want to keep things going. It was really touching and when I drove home later in drab, I thought how lucky I was to have a great group and supportive friends.

Good times.
Lynn
x


Friday, September 01, 2017

Friday, August 25, 2017

Other people

Hi,

As I walk along the corridors and see others, sometimes the Green Eyed Monster draws her claws. But outside of my head, what's going on in the minds of others? There's that phrase "Be kind: You never know what others are going through."

Back when I was young, when someone asked me that "what superpower would you want?" I'd often say I'd like to be able to read minds. To truly know what someone was thinking. Trust issues anyone? :-) Jokes aside, I think it might have been to try and understand if everyone was a messed up as me. I think as I've got older, the quick answer is there's no one normal. We're still kooky in our own special way.

Jumping back, do the people I pass on the street look on and value my male attributes? There's FTM guys at Chams, so there must be closet transguys too. If when I go out, do some look on and think I'm brave? For the record, I don't. It's the perception of others. Like me, they are looking at another and, frankly, guessing.

So while the misgender menace whispers oh so kindly to point out my perceived shortcoming, what are the negatives others here? Feel free to share yours if you're comfortable doing so.

Take care,
Lynn

Friday, August 18, 2017

Mind the gap

Hi,

Last time I mentioned the phrase "a sting of dysphoria". Sometimes the feeling of not being right with how you look can pounce on you. It's not like such feelings sneak up, and if you look carefully, they're lurking in the bushes or pretending to suddenly examine the contents of a shop window. No, these, for me at least, lurk unseen, biding their time for some type of trigger event. A gap between support meetings, or being stuck in a suit for work. I once had a trigger event while a lady waited to set off from the junction in her car. Her hair flicked as she looked both ways, and my negative inner voice said: "You'll never do that." Thanks, that's really helping :-D

No, this is, at least for me, a sting or stab, and off we go. Off we go around the familiar ghost-train moans of Why Not; She Looks Great, I don't; and F*** This For A Lark. I push against these inner demons with thoughts of You're Doing Your Best, This Won't Get Anywhere, and Stay Cool, It's Only a Few More Days, etc. Magic mantras and techniques to try and keep out of the distant Dark Woods, the Black Dog that howls from within. Thing is, I know I have to stay away from that area, by not giving such negative thoughts air time. The knack is walking the talk. :-)

But, this is not an easy battle. Once the miserable metronome starts a ticking, I'm into coping strategies: searching for the right shoes/lippy/top/etc, which can distract; or avoiding anything too transition positive. Those articles, a bit like the reality TV transformations, I need to keep at arm's length. I'm happy for the person living their life and I try not to be jealous or compare myself to them. After all, I'm not them, that's not my life, and I've a family I love dearly. Comparing yourself to others, ah, there's a good beat yourself up exercise :-)

No, it's the fantasy that I could be like that, that I have to slay. That's my Dream Demon: not one that thrives on my fear, but one that lives for the lies it tells and my inner want for it to be oh so easy. But then, who wouldn't want the dream? There's no piper to pay in the dream world, no responsibility....

I know as a adult that that's not how things work. Plus, if I ignore those lies and expose them to the proverbial light of day, they fall apart like so much smoke and mist.

So, if there's a point to this ramble, beware of false fantasys, What Ifs or If Onlys. Instead, and I may well have yet to learn this myself, think on what you do have, be thankful for that, and don't stop striving to make the best of the situation you're in.

 Take care,
Lynn

Friday, August 11, 2017

Funshine

Hi,

Despite somehow catching a cold in summer and the lengthy downpours, the British Weather is having a final throw of the dice for sun, wispy white clouds, and pale blue skies. Put away your opaques and boots, break out the sandals and fancy tops one more time :-)

For whatever reason I had a sting of dysphoria at the start of the week, resulting in a shoe purchase as medication. Like many material purchases, it's the search that distracts, not the purchased goods. I think I know that you should aim for experiences, not possessions. Still, when you're on the work-home-work-home treadmill, sneaking in some T time isn't always easy.

It seems that in times of dysphoric dissonance, I fall back to shopping for shoes. Particularly, a perceived weakness or lacking in my wardrobe. Despite having three pairs of ballet pumps - two of which I've gifted to the Ever Lovely Mrs J - I'm still looking for the right pair. Sadly, the leather look size 9s from the local supermarket didn't fit: too large, yet the 8s are too small. It seems my feet are as awkward as the rest of me ;-)

But, looking on the bright side, I did manage to get my toes painted ready for a Thursday night out, and I sorted out a box for our September Startup event at Chameleons next month. That box has shirts, jeans, skirts, shoes, wigs, and dresses that either don't work for me or no longer fit (Mmm.... Pies ;-) ). The plan behind September Startup is to help out those who are just setting off on their trans journey. I hope we manage to draw a few folk in and make a go of the night! If you've any suggestions on what would've helped you back in the day, please do let me know. Sharing is caring ;-)

Anyhoo, I was caught up at home, what with fetching Wee Man from his mate's house, and other stuff. This resulted in a call from Pat, who couldn't get in the Centre, bless her. Usually, the front door is open, as the early shift is taken up by a martial arts group. We've never had any trouble with them, and while we don't socialise per se, we say hi and they're fine with us. Yay for acceptance eh?

With the cold making a good attempt to raise my body temperature, I was suitably dosed up. Said infection had also gone to my throat, so I was channeling my not-so-inner death metal vocalist. Hell, it's not like I pass at the best of things, so having the death-growl for conversational tone made me smile at the silliness of the situation. Still, if you can't laugh at yourself, eh? :-)

Andrea ran her first Talking Workshop, which I didn't go to. I was busy talking to a newcomer, Reuben (another transguy - keep coming along please chaps!) and I also wanted to give Andrea & co some space to test things out. It all seemed to go okay, and hopefully, their will be another one soon enough.

With time ticking on, I asked Val if she'd mind doing an earlier than usual photo shoot (see above and left), and I got changed earlier. I had a quick change of top and shoes to road test another outfit, and then it was time to de-fab, and go back to Richard mode.

Oh, I would like to recommend an idea from the Ever Lovely Mrs J. On hearing about me running out of Quickies nail polish remover pads, she suggested this.

  1. Take an old glass jar with a good watertight lid, 
  2. Pop into two sponges so they're packed in tightly. Make sure there's a finger sized gap between them. That or use one larger sponge and snip it with scissors.
  3. Now fill about 3/4 to 2/3 full with nail polish remover. 
  4. When it comes to removing your polish, flip back the lid and swish your finger around between the pads. Et volia! :-)

I'll be honest and say I was a little skeptical, but on the night it was dip-twist-and-clean. Certainly quicker than having to rub a pad across each fingertip. Result! Mind you, not sure I'll be using Mrs J's idea to sort my toes out. :-)

Take care,
Lynn

PS: A few trans bloggers have been listed in the Top 100 Trans Blogs by Feedspot. I got an email from a chap called Anuj, which was a nice touch. Congratulations to Gabrielle, Hannah, Jonathan, Nadine, Stana, and - last but not least! - Sue. Keep up the blogging excellence folks!


Friday, August 04, 2017

History

Hi,

Each week Auntie Beeb* runs a radio show called Book of the Week over on Radio Four. Oddly, and speaking personally, for someone who was very into music in my 20s, I pretty much only listen to talk radio. Perhaps, looking at it a bit more, I never listened to music radio, because they very rarely played stuff I liked. Not much has changed :-)

[ * For you overseas readers, that's a nickname for the BBC, our state broadcaster. ]

So, Book of the Week; and back in July, it was the turn of self-described "executive transvestite", Eddie Izzard. In order to keep my Trans License current, you have to listen to at least one of his performances a year. Gah, always read the small print! :-) With five episodes of about 20 minutes, there's a lot to cram in. I guess the idea is to give you both a performance and a flavour of the book. If you've yet to have the pleasure, I would try to have a listen (iPlayer), as while every trans person's journey is different, I think many of them have some wisdom to share.

One bit that jumped out was Eddie's visit to a trans support group: TV/TS. There's a name from the past. Oh, how I wanted to go back when I was a confused teen! Back when I was a teenager, my family had gone off on a long weekend, and, well, trans people do what trans people do when left alone... No, the other thing, you dirty minded so-and-so. :-) By sheer dumb luck, I caught a late night talk show, Hodson Confidential, which just happened to be about trans people. Or, back in the early 90s, we were called "transvestites". They do things differently back in the past :-D It may well have been the first time I'd heard from other trans people, so it was both an eye opener, and made me feel less.... well, freakish and alone. Who says good telly can't help people? :-)

Cue a few short interviews of trans* people - we didn't have the term transgender or gender fluid back then! Regular, everyday folk, who just happened to be that way. I remember my heart rushing, as I felt there were others like me! When you come from a small market town, trans stuff didn't happen. Well, not unless it was coke, sex games, and a Tory MP. Yeah, those stories really help your self-esteem, don't they? :-/

I remember a short video piece talking about TV/TS. They were a group in London who met fairly regularly, and not had a place to be themselves but were okay about it too. Perhaps understandably, and given my loneliness, I too wanted to go. Thing is, when you're not quite 18 without a job, you don't just hop on the train and pop down to the Big Smoke. So, no, I didn't get to go. Perhaps, this is a good thing. After all, moving to Nottingham meant I met the Ever Lovely Mrs J, and I'd not have my family, friends, or trans* friends that I do now. Funny how life works out.

So, back to Mr Izzard. Part of his talk, if you can call it that, covered his first time out, and a number of visits to TV/TS. For me, I found it fascinating to hear a first-hand account of what went on (not too dissimilar to Chams). The whole making friends, getting more confidence, etc. It seems a now familiar pattern. I remembered the Hodson Confidential talk about TV/TS running a helpline, and my hands shaking as I called them from the village telephone box. They were, bless them, as helpful as they could be to a late teen hundreds of miles away.

When one of our original founders - Jayne - wasn't well, she brought in a briefcase full of documents. Some were about the group, some were newspaper cuttings, and some were leaflets from support groups of yesteryear. There was a TV/TS leaflet, in all it's 90s desktop-publishing glory. The Internet boom hadn't really happened, so printing and post ruled the day. It was very much a world apart from where we are now. No instant messaging, or email; it was post and wait.

As I listened to Eddie's words, much of the above came back to me, and also the teenage want to belong. Just now, I've had a look to see what happened to TV/TS. I know from 'coming out' in the 2000s, that the group didn't have a web site, and that it may have folded. So it often goes if there's not a core group to keep things going. I've seen one or two trans support groups fold due to a lack of push. Understandably, I was very keen not to let Chameleons go the same way; hence the volunteering.

But, after a bit of using dear old Google, I found some web pages by a lady called Yvonne Sinclair. I've no idea who she is, other than she had something to do with TV/TS, and she's written down some history of the group and what happened.

I can only hope that with care and help, that Chameleons keeps on going. Not just for purely selfish reasons, but that it really is a community. A place for many trans people who aren't yet out, to be themselves and, ultimately, to learn that it's okay to be who they are. That does, to me at least, seem like something worth fighting for.

Take care,
Lynn



Friday, July 28, 2017

Pack up your troubles

Hi,

How's things with you? Hopefully all good. After last week's drift into and back out of the past, I guess we're back again to the present. Blogging, IMHO, is somewhat of an odd thing. It's got that kinda weird public/private thing going on. There are things on here that I write about that I don't talk to many of my friends about. Well, certainly not workmates or friends who aren't trans.

Take for example Tuesday evening; the kids have broken up, the Jones Massive have had tea, and everyone is doing their own thing. I decided to pack a bag for Chams, hoping that taking a little more time would mean that I wasn't in quite a rush Wednesday, or even Thursday itself. Much as I leave my holiday packing until the 11th hour, with Chams, I don't. I'm sure a wiser person than I could make some value judgment about my emotional investment in one versus the other :-)

Anyhoo, I'd hung up all the items I'd rather lazily left folded in my cupboard, and took to the task of sorting out what to wear. Nothing. Zip. Nada. I was knelt looking at an empty sports bag, and no outfit came to mind. From the bed, the Ever Lovely Mrs J was reading, and she piped up: "You okay, Hubby?" Not her exact words, but not everything is shared here :-)

I answered honestly and truthfully, that no, not completely. I did not know what to take. Now, considering I'd just taken twenty minutes packing dresses, tops, jeans, and a tunic away; the words "I don't have anything to wear" would not be accurate. It's times like that when I'm reminded of Ms Moran's comment (below), which seems as true for part timers like me....
When a woman says, 'I have nothing to wear!', what she really means is, 'There's nothing here for who I'm supposed to be today.'
The Ever Lovely Mrs J put down her Kindle, and looked at me. "Is there anything you'd like to borrow?"

Again, in truth; no, I have a sort of unwritten rule that if I've bought her something, it's for her, not me by proxy. If she offers, that's okay, but to put another unwritten rule into text, I like her to have had the pleasure of wearing an item (not literally) first-time around.

I laid out what I'd thought about on the bed. It was the vest, lace top, footless opaques, and denim skirt. A sort of go-to I-don't-know-what-to-wear-in-the-summer outfit. Mrs J's expert eye was cast and found, like me, the outfit choice lacking. Cue a series of suggestions, including white skinny jeans, sandals and a red tunic. Hers, incidentally.

With a bag now packed, and an emergency outfit sorted (black jeans + top), I was much happier than before. Not just because of the help - but for the acceptance. It was a joy to have the openness and not the corrosion of secrecy between us. Yes, it's taken a while to get here, but that's okay. Good things don't happen overnight, and a relationship needs care, attention, and, above all, love, to keep it going as things change.
Skip forward to Thursday night, and as Val readied the chairs & tables, I gave the outfit choice a spin. Well, it didn't work with leggings, and the white jeans weren't quite fitted enough. So, fall back to my black skinny jeans, and wedge sandals. Cue one happy, if not-so-typically-dressed, husband. :-)

Chams itself was fairly busy given the cooler weather, and we had a very interesting conversation about the group towards the end of the night. All in a positive way, I should add. There's some notes over in our forum, and two of them are around doing more for our transmen. Let's hope with some team effort, we can make Chams a go-to place for them.

For a change, I've made the staircase snap into one. Left is the outfit the Ever Lovely Mrs J suggested and loaned; centre is a new Joe Browns dress; while right is the vest from left. I wasn't sure about the Joe Browns' number, but it's too late to send it back now!

Take care,
Lynn




Friday, July 21, 2017

Future Retro

Hi,

Back in '05
Calie, over at T-Central, has been running a retro week, and these have been posts pulled from some of the featured blogs. Anyhoo, Calie was kind enough to ask if I was okay with having a post from 2005 being featured.

Wow, 2005: how much has changed since then? That's before the whole smartphone/tablet arrival, while we still had a Labour government, and before Little Miss was born. Quite a different time!

From a personal/trans point of view, I thought I'd have a look at what I wrote and comment on my original thoughts. People change, after all.

The question will be in bold and my original answer will be in italics. If you fancy a go at answering the questions, I'll provide a summary at the end. If you do, I wouldn't mind a courtesy link back, but hey, if you don't want to, that's cool too.
_____________________________

How long have you been dressing up as a girl?

On and off - for quite a long time. My earliest recollection would be when I was at primary school. What's that? About 8 or 10 or so? I don't know why but I remember getting ready for bed and seeing a pair of mum's tights fresh out of the laundry. I can remember wondering what the felt like and reaching for them... Ahhh, so began a drift to the Dark Side. :-)

After that, wanting to dress up or being interested in girls' - and later womens' - clothes never went away. Sure, you can try and *ignore* your interest, but if you're honest, the want to dress up never goes away.

Not much has changed from this statement. Well, other than adding another 10 years to the clock. I would like to think I've got a slightly better idea of what works for me, and what doesn't. I certainly don't know it all, and through a series of mistakes and some wonderful finds, style-wise, I'm mostly happy with how I look when dressed.

Do you want to be a girl?

In my teenage years I was very, very confused and wondered just where this cross dressing would take me. Would I want to become a woman? After a lot of soul searching, I realised that I didn't. I'm quite happy being a bloke. The wages are better, you get to play with lots of toys and clothing/grooming is soooo much easier. :-)

Wow, that was flippant huh? :-) No, I like being a sort of sort of in-betweeny bloke, and I guess that's around mannerisms and wearing brighter clothes. I am oddly, slightly bolder in my choices, and I don't hide behind the corporate shirt and tie so much: earrings, groomed brows, bright/highly patterned tops, etc.

During the brief visit from the Black Dog, I did think long and hard about transitioning. I wondered if being Richard was the cause of my woes, and yet I thought "what if I'm wrong?". With that in mind, I parked those feelings and told myself that despite the upset and - frankly - the emotional pain, I would wait until I was free of the Dark Woods, and being able to think a little more easily. BTW, I should stress this is only about me, how people who do decide to transition: well, you'd have to ask them.

So, no, I don't think I do want to be a woman. On a good day, I'm okay with who I am, and much as I'd like a little more freedom around appearance (smooth legs, stronger will to shift some weight, etc), I am okay with being a part timer.

Why ‘Lynn’?

I just liked the name. It's as simple as that.

There's a bit more to it than that. :-) Back in the 90s when I first got online, a work mate and I would join a student chat room and mess around using various false names. His did make me laugh, and he got booted once for one a little too close to the bone. Anyhoo, I picked "Linn" as it felt a bit here-nor-there in terms of him or her, and I became comfortable with it. I put the 'Y' in later, but never adopted the E. 90s kids may wish to make their own drug references at this point :-)

Are you gay?

I always find this a bit of an odd question. Why would a guy, who likes to wear dresses and make-up be gay? Isn't the stereotype that gay men are attracted to macho types? If that were the case, I'd not be showing myself in my best light would I?

Am I skirting the question? No, and I will say this: to deny being gay so ardently (as some men - and trans folk - are prone to do) - to me at least, implies that there's something wrong with being gay. This is going to sound awfully PC, but quite frankly, I don't give a sh** if you're straight, bi or gay. Who am I to judge your life? Love is love.

I'll still stand by this. As I told both of our lovely children, it's okay to be gay. It's completely natural, and if you find that you fall in love with someone the same sex as you, all I ask is you make sure they feel the same way about you too.

Does anyone else know?

Yes. My wife, my Mum, two t-girls I've met online & IRL plus an old friend from University.

As I already mentioned, during my teenage years there was much confusion. I came out - so to speak - to my Mum when I was 18. It was horrible. I felt so very ashamed and guilty. The guilt was that I'd worn her and my sister's clothes on occasion without permission. That's kinda creepy, but what's a young trans person to do? We had a lot of tears although she thinks "I quit" when I had a chuck out at University.

After throwing what few clothes I had away, I met a very nice young lady at University - now the Ever Lovely Mrs J - who, obviously, I married. She knew that I had dressed up, but at the time I'd purged everything and was on the *ahem* straight and narrow. That phase lasted about two years. She would go out once a week to visit her folks. That would leave me with run of the house and access to a bag of clothes destined to go to charity.....

I managed to keep the lid on things until I started a new job in the late 90s. That job was awful and I'm afraid to say that I used my cross dressing as a stress valve. I started to collect my own clothes and went out to a support group. I came out to Mrs J. a week later. Initially, she took it well, but it remains an occasional shadow on our relationship.

Not much has changed from that opening. Mum doesn't suspect or mention it. Why would she, I said I'd "gone straight" in '92. As you can see, I'm very much managing to maintain a complete disinterest in being trans :-D

No one at work knows, although sometimes I wonder if a few close workmates should. I also know that the genie can't be put back in the bottle, so I don't say anything. I am always concerned that if where I lived knew, that my kids might suffer for it (bullying). It's a fine line between staying in the closet and living. So far, the balance is working for me.

Perhaps it's an obvious thing to say, but having friends at Chameleons who 'get me', is, well, incredible. I can turn up in Richard or Lynn mode, and it's fine; they really do accept me for who I am. Well, that or they are very good at bluffing. :-D

What do you get from the experience?

Sometimes joy, excitement, or even disappointment, but mainly: peace. I feel happy and relaxed when I get to dress up.

Release, contentment, etc. I no longer feel pent up, but I get to express all of who I am. I'm not passing, but I'm okay with that.

Do you get aroused by it?

I find this question very hard to answer. If I'm honest, I have to say that sometimes, yes I do find it a turn on. It's not the cross-dressing that makes me excited, and this'll sound nuts - it's the actually feeling pretty that makes me feel good. Does that make sense? In my youth, just thinking about stockings was enough to - as Peter Cook would say - "give me the 'orn". In later years I find this much less so, although dressing up - while not sexually exciting - is still fun.

Y'know I still find this a really difficult question to answer. I still get feelings of "this is not normal" or "why aren't I like regular blokes?". These thoughts are thankfully rare, and the mix of transgender and sexuality is complicated.

There are rare times when I see my made-up reflection, and I look at the hair, the slap, and the clothes; and I feel more than pretty. Looking good makes me feel good, and in those rare times, the feeling of looking good makes me feel foxy. Ironic as dressed as a woman means the Ever Lovely Mrs J is not going to be attracted to me. Never let it be said Life doesn't have a sense of humour! But, jokes aside, it's complicated and I may not be explaining this very well, so my apologies.

How do you find out how to dress, how to do your make up etc?

Studying other women; trial and error; watching YouTube, reading women's mags; researching make-up and clothes on the Internet.

Lots of practice, and returned items from mail order. Make-up has taken me a long time to understand. You really have to put the hours in. Yes, there are some shortcuts, namely YouTube or Pinterest, that can help you avoid some basic mistakes. For example, I now know I've hooded eyes, so I understand why the regular smokey eye routine doesn't work for me.

Clothing: well, I follow fashion blogs and keep my eye on what women my age wear at work, or on the school run.

Have you ever been out dressed?

Yes, on a few occasions, but they are few and far between. There's no score card for this and it's not a p***ing contest by any means.

I think Matalan should have a trans discount card, it seems to be a Mecca for t-girls throughout the UK. :-)

Other than twice a month to Chameleons, perhaps once or twice a year. Usually, that's a shopping trip somewhere far away from home. I've been lucky enough to have a night out back in the day. I loved the Leicester meal out, and some of the Invasions have been good too. But, they do make an impact on family life, so I'm careful to try and keep a balance.

Could you stop?

I doubt it. I've tried and for me at least, it just doesn't work. Why lie to yourself and upset others with your grumpy moods because you're in denial. In business jargon: JFDI - just f***ing do it.

Within the TG community, there is a feeling that cross-dressing is incurable. It *may* be possible for *you* to give up. If you wish to do so, good luck. It won't be easy, but it may be possible. Personally, for all the flack and the fall outs, I enjoy it too much. Selfish b*tch eh? :-)

No. I've tried and the feelings do not go away. I need to be all of me, and by that, I need to express all aspects of who I am. Some of that would be traditionally described as male, some female. I do swing between the genders, although the pendulum doesn't quite swing that hard into the male aspect.

What’s the cause?

The jury is still out. I don't think I've read or heard anything from the psychologists that ring true for all of us. Each of us has a reason that makes sense to them.

For me, I do not think it's genetic, but maybe hormone/birth related. Sure, you can have girly men and macho women, but I don't think being trans fits into that model so easily. I don't blame my parents; it's just a cast of the dice really. I wonder if the strong female role models at home and at school shaped my personality, or was I already leaning a certain way? But all that aside, why can't I stop? Are we truly slaves to our childhood or biological programming? People far more educated than I have researched and written papers on this subject. There's some here and here. If you've got any more, I'd love to read them.

I hope that by being a hands-on Dad, that I'll be a good role model for my son. You want to protect your children and while life isn't easy for straight folk, I'd like to help him avoid some of what I went through. But if he did find he was trans, at least his wife would get nice clothes for Xmas. :-)

There's been quite a lot of research done since 2005, and I think we're on the other side of The Transgender Tipping Point. Programmes like My Transexual Summer have given people the language they needed to express themselves. Sure, there's discrimination, but trans people are so much more out there.

To answer the question, I *think* we have a genetic disposition towards it. Now, that may either be a quirk of sperm meets egg, or variation of hormones in the womb. I'm not qualified to provide evidence, and clearly, I have my own biases. That said, I try not to worry how am I this way, and am trying instead to live, have fun, and help a few people along the way.

Thanks for reading,
Lynn
x

PS: here's the questions if you want to have a go yourself:

How long have you been dressing up as a girl?
Do you want to be a girl/woman?
Why the name?
Are you gay?
Does anyone else know?
What do you get from the experience?
Do you get aroused by it?
How do you find out how to dress, how to do your make up etc?
Have you ever been out dressed?
Could you stop?
What’s the cause?




Friday, July 14, 2017

Summertime and the living is easy...

Hi,

It had been one of those long gaps between meetings, and with the hot weather, I'd sort have warmed myself up to the idea of going in bloke mode. Yet, as the night out drew closer, temperatures dropped, and as I was working at home, I packed a bag during my lunchtime. There may also have been an opportunity to paint my toes, but there's no gap in the company timesheet for that. Shame really, as it does wonders for my mood :-)

Perhaps as I had no expectations of Chams, that it explains why I had such a good time. I'd made fair time through the traffic. Just in time to help Pat and M & Co set up. After wheeling in two rails worth of clothing in, it was time to shuffle off the blokey coil and glam up. Even falling back to my emergency outfit didn't harsh my mellow, man :-) Makeup all worked, outfit felt right and I had a good chat with Diane & Pat as we got changed. I even remembered to hand over a spare bottle of Clinique make-up remover. The fun of passing on freebies!

Thanks to Pat's organisation, M & Co had set up shop downstairs, so there was some traffic as people bought, or tried things on.  We had a chuckle with Paula and Lesley. Back in the main room, it was great to see some of our irregular regulars turn up: Alison and Jake. Cue much discussion about Jake's transition and his fully carpeted legs. Curses! I'd been out Wookied! :-)

There was also a visit from a carer, and, bless she was dropped in the deep end, being involved in a conversation about transition 'surprises' that you don't usually get to hear. She took it all in her stride though. Tell you what, I certainly learned a few things and the was much good natured laughter.

The evening rolled on and it was good to see Dani, last time's new comer back, as well as another new member, Maya. We had a chat about this and that, before helping M & Co pack everything away. What's great to see is a growing number of FTM and younger folk choosing to visit. I'm hoping this continues because it's good for the group's diversity and good for the community. Win win, really.

As the clock struck 11, and it was time to pack up. Cue the usual photos with Val (thanks Mrs), and then a return to Bloke Mode. Still, enjoy things when you can!

All in all, a great night out. I feel rather chipper. Result!

Lynn
x

Friday, July 07, 2017

Alien

Hi,

A couple of weeks ago, I popped round to see my folks. They'd been away and while on holiday, it had been my mum's birthday. Now, with the kids being older and all of us being busy at the weekend, I went round on my own. Hello dutiful son points. ;-)

There was the usual chit-chat, cake, and tea business. This is Britain after all. :-) An hour in and my sister and boyfriend - neither of who I'd seen in a while - turned up to much delight. It's fine; I live away and I'm used to being in the background :-)

As she and my mum started talking about who'd said what to who, and how certain - and frankly, unimportant - news had developed, I was reminded how much I just don't give a stuff about any of that.

Now, I find people interesting. I care about what happens to friends, and through some of the stuff I do at work, and at Chams, about the feelings of those, I know only lightly. But.... as the conversation went on, I felt more out of it and frankly, alien. Is this how I was supposed to behave? The grandstanding, the gossip, the bluster, the talk about perceived snubs, etc. Not that my dad does either, bless him. Maybe I'm reading more into it than I should, and I'm more like my dad. He's a lovely fellow.

With the night drawing in and work the next day, I made my excuses, hugged and left. The drive home, as now, had me thinking on what had played out. I'd not felt like a stranger for some time, and yet, older memories resurfaced: false or true, I couldn't say. I wondered, does this make me a snob? Hint: don't answer that ;-) I'll say no, because it's not a case of looking down on them, not thinking I'm better. Judging? The content and their occasional hissing, maybe, yes.

I'm certainly not better, not by a country mile.... just, well, different. The proverbial oddball: a metalhead at the proms, or a suit at an eco-warrior meeting. Being one doesn't stop you being okay with the other. You just, well, don't always quite click.

Families eh? Who'd have 'em? :-)

Take care,
Lynn


Friday, June 30, 2017

Magpies

Hi,

The other day I was talking with a mate about bikes. While the weather's been in a good mood - not too hot, not too wet, etc - I've been cycling between meetings. I should clarify by saying I cycle between sites. Apparently, it's frowned upon to pop a wheelie as you hit the corridor. It startles some of the sleeping staff. :-)

So, H said that being a fairly keen commuter cyclist, that he's - and to use his own words - a bit of a tool tart. That's not a phrase I'd heard before, and it made me chuckle. My Dad would probably use the words Gadget Monster, but that has different and possibly Godzilla style connotations. :-) Tools, meh. But shoes or the ideal mascara? Now you're talking!

I'll leave you to generate your own alliteration to cover those words. :-)

But, before I sign off, riddle me this: do we all have a thing we like to collect? I know not everyone is defined by material gubbins, but is it the gadget or the experience that we're chasing?

Take care,
Lynn

Friday, June 23, 2017

Tea power

Hi,

Do you find that you talk yourself out of doing something? Okay, sometimes this is a good thing (do I really want that second pint at lunch?), but if you're anything like me - and you have my sympathy if you are! :-) - there are times when fortune favours the brave.

So it was yesterday. I had the good fortune to be working at home (Yay! No meetings!) and as I worked through my Do List, I wondered about Thursday night out. The weather was a lot cooler and yet, I wasn't quite in the right mood for it. Indeed, in many ways, I was revving myself up for just going along in Bob Mode. Summer can be - shall we said - a challenge to your average bloke in a dress, as shapewear, slap and a wig do not make the best for cooling down. :-)

Hence, this:


If you're British and faced with a shall I / shan't I dilemma, it's best to make a cup of tea and think it through.

The above was then followed by:



A cup of tea later, and I was painting my toes. I thought that even if I do go in Richard mode, at least I can enjoy having a pretty colour applied. It's not for display, it's for me. I've mentioned this before and as the varnish dried, I finished my tea and moved on to pack a bag.

I think tea is the reason the Brits had an empire. It's only when we switched to coffee and soft drinks that it all went squiffy. ;-) On the plus side, at least we're not invading places anymore. When the ice caps start to go, the tides rise and the planet is less than welcoming; make sure the Brits get extra tea. :-D

So, suitably energised I finished off my report, and before long, Little Miss and the Ever Lovely Mrs J returned home. Skip on a few hours and I was off early to Chameleons.

It was a quite evening, although enjoyable. We had some returning new folk - always good to see - and someone (Dani) visiting for the first time. Sometimes Chams can be quite a hubbub of conversation, so pretty much having a singular group chat (if that makes sense) is a change.

After much laughter, silly stories and occasional forays into more serious topics, it was time to tot up the books, pack up the tables & chairs, before the obligatory photo shoot. This time, Val and I were joined by Diane, Dani and Nicole.

The quieter nights mean there's fewer takings, but Summer is always a lean time for us, but Autumn won't be far away, and the fabulous and faithful will return.

Happy days!

Lynn
x


Friday, June 16, 2017

Attachments

Hi,

Summer has seemingly kicked in for the fair vale of Nottinghamshire. Hmm, I seem to be mixing dated urban yoof-speak with some hey-nonny-nonny. Y'know, I do hope the latter isn't some weird kink slang. Oh the humanity! :-)

Unavailable fashion choices

As her or him
A few weeks ago I bought a nice summer dress from the Joe Brown's sale. The fit and material are fine. My issue, as per, is to disguise the two hairy tree trunks that I pass off as my legs. Jeggings don't quite work, and the footless white tights I bought (Hello! the 80s called and wanted their fashion back) just about work.

But, what I'd really like is some just about ankle length white leggings. Can I find them? Can I ****. Oh, that's feck, by the way. :-) Cropped, knee length, etc, but no full length. I popped into to check our local outfit and after a quick look about, asked one of the sales staff. "Oh, you know," she said, "You must be the sixth person today to ask for some." Well, I guess there's no demand eh? :-) But, I've seen some on the Debenhams site, so I'm hoping a lunchtime excursion may be doable. Fingers crossed eh?

Attachment

This week I waved goodbye to my little car. There was nothing wrong with it, well, other than Wee Man is now too tall to fit in the back. I really shouldn't have put those vitamin drops in his shoes. Ah well. :-)

So, there is a now a slightly newer - well, new to me - car on the drive, and, importantly, it does allow all of the Jones Massive to fit in it. Not that that's a regular occurrence, but we leave the Ever Lovely Mrs J's estate car at home for ease of parking. Sometimes I wonder if that estate car is just an oil tanker with wheels. It's rather big!

So, why mention the old car? Well, not to brag on new wheels, but instead to say that I get attached to material goods. Not so much the goods themselves, but the memories that go along with them. Whenever I change my car, and I'll admit that's not very often, I have the same little pang of thinking of the happy events associated with it.

But, on the bright side. They are happy memories. Days out, trips with the family, a jolly for work, the occasional out & about. Much better than being sat at the roadside waiting for the mechanics! :-D

Take care,
Lynn

Friday, June 09, 2017

Decade: then and now

Hi,

Sometime last week, I was looking through old family photos. I rather enjoy seeing how the kids have grown up, and also remembering the holidays, trips out, or just general silliness, that, to me at least, go to make up your family history. A shared experience if you will. On a whim, I had a look at my stash of trans photos. Now, I don't like having my photo taken. Or, more accurately, I don't really like my photo being taken when I'm in Richard mode.

Conversely, with the purchase of a digital camera - hey, remember those? :-) - I had the opportunity to take a regular snap of me. If, and I doubt this would see the light of day, I could stitch them together in time-lapse, you could see me change and age. Please, don't have nightmares ;-)

I suppose, like family photos, sometimes I look back at my albums and think about what was going on. They are also, not unlike the snaps my female friends sometimes post on-line. Okay, in motive, rather than comparing myself to a woman. So, yeah, a way to show a look or seek reassurance of the same.

That reassurance thing. When I saw that happen pre-party at a big hotel do with my female friends, that was such an eye opener for me. Previously, I'd thought the outfit doubt and validation was very much a trans thing. Maybe it is, maybe it's not. I can only talk about my feelings and experiences, not yours.

Younger and older
In the above photo - give or take a month or so - the difference is about 10 years between the left and the right. It seems much as I've sorted my photos by year and month - hey, I like a system ;-) - it seems that 2007's photo, did not make it to the blog. I guess that back then,  I was either more paranoid or maybe not as carefree (stoopid?) as I am now.

I think that 2007 was roughly a year after I started going to Chameleons (October 06?). Wee Man was actually small, unlike the giant teenager, he is now (I love him just as much if not more. He's a good lad). My darling Little Miss was soon to be with us so the Ever Lovely Mrs J would have been pregnant then. In terms of history, the left-hand photo shows curtains that are long gone, and likewise, that bedroom is no longer ours either. Outfit wise, I've still got that cardigan and top, and quite probably the necklace too. The wig, not so much, much as I liked it. Funny the things you keep and the things that you let go, eh?

But what of inside? The person within. Well, I had yet to meet - and later beat - the Black Dog, but we've had that story haven't we. Oddly, about a month after the left-hand photo was taken, I had, to quote a film, a moment of clarity. Something clicked in my head - hopefully not brain arthritis :-) - and I found I'd started to feel less, well, freakish. Yeah, stop that laughing at the back. :-) But jokes aside, it was a time when I started to feel okay about being all of me. Sure, I have the occasional wobble and downer, but in the main, nothing like the see-saw guilt trips. I'm sure glad to see the back of those. Self-acceptance was hard to come by, but I didn't get there on my own. It was from the help and care from the good folk at Chameleons and the Ever Lovely Mrs J's patience & kindness.

As to the more recent snap.... I am... content with who I am. Well, mostly. :-) Life is up & down with a lot of middle here-nor-there. How can you have the good, if there's none of the bad or something to strive for? So, yeah, content isn't a bad place to be. It's not settling, or giving up. For me, it's accepting. Learning to accept who you are and much as I may gripe about wanting a little bit more - time, money, holiday,  respect, comments, smoother pins, weight loss, femme features, etc - I think.... I wouldn't want to go back. Sure, I'd be younger, but I feel better now than I did back then. Oh, and I like my hair more now too ;-)

So life is good, all things considered. I guess if I had anything to say to my younger self, it would be to be bold, be honest and keep pushing yourself. You'll not get any satisfaction without risk.

Take care,
Lynn

Friday, June 02, 2017

Living in a box

Hi,

How are you all? Me? I'm well rested after a week away from the red tape machines and alpha male yelling. Funny what seven days of late nights, late mornings, regular dog walks and just general chill out time, can do for a person, eh? :-)

The Jones Massive were holed up in a little property in the Lakes. For non-UK readers, the Lakes is in the North West of England, and is both beautiful and mountainous (as much as the UK does mountains).

Our property for the week was a mid-terrace affair, with a room for each of the kids and one for us. It was an updated Victorian property (so an extension at the rear for a kitchen, and the loft space had a bedroom in it). Ignoring the kitchen and loft conversion, it was two rooms per floor and no basement. Oddly, a few of the houses on other streets still had theirs. Personally, I find some charm in a basement room that looks up to the street, but maybe it's novelty. That, or I'm just odd :-)

Funny thing is, it's not a dissimilar design from many houses in Nottingham. It got me thinking what it would be like to live in such a building all of the time. Perhaps the Jones Crew, and particularly myself, are spoiled with our rural retreat. Sure, we don't have a good bus service, gas or fast broadband. But, we do have quiet, space and a big-ish garden.

With space, comes privacy. Take right now for example. I'm sat at my little desk at the back of the house, typing away to complete strangers. Well, some strangers. At the Lakes' holiday home, I would not have had the space to do that. That would really make it a challenge for my own privacy.

Would that drive me being out more, or would I need to come up with alternatives? There's a thought. Still, let's hear it for the good fortune of a space to be me - thought-wise - and room for my all of my trans trappings.

Take care,
Lynn

Friday, May 26, 2017

To dress, or not to dress?
That is the question.

Hi,

As I write this, I'm sat using the Ever Lovely Mrs J's laptop, far away from Jones Towers. It's half-term, so despite a bit of rush, we managed to get the kids out of school early and up to the North of England. Me being me, I'm using some remote control software to connect back home. I'm always slightly concerned that one day, a holiday home owner will find YATGB. Oh well, plain sight and all that eh? :-)

Shoes

With the weather turning warmer, I've ditched my usual walking boots and switched to my Converse trainers. Yes, in Richard mode, I have two sets of shoes. Three, if you count some interview / posh dos. Four if you include Wellies. :-P As to m collection of heels, flats and sandals, well, I'm not sure I've got the mental maths skills to count.

But, as I walked up the hill from dropping of Little Miss at school, I found myself having to switch my gait to a more blokey stroll. It seems the tap-tap-tap of basketball canvas shoes is a bit too like that of flats, and some setting flicked over in my head. Bugger. Right. Straight arms. Heavy shoulder movements. No hip swaying :-D

So, what is it about shoes that changes us so much? Clearly heels are very different blokey stompers, but flats? Yes, I'd say different again in that you do have to walk slighty differently. For a start, they're not always as well held on as a laced shoe. Plus, the thinner soul makes you stay away from any pavement gravel.

Thursday 

If I'm honest, Thursday night was a bit of a wobble. It was a case of to dress or not to dress? That is the question.  Given the heat and being tired, I was not in the best of moods, shall we say. Not angry or miffed, but just a bit, well, meh, really.

That mood very kindly fed into the feedback loop of well, this is your last chance for a month. True, given that the Ever Lovely Mrs J is away on business again. Ah, oh well. Val has very kindly locked up and sorted the money from last time, so I owe her - so to speak.

Still, the temperature had dropped a little by the time I got in and I had a good long chat with Pat, as we got changed upstairs. I was pleased to find my recent corset is a bit too large, and thanks to light lunches plus bike rides, I can get back into my old one. That and my size 14 summer cotton trousers - a blessing in hot weather - are wearable once again. Okay, so that's a just about 14, but it's the step in the right direction.

But, I was glad I went  I did manage to remember the jewellery the Ever Lovely Mrs J had wanted shot of. At a quid a pop, give or take, we had a few extra pennies to put in the group's bank account. It all helps, plus folk get something new to them at a song. I do like to see people enjoying things new to them.

Given it was bright outside, we switched the photos around a bit. But, tradition says you do need to have a snap on the stairs. :-)

 

Happy long weekend!

Take care,
Lynn


Friday, May 19, 2017

A little respect

Hi,

Apparently, it was IDAHoBiT the other day.  A day to push back against homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia. Ideally, we wouldn't need a day to remind certain folk not to be, shall we say, a little less accepting of us, than we'd like. But, hey, 50% of the human population is female, and we've still not quite cracked the idea of treating each other equally. Humans, eh? :-)

Skipping back a few months ago, I was surprised to receive an invitation to give a talk about trans people. Or, more particularly, the work - if you can call it that - Nottingham Chameleons does for the Nottinghamshire trans folk. I say surprised because to be invited back means I can't have behaved that badly when I was there. :-) So, reasons to be positive eh?

I managed to juggle some time between meetings and those yes-I'm-still-enjoying-them-training-sessions, to... ummm... give another training session. This time, the event was a little more personal. I did say, as before, that I can't speak for authority for all trans people. Much as I may occasionally want to know what goes on in the head's of others, realistically, I can only say hand on heart, what goes on in mine. I can generalise, but it will always be that.

We were a little late starting, as I was in the crowd of attendees, and the organiser slipped out to see if the guest speaker - Muggins, here - had turned up. After some confusion and some polite laughter, we started. Apparently, I wasn't supposed to make any political gags, given that it's the UK Election. Still, it's not like we have any Right Wing media establishments who aren't in need of polite satire.... :-)

I started with around 12 slides and as the questions came in, I abandoned my planned script, and just improvised through it. I covered some of the terms we use, some of our trans history and how the language had changed, as the trans community had changed.

The audience were engaged and asked some interesting questions. One asked how she could broach the subject with some of her very religious colleagues, but not cause an arguement. Some around not saying the wrong thing, some around clarifying what I'd meant, and also what would I, as a trans person, like to see happen next.

As I heard Erasure sing in the car ride home - really, they should sort out their own transport :-) - my answer would be, A Little Respect. Enough for us to just be who we are. To be able to go about our working and social life as we like to appear, and just be.

I think I was pushing on an open door with this audience, and I hope they can take the message to others and keep the acceptable vibe going.

Maybe one day, we won't need a day to remind folk not to discriminate. Wouldn't that be good?

Take care,
Lynn


Friday, May 12, 2017

Post

Hi,

If there's one thing blogging has taught me, it's that I can't predict what people will comment on. You may think that after bashing away at the keys, at least weekly for the last ten years, that I'd have more of an inkling.... But, no. So, I'm curious, when you don't comment, why is that?

Dad Duties

This week gone I've been holding the fort as the Ever Lovely Mrs J has been away on business. Granny J has been over to help pick the kids up twice, as that's really helped. Especially as work has become rather busy. Still, at least the day goes quickly.

So, no visit to Chams this week for Yours Truly. I did wonder if I'd have a bit of a wobble, but no. All seems good, for which I'm grateful.

Luckily, there's another for the other foot
Perhaps my mood was helped by the delivery of some new summer wedges. Reduced in the sale, so it would be rude not to. I did try then out as realised my toes weren't painted.

Seeing as I was on my Tod, I didn't have to rush the removal and it's been rather nice to have a pretty colour on my toes for most of the week.

It's a funny thing, in a way. Painted toes aren't visible, yet knowing I had them done, meant that I somehow felt better about myself. I'm probably not explaining it very well, but there was an element of it feeling right, or natural. Ironic given the concept of covering your nails with bright paint. :-)

Still, you take pleasure where you can.

Take care,
Lynn

Friday, May 05, 2017

Show, don't tell

Hi,

Well, I'm knackered. Not that lack of sleep a bit tired kinda gig. But the thought of how long I have before my brain switches off, and....

Oh, it's just gone. :-)

So, this week I've been out of the office and running some training events. Each one is about two hours, and I'm up on my feet for all of that (apparently training people while doing handstands is considering showing off. Who knew? :-) ). So, there's two of those a day, with about an hour or so's travel between venues, plus set up and somehow, getting the all important cup of tea in.

But, I am not complaining. At least, I hope it's not coming across that I am. See, the truth is, I do like it. I don't know if it' a mix of educating people, making them laugh here & there, or just the thrill of the new. Would I like to do this all of the time? Well, maybe if I got over the tiredness, and got that into my stride, possibly yes.

The question is: how to swing it?  No, don't be filthy. :-) Can I maneuver myself at work to land such a role? Well, it's worth a shot isn't it.?Nothing ventured, nothing gained and all that.

I think I've another two more weeks of this, and then this part of the project will be over. Still, I shall keep my oar in, so to speak, and see where that takes me.

Oh, and, finger crossed, I may have another trans talk coming up. I think I'll be doing that in bloke mode this time. The logistics conspire against me, so we'll see. Things to look forward to eh?

Take care,
Lynn


Friday, April 28, 2017

Accepting your weirdness

Hi,

Some weeks are just the passing of time, whereas some, are more a series of small, but happy events. This time around was one of those. Firstly, I was on Single Dad Duty for the early part, as the Ever Lovely Mrs J was away on a course. This meant early starts (I really don't do mornings) and being organised, rather than loafing about until nearly school time, with a coffee and my smartphone. How single parents manage it all, I really don't know and hats off to those that do. But, the Every Lovely Mrs J has returned and not too tired either, so it's all good. It's a week's respite and then I think she's got another week away.

Work has been going well, which always worries me, in that does Fate's evil vindictive relation have something up their sleeve? It's a worry, but perhaps it's best to enjoy the good while you can. Wow, that's cheerful, isn't it! :-) So, good stuff: I had my performance/development review, which while I won't be getting anything extra in the pay packet (again), I did get some kind feedback from colleagues. It seems I'm helping them, making them laugh and in some cases, inspiring them too. So while there won't be extra pennies in the pocket, there are good thoughts to be had, knowing I'm valued. That did put a spring in my step.

Talking of work, at least two female work colleagues - and then a lady on a podcast - expressed their love for RuPaul's Drag Race. Now, maybe you'd think that comedy, mad cross-dressing and some song & dance would draw me to the show, faster than you can say Size 9 Shoe Sale. Trust me, it's not easy after a G&T, and certainly not with these teeth. :-)

Both H & S extolled the fun of the show and also Ru's occasional wise interjections. Particularly - and please don't quote me on this - "if you can't love  yourself, how can you expect anyone else to." Well, in my head they have Donny Parton's accent around them, but I guess both icons will just have to have a sing off, to see who gets to own that phrase ;-)

I've seen a few T folk who seem to tip towards the showier, flashier end of the spectrum. Perhaps, almost drag. I'm not judging, merely pointing out. But.... it's not really me. I guess I'm just too square to be that fabulous. More High Street than High Drama. But, hey, again, not judging.

But differences aside, I can agree with RuPaul's words about loving yourself. Yes, stop sniggering at the back. I can see you :-P Learning to accept who you are is damned hard. Perhaps slightly more so when you feel somewhat less than standard issue. I've said it a few times, but that doesn't make it any less or more true.

Thanks to Valtography
Talking to a new girl and a regular (Helen) last night, we did all hit on the phrase of "just what the hell am I doing?". That moment when you take a look at yourself and your confidence - or perhaps, whatever it is that drives being trans - creaks or even crashes. So it came to me last night: I was tired and when I looked in the wardrobe, while I could see many pretty tops, trousers, leggings, and dresses... none of them spoke to me of an outfit. Maybe there was an element of that tricky Spring/Winter weather, where it's not yet warm enough for fancy fabrics, but the sunshine means you don't want to be still sporting opaques and boots.

Thing is, I could have shrugged and turned in, but I knew that if I didn't try and pick something, I'd be kicking myself come Thursday night. So, you pick two, hope and turn in for the night. Perhaps, when your confidence takes a knock, you just have to take a moment and do it anyway. Plus, as Jack Burton says: "Tall guy, weird clothes. First you see him, then you don't." :-)

Still, all ends well, I think and Thursday night was a good one. I didn't go with my much loved Desigualnumber, but a pink dress I've had many years.  Plus, I managed to get to the Centre quite early - at least for me - so I wasn't too long getting changed upstairs. I had a good chat with some new and old folk alike. We were quite busy, which is excellent news for the group's funding and it's great to catch up with old friends too. That, also, puts a spring in my step. Reasons to be cheerful, eh?

Take care,
Lynn

Friday, April 21, 2017

Heroes

Hi,

As a kid of the 70s, I read my fair share of comic books. Yeah, in a world with three TV channels and no YouTube, there was a lot more reading going on. :-) As to comics I wouldn't say I read loads, but a fair few and mostly UK ones. For some reason, I never quite got into the American ones. Possibly because they always felt midstory, and quite possibly because our local newsagent's range was fairly thin. Hey, welcome to living in the sticks in the pre-Internet, pre-eCommerce world. :-)

Ignoring the WWII and sports strips, the more fantastic stories were the ones that caught my eye. Superheroes: present and past. Not everyone gets the Marvel or DC treatment, so some I guess are much forgotten.

But if there's a point to this nostalgia, other than I don't remember any trans* specific characters, but this was the late 70s; hardly a time of political correctness, let alone equality. But certainly, the idea of someone with a secret identity struck a chord. Chuck into the mix the idea of said hero (or heroine) having to rush getting changed or be found out, well, I don't even need to say any more on that do I? :-)

The thing is, as someone who does hide who they are, it can be quite tiring. I'm so glad I don't have to pretend when I'm around the Ever Lovely Mrs J. The fact that I can be just me, rather than putting on the mask of male behaviour, is incredibly liberating.

So, if there are any would-be superheroes, if I had one bit of advice - other than when you do meet your nemesis, don't pull your punches and do fight dirty :-) - it would be this: don't spend your regular life pretending. It's really hard, watching what you have to say, and keeping what who you are a secret. Instead, try being all of you, but, do leave the cape and the power gauntlets out of the office. You know how these things escalate ;-)

Everyday Heroes

On a related note, I heard from Sandi that one of our oldest members at Chameleons passed away at the weekend. The lady in question was Jane. She, along with a friend Rhona helped keep the group going through the 80s. I really don't know when she handed the torch on to Tracey & Sandi, but I'd guess it was a fair few years. Still, making a trans group a success, especially in less open-minded times is, at least in my book, quite an impressive feat. Hats off to you, Mrs.

I should add, that if you're pushing the gender envelope. Either by being out, helping others, running a website or keeping a group going; keep on doing that. Please keep on being you and doing that awesomeness that helps makes it easier for this and the next generation of trans people.

Words on an image

Over on social media, Tania made a comment about the complications around running two wardrobes. Sometimes, a line just comes to you and I did say I'd stick the quote as a meme. Well, all the cool kids are doing it. ;-)


Take care,
Lynn



Friday, April 14, 2017

Time: it makes fools of us all.

Hi,

As I write this, it's the wee hours, although the schedule option will pop it back to Friday night. I wasn't home late from Chams, although the Ever Lovely Mrs J, who was up reading, wanted to be fast asleep before I turned in.

I could have given the time, rather than 'the wee hours', but there's those odd English phrases. The small hours, still of the night, witching hour, etc. All very colourful and, like much about being British, suitably vague and nonspecific! :-)

So, not late back and not early there either. Hmm..... As I got changed back into my bloke clothes back at Chams, I thought back to the night that had been. Much laughter, stories shared, chocolates snaffled, new people greeted and personal journeys shared.

Cheer up, you old mare
Yet, as I stood half dressed, in full makeup and sans wig, I couldn't help feel a sense of loss. Not sadness, as that's too strong a word, and not quite regret. After all, the night had been a good, if quiet one, numbers wise. Tania popped in too, and despite Facebook exchanges, we'd not spoken in a while. Val was kind enough to take my photo (see right) and later, Nicole did a group shot. I won't be sharing that, as not everyone wants their face on-line.

So why the sense of loss? Honestly, I don't know. I have a long weekend to look forward to and I felt fine as I got ready. Despite much fine food on the recent Jones Family holiday, I've gained 5lbs but lost two of those this week. This meant I could still get into an old red skirt and my pink top was the right side of fitted. All of which is a step in the right direction and again, reasons to be cheerful.

Perhaps there's a feeling that it was all too brief? Piling on the slap and tightening the corsetry around 8ish, and 'turning back' around 11.15.

Yeah, it's weird being trans. I've said it before and I'll say it again: it's all fine.... except when it isn't. :-)

Maybe Val was on the money with her comment about for me, it's a short span of time when I'm in Lynn attire. Thinking on that, 8 to 11ish, that's what? Three hours? I'm not always ready by 8 either, due to traffic and leaving home. Still, better than snatching an hour every other month, like I did back in the 2000s.

Still. Chin up. Face the sun and enjoy the fresh air of springtime in the woods. Onwards.... Oh, happy Easter BTW.

Take care,
Lynn

Friday, April 07, 2017

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more...


Hi,

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking with Andrea, a friend from Chams. We were both in bloke mode, and had met up for a coffee and a chat.

We were discussing - amongst? other things - the concept of confidence. That strength of character, that both helps and drives you, to be, well, you. I think confidence, like cool or self-acceptance is that elusive something that's easy to chase, but not so easy to find.

That intertwined with being out & about makes for an interesting ride. There's the whole trans journey: dressing at home, getting online, making friends, wanting to get out, to be out. Out, with others, or going solo.

Whichever it is, there's the nerves. That on edge feeling as you push yourself and go further. Either the controlled risk of being on social media, to being in public. I've heard people talk of a rush: is it the act of being brave, or the survival of the trip?

Ready? Let's go.
We spoke about a long-ago meal in Leicester, where I had to walk back to the car park. Alone. Alone and at just before closing time. Funny thing was, all was fine when I was out with (trans) friends, but as it was time to go... Well, I've blogged about it before and ask you can do, is take a deep breath and step forward. Luckily, nighttime and distance helps a 6' bloke when in a nice pink dress and heeled boots.

Andrea was kind enough to say I was okay at distance. We did share a chuckle about that. The trip back was thankfully uneventful, despite my nerves. Thing is, I'm only a part-timer: there's those of our number who have to do this all the time.

But, like a ride down the BMX track, a jump from the diving board to the water; you survive. Plus, it feels good... At least, once the nerves have settled. Perhaps that's the rush that pushes us on. Wanting to capture that feeling of being alive. That, or alive or all of yourself.

But, hey, maybe I'm just odd ;-) What about you dear reader, what drives you on? Fun? Adventure? Self-acceptance? Too much caffeine? :-)

Take care,
Lynn

Friday, March 31, 2017

Rocks and stones

Hi,

A couple of weeks ago at Chameleons, we had a researcher pop round. Yvonne was asking for volunteers to help, and yes, I did sign up.

So, this week I cycled into to town and we ran through the questions. I won't list then fully, nor my answers. Mainly because I feel they are now part of the research, and also, you probably know most of them. Come on, I've been blogging for a decade or so, so most of these are out there :-)

The thing is, after our chat, and as I cycled back, my mind turned over some of the memories. Sometimes I wonder if the mind is like a river. The fast flow of the everyday. The swirls and currents within. Lastly, there's the riverbed. Deeper things are buried; the rocks and stones of history and self. To turn them over will muddy the water.

Earlier, I'd read an article about grief and, as often happens, two themes can bump against each other. Sometimes, like then, they fuse. As I drew to a halt by some traffic lights, this thought came to me: Do trans people grieve for their body?

Do I now? No. I am mostly okay about it. After all, if I was different to what I am - a 40 something bloke - I'd not have my wonderful family. Mostly? Yes, there are times when being 6', wide-jawed and, well, blokey, do not gel with how I feel. I remember being a teenager, possibly not a dissimilar age to Wee Man, and measuring my height. How I wanted to be as tall as my mates. Yet... Yet, I also didn't want to be hairy; certainly not on my face, chest or legs.

Do I regret not doing something about it? No, and if I had, again, I wouldn't be where I am now. Plus, would I be any happier? Really, much as there's a slight frisson about baldness and Wookie pins, it could be worse. I get out. The Ever Lovely Mrs J accepts me for who I am, and ironically, not having smooth legs, means summer is easier. There's no lies or truth dodging when it comes to going swimming either. :-)

So, maybe, back in the day, my body isn't what I'd have picked. But, that's probably true for people who are ill. Incidentally, Yvonne asked if there was no comeback and, hypothetically, I could live and work as I wanted, what would I be?

That's easy. I'd be me. Just a bit more fancy on some days. Some days him, some days, her.... But always me.

Take care,
Lynn

Friday, March 24, 2017

Temptation

Hi,

The Night Before a Night Out

It's Wednesday night and I've just about packed a bag. I say just about, as I'm not quite sure what I'll be wearing on Thursday. Why do I get this? Why is deciding what to wear so tricky?

I opened my wardrobe and ignoring the bloke work shirts that are on the right, there's tops, pretty skirts, leggings, jeans and the odd bit of sparkle. To my left, there's the tall cupboard, which, if I'm honest, is 60% mine; filled with dresses and my only coat. Well, my only 'Lynn' coat, because I'm not really an outdoors trans person. Okay, mostly. :-)

Instead, I've hedged my bets with an old favourite, a wrap dress that may now be over a decade old. I've also packed some jeans, as I'm sort of in a jeans & top kinda mood. The Ever Lovely Mrs J was kind enough to let me borrow some fancy heels. Again, I've a backup pair of black heels for the wrap dress & opaques outfit.

Is it Spring? It is that temperatures are not quite settled, and that we're in that not-quite-winter-not-quite-spring-colours mood? Or is it that last week, when I'd had a quick post-outing try-on, that I got a glimpse of what could be.

The camera never lies, except when it's in poor light and too far to see Wookie pins. The image to your right is something that's unlikely. Looking beyond the peep of footballer's knee, that's me sporting nearly nude tights and a skirt I've slimmed down to fit into. Yay for weight loss eh?

But... I know I must be practical and bare pins just ain't going to happen. There is, after all, The Agreement, and while it may not always be comfortable; it, like all good peace deals, keeps things settled. Settled, isn't IMHO always bad, even if you occasionally peek over the fence, to look at the slightly greener grass.

Thursday

Oddly, Chams was somewhat quiet this time around. So it goes sometimes.

Thanks to long walks between offices and watching what I eat, the weight loss has continued. Okay, I've not yet hit my target weight (172), but I'm around 176 at the mo, which is helping me avoid crisps, chocolate and booze. Although the jeans were skinny and the top fitted, I didn't feel to odd, if that makes sense. Using the corset helped add shape, if that makes sense.

Anyhoo, back to Chams: Nicola and Steph from TrendCo came to visit and were kind enough to bring a number of wigs with them. If you're around Nottingham, do give them a call: they are really helpful and completely genuine. Unlike some wig vendors, they 'get' the part time trans market, so while they do stock human hair wigs, and top of the line items; they have some very affordable ones of very good quality.

Much fun was had trying on various styles, including one that made me look like an old school friend. I should add of the female persuasion, I don't need any help looking blokey. :-) Jo invested in a new 'do', which really suited her.

Steph was kind enough to try styling my red haired wig again, and I'm much happier with it now. It needs a wash and conditioning, before being reshaped, or teased even, into the new shape. Something for next week, if I can get some time 'working from home'.

Considering it's been many years since I've been able to have a haircut, rather than just using the clippers, sitting down to have your 'hair' done, is somewhat strange. Not in an unpleasant way, but a connection to the past. Not that my hair was ever styled in a feminine way. I wasn't confident enough for that, and now, it's not like I have a choice. Well, other than grade 3 or 6 ;-)

While I was tempted to buy said 'school mate' cut, I've got three wigs at the mo. The dark long bob with the highlights (my goto number), a trimmed red number and Old Ginger from yesteryear. I pretty much wear the dark one, even though it's not my natural hair colour. Well, what's left of it ;-) It's funny, I was talking to Steph how the brunette number feels right for me. It's something about the cut and the colours, that make it part of how I see myself. Well, when I'm in Lynn mode. My first wig was dark brown, as was the second one; albeit with highlights. Shame they don't last, but at the same time, that forces you to update your look.

Given all the comings & goings, we were late packing up, but luckily not too late for the all important 'quick photo' (thanks Val). Something to help remember the evening by.

Double trouble
Next week I'm meeting with a researcher to talk about what it is to be trans. Hopefully that'll go smoothly. Fingers crossed eh?

Take care,
Lynn