Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Regret

I dont really have time to post properly since I have work first thing in the morning, but I just wanted to get a quick thing down for future pondering, brought on by a recent message from a friend.

Part of my conversation with my mum the other day was around regret, where we talked about the one and only thing she regrets in her life (which I wont be going into on here), of course the conversation turned to me and she asked if I have any. My answer was vague and along the lines of none really, and then I steered it towards the little intense things I used to get that were tied in with my depression last year. But of course, me having no regrets is a lie.

I do. I have massive regrets, lots of them, and lots of trans ones too. And one that has cropped up over the past few nights is regret about not doing anything about my trans-side when I started to become aware of it in my teens. Regret that I didnt go to my doctor and tell them of my desire to change gender, regret of all the things I could have done if I actually got of my bum and did something rather than be my usual lazy self. The things I could have experienced, what I could be doing now. It makes me really sad to think like this and every night over the past few days this thought process has repeated itself.

Monday, 23 December 2013

An Eventful Day

Today was the day where I finally got out of my rut and dressed up for the first time since mid July. For the de-fuzzing of body hair I decided to give Veet another go, although this time I did things a little differently. I trimmed all of my body hair back with some clippers first of all so it was relatively short, and then pasted the Veet on and stuck to the 4-6 minutes it recommends on the bottle and while the results werent perfect they were a lot better than the first (and only time) I used it. Not only that, but I didnt go over it with a razor this time (I hardly needed to) and I have no reaction at all. Last years problem must have been because I went over it again. It still misses a bit of stubble in places (most annoyingly on the chest and belly) but im pretty happy with the results, and will probably continue to use it in future.

So yes, today has been spent with me trying on all the clothes ive bought over the past few months, as well as a few new items too and for the most part im very happy with what ive bought. I spent quite a bit of time in front of the camera but the lighting was not the best, and I didnt realise this until I went to have a look at what I had taken. Ive uploaded a few to this post because I wanted to show my outfits. but im really not happy with the shadows in the background at all, or my Simpsons-esque face. Ah well, lesson learned, ill have to try something different next time.

I spent a lot of time on the phone with my mum this evening (which was made weird by the fact I was dressed up at the time). Now, I dont live anywhere near home so see the family rarely, but a few times a year we phone each other to keep in touch. I never really bother with aunties or cousins, or even my brother, but mum and dad do get the occasional call. Tonights 2 hour call was a little different, rather than the usual light hearted chit chat ant catching up, it got quite emotional. I wont go into detail but we talked a lot about me growing up, events that our family went through over the years, the worries she had at certain points, fear that I was distancing myself from her when I moved away, and so on. The part that struck out for me though was that she said that no matter what happened or how I turned out, she would still love me. She said a scenario that a friend gave her to test that was "what if he turned out to be a serial killer", her answer was "id visit him in prison". All I could think all the way through this was "tell her your trans, tell her now, this is it!", of course I didnt though. I really wish I did, I so badly want to tell her about this but I just cant find a good enough reason to justify the risk of doing so, plus I have to think how this would effect my gf too.

Right, either tomorrow or the day after I will be off to meet up with my gf at her parents for the annual Christmas visit. I hate Christmas, I hate everything about it but my gf and her family love it so I get dragged up there and have to put up with the festivities for a few days. Presents aside, im not going to be having fun at all.

For those of you that do enjoy it though, have a Happy Christmas and if I dont post before, have a Happy New Year too!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Landan Town

Its been a buys few weeks for me. Ive been trying to burn through the excess leave ive got to take before the end of the year otherwise I will lose it. On one hand this is great since it means I am getting loads of time off work, but on the other hand it means that when I am back in work I am having almost twice the amount of work to do since I have to catch up from the time I have taken off. This has not been easy, during my last stint in work at least 2 of the 4 days I was in I worked over 13 hours each day, and anything over 10 of that was free (the joys of being on a salary).
On the plus side, this has meant ive had loads of time off, and I have spent this catching up with making music. I recently got the latest version of Ableton and I have been putting it through its paces. Ive been finding it difficult to get back into production since being off work last year, but now I seem to have caught the bug again. In this week alone ive almost got a track finished.

Our cat has found a new hiding spot which is a bit of a nightmare for me. My laptop is setup on a stand on my desk in the spare room, and she has recently started hiding underneath it. This in itself isnt such a bad thing and is actually quite cute to see her squeezed in, but randomly she will start swiping away at my hands with her claws as I try to type away, and that gets annoying.

Over the weekend me and the other half went to London for the weekend to see a friend of ours. Over the course of out visit we did an awful lot of shopping, I forget the names of all of the places we went to but I can remember Oxford Street, Borough Market (where I had a Venison hot dog), Southbank Christmas Market, and Covent Garden. We were in one shop with our friend and I started looking through the girls clothes absent mindedly, my gf had to push me away saying: "theres boys clothes in here, why dont you look at the boys clothes". Oops, there were some nice things in there and ive kind of got used to shopping with my gf I forget our friend was there!

We were randomly wandering through Covent Garden looking for somewhere to eat and he happened to come across the Playstation Lounge, this is basically a pop up shop which Sony have set up where they have PS4s setup for people to come in and play for free ahead of its release on Friday. Of course I had to go in and have a look! Ive now seen all of the launch titles running for myself, and I also got to play the new Killzone game too which is brilliant. The new controller is fantastic too, its so much more responsive and accurate than the old one, its really made me look forward to the PS4s release. Ive got one on pre-order and since ive got such an excess of leave, I also booked the day off for that too!

I still havent dressed up, with everything thats been going on ive just been a bit lazy with it all. Theres a lot of man to trim back and im just finding it difficult to push myself past that first hurdle when it seems like a wasted effort to get all dressed up with nowhere to go. I know I need to get back into it before going out again, I need to rebuild the confidence I seem to have lost, and seeing myself all dolled up would be a good start. Plus, I picked up a cute polka dot skirt from H&M the other week, I really want to wear it! I do have a thing for spots.....

And finally, on the website side of things I really dont know what to do. I have an idea and ive found a website-in-a-box that will do most of what I want to do (and I can pay someone to customise the rest), but im just really unsure about putting the money down for it. A lot of how the website will work will rely on users updating it, so initially it might not have that much on there since it will take time to build up the database, and if I cant attract the users then its dead in the water. Im just really unsure of spending the money I need to to make it the resource I want it to be because if it fails it will just be a waste of money. I just dont know where to go from here.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Some Changes

Getting Life Back on Track

Ive actually been feeling pretty good for the past few weeks now, im feeling more or less back to my old self. I still think about my female side a lot but nowhere near to the degree or intensity that I have up until recently. I never bothered to make a new appointment for a review with my GP, but will definitely do so tomorrow. I dont think this is a permanent state of mind, and the counselling sessions might still be useful if the GD rears its ugly head again. 

Ive still got a lot of leave left to use before the end of the year so I took the week off up until Saturday which is a good thing because I think ive also caught a cold. Great timing. Yesterday I spent just wasting a day playing Grand Theft Auto V and making music but today was when I decided to start getting my life back into order and spend this week doing some things ive been putting off for ages. So today I got started:

  • Gutted my laptops hard drive to free up more memory, its been running on critical for ages
  • Finally got around to installing Ableton 9
  • Went through my old man clothes and binned loads of it
  • Went through my girl clothes, binned some of it and tidied up the rest. Its been piling up in the bottom of the wardrobe for months, which irritated my gf
  • Reorganised all my bedroom storage so its all tidy
  • Finally ordered the lockable storage unit for the spare room to keep my obvious t-girl stuff in (wig, boobs, etc) which ive been meaning to buy since August 2012

Ive also got things I plan to do during the rest of the week too:

  • Tidy up my sample library and filter through the junk I took off my laptop HD
  • Tidy up the spare room/office/studio, bin all the junk, tidy the cables, and reorganise whats left
  • Go through all my old music magazines and bin ones that arent useful anymore
  • Get back into a grooming routine (shave regularly, pluck eyebrows, etc)
  • Dress up for the first time since Sparkle
  • Buy some new clothes for both man and girl me, my man wardrobe especially needs casual and work stuff since it hasnt been properly updated in a long time and I look like a scruff all the time
  • Setup my website idea (buy software and hosting package, then try and figure out what to do)

Ive also planned to make a few changes to my digital life too. Its difficult to keep up with everything at the best of times but now im feeling a lot more upbeat I do plan to be more regular in a lot of ways. I plan to update this blog weekly whether I have any gender related issues to talk about or not, lets say I make a post every Monday night at a minimum and see how it goes. I imagine this isnt going to be easy since my life can be pretty mundane at the best of times, but we will see. I think its important (especially if I do have a relapse) to show the normality I have as well as the bad times, I know this blog can come across as just me moaning for post after post and I want to change that.

On the digital side of things I also realise it can take me a long time to reply to comments, emails and messages (sorry again Laura!). It can be difficult to keep on top of these since a lot of them can require quite lengthy replies and I often dont have the time to properly consider a response to all of them. I will try to be more prompt from now on and reply on a more reasonable timeframe.

I think ive realised that I need to get myself tidy and organised in order to keep myself in a happy and productive state of mind. Whether its the piles of magazines and clutter in my studio and on my computer, or the piles of clothes in the bedroom, or taking pride in my appearance as both male and female, it all adds up. I just hope I can maintain it.

Setting up a Website

So ive got an idea for a unique (I think) trans* website which I want to set up and plan to do so by the end of the week. I dont want to say too much at this point about what it is but at the same time I think I really need some help with it. I can buy a pre-made template/theme but the prices vary dramatically and have varying degrees of customisation, although Wordpress based sites look like the cheaper options but even they can go up to $150. I dont mind putting the money down but want to make sure itll do what I want it to, it actually works like it should, and that ill be able to set it up ok. I could do with someone to bounce some ideas off, and also some tech support too but its difficult when I only know me, I suppose the other difficulty will be spreading the word as well. If I can get it off the ground though I think itll be a very useful tool.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Tailed Off

I was meant to go for my follow up appointment with my GP last Thursday but the surgery called up saying it had to be cancelled because she was ill. I wonder if its something she picked up from work? I bet GPs take a lot of sick days! :)

So anyway, im waiting for her to get better before making another appointment, I could make an appointment with a different doctor there but dont want to for a few reasons. I dont want to have to explain everything again to someone else there, but also out of all the doctors that I have met at that surgery over the years she is the one I am most comfortable with I think. Thinking about it, I also wouldnt want to run the risk of coming out to another GP there and having that turn out like one of the many horror stories ive read about with people getting laughed out, being effectively told to 'man up', and so on...

I still havent had a letter inviting me in for the counselling, I need to remember to ask about that when I go in for my next GP appointment, its been a while now. Plus, im curious if the counsellor is male or female, I need to make sure I ask about this too. Im not sure I would be as comfortable talking about it with a male as I would a female for some reason.

I started to feel like the anti depressants finally tailed off about a week or two ago, and I can totally notice the difference. My mood has a lot more movement than while I was on them. Also my general mood is definitely not as low as it was before starting them, nor is this whole TG thing as obsessive as it has been previously, but I still have my moments. This is something ive noticed over the years. Im not a total depressive all the time (as much as this blog may say otherwise) but it definitely comes in phases that can last quite a long time. And each phase can be lower or higher than the last, although recently they have been plumbing new depths. Is it hormonal? Seasonal? Is it something to do with my star sign? Who knows.

Today though has been a bit different. Ive actually been pretty good, ive been my socialable old silly self. I mean, when I have my low moments I usually dont show it (although I did have a wobble in work the other day and had a go at one of my team for something minor), im still chatty and I still smile a lot and have a joke, but im not silly. Theres just something about the way my head thinks that makes me behave differently, and I havent been this way for a long time.

I dont know, its difficult to put into words really. I wonder if it will last.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

This Time... Its Me...

Fuck it.

I was meant to be going to Bristol tonight to Gloscats with a few people, this was going to be my first opportunity to go to a local-ish trans social group in an effort to try and expand my circle of friends. Ive spent all afternoon planning, sorting, packing, re-packing, pruning, grooming, shaving, plucking and more. But now im not going, and this time im doing it to myself.

There have been so many failed plans in the past but this time im going to be the one that lets everyone down. Since coming to terms with this side of me two years ago I have never backed out of a meet intentionally. As much as it was against my nature I always pushed myself out that door in an effort to force myself past any barriers I would normally put up in front of myself. Ive been to meet random people in their houses for the first time. Ive been dressed in front of my gf. Ive been clubbing. Ive even been outside in broad daylight in the middle of a city. Today though, I just cant do it.

I am so annoyed. So, so annoyed.

Ive spent a significant part of the afternoon looking in the mirror, trying but failing to soften my masculinity. Gradually as the afternoon has worn on ive just reached a point of giving up. There is hair everywhere and my arms and tops of my chest are raw from trying to shave it all off, but still the hair persists. Patches of long hair where the razors wouldnt catch them, patches of stubble beyond the razors reach but visible under the skin, and patches of redness and blood where my razor got too close. My face is covered in cuts and is raw from trying to get a close shave, yet even though my face feels relatively smooth around the spots of dried blood I can still see the little black spots of my beard under the skin, taunting me. And when it came to shaping my eyebrows I just thought what is the point.

Looking in the mirror and seeing this mess in front of me, still hairy from my chest down, patchy, blotchy and spotty on my arms and from the chest up, has just made me so annoyed. After spending hours trying to prune back the signs of an ageing male ive given up. If I was just dressing at home I would probably not see it as big as an issue, but im meant to be going out in public and I just feel like a mess. Am I aiming to high I really dont know, but I dont want to be seen as a 'bad tranny', I want to look the best I can and im just not feeling like im there, in fact I feel that im not even close.

I know this is covering old ground but im so angry about this I just need to vent again. I dont think my recent state of mind has helped things really either.

Monday, 7 October 2013

A Few Random Things Update

Im sorry for not replying to those of you who commented on my last post, its just been a bit of a manic week and I havent really been keeping up to date on here.

Last Wednesday I had my GP appointment and told her about the side effects id been having and she said I needed to come off what id been taking. The option was given to change medication to something else but with how crazy the side effects had been I said I wanted to try and come off the anti-depressants entirely for a little bit to try and clear my head, but if I start feeling really low again then I would consider something else. On Wednesday I dropped my dose down to 1 a day, and starting Wednesday I will drop it again to 1 every other day and just take it from there really. Since reducing the dose the dreams have still been as intense and crazy as ever, however the bouncing around in bed as I sleep thankfully seems to have calmed right down and all I do at the moment is still talk in my sleep. Im hoping this will also die down as time goes on.

On Friday I already started to feel the effects of the ADs reducing, and I cant say it is for the better. My general mood has been lower than it has recently, and while ive been able to put on a brave face inside has been a different story. I wont go so far as to say im feeling the depression again, but im feeling generally pretty indifferent to life at the moment, and the lump in my throat seems to come back from time to time too. The only exception to this was Saturday night.

On Saturday night I went out clubbing for the first time in probably a year or more, and I loved it. Sadly I went as a bloke but I was happy for the chance to blow off some steam. One of my favourite old school UK Hard Trance DJs was booked to play at a local night and me and my gf went out for a dance. We didnt bother trying to meet up with old friends or anything, we just turned up, had some drinks and danced like mad for hours. Its been a long time since ive heard music like that and even longer since I heard music like that on a club sound system, and it made me realise how much I miss clubbing. On the flip side of this though I also had the odd bout of dysphoria to get through too. There were too many trendy girls dressed the way I would want to dress to go out clubbing, and on occasion it really put me off although for the most part I just concentrated on the alcohol and music to relative success. That night made me realise that I think my 'raving years' were an effort to try and bury this side of me. For many, many years music, partying, and drugs were the centre of my life. They were the only things I concentrated on and while I had bouts of thoughts about wanting to be a girl, they were nowhere near as extended and severe as before or after.

On Sunday me and my gf went into town and did some shopping, went for food, and generally had a relaxing day. I bought some new clothes which are really nice, however when it came to trying them on today almost none of them fit right, it is so frustrating!!! I was going to dress up today (again) but got so annoyed it put me right off. Im fed up of this, I just wish my shoulders werent so bloody huge!

And finally, ive had an idea for a trans* website that as far as I can see hasnt been done before. Ive gone so far as to brainstorm a few ideas but am really not sure where to start on setting it up. Problems I will have are actually creating it, hosting it, spreading the word, monetizing it, and so on. Im not too fussed on making any kind of profit, but I think I will need to stump up some cash to initially buy the website template, and also to host it too so am more bothered about covering those costs really. If anyone has any insights or experience in doing this I would love some advice!

Monday, 30 September 2013

Gotta Stop

Well, the past few weeks have been an interesting experience. Since upping my dose nearly a month ago the medication has been having some adverse effects. Once they started bedding in, every night for weeks now I have been having the most vivid, crazy, lucid, random, intense dreams I have ever had. Ever. Theyve been great fun and as long as they dont turn to nightmares id be happy for them to continue. The problem is that I am also grinding my teeth really hard and fidgeting like crazy in bed every night as well, which means im hurting my teeth and jaw,  im not really resting properly, and I also keep waking my gf up. The other night I was kicked out of bed at 1.30am because she had had enough of me bouncing around.

Ive got a GP appointment again this week, im thinking of asking to be taken off them totally and see how that goes. Im fed up of having a cloudy head and feeling tired all the time. I am physically and mentally exhausted, and at this point id rather be miserable than this tired!

Friday, 13 September 2013

Little Things

I still havent dressed up since Sparkle which was now 2 months ago, but over the past few days ive taken a few baby steps. I have kind of let my appearance go lately so the other day I took some time to groom myself and tidy up my eyebrows a bit, I was going to dress up but after all the effort I couldnt face doing anything else. I also trimmed, filed, and painted my nails for the first time in ages too which was nice, and then took it off yesterday evening. It wasnt as fulfilling as dressing up but it certainly cheered me up a little.

Last night though I had an idea. Just before I went to bed I painted my ring finger on both hands in a few coats of clear nail polish and then wore it to work today! And im still wearing it now! No-one has noticed (as far as I know) and my partner doesnt know about it either. If she had noticed she would have brought it up. I dont know, I might have been having a good day anyway, but just knowing it was on, and being able to feel it when running my fingers over the nails seemed to make the day a lot more bearable, and the GD a lot calmer than usual. I might have to keep this up!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Drama Queen?

Recently ive been thinking am I just being too dramatic? Am I making the GD out to be worse than it is? On my better days like now I read back what ive typed on this blog and it feels over the top somehow.

This blog only reflects snippets of my life that are mainly related to my gender identity and expression, but as they are all in one place it looks like the whole. A lot of the time im able to get on with my life, sure the GD is still there bubbling away underneath it all but it doesnt stop me functioning, it just alters the difficulty sometimes as the levels of frustration fluctuates by quite a large amount but usually over a long period of time. Again, a lot of the time I can shrug it to the side and just get on with things but when I do have my low moments they can be really low. This is when I tend to post, and as such, this is why my blog looks like im just in a state of misery all the time. But those big gaps between posts are generally because ive just been able to get on with things and live a relatively normal life. And considering it can be weeks between posts, thats a lot of normality.

Maybe the anti depressants are helping in this regard, well they must be, that is their job really.

I speak about transition a fair bit on here, particularly when I feel at my lowest and most confused. Ive wanted to be a woman for most of my life, almost as far back as I can remember. It frustrates me that im not and im pretty sure on my deathbed itll be something I regret massively. But, deep down I just know its not the path for me, as much as I want it to be. At the same time, its difficult to make an informed decision about where I want to go with this when ive had so little experience living as a female, and this is proving to be a difficult thing to resolve with real life getting in the way all the time. As much as I want answers now im coming to realise I just cant rush this.

In some ways im kind of regretting getting the GP involved now, but its too late for that. I still want the counselling in an effort to help me cope with it all, and going privately last year only got me so far.

I want to thank everyone that has commented recently and emailed me, the range of advice and opinions you give really do help, and it means a lot to me that your willing to take the time out to share them with me too.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

"Be True To Who You Are..."

The title of this post is a line my GP said today during another of my follow up appointments. Its a line that stuck in my head because on reflection, I dont know who I am anymore. Maybe I never did. My heads been trying to make sense of this gender crap for so long now that ive lost sight of where I came from and where I need to go.

When asked if I wasnt with my partner where do I think I would be now, I gave the same answer that I gave my counsellor last year when she asked the same question: "id probably have started self-medding hormones a long time ago". This is an accurate answer, but after thinking about it afterwards, would I have been doing it for the right reasons? I really dont know. I found it difficult to have a proper conversation with my GP about it, mostly because it was too early in the morning for me and I just couldnt engage my brain to consider my responses and properly convey what I wanted to say.

I see myself as me. A male me. A man me. A hairy, sweaty, lazy, miserable, ageing, masculine me. This is who I am, but I hate it. Equally, I long to be female. I cant begin to describe how badly I want it some days. Every waking moment filled with thoughts of what life could be like, and filled with envy, jealousy, depression and frustration whenever I think about or see the fairer sex, or those that have transitioned to join them. Do I hate the male me because I feel like I should be a woman? I dont think so no. I think I hate it because it makes it more difficult for me to become my female self when I need to. All that bloody hair, horrible skin, veins sticking out, knobbly joints and sticky out bones. All the things that are tell tale signs of testosterone infestation are things that I hate about myself. But, these are all physical signs. I think like a man, I behave like a man, I talk like a man, and it seems that all of the mental aspects im ok with. If I could just stay as I am and swap bodies I would be happy.

I think time is a factor, its slipping away at an accelerated rate and as it passes more issues have to be considered, and in turn stressing me out more. Ive been with my partner for 10 years, she is approaching the point where she will want children, probably soon. I need to have this gender conflict resolved so it can either give her an opportunity for a clean break and a chance to find someone else before time runs out for her, or know that I will be in a stable enough position to be able to stay with her and have kids together, without worrying about succumbing to GD. In an ideal world I would love to stay with her regardless of what direction I go in but I already know that transitioning would mean the end of us.

Bottom line. I want to manage this, and this is what I told my GP. Drugs, counselling, CBT, whatever it takes. Transition is a last resort for when all else fails.

But just typing the above sentence is making me feel like im making a mistake, its making me feel sad. But I dont think I could deal with the social suicide of going full time. Im not under any illusion of being able to pass, I wont. The testosterone has done its damage over the years and it will be plainly obvious to all what I used to be. Being an outcast, always being seen as different by friends and family, this makes me feel sadder. It just seems ive got to decide between 2 pretty shitty outcomes, neither im going to be completely happy with.

I just dont have the time to figure this out, and this adds to the pressure.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Frustration

So the last few days have been particularly difficult. The GD has been coming back with a vengeance, and in turn the low moods that come with it. I dont think the anti depressants have been working as well as they should do anymore. Ive just not been able to switch off, and have felt like crap because of it.

The morning walk to work has always been particularly difficult even since being on the happy pills, especially now since my walkman doesnt work anymore so I literally have no distraction on the 35 min walk. However when I get to work I can usually busy myself and then forget about it within about 10-15 mins. Yesterday though I couldnt shake it and its stuck with me pretty much since then. The slight feeling of wanting to cry all the time (one of the things which prompted me to go to my GP last time) has been there pretty consistently up until now, and ive also been miserable, depressed, demotivated and snappy. Ive had urges to hit things, urges to just stop walking, give up and drop to the floor, urges to shout out in frustration, and so on.

I hate this. Im in a rut and I need to be more proactive. The only way im going to figure this side of me out is by giving it more room. I havent done anything since Sparkle, I talk about going out more regularly and have done for ages, but actually havent got off my arse to do it. To figure out where the events are, when they are on, the logistics of getting there, and so on.

I need to set myself a deadline. By the end of next week im going to aim to have a plan in place. Some places to go, some people to meet, something to do, and how to go about it.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Pride

Cardiff Mardi Gras is just around the corner. On Saturday 31st August there will be a celebration of LGBT diversity and equality around the city centre starting with a parade throughout the city centre, followed by an event in the millenium stadium, and then finally later on in the evening a street party around where the cities gay bars are located. Will I be attending? Well, no. Im working throughout the day on Saturday anyway but could potentially make it to the evening event, however, I wont be.

Im proud of who I am as a person. Im proud of being trans*. But I wont be going to Cardiffs equivalent of Pride. Its a difficult thing being proud of who I am as a person and what makes me unique, but being unable to show that part of me to anyone outside the 4 walls of my home in case people close to me or my partner found out. Having to hide something I take pride in really bugs me.

Its difficult to feel part of a community that I also have to keep at arms length. Going away from my local area makes things easier but in Cardiff I could never attend any LGBT events while showing my true rainbow colours. I work with quite a few gay people and we get on brilliantly, but I also work with close friends as well. If I became a regular face at any night spots or events, word would soon get around im sure. This is so frustrating as being able to go out in my local area would make my life so much easier but I just couldnt take the risk.

I could attend Mardi Gras if I really wanted to. These events are open to LGBT supporters as well as the community and I could make up any number of excuses why I am there but as appealing as the idea of attending is, being there under the pretense of being a supporter wouldnt feel right. Plus I would find it difficult to explain to people I know why I am there when that kind of thing is the polar opposite of what I find entertaining.

The line-up for the main event seems to be full of b-list X-Factor drop outs, gay circuit entertainers, and other semi-pro performers and they are charging £8 per ticket to go see them. Mardi Gras used to be free however since going to the Millenium Stadium it appears not to be the case anymore. Im not exactly a fan of this kind of 'gay friendly' entertainment having experienced similar at Sparkle, so its not exactly enticing me to go.

I do find it quite interesting though that being a member of the LGBT community seems to mean also conforming to its own sub-culture. It should be enough that someones sexuality or gender identity doesnt conform, but there is also a dress code, particular music and entertainment tastes, and so on. Its a shame I dont like any of it. Cant someone be gay and enjoy a bit of Hardcore Techno instead of Britney Spears? ;)

Coming Clean

I think I need to sit down with my partner and have a chat about my T side at some point although I think it will take time to build up to this. She knows I have to dress up and I get a bit depressed about it sometimes, but I dont think she realises the thought processes that go through my head and the daily struggles I have with it. I have intentionally been vague with her and I am shielding her from it. A while back she told me in conversation that she got over all her insecurities and is absolutely fine with having Aimee about, and im worried that being open with her about this would ruin the stability we have found. At the same time, I dont know what the future holds for me and its unfair to withhold this information from her as she cant make informed decisions about what is right for her.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Demotiv-8 Upd-8

So the happy pills finally kicked in about a week and a half ago, and im feeling much better. The first few weeks were horrible, going through stages of feeling spaced out, not thinking straight, feeling up then down, and so on, but once they leveled out its a lot better. I still feel a tiny bit, I dont know how to describe it, fluffy? But I can work through it. Its odd, sometimes if something has triggered a low feeling I feel like my head is saying I should be depressed or miserable, but I dont actually feel it. This is particularly noticeable with the GD, my head goes through the thoughts but the bad feelings attached just arent there, mostly. I do feel a little bad on occasion but its nothing compared to where I was. The only other thing is the drowsiness, if I havent slept right or enough, where I used to be able to deal with it no problem for a few days, now it just hits me so hard. I just feel like napping a lot.

I went back to the GP today for my first check up since telling her and starting the anti depressants. It was ok really, the GD wasnt discussed much. She did ask if I had been thinking about it as much since starting the anti depressants and to be honest I dont think I have. I still think about it a lot but I dont think about it is as much as I used to. I took another depression test and compared it to one I took at my last appointment, and I have gone down from moderately depressed to mild. I didnt feel moderately depressed last time, I can tell you, but thats the result I was given! I have another appointment in a few weeks so we shall have to see how that goes. Im also now on the waiting list for a counsellor, but have to wait 7 months for an appointment which is a crazy amount of time but I dont really have a choice.

In other news, our kitten is one evil feline! He is now about 3 months old, and I am absolutely covered in scratches. Hands, arms, legs, feet, everywhere. And this morning it clawed my head while I was sleeping because my gf left the bedroom door open while she was getting ready for work, and I am left with a nice long scratch on my face. Thanks. Its nice and cute for about 5 minutes a day, the rest it just runs around and attacks everything. So annoying!

Friday, 2 August 2013

Demotiv-8

Ive just had 3 days off (back to work tomorrow, yay!) and have literally wasted my time. I wanted to dress up but just couldnt bring myself to do it. I was really looking forward to it too but the shaving, plucking and painting seemed like too much effort, and as much as I tried, mentally I just couldnt push myself through it.

So what have I got to show for my 3 days off? Nothing. I have literally done nothing but sit on the couch in my living room staring at the internet for 3 days. I havent done anything else, no hobbies, no gaming, no music making, nothing. Ive just sat here feeling miserable.

I know the anti depressants can take up to 2 weeks to take effect but I do hope that things get better than this.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

This Morning I Told My GP

So, this morning I told my GP. The wait to see her took forever, and every time a name was called up over the tannoy my anxiety ratcheted up a notch which considering I waited for 45 mins, meant I worked myself up quite a lot before getting to see her. When I finally sat down with her I told her how ive been feeling over the past 3-4 weeks, depressed, on the verge of tears, low self esteem, difficulty being motivated or concentrating, and so on.

Considering I was off work previously with work related stress the obvious starting point for her was to ask how it was going, which all things considered it is ok. Its never going to be stress free since this is the nature of the job but comparing now to what it was like last year it is so much better, and I am happier there too. However what im feeling now is a lot different to what I had last year. Less stress, more emotion.

So she then asked about my private life, and this was my opening. So, my hands waved around and my mouth opened and closed a few times while I considered where and how to start before I told her that ive been struggling with what I believe is Gender Dysphoria, and that lately its been difficult to manage. It was at this point I almost cried a bit, that lump in my throat that has been there for weeks almost gave way. I told her I was a practicing Transvestite which sometimes helps and that the last few years I have been trying to manage it but recently have been struggling to.

I forget exactly how the conversation went. We talked about me coming to realise it wasnt going away, getting some clothes in to try and explore things, telling my girlfriend, how I thought things were getting better, and even briefly Sparkle too. I talked about the thoughts that never go away, the white noise in my head, the fact it gets in the way, and the frustration and obsessing. I also told her I have looked into self-medding a few times over the years too (which I dont think ive admitted to anyone before). In an effort to assure me I suppose she told me that they do have some Transgender patients who go there so they do have some experience in dealing with people like me.

She asked what I want to do, I said I want to manage it. I dont want to transition or anything like that, she kind of looked surprised at this. She asked if my partner wasnt in the picture would I be giving the same answer, and I probably wouldnt be. Like I said to the counsellor I went to see last year, if I wasnt with her id probably be on a very different path now. She asked if I have told her how ive been feeling, and I havent. She is a worrier, and someone I love very much. If I told her all it would do is fuel her paranoia of me wanting to go FT, which if I ever did it would mean the end of our relationship, which is the last thing I want. Im confident there must be a way of living with this.

My GP said if I had walked in and said something like: "I want to be a woman" she would have referred me but since im not in a position where I know what I need, she couldnt, which is fair enough. Ive been signed onto the waiting list to speak to an NHS counsellor which will take about 6 months, for the depression she has given me anti-depressants which unlike last year I have accepted this time, and I have to go back and speak to her in a few weeks time.

Ive missed a lot of the conversation out to be honest, im never good at remembering the details but above is the general gist of it.

Did I leave feeling relieved, elated, or cured? No. I was going to dress up today, I bought a few new dresses from New Look yesterday too and wanted to try them on but I feel so low and demotivated im just not in the mood at all. But at least im in the system now, I have a doctor I can talk to about it. Something is happening.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Low-Mo Update

The past few days in work has been a nightmare. I wake up ok, start feeeling crappy on the way into work, and then this continues for most of the day. I cant concentrate, im procrastinating like mad, im just spending my days sat there staring into space when I should be working. When I do try and work I cant keep it up for long before I have to take a break and hide in the loo for 5 mins while I get my act together. Just to make things worse yesterday at two seperate times through the day I had two members of my team in absolute tears due to personal issues at home, which obviously cant be helped but really was the last thing I needed yesterday. I wasnt in the mood to be empathetic, or patient. Im a manager not a bloody counsellor, and ive got my own stuff to work through at the moment.

Conversation easily distracts, so when I get home it usually does calm down a little. But when I am in work and at a time where I cant really talk to my team, my mind wanders and I start feeling really crappy about myself.

Ive got a GP appointment booked in for tomorrow where I shall be telling her I think my depression is coming back. I shall also be telling her about being Transgender too as I do feel the two are linked, unless of course I chicken out! And no, I dont feel its anything to do with some kind of a Sparkle come-down, although that probably hasnt helped. I was noticing some of my depression 'tics' about a week or two before Sparkle, and my GD has been kicking right off as well since before that.

Hair. Girls hair seems to be my thing lately. I shave my head as it is receeding a little at the front, plus my girlfriend doesnt like long hair on men, but whenever I see long hair on a girl (which is quite a lot surprisingly!) it really makes me feel bad about myself. I want it! I want long hair, I want to wear it up, I want to tie it back and leave some bangs or a fringe sweeping across my face, I want it blonde, brown, black and/or red, I want it straightened and/or curly. It doesnt seem to matter, but it seems to the thing defining my feminine desires at the moment, and it is so frustrating!

In other news, as of yesterday we now have a cat. Well, a kitten. Its currently lying on the couch next to me sleeping but it does seem to like hunting my feet with its claws and teeth out, which is quite annoying! Its a tabby that we havent named yet, and we also dont know what sex it is either until we have been able to get it to the vets for its jabs. Suggestions for cute cat names are welcome!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Post Sparkle Blues

Well this week I have gradually been feeling worse and worse about myself. Ive put off writing this for a few days because I want to try and avoid typing 'rage-posts' like I used to when feeling low, at the same time the problem with this is I have forgotten some of clarity of my thoughts and feelings over the past week.

For maybe a week or two before Sparkle, I started noticing on occasions I would exhibit some of the little behaviours I used to have when I had depression. Putting myself down while saying it out loud, occasional low mood for no apparent reason, difficulty sleeping, irritability, etc. These mostly dissapeared over Sparkle weekend, apart from the occasional talking to myself moment I was happy. Post sparkle though, they are back and I have noticed other symptoms too. Feeling really miserable, short temper, feeling like I want to cry for no apparent reason and more. Not only that, but these are coupled with obsessive thoughts over my T side, hating the male characteristics showing through after being groomed for sparkle (body hair regrowth, horrible skin, etc), and feeling off physically, which I can only describe as feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. Sometimes, specifically in work I can be distracted from most of what I am feeling, or at least can put on a front. Other times I have to take extra breaks because I just feel so off and I cant concentrate on what I am supposed to be doing.

This is the final straw I think, im going to book a GP appointment this week. Either my depression is coming back or my GD is getting worse, or both. This time though work is not the culprit since I have been relatively happy there for a while, which means im going to have to tell my GP about Aimee. Im fed up of feeling like this. I can go ages feeling fine and then for no apparent reason my 'I want to be a woman' thoughts are back and im miserable. I need to do something about it.

I was meant to be going to a house warming party tonight but cancelled because im not exactly in a social-able mood, I ended up having a little argument with my girlfriend over it because this is turning into a regular thing now where my social anxiety has got in the way of things and ive deliberately made excuses not to go (not telling her about the anxiety though). This time however its a little different.

Monday, 15 July 2013

My Weekend At Sparkle 2013

So this is going to be quite a lengthy post about my weekend at Sparkle, I think overall I had a good time but am having difficulty justifying going again. There were definitely pros and cons but im having difficulty deciding which one tips the scales.

The Weekends Events

I spent the whole weekend in the company of my friends ML and CP who live near me, and who I have met once or twice before. Ive actually been out with ML before when we went to BNO in Milton Keynes last year. We journeyed up to Manchester by train and met one of their friends Nancy at Piccadilly Station. Nancy knew Canal Street and was sharing a room with CP for the first night but had to go home Saturday lunch time. She walked with us to the hotel, we checked in, and then we made our way to our rooms. Myself and ML were on the third floor in separate rooms although just across the hall from each other, and CP and Nancy were on the first.

For the first night I thought I would dress a little more casual so I wore my new blue dress with spots on it, leggings and sandals. When I was ready, I met Maya and then we made our way down to CP and Nancys room to meet them. When we were all ready we then made our way towards the hotel lobby which was down a flight of stairs just around the corner from their room.

It was quite a feeling hearing the roar of the hotel lobby getting louder knowing I was dressed as a woman, it was broad daylight and that there were a lot of people down there. We were all lined up walking down the stairs, then carried on out of the building, and I was at the back of the line. I was a tiny bit nervous but for some reason I was feeling really confident and just went for it. We were making our way across the lobby and there was no fuss or anything, but my first time in public in daylight was never going to be so easy. As we got to the door there was a massive gang of teenage girls just hanging around outside the door who saw us, and we were greeted by laughing, giggling, squealing and more. There was no escape, we just had to push through them and keep walking! The thing is though is that it never really bothered me, I actually found the whole situation quite entertaining to be honest! Its just my luck that this would happen!

So we then made our way to the famous Canal Street which conveniently happened to be just around the corner from our hotel. Its basically just one massive long street which has tons of gay bars, clubs, restaurants and hotels and it was very busy with all sorts of people, gay men, lesbian women, straight people just passing through and t-girls in all shapes, sizes, and different degrees of gender expression. It was definitely a sight to behold! We managed to get a seat at a table outside a restaurant and had food out in the sun. It was really nice to be able to do something normal and enjoy being outdoors the way that I was. While chatting and eating I was quite happy just watching the world go by, and taking in the variety of people. Afterwards then we spent the evening checking out a few of the bars and clubs along Canal Street, before finally ending up in Napoleons where Nancy was meeting a friend of hers. The only problem with the bars and clubs on Canal Street is that they all seem to play the same music, which seems to be the campier the better, and always loud! A bit of choice would have been nice, im sure not all people in the LGBT community only like music like that, and having somewhere quieter to go would have been nice too.

On Saturday we had breakfast in drab so we could see Nancy off, and then went to get ready to go to the Sparkle in the Park event. I settled on my brown and blue stripey dress and decided that since it was such a nice day I would have my legs out, and this was a decision I did not regret. It felt amazing to feel the breeze flowing around me wearing a dress, its definitely something I could get used too! One mistake I made was to take a leather handbag, those things can heat up quickly in the sun and can make you sweat! After getting ready we made our way down to the park which was actually situated near the end of Canal Street, so we really didnt have far to go to get there. The event was made up of stalls along one end of the park, selling clothes and wigs, and promoting TG social and support groups. And then at the other end was the stage with all sorts of music, drag, and dancing acts on. I will be honest, I thought the majority of the entertainment was pretty poor. Im not a fan of cabaret, as often it is very amateurish and far too camp for my liking. Also, im not a fan of drag queens either, I think they help perpetuate the comedic image that we are often associated with. There was one act on though that was actually really good though, a lone female singer and acoustic guitarist, although I forgot their name unfortunately. It was the most 'normal' act that I saw while I was there and they were definitely talented. One irritation though were the amount of cameras there, a lot of people were taking sly photos as well without the subjects knowledge, myself included. No doubt my face is now plastered across a few corners of the internet although I suppose im not really too bothered by that, im more bothered about if I looked good or not! Plus, I want copies!

Something I was surprised to see there though was quite a lot Furries dotted about the place. Ive got nothing against them at all, ive worked with a few over the years and got to know one of them quite well too, and he was a really nice guy. They are harmless, I was just surprised to see them there. Will we see LGBT becoming LGBTF in the near future? ; )

Later on in the afternoon we then made our way back to the hotel via a restaurant on Canal Street and proceeded to get ready for the evening. After stressing over what to wear I decided on my new Numph grey and black dress and decided I wanted my bare legs out again I reapplied my makeup and then we made our way back to Canal Street for another night of drinking and dancing. I actually quite liked a club called View, it was definitely less camp than most places on Canal Street and had on some dance music I felt I could put up with, but I felt very old in there! For the first time that weekend I had a little go at trying to dance and think I did ok, it turns out that if I tone down how I used to dance when going to Hard House events many years ago the footwork is very similar, I just had to do less with my arms. After a while though we ended up in Napoleons again since its fairly quiet in the downstairs room, and we had a few drinks before heading back to the hotel. We almost had a quick drink in the hotel bar but it looked a little busy and I dont think ML or CP were too keen on the idea.

All over the weekend, the people there were really nice and friendly. Staff in every bar and restaurant always used female pronouns when addressing us, and didnt look at us any differently than they would their other patrons. It was a nice feeling to be accepted this way at face value. On the flip side of this however are the 'admirers'. I was told by CP on Saturday that on our first night in Napoleons I was getting a lot of stares from men who were there, and at one point she deliberately stood in the way of someone who was trying to make a beeline for me. Im not sure what to think of this really but I suppose it is to be expected that at some point I am going to have to deal with men. I just hope that they accept that no means no.

On Sunday we checked out an hour early so we could grab some breakfast on the way, but then we had some major travel issues getting back. We were meant to change twice, with 15 mins at each stop to find the next train, however there were some complications. After our first change, there was a problem with the line in the middle of nowhere and we were stranded for about 20-25 minutes, then when we got to the next stop the train was so late that they just cancelled it, by this point we had missed the connection we were meant to have made. We then had to wait for another train to take us to where we were meant to change to get our final train to our destination. When we got there, we were in an unfamiliar station and when we finally found a board with the train times we found we had 5 minutes to catch the next train going our way! Just to complicate things, the platform number was not signposted anywhere apart from round a corner above a lift with a queue in front of it, which was apparently the only way to get to the platform! By the time we got down to the platform the doors were just closing but someone on the train kindly opened them for us, phew! What a nightmare!

Ponderous Thoughts

So over the course of the weekend I had a lot of time to ponder about my take on the trans scene, the people in it, and my place in it too as a straight part timer. On the one hand, its difficult for me to see myself as a regular on the scene because of the inextricable link to the gay scene. Just because im dressed as a woman doesnt suddenly make me want to dance round my handbag to high camp disco classics like 'its raining men'! But this seems to be what some (most?) t-girls want to do for entertainment.

I suppose in some ways though I think there is still some inner turmoil around what I am trying to get out of this too. Some of the t-girls I saw over the course of the weekend were stunning, and I dont just mean in looks, but in movement and speech too. Then there were the natal females too who were out on their girls nights out drinking and dancing, and next to them was me, who certainly looked the part but wasnt in the same frame of mind as them. I couldnt help but compare myself to the girls around me, I want to be like them in body and mind but it is a futile struggle to try and achieve that, I just cant seem to make myself 'femme' enough to get anywhere near that level, and I dont think this is just a physical thing, but a mental thing too. The thing is, a lot of the other t-girls seemed to be having no problems with this. They looked the part, acted the part, and were really getting into being their feminine selves but I just dont think I am feminine enough. My male mind seems to only want to go so far and it rebels at the thought of acting and thinking femininely. I suspect this might have been because of the company I was with, some kind of silly male pride in front of people I know. If I was alone I may have found it a lot easier!

So what is the point of dressing up if in the back of my mind I dont want to be feminine? The thing is, im not sure this is entirely the case. Some of these people have years and years of experience, maybe I just need to keep doing it and practice? After all, ive got 31 years of being a man to try and and unravel a little. Practicing isnt going to change my taste in music (thankfully) but I might be able to at least get myself in a more feminine state of mind, and loosen up a little. Something to try on my next outing perhaps? It just feels a little fake to camp up my act a bit, although im sure this would get easier with time.

One positive realisation I had afterwards was how normal it felt to be out like this. Being out in public dressed up didnt bother me at all. Even though the majority of the time it was in the safe haven of the gay village, we still had to walk down a few busy roads to get there and I wasnt fazed at all!

Social Anxiety

I knew this weekend was going to test my social anxiety, and I wasnt wrong. Being dressed up in the middle of the day on a busy Manchester high street, no problem. Talking to people? A bigger challenge apparently! Over the weekend I met Nancy who was someone new, and also bumped into AP who I have chatted to on Angels and Flickr in the past, and also Davina who I chat to occasionally on tvChix.

In all 3 cases I found conversing really difficult. If we were chatting one on one I dont think I would have had much of a problem but being in a group made me hyper aware of what I was saying because of the audience. Because my brain was over-analysing everything I found myself mixing words up or saying the wrong thing, which then just made me feel stupid even if I knew it was just a minor thing and this caused me to just over-analyse even more. More often than not I just avoided conversation all together. This was easier with Nancy since she knew ML and CP already so I could leave the conversation to them. However, with AP it would have been rude not to try and make conversation with her but with the audience I found it quite difficult to engage brain. Davina I was meant to be meeting over the weekend anyway but I randomly bumped into her twice on Saturday. She was someone that only I knew out of our group, which was even worse because all I could think of was ML and CP standing there listening to what I was saying. I just felt on the spot and was over conscious of every single word that fell out of my mouth. After a quick chat I made excuses and we went on our way, I probably came across as a little rude (and if you ever read this im sorry!) but I was really struggling!

I do want to take this opportunity to apologise to Becca, who takes the time to comment on here and give me advice when im struggling, and who was at Sparkle as well and would have liked to meet up. I could have made more of an effort to meet with you and I really would have liked to as well, but I just wasnt comfortable with the social circumstances I was in over the weekend. I just felt awkward and I didnt want to leave you with any kind of negative impression of me like I probably had with others I had met over the course of the weekend.

Ah, being mental is fun!

Final Thoughts

Well, Sparkle is an amazing event to go to if you ever want to finally leave the safety of your own home dressed as your female self. Its safe, accommodating and friendly. You dont need to worry if you look good or bad, since there are many people there with varying degrees of style and convincing-ness,  and you will be accepted as the person you are presenting as. As long as your are comfortable that is all that matters.

Since I dont really feel a part of 'the scene' and dont have many people I would use it as an excuse to meet up with, im not sure I would make the effort to go again. But it has definitely filled me with the confidence to go elsewhere. The only questions now is, where?

Friday, 12 July 2013

Sparkle Today!

Well ive just booked my taxi to take me to the train station, the train leaves at 12.50pm and now its feeling kind of final. Ive packed my case and my bag, ive showered, shaved, plucked and trimmed, and now ive got an hour to burn until the taxi gets here.

Frankly, im crapping myself. I feel so under-prepared for this. I really have no idea whats in store for me this weekend.

I went out yesterday before work and bought 4 dresses with high necks in order to cover the spots all over my chest, I was quite happy with them and thought they would do nicely, until I got them home later that evening. One doesnt fit at all, there is no way it is a 12 I cant even shut the zip! Another one I thought looked nice in the shop but when I got home I realised I didnt like the print on it at all, it was too girly even for my girlfriend! Another one im kind of 50/50 on, I might wear it but im not too sure. And finally, one I bought from Dorothy Perkins actually looks quite nice, and I know this is a little trampy but I am considering wearing it on 2 nights because im just not happy with most of the outfits I have. If I didnt have these spots on my chest id have a lot more options! Grrrrr!

Im not happy with my body image, outfits or makeup, and my confidence has gone through the floor but im just going to have to go for it now. Im feeling pretty anxious about the whole thing now to be honest, but im too committed to back out at this point.

As much as I can appreciate there will probably be all sorts of people there who express themselves in all sorts of different ways and whether I look 'convincing' or not probably wont really matter, I still want to be happy with my presentation of my feminine self. Im not naive enough to think I am 'convincing' because I am far from it and I know that, but I still want to present myself in the best way that I can because I am going to be out in public, and I just dont think I am there at the moment.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

What To Wear, What To Prepare....

There is just over a week to go till Sparkle and im still no closer to figuring out what to wear or what to prepare. Its stressing me out a little now. The loose plan is to go out for food followed by a bar on the Friday night, maybe take it easy so we wont be struggling the next day. Then Saturday have lunch and go to the Sparkle day event, and then for the evening try and find some kind of alternative place to go to. Im trying to find some dresses/outfits that will be cool enough in case it is warm, but also cover my arms and chest because of my spots.

They are still spotty from the last time I shaved them a month ago and im thinking im going to have to plan my outfits accordingly. I have booked in to get my upper torso waxed next week just in case they have gone down enough but I am not holding my breath. I did want to go for a full body wax but my girlfriend isnt happy with that idea. She said me being totally smooth makes her uncomfortable, and while I have been totally shaved before she isnt happy with waxing it all because it will last much longer. I was a little annoyed at this since I really wanted to go all out for Sparkle, but it looks like I will just have to make do. I should be happy enough she lets me get away with what I do as it is.

Anyway, back to the outfits. I ordered a few things the others day which arrived and once again will be sending most of it back. Ive also ordered a few dresses from Amazon which should arrive tomorrow and might order a few more items today. I seem to have a thing for a brand called Numph lately, I really like their style and the prints they use. For the evenings, im thinking dresses and sandals, and for the Saturday day I think I might wear some trousers, sandals and a top. Im going to stay away from heels I think, although I might stretch to getting some low wedges. These are the dresses ive got/are getting:


In other news, on Sunday it is my male sides birthday (my T side is 4 days after), and to celebrate getting one year older me and my girlfriend are going to a spa for the morning. Im getting a deep tissue back massage, a scalp massage, and a facial too. That will be a nice way to loosen up before the next weekends stressing out. Afterwards some lunch and then we are just going to town to do some shopping, I have pre-warned her I want to pick things up for Sparkle so we will be out shopping for Aimee, and she is fine with this. It is my birthday after all! Then a meal with a few close friends and thats it, an early night then work the next day. I could have a party and invite loads of people but to be honest I dont like making a big deal out of it all, im quite happy keeping it low key. I havent even told or reminded most of my friends just so no fuss will be made.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Whose Side Am I On?

I had an incident in work today that was awkward for me to deal with. As soon as one of the girls on my team thrust the open magazine in my face and said something along the lines of "do you think she is fit?", I knew this might be a little awkward. I recognised the girl on the page, she was someone I had already seen a story about a month previously on the internet, and the story was about her successful transition from boy to woman.

The girl on my team was trying to 'trip me up' in the same way she had just done to several others on my team into saying they fancied someone who 'is actually a man'. Now, I was suddenly faced with a dilemma. The topic is very close to one of my biggest secrets and im very conscious of what I say and do whenever it comes up because I dont want to give the game away, but I had mere seconds to come to a decision about what to say, and im not exactly proud of my response: "he". I could have played along, and just had a laugh at my expense for a few minutes but instead some twisted form of pride got in my way and regrettably on the spur of the moment I panicked and opted to save face.

I explained I had seen the story previously and wasnt going to fall foul of her game, but then of course the obvious happened and members of my team started chatting about a few people they know who crossdress. Regardless of my response, this would have happened anyway im sure. I didnt hear a lot of the comments, but I did hear the odd one: "Yeah, he wears womens underwear and everything", "thats just weird", (referring back to the magazine) "I cant believe thats a man, look you can still see his willy in his knickers", and so on.

I felt really uncomfortable, and it does seem to be happening on a semi-regular basis these days. If its not dealing with media portrayals of Transvestites (Just-Eat & Bet Victor adverts are the worst for me at the moment, I cant help but feel they are a reflection on me), its the topic being brought up by friends from time to time. Another example is about a month ago we had some friends stay at ours after going to see Eddie Izzard, soon after their arrival they started chatting about him being a Transvestite, and spent a good 30-45 mins speculating in a manner that gave the impression they thought it was a bit freaky. Of course, I didnt say very much and me and my partner gave knowing glances across the room from time to time.

I never know what to say or do in these circumstances. I read all these blogs online by people who take a stand for what they believe in whenever they are challenged, and I have a lot of respect for these people and feel obligated to do the same. To try and defend those who are like me and try to make those who are uninformed understand were not some sideshow freaks. Realistically though, ive got to look after number one. Its selfish but im not and do not intend to out myself to friends in the near future, if anything it could cost me my relationship with my girlfriend and that is far too important to me. I cant go down the route of defending and informing without giving away the fact that I know far more than I should, which means I cant do anything other than sit there and listen while my friends talk about people who are trans* in a frank manner, which im sure they wouldnt do if they knew they were talking about me too.

I would love to have been able to sit down with my team today to challenge their misinformed views and try to have made them a little more open minded. I wish I had not responded the way I did, it is extremely disrespectful and only served the purpose of reinforcing to the others in the group the fact that she was born a male, and not who she is now as a person. Instead, I just sat at my desk and just waited for the conversation to die out so the topic would change.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

2 Weeks To Go Till Sparkle

Ive been busy trying to figure out what I need to buy and prepare for before Sparkle. Ive bought a gaff from The Breasform Store which really does seem to help keep everything in check down there, but tucking is certainly uncomfortable. I cant cross my legs like this! Its definitely been easier as the day has gone on though. Ive also bought some sticky pads from there as well to stick my boobs down, but because of the material my boobs are made from (some kind of rubber, not silicone), im not sure ill be able to get the pads off again as the glue is meant to be quite strong.

I have also been practicing my makeup, the priority today was getting my foundation right and I think I have nailed it. The routine is as follows:

  • Shave as close as possible (foam with the grain, oil against the grain)
  • Toner
  • Wait 5-10 mins
  • Moisturiser
  • Wait 5-10 mins
  • Primer
  • Wait another 5-10 mins
  • Red lipstick for colour correction of beard shadow
  • Keromask camouflage cream dabbed over beard with sponge
  • Edges blended with finger
  • Keromask transparent powder over the cream
  • MAC gel foundation brushed on all over face and neck
  • Edges blended with finger again
  • Boots transparent powder brushed on top.

Its definitely the most natural ive managed to look so far, and looks far less caked on around my beard than usual. The only problem is when blending on the bottom of my neck it is paler than my face, so there is a noticeable mark where the foundation ends below my beard shadow.

I was going to get waxed in the week before going, but I still have red and sore razer bumps and/or ingrown hairs on my shoulders from the last time I shaved, I dont know if it would be a good idea to go in case it makes then worse. This then opens up the problem of how I am going to the hair from those areas before I go. Im desperately treating them every day with ingrown hair solution but they just arent going anywhere!

Im still deciding on outfits to wear as well, I think I might wear my blue leopard print dress on the Friday night, my white and blue spotty vest on the Saturday day with a skirt, and maybe a black slinky dress Saturday night, but im still undecided. I need to find out what the others are wearing to be honest. However depending on how my hair removal goes I may not be able to wear some of the things I want to.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Sparkle 2013

Well, ive just put my card details down and booked a hotel room in Manchester from July 12th to the 14th with the aim of going to Sparkle this year. Im actually feeling pretty calm about going, but for how long!

I can already picture what im going to be thinking over the next few weeks during the lead up to Sparkle. Im ok now but as the pressure mounts I can imagine something along the lines of:

Clothes - I need to decide on and/or buy 2 day and 2 night outfits for the weekend, plus I need to buy more shoes. Do I wear dresses in the day? Shorts? Tights or leggings? Heels or flats? How dressed up shall I be for the evenings? Shall I get my nails done properly? I need to get more accessories as well.

Paranoia - Will my outfits look ok? Will my makeup look terrible (this is one of my biggest worries!)? Will I be walking like a man in bad drag? Will I get mocked and laughed at by the general public? I dont want to be seen as a 'bad-tranny'!

Social Anxiety - Will I bump into people I know from online? Will I find common ground in conversation with them? Will I get on with them or bore them? Where will we be going? What will we be doing?

Ha, reading back the above does make me sound a little mental doesnt it, but I genuinely have minor issues with social anxiety. I had it really bad when I was struggling with depression last year and it is a lot better now than it was then, but I still have to fight it sometimes. Somehow I dont seem to have a problem with it in work where I manage a team and regularly have to deal with new people and situations, but when it comes to my personal life it seems more difficult to manage and I cant get a handle on why.


Anyway... Weve booked in at the Malmaison which is a little out the way and a little expensive too, but it looks like a really nice hotel. A lot of the offers available to Sparkle attendees and closer hotels were already taken when I looked into booking, I took too long making my mind up whether to go or not. There are some cheaper places that still have rooms available but to be honest it will be nice to stay in a nice hotel. They do have a spa there and im considering booking in to get my nails done while I am there, ive never had my nails done properly before and its something ive wanted to do for a long time! Im sure they wouldnt have a problem with this!


Something I need to look at beforehand as well is body hair removal. My chest and the tops of my arms are very sensitive to shaving, and come up in large and sore spots when I shave them. Since shaving them a few weeks back the spots are still there, although I am currently covering them with Sudocrem every day (yes its for babies but ive heard it helps because its antiseptic). I think since its a special occasion im going to have to fork out to get my body waxed a few days before going because if the weather is good I want to get my pins out! I just hope the waxing doesnt cause a similar reaction!

Friday, 14 June 2013

Mental White Noise

Im finding it difficult to find time to sit down and write on here lately. I really wanted to do this the other day when it happened and was still fresh in my memory, but just havent had the chance.

I think about my trans side almost continuously when my brain is idle. Clothes, plans, ideas, things to try, picturing myself in the photos I have taken, and so on. Usually it is not a problem because when I need to actually think about stuff it just easily dissapears into the background, but I am not joking when I say that most of my waking thought is spent thinking about this side of me.

Now, I was in work on Monday and as the day progressed I was finding it more and more difficult to concentrate, to the point where I couldnt actually work anymore. I had to stop and go take a break off the floor to try and clear my head but even then it didnt really go away for most of the day. Its difficult to describe but it was like I wasnt thinking about anything specific but I knew the general theme was about my trans side. The closest I can come to describing it is like a mental white noise, for hours I couldnt focus at all. Not only that but a sensation accompanied it that I can only describe as being uncomfortable in my own skin from head to toe.  Ive thought and felt similar things before but never together and never this intense.

Since then over the past few days I have been feeling pretty low for no apparant reason and today I nearly didnt even go into work at all. It would have probably been a good idea to stay off because I was very short tempered, to the point I nearly lost it in work and again had to take a break before I took it out on someone.

What is going on with me this week?

Friday, 7 June 2013

A Few Little Things

We didnt end up going to Bristol again the other night. Right at the last minute it all seemed to fall apart which is a shame. I was extremely nervous about going but it would have been an experience good or bad, and I would have at least like to have tried it. Its kind of my fault because I cant get changed at home and leave from here and I was relying on being able to change at other peoples homes, but that plan kind of fell through, and the backup plan too. These things happen! We are talking about trying again on the 22nd, and this time we will book a hotel room on the way there to use as a makeshift changing room. Hopefully this will avoid a repeat situation.

I didnt totally waste my time though. Since id shaved, pampered, plucked my eyebrows and even painted my nails, I spent the day yesterday wearing a skirt with my legs out. I dont think ive actually done that at all in my trans* career yet so far since I was always hiding hair or it was too cold, and it was really nice to do it. I look forward to more opportunities this summer! Hopefully this summer ill actually be able to get out and about in the sun with my legs out, rather than hiding at home!

I wanted to take advantage of the light and the effort id put into dressing up so I thought id take a few new portrait photos, and I figured out an easy way of getting decent shots since I usually take loads and often they look wrong (wrong face position, bad light, etc). It took me ages to figure this out and I dont know why I didnt think of it sooner, its so obvious. I just recorded a video and took screenshots of the moments I liked best. Genius! Im really happy with the way that these shots turned out too, they arent the highest resolution but for what I want them for im happy with that. Im also no longer watermarking my photos either, its a lot of hassle and I dont really see the point anymore. I used to really worry about my photos being misused but I think ive calmed down about that now.

And finally on the makeup side of things I have been using Keromask camouflage cream the past few times I have dressed up, its definitely a far better coverage on my beard shadow than anything else I have used so far, but it still doesnt look quite right. It says it is a foundation but I have been using it as a concealer and putting my normal foundation (MAC gel foundation) on top. The end result is a little greasy but it might be the way im layering it. I want to post my own little review of it but will wait until ive been able to experiment a little more and have had a chance to try a few different techniques, but if I can get it looking right then this might actually be the miracle beard cover I have been looking for.

Summers here and I hope this year Aimee gets to actually see some of it!!! 

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Going Out Attempt Number 2

So it looks like Bristol is back on the cards again, and we are planning on going on Tuesday! Thats the day after tomorrow! It was planned on very short notice and the whole group of 4 of us are free to go as well, plus we will be meeting someone there as well!

Im nervous. Really, really nervous. I know people in Bristol that live and work in the city centre (in fact very close to where we are going), what if I bump into them?

Ive been frantically practicing my eye makeup today in an effort to be at least half decent at it before Tuesday but I couldnt get anywhere with it. I was putting it on and taking it off so much the skin around my eyes are now raw from where I have been rubbing them with wipes. I dont know where im going wrong with it to be honest, ive followed a few tutorials, tried a combination of colours, brushes and techniques and every time I looked like id been punched in the face with a paint tray. Also because of the shape of my eyes, whenever I put eyeliner on my top eyelid it is pretty much all you can see when my eyes are open.

I think ill just put eyeliner on the bottom lid and mascara on my eyelashes on the top lid because I can do them fault free. As far as the shadow goes though, I dont know what to do to be honest.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

The Best Laid Plans....

Well it looks like Bristol isnt happening. Our original group very quickly whittled down to just the two of us, and due to a few factors we decided it was best to postpone our night out.

On the one hand im a little dissapointed, ive spent a lot of time this week stressing, nearly not going, then persuading myself to go again. And today I went to get a hot shave in a barbers (which I shall talk about shortly), went shopping in town with my amazing girlfriend who helped me pick out some accessories and makeup, tweezed my eyebrows and also spent a good hour shaving myself too. It seems like a lot of effort gone to waste. On the other hand its probably a good thing because ive bought a load of new makeup and havent had a chance to test it yet. It could have all gone horribly wrong and I wouldnt have a chance to fix it. It does mean that tonight I will have plenty of time to test it now so I know if itll work for next time, which will make me a lot more confident.

So back to the barbers. I opted for a hot/wet shave with a pre-shave facial, which to be fair felt really good. When I sat in the chair the girl had a look at my face and said that it looks like ive got really sensitive skin because she could see irritation all over my neck from the last time I shaved, which considering I havent shaved since the previous weekend means it must have been quite bad. The facial was very nice but the shave was not so good, although I dont think I can blame the barbers themselves. The guy who shaved my face said that he got as close as he could but didnt want to go too close to the bone because he could see my face reacting. He asked if I wanted him to continue but I said that was ok for him to stop because at that point my face was pretty raw.

My girlfriend met me in town after my shave and she mentioned about how bad my neck looked after the shave, and after getting home and inspecting his handiwork while my face feels smoother the stubble was pretty noticeable, I think I can get a slightly better shave myself at home. Again, I dont think that is the barbers fault but I dont think I will be going to one again.

One thing that has come out of this though is that while we were walking back home my girlfriend said that she understands the discomfort I go through shaving my face, she had been thinking about it and decided that if I really wanted to get my beard lasered then I could. It was very unexpected and I love her so much for giving me permission to have it done, ive wanted to do it for a long time but she wasnt comfortable with the idea of me not having facial hair anymore. Ive told her for a long time how much my facial hair bothers me, and I think finally seeing the fact that not even professionals could do a good job has made her realise that it isnt fair on me to not have the option of doing it.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Plans For This Month

So it appears I might actually be going for a night out at the end of this month in nearby Bristol. Im not too sure of the exact plan at this point but I only have 2 days off work between now and then to plan and prepare, so I better get a move on!

I need to decide on an outfit, pick up accessories, a bag and maybe some new shoes. I need to finally get around to tidying up these eyebrows of mine. I need to practice eye shadow, eye liner and drawing in my brows too. We then need to figure out where we are going, how we are getting there, where we are getting ready, and how long we are staying for or maybe even if we are staying over. I also need to look at maybe getting my chest and arms waxed too, if not my whole body, and getting a cut-throat shave on the day. Im not going to be going to some T venue this time, im going to be out in a city centre on a Saturday night so I want to make sure I look decent.

The pressure is on!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

MGC 1 Year On: A Retrospective

It has been a year since I started using this blog (I had set it up in August 2011 but did not used it for another 8 months), so I wanted to create a post reflecting on what has happened over the past year and my hopes for the coming year, and beyond.

So when I started this blog I was suffering severely with depression, and I had been off work for nearly a month. I was feeling low, demotivated, emotionally unbalanced, isolated, my self esteem was shot, I had a very short temper, I never left the house, and all I did was spend all my time working myself up in my head and making myself worse. Some months later my girlfriend even said she didnt know how much longer she would have been able to take it, it almost cost me my relationship with her. Work was a main factor in causing me to melt down, but my gender issues were also an underlying part of it too. I needed to express it more but felt trapped by my relationship.

I was off work and didnt even have the motivation to do any of my hobbies so I spent a considerable amount of time trawling the internet looking at trans blogs and sites, and in some ways this made me worse. I would read and see photos of people out and about, enjoying and living their lives as their female side and it would just make me jealous, so insanely jealous. This made me feel even more isolated.

July 2012 is when it all kicked off for me. In one month I started seeing a counsellor, I went to a dressing service so I could see me fully dressed for the first time (which I forgot to write a post about), and I also came out to my girlfriend which is one of the hardest things ive ever had to do. Telling her was something I planned to do 12 months previously when I first started properly exploring this, I said after a year if it wasnt something I would be able to stop, I would tell her. The pressure of knowing I would be telling her could also have possibly contributed towards my depression but it was a necessary thing to do.

After telling her it was like a weight was lifted from my shoulders, it felt like it was the final piece of my depression being taken away from me and I was happier and more relaxed than I had been for a long time, but this did not last. Over the coming weeks and months I started wanting more, I wanted to take things much further, permanently further. This made me feel low again and I became very confused, was I meant to be a girl? Was transition something I needed in my life? It took me nearly to the end of the year to start to realise that maybe that wasnt  the right choice for me. I cant begin to tell you how bad I want to be a woman sometimes, how bad it makes me feel that I am not and never will be one, but I dont think it is enough to need to transition.

In September I went on my first (and only so far) night out dressed as a woman, and as much as the club was not my kind of place, I really enjoyed being out like this. It is something I would love to repeat again, very soon hopefully! And this was pretty much the end of anything major happening in my trans life. When I had the odd opportunity that I could express it, I spent my female time at home gradually feeling more and more isolated, and continued to struggle with my body image while trying to get my dysphoria under control. This is still a work in progress.

So where does this leave me now? Well I dont feel like im depressed anymore but im still struggling with varying degrees of dysphoria. Sometimes im happy just getting on with my business as a man, no problem. Other times I feel off and hate who I am, wishing I was living as the other gender. I also feel as if my gender exploration has stalled, since September I feel like I have literally done nothing with this. When I came out I had big expectations and plans of things I wanted to do. I wanted to get out into the world and make up for lost time, and I havent done anything. This isnt helping either, and it can really get me down too. Im still trying to find a balance for both sides of me that works, but I am yet to find it.

I need to make the most of my 2013, and hopefully even this summer to try and get out there as much as I can. Day trips, nights out, social groups, anything... I need to get out there otherwise this is going to turn into the biggest regret of my life. I cant keep on like this. I just feel like my life is passing me by and I cant do anything about it.

I want to make this the year that I step out of my closet a little more. I want to see the real world through Aimee's eyes. I want to feel feminine (and dare I say it, sexy...) from the inside out, and I want to show the world my true colours. Summers coming and I want to experience it the way I have dreamed about for so many year, in a nice top, loose skirt, sandals and with my legs out.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

New Wig

I finally managed to get a new wig and I am so happy with my purchase! I popped over to Contrast Wigs for a fitting and came back with a very long brown wig which not only has a parting (something my last wig didnt have) but its long enough that I can wear it up too!

I was very nervous when I got there, ive only ever met a few people to talk openly about this side of me, and I suppose non-trans people make this a little worse. Sue was very nice though and managed to put me at ease.

I was only meant to be there for up to an hour but I was so indecisive with the wigs she gave me, she ended up just leaving me to it with the final 4 for ages while I went backwards and forwards trying them on and retrying them again and again. I finally made my mind up and got the one in the picture. I forget what it is called though, but I think it is the Willow XL. And to top it off it is fairly reasonably priced too.

I wasnt able to do anything with my old wig because of the design of it (it was only a cheap one) but with this one I have options! Ok, the parting is still stuck in place but I can at least wear it with clips, hairbands, and even wear it up too! This is one thing I really wish I could do in real life and having a wig that lets me wear it up is just amazing, I love it. I think im going to have to look at earrings now, I never saw the point with my old wig because you couldnt see my ears anyway. Also the quality of this wig is so much better than my old one too. It is synthetic but the feel of the hair is so much softer than my old wig, and it feels a lot lighter too.

Thank you Sue at Contrast Wigs for my amazing new wig, I think I will definitely buy from there again in the future.