Sunday, 6 September 2015

The Unexpected London Trip

Thursday was the day I finally decided I was going to go, that left me with two nights to book, pack and prepare. As my girlfriend was already going away this weekend, we had to wait and see if the vet would give our cat the all clear so I wouldnt have to stay at home and cat sit, before I could even consider going out anywhere. While the cat is still not perfect, she was ok enough for me to spend a night away. So, Thursday night I found a hotel, Friday night I booked a last minute coach and panic-packed, Saturday morning I was on my way to London.

I had been meaning to get together with L for some time now. Weve chatted on and off on tvChix for ages and never quite got any of several plans we had come up with in this time off the ground for one reason or another. At the last minute however we found an opportunity and seized it. After booking the hotel I didnt sleep properly for the two nights before I was due to go, less than 5 hours sleep per night. I was worrying, worrying if I had everything I needed like a decent outfit and all the makeup I would need, worrying about meeting L since I know I struggle sometimes if I dont click with someone, worrying about going outside again in public. I dont know, once id booked the hotel there was no anticipation, only trepidation. What had I let myself in for?

Packing was a struggle, my girlfriend had taken the decent case and we only had massive airport ones which I didnt fancy dragging around London. So I packed a large backpack and large holdall to carry, but had to compromise on what I wanted to take. Still, I managed to squeeze in a day outfit, a night outfit, a few different pairs of shoes as I couldnt decide what to wear, makeup, wig, boobs, and toiletries. Whatever I didnt have I would have to get in London, there was no time to buy anything before leaving.

Saturday morning was horrible, a 6am start to get up for the taxi followed by three and a half hours on a coach. Then traversing London and the underground half asleep carrying heavy bags to get to the hotel. I had booked into the Hilton DoubleTree Tower Hill Hotel, specifically chosen because it was very close to where L was staying. I arrived hoping to just drop my bags off so I could go away and do things before the 3pm check in time, but the room was ready which was excellent. Not only that, but they gave me two complimentary chocolate cookies as well which were delicious, especially after travelling all morning. The room was clean and tidy but nothing special, although bizarrely it had an iMac as an entertainment system. I only needed the room for sleeping though so the room served its purpose.

So after dropping my bags off I made my way across to Trendco as I had been in desperate need of a new wig for a while and decided it was time to get a nice one. It wasnt close and took me a while to get there, but I still ended up there almost an hour earlier than my appointment time. Thankfully they were quiet so they could see me straight away. I was led to a private fitting room at the back of the salon and after describing the kind of wig I was after (straight hair, my natural colour, about shoulder length), he went away and brought in 3 wigs. After trying them on he got two more and then we went round and round whittling them down until I was settled on just one. One looked comical as it was just so big, one I really liked the style but it was very straight and had a straight fringe that would not have looked good with my square face, and while I hadnt even considered having a bob haircut I really liked it, but it was a little more expensive and also my girlfriend likes her hair that length at the moment and I didnt want to be accused of copying her, so I didnt go for it. But, with a little help I did still find a new wig I was really happy with. If you need a wig I would happily recommend them, the guy was really friendly and helpful and as it is a salon they will also happily trim or cut your wig for you too, although I opted against this with mine.

It took about an hour to find a wig, by this time it was mid afternoon and I made my way across to Oxford Circus to meet L who had just got into London but hadnt been to her apartment yet, so still had all her bags on her. We had a quick sandwich and chatted for a little bit before going our seperate ways until later on. I got my eyebrows threaded at the brow bar in John Lewis, the same one I went to last time. I bought some makeup essentials in two seperate Boots and chatted to the girls in there about what I was after, and they never batted an eyelid and were very helpful. I also bought some sparkly ballet flats from New Look as I had chickened out of wearing the heels I had brought with me. Now, I have a suspicion that they thought I was up to no good in there for some reason. I had a good look around the shoe section trying to find the wide fit shoes, then when it came to trying them on annoyingly there were men sat on some of the seats. I chickened out of sitting next to them to try on my shoes so did it stood up in the aisle, and around this time a lady with a walkie talkie just casually walked slowly around where I was, while looking at the racks on the wall. Maybe I was just being paranoid or self conscious, but the timing felt off to me. No matter though, I wasnt getting up to no good and I bought my new shoes for the night.

I went back to my hotel, and set about grooming myself which took ages and the end result once again were depressing. Ive found using a single blade razor on my chest and upper arms significantly lowers the amount of red spots that come up, but I still cant completely remove the hair. Im still left with grey speckles all over my upper body. Also, this also did not help my upper legs where I still get lots of red spots. So I would have to wear black tights and a dress that covered up. The sleeves were not quite long enough but as it was late no-one would have been able to see the little grey spots anyway. After deciding on my outfit I then went to meet L for food. We walked past an unfortunate but amusingly named restaurant called ISIS but settled on a restaurant round the corner from my hotel. By this point it was already about 7.30-8 in the evening, the day had completely ran away from us. It was then that we remembered about another girl E who was interested in meeting us, we let her know we were in town and were going out but unfortunately it was too short notice for her to join us. After food, I went back to the hotel, picked up my outfit and makeup, then went to L's apartment to get ready.

I was actually really happy with how my makeup turned out for a change. Annoyingly the pump on my camouflage cream broke and I almost didnt get enough out to cover my beard, but apart from that I think I looked pretty good! I went horribly wrong with the eyes, I used one of those 3 colour sets which had a glittery pink, silver and black. As per the instructions on the box I used the pink all over the upper eye area above the crease and then the silver on the lid, but there was not enough different between the two and I just looked like I had gone overboard with glitter. So after putting on the black I just wiped off the pink  from above the crease with a face wipe, realised that this actually looked good so I left them like that. I also didnt bother with putting eyeliner on my upper lid either as I know I am terrible at it, and didnt use mascara on the eye lashes on the bottom lid because there are so few of them it just makes them look worse. So I just used eyeliner on the waterline on the bottom lid and mascara on the top, and it seemed to balance out.

Then off out we went. By this point it was llpm so we really didnt have long. After a bit of initial trepidation I was fine being outside, although im sure the cover of darkness helped massively. We accidentally took a more scenic route and realised on the way that as we had been in such a rush to leave I had forgotten to put my jewellery on! It was too late to go back, so we kept going and after a bit more wandering we eventually found our way to Wayout Club at the Mineries. Ive never really been a fan of any of the trans-specific events or club nights ive been to up to this point, but Wayout is probably the most tolerable ive been to so far. It was smaller than we both expected it to be, it has friendly staff, a dancefloor with a DJ playing the usual pop-dance remixes you find in any gay club across the country, and also seating areas that were away from all of that so you could actually speak to people. Bizarrely they were also showing sports including wrestling.

As we got there so late we went straight onto the doubles, found somewhere to sit and just chatted. Initially we sat outside but it got too cold for us and so we went in. We didnt venture onto the dancefloor which is a shame as I wanted to see L's legendary dancefloor clearing moves, but I didnt get her drunk enough in time! :)  I really enjoyed L's company though, we had plenty to talk about and I wish we had a bit longer to be honest. After a few hours Wayout closed and we went back to L's apartment to take a few photos. She had an amazing view of the Shard from her balcony so we had to take advantage of that while we were there. After that, it was time for me to get changed, pack, and go back to my hotel to try and get some sleep before coming back home the next day. I considered getting dressed in my day outfit and walking back to the hotel dressed, but as it was so late that wouldnt have been wise.

Considering it was all very last minute, I had a really good time and would love to do something again soon. While there was so much intense stress and preperation in such a small space of time leading up to what was only a few hours worth of dressing up time, it was totally worth it, and has given me an appetite for more. The question is though, what next? Ive said before that I dont want my trans-life to revolve around trans-specific places, but im fussy enough as it is as a guy.

In other news, im still trying to think of a new name. At this point im trying to think of one that reflects how I feel about myself, I kind of like being in the middle right now, so I was thinking of a name that works for or has a nickname that would be the same for both genders. As an example, Alexandra - Alexander - Alex. Theres a few that come to mind, one of which is a name that has popped up before, so I might decide to use that. Its so difficult trying to come up with something that I know is a name I want to use for the rest of my life. No pressure! :)

Monday, 13 July 2015

Summer Holiday Body Envy

Ive recently got back from very long Balearic holiday abroad with my girlfriend and a number of friends as well. We had a really good time, managed to fit quite a lot of things in, and after piling on factor 50 sun lotion and hiding in the shade as much as possible I havent tanned much either. I was actually considering going to Sparkle again this year but unfortunately I would still be abroad for the first half of the festival so it wasnt worth going.

The lead up to the holiday was quite frustrating to begin with. I knew I would be spending a bit of time in front of friends not actually wearing much so of course I had to 'man-up' and let my body hair grow out a bit in order to avoid any awkward questions. This had meant that any plans I may have had in order to do anything trans has been on hold until getting back. Now that im back, im looking for something to do and definitely need an excuse to trim my hair back again.

Now, on a holiday abroad where the sun is shining and the temperature is over 40 degrees, its normal to do a fair bit of sitting on the beach doing as little as possible. So on several occasions I found myself sat on a sun lounger under a parasol, feeling myself slowly baking with nothing but some music on to keep me busy for hours upon hours.

The beach was part of a resort and fairly busy with families, locals, and other people who came to see the town the resort was based at. There were so many women of various shapes, sizes and ages, all appropriately dressed for the extremely hot temperatures. Little bikinis of all cuts and colours, kaftans and cover ups made of all sorts of materials and patterns, and so on. Watching them interact with each other and other people, seeing them look comfortable and happy made me feel a little miserable to be honest. With nothing to do but people watch, I could not help but get a little wound up about it all. How amazing they looked, how happy they looked, how unfair it is. Then there were the night clubs. The amazing, glamourous outfits being worn: dresses, playsuits, little tops and skirts, all clinging or enhancing the female figure underneath. Hair of all shapes, cuts and colours, and make up completing the glamorous looks. I didnt want to be stood there in a t-shirt, shorts and trainers, I wanted to feel feminine and look as cute as the girls I was surrounded by. Fuck what I would have given to swap places with them at that moment. Or permanently.

Im over the fact that im not a woman, and that transition is not the right path for me. As much as I feel I dont fit in with your typical bloke, I dont feel I identify as a woman either. But it doesnt make this body envy, this clothes envy, this life envy much easier. How am I meant to reconcile what it is I feel like I should look like and how I want to feel and communicate, with the realities of a Testosterone ridden body in a masculine world? As im getting older its getting more difficult. Its only been a few years since I started taking this seriously and I can already see differences between then and now in my body development. The compromises im making are getting more difficult to keep up with. And this double life im living right now is weighed far too much towards my male side.

I had an amazing holiday, I really did. I had some amazing experiences, and did some things I never thought I would too which were a lot of fun. But this has just knocked me back a bit. I couldnt avoid not thinking about it and it made me feel a bit empty and miserable. Even reading this back now has re-surfaced those feelings.

I need a girly night out. A day out. Anything.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Make-up Mess-up

Ive finally had a free day to myself today. My new job is very demanding in the week, and my newly free weekends have been spent at a seemingly endless amount of birthdays, social events and catching up with some lost friends. But finally I had a free Monday so I thought id dress up for the first time in forever.

What a mess. Ok, im getting old and I need to get used to the imperfections on my face that comes with it, but I just couldnt get it right at all. My foundation was far too thick and didnt go over my beard cover so my face looked patchy, eyehsadow was a mess, mascara just seemed to want to rub off my eyes and onto my upper lids and upper cheek, I didnt even bother attempting eyeliner, my lipliner was all over the shop... Damn it was difficult. I felt like a beginner again, not that I was anywhere near a pro in the first place.

I need to practice, a lot, before I even think of going out again. It was a little disheartening to be honest and my confidence took a little knock. I thought I had a fairly ok look but apparantly I dont. At least not anymore. I took a few photos and I think the light in the room helped hide a lot of the imperfections and mistakes. Ok, I look a little washed out as well but a few came out pretty well, and the ones taken on the laptop camera makes me look soooo much younger! Lower resolution FTW!

I would love a makeover. To have someone qualified make me look as good as I can possibly be, to instill me with some confidence again. And im not on about a 'dressing service', a proper makeover by a proper makeup artist who knows how to get the best out of a face. Makeup counters are generally far too public though, I need something a little more private, which I suspect will be difficult to arrange. Ill need to look into that I think.

Monday, 27 April 2015

My New Skin Regime

Well its been a long while since ive posted. My new job is keeping me extremely busy, and the routine that comes along with it is slowly falling into place. Unlike the shifts I was working before, im getting every weekend off and start at 9am every morning, and while my end time is not guaranteed since I am a contractor and am contracted on work completed, not hours worked, the substantial pay increase more than makes up for it. What the new job has also meant is that since I am getting up at the same time every morning, im getting into a more regular sleeping pattern, one which leaves me a little more time in the morning to spend looking after myself a little better.

The skin on my face has not been in the best condition for a long while. Admittedly ive been meaning to get into a new routine for a long time but ive been really lazy with it. I have combination dry and oily skin with clearly visible pores dotted all over it, blackheads on my nose, flaky patches (I know, gross) mainly on my forehead, wrinkles, and all sorts. Im getting on a bit now (32 years old!) and the signs of age are really getting obvious.

The temptation was to stock up on girly cleaning products and moisturisers and so on, but then I thought getting mens products might actually work better for me than those designed to work on the skin of women. So my new routine consists of:
  • Every 2 days Rhino Skin Pore Reducing Facial Scrub in the morning
  • Daily No7 Men Protect and Perfect Intense Advanced Serum morning and night
  • Daily Loreal Men Expert Vita Lift Anti Wrinkle and Firming in the morning
  • Daily Loreal Men Expert Vita Lift Eye roller in the morning
Ive only started using the serum today but the rest ive been doing for about 2 weeks now and the difference it has made is massive. My skin texture has changed and is consistently smoother and softer than it used to be, and the flakes have gone as well. While I havent tried, I can already tell that makeup is going to go on a lot better over the top of my skin. The only thing that is persistent is the blackheads and the pores they are hiding in, but I think its going to be a while before they completely go.

I do wish id started this a lot sooner. While I regularly get surprised comments when I tell people how old I am (including today by the girl threading my eyebrows) (assuming of course they arent just saying that to make me feel better about myself), my skin would be in a lot better condition than it is right now. Makeup helps to hide imperfections but the better the base the better it will work for you.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Dressing Appropiately

For one reason or another its been a long while since I have managed to bring myself to don the clothing I would prefer to wear, but that still hasnt stopped me from buying them, much to the annoyance of my girlfriend.

I have taken it upon myself to be completely ruthless with what I am buying though, if something doesnt fit quite right (its always my stupid shoulders) it goes back whether I love it or not. I am very conscious that there are clothes that I bought probably years ago now but still havent been worn apart from trying them on for the first time. I had a clear out a few weeks back but still couldnt bring myself to get rid of a few items because they are too pretty!

So I am still adding to that collection, but at the same time also trying to define a style that I feel fits who I am as an individual. My sense of style as a guy is pretty boring: combats, long sleeve t-shirt with a normal t-shirt over it, hoodie... all the time. But when I dress up I dont feel the need to go over the top girly with flowery prints and so on like other trans people do. Dont get me wrong, there are feminine stlyes and embelishments I do like but its nothing extravagent or over the top. They seem to be more along the masculine end of female fashion.

So this brings me onto the subject of dressing appropiately. Weve all come across the term 'dressing your age' by now, and I am at that point where I am not as young as I would like to be anymore, so its something I feel I need to take into more consideration. I also need to bear in mind that as a part time girl my figure is incredibly man-ish, and its all too easy to inadvertantly 'make a mockery of feminity', something which I am incredibly keen to avoid. When I do eventually get out again, sure im going to look like a guy in a frock, but I want to own that image and not look or feel like an amateurish female wannabe. And my confidence in this area is not exactly high right now, im worried that in an effort to look the way I want to, im not actually dressing appropiately for public consumption.

If I was actually female, im pretty sure I would just be defining my own style. But as a part time girl, by doing so I feel like I am just going to make myself stand out like a sore thumb, when I just want to blend in as much as possible.

In other news, ive got a new job! Ill be finally getting out of the hell-hole of my current employment in a few weeks time, although whether this new job is actually better or not, remains to be seen. Its not permanent, but it pays extremely well and its more normal working hours than im on right now.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Keeping Positive

Well, this has been an introspective month, I think I may have started a mini-mid-life-crisis.
I have a couple of drafts saved on here that ive typed up over the last month, that I decided against posting because they were incredibly negative. Ive been reflecting a lot on the direction my life is taking and how unhappy I am about it. How I have no actual career prospects, how I have isolated myself from friends over the years, the missed opportunities, how I am still trying to balance my trans life, and how even after all this I just have no motivation and find it really difficult to see a way out. At one stage I felt a little overwhelmed, but im now trying to stay positive about it all and concentrate on the things I actually have done this month.

My CV is out there now, I have started applying but know I could apply for more. Its just difficult to motivate myself around the antisocial hours I work. As for what im applying for, well, itll hardly be what I want in a career. Ill probably end up in another call centre job but for now I just want to get out of my current workplace. Ill worry about the career later.

As for my friends, well I dropped off the radar a few years ago when I was struggling with depression, and then I was devoting so much personal time to this trans thing that I never really reconnected with anyone. Recently though I have started to reach out to a few people again. It feels like its been so long though it feels a little awkward. Still, at least there is progress.

The trans-life balance... As much as it irritates me I rarely dress up at all, the effort I have to go through is just too much to maintain. Im still buying the odd item of clothing, and lately I have been looking for things that are casual and also cover up as much as possible. Hopefully this will help since it will take less effort to look the part. Ive also been re-evaluating my image, and have decided that if im never going to pass then I should at least try and embrace who I am a little more. I decided to stop wearing breastforms (although may get them out for special events) and just use chicken fillets for a little shape. Basically, I just want to be more authentic in my appearance to what I am, a part time girl, rather than a wannabe-woman.

I still need to make more trans-time though, and actually do something with it. I miss it.

Friday, 2 January 2015

A Look Back at 2014

First off, I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I hope 2014 went well for you all and I hope you have an amazing 2015.

So, I suppose I should wrap up how the year went. Im not going to bore you with the stats of the blog, instead im going to bore you with how it went for me. What went well, what didnt go so well, what I want to do differently next year... it sounds like im writing my monthly appraisal in work.

Another year has passed, they really do feel like they go quicker every year, and it feels like I am achieving less every year too. This year ive ticked quite a big thing from my trans-to-do list, but around that I dont feel like ive achieved much else.

This is the year I went through NHS counselling, which I had waited for so long for but didnt really feel like I got much out of it. I had waited for so long for the sessions I had already sorted through a number of the issues plaguing me by myself. I also went out in London, which was something that had been on my trans-to-do list for as long as ive been trans, and it was a bit of a let down in some ways. I was with some amazing people, but without the local knowledge the weekend didnt quite go as well as I would have liked. But, im glad I did. It was still an experience and it gave me a few things to reflect on.

But soon after the London trip I was pretty miserable, I just couldnt bring myself to express my female side and im still struggling a little now to really push myself through the massive effort and the dissapointment that can follow. Towards the end of the year I realised all this negativity was being counter productive and I needed to change my thinking and be positive about it, to accept my limitations and actually begin to enjoy expressing my feminine side again. I changed the name of the blog in order to fit with this new outlook, and have had reasonable success with this change in thinking. I still only dressed up once before the end of the year but I did enjoy it, and im not beating myself up mentally anywhere near as I have been in recent times.

But, im still not 100% happy, and im not sure ill ever be really. It still eats at me a little when I have quiet moments. I still have regrets. I still have needs that I feel are unfulfilled. And while im not completely happy with this, is it bad enough to warrant a move towards living full time and in turn losing my girlfriend? No, I dont think it is. So I just have to suck it up and get on with it, and be happy with what I have, and who I am.

So what now for the new year?

Im not going to do what I did last year and set a massive list of specific things that I knew in the back of my mind I was going to fail at. Instead, im going to set a few loose aims, some of which im already making progress with. This year I want to make new local friends, my confidence is not the best when it comes to meeting new people but this year I am putting myself out there because I need to socialise with people who are on my level. I want to get out more, whether it is meeting people at their homes for a girls night in, or going out somewhere LGBT friendly or more public, I dont care. And this year I want to work on my body image. I want to be able to look in the mirror and be completely happy with the person looking back at me, without compromise. Clothes, hair, makeup, overall style, the works. This is going to involve not only a different exercise and grooming regime, but also a change in thinking. I need to do it, I just feel like im wasting away and have nothing to show for my time. Its been a few years now since I started 'coming out' a little, and it feels like I have made so little ground.

Thats it I think. I hope you all have an amazing 2015! x