Transition

Cloud Nine

It doesn’t really take that much to buoy my mood. Last week was a perfect example. Sometimes you are just unprepared for life to throw you a bone. And then it throws you a curve ball.

I am well used to public scrutiny and even vocal comment on my transition. Friday saw a different take on both for me.

Shortly after getting off a bus I was aware I was being followed. If it wasn’t during the day I perhaps might have been scared. But I’m from Glasgow, that doesn’t happen too often.

I took a usual shortcut down a lane to where I was visiting. It became clear I was still being followed. I bunched my right hand into the tightest fist I could manage and got ready to deliver one good punch and take off running.

And then I heard “Excuse Me”. I turned round and there was indeed a man behind me. But he simply handed me a scrap of paper and mumbled “phone me” or words to that effect. That is something I wasn’t prepared for.

Having been on the other side of this equation, I know it takes a bit of courage for a guy to just put himself out there like that. But I never imagined I would be on the receiving end. Particularly so randomly and unexpectedly.

Nothing may come of this. Our actual conversation is a whole other post to it’s self. But in terms of a confidence boost, my rocket has reached the moon. For a guy to take the chance to give me his number in broad daylight is a new thing for me. And even if comes to nothing, it still took a few hours to touch back down to earth. Because life is still throwing unexpected bonuses at me. And I don’t know that I’m ready for them always. But sometimes it’s just quite good. Who doesn’t like hearing that someone likes them?

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Transition

Just Because You’re Paranoid

Was part of an event at Glasgow University Psychiatry Interest Group on Thursday evening, a panel/Q&A sort of thing exploring “What does it mean to be Trans?” with medical students and interested allies. Was particularly impressed with the students in attendance. Fantastic questions and as a Transgender person it’s heartening that future medical professionals are engaged enough to be asking these questions and seeking understanding. Hugely positive and grateful to have taken part on behalf of the Scottish Transgender Alliance. Bizarrely, this post was already named before the link to Psychiatry happened. It was originally going to be about running the gauntlet of public scrutiny. And the reality that if you think someone is staring at you because of your Trans status, they probably are. But let’s stick with the positive here instead. Although the song choice stands. This event bodes well for the future treatment of those of us differing on the gender spectrum. I’m very happy to have been involved and just glad that events like this are even happening. Genuine attempts being made to engage the communities these future doctors and psychiatrists may serve. I think we might be in good hands.

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Transition

More Than One Way To Skin A Cat

Even horrendous weeks come to an end. I’m currently struggling to beat some sort of kidney infection. So not really been a particularly great week as such. But finally, this one is all but done. All that’s left is to put some memories to bed. In general though, November has not been a favourite month of mine for a number of years. But it’s always a time I’m nostalgic and sometimes that’s a good thing. Even my recent music choices reflect a time life was just really good and so much simpler than now. Today’s is from 1979, the same year my AWOL youngest brother was born and our family made complete. I’m thinking of adopting it as a theme tune.

But it seems I do spend a great deal of time thinking about what my old life was. Do I really miss it? It’s fair to say, I miss important parts of it daily. Mostly absent family and occasionally friends whom life may have taken to the sidelines. But with equal contentment I’m able to look to what life currently is and will be.

And what that is, is simply different but full of promise. I’m always entirely aware of how much I have to be grateful for, so reminiscing is not remotely painful. Sometimes it’s incredibly soothing. And it holds it’s own answers.

It’s allowed me to cement a decision that I’m really definitely doing this. Irrespective of whether I get back the things I seem to have lost. Gone is not forgotten however. And I’m left feeling reasonably positive about everything as it happens.

There’s a future that I want and I’m now closer than ever to having it. It’s touchable and vividly bright on the horizon. But because that particular ball gathered speed quicker than I ever dreamed, I can easily forgive some people not being able to follow it’s trajectory. It’s a pretty big ask of anyone.

So here I am, regardless, doing it with a full head of steam. And there’s comfort in just being able to make the decision. It’s the one thing I can control. Whether the things left in the past ever catch back up to me is a different matter. As long as there’s space allowed for them if they do. Never say never. That’s how self fulfilling prophecies come to pass. I prefer “Que Sera, Sera” as a way of thinking. It’s a better fit and one which allows for everything to come full circle eventually. Glass full and all that jazz.

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Transition

Double Whammy

A brutal week of unwanted anniversaries round my way. Today, November 17th, marks two years exactly since I last looked upon my beautiful nephews. Or their Father. Sadly, it’s even longer still since I’ve spoken with our other brother. Time that’s trundled past with unreasonably ferocious speed. Time that we’re never ever going to be getting back. And that time has meant I no longer even really know the children or the men I miss so much. Which has it’s own awful irony. Missing strangers remains no less difficult, no matter how cavalier I may seem at times.

Hot on it’s heels, November 18th comes armed with the commemoration that my Dad has already been gone eighteen years. Almost half my lifetime. Just really doesn’t feel fair and I’m still in shock, realising only now just how young he really was. I am almost his age when we lost him. Or near as damn it. And I know I am nowhere near ready to check out. Neither was he most likely.

Quite honestly, fuck this for a week. I found myself wondering what sort of a twisted God would align these events together. I am consequently about as numb as I ever find myself able to get and no closer to an answer.

Despite all of this, I am just about able to get a grip of things. I remain positive that our Father would never have turned his back on any of us. Well, further than allowing a weekend sulk to accommodate all parties calming down. And in defiance of this spectacularly shitty collision in the calendar, I am more full of hope than any sense of loss. Some people are now potentially two years closer to just calming down enough to talk to me and others remain close enough in memory to know exactly what advice they would offer.

Which is try to get on with it on the one hand and try to wait patiently on the other. Resolution will take the time it takes and if it really has to be another 18 years? It’s only a little blink away. Time continues to march, anger and bitterness will never take you anywhere good and your memories are often pretty much enough. You could do one thing for me if you like though. Just hug your Dad occasionally. You absolutely won’t regret it later.

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Transition

Wee Calf

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Taking a tiny break from blog. Nothing to be concerned about but these YouTube videos don’t choose themselves and I need some time to think some stuff over. Poignant lyrics which illustrate my point don’t grow on trees anyway. Been given enough recent operational news to mull over quietly while I decide what to do next. Week should do it. And this post probably makes much more sense if you are Scottish, if you aren’t? Nae luck.

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Transition

Generally Speaking

Weird little week. Discovered I am much closer to full transition than I believed and failed to get the Transgender job I went for. C’est La Vie though. As my Mum always says “What’s for you, won’t go by you”. But at least one little ray of light did shine on me.

Been asked to talk to a combined meeting of LGBT/Mental Health student support groups. I’m absolutely delighted to have such an opportunity. Doors close and then other doors open.

Mental Health difficulties allegedly affect 1 in 4 of us. I’d argue it’s higher. Can’t get out of bed? Don’t feel you can face work? Avoiding social outings because of how you feel? THAT is mental health Darlin’, you just might not realise it.

I am desperate to attend and hope my work schedule allows for it. I have no clear plan but a very conversational approach seems likely if I am able.

We all have mental health. We all have coping strategies. And we all do the best we can. Every single day. That’s just life. But some of us struggle. And that’s OK too. No, really, it is. Just that’s hard to admit.

At present I have no idea what I am going to say exactly. I’ll speak to the existence of mental health problems, I’ll mention diagnosable conditions and I’ll trot out some statistics.

But mostly I think I’ll speak to the power we all have, an idea you might know of as Mindfulness. The definition I like best is that it’s a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

Changing the way you think and interact with the world is amongst the most positive things we are all able to do. I have never studied Mindfulness, I have zero qualification in it but I do recognise it as how I cope. In so far as I manage by being thankful for what I have, rather than mournful for what I don’t. My own form of stripped down Mindfulness. But it’s the same principle. Fortunately you can access Mindfulness courses readily in the community. I recommend that you do. Even if it’s not ultimately for you, you might find something you can use.

And just because I always seem to want to finish with one line, Bobby McFerrin had it right with Don’t Worry Be Happy. Take that all the way to the bank. Damn it, that was three.

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Transition

Only What You Need

A highly successful visit to the Gender Clinic this morning. Referred for a second round of Speech Therapy, for that all important “Lady” voice and confirmed the timescale for surgery when I’m ready to take that plunge. In just a year I could be comfortably Post Op and getting on with the rest of my life.

But surgery is only one part of the answer. It has physical and mental implications which I just won’t rush headlong into. It’s too important to get wrong and technically there is no hurry.

I think concentrating on developing my voice is not a bad goal for now. Not that my voice is distressing to me. It’s only ever a problem on the phone. And even then it’s bearable.

But today has left me feeling quite excited too. Everything that I want is closer to my grasp than I realised. If they’d said I faced a two year wait I was prepared for that. It’s possible so much sooner.

But I’m already feeling pretty happy and confident in life so I’m quite wary of changing anything until I have to. I’ve never been this settled. Ever. So it’s not cold feet, just caution. I’m enjoying my life just now. In the absence of an actual plan, doing some more of that seems like plan enough for right now.

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