Transition, You'd Better Work!

Ground Floor: Perfumery, Stationery & Leather Goods, Wigs & Haberdashery, Kitchenware & Food. Going Up.

When you live in the top floor flat (apartment for USA folk) of your building, you get used to a certain amount of privacy and your life is largely protected from prying eyes. That’s something I’ve really grown accustomed to over the last 16 years in my current home. Especially during Covid 19 when being home has been somewhat the default position. It’s something I’d maybe come to take for granted, as I sipped my morning coffee in mismatched underwear. Superman is just too much of a boy scout to ever be a peeping tom. And living 30 feet from the street has consequently always felt really secure to me.

Until Wednesday. I perhaps do dimly remember half hearted conversations about how our building factor (Read Superintendant in USA) was going to clear the guttering around the roof. The gutters themselves, some errant plants that had appeared and just a general tidy-up of the front face of our building. I found the topic as exciting as all of it sounds and just casually sat back awaiting an obligatory bill. The joys of communal living laid bare. But then I forgot entirely. As you do.

And then on Wednesday morning, I hauled myself out of bed in time to log on for work at 9am. Generally been using a WhatsApp group to confirm my attendance and availability for the daily grind. So clothing has been very much optional. Or so I genuinely believed. Until sometime around my second breakfast (it’s a pandemic, don’t judge me), I caught something in my peripheral view.

That something was two lovely gentlemen inching past my living room in an entirely surreal but relatively unhurried motion. From my eyrie, I had never prepared for this eventuality. As I sat uncomfortably in my greyest bra, spluttering coffee and looking for cover, I wasn’t quite sure what was unfolding. Their ascent was the slowest thing I have probably ever witnessed with my own eyes. Turns out a cherry picker does not have an impressive top speed at all. But then, excruciatingly slowly and all too inevitably, our eyes finally met. And I was frozen in place.

Really wasn’t too sure what to do with myself at that point. Tapping out the “In The Air Tonight” drum solo on my lockdown belly was briefly considered but I’m not really musically minded. So brazening it out seemed like the best option on my limited table. I remain kind of grateful to my two unexpected visitors. Without words and to their credit as gentlemen, they both agreed to survey a point somewhere above my windows studiously until we parted ways. I will never forget their faces, nor they mine. But I have learned there is wisdom in “Expect the unexpected”. And ultimately, the true value of really nice knickers to your confidence. Every day is indeed a school day.

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Relatively Speaking, Transition

Freedom Of Movement

I wasn’t sure that I was ever coming back here. Life changed, time moved on and my need to share completely abated as things stutteringly started to get on track for me. My life currently has actually been better than I ever thought it could be. So I got fairly lazy with the updates whilst enjoying everything the world had to give me. And then the whole Coronavirus thing happened and the notion of ever writing another word here had also disappeared for a while. Somewhat unluckily for you, that’s about to change, although the regularity of the blog might not entirely. But forewarned is always forearmed.

It’s always been a stream of consciousness sort of affair here. There was never a huge deal of planning in my posts. It just kind of meandered along based on what I was maybe feeling or what mattered to me at the time. The biggest obstacle to picking it back up again was having no really pressing concerns and consequently not ever knowing where to start. Until I decided it didn’t really matter, as long as I started. So here goes. Bear with me.

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Living La Vida Lockdown

The latter part of my maternal Grandmother’s life was a seemingly endless procession of entirely homogenous days within her own home, which I remember she always bore with a steady grace. The future prospect of a similar fate filled my own Mother with existential dread. My Gran’s softly sanguine advice to her was usually “One day you will just have to content yourself at home”. Neither my Mother or I subscribed to this advice all that much at the time.

But a quarter of a century later, it turns out the Grand Old Duchess of our family knew what she was talking about. It’s taken a worldwide pandemic and the associated lockdown we have all had to endure, for me to find the wisdom in her words. Our lives just now are distant strangers to the ones we brought in the bells with. Full of expectant hopes. We couldn’t then see the rocks we were heading for.

And yet, I’m still pretty happy with my lot. I’ve been very lucky. I have a job I love which has continued to pay me as normal throughout lockdown. Few I know can say the same. I have good friends who have kept in touch and checked in on me. I have to acknowledge I’ve not always been as good at that as I attempted to batten down the hatches. And besides being confined to my own home for the most part, I really don’t have much to complain about at all. I’ve not ever really suffered because of lockdown. I’ve lost no-one. I’ve never gone hungry. I’ve slept in a beautifully comfortable bed. There’s a future beyond this. And my Gran’s advice has always rung loudly in my ears. Contenting myself was the only option available. All of this and still being in contact with my brothers makes me feel I’ve gotten off lightly.

Being in lockdown is still the most surreal thing I have ever experienced though. But definitely far from the worst. Losing my Mum by increments makes this seem like a minor inconvenience. Because of her I’m trying to stay positive and recognising how lucky I am has become my new mantra. Although the official mantra of this blog has definitely always been “There is always tomorrow”. This also remains true. Lockdown will end and life will somehow eventually start to resemble the sort of normality we took for granted. But at that point, I genuinely wish that lockdown will have changed me enough for the better. I constantly look forward to seeing the people I care about. I look forward to going to them, hugging and kissing them and admitting how much I missed them. Something a parochial Scot doesn’t offer easily. FFS! I look forward to seeing the flimsiest of acquaintances and hearing every little detail about how their week has been. And appreciating all of it with real gratitude. Lockdown has actually allowed me to go to other, better places, within myself and I’ve hopefully moved forward because of it. I hope I’m not so shortsighted as to forget all of that at the very first scent of real freedom when it comes . Enough for today though. We will get our lives back. It will take time, patience and money no doubt. But we still shall. Stay safe and be well.

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Transition

An Important Little Date

Six years ago to the exact day I took my first steps into the world of employment as a female. Perhaps the most terrifying morning of my life up till then. It even trumps the morning of my actual operation. Because it meant I was actually starting down the road to transitioning fully. As scary a proposition as you can imagine.

But all those years later it’s little more than a footnote in my life. And just a happy little anniversary that marks the first truly concrete steps I took on the journey. With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight and having taking those public journeys many hundreds of times now, it seems like so little to have ever been worried about. At all

Chris to Chrissy

Same Difference

This won’t be a long post though. I’m too comfortable now to care about the stuff that held me back on that day any more. Instead, I’m just grateful for how much of my own world travelled with me. Long before I fully accepted myself, I was gifted much of the acceptance I maybe needed by my friends, my colleagues and, surprisingly, the world at large. I could never have predicted that back at Ground Zero.

So today is really just a massive thankyou from me to all of the people that made my life easier, embraced something they found undoubtedly difficult and held me up during those first faltering steps and beyond. I’ll always be grateful. And humbled that they did. And glad that I was able to. Nothing much really changed though. Still a dick sometimes but generally just a little better dressed.

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Transition

Love You Long Time

Still just an occasional visitor to my own blog. But that’s a good thing. It means that whatever catharsis it provides isn’t in dire need in my life right now. Hopefully things are continuing to move in roughly the right direction.

But we’re knee deep in December now and I’m approaching my favourite time of the year. Not Christmas, the End. Not in any kind of morbid way though. I just love what it represents.

I admit I wasn’t at all prepared for 2019. It was the first year without my Mum. I truly believed I wouldn’t be able to cope. But losing her was 2018 and she taught me enough that 2019 has mostly been about moving forward. And that’s what I am looking forward to.

Because we all have shit times. Even shit years. But in just a few weeks that endpoint is in sight. And that always grabs me in a way no other concept has. A fresh start. A Do Over.

I’ve maybe been sleepwalking through much of this year though but as the end approaches, I’m here, life is pretty good and I have really good people around me. And I at least have the sense to see that. But I do really look forward to the end though. And the start of something different. Hope it’s everything you need it to be.

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Relatively Speaking, Transition

Everybody Needs Some Time

Going to kick off with an admission that I absolutely hate November. It’s the cruellest month of my year. It’s the month that took my Mother a year ago. My Father some 20 years earlier. It’s the month I last saw my nephews, just over six years ago. And this week it should just have also been my Mum’s 71st birthday. So I hate it with a passion that I just can’t normally muster.

It’s generally a month when I choose to retreat a little. I never feel more than ten minutes from breaking and that has never sat well with the Scottish Stoicism bred into me. I have no wish at all for that to happen in front of witnesses. Arguably, I’m perhaps just too proud to let anyone see me crack. But if it was ever going to happen, November would be the time and place to bet on. Although you’d still likely lose your stake. I’m way too stubborn for that.

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I said upside down you’re turning me

On top of all that, I’ve been nursing a fairly horrible chest infection for the best part of a week and spent the last 4 days in bed. The tin hat on it all. So, quite truthfully, November has entirely sucked. Apart from maybe Tuesday. For the first time in a long while, November offered me an olive branch. After a very lengthy wait, I have finally got approval to see the Surgery department at hospital regarding Breast Augmentation. It was an odd little appointment date, sandwiched between my Dad’s anniversary and my Mum’s birthday. But an appointment that went fantastically well and which I left feeling a step forward to my transition being complete.

There’s still another wait of at least a few months. But November has grudgingly given me something positive to think about. And I’m of the opinion that has to be an improvement. Things do inevitably settle down and grief, loss and sickness all eventually pass. Still, a little too much to process in a single month. There is at least comfort in knowing that somebody up there likes me. And that they maybe twisted an NHS Psychologist’s arm for me this week. Thanks Mum, can you do anything with lungs though? That would be a definite blessing.

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Transition

Hiding In Plain Fright

No song today. Instead there’s a lengthy video from the smartest woman in UK politics today. A video in which she annihilates much of the anti trans rhetoric that’s reared it’s ugly little head in recent times.

It’s such a difficult and scary time to be Transgender today. The utter ignorance of what we are is terrifying and the vitriol spewing out on social media makes daily life more and more treacherous to navigate.

The worst part of it, for me, is that the arguments against trans rights are woefully misinformed. They don’t even understand the rights we already have in law. Or that everyone has been living with them since 2004. Quietly, peacefully, nothing to report.

But the truth is that those who are passionately anti trans aren’t interested in that. Or evidence. It’s enough for them to have an unassailable belief. Whether it stands up to fact checking or not isn’t a problem for them.

As difficult as it is to be an out Trans woman in this landscape , it’s worth it. We’re a tiny percentage of the population, roughly 0.6%, so visibility is key to changing those attitudes. And they are changing. Slower than I’d like but still. Thank God for people like Mhairi Black though. Having articulate allies never hurts.

I may have lied about there being no song today though. This one’s for all those folk trying to push us back to a time before we had rights.

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Transition

You’re The Best

So, had a lovely night out with one of my oldest friends last night. As relaxed as it gets, in the way you only really get to do with folk who actually know you. Warts and all.

And then a random entered my night. No disrespect to her but a drunken “You’re the best transvestite I’ve ever seen” was not as affirming as she intended it to be. Nor was it as offensive as it could have been, had I allowed it to be .

She was not actually trying to offend me at all. It was, to her, a compliment. And I chose to take it as one. And then I chose to take the opportunity for education. Because that’s more useful than pointless indignation. And this is a constant in my life.

She hadn’t even guessed initially. Which is progress for me. And she wasn’t out to hurt me. So that called for some good grace. And overall, our exchange turned out pretty positive.

I enjoy straightforward questions. I enjoy explaining the difference between transvestite and transgender. And I really enjoy being more devastatingly normal than they ever expected. Because that’s where the barriers are broken.

Tomorrow, when she tells her friends about it, I won’t be a negative experience. Because she has a better idea about what I am. Which is not what she is. But we found our common ground.

These are always the exchanges I enjoy. I’m hugely confident in approaching them. Because teaching people how small a deal my being transgender is, moves things forward. And one day, it won’t even matter.

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