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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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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Relatively Speaking

Long Time No See

Oh, there you are! Not been back here in an age. Mostly because life was trundling along all by itself and for a while, I had nothing much of consequence to offload online. I suppose that’s maybe not a bad place to have been.

Today is a little different though. It’s the first anniversary of my Mum’s death. And I don’t know where I am with that. Except that I am probably more than a little lost. In every way.

It’s been a strangely, kind of, pedestrian year though. Sometimes I’ve felt I’ve been moving very steadily forward. Often I’ve maybe been hurtling backwards. The direction of that travel hasn’t really mattered all that much to me at any point. Life still just happens anyway.

But here we are, a year in, somehow. And missing her just continues to gnaw away at me. Although the notion to continuously call her has abated for now. It only occurs to me about twenty times a day.

However certain I am about the loss I feel, I’m still a million miles from actually grieving properly. Possibly because I don’t really want to lose the thought that I could just call her right now. Because entirely acknowledging she’s gone might make that idea recede somewhere I can’t find again.

But the rest of today will now very much be about celebrating her. Because there’s only so far weeping and contemplation of your navel will ever actually get you. And that wasn’t what my Mum was all about. I was lucky to have had her here for as long as I did, and particularly, for her just always being the Mum that I needed and the best friend I could ever have asked for. Cause enough to celebrate. Always and forever.

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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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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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It Ain’t Necessarily So

In the UK, Mental Health Awareness Week is drawing to an end. This year’s theme has been Body Image. Something that I struggle with on a daily basis. I possibly always will. And yet, I’ve learned to live with it. Most importantly, happily so for the majority of the time.

The mirrors in my home (and beyond) can be inordinately cruel. There are plenty of mornings that the only thing they are prepared to show me is the maleness I inherited from my old life. To give them their due, they are particularly effective at evidencing every last trace of Chris.

I eventually settled on trying to accept that this is no bad thing. Without him, I am nothing at all. So even a sometimes daily reminder is something I will not be sad about. However, there are still days when there is not enough makeup to hide him from me.

What you see is not always what you get

But that’s probably more about where my own head is at on any given day, than any radical changes in how I really look. The trick has been learning how to live with that kind of frequent insecurity. And yet somehow, I mostly have.

I just can’t control how I actually look, barring surgery that is unacceptable to me. I can’t stop myself from sometimes focusing too intently on the things I don’t like. But control is still possible. And therein lies a kind of peace. I do dress in a way that helps me blend in more quietly. Although I grow ever braver with colour. My make-up is also never too “out there”. Except the nights it deliberately is. And so I mostly pass without comment.

I unfortunately remain my harshest critic. The world at large is far kinder to me most of the time. But I’ve come to learn that this is sometimes just how it is. It’s OK to not be OK. Just keep getting up. And just keep moving forward. If you can manage that, the rest of the world might meet you halfway. Quite how I became such a positive cow remains an absolute mystery. But here I stand.

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Transition

Any Port In A Storm

Been largely AWOL from my own blog for much of this year. Just been too busy at times, too settled at others and too lazy in general. But today I have oodles of time to make for it. Because I’m on holiday. In Crete.

Been coming here since 2014 but this is the first time I’ve approached it with a proper sense of adventure. Which is a polite way of saying there was fuck all resembling an actual plan. Just winging it all the way.

Which turned out for the best so far. The initial plan was Chania, Paleochora, Sougia, Agia Roumelli, Loutro and Chora Sfakia. Most of which hinged on hopping round the coast by boat. And then it got a bit windy and all boats were cancelled, meaning that plan was scuppered. So back we went to Chania. Although Scottish ferries would still have sailed. Sideways if necessary.

What passed for stormy weather!!!

Currently in Agia Galini though, on way to Matala then back up North to Heraklion before trundling swiftly back to Chania. Kind of have to be back because I’ve booked a tattoo appointment on Friday. As you do.

Going for a sort of Phoenix. Because that fiery little bird represents rebirth. And what the hell else is transition, if not being reborn as something else? But a tattoo is a daily reminder of how far I’ve come and Crete in particular. Let’s just ignore the little voice that says “Repent at leisure”. Nobody likes a killjoy.

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Transition

So Shall You Grow

Not been here for a wee bit, although the blog is always rattling around in my head in some form. But as I was adjusting to having a life again, I guess I just had nothing spectacular to report. You should be used to that by now.

But every now and then, I have proper news. that would be this week. Because actual transition stuff is happening again. And I’m back in a sharing mood.

My Gender Reassignment Surgery was never intended as a fix of anything. And it wasn’t. Instead it gave me a full stop on a certain chapter of my life. But the sequel was always in the offing. And Monday brought the first page of that story to the forefront.

Always adjust for ballast

Although I could have had Facial Feminisation Surgery, I liked the face that echoed both my parents instead. I could have had a tracheal shave. But an Adam’s Apple was never a chief concern either.

The only extra thing I ever considered was breast augmentation surgery and this week has brought me a step closer to that becoming a reality. A referral to see Psychology with potential surgery to correct that at the end. Happy Days indeed. No guarantees at all but a positive start to the Spring. And good enough reason to put in an appearance here. Seems my transition tale isn’t totally over.

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Transition

More Comebacks Than Elvis

I’ve been accidentally absent from this blog for a little while. Taking my own life back simply got in the way of weekly musings. I’m mostly of the opinion that the break was a good thing.

But, a quick recap might be in order. From my surgery in 2017 till now has been a rough enough journey. My jubilant expectations of last year were savagely beaten to a pulp by my Mum’s terminal diagnosis and subsequent death. And so, I really had sort of felt a little bit defeated as 2019 started.

The truth is, I’m not. As horrible as things were, life really just goes on. Relentlessly. It’s up to you to get back onboard. So I kind of have. And that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. Misery may love company but I’m a wee bit too busy to indulge her.

A very happy St Patrick’s Day to you all

To be back in my own home is still just a joy of it’s own. To have actually been able to return to work is hugely satisfying. To be continuing to build bridges with my brothers is a constant blessing. And life, as my Mother taught me, is always what you make of it.

Coming out of the limbo that was 2018 has been pretty surreal though. Having the freedom to socialise at will still carries a fair bit of guilt. It’s as if I’m neglecting something else. Or someone else. But I’ve decided that someone is perhaps only Me. And that every step back to normality is necessary. Unfortunately for you, that also means this blog is back again. Christ knows which direction it’s headed. We’ll find out soon enough.

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Like The Lidl Lindsay Wagner

So like I mentioned last time, I’m returning to work tomorrow. Which is going to be surreal AF after 15 months off and some extensive remodeling on my part.

What I eventually got for all my time & trouble was pretty much just a fatter arse & thighs that could crush a man’s skull but also, I suppose as an unintended side effect, a little peace within myself too. So I’m definitely not entirely the same kettle of fish going back at all. Chrissy 2.0 is kind of a lot happier, although sadly still not remotely bionic, and maybe a little more able to roll with life’s punches as they happen.

Some of that probably boils down to me being a larger fleshier target to begin with. I might not register an actual blow to my belly for hours. Me, junk food and particularly sweet things have hugely enjoyed our torrid enough affair this last year or so.

It all twerks out in the end

My current shape also tells me I definitely took to comfort eating like a duck to water. But I’ve never felt guilty about it. And I’m never going to. All in, I’m around 21 pounds heavier since I had my surgery. My little kebab baby is actually bang on the developmental weight for her age. And I’m OK with being a bit extra. Mainly because I’m pretty content. I’m not feeling pressure to be anywhere but where I am. Even if my current demeanour does say more paunch than raunch to the casual beholder.

However comfortable I might be, I’m still looking forward to getting more exercise than I have been currently. That alone should help me shift some of 2018 from my midriff. But there’s no real pressure within myself to be a particular size any more. If I lose it, great and if I don’t, there are always bigger trousers. Let the kettle chips fall where they may. I have bigger things to concern me. Like worryingly finding the cop in the video a wee bit hotter than my eyes say he probably is. That’s perhaps a whole hormone fuelled post of it’s own. And it’s already breakfast time.

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Pleasant Phucker

Forging ahead with 2019 and my first really proper weekend post of the year. We’ve not had a totally TMI post for a while I realise. So Fuck It, in the spirit of starting over and complete honesty, today is about the last mistake of and the lasting legacy so far of 2018. Luckily they are one and the same.

I suppose the worst thing about this tale is that I can’t even blame alcohol or evil external influences for today’s insight into how my head works. So it’s, most assuredly, just a post about an entire disaster of my own making. Which simply started with a casual “I wonder” on New Year’s Eve.

Smarter people obviously must wonder about smarter things but at slightly over a year Post Op and having been pretty scared to touch it, I sort of wondered if I should maybe do something about my lady garden before celebrating the bells. Really allowing myself to buy into the whole New Year, New Me thing as it were. So I stopped wondering and off we went. I considered it a perfectly rational idea at the time.

New Year, New Meow

What it was, however, was utter fucking folly! Not sure exactly how I thought it was going to go. But a glamorous expedition it was not. It’s a damningly difficult thing to navigate with a razor. Like the shifting sands of the Sahara. Only considerably fleshier and resonating with clear and present danger.

It’s also one of these things that you need to see through to the end once you’re underway. No half measures. Originally, my worst case scenario had been ending up with something resembling a plucked pheasant, but unfortunately the result was infinitely worse. More like a patchy pigeon which had barely survived a brutal altercation with a feral cat. A lesson learned as they say. Turns out there is a reason for discreet professional services for ladies. And this should really all be covered in the manual. As if they fucking hand you one.

Bit late for tearful regrets now though. So trying to stay positive about it. Came into 2019 feeling like a freshly minted woman. Obviously learned something I didn’t but possibly should have known. Once bitten, twice shy etc. And now I’m cautiously confident that, if I can survive the slow stubbly recovery ahead, I have 2019 beat already. In other news, there’s a sackful of disposable razors I’m not ever going to need again. Help yourself 😉

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Cinq

Five years ago today (yesterday was the technical date), I was leaving for work for the first time as a female. And I was pretty much absolutely terrified.

With good reason perhaps. I was so scared of everything I could possibly stand to lose. So much so, that I barely realised everything I stood to gain.

But reaching a five year anniversary is just quite a satisfying milestone for me. However difficult it was at various times, I regret little about the journey. And nothing about getting to my destination. So it all started on precisely such an innocuous Monday as today. Just by putting a foot over the door and starting out. I’m quite proud of the Me that managed that. Braver then than I feel today.

I’m in a happy little place all things taken into account though and not at all scared about what this year brings. If you are considering doing something, like a new job or a house move or even a sex change, all I can suggest is just take a step in a direction. The journey works out it’s own route. But it always starts with putting one foot forward.

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Hoping For Something Better

Kind of ecstatic that this horrible clusterfuck of a year is about to meet it’s own end. But there ends my anger. Because New Year is my favourite time ever.

An end to one thing and the beginning of a new chapter. And the chance to start again. Year after year after year. It’s the cleverest thing society has come up with.

Although 2018 turned out to be almost totally painful, it really wasn’t a wasted year. I got to look after my Mum. I got to build some rickety looking bridges with my brothers. I confirmed that I have some fucking excellent friends. And realistically, that’s more than enough for me to get by.

2019 will perhaps bring different challenges. Finding my foothold again. Trying to stop those ropey bridges from disintegrating. And keeping everything else’s head above water at the same time. But when tomorrow’s bells finally strike for a new year, there’s a magnificent chance to hit reset. So I hope to leave a lot of the shitty stuff behind me, where it probably belongs.

That’s enough positivity from me though because… just fuck 2018 entirely. And the scabby horse it rode into town. I hope it rots in a million tiny pieces. You may consequently hear an eerie tapping at the stroke of midnight tomorrow, please do not worry or feel alarmed. It’s just going to be me dancing on this crappy year’s motherfucking grave.

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Ho Ho Hoe!

To Absent Friends…

A very short little blog today. Happy Christmas wherever you are and whoever you’re with. Thank you so very much for reading my piffle and claptrap, however occasionally, but please remember the most important thing about today. Which is obviously, just pace yourself. Tis a marathon, not a sprint. I’m off to spend my day with loved ones and whilst I’ll be missing those who can longer be with us, there’s really not much for me to feel sad about at this time of year. Best wishes to you all for today and virtual hugs for everyone Xx

NB: Virtual hugs are a bit like the real Santa.

…. and fallen comrades

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Lexicon

Put simply, I like words. I like being able to use them correctly and I like knowing what they mean. Most of the time. Not today though. Because there is knowing and then there is Knowing with a capital K. And the one word that describes everything just now is Forlorn. I now know how that word actually feels, it isn’t a great place to find yourself.

I’m only just starting to allow myself to fully comprehend the loss of my Mum. So it’s more than likely the grieving process gathering momentum. But now I find myself wishing the grief would crash in like a tsunami and let me get it all over with all at once. Inconveniently enough, it just doesn’t work like that. Although being swept away by a tide of tears is much more appealing to me than the current range of emotions gnawing at me. With their sharp little teeth.

I’m typically West Of Scotland in my emotional alphabet though, which means I run smoothly all the way between A and B. So finding myself adrift on an uncharted C of feelings isn’t something I’m at all able to cope with. And I don’t like that. I prefer to have all my hatches battened down. Which I really currently don’t. So I’m a bit lost. That is, I suppose, maybe just exactly where you’re meant to be at only a few weeks in.

I’m fully aware that there are supposed to be 5 stages of grief. I’d always envisaged them as being entirely separate entities. So far that’s not the case and I can as easily wash up on the shores of Denial in the morning, as Acceptance in the afternoon and Depression in the evening. Along the way, I’ve worked out that Grief is not a linear thing. It’s far too expansive for that.

Which leaves me very much treading water metaphors until I eventually find something to anchor myself to again. And in all likelihood, that’s something I’ll find in words. There’s words of comfort and words of hope and optimism left to look for. Forlorn is just a word I’ll file away again at some point. But I like words. I like knowing what they mean. And it’s good to have a word for exactly how you feel. Because then there are words that mean precisely the opposite. And 2019 will be about paddling towards them.

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Relatively Speaking, Transition

They Always Said That You Knew Best

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been here. The short version is simpler to explain. My Mum passed away. Knowing it was coming did not make it feel any easier. But I’m not in the mood for despondency.

I’m determined that the rest of my life is going to be about the positives. A tone largely set by her funeral. A day I dreaded that turned out to be one of the most comforting and enjoyable experiences you could imagine. It was so good that I forgot to be sad. Surreal as that was.

Although it’s still early days, I have mostly continued to forget to be sad for the last fortnight. I’ll admit to pockets of tears but on the whole, I’m mostly just grateful for all that she was.

My own journey was only ever completed because of her acceptance. She even travelled 500 miles to bring me home after surgery. Which she could not be talked out of. She took Motherhood kind of seriously. And I’ll miss that. Just having someone totally in your corner. God bless her little cotton socks.

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Things That Make You Go Hymn

I am the worst sort of Lapsed Catholic. So I began 2018 with that sort of mindset. And everything served up this year has only continued to push me further away from the idea of a right and just God.

All that 2018 has actually delivered has been difficulty upon difficulty, to the point that any residual faith I might have harboured has finally evaporated.

Which makes it incredibly frustrating that my current Go To coping mechanism is actually Catholic Hymns. I hate it. I have very little to thank God for at present. And yet, I continue to find myself constantly singing songs about a God I don’t really believe in.

I can’t reconcile any kind of entity that would visit such a torturous year on my family, with anything I was taught to believe. And I lack the finesse to explain in words just how disappointed I am. But frustratingly, I still find myself belting out these bloody hymns with gusto every day. How’s that for a subconscious trick? Once a Catholic.

You might have gathered that this is a venting sort of post. I make zero apologies for that. It’s just an online diary anyway really. And today I’m just feeling a little broken and this is where I come when I am. Next time I’ll maybe cover faulty vaginas and returning them within the warranty period. Or something less serious. God willing.

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Transition

Milestone

Today is exactly a year since I had my Gender Reassignment Surgery. So the born again me is technically one. There should probably have been balloons and maybe there was an argument for some sort of celebratory cake. But there isn’t.

Not because I’m not genuinely pleased. It’s just that it has turned out a more mundane anniversary than I thought it would be. I’m more or less just getting on with life. No regrets at all. And I pretty much don’t remember how it ever felt to be any different anyway. Which I really don’t think is such a bad thing.

Birthday Blowout

I’ve probably been quietly celebrating for 365 days in any case, so the need to really mark the occasion just wasn’t there. I got where I wanted to be, despite how difficult it sometimes may have been. But if I was going to note anything at all about it, it could only ever be all of those people who came with me from the very start.

Without good friends, I don’t think I would have managed the journey as intact. And without the common decency of total strangers it would have been next to impossible. Obviously there were the one’s that frequently weren’t anywhere near decent too. A vocal enough minority. But it’s a happy time, I carry no grudges towards them and wish them no ill. So I’ll even go as far as to raise my glass and dedicate today’s tune to those particular folk. Chin chin! And God Bless their little cotton socks. Happy enough for everybody today.

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Transition

An Eraser Rub

I know for a fact I have used this tune before. Although in a much more celebratory sense. But this week saw news from America that seems to suggest Trump sanctioned moves against the US Trans population. Let’s face it, he doesn’t intend stopping there. And this was the one song that leapt out at me.

The lyrics repeat throughout and certain refrains are what resonated with me here. “An eraser of love”, that is certainly his intention where we are concerned. “I’m invisible” is what he’d like me, and others like me, to be. Without hard won rights. And make no mistake, he has his sights set on taking “everything, everything”. Every last shred of progress ever made in the last few decades.

Updated for the Chump era

It’s often been mooted that trends across the pond eventually make their way here. Given the progress we are currently making, that is a terrifying prospect. Because while Trump captains the good ship USA, that hate could slip onto our shores on the tide of turpitude that he’s ridden to get where he is.

He has now slithered his way beyond just “locker room” talk. He is the worst possible manifestation of everything the marginalised could think to fear. Although everything we needed to know about him and what he stands for is contained in THIS CLIP. That this somehow became the Leader of the Free World should be to our eternal collective shame.

For some reason, a fair amount of the people who have read or continue to read this blog are American. Friend or foe, in regards to Trump, you have my pity. But nobody has a choice in who they are born to be. Or who their children will be born to be. As your Midterms approach, try to remember it could be your children’s rights that Trump is going to rub out. And take the time to vote!. If you would support such measures as Trump and his ilk propose then bear in mind that, Republican or Democrat, you won’t ever get to choose whether you have an LGBT child. Be careful what you wish for. Before you give their rights away, you can just choose to be part of a world they are welcome in. You know, the Land of the Free? You used to be.

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Transition

Me, Myself And Why

This weekend brings an end in the United Kingdom to a consultation on reforming Gender Recognition law. It may have escaped most of you. Especially as over 99% of you will have never questioned your gender. I wouldn’t imagine it was even on your radar. Because as part of the 99+%, you just get to be, no questions asked.

The debate on both sides has been vitriolic and particularly partisan. For the sake of my own wellbeing, I’ve really had to deliberately avoid parts of the internet, mostly Twitter as the most awful of keyboard gangsters are furiously emboldened there. But the media, to a scary extent including far right rags from the USA, has been churning out incendiary articles for weeks, lest the UK choose to be fit for this century.

You know who you are

That the 99+% have legitimate questions has never bothered me. That totally makes sense. That they fear gender recognition reform does baffle me though. Every day in which you have been alive is one in which Transgender people have self identified, used gender appropriate facilities and got on with their lives quietly. With what ever dignity they could manage.

Society has not been swept aside by a tsunami of Transgender crime has it? And it won’t ever be by making things fairer. But the three separate psychological assessments I’ve had should be enough to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate on their own. They are not. I still, if I want one, require to pay a faceless panel ,that I will never meet, to decide that I am Transgender enough. Have you ever had to pay anyone for the right to be you?

Because I am a contrary cow, I will never possess a Gender Recognition Certificate. I am proudly Transgender. My birth certificate belongs to Chris, Chrissy does not give a solitary fuck about “outing” herself to anyone. But still, nobody should have to. And that’s why reform needs to happen. Only around 5000 GRC’s have been issued since 2004. Approximately 350 per year. More parking tickets than that are issued daily in my city alone. What, in the name of God, are people scared of? Reform will come. If not now then eventually. I can wait. But truthfully, we’ve already waited long enough.

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Transition

A Horse Of Many Colours

Just about two weeks from my first anniversary as a Post Op person. That’s happened so disturbingly quickly, I almost have whiplash from the speed.

It’s been a really difficult year, not at all what I’d hoped for. But despite itself, it’s delivered me to a pretty good place. Mostly because it’s the first year I’ve felt I was starting to do Adult properly. That’s Capital A adult, not XXX adult, for the sake of clarity.

The many faces of Janus

It’s just seemed like 2018 has been unceasingly cruel. To my friends, people around us and, more personally, my own family. But at the same time, it’s been a year I’ve also been able to look backwards. And accidentally discover, I regret pretty much nothing.

I’m not made of Teflon but no matter how things have been, I’m lucky in that nothing bad has ever stuck with me for very long. You learn, you grow and you eventually cope. So today, the pics above document a decade of my transition. From early steps to almost right now and each from a memory I enjoy. With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, I can now see that I was always happy. Occasionally confused but actually ALWAYS happy.

Which means that no matter how 2018 ends, I’ll maybe be able to look backwards again later. And see that,whether it felt like it or not, it did hold happy times too. That feels like quite a grown up plan to go forward with. My grip on my world has never been tighter. Writing this is definitely enough adulting for today though.

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Transition

Hole Lotta Love

Been sort of lazy blogging as my own life has been somewhat difficult of late. So a blog is frankly the last of my fucking concerns. But at the same time, life does just continue to just march onwards.

And that’s actually a good thing. Sometimes I perhaps need a kick in my now metaphorical balls and a reminder to get a grip and get on with living.

A part of that living is necessarily about me beginning to understand what it means to have an entirely new organ to accommodate. Although that is exactly where things start to spectacularly fall down.

I pretty much have no idea what I’m doing at this moment. By that I mean that I’ve transitioned but now what do I do? I thought I’d have more answers.

In the cold light of day, maybe I should have expected this. And it’s not without it’s uses. I’m more centred and confident than I’ve ever known. But I lack purpose. That’s a post for another day. But to take the positive from my situation, at least nothing feels impossible. Good enough today.

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Medically Speaking

Just What The Doctor Ordered

Not managed to blog for a handful of weeks. Been finding 2018 a little emotionally relentless and despite trying to stay positive, I’d wound up feeling a bit tied to the tracks of my tears. And definitely a little lost. For words at least.

And then a fairly random unplanned opportunity meant I found myself going out last weekend. Something I really don’t get to do all that much in my current circumstances. But an unexpected prescription for fun was more than welcomed.

To be taken as required

Really can’t fully explain how much I genuinely needed a night out. Or ever suitably illustrate just how important it was to be out with my oldest friends, in our own city, seeing a band (see above) that has soundtracked some massive moments in all of our lives. I can explain that I didn’t know how much I needed it though.

2018 has just been an unfortunately consistently painful year so far. That doesn’t really need further explanation. We’ve all had those sorts of times. Happens. But to have one night where every single shitty second of it evaporated, was not something I could have planned for. But life was briefly sublime.

So although this year won’t ever be one I’ll remember all that fondly, last weekend will always be one of my favourite memories I think. And a few hours of being entirely carefree has kind of kick started some optimism and recharged my batteries just enough to still be smiling a week later. And actually, honestly, almost completely stitched back together.

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Transition

Californ-I-Ay

Blog had an unexpected stats boost this week. Calie from California shared my page on a list of Trans related blogs. Which meant a surprising upsurge in visits and especially visitors from other countries.

This little blog normally mostly gets seen by folk from the UK or USA. But this week I’ve had Canada, Ireland, Spain, France, Australia, Belgium, New Zealand, Netherlands and Japan pop by too. I’m totally delighted with that!

Tar very much!

So today’s post is really just to say thanks to Calie for including me and bringing some new folk my way. To return the favour, you can find her links page here and some more about her there. Enjoy your Sunday x

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Transition

The Domino’s Effect

Not actually encountered any straightforward prejudice or downright ignorance for a good while. So was a little under prepared and unguarded when it happened out of the blue on Thursday while out shopping.

Didn’t have to actually even be in the store it happened in either, Domino’s in Newton Mearns (Glasgow). Because the three idiots involved were more than audible from the pavement outside their store. For all 10 minutes of their hugely uneducated discourse on gender.

Hold the personal commentary please!

Part of me wants to allow that it was just happenstance. But the odds against their particularly loud conversation taking place just as the only visible Transgender person for miles was standing right outside their store strike me as being astronomical.

But here’s the rub, I most probably will face this periodically for the rest of my life. And that, for me, does necessitate just having to almost totally let go of anger. I genuinely cannot fight every single one of those battles. No matter how satisfying it would be to break someone’s jaw at the time. I’m sure you’ve been there with that red mist of justifiable rage at some point. Ignorance and injustice will simply always push my buttons.

To give into that though? And to give them a reaction? I’m trying, fairly successfully, to move beyond that. It is what it is, they are what they are and I am most definitely a happier thing than any of them. On the up side, what I am does not rhyme with hunts.

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Transition

Proud To Be Out

Today is the final day of the Pride Celebrations here in Glasgow. It’s Pride season in general I suppose but it’s the first time in a while that I’ve taken a step back from it.

Not that I’m not celebrating it but just not feeling as involved this year. And my celebration necessarily just has to be smaller and more personal in it’s nature for the time being.

The Pride march in Glasgow is usually pretty impressive on it’s own anyway. This year’s was slightly different in that it was led by the leader of the Scottish Parliament. So I’m kind of sorry I missed it.

There are two things I love about that though. Firstly that we have a commitment to equality in Scotland. And secondly, that our own leader had better things to do than massage Trump’s ego on his unwelcome visit to these shores. Best political V sign of the week. Potentially even the year.

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Transition

“I Hope You Kept The Receipt”

Shared a lot of things on this little blog. Heartbreaks, triumphs, stupid stories. This might be my most open post to date though. Because this is the week I sort of accidentally broke my vagina.

I wouldn’t mind but I’ve only had it eight months and it’s never even left the garage. And I’ve honestly followed the instructions I was given to the letter. But broken is still the only word that accurately describes the current state of play.

Although play is possibly the last thing on my mind at this particular time. I’ve no idea exactly how I did what I did but if she had a voice, it would definitely be screaming “Don’t fucking touch me!”.

My best guess is that something might have been scratched or bumped internally. Either way, it’s not at all happy with me. I’m sort of trying my best to be OK with that. Steep learning curve for both of us etc.

I’m not even sure exactly who I’d initially go to see about it anyway. There’s absolutely nobody I’d be all that keen to show my damaged goods, regardless of their qualifications. Nurse? No thank you. Doctor? Definitely nope, known since I was 8. Some kind of specialist? I don’t wish to be professionally judged as incompetent. I’m sort of reasonably confident that it will turn out OK eventually though so total panic has not yet ensued. But my new life just continues to be an education every day. Although I would definitely like a copy of the lesson plan occasionally.

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Transition

Walking The Plank

Been a wee bit too occupied to visit for a couple of weeks. And sort of a sad post today so going with a jaunty pirate theme to try to even things out. No guarantees that it shall.

Depending on how much you’ve seen of my blog, you might have read of my estrangement from family. And you might have gathered how enormously grateful I was to have them back in my life. Unfortunately that period of détente just doesn’t seem able to last as a whole.

My relationship with my youngest brother is currently far more hurtful than even more than four years of silence ever was. And I’m not really sure which one of us walking the plank refers to. But one of us has to go.

I can’t have him anywhere near my life as everything else is going well. Truthfully , other than his toxicity, I’m pretty much grand. But jettisoning him seems cruel to me too. I can hear “Two wrongs don’t make a right” in my parents’ voices without closing my eyes. That he cannot cope with my transition at all is not something I choose to blame him for. But that he does so with so little grace, I don’t really need to stick around for either. Going back to the silent treatment would be relatively welcomed, for my part. Which is heartbreaking.

So we have a bit less of a jaunty theme than perhaps originally intended. But I do think I might just need to allow him to sail off out of my life. He will hopefully take all his irate nonsense with him which, in this nautical theme, would just leave a P to remember him by. Really do hope that at some point, it won’t stand for Prick!

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Transition

Fatherless Day

Happy Father’s Day to all the great Dads out there. And to the Mums having to do both roles.

My own Dad has been gone more than 20 years. No bad thing to remember him today though.

He was full of sage advice but often simultaneously completely irresponsible. You do not make matching crossbows for children under 10. At least not in the same house as my Mum.

He did leave me with one golden nugget however. If you don’t want to be stuck with a task for all time, do it terribly the first time. You won’t be asked again. A mind like a steel trap!

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Transition

I Can Hardly Weight

Since I had my operation I’ve been something of a lazy pie. Seven full months of inactivity have resulted in me putting on more than a stone in weight. I’ve gained more pounds than I ever imagined in such a short window. But to be honest, I’ve been as happy as hell and the little belly I’ve acquired has mostly been a thing of comfort. I just kind of like having it.

But my frame being more Winston Churchill than Winona Ryder, not so much. So this week I’ve actually joined a gym again. I used to go to the gym three times a week. Ironically when I wanted to Man Up. Look how well that worked out. So I do know that what I need is not impossible. If I work on my core then my little kebab baby should very easily be dealt with before things get out of my reach. And it’s own reach is already considerable.

Fries

It is going to take some hard work. And another lifestyle adjustment but considering the adjustments I’ve already made I think it’s totally doable. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with carrying excess weight by the way but now that I’m kind of settled, I genuinely want my start as a Woman to be the best that I can give it.

That will involve some serious effort on my part. My op went phenomenally well, I’ve enjoyed half a year of being myself without once considering the consequences of eating for three. And now, I really think I owe myself a fair crack of the whip. I simply want to get back to my life, my job and where I was. And I was never a perfect shape. Nor do I want to be. It doesn’t exist. But to be a little more trim wouldn’t hurt me either. My body will thank me for it. Even if I do actually resent the hell out of it.

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Transition

Poking The Bare

Because I didn’t grow up as a girl I missed out on establishing certain key skills as I progressed through life. Consequently I am not particularly successful at Woman-ing much of the time.

I’m not a complete novice but there remain numerous things I just haven’t ever gotten to grips with. Mostly to do with hair if I’m honest. Eyelashes and eyebrows are apparently an ancient art best left to skilled practitioners, I can live with that. I’m too long in the tooth to learn to deal with either. And too fundamentally lazy to try.

Legs and underarms, I kind of figured out as I went along. Although they are never as smooth as I’d like and often simply my most effective means of contraception. I suspect that’s just due to a laxness on my part in following any kind of schedule. Your leg hair is too long when you can lasso the TV remote from your bed. A very rough benchmark.

But in my new post op world, hair does remain a constant conundrum. Particularly the hair down there. WTF do you do with it?. Specifically when it resembles Cousin Itt. I realise there are professionals but also know that I’d like to see a professional before seeing a professional. It’s just a lot trickier than ever anticipated. There really should be classes whilst you transition as you don’t get to learn this stuff. Hopefully I’ll also work it out as I go along. Or else I’m moving to a country that embraces fullness. I hear Japan is lovely anyway. Hair today, gone tomorrow.

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Transition

On Reflection

This is still at least nominally a transition blog. So I suppose an update on the actual transition might be about due.

Now several months into being post operative, things are better than I had ever expected in the physical sense. I see documentable change all of the time.

Ok, it’s mostly in the form of a fatter arse, a wee bit extra belly to carry around and my thighs threatening to annexe the neighbour’s flat. But it’s also meant extra boobage. There’s a whole Yin and Yang thing going on with my body. And I kind of like it. Because more and more of the time, I see a woman in the mirror. With bumps in both the right and the wrong places. As it often is.

Which has been great for my confidence. Which is currently flying high. Which means that even having folk in the same supermarket line questioning “Is that a man?” this week couldn’t upset my apple cart. Because the positive to take here is, it was a question. Not a statement.

That bodes well for the future. I’d like to believe there will be a day when nobody feels the need to question my validity from mere feet away. But it matters not as they still accidentally built me up despite their pig ignorant selves. I will admit though that today’s song was totally in my head at the time. Possibly theirs too.

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Transition

Knocked Down In May

Haven’t been bothered to write anything here for a week or so. 2018 has been relentlessly difficult and so I feel no shame in having circled my metaphorical wagons and just having allowed myself to regroup.

This year so far has been bullet pointed by illness, tragedy and unfortunately deaths. In my immediate family. And in those of the people that really matter to me. Despite my “Always Tomorrow” sort of outlook, I might have to admit to feeling occasionally just totally fucking defeated. Not really the happiest of bunnies right now.

But it does seem human enough to sometimes want the perpetual emotional poverty of this year to end. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with acknowledging that I sometimes feel beaten.

I’ve loads to look forward to though. I’m still building back torched bridges with family. Nights out are circled in the diary with decades old friends that help me make sense of it all. So plans for some sort of future are at the very forefront of things.

I totally know his shitty month will end. And I’ll still probably be picking myself up at the end of the next one. Because that’s just what Scottish folk do. In my defence, I already saw myself most of the way through May. I’ve been up and down and over and out. But being back in the race is certainly doable. Because today I have a day off from everything. And the phasers are set to Fun. Monday is fucking cancelled though. Possibly Tuesday. Wednesday is on standby only.

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That Thing We Don’t Talk About

Today is sort of slap in the middle of Mental Health Awareness Week. It’s also my actual birthday. With each passing year, I grow more grateful that I’ve reached a positive headspace and I’m surviving pretty well. We aren’t all as lucky.

Mental Health isn’t just a thing that happens to other people though, it’s something we internally navigate each and every day. When things are stable, you are hardly aware of it but when things are tough, it can be tricky to spot that it’s not doing too well by yourself. And my point would be that this is OK. At least it is if you have people around you. Again, we aren’t all as lucky.

It’s so important to take care of yourself and, where you are able to, to take care of those around you. And it doesn’t take a lot. Just a friendly ear or an encouraging word here and there. Stress in the modern world is a given, coping with it isn’t always. The Mental Health Foundation are giving that issue particular focus in this year’s campaign. You can check it out here.

Don’t ever be afraid to speak to someone about your own mental health though. It’s vital. And to be entirely dramatic about it, it might save your life. And if you happen to feel you have nobody to do that with then there’s:-

Samaritans (UK) on 116 123

Samaritans (US) on 1(800)273-TALK

Breathing Space (Scotland) on 0800 83 85 87

NHS 24 (UK) on 111

Or find your own country here.

No matter what you could be feeling, someone is waiting to take your call. And it’s really always worth talking. So if this applies to you, please just call someone. It will be the best birthday gift you could give me. I don’t expect you to wrap it though.

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Transition

Emergency Flares

Couple of decent days in Glasgow this week. Almost Taps Aff weather but not quite. Despite a little sunshine being great for my mood, I can barely believe that I am done for the most part with transition. But when I compare myself to the hesitant Her that started out in 2013, it’s also become increasingly clear that it’s been more of an evolution than a transition anyway.

Now five years later, I’ve clawed my way to a place of comfort within myself. Although it’s not the same place I had thought I was headed to at all. There’s been a few fashion wrong turns along the road admittedly but getting to grips with Womanhood is a gruelling enough assault course for anyone.

On crop of the world (Favourite trousers this year)

Importantly, how I define myself has become drastically more relaxed along the way. I just am what I am. I just like what I like. Which is currently manifesting itself in a brand new love affair with bold flares, bright colours and boyfriend cardigans. Things I wouldn’t necessarily have worn before, because they might attract too much attention, are now fair game. I kind of like it.

No longer have the time to care what others see either. Whether they see a man, a woman, or something else has just stopped mattering. My transition is over but I’m not yet done evolving though. My tastes, style, general demeanour and attitude are light years from where I started. And it’s still fun finding out where you can push personal envelopes. The nicest thing about right now though, is that the more I become Chrissy, the more of Chris remains. Like an old coat or a wardrobe staple, it’s still his skin I’m most comfortable in. I like that too. Balance keeps things steady.

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Mixed Feelings

First of May is upon us, which means I’m celebrating my 6 month fanniversary. Not entirely sure if coined this expression first but definitely only person who’s tried to get it onto the Urban Dictionary site thus far.

But amazingly I’ve managed half a year already in my new life. And that’s reason enough to want to let my hair down.

People travelled for miles to marvel at the acoustics

It’s been amazingly quick. Though the days have largely melded into one now. I could probably do with some more routine but I’m still happy I took the time to adjust. And adjust you do.

I don’t really know how to explain how quickly your body accepts a new reality. But it just does. And my memory of life before the op is little more than nostalgia now. But it’s all good as I reach a happy little landmark. You might want to duck though, champagne corks may be flying everywhere this week.

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