Sunday, 3 January 2021

Random thoughts.

Half a century of mental isolation due to being transsexual in a medical truth denouncing world set me up for a quite enjoyable 2020. The air cleared and I was able to hear every chime of the town clock without the constant background rumble of traffic. Just like a forty year flip back in time. Since I have spent those years maintaining a home and garden with little money but plenty of time, not much had changed. Others may not have remained so calm…

This blog was once the core of my life through too many years of transition. I recently came across a cache of over 650 bookmarks under a forgotten heading, there were many others long deleted from those times. It reminded me of countless fellow bloggers and almost without exception their online work has vanished. There used to be much grumbling as each blogger did their time, got as far as they felt they could or needed to, and went “stealth”. This was considered a dubious and bad thing, why would they abandon us like that?

I am sure many just wanted to vanish into society and felt cutting links to visible past was a wise thing to do. I was visible long before transition and always felt it would be pointless to try and hide my past. As it turns out, taking on a real persona and living that life openly and honestly is just what we always hoped for and it just works for many of us. It has worked for me. After a few weeks of trying to tell people face to face what I was going to do it became impossible to remember who had been told and who had somehow been told by others, at that point I gave up and just got on with life… Now I am just me and have no idea who amongst my newer friends knows of an interesting past and I suspect that many do not and if they do they certainly have never given the slightest clue. Call it stealth but it is just getting on with life, why else would we want to change?

How long ago you are asking yourselves. So long I keep forgetting! Anyway it is near the anniversary of a long snowy trip to get my GRS. More than I could ever have hoped for.

My best wishes for anyone else on a similar journey. A decade on my experiences probably bare very little resemblance to whatever the current procedures are. Heck we can even marry anyone we like here in the UK and that was beyond anybody's wildest dreams! 

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Still alive.

Another decade! With the high murder and suicide rates folk like us have I never imagined that I would reach the end of my twenties let alone still be around twenty years into the new millennium.

I have just checked back in the blog and it was just a month into the start of the last decade that I finally submitted to the psych test at the Glasgow gender clinic which led just a year later to my GRS. Decades hiding away in fear then transformed  into someone who could finally breathe free and enjoy life. I really should not have taken so long then I could have enjoyed more time with my friends who are starting to crumble with age or just die! Yesterday was the memorial for my closest and longest friendship formed when I first moved here half a century ago, too many of my closest circle of friends have departed in recent years...

Just stopped by to show that transition really can work and to let Google know that the blog is still alive too! Though remember comments no longer work on this blog.

Best wishes for the new year to anyone who finds this.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Anniversary and end of an era...

It is that time of year again, an anniversary of note, the start of bliss with my absolute deletion of facebook seven years ago. Unlike those who invented and run the thing I read all the terms and conditions and realised the privacy and data concerns which those responsible claim they have only just realised…

It is also the seventh anniversary of my trip to Brighton for a snowy week with surgery and recovery from GRS. I have to admit that I only know the number of years by opening this blog and searching back. Day to day and year to year it seems something lost in the mists of time. I guess that proves that it worked.

The UK Guardian newspaper recently published a better than usual article about transition later in life. Always nice to know that I am not alone and that others had successful outcomes, perhaps after a few more decades of decent articles the general population might finally accept that we exist and are not the danger that the gutter press would have people believe. Sadly those who do manage to find the help needed and get to spend some time in the role they always wished  to live are still only a small percentage of the total. Hopefully the likes of T Central and the blogs which it promotes and similar sites on the subject, help people gain the confidence to tackle a transition fully aware of the challenges it will entail.

This blog is hosted on Blogger which has slowly and relentlessly reduced my control of the site. Now all that it will allow is editing my Blogger profile and removing myself from the site! I have no control over the template and though there is a comment box no comments ever get through. If I had more to say, and for many years this blog was the life saving centre of my life, it would be a great concern. My experiences remain here for as long as Blogger remains supported by it’s fickle owner. All that I am saying in these infrequent posts is that it worked. This seven year itch is telling me that finally, after 320 posts, blogging time really is up.

I hope that visitors to this blog gain as much joy from any transition they undertake as I have done from mine.

Wishing you all the best, Caroline.

Monday, 24 December 2018

Sleigh bells roasting on an open fire…

Despite my first job being the driver of Santa’s sleigh ride in a department store I have a lifetime dislike of this time of year, perhaps I mean because of...

People still do not seem to understand what a torment it is to go through life being unable to show appreciation for any presents received. How could they, our situation is totally and unfathomably alien to them. Most of us probably just go with the flow and accept their fate of accumulated unwanted stuff.

My parents were mean hearted in mean post war times so I never expected or got much from them as a child. Relations clearly tried to do the necessary present giving in the busy month of December with birthday and the other event very close together. I have no idea how I got over the idea to them  that the presents were unsuitable but at a very early age they were magically transformed into postal orders for money or nice crisp ten shilling notes from those who did not have to post. Thankfully that could buy books, something else my parents did not understand!

In times past the Yule replacement festival came and went quite quickly but now in what we are told are times of austerity, billions are spent to the refrain of endlessly repeated pop and carols. Thankfully once a few days worth of bad TV has been broadcast we can get down to the serious business of funerals for the surprising number who have just shown exactly what they thought of suffering yet another festival of over indulgence. I have to put my hand up to some comfort eating to cheer me through the months of watching a friend struggle then rapidly decline, a tight waist band is uncomfortable and the look is terrible. Some increased physical exercise is required on the non icy days.

At least a tree has been saved from being cut down then dehydrated in the corner of the sitting room and in the chaos of hospital visits not a single purchase of the one redeeming Yule treat, mince pies, has been made. Just as well.

See how much calmer Yulefest was in the past!


Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Ooooops, out.

I have friends old enough to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary and was invited to the celebration at a rented large country house in the north of England. People came from far and wide to spend two days of food wine and chat. New me does these things with joy, always happy to help out with the organising, catering and teaching a group of my age how to play snooker on the full sized table in the games room, sign of me once trying to misspend my youth…

The chat with such a wide range of folk was the main attraction though the food was good. Most interesting for me was a guy who had seen his whole life at one of the most dangerous jobs, deep sea fishing, and enjoyed every day of it and never lost a close friend at sea the whole working life.

Sitting next to me at the evening meal on the first day was a charming woman, widow of the brother of one of the anniversary couple. We chatted generally on subjects now long forgotten, then the subject somehow got round to how she and her daughter used a so called social media site but each restricted it to one subject interest only, not mixing different parts of their lives. I kept quiet about how I feel about these sites and how they force changes without warning, I can no longer make comments using my old Blogger profile for example… Out of nowhere the subject was all about how the woman’s daughter used her media presence just for LGBTI campaigning and the person I was talking to herself just could not understand the idea of transexuals at all…

Where do you go from there?

I suggested that she should find someone who was T and talk to them... 

“Have you ever had a conversation with a transexual to get their perspective on the situation?” I asked. “ I have never met one” she said. “I think you have “ was my reply, “what do you want to know?”. There was some confusion and bewilderment before the penny dropped that the woman who had been chatting away with her for so long had an unexpected and interesting former life!

Her daughter seems to be a masculine female who is quite content with the body she has but keeps on about trans rights and the poor woman just did not get it.

Naturally I gave her the full lecture from confused two year old through the life of dishonesty and misery, having to hide true self and never fitting in until it is a choice between suicide or transition. You get the idea, and I think she can now write a post doctoral thesis on the subject.

From her reactions she had clearly never considered any of the many interesting facts she heard but made it clear that she was much better informed and ready to finally have a heart to heart conversation with her daughter. I never did get to talk to my parents…
Our chat interestingly never changed the way she interacted with me for the rest of the two day celebration and even made an effort to seek me out to say goodbye.

Normally these days I rarely think much of my past or the transition to my new life. Calm as I was during the chat there was a brief period of sick to the stomach feeling before something distracted me back into the real world.

It is sad to see otherwise bright well educated folk still completely ignorant of our predicament and easy to see how less well educated are the same and easily whipped up to pointless fury by wilful media or governments asking for inputs to proposed reform of previously badly made gender equality legislation as is happening in the UK at the moment.

I no-longer have the time, energy or inclination to campaign, it is time to pass the baton on to the younger generation. 

Friday, 17 August 2018

Notes from Bramble Cottage.

Once my life was completely centred round blogs and the net. My life had been slipping ever deeper into a dark place and it saved me. Me, who had rarely written more than a shopping list for decades started to write this blog, it only seemed fair when I was reading the innermost thoughts of others. 

Once my experiences seemed less relevant to the current transitioners, and my life had been transformed, there seemed little to write here. I planned a new blog based on notes from my garden here at Bramble Cottage. I registered it at this time of year and wrote several posts to try out the subject and writing style but in the end decided that it was probably not a blog that many would be subscribing to. I have just got on with my life.

I was reminded of this fact as I was confronted with a huge crop of brambles which started ripening this week, we are very regular at the moment!

Thoughts moved on to how the garden had changed over time. It was originally a place for me to hide from the world, a garden can absorb all your energy and still look like you had hardly bothered! As my moods darkened this village garden started to turn into a small suburban forrest, did I mention hiding from the world? The supposedly slow growing trees took off like crazy in the rich garden soil and soon started to block out the light. Those living here and neighbours were not exactly happy. 

Here comes the juicy bit, the T part, the warning… If you are going to Transition M2F I would suggest  taking advantage of all that unwanted testosterone by burning up any anger doing heavy garden work while you can. Once that is gone you will wonder how on earth you managed to place things in the garden since they now seem immovable. All those jobs you put off because you were sure to die before they became urgent, they will need doing and will be exhausting!

Do not imagine that any of your male friends will be available to help. They have not run away because they cannot imagine being seen with you, they have all had strokes, got dementia, diabetes, awaiting a triple heart bypass or the latest one, had all their small intestines removed through blood clot! I tried paying for help for first time in my life undoing the first half of the job they made a mess and broke things and never returned for the second half… 

Well unlike transition, a garden is never completed and I can live with the half wilderness which my garden has become around the different sitting places for different times of day as we chase or hide from the sun. Latest garden accessory is a wine fridge to make sure that there is a selection of bottles always available as I finally have learned to sit back and enjoy the moment.

This stuff does not flow out quite how it used to!. Recap, get on with it and stop being so depressed, it can work out fine and you can keep friends, take advantage of the male hormone while you can.

please note that comments do not
 always seem to work on this blog.


Sunday, 15 April 2018

Blogs were an Electric Ladyland...

This was going to start with a video of Electric Ladyland by Jimi Hendrix, but as proof that the internet is useless, a long search has only found the evidence that lawyers have wiped them from the face of the earth… Lyrics are at the end. 

It seems like a lifetime ago now. I had long resisted our getting a computer then even more resisted getting connected on line. I first argued that a slow connection at home would be pointless when my partner already had faster connection which she was allowed to use at work, “ let’s just wait for broadband…”. Then broadband arrived in the village!

As a student in the 70’s I had scoured the university library in search of writings about transsexuals and even though it included a medical school I found nothing. Surely over three decades later this new fangled internet would tell me all, surely a few taps on the keys and all would be revealed… I knew that I would tap those keys given half a chance and had done all I could to keep that temptation at bay.

Finally we were connected, I had not a clue how a computer worked, my last contact had been in ’72 when I was writing some programs on punch cards and it would take a day to run the cards and see if each part of the program actually worked, one slip and you had zilch. I did run my small business invoices from a pocket organiser but that was hardly much help in knowing what to do with a desktop machine on the net.

I was clumsy, treating the net like an encyclopaedia and a bit confused by the small snippets of information which leaked out. It was an age before I discovered that people wrote “blogs” but those which might interest me seemed to be rare as hen’s teeth and not the personal and open things which would be found a few years later. I seemed to have just missed the age of dial up chat rooms, probably a good thing with my fear of showing some of the world’s worst spilling…

As soon as I was finally reading blogs about people’s personal experiences and also the comments made on them I started to feel strongly guilty, like a voyeur. I had to join in, that meant signing in to get an authorised identity and since the first comment was to a Livejournal blog I signed up with them. I was hooked! I had no intention of ever writing a blog of my own, I even resisted writing a shopping list, I had successfully hidden my dyslexia for half a century, why ruin it now? The spellchecker saved me and I became an avid commentator, I did have things I wished to say and confidence was gained. By now you have worked out that my dyslexia is in the writing part of my brain, not the reading part, a blank page is far more terrifying than spiders or rats!

I have lost track of just how long it was before I finally made my first attempts at a blog of my own. I waited until I felt “qualified”, surely an orchiectomy was enough to make me feel that I really had something to show my seriousness!

That first attempt was on the live journal platform but even with all my comments on other blogs I seemed to be whistling in the wind. It was great for one of my reasons for writing, to keep track of my thoughts and changes, things very easily forgotten. By now it had become obvious that there was more interaction on the Blogger site so I copied all my previous posts and nine years ago on the 14th of April my blog, originally titled “In Search of Lost Time” started her on Blogger. For many years I was obsessed with life online, ten times more diligent than any previous studies I had ever done, I had hundreds of bloggers bookmarked and often read their entire blogs from start to finish when I discovered them, not something that blog platforms like to make easy! Did I mention that I was a bit obsessed? That was even though I was still convinced that I would probably never progress much further on my transition. Well that finally went much further than I had really ever dreamed that it could and some of you may have noticed a certain amount of encouragement on my blog not to hang about wasting time like I did.

All now seems so long ago and hard to imagine that writer was me. Life is more transformed than transitioned. If I had not been sifting through my ancient and grinding old iMac for the few files which I want on a new simpler machine I might not have noticed the nine year anniversary. I would have posted on the right day if I had not been delirious with nasty cold symptoms.

If anyone had told me all those years ago that one day blogging would not be an ever present part of my life I would have thought them mad, but there you go, transition can lead you to the sort of life you had always dreamed of and that becomes your new obsession…


Have you ever been, have you ever been, to Electric Ladyland?
The magic carpet waits, for you.
So don't you be late
Oh, I wanna show you, the different emotions
I wanna run to the sounds and motions
Electric woman waits for you and me
So it's time we take a ride, 
we can cast all of your hang-ups over
the side.
While we fly right over the love filled sea
Look up ahead, I see the loveland, soon you'll understand.
Make love, make love, make love, make love.
The angels will spread their wings, spread their wings
Good and evil lay side by side while electric love penetrates the sky
Lord, Lord I wanna show you
I wanna show you…
Show you


Friday, 22 December 2017

A rare seasonal present.

My local shop started selling easter eggs a week ago.

There is a certain irony about my first real job, it brings an interesting range of reactions when I tell people.

I drove Santa’s sleigh! Yes, I know, like most worshiped characters this one is a madey up character and my Santa was a lecherous child hater who loved his Bunny Girl helpers. My job was to load the sleigh ride and run it for as long as I judged suitable to keep the customer flow going and grab the moving landscape side-screens if either jammed. If the lines extended out into the street the ride would be very short but sometimes when quiet I would see how long I could make the ride last… Fathers with dandruff on their dark jackets provided the only snow effects in those dark light lamps, I tried not to notice. For the two month run up to christmas there was only one 45 rpm disc played until it was almost worn out, I have blanked that tune from my memory. I got that job to pay for the “present” of a reel to reel tape recorder my mother had “bought” for me, did I mention that my parents were mean and selfish?

As a small child I had been dragged to see Santa in this very same store, I froze, not through temperature, or shyness, but through sheer terror of not being able to play the part and lie. How could Santa not know that I was really a girl and his presents would be unsuitable! How could I tell him? Nobody could understand why I could not be happy and show joy when given presents. First couple of years was easy, soft toys and bricks, by the time of my third birthday and the arrival of my twin sistersI knew exactly who I was but could not work out why adults did not seem to have worked it out…

Only briefly did I ever have any money so have never been swept up into the shopping frenzy, once the ghastly seasonal music contaminates the air I stay away from all but necessary grocery shopping. Dressing a Yule tree has held interest since it is the honest pagan part of the season acknowledging the change of the solar cycle as the setting sun pauses for several days, not changing it’s setting position inline with a cross shaped group of stars nearby, then slowly the daylight starts to lengthen again. So many religions have jumped on this bandwagon but hey who can even see the stars now with all the light pollution? For many years now I have improvised the tree element refusing to wantonly kill a tree then pay a small fortune to watch it dry up and drop needles between my floorboards. For the past two years the “tree” was virtual but the decorations hung in midair much where they would be if they were hung on a tree, that was a great hit. This year, in the spirit of recycling, I have made a cutout tree from corrugated cardboard left over from a long ago exhibition. Cleaning up after is going to be a breeze.

We have rounded up a houseful of folk, all at a loose end with no family to feed them, so shall cook up a feast much like any of our dinner parties except there shall be flames flickering over the pudding once it is doused in heated brandy…

As usual we have each nominated a recently acquired item as designated Yule present, just incase someone asks! I doubt that I shall ever fully change my attitude to presents so late in life. 

At least the new improved me can enjoy a party now.


Thursday, 5 October 2017

A momentary lapse of composure...

I am having a go at writing a post. So long since I even opened the email associated with my blog that I have forgotten how to access it! Life has moved on so far since I started the blog that it feels very strange thinking about that time.

I keep a quiet eye on a number of fellow travellers who were on the path with me and for personal reasons have not been able to reach the point of “it just is” as one just posted after her long delayed change.

After a lifetime of “not being” and the constant sense of tension and disquiet that instills it is strange to think that it is possible to wake and just “be” and get on with life as though that had always been the case. I have always found it difficult to explain the feeling of “not being” to those who have lived without our point of reference, it is an alien concept to them to have ever questioned their roles in the world.

I have just returned from a three week family visit where web connection is dire on the best of days so I found myself in an off grid paradise most of the time and joyously lived in the here and now. What made it especially fun was having a very smart 19 month old, the only one of that generation in our family, as almost constant entertainment.

It got me wondering… I knew from a very early age that I could never find a place in the world which included creating a family. before I was three I knew that I was a girl, who was thought to be a boy, who was attracted to girls but not in the way boys are… … … yes, a lot of thoughtful dots. How was I to know that within my lifetime all that would be overturned in the more civilised parts of the world? Someone from the village has recently married her girlfriend and have already produced their first baby! Nobody seems to have been bothered by the production of another loving family…

Ou est C******e? Encore pour C******e was her most regular chant for her great aunt, as if I had not eaten enough already. 19 months and already she is a tall slim girl fast becoming sophisticated. Stopping her getting hold of a knife is one of the hardest jobs for any designated watcher, I am sure that she really just wants to use it properly and probably ambidextrously like she uses her fork and spoon to eat food I never knew existed until I was in my thirties. the last meal was slow to be delivered so she ate a bowl of potato crisps while waiting for her fresh pan fried foie gras, ( I sense any Californian readers feinting in horror ), meatloaf with mixed roasted vegetables and French beans followed which she swilled down with a glass of water, plastic is just not acceptable. After seconds and thirds of the veg she polished off a full sized portion of ice-cream with a fondant of chocolate and cream with fresh cooked fine biscuit before wiping her mouth on the napkin and delicately cleaning her hands!

She showed me what “ just being” I had missed out on time and time again as she revelled in being alive and discovering the world. 19 months and she has already done more living than I did in half a lifetime cowering away, it was if a strong hand had reached inside and squeezed and twisted my heart and guts overtime this thought crossed my mind.

Tears still well up when I think about it. A life wasted as a dry husk while virtually everyone else on the planet is oblivious. Once the cold which has struck me down I hope to put these thoughts behind me and get back to “just being”, and unbelievably great that is too.

My blog was always for others to be encouraged by, yes you too could step over to the other side and get a few years, or a lifetime, of living free.

 Inspired by


Friday, 11 November 2016

Cobweb corner and the power of small pronouns.

Looks like I shall soon be in Cobweb corner…

Strange that I had never quite got that far down the TC page, always so much to find higher up. Few in that section ring bells with me and in my day I was up most of the night reading hundreds of blog posts. I guess so many blogs get deleted by their writers once their minds are set or their transformations are over and the new life begins.

The smallest things stand out now and they are pronouns. You would assume that the “she” and “her” ones would be at the top of the list but you would be greatly undervaluing the power of “me” and “I”. When you have been using them your whole life, or using them as little as possible in my case, you have been using them in reference to a disguised role you are playing. If you are sensitive each use would have been a stab in the soul. A downright lie overtime you used them…

I am now out of practice writing and even at the height of my blogging probably could not have expressed fully the joy of honestly using “me” and “I” when finally living honestly, openly, and fully accepted.

Only when freed from the shackles of that old life have I finally been able to fully understand exactly who I am and what makes me tick…

Out to lunch today visiting relations, one recounted a recent phone call from a close school friend too distraught to actually speak through her tears. When she finally made a second call she said that her daughter in her early twenties had just declared that she was really a boy. “Oh we have someone in the family who did a change, works fine” or words to that effect was her reply. The friend said that she was “Not worried about the change, just heartbroken that a child has had to suffer for so long”! Not all family fear for their own embarrassment, some actually care about their nearest and dearest. 

Recently someone posted that we are usually the only ones who know how the self timer works on a camera. It made me smile and it is probably true. Until I started contemplating the possibility / impossibility of transforming, what looked to all the world like a sullen bearded terrorist rather than anything resembling a woman, the old “I” had avoided being in any photographs as much as possible, even those being taken by tourists! Any reminders of what that person was and the absurdity of that existence was too much to bear. Old photographs do occasionally turn up but no longer make me physically wince, it is as if they are of a long lost sibling…

For an intense few years self-portraits, as they were once called, filled my photo file, a digital snapshot camera became “best aid to transition”. Now “I” am more than happy to be part of the world but no longer feel the need to record my changes. I thought that I needed to look back a couple of years to find one for this post until I remembered a recent one taken. Our niece had a baby early in the year, even named her after one of us so we had to drive a thousand miles to visit just after easter to check out the new arrival. Times past there was an assumption that “guys” wanted little to do with such creatures and I would be shut out. How strange to finally feel part of the circle of life. She has just been to visit us here at home with three adults to help carry her belongings, she is going to be a fun part of our lives.

Truth be told “I” do have one regret, I believed when I was told that there would be no help available in my lifetime and I hid from the world only to be reborn with a limited number of years left to enjoy and many of those may be wrinkly! Do not take that as anything like a regret at changing, nothing can fully express the pricelessness of finally being your true self and everything that brings with it for you.

Something nasty froze the browser with my blog access six months or so ago, it will be interesting to see what I last wrote when I try to post this. I am really interested to see exactly how long since I had my operation, like so much it has all faded into distant memory buried with cobwebs. Sweep me into that corner now, this chapter of my life is now concluded.

Seems it will soon be five years, how they have flown by! Time really does fly when you are enjoying yourself.

Best wishes to any who have been in contact along the way and best of luck finding peace to those who have yet to reach that point.

Calie, sweep me into that corner now please.

Friday, 15 January 2016

The Danish Girl and the Scottish girl...

Everybody knows that there is an Oscar nominated film out about a Danish girl who broke the ground for all of us.

There have been several weeks of will I , will I not go and see this film. Do I need to stir up old memories and torment now that my physical transformation passed it's last big hurdle just two weeks short of four years ago. Memories of the transitional years and the decades of misery which preceded it have almost faded to nothing. A life which I never imagined possible just flows naturally day to day, congratulations on how well I am doing have petered out and most now seem to have appeared to have forgotten my previous incarnation. I guess what I am saying is that transition has worked just fine.

Today was the last day of the local film run, it was a clear ice free day and  not pouring with rain like the fast few weeks so I invited two of the friends who have known me the longest, through all incarnations to see the film. It cost me dearly since I felt that I had to pay or I may never hear the end of it! Perhaps the film would pass on some insights which I had failed to pass on. Others have written far better reviews than I could, I am rubbish at remembering names so shall just stick to random thoughts and impressions.

I was struck by the beauty of the film making by the second shot and knew that I felt I was getting my moneys worth and this was just an upside down reflection of a stark winter tree in a pond, those who know me will understand. It is  superbly crafted beautiful period piece with marvellous attention to detail. I was a bit disturbed by clearly newish roof tiles and guttering on a street of terraced houses but am probably the only one to be so... if the costumes have not been nominated for an Oscar there is no justice in the world. Someone got a steam train to drive over a bridge into Dresden for several wonderful seconds of screen time while a carriage interior shot from that train filled the screen for little longer, no expense or effort has been spared.

The casting and the performances cannot be faulted and were all believable, it is hard to imagine anyone else now taking the lead role. Some have muttered about not letting someone transsexual play the role but that surely would have defeated the point of showing the struggle of someone with a male body trying to find a way to break free, you needed an unaltered slim 20's period body for most of the film.

There are no two stories the same, just occasional similarities along the way so this is just a portrayal of one story at a time when medical knowledge on the subject was almost non existent and anyone whom you approached for help was more likely to harm you. Sadly ninety years on in many places not much has changed... There is a long slow awakening from the buttoned down role of fashionable successful painter who hated the limelight falling upon their fake identity. This stabbed me through the heart since my success as a photographer caused me to stall at the height of my career as that hated name kept showing up in reviews. The new me could cope quite well but lacks the energy and drive but has shown herself more than capable of standing in front of a crowd and giving a lecture without an extra heart beat.

Much is made of the clothes. We all approach female clothing differently, Lili is shown having her grasp on the old male facade cracked  open by exposure to the exotic world of different materials, textures and garments at a time of more mutually exclusively allowed modes of dress. To wear "other" really was to transgress! Lili does transgress and old defences against the world crumble.

Her wife Gerda is both supportive and by turns struggles with Lili's need to leave the male world behind at a time when there was no real alternative available. How all this is shown is probably much clearer to those of us who have lived through it all, it came over more hazily to my film going companions perhaps because of the slow languorous pace of the film to this point.

Then it gets more serious with a race between breakdown and finding help proceeds, this leads to finding the one person probably on the planet who can and is willing to attempt to help. I remember being asked multiple times, "are you sure that you want to go ahead with this procedure knowing all the possible risks?" Lili faced the same question but the risks were in a different league without modern antibiotics and multiple stage experimental surgery! Having been to the point of "I would rather be dead than carry on" I think I know something of how she may have felt, perhaps not as momentous a decision as most viewers would imagine!

After the long slow bulk of the film I feel that much must have hit the cutting room floor to speed over the final chapters.  We were given to understand that the operation would have to take place in two stages and at this point it becomes a bit unclear as to how far she has got. It was as if someone whisked away you plate of half eaten food in a fine restaurant while you exchanged a few words with a fellow diner, choice bits you were about to savour gone! The final chapters of the film were too rushed to give a true idea of what Lili had in the way of a life, we saw her happily working and having a close friendship with a male friend without any indication as to weeks, months or years passing... Perhaps a full gritty ending was too much for the producers...

It was a beautiful film to watch, a heartbreaking human story fairly well told but not one to really use as an educational tool to help your friends understand. Fairly flushed out the tear ducts in places. one scene was a master stroke when still male attired Lili pays to view a woman through a window and is at first given the usual routine only to quickly realise that she was having her movements copied, the centime drops and a feminine movement tutorial ensues...

A sad week when the news of David Bowie's death was announced on the radio as I was waking up, I thought it must be a very bad dream. The Beatles allowed me to start growing my hair beyond the previous ultra strict rules but Bowie sashaying about in gorgeous dresses like the one on the "Man Who Sold The World" LP and the gender fluid lyrics on those early seventies LPs really opened a door to a new world where I could survive. He really helped save my life. RIP.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Life just gets better.

How time flies. I have always found this dark and dreary time of year somewhat depressing. Nearly two months of ads to be glutenous and spend beyond our means to give  presents few need or want knowing full well that the sales start only a day or so after the rebirth of the sun. Perhaps having mean selfish parents who gave rubbish presents, and certainly never anything someone like me would ever want, did not help...

A week from now and I can stop watching the video recordings with no christmas ads and life can return to normal. Since transition I bounce back quickly in the new year whilst in the past the dark dreary months  do little to dampen my new enthusiasm for life.

When we start a transition the way is laid out before us in seemingly enormous lengths of time, a year for this, two years for that etc. It seems like it would never end yet here I am four years past my trip to Brighton to be reborn.

The only christmas present I have ever really appreciated was a slightly negative one but a landmark moment. It was four years ago when christmas marked the time to stop hormones prior to my operation, something which focuses the mind on just how far you have come and how quickly the time passed once that first step on the path was taken.

If there is a downside to transition it can only be that something like the calorie content of the food about at this time of year will plump up the body faster than you ever could imagine possible. Could be why I still hate christmas but look forward to a happy new year. 

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The internet saved my life, now Google wants to kill us all!

Google often behaves irrationally. Not long ago it was linking accounts without asking and causing deaths in the process. It likes to mess up my accounts all the time and all no-reply emails from Google are addressed as coming from an individual blogger, one I do not even follow! This was the main reason I started withdrawing from using Google services and stopped posting to my blog.

Now if you read the link google wants to shut down a whole raft of sites it has decided it no longer likes. Like a trawler it does not care which sites get caught in its net and get closed down.

Overnight your blogs could be effectively dead, locked out of interacting on the net unless the blog owner invites you directly, how on earth would you be found!? You could find yourself in the dark at the bottom of a mine shaft, lost to the world.

If anyone could post an easy to follow guide on how to migrate a blog to another platform and especially maintain all links they would be doing a lot of people a great favour.

 Brave new world!

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Happy Birthday.

Happy birthday to me, three today!

Not only is life transformed, the memories of pains, trials and struggles of the old life have almost completely vanished from my mind. Truly have regained time...


Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Eight months on, postscript. Joy at the end of the rainbow...

Long ago now my blog started on my favourite beach. A place where I had felt most comfortable with myself and was able to be free of the tyranny of gendered clothing, to be free of society and close to nature. Brief respites from a life where I had been miss cast, a life spent hiding behind a barricade of facial hair, a life where I had preferred to hide away. After any public success I hid deeper with the self hatred that the false me was gaining credit and the real me would be forever invisible.

There is a certain irony that I could feel most comfortable when totally exposed. What others could see clearly from my perspective could not be seen, we see little of our own bodies without making a conscious effort so it was easy to dream…

My blog started when I had made a physical change by undergoing an orchiectomy, the limit of physical change I thought I would ever get. A statement that I was not male, never was male and the absence of testosterone clearly removed involuntary male physical effects and opened me to deeper emotional responses than I had ever allowed myself since early childhood. My test was to return to my paradise beach and sure enough I felt more alive than I had ever done before and was even more confident in my modified body than I could ever have been in the past. Surely this was my nirvana…

Fast forward several years to the here and now. I have just returned from a couple of weeks late summer sunshine curtesy of a ghastly but cheap airline and have spent several days wandering the beach and enjoying being tossed about in the wild warm surf like an insignificant piece of flotsam. It certainly puts you in your place in the scheme of things, tiny, vulnerable but alive.

Lost in thought on my first day there it struck me just how much more comfortable I now feel than the absolute peak of comfort I thought I had felt in the past, I have broken through the scale of what I though possible, that is the only way I can explain it. My whole being now feels right and I feel absolute comfort with my body. It is not the body of some goddess by a long way and a bit too rounded and curvy due to the wonderful French food! Walking the edge of the surf I finally have a woman’s body to suit my woman’s mind, looking down firm breasts come into view and move gracefully and naturally with my swinging stride and certainly nothing between my legs reminds me of nature’s mistake. My inward smile matches my feeling of being whole and right.

That feeling is no more than most people just take for granted every day of their lives which makes it very hard for us to ever explain to them and make them understand just how we feel before we manage to get our condition treated. 

My guilty pleasure these days is emotional fiction aimed at a female readership, you might call it chick lit! Reading it lying on the beach after the greatest heat of the day has passed is my pleasure when on holiday now, pressing all the emotional buttons long left seized up. As molecules organise themselves in regular patterns and get evenly spaced so do sunbathers on a beach, even the mathematically inept instinctively calculate to the finest degree the equidistant point between any two other sunbathers to set up their own spot. Imagine my surprise one day to hear a voice close by whilst deep in the plot of my book. It took me a while to realise that someone was trying to talk to me. A well toned, well tanned Frenchman A good few years younger than myself was practicing his native language on me, once I realised I used my best French to explain that my understanding of his language was terrible, (unless reading a restaurant menu), It did not put him off. He spoke with a southern accent which is not one which you hear at school but with his repetitions of many phrases I understood much of what he said and perhaps gave away that I understand more than I had let on, he asked if he could sit with me and I pointed out that where I had chosen to lie was surrounded by spiky dried plants! Perhaps he suspected more understanding now than I had let on… I was slightly amused by the guy and his refusal to accept a hopeless case and in no way felt intimidated, my recent reading matter had covered few flirting and seductive moves so I was on alert but unfazed. Clearly the guy had sight problems and tried saying that he thought me beautiful, sounds better in French. This could have been interesting and fun had he kept to his verbal seduction plan but he spoilt it by trying a move closer and  used the arm touching manoeuvre at which point my icy eye contact froze him to the spot. His asking wether I would like him to leave seemed a little superfluous, I said that I preferred to read my book, poor guy looked disappointed… Now if it had been a really fit woman it might have been harder to resist, my lesbian leanings of a lifetime have not changed… 

So there you have it, sea soaked, bedraggled and some fit guy actually took a fancy to me. I guess this test shows the project can be said to have been a great success.

I knew this already since my normal unexciting everyday life is a joy. There are no longer sleepless nights and constant endlessly repeating questions like could I ever change, what can I do to get help, who will still be my friend, will I be ugly, shall I ever be able to walk the streets without people pointing and muttering? 

There is peace and quite inside my head now, sometimes a strange spooky sense of quiet.

Life is good and for the first time in that life I actually “want” to be alive…

The words of others gave me information,hope and courage, if any of mine can do the same my joy shall be multiplied.


Sunday, 23 February 2014

Garden in transition...

Each year now springs new surprises, this one is the speed with which plants are eager to  show their first shoots whilst the rain hardly seems to stop, the wind blows hard and the threat of chill winter weather still hangs over us.

Perversely as soon as I started a project of sorting out the attic spaces and renovating and painting useable old furniture stored there than the rains have paused and every opportunity to get out for making some vitamin D and do some garden work has been taken.

My old self used the garden as a sanctuary and place to hide from the world. It may be a fairly small suburban garden but that never affected or hindered my love of trees which were planted as a visual shelter from the surrounding cottages allowing me to garden as one with nature, saves on clothing costs… A garden is in constant flux and my barrier to the world has been breaking down over the same period as my transition. First the older trees which were here long before I arrived have passed maturity and needed to be removed or as in one case dramatically came down in one of the increasingly strong winds at odd times of the year. The trees I planted to block out prying eyes have grown quite large, I never in all honesty thought that I would still be here and alive to have to deal with them but that time has come... The recent wet summers have caused a fast spurt of growth blocking out a great deal of light from the garden, even the grass has decided to give way to moss and trees which a short while ago were decorative now present  some danger if they get blown down. It was perhaps a mistake to believe the growing rates when quoted, they were planted in rich garden soil with no competition! As much as it has pained me to make the decision, some have had their sentence passed.

Someone recently told me of a girlfriend’s motto when faced with a job, “how hard can it be?” and regular readers will know that is also my attitude abetted by a very empty purse. I finally got round to purchasing a new chain for the saw I bought last year for pruning and a file to keep it and the original chain sharp and ready for action, a face guard also seemed a wise investment and then I was ready.

First victim has been my beloved chestnut first planted over twenty five years ago to replace the large pear tree slashed down by the folk who had just moved in next door and were turning their garden into a field for the boy child to kick his ball about. For many years I thought they must have given away or murdered their daughter and the mother for they were never seen from one years end to the next! The cute wee tree planted all those years ago was to have sheltered us in our old age from the rays whizzing down through the hole in the ozone layer, remember when that was the only topic of scientific news? Our tree was wonderfully sculptural during the winter and looked marvellous with the fresh spring green, we often missed out on the show of flower because of our holiday trips before the European summer heat set in. Autumn with the change of colour was a treat and the falling leaves were creating a great deal of new soil and fronded a duvet for the plants waiting for winter to end, especially the increasing small bluebell wood developing under the tree. In the summer it was a bit of a large sun block for the whole afternoon…

Well, saw plugged in, I had to get the tree down before too much more sprouted from the ground to be trampled under foot and falling tree. I decided exactly where it needed to fall, over but not damaging the mossy grassy patch, not a lawn, but not flattening the washing pole or the compost bin. It landed with one twig touching the washing pole and a light branch resting gently on the bin, it fell so gently that there is hardly a scratch in the garden and nobody even heard it fall… Big smile and mental pat on back!

A large space has opened up again to be put back to growing vegetables as I used to do only this time I hope to find a way of buying a polytunnel to shelter and extend out miserably short growing season.

So my old closed in garden world mirrors my life in widening out to be open and sunny.

Almost to balance the joy of real life, computer life is trying to drive me crazy  in so many ways. The machine which helped save my life grinds on as if it is swimming through treacle and is erratic in it’s behaviour as if in sympathy with the ghastly powers behind the services we have enjoyed and taken for granted for so many years. I am sure that most are delighted by the increasing aggregation of services without asking first if we wish every click we make being shown on every service or having to be a subservient slave to f******* or g***** to be able to join in and make comments on so many sites. I have never been too private online nor have I been too blatant either but times and services change and I can no longer put in the energy to fight the changes. 

I have withdrawn from various parts of the net before and got abuse for telling folk in advance that I was leaving. Some of you have come to know me and have contacted me outside of this blog and I hope that may continue. I have spent many weeks seeking out the countless numbers I have encountered along the way to see that they too have survived though so many have just melted away…

I used to think that the blog was such a part of my life that I would be here for the indefinite future to show the world that even someone like me could find a new life and perhaps help others believe that they too could change their lives for the better. I know that a few of us have gained greatly from helping each other along the way. I can only hope all find the joy in change which I have found.

It is painfully emotional experience to be tapping out a final farewell post. The blog will remain up though despite ideas about once being on the net it will be there forever, I am sure fewer and fewer will find it in future and even fewer will ever be drawn to read it through like I have read so many other's blogs before. I have personally gained much from bearing my soul to the screen and found ways to delve deep into long hidden memories about my former tortured self buried in lost time…

A television programme from my childhood used to end with a voice over with the words which seem appropriate:-

"There are eight million stories in the Naked City. This has been one of them.”


Sunday, 26 January 2014

Seeking a way forward... Computer full of treacle and grit.

How quickly things change in life. 

Only a short time ago I had set up a potential new blog to be about living with our house and garden which require a bit more energy and money than we have available. I started writing introductions to try and get a flavour of how I would approach the new posts, It was even mentioned here to see if there would be any encouragement. That was in the early autumn as the growing season in the garden drew to an end and I began to lay it up for the winter. I was busy before going to get my toes repaired. Yes, they are fine, so no need to ask… All trace of that potential blog has been erased now.

If I had an interesting story to tell I think it is the one I have told here, there may be more to tell but post ideas just do not come to me like they used to do. 

What is there to say beyond life has turned out so much better than I had ever imagined it would and unless I am sitting at the computer I do not give my past transitional life much thought, I get up in the morning and get on with life as I should always have been able to do without having to play a role to fit in with expectations from the rest of the world. The world I lived in did not implode by my being my true self, it just got better as the distortion field I had maintained around me broke up.

During my online life I really expected that part of my life to slowly and continuously expand. I was drawn here often several times per day to see how others were getting on and was always eager to join in conversations, the latter still applies but nearly everyone has melted away…

I have rarely abandoned a post but after lunch the tirade at the stupidity of large tech companies is out of my system, is now deleted, and you have no need to know why I have taken against google but them having a file on my computer which drew 94% of the processing power was the final straw! Caroline was an early user of G+ but is no more. Social media does not seem to be for me. In all the time I was there my input generated far too little interaction and I certainly do not want everything I do online all clumped together in one place, and as has recently happened, out of my control. If my comments require an "f "or a "G" profile, as more seem to, then my voice will not be heard…

I have been here long enough for many of you to know my routine, make marmalade, wonder about what to do with the garden this coming year, dream about possible holiday trips, just refer back to previous january postings… Obviously I have been doing a few other things but I now feel less inclined to write a public diary and more inclined to just get on with the new life. If I don’t post so often it is because I have far too much to do round the house and garden, more than enough for this lifetime. 

Post op updates have been my least popular posts so the two year one due on the third of February is here, now, between the lines and I feel should be the last anniversary update since everything has settled down just fine. Any further changes will be no different to the everyday changes my half of the population all go through…

It has been said before, I have an email address and will happily give you an individual blog post reply with joy…