Thursday, 29 December 2011

Thoughts at the year's end.





Yuletide has never been my favourite time of year as I may have mentioned…
The year flashes before your eyes as you try to write to keep distant friends and family up to date, some have had a bit of a surprise and those who should be up to speed have been hopeless at absorbing the new name! Poor postie must think there are about eight people with similar names living here.
Thank goodness for the photo files which act like a diary and supplement the hazy memory with reminders of forgotten enjoyable trips and meetings with friends. I know many disparage “the c********s letter” but it has to be better than the half hearted scribbled signature combined with blurry postmarks which have us guessing for days sometimes…
In most peoples eyes my change is a fait accompli with the only vestiges of resistance in some of those who have been closest to the old me and find it hard to overcome the imprinted automatic greetings with wrong pronouns and especially amongst my partners cousins who still flinch at a close contact. The latter becomes more pronounced with the absolute acceptance of so many, it would be impossible to fake the soft embracing hugs so many of my closer women friends share… Priceless.
For so long I have been at a happy place, completely comfortable with my strange hybrid body which seems so natural to me now. I don’t know how I would be feeling if I had lived these past years with a  sack of junk bouncing between my legs and have never regretted for a moment my decision to deal with that problem early on. Before c********s when I paid my visit to the GIC in Glasgow I found myself comparing my present self with the creature who first went there just two short years ago. I remember speaking about how much some must change at one of my earliest appointments at a time when I felt that I probably would not change too much from how I had been for most of my life. How wrong I was! 
Gone is my long hair! For this visit I arrived with a fringe, something which I have not had for nearly forty five years… Some of my nails were broken so gone was the colour which was so long my trade mark as the collection of forty small coloured bottles testifies to. For forty years I longed to wear earrings and necklaces but could not bring myself to do it after some nasty close encounters when a student in the seventies, now they are something which leaves me feeling a little naked if I go out without them… My old androgynous clothes now feel almost butch when I wear them for doing housework or gardening, being a child of the fifties and austerity it is hard to part with most of them until they are worn to rags, this may have to change! 
Stepping out with my slowly improving wardrobe is so liberating though that feeling is fast being replace with the general feeling of a happy rightness. That rightness feeds back to the confident daily presentation which increasingly has me interacting with strangers who despite a good few clues to the contrary, like size, have us chattering away with no sense that they see anything other than another woman. I have been having both my large toenails removed over the past five weeks so have spent too long in the waiting room at the doctors surgery for the procedure or subsequent dressings. During one long delayed wait with just me and another woman a long dialogue started up, first about the usual, cold wet windy weather and delays then on to life the universe and everything… I think that was my final passing out test leaving no more doubt that the project has worked.
As we work through our transitions I think we have periods of absolute comfort as we achieve some personal goal then some anxiety as we face some change. As I said at the start of the post I have been quite comfortable with my present body and for so long thought that this would be the end of my physical change. Now that GRS is now a possibility with the funding now in place I do find myself in a strange state of low anxiety that something like age related health will trip me up with the final goal in sight. I have lost some of my recent joyfulness and find myself a little lacking in focus and lethargic. Weird, you would think it would have the opposite effect.
I thought that this would be a presentless c********s, not a bad thing, I have enough to keep me entertained. Just before c*********s there was a packet delivered by post from Virginia. Those who have been reading for a while may have come across Melissa who took ill in the early summer and soon succumbed to a melanoma on her back. The packet was from her sister Robin and contained some of Melissa’s earrings and a delicate chain bracelet as mementos of our friendship. The earrings show a more flamboyant side than we were used to from her blogs and at present are hanging amongst the decorations on out Yule tree!




Saturday, 17 December 2011

Who is this stranger in the photo?



I guess with fewer posts published on the blogs which I follow there are fewer prompts to inspire a post from me…
I have been looking at some older photo files for another project and occasionally come across pictures of someone who looks vaguely familiar though any feeling that the creature was once me is getting weaker. If I had known just a few years back that I could be at the place I am now and feel so comfortable and what I guess can only be called “normal” with the body I inhabit, I would never have had a moments hesitation to move forward. Starring into the mirror, after decades avoiding them, I remember the fear that that hairy face and clumsy body would never easily exist in a more feminine form and move freely in the wide world. It is now just get up and go without a second thought, how wonderful it feels I lack the skill to adequately describe but it is beyond all my expectations.
The winter is setting in with record wild gales bringing down trees all over the place and snow closing roads even with all the extra resources put on standby after the last two winters. Naturally it is time to venture over the backbone of the country to the GIC in Glasgow. We made it this year, last we were iced in and could not move the car for a month, this year I got to sit in the waiting room and be tortured y some of the worst christmas music I have ever heard. Long way to go to just chat about how great it is all going but seemed pleased with how things had gone for me and letters have been written for the surgeon to eventually get on and do his thing. That is nearly two years since they first saw the long haired me on the feminine side of androgynous, I have moved more feminine than I ever though I would.
Board and lodging for the night was provided by a distant cousins family who provided a fine meal which marked a significant age for this body, not a date which I wished to “celebrate” much to the dismay of those who wished for a party. I must be getting old because I forgot to pack the bottle of Champagne which they gave me as a present, I blame the wine they gave us to drink including a marvelous bottle which I gave them as a present, our last good bottle! A 1928 Maury, pure heaven…
The next day we met up with another GIC visitor and then spent much of the rest of the day visiting a couple of museums and their cafes and restaurants to catch up on Louise’s news. Nobody ever gives us a second glance, just a few girls out for the day, how I wish I had found a way to escape like this earlier…
Back home to the freezing cold, road iced up for days and trying to tidy up for the expected crowd who are coming to eat on christmas day. Ten seems like enough without being hard work. Think it will have to be a rescued fake tree this year since one the height I wanted was £60 / $ 93 and the money is being spent on food. Shame, decorating a tee is really the best thing about this time of year. Presents have been banned this year and with luck for all time. In an ideal world you would love presents but nearly everyone is now agreed that spending money on things you would love to receive to give to others only to receive in return stuff you have no room for no need of or desire to own is just stupid. Reduced income sure focuses the mind.
Cards are all sent. Working through the address book was something of a shock as all the redundant names were scored through, what were once occasional entries every few pages have become large patches in most sections. Think this is telling us to enjoy what time we have and not put anything off for later. We have been getting out visiting friend whenever the weather permitted and in one day when perhaps we should have stayed home as record gales ripped up trees and caused flooding but who can turn down a lunch invite?

This is never my favourite time of year with the low temperatures and low light levels and endless inane christmas music, well they call it music! Roll on new year and lightening lengthening days.
Months ago facebook threatened to put your whole history out as a profile and I set off on holiday worried about what would be up when I returned. Clearly they are not as clever as they thought they were and it has taken until now to start to appear. Only a minority have voiced any disapproval of the new format. I liked being here blogging and took a long time to try that different place. Now the old concerns are flooding back, I saw it as akin to dropping into a cafe and conversing with friends, a few jokes, a few serious conversations. Now it seems all conversations are to be written on the walls for all time and everyone is supposed to be able to open my bag and browse through my diary. Perhaps it is because I am an open but fairly private person, no embarrassing pictures of me at parties to be found, I don’t even post too many things I like or much about my strange past. Does anybody out there have any thoughts on this? Are you going to just accept this new format because you want the world to know about your every move or are you going to quit in disgust or start a new empty profile and reinvite your old friends to see who still wants to know you?

Skeptical old biddy signing off...