Monday, 29 April 2013

Bravery award...



We sometimes find ourselves being told that we are brave to face the world and go through transition, to fix as best we can the fault we were born with. It is a long time since I have heard it, now it is very rare that I ever have any kind of conversation about it other than amongst ourselves.

Somebody wrote about it recently and finally it dawned  on me that this is always taken back to front! If you had a broken arm or a curable cancer would anyone praise you for dealing with it,and Would family members or friends dare suggest that you just hang in there and not disturb their peace of mind with your silly problem?

The ones who are brave are those who choose to make the sacrifice of their own lives and wellbeing because they do not wish to make waves for those around them. They live a life of torments and despair others cannot even start to imagine so that others do not have to be embarrassed or have their lives disturbed. They are prisoners within the prison of their own skin even though they know that the doors remain unlocked and joy is but a heartbeat away. That takes bravery...

I lived like that for half a century though lived is hardly the right word… The accumulated suffering can hardly be calculated, immense in comparison to that suffered during the short time transition takes. If I had though for a moment that having no real will to live would not actually shorten my suffering I don’t think that I could have done it. 

Changing in an earlier time no doubt would have been much harder than now that we have services lined up to help, that can only make the bravery of personal sacrifice even more poignant...

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Thursday, 25 April 2013

Do I finally buy a step ladder? & Life the universe and everything...





So, did I go and buy a new step ladder? No, I got fed up waiting for my usual chain saw lender to get organised so in memory of a dear friend Melissa, a great wielder of the instrument,  went out and purchased an electric saw. It works a treat and has zipped through all the remaining trunks and reduced them to handy sized lumps. Perhaps this year I should seek out a wood burner since the government does not seem to have got organised on a safe and steady power supply to guarantee that our old bones stay warm through the winters…

I have been working in the garden, a black hole which absorbs infinite quantities of energy without ever showing a great deal of change! Spring has finally started to show when about five days ago a sudden flush of green appeared everywhere, some weeds sprang from nowhere, flowered and started to go to seed in days! The seasons battle has commenced…

With the spring our social life has also come alive again, suddenly there are hardly enough hours in the day.

The house rules here are that if one of us gets ill we sleep in separate rooms so that we can suffer in peace. First Julie went down with what she said was the worst cold ever then just as she was recovered I seemed to get the same thing which left me coughing as though I was going to burst especially when trying to lie down to sleep, my record was an hour non stop. At least the weather turned cold a few days after I got it and held the spring back for three weeks…

I perhaps spent more time than usual online in the sleepless early hours. The nature of the net could almost be said to have seasons, taking on a certain character at different times. There have been times of great excitement, times of great joy and though several have just gone through the happy phase of GRS many seem to be going through a cold winter of discontent and it is hard not to share their discomfort at a time when my own transition has left me more content than I could ever have hoped for. I am perhaps very lucky in that I am still with my partner, this was highlighted when after finally getting back into the same room a warm hand came over to gently caress my back whilst I was waking. There is no price to be put on such an unasked for caress which put me into a state of such relaxation that I fell back into the deepest most satisfying sleep I have had for weeks!

No doubt that has put you all to sleep! Is that as exciting as it gets? Afraid so… Sometimes I wonder just what it feels like to be overwhelmed by lust and desires beyond control. Such feelings seem to be common place and clearly a human obsession judging from the near impossibility of avoiding the subject in the media and culture… This is my time of year for reading travel writings to get me in the mood for a holiday trip, our annual tour of sisters. Changes at our tiny public library mean that the librarian is no longer allowed to go to the main store and choose books for her clients when the exchange of stock comes round, she just has to put up with a lucky dip and so do we! It would seem that no new travel writing has arrived for nearly a year, in fact most of it has been taken away! I decided to try cookery writing instead since that often incorporates a degree of travel and the passions are concentrated on the food…

We had just watched A film “Julie & Julie” where the author tries to cook every dish in a book about French cooking, I love French cooking. The library for all it’s diminutive size had been given two copies of the book it was based on! When I pointed this madness out to Suzie, the librarian she said she had heard that she had written a second book about meat and she ordered it in for me. Julie the writer decides that she wants to learn how to do butchery and seeks out a traditional butcher willing to take her on as an apprentice and teach her the mysteries of meat. We have just eaten a slow casseroled oxtail dish tonight, just the other day a dish of lamb’s kidneys and before that one of lamb’s sweetbreads so as much as we adore our vegetables we clearly enjoy a little meat in our diet. Everything went well with the book until the meat described was the writer herself who even though she was in a long term happy marriage with someone she adored decided to embark on an obsessive and torrid affair with an altogether more brutish man than her husband, her phone was running hot with the constant messages back and forth day and night even as she was spending time with her faithful doting husband…

All marriages are different and now that life expectancy has generally increased being with one person for a lifetime of devotion seems to be going out of fashion. I guess I am an old fashioned romantic and put too much emphasis on being faithful. Perhaps others are not as disappointed by such blatant unfaithfulness, there seems less social stigma associated with such behaviour these days though the injured partner usually seems to be forgotten in the rush to read up the juicy details of the errant partner. Those who are single in this age do seem to treat sex as a casual game of little real importance or value, just another quick treat like buying an ice cream on a hot summer day. For some of us it carries an infinite emotional weight to be that intimate with another and to be cuckolded is akin to the rape of the soul. There are times when I am glad that I no longer expect to ever be involved in that degree of intimacy and even more glad that I have never been driven by such forces which others allow to overwhelm them.

Perhaps other transsexuals found themselves trapped in a world which rejects who they know they are and thus unable to express themselves fully even with someone they become close to or marry. It is bad enough having to accept that out on the street you are seen as a guy and treated as such but even at home you partner can become disappointed that you show empathy and sweetness instead of a strong manful sweep you off your feet lust… I sometimes wonder, though I shall never know wether my asexuallity is just innate or born of that four year olds clamping up of emotions to hide that inner self and an early awareness that there seemed to be no place in the sexual world for the likes of us way back in those prehistoric fifties…

I grew up expecting to live my life alone like a hermit amongst the bustle of the world of coupledom, alone in a crowd. I lived that way until a chance encounter with a girl with short bitten nails who became entranced with my incredibly long nails. Together we experienced a taste of a life I never thought I would. When she suddenly left  one day without a word and taking critical components of my heart I suspect that she did not see her future life along with her newly offered job,  a pale imitation of a guy. Those who knew me were a little surprised that I made no attempt to find a replacement and my new wish to find girls who would be friends rather than girlfriends was met with blank incomprehension.

A second time around, some years later I was somehow found and desired again and asked to move in with another.That was half a lifetime ago and though I had sworn to myself that I would never marry I was persuaded that the tax advantages were so great we would be foolish not to. The tax advantages vanished in a few short years… As I predicted her desire for me waned but our closeness grew. This did not stop me being fairly anxious that this well educated creature with a great job which allowed her to meet a vast range of interesting people and regularly travel to conferences and courses would not eventually be tempted to trade me in for a better prospect. A relief for me was that she never did and we settled into our long relationship with me still believing what I had been told that "I would never get the help which I needed in this lifetime". As it turned out doctors do lie to you and help did eventually come and within the countless stories I have read I have been lucky enough for my long partnership to wether the storm and sail on redefined and renewed. What would have happened to me if it had not worked out this way I dare not speculate... Many who had feared the breakups now look back with relief that it was that release which finally allowed them to become their real selves though they fought hard to retain the bonds which held them back.

It is a tricky path we lead through life like deep cover spies trying to seamlessly blend into an alien culture, a task which is near impossible and certainly almost doomed to failure. My heart aches for those I know who have found themselves ensconced in their deep cover and settled into a comfortable life only to find cracks start to appear. Bad enough when they are just one of the uncountable couples headed towards divorce and reshuffles within the company of newly available divorced singles. As a group my observations are that we are more likely to be the ones who do not wish to wreck a marriage by straying and are feeling most vulnerable to a hostile life outside a broken relationship. Perhaps we are the instinctive home makers within the couple. Perhaps many of us are too delicate for our own good...


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Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Transforming the vegetable garden... 29,999 views, be the 30,000th





What an odd start to the year in so many ways. It had been nearly two years since I suffered a cold, thankfully not getting one at a critical time last year which would have been a disaster, any way I have made up for it with one which has left me with the worst cough I can ever remember. Nearly four weeks on it as almost abated, no longer spending an hour coughing myself to sleep with exhaustion.

I was annoyed when it first hit since I had been getting on so well working in the garden during dry windless days and it looked like spring was not far away and it was a race to tidy up before too much growth started. I thought that I had missed out on my target for this year then the temperatures dropped like a stone and snow and frost became daily events. The BBC has a national gardening programme on TV with a presenter many of my girl friends drool over, I can almost see what attracts them, last week he was bemoaning the three week hiatus which had held up the new growth. Finally the snow has gone, just a few flurries in the air, with the clock change the days are light until past eight and I have been able to throw myself at the task with a vengeance.



Thirty years ago when I first encountered the jungle the garden had become the gardener from one of the local grand houses came by and told me that I should call in the equivalence of an agent orange air strike, kill every living thing and wait a year before starting from scratch. I am soft hearted where plants are concerned and I could not bring myself to kill old fruit trees even those which were too high to harvest and some which had to be seen as decorative rather than fruitful… Hindsight is a great thing and I now know that I should have taken his advice and devoted that year to repairing the summer house and surrounding walls though I could hardly see them.



The old me was something of a pessimist expecting my end to never be far off so not making great future plans or working as hard on maintenance as I perhaps should have. The garden has in many ways followed a parallel path to my transition. Many years of wild chaos, then when the period of transition started there was less time for garden as all attention and cash was put into being the new me with constant appointments for hair removal, gender clinic etc and perhaps too much flouncing about the garden in flowing clothes rather than getting down to getting dirty.



Sadly my usual chainsaw lender has both his machines out of order awaiting repairs. I used to be able to swing them about with the ease of the light sabers in star wars but I can still manage them reasonably well even with the muscle loss. The plan had been to reduce all the growth covering the walls to fire wood and shredded compost in a day or so but I have had to do as much as I could with hand tools taking weeks of work. Climbing to lob off three inch thick branches at twelve feet in the air was a challenge as was chopping up great quantities of ivy and holly to be sent to the local recycling compost centre. If we have some decent summer days there are enough chopped branches to fuel a wood grill in an ancient old iron wheelbarrow for the whole season. I am now faced with two hundred feet of wall needing a great deal of repointing! If I don’t post much you know where I will be...



Santa did not provide the new steps which I had hoped for but having spent several days trying to remember to avoid using the second from top wood-wormed step I think it will soon be time to take out the seats from the van and go shopping for something in aluminium...



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Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Tempus fugit & mass vanishes...



The hills are covered by a picturesque coat of snow, especially beautiful in the warm glow of the setting sun just the other day. It is now fifteen months since I spent an enforced week watching the changes to a snowy landscape from my hospital bed on the South Downs near Brighton.

Following that visit each week then each month brought reportable changes as the body tried to heal itself from the rearrangements made by my surgeon. What a good job was done! Having been compelled to inhabit what was in effect an alien body for six decades you would think that I would now be posting about how strange it is to inhabit this new body. Quite the opposite! This new incarnation feels so natural and right there is very little to report.

We are warned that hormone treatment may well cause weight gain but mine was limited to a few pounds due to a decrease in physical activity during this last year and has hardly changed over the last six years or so until now. Weight had been redistributed into more interesting curves and bulges, muscles reduced and turned to fat… We have been on our 5:2 diet regime for about eight weeks now, and are both nearly a stone lighter with almost no effort and still eating as normal for five days each week though we do seem to be less inclined to ever indulge in temptations like chocolate easter eggs for example… Stones weight 14 pounds by the way for any younger or modern metric readers, the Uk may go metric once all us old folk die off…

The one downside of this weight loss is inch loss, what is that in metric lands, 2.54mm loss? Anyway my carefully developed feminine bumps have been slightly diminished though thankfully reduction has been from everywhere though I think more could go from round the waist! At last I think we have a reasonable long term solution to weight which should gradually bring us down to a healthier size and then with perhaps just one day partial fasting per week maintain a healthy level. Well this is my new project now that the transproject is winding down…

It is bitterly cold as winter hangs on, our van had turned a dung colour like so many seem to buy these days, what happened to the joy of colour? All the salt and road grime was depressing so I was determined to revive the blue. First it was washed down with warm soapy / waxy water then rinsed off with a hose before wiping down. When I got round to the front bonnet and roof I was taken aback to see that the lustrous paint surface seemed to be wavy and could not imagine what could have done this to the paint. The rinse water had frozen to a glassy finish because it was so cold! No wonder the garden tidy up is going so slowly… One local daffodil grower reckons they are six weeks behind and naturally he missed the easter trade.

Never have been impressed with religions but since everything stops for the festival hijacked from the pagans to now celebrate chocolate and cakes we joined like minded  friends for lunch, simnel cakes and hot crossed buns to finish, yum.



Sometimes I wish that I had some sins to look back on but I think I would take responsibility for them myself...

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