Monthly Archives: November 2014

Six months being a blogger

Damp Jen after a dip in the pool

It’s been a busy six months!

Whenever you’re feeling like you’re not getting anywhere, have a read of your blog
 and remember how amazing you are 🙂

Text messages don’t seem to have a long lifespan.  One arrives on my phone, I read it, reply to it, and then I’ll probably never see it again.  Once it’s scrolled off the top of the screen, as far as I’m concerned, it’s disappeared into oblivion.

And that is why I’ve recorded the amazing message above, which I received recently from John.

I didn’t have a real reason for starting this blog.   I had noticed that my pictures were getting more popular online, I had started seeing myself pop up on random trans-related websites, and I realised that I didn’t really have a voice.  I wanted to three-dimensionalise myself a bit and show people there was more to me than just a face, grinning at the camera.

Despite the lack of purpose initially, the blog has slowly started taking shape into a record of how I’m feeling and what I’m going through in my transition, like a diary. A lot of the issues and decisions seem like massive things at the time, but 6 months later I can barely remember why I was getting stressed about them, and in front of me I’ve got seemingly much bigger things to deal with.

And that is why re-reading the blog, like John suggests, is starting to get interesting.  I do get frustrated a lot and I do get down about how I’m progressing, so being able to remind myself of how much I’ve achieved, and how big some of those steps have been for me, is a really good way of getting the confidence to push on.

The other great thing about writing the blog is some of the messages I get from people who have stumbled upon it.  I get comments from people about my pictures all the time, but the messages from those that have read the blog are very different.  It seems like a lot of people out there can relate to the stuff that’s going on in my brain; they have the same worries and stresses, but also the same desires and motivations.  It reminds me that I’m not alone, and I’m not weird or crazy or anything to be thinking this way. Hopefully it might even help them a bit as well.

I kinda wish I’d started blogging earlier to be honest, I’ve really done a lot and changed so much in the last few years 🙂

Life on the waiting list

Me staring at the camera

This is my waiting face!

I can’t remember the exact date, but it’s around a year now since I told my GP everything and got a referral to the Leeds GIC (Gender Identity Clinic). It had taken a lot of courage to finally make this step, having umm’d and ahh’d for years about whether I was ready and if I would be taken seriously.

So I was over the moon when the appointment with the GP went so well. A few weeks later I could barely contain my excitement when a letter arrived from the GIC containing a leaflet about being Transgender and what help the NHS can offer.

Upon closer inspection however, the letter informed me that I would have a first appointment at some point in the next financial year… sooooo that’s some time before April 2015!!

And so began life on the waiting list…

I haven’t just been waiting though, I’ve tried to keep moving forward regardless of the gender clinic. In the year since seeing the GP I’ve probably been busier with my transition than ever before!

I guess life on the waiting list goes on, for now at least.

Should Cinderella go to the ball?

Dolled up in Thailand

Incidentally I do have a step-mother and two step-sisters…

Christmas-time is fast approaching, and with it comes the looming spectre of the inevitable office Christmas party.

I’m still in a bit of a weird limbo at work; technically I work ‘as a guy’, but my team know about Jen, most of my department and, to be honest, it’s really not the best kept secret anymore. At the moment I’m happy to keep things this way, I don’t think I’m quite ready to take that first step into work in a skirt on a Monday morning.

Our Christmas party this year is going to be a fancier affair than I’ve been to in the past.  The venue states “No jeans, football shirts or trainers.” I wasn’t exactly planning on turning up in a Leeds United shirt, but my usual androgynous look revolves around girl’s jeans, hoodies and shoes-that-are-not-quite-trainers-but-are-kind-of-close.
So I’m guessing my usual attire is going to be a bit too casual for this particular event.

But in life I never got as far as being a smartly dressed guy.  In a shirt and trousers I feel (and quite possibly look) like a schoolboy… this won’t do at all.

On any other occasion if I was invited to a party like this, I’d say “Yay! Time to get all dolled up in a nice cocktail dress.” But the work Christmas party?  Now that’s a big step…

I’m all for pushing myself; my whole thing over the last few years has been about baby steps, lots of small steps toward my goal.  Sometimes I make a leap forward and, although they’ve been super scary at the time, so far they have all gone really well and left me feeling amazing.

So why is going to the office party different?  Why does this decision deserve a whole blog post to itself?

The problem in my mind is that although this would be an amazing step for me, I’m concerned about how other people will react when they see me again on Monday as a boy.  Would it in fact be a really misleading thing to do? Could it actually enhance that stereotype of only being a girl at the weekend?
Most importantly, will it be harder for people to take me seriously if I let them see me switch between gender roles?

Some of my colleagues have met me ‘as Jen’ and some have even been out clubbing with me.  They don’t have issues with how to treat me at work, in fact they say knowing about the trans thing makes them understand me a lot better.  One work-mate described it as “the missing piece of the jigsaw” and that “once it’s in place everything makes sense.”

Except those colleagues work with me every day.  At the party there will be people I’ve not run into at work yet.   Although maybe that’s a good thing?  I’d much rather people met me as Jen in a fun atmosphere with some drinks and dancing, rather than some official email from a senior manager informing them that “person X from department D would henceforth like to be known as person Y.”

I know a few people who have gone full-time at other work places. They’ve all done what appears to be the more traditional way, leaving as a guy and coming back 2 weeks later as a girl. I hope my more gradual approach is working by not only increasing my confidence, but also helping other people understand what I’m about.

Personally I think I’m ready, and I do need to be thinking about myself first and foremost. I know I’ll get such an amazing confidence boost out of this, it could completely alter my thinking about going full-time at work. Gosh I should go look at dresses online. What a great way this will be to end the year.

Hang on… have I just made a decision?!