Words of warning and welcome:

This is very much my blog, so don't be surprised if this doesn't follow accepted patterns and norms. Obviously it started out as a blog about my cross-dressing but it has developed a great deal since then. It is a place where I can be anonymous and honest, and I appreciate that.

It will deal with many things and new readers would do well to check out the New Readers' Page above this and the tag down there on the right. Although there's nothing too bad in here there will be adult language, so be careful. If you think this needs a greater control, please let me know. Thank you!

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Matching

Between 17 and 20 August I was alone at home whilst the family were on holiday in Portsmouth. I know, this is becoming a feature, but I can't complain too much, my experience of holidays (as evidenced here) is that they don't work well for me. This arrangement works for Tilly as other adults who aren't me get to distract the children and she gets some time to, well, have a holiday. When I'm in tow I guess she doesn't?

And here it is! Seriously, I love it. Now my
favourite item.
All irrelevant. I was alone. Obviously I indulged. At first I was just stupid about it all. I took dares, did some of them and obviously made use of my new purchase for the dropping off of the family and immediately afterward. However, the biggest thing was buying a simple pink t-shirt from Aldi that had sleeves that tied above the arm and holes over the shoulders. It was a revelation. Combined with my knee-length denim skirt and a stuffed bra it was... It may be the most comfortable I have been since 2013's dress photo. So comfortable in fact that I didn't even feel the need to take a selfie. It was lovely and I spent most of my time at home in the get up. I felt like me. Even the new purchase, although used, failed to match the feeling I got from a t-shirt for £2. I tried on most of my wardrobe for very short periods of time but I kept coming back to that t-shirt and skirt combo. I paired it with my wedges and my heeled boots and both were just lovely. The boots work better generally as my feet are not really something I want to see.

Huh. Here is the skirt! H&M.

In combo with the t-shirt... I loved
them.

I know I'm not fashionable. Never have
been, but they felt divine.
As the days went I even let myself shave the bottom half of my legs where baldness or something has denuded the outside of them of hair. I didn't give a shit about hiding it. It felt... nice. I'm not saying I can't not do it, I'm not saying I yearn for smooth legs all the time, but I am saying it's not been tried since 2005 and I welcomed the feeling again. I do also want to try doing that with my armpits too. A brief foray and test with small areas yielded interesting results and felt very nice indeed earlier in the year so that's something for me to consider.

When I went out to do shopping or go to the pub (I went to the pub) I went out with my choice of underwear - knickers and bra - and it was wonderful. If I thought I could have escaped notice I woudl have stuffed the bra. Why? I liked the feeling. I really did. Stuff (ha) how it looked, it looked stupid, it felt nice. Like the t-shirt. The other reason there's no selfie is that I looked a complete berk. But I felt light and airy. Free. Held. Safe. Me. I felt like me again. I didn't even wear the wig much. I mean, I did at first and I love having the feeling of long hair and it falling across my eyes. I love looking through it. I love the weight of it. But I hate how it looks. I hate the fact that it's not real hair. And, well, you know, it just can't be, well, real hair. So I dropped the wig. Oh, and I wore pop-socks (like small tights that are sock sized) when I was out. I under-dressed. Fully. And it was beautiful. I have no words to adequately describe it.

I was invincible. Unstoppable. Happy. I was happy. It was electric.

It was cold and sunny. Bright but chilly. I had split with Toby
for the first time. I was regretting it and thinking things
through. So I fasted to concentrate the mind and aid prayer.

It was helpful. It worked. I got clarity. Too late to repair the
damage my wobble caused. A metaphor for my life.
On the last day I packed it all away. The regret was palpable. Pangs. Like fasting and then walking past a butcher's five days in on a day out in Skipton in 2005 late in March. Proper hunger, not the kind people mean when they declare themselves starving, famished or hungry before lunch. Those kinds of pangs of regret, I nearly cried. But away it was packed. I prepared the house and ensured there was no evidence of anything in the house.

Of course, wearing my new purchase overnight and in heat did leave some issues. The ring left a welt on my ball sack. A skin nodule I have grew and got a bit painful as a consequence. I know this, leave it alone and it goes. Took a couple of days. Worth it, totally worth it. But I shall have to be more careful with the fitting next time, go back to the bigger ring.

The funny thing? I was actually looking forward to Tilly being home. I had genuinely missed her and the children. I was looking forward to the conversation, a hug maybe. I got some hugs. I got some conversation. But, as detailed here, I was also disappointed. She had not, it transpires, missed me much. Nor had the children really. I mean, don't get me wrong, they were glad to see me and regale me with their adventures, but they missed the holiday more than they missed me whilst they were on holiday. A tinge of gall there, but what can one do? Perhaps it's for the best.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Persona

This is not a proper post on here, sorry, it's just a quick one. So much has happened.

The main thing is that I pushed a conversation again. And, records, because: records. Anyway, yes, the upshots were as follows:
1. The cheating thing is how Tilly feels and no, it is not fair. But it is how she feels.
2. She fell in love with my teacher persona. I was listening more then. Or, rather, she felt I listened more then. Can't argue with feelings.
2a - No, she can't imagine being physical with me because of my dressing. She knows I'm still doing it and that just makes her angry.
3. She can't change her reaction to my dressing any more than I can not dress.
3a - It's either as we are or we split.
4. Being a cross-dresser and actually dressing are two different things. It is the latter she has an issue with. My choice (that word again) to dress is the issue. She wouldn't be married to a gay person so, no, the comparison doesn't work.
5. All of this is unlikely to change, but she really doesn't want to ruin everything for the children and each other by ending things. She's heard how my parents acted after they split up. She'd scared she would be the same.
6. Why should she have to change and make it all alright to dress, why can't I be the one to change? But, no, if she could make herself okay with it, of course she would.

And that's it. Take-away, for me, is point 2. Felt like a punch in the gut. I did point out that, if anything, I was more open when we met than I am now but that's not how it feels to her. And feelings are not logical nor open to logic. For normal non-ASD people that is.

Tilly has also tried talking to others about my gender identity issues and the one she spoke to laughed in her face and said, of my musings on using Mx, that I was "just being a man about it". She, and I, have no idea what that means. It does, however, mean that she can't find anyone to talk to about these things and she can't talk to me because I'm the one about whom she is angry.

And that's it.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

To save me from the Hell I'm in

I forced a conversation again. Please excuse the double posting of the song below (as in my last post) I have been finding it very helpful to focus work and not being depressed.


This is more for my records (and sanity) rather than anything else, so bear with me. Yesterday Tilly was 'joking' around in increasingly nasty commentary about what I was doing. I pointed this out. Initially she got shirty and angry about me attacking her, how it was all just a joke and how I was no judge of what counted as nasty or not. Then she tried to say it was hard to adjust from me being depressed and attacking myself. Finally, about three hours after the event, she apologised for being out of order.

Interesting.

Tonight, as I was searching for needle and thread (fruitlessly it turns out) I happened across a DVD, The Prestige. No idea where it's form, nor why it was crushed between screws and such emptied out from an old cupboard back in 2014 or 2015. Anyway, in the course of the back and forth on the DVD and where it came from, Tilly announced that my reaction was the same as with "that parcel" and explained that this is why she finds it hard to trust me, as I could be hiding anything and there was no way of knowing. I quibbled and she changed her statement (whilst not admitting that was what she was doing) to why she sometimes found it hard to trust me.

I pushed on this door. We got into cross-dressing. She has been loving me not dressing (oops, I stopped not doing it with my last entry, she wasn't given a memo) because it stops her hating me. She shared that simply knowing I was dressing at any point was enough to make her hate me, viscerally, and there was nothing that could be done about it apart from me obviously never doing it again. She could cope with me being a cross-dresser provided that I wasn't actually cross-dressing.

I pointed out that she had said, a lot, in the past that this was her issue and not mine, but that she was framing it very carefully about my decisions and my choices. Initially she refuted it, but slowly and grudgingly acknowledged that I could be allowed to feel that if I wanted. I note now and noted then the careful phrasing.

Again I pushed. I said we needed to talk over it again then. She expressed frustration, I would only be repeating myself and this was a primal reaction, an irrational one, and there was no unpacking it. Well, I countered, we need to train this part of her to not fear it so much through repetition or else end it all. Those are our options as I see them, and if we're trying to get better then we have to face it.

Tilly very reluctantly accepted this. She wasn't up for any conversation now though. I carefully pointed out that this would always be the case. The children could hear, she protested. They will be fine, I pointed out, like I was with my Grandpa's homosexuality.

Ah, she said, but that was fine because homosexuality is fine and she is fine with homosexuality. I gave a look. Okay, she accepted, fine.

We had the conversation. The ins and outs are not that relevant.  The main issues are this:
1. She maintains that she never knew about my cross-dressing and that finding out about it felt like a betrayal.
2. She does not like my gender expression. Why can't I be binary like everyone else? Okay, other people can be non-binary, but not the man she married, he has to wear man clothes (her emphasis). Simply thinking about me cross-dressing is enough to make her violently hate me and this has diminished since I'd said I'd stopped doing it. (No, I did not reveal my, ahem, gigantic 'fuck you' to her controlling demands).
3. I told her what was in "that parcel". She was unsurprised, "I don't see what else it could have been." I said that was an interesting response, she said she wasn't prepared to talk any further on that. "Fair enough," said I.
4. Her bisexuality ended when we married, she had a wobble (did I know that? - uh, yes, it was kind of a big deal, Tilly - and I repeated my position on it to her again. For reference: she can be attracted to women, do anything she likes with women and the only boundary is the one she sets for 'cheating'; I would respect her boundary and not judge) and then it was done. Why can't I do the same with my cross-dressing?

On point 4, I pointed out that the parallel was unfair. Her 'bisexuality' and 'monogamy' had been a little conflated there. She was still bisexual (she agreed) but married. Her sexuality was unchanged (she agreed). So she was talking about not cheating, my cross-dressing was not cheating. This caused the final epiphany of the evening for Tilly: it was to her. She would need to think this over and mull on it before I could offer anything. I accepted this, pointed out that I felt it was an unfair comparison to make but respected the fact that anything I said right now would just be noise.

We finished with a long hug, then she went to bed.

Friday, 10 August 2018

I hear their hooves

One of my aspie superpowers is to assert reality. That is, to live as if something were true and then not brook alternatives. An experiment then presents itself: let's see if I have self-esteem.


I shall attempt living as if I have, and we'll see what happens.

Seriously, how to people eat this? It stinks and it just looks...
wrong. Also, it makes me feel sick. No, others can have all of
these, I have no issue, but I ain't having them.
I went to the doctor and he told me that there was 'no relevance' of my 'label' of ASD on depression. Which is patent bollocks, but it didn't occur to me until hours later. ASD. Anyway, I ended up paying the prescription charge of £8.80 on some anti-depressants. And I look at them like I view bananas. I can't actually imagine putting them in my mouth and the more I think about it the more visceral my reaction. I don't want to take them. I don't want to try them. I don't want to take them and be influenced by them. I can't do that. Like I can't eat bananas. It's irrational. It's probably stupid. But I just can't. Increasingly, as time passes (as opposed to other definitions of increasingly), I just can't see myself doing anything with them.

Haunting. Sinister. Trans.

Beautiful. Inspiring. Invasive.

Clear. Yearning. Gender.
Tilly continues to remind me that I promised to try all avenues. She continues to seek to commiserate that my last therapist sounded shit. She suggests that I am unwilling to look up others and reminds me that Relate has a list that may be useful but that Relate tends to side too much with the ASD person and not enough with 'reality'. That's the key to that particular mystery. My last therapist agreed with me and not her.

On Quora, after the last big discussion with Tilly, I posted a question of the type I used to read a lot back when the Experience Project was a thing. It gained many responses that I used to see back then, mainly pitched without the depth and understanding that EP would provide - and a decided leaning to bacon-scented candles as a method of dealing with sexlessness in a marriage. But then there was a long answer that mirrored the kind of good advice that Leslie has consistently given on this blog. It made me sit up and notice anew. Like Leslie does.

Self-esteem. It all comes down to self-esteem.

It can be over-used.

I remember that once she claimed I was doing it to her not
long after I introduced the term to her. Were I to try and remind
her of the conversations had in 2016 and late 2017 to early
2018 I am certain I would be so accused again.

I keep records. I learned that in 2006/7 at work.
In short, and to repeat heavily what Leslie has been saying for years, the concept that as an ASD person I am somewhat vulnerable to having self-esteem destroyed. And that Tilly expected me to change and resents the fact that I simply cannot in many of the ways that she would like. That she is from an emotionally abusive background. That a child learns what they live. I was criticised and admonished, I learned to be criticised and admonished. She was emotionally brutalised and so learned to emotionally brutalise. She was gaslit so learned to gaslight. And my vulnerability is seen as weakness and she cannot stand weakness, it must punished and purged until it is no more. But I am a victim. So I took it. I take it.

When I am broken we have 'real conversations' but if I am a participant we have the truth instead.

Dr Luke Beardon, Sheffield Hallam University.

His blog

His talk on vimeo

He's really into triathlons and the smell of his own dog.
And Autism.
In 2016 there was the same cycle. It took longer. But I beat my depression into remission by logic. By having a spine. And in late 2017 I gained a hard-fought concession: the right to wear whatever the fuck I wanted under my clothes. A concession I threw away. I apologised for something I never said. For what Tilly wanted me to have said so that she could be the reasonable one.

I found the comment that reminded me of the video (thank you anonymous) about myths surrounding ASD by Dr Luke Beardon, who has a blog as well and a book on Amazon that I may buy, and it was a wake-up call. A reminder. My experience counts too. I am precise, I try very hard to say what I mean and I will amend my language if I am wrong. But what I am trying to say will remain remarkably consistent. My memory isn't great but, surprisingly, my emotional core is pretty consistent. That's partly why I keep this blog in such detail. It allows me to check back, to cross-reference, to confirm and challenge what I think happened. To temper the fickle memories with what I said about things at the time.

I had it tonight. It's brilliant.

Also fitting.
I asked her why she was so keen to stop me drinking yesterday. Immediately, Tilly got angry and defensive. She had said no such thing. She had barely even mentioned my drinking. I pointed out she had done so once a day since her parents were over. She spluttered, got red in the face, angrily decried my version of events. How dare I! She doesn't care what I drink, yes she did say I conflated relaxation and beer drinking, in an aspie way. I drink like an aspie. Do I not drink like an aspie? As soon as she could she changed the subject. Today she looked the happiest she has for years because we found a missing exercise DVD. I'm not even joking. Happier than at any point than I remember since the wedding. Tyhen and now, not at me, not with me, but with something else and in my direction. Happy at me.

But, you know, I count too.

Let's make that £8.80 the worst I ever spent. Let's return to wearing whatever the fuck I want. Yes, it IS a choice. But it is not my choice to find that so hurtful and irrationally destructive.

Tilly asked: why would I choose to do something that she hated so much. But this misses something: why does she hate it so much? Of what is she afraid? How does it really affect her? She rages at my washing when it dries, has she noticed that I stopped wearing knickers? No, I know she hasn't. Does she rage ineffectively at my boxers? Probably. She is not raging at cross-dressing, she is raging at it remaining outside her control.

I do not blame her. She is as much a victim as I. As much beholden to her past as am I. I make my offers - I am pleased to offer Butterfly treatment if she wishes, with no hope of anything in return, because I enjoy it - but do not expect them to be taken up. This is also fine. No, I do not believe any woman wants me, an ageing cross-dresser with ASD and three children, for a romantic or sexual partner. Or man for that matter - though I am quite cis in that regard and secure in that, so that doesn't bother me.


But I don't need to crawl. I don't need to beg.

I fucking count.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Untitled

Been a bit delayed, this post.


15 Hours

I can't really deny this.
The day after the day after I got the chastity device I did a better job of putting it on. I took my time in the morning and applied it more comfortably and securely after a shower. I intended to wear it for 12 hours, so from about 8am to 8pm. Seeming logical as a test. And it did what I expected, but better. It was comfortable and rather easy to wear. It's plastic components were like what I imagine wearing a corset would be like. I took the smallest on a walk and, of course, a deserted pathway only became busy when I needed a piss and elected to go behind a bush, of course. However, apart from that, there was no incident. I have to say that the experience was almost enjoyable. Apart from an ill-advised look at fap-roulettes on the bog later that day, which was a little constricting if not painful, it was almost easy to forget that I had it on.

I noticed that it was harder to deal with my usual aftermath of going to the loo, that is dripping, but apart from that there was no real ill-effect. Wearing it on the hottest day of the year may have been a bad plan but if that is the worst it can get then all is well. Of course, this was to be the day that Tilly couldn't get the smallest to settle in the evening and so came down until 11pm to 'chat' in the dining room. This meant that I ended up wearing it for 15 hours. As a stress test I think it functioned pretty well and confirmed that the money I spent was worth what I bought. Not quite enough to balance beer for the same price yet but as I suspect this will be far from my last time wearing the device I think I'll hit value for money relatively quickly. The only real surprise for me is that since then I haven't really had the chance to wear it again. I will though.

Underwear

Yeah, older than these and with some attempt at colour.
As hinted at after the big argument on gaining the chastity device, I have stopped wearing knickers. It's odd. It has reminded me that I do rather need to account for testicles, as I stated last post, and that has been... interesting. Also, most of my boxers are in sore need of replacement - which is why I didn't feel so bad investing in new knickers around Christmas time - and that is not an expense that I have planned for. So I suspect I shall be wearing scratty shitty things for now. You may well ask why I am doing this when I was able to derive some actual joy from the alternative, well, more on that in a moment. This just serves to mark the point at which a rash statement can be counted as becoming a reality.

Speaking of anniversaries and marking points, the second anniversary of our most recent dry patch passed sometime in the last month, so that's nice. Not much to say about that. I think it'll become immaterial in time anyway, so there's that. I won't claim that I am unaffected by its passing though, because I am, and I am a little saddened. I know, I know, it's ridiculous. It's sex, right? No big deal. And we've recently had a third child. Two years is nothing in the grand scheme of things.

I am, however, still planning to cross-dress a bit when Tilly and the children are off visiting her parents down south in a couple of weeks' time. Yes, this is how we roll now. I get time whilst they get holidays. Tilly actually gets a break when I'm not there as she doesn't have to worry about me as well as the children. That seems fair. I get friends visiting for beer and the chance to go for beers at other times so I can't really complain.

That concludes the normal upbeat section of my blog. For more you can click the line break or, like a sane person, abandon the post now.




Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Normal

Yesterday my chastity device arrived.

This is what arrived.

I managed to fit it after the big argument whilst everyone was
out. Tilly, Smallest and the Boy were at a soft-play place and
the Girlie was at a friend's house. I had a good hour alone.

Well, okay, no. I had about twenty minutes as Tilly texted
to say that Girlie needed an earlier pick-up. I only had that
long because I had to be in to receive a parcel for Tilly.

Tilly did say, mid-argument, that she knew I dressed when I
was alone and that she really didn't like it but that there was
nothing she could do.

Damn fucking right.
Yes, I bought one and ordered it and it arrived and I had time alone enough to put it on. Actually, it was pretty comfortable and, well, interesting. I mean, it took a while to get it to sit right. This was a bit of an issue because I didn't really have long enough to do that before running errands and stuff and so it ended up hurting toward the end of the day. Mainly as I have rather forgotten to account for testicles in recent months. However, main thing: it arrived and it felt good and I wore it for seven hours. I shall be wearing it again. It is worth the money I paid for it.

It arrived, however, whilst I was out. Tilly was suspicious of the parcel and checked the return address - it was a fancy-dress shop in Leeds. She angrily texted me to say she knew it wasn't school supplies but no further details. When I returned (I'd been out with the youngest) she launched into a diatribe about being lied to. She did not reveal how she knew, nor where the parcel was, for twenty or so minutes. That was hard. I mean, how much did I tell her? How much did she know? How much did she not want to know? She told me, after a while, that she had no desire to know what was in the parcel, none. She simply didn't like the fact that I'd warned her a parcel would be arriving that would need signing for and that I'd said it was school supplies.

Yeah, okay.

Less finger pointing but same eyes.

You must understand that my eyes flash too. And I am
irritating in that I tend to react differently to normal input.

Try harder.
In the course of the ambush, for want of a better word, she revealed that she still rages inside when she sees or is reminded that I am wearing knickers. She doesn't get it, she wishes it would go away, and she would like me to stop. She does her best to ignore the washing but she can't and they hang out and that is just wrong and annoying.

I didn't have a lot to say in return. I asked if she wanted to know what was in the parcel, she said no. I confirmed it was not school supplies and that I didn't know why a fancy dress place in Leeds was on the label (I don't). She said it was about trust. I pointed out that she had googled the return address. Not valid, she shot back, she was already certain something was going on from the way I mentioned the parcel the previous day. Had I said nothing, she said, she would not have checked. I pointed out that she would have asked and that lies would still have happened. Try harder, was her response. So, in essence: don't lie but try harder when you do. Right, good, glad that was clear.

Not a shit live-in au pair. Probably a very good one if that arm
round the shoulders is anything to go by.
Tilly is worried, you see, that I will leave her when I realise that I can do better. My Father had multiple affairs and I am his son (I thought that was a low blow, a few hours later when it was too late to say anything). I pointed out that I couldn't. I was waiting for her to gain the emotional energy to find a bloke, or a woman, she could actually be intimate with. She would lose nothing.

What is she afraid of losing? Well, she is perfectly happy with the way things are. With me as a kind of shit live-in au pair that works for free and provides some money whilst doing some of the chores. Tilly wanted to stress how good things had been in the last week (she was referring to the weekend and Monday, one assumes), she'd forgotten the angry start to Monday I think. I was going to give the family a lift into the city because the elder two had a drumming club. Tilly, being grumpy in the morning, got snappy. I tried to get details and she ended up getting angry and blaming the children being slow and the fact that she couldn't remember times on me. If she didn't have to organise me then she'd be better off. If I took them in to town I'd only stress her out by not knowing where I was going or where I was parking or the traffic or whatever. In the end I had snapped back that I'd keep out of her way if she liked.

Not any more.
Without really patching things up, I'd given them a lift in. Then spent a fruitless hour or so getting the smallest some new shoes and not getting me any. "We get on when we don't interact much" opined Tilly later. Can't say that I disagree. In fairness, this was her response to my "we work best when we're not in a relationship" comment, so it's not out-of-the-blue. Mind you, I did get a compliment on a new shirt I'd bought the previous day and my haircut that I got (whilst in chastity it's worth noting) that day, so... I don't know. I think Tilly was on her best behaviour.

Today was an exercise in us not interacting much. Tilly had stopped being on her best behaviour. I have stopped wearing knickers (Tilly does not know or care, this is purely because I can't any more given the argument yesterday). I took the smallest for a walk and some shopping whilst Tilly took the eldest two to the cinema; then we switched while Tilly paid for the smallest's upcoming Christening (the after-party, not the service); then we switched again while Tilly cooked tea and then switched back so I could eat and Tilly could bathe smallest and hit the sack. Tilly is now working on an article and smallest is asleep. Tomorrow will be similar, I suspect. I'm the live-in baby-sitter on holidays.

Can you imagine?
I saw a couple sat out by a local lake in the sunshine today. All young and romantic. Wine and roses, picnic blankets and sandwiches. No contact, but clear warmth. Is that romantic? I was minded of when we had a free evening in Carlisle way back. I took Tilly to the city, we searched for where to eat but it was late and nothing was really available without paying the earth. I took her on a walk by the river because I remembered it being beautiful, but it was late and so shit because we couldn't see anything. We stopped off in a pub, before the walk along the river, and I talked about the decor and how things had changed and hadn't. Tilly referred to this, later, as me taking her on an architectural trip around Carlisle. It wasn't romantic, she said, interesting but not romantic. She had assumed I would take her on a romantic trip that night, if intimacy was what I was after. But I didn't.

Diving into work in the last fortnight before breaking up I spent most mornings crying to songs.


Sunday, 22 July 2018

A Life in Music

Work is over: hurrah! Somehow I have survived since starting on this particular trough and I've made it to the other end where there is nothing pressing to do and I have had two free-ish days. I have drunk a lot of beer and I have pootled in the heat. I have finished my marking (yes, I marked enough to cover a lost contract when I got chucked off one contract for not being on standard). Okay, yeah, that needs some unpacking but now is not the time nor the place. Suffice it to say that I have survived and we have enough money for the year ahead. And, you know, a little bit extra. Which is nice.

I am indebted to a friend for this link which is awesome.


Whilst still at work, earlier on, I was asked to take part in a series of lessons that a retired teacher runs to, well, get Year 12 students discussing stuff. There is no curriculum as such, no exam, no real aim: just a series of lessons that asks difficult questions and occasionally provides answers. But there is also time and encouragement for students to take the lead and request stuff. This year I was requested to do Desert Island Discs, so of course I did because I have a monstrous ego and need to be validated.

Now, the list I chose for the lesson was not great. I agonised over it for a good month and was still playing with it (to the point of dropping two songs and bringing in two more on the fly) until the last minute. However, they were carefully curated and you may not be surprised by any of the choices. I shall share the list I shared then here today and then, maybe, share some other ones in a future post as I worked through the sort of things that I could have shared had it not been in the context of a school. As I'm sure is clear, there are parts of me that I am not thinking are particularly good ideas to share in normal conversation just yet. That sort of thing will be left to future generations, one hopes.

So, in the meantime, here's the list:

1. It's a Sin - Pet Shop Boys


I wanted to have at least one by the Pet Shop Boys, obviously, I am a big fangirl. And, also, it offered windows of opportunity to drop subtle hints. I initially wondered about using Why Don't We Live Together because of the amazing lyric "the woman in me shouts out / the man in me just smiles" but figured that the song was a bit long just for that line. Instead I went with the far less subtle It's a Sin because it was one of the earliest songs of their's that I liked (well, 1987, close enough) and it became very much the soundtrack to my internal monologue. I was dimly aware that it had to do with sexuality (it's about Tennant's homosexuality at his Catholic school) but mainly it summed up my own thoughts about, well, me. I wasn't homosexual but the idea that everything I did, do and will do being wrong was something that resonated. I didn't put it quite like that in the lesson, and the questions, it turned out, were pre-ordained and not connected to the songs I had - I think I threw the guy running the show.

Anyway, yes, this song heavily influenced my early years and informed my outlook on life as well as my own thoughts about my own choices. Because of course it did. From the classical chord changes and the clever lyrics to the use of synthesisers and aspects of UK life that don't translate that well elsewhere (not least Manchester-Blackpool area, putting me firmly in that part of the 80s that was inhabited by these people) it's not hard to see how this influenced my... everything. I wanted to use it as a springboard to talk about the musical, Closer to Heaven, and how the song twixt Straight Dave and Lee made me cry on the way into work that morning or the significance of You Choose making me cry in 2005, but I didn't.

2. It's Grim Up North - the KLF/the Justified Ancients of Muu-Muu/the JAMMs


This one was because I discovered it in 1992 and thought it was amazing. The video is pretty cool (the M62, in case you're wondering) and I love the way it works even though it totally shouldn't have the effect that it does. There's just something about the way the listing of towns and cities in the north is evocative and poetic even though it's just some Scottish bloke reeling off place names at a leisurely cadence. Then there's the build and the fact that it ends with Jerusalem and manages to really bring home the Dark Satanic Mills part of the anthem rather than the idea of building Jerusalem in Britain. By the bye, every question in Jerusalem can be answered with an emphatic 'no' in case you're wondering.

My interlocutor pointed out that the singer had never been to Yorkshire as he pronounced the 'h' in Harrogate and Huddersfield (though, to be fair, so do residents of either place if not the rest of Yorkshire) and that allowed him to segue into questions based on the fact that I was from Lancashire. I would have rather spoken about the sue of crows in the sound and the fact that the KLF burned £1m to prove a point (made on the end of their first album where a bonus track talked of burning GIROs) but it simply wasn't to be. I do an assembly/lesson on greed that ended with me burning money based on what these guys did and I've been doing that since about 2006. I'd've done it earlier but I didn't have my Thatcher scheme of work even vaguely planned until 2006 and that's when it became relevant. This song and an assembly by my History teacher about smoking (he burned £20) were the twin inspirations for that.

3. Jesus Freak - dctalk


I am sorry but I am not even vaguely embarrassed about this one. At the time I had been introduced to dctalk as being controversial in the USA and, honestly, I can see why they were. On both sides of the Christian divide. However, back then, I didn't see it. I fell in love with this track significantly later than the recording of it, sometime around 2001, and didn't own a copy until 2009 and Tilly buying me the tenth anniversary of the album. It stood in on the day for the whole of CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) and thus was supposed to offer a gateway to chat about my faith and journey at University. It didn't go that way because no one was prepared for this one. However, it also offers me a chance to talk now about it. I think I have spoken extensively of my faith before, so that need not detain us here, but one aspect I have not spoken of.

At University the second time I went into it hard, as I do most things, and decided to be a better human being. Part of this was my own meanderings about masturbation. Now, I don't hold with the 'self-harm' bollocks and was merely looking at it from an addiction point of view. I read a series of thoughts who all went to the same nub of the issue - if it controls you rather than the other way around then it is unhealthy. So, I tried to prove that it was not controlling me. I did this, initially, by not wanking except on Fridays (no shit, for real). Then I decided that wasn't enough control. I went 8 months in one go without wanking in 2001 and then settled on about once a month between 2002 and 2004. I went back to once a week with Toby, then went back to once a month for the year between Toby and Tilly. When with Tilly it was relegated to 'after I saw her' and now we're back up to once or twice a day.

Point is, there was, and is, a part of me that really likes these songs. They bring back a time in my life when I genuinely felt in control of things despite firmly giving up said order and control to My Favourite Imaginary Friend Who I Believe Is Not Imaginary And Created The Universe. In these dark days, feeling decidedly out of control in my life, they form an attractive contrast. As it was, we talked about Cliff Richard and how CCM was, for a time, at the cutting edge of the music scene. Because it was. I couldn't find my copy of Ha . Le . Lu . Jah by thebandwithnoname and it turns out that youtube simply doesn't have it, so I can't even share it here. If you do get a chance to have a listen, even if you don't believe, do - it's worth it for the styles of music alone.

4. Motorway to Damascus - The Divine Comedy


This was the B-side to a single my brother picked up called The Frog Princess - a bitter diatribe of a comedy song that was really quite nice. I think he'd been through a bit of a break up and that spoke to him. I stole it, it was a tape single, one night and fell in love with the b-side instead. I recorded it and now it's one of my staples. To me it summed up that whole environmental message that had been burned through the 1980s and was actually making a difference in the 1990s. I learned the lyrics and fancied myself capable of singing them on the way to school in Sixth Form (along with Let Me Entertain You by Robbie Williams in case you're wondering). It became something of a mantra. In the lesson it became a chance to talk about owning an electric car, something the retired teacher was and is interested in, but I wanted to talk about the power of music in activism and subversion in, well, everything. It was a bit of a tough choice between this and The Beloved Sweet Harmony to be honest but the latter's video and lyrics do rather lend themselves to something a tad more sexual - which I never realised until I was much older.

Whatever, the point is that the song scratches my surface and hints at my world-saving complex that still occasionally shines through like the shiny dog-turd that I have become. Mainly it's bollocks and we're all doomed, which is fine, but the song talks about a time afterward. "When the silhouetted ruins / of the crumbling cooling towers / are but / ivy-clad reminders / of a long forgotten power. / Must the monkeys leave Gibraltar's rock / and ravens flee the tower / before we'll look / and see ourselves / for what we really are?" Why, yes, Mr Hannon, yes indeed. Also, I have part of a half-baked novel predicated on this song. Obviously it's an alternate universe with a Socialist Republican Britain and a world-ending environmental apocalypse because of course it is. Incoherence! It's why I stopped writing. No, really, that plot-line is literally the reason I stopped.

5. Come Undone - Duran Duran


I had Liza Minelli here with something from Results as it was written and produced by the Pet Shop Boys and has amazing tracks that summed up the time before my Dad left. I was going to use it to sum up teacher training and being married and all that guff. At the last minute I dropped it and replaced it with this. Mainly for the video but also the words. I hear tell that the song is supposed to be a birthday gift to Simon LeBon's wife and that is probably true. I hear pain and sadness. I hear depression and being unable to show who you are inside and how that eats you up. In the lesson not much was said about this, it came so far out of left field and was so unknown to the teacher in charge that it was virtually ignored. It is from Duran Duran after they were famous in the doldrums of the 1990s. It is, to me, the song of longing. I was listening to it the first time I broke up with Toby as I drove home and it made me stop the car to cry. It still makes me cry.

Not because of a break up with Toby. No. Because of all the things inside that never get to come out. Because of all the things that I didn't have words to explain at the time, like Genderqueer or ASD, and all the things I still can't adequately explain because the words do not yet exist. I briefly mentioned the crying thing in the lesson, probably part of the reason we moved on so quickly, but I have to say the video helps. I'm sure you can see at least one reason why but also the drowning woman. For want of a better metaphor, that'll do for now. It might take a little crying but it does rather work in coming up for air. This was supposed to be the penultimate song but we ran out of time on the day so my sixth choice (again, I was in two minds) was never shared.

6. Girls and Boys - Blur


As it never happened in the lesson, I get to finish things tonight with a choice I knowingly didn't share and did not include. Now, obviously, this is because of the songs connections to cross-dressing and transsexualism and all that jazz. However, for me, it's mainly due to the fact it was the song I chose one night in my third year at University to play with friends in a bar. Kirsten, for twas she, took me to one side and asked me if I were a cross-dresser because if I were that would be okay and they would all support me in my choice. She claimed that it was simply the choice of song that had tipped her off and that it was only that. I stammered, stuttered and said very little of anything. In effect, I closed it down despite laying clues to that effect for the best part of two years by that point. This song, therefore, became imbued with what might have been - if only I had admitted it and accepted the support on offer. I can only guess at what may have been able to happen.

A double reason for this song then: it's central message and the longing for going back and fixing my own mistakes. And this one was unforced and egregious. I certainly wouldn't be where I am today had I done things differently the first time I played this in public and that may or may not have been better. Who knows, eh? I like to think that things would be better.


If you've read this far, well done! I hope I didn't bore you too much. I mean, if I did, what the hey, you chose to read this far and so I shan't apologise, it serves no purpose. Oh, and yeah, that chastity device I said I would never buy? Well, I kinda did with some money left over from the extra marking I did. It's here. I shall be honest and say I am looking forward to trying it out because then I can dial back on the wanking a bit (I'm slightly perturbed by the frequency) and maybe even enjoy the fact that there's no sex on the horizon or beyond. It's due later this week sometime. I'm torn on whether or not it's exploitative of Tilly and her lack of needs in this direction but, ultimately, I'm feeling horrendously selfish and a bit of a dick, so I shall embrace it and double down. Why the fuck not. The world is going to Hell and I figured I may as well get there first.