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, 31 May 2012

Living in fear

Since 'surfacing' I have had some time to look back at both this blog and my life in general over the past year or so.  I noticed that there is a trend lying in everything that I can remember and read back on those points and one that seems to stretch back as far as I can remember as well.  As I write this I am dressed in an ensemble that dates back to about 2005/6, after I split with Toby and before I met Tilly.  This is not meant as titillation, I think it is relevant.

Yes.  This sums up me, looking at life from
round the corner and in female clothing.
The thing is that, for as long as I can remember and certainly as long as I have been analysing what I do (read: as long as I can remember) I have lived in and through fear.  My every decision and action is weighed against the fear of things going wrong.  Once, when I was still reading Focus and my Dad had not yet left, I read an article on military commanders and what made them great.  It was simple psychology, historical doggerel at its worst but matched to some firm scientific principles (any research that takes historical figures, generals at that, at face value is doggerel) on psychology.  In it, there was one of those silly quizzes to take and see how you matched up to the generals.  Now, I was 'into' warfare and strategy in the way that most teenage boys are, well, maybe not most.  I had no desire to actually fight, no desire to actually have a war but commanding armies and setting strategies, well, that did seem like my bag.  So, for once, I didn't game the results and I didn't peek at the results from the generals themselves ahead of time.  It turned out that I was motivated by fear of things going wrong, no great news there, but the analysis of the result set I was in said that this was the worst motivation for, well, anything but particularly for military command as I was unlikely to take risks and unlikely therefore to win any victories.  I would make a great First World War commander, few of my men would die, but I would never win a conflict.
Kuropotkin, whose fear of failure
led directly to the defeat of the
Russian army at the battle
of Mukden in March 1905.

I knew that the article had me pegged then and I'm even more certain now.  I am reactive as a personality type, I rely on stimulus from others to inform my own actions and rarely take the initiative.  Take meeting Tilly - this was one of the few times that I took the initiative in that I contacted her.  However, once we had regular contact I became almost exclusively reactive (I still have the e-mails) in communication.  I arranged a trip to York, initiative, and our first night together as a couple in Oxford.  But the impetus for actually having sex that night was from Tilly.  I asked her to marry me and to move in.  From the point she moved in, though, I became reactive again.  From that point until quite recently I operated out of a perverse fear that she would leave me in all operations and interactions with her.











Iam rarely bothered by the unknown.  I am older and wiser,
I fear what is likely or what I am aware could happen.
This is not helped by the fact that I am borderline paranoid
about the motivations of other people.
It's only paranoia if they're not out to get you!
At work, until 2007, I was a mere peon: as a consequence I did not fear much but my boss's angry tirades.  I look back at the amount of work and the volume of stuff that I got through and I can't help thinking that the reason I got through so much was the fact that there wasn't much fear - there was nothing to fear.  I had no reason to assume I would lose my job and no reason to fear any great changes there.  After that point I left to become a manager myself, I took someone else through a procedure that ended with them leaving the school and then being unemployed for a short time, I now knew that this worked.  But there was little fear there, at first.  As behaviour continued to be bad across the school and my results refused to match expectations I felt the first icy tendrils of the fear that would drive me back to my old boss and, eventually, into the horrid storm that has raged since the birth of my son at work.  Why?  Because I had forced someone else out of their job and had done so clinically and coolly.  I knew now how it could be done and that it could be done.  My experiences, talking through them with my old boss whilst I was still a manager, were then used against me by my boss when I returned.  I knew what he was doing, he knew that I knew and used that to pile on the pressure.  But it was my fear that allowed him to do that and to do it so effectively.  It has allowed my new boss to act the way she has, to be defensive and angry and for me to end up on the blunt end of some pretty bad stuff.  I have been feeling useless and crap for a good long while now and only recently did some of that 'fall away'.

Not my skirt, but close enough.
But it's all down to fear.  I wear a denim effect skirt and a pink elbow-length sleeved jumper with shirt cuff and collar edging at the moment.  The skirt was a 'present' from Toby as it fit me better than her, one that I was glad to take.  The top was bought randomly in a charity shop far from home because I fell in love with it and it was only a fiver.  I wore them a little around the time I bought my house in 2006/7 but then they've languished since then with a few outings because I am fearful of what would happen if Tilly found out that I still had them.  I'm on training at home at the moment, online, talking to other people in my profession and having a day off school and so I'm doing it more or less en femme.  Why?  Because the fear is not as bad today as it has obviously been for a long time.

Fear has another effect, however, in that it has prevented me from fully engaging in therapy, of which I have my final session soon, and that has been hard on both me and the lovely CBT professional that has been helping.  I disengage and make light and subvert because I'm so darn scared of it not working, of it all going wrong and knowing that the only person who caused that is me.  I am scared of responsibility because, in my experience, responsibility means blame and I am scared of making the wrong choices because they tend to have far reaching and unpredictable consequences.  These fears make it virtually impossible to engage in therapy properly and they combine with my fear of praise to create a perfect psychological storm.  In many ways I need the therapy to work so that I can engage enough in therapy to make it work.

It is fear that dictates how I engage with others too, both online and in real life.  The fear that they will think badly of me, that I will not someone that they can like or get on with.  I realise that this fear is ridiculous, one cannot be all things to all people and much less can one have entirely positive interactions with people - even, or perhaps especially, those with whom you've been a long time.  It's natural that there will be friction, discord and even anger in these exchanges.  It is natural that there will be people with whom I cannot get on for whatever reason or with whom I make a poor first impression and thus spend years labouring under that impression regardless of what I do.  In many ways it will be down to the person with whom I interact rather than anything that I do or say - they will have their own trials and tribulations and moods and thoughts.  Academically, I know all of this, but I still can't shake that nagging fear that I will mess it up, that I will create enemies rather than friends or, at the very least, I will come across as a complete eejit and be avoided politely for a long time.  But then I feel exactly the same fear and worry when people are nice from the get-go or when people change their moods and interactions with me.  No one can win in this, least of all me, and it's all down to fear.

Wearing what I am, in daylight no less, is part of me trying to take the fight to my fear.  We'll see what difference it makes...

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Beautiful but sad...

I found these.  I have no words.  The second one nearly caused me to cry.


Then there was this:


It is haunting, and beautiful. And sad.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Look Ma! Captions!

I appear to be obsessing over Rachel's Haven at the moment.  Where I have made some captions.  On powerpoint...  Last chance before work Hell arrives this Thursday, when I'll have to lie to one place to make money elsewhere - not fraud, just lying.  I hate lying.

Things is otherwise good.



Sunday, 27 May 2012

Film Review: Iron Sky

Forget everything you think you know about this movie.  It is good, but not
because of the irreverence, rather in spite of it.

I have been looking forward to seeing this film for ages!  Ever since I saw the trailers and heard the strapline of "the battle for Earth is gonna get Nazi" I just knew that I had to watch the film and the question was always "how many times?"  It turns out that this question was one that I would not be allowed to answer myself and would, instead, be dictated to a small amount by a few factors: my family and the distributors.

Originally the release was slated for 20 April and I was really ready for it.  Then it got put back but no one could say when until.  First just "May" and then "the end of May".  Reviews were not good.  People slated it for having poor acting, clunky dialogue, slapstick humour and misunderstanding US foreign policy.  People slated it for being a B Movie, for not trying hard enough to be a proper film and for trying too hard to say something different in the same review.  It seemed it just made people angry about it.

This quite accurately sums up the first half of the film but, boy, does it leave
out the bits that make it a bloody good thing!

It was, therefore, with some trepidation that I spotted it was coming out for one day in the UK: 23 May.  I arranged to go and see it but my work stuff was getting particularly bad and I wondered if I would even have the time.  Then, on the Tuesday evening, gold!  It was being shown a good few miles from where I live on the Friday as well.  This had a number of advantages, one of which I shall discuss in another post, but the one that will impact us here was the the fact it was the last day of my exam classes and so I could have the entire evening and a weekend to get some sleep caught up before going back to work.



I had now seen the first four minutes of the film: flimsy acting, crappy CGI in places and a poor use of the green screen to create some great footage of space but decidedly less dimensions used in the characterisation.  Dialogue was indeed stilted and the overall impact had left me wary.  I was therefore somewhatr prepared to regret my decision to see this film.

There are poor sections of the film and it does miss the awesome nature of its premise.  But not for the reasons I read so much about in reviews.  Maybe I went in prepared for a film that wasn't a comedy, maybe I'm just the kind of person they were aiming the film at, but I enjoyed it.  The plot was what kept me hooked in, from the very beginning it was clear to me that the people that made this film did so as a geekish labour of love.  Every little detail had been lovingly crafted and everything in the backgrounds was there for a reason.  The characters were old friends to the people that wrote the script and the people playing them had some inkling of this in the way they did the dialogue even when it got clunky.  It reminded me of the love and attention that had been lavished on Fifth Element by Luc Besson.

Awesome CGI.  Needed an epsiode all of its own, along with ground troops
and massive destruction across many characters.  I think they planned that, looking
at how it was played in the film itself.

My chief criticism was that this was not a film.  It needed to be a mini-series of around seven episodes, all about 45 minutes in length.  Too much of the film happened 'off-screen'.  Renate's awakening to what her Party actually was, for example, was a key moment and one that needed some time and attention devoted to it - they set that up, but they do not go into detail.  One minute she's ready to learn and the next time we see her she already knows.  There's the coup by Klaus, we see the culmination and we see the start but the plotting, which the writers clearly know in detail, was missing completely!  Then there's the betrayal of the First Fleet, again, so much of that happens off screen that, although my brain filled in the missing bits well enough, I felt that I was missing what would make the film excellent.

The ending of the whole thing was clearly intended from the beginning and it was handled with grace and grim determination.  Hollowed a little by the much vaunted meteorblitzkrieg and the devastation implied but never seen (another episode, easily) but still hard-hitting and carefully devised.  If they had dropped the two slapstick sequences and the homage to Dr Strangelove then we would have had a very serious film that would not have been at all out of its depth with humorous touches.  As it was, they tried too hard to make it a comedy.  I want a mini-series.  I want the DVD.  I want the soundtrack (though sometimes I feel that they overdid that).  Do I want to see it again on the big screen?  Certainly, but not enough to make it happen in amongst everything else that will be launching in a week.


I recommend the film wholeheartedly, just be prepared for it to be like nothing you've seen in any of the reviews and to see it on its own merits!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Beer Review: Animee Lemon

Eurovision time in my household: cue the bad dresses and oddly put together vocals.  We're big fans, Tilly and I, of the whole shebang though we have found the evening a bit of a disappointment from our usual "let's buy the CD" years since 2007.

Eurovision means beer.  Tonight's newbie is Animee Lemon because Tilly noticed it and was intrigued.


First of all, it comes in a very small bottle, some 275ml, and although it weighs in at 4% ABV it is in such small portions there's no danger of it getting to you quickly.  It's a light beer, indeed, it seems suspiciously light given the ales I've had since starting my little jaunt some time last year.  The flavour is indeed very lemony, which is fine and dandy, but not really what I've come to expect from beer.  It has a slight fizz, less than I'm used to actually, and it's a bit like having a lager rather than a proper drink.  Stiil, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Aroma is tangy, taste is fresh and there's a hint of soft drink about it.  It's not cheap at £5 for 4 small bottles but nor will it break the bank.  It doesn't really produce a head nor does it go straight to yours.  Nice enough, you can have it with chocolates and not spoil them, but the flavour is strong - meaning that you can't really try another new beer after you've tried it and hope to have an objective experience with it.  I ended up having a Thoroughbred Gold afterwards.

Nice enough, not to my tastes, a bit wet.  Enjoy with a box of chocolates whilst waiting for your girlfriends to finish on the kareoke machine.  Quaff straight from the bottle and buy a pack between four of you, I expect it does better in numbers.  Spirited, young, and will no doubt feature in posh University parties or at barbeques.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Surfacing

It's like I've been underwater, or smothered in blankets or in a tunnel or something, but today I feel like I'm... I dunno, out.  Like I'm breathing freely again or just...

I mean, this just sounds scary.  The leader
suggested that this would be particularly
damaging.  Why?

So much to talk about, but I'm off out tonight to see Iron Sky at the cinema.  Yes, I know, I'm out to see a film and have fun.  It means my weekly beer will be tomorrow night whilst watching Eurovision, which promises to be politically significant again, and that the article about Travolta in the Daily Star (hardly the most reputable newspaper in the world) that I want to blog about will also have to wait until a more opportune time.

It's probably going to be really really bad, but I don't care.
Tilly is about to come down from getting the kiddliwinks to bed and we're having fish and chips.  Then I'm off to see the film.  I've packed a bag with my dress and boots in it.  You never know.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Positivity

Given how the week began I was so not expecting happiness at any point.  So, the fact that there have been some really nice things going on for me since Monday is all the more delightful and surprising.

Firstly, I was hanging around a little more on Rachel's Haven and doing what I usually do with a new social place: posting more or less at random as the fancy took me.  I didn't have much to say, and my posting wasn't anywhere near as quick as it has been in some other places in the past, but it meant that a few hours snatched before bed were a little more fun.  If it is possible to post shyly on forums then I was doing that.

All of sudden, Elle posted a nice PM, which I didn't get for a while, and then blow me if they didn't make me a lovely little caption.  Given how incredibly giddy I got when I was last made a caption it is, perhaps, unsurprising that I was made very giddy again.  I posted my thanks and then they posted back their pleasure that I had enjoyed their work, so far so standard, but they referred to me as 'Bex'.  I don't know what possessed me to use that moniker on the forum (my username is something I'm more universally known as online) but it wasn't in a terribly obvious place, so the kind Elle had picked it up and had somehow intuited its status.  Now, I had all but forgotten the status, I think I've mentioned it on here before though.  I had forgotten how much I liked the name, I have Toby to thank for it, but... Yeah, it put me in a ridiculously good mood.

Yeah, about the right age but the person in question doesn't
wear glasses.  Still, I tend to quail in the presence of
angry or defensive people and do all I can to diffuse the
situation.
Then there was the observation of my teaching by someone that has been putting me under a lot of undue pressure this year with the support that isn't support.  I was hot and tired and the students, not all of them, weren't exactly helping.  It's not like they were being badly behaved or anything, I just had a couple of students that have reached the point of being 'lumps'.  So I was gloomy about the outcome and paranoid that an observation would be used to keep the support going for other motives (read: the member of staff in charge doesn't like me very much).  This gloominess persisted despite the 'Bex' reference.  Imagine my surprise when my feedback today, two days after being observed so a bit of a wait, was mostly positive!

Go here.
Coupled with a student who is leaving, as are all Upper Sixth Formers, to do their exams at the end of the week popping by with a card and a present (I don't get many of those - something about my manner means I get lovely testimonials about how much I've changed peoples' viewpoints and challenged them to think in new ways but rarely get presents and cards), this is a good day!  It's been lovely weather, very warm and sunny, I burned some money to make a point with a class (I know, cheaply done) and Iron Sky is on tomorrow night at a local cinema.


I'm almost afraid to say it in case I jinx it, but life is good at the moment.  It doesn't take much, does it?  But, yeah, I'm good.  Life is good.  Don't happen often so I'll say it here as it does!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Expecting the unexpected

I asked to view my records at work last week.  My father's wife, who worked as head of HR for a number of years, said I shoudl expect a five day wait at maximum.  Imagine my surprise when I asked today and was told it was policy that I would wait for forty days(!).  I'm also stressed out about an observation tomorrow that will likely say that I am 'satisfactory' which is now the new threshold for 'support' on my teaching practice.  As I am already on a version of 'support' I know that this does not mean what it says.  DoubleSpeak and DoubleThink ate doubleplusgood with the duckspeakers at my Ministry of Truth and Love.  My pressure will, of course, decrease to twice as much as I already feel.

I poked around at ASDA today and found another sale on.  Not sure I can justify any spending on the items I would like, even at the prices they are now, as I haven't really got the funds.  Compounded by Tilly's recent spending on her own business, which I subbed as she needed a float and had a complicated hoo-hah with Barclays about.  It made for a busy day yesterday that finished with me attempting to plan a full lesson in short order on AIDS, I got a bit of the way and then had to stop.  Tonight I should be marking acres of books.  But I left them at work.  An observation first thing tomorrow followed by those books and some reports will likely make me stressed enough to dress again soon.

The other surprises are less surprising.  I made an ass of myself in the comments of someone whom I respect's blog, I haven't dared comment again since.  I get that way sometimes.  And I simply ran out of things to say in a forum where people were being rather nice and interactive.  Given the looming exam marking season this is perhaps for the best.  But my beer reviews have generated the most traffic of any posts in the last month.  May I apologise for any beer affectionados who have stumbled on this blog and wonder what the chuff is going on!

Um... that's it.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Beer Review: Thoroughbred Gold

It's beer o'clock in my household.  A long and irritatingly difficult week has drawn to a close.  Another week of pain, not in a physical sense, beckons and I've officially missed the chance to go walking in my boots and dress before the nights grow too light.

Tonight's choice was Thoroughbread Gold, because it was on offer.



The first sip of this told me it was going to be strong and powerfully flavoured.  I realised that I'd become a bit of a beardy ale drinker when I recognised the flavour.  Sure enough, it has Fuggles in it.  Lovely taste, strong kick and a nice easy drink at a 3.7% ABV.  The colour is indeed golden and the light play is great if you give it a moment.  So, an attractive drink that tastes like it wants to go out for a meal or a long walk.  I can imagine this being the start of a journey rather than the end.  There's something medieval about it - like mead.

There's a satisfying fizz to the beer that was poppy without being fizzy or overpowering, it kept it on the tongue long enough to get a flavour and keeps the stomach contentedly warm when it gets down there.  A good smell, not too heavy and not too yeasty, allows you to take long slow swigs or quick sips between dialogue on the telly.  I can see why they call it 'thoroughbred' because it's a quick beer.  Best way I have to describe it.

This is better than the bitter I had last week but sufficiently different to Leffe that they aren't in competition.  It's a summer beer - enjoy in the sunshine, under a tree, with company that need not be too close.  Have a laugh, play a pub quiz, maybe risk a pound on the slot machine but don't expect to win anything - do it for the laughs you'll have instead.  Much the same as the beer itself: understated but nevertheless good to have around.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Got to be what ya wanna

If the boop don't get ya, the rock will gonna.  I'm serious as cancer when I say: rhythm is a dancer
Snap, 1992

There's a lot of it about at the moment.  Rainy weather: cliche, but nevertheless effective, metaphorical links between it and the moods of the people living beneath it.  And all the while I have lyrics and songs flying around my head.

There is truth in the thunder, love in the lightning, the feeling is frightening, and isn't it exciting?  I'm something like stormy weather, my word, wished we'd never huddled together.  Do I have to tell ya, that I'm also the sunlight that shines shortly after, there's friends that I hafta, onto other chapter: I wish you lots of laughter, til the next time you see me, just remember you need me!
Gnarls Barkley, 2006

Work is a welther of things, none of which stay still for very long.  Home a mixture of positive and odd, nothing negative.  Latch-key kids, lists of names, numbers dancing across hastily scribbled pages and thoughts of steel and lace infecting the straight forward movement of the day to day.  Familial worries about ill parents who aren't, politeness a necessity, meetings planned and brow-beating e-mails a-plenty.

Run toward the hills to avoid the high flood, I can do a dance that'll make the sky cry blood: skills provoking seals to be broken open, all that's left to do is try my love.  And I- I'm singing a cyclone, I'm writing a raging sea. Searching for a sign of the times, it's insane to say it's me.  Listen to our lives, the way we whisper the way it is: I'm going to happen. [...] Don't ask why; just live and die.
Gnarls Barkley, 2006

Poetry is in motion all around, in the sunlight and the birdsong - hooting doves and pigeons in the trees, budding leaves bursting into green dappling light across the slick stone made wet by the passing maelstrom.  Students supporting, students complaining, the up and down of offering heartfelt advice to those that hold themselves to impossible standards whilst knowing I won't take the same and wouldn't if 'twere offered to myself.  Wanting to reach out but not knowing how.

You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness, like resignation to the end, always the end.
Gotye, 2011

And so it goes.  From one thing to the next.  Friends and companions lost in the fog, waiting for sodden earth to dry out under the blasting sun of summer but knowing that as surely as tidal power is pooh-poohed on cost that towering anvil clouds will bring their own pressure to bear.  A worry, does the umbrella you hold have the power to withstand the wind that will come and rip at the edges?  Should you own one with frills that you can pretend was for a wife and 'forget' about when all seems lost?  How far will you go now?

If you've got it can you get it, if so, how often?  Which do you choose, the hard or soft option?
Pet Shop Boys, 1984

Inspired, non-communicative, wanting to speak out but lacking the words.  Taking the lead in the blind alley, wearing a blindfold, but hardly daring to be led.  Horses to water, giraffes to drink.  Nina Simone defecates on a microphone, two times, and Sinatra loads a pistol, cocks it and shoots.  A monk, serious and silent in the club genuflecting in interpretive dance: the IRA providing backing vocals to a chorus in 1987; aging German generals considering the map of Europe labelled Africa with the ghost of Hitler in a picture of Frederick the Great whilst washing up piles up in the sink.

You're. No good for me. I don't need no body.  Don't. Need. No-one. That's. No. Good for me.
Prodigy, 1991



Monday, 14 May 2012

Life is a One-Way Street, Ain't it?

If I could paint it, I'd draw myself goin' in the right direction.

After the Event: looks like someone's smiling, happy to be here, blue skies heaven sent.  After working out the cause of her blow up, Tilly did indeed settle right down.  She laughed about it, and has been more friendly - she's trying really hard to make it up to me, I know that, and she's going out of her way.  I had time on Sunday to mark and do work stuff that I don't ordinarily have - I didn't even have to say how long I'd be.

So now work is front and centre again with stress, the specifics aren't important, just the knowledge that, at the moment, wherever I go and whatever I do will end up the same way - it's me that broadcasts what allows it all to happen.  And I am lazy.

Other news, Iron Sky is now only out in the UK on 23 May and only in a few cinemas.  It has a DVD release date of 25 May.  I am saddened by this, I had hoped it would be a small hit that I could see at the big screen a couple of times.  Chances of going with someone I know are slim to zero.  I have successfully avoided anything approaching a friendship since around New Year.

I prefer peace [...] but essentially I'm an animal, so what I do with all the aggression?

Saturday, 12 May 2012

I am Jack's bitter sense of stupidity

I feel the rage that courses cold through the veins after the denouement of the last little saga.  If I keep going then Jack will likely fulfil the predictions made about him by his wife.  I am the little part of Jack that keeps him guessing about how bad things will get and I am the part of him that keeps him from ever getting any better.  I make sure that Jack will never figure out what is going on, will take all the wrong things seriously and will then be left in a kind of emotional void when the previous settings didn't work out how he thought they would.

I am a fan of Fight Club, does it show?


Basically, Tilly has been on some homeopathic stuff to help her detox from the phenomenal amounts of sugar she'd been putting away since sometime before Easter to help her cope with the sleep deprivation that our son brings with him.  Turns out that one of the side-effects, when it hits a certain level within the body, is to increase the hormonal imbalances in the brain that cause intense emotions - ergo Tilly got all worked up and emotional with no real reason.

Enjoy Jonah's party.


Interesting facts: 25 months; 8 days; 22 months; 1 hour; 11 months and counting.  Did I mention self-serving?

Casino Royale

There is a truth that I know about gambling in any organised way: you don't win in the long run.  The winners are always the people in charge of the organisation, that's why they have the organisation.  Probability works in favour of the people who hold the machines and the means of gambling - you, as a punter, may win in the short term but ultimately you're locked in a zero-sum game.  It's like the laws of thermodynamics: you can't win; you can't break even and you can't quit.

A week ago I posted a short, but highly self-serving, negative rant that I was failing to talk to Tilly properly and was likely making things worse.  I deleted it because I always seem to be saying stuff like that and it was getting a bit too maudlin and self-serving.  I've said before that I get a bit carried away with the self-pity.  Besides, I do know that other people have their own problems and I was hoping that I could be someone that would provide support rather than taking it for a change.

Things seemed to be better.

Today... well, not even today, just a few hours ago - I was shown just how much of that is fragile and beyond my control.

I've had a few niggles this past week, silly little things: Tilly losing her keys all the time and having to use mine, making it hard for me to get in on an evening, or just leaving her key in the lock and locking the door, making it pointless for me to have a key.  There's been the stacking up of washing and clothes in general, the cooking stuff that isn't even moved to the sink or the worktops that aren't wiped after use, the lack of hoovering, the snow-drifts of rubbish overflowing bins that I end up emptying every evening and morning - that kind of thing.  This is my job, it is my role, and I chose that.  I even managed to raise the key issue and avoid a massive confrontation - or so I thought.

Tilly opened up today.  She said that I was constantly snitting at her, news to me, and that I'm doing it so much and so often that she simply assumes anything I say is a snipe at her.  This was to justify her angry response to a genuine question of mine, assuming she had told me something I had forgotten (which she hadn't, it turned out, she hadn't told me at all, so my request was reasonable, just ill-timed).  She's also sick of doing things for other people and getting nothing in return.  She doesn't know what she's not getting but whatever it is is making her feel down and angry.  She hates the fact that I am angry all the time (news to me) and that she is waiting for the next time I 'flash my eyes' at her or respond shortly to her (she pointed out this happens "all the time", which was news to me).  I'm not getting any better, she reminded me, and she is sick of dealing with my shit.

I should point out that we haven't talked about "my shit" for a very long time, at least since my last therapy session in April, so just under a month.

She's sick of not being able to relax, of waiting for me to have my next crisis and then to retreat into myself again.  I had a bad mood last Sunday and I told her, rather than have her guess, and this just made her notice it all the more, making it irritate her even more.  She's sick of me diffusing things with humour - something that she was once attracted to but now finds incredibly irritating, goading and patronising.  She's sick of my work related stress, of the amounts that I have to do and the fact that we don't have enough money to do everything we need to do.  She stressed that this was not my fault but hers.

Right.

Thing is, her accusations are correct.  She's not being unreasonable (maybe a little unpredictable and harsh) and everything she says is spot on.  The last few days, apparently, have been really good but this has only served to heighten her anxiety about when it's all going to end.  And, as she said, now she's said all this I'm bound to collapse/blow up/be a block of wood in the next few days because that's what I do in these situations.  She can't even talk to me about stuff, she has apparently tried three times in the last week and I brushed her off, for fear of me going into one of my "moods".

And she's dead right.

And I have no answers.

In the ensuing discussion she told me off about being short with the children, whilst being irritable and short with them herself and winding them up, and also told me off for misinterpreting her words about a third child.  She knows that my delay in talking about it is a polite way to say "no" and she didn't really want to bring it up, but felt compelled to in order to explain how she felt.  Obviously she got that wrong because I ended up getting all serious about it.  It's not her fault she deadpanned a suicide threat, it's mine for not seeing it as a joke and laughing along.  She's conscious that I just pick up on random bits and use that to reinforce my feeling that a third child is not a good idea, which is my fault no matter how much she protested otherwise.

And now I'm talking too much again.  I was going to try and post something creative.  I think I just need to get my shit done for work.  Beyond that though, I only really see three potential avenues open to me, which I shan't ennumerate here because that would make me as bad as I paint Tilly.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Beer Review: Banks's Bitter

It's Friday.  Time for a beer.

Tonight's offering is Bank's Bitter.



First of all, I love the bottle for this one, it's dark and brooding and the label is nice and understated, background if you will.  It doesn't shout itself to the world and, instead, lurks in the forgotten corners of the discount beers in Morrison's.  This is why I have bought it, it was cheap, and I am glad that I did.

One of the weaker beers I've had at 3.8% ABV, working out at about 1.9 units for a 500ml bottle, but that's not a bad thing.  There's a fizzier texture to it than there is to Leffe or the stuff from Masham but it goes well with most foods at room temperature for that reason - puts in mind of the cheap lemonade I used to get when we went for pub meals when I was smaller.  Added to that there's a definite citrus tang that gives the whole thing an edge that is lacking in other beers, hence the bitter title methinks, and that's welcome for someone like me that likes things a bit sour and sharp.

There's a fruity aftertaste to it and it seems less heavy than Leffe too.  For that reason it's not so much a meal-accompanying beer, it's one to be had after food or in preparation of a good meal out.  Indeed, I get the impression it would work well as a drink to be had before something like a spicy Chinese dish or a medium curry.  Not so sure it would work with Thai food.  It could only be had after something like shepherd's pie or chop and chips.  Mind you, there's a lightness that suggests it may work well with a proper fish'n'chip takeaway.

Smell is good, not too strong and not too full of alcohol.  If you're not a fan of strong tastes I would counsel avoiding it, however, as it does sort of own the room in that regard.  Equally, if you like your beers chilled (you heathens!) then this isn't for you either - it won't be nice chilled.  It's a beardy drink, one to have at room temperature either before something exotic or after something stodgy.  Not a sharing beer either, this one is very much a drink yourself job - certainly have others drinking with you but no need to share the beer itself - it would work best in a crowd.  If you do drink with others who like beer and you're lucky enough to have this mentality it's one of those beers you buy and pass about - along with everyone else's drinks.  It contrasts enough and is strong enough to hold its own, something smoother would be swamped and wouldn't be able to make you remember it.

In conclusion, a nice buy for the offer price, but probably not worth the full amount they'd charge when others would be a better punt.  That said, find a decent snug and this one is practically mandatory.  Drink with strong flavoured crisps, near a mouldering canal and with a strong Brummie accent.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Talk

One thing I know I do is talk too much.  Or, in this case, type too damn' much.  I shall attempt, therefore, to be briefer today than I have been of late in the hopes that I will stick to a point and make something of it.

Honesty.  I'm avoiding church and religion at the moment, actively.  I haven't been to my Cell/House-Group since the beginning of the calendar year.  One of the people I know there quite well lost his mother to cancer recently and when he went in for a blood test himself a few months later, for another issue, they found he had the same cancer.  This was after I stopped going and he hasn't told me directly so I'm not sure if I should know.  Stacking my problems against his, he has three children and a wife, it makes me a little ashamed.

I'm struggling with my work and my addictions, he's facing death.  As a believer, and he is a staunch one, I'm sure that doesn't bother him as much as it would others.  Maybe it does.  The point is, I think anyone would say that his problems are somewhat larger than mine.  Throw in some unrest at his work and uncertainty about the future that he has no control over and you have a situation that is hard to deal with and will need a lot of support.  And I can't even begin to provide that.  It's that kind of thing that has left me not wanting to go to the group.  My issues and problems are taken seriously, I am listened to, and they pray for me.  No one else complains quite like I do.  But their problems are as big and as scary, if not moreso.  And they don't complain.  But I do.  So I stopped going.  I can't trust myself to shut up.

The same is true at work.  And in my family.  My mother's mother is close to death, my father's wife is suffering terribly with physical health issues that have forced her out of work and she's on statuatory sick pay now - they are used to much higher wages than they are currently surviving on.  Did I mention that she had a series of miscarriages that my father didn't tell me about until I announced Tilly's pregnancy with our daughter?  He explained that was the reason for his lack of elation.  Oh, and yeah, they were girls (yes, they progressed that far in two cases) and he lost his girl to cot death and we were expecting, and now have, a girl.  Issues.

Compared to all of that...

Dice games is where I have found my distraction over the last couple of nights.  Over at Rachel's Haven there's an entire section devoted to dice games.  I love playing them - being helpless in the face of chance is quite something.  However, I'd like (as ever) to play my own version.  Expect me to get round to making one right after I get back to working on Reality/Shifts.

No great insights tonight, just these thoughts.  I'm looking at a new therapist, my last session of CBT looms at the end of the month, still debating if I should look into group therapy.  I tend to dominate conversations though so... I don't know.

Because the song is awesome and the lyrics are really clever,
that's why!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

On parents... pt2

Ignore the video, it is a sucky thing, the track is
what I'm interested in.

When I was thirteen, before I started my GCSEs, I remember a journey back home.  The whole family was in the car, we'd been shopping or something, it wasn't yet the summer holidays.  I'd been keeping a diary on and off and had been down and melancholy for much of the summer so far.  One of my friends knew someone whose parents had just split up.  There was the standard teenage drama studio amongst those that I knew.  But the bullying had abated, the two responsible had backed off for whatever reason, and so I was in a safer place than usual.

I was musing in the back seat, as usual, and I came to the conclusion that maybe things weren't so bad after all.  Here I was, thought I, being all down and teenage depressed and I had loads of things going for me.  My GCSEs were going to start soon, and I had chosen to ditch subjects like Technology and stuff that I did not enjoy in favour of History and Latin and German and Art.  My parents were together, they didn't argue much, and they seemed to love one another.  Sure, I was single, but so were most thirteen year olds, my younger brother notwithstanding, and I was enjoying things generally.  Whatever the reason the bullies had backed off and I seemed to have friends at school.  It is a very clear memory.  I thanked God that things were going well and apologised for being so negative.  I intended to have a new start.  It would have been around June.

By August my father had left, having announced his affair to my brother and I after getting back from a holiday in Luxembourg during which my father's behaviour had become increasingly erratic.  My mother started a campaign of emotional blackmail about how my brother and I dealt with my father that neither of us were particularly well equipped to deal with: shouting and screaming if he was late bringting us back; thorwing out toys and all sorts of stuff.  We were encouraged to hate the woman that my father had left to be with, obviously, but in sly and carefully planned ways.  And my mother used me as a confidante - as support for her own inadequate coping strategies.  We would talk late into the night, with increasing regularity, and I was asked to take on a whole host of extra duties - those that were previously done by my father.
I have played this very infrequently.  About twice with
family members.  I still love it.

In Christmas of that year I finally got Risk, a game I had coveted since I was ten, but no one would play it after my father joined us at my mother's parent's house for a game.  The game became tainted.  My mother would pooh-pooh my prediliction for such games and pastimes and my friends, having 'done' the whole Risk thing years before, were not really up for it.  In terms of females, I was now worried that I would be like my father (my mother would tell me things that he had done and would then comment in other areas about how like my father I was - I think she meant it as a compliment, but it scared me).  Therefore, I was always concerned that I would end any relationship before it had even become one.

I didn't ask girls out - I could already see what was likely to happen and knew that most relationships begun between the ages of fourteen and eighteen were doomed to failure, I didn't want to be responsible for that kind of emotional upheaval like my father had been.  He had had six affirs, I was informed, that my mother knew of.  He had suggested that she sleep with our next door neighbour while he watched.  My mother kept babydoll nighties for him.  He had impugned her abilities in bed, she had impugned his.  Sex had been withheld by both sides and used as a weapon for years before my father had left, so I was told.  My mother delighted in telling me about the intellectual battles and the argument she had 'won' by pronouncing that my father had only ever given her two things, he of course expected them to be my brother and I.  My mother's eyes had danced as she explained that she had pulled that rug out from under him in a sudden moment of genius: "Heartache and athlete's foot".  As rejoinders go, it's hard not to admire the mastery of it, but on another level it told me that my brother and I were pawns in a game bigger than us.

Life generally became a bit harder.  Not financially, my father is a good man and a man of conscience, notwithstanding his actual affair, he would never let any of us go without.  I can relate, I have the same impulses that he does.  No, as father-stand-in I was expected to shoulder some of my moher's emotional burden but I was still her son.  As the nearest thing she had to my father, looking like him and having the same sort of impulses, she used me to vent frustration and anger.  I was put down in public, small things, and told off for boasting or being too proud of myself in private.  Achievements at school were congratulated, but in private I was reminded that these things were nothing special - she didn't mean to do it like that, I don't want to paint a picture of some evil woman, she wasn't, but this was how they came out to me.

For my father's part, he didn't want his leaving to affect us.  This meant that he withdrew from us long before he left, he had known it was coming anyway - did I mention he thought he was going to be dead by the age of forty?  He left before his fortieth birthday, by about five months.  He continued the withdrawal, letting us hate him and beat him with emotional sticks as big as we could wield in our youth, inexperience and naivety - this left me without anyone to bounce off.  Asking my mother for relationship advice turned out, on two occasions, to be catastrophically stupid.  My mother was also clueless, when I explained about one particularly embarrassing episode where I didn't notice a girl coming on to me until it was too late in Sixth Form my mother's response was "Oh thank God, I thought you were gay!".  Yes, mother, that was why I had so much trouble with six girls I fancied the pants off, clearly, I was gay.

So what?

Well, that introverted little boy had grown up into a bit of an oddball, an outsider.  He'd just got to the stage where he could perhaps make friends and operate more normally when this all hit.  He withdrew into his shell more than before, took on more emotional baggage than he could handle, failed to cope well with the stress and ran out of people in whom to confide.

When, in my final year of University, I revealed something of my addiction to my mother (keep in mind I hadn't dressed by this point) I was in need of some conversation.  Not necessarily understanding, but something.  My mother's response was "I've still got those babydolls if you want one".  And that was the end of the conversation.  I don't think it even registered.  If I were to ask her now she probably wouldn't even remember that the conversation took place.  That's "so what".  At precisely the point in my life when I could have dealt with support I was thrust into the role of supporter.  I have never learned to be supported or to have people concerned about me.

Oh poor me.  Bitch, bitch, bitch, biiiiiiiiiiitch. Bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch.
He did, y'know, but in this case I think I am the deebel. Also, go here.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Beer Review: Leffe

Since mid-2011 I've been trying to have a beer a week - an endeavour I have failed to fulfil, but I have tried a lot of good beer and real ale (did I mention I had a beard?) so therefore I figure one way of being more positive on here, and maintaining it this time, is to review those beers.



Tonight's offering is Leffe.  Belgian, blonde and stronger than it looks or tastes.  It actually beats my favourite, Riggwelter from Black Sheep breweries, for strength at 6.6% ABV.  It has a smooth feel, the fizz is not too strident, and the liquid is not fiery but slinky.  There's a yeasty aroma, to be sure, but it's not a horrid sweaty yeast, rather it is a warm and happy smell of yeast - reminding me of when our children were young.

Despite its strength it also is rather light in texture.  You don't feel like you're drinking to get drunk, though it is pretty rare for me anyway, rather it feels like the sort of drink one has with food.  Something that would not be out of place with a Sunday roast or a family setting.  In that regard it is a friendly beer, one that would be drunk with friends whilst discussing politics or religion - making topics not suited to the dinner table somehow more palatable.  But, then, it's Belgian, so what would you expect?  Some part of that cosmopolitan European style and lifestyle transmits itself through the beer and into the drinker's brain.  There's an ambience about the beverage that goes far beyond just the drink.  It's a social beer - one should not drink it alone or to get pissed, it's a more mature tipple than that.

Is it expensive?  With tax increases in the UK it works out the same as most other ales now, though it was more pricey before the tax hike, I'm assuming duty remained the same, so no - not any more.

Drink with good food and good company.  Buy the 750ml bottle if you're a lightweight like me and spend an evening in its company.  Better shared.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Fitting

I'd forgotten about this, but I found it again.


It's... haunting. Also, disturbingly accurate.  Do not watch if you're already feeling a tad melancholic or down.  It's not worth that.  It's a great song, by a great artist.  If you're melancholy or down then try the offering below, one day I shall link it with the Pet Shop Boys, one day...



This song seems to me to mean more than Hannon ever meant it to mean.  I imagine it being spoken, with rhythm, in a church with unnatural lighting.  I imagine it a call to arms and a warning all rolled into one.  But my imagination is a tricky beast.

A quick update

Been meaning to post this for ages.  Here it is:


Also, I have no news beyond the fact that things aren't as bad as they have been in the past.  Tilly even texted me a hug today, which was nice and unexpected.

It was my daughter's birthday today.  Reminded me that I missed out on her party on Sunday.  As a fucking tool I forgot to tell Tilly the date of my niece's thanksgiving service, I had to turn up to that, and she organised the party on the same day.

I drove to the Church, about an hour and a half in driving rain and 80mph gusts of wind, sat through the service (I was 30 seconds late) and then stayed a few minutes at the end.  Two reasons for the short stay: Tilly expected me back at midday to help pack the party up and my mother's only comments to me were: "you were almost late" and "Did you have garlic last night?  You smell a bit".  Yeah, I left quickly.  Another journey, more rain and the wrong way in the gales, to arrive back in just enough time to pack up the party (to and fro in rain and gales with parcels, presents and other stuff to take home from the hall we'd booked).  Then minding the boy and girl while Tilly talked to some parents and had some downtime, then home to do childcare whilst Tilly cooked.  Some friends of mine, also my daughter's godparents, turned up (Tim and Lesley) and we chatted.  I was on childcare again whilst Tilly did the hostess thing.

Then Tilly took the girlie to bed and I looked after a cranky two year old.

I had one hour of work time in the whole weekend and the time it took to type an entry on here to myself.

But, you know, this is better than nothing I suppose.  My grandmother is recovering, looks like she won't die for a while yet and this makes me irritated for no particular reason.  Because that's a healthy response to someone getting better.  Anyway, fact is that things are better.  I'm not as down as I have been on here and I even looked at some pink jeans today.  I have, of course, voted - I'm always torn about it.  I mean, I have a party of conscience that I vote for, only going to get in if everyone votes like that rather than tactically voting but still, but I also have, in the back of mind, my other thoughts on voting.  If there's a big turnout and enough people spoil their papers you'd have a genuine lack of legitimacy in the government and state.  By that reckoning I ought to turn up and spoil my paper every time.  If no one does it, it'll never happen, right?  Be the change you want to see in the world.

I want to make a caption again, but damn those things are hard.


When I look back upon my life / it's always with a sense of shame / I've always been the one to blame // for everything I long to do / no matter when or where or who / have one thing in common too / It's a / It's a / It's a sin

Father, forgive me / I tried not to do it / turned over a new leaf / then tore right through it / whatever you taught me / I didn't believe it / Father you fought me / 'cos I didn't care and I / still don't / understand!

Am I allowed to post an image purely because I find it exciting?  I'm sure I'm not really, this isn't that kind of place.  Ah, it's my place, what the heck!

Yes, she looks as happy as I would be with those cuffs and that collar.
Seriously, I'd like that.


Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Pressure Points

If I had known such things existed when I was younger (indeed
they may not have existed when I was younger) then I would have
wanted one.  It was this feeling of close warmth that I was looking
for, along with the restraint that such a get up would bring.
My earliest memory of restraint is self-applied.  I used to wrap myself in my duvet as tightly as I could, ostensibly to create a coccoon around myself on cold nights, true enough I don't remember trying this in summer, but also because I liked the idea of being held.  Warm and safe, I would then find sleep easier to come by and the whole process more relaxing.  However, this was not done often, or for very long when I did, because my parents used to tuck my duvet in the side of the mattress, by the wall, and so I used to try and make that absolutely perfect too.  I longed to have a wide enough duvet to be tucked in under the mattress on the other side of the bed too - again, I wanted to feel warm and safe and protected.  Sometimes I managed this in beds that were made up in caravans or bed and breakfasts (the trick is to snuggle underneath the covers without pulling them open, the tightness is better).  Part of this was purely practical, however, as I had a tendency to fall out of bed at an early age.  By the time I was about six or seven I had taken this a stage further and used to sleep as if in a coffin.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I wasn't emo or Goth or anything like that, the coffin-position (arms crossed, palms down, fingers by the chin, legs tightly together) was chosen before I knew what people did in coffins.  It was only when I finally got a TV in my room (my Mum's old Black and White tuner thing from the late sixties I think) that I saw the sorts of TV shows that even had coffins in them, let alone with a view enough into them that you could work out what position people were in.  No, I chose this position because it felt safe and protected.  I liked the idea of having my limbs pressed together.

Kinda like this, but neither me nor the
friend I was with thought of changing
genders, or the sexual connotations.
Around the same time, as previously noted on this blog, I remember my play being affected by the whole restraint thing.  When playing as dogs at a friends we would put one of our feet through the handle in a beanbag and pretend we were tied to it or chained or whatnot.  It felt nice, I always ended up playing the 'younger' dog, in need of help and reassurance.  Mind you, my birthday is late in the school year so this was probably very much how life went around me and my peers.  I should add that I moved at the age of six to a new city, some distance from my old life, and so my experiences around this time are pretty fluid.  At school, in the playground, I invariably played the 'youngest' and usually the least experienced (it is something of an oddity that at least two of the recurring games we played were very much driven by plots that I supplied and turned into stories) - we played 'pretend' a lot.  When playing superheroes, Missile Man and Metal Man, I took the lead (the latter for what it's worth) but often got 'captured' by the bad guys.  There were no bad guys, me and my friend played alone, but they would be real enough to us.  I always got tied up or trapped in a cage or cell.

Apparently this happened more often than it happened to
Penny in Inspector Gadget, or it has been recorded
more on the intarwebs.


In the school library, and at home, I was fascinated by stories where strong women would get captured and be in need of rescue.  I don't remember many details now, but I can reference He-Man - one of the Ladybird books has some quite graphic illustrations of Teela getting captured by shadow people and tied up in a cave.  In fact, looking at the book at the age of about 17, I noticed that Teela is completely stark-naked in one scene, tastefully hidden by the head of Bird-Man, but still undeniably naked and tied to a post and gagged.

Some time between the ages of ten and thirteen I started tying myself up with string.  I have no clue when this started or even what prompted it but I do know that after the age of twelve I would start having recurring fantasies about tying myself up and I stole string to make this happen.  That story, Boy to Girl, was written around the age of eleven and, though the story makes no mention of this, became the focal point of these restraint fantasies.  I created, and drew, the whole school uniform for the girls' boarding school in the story and the main character was always male - really male.  In the story they woke up as a girl, but in my head I knew they were still male.  They would be taken aside by some older girls and end up being forced to dress and then tied up or restrained somehow.

As I progressed the fantasy changed.  I'm not trying to excite here, this is not an outpouring of some sxual fantasies.  I won't deny that as puberty hit there were stirrings in all the right places but the well-spring of these thoughts was not sexual.  When I tied myself by the wrists to the handles on my chest of drawers it wasn't a sexual thing.  I did it when my parents were still at work, my brother still at school (my secondary school finished before my brother's primary school for two glorious years) and I did it to feel... Well, that's just it: I don't know.  My only reference to this is in a diary dated 1993 in which I write the following line: "I've got to stop tying myself up, it is rather silly".  It is not referred to again, or at any point previously.

I'd do it at night too.  I liked using my headboard to tie the string to.  I remember being frustrated that I could only really use slip knots so that any incapacitation was limited and easily rectified simply by moving the knot.  I mean, it was a pragmatic consideration: I didn't want to reveal to my parents what I was doing and didn't want to be stuck, I even made sure scissors were always within reach - just in case.  But I wanted it to be impossible to escape, it was my fear that prevented me making this so.

Yes, like this.  Strong and confident without being
overtly sexual.  Because it wasn't, at all, no sex
was involved at any point nor threatened,
it was merely female domination.
The fantasy changed too.  Girls in my form group at school would pull me into the toilets, force me to dress like a female student, put on some contact lenses that would mean I had to wear glasses and then release me, sometimes in handcuffs (newly realised tools from the TV - now a colour one) and sometimes tied up and sometimes not, into the school.  I saw a poster in a technology room (textiles) that showed a woman wearing a complicated bejewelled metal collar thing and would want that on my neck, locked and so I couldn't take it off.  There was a scene in Quatermaine and King Solomon's Mines, a film I saw once by accident on a Sunday, where the main female character was chained in cuffs and a collar and didn't notice until it was too late.  I wanted that.  I've already mentioned Penny in Inspector Gadget being captured and restrained in my memory, I remember enjoying it, I remember linking all of these things.

One night I used toilet roll as ribbon, we had thick luxurious stuff so it wasn't too much of a stretch of the imagination, and tied my wrists with bows and around my neck.  Then I used the string handcuffs to tie my wrists and ankles together.  I went so far as to add string around my neck too, but abandoned that for safety reasons.  It was as though the safety and contentment I felt in being restrained was tied up (ho ho, no pun intended) with the femininity of the bows.  Before the age of fourteen, before 1994 and the divorce, I used to think about being locked in the boiler cupboard (because it had wooden shelves that looked like bars).

Around 1991 I revealed to a friend the dreams I was having where people were chained together, I remember drawing the restraints that I saw in my dream carefully, without ever having looked into proper restraints.  I remember a book on Aztecs that I found in my mother's school's library (she worked as secretary in a primary school) that showed the yokes they put round slaves' necks and being so fascinated that I would sit and stare at the illustration for hours.  The twins, male, in my form brought in a pair of handcuffs and tricked a girl into wearing them for a short time one morning, around 1991-2, and I remember being unable to put that out of my head for months.  I wanted, in that moment, to be her.  I think the friend thought that I was gay.  My dreams involved, at that point, men being chained together and naked.  Now, I was innocent enough not to notice any sexual overtones to this: they were prisoners for some reason, the end.  My male friend I think thought that... Well, he seemed to see me as more than a friend for a while until he figured out his own sexuality, I believe he is now happily married and bisexual.  Me?  I was straight.  I did look into homosexuality at about that time, at the friend's suggestion, but was confused as to why anyone would think that my dreams would indicate homosexuality.  Did I mention I was innocent?  I was also chronically stupid.

These male prisoners, in my dreams, became singular over time and the people sentencing them remained sexless and faceless.  Their punishment seemed, to me, to be severe and so I concocted reasons for the severity of the punishment.  Without any concept of what I was playing with I opted for rape as their crime.  Thus there was a reason for enforcing femininity in these prisoners, as a punishment for being, I don't know, too male I guess.  I never really connected this with sex at this point.  I mean, around 1993 I was aware that it had something to do with those bits down there that would react strongly and sometimes this involved ejaculation but that was never the main aim.  Indeed, I would try to avoid that - I enjoyed the feeling and the aftermath of actually letting my bits do their thing tended to kill the feelings pretty quickly.  I experimented with parcel tape, sellotape, string, rope, bits of cloth, even towels.

The images in FHM weren't like this,
but it's the sort of image where I want
to be the woman in it.
Between 1994 and 1996, after the divorce, I don't recall much.  I could not tell what I did or how much or how often.  I know that I started reading FHM and that I liked the pictures of women in there but could not, for the life of me, understand the knowing looks I got from my grandfather or father when I showed them interesting articles.  I mean, sure, the women were pretty but it wasn't like I'd want to go out with any of them (and there were plenty of girls at school that I would have liked to go out with).  Eventually there were two posters that I put up around this time but I wanted to be wearing what they were wearing, I wasn't that fussed about the women really.  I had created a 'secret' pad of drawings by this point, augmented with adverts and stuff, that generally revolved around that school girl uniform (no one in it, just the clothing and the hat), restraints (again, empty) and odd bits of text setting out triggers for me to call to mind the dreams and the day-dreams and the fantasies.  They were kept in my diaries, but they're not there now, I think I must have purged them at some point.

It was exam leave for GCSEs in 1996 that I next recall events.  Wearing the aprons I discovered, far too short for actual use, and tying myself up a lot to the strains of Missing by Everything but the Girl.  Trapping myself in the shed, tying myself to the bed, wandering around naked but for the apron, trying to work out how to wear a ribbon round my neck and tie a bow (never did manage that) or get my feet as if I was wearing high heels (my mother didn't have any, and it never occurred to me to try her shoes for size anyway).  I modified a pair of white briefs to look like knickers (I couldn't wear my mother's) with string.  I did look for a skirt or dress once, but my mother's clothes were, well, my mother's.  It would have been like stealing a pair of jeans from my brother - why would I do that?  So, by 1996, I had a bit of knowledge of what I was doing and the name 'transvestism' for the clothing.  I had no name for the restraining and tying up.

Why chart all this?  Well, I don't know.  It seems relevant somehow.  But the feeling, the reasoning for all of this, appears to have been nameless.  There was no rationality about the compulsion to carry all of this out - I rationalised what I was doing for safety and protection from prying eyes - but the reason for the activity... there was no reason.  When tied or restrained I felt... safe.  Like, in being made helpless, I was somehow protected.  Cross-dressing for me, as I've said already, seems to be about projecting a certain view of myself or broadcasting a way in which I want to be treated, or it has been in the past at any rate; perhaps bondage was the same.  It was an abdication of responsibility, a surrender of control.  Even as a teenager I think I wanted it to be done by someone else but was keenly aware that it would have to be a very private thing.

How does one describe this... Please excuse my poor handling of terminology and assume that I am not trying to offend, quite the opposite.  People on the less functioning end of the autistic spectrum, for we are all on it, tend to need calming with applied pressure and restraint.  Something about that helps over-sensitive people to cope with sensory overload and those who sense little to feel something, which also calms.  I was introduced to the story of Temple Grandin who built herself a 'squeeze machine' for this purpose but, since about 2010, has gone onto hugging people to get the same feeling.  I think it's partly to do with that.

Kinda like this, I guess.  The abdication
of responsibility.  Even to the extent of
sensory input.  It's... strangely alluring.
People who report on their kinks, like bondage, and people who go into lifestyle S&M tend to say that being resttained is a power transfer.  They feel that handing power over to someone else serves to lessen stress, to remove the worry of what to do next and relieve them of responsibility.  It has been suggested that this is the reason that high-flying businessmen and Type-A personality types tend to indulge in this sort of sexual play more than others (or, at least, admit to it more).  There's a part of that in all of this too, I know that I am easily stressed and that moving, changing school and examinations were all points in my life where these desires manifested most strongly.

Finally there is the sexual element, which is notable by its absence in the story related so far, that kicked in, for me, more in my Sixth Form experience and was cemented in my first year at University.  Indeed, I have fictionmania to thank for fully bringing together the cross-dressing, femininity and bondage experiences and transferring them from physical practice to something that I read about until about 2004, when the physical aspects returned, when I started doing things like tying myself up again and actually wore clothes designed for females properly.

There's more to this, but I need to get on and do some work tonight, so that will have to do for now.