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. 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 "Story So Far" Page above this and the "New Readers" 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!

Friday, 22 October 2021

What I Want

May I take a moment and be unrealistic, selfish and a bit of an ass?

On my way out yesterday.
Alas, I do not have those glasses.

Thank you.

As ever, the challenge is: what do I want? It is the perennial question asked by anyone who tries to help, be they a therapist, a good person or a friend. And it is the one I have always struggled with. However, having mulled a bit on the question as applied to my journey forward as a trans person, I think I have some answers that, whilst unrealistic and selfish, are at least honest.

1. I want not to have to shave. Or, rather, not as much. On my face I mean. I want to have less hair on my chin, an end to stubble (I don't get much but it is more than those blessed with a girlhood rather than a boyhood and all that entails regarding hormones and puberty).

2. I want to be able to wear a dress or skirt to work, to a party, out to the fucking shops, when I please and without raising eyebrows. Indeed, to have the option to wear sensible shoes with a slight heel or tights or socks, you get the idea. I want to be able to 'code female' enough that people literally don't care if I dress a bit femme or go trousers and a jacket.

3. I want breasts. That's it, just breasts. I'd prefer them to be mine rather than surgically enhanced and I can't explain this at all. I don't want to play with them, I don't want to fondle them, I just want breasts. I admit it: I always have. There's nothing rational about this at all. They would be mine, and I would look after them, care for them and check for lumps. That's it.

3a. I want to wake up in a morning, in my nightie, and come to with breasts hanging on me. Just to know that they are there and feel complete.

4. I want sex where I'm not bothered about my penis. You know? I like how it feels, I do, and I like it when people touch it and play with me - not my penis, with me - so that I can play back. If I don't have to see the penis that would be a bonus. The objective for me has been to have a fun time and not worry about whether or not I finish, safe in the knowledge that we have a couple of hours (or, rather, we both of us want to play, I have children, I get it, we don't get hours). That was the attraction with Toby, it really was, there was no rush - no urge to go anywhere. I loved it when she went all the way with my hands and just... yeah. She could do stuff back but that was never the point. And I liked that.

5. Honestly: just giving someone an orgasm would be fine.

6. I want to be loved, yeah, I want just a little respect. I just want to be loved. Tell me what's wrong, with that?

Huh, when I thought of this post I thought the list would be wilder, longer and more ridiculous. Reading it back, despite my best efforts, it seems restrained and... well, anti-climatic.

A bit of FaceApp again, still on the way
out to meet the family.

There was joy, there was fun, there were
crowds capable of spreading COVID.

All in all, a pretty good night.
However, this is not what I shall be saying to the GP when I have my appointment to discuss gender issues on Monday. Oh, yeah, I booked an appointment back in September, drunk on the feeling of that first couple of days back when I came out to more people and enjoyed that feedback that was positive and lovely. And it was. It has continued to be so from those people. No, I shall focus on the experiential and the focus will firmly be on how the dysphoria has affected my life, what it has stopped me doing and why I need to be referred to a GIC. I shall try and explain living knowing that my whole presentation is off and not right to someone who has never experienced it and do so with the right attack on mood. Or, maybe, I shall go off-script and simply report the euphoria of wearing a blouse, the comfort of a bra and sleeping with stuffed bra in a nightie - how it has almost doubled my REM sleep and restful sleep over the last few months compared to any other point in my life.

I accidentally wore my glasses answering the door to Tilly tonight when she came to pick the youngest up to take him home. I've been wearing them around the children since the time I mentioned it here (last week?) and I just forgot I was wearing them. Apparently my coming out to her was a genuine shock, we discussed this yesterday evening, and the fact that I hadn't realised was pretty indicative of our relationship, she was also deeply shocked when I was diagnosed as ASD. She'd been thinking about the implications. The only one she shared was would I need to be called 'Mummy' by the children, to which I was able to assure her that, no, 'Daddy' was fine and no one said that role had to be filled by a bloke. We briefly discussed coming out to the children: Tilly would prefer we wait until after surgery or hormones or whatever, or after that, only revealing when I had to. I did ask. When I suggested that I meant earlier she countered "there you go again, you asked my opinion and then instantly came back at it - why not just say what you think?" Maybe she has a point.

On one thing we agreed, the Middlest will be the toughest of the three to navigate through this transition. Honestly, though, I don't have a timeline or end-point in mind. Apart from the breasts and dressing points above, I mean, they are genuine (if unrealistic) aim points. I realise that the hair on chin thing will take longer and be expensive, like really expensive, and will likely not ever really be done. Hell, the breasts thing will likely never happen. I'm 41, I don't have a decade or so to wait and I can't afford to go private on the hormones. I'm never likely to code female enough to not raise eyebrows when dressed - I remember the laughing man on the way to my favourite local gaming vegan cafe back in July - and so... yes, these are unrealistic and potentially self-defeating goals. Points 4-6 are simply beyond my reach, and perhaps always have been.

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Going too far

I am lucky, I said, because I don't have
to worry as many like me do.
It was only this last weekend that I was thanking God: as I walked home to get my credit card having left it there, I thanked God, honestly, for the opportunity He had given to live as me. I thought: you know what, I am actually lucky. I finally know who I am and there is a strong possibility that I shall get to be myself. How many people can claim that, huh?

I should have known. The first comparable occasion of thanks was for the fact that my parents were together and happy, how many people were unable to live with that comfort? Turns out me, a month later. The second was with Terry, at University, not long before I decided it wasn't going to last (followed by six months of horrible knowledge) I thanked God I had a relationship at last. Then it was being with Toby - I thanked God that I had found someone who understood me, tolerated cross-dressing and who loved me. Right before the alcohol poisoning incident that led to me ending it, then re-starting it but with everything already dead. I thanked God the night I met Tilly, that I hadn't fucked it up, as my car exploded. I thanked God for His help, just after Tilly found out she wasn't pregnant because we weren't ready to be parents - then she was and then the eldest was born before we were married. I should know better by now.

Today I told my place of work's HR director, as a friend not an employee, about me. That is, that I am trans. Why? I don't know. They are a friend. Sorta. They were supportive, sympathetic, said they would research what is the 'done thing' in these circumstances but mainly responded as a friend, which was positive.

History of the Entire world, I guess.
I woke, this morning, with a series of bad dreams. The bit I can remember was there was some kind of party / organised street do about the Tamil Kings. This, apparently, involved someone cosplaying as Jack Sparrow - because of course he was a Tamil King. I had organised it and so was unable to spare the time to actually spend with my family, who were attending, as I was constantly trying to balance other people to ensure the event worked and didn't fall apart. Tilly was there, the denouement that woke me was that she was utterly indifferent to me and the stress of running the event.

See those dark patches? They were a literal pool
of water when I opened this up, I managed to get
that soaked up but...
In the kitchen, there was water. Quite a lot. The leak was back. But I hadn't had a shower recently. The bathroom looked like I had though, which was concerning. Heavy rain and some bowing in the ceiling - not like a leak, but damp. Oh. This evening it was still dripping - there is a failure in the plug of the shower unit, water is continually dripping through (the shower drips, so there is a constant supply of water to the plug). I managed to pull back the boards to investigate and lay a rolled up towel to try and save the ceiling / floor. It meant that I haven't really spent time with the Middlest who is over tonight as I have been investigating that and not crying. New damp patches on the living room walls, now down on the wall with the front room (where the damp-proofing was recently done) and high on the wall to next-door. The damp patches on the outer wall are noticeably larger now, and there are some new ones. Oh. There's some new damp in the corner of my bedroom too.

On Saturday my biggest worry was that
my glasses were too heavy, so I wore these
ones instead.
I told Tilly. I knew I would have to sooner or later, wanted to make sure it was before I told the children. And I have a GP appointment booked for Monday about it. "We would never have worked then," she said, "But good for you on your journey. Oh, wait, did you know whilst we were together?" Her face darkened. I told her what I'd always said: I kinda suspected what I would find if I went looking, so I didn't look. Which is true. She was otherwise unaffected, reminded me that I didn't need to have told her at all, ever. Reminded me that the only person we knew who had done this, a trans-man, had started out a lesbian and, well, wasn't the nicest person (but remained in the relationship he started in throughout, with adopted children). Reminded me that she was very naive about such things. Reminded me that she had no questions, would never have questions, but thanked me for keeping her in the loop. Then the conversation was over as Middlest had had a meltdown whilst we talked. Hence why we were late to my house and why Middlest was already upset about wasted time before the shower shenanigans.

In desperation about the leaks, the shit-show of my house, I phoned my mother. She had previously advised me against rushing into buying the house. Advised me not to tell people at work about being trans. As usual, I have rushed headlong into everything. And, as usual, I have paid some of the price pretty quickly. The rest is yet to come. As I type, it is raining again, and the guttering at the back of the house is struggling to cope - another point of failure approaches. Wait, do we know who it is that is the cause of so much failure?

Sunday, 17 October 2021

Residual Self-Image

No alice-band... But FaceApp.

Look, I may not have much self-esteem
but I do worry about appearances. :)
Well now, here's a thing. Last year when I was teaching Feminism and into the beginning of our work on the US, I was asked about gender and how come there were so many now etc etc. In the course of that discussion I explained that I was too cowardly to switch to Mx as an honorific in teaching and thus that I identified as coward. That same group are with me this year as we discuss US politics and noted that I had started using Mx in lesson communications. Naturally, they were curious: had I stopped 'identifying as a coward'? Well, said I, yes.

One student became very thoughtful. Wait, he began, do you really not identify as a man? Given the fact that this group is well up to date on transfeminism after last year and we are discussing politics, it seemed churlish not to respond. But how? I responded with some well-worn but diversionary statements:

"You may recall," I said, "That I always said that the beard wore me and I did not wear the beard; so by shaving off the beard I have taken more control. Also, I have said before that my..." I gestured to all of me "everything doesn't exactly inspire masculinity as a first response." This usually gets a little laugh or smile and it did again. But the student was still thoughtful.

I mean... yeah.

It's a stock image I found when I typed in
'teacher of Sixth Form female' to Google.
"But, wait, hold on," he said, "What do you actually identify as then? I mean, if it's not a man."

Okay, some truth then. "I've always been uncomfortable in saying I was a man, from about your age as it happens. So, yes, whatever else: no, I don't totally identify as a man." Okay, yes, I was being horrendously obtuse here. None of this, by the way, is really remarkable - I teach Sociology too - and my hobby horse of feminism and gender is reasonably well-known among the student body. These sorts of discussions are pretty standard at least once a year (I mean, we're usually discussing feminism, so this was unusual as we were discussing Presidential power in the USA) and my beard comment is usually the recognised end of it - because it gets a laugh and we move on.

It was at this point that another student piped up. He has previously said that my growing hair was potentially uncomfortable for him but that he had, surprisingly to himself, barely noticed the hair-band. As he put it at the time, "I find it really disturbing how quickly I've got used to you wearing a hair-band." I asked about the glasses then, he paused and then: "Oh, I hadn't noticed. Huh, interesting." Anyway, that's the context. He said: "Yeah, I can see that. I mean, you have some slightly feminine mannerisms..." he then seemed to realise he'd said that out loud, "Sorry, sir, but, yeah... Hmm."

Mascara powers: activate!

I am the man who arranges the blocks...
The class then moved on, that seemed a valid point to stop discussion, and we were talking about examples of persuasion (we'd just mentioned Trump's use of Twitter as an example of making speeches to pressure Congress) so we were racing to the end of the lesson, we were about ten minutes from that point.

But it did rather get me thinking: what were the 'slightly feminine mannerisms' that I apparently display?

Today I was looking through my stash of old photos (not even online, they are physical things) for a photo I knew I had to surprise an old school friend with in a birthday card (I shall be scanning it in and printing it off, not sending my only copy) and, in the course of the search, I found an old copy of FHM beneath the photos in the box I keep them in. Intrigued, I picked up the issue: why had I kept it? But, instead of the FHM, I found underneath a whole welter of stuff from Toby - photos, letters, poems, a play we'd planned together. I was, and remain, rather taken aback. When did I stash all this away? How long has it been there? Honestly, I thought I'd thrown it all out years ago - like, back in 2008. Or before. A couple of the letters were painful to re-read - I was so unaware of what I was being offered and the support I had open to me. No wonder Toby eventually ended things: I was completely dense.

Confused but flattered I think summed up
my response at the time.

I do recall that I was suspicious that it wasn't
of me at all. There was a conversation in
which Toby suggested simply that I might
like the image rather than it being me.

No reference exists in any of the words I have
from Toby.
In amongst this, of note, was a doodle that Toby had drawn that started as my face but then she had finished off "as I see you" - long hair, body of a woman. Or, rather, my body but with breasts and dressed entirely in female attire. I had forgotten about it. Like totally forgotten it existed. No idea when it was drawn. Probably very early on in the relationship. Rather sobering.

Before we 'went out', I recall that Toby said that I had feminine mannerisms. She pointed out that I sat with my knees together all the time, that I leaned forward in chairs and always held my wrists close together when listening, waving hands when talking. She said I always stood legs together, elbows at the waist, shoulders down. Then she grew exasperated when I asked for other examples and, if memory serves, repeated that I had feminine mannerisms.

It's not surprising, given what I have remembered about using women and girls around me as examples of how to hold myself from primary school onwards, but it also sort of is surprising because, well, I keep forgetting this sort of thing and then rediscovering it. Maybe the observation from my class on Friday is of a similar nature, though I would be hard pushed to say that I sit knees together any more or that I hold my wrists together, or even that I stand with elbows at my waist - these were all attributes that were, in my head, down to intense shyness. My teaching persona is anything but shy.

In other news, I'm not wearing a hair-band. But I am wearing mascara.

Unaltered image, I forgot my credit card
when nipping out for cordial. This is on the way
back to get the cards to pay for the cordial.
Mascara and alice-band, glasses, but no stuffed
bra. Tights and camisole though.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Don't Panic Mister Mainwaring

Yes, this is reasonably close in the absence
of a photograph. Still haven't plucked up the
courage to ask at the support group.

Maybe that's for the best.

Oh, I was wearing sheer black tights.
It's been an eventful couple of days. Tonight I was seen by my neighbour both leaving for and returning from the in-person support group - which means that I was (and am still) dressed in my white blouse, new dress from Next (the one I got in the sale back in July), sheer tights and the heels from Dorothy Perkins from a couple of years back. And my neighbour greeted me by name as I left, so totally clocked what was going on. There's that (he looked out very deliberately as I parked up returning too, he'd evidently been waiting, probably to check he had seen what he saw earlier). Also, and this is pretty big too, I came out to my ultimate boss yesterday too. I figured that, well, the sooner he knew 'unofficially' the better really. It went... he said 'thank you' and said if he could help in any way then he would - I'll be honest I'm not entirely sure he heard me correctly or really had a chance to think through the ramifications of a member of staff being trans, but he tacked toward positive and I'll take that.

Oh, and yes, I went to the in-person support group. Lesson learned: don't leave sorting out your leg hair til the night you're going out. Bad move. I mean, it was Nair again, rather than shaving, so much quicker than the last few times I've done it in a bath with a razor but still... yeah, no, I should have done that last night but I was marking instead. Also my father called and that was time consuming too (not in a bad way, just in an update way). Then I had to (ha, get me, 'had to' indeed) sort out the eye-shadow and mascara (grey, light, but glittery-ish bronze rather than pink). Not sure it made an ounce of difference if I'm completely honest.

Oooh, hang on, this may be closer.

Honestly, I probably need to look into
some court shoes. Mine have tiny buckles
and, much as I love that, it's not terribly
practical to go out in.
It was a good night. Small group again, not complaining. Some fabulous eyebrow game going on by the other attendees, and one professional make-up job. I mean, everyone looked great (maybe apart from me) because they had clearly put in the effort - clothing very flattering and make-up very professional. Then there was me, hurried make-up (and lack of expertise) and panic-dressing. I hadn't intended to go dressed as I was, but I really couldn't think of what to wear and was running out of time. The heels were, perhaps, a bit much, I avoided tottering (even had a tea) but, yeah, my favourite jeans and t-shirt it was not (but I think I should avoid wearing the same ensemble every time I go).

Don't know if I've said already, but it bears repetition, my hair has sort of exploded and now looks longer than it did - maybe it's not as tightly held back? I don't know. Suffice to say, students have suddenly noticed that it is long and their reaction tells me this is a new thing for them. All positive, but I do teach older students Politics and Sociology so... you know, there's that. Oh, and lunches: back to the old routine with Miss Warrington, which is nice and a bit of a tonic, if I'm brutally honest. It's nice to listen, you know?

Leaving, to the in-person support group half an hour later than planned and almost a full hour later than ideal, the road I live on was rather busy. My neighbour was moving his bin back into his property (bin day was two days ago) and obviously took his time seeing me facing away and locking the door - long enough to get a bead that it was me in the dark and the poor light from the street lamps. And there were a couple of people walking down the path that I would have practically bumped into had I not forgotten my car key and had to go back inside to get one. Not sure how that will go in the future, if I'm honest.

Aromatic? Apparently it's legit, so... well, every day is
a school day.

And, well, it kinda is.
Taking the eldest to dance was good, I think, or at least eventful. She has been delving into pride and categorisation and 'came out' more as potentially more fine-tuned version of what she has already told me in the past. She was keen to tell me that she came out to me first because she felt that I would not only accept but also understand because we have talked QUILTBAG a bit and I seem to know some things. For one, she does not feel that I am likely to try and convince her that what she feels and lives is a trend or trying to gain attention. I'll admit that I was very flattered so of course I listened, reassured, and understood. I also explained that I understood she was still working everything out, counselled her not to get too hung up on the terminology (ha, I know) and to let me know if I was making mistakes - a lot of the language and terminology is new to me too, after all. It seemed to go well, she was very happy and had a lovely time at dance as a consequence. This may be one of my better parenting moments: your mileage may vary.

As usual, this is not the post I was originally planning. That was a more in-depth look at the work situation and then maybe more on the parenting as of tonight. I like to think that Him Upstairs is having a good giggle at the way my last couple of days have gone.

Sunday, 10 October 2021

Hi, Mum

I write this having had a conversation over the phone with my mother who was trying hard to understand where I am coming from. It's hard, from my perspective, to explain how I feel to someone who has never felt what I feel, putting me in mind of the Prom composed by the Pet Shop Boys about Alan Turing and that quote they lift from Andrew Hodges's biography: "do you think what I feel? Do you feel what I think?" As an endpoint I suggested that she read this blog, she was a little uncertain but I have now shared the link to a few of the posts on here and so, well: hi, Mum.

Hey, Mum. When you called I was applying
eye-shadow. I tried to capture it on photos
but have failed. This is the best I could do
with FaceApp making me unrecogniseable.
My mother asked if I wanted to become a woman.

And, no, the honest answer is no. Or, rather, I cannot. If there was a button or some sci-fi method of making it happen, then sure, yes, of course. But no such thing exists. Surgery wouldn't make me a woman any more than anything else could, in the reality I experience there is no method to make someone a woman or a man. Nothing. However, I would be hesitant to call myself a man. I could no more become a woman than I could become a man. And, as it stands, I would argue that I am neither as society understands the concepts. Which brings me to the next point: I would like to occupy that societal space of being recognised as coding female or 'woman'.

Hormones can make one more emotional, did I want to have a cycle and be given to bursting into tears?

Apparently so. But I have known many women. And not all women fall into such stereotypes. In society the people I know who perform the gender of 'female' can cry, sure, but most of them don't seem to. Physically they have a 'cycle' and, yes, I get that this can be debilitating. Again, if there were some sci-fi method or button to press where I could make myself have such a thing and experience it then, even knowing all the negatives and horrors, I would do it. But not because of the cycle, if you see what I mean, but because it would allow me to understand society's view of what a female is more and it would allow me to more easily code as female in society with that experience. And, again, my aim is to code female enough that no one look too closely - or, rather, they see the presentation. Now, I am aware of my privilege here and have spoken of it often: I code male and that means that I have never truly felt in danger on dark nights, walking cycle paths under street lights or even going out alone. I have always been able to rely on society's penchant for leaving men alone when they can avoid confrontation. Women do not have that luxury. I would be giving that up, I would be in danger. But more, because as much as society has an issue with women it has it double with trans-women.

Can you even tell here?
Grey mixed with deep pink up top,
flesh tone beneath.
Oh, and mascara.

Goodness, my hair is a mess.
I said I didn't want surgery, so why take hormones: wouldn't they also result in physical changes?

I have said it often, I am more or less at peace with my plumbing. I don't hate my body. Or, rather, not in the sense that I have heard some say when describing dysphoria. I have always been put off by what I saw in the mirror, it has never matched what I thought should be there, I guess. I have never had a clear image of what that should be, by the way, just that what I saw wasn't it. It wasn't until I got the FaceApp on my phone earlier this year and played around with it that I got glimpses of what I was expecting in the mirror all this time. And, yes, hormones would absolutely result in physical changes. I can't explain that rationally or logically - but I have said it before and I shall repeat it: having a stuffed bra feels right to me somehow. That's it. I have no better words nor clever phrases, just that feeling. There are surgeries that I know of, but I am no fan of surgery for any reason. Not that I wouild refuse life-saving surgical intervention, far from it, but it's the sort of thing I consider last if at all in day-to-day life. I just... don't think about it. Not ruling it out, but nor would I see it as a go-to.

My mother remembered reading Little Women and wanting to be more man-like or mannish, like Joe.

I have never read Little Women so I can't really comment. But, no, I don't want to feel 'womannish' or be 'effeminate'. I mean, I kinda already am the latter in some ways, it's part (part) of the many reasons I was bullied at school for so long and a principle reason I was so careful to present as 'boy' as possible in clothing, hair cut and everything else. No one ever said I was effete when they targeted me with bullying, but I knew that was a potential avenue and did everything I could to prevent it being a reason for being targeted. I couldn't alter many of the reasons I got bullied for, but I could avoid adding to them! I mean, I read the Beano for many years and recognised that Walter and the softies got bullied (and it was assumed they kind of deserved it) because they were not manly enough. They were wet fops, effete and weaklings. And, thus, I knew to keep my thoughts on identification with girls under-wraps.

So, what did I want?

This photo was what made me believe, even
a little bit, that maybe, just maybe, I wasn't
going mad. Ha, my hair still isn't this long.

I recognise that what I want and what I can achieve are very different things. If I could, I would alter time itself and be born 'female' enough that I would be assigned 'female' at birth and then live likely as a tom-boyish girl. I would realise I was a lesbian. I would still face bullying, discrimination and probably face greater challenges than I do now. I would lack that privilege that saved me from countless assaults and allowed me to access academic halls that would have required greater effort as a girl or woman. I would have had to work more and harder to achieve what I have academically and financially, such as it is, and I would likely have had even less luck in relationships than I have enjoyed so far. It is very likely that I would have gone with a man because that is what society expected and I may even have been pregnant by now. It is very likely I would have passed undetected as ASD for longer and may still not be diagnosed, with all the issues that this entails. But this is not what I could achieve.

So, what do I want?

The earliest photo I have of living
without the disguise. Or, rather, presenting
more as I expected.

I mean, beard aside.
I want the joy and the euphoria of the summer to continue. I want to dress in clothing that I feel is like me. I want the outward appearance to match more what I expect to see in the mirror. I want an end to that War, I want out of the trenches, I want peace. Finally, peace. I want acceptance, but that cannot be achieved either. Not from my family and friends, I think I have that, I want society to accept me too. As me, not the disguise. I want to ditch the careful mask I have created and worn for so long. I want a chin free of beard - not all hair, I recognise that women have hair on their chins - but free of beard. It is irrational, beyond analysis, but I want to be me. I want to stop screaming just below my skin and, instead, to sing from my core to my outermost extremities.

For the longest time I said I wanted an end to me. I wanted to obviate the self and be a shade. Whatever I did to my flesh jacket and clothing I would still be the same hateful lump of barely formed human shit staining all that came into contact with it, the stench trapped in the pores and unable to be removed. Whatever the outward performance I would still be the same small-minded and useless waste of flesh on the inside, good for nothing but the funds on death. Not suicide, much too logical to embrace that option, but hoping, praying and waiting for death. I can't say yet with confidence that I don't want this any more, not yet, but I am beginning to see that there is another path. It sometimes gets lost in the dark, as I flail in the fronds of pines in the inky night, but it is there now. I want to explore this path more, I want to see where it takes me. Maybe I can find what it is that will make me place value and worth in who I am and myself. Maybe I can find out what makes Joanna smile so much when she is glimpsed through FaceApp. Maybe that can be the me I wear. Or, rather, maybe I won't have to wear anything at all, in that sense, because I will be myself. Yes, that is what I want, I want to not have to wear a persona, a mask, so much.

Saturday, 9 October 2021

A week in words

What a doozy!

Autumn it may be, but also 20 degrees
centigrade, which is deeply concerning
in October, but I am not complaining
when I have FaceApp to do the dirty.
Today I wore my mustard yellow top all day, with my black cami underneath, and my pink accented glasses to take the Middlest and Youngest to my favourite local gaming vegan cafe local favourite - there was a club on for the Middlest to play his Switch and the Youngest and I went and played random boardgames for a couple of hours. Even Veronica was there to share joy over meeting her nephew (saw photos, it was a good baby) and then to have a brief chat introducing her to the Youngest. It was nice, it was fun. I wore essentially female clothes all day and my hair is now long enough that it sort of falls over my ears so that it looks a bit feminine because it is so long with a silver alice-band because hello how are you?

Also this week has been rather busy with stupid things happening every morning so that I haven't really been able to do what I planned with marking every morning compounded by late nights and not getting up as early as I would like in a morning so that when I get into work I end feeling adrift and at sea because I can't get on top of what I think I should be doing leading to coming home tired and being unable to focus on the work I ought to be doing instead of watching random videos on youtube that get in the way of even updating this here blog I am fine thank you thanks for asking.

This is how I appeared (kinda) to
pick the Youngest up this morning.
Yeah, I thought it was cold enough
for a jumper, silly goose!

(Psst, bob-cut function!)
In other news I got my Form to use the Mx instead of Mr on their books for a class thing in Form-time. It felt... I have not really felt able this year to use Mister at work. It is really jarring when I hear it. I've been signing off almost everything as Mx now and that feels far more comfortable. Not as comfortable as Ms or Miss would be, sure, but this is still reasonably camouflaged so reasonably safe to do, and it has improved my general disposition. Today, visiting the local vegan gaming favourite cafe vegan I was called by my male name by the guy running the club that the Middlest was attending and... I didn't correct, but it really felt alien and... jarring. It felt... wrong.

I mean, I get it, my name has always sounded disconnected and odd in my head - part and parcel of the ASD I guess - but I'd never really noticed that it didn't sound like me. No, I lie, I knew that. There's that tale of the wedding where my friends had to resort to yelling out a character name to get my attention because I wasn't responding to my actual name - I think that might mean I didn't identify with my actual name, y'know, and that was back in 2006! I've long been aware that I don't connect with my name, one of the many reasons I don't like using names, and so it's not that surprising that I haven't liked it but the liberation, the euphoria, I get by not using it has been... unexpected. I've talked before in this blog about using 'Joanna' online and how much more comfortable that felt, well, now I've been using it out in the world in monologue to myself and... well... frankly? I like it. It feels more like me.

Hmm, my hair has reached that
tipping point again, hasn't it?
On top of that, I wore my new blouse to work for Thursday and Friday - a white one. I wore my long-sleeve t-shirt underneath, with my mustard yellow tights from Snag, a pair of ankle socks (to protect the tights from my school shoes) and with the alice-band (silver) and glasses. The world has not ended. No one even noticed, least of all the students (though one student was flabberghasted I was wearing a white shirt and swore blind I never had before - I wore one last week in fact - as I always wear 'purple, pink or blue' shirts). I looked up (and even put in a 'basket') a chocolate brown blazer and some wide leg trousers for work from M&S too - they came to around £120 in total. I even 'basketed' a selection of tights (black, blue and burgundy) from Snag that came to about £55. I checked my funds. I have paid £430 to Tilly for Christmas and run up credit card debts (so far) of £600. Hmm. Maybe not this month. Or next. But things to bear in mind. Not the sort of things that come up in charity shops.

Tilly's birthday celebrations have started in earnest, big round figure this time, and she is very happy. They will continue for a few weeks yet as various friends find time to visit together and share the moment. She discovered a whole bunch of wardrobe items that she packed away five years ago too, so she is looking rather stylish and fashionable at the same time with a new haircut, a decluttered home, many many book deals and a rather full and fulfilling social life. When I dropped the Youngest off today I caught her staring intently at the mustard yellow top I wore. I suspect she knows, she always did when I was at home, so I guess she knows. And, yes, despite being divorced I suspect it is the right thing to 'come out' to her before I do with the children.

Just saying, I dig the jacket and top combo.
Eldest is very ready to find out, I suspect, being that I have shown her Natalie Wynn, hbomberguy, Abigail Thorn and others and she has responded by showing me JammiDodger (look them up, you'll see the connection). Also, been playing rather a lot of Placebo in the car lately, Eldest is a fan too. Mainly because I showed her pictures of Brian Molko and showed her the wiki article that says he's bisexual, that was enough for her. I've nearly told them many times. Today I wore my glasses all day with all three around, and wore my mustard coloured top, so... y'know, it's getting closer to being a thing. And there's the hair too.

When I had my big round figure birthday I was so badly depressed and stressed that I had no celebrations. Very few people even knew I'd had a big round number birthday, or even a birthday at all. My family (father, his wife, my mother) knew and sent cards and berated me for not doing something. That was it. Tilly got me some beer. Apart from that, no one knew. Even work colleagues missed the significance and the date - though Miss Warrington knew and sent a text - and no friends sent anything. Apart from Catherine, with whom, you will recall, I share a birthday and age so... hardly able to hide that. To be fair, I told Tilly not to commemorate it and she obliged. None of the children knew either. It passed unremarked upon, my family cards stuffed into my work bag and hidden. That's on me. By the next round number I suppose that I shall be out to my family properly so... [redacted stuff about my father and achievements]

Yeah, without FaceApp I'm... not
winning awards, unless they hand them
out to delusional trans* people who
want a hit of that euphoria via App.
For those keeping score (me): I got a similar classification of degree from a much lesser University, an MA (he has two); and went into teaching where I reached the dizzy heights of middle-manager (he ended up in charge of a Department, then the whole shebang, then Chief Executive of an entire authority, then Chair of all Chief Execs, then consultant to Chief Execs and Trustee for many Very Important Groups on things like child safety and COVID responses); I get paid a year roughly what he gets in any two given months and he's on his second wife who loves him very much with multiple rejected offers of affairs (up to two a year at last count). I doubt I shall outlast him, let alone live as long as he does. On every concievable metric my father has out-done both his father and his eldest son. I've out-done my father's father on some metrics, I guess.

I am not 'on my game' tonight, this is just dribbling straight from my brain to keyboard. Tomorrow I must charge the car (again, twice this week) and mark about 90 papers. Fun. I'll do it, I know I will, and I'll even enjoy it on some sado-masochistic level. And I shall dress for the occasion. Another blouse costs £14 locally, £10.95 online (if I buy five a pop), and another long-sleeve t-shirt is £2. I may buy the latter. May.

Okay, I'm done now, the part of the evening I have given over to just slamming down the words as a melange of happiness, concern, stress and euphoria is over because I have spent the day dressed in my femme clothing and with glasses whilst in charge of small people and going out in public, even visiting my ex-wife pushing boundaries taking pleasure in the small things living on the Instagram Facebook social media newsfeed photos how dare you even.

Sunday, 3 October 2021

The Eyeball Zone?

Okay, maybe the eye make-up is a little
too subtle...

Or, I've done it right.
It was too late to go out dressed to charge. That is, after a nice weekend with the children, I had but 20 miles left on the clock and didn't want to risk coming home after dropping the eldest home. Nevertheless, I did put on my new Snag tights - bought back in May or June I think - the Spice Melange ones - because it was cold. I had worn my old M&S woollen 100 denier ones but... well, I did buy them back in 2005 and they are showing their age. A small hole had opened up somewhat since they were last washed (or perhaps when they were washed, I hadn't checked) and so after wearing them yesterday I may have to bid a farewell to them. I digress. I went out without sorting my hair, just brushed and with an alice band, and then it was off and charging.

On my return I changed into my stuffed bra, but I left my hair as it was, because it felt... well, different. I washed it this morning, you see, and it was doing that train-wreck thing I say I like in the FaceApp photos so I thought I'd see if I could hack it. And off I went to town on an errand, then I stopped by Superdrug. I'd spent much of the day bemoaning in my head that I didn't have £50 to get more tights in for the winter (one way of avoiding heating for a bit longer I guess) and so of course I dropped about a tenner on some eye-shadow, some brushes and some applicators. I mean, of course. I have so much experience with eye shadow (that is, I have none).

Coming back from the pubs(s).

Y'know, the bob-cut function has me
wondering... Also, nail polish...
Toby put eye-shadow on me a few times. Once for her birthday, the first time I ever dressed for longer than a few minutes and also going out with a huge group for about six or seven hours. She did it again with the second night out and maybe three other times for funsies whilst I was round her house. That's it, those are my only experiences.

When I got back (I stopped off for a few halves because I know how to destroy my budget) I decided to try some of my ill-gotten gains whilst waiting for my lateral flow test result. I went light beneath the eyes and then grey on top with some pink at the top of that and tried to blend them all together at the sides. Obviously I added mascara. Then, with negative test sorted, I donned my most feminine of glasses (should I drop money on getting a red pair?) and went out for a walk. Not sure what I was hoping to achieve, to be honest, but I'll be honest and say that I enjoyed going out with my eyes made up. Oh, and wearing a stuffed bra, but I know that no one can see that so it's reasonably safe with my big green coat to hide in. The eyes? They were new and possibly something that people would notice (though the photos suggest maybe not).

The evening falls...

Different bar, same FaceApp but...
no bob-cut. Hmm.
It's funny, when I went out in the summer on my walks in that direction I dared not do much - I wore my shirt and my blue tinted glasses and that was it. I worried about even wearing an alice-band. And now, not six months on, I'm out in eye make-up and obviously feminine frames with a stuffed bra, wearing tights and a camisole. It's... well, it feels like a lot of huge steps whilst also feeling like the most natural thing in the world, almost as though I have taken no steps. And, funnily enough, I really haven't. Like I say, I went out for six or seven hours fully made up in full female attire back in 2005. This isn't progress so much as rediscovery and re-attaining that level that I never fully appreciated back when I did it the first time. How would life have been different had I but realised what was going on?

And that's a recurring theme across many people that I have found that talk about these sorts of journeys - the lost time, the realisation that one has been circling something for so long and wondering what could have been achieved if one had but realised sooner than one did. For me, it has added potency, in that I kinda did know back in 2005 but then I buried it. I kinda knew back in 1996, for goodness' sake, and actively fought against it for the next eight years. It's why I feel wobbly so often, I guess, because I'm finally out of the scaffolding that I erected around the walls I built to try and keep it all in.

Your eyes aren't rivers there to weep, but a place for crows to rest their feet.

Thursday, 30 September 2021

Answered Prayers

Tonight, after eating well. Sans glasses.

And with FaceApp, I mean.
Last week I began to wobble. I should know better by now, and I did spot the signs, but I still struggle to right things once I start - there is over-correction, leaning into the imbalance and then the careening wildly. Meeting my father was... apparently more emotionally difficult than I gave it credit at the time. Some work came in to mark and that too was strangely difficult - it's the first major marking of the year, this always happens. Going to Pokemon was lovely, I really enjoyed it, I'm planning to attend again without my disguise in November. But it was busy and I was worried about the Boy and I lost all my games and that hurt because ultimately I'm a bad loser. I struggled with the good things.

And, last night, I cleared the front room ready for building work. I walked out into town with a stuffed bra on and it felt natural and normal and lovely. My hair is getting longer, and I'm feeling more and more like... me. I was shaking though, ostensibly because I'd had a coffee that morning but also because I was hungry and... The joy of ASD, in my very specific case, is that I don't always notice when I am emotionally tired. I got a gin and tonic in a can, I returned home and ate a bought in meal whilst watching Katy Montgomerie taking down transphobic nonsense online.

What would I look like with a bob in
black hair?

Yes, this is a reference to Trinity hair
as discussed previously.
I had been dimly aware of the Duffield comment and the furore surrounding it - catching sight of headlines on newspapers when I was charging the car and hearing it on the radio. When I learned the whole story I was able to knit together some of the things I'd read in comments BTL in the Grauniad whilst on the bog over the last few days. And I was going to post about class and attitudes and about how stats don't always match to anecdotes and the danger in placing too much weight on one's own experience of others rather than on statistical knowledge.

But I was emotionally tired. And what spilled out was something from a treacherous part of myself that I know lies and likes to make things hard.

This morning, waiting for the builders to come and sort the front room, I agonised over whether to delete the post. I elected not to, this is my place for truth after all, and that includes the times I make a hash of everything. I read Clare Flourish and caught up on September's posts and was reminded of reality. I saw comment threads that spoke of reality, of community, of being stronger and better together - that hinted at an end to socially imposed hierarchies through, well, love. You know, the sort of revolutionary thought I say I'm keen to espouse myself. And I felt very silly and not a little guilty about last night's post.

Someone at work invited me out for a drink unexpectedly - they were also taken by surprise - and we met up and did that. It was nice. They asked my advice about getting an ASD diagnosis. Funnily enough, I'd just heard from Tilly that the smallest has joined the club too. The colleague was genuinely interested in my advice, I was able to be compassionate and they said I had been helpful, more than they expected. Rising tides, boats and fishing.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

That Unwanted Animal

The Past is Prologue

At University I was given a cassette by a girl I really liked and who remains a friend even today. She never liked me the same way in return, but dated many of my friends. On one side was the album Ok Computer by Radiohead but it cut off at No Surprises and the other side was Without You I'm Nothing by Placebo but cut off at Burger Queen. A perfect combination for my mood at the time. She once told me that she never knew which me was going to be there when I turned up places, that there were many versions of me. I suspect that this is why she didn't like me the same way I her and may explain the otherwise inexplicable gift of the cassette.

The Future

My favourite from the Saturday.

Now with added 'bob-cut'.
At the park on Saturday there were a group of youths of various ages interacting. It was on the edge of an area of extreme social deprivation, the worst in the county, and there were a few obvious mini-groups that had come together to a place with play equipment - they were there with no supervision (as one would expect) but exhibiting the kinds of behaviours that I recognise from where I used to the live, the sorts of interaction and language that one associates with mild neglect and poor role modelling. That is, fake bravado and insults as endearments with an edge of not understanding social interactions. One of the young girls there had communicated to me and the boys about our curious discussion about a path running off to the side of the field, she was younger than the Boy, older than the smallest, and keen to be nice. "Oh, there's a field there," she began over-hearing us, "and then there's a path out to the pub. I mean, out to the Rose and Crown. You can drink there. I've drunk there."

I ignored the drink part, "Oh, thank you, we'll have to go and look at the field."

"It's a nice field. But I know people go there to have sex. And someone buried a cat there because I saw them doing it. Well, my friend saw them. And they buried a cat. It's in the field."

"Certainly sounds interesting, we'll go and investigate, thank you, that was really helpful of you" and we started to walk away.

"And I've been smoking in that field."

And we left. You get the get the idea. I doubt very much the girl had been drinking or smoking, or that a cat was buried there. Her face was earnest, she wanted to be friendly and helpful but was trying so desperately hard to shock and disgust. And she had no volume control, this was all yelled, in the hopes of perhaps attracting the attention of others.

The actual park, but in March rather than this last
weekend, so very much in winter here.

That's the slide though. Oh, also, I guess still in
It was later that day, we were back at the park. The girl had gone, but many of the same group remained. They were bullying one boy on the slide, they had stolen his shoe and were kicking it round. Another group of boys, seemingly with the bullied boy, were clustered round the slide calling him a "gay-boy" and using this with one another because "boys ain't friends wiv boys". One of the boys retrieved the shoe, returned it to the original boy, who punched him and then they sat down together, called one another gay-boys and started a conversation about a Tik-Tok video they'd both watched. One of the erstwhile bullies joined in and was invited to sit with them. He shouted that a girl he'd just been talking with was a "tranny and gay-boy" for ill-defined reasons and then conversation turned to music. Another, older, boy and girl turned up their music but then joined the conversation and...

Get to the point, Joanna.

Okay, so, these were 'youth'. And they were clearly aware of terms like 'gay-boy' and 'tranny'. They were confused about them but they knew them. They ranged in age from Primary School (around ten or so) to GCSE (around sixteen I'd guess). Given the issues they were all clearly facing, from neglect (albeit benign) to possible signifiers of emotional abuse at the hands of trusted adults; from low-level poverty to being below the bread-line, I should not have been surprised at their use of slurs and their behaviour.

And that treacherous part of me inside said: "these people have no need for something as esoteric and alien as trans-rights: surely you ought to realise that the working-class don't care about that extremely first-world issue. Why do you care so much about something that would affect around 0.5% of the population?" It said: "You've lived 40 years already, what difference does another 40, 50, 60 make? And at what point does it become anywhere near as important to deal with as the issues facing these children?" And it added: "these are the future, these youngsters are the real Britain, UK, of the future. And look what they think about trannies and perverts. Homophobia, yes, and that is the future. Oh, and by the way, what an arsehole you are to 'other' them as working class and pass judgement on them at all, get over yourself you cosseted middle-class bougeois oppressive twat."


Ah, here it is. Not the one I know from beer - they retweeted this.

I'm not usually on Twitter, honest, but this one was sent to my
e-mail as a 'highlight' that Twitter thought I might want to see.

Along with one from Mae Dean about getting an appointment to
update her driving licence in her name and with her gender.
Opinion pieces are always of interest. And there is a Party Conference going on, a Labour one. Supposedly a progressive party, an MP from it tweeted that she was being attacked for knowing that only women had a cervix. Her Party leader was asked if it was transphobic to say that only women had a cervix and mealy mouthed some politeness that "it should not have been said" and some people I actually know from beer reviews have quote-tweeted this with the commentary "Dear God". An opinion piece about the leader of this supposedly progressive party suggested that they ought to state some policies. In the comments several people claimed to be working class and suggested that what thius progressive party needed to do was "row back on this trans-rights nonsense, talk more about taxation and cut benefits that fund people choosing poverty over work" to much agreement. Even those arguing against welfare cuts simply ignored, or outright agreed, that the "trans-nonsense has to stop as it detracts from the very real problems and issues facing the UK."

The Health Secretary used the question and answer to suggest that the leader of the opposition was ignorant of basic science: only women could even have a cervix and to say otherwise was patently absurd. Much of the progressive media was awash with people being very upset that a female MP had been attacked on Twitter for stating the blindingly obvious and suggesting that the trans-issue had become a little too much of a big thing.

And that treacherous part of me inside said: "they're right, you know. This is how it all begins." And it smiled and said: "you think this is a good time to identify with the losing side? How many good people hid their sexuality, identity and religion - everything that modern culture says ought to be expressed - when they saw what was coming in the 1930s in Fascist Germany? They were later hailed as heroes for that, you know, not those that went and got killed for 'staying true to themselves' - and anyway, there's no genocide being suggested. You've lived for 40 years without making too many waves - it's destroyed your marriage already, is that not enough?" That part of me looked at me as I walked into town this evening to get some things to hang in the loo to clean it and some veg for a meal tomorrow dressed in my butterfly t-shirt and stuffed bra and asked: "is this worth the price you've paid already? No, it isn't. And this is without making any moves."

Vegan Games

Everywhere is sold out of these.

Not that the Japanese version would be
all that helpful.
Last night the Boy and I attended Pokemon at my favourite local vegan gaming cafe and I got talking to Veronica again, the trans-woman there, and she went out of her way to make it clear that I could ask her anything and she would do her best to answer. She pointed out that the Boy was perfectly comfortable around her, that he knew she was trans, and so I shouldn't feel bad about coming out to him. She knows my eldest and pointed out that she was likely to be supportive - after all, she was bi and therefore already in the right camp - and she wondered aloud why I might delay at all. She assured me that waiting lists weren't that long, she had got on hormones within seven months of coming out to her GP when she was 18, her breasts were thus all natural, and she had regular meetings and check-ups with the gender clinic. Indeed, she got extra support through therapy because of the ASD diagnosis along with the gender issues so I could likely look forward to the same.

I shared about coming out at work and she asked how long it would be until I socially transitioned at work, that it was a good idea to do so quickly rather than wait. I pointed out that the advice from my Union was to wait until a holidays to give the school chance to change documents and prepare for the potential of a media onslaught. She nodded, this was good advice, so after Christmas then? Luckily, the Pokemon games interrupted. Veronica was nothing but positive and kind, well-meaning, but by the end of the evening I was struggling a bit - information overload? I actually couldn't make out what she, or anyone else, was saying for one extended part of the night - not something with which I usually struggle, and all the noises were melding into one big roar. Not a loud one, but enough to obscure words and meaning. It's been like that on and off at work too.

The other issue to relate here is that I didn't actually have any questions. I mean, I did about getting on hormones but... I didn't know how to ask that question in the way that I would get the answer I needed - that is, how to ask so that people would be able to offer the information I was looking for. The same issue I have noted at the in-person support group - the last meeting was a fun one, to be sure, but apart from memes and sci-fi and novels I'm not certain that I learned anything that I found useful. No, let me rephrase, anything that I want to find out right now.

And that treacherous part of me inside grinned ear to ear: "who do you think you are, anyway? Do you honestly believe that you'll go on hormones? You, who can't contemplate taking a paracetamol for a splitting headache and baulks at the concept, the concept, of taking vitamins to supplement a diet?" I didn't have an evening meal yesterday, and my lunches are back to being rushed and not well-balanced to try and save my tooth - whose temporary filling failed completely on Monday night and whose new temporary filling, though holding, is much less expertly applied. "It's been 40 years, you've been teaching long enough that your career can vote and go to University, is losing the beard not enough? How do you think you'll manage if you try play-acting as a woman? Do you really expect that students will call you 'Miss', do you think you can call yourself 'Miss'? You still add 'Mister' rather than 'Mx' when monologuing for goodness' sake. the word you're looking for is 'delusional'. You're welcome."

The Experience

Here's a photo I have on file that rather
proves the point I'm trying to make regarding
fetish and dressing.

"Easily the sort of image that supports the
concept of AGP, isn't it?"
In the end my understanding of myself is grounded in the sexual. I have related here extensively over the years that, yes, much of the dressing that I have done throughout my life has ended, or included, masturbation and bondage. Just imagining having longer hair, or hair like Trinity in the Matrix is enough to get me hot'n'bothered enough to get physical and reach the end; using the standard tissue to deal with the result and bin it. Just like it always has been. Maybe it always will be. "Don't you like that though," says that treacherous part of me inside with a soft voice, "you can admit that you bloody love having a good wank, can't you? That moment of climax. Not going to have that if you go on hormones, not going to be able to do that if you want to truly live as a trans-woman. And that, the wanking, is what this is really all about, isn't it?"

My only interaction with a sex-therapist was way back in late 2011 or early 2012. I wrote about it on this very blog. He asked me to explain what happened and what I thought about when I masturbated. It was a particularly unsubtle reference to AGP, something I was only dimly aware of myself at the time but keen to distance myself from. That is likely to come up again. And, honestly, I don't know how I don't fit that diagnosis - even if it is arrant nonsense, people believe it. And those people are gatekeepers to NHS and medical support. What if it is just a form of fetish - or, at least, enough of a fetish that it doesn't matter what else there is.

"You've lived the way you have for 40 years, struggled, but not moved. Would any change be worth the price paid?"

On Sunday my father's talk as we went for a walk revealed a man who had done much of what he wanted to do, and whose biggest regrets were in his own mind and not related to actual reality. He felt he had amends to make with me, and I never found out for what, because the concept is absurd. He kept a letter I wrote at the height of my teenage angst and impotent anger that insulted him and his wife for nearly twenty years before I managed to convince him to get rid of it. He read it every year on the anniversary of me sending it, torturing himself with the half-formed stress of a teenager who fancied himself good with words. A man who went to Oxford, found women to love him around every corner so that he could choose his partner; who out-performed his own father on every measurable metric.

By contrast... by contrast I was that teenage boy with the angst and self-important belief that I could wield words. I went to University, where two of my lecturers questioned whether or not I was degree material. At my Masters one of my two lecturers took me to task and pointed out that I was studying for an MA and would I not be better doing something, anything, else as I clearly wasn't cut out for this level of study and, frankly, he questioned how I managed to achieve a 2:1 in a BA (he suspected I didn't deserve the Hons addition). In teacher training one of the two course leads questioned whether I had what it took to be a teacher and the other said I could go through the motions but she felt I lacked the passion - like I was going through the motions without really knowing why. Imposter Syndrome but through inertia. "Why is your assertion that you're a trans-woman any different to your assertion that you wanted to go to University or be a teacher? Your body is male in every defineable way, your DNA screams male in every way science can judge and you code masculine so effectively that you avoid getting attacked and mugged by eyebrow alone. Even if you're not going through the motions, do you really think you would cope being seen socially as female?"

Monday, 27 September 2021

Take Me Back

On Saturday I took the boys for a walk
in the heat and the woods. I snuck in a
selfie and then FaceApp'd it.

Where I see butterflies to-ing fro-ing

And the river flows, I am never gonna take it back again. And the river flows, I am never gonna get it back again.

Bad habit: I berate myself for being slow in a morning, and for any 'forgetfulness' during a day. Since April it was confined to my disguise name and, when dressed, I wasn't doing it. However, slowly, over the last week, it crept back in. Interestingly, when I swore at myself I tended to use my given name rather than calling myself 'Jo' or 'Joanna' - but in the last week, I started doing it with those names too.

On Sunday I took the eldest two to see my Dad. It was nice. Beautiful weather. Dad took me for that walk. He stated that he wished to make amends, that he had made many mistakes - he was referring to the time surrounding his divorce with my mother (I checked), for which no amends need to be made (I said as such). Then he spelled out his plans for the next five years, should he have them, which sounded sensible and positive; along with how he and his wife have fallen back in love with one another over lockdowns - not that they were out of love, but they remembered why they loved one another in the first place - and how that has been painful given recent events. [redacted stuff about my father]. My father then asked after my plans for the next five years. I managed to deflect to house stuff and job. But he remarked that I seemed less haunted and harried these days. I almost told him, but it was his show, not mine. He shared that he was proud of me, which I know, and that he felt I had done a good job with the children and navigating through my own divorce. He felt he was going to fail to live as long as his father, and that galled him as he had done better in every other way - I didn't know what to say to that (he's not wrong, mind, in virtually every metric you can measure: wealth, standing, job, relationships, education, travel...) so I said nothing.

Later on, we picked up the Girlie from
Dance and I had this effort. It's a bob-cut
according to FaceApp. Huh.
[Redacted stuff about my father]. Then they took us all to the tree that they planted to commemorate a miscarriage 14 years ago. Again, the children do not know the significance. Would have been weird having a half-sibling about the same age as my eldest. It was a nice walk, but very hot: the Boy ended up shorting out and went mute and tired; the Girlie had had ice-cream so went strangely rude and loud. We walked back and I drove them home before charging the car - there's a fuel shortage in the UK, I laugh in electric car.

I thought I had forgotten to book time off for Thursday, when my damp issue in the dining room is going to be sorted, so I was angry at myself most of the weekend about that. But it turns out that I did tell people at work and book the time off. So... that was nice. So I berated myself for not remembering and making me feel all wobbly all weekend. My mother had a coffee morning today for charity, I should probably check in and ask how that went.

I like this one the best. I don't know
why really.
At work I had a dispiriting lesson, suffice to say I questioned myself a bit and got all flustered and frustrated. Which isn't right. Once home I changed into jeggings and butterfly top with stuffed bra, made and ate tea - the lady from down the road called with some free food (she does this a lot) and I threw on a dressing gown. Why? I'm certain she suspects - why not just answer the door as me? She's friendly enough, it wouldn't cause any problems. And we're back at my bad habit.

My father went through what he has achieved and the things he wished still to do - his regrets weren't that terrible, it seemed to me, not having enough holidays and not doing the decorating or moving house sooner. That was it. There's a damp patch on the repaired wall, several, and I worry that the issue has not been solved. My father and his wife already made up the lost time in the lockdowns, they kissed at one point and it was a joyous thing to see as they were both clearly happy and in love. Today Tilly took the Boy and the smallest to a birthday party at a trampoline place where they both had loads of fun; the Girlie went round to see a friend. And I missed that. We don't know anything trapped in a world full of strangers. Please don't tell me anything...