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, 30 July 2021

And I haven't felt so alive in years

Yesterday morning, no FaceApp
shenanigans.
This recent spell of productivity in terms of blogging is not usual for me. Not since the opening of the blog have I felt like I have this much to say and to contribute to trans things in general or cross-dressing in particular. I mean, okay, nothing here is that earth-shattering or even terribly revealing, but it is the first time in literal years that I can't seem to keep it all in.

Following Tuesday night things have been... hard to describe. I've had actual luminaries reading this place recently and it has been humbling and also electrifying. Electrifying, yes, it all feels rather electrifying.

Rarely do I have so much time to myself and it won't be repeated - the eldest is at a summer school next week that I am providing transport to and from, thus no full days. Then there is the trip Oop North to see my mother for a week with the elder two children. Then, well, it'll be prep for the new year and then back at work. Each week ram-packed with things and duties (well, ram-packed for me, I can't really match normal people for processing power or speed). And though I'll never again have to wave goodbye to what I have released since April (goodness, I don't know if that feels like a long time ago or really recently - in which way am I surprised? I am just surprised) I shan't be able to indulge as I have been over these last few days. Why? Well, the quarantine ends for the rest of the family and that means being a bit more present in the world as my disguise.

Good morning, Jo, there you are!
How've you been?
However, today I do not have to do this. After a brief shopping trip in disguise for the family (and a long talk on the doorstep with Tilly when dropping it off) I struggled back at home. Eventually I donned not my t-shirt and skirt but a boiler-suit style thing I got at some point - honestly can't recall when I bought it. It does not appear to have been recorded here. Then it was online RPG with some friends, Tim and people I know from my MA, which was lovely. Naturally I was wearing glasses too and it just felt so relaxing. "People ask: do you feel like a man or a woman? And I answer: I feel... happy."

Late out of bed this morning, reading comments, and a long shower. And I thought, you know what? Why not put on the mascara today anyway? Before I did, I realised that my hair had kind of styled itself, I liked it, and I remembered the lipstick. So, with mascara and lipstick, glasses and a bit of hair pushing, I got dressed in my Snag tights (80 denier), black denim skirt and a 3/4 sleeve top from Poundland. Do I look good? Can't say. I feel amazing.


EDIT - 1800hrs

A facial curtsey?
As the day has progressed I keep catching sight of my face as I turn in the mirrors in the hallway and, coupled with the feeling of the tights (spice melange by the way) and the way it feels to look through glasses... It's me. I look and I see me for perhaps the first time. I'm looking in the mirror and I am looking back. Okay, okay, I'm not going to win any prizes - the make-up is sparse, the five o'clock shadow is, well, shadowing and the styling of my hair non-existant. Going out like this in public would be dangerous and likely to draw derision and insult. But, for all of that, it's me. I'm there in the mirror, just as I turn I catch glimpses. As I sit and watch a film, I feel comfortable, relaxed, and almost content. There's no point adding a new image to the post, I don't even know how I could capture that look I get. I want to pose with one of my swords - don't ask me why because I simply don't know - but I can't take a selfie and hold my double-handed monster of a bastard sword. Whilst my cavalry sabre might work one-handed, it would be hard to get a selfie as well. Somehow I don't think I can ask people at a support group to contemplate having a sword on the premises!

But that's just it, this isn't maudlin, this is joyous madness. Proper, actual, joy!



Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Bent photons in car windows

 Yesterday rather got away from me. So, two parts to this post.

Part One: Getting there

This was after parking near the centre
of the city.
The car was due back in to be washed after the day before and I was still in a bit of a tizz about my internal monologue, so I resolved that I would be better. First of all, I wore a pair of glasses and an alice band when I dropped the car off, which went unremarked upon by anyone. Then I went to the supermarket to see if I could get some make-up for cheap. I did, mascara, but a reasonable one this time rather than the rather poor one I bought... in 2013? Possibly. Anyway, yes, some mascara.

Picking the car up, thence to the city centre again, parking a place that the Boy and I found. The idea was that I could use this that evening to go to Pokemon. At this point I was concurrently planning a night at home dressed and a night out playing Pokemon - there was no decision to mix the two. I had resolved to inquire after some make up tutorial in the department store, but I didn't in the end (prices started at £50 for 30 mins, I don't have those kind of funds). However, I did get myself a bag for tights and bras for the washing machine. Then I went and got some shampoo from the refill shop - the real reason for going back into the centre of the city. I also got two more alice bands.


A curious brick tower used as a stink
pipe outside a cemetary.

The potential parallels are not lost
on me.
By now I was toying with the idea of going to my favourite vegan game cafe en femme and was wondering if I ought to pop in in person to discuss. But I bottled it and instead went home for lunch - where I changed into my en femme outfit and wrestled whilst having pizza. I messaged the cafe, got a positive response (I had accidentally 'outed' myself a while back when making an order and the computer auto-filled with my Joanna account - I've been enjoying deliveries addressed to 'Joanna Cole' as a bit of gender euphoria recently) and then wondered if I would actually go through with it.

At around half five I sneaked out to the car dressed - if not now, then never, right?

Somehow I got away with driving past some boys from up my road, I suspect the glasses, hair band and dress just coded 'woman' to them. I mean, I was wearing a face mask as well - but I ditched that relatively quickly. Then it was just a matter of working out where I was going to park and if I was actually going to go through with it. My ankles were protesting a bit with my 3" wedges, so I opted against the earlier parking spot and went with the closer one by the bus station. Meaning I would have to walk through there.


What greeted me out of the shower,
honestly: I didn't choose the combo
because the colours are the
Trans Pride Flag colours.
Head down, quick pace, face mask - what else could I do? Someone asked for change, I went to respond - he sniggered when he saw me properly, couldn't have heard my voice, I kept going. My mantra, had been since getting in the car: "If you're not a tit, no one gives a shit". I don't know if anyone else clocked me in the bus station because I wasn't looking, I kept my head down and my pace as quick as I could manage.

Into the cafe. Someone I know there was also waiting by the till to pay for the evening, they have ASD too, and though he was clearly trying to place who I was it was obvious that he did not succeed. He gave up and wandered off. I paid, the assistant was lovely - they either knew or they didn't, either way, they were welcoming and effusive, softly spoken. They definitely knew I was en femme even if they didn't know who I was. Until I paid, then they knew. They did not react. Ah, so they knew. I was largely left alone after that. I reached out to the transwoman member of the group, sat with her for a while saying nothing - she had clocked I was not a woman, but took a while to work out who I was - though she did work it out relatively quickly. So much for being unobtrusive. Then one of the owners (I think?) who I had messaged came and sat with us and just chewed the fat as they were on a break. Another regular joined us, chat was had, and it was just chat. Nice chat.

The tournament began. I was invited to sit with a small group, again - they clocked me almost instantly, but they were friendly and polite. I think I know one of them from when I usually go, but she didn't seem to recognise me. And... that was it. I played five games, with different people, three of whom I have met before. Hard to say if any of them connected the person they played against with the person they knew. They absolutely knew they were playing someone en femme.


Part Two: Getting away

Last night I managed to wash the mascara off reasonably easily. I'd had an iced coffee at lunch. The caffeine kept me going, and prevented sleep along with the nervous energy of going out. So why did I do it?

Back a step.

Only the second picture of me en
femme
 not taken by me.
I predicted shame last night. It has not arrived. I woke this morning with a feeling of almost relief. The world had not ended. People were polite. People were nice to me. No more or less than usual, mind, but I was made to feel welcome and comfortable by the person I messaged in advance and by the transwoman member of the group. The former had messaged to check I was alright overnight. I had slept in my nightie and bra and had reasonably good dreams. I was... content?

That's the thing - if the Rubicon has truly been crossed as posts have asserted then this was just a matter of time. If not now, then when? Sure, the disguise will have to be re-donned in the future but if this place means anything then it means that action must follow realisation. Authenticity and honesty are why this place was even created in the first place - it follows that steps like this must be taken at some point. Maybe it could have waited for the hair to be longer, for the make-up game to be more effective (more than just mascara) and for the dress-code to be better chosen rather than almost default in fear.


I have long said here: I am fooling nobody when I dress. I am a man in a dress. No matter what else changes I rather suspect that I shall remain such, so getting used to being 'clocked' is going to be something that has to happen.

The whole day was spent in glasses too - like, the whole day. From immediately following shower (and beforehand from getting up) to finally going to bed sometime after midnight. That's certainly a thing. Today has not been the same but changed into my V-neck and black denim skirt for the day. Done some weeding, even risked taking the bin bag out.

Huh, the whole system is called Thistle Cave.

I can't find the bit I did on the maps, but it's down
this hole.

The Boulder Crush was the way out though,
I remember that and feeling very panicky.
What was I expecting? I don't know. I was so busy wrestling with the practicalities of making it happen that I didn't actually think about why I was doing it in the first place, let alone working out what the projected outcomes were. Maybe it was, in part, an attempt to banish the demons evoked on the Monday during that walk around the city centre. Maybe it was to do with the fact that I tend to jump into water with both feet in the trained method for not knowing the depth of the water whilst being ready to swim. In the face of the unknown I tend to rush into it headlong - nothing ventured nothing gained, right? At primary school we went ghyll scrambling on an out-of-bound centre trip - the first day. The guide asked for volunteers to throw themselves off the edge of a waterfall to the plunge pool far below - no idea how far, maybe ten metres - and no one came forward. Flabberghasted, as I was waiting for someone else to go first, I put myself forward and just... did it. Ruined my socks and trousers beyond repair, unable to wash the water from my skin (it felt like) for the rest of the trip. Two others followed. When we went caving later in the trip I was the only volunteer to go through 'Thistle Cave' - a hole only big enough for ten year olds to get through, no guide would be with me and none would wait at the other end. I was left to it. And I just... did it.

This put me in mind of that. No one else was volunteering for me to build up slowly - my mother does not think I am trans and feels that I am doing things because I feel I have to rather than because I finally feel that I can, there's no chance of showing her me dressed. Miss Warrington is a work colleague so... no, unprofessional. Catherine? Bit exploitative as I haven't really managed to keep in touch all these years. And that's it IRL I think. I looked down at the plunge pool, the guide said it was safe, and thought: if not me, then who? If not now, then when? I took a breath, a step, then jumped.

Was I foolhardy? Almost certainly.

No, the real impact will be assessed next week. Then how badly damaged the socks and trousers are can be known - perhaps they will never again be usable. It may be worse. Maybe I will turn the wrong way in the cave system and find myself lost underground.  Hope the experience is worth it.



Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Terrified

1735: I'm about to go out to a meeting of geeks in my local large city. But not in disguise. Pray for me!

1800: Have now arrived. Clocked, obvs, but no one here has connected me to my normal persona. Or, if they have, they haven't approached me to say so. What the Sam Hill am I doing!?

This is the photo that my trans*
friend (I guess? I dunno) took when I
asked her to. As you can see, I maybe
dressed a bit incorrectly for the
occasion. Also, blinking, of course.
2120: So far it's gone okay (3 hours in). The judges know my disguise, but others, whilst clocking, have not connected me with the disguise yet. I have reached out to, and been received by, another openly trans* member of the group, she has been very nice indeed. As has the owner, who even said she was touched by my "thanks for being so understanding." Dear God, I'm still sweating!

2307: I think the scariest thing of all, in all honesty, was the realisation of what I have done. That's a genie out of a bottle I hadn't really prepared myself for (or I would never have done it). I'm home now, my 'live-blogging' amounting to very little. I spoke, at length, with the trans* member and the owner - both of whom were very welcoming and, well, open. Everyone was very polite even though I was fooling no one. Tomorrow I shall regret it all, I know, and fret about what a stupid thing I have done. There is, of course, no going back. I can't turn up in anything other than disguise when I take the Boy with me in the future, so this may just be a bit of a one-off. As I didn't prepare, nor even contemplate this one in advance, I have no idea what I should have thought was going to happen.

And that's it for now. Got to go wash my mascara off before bed.

Pause. Read that line back, and exhale.


Lyrics: I can't hide / I have to show / what's inside / I gotta let you know - seems appropriate.

Monday, 26 July 2021

Subvocalisation

This won't make sense yet, so... uh...
Maybe I should have found a better
opening image.

It's too late, this'll have to do.
Today, the quarantine ended and I took my car in for a service. I'd booked it in for 0845 but they warned me it might not be ready to take back until 1700. Naturally, as the garage wasn't that far from a rather large urban conurbation (you might call it a major UK city), I was all up for this. I had a book token to spend at a bookshop (Waterstones) and the itch to see if there were some nice clothes in charity shops or maybe even, *gasp*, in an actual bricks and mortar shop where I might *further gasping* buy some clothes for me rather than for a disguise. Also, I'd had a bath recently where I had taken the time to shave my legs and they were smooth indeed. Like, smooth, and I was feeling sad that I'd been unable to make the in-person support group. Looking at the distance betwixt garage and centre, where the Waterstones was, there was a good chance that I coould walk it *gasp* in heels. It was about half an hour normal walking time, so, what, forty-five minutes in heels? The weather was cooller than recently, I should be able to manage a dress or skirt. Hell, I have lipstick lying around (don't ask) so I could even try that! Or, maybe I wouldn't have to, I have a mask after all. Also, shaved pits and reasonably long-ish hair. Oh, and my glasses.

Imagine it: going to a city dressed. A city I already know has it's 'fringe' and so I would pass largely unremarked upon. Now, sure, I wouldn't pass so seamlessly as to have people refer to me as 'Miss' or not notice that I play a male role most of the time in life. I may even come in for some teasing, looks etc. But, you know, in that city for however long it is between 0845 and 1700 I could probably take it. After all, walk to bookshop, stick in bookshop, visit a comic store (and, let's face it, people in a comic store in the UK are likely to be rather into the whole Pride thing in a city that has rather bet the silverware on being Pride-aware and safe), visit a vegan game cafe (I mean, seriouisly, could there be a place more accepting of the trans* community?) and hit some charity shops and women's clothing stores. Then walk back, easy, right?

Right? Right?

Near where I live.

I did not realise the shot was so
dark.
Of course I didn't. There was the hurdle of dropping the car off. The worry about taking a backpack (none of my clothing really would allow for that... No, that's a lie, I just didn't plan ahead). I had a beer last night. I got up reasonably early, took forever to get showered and wash my hair, shaved so close I really may have damaged my top lip, failed to apply lipstick properly (six attempts, smarting lip) and then... then just bottled the whole affair.

Trousers, craft beer t-shirt and a rucksack with trainers. 'Sir' at the garage, at the shops... everywhere. Because, well, obviously.

Then the self-doubt started to really ramp up. Walking into the centre I was beset by my situation - am I just play-acting now? Is this really me? Can I really, after all this time, really call myself a transwoman? After all, what I really wanted for so long was just physical intimacy with a woman and, well, doing what I think I'm doing- isn't that just a stand in for that physical intimacy? No one is ever going to find me attractive, and transitioning won't solve that, it'll just add more obstacles and hurdles. Hell, I can't carry off 'male' and I was born with all the natural advantages a male needs, along with a male childhood and male puberty. What hope do I have of looking even vaguely feminine? What does it even mean anyway to look feminine?

I'd gone back into chastity on Saturday, seemed to be doing well, then came out of it on Sunday morning and discovered small amounts of blood and chafing. I mean, honestly, I've spent £100 on a Vice and I still can't put it on properly? I can't look feminine, I can't wear chastity right and I'm tramping down a road not wearing a face mask past closed shops. It takes less than twenty minutes to hit the centre, so could have done it in heels.

In the centre I got to the bookshop. I had hoped to use my token to buy a diary. But what would I use a diary for anyway? Did I really want to spend £5 extra to get an academic diary in pink leather around A5 size with all the extra organisational stuff? When was the last time I used a diary effectively anyway? Was I planning to use this at work, what the Hell? I mean, really, taking an obviously female diary to my place of work? As a teacher!? Come on, useless sack of potatoes, what are you thinking? Are you even thinking at all? Look at the graphic novels instead, all beyond my price range, all cheaper online. Walk to the charity shops. Listlessly go through some tops and skirts, nothing looks quite right - when would I even wear these things? I've already missed the support group, probably going to miss the next one and, well, come on. Go to the comic store, read a bit of some interesting stuff, can't find the book I'm looking for, get spooked, leave. Hit Forbidden Planet and see Mae Dean's handbag, where I ruminate on the price of them and the fact that I always thought I'd want figurines but, well, I don't really. They're all a bit exploitative and pointless and where would I put one? And what would I buy? An airbrushed version of Rey? Leave, get the glue for the middlest child from the Warhammer 40k shop.

Here the shop assistant, with nothing else to do, tries to engage me in chat about modelling. She's nice, genuine, actually enthusiastic about my boy's hobby and his army, what he's painting, how much I'm able to join in. But I'm feeling very, very uncomfortable. I leave quickly. I walk back to Waterstones and agonise for a bit longer - read some books for teens on being trans and reflect how much more media there is out there now. Would I have read it as a teen? Wouild it have made even the slightest difference to my own life? A dead end, a pointless what if. I check the internet, a diary I have my eye on there is cheaper than the one in the shop. But the one in the shop works out cheaper becasue of my token. Another stationary shop has a similar diary, wonder if they have it physically.

This is the dress, just before I start to
cook tea. Look, it's got yellow in it!

Somehow she's smiling.
Lunch. Stationary shop, nope, not there. Pootle. See eye make-up demonstrations in a department store. Stand uselessly and wonder if I should ask to try. But I'd only have to wash it off tonight before bed, what's the point? As if I could pull off eye make-up! What am I thinking? Weirdo. See some market stalls with wigs, my hair is long enough, and, honestly, I don't need to think about wigs. It's not like I'd take care of them anyway. It would be a pointless waste of money and I can't justify it.

Walk back to gaze at diary, read extract of a sci-fi novel about people being unable to sleep. Walk back to charity shops, see a nice dress. Walk back to the bookshop. On my way I am reminded of that awful evening when I got so frustrated by my middlest child being indecisive that I ended up hitting him. Feel truly awful. This is why I am where I am. I'm not on a voyage of self-discovery, I'm an evil little shit who doesn't deserve nice things. Or love. Anyone's love. I deserve to die alone and forgotten.

End up talking to a strange man on a bench about Fred Dibnah and architecture. He's clearly not all there, a bit dangerous, keeps almost getting angry then calming again. I leave, loop round, go back into the bookshop. See plenty of girls and women, all happy, some questing with gender in healthy ways. Bet they haven't hit anyone they love. I bury it with some John Wyndham books - do I spent the token on one of these that my mother already owns so I can have it before they're passed on anyway? Would I ever read them? As I sit on the floor I realise my smooth leg is nice to touch, it's beneath the trouser leg. There's a shittier diary, I buy that, with a discount because the stickers have been stolen and there's a rip in the spine. It's not pink. I try to be nice to the checkout assistant.

Tonight. How does she smile like that
despite the day?
Walk back to see the nice dress. I have never regretted buying any female-tailored clothing. I mean, apart from that skater dress that was a bit too big. After humming and hawing I buy it. £6. Blue and yellow with white polka dots. Walk to the vegan game cafe, there's really no one in, I get a paintbrush and a nice vegan caramel slice. The slice is very nice. It's hotter now, regretting the trousers, if not a skirt I could have at least gone with a pair of shorts, right?

Walking back to the supermarket near the garage I am passing by where I took the middlest to a football tournament. He really liked that, got a lot from it. Good deeds do not blot out the bad ones though, the bad deeds do blot out good stuff, that's how it works. Machiavelli. Did I learn that from Tilly or do I project it onto her so I don't feel so bad about myself? Phone call about the car, I try to be understanding and nice to the lady on the phone. On picking the car up the staff bend over backwards to be nice and apologetic, did I sound angry? Did I look angry? Shit, do I look angry? Try hard to smile beneath the face-mask. Sweating. Did one of them see what I did that night?


I have to take the car back again tomorrow, only for a short while, and it'll likely be raining. I'm in my new dress, I haven't been shopping, I'm wearing my cat-eye glasses. I even danced a bit making tea, in my new dress. I have no idea why this is the post that I am apparently writing.

Friday, 23 July 2021

Little by Little

New glasses. Hair not that long yet.
One thing that completely slipped my mind and didn't get reported, and it absolutely deserves to be reported, was a comment on the last day of school back on Tuesday. It was delivered as a throwaway remark based on a throwaway one of my own as we were leaving the room that has served as an office for much, well all, of this rather odd year in teaching. I made a comment that I have made many many times before without anyone feeling the need to say anything back, I said: "Ugh, my hair is an absolute mess" and I made it without expecting anyone to even notice that I'd said it. One of the main aspects of being autistic means that I tend to verbalise my internal dialogue randomly and unhelpfully. Maybe at one time in the dim and distant past I was fishing for compliments? I don't know.

This time was different, as Miss Warrington announced, apparently with some feeling, "No, your hair is beautiful!" and then swept out of the room before I had chance to respond.

Pause whilst I read that back again. And then I exhale.


The look yesterday and today.

FaceApp is struggling with the t-shirt,
but I like the glasses.
I have had a negative PCR, consistently negative Lateral Flow Tests, and I have missed the support group meeting last night. There was no gaming night either, as had been planned, which was a shame. I spent the evening being very bored. However, I spent the whole day dressed and used the heat of it to be out in the garden weeding and dressed. I was in the dungaree dress thing and my butterfly design t-shirt, wearing the glasses that arrived on Wednesday - the 'cat-eye' design ones. It was... well, it was a good day if a little on the boring side. I finished it off by getting into bed with my nightie and thus, with today, have spent over 36 hours dressing as me. Strangely enough it did not involve any climaxing, like that wasn't the reason for me dressing. And I have no work on, nor stresses, so it wasn't even a stress response. Imagine that.

I had been out for a walk with a different pair on Wednesday night - don't worry, I went on a route where I met very very few people and was sufficiently out of the way that I wasn't breaking quarantine. I mean, maybe I was, who knows? One thing I can report is that I like how I feel when I am wearing glasses and wished I could have had the courage to go out fully dressed.


I don't know why, but I like this shot.
To do that, of course, I really must invest some money in make-up and time in practice so that I can at least soften the edges of my eyes, the five o'clock shadow and so forth. Time for another day. I have ordered and gained a wallplanner, this is excellent, and my school shoes for next year - whatever happens I don't think I'm ready to be 'out' at work just yet. Maybe, maybe in the future. Maybe if I take action that means it becomes harder to cross-dress as a man. Maybe.

Today, after having confirmation of my negative PCR, I picked up shopping on the click and collect thing for the rest of the family. Tilly had 'panicked' in her words and ordered enough shopping for the full ten day isolation - it came to around £100 she said, and was thus much more expensive than her usual shops. Huh, when I was at home we regularly exceeded £100 and it rarely lasted a full week. Was I really that expensive to keep? Probably. I had to get changed from my preferred clothes into cross-dressing as male clothes, which was a wrench, but doable.


And then word came via e-mail that the Decree Absolute has been granted. This means, under UK law, that we, Tilly and I, are divorced now. That marriage that lasted from 2008 to, well, now, is over.

Pause whilst I read that back again. And then I exhale.

Just now, a further happy thing, someone else new to the support group got into contact to ask if all was well as they had missed me there last night. If that's not a lovely thing then I don't know what is. I've even managed to tie my hair back a bit. Will wonders never cease?



Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Related Notes and Peak Glaciation

Not the wedding I went to.

But, hey, it's been a while!

Is it my blog if there isn't a bride
in it somewhere?
Over the weekend I did indeed go to the wedding, and I was nervous throughout. Made worse when we were there and told that the groomsmen and Best Man had all tested positive for COVID and been unable to attend, along with plenty of the staff of the venue. But, no one at the wedding or venue was positive or had been told to isolate, so yay, right?

Obviously I got pinged by the app last night. My daughter, who went with me, has tested positive on a Lateral Flow Test and is showing symptoms. My mother has had a PCR (also pinged by app) and come back negative, along with negative Lateral Flow Tests on Sunday and Tuesday. I've tested with Lateral Flow Tests Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and today and been negative. Also taken a PCR test and I shall hear back on that in due course. It means that I am isolating and so is Tilly and the rest of the family in their house.

Bit of a bugger, I had managed to arrange things to attend the support group again this Tursday, I guess that's out now. Oh well.

On the way to the wedding, whilst the daughter was listening to music via earphones in the back of the car, I told my mother about attending the support group. She kept pointing out that I was using hair clips in my hair, that she felt they were obvious and that it was worthy of some teasing. She teased a lot actually, pointing it out to anyone who would listen whilst we were at the wedding. She asked, on the journey, about hormones - is that something I wanted to do? I raised it, and I said that I didn't know. And... I kinda don't. I mean, I think I might want to, but I know next to nothing about how to do it, what the process is and whether or not it would even be advisable. My mother was quiet. Topics were changed.

Apparently, one of the guests.
On the morning of the drive home, the day after the wedding, my mother noticed me getting dressed after my shower. "Have you shaved your legs?" I had, but it had been a while ago and said so. My mother opined that she thought I was doing things I felt that I had to and that it was silly. She said that I didn't need to do things like that. Or grow my hair. She feels that, if I had had better and more understanding support from Tilly then I wouldn't be where I am. She's said as much before.

What I didn't say, because I'm slow at thinking things through and didn't realise until later, was that it's not a case of feeling that I have to so much as I feel that I can.


Girlie has this on a t-shirt, she took it
and insisted on parading it around,
explaining what the colours represented
without ever actually telling my mother
she was bisexual.
After my mother left I ended up round at Tilly's, giving back some money she'd lent when I took the eldest to the park last week, and was relating some of the issues my mother had had with the eldest going on about Pride and being bisexual (she does this a lot, my daughter, she asked to tell my mother, and I told her she could, but then didn't and just made increasingly loud and obvious allusions to Pride, bisexuality and going to the Pride march in the holidays - if it's on). There had been a discussion. My mother had told me that she felt my daughter couldn't know if she were bisexual yet and was worried that she might get bullied by people. Also, that my daughter didn't know enough people who weren't ASD to know anything about herself yet. It was maddening.

Anyway, Tilly felt our daughter does rather go on about such things (in fairness, she does shoe-horn it into anything, like when I said a tablecloth was not quite straight at the wedding my daughter loudly declared "It's straighter than me!" *sigh*). But when I mentioned that my mother was going on about hair grips in my hair (not clips you see) Tilly countered with this gem: "Well, maybe she's worried."

I pretended not to understand.

"Well, growing your hair and with your, you know, your dressing. She's probably worried."

I decided not to pursue that conversation. I'm not ready to talk with Tilly about that yet. Also, we're divorced, it's not her concern any more.

Oh, hey, this is the t-shirt.
And Tilly is not wrong. At the wedding, one of my cousins, standing in for the Best Man, struggled to read out the speech - it was interpreted by the guests as emotion that his brother was getting married. But he told me, and his long-term girlfriend confirmed, that it was down to Anxiety and struggling to speak in front of an audience. Given that I have ASD and I'm pretty certain my mother does, and her sister - who would likely qualify as 'vulnerable' - I mused out loud if this cousin could have ASD. None of the connections were there, just that my cousin's Anxiety could be connected to ASD.

My mother responded by saying: "Don't be daft! He's not autistic. I don't think [his mother] is either. I'm not, and nor are you or [eldest daughter] and [middlest child]. Just like you're not trans and she's not bisexual."

I spoke to her about this on the way back, by way of autism. My mother is of the opinion that I'm not autistic, nor are my children, and it's all a plot by Tilly to belittle me and prevent our children from developing or going to school. After all, none of us needs 24 hour care, we don't lick radiators and we can talk perfectly well. We don't smear shit on walls and we can function day-to-day. She doesn't believe my diagnosis because, she claims, I made things up to get it and my daughter is just lacking the width of social interactions she needs to show she isn't autistic either. Saying that we are, said my mother, was just an opening for people to bully or pigeonhole us. After all, she reminded me, my workplace had been rather keen to have a go at me when they learned I was diagnosed with ASD. People expect autism to be one thing and she didn't want me to put myself into that box or category and get taken advantage of by others as a result, or judged because of it. It was the same with my daughter. She understands that I have quirks and foibles, but a more accepting girlfriend or wife would be fine with that and then I would realise that I don't need to call myself 'autistic' because I'm not.

Continental rebound after glaciation.

It's visible in the lines on the beach, see?
I explained to her that times had changed and her understanding of autism was somewhat out of date to which she huffed and puffed a bit, conceded that maybe things were different, but pointed out that most people would be unaware of any of the nuance. She just didn't want me to tell people about having ASD because that would lead to judgement.

I didn't pursue the trans and bisexual part because, well, I think I know where that would go as well.

And, well, what if she's sort of semi-right in a sense. What if I am just experiencing the 'ping' back (see what I did there?) of the continental plate after the end of the ice-age and the removal of the weight of the glaciers?

On an unrelated note, I await a parcel today with some glasses. One pair are 'cat-eye' and I am a bit excited about that.

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Half and Half

Lots of things on my mind and about to lose the next few nights to going for a wedding. A family one, with the eldest and my mother in tow, some four hours' drive away (plus maybe two hours for charging if it all goes badly) so... Yeah, not looking forward to that really, but I can do it.

So, Jo, what's on your mind, girl?

Here's the side-by-side. See what I mean?
Thanks for asking, rhetorical device, I'm glad you're interested! First and foremost (really) is the fact that I was playing around with the FaceApp again and noted that the last couple of times I tried it the only differences I could spot between the images were the length of the hair and the slight smoothing of my Adam's apple. I mean, don't get me wrong, I am not complaining but I really honestly didn't ever think I was that close. So, does that mean that I could pass? Wait, more to the point, does that mean I always could?

Huh. Well.

This morning I had just washed my
hair, so it was still wet here.
And that leads me into the whole concept of passing. On the forum for the support group to whom I reached out there is a newb like me who pointed out that the conversation seemed to hinge on clothing and how one appears to others. I recall having similar thoughts myself not long after starting this blog (and blowed if I can find the post I did it in, I read it recently but I don't keep notes). In other words, is the goal here to pass unnoticed in our society and behave in such a manner as to be camoflagued? I... don't have a satisfactory answer to this. However, I have long ruminated on the fact that I assert that I could not pass - it was never part of my goals or aims because I simply assumed that I would be unable to do so. That is, my goal, such as it could be described, was intensely private and self-directed - I wanted to have a feeling that matched who I was, who I am and the world can go hang with its expectations on how that should look to others.

I now know that I am autistic, I did not always know this, but I have never really worried that much what I look like. No, scratch that, I have always worried how I look to others. No, I mean, for example: I like to chew the inside of my lips. I now know this to be a stim. I likely adopted it because it is less obvious to others, less likely to gain attention. But, being a teacher, I know that some of my chewing habits are very visible - for example, I have a nub of flesh left over from some spot on the inside of my lower right lip, just shy of centre and below the lip line on the inside. When I had the spot I chewed it and sucked it so much that long after the spot went the nub of flesh remained. For whatever reason, I like to chew that now and again using the left front top tooth and bottom teeth. So I have to pull that part of my lip to the right bit of my jaw, making extremely noticeable changes to my face. I do it anyway when I feel like it, despite how it looks to outsiders - my motivations are purely on it feeling 'right' to me to do so. It is much the same to how I have approached cross-dressing.

Here it just removes my shirt, seen
this before.

Really thinking I need glasses.
I have never really bothered with how it appears and have always focussed on how it feels. I still do. Now, having got so little of a wardrobe and so few spaces and times to indulge I have, naturally, been able to over-think everything. My first ever time fully dressed en femme on Toby's birthday was thus preceded by a fortnight of me carefully selecting clothes that I imagined 'matched' to some degree. But, at the same time, I went to a lot of trouble to find clothes that felt right. I had a good candidate blouse with bell sleeves very quickly (and cheaply) early on, a day in, and I rejected it because it did not feel right. It wasn't me. Similarly a skirt. The bra I got was almost entirely about how the chest band felt, I had no clue how to stuff it nor any real thoughts on cup size (I plumbed for C cup based purely on a story I'd read on fictionmania).

Why am I digressing? Well, this revelation that the App thinks I can pass suggests that... I don't know. But I got a little stab of gender euphoria that I really wasn't expecting at all. Like, I took the photo cross-dressed as a male for work. I wasn't even in appropriate clothing. The image thus wasn't about the clothing. It was simply me. And... I looked female enough that the App decided it didn't have to change much. And, unexpectedly, that made me happy.

It does, moreover, lead into my next point. A comment on my last post was about the role of Him Upstairs. It suggested that Christianity has a hard and fast rule that prohibits cross-dressing, that prevents me from indulging the desire to appear the lady that I feel myself to be.

In a jumper, FaceApp'd

A month ago.
Now, I have written a lot about my faith and my wrestling with my understanding of myself, how I was and remain harsher on myself than any minister of religion I have ever met has been. How my own reading of the Bible has often been softer than how I have chosen to interpret the laws and ideas contained within to myself. I am also at the tail end of a divorce, the comment made no mention of that, which I am fairly certain has little biblical backing to support. That divorce, bear in mind, has little to do with my realisation of being trans, as it occurred before I knew that. Did it have to do with cross-dressing? Well, kinda sorta. Read the story about that (sexless marriage and conversations with Tilly are your tags if you wish to) and you'll see that the cross-dressing is merely the conduit through which various underlying features and stresses were pushed. And it was mainly Tilly that did the pushing. Indeed, much of the issue stemmed instead from the lack of intimacy, which itself led to the discussion of my cross-dressing.

Put another way, had my relationship been less cold and difficult it is unlikely I would have circled the drain as long. One of two things would have resulted: 1. I would have realised I was trans sooner and embraced it,  being in a safe and loving space to do so and explore that part of myself. 2. I would have been able to put that part of myself on a back-burner indefinitely, awaiting a time to examine it properly, and got on with the relationship. What relevance does this have to my faith and cross-dressing/femulating/being trans?

You really are a peach, rhetorical device, thank you.

I like this representation of Jesus

Not as much as one toting an AK, but eh.
The God in whom I believe is Master of the Universe (no, He Man, not you) and Creator of All Things. That means, however distasteful you find it, He creates children with congenital conditions like cancer and worse. It means that He creates things for the rest of us to deal with. It is not punishment to the child with AIDS that they are born with it, nor punishment to the victims that there are flash floods, volcanic eruptions, storms at sea, meteor strikes, lightning storms, tsunamis, earthquakes- you get the idea. Rather we are called to be as Christ, who would gather the city of Jerusalem under His wings like a mother hen, to those in need. Jesus never condemned those who needed Him for needing Him. Go, he would say once He had helped them, and sin no more. But He suggested that everyone sinned.



White Jesus, but best looking depiction I could find
for the Sermon on the Mount.
In the Sermon on the Mount he offered the suggestion that men who looked on women with lust in their hearts the judgement that they had committed the sin of adultery already. If they wanted to blame it on men just being attracted to beauty, then fine, gouge out your eyes because better to be blind in Heaven than sightful in Hell. Oh, maybe it was a purely physical thing and lust, then cut off your hand and cast it away. Or, you know, you accept it's you and you ask forgiveness. Jesus never suggested that you could give it up, you just had to accept that it was you and there were no excuses. Similarly, when asked who had caused the paralysed man to be punished - was it his sin or the sin of his parents - Jesus simply absolved him of sin after telling him to get up and walk. As He asked His disciples: which is easier: to say your sins or forgiven or get up and walk?

My point?

The Non-Adventures of Wonderella, Blast Supper.
God creates people. He created me. And my trans-ness was baked in. Like my ASD. I didn't choose my ASD, I couldn't now choose to mask like I used to - I've gone beyond that Rubicon, I've passed the point of no return (no backward glances), the final threshold! I can't put the genie back in that bottle. No one is suggesting that I should. Baby, I was born this way. I'm not there to beat others into my worldview nor break myself to be part of the world. I am in the world but not of it. Gandhi said: be the change you wish to see in the world. Jesus said the same, through actions, in the Gospels (go read them if you don't believe me). "The most important commandment is these: love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind and with all your strength; and love your neighbour as yourself. On this hang all the law and the prophets." And so, my realisation that I am trans, heck, my cross-dressing, does not interfere with either part of that edict. In fact, I would argue that the struggle to accept myself was the process I had to go through in order to learn what was meant by the edict in the first place. Love your neighbour as yourself. I am an image of the Lord God, He made me that way, I reflect God and I am trans. He meant me to have that struggle (maybe not as long as I had it, but I was meant to have it). I couldn't ever accept others as they are, to show them the Kingdom of Heaven, if I had never had to struggle with myself and who I was. My love would be useless if it had come easily to me - how then could I support others in their struggles?

Just as my ASD is part of my God-given image, so too is who I am. And thus trans-ness symbolises to me the way in which God helped me come to peace with myself.

Okay, okay, there's a single verse in the Old Testament that says women shouldn't dress as priests or wear armour and men shouldn't dress as women to seduce passersby to have sex in a temple that many modern people of religion have interpreted as saying that cross-dressing is inherently evil. It gets translated different ways in the NIV and KJV, but both use it to have a pop at cross-dressing women wearing trousers. Oh, no, wait, that can't be right, isn't it against males dressing as women? Oh, no, there's no tradition of that. Huh. Oh. No one even used it historically to argue that men shouldn't play women on the stage? Oh, no, they said it prevented women from going on the stage as they woud have don vestments as worn by men. Oh. Oh, I see. So, this stricture against men dressing in women's clothes wasn't understood that way either by the culture in which it was written, the culture of Palestine under the Romans, the early Church, the Medieval Church or the Early-Modern post-schism European Churches? It only started to be used that way in Victorian Britain and the Empire (specifically levelled against a part of Indian culture in Hinduism)? Oh, oh. Oh.

Oh.

OH.

I don't think I'm going to convince anyone on this. I've said before I don't do that. But I will say this, because I don't know who needs to hear it: God made you, you are Fearfully and Wonderfully made. Trans or Cis, gay or straight, whatever combination of the above or otherwise. God is bigger than our human classifications.


Here endeth the lesson, and thank you for coming to my Ted Talk Sermon.

Monday, 12 July 2021

Dressing down

So, it's still changed by the app,
but this is me last night.
Maybe I should be keeping a tally or something? I don't know. I do know this though, the more people that know, the more likely I am to actually do something about things. Miss Warrington was the first IRL person to know, quite by accident, because She twigged what the sod I was talking about and then voiced it - crystallising my own thoughts in the process and meaning that I crossed the Rubicon, passed the point of no return (no backward glances) and, well, just realised what it was I'd been farting around on here about for the best part of a decade. The next person was my Mother, not long afterward, and, well... that hasn't gone anywhere. Then it was a friend who had access to this place, also by accident, but this time over the Book of Faces - I figured they hadn't been reading here in a while and I was right - but it was still sort of blurted out before I'd realised what I was doing. All were lovely, all nice about it, but it was surprisingly Miss Warrington that was the most supportive. And, then, last night I told Catherine.



I think Catherine even took the ph-
No, I know she did.
You may not recognise that name, as I haven't used it on here in a while. So, let's recap. Back in 2005 I confided to two people about my cross-dressing: Catherine and Terry. Terry was my first girlfriend/relationship and Catherine was just... someone I could trust. I asked them both to make sure that, should I have another relationship, my prospective partner would not be in the dark about my cross-dressing: I wanted them to keep me honest. And, because of this, Catherine was able to arrange my favourite photo before... well, still actually my favourite photo. Wearing her pink dress. And, when I met Tilly, Catherine showed her that photo, explained my background - kept me honest. Offered to lend me a dress if we asked, sent a Christmas present (it was a figure of Captain Jack Harkness with the hand-written note that read: ""Period military is not the dress code of a straight man" - Owen, Torchwood. Now, dresses on the other hand...") in 2006 and... By the time I started this blog things were such that she didn't get mentioned often.




But last night I got in contact, for other reasons, and finally shared this place with her, like I had meant to do (and bottled it) back in 2013. And she was very nice, supportive, kind. Because... of course, even though we haven't really spoken since 2013. Even though I've been pretty poor at repaying her friendship over the years. She even referred to me as "my good woman" so... feeling a tad happy-embarrassed...

Also, I went shopping yesterday. I ended up in Next where I bought myself a handbag for the next time I go to the in-person support group (the lack of pockets was known, my lack of appropriate bag was not) for a tenner (looks lovely, it was in the sale) and a new dress (also black, also in the sale) for £17 - making it the most expensive item in my wardrobe I think. I got a compliment for my 'suit' (the blue dress and the jacket) on the forum so, obviously, I went to increase the items I can mix and match. I would have got something a bit more summery but nothing looked like it would suit me in the sale and, well, I was worried about spending £27 already - that's a big outlay.


Here's that dress, and my boots.
They look a lot less neat nowadays.
And so yesterday and tonight I am dressed with my stuffed bra and that dress I got back in... 2012? The one I took a photo of me in for the Try It post, whenever that was, and my favourite photo without my face in it. I've even managed to tie my hair back tonight - which is a thing! Still not long enough for a pony-tail but, well, it's tied back and I shall take that. Ha, last night I ordered Chinese and was dressed when it was delivered, so I hid in a dressing gown to collect from the door. Yeah, well, baby steps and all that. Oh, and since Thursday I have been going clean shaven. I managed to shave it all pretty closely this morning so that in the shower you couldn't tell I'd ever had stubble on my face. I mean, it's rough again now, but I'll take that.

You know, when I first started getting hair on my chin I was advised to start shaving as "shaving will make it grow back faster and thicker" so, obviously, I decided to shave very infrequently indeed. At first I had but one shave, just because I got shaving stuff for my 18th, and then I maybe shaved once before Uni. At University I didn't shave, at all, for the first term, once around Christmas... you get the idea. And my diary entries that I have so far decided (still no more than last time) suggest that I wasn't doing this by accident, it's just that I hadn't thought about it until tonight on my way back from work. I never wanted a beard. I never wanted facial hair. I had a similar reaction to most of my body hair, especially the stuff on my chest (well, such as it was) - it just... wasn't what I was expecting. Or, rather, it was but I didn't want it. Hard to put it into words, because I never did, and hard to express what I mean. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think I like not having a beard. I like having it all shaved close. I am enjoying wearing a dress of an evening and I bought a second nightie (same design) because, well, why not? So, not £27 but £32 on Sunday spent on my femme wardrobe.

I'm sure I had more to say, but I've lost my train of thought!

A short one...

 I have a lot to taok about, but not the time right now, I'll be back later. In the meantime, I found this and had to share it before I forgot!

Seriously, it's worth it and less than 10 minutes.



Friday, 9 July 2021

Brave or Stupid?

In February 2005 I went out with Toby, in a tale I have related here before, for her birthday. I was dressed in a blouse, strapless bra (stuffed to C cup), grey knee-length skirt, 100 denier woollen black opaque tights, black wig (plaited) and my school shoes. I borrowed Toby's glasses (reading glasses, slight blue colour, +0.05) and had a wonderful evening. I gained some fishnet gloves (elbow length, fingerless) by the end of the evening and didn't want it to end. It was only at Toby's urging that I took off the stuffed bra to sleep that night (and the blouse, it was warm).

[edit] In March 2005 I went out to club with Toby. I dressed in my sleeveless blue mini-dress, 100 denier woollen black tights, knickers, C-cup stuffed bra and school shoes. I was fully made up - mascara, lip-stick, body glitter - and Toby was keen to encourage me. But, once out, she grew more and more distant until we came home, early, and she was positively irritable and annoyed. I hadn't noticed, way too happy. Later, Toby would explain that she had never felt as embarrassed as she had with me that night. [/edit]

In October 2011 I went out with my new wedges and a skirt I stole from Tilly, she would eventually throw it out (without wearing it again) in 2013. This occasion followed an argument and I was feeling bitter. I went out in trousers, t-shirt, coat, socks and my work shoes; changing into the wedges in the woods and later into the skirt out of sight of a street-lamp and having to run like fun when someone started walking down the alley I was changing in. I bimbled around, avoiding street-lamps, on a cool wintery evening, buffeted by wind, and ended up in the woods where I realised I didn't need to worry about the pervert in the dark because it was me.

In September 2013 I walked to my car a couple of mornings on the way to work wearing my 3in heeled boots over my work trousers and socks. I took my actual work shoes and wore the standard jacket and shirt with boxers. It was early morning, beore 6am, and I walked up hill to the car, maybe 3-400 yards if that. It was fun, sure, but I did worry that I would muck it all up so it was only done about twice, maybe three times in total, and I worried constantly about the drivers of the huge lorries taking umbridge and honking or worse as they passed. It caused my heart to race and I eventually decided it wasn't worth the stress for the comfort.

In January 2021 I went shopping with a stuffed bra (B cup this time), my flowery top, 100 denier woollen tights and my 3in heeled boots - but I bottled it and went home to change out of the boots before hitting the shops. Oh, and in knickers. All below my long coat and a scarf to hide the fact that I was wearing female clothing and trousers rather than a skirt or dress because... well, it was scary despite the joy of being out in the frost and the snow in heels. At one point I was passed by a couple walking a dog as I stood in the grass beside the path hoping that they wouldn't see the heels on my boots.

This is what I looked like. But with a dark
blue face-mask to hide the beard shadow.
And, last night, I went to an actual in-person trans* support group locally. I dressed in my blue dress and a new suit jacket I picked up from a charity shop for a whole English pound from Next, with pink and silver stripe pattern. I stuffed my B cup bra (black), wore my Snag sheer licquorice tights, 3in heeled boots (they won out over my stilettos from Dorothy Perkins on the grounds that I wanted to look 'professional' rather than tottering), black control top knickers and I packed my house-keys, car-key, a pad, pen, cash cards and phone in a bag and stumbled to my car. I had my hair held back by a silver alice band (I can't find my black one) and some hair-grips and started to drive. I had to walk out of the house to the car in full view of the street, beneath street lamps, because some eejits had taken the parking spaces immediately outside my house. As I started to drive I realised that my close shave was crap, I had an obvious five o'clock shadow, no make-up... I was a crap-looking bloke in a dress. And driving with heels was harder than I had assumed (last did that in 2012 I think). I donned a face-mask (alone and in the car, the humanity) and tried hard not to meet anyone's gaze as my eyes and eyebrows still looked terribly male.

And this is the dream.
I drove about 4 miles, give or take, and it took just over fifteen minutes. I stopped at four traffic lights and I am convinced that I was clocked by two women in a 4x4 who looked vaguely amused then did a double-take and started to stare angrily before I looked away and simply refused to look back. I parked up across the way from the main entrance of the venue, walked in (realising my nervousness had robbed me of the ability I seem to have to walk in heels at home), went up the stairs and joined a group. I failed to control my voice, sounding very much like my teaching persona throughout, and talked about unladylike things such as politics, religion, education, and the like. I was, in short, my usual embarrassing self in polite company. Then I had to drive back and get back into my house - there was an ambulance on the street, so I'm guessing I was seen.

And I would never have done any of this without the kindness and support of so many people. Leslie, who has been so kind and friendly and supportive over the years; Dee, who is just amazing; Calvin, who is amazing in a different way; Elle, who may not even read here any more; Rhi, who is just inspirational and may not read here any more; Stana, who definitely doesn't read here at all, but is amazing too. And, I'm happy to note, Miss Warrington who not only encouraged me to go dressed on hearing that I was reaching out but also expressed support for my experiences that have led me thus far (She finally knows I cross-dress already). Today She even commended me for my bravery in doing it (being clean shaven is a bit of a giveaway that something happened last night, I haven't been clean shaven in years and certainly not at work). When I tried to dissemble She said "stop that, I'm trying to be supportive, accept that!"

Unity and solidarity are not just the preserve of arsonists.



Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Just below my skin, I'm screaming...

Through it all, she continues to smile.
I wish I knew how she does it.
For how long have I been in the trenches, fighting this endless war?

In the car today I was listening to some old playlists and what should come on but Salva Mea by Faithless from their best of album released sometime a decade and a half or so ago. I remember getting the CD sometime when I was living in the flat with the oddly shaped room, and listening to it on repeat whilst I pootled on the Megatokyo forums back in the day. This would have been around the time I went out with and was dumped by Toby, so the summer I think. It's the lyrics that I recalled.

Since listening to it back then I've only really listened to the opening minute or so because I used that as the music for countless 'music'n'image' starters in lessons and, once, in the interview that got me my current job. There you hear the haunting voice of Dido singing "How can I change the world, if I can't even change myself? How can I change the way I am? I don't know. I don't know." - which in itself was something that I took to heart but, generally, weas innocuous enough that it doesn't resonate too much (apart from the part where, yes, I do wonder about that).


No, it's the main body of the song that I listened to again and realised how long I've been in the trenches, since at least mid-2005.

I wanna take a look at the world behind these eyes,
Every nook, every cranny reorganize,
Realize my face don't fit the way I feel.
What's real?
I need a mirror to check my face is in place,
In case of upheaval, fundamental movement below,
What's really going on I wanna know,
But yo, it don't show on the outside, so slide.
Just below my skin I'm screaming...

They speak to me and I remember repeating that line: Just below my skin, I'm screaming... so often as I sat at my computer in 2005 and before I moved to my own house in 2006. I knew there was something that didn't sit right. I knew that when I dressed for Toby I felt something that was deep. I knew that I had whiffled for ages in 2004 through to going out with Toby in early 2005 about cross-dressing, something in turn that I had struggled with since at least 1998 and was in diaries from at least 1996. I knew that actually cross-dressing had simply confirmed was more about how it felt than the titillation of sexual play - though that had also played a role - the feeling of not quite daring to breathe lest it ruin the illusion, the reality, of wearing a dress. The frisson of going out dressed but not once sporting even a semi-erect penis, but all the while holding a breath because of the realisation that my face now fit the way I felt.

I need a mirror for my spirit,
Yeah, can you hear it?
When I get deep, wanna hear my soul sleep,
Not drowning, tumbling around and around in the voices
Like a crowd in my head so loud,
I wonder what it's like to be dead,
I hope it's quiet, noise in my head like a riot,
Any remedy you have for me I'll try it.
Just below my skin I'm screaming...

My mother left some stuff for me to pick up when we went to visit to the old family haunts this last weekend (about which more another time, but suffice to say that Tilly outdid herself in being kind and generous to my grandmother; further illustrating my own ineptitude with dates, gestures and all that kind of thing). I went through some of it tonight with my middlest over - tellingly a lot of the stories written involved female protagonists (and antagonists), death and lost love. These are stories I was writing from the age of around 8 to around 11. But virtually all of them (apart from the ones with me and my friends in them) had female protagonists, Rachel and Georgina, who invariably witnessed death, lost loves and who were always friends. Sometimes, mid-story, the main character would spontaneously shift from Rachel and Georgina to me and then back again or else from me to Rachel and/or Georgina. Quite a feat given that these were less than a few pages long each!

Now, okay, a vast majority of the stories were short and involved me or my friends (especially from before I was 8) but then, around the age of 8, in pops Georgina, followed by Rachel (maybe someone I knew in class?) and then they slowly begin to dominate. Only to disappear by the end of primary school (the age of 11) - but I still can't find the Boy to Girl story from 11 or 12 years old. I've found the sequel, Boy to Wolf (itself unfinished). It's just... I find it strange that the stories take the direction they do. Just below my skin, I was screaming.

Enough, it's late, time for bed.

Friday, 2 July 2021

Counting Stars

Good evening, Joanna, lovely to see you.
Yesterday I got caught up in a really interesting discussion at the end of work and ended up being too late to take my daughter to dance. Over the last week, reaching out to an actual physical group (well, not yet, but their forum at any rate) I have found myself checking there and not getting much work done. On an evening I attempt to dress and then have missed having any time to do anything else (I'm not pushed for time, but that is a worry for when I shall be in the future). This weekend the family is heading to see my grandmother for her 90th and I still haven't got a card nor a plan for how to ensure the car will be charged enough to ger there. I mean, we can charge for the way back without a problem, but getting there could be problematic.

There's a lot going on. And my recent(ish) revelations are not helping so very much.

My hair has reached an even more annoying stage. I now wear about eight hair grips to keep the fringe bits out of my face and the bit at the back is unruly and annoying. I'm seriously wondering if I can really cope with growing it out - three more weeks until I finish work, can I manage that? Not really got a choice - there's no time on a Saturday and the hair-dressers are all shut on Sundays or by the time I can get back from work. So, I shall grow it out for at least three more weeks.

It is a lovely nightie though.
Still in chastity, but there's some swelling developing that could be a concern. I may have to come out soon to let it go down - no idea what caused it to happen either, as it was fine before this point, so something shifted or moved to cause the problem.

All of which said: I really enjoyed the opportunity this week to wear that nightie I was babbling about last post. It has been fantastic to sleep in it and to wake in a morning with it on. I still don't quite know why it has the effect that it does, but it has been a lovely effect. The broken nights due to the issue above, however, have rather impacted on my mornings. No longer do I get up around 5am and no longer do I wash pots and make lunches. Instead I am lethargic and rise around 0600 to 0630. I have breakfast and then I try to get ready. But because I am tired this can be drawn out. I seem to leave the house not at the 0645 I was doing in the flat but closer to 0730 or, this morning, 0750. This is not great.


At least I know the terrain, I know the rhythm.

There's no fear in facing this struggle, no worry,
It is all that I have ever known.
And I keep finding myself going back to the trenches. I almost don't want that war to end, it's all I've ever known for so long that I've got used to it. When there isn't the whine and rush and crump of shell-fire, the zing of the sniper's rifle's bullet or the prospect of a messy death in the mud all around it feels wrong and too quiet. Even the euphoria of leave (the FaceApp photos continue) is tainted by my looking back wistfully to that battlefield. Sassoon wrote of death in the trenches: I knew a simple soldier boy, who grinned at life with empty joy; slept soiundly through the lonesome dark, and whistled early with the lark. In winter trenches, cowed and glum, with crumps and lice and lack of rum: he put a bullet in his brain, no one spoke of him again. And so it is here, I can whistle with the lark in the morning chorus and obsessively check a forum but there is the work and there are the children and I am slipping again.

Changing things will not change me. Embracing who I am will not alter the fundamental problem: I am still me. Regardless of gender, name, appearance, I am still the same me that I have always been. Still prone to miss important things, to mess up innocuous conversation. I am still me. And, well, I still struggle to like what I see of myself. It's nice to see Joanna from time to time, but she is still me underneath and I am still rubbish. At least in the trenches I can blame my ineptitude on the strain, I can take comfort in the pain, I can sigh wistfully about peace without ever having to worry about dealing with it or trying to attain it for myself. I can lose myself in the struggle, hastening an end in one way or another, but not one I have to plan beyond.