Christmas Update

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you have all had a fantastic time with the people that you love and who love you. It has been a really good month for me and I want to share my joy with you all.

Transition stuff first. Progress is being made. I have received the referral forms for Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic in London and will be sending those back to them filled in very soon. Then it will be a 13 month wait for an appointment, but at least things are moving forward. I’ve had a response from my GP about starting hormone treatment too, I have been referred to an local Endocrine clinic and should expect to have an appointment within a month or two. I am very excited and can hardly wait to start taking the hormones to begin my transition fully, not just socially.

Socially this month has been excellent for me. I have entered into a relationship with an amazing girl who totally gets me. I feel like there is nothing to hide with her and I know she feels the same way. First time I saw her I thought she was cute and that there was more to her than meets the eye. I wasn’t wrong, because second time we went out on a group outing. A fantastic girly night out followed by a sleepover after party. I learnt more about her then and she about me and I was hooked instantly.

I wasn’t sure if she liked me too the same way until two weeks ago when she messaged me on Facebook to let me know that she does feel that way about me and hoped I felt the same about her. It was a beautiful moment. I of course did feel the same about her, and we both agreed that we wanted to pursue the relationship with each other. We met up then week ago Saturday and for the better half of the day we couldn’t keep our hands off each other. Her kisses were so sweet and tender. It has left me longing for more. We are in contact every single day now, even though we live miles apart and cannot see each other as often as we’d like at least we can still hear each others voices and say how much we miss each other. The  days will go by slowly until we see each other again, where we will spend the weekend where my focus will be making her very happy.

Love, hugs and kisses,

Rhiannon.

Why I write..

..and why I haven’t written much lately

Writing for me is a way to organise my thoughts and feelings in a way that I cannot do around those I love, either for fear of rejection, or fear of hurting them, or both. There is a conflict between me and my mother and It’s not going to get better while we are still living with each other. We love each other, but we have very different political views and that is causing a huge strain on our relationship.

Lately I have been attending support group meetings, which has been another outlet where I can express myself without fear of repercussions. I have met a fantastic group of women who love me just for who I am and I love them too. After meeting only a couple of times we have very quickly become best friends. It is great. I don’t have to hide who I am in front of them. And I’m not just talking about being Trans. If I want to be childish. I can. If I’m sad I can show it and they will comfort me. If I am happy they will share in the joy. I have only one other friend like these ladies and unfortunately she lives so far away now. I miss her terribly, but I am grateful to have found more friends, not to replace her, because nobody can do that, but they do soften the pain I feel sometimes.

A bit of an update on what I have been up to though:

The biggest thing was an event I attended Saturday 26th November called Swansea Sparkle. An LGBT event which was a lot of fun. During the day I was allowed to bring my own guitar and sing a couple of songs which was great. I fumbled at least half of the chords, but I enjoyed it anyway, and I could see smiling faces in the audience which made things much better. I took a photo with some firemen and got a free travel mug in return for filling in a quick fire safety questionnaire. My friends were there too and we had a look around the various information stands together, before heading back to one of the girls’ apartments so we could fix our makeup and change into our eveningwear.

One of my friends took this photo of me which I am very pleased with: 15179190_288157841579713_946645256210948320_n

The evening event was a lot of fun too. We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Took loads of photos of each other, some more hilarious than others and a couple were outright scary. Note to any aspiring photographers: Turning the flash on during evening shoots will make those wearing light makeup look like zombies and/or vampires. Fine if that is what you’re going for, but otherwise you’ll probably want to turn the flash off. Near to the end of the evening there was a beauty pageant for Miss Sparkle, which I entered, and I was extremely happy to be announced third in that.

In other news. I still haven’t started HRT or had the referral to the GIC in Charing Cross, London. The Unity LGBT charity is trying to put pressure on my GP to get me seen by a local Endocrinologist though so I can start taking hormones safely because I am at risk of self medicating. If someone was to give me a box of Oestrogen pills today I’d start taking them. Or if I could afford to buy them myself I would. So yeah. I will hang on as long as I can and I do hope my GP will allow me to start treatment before I go to Charing Cross, because I could be waiting 2 years or more before I get there. And that is far too long.

I’m still writing songs. I have half completed a few. But nothing is in a state I am happy with yet. My volunteering is going really well. I have started a new project alongside another volunteer where we are helping people who are recovering from Stroke to get involved with a device called Fitbit. Fitbit is an activity monitor that measures steps taken in a day, heart rate, amount of exercise done and can monitor sleeping patterns also. It’s a lot of responsibility, and there have been some teething issues, but it is going well so far and I am really enjoying it.

That’s it for me for now. I’m probably going to switch this blog to just monthly updates for the time being for reasons stated at the beginning of this post. What I was getting out of writing here I am getting more of by being with my friends I have made at the support group.

 

Love, hugs and kisses,

Rhiannon.

Last refuges of Dysphoria

I am a much more confident woman than I was 6 months ago. There is a saying “Fake it til you make it” which I have been going by while I go through my transition. Acting confident even when I feel like running for the hills and hiding out in a cabin for the rest of my life. Lately though things have been a lot better.

I look in the mirror and I no longer see a man’s face. I see me. I’m not going to be auditioning for any modeling competitions but I think I look alright. My voice is passable, It’s not where I want it to be yet, but it is suitably androgynous at the moment. There are still some areas that trigger dysphoria for me though.

No.1 : Every time I go to the toilet I am painfully aware of my genitalia, and know I have the wrong set. I have had no problems with entering a women’s bathroom though. I even had one woman say to me once that she saw a man coming into the bathroom and she wasn’t referring to me, at first I thought she was, for half a second, but I then realised by the way she was looking behind into the toilets area that she was obviously referring to someone else.

No.2: Facial hair. I hate shaving my face every morning. I cut myself almost every other shave. It is very annoying, and when I do go even one day without shaving I can see and feel the difference and I really don’t like it. Even on the days I do shave I can see the shadow of hairs that haven’t poked out of the skin yet. I cover it up sometimes with concealers but it’s a pain. And I wish I didn’t have to do this.

No.3: Breasts (or lack of). I wear padded bras most days, but this is another thing that I wish I didn’t need. The reason this isn’t higher on my priority list though is that I am already feminine even without them.

I am grateful for all the support I have received thus far. Support from my friends, and family. from the people I work with, and the people I am working to help also. I am receiving help from a wonderful organisation here in wales called the unity group and I cannot thank enough all those people who call me miss, ma’am, young lady, and everything else that reinforces my femininity, like complimenting my clothes, shoes, nails, hair and anything else. Thank you all.

 

Love, hugs and kisses,

Rhiannon

1 year ago today

This was me a year ago, no thanks to Facebook for reminding me:

This is a difficult post for me to write, and not made any easier due to having been awake for 19 hours and unable to get any sleep, and not because of a lack of trying either. I’m not unhappy with the way I look here. Or at least I wasn’t then. I liked the beard because it made me look closer to my actual age, and because it made me look more like the man I was trying to be. I felt like I was fitting in well with my friends in university and I was feeling positive about starting fresh on the second year (repeated) of my degree scheme, feeling like I could do this. I felt like I could take on the world, and I was just starting to get competent at playing the guitar around that time too.

Even then something wasn’t quite right. I was happy, and not happy at the same time, but I didn’t know why I wasn’t happy. I knew I should have been happy, because even though I had just failed a year, things were otherwise going well. I was secretly wearing girlish things under my regular clothes at the time, but that wasn’t new, that had been going on, on and off, since puberty, I thought it was a fetish and I was afraid of what people would think about me if they knew but I know now it was more than that, ironically my biggest fear then was that people would think that I was less than a man, and now I don’t want people to think of me as a man at all.

I remember at the time it was the first time for a long while I tried to look after my body better. I was getting private dental treatment to fix my teeth, work that still isn’t finished yet, but I will continue with that as soon as I am able to afford to again. I quit drinking fizzy drinks, at least while out of the house for a while, and I tried to cut down on snack foods, and also stick to a more regular sleeping pattern. It wasn’t long though before I was back on the fizzy drinks, playing video games all through the night and snacking on junk all through the days. The only thing I stuck to was looking after my teeth better.

This is me now, after 4 months into transition, and not started hormone treatment yet:

Now I am genuinely happy. I am taking antidepressants, which might have something to do with it, but I think the biggest factor is definitely my transition. I no longer see myself as weird, or perverted, and my wearing of girls clothes is just normal now because I am a girl, and always have been, I just didn’t realise it before. My family loves me for who I am. My friends also love me for who I am, and I am doing part-time voluntary work in an environment which is also completely supportive, and I am just me. I wish I realised this while I was still doing my degree, or even before that, but it cannot be helped now. I just have to move forward and explore all the options available to me to get to where I want to be and I am doing that. Where before I felt like I was failing, now I feel like I am raising myself up and writing a new story on a clean slate. Whether I succeed in my goals or not is irrelevant. the only failure is if I stop trying.

So my message to those reading this is, if you feel like something is wrong, you need to ask yourself the deep questions, and maybe, what you think is wrong, is really very right and you haven’t realised it yet. What I think is wrong is our current societal trend for girls to be ‘girlish’ and boys to be ‘boyish’, a lot of people will try to fit you into the gender stereotype they see you as, and that needs to change. Things are changing slowly but I believe there needs to be a lot more Trans awareness, especially in schools, and it should start at primary school age. kids need to be told that it’s ok for boys to cry, and it’s ok for girls to be tough. And it’s ok if you don’t feel like either a boy or a girl. There is nothing wrong with you. 1’s and 0’s are for computers. For us humans, we have all the fractions in between, and we can handle it, if we just allow ourselves to do so.

Being a girl is hard

I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I thought the hardest part would be dealing with Transphobic BS. This is actually the easiest bit, I simply ignore those who cannot, or will not accept me, and enjoy the time I spend with loving friends and family. Thankfully I have had very few negative reactions anyway, so that has made things a lot easier on that front.

The hard parts of being a girl though that I have found:

Makeup: I didn’t know how hard makeup would be. It’s quite a learning process, a fun one though. you do not want to see what I looked like the first time I tried to put on eyeshadow. It was horrendous. I got the hang of lipstick quite quickly though, and I love it. I like the way it feels on my lips, I like the look of myself in the mirror when I am wearing it, I feel like a real girl when I’m dolled up. Foundation was another easy one to get to grips with, YouTube tutorials helped me out a lot and I found a technique that works great for me, and I was able to find the right shade and type of foundation for my skin type with the help of shop assistants, so things are good there.

Hair removal: I hate it, I love how my legs and arms feel after a shave, how smooth, and I find myself touching myself a lot afterwards because of how much I love the way my skin feels. but it grows back too quickly, and I cannot afford waxing treatments for these areas of my body, it is so annoying. My facial hair is another matter again, I can never get the shave close enough, and because my hairs are dark and my skin is light, it’s very hard to hide the shadow even after the closest shaves. I’ve tried colour correcting, but not had any success so far. Concealers help quite a bit more than that so that’s what I have been using for the most part.

Clothing: Clothing designed for women is expensive in most places. I have resorted to charity shops so that almost my entire wardrobe is second-hand. I have some nice clothes, but I see something I like in some shops, and then I see the price tag, and I die a little inside each time. Some Mens clothes are expensive too, but it’s nowhere near as bad as what women put up with. And then there is underwear. I don’t tuck. not that I find it uncomfortable. I just feel it is unnecessary. I wear skirts always now, and the underwear I wear keeps my parts close to my body so unless somebody knows already what I have down there they cannot tell. Bras are a different story, it’s hard to get them to fit comfortably AND at the same time give a realistic look. I’ve recently been told I’m wearing them too high, and after asking around this does appear to be the case, and I never realised it. I’m going to start wearing them a bit lower, and hope that I don’t get discomfort from wearing them too low.

Conclusion: I still have a lot to learn. But I am confident that I will get through this process, just got to take things slowly, and be patient, and probably spend more time practicing my makeup skills.

Love, hugs and kisses,
-Autumn

 

 

Legal name change and initial psychiatric review

I had my psychiatric review today and I am pleased to say it went much better than I feared it would. I arrived at the clinic early, too early, 20 minutes before the scheduled appointment time. Sitting in the waiting room was the hardest thing I had to do this morning. Every second that passed I could feel my anxiety grow more and more. There was also a high-pitched tone ringing out from somewhere which was bothering me greatly. It helped that my mother was there with me, just knowing she was there was a comfort.

It was a slight relief to be called into the doctor’s office, I decided to go in alone. As I entered he politely asked me what name I like to be called, I told him my chosen name, and that was a good start. In the room there was me, facing the doctor, his desk was positioned so that his back was to the door. And sitting behind him was a young lady who I think was his secretary, taking notes as we spoke.

During our talk I told him about how I have never felt male. Even though I have tried to fit in with the other boys and men, I never felt like one of them. I have been living as female now for 4 months, and that I am full-time female now. I started off slow, taking little steps here and there. I could not tell exactly when living part-time female became living full time female.

We talked about my past relationship, there has only been one serious relationship in my life, and how things weren’t going very well. I take all the blame really for that. I did a lot of things that upset my partner of the time, and though I wasn’t intentionally being mean, and I did love her, I was still an ass, and she deserved better. I have created a new profile on a dating site now, trying to move forward. I am not looking for anything serious right now. It would be nice to have someone to share my journey with though.

What’s happening next is that I will get my name changed through Deed Poll, so that on all my official documents I can begin using my new name legally. I’m not eligible for a Gender Recognition Certificate yet though, for that I need to be living as female for at least 2 years. I should be getting a referral to a Gender Identity Clinic. Either Fulham or Charing Cross most likely. The details of our conversation will be passed onto my GP also. The Psychiatrist needed to make sure there wasn’t any mental health issues that was causing me to make sporadic decisions about my Gender Identity and he is confident this is not the case and that I won’t need to see him again, and can just move forward, however long that may take.

All I can do now is wait. Again. More waiting, but at least I know things are moving forward.

Bring out the Joy

Today has been a fantastic day. I love starting my posts with sentences like that. I wish they all could start this way. The day started out pretty ordinary, hit snooze button half a dozen times before telling myself

“yes it really is time to get out of bed now Autumn.”

I shaved my face for the first time in 5 days and that felt really good, and I was able to look at myself in the mirror for longer than 5 seconds following the shave, which is good, because applying makeup without looking in the mirror is probably quite hard.

I spent the day mostly volunteering at the tech centre and local library. I was put on a little training module that aims to make me a better volunteer. I aced that getting 135 out of 150 on the quiz at the end, for a 90% score which I was quite pleased with, not pleased enough though so I took it a second time to get 150 out of 150.

I was complimented a few times on my appearance. I guess my choice of clothing for today was as pleasing to others as it was for myself. There is this one really lovely young lady, of 60 something years, while I was at the library and we had a really nice talk with each other. She very nicely asked me what name I like to be called, and whether I would like to be called he or she, to which I told her my name, and that I would like to be called she/her. And this lady kept to that the whole time. Also there was a nice gentleman who came in, seeking some help with his Android tablet, and he said “I’ll get some help from this young lady” referring to me as he said that. This man has never met me before, and immediately saw me for who I am, which gave me a very warm feeling. I managed to help him do what he wanted on the tablet, and look forward to seeing him again if he chooses to come in for more IT help.

I wish I was better at expressing my emotions. I’ve kept them mostly bottled in, because when I used to let them out, it would mostly be frustration, and misdirected rage that would come out. There is Joy, and Sorrow there too, and the whole spectrum of everything inbetween, but they are harder to coax out of me. I have noticed I am smiling a lot more recently though. Especially when I am out doing my volunteering. It makes me happy, and the atmosphere where I do that is very chilled, and relaxing, and the people are all so very nice and completely accepting of who I am. So maybe there is hope for me yet.

I would like to give a very big thank you to everyone who has been reading this blog so far, no matter when you started following me, the comments I have recieved from some of you has really helped me in my transition so far, and is another cause of me being joyful. I love you all.

Love, hugs and kisses,

-Autumn