Wednesday, 19 January 2011


I had my appointment on Tuesday and I can safely say it went well.  Very well in fact.  Part of me now feels slightly silly for feeling so worried as the bigger appointments to face shall be when I am seen for assessment by someone at Charing Cross as well as when the day comes that I sit with a surgeon and discuss my chest surgery.

My appointment lasted 45 minutes and the person I saw was nice.  I did have to explain a few terminologies to which I wasn't sure if she genuinely didn't know or if there was some type of secret test taking place but all the same I was relieved that she listened and seemed to understand what I needed and where I was coming from.

There was one notable and rather amusing mistake on a referral letter from my GP to her though. Instead of writing that I had been living 'In Role' he stated I had been living in Rome! I now can safely remove gladiator esq fantasies from my mind and I shall be seeing my GP tomorrow to make sure that when they resubmit my referral that there is a clarity as to how and where I have been living.

Still that has been the best laugh I've had in ages. I am sure he will see the funny side of it too.

I hope.

In some situations I prefer to laugh, and like there to be a mellow approach. Especially as it was a rather bad type-o. Still at least I sounded more cosmopolitan.

Other than that I have to wait.  As I have said I will be seeing my GP tomorrow for clarification on my referral and also to discuss what shall happen next. The psychiatrist will be sending me a copy of her notes too so will be good to have that and I like to feel part of the loop, especially as with things like this it is my life and I was a little nervous about feeling that there would be bits of paper flying around about me that I was beholden to in some way. I much prefer the sense of transparency that comes with this.

She also wished me luck with my journey which I thought was pleasant and professional. So following tomorrow it will be great to discuss what is going to happen next and then the commencement of phase two shall occur once I get an appointment at CX.

Now my concentration this week shall resume to work, flat, flat hunting and Birthday.

I still feel a weirdness starting about my Birthday...or maybe it's just today I am feeling a weirdness.  I have felt a little bit stressed over the last couple of weeks for a few different things and I feel it has ballooned on me slightly.  But at the same time I know it shall pass. As will my silly flouncing desire to hide and not celebrate it and then the other flouncy side wanting to celebrate it. 

I manage to annoy myself sometimes so God knows what it's like for anyone else close to me! Still in learning how to bake in a better way and cook better I shall appease those close to me with food and be good once in a while.

Also looks like I have to move soon too which is exciting but I have a new dilemma on my hands to live in a lovely house share or to continue living alone?  I have started investigating options and I daresay will be drawing up a very large pro's and con's list as well as looking at what I can afford realistically.

Still it's going to be good when I have a clear plan of action and overall I just want clarity.  Uncertainty is something that makes me a bit funny and when thinking of the bigger picture, pastures new will be nice.

Change is is living with less clutter.

On that note, I'm off to the bins to throw away what I have bagged and boxed for the bin...

Monday, 17 January 2011


Tomorrow I am seeing the community psychiatrist so that I can have some background history for Charing Cross Gender Clinic who have so far refused to accept my GP's referral to their clinic because they have no psychiatric history of me!

With the aside to thinking "what a palaver" followed by an urge to roll my eyes a few times I also have to grit my teeth slightly and hope for the best.

I am feeling quite a mixture of things right now but I am relieved that I have no more waiting upon me to see the doctor tomorrow.  I have found that having doubts hasn't been good as it's impossible to predict the unknown.  I had no idea my GP would be so supportive but he was.  I suppose having low expectations in people in this field has so far led to many positive and pleasant surprises, but at the same time that isn't a nice way to think. Which I am aware of.

I also feel a really odd sense of nervousness starting to creep in, but I know I can do this and I will be doing this. This has all really brought to a head what it is I am going to do and how my future will be shaped.  Changing gender for me isn't just a phase.  I actually did think it was for a while hence why I slowly started to become known as 'Leng' but at the same time I used Leng as the main name as it was still a part of me and would give me an easy exit back should I choose to stop exploring whatever I was doing.

 But as time has gone on Cleo is no longer here. I have killed her, and her memory that still is present with me sometimes is a distant one. I know this is a big reason as to why lately I feel that I am mourning something and feel empty as I have extracted a big part of myself. But I have chosen to do so, and whatever else I feel or think or whatever I know I am not her anymore and she is for the best part dead.

Leng on the other hand is someone I am still getting to know and is still negotiating his way through life. Once I am older I shall be Monty.  It may sound completely bonkers but I can see my stages in front of me and that offers me a sense of structure that I really need.

I am seeing more and more what I want from what I don't want and I will not buckle under a cloud of unhappiness that leaves me feeling weak and trapped. It's only since 2009 I have had the courage to finally break out of my old shell and be the person I want to be.  It's not always easy but at the same time since 2009 I have started progressing and growing in ways that I actually am starting to feel I have a place in the world, I feel comfortable in a room and can actually feel like I am me.

With the weight I have lost I am also starting to get a physical body that can match the mental aesthetic I have of myself - only when fully clothed that is.  Seeing myself naked now with particular regard to my chest is odd, I do feel like some sort of alien - but having the wrong body part on you will make you feel like that.  So rather than be devastated by it I see it as something that will be removed and when it is I will feel a bit more complete.  But at the same time I have more exercises to do and money to save before I can do that.  I also think its wise to wait as I have to be sure. 

But again with that something needs doing as a year and a half of double binding has changed things there but I will sort it out and I am in no mad rush. 

I feel content that every day I know I have made a step away from my old life and sometimes it's scary but then what in life isn't?  It is always full of surprises and the main thing I remember is that as people we are equipped to survive.  The will do change things and stride on is there and there is also a lot to be learned and discovered along the way.  Particularly as I age.

My birthday is on my mind a lot (well it is happening on Friday) but also because now I really am pushing on in life.  It's as if I have woken up, I feel that I don't have a bubble of youth to hide in any more and I am and want to be more accountable for things. Everything I do does have meanings and consequences in a more profound way than before. 

I am no longer a baby and in many ways I am glad not to be. ow I see it is if I can have an orgasm then I can phone up the gas company if something isn't right in my house. Although to be fair I don't feel I rely heavily on anyone.  I appreciate support but I never expect it.But at the same time I should really learn how to ask more for what I need.

But if in a situation like now where I already feel confused then it's difficult to identify what I need if that makes sense?

I am very curious as to how tomorrow shall pan out and what I should and shouldn't do to make it easier. One thing that is working in my favor is the fact I had a new hair cut, that helps me physically look more male and within that I have the confidence that I feel I physically pass.   I have kept my eating down this week too so I won't feel that I am holding any excess weight which contributes to curves on my frame.

Now it's all a process of ticking boxes, swallowing some pride and doing what has to be done in order to progress further.  Especially now that the NHS is having funding cuts left, right and centre and I want to make sure I can have the correct support available to me and also the correct assistance so I can have the correct gender for me on my bank cards, have a new passport and things like that.

The good that comes with this formal categorization outweigh my current situation.  Even though I find having to have a "Gender Identity Disorder" on my records really insulting I'm going to have to suck it up.  As I would much rather that than go back to being part of my legal identity.  Cleo is dead. I am not prepared to resurrect the female that I once was. 

I won't ever forget who I was though, but that is the main point in this.  That life and that person was who I USED to be and WAS and isn't representative of now or the future.

I shall no doubt write about the appointment tomorrow (for those who have asked if I shall blog about it) and all I hope is that I have someone who will listen coherently to what I have to say and will refer me to Charing Cross.

If not I really have to think of a Plan B and fast. Still there will be another way, as I refuse to think that tomorrows meeting is my only hope or stupid dramatic thoughts like that, as it isn't and there will be a way around things.

But I have to stop worrying so much about something unknown as in this case the system is trying to offer me another way and hasn't been against me so far. Which in comparison to other people's experiences I have heard of I am definitely one of the lucky ones, and I don't want to forget that.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The Year Ahead

Following my last post that was rather epic, I have decided that today I would prefer to reflect (in between taking a break from throwing out old crap in my flat) on what I want to achieve and concentrate on this year.

I find everyone does it and I do it especially when close to my birthday.

So for this year I have set myself 10 goals:

1. Get website I have been working on launched and continue to make contacts and find more people to collaborate with.

2. After website I want to work on a few photographic projects that I would put on the site.

3. Cut down on smoking.  I have already started and so far so good but I also want to start making myself less dependent on nicotine, particularly when stressed or as an escape to a social situation I don't like.

4. Change Name. This will and has to happen this year.

5. Lose half a stone.  I was lucky over the festive season to have only put on 3lbs! Which I know with more exercise I shall shift easily but at the same time I also want to be lighter and have less loose bits. Still if I hit a new target weight that will take me to 10 and a half stone which will make me very safe in my BMI index as well as knowing for myself that I can be this weight.

So far I have been really proud that in in 2009 at my heaviest I was 14st and now I am 11st 3lbs, a lot of dieting and exercise has helped so I know comfortably that I can get to my new target weight.

6. Change body shape. Within all the exercise I do I now have to really take it up another notch and with that I will work on toning my body more and doing more work with weights to give more definition to the muscles I have.

7. Learn to read a map. I am really rubbish at it and I want to improve this as I find it shameful that my sense of direction is completely back to front a lot of the time. Still am improvement would be better than my current ability there.

8. Improve at squash.  I really want to improve my technique and fitness there too as I would eventually like to start competing but at this current stage I am nowhere near ready yet. I also need to concentrate more on having a game strategy and adopt a keener will to win rather than just enjoy playing as so far I am making great shots but am not making great scores.

9. I would love to learn how to make Japanese food from scratch (such as sushi, ramen, etc) as well as learn how to improve a few other cooking based things too.  My next dish to master shall be things like Vietnamese inspired dishes, as well as making great soups and improving on my baking skills too.  I want to start making more bread and pastry too.  I want to make food as good as my friend A does, as his cooking always electrifies the taste buds to a massive level.  For veggie food I want to extend my repertoire there as well. Presentation wouldn't go a-miss either. If I can be making quinelles and those extended brightly coloured splodges to all look uniform and equal that too would bring me joy.

10. Keep moving with plans and try not to worry in life.  I need to believe in myself a bit more and that will make for a happier life me thinks.

Oh and a mini goal shall be, not to die or end up in rehab just because I am turning 27.

I also want to extend my gratitude to the special people in my life too that make things much calmer and more lovely. My Mum and Dad always seem to know how to be there in the right way whenever I have needed them and for that I am very grateful. Then there is E, she always knows how to wind me up and then calm me down again! I'm joking...honestly! Her love and support as been amazing as well as her fashion tips and ability to look at the world on many levels. My delightful sibling S is always a pillar of support to me and is very good at listening to which is sometimes just the thing I need. I also adore conversing with C and now the ever-growing N (I know you listen in on what I tell your Mummy!)

I have also had wonderful support at various points of 2010 from M, A and H.  I also love my hairdresser and good friend O who has helped in my passing in a number of different ways. Other friends are HA, EW, CB, A, K, E, J, L...I could literally continue listing an alphabet if I sit here any longer but also 2010 was a fantastic year for meeting new people and feeling warmth of new friendships growing too.  'The Community' being one of them and no matter what sphere of people I have moved in I have always found people within the stratospheres that have shown me some warmth and have shared many drinks, cigarettes and laughs with them all.

I feel ready for 2011 now...

Monday, 10 January 2011

The Cockmule Returns

Happy New Year!

It feels like an absolute age since I last posted on this but I haven't been around much since what feels like almost a month.  I had Christmas to which I surprised my Mother by spending the festive period with her and Dad as well as E.  We had a wonderful snowy Christmas, in the Mountains in Switzerland.  It was really lovely there and I feel it was one of our best ones yet.  It was so relaxed and free in feeling and we all had a great time together. I didn't feel like vomiting through festive unrest which has been something that has usually been rattling around on previous years.  Not for anything direct but just bad memories and certain anxieties that like to pop up the minute "Jingle Bells" and "It's The Most Wonderful Time of The Year" are played without irony, and gets played continually to the point that Chinese Water Torture sounds like something quite mellow, relaxing and soothing.

Nevertheless this year was different. There was snow, good central heating and I rediscovered skiing and was actually a lot better than I thought I would be.  E too tried her hands at it and liked it too.  But given what a (as she would say) 'Sporty Spice' she is, I had a feeling that skiing would be something she would add to her various extreme sports CV.  It was also fun skiing with her, especially as we are of a similar level to one another. I plan to improve my skiing though and hopefully I can gain enough confidence and control n the ski's to ski parallel a bit more and have more of a flow rather than my current stop-start technique.  Still the main thing I liked from it was the fact I enjoyed it and didn't feel I was under lots of pressure to be a champion skier or out of my depth.   I did have a wonderful teacher who pushed me well enough though but in a way that I would still enjoy it and could manage a chairlift and do a very long run. I couldn't get over how beautiful it was, to look at all of the trees, feeling the sharp bite of wind against my face and feeling that the skis were part of me rather than two extended things that I felt were going to kill me.

I'm quite sure than many a person has felt that at some stage...even if they were 5 or something like that.

Christmas Day was lovely too, I received a beautiful bounty of lovely gifts - but the main thing I liked was that I was spending the day with people that are very special to me and that I love dearly.  That to me was the best present I could have had.  I also enjoyed cooking dinner and I didn't have any culinary fuck ups or heart attacks in the kitchen and the occasionally hit-and-miss oven behaved itself.   It was a happy day. 

We then did more skiing, exploring, numerous card games inter spaced with Backgammon and a viewing of Inception. It was fantastic.

There was a very brief return to London, before going away again on the 29th to New York.  But before I went I got to see my beautiful sibling and the wonderful C and Badger as well as A and D. It was lovely to see them before the year was out.

Then We started our American adventure.  Had a great flight to NY, well Newark to be precise.  It is a bit more out of the way but the connections were spot on and we had luckily avoided some of the travel disruption that had happened on the days leading up to our departure.  I must say NY had it bad in terms of how the snow had hit them.  In the airport car park you could see entire rows of cars literally buried in snow. 

The pavements had what looked like icebergs that were as high as my waist and that was the bits that had melted! I really do commend the Americans for just getting on with it and doing things such as plowing and gritting the roads because they refused to be completely knocked out by the snow. 

I also can't get over how polite everyone was in New York and how helpful. I have never traveled anywhere that had such a nice welcoming atmosphere in terms of how it was towards a tourist.  The first time I went in 2008 I was astounded as to how pleasant it was and again it has lived up to everything I wanted and more.  Seeing New York in the cold and in extreme heat it is a city I really, really love.

We ate wonderful food, walked down practically every street and intersection in Manhattan, and the camera was clicking constantly.  Looking at amazing architecture from varying angles just injected something new and fresh to the senses.  The shops there were a pleasure to look around, trying on trousers in one store proved that I can now wear different styles of trouser which really made me happy! But I just love how the attention to detail, the levels of service are much higher than what I feel we get in the UK.  There is a much higher sense of having a can-do attitude to things and people want to help where possible.

We were very lucky to have a great place to stay too, H very kindly let us stay in her place which was situated in Brooklyn and It was a great spot in which to explore onwards from as well as hang out in. 

Even when in stations and places like that, there was no stress as there was always something in place.  There was only one annoyance I would have for the NY Metro and that is the fact that at some stations you have to enter in the correct entrance otherwise you will be charged twice but in the grand scheme of things that is small fry for what can be a hindrance to one's travels.  Again these are things that you encounter and learn when traveling.

I really liked the pulse that NY generates.  It is a city I could explore and re-explore constantly and not get bored.  It is quick paced but I like that.  We went to the New Museum of Contemporary Art which was really fascinating and a lot of the pieces we saw were based around news, dissemination etc which I liked given that I studied Photojournalism. It was nice seeing some aspects of where art and photojournalism can find a common language in which to work collectively with one another.  A medium of which isn't usually celebrated as such.  I also made a new friend in the gallery in the shape of one of the gallery assistants there who made his own art and was really interesting to talk to.

The Museum of Sex was also a very exciting place to be not just on a personal level but on a professional level too.  Seeing how sex was communicated to the viewer was intriguing and in some ways I felt it was playing safe a bit but on another level it still made everyone in there (from what I saw) feel comfortable.  Which I suppose within anything sex positive is a hurdle it often encounters. People still get sensitive as to how to react to sex or sexual things and within my own work I intend to create I found this to be something important to remember and consider.

Not everyone is going to be as open minded as I am or certain people I know.  Many people keep a dual profile where this is concerned too as I feel we all have certain areas in which brings out a sense of our inner prude - or to be more precise, we all have certain boundaries and limits to what we do and don't feel comfortable in expressing or projecting openly. Certain things are private and rightly so.

Still learning and understanding others is something of which is a constant dialogue I feel we all have and will continue to have throughout life.

New Years Eve was a blast, we went out in the day, ate at a great little Italian in the Bowery, went home had a small nap then went to Prospect Park to see the fireworks and took many photographs of the fireworks (and in E's case some baubles on a tree).  There was such a warm, happy charged feeling in the air that left me with a really pleasant warmth on the inside.

It was also great that many places on New Years Day were open and we could walk and explore more the following day. 

On the 3rd we went to San Fran and luckily with times of flights we had a great morning in New York before we had to go to the airport.  At SF we were met at the airport by the wonderful K and M and they took us to where we were staying and then we had a delightful conversation at the Zeitgeist bar over an amazing bloody mary (if you go to SF go here for one as they are out of this world) and we had a nice chat about all things sex positive and kinky.

The house we were staying in was really nice too as there were two cats...that were very interesting.  One had a tuxedo for a coat and liked to sit on my shoulder and you could walk around with him up there and he was most content.  But discovered one thing about houses in SF in Winter, very few have heaters and it was cold but at the same time we had a duvet, thermals and each other! So all was not lost. 

The following day my friend V met us in the mission and we Had mexican with her, J and JK and then V was very lovely and drove us to the Golden Gate Bridge and we took lots of pictures and then they dropped us in Japan Town afterwards and we had some crazy rolls that had such wonderful fish. 

The sushi you get in SF just blows your taste buds away as does the mexican food.  In fact I think it's damn near impossible to get a bad meal in SF unless you play uber safe or go somewhere like Subway or McDonalds.  But there are many great places that mean you don't have to and are just as equally cheap if budget is an issue.

Whilst there we explored loads of places and met up with loads of people, also went to a very interesting queer party that was hosted by Original Plumbing Magazine. I have never seen so many transmen in one place. It was very packed, charged and had plenty of bonkers outfits going on too.  Prior to that had dinner with some lovely folks and hung out lots with A who enlightened us about all sorts of twisted pervertable things.

On our last night we also had a wonderful meal with some friends and some people that were friends of friends right in the heart of the Mission. 

 It didn't feel like we were there for long enough given that SF is a place about atmosphere rather than crossing off locations that are tourist sights.  Still Given it was my third visit and E's first I think we shall both be back at some point.

I love it there, for the ways in which it is but I also now have a slightly different opinion of the place too such as I am not sure I would handle living there in Winter but would happily spend long Summers there, especially when Folsom is on and a lot of other Summer activities. 

But that to me is the joy of finding locations throughout the world that are nice to stay.  Some places are places to visit once or twice more as other places I think could be revisited again and again.  SF is that to me and it has given a nice injection of fluidity that I think had been sapped from me prior to being away.

But that again is something that travel brings to the soul.  I am happy to be relatively quiet if I am saving to travel somewhere as a different environment, new experiences and memories are what makes life what it is. 

I love being immersed in a different place, culture and getting to experience things that I don't have in my current location. SF will forever occupy a special place in my heart and I definitely intend to visit once a year when I can. Especially as it is such a queer place and I feel there is a lot to see and experience there.

I have an appointment with a psychiatrist next week for stuff regarding my gender identity or more specifically to be referred on from him to Charing Cross. I really hope my appointment goes well as I do need this referral. 

I am still confused about a few things right now and I do seem to have the odd day where I flounder slightly.  I have on occasion become more sensitive which I know is normal but I don't like it and I don't like that people around me have to see this.

It may also sound odd but I am starting to feel a little bit strange about turning 27.  I don't feel I have time to be indecisive anymore about my objectives in life.  I need to knuckle down and focus more on making what I want to happen materialise.

I am aware that I do set high goals for myself and sometimes I do put myself under a lot of pressure but at the same time I need it.  I need to know what I am doing with myself or I feel even more lost than I usually do. The changes in my gender and expression of gender too have compounded certain feelings of vulnerability and a feeling of being lost. The main thing I have found is that how will the changes I have made and intend to make impact on the rest of my life? There are certain situations and things I know I will have to face that I didn't have when I was part of another gender.  Yet at the same time that felt wrong to me. 

Just like now I sometimes am unsure as to whether or not I am Trans.  I am not anti trans in anyway but there is a tension as to where I fit in to the spectrum.  I don't expect to fit neatly in anything as such but the feelings that hurt sometimes are feelings that I don't fit in anywhere and I don't have much data I can relate to. It makes me feel lonely and sometimes I feel as if I am a freak.

I hate it.  I recently read a book about people's transitioning experiences but I have had to put it down as it has so far been quite depressing to read. Most people's accounts state that they have either tried killing themselves or that everything got a lot better when they started taking hormones.

My issue is that I don't want to take hormones, if I was to I don't feel that right now I am ready to. I have come so far and I don't want to turn back but its the feeling of where do I go next is starting to push on my brain slightly.

On an honest note I know there is a part off myself I am sometimes struggling slightly to accept. If I knew deep down what it was I am fighting with that would make things a whole lot easier and offer some clarity. But this is something I am sure everyone goes through and it is a process.  It isn't called transition for nothing. I don't want to revert back to feeling miserable a lot of the time because I was too scared to be the person I wanted to be. I am not Cleo anymore.  Just writing my legal name feels as if I am referring to a stranger.

The fact is I am not her anymore. Yet I am not sure who I am either if that makes sense? I also have my usual pre Birthday thoughts bubbling away such as "What am I doing?" "Will I conquer the world?" and "I should really learn how to read a map" (anyone who knows me well or has traveled with me will know how seriously crap my map reading skills are)

Still in the meantime I shall focus as much as I can on what is good in life and what is good about my life.  I say this a lot but I do have wonderful people around me, I need to stop feeling that I don't deserve this or have fear that everything is going to go wrong. I really am my own worst enemy sometimes and I don't like to admit it much but it's true.

I know and have proven that if I want to change and achieve a multitude of things I can and I will. I am also know I have a strength and am not a weak person. I may be sensitive sometimes or more gentle in my approach to life but it doesn't make me weak. I just prefer to be honest.

I spend half my life living incognito and within that I don't want to start lying to myself. I don't see the point.

2011 is going to be an interesting year, I can sense it.  2010 was what I think I will look back on as an unexpected year.  Many things happened and many things changed and many new things were discovered. This is the beauty within the mystery of life...we don't know what is around the corner and what we experience puts us on a different path each time.

Still a few core principles shall always remain the same and that is love, friends, life, balance and structure.