Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas...Part Two

I have never experienced such a jaw droppingly astounding abundant year in terms of gifts I have been lucky to receive.

Over the festive season I like to give gifts to a selected group of people whom are special to me and I like to cook. These are the elements of ‘family’ that I enjoy and feel comfortable with.

I didn’t grow up in a big family and my Mum and I have mostly been the two of us. This year has been odd in the absence of A. Although I see him, he is still a part of my life – things aren’t what they were. I spent a big chunk of 2011 feeling really sad about that but now I have started to accept things as they are.

He will always be a family member to me and no matter what; I will always consider him to be my father, even though we aren’t biologically tied to one another.

His gifts he left for me were very thoughtful and one thing was an iPad which I have wanted for ages, as I don’t always like carrying my laptop around and sometimes I mostly do things that are on social networking sites and basic emailing.

I thought it would also be nice to use when I travel as well.

Which brings me to my next amazing gift…never in my wildest dreams did I think I would end up having an iPad from my Dad and then my girlfriend giving me a trip to Japan. 

I am still speechless.  I keep thinking I am in some sort of dream only I have showered in that time and dosed up on lemsip as I have a super stinky cold which isn’t ideal but will do my best to shift it as I have had it for over 4 days now and it’s getting boring and more and more congested.

I do feel like a little child again, such as wondering how I am going to be able to sleep with the excitement I am currently experiencing but I know I will.  It’s also going to be amazing to spend New Year in another place.

Last year we were enchanted by what New York had to offer, but Tokyo will be unforgettable. Since I was about 10 I always wanted to go to Japan. I was intrigued by the people, culture, food, rituals, technology, landscape…you name it I found myself intrigued by it.

I am so excited thinking about what I will see and what I will do. Traveling is something intrinsic to what I like to do.  I would rather stay in for a month and save to go to another city rather than just go out for the sake of going out.  I do make an effort to catch up with my friends but have found that there are times and places in which everyone can see one another without it being expensive.

Still aside Japan and a little weekend trip planned for my anniversary in early February I am unsure as to where my feet shall go in 2012.  There are lots of things to do domestically so it will be far from a dull year.  I am also looking forward to just seeing what happens without knowing what exactly it is.

Have started thinking about my resolutions and will start putting my goals into motion over the next couple of week as I cannot believe how quickly this year has gone by!

Few more days and then it’s 2012.

I feel like it was only a couple of months ago I was in last Christmas.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas...Part One

In the run up to Christmas I have never felt so exhausted as I have done these past few days. Logistics wise I have been splitting my time between North and South London, feeding a cat, trying to get on with some of my work as well as make dinners, wrap presents make sure laundry is done and so on and so on…

I feel exhausted thinking about the start of the week.  But I am now at a point in which I am almost done.  Only have to do Borough Market and I am free to make a cake, some cranberry sauce and the gravy for tomorrow.  Other bits of prep are straightforward, especially as I have made a list and find it helps me focus and zone out when in a crowded situation.

So far, so good on that front.

My Mum arrives in the afternoon and I am going to have some time to myself beforehand as the Greeks are going to be out.  The Greeks consisting of E, her Mum and Dad.

It has been nice having them over, as they are relaxed and easy to be around. They have had a couple of entertaining moments but apart from that there isn’t anything that has been of stress or left me feeling exasperated.

E hasn’t had a Christmas with them in years so it’s been really nice for her to have some time with them.  Also it’s been nice to do some stuff with them but also take a bit of time out for myself. Especially as right now I am becoming slightly withdrawn and more thoughtful about a few matters.

I am always thinking about what is going to happen next in my life. 2012 I have a few more things due to happen transition wise.

On January 26th when I have my next Charing Cross appointment, which also coincides with it, being exactly 6 months on testosterone for me. When there I will look into what my surgery can take place if I choose the NHS route otherwise I will look into a private option in France.

I’m also going to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) as I will fit criteria by then. I want this so I can have a new birth certificate but also so I can marry one day.

Although I don’t have any proposals planned for E as of yet I would like it that if and when the day comes there is the freedom to be able to do so, without there being an irritating piece of admin to go through in order to achieve this.

It’s also the final side of my social transition, which I want to complete.

Then all that is left is the continuum of the physical side of my transition. I am curious and excited as to how things will be this time next year. I want things to be different and to feel closer to Monty than waiting in the shell of my old body.

The T is definitely helping some of this.

My personality is definitely starting to change, as are some of my thoughts, attitudes and tastes for things.

On the whole I have started to realize what makes me happy and how to remain happy.

This might sound a bit simplistic but without trying to sound sorry for myself  (as I don’t) I have had clinical depression since I was a teenager. For me it has become really important to work out what works in terms of keeping me positive and not feeling rubbish about life.

It has taught me not to be scared though and to confront things even if I haven’t felt strong enough to do so. Even if something hurts I try and stick it out as best I can, but that’s just my way of handling things.

I feel twice as bad if I feel I have failed.

I am far from being perfect and don’t consider myself to be perfect but I try to improve or be better wherever I can. Otherwise the default setting I have will kick in and then that won’t solve anything or improve. 

I’m also starting to become aware of my age right now. 28 may sound young but I have a lot I want to do before I am 30.  Knowing I am not such a baby anymore has given me a few things to think about in terms of aspirations of life, friends, relationships…you name it I’ve thought of it. Still some of this is part of the mystery and adventure of life. 

Only I don’t want to live with too many disruptions.

Since I moved house in May I haven’t felt like I have fully come ‘home’ yet. The place where I live now has many good points about it but it just doesn’t feel like home to me.

There have been a few really unfortunate incidents and things happen there since I moved in which have galvanized to me that this place isn’t my home and doesn’t feel like it will be.

It’s a place I live rather than a place I feel is home.

In many ways whilst experiencing some feelings of being in flux and my family life shifting too over the course of the year everything has felt displaced in some respects.

But there have been some things, which have affirmed a few things inside of me. Now it’s about finding the right time and moments in which to make movements and actions.

I am in no great hurry or feel a great sense of resentment – its more of a philosophical approach of this isn’t for me and there are more things indicating that this might not be the best situation for myself.

Still I will concentrate on that nearer the time and start refocusing my energy on goals I have ahead of me in 2012.

Oh and start some of my Christmas meal prep in the form of making some stock, cranberry sauce and baking a cake.

Whilst shamelessly basking in silence of the house I am staying in.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Spanish Eyes

I find myself starting this blog post in bohemian Barcelona. Not because I am taking the spirit of viajante (the traveller) but because I am here for work.  So far it has been a fruitful trip.  I have felt reconnected to a project I have been working on as well as refocusing my mind and head onto some other things.  I must say that being out of London and away from some comforts and familiarity has been really nice.

Of course I miss certain people.  I miss being snuggled up with E, but I am also loving being in a massive bed in a place that isn’t my home and being able to have a bit of ‘me’ time.

I had a lovely shower on my first night, I had injured my foot and my Mum helped me dress it as I stood on a plug in my room and it has left me with a small wound that bled. It was nice being ‘Mothered’ and I also gave her a foot massage as her feet were hurting her so it was mutual care.

I ate some nice food and was in really lovely company tonight whereby everything seemed to blend away from what seemed familiar.

This was done in a way that I really enjoyed.

Just as now I am loving that I have some time to write and can be sat in silence without having anyone else even in the same vicinity as me.  Sometimes this is something I adore and actually crave.

A good friend of mine, C is a writer and I can see why she chooses to go to the British Library to do her work where she can set up camp in a secluded corner and work in absolute solitude.

The more I think about things I want to write (particularly with my slightly scrambled dyslexic brain) the more being in solitude makes perfect sense.

Being away from everything is also offering me some clarity right now. There are some changes for 2012 that I will make happen as I can no longer continue feeling unhappy with one or two situations. 

I refuse to feel unhappy or have a heart filled with sorrow though.  In fact I feel unresisting and quite open hearted to what I want to make happen. This to me is what being positive is about.  Rather than whinge, bitch and complain I would rather find solutions to what it is that is causing some element of tension on certain levels.

I say this because moaning and not doing anything about something isn’t a productive way to deal with a situation. I don’t want to be one of life’s whingers. I would rather just accept that sometimes something can be frustrating but that comes after trying everything that could be tried to make a situation better or tolerable.

I am turning 28 soon and that means I am 2 years away from being 30. For some reason I feel this pressing urgency to have all my shit in order by that time.

I want to have had my GRC, chest surgery and possibly a marriage or the hope of some form of marriage by then (age 30).

These are things that are important to me. 

In regards to marriage if I don’t see it being a viable option then I would abandon some aspects of hope in that regard, or at least try and think of being with a partner that would consider that.

Like some people have a biological clock going off I seem to have a matrimonial clock going off.

I would also like to have a relationship that goes past two years.

In February I would have been with E for 2 years so this is a positive. Although there have been times where things have been difficult and sometimes I have had doubts one thing that hasn’t changed is the fact that there is love between us.

As long as I feel active love that this something that will always keep me in a relationship.  Sounds simplistic but at the same time it was a nice thing to realize. As well as being a positive for someone, like myself that tries to dodge relationships a lot of the time.

I have always had a weird relationship with intimacy – I want it yet it scares me.  Especially if it means I might risk getting hurt.  But at the same time it’s a bit bonkers to crave heavy intimacy and emotional attachment yet at the same time want to run from it yet still fantasize about feeling very romantically bonded to someone and to be married to another person.

Especially given how I grew up.

My Mother was single for most of my childhood and was never drilling into me that I should be in a relationship or grow up get married and have babies.  In fact in many ways she was quite the opposite. 

One principle I will always respect and that is only be with someone in a relationship because you want to be with them and not out of a sense of ‘obligation’ or a feeling of ‘settling’ for someone.

I am glad that these principles have remained with me, only I think on occasions I have taken being single a step too far.  Then that is part of the joy as well as pain of being young – we all have to make mistakes and sometimes learn things the hard way.

Day 2 of being here has been very busy.  Managed to clear a lot of stuff in a giant work meeting, and we had a nice break to a market where we ate and Mum and I walked around a lot and I bought jamon, chorizo and manchego. It was on of the highlights of my day.

Saw some really, really cool fashions too but resisted temptation to buy anything even though I wanted to. A recent purchase of mine went walkabout so am a bit reluctant to shop for myself right now.  Also am feeling a bit on the porky side so want to feel slim and trim again before I spend large amounts of money on clothing.

There is a bit of dysmorphia in place body wise right now so I spent a lot of today trying not to eat much and I will be using the hotel gym shortly so that I can at least psychologically tell myself that I have burned some calories. It’s also nice to make the most of facilities on offer.

Like a lot of people though, this month will cause a little bit of anxiety when it comes to fear of putting weight on. I did used to be a lot bigger and T has made me feel broader but also wider.

I have nightmares sometimes that I have turned into a giant ball that rolls across the road. Or that I have turned into a big guy in the slobby sense. It is a bit irrational and perhaps slightly neurotic but it’s the truth as to how I feel sometimes.

The fact is I know I am not the only person who feels like this nor will be as everyone has their own little isms – the difference is whether or not they care to honestly admit them or not. That is their choice.

I know something else too and that is the testosterone is changing me every single day. Even my thoughts and sensitivities have started changing. Depending on where I am in my cycle I have days whereby I feel grotty, sometimes really crappy and on other occasions I feel low.

But then the flipside is that I feel more and more that I am growing in confidence and growing into more of the person that I actually am.  One thing that I feel more than anything is a new set of growing pains in every sense possible.

Physically I have a little party going on, although I wish the spots on my back would disappear and I can feel parts of me shaping into something else. I smell different and I sometimes don’t recognize certain manifestations taking place.  But I wouldn’t change that for anything.

Now I feel I am living the honest life I have wanted to for years. For every person that says something negative, thinks of me as a freak or just doesn’t understand, well here’s the main thing – I don’t give a f*ck anymore.

I am not prepared to make people feel better about their own hang-ups anymore. We don’t have to be the best of friends or even friends at all but I don’t see why I should feel obliged to take people’s rude attitudes on board because there are certain things they can’t understand or feel comfortable about.

If people are unsure about things then they should ask more in a polite way or go and read…if people want to know more about something that typically is something that people do is it not?

I may sound a bit like I am climbing on a high horse or using some self elevated notion of privilege or some crap like that but I am not.

This year I have made a lot of big strides within my transition and finally I am reaching a place where I am starting to feel comfortable and happy with myself. If people can’t handle that be it friends, ex-friends or acquaintances then I have no time for this.

My place in life isn’t to be the person who is full of misery and pain. I have felt that way in stages and I don’t want that to be a place that I occupy. I try and live as happy a life as possible and contrary to what some may think of me I try and be as positive as I can.

But I did realize recently is what I don’t need is to be in an underdog position. Or a spot where people can feel superior by feeling that I am their nominated person in which they can feel charitable and virtuous towards because they helped me turn a corner or some pompous crap like that.

For the good friends I do have I am appreciative of support I have received though but I like to feel that I am connected to people in the good times as well as when things get a bit difficult.

It’s a tricky and fine balance but slowly I am heading there and for that I am really pleased about.

For every difficult day or stage I get within my transition there is also a massive sigh of relief that I am no longer living a life that was false.

Like all things in life it isn’t always pleasant or plain sailing but I think to live a life true to one’s heart is better than living in the shadows.

It might not make me Mr Popular but at least I know I live not feeling bogged down with guilt.

Anyhow I should really stop my mini procrastinating and go to the gym and then conclude my time here in Barcelona – which is basically more drinking eating and talking about ways to launch my work project off the ground!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

December is upon us

So far I haven’t freaked out or had a heart attack and we are 4 days into December. I feel a bit off but not as bad as I usually do. 

For a few personal reasons this time of year brings up strange feelings inside of me, but with age I am realizing that I have healed from certain events of the past and feel more and more that this was all part of a different life and time and place.

I suppose being another person then and another gender does help with some of the issues surrounding closure, the things that happened were things that happened to Cleo and not to Leng if that makes sense?

Even writing my old name makes me feel that I am writing about a stranger.  In many ways this is the case. I have zero association with that time other than it just being a name.  I don’t remember much about being that person.

Partly because now I see myself in an almost infantile state coupled with the process of being in a second puberty. I knew some of those feelings were starting to bubble inside of me when I saw something a bit unbalanced happening and I couldn’t help thinking how ‘unfair’ it was and felt a bit put out – in the same way a teenage boy would stereotypically react to a situation.

That coupled with a spot on my back made me realize that the pubescent state was well and truly happening now. I started to look for ways in which to try and move on from feeling bereft and being a seething ball of tension.

I know that I am also surging a tiny bit right now. But this surge I have right now doesn’t feel as fired up as I have felt with other ones, I feel slightly lethargic and I don’t feel I have unstoppable energy.  But I feel there is a slight charge in my system.

It does help that some of the effects of the hormones are starting to feel a bit more familiar to me. But as I discovered last weekend, a couple of days after getting a jab I feel a bit sensitive.

This time around I felt a bit lost, and didn’t know what I was doing with myself.  There was a feeling that something was missing whilst I went into a floaty state.  I also think the fact that last weekend I wasn’t feeling very well physically didn’t help matters either. As I am not often unwell and do make a terrible patient. 

I hate feeling low on energy or feeling weak and groggy. I like to be able to do whatever I want and feel I have the energy to do so and not to feel battered from something.

Still it’s gone now and although I haven’t got all of my energy back it’s good I am not feeling as rough as I was then.

My body has slipped into semi hibernation mode right now, especially as it’s getting colder and there is less daylight to be had.  My body too is in puberty, which does leave big cravings for sleep. I want to sleep a lot more than I used to and I have to have something with caffeine in more than before.

I know it isn’t really age playing into this as in January I turn 28 and not 98!

There is also a part of me that is settling a little from within the inside. Since 2009 there has been a part of me that hasn’t been at rest. I can’t put my finger directly on what it is but I know that there is something if that makes sense?

The more I live as the person I am now the more comfortable I have become. Some of my fireyness that I was experiencing a while ago has started to quieten down a bit as well.

This is pleasing me as I am finding that I feel less wound up over many things and either accept something for what it is or I find a solution and don’t feel as attached to something as I used to.

I used to be very sensitive about a number of things and although there are things I feel passionate about I am starting to feel slightly less affected by things that other people do around me.

I am enjoying this energy for now all the same.

In terms of thinking of this month ahead there are a few exciting developments in the offing.  Next week I will be in Barcelona to sort through some stuff for my job, then I will return to doing some cat sitting.  The week after E’s parensta are arriving from Greece, I have a special night coming up on the 21st and then that week I will finish off all my preparations for the festive period.

So far so good on that front.

I am still deciding on what to have for Xmas day but luckily where I am staying it’s close to borough market and I think once I decide what I will make then that will make the whole sourcing ingredients job a bit easier.

Also I want to investigate the best ways of doing things that will minimize my exposure to those hideous crowds and the fact that if everything is left to the last minute then people act like they are stocking up for a famine.  I don’t get why people have to start buying 4 or 6 of everything when they only have two extra guests and the way to think of xmas dinner is like a giant roast.

So in that case do you need three courses on the big day? If so reduce what you have on the other bits of the meal. Alternatively if it’s a dinnery dinner then make a poncy breakfast/brunch instead!

Well those are my thoughts on the matter anyway. 

I’m sure there will be some disagreements. But all the same I am excited about cooking and although we are staying in someone elses house the fact that E and I both have our parents around will make this feel like it’s the first xmas dinner that I have made rather than cooking dinner in a parents house.

Not that it matters but at the same time it does feel suddenly extra grown up in an odd way.

It will also be nice for E to have time with her family as well.  We have some nice things planned for when they are around so there are lots of things to look forward to.

I have completed all of my Christmas shopping…mostly done online! I cannot stand shops at this time of year especially over the weekends – it gets scary.  I still have to buy some cards and giftwrap and I have definitely been dragging my heels a bit about when I shall commence this but I need to buy one card soon as I have to send that to the USA.  Everything else shall be delivered by hand though as that is how little I send Christmas cards.