Friends….

13th September 2018

Last time I had a holiday that did not involve visiting family or short weekends away was early in 2014. Ok, in that 4 plus years since I have been to the other side of the world (twice) to visit my daughter and I could count those, but for the purpose of this blog I won’t, because I am writing it and they are my rules.

In that same period I have moved house (twice) and moved to another work site on the south coast. But then if you read my blogs you already know that don’t you. That is really what I want to talk write about in this blog. So the title of this blog is called “Friends”.

It’s funny you know, every time I put speech marks round the word “Friends” I always want to say it like the boys from the Inbetweeners would have. It always made my cringe, as back in the day I had very few “Friends” as such. This was a choice I suspect. My closest friend has always been my partner and I felt comfortable with that. I had other friends of course but never ones that I managed to get really close to. I guess my introverted nature just didn’t need it.

Of course, this is fine when you are in a relationship, or at least it was for me. I had everything I needed. It’s when you step outside of that that things get messy. Talking of messy; that last holiday included a dose of sickness and cabin quarantine for 2 days as firstly my then partner, then I challenged one another to empty our stomachs in double quick time by any means possible.

Anyway, once that relationship ended and I transitioned. All of a sudden I was pretty alone. I never felt it because, surprise, surprise I was actually liking myself a whole lot more by then. This masked the fact that I was alone and over time I managed to build up a social circle of these “Friends” that I would see infrequently, primarily because of geography and the fact that the majority of these friends were going through the same shit as me and like all of us, we had our own paths and priorities to focus on.

One of the things I always struggled with was building a social circle at work. I don’t know if tried hard enough or whether the fact that I transitioned in the workplace actually held people back in accepting me. Or maybe they just thought I was a twat, which perfectly possible. Whatever the reason was, I don’t really know but one thing I have noticed is that when you work in a place where people only know you as the person you are, life becomes a whole lot easier. Yes, they know about me. I am an open book in that respect. But they only know me as me not the person before. People often say to me, “I can’t imagine you were ever …….” You know the rest. To which I reply “I wasn’t, I just pretended for way to long…..”

So since being down here on the south coast working, which is approaching a year now I have made “Friends”. I mean proper “Friends” that I see on a social basis outside of work. Since moving down my social life has exploded, which is unheard of for me. I have to tell you that I am liking this new found acceptance and friendships. I am always going to be introverted. This part of me will not change. However the inner confidence and sense of wellbeing I feel nowadays, I have not felt, well ever! Life will always have one or two challenges and I am no different. As long as I reason with those I am ok. I seem to be doing ok there for now.

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Girls from the office, including the Fitch bird (back right) and the Fitch bloke (not related to the Fitch bird) – July 18

I started this blog talking about holidays and that is where I will finish it because today I fly to Turkey with the Fitch-Bird, my bestie friend from work. We spend a week in the sun and will no doubt consume too much of, well everything. Who would have thought that me, yes me, would have “Friends”.

All my love

Veronica x

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Harmless advance or a sexual assault?

23rd August 2018

At what point does someone making advances to you become a sexual assault?

WIN_20180823_18_01_40_ProNow there is a question to pose and I am asking myself as I write as to whether I should be flattered by an advance toward me or question whether I have been sexually assaulted. There is a fine line and I am not sure what side of the line it ended up.

So let me put this into context for you. I attended a circuit training class at my gym the other evening. It’s a national franchise gym with many outlets and I have just transferred my membership to the new gym where I now live. This circuit training is really good. A gym studio with about 25 others all working their way round various exercises, strength and cardio. There is a good team spirit in the class. I love it. On this evening we were buddied into pairs and went round a circuit together. Being relatively new to this class I know very few faces, so everyone is a stranger to me. I ended up with this man, 10 years my junior (it turned out), very fit (appearance and general fitness), married; why do I always look at the wedding ring finger of anyone I meet? Anyway we proceeded to work our way round the circuit, motivating one another with words of encouragement as we went.

It came to the end of the workout and after the group warm down I thanked him for his time. I told him my name, he told me his and I went off to get showered. On the way down he said to me. I’m going in the sauna and Jacuzzi if you want to join. Well as it happened I was. Its hair washing night you see and I always wash my hair, put the conditioner on, brush it through and sit in the sauna for 20 minutes whilst its doing it’s thing. I rarely ever was my hair at home nowadays, only at the gym. It works for me. Anyway, so I said to him that I will see him on pool side.

So a bit later I met him in the sauna. There were others in there and we just chatted away for a bit. I told him I was new to the area, where I worked, yah de yah and he told a little about himself. Just surface stuff you know. Being polite. Eventually we were alone in the sauna. His mood changed and he became more flirtatious although I did not pick up on it at the time. It was getting too hot in there, so a quick break and brief spell in the steam room. With others around he was normal again and again once we were alone he became more forward. It clicked this time. He was making a play.

He was very complimentary and to be honest I was flattered. It was an absolute rush I have to tell you. This has never happened to me before. I mean in a spontaneous way like this from someone who does not even know the baggage (being trans) I carry. It soon got to a point where I felt out of my depth. There was touching involved and I felt now scared (as well as a little aroused). Clearly he was after more than I was prepared to give and it was hard to get that across. So I said no. I had to say no many times and even get up and walk away to the sanctuary of the ladies changing rooms. Even then he followed me to the point where he could go no further and even tried to encourage me into an empty family changing room. At this point my heart was racing like a rabbit partly, still as I was aroused but now also because I was scared, I mean really scared.

So why did I say no? I have asked myself that. He was fit, lean and handsome in appearance. I could have tangled myself up in the hairs on his chest quite easily. So what stopped me? Firstly he was married. I’d like to think that this is a “no-no” for me nowadays. Secondly, he does not know I am Trans or at least I think he does not know. It’s not like I carry a label stuck to my forehead all the time. Is that important? Well it is to me, for someone I am going to possible get close with. Albeit, not the first thing or always on the agenda. But what if he found out  that I was Trans after ………you know ……..and well …….became aggressive. He could you know! Finally, we were in the bloody middle of a public area. No, I am not doing it.

Look, I don’t want to kid anyone here; I am no angel. But I felt out of my depth here and completely weak. The more and more I think about it the more and more I question whether I was assaulted, how close I came to being assaulted or even raped. I am a strong woman but I questioned myself that evening.

Be careful out there people.

All my love

Veronica x

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Movin’ Home Ain’t Easy……

 

14th August 2018

bQueen had an album back in the late ’70s, around ’78 I think, called “Jazz”, you know the one with “Don’t Stop Me Now” and “Fat Bottomed Girls”, also the pull out sleeve with the naked women on push bikes at White City Speedway; remember it? I do :). Anyway, there is a track on the album called “Leaving Home Ain’t Easy”. It’s one of those rare album tracks not sung by Freddie as Brian takes the lead on his song. I keep singing to myself “Moving Home Ain’t Easy” to the same tune. Because I tell you what, its bloody difficult.

No shit Sherlock! I hear you mutter. I mean, we all know that moving is one of those stressful things that would not be too far from the top of anyone’s list of stressful things. Since leaving my family home in 1982, I have just totalled up that I have move around 20 times during my life, almost nomadic, so I should know what it’s all about right! But this last move was different. Why so? Well firstly this is the first time I have ever moved a complete home on my own. I have moved on my own before but normally a couple of car loads of stuff, not a complete home. Also I have always lived in and around the Hertfordshire/Essex border area and never wandered out of that comfort zone. Yeah, yeah, I know, you can take the girl out of Essex…..

C’mon Veronica, you have had more challenges in life than this! Girl up will you for God’s sake! These are things I mutter to myself when I feel close to that point where I am about to crumble. In the background I also sing to myself

Movin’ home ain’t easy…

Oh I never thought it would be easy ….

Movin’ on your own …..

Words which are part of the chorus from that song I mentioned earlier, with movin’ replacing leavin’.

Not for a long while have I felt so vulnerable in life. It’s not the move per say, It’s not the different area either, I mean I feel less isolated here than I was before and anyway loneliness has not been an issue for me for a while now anyhow. I like to call it being ‘alone’. Loneliness is completely different. They look the same to someone looking in but it’s a mindset thing. Anyhow, it is just everything being new. Everything you take for granted when you stay close in one area, your doctors, dentist, the butcher, the baker, candlestick maker,  the nail bar, the beautician, the gym, the Samaritans call centre that I work from,  It is just every bloody thing!

Overlay that with the stress of moving and making your home hospitable and an ever increasing work schedule, it just feels like I am a slither away from disappearing up my own arse half the time. Twice last week I felt myself snap at people at work and this really is not me or how I like to operate or behave (I apologised later in the day).

I know this is a blip. I know I will come through the other side of this but you know, it’s that period between now and then that I feel uncomfortable in. I know all the coping mechanisms to employ and I use them, it’s just, the elephant is still big and there are lots of bites.

So that is enough of my whinging for now. In nearly three weeks since I moved I have achieved a whole lot. Well last week was my first week back at work for a start, but the house? Well I now have both bedrooms functional, the study finished, one shower room functional, two en-suites decorated and one of which is just about ready to use (off my bedroom – a man is just about to arrive and grout my floor as I type). Also the kitchen and the lounge are now liveable as most of the boxes have gone now. So not bad really. I have sorted my doctors, the dentist is sorted, I have found a nail bar and there are just as many butchers, bakers and candlestick makers down here as there were back the other way. I am also up and running with Portsmouth Samaritans and have shifts scheduled out until November which will take me to the anniversary of when I first became a listener. Coupled with that my daughter has been down the weekend just past. My first family visitor. We had a lovely time together and she met some of my friends down here on the Saturday evening. It was fab. It allowed me to have a break which was definitely needed. My second week at work, albeit only two days old seems a lot more productive as well.

So all in all and in summary, it’s tough movin’ but I am getting there, one bite at a time.

All my love

Veronica x

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Dealing with my weight – nearly 7 month now…

5th August 2018

I have written two previous blogs recently about my weight, the last back in April where I was two pounds away from my first target point. That was to get me back to the weight I achieved in order to be ready for GRS the year before.

Back then I mentioned also a “stetch” target of 12st or 44lb lost and also a “Utopia” target of 11st or 58lb. Well this morning I reached my stretch target. I had privately thought to myself that I could achieve this by the end of the summer but I have smashed it in early August 🙂 . I am elated and very proud of myself.

The last fortnight has helped no end. Moving house is the most strenuous period I have had in my life for a long time. My aches have aches. My bruises have bruises. However my resolve and determination is shining through.

I just want to put my current weight into perspective for me, a 55 year old woman. I have never been this light as an adult or had a BMI of less than 25, which is the NHS’s measure of a healthy weight. Yeah, I know it stinks. The NHS website tells me I can lose another 3st and still be considered to have a healthy weight! So it’s a stupid measure. But if you ever need surgery of any kind and you’re overweight, by their definition, they will set you a target. They did for me. My BMI currently sits at 24.6 and it was 31.2 back in January. When you consider that I am running now on Oestrogen and not Testosterone this makes it all the more impressive. As women, they say we carry up to 15% more body fat than men. Of course we call them curves right 🙂

My next target sits at “Utopia”. Aaaaargh! Do I believe I can achieve it? Probably not to be honest. But, do I want to achieve it? Hell yeah! And I still have that resolve and determination. What I do need to do though is to balance my diet. I have starved myself of carbohydrate pretty much for approaching 7 months. This is not balanced or self sustaining. I know this. So here is my cunning plan. I have a holiday in September to Turkey with my bestie Julie. When we return I will return through customs and passport control with balance, as well as gin and perfume of course and my diet will stop. Balance and a new focus will help me reach “Utopia”. Until then I will not rock my boat ‘cos I am on a roll here.

All my love

Veronica x

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What do you do when you can’t sleep?

9th July 2018

It’s 02:44. I can’t sleep. Likely because it is so damn hot. So I have come downstairs where it is cooler, poured myself a cold drink, opened the French doors, sat in the lounge and decided to write; like you do. It is so quiet outside and very peaceful. I could get used to this to be honest.

The reality however is that my pending move to the south coast is all encompassing in terms of thoughts and emotions, so when my brain thinks my body is rested enough it reboots and I wake. The Friday that just passed was a ‘meltdown’ day for me. I came home from work early afternoon, packed a few boxes, then poured myself a gin and slim and sat in the garden. A few drinks later I was sitting there in tears, for no other reason than it just felt too much. Normal service resumed the next day and the weekend passed quite productively with more preparation for moving, house cleaning and a couple of gym classes.

So here I am contemplating my move which has provisionally been set for the 24th July if that is we can exchange bloody contracts.

The Conveyancing has generally gone quite well. There is always one thing that takes the longest and delays things. In my case it is Portsmouth City Council searches. I am taking a leap of faith, booked all my time off work and am planning to that date which is now only two weeks tomorrow. I am assuming that my solicitor can do her thing and get exchanged this week. The critical point being Tuesday week when I have to pay the removal company in full and the move date is set. So we must exchange before then.

I started packing some weeks ago as I knew I needed to make the most of my free weekend time. My current house no longer looks like a home as it is sparse and boxed, however it is a temporary state and I am cool with it at the moment, apart from having a few nail disasters on the way and skin dried out from cardboard boxes.

My weeks still involve the commutes down to the south coast and nights in hotels but now only two more weeks left to do that before I take what I think will be a well deserved break from work in order to get settled into my new home.

I continue to support the Samaritans in my spare time and I have two more shifts at my local branch before I transfer to the Portsmouth and East Hampshire branch. I have already made contact and had one shift with them on a weekday evening. So I look forward to continuing to offering my support, where I can, to what is an amazing charity. I am still very proud to be a Samaritan.

My weekends are crammed now before the move. I had to miss the Sparkle celebration this year as I just couldn’t justify the time but I still plan a day trip to Brighton for the “Transpride” march on the 21st. Let’s hope the weather holds for that. Last year the weather was shocking.

 

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This is what 03:30 looks like.

I remain positive about the move. It is life changing for me. I do have a warm feeling about it and let’s hope I have not just peed myself 🙂 . Seriously though I am actually; and I’ll let you into a little secret, scared shitless! But if I can be my true self, against all the odds, this should be doddle right! It is not like I have never moved house before right! As my solicitor who is doing my conveyancing said to me (she also did my Statutory declaration 3 years ago now and many other things in the past) “Veronica, you have had greater challenges”. This is what I tell myself as I gracefully glide across the water, frantically paddling beneath the surface against the current. The black swan (not sheep) is still smiling.

 

Until next time.

Update: 17:35. Well my solicitor exchanged contracts a few hours back and I have a confirmed moving date of the 25th July. It is an immense relief I can tell you. I am now thinking of going to bed 🙂

All my love

Veronica x

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…. A school reunion …..

6th July 2018

 On Saturday just past I went along to a school reunion back in my old home town with a girl-friend from my Tutor group. I stayed the night in a local hotel so I could have a drink and Alison picked me up from my hotel as planned.

We both found out about the reunion from a Facebook friends group for our school. You often periodically get these little nuggets appear every now and again and this was one of them. We knew it was likely that the majority of the people would be a little older than us as we left school in the last year of the 1970’s and the focus was for those 3 or 4 years older than us. We was right in the end. My initial fear was bumping into Ex girlfriends. Believe me, there are more from there than I can shake a stick at. Fortunately I was lucky.

The evening turned out to be a right giggle. Quite funny when introducing myself to the other women there. Most of those had their maiden name in brackets on a name tag that we all wore. Of course my maiden name has never changed. And no one knew me which was to be expected I guess. So I just said to them I had a different forename back then by way of introduction which seemed to raise a few eyebrows but anyone I spoke to was incredibly supportive. I find that almost exclusively nowadays.

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When Veronica met Barry

I think the highlight of the evening for me was seeing my ex House Master and Chemistry teacher, Barry Greenhalsh. He is in his early 70s now and wearing well. He is far shorter than I remember and I don’t remember either that he had a thick Lancastrian accent although he mentioned when I pointed this out that his family from Blackburn think he sounds like a Cockney. Barry and I have history. Don’t worry, not that sort of history. He gassed me with Chlorine in 1977 in a Chemistry lesson and I spent the night in hospital. When I reminded him of this he was very confused as clearly his memory was that he gassed a teenage boy. His memory of that moment was as precise as mine and he recalls the moment when he had to call my mum to tell her that I was in hospital as he had gassed me. It turns out that it was as much a traumatic event in his teaching career as it was my teenage years. He actually thought he was going to get sacked. We spoke about me and my transition and he was cool enough for it not to be an issue or even the main topic of conversation. He recalls me and remembered I was a good student and distinctly compared my behaviour to that of my brother who he also remembered. My brother was a challenge by all accounts. No change there then eh 🙂

Barry left Burnt Mill Comprehensive some years after me to work at another school in the town. They allowed him to follow his aspiration to be a stand up comedian. I must admit, he made me laugh when we was chewing over those days from the 1970’s.

 All my love

Veronica x

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Weight loss – 5 months in

12th June 2018

It’s been 2 months since last wrote about my diet. Back then I was knocking on the door of 2 stone lost. Right now, or a few days ago, I just notched up the 2.5 Stone (35lbs). Blimey! It’s so much harder now to shift the pounds. I knew it would be and it has not changed my focus or determination but it is less exciting jumping on the scales because I know it will take a while to reach my next celebration point, which is still 9lbs away. If I can get there by the Autumn I will be happy. I go for weeks now not losing a single lb and then all of a sudden, wham, 4lb disappears in a week or two. It is bizarre.

Apart from feeling so much better the one positive that I have noticed is that people now say, ‘wow, you have lost weight’ and smile. Meaning, that it actually notices! I guess people started to notice around 2 Stone, but it’s all the time now. Even at the gym; people I know only from classes or the changing room and not by name have said this. Quite remarkable really. It is always nice to get positive feedback.

Just a life observation thing here. When we put on weight there are very few people who will tell you that you need to be careful. Remember the lyric from Parklife – Blur? ‘Who’s that gut lord marching? you should cut down on your porklife mate, get some exercise‘. OK, that lyric is more like abuse but people generally do not warn us. Whereas, if you lose weight, a whole host of people will say to you ‘ooo, you don’t want to lose too much more, you look good as you are, it won’t suit you, you will look too gaunt‘ or words to that effect. I wonder if that will ever change or if it should? I tend to smile politely at people if they say this. I know where I want to be. I set my own expectations.

I am actually now lighter than I have been this century, nay millennium. So that has to be a good thing right!

The other week I actually started running again. For those who have known me a long time, will know that running was a big part of my life throughout the ’80s and 90’s. Back then it was proper running, but now it is jogging at best and not for long either. The other week I tweaked my hamstring whilst doing the jogging thing. I guess I got ahead of myself a little. I decided to jog a 5km. Well, 3.6km into the jog and had to stop because I could just feel the hamstring tightening. That set me back a while. I had another go on Sunday just past and it seemed ok, but I consciously just jogged for around 15 minutes. I still feel a bit lardy for too much to be honest. There’s always other good cardio workouts I can and do,  do. It is just that running was my thing and I would like to do it again one day. Never say never.

A few intermediate milestones are very close.

(i) when my BMI reaches the top end of the “healthy weight” band. I tell you, I am close now, although not as close as I thought as I have lost 1/2″ in height somewhere. An age thing I guess.

(ii) when I reach the weight I was at the age of 20. Again this is very close.

(iii) before I transitioned  bought a black dress that I have never worn as it was just too small, but I refused to tIMG_4974[1871]ake back. I tried it on the other day. Oh god, I am so close to being able to wear it. In the next weight loss blog I will share a picture with you of me wearing the dress. In the mean time I share a picture with you from Saturday.

There are some things I will never really change. The width of my shoulders for example. Although losing the weight does make your shrink more than you realise and get this; My breasts look bigger!!! OK, I know I have implants but the total breasts have actually shrunk as the breast tissue on top of the implant has reduced as you would expect when you lose weight. My Bra’s feel less full but when I am naked they look huge! I put this down to the ratio of my breasts to my waist. I will take this illusion, any day.

I said the other day on a vlog “you can’t polish a turd” and if you don’t know what it means then look it up. A friend of mine responded by saying “maybe so, but you can roll around in glitter”. Of course I rolled about laughing when I heard this. I am now officially a glittery turd 🙂

Writing this stuff down helps me. It is sort of like, if I write it then it immediately becomes additional motivation. I am still believing.

I am also moving house as you may know, from one of the other themes I am writing about at the moment. This is moving along nicely although it is one of those classic stressful things in life that occupy our emotions. It is now affecting my sleep. I am waking way too early! There is no firm fixed date yet for the move but tentatively we are talking about late July, early August. This will be perfect for me. Actually, perfect would be tomorrow, but I have to be realistic.

I am very conscious that a low carbohydrate, high protein diet is not sustainable in the long term and I need to introduce balance back into what I eat. So once I have moved and settled I think I will be changing to a “Slimming World” programme. From what I have heard people talk about, this would be better for me. I am not going to go to the weigh-in things as the bulk of my weight has already gone and I will hopefully be closer to my target. I will just use the techniques and dietary advice. So it becomes a lifestyle choice rather than a diet as such.

Until next time……….

All my love

Veronica x

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