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All posts for the month April, 2011

Downtown – You’re Gonna Be All Right Now….

Published April 28, 2011 by Christine

From the Petula Clarke song “Downtown” 1964. One of my all time favourite 60’s feelgood songs, always gets me out of the dumps (when played loud, of course). A fitting title for this post.

For most people, what I am about to describe is a simple, everyday thing that normally would not deserve even a line in a post, let alone a whole post. To me it was a step into a fear that, until today, I had shied away from facing. I went into town. As Mark this was never a problem. As myself, Christine, on the other hand it was a very, very big deal. I decided to dress smart. I wore my black shift dress, black low heeled shoes, natural tights and long black jacket (which I always seem to wear, and I’m wearing a lot of black lately). It took longer to decide what to wear than it did to do my makeup, which is unusual, but I also have a fear of looking ridiculous. (This fear is greater than people reading me. I’d rather someone point to me and say: “That’s a man”, than people laugh at me because I’m wearing something totally unsuitable or I’m totally mismatched).

The original plan was for me to go over to Tracey’s, go shopping in Farnborough, walk the dogs then back in time for the doc’s at 5pm. This didn’t happen. Due to various interruptions I ended up being ready at three, then remembered the kids coming out of school. There was no way I was going to be able to deal with that on my own, so the plan changed to going to the doc’s then into Aldershot (time permitting). This changed again when the ticket machine on the bus failed and it had to turn back. So Tracey rescheduled the doc’s and we went into town instead. To say I was bricking myself at the thought would be an understatement. I was terrified, but decided to go ahead anyway. Chickening out would just put me back down and I would never get up again. On the way in we met a friend of mine and stood having a chat on the corner. People passed by but no-one really stared or commented. Slowly my confidence began to rise. Our first stop was to be the 99p Shop. This was on the other side of the town centre, so I had to walk the length of it to get there. As we walked I began to feel less and less conspicuous, and actually started to enjoy myself. By the time we reached the 99p Shop I was feeling easier and more natural. We wondered around the shop getting the stuff we needed (including a new pair of sunglasses for me) and went to the checkout. I stood with Tracey while she put the stuff through and looked around. No-one seemed to be staring, the kids just played, the world hadn’t stopped to look at me! Then we went to Wilkinsons. For the first time in my life I didn’t feel conspicuous browsing the makeup aisle. I was able to stop and really choose what I wanted instead of grab and run. (This usually resulted in buying something that I couldn’t use, no matter how hard I tried). We wandered around for a bit, getting bits that Tracey needed and then left. Walking back I felt on cloud 9. I had done it. Finally.

Just a note: On a previous post I had stated that I had gone into town for the first time as Christine (Dye Another Day…). This was only wearing jeans, jumper, minimal foundation and trainers, not really trying too hard but wanting to.

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Who Are You? ….

Published April 28, 2011 by Christine

From the song of the same name by The Who, released on the album “Who Are You?” in 1978, the last album released before Keith Moon’s death. Also used as the theme tune to CSI:.

Also a question I am frequently asked. “Who are you, Mark or Christine?”. The answer is quite simple: I am, and always have been, Christine. I just didn’t have a name or a real presence until now, or the courage to come out. ( I know, that line sounds a bit spooky and borderline psychotic) I have now and I think that who you are is more important than what you are. What I am is a 42 year old transsexual. Who am I? I am a 42 year old woman called Christine Danielle Anderson. That is my identity, my mind, my id, ego and super-ego. It’s just that my body does not match my mind. Some people, (mainly women, funnily enough), say things like: 1. “You wern’t born a woman, so you can’t be one.”, 2. “You’re not a woman, you can’t have kids”, or even, 3. “You can’t be a woman, ‘cos you don’t have periods”. The only things I say to these are:

1. I know I wan’t born with a female body, just a female mind. Unfortunately most of the female part is buried under the dross of 40 odd years of male upbringing and trying to fit in, and it is just beginning to emerge. So please be patient.

2. So, by this logic, any woman who cannot have kids because of a genetic defect, or illness or other reason, is therefore not a woman?

3. Again, this logic states: any woman who’s period does not appear, ever, due to missing ovaries, birth defect or such, is not a woman.

In fact 2 and 3 are tied in with each other.

I can now consider myself one of the lucky people of the world. Not only do I know what I am, I also know who I am.

A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far, Far Away….

Published April 27, 2011 by Christine

I think that we all know where the title of this entry comes from so there is no need to expand on it.

Memory is a funny thing. One person will remember events in one sequence, with one set of events and someone else will remember something different about the same set of events. I think that the only memories that can be truly correct are those that have happened to ourselves and have defined our lives. This catagory, Reminicence, is a collection of my own personal memories that have had some of the biggest  impacts in my life and some are very personal. I am sharing these as it gives you, dear reader, a better understanding of who and what I am, and how I came to be at this point in my life.

(I apologise in advance if things seem to be a bit disjointed as memory can sometimes play tricks with the timeline when trying too hard to remember. We could call it “Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle of Memory”. If you don’t know Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, you obviously have internet access so LOOK IT UP, it’s the best way to learn.)

I think that the earliest memory I have of wanting to be female was one night after school when I was about six. I had seen one of my friends leave her house to go to Brownies wearing her Brownie uniform. I remember really wishing I could go with her, wearing my own uniform (if I’d had one), but this was not to be. I went to bed that night praying with all my heart that God would make me a girl, that I would wake up in the right body, a girl body, and things would be alright. Of course I awoke the next morning still with the cursed boy body ( I wasn’t cognisant enough to be thinking those actual thoughts, it’s just literary illustration. My actual thought probably ran along the lines of <sigh> “I’m still not a girl.”). From that day onward, I prayed every night that I would wake up as a girl, but it never happened. I still do it to this day, albeit, subconciously. Now the prayer I have been saying for most of my life is slowly, very slowly, being answered.

Can I Become All I Thought I Might?…..

Published April 26, 2011 by Christine

This line is from a song called “Panic Attack” by Finger Eleven from their fourth album “Finger Eleven” (2003). I had to do a search on this as I couldn’t think of any songs directly relating to panic attacks. This line also links to how I feel during a panic attack.

I had one today. A bad one. Myself and Tracey were getting ready to go to Asda’s and then walk the dogs, and I was just finishing my makeup when it hit. I immediately felt “wrong”. A feeling of total fear soon followed, complete with thumping heart and shortness of breath. I was shaking and began to feel exposed. I just wanted to find a hole and crawl into it. I couldn’t think straight and kept looking around as if I could find the source of this horrible feeling. I went into the bedroom and stood, breathing deeply. Tracey came in and cuddled me, trying to calm me down. Slowly, with her help, the attack began to subside. Eventually, it faded completely and Tracey went off on her own to walk the dogs. It’s a feeling I would not wish on my worst enemy. I have not had an attack that bad for several years, and that was when I was drinking heavily and the attacks would follow in quick succession after a heavy binge. The cause may have been certain events that happened this morning. Who knows?

There was one thought prevalent during this particular attack: Could I could I continue with what I am doing and see it through? Self-doubt is an integral part of panic attacks apparently and, after the attack faded, I asked myself the question again. The only answer I could come up with is YES.

Knowing Me, Knowing You….

Published April 26, 2011 by Christine

This one’s from Abba, from the album “Arrival“, 1977. It was also used as the title for the Steven Coogan comedy talk show. Not sure if it really fits the subject of this short post but it’s all I could think of this time of the morning.

Something I’ve started doing, since starting transition, is wondering what people think of me when they look at me. I have been in luck so far in that I have not had any abuse as such just a few strange looks in the street and on the bus, and some through the window of my home (there’s a corner shop opposite me where numbers of kids regularly gather), but I always wonder what thoughts are running through people’s heads. Are they thinking “God, he makes an ugly woman” or are they thinking “Fuck me, she’s big”. Personally I like to believe that it’s “She looks good”, but this is probably just a product of an over-active imagination. Tonight I saw one girl stare at me when I got on the bus and, as I sat down toward the back, she craned her neck round, (almost severing her spinal cord in the process), to get another look at me. I just stared back and she immediately went eyes-front. Tracey told me that a young man at the front of the bus stared at me from when I got on to when I sat down, his eyes never leaving me. I wonder what was going through his head. It may have been the clothes I was wearing: Black vest top, long black open jacket, short skirt and calf boots with 3 inch heel and natural tights. The boots take my height from 5′ 10″ to 6′ 1″, so I do end up at quite a height (I keep an oxygen cylinder handy as the air is a bit thin at that height). Still, it makes a good game, guessing peoples thoughts. Bruce Forsythe could host the show.

‘Cause You’ve Got – Personality…

Published April 25, 2011 by Christine

What is it with song lyrics and my titles? This one is an oldie: “Personality” by Lloyd Price 1959. All my blog entry titles seem to be stemming from song lyrics at the moment. There always seems to be a lyric in my head to match to subject of each entry, and, considering how many songs have been written, I could go on like this forever. Anyway……

One question that crops up frequently in relation to my transition is: “Will you be the same person, or will you change?”. The answer to that is: I don’t know, and to speculate would be foolhardy, but, there are some things that I can say for certain. I know that three main changes have occured since I came out and began living as Christine:

1. I am a much happier person. Those who know me say I appear calmer, more relaxed and I seem to laugh more. The feeling I’ve always had of wanting to be on my own has also gone.

2. I don’t feel the need to drink anymore. All my adult life has revolved around alcohol (as written in the intro). This is no longer true.

3. I feel more self-confident, able to face the world without running back into my flat and hiding from it. I haven’t developed that slightly cynical edge than many trans people get, but I am sure it will come in time.

I have to admit that most of this would not have happened had it not have been for my fiancee Tracey. I would have remained the frightened mouse, sticking her head out of the door, seeing all the scary people and running back inside. As to further changes, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Seems like a nice day to go shopping.

The Look And The Sound Of The Voice….

Published April 25, 2011 by Christine

Before I start, I would like to point out that the title of this entry is a line borrowed from a song by Ultravox called “The Voice” from the album “The Collection” (1982). The usage of this line was completely unintentional. I simply wrote the title and it wasn’t until I was thinking what to write that I realised what I had called the entry. I was in two minds whether to keep it but I decided to keep it as it fits perfectly to the subject of this entry. Now I have completely forgotton what I was going to write!

3 hours later….

I would like to think that, with my makeup on and wearing the right outfit and my hair done, I pass reasonably well as a woman. Certainly many people I know think so, and also judging by the lack of reaction from strangers I do. This means that the biggest immediate give-away is my voice. At the moment Tracey is my “voice”, interacting with various shop personnel, bus drivers, bank staff etc, while I hover, (not literally), in the background. Unfortunately this cannot continue forever. I will soon have to start talking to people myself. There is a great deal of published information on the ‘net regarding feminizing a male voice, but I didn’t realise it would be so difficult. Also, the other difficulty is practicing. I have already managed to soften my voice but, when speaking to someone, I usually drop into the ‘male’ voice which completely spoils everything (especially when talking to friends). There are a couple of other ways to achieve a ‘female’ voice. One is with a voice coach which, at the moment, I cannot afford and the other is vocal surgery which is a dodgy prospect at best. This means that I am left with myself as my vocal coach. I can only hope that I do a good job. So, if anyone hears noises similar to a cat gargling barbed wire while breathing helium, that’ll be me.

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