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All posts for the month April, 2014

Letters From The Edge of Blogspace: Facing The Future…

Published April 29, 2014 by Christine

I originally wrote this entry on the 29th April and so have edited for time correctness.

I’d sometimes sit and think about it but, after my visit to CHX in April, the future is something I’ve been giving some extra thought to. I had my follow up visit to Dr Barrett at Charing Cross GIC on the 29th April. Because of a slowdown with my weight loss I didn’t expect too much from that day but it went rather better than I had hoped. After a chat about life, the universe and everything, (sorry Douglas), Dr Barrett turned around and said something I wasn’t expecting. He is happy to refer me for surgery. I tried not to let it show, but I was somewhat gob-smacked. This is one of two referrals that I need. Once I get the second, I then go into the care of the surgeon, leaving the GIC behind for a while. Once I was over the initial surprise, (which I think did show a little), Dr Barrett explained that my getting the second referral would depend on getting my waistline down to 100cm or less, (which should mean my weight would be low enough to give me a BMI of 32 or less, the upper limit the surgeons will allow). He measured my waistline which was 112cm, not as bad as I thought. I have seven months left to lose the 12+ cm. Not an impossible task. I walked out of the GIC, a very happy bunny indeed. It was all I could do to refrain from dancing up Fulham Palace Road, (and I probably would have, had I the music but, alas, my phone battery wouldn’t allow it).

It seems that,  over the last three years, my life has changed dramatically for the better. The past is just that, the past. I cannot ignore it or deny it, and nor will I. Its what made me who I am today. Sometimes I do have thoughts of “what if?” speculation, what I call “Sliding Doors” moments, (one of the biggest is wondering what would have happened if my first attempt to transition at 18 had worked. Could I have spared myself twenty-seven years of self-abuse, self-loathing and alcoholism?), but these are few and far between nowadays. I tend to look to the future more, wondering what it will bring.

That future though. What will that hold, once I’ve had surgery? The dysphoria that has dominated my life for forty years would (hopefully) be gone. My body would be aligned to what it should have been as closely as possible but, what will I feel? I will feel happy. I will feel complete. This much I do know, but what else? What will replace the dysphoria I have felt all my life? I don’t know but, what I do know is that whatever it is, has to be better.

For now, though, I am pleased to report that the goal that has dominated my life, and remained seemingly unobtainable and hidden, is now visible on the horizon and moving closer at an ever increasing speed and I am very, very happy to see it.

Letters From The Edge of Blogspace: Its All Work, Work, Work

Published April 21, 2014 by Christine

It seems that life is full of surprises. I decided a while ago to start volunteering as a way of helping out in the community, and to stop me getting bored. After a search on the Do-It website I came across an opportunity that seemed ideal. A tech volunteering opening in Aldershot, in the town. Perfect. I live in the town centre, so no need for a car. I’ve been in IT/Electronics since 1980 (yes, since school), and I’ve always maintained that, if required, I would work in IT for free, (I enjoy it that much), and I had plenty of time to offer. So I applied. A little while later, I received a call from a guy called Mark who represented a company called TechStart, a not-for-profit enterprise which would be supplying IT services and refurbished IT equipment to the local community. It couldn’t be a better position. He and I spoke at length on the phone and he subsequently invited me in as a volunteer, although start date was unknown because he was still waiting for the keys to the shop TechStart would be trading from. Eventually they came and things began to get moving. Literally. On the 8th March, we had a meeting, Mark and all us volunteers of whom seven turned up. We filled in the requisite forms and Mark explained the rationale behind TechStart. He then told us the start date which was the 19th March. This would be the ‘moving-in’ date.

The 19th rolled round and we started work, and there was a lot to do. Simply put, the whole company had to be moved in. Furniture, cabinets, equipment, and also 500+ computers and monitors. At the time, we weren’t sure of the opening date so we really had to do things as quickly as possible. It was heavy, hard work but I enjoyed every minute of it. This was, and is, a project I really believe in and one I can throw myself totally in to, and I think it showed. On the Friday after we started, Mark called me into the office and asked me if I had ever been self-employed and, if so, would I mind doing it again. I said yes, I had, some time ago and no, I wouldn’t mind doing it again. Thinking he had a mate who needed someone, I was pleasantly surprised when he asked me if, as he’d had to get rid of the previous Assistant Manager, I would like to be Assistant Manager for TechStart, in a self-employed capacity. It took me 0.0000379 of a second to decide to say yes. Despite the short space of time it took me to answer, I had already made a decision that, if a paid position opened up with TechStart, then I would go for it if possible.

So, here I am. After five years slog, applying for every job that I could find, tech or not, getting interviews, getting turned down, I’m finally working in what I can only describe as my dream job. You, dear reader, may think I am completely nuts for saying that, but I was on the verge of applying for a huge loan to start a company doing the very same as TechStart. Its not the money, its not the professional prestige. Its doing a job I enjoy, with good people and the satisfaction I get from seeing the same look on people’s faces as I saw on my nephew’s face the day I returned his repaired and working X-Box to him.

I have a strange outlook on customer service for this day and age. That its called “customer service” for a good reason. You do a good job first time and charge the customer a fair price. There is no “that will do“. There is no point in doing a half-arsed job and absolutely no deceiving the customer. You want that customer to come back, but not for the same problem. You want the customer to come back because they have a different problem, or they need to buy something and they know you’re the best company to go to. This is what I want TechStart to be.

If you want to see what the above is all about then visit TechStart

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