childhood

All posts tagged childhood

Letters From The Edge of Blogspace: The Last Mile….

Published April 23, 2016 by Christine

On the 5th of April this year, I went down to Brighton, to the Nuffield Hospital at Woodingdean, to see Mr Phil Thomas for my pre-surgical assessment. To say I was nervous would be an understatement, but I was determined not to let that get in the way. This was the start of something that I have been building up to all my life, something that, forty years ago, I would have never thought possible, a dream that would never be fulfilled but I was about to start the process that would see that dream become a reality.

When I first realised I was different around the age of five, I’d never heard of gender, nor were the words transsexual or transgender in my lexicon. I was vaguely aware of the differences between boys and girls and from this I knew, with an absolute certainty, that there was something wrong with my body. What I saw and felt didn’t fit with what my mind said it should have looked like and how it should have felt. Over the years this conflict has been at the root of so many problems but, soon, it will be resolved.

The journey down to Brighton was uneventful. Being used to long train journeys, I managed to keep myself occupied (I had my laptop) so I didn’t get totally bored. I was looking forward to arriving in Brighton as a friend, whom I hadn’t seen for quite some time, was meeting me to take me to the hospital. Arriving at Brighton, big hugs were in order when I saw Sam waiting on the platform. It was lovely to see her in real life again, rather than through the internet. We jumped into her car and off we went.

Arriving at the Nuffield, I was a bag of nerves. I was thinking to myself, ‘If I’m like this for the assessment, what am I going to be like when I do finally arrive for surgery?’. Once inside and booked in the nerves faded. I was taken upstairs to a room with several other women and given a very thick form to fill in. Afterwards, I was taken through the procedure and what to expect during my stay in hospital. I was also informed about post-surgical care, including dilation, how to do it and shown the dilators that are supplied. After that I was weighed and then went to see Mr Thomas. I had to strip from the waist down and he had a look. He decided, to my relief, that I didn’t require GHR (Genital Hair Removal), which would have added almost a year to my waiting time. Afterwards he and Liz (his head nurse) had a chat with me. I was told he had no objections to performing the surgery as I was a good candidate but, he wouldn’t give me a date until I had lost at least 10kg and brought my BMI down to at least 29 or lower. The reason being that the surgery is easier for him and recovery will be better and faster for me. It was all I could do to refrain from punching the air and shouting “YES!”. Compared to GHR, having to lose weight is far easier. I walked out of there on a cloud, my feet barely touching the ground.

Sam was almost as excited as I was when I told her the news. Finally, I was on that last mile. The end was finally in sight.

Sam dropped me off at the station. Unfortunately we couldn’t take time to catch up properly as she was in the middle of a house purchase. So we said our goodbyes, knowing that the next time we met in Brighton it would probably be for my surgery.

The journey home was almost as uneventful as the one there, although I suspect that my fellow passengers were wondering why I was constantly grinning inanely.

 

As I have been writing this, I have also been filling in the surgical consent forms to send back to Brighton. They’re all signed ready to send. I thought I may as well do them now as they weight is already falling (101kg on the 5th, 98kg today). Some changes in what I eat and how I live, small sacrifices to enable a massive change.

Let’s go…..

Letters From The Edge of Blogspace: The Lonely Optimism of a Shattered Childhood….

Published December 19, 2013 by Christine

Some people may be shocked by what I write here, in this blog, but it’s better to have that happen than anyone judge me by what is written in the tabloids or on certain chat shows. Trying to explain this to people as an adult isn’t easy, so imagine how I felt as a child.

Childhood should be about absolutes, the constants in a child’s life that they can depend on. To a certain extent I had mine: The certain knowledge that my parents loved me, and I loved them. The absolute fact that my brother was a real pain in the arse but, despite this, I loved him, (and still do), and the absolute knowledge that I was a girl. It was this that shattered my childhood, not that anyone knew. I became very good at hiding it.

To look at me, you probably wouldn’t have thought that there was a titanic internal struggle going on, but there was. A conflict between what I was expected to be and what I was. I didn’t have the words to describe what I was or why I felt the way I did. I felt more at home in female company, but most of the girls rejected me. To them I was a boy. Those that didn’t became my friends but then the boys started bullying me for being ‘girly’, a poofter, queer. It seemed I didn’t fit in either side so I was in a kind of limbo, a nowhere land.

I was the girl from nowhere.

There were many times I came close to telling my parents what I was and maybe I should have done, but this was the late ’70’s and boys were meant to be boys and unfortunately I looked like one. Maybe if I had been strong enough things may have been somewhat different.

As I grew, so did my knowledge. Learning is a wonderful thing. It opens up the world, shows you new things, some good, some bad. Despite the often used saying, ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is the purveyor of fear which, in turn, is the creator of bigotry, the sibling of hatred. So, I learned. Not just at school but at home as well. I learned how televisions worked by taking them apart, how rockets worked by building them, (models of course), how chemistry worked by blowing things up, (and redecorating my bedroom in the process) and electronics, by building and experimenting. I also learned about myself. Quite by accident, aged 12, I came across the word ‘transsexual’ in a newspaper. Upon being asked, my cousin told me that it meant a man who had become a woman, (somewhat inaccurate but, hey, we were kids). This set me on a path to find out more. In my local library, (remember the WWW didn’t exist then, just the internet), I researched further, eventually coming across books such as April Ashley’s Odyssey, Conundrum by Jan Morris, Second Serve by Renee Richards. This amazed me. Not only did I have the words to describe how I felt, I also now knew I was not alone in this. There were others like me. I could become the girl I really was. Reading the books I began to realise what would happen, the sacrifices I may be required to make, the hideous bigotry I would have to face, and I became a little less certain of myself and my ability to put myself through this.

By the time I turned seventeen, my shattered childhood remained shattered and became a shattered adulthood. The optimism remained, the hope that I could overcome the crippling fear of what the world would say about me and just become that which I was. The frustration of that fear battling against the need to become my true self led me down a darker path than I could ever have anticipated.

But that’s for next time.

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