Saturday, 28 April 2012

My Life As A Hormone Junkie: Week Two

This week there has definitely been changes - I'm almost 100% certain of it!
Although I look as flat chested as ever, the dip between my breasts has definitely got more pronounced! It's weird but definitely interesting! :-)
I also feel happier this week but that's probably as a result of recovering from my cold and factors other than hormones.
And that is that. On to week three! :-)

Monday, 23 April 2012

My Life As A Hormone Junkie: The First Week

So I have now been on hormones for a bit over a week and I have to report that the only changes since day three have been that I have got used to the idea that nothing measurable is happening and I also got a cold.
I also have to say that getting a cold is considerably more upsetting than hormones having no measurable effect on my body as yet!
For a start, it meant that I had to cancel my singing lesson on Friday! And me having a cold also puts my husband's health at risk because fibrosis and a cold really aren't a good combination!
So, in conclusion, last week could've been better but it could also have been a whole lot worse!
So no change there then!

Monday, 16 April 2012

My Life As A Hormone Junkie: Day Three

When I think of the last three days, I am reminded of the quote that would often end The Goons radio shows: "It's all in the mind you know".
I've only had three 2mg pills of Progynova and, yet, I would swear that, somehow, my breasts feel weightier and my hips wider!
This has to be total nonsense of course!
As does the shift in my perception from having what I considered to be a male body which I wished to be female to one that I now feel is female but with certain, annoying, male characteristics!
But whether it is nonsense or not, I don't seem to be quite able to admit the fact. I am certain there are changes afoot and, I guess, I am right in a way - just not the way I seem to think!
You know, when I talked to friends before about hormones they did mention that if affects the mind first. I wonder if this is what they meant??

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Are You Plagued By Fairies?

I have just been reading an article on "gay cures" which, like many times before, has left me asking "Why?".
I just don't get it! Homosexuality isn't a disease or an ailment so how can it be cured?
I simply don't know the answer to this but there are those who claim they do. They point to success stories - of which they may even be one themselves - and claim that they are "ex-gay" and are now back on the straight and narrow, living as heterosexuals.
Well, I'm afraid I simply don't believe them... especially when you dig a little deeper and find that they haven't been 'cured' of their sexual feelings but have instead learned to refrain from acting upon them.
Well, anyone can do that! Anyone can say, "I think this wrong so I shan't do it!" So why can't they be honest about it? Why do they have to resort to propaganda that portrays homosexuality as something that needs a cure?
After all, homosexuality is, as the name might suggest, a sexuality and no matter what variant it is - whether it be asexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality, pansexuality or heterosexuality - sexuality is common to everyone. So to claim that only one variation is "natural" beggars belief!
No, what "gay-cures" really amount to is a belief structure based on fantasy and I'm afraid that is a recipe for disappointment at the very least... and courses in brainwashing and electroshock treatment for the less fortunate!
So, please, there is no Peter Pan waiting to whisk us off to Neverland or tooth fairies lying in wait at the bottom of our beds waiting to swap our teeth for 50p (or whatever the going rate is these days!) or Santa Claus or Easter Bunny or Tony Blair... OK, maybe Tony Blair does exist but what is for certain is that homosexuality isn't "unnatural" or the work of The Devil!
And, just like these childhood fantasies, the easiest, quickest and safest way to rid yourself of these fantastical delusions is to stop believing in them!
Then, when you have grasped reality, you will see that the way to rid yourself of your discomfort is not to enrol in some quack course that reinforces it!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

My Life As A Hormone Junkie: The Beginning

As I write this I have 2mg of Progynova floating around in my system. That might not seem a big deal and in itself it is not but what it means is immense.
Progynova is the hormone that I hope will lead to a body more in keeping with my image of myself and a more peaceful mind.
It is also a drug that has the potential to cause depression, cancer, blood clots, heart disease, kidney failure and/or a stroke... so there is much riding on this drug!
That is why I had to be certain that I wanted to take it and so I had to look again at where I had come from, where I am now and where I want to go with my life.
What I was reminded of was the pits of depression I used to suffer when I felt compelled to act male, the frightening levels of violence I refrain from doing to my body, and the possibility of putting all these things behind me forever.
And that is why I'm taking this drug.
However, in trying to research hormones, I found a lot of gobbledygook. I am not a scientific person and I struggle trying to understand science.
So what I intend to do is document how this hormone - Progynova - affects me because I suspect there are a lot of people out there who would much rather read personal accounts written in plain English rather than all that gobbledygook science out there!
However, I will do so with one proviso - no one interprets what I write as a definite account of what happens when you take Progynova.
I am an individual. I have several health conditions that I suspect a lot of people won't have: Club feet, undeveloped muscles below the knees, short sightedness, spina bifada, and a history of cancer AND heart disease within my family just to name the ones I am aware about!
So in no way can what happens to me be interpreted as a definite account of the effects of taking Progynova.
But the things that will happen to me will be things that CAN happen to someone else and for that alone I think it is important that I document events and how they affect me.
So, with that understood, here are my first findings....
I took my first pill (2mg of Progynova) at 8:05 this morning. At the time of writing, 10:00 a.m., I feel bloated, gassy and light headed - all of which are known side effects of taking the hormone.
So, if these effects are indeed down to the hormone and not just my breakfast, then the side-effects have been almost instantaneous! And I find that both scary and exciting!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Teach The Children

An incident this week reminded me of an argument that often gets put forward when a child is allowed to crossdress.
The argument goes along the lines that allowing a child to crossdress is forcing them to take part in "some kind of gender experiment".
However, I would argue that the only experiment that takes place is seeing what happens when you force a child to wear clothes they don't want to wear, (although I would think that it's not so much an experiment as a foregone conclusion: The child will feel miserable!).
Imagine the scenario... you are a child who likes to wear the clothes of the opposite gender. Doing so makes you feel good and that makes you feel happy.
However, your parents catch you wearing those clothes and tell you off for wearing them. Apparently what makes you feel happy is of less importance than doing what's expected and being seen as "normal". You MUST "fit in"!
Then, to justify their actions, they tell you they're doing it "for your own good" because other people won't understand and will bully you.
Well, obviously, you don't want to be picked on and bullied so doing whatever it takes to avoid that seems sensible.
However, if you were an adult and had some experience of life behind you, you might see things a different way.
You might then realise that for the entirety of your life there will be someone somewhere willing to pick on you for ANY perceived variation from "the norm".
And thus wouldn't it be better if, instead of siding with the bullies in this world, your parents sided with you!
Because right now, at that moment when they tell you off for crossdressing, the message they're sending you loud and clear is "You are WRONG!"... and so bullying you is to be expected and, furthermore, bullying you is RIGHT!
That is NO kind of message to send to a child!
So spare me from that "They need to learn right from wrong!" bullshit because, more often than not, it is the adults who don't know right from wrong!
So, for their sake, let me make it plain and simple: Bullying anyone for any reason any time, any place, anywhere is WRONG!
It is NEVER correct! And it is NEVER justified!
So stop teaching your children otherwise!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

The Times They Aren't A Changing

As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am passionate about music. I am not aware of any form of music I have not listened to... and if I did become aware of one, I'd make it my duty to listen to it!
However, my thirst for music has made me aware of something that I think may be particular to popular music that is not common to any other form of entertainment - the urge against change.
Where any other entertainer might find their bookings drying up if they were repeating years old material, our popular musicians can make a profitable career from playing hits that are 40 years old or more! More so, they are positively encouraged to do so!
Very few people would book a ticket for the Rolling Stones or Paul McCartney hoping they only do their new material! No, they want them to play the hits we all know and love!
Also, the likes of Simon Cowell and the big corporate record labels like Warner Brothers are very risk adverse. They invest millions into their artists and they don't want to risk that money on something that might not work and so they stick to the tried and tested. Thus you get the likes of Westlife who spent a decade or more doing the same old routines to cover versions of other people's hits!
And should an artist have a hit with new material, people want them to repeat the trick. So, for example, when Radiohead had a hit with The Bends people wanted them to follow up with The Bends 2! So when they followed up with the more experimental OK Computer, it took a while for people to warm to it and recognise it for the infinitely superior album that it is!
The knock on effect of all this is that you get a whole swathe of artists stagnating and the music suffering as a result.
Now, you might think it has ever been thus. After all, as I mention above, Paul McCartney is playing hits that are now getting on for 50 years old! But Paul McCartney is the same artist who, just 4 years into his recording career, decided to stop touring and retreat to the studio where he conceived of one of the most experimental albums in popular music - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. And you simply can not imagine his modern day equivalents being allowed the freedom to do that!
Furthermore, it is astounding to consider the recorded output of The Beatles, with it's progress and diversity, and compare it to today's artists. It'd be like Take That moving from the boy band mush we all know them for to Drum and Bass to Alternative Rock to Dubstep and then on to whatever's next on the horizon!
And, when I consider the artists I fell in love with as a kid - the likes of Adam & The Ants and Duran Duran - I can see that the adventurism hasn't just disappeared from the music but also the presentation. I mean, I hardly imagine Justin Bieber's gonna start dressing up as a dandy highwayman or tie himself to a windmill any time soon!
So, that may be why I no longer care what's in the charts. I know that, for the vast majority of it, I've seen it done before and done better as well!
That is not to say there's nothing new and interesting in popular music anymore. I put together a monthly compilation highlighting the fact that there is! It's just that, where once it might have been topping the charts, these days it probably hardly bothers the charts at all!
So I'm not sure it's fair to point the finger at the musicians and businessmen and accuse them of the drudgery found in today's popular music. I think perhaps we need to look at ourselves.
Why is an artist playing hits more than 40 years old selling out stadiums whilst up and coming artists with new and interesting ideas barely sell out the Manchester Apollo?
Why are the likes of Simon Cowell so successful with the same old stuff we've heard a million times before?
Why are the likes of Coldplay expected to make an almost exact same copy of their most successful album every time?
There can only be one answer - because we demand it.
And I can't help thinking that that's a strange state of affairs. Why is there such resistance to new ideas and fresh sounds?
Surely I can't be the only one who gets bored of hearing Blowing In The Wind for the billionth time!

Having Another Go

If I understand The Bible correctly, Easter Sunday is the day that Jesus resurrected from the grave and "lived again".
Having transitioned, I too have some inkling of what it's like to "live again" for I too have effectively had two lives - one living as a male and one living as a female.
However, in fairness, I don't think you have to be trans to have two chances at life - we all have two chances at life - and, in fact, our chances aren't limited to just two. There are very few things in life that we can't have more than one go at. More often than not, all it takes is the ability to recognise our mistake and the willingness to put it right.
However, that is not as easy to do as it is to write. Some people have great difficulty admitting that they've made a mistake. I guess they fear that if they appear flawed then they appear weak and open themselves up to the potential for abuse. Whereas, if they deny they are flawed then they appear strong and people won't be inclined to abuse them.
I think differently. I recognise that all humans are flawed - we all fuck up from time to time! Thus, someone who refuses to recognise their flaws, doesn't so much as appear tough and strong to me as inhuman.
I also think that, if we deny our mistakes, then we continue to live with those mistakes, (after all, it's impossible to rectify a mistake if we don't recognise that a mistake has been made!), and, if we continue to live with those mistakes, the impact of that mistake will become larger and larger until it becomes debilitating.
That was certainly the case when I lived "in the closet". I found life incredibly debilitating! Having to deny who I was meant that I had to effectively imprison myself for fear of letting myself live freely and thus expose myself to the potential for abuse.
And that is what I believe these people who wish to appear flawless are doing - they are effectively imprisoning themselves within their own mistakes! And I can say from experience that that is no way for anyone to live.
Another way our mistakes can imprison us is being afraid to make them - we can be over-cautious to the point of doing nothing! But, as I said above, there's very few things in life we can't have more than one go at, so we really shouldn't be afraid of getting it wrong. And, besides, practice makes perfect, right?
For example, when I burned my arm in the oven, it didn't put me off baking for the rest of my life! I just learned to do it a different way in future! (i.e. keeping my arms well away from the sides of the oven!)
And I think we should take that attitude into every aspect of our lives - just cos we got burned the first time shouldn't dissuade from us doing it ever again... only to try doing it differently!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Preston Passion

This morning I watched Preston Passion on the BBC.
For those that don't know, this was an event based in Preston put on by the BBC which commemorated (if that is the right word) the Crucifixion of Christ.
I tuned in primarily to see if I could spot any of my friends from The Salvation Army (I didn't) but found myself enjoying it for several other reasons.
One of these was seeing bits of Preston I know quite well on the television which, oddly enough, made me feel quite proud of my adopted city. It felt like that this grim old city, that has done me little favour, had arrived at the big time because it was on the big screen (our tv is 42" you know!).
Another reason why I enjoyed it was that, despite it's ham fisted delivery, I found the program quite emotional and it presented me with two subjects for further thought that I would like to dwell on now...
The first of these is
Who would you make the ultimate sacrifice for?
to which my answer is "Anyone I care for".
I don't know about anyone else, but to me that doesn't seem extraordinary. If it came down to saving the life of a friend, a family member or my husband at the expense of mine then, yes, why wouldn't I sacrifice mine for theirs?
The other subject that I'd like to ruminate on is
Why can't Christianity always be like this?
The program presented Christianity as being a source for solace and love and it struck me, as it had before, that perhaps the biggest drawback of Christianity is The Bible.
The Bible, as one might expect of a book with many authors, is full of many contrasting and contradictory accounts.
For a start, at least half The Bible - The Old Testament - was written before the time of Christ and the other half was purportedly written long after the time of Christ! So my mind can't help but wonder just how "Christian" The Bible actually is!
However, to many people, to be Christian means to be a believer in The Bible... and even more so, to many Christians The Bible is "The word of God" and therefore irrefutable.
So it is not a surprise to me that there is an inherrent conflict that many Christians have to deal with.
On the one hand there is the life of Christ who, if we believe what is written, lived a life loving and caring for his fellow man.
Then, on the other hand, there are many admonishments against a sinful lifestyle that have been used to justify homophobia, transphobia, sexism and racism (amongst other things!) which nowadays seem at odds to Christ's message of loving and caring for your fellow man.
So, to many modern minds, Christianity appears to be a religion of hatred and intolerance and - when you can not detect the presence of either God or Jesus in your life anyway - it seems pretty obvious why Christian churches no longer attract the congregations they once did.
However, if Christianity presented itself more along the lines of Preston Passion more often then I believe the experience would be much more rewarding.
You don't need to believe in Christ to see that Christ's values are the best way to live our lives!
However, as far as the Christian Church is concerned, perhaps that is the problem! Perhaps they reason that, without the need to believe in Christ, there is no reason for anyone to bother with the Church!
So, in answer to my question, perhaps the reason why Christianity isn't always like the Preston Passion is because it's too scared to be - it lacks faith in "The power of Christ" to attract people.
However, to go in the direction they have - where they have sidelined Christ's teachings in favour of cruel admonisments in The Bible - only exacerbates the problem. For whilst Christ's teachings attract people, their sermons drive them away.
As a result of which, the ideology of Christ - which I truly believe would better mankind (despite not believing in his divinity) - is getting forgotten. And on this I can join in with the Churches and declare that this will be to the ruination of mankind.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Everything Is Temporary

One morning whilst volunteering at The Salvation Army, one of the learners asked how the job hunting was going.
I replied that it was just as frustrating as ever.
To which she replied, "Don't worry. Everything is temporary. Nothing lasts forever".
And, reflecting on the events of this weekend, I can see the change that has happened and the change that is about to happen and I can see that, yes, indeed, nothing lasts forever.
Once upon a time I hid who I was from my family. Now I don't and I have been repaid for my honesty in spades!
For example, where once I felt distant from my mum, now I feel closer because I can talk about clothes with her in a way I never could as a teenager! And the fact that my mum feels able to give me her opinion on my fashion mistakes is worth it's weight in gold to me!
And sharing "quality time" with my brother and my niece and nephew, as I have this weekend, is beyond superlatives! Especially as I used to think he wasn't so keen to have me in their lives! But this evening I received a text from my brother - which in itself is a rarity! - that removed all doubt from my mind!
So, yes, things are only temporary - much progress has been made since the "bad old days" - but, things being temporary, progress never stops.
So, as I got nearer to home, reality began to creep back in - making the happy times of the weekend fade away to be replaced with the doubts and worries I have with being unemployed.
And, also, the reason why I was visiting my brother and his family this weekend was because he's due to move abroad very soon. So this may very well be the last "quality time" I share with them for some considerable time!
So I have reason to be a little downhearted tonight.
But surely, if I reflect on my life, I can see that, just as bad comes of good, good comes of bad as well!
And, whilst it's perfectly reasonable to be depressed when you're experiencing the bad, one should also reflect that the bad times won't last forever and look forward to the good times.