Thursday, 29 May 2008

The magic alexia of friends.

This posting could have had several titles. The power of love & positive thoughts. The magical Alexia of "Doris world." "Peaceful Sunrise" which is the name of the watercolour of my identical twin sister sat on a branch in Borneo.

All of you who kindly added something here made such a difference to me today, you all touched my heart & also someone else who needed your love.

I am so new to blogging I had never experienced anything quite like it before. I was used to offering my humble support to friends on the web but I was overwhelmed by your responses. It is so therapeutic & I could easily imagine it could become almost addictive, after my experiences today. I tried not to read all your kind comments again as I knew the way I was feeling I would only start crying again. I had so much to do today & like a child who had been told not to do something I just could not help myself. I did not feel worthy of all the kindness you have shown me & I just had to check if it really happened.

I read your replies one last time & surprise, surprise I just burst into tears again. You all said the sweetest things. Just as well I had not put my face on,at that point. My concentrations was all over the place. My thoughts were awash with emotions, once more.

Then as quickly as every thing just welled up inside me a calmness descended. I felt some how magically empowered. I achieved everything I had hoped to do yesterday. Ironically my Mum told me I arrived a day late when I was born, the first time.

This involved contacting Government offices, Insurances, Utilities, Hospitals, support agencies, a whole list of people asking them to amend my records. It was a none event to them. All but one of them were really helpful & courteous. I am just a number on their computer to most of them but to me it represented so much more. My friend Rob has finally disappeared beneath my sea of tears.

I was feeling so alive & so positive I also took a big step towards returning to work, for the first time in my life as Debbie. I have contacted a new team of people who are there to help me find a pathway to work. I feel ready.

By chance this evening I visited a new friends blog She is a delightful American lady called Rebecca & she is on a similar journey to me. The poor love was sat in her office with her hand hovering over the send button, to let all her colleagues know she was about to transition. I had been too scared to do that when I was at work. She was so brave yet understandably scared. At some point it had to happen & it needed to. She felt vulnerable & afraid of the unknown, just like we all do in our lives from time to time. For some like me, everyday of our lives could be like that. Recent wondrous events in my life are changing that feeling & I so wanted to share some of that experience with her. I humbly suggested she should listen to her soul not her mind & when she was ready she would know. A short time later she posted a joyous "Its gone"!

I am so pleased for her. She had found that magical spirit herself. Only she could do that for herself, but if in some small way we have made a difference, I hope that makes the world seem a happier place for us all.

I dare not tell her how much of a coward I had been the last few days. She knows nothing of this little blog or the marvelous friends who gathered round me, yet without meeting each other in real life, we had all reached out to help a fellow human being, a friend.

It's a wonderful world.

Today you showed me the way forward with compassion & warmth.

Bless you all.

((((((((((((((Peaceful Sunrises ))))))))))))))))))


Thank you so much for all your kind comments

Dear friends
Thank you so much for all your kind comments on my blog. They have been of great comfort to me, just when I needed it most. Thank you every one of you.

My parents, my little buddy & I are much more at peace today. After reading the sweet comments you have all kindly made on my blog, i was close to being overwhelmed by my emotions, once more. I will reply to them all & the lovely e-mails in due course. My emotions are still running high after yesterdays wobble. Too many tears stopped play, so today I have lots to do.

Bless you all

Thank you

Lots of love

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Another landmark stage on my journey begins

Today started with heartbreaking emotions. The roller coaster that is GD has started on a downward path. After being so high it had to happen. My poor Mum was struggling this morning. Bless her its so hard for her. I could see she had been crying. The poor love had bloodshot eyes & tear stained cheeks. I quickly joined her & we just sat there, shattered & entwined with love. Its hard to say good by to her son, even though I am still here. My dear Mum, needs love & reassurance & its breaking all our hearts.

Why oh why do we have to hurt the very people we love & care for so deeply? It feels so selfish. We all feel so vulnerable & need a hug. I guess to move forward we must sadly also sometimes experience fear & pain.

This painting is over 12 years old. It is child like & simplistic but it captures for me what living with gender dysphoria can do to a loving family. The heartache & the joy. If you have personally experienced the tsunami like emotions GD brings to our lives it may not need any explanation. My heart goes out to each & every one of you, my friends. None more so than dear Jo. Having read your sweet message to me this morning I have no tears left to give.

For those who kindly visit here & are perplexed at this surreal scene I will try to explain the emotions that went into its creation:-

It was painted at a time when I had gone back to painting for the first time since I left school. A time of great change & wondrous emotions as the glorious effects of hormones coursing through my body turned my world of drab feelings into vivid technicolour dreams. A time when I finally had the courage to share my condition with my beloved family.

The right hand side is quite dark & represents confusion, denial & turbulent life changes. The rocks represent our little family, Mum, Dad & me. They came to me through memories of the "Three Sisters" rock formations I had seen a few months previous during a trip to the the Blue mountains just outside Sydney Australia. A far off land that seemed a million miles away, just like my journey would seem. The rocks show a single tear forming on each of them to represent the many tears we would (have) share on the journey. The burning flames represent us never being able to return to our previous life. The heavy price of disclosure, that I felt I had so selfishly handed to my family. The nightmarish "Scream" figure is based on the Munche painting & needs litle explanation. The lightning strikes represent the pain GD brings.

The cartoon stork represents my rebirth, as it flys off into the distance to deliver a new born child. Quite where it would end up was a mystery to me.

The left hand side represents the incredible feelings I experienced. The star represents the beautiful uplifting emotions that I felt at finally beginning my long journey, which may be referred to as transition. I simply could not live without the magic that those hormones brought to me. I felt more alive than ever before. I felt things so much more deeply. The highs & the lows. I was just so lucky to be able to have them.

The girl represents a dream like, romantic fantasy figure, full of great emotions. I so wanted her to be me. One day, please God make her me. She was setting off on a great journey that was both exciting but also tinged with some sadness at the passing of a dear friend. He had been a life long friend & would never ever be forgotten. She has thrown a rose covered wreath into the raging sea for her lost friend.

That friend was me. There is a ghost like image of a drowning man waving to her as he slips beneath the waves. That figure haunted me, bless him. He led an invisible life. Like a stranger always playing my part. No one could see the real person trapped in his soul, until now. Thank God. I hope & pray we can all be in a more peaceful frame of mind now, but who knows what lies ahead.

Today it feels like I am truly am about to say good by to Rob for one last time. As well as escaping to this therapeutic blog I have been preparing reams of paperwork & information, ready to inform various authorities & companies that I have legally changed my name & that in future my name will at last be true to my heart.

That day, once I have dried my tears & composed myself has finally arrived.

A day of celebration & tears
Good by Rob, my old friend

I 'm still here.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Bad Hair days

Today is a typical bank holiday in England. Sure enough the weather is damp & windy. I suffer from seasonal affected disorder SAD & days like today used to be a real problem for me. Well today that no longer seems to be happening to me. Having finally followed my own "Rainbow" I have discovered my true self, my heart, my soul, were my pot of gold, my hidden treasure. My SAD has GONE.

Nothing is going to dampen that spirit.

I also suffer from bad hair days. Never mind. Today's wind & rain are making no difference to how I feel. There is sunshine in my heart!

I have attached a painting I did a few years ago, which is in watercolour, & is of a baby Oran Utan. It could well be a self portrait of the artist. Many times I have seen that look reflected in the mirror!


Two voices, one soul

I read this short story (see below) today & felt so humble & so lucky. I am so unbelievably happy & peaceful. I have great empathy for the writer of this story.

In all honesty for nearly forty years this heart breaking & thought provoking piece of work was so true for how I was feeling. The photo is of me some 12 years before I was ready to transition. At this time I was so confused, struggling with denial & for the first time in my life, on the point of finally accepting I needed help.

I never believed I would transition. Possibly the author of the story feels the same. Even a year ago this inner battle of two voices, a lower & a higher voice still applied to me. The lower voice had been the dominant voice for far too long. I am not schizophrenic or suffering from any mental illness, although I have been troubled by depression for many years. My health is finally improving as is my sense of self.

My lower voice is my chatter box which is full of negativity & confusion. The higher voice is my true self, my soul, my sense of self. My feelings a year ago differ from those of the author in the sense that they were not that of wanting to transition, wanting to be a women. I am a women & always have been except my body is sadly that of a man. No one is to blame for this predicament. Nature has played a cruel trick. For me because of the level of gender dysphoria which was dominating my every thought a year ago, it was a case of needing to, but not knowing how to transition. It remains a life long challenge to listen to the higher voice as the lower will also always be part of who I am. I am pleased to say I feel ready for that challenge now.

A Walk in the Park
by Schelli Samantha Starbuck

The little voices inside my head are arguing again.
One, the voice of caution, reason and respectability, tells me "Don't do
The other, the voice of rebellion and, ironically, acceptance, is shouting
"It's a free country; ****them if they can't handle it!"
I look at my bed where two jogging outfits are assembled.
The first outfit, supported by the first voice in my head, is a blue sweat
shirt, gray sweat pants and tan sneakers.
The second outfit, championed by the second voice in my head, consists of
a pink textured tunic hoodie , and a pair of cream colored sweats
with white athletic shoes with pink striping.
I look at myself in the mirror. Under my bare midriff pajamas I already
have on a pair of bikini panties and a sports bra. My long hair is up in a
scrunchie, and still all "bed-headed".
I know I don't really look all that attractive, either as a man or as a
woman. Contrary to all the fantasy stories I read, the fact is that, while I
want to be a woman, it's so difficult for me to pass as one.
My neighbors don't know, as I have been very careful to keep this side of
"me" from the public eye, but the older I get the more I realize that I
need to live for myself and not for the benefit of others.
I don't want to join the martyrs in the war toward freedom, equality,
safety and tolerance that we shouldn't even have to fight in the "freest"
country in the world.
I look at the pink and white set longingly as I give in to the fear and
the voice of reason, and put on the guy's outfit.
I salve my feminine side by putting on some lipstick that cannot be
detected from more than three feet away, my one consolation.
I so yearn for the day that I feel safe enough to listen to the other
voice, the kinder, gentler one crying softly now, and embrace myself
wholly and completely... and be accepted for whom and what I am, not what
others expect me to be so they can feel comfortable in the prisons of
their own limited worldview.

I hope & pray that anyone who feels the same way as this dear writer, can find their truth & find their path to discovering their true self & lead a happy & fulfilling life.

I have found the book "Feel the force & do it anyway" by Frances Jeffers to be of great help to me & would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who is troubled by fear & indecision.


Wednesday, 21 May 2008

My creativity is back.

I love being creative but sadly my passion for wild life painting has been put on hold for far too long. The painting on the left is one of my favourite paintings. It was a commission a friend asked me to paint & is of two orphaned Orang Utans at a Borneo rescue centre called "Hope & Austin".

My health problems in the last few years have caused me to give up painting. I could no longer connect with my feelings, my creativity. I have missed it so much. I found it very distressing & have cried a lot in utter frustration. That is all about to change, I hope. So so close to picking up a brush. I can feel it.

I feel like painting more than I have ever done in the last two years. My creativity is back. It feels like the return of a long lost old friend. I want to hug it, & hold it close for comfort. Much like Hope & Austin. With the dramatic surge in confidence that has come about from my ever more comfortable sense of self, it feels so close now. My ability to concentrate on anything other than my gender dysphoria is finally approaching a level that I can begin to think about everyday more normal things.

I had no idea how bad gender dysphoria could be. It starts of quietly & in fits & starts creeps up on you. Sometimes it screams out loud. It breaks your spirit & reminds you constantly of natures cruel trick. It can be there like a background noise. Those cursed with it suffer different levels of mental torture. The confused thoughts, the denial stage, the darkness, acceptance & the reality of your situation. Some people live with it & do not need to make life changing decissions which risk everything you hold dear. If you are lucky enough to have a family you love, you try to find a balance, between your loved ones feelings & your gender issues. No one in their right mind would chose to transition if they had any other choice. Your brain keeps whispering you are female, yet your body is that of a male. Everyday you wake up with this knowledge. It sounds crazy to us, so for some one who has never experienced it it is very hard to imagine. I guess it can seem like an obsession. Only this is not a mental condition. It cannot be cured by therapy. How I wish it could. You can be helped to live with it & many people do.

Some people discover the feelings are so intense & so clear they need to transition very young. Others like me try to keep running away from it. Puberty was hell for me. How can you deal with that period in your life. I found myself attracted to women yet at the very same time I wanted to be one & could not understand why I felt this way. I learned to hide my feelings. I tried as best I could to impersonate a man. They never seemed to talk about feelings. Just sex & sport. I used to binge drink when things got to bad, which was awful. I just could not fit in. I knew I was some how different & felt pressurised to conform. The world perceived me as a man & although I had no idea what a man thought like I learned to play the part as best I could. I could never let anyone get too close in case they found out my secret. I never went to parties. I only had one or two girl friends then. I was too scared of losing them once they found out I was a girl inside. It became too painful. I just blocked any romantic feelings out, any way I could. You have to like yourself before anyone could possibly like you & the level of hatred I had for myself was frightening. Why was I born this way? became a constant thought. I definitely was a "woe is me" transsexual. Not a nice person at all. I enjoyed the company of women. How I wanted to be part of their world, their friends but it just reminded me of the freak of nature I felt inside to be in female company. Societies expectations & my parents asperations only added to my confusion.

I became something of a workaholic for a number of years. I was jokingly called the overtime king, queen would have been closer to the truth. Anything to distract those feelings.

I was really struggling to live a lie. Things culminated after a 6 week stint away with the company in Barrow. Miles away from my beloved family. No place to hide or feel safe. I was expected to hide my feelings & be a man 24/7 for five days a week. It completely broke me. When I got back to our office the work load began to ease up. I was given less demanding work that could not occupy my mind & this gave my gender dysphoria free rain to take effect. I had a complete mental breakdown in 1996.

I received counselling at my GPs surgery & was after a short time sent to gender specialists in London. After three months of intensive specialised gender counselling I was sent to see the well known gender specialist consultant psychiatrist Dr Russel Reid. From everything I had described during the counselling he determined I was gender dysphoric & was suitable for treatment as a male to female transsexual. This involved the controlled administration of female hormones. On the 19th November 1996 I finally began my journey. Just receiving support & recognition for all the feelings I had been experiencing helped lift my depression. My dear parents who were in their middle sixties then asked me not to transition while they were alive. I am sure they were just trying to protect me & were dong what at the time they thought was best for me. In truth if they had said ok we accept you want to transition we will support you, I was too shy & did not need to then. Quite simply I was not ready. At least I had been diagnosed.

I was never an alcholic but my binge drinking occurred at least once a month up till the time I accepted I needed help in 1996. I no longer had the need to drown out those feelings & gave up alchol all together. I was advised to find a new hobby that I could enjoy & relax with. I had always loved art as a child & my parents encouraged me to like wildlife by taking me to zoo's & always having pets at home. By chance my Mum spotted an advert for "Brush with the wild" a painting weekend course run by a wild life artist at our local Zoo. This piece of luck transformed my life.

The artist who ran the course was very enthusiastic & inspirational. At the time he was selling paintings for a hundred pounds or so in the zoo shop. Now he is an internationally renowned wildlife artist selling his brilliant work for thousands. He created an arts society from all those of us who had enjoyed his workshops. I discovered friends I never dreamed it would be possible for me to have. Here was a haven where I could just be me. Well almost. I felt at ease more than I had ever done before in social situations. The group consisted mainly of female members all with a common interest a love of animals & conservation, & art. We all became great friends & thanks to the inspiration of the professional artists who so kindly shared their enormous talents with us, the group flourished. We were like a family. Everyone encouraged each other, shared in our successes & kept us going. A wonderful group of compassionate creative people. I no longer loathed myself & finally grew as a person. I put all my efforts into painting. My family were all I lived for but my job was thankfully no longer my driving force. I had this lovely outside interest. I finally had a life. Gradually as my work began to improve I would get the occasional commission. Pet portraits & family groups mainly.

I went to evening classes twice a week. I made some more special friends there. I also had another stroke of good fortune, Janet our teacher had a wonderfully positive nature. She always found something good to say about your work & offered suggestions of how we might improve our work in such a sweet way.

When I had started work in 1976 I was a draughtsman & used pencils & paper. It was sort of artistic but all based around engineering & diagrams of weapon systems. For me not the most enthralling of subjects but I was grateful it paid the bills & a bit more. When computers came in, the creative aspect become dramatically less. Going back to art reawakened my passion for art. Painting & our local zoo became a big part of my life. It was there I was to find the amazing lady who became my best friend. She actually saved my life when on a dark day in April 2007 I nearly left this world. She & her husband set about transforming my life & gave me the confidence to be the person I am now. All my lovely artist friends mean so much to me.

It took me three years before I sold a painting. My early work at evening classes were quite unusual & evolved around me finding an outlet for my TS condition. Once this was out of my system after a year or so I found all I wanted to do was paint wildlife. I could not find the passion to paint without their being wildlife in it. It took me three unsuccessful years before I sold my first painting. The first painting I sold was of a very young Orang Utan called Gordon from Monkey World ape rescue centre in Dorset. He had big sad eyes & nearly always a bad hair day. Something I had great understanding of! I could completely loose myself in my painting.

I was very lucky to find that some very kind people seemed to like my work & I would regularly sell out & receive commisions. My prices increased to several hundred pounds. It was nice to sell but I was just grateful people enjoyed my work. I hoped our lovely group would inspire people to pick up a brush & also think about conservation, themselves. I was encouraged to go on Safari to Botswana. I would have loved to but I loved my family & besides how could I possibly hide the changes the hormones had made to my body, out camping in the wild. The couple responsible for creating our art society just knew I would enjoy it & persevered with me. encouraging me to go. Once you go to Africa you want to go back again & again. Botswana was unbelievable. You were camped out in the wilds. Sharing these amazing experiences with such creative people was a dream come true & I was so lucky to travel to Botswana three times. I was so enthusiastic about my painting & the very special group of friends I had. My extended family. They were to become life long friends. I value each & every one of them.

As time progressed my dysphoria started to reawaken. A dark depression started to engulf me. My company got taken over yet again & we moved even further away from home. I managed to stagger through the exhibition in 2006. I had been painting like I was possessed up to July 2006. I was using oils & loved their rich colours. I could not get enough of painting in between fighting off my demons. Then suddenly events at work caused my health to collapse. My gender dysphoria took off with a vengeance. I could no longer concentrate long enough to do my job properly & the increased use of anti-depressants especially the nightmare Prozac just served to shut down all my feelings. In a zombie like state I could no longer feel my painting.

The gender dysphoria became a screaming rage even through the fog of medication. I just could not function as a human any more. My depression at not transitioning destroyed me. Two episodes of suicidal thoughts followed & at that point I realised I simply needed to transition or I would die.

Which brings me back to today's posting. That GD rage after a couple of false dawns has finally gone much quieter. The peace & acceptance that has descended on both me & my family in the last week as a result of me legally changing my name has made such a huge difference.

I am going to do my first painting in nearly two years very very soon.


Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Changing friendships

As a relative new girl to real life (4 months) I am still amazed at the lack of prejudice I have experienced so far & nervously await facing my fears because I feel sure it is going to happen some time. As usual Kate you are very perceptive. I am certainly guilty of projecting my fears/beliefs/prejudice onto others. I have so far been very lucky & kept most of my friends from my previous life. Socialising with other females or mixed groups I have found fine even though I was previously painfully shy, particularly in large groups. In fact the shyness is becoming less so as Debbie. Female friendships are mostly even better than before. My friendships have always been platonic & as I have become more open in the last ten years or so my friendships have nearly always been with females.

It is very different for my men friends from my previous life. Those friendships stretch back nearly 30 years. That is where I look at myself & question my own prejudice in so many ugly ways. First & foremost I worry if we were to meet up one to one now, muggles particularly of the chav variety may be more likely to have a go at us, if they perceive us to be two males. I am nervous about putting my male friend in that situation. The dynamics have changed so much in our friendships. Can we still truly be mates? We tend to chat on the phone quite easily but avoid meeting up in person unless with a mixed group. Whose prejudice is that? Neither me or my male friends are to my knowledge either gay, homophobic, transphobic, so what is happening ? How do you deal with those feelings?

Some couples who have yet to meet me as a women seem to have distanced themselves once I started to live in role. Whose fault is that? I have much more self esteem now but I worry even more about my appearance, my obvious masculine traits which I need to unlearn, my facial hair, my voice etc. It is for me all part of the fun of the experience, the learning process for me & for our friends. I have so much more to experience & to learn. One things for sure we certainly find out who are true friends are.

Perhaps we need more patience, may be given time, we may be pleasantly surprised & be able to rebuild those friendships that are worth saving. We of all people should be the last to pre judge people or may be I am guilty of always trying to see the good in people.

In Ali G speak Its not cos I is black its cos I is Debbie

The new friends we make now are going to be worth some of the heartache we face, I really believe that.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Heaven on earth

Heaven on earth

I have some humble news of my own to record today. It feels like I have been on an incredible journey. Like the elephants I was so fortunate to see crossing the Chobe river in Botswana. They had travelled a long way & encountered many difficult situations just to survive. Some problems they made themselves. A lot of those challenges were created by man kind enforcing its will on nature. They got to where they wanted to & so I hope have I.

My sense of self seems to be becoming so much stronger & with it a confidence & peace of mind that is like nothing, I have ever experienced before. Legally changing my name was so much more than a piece of paper. It seems to have given extra validation to what is happening to me. Most importantly there seems to be a sense of closure with my poor parents who were finding things terribly difficult. My relations with my parents are thankfully so much better now. Gently does it had been my mantra but recently our loving relationship had been under great strain. This week there has been an incredibly positive change in all our lives. We sure are getting there. It is so much nicer if we can have the support of our families & no longer have to feel like we are hurting them. It feels like heaven on earth.

On Friday I had to visit London to see my consellor. We had so many positive things to discuss. I had hoped to meet a friend for coffee in Bond street but when she had to cancel, I found I had too much spare time on my hands & succumbed to temptation. With all those great shops near by, what is a girl supposed to do! I ended up spending a little more money than I really should have. I couldn't help myself & bought some lovely MAC make up in Selfridges. Sat there having a mini make over, just like any other women, felt so normal, yet so incredibly special. I think we are entitled to a little pampering to celebrate how far we have come.

I had a really good session with my counsellor. We were discussing things I just could not believe we ever would. The whole day out in London with the small exception of the unfortunate cancelled engagement, went like a dream.

I am so thrilled by myself & my friends progress. Today I finally feel ready for my real life experience.

Just keep following your heart & living your dreams.

Best wishes

Getting on with life

A week can be a long time. Today my world just seems a far happier place. Some of my dear friends from Angels have been making monumental progress with their lives recently. I am so thrilled for them. Our lives are so different yet there is a familiar theme that bonds us. When Dr Curtis wisely suggested I needed to find some friends who were on a similar journey, I was unsure if that would ever happen. At the time I felt so alone & isolated. I have since made some wonderful friends with whom I share great empathy. Their kind support & inspiration have added something unique to all the other kind family, friends & medical people who have helped me.

I have already mentioned I have great empathy for others struggling on this journey. I often shed or unloaded my experiences on others. & really should not have sent some of those emotive postings. They were often only really of relevance to me. I guess I was desperately looking for help, for answers. I am starting to ramble even writing this. I am so grateful for the support they have given me.

I find great therapy in waffling down notes about feelings. I find it very therapeutic. Jo Harris bless her, phoned me a few weeks back & suggested I should start up a blog of my own. I lack the eloquence & intellect of so many of those who kindly share their lives on line. Ironically as my life like has moved on so much in the last year & I have less & less time to write I have started a blog myself.

One of those lovely friends, Jessica recently wrote an article on gender dysphoria which suggested that there are three ways of living with gender variance:

- to resent it, "Woe is me I'm TS"
- to revel in it, "Look at me I'm TS"
- to live through it, "I'm TS - but it doesn't define me - I just want to get on with life."

Labels who needs them but those categories she mentioned seem pretty good to me. I would have always thought of her as the third option. I can tell you know because it no longer applies but I was very envious of her. Perhaps not envy, that's an ugly word. I admired the way she juggled her hectic life & found a balance between her GD & her loved ones. She appeared totally at ease with who she is.

I am ashamed to admit I had been one of those woe is me TS. I would not wish this on my worst enemies. GD has caused me & my family too much pain. I would never want to revel in my TS. I am thrilled to say I am now just getting on with my life.


Wednesday, 14 May 2008

A day to remember inspirational friends

Today was also a poignant day to remember two inspirational friends, one of whom is sadly no longer with us. Dear Mick & Bren were a lovely couple. Mick had in recent years been very very ill. His spirit in such adversity was incredible. They loved each other dearly. They had the most wonderful sense of fun & never ever complained or felt sorry for themselves. Sadly Mick lost his brave fight quite recently. As I begin my new life, dear Bren is also beginning a new chapter in hers, without her soul mate. I am sure he will be there guiding her from a far. She is so brave, just like Mick. She is a very special person. Their wonderful spirit & positive attitude to life, make me feel very humble.

Bless you Mick you will never be forgotten.

God bless you Bren.

Perfect day

Perfect day

After all the emotions & heartache during the build up to the day I finally legally change my name, this magical day, Debbie’s Day, was everything I could dream for & more.
We all went off to the solicitors this morning for an 11 o’clock appointment. Mum & Dad were wonderful. They were genuinely pleased for me. Dad was in a very relaxed mode. He even joked that now there were two women in the house he need never do any housework again! I could not believe he actually managed to come. It was just so nice to share the day with both my parents. The people at the solicitors could not have been more helpful. I had to leave my new pink sling backs at home as they clashed with my Mums outfit. It I was on cloud nine when we finally had everything completed. I was so high on emotions I sat in the car with Mum & Dad with the happiest of dopey Debbie grins on my face. We popped home to see our corgi was ok & I changed into a more casual outfit including my new shoes. I had to leave my new pink sling back shoes with bows on the front which I had bought specially to wear to the solicitors because they clashed with my Mums original outfit. It was so funny as we both ended up changing our outfits.
My parents had kindly suggested we should go out for a celebratory meal together. It was so sweet of them to do this for me. I was in girly heaven as we set off out to the Fishers pond restaurant for our meal. They were singing songs about my new name, which bought tears to my eyes. Deliriously happy, tears of joy. We had a lovely meal together. The company was so special, the weather warm & sunny & the view of the lake just set the scene, for a perfect day. Many years ago in my childhood days my dear Dad had taken me to the lake to fish at 3 o’clock in the morning. It holds a lot of memories for me. It is really tranquil & picturesque with a lovely old cottage adjacent to the lake. There are all kinds of birds, including mallards, swans, herons & there even used to be ugly ducklings! Now here I was at the lake side once more, the ugly duckling had blossomed & into a beautiful ugly duckling, a new life was finally beginning.

The day was far from over. There was more to live long in my memories. As I got up to leave my new shoes felt slightly different & were pressing on my toes. Silly cow, that will teach me not to wear them in first. I hobbled back to the car, still in seventh heaven. I convinced myself the pain was worth it, as they were the prettiest shoes I had ever worn. Vanity proved to be my downfall. I could not drive with them on & had no spare shoes. Then my Dad came chivalrously to the rescue. You can borrow my shoes, he suggested with a lovely smile on his face. I thought my dragging up days were over. On today of all days I had the surreal situation of having to dress up in my Dads clothes. A day that had seemed an impossible dream was filled with joy, lots of love & laughter. In the afternoon Mum & I went off shopping to the scene of our first ever mother daughter shopping experience just before Christmas, Debenhams. Our new relationship, one that is so special to me, that of Mum & daughter was truly being fulfilled.

I am the happiest girl in the world today & that’s official!

I never dared believe this day would ever happen & too share it with my beloved Mum & Dad is a moment I will always cherish.

I would like to thank you x million; all my dear family, friends, doctors & counsellors for getting me this far.

Lots of love

Monday, 12 May 2008

Last night a miracle happened

Things are touch wood, & fingers & toes crossed improving. The relationship with my beloved parents seems so much better today. Sunday I was still struggling with depression but I managed to push myself out to meet a dear friend & go for a meal. I put my face on, found a nice floaty skirt to go out in the warm sun of a perfect summers day. My friend had seen me at my most vulnerable when her kind words in Nov 06 "how are you" triggered a panic attack & I ran out of the zoo in floods of tears. I was unrecognisable from the person I was way back then. Inside & out. She was amazed to finally meet Debbie. We share a passion for wildlife & both work as volunteers at our local zoo. We talked & talked. It did me the world of good.

Best of all was the change in my Dad. We are getting on so much better. Last night a miracle happened on his way to bed he said "Goodnight Debbie, I am sure things will work out alright in the end".


He has never ever used my name before. This was such a huge step for him to make. It was said with such genuine feeling.

There is hope in my heart today.



Sunday, 11 May 2008

Poisoned Love & Psycho babble

I am so sorry my blog is so full of blue just now. Transition is the most wonderful positive experience & has been golden until the last months events. My relationship with my family is so heartbreaking & left me completely depressed. I failed to go out to my best friend’s party last night. I wanted to go but was just too tearful & utterly broken at what has been happening to me. I rang her in tears to explain I would not be coming as I did not want to be a burden on such a special day, the grand opening of her new studio. I stiil needed to take my parents out that evening & arrived at my parents only to find Mum had decided to stay in & keep an eye on me as she knew I was feeling very low. My Dad still wanted to go so I took him, in almost complete silence. My beloved Dad. A person I love with all my heart & I just could not face him. Our love remained the same but our lines of communication were shattered. At least he got to his club safely.

I really needed to be alone. I feared things would only end in more rows with my Mum. She had tried to offer an olive branch & so I decided to go home. On the way I got some chips which as my Mum had missed her evening meal at their club I decided to offer to share with her. Everything was very cordial. I have become very withdrawn & my confidence has gone. I am also very tired & lethargic. All tell tell signs of depression. Mum eventually started probing me. She was in a difficult situation stuck between Dad & I but she was genuinely concerned for me. She asked me how I could get them to love Debbie again. How could they help? "Please please please see a medical person or a counsellor to help you through this. We are too close & we share too many conflicting emotions". I was in bits " I cannot take anymore abuse. Why are you doing this too me?" This set Mum on the attack & she said they were doing nothing wrong. "We do not need medical people, its you who need help!" She accused me of dumping her at the hospital earlier in the week when I was ill & she tried to find her own way home.

I huddled in a ball on the settee on cried my eyes out in shear frustration. I begged on me knees to her "what has happened to that precious Mother daughter relationship we had. It was the most beautiful wonderful thing. I cherished every moment. Why why why did you offer it to me & then take it away? If I die tomorrow I will always remember those magical times we shared. I was the happiest girl in the world. Why did you runaway from the hospital when I went for help? Were you were afraid I might bring out a doctor to talk to you? All I want is for you to get help for your selves. I cannot take anymore of this". My pitiful cries finally touched a nerve. Suddenly everything began making sense to her. I hope & pray this lasts.

Mum explained that she had been to see a psychiatrist when I was in my late teens. Around this time she had tragically lost her Mum & Dad & her precious sister to suicide. She could not cope with their loss & the stress of this caused a physical reaction similar to ME or MS. During the sessions she had been hypnotised & regressed. When she came round she felt intense pain & grief. She was terrified if she visited anyone now to help her cope the same thing would happen. The poor love could not share these feelings with my Dad at the time. Dad shuts down & does not deal with feelings very well. So she used me as an emotional confidante. This went on for approx 6 years until my early twenty’s. My intense sense of loss & fear of losing my family, my parents, are identical to hers. I shared her pain. Hence my enmeshment issues, which has prevented me from separating from my parents. No one is to blame, just tragic circumstance but we both carry emotional baggage from this till this day. Neither of us has ever been able to work through it. She promised me she would try some time soon may be to see someone but it will take time.

She then delivered a bombshell. She confessed my Dad had just given up on me. I had politely asked him to try & not refer to me using the wrong pronouns when they are with their friends. This happened several times & we were both becoming more & more agitated. He has never once called me Debbie. The best he had managed until he gave up was to try to stop calling me Rob. He had at least been trying his best which was fare enough. When he was hurting so much at no longer being able to see his son, he set about hurting me back in the only way he could. He knew it really upset me to be treated as a man & so regardless of my feelings or appearance. He did this relentlessly even when I was trying to look my best, my dear Dad had willfully been abusing me for over a month. He had won his sad game. My Mum had got sucked into it by repation. She was constantly hearing my Dads efforts to hold on to his son & because it was so easy it had become force of habit once more. Mum wondered where her daughter had gone as I became more & more depressed & withdrawn. She had so enjoyed having a daughter she had always wanted, but sadly the feelings of losing her son had overtaken everything. She appeared to finally appreciate why I was hurting so much. I certainly hope I understood a lot more of why they were struggling. Daughters are female. Her daughter was pleading for help & some how we had managed to rekindle our relationship, through all this psyco babble.

My spirit, my heart had been completely broken. I am not so sensative as to worry every time someone perceives me as the wrong gender or simply forgets, that is always going to happen at some time. Remarks from loved ones carry far more importance & meaning. What a nightmare situation we had all come to.

As a family we all need space to deal with all the changes. We are a very small, very close, loving family. As a carer I cannot walk away. This was not so much about my Trans issues more to do with our family relationship. Our inability to deal with loss & the reality you cannot expect even the most loving of parents, who come from a different generation, to deal with their offspring’s need to transition. We have no right to expect our families to change their feelings. Has my dear Dad finished driving me away like a wounded bull elelephant? Has our self help counselling session solved anything? Where do we go from here I wonder?

Saturday, 10 May 2008

The door on my previous life is closing fast

I was intending to take my parents to a funeral on Friday. One of my Mums life long friends husband had sadly passed away. They have not spoken for a while & know nothing of me. It was a day to respect & remember their freinds husband. I did not want to be a problem to anyone. I without being asked, decided I was going to go dressed up as a man. I did not want to let anyone down. Most of all I wanted to be there to support my dear Mum.

I failed completely. I could not bring myself to do it. I just cannot drag up anymore. I have long since thrown the male mask away. I could no longer present myself to the world disguised as a man. The thought of deliberately dressing as a man reinforces all the stuff that my dear misguided parents have been slaughtering me with recently. I selfishly thought it was dangerous to even given them a glimpse of their son. I have spent most of the last two months living in role as a woman. I could not bring myself to dress up anymore. It was making me feel physically sick & I had a panic attack just thinking about it.

The door on my previous life is closing fast. I am so excited yet tinged with a little saddness that Bob was no longer there, he is gone. This humbling experience was not something I expected to happen. At least now I can better understand the greiving process my parents are going through. I have no reason to but I cannot stop the momentum of change. My fate is sealed. This for me is a wonderful thing. I will finally find me. As my dear friend Nicky suggested I am at one with my sense of self.

I will know my truth!

Misguided love & D day is finally booked

I was really drained after all the heartaches of Wednesday. I finally went back to my parents in the evening to take our doggy for a walk, trying desperately not to get into any more horrible arguments. I really tried. Sadly Mum was still on the attack. She started off trying to make peace which was fine. When she reiterated she still regarded transsexuals as men, I just had to walk away. Dad sat smugly grinning waiting to throw in his usual ill-informed comments about my transition. I had to get out fast. There were just too many emotions for a rational discussion. I grabbed a sleeping bag & my pillow & left, only to come back twice more for my handbag & more importantly all my tablets.

Taking the tablets back to my home was the scary bit. It was only late last April after the Lucy teenage TS documentary led to some nightmarish comments from my parents, that my best friend’s chance intervention saved my life. After that I decided to take all tablets & sharp instruments out of my flat because of my suicidal thoughts. I had been suffering deep depression & nightmares before those dreadful thoughts & had stayed at my parents for 3 years to avoid being alone. I had shown thankfully I am much stronger now. I can promise all my dear friends & family I have too much to live for now.

I returned to my flat & pulled the phone connection out so I could not be contacted by my parents. This went on for about an hour until I realised that was just too selfish. I did not want any of you, including my parents, to be concerned for me & think that I had done something silly. Within a few minutes my Mum was on the phone crying her eyes out pleading with me to come home. I wanted none of this to happen. All I wanted was a little respect & understanding. Our dear little corgi was caught up in it all & had not eaten all day. It was heart breaking for all of us.

My devotion to my family got the better of me & I agreed to come back. Common sense was telling me this time I needed to break free but I failed. I love them so much. When I got home Mum & I hugged & made up. I am ashamed to say I wanted nothing to do with my dear father. His stubborn ignorance was behind most of what Mum was saying. Mum & the dog just wanted me back. We talked for a while. I explained that they really needed to see what they were doing to my health & that they had actually put me in hospital today. It was a bit mellow dramatic to say that but it was true. They were breaking my spirit. I told them I need to transition & that I cannot have them stopping it from happening. I need to get on & change my name & had waited long enough for them. Out of the blue my Mum agreed with me & suggested I book it for next week & that she would still like to come with me. At last!

We agreed on Wednesday or Thursday next week. So Thursday morning I was on the phone to the solicitors. Debbies day is finally booked.

I am pleased to announce that on Wednesday 14th May 2008 I will legally become Debbie.

So I am finally getting there. I thought I would be euphoric but at the moment I feel numb & slightly scared. The pain of all the emotions we are going though is not doing any of us any good.

I received some excellent advice from my dear friend Kate. She suggested “personally I wouldn't try to argue with your parents. Words aren't going to change anything. Like you I'd thought meeting your counselor might help: after what you have described I doubt it. I think the way to win your parents round is just to be Debbie and be happy. What in Christian evangelical circles would be called living witness. Just demonstrating the truth of what you want to say by visibly living it for them to see”.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

My parents are slipping back to denial

Draw a line?

This day marks the day I had to try to regain control of my transition & also attempt to break free from my deep love & devotion for my parents. We all needed to break free & let go in the process. Today having taken Mum to have her hair done & completed the first part of the weekly shop my Mum continued to insult me by referring to me as he or him relentlessly. This was disappointing to say the list. When she started to talk about my friend as he knowing full well she was female, I became very upset. With me there is an understandable excuse because she has referred to me as male for many many years. With my friend it laid bare her ignorance & she was going out of her way to deliberately insult one of my friends. I was shocked & asked her to stop being so insensitive & disrespectful about my friend.

I was close to breaking point at the weekend & this behaviour was pushing me right to the edge. We were not very far from the hospital where I see a consultant psychiatrist & in desperation I drove there before I became too stressed out. It was too late I could take no more. No amount of calm rational discussion could make her realise how her hurtful remarks, were making me ill. I was not safe or well enough to drive the car. She managed to twist things round so that they are no longer coming with me to change my name, which I suspect was behind all the outbursts. I decided I needed to just go inside the hospital to try & calm down. I had asked Mum to come with me but she stayed in the car at that point.

I was not booked in & a secretary kindly came out to see if she could find someone to help me. She suggested I could see the duty psychiatrist which seemed like a good idea. This was all starting to make me feel very ill. While I was waiting I kept checking on my Mum. To my horror she had got out of the car & just walked off. I was worried sick about her & desperately wanted to go & get her. I knew I needed help & my heart was being torn apart about what I should do. I phoned my counsellor in a panic. She calmed me down & advised me to wait & get some help for myself, which felt really selfish. I was seen by a very nice lady doctor & a student. I got very distressed & broke down in tears of utter frustration.

My transition had reached another challanging phase. My enmeshment issues, my love for my parents were in direct conflict with my gender issues. I know I cannot change my parent’s feelings & the last thing I want to do is upset them. I was reassured I was doing all I could. It is so hard. I had no idea where Mum was & asked Dad to phone me if she arrived home safely. I was so relieved to phone him after I seen the doctor & find Mum was safely home. Dad had foolishly taken the opportunity to drive out & bring her home. He is over eighty years old & is unsteady on his feet, has poor eyesight & his c-ordination is not too good. I love him to bits. He would never forgive himself if he hurt or killed someone because he is too unsafe to drive now. I am at my wits end.

Today I ended up in hospital because Mum was making me feel so upset & totally broken. Please please please is it not too much to respect my feelings. I love them so dearly. I wish this could be a turning point. I wish we could draw a line under this awful episode.

I need to take control of my life again. My counsellor has advided me my parents have actually found a way of stopping my transition. Sadly she may be right. I needed their validation & they have their own right not to give it. We need to seperate, we need our own space. I need to prove by my own actions this is right for me. I need to be strong & show them how happy I am to be able to present to the world the real me.

I need to let go, for all our sakes!

Transitioning is the most positive spiritually uplifting experience. Being a carer to elderly parents who you love dearly & needing to transition against their wishes is sure not easy.