Memories

Things I like/need to do:
– sit on a beach at night and dance to old rock tunes with friends.
– people watch with a buddy and make up stories about strangers from a warm cafe.
– lie next to a friend and discuss the night sky.
–  visit places from my youth, take pictures, and when developed, right memories on the back.
– visit new and old rock discos.
– buy little gifts for friends for no reason but to see a smile.
– walk in a forest and unlock a friends’ worries.
– sit somewhere different in a car at 3am with a mate and hum along to old rock tunes.
– take long train journeys playing a board game with a friend.
– visit cute, small towns for a weekend and enjoy a night at a local pub.
– leave little chalk signatures in places I visit to prove to the universe I was here.
– go to the cinema
– hold hands with friends platonically in places I visit (I’m a touch sensitive person).
– have a day without pain.
– slow/sway dance in the moonlight.
– jump around to heavy metal in a club showing the kidz how it’s done.
– have fish and chips in a car in a thunderstorm with a view.
– watch silly videos on YouTube  with someone.
– sit down in the most precious places from my youth and recount memories and feelings to someone before I go.
– have a feast with friends!
– surprise visit a friend who is down and whisk them away for a day or a weekend.

Am I weird? It seems like a massive ask. I have one or two friends I can do one or maybe 2 of these things with depending on a lot of factors but most of the above lie on my wish list. I guess I need to make memories.

Last week I forgot a dear friend’s name. Someone I’d known for decades but grown to love as a great mate over the past few years. This isn’t good, I guess but I think it’s age or stress and not the dreaded family curse of dementia hitting early. Not sure why but it really, really disturbed me and, as a consequence, my body’s reaction was to shut down for a few hours.

I guess we’re all trying to make memories to keep us smiling when we’re low. I’ve lost most of my memories, not through illness, but through a combination of age and more accurately, a deep psychological need to ditch ‘Steffan’ and make new, valid memories as Stephanie. Gender dysphoria is WEIRD in so many ways.

Is it that I alone have the time? The time to dwell on this while others are distracted with the day-to-day of life? Am I especially empathic? Or nostalgic?

Let me know. Especially if you want to do any of the above things or have your own list you need a buddy for.

Inspired by two of my dearest and most loyal friends Jo and Emma with recent posts and being generous with their thoughts x

Stephanie x

No Progress

I remember my first appointment at the Gender Identity Clinic.

I was cautioned online by other trans people about having to lie. I thought it was rubbish but I quickly learned they were right.

I had to convince the therapist that I was worthy of referral and he was suspicious. So I told lies:

  • I urinated sitting down.
  • I turned up dressed ultra fem.
  • I had no mental issues.

I had to lie to get treatment from a guy who knew less than I did.

fast forward to today. Transmasc surgery is no longer available. All other procedures have been stopped apart from Gender Reassignment Surgery. I can’t even get hair removal for “bottom surgery”, an absolutely VITAL component of GRS.

I’m out of options. To get proper surgery I’d need £25k to go to Thailand. The hospital there has a procedure they don’t do here; they remove the hair folicles in the genital area. Here the suggest laser which is something I can’t have because I’m greying.

I NEED militant protest and direct violent action. Trans people are being killed here and deliberately being denied health care for shits and giggles.

Im NEVER gonna get my hands on £25k. So now the system has failed me, do I just end it or grab a brick?

Change only comes from direct violent action. Every decent moment of change has come through sacrifice.

A soft whimper

So… is this it? Is this the point where we all admit the world is broken? Its been hidden from most of us in order to sell eye time or papers.

Politicians have destroyed our world and our perception of it. Humaniti won’t end this century because we didn’t believe truths, but because we dont know what to believe.

This has been the second hottest Summer on record and it won’t be long before we see millions escaping the Middle-East, the sub-continent, and North Africa heading to Europe just to escape the heat.

The sound of our demise will be a gasp in need of water.

So tired…

I’ve followed Alexis in her previous life with her wife on Youtube. She came back to the channel to say goodbye. Their divorce finalised, their channel has ended and while Ashley has continued with a new channel, Alex’s has gotten a 9-5 in another city and has moved away from media.

I have a complicated set of emotions about this. I miss the Way away but Alexis seems to be living well. But…

Why am I feeling heartbroken? Maybe its watching a couple self destruct. I dont know.

Being trans is a fucking curse. Why any TERF thinks this is a choice is beyond me. Its like swallowing a handgrenade knowing that as soon as it goes off everyone of your friends and family will get a chunk to the heart. I hate being trans. If be cis in a heartbeat. I hate my life. I’m so close to the edge of just walking out of my flat and disappearing.

Currently I’m lying here panicking about nothing and for no reason, neurotic beyond reason, depressed to the point of hopelessness. Please dont respond or comment. You cant help and platitudes though well meant will just break me because I’m tired and “thanks” just sounds disingenuous.

I hope I dont wake up tomorrow. Facebook is shut because I intimate I need help and everyone sends thoughts and prayers. But then what can you do? Nothing. You can’t help me, no one can. 3 years of trans therapy was useless because they couldn’t give me info on procedure.

I’m lost and without hope but yeah, yeah, same old whinging from me.

Recognise your evil twin

Take a moment.

Just a minute to think about the past and who you were in it. Have you always been the you that you are now? Well, no. We are little more than amazing bags of blood in a fragile shell running around a simulation of our own making and using prejudice and anxiety as an operating system.

The reason I say this is because I want you to understand that I was a different person then, in my past. I’m not just being whimsical or vague but I’m actually thinking of a particular time and place, and person.

It has taken years and much reflection,  some of it in therapy, to see what happened for what it was. My trauma.

Back around the turn of the millennium I was living with someone, my friends will know her, who I thought was amazing. She was the first woman to actually pursue me. Actually be interested in me, or so I thought, and to want to be with me.

Not long after first dating we moved into a house in Garden Lane and everything seemed fine. Well, that’s what i thought.

“This is exactly how relationships are supposed to be.” I would tell myself when things went wrong. Like the frog that doesn’t realise it is being boiled alive, i would sit happily in my gaslit pan and think of how lucky i was that everything was so toasty.

This someone had their own trauma, hadn’t dealt with it, had it compounded by her parents, and then was left to simmer in it. By the time she was honest about it I had already become blind to my own trauma, the trauma she was causing.

You can be the toughest, the most clever, and the social person in the world, the most impervious but when someone you love starts blowing poison in to your ear you are the last to notice.

I was lazy. I was unlikeable and unloveable and she preferred girls anyway, and I was being too demanding of intimacy i mean sex, i wasnt man enough, how i drove her to drink, how i forced her into the arms of other men, how she had to lie about me to my friends and she was only protecting me. As she once said she “never loved me, [she] only gave in because she was bored. Women don’t want men, they just let them sleep with us to get what they want.”

She emotionally tortured me but it was “all my fault” and how I was obviously mad, imagining it, and over-reacting.

Was I perfect? Hell no.

But by the end of it, when i was all used up, she moved out and i was destroyed.

In retrospect, her leaving was the best thing that could’ve happened.  She was my abuser, I know that now. She was my alcoholic, insecure, angry, vicious, torturer. I’m sure some of my friends think she was nice. Those kind of people are always good at portraying a victim.

So now, I’m terrified of a partner withholding affection. Of coming home drunk. Of apologising for having sex with someone else. Of saying “we need to talk” just to gain power. Of being threatened with having gossip spread about me. Of being threatened with the lies told to my friends and the police.

I’m left with fractures. Emotional fractures made from her spite, glee, and her own inadequacies.

I now know this. I am better than I was which is a victory in itself.

I don’t miss her one bit. I don’t have to watch her roll over after sex and when I say “What about me” hear her reply “What about you?”. I don’t have the local shopkeepers son call her the wine lady. Or watch her sit on a guys lap and watch her ask him to hit me. Wait up all  night only to have her roll in two days later when she needed clothes for work and to say sorry for sleeping with someone I knew. Or how I would encourage swinging just to have some intimacy with her. How worthless I felt I was because I couldn’t be with her on my own.

I’m only sorry I still bear the scars and brought some of those wounds and traits to the door of the good women I dated after.

Therapy has been good. While logically I know I’m not worthless, or lazy, or evil, or perverted, or pathetic, or unloveable and unlikeable… emotionally I think I will always be there. She took my insecurities and wielded them like a mallet.

Real villains don’t fight you with their weapons. They fight you with yours.

Tired

I’m not sure how to start this.

One of the frustrating things about being trans is that when you need help from services they can use it as an excuse to deny you treatment. That’s not to say they are deliberately putting me off but with serious cuts to services, it’s often all they need to pass the buck, or the expense, on to someone else.

In the past few months I’ve had issues with a dermatology department, a neuropathy specialist, and the primary mental health care team. When you tell them you have an issue they say “I’m sorry, we don’t have trans services.”

They tell me to go to my gender clinic (who have now discharged me) and speak to my doctor there. My doctor here in Chester must be tearing her hair out as she keeps referring me only for me to be rebuffed.

I need to see the mental health team because my anxiety is becoming overwhelming. I realised that my anxiety is about things out of control so I reduce my space to the area I can control. In the past few years this has gone from my home town, to my neighbourhood, to my flat, to my living room, and now I’m restricted to trying to step outside of my anxiety bubble which is currently my couch.

As you can imagine, this is leading to problems.

Some good news, though. I got a report from my specialist today. Despite my kidneys being poorly for so long, changes in how I live (presumably as my docs have done fuck all in 6 years) have led to my kidneys receiving a clean bill of health. My adenoma is having no effect on them. Yay.

I wish I knew what was causing my chronic fatigue.

A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy

This month the UK government brings in a “safety” directive age gating all porn sites.

Sounds good, right? Until you realise it was founded on an NSPCC flawed study. And the NSPCC themselves say it is entirely healthy to be curious about sex from 13 upwards. Also, the algorithm is flawed and will include trans, abuse, psychological support, LGBTQIA+, and other services as “porn”. So expect the child suicide rate to rise as kids from the Rainbow Family cant access help.

Furthermore you’ll need to scan your passport to access sites. I didnt get my ‘true’ passport until last year.

And who is running the software? The company that owns Pornhub. Where I am still referred to as “tranny”, “Shemale”, and “Ladyboy”.

Your porn history will now be recorded in Whitehall. If you dont have a driving licence or a passport then you can get a PornPass from your local newsagent. And we thought the embarrassing days of top shelf purchases were over.

Also this month, the government wants to lock you up for travelling to certain places. Afghanistan? Territory lawless thanks to Goatfuckers International (Da’esh)? You may think “ok, well they’re war zones” but how long before the Tories turn it to a place they dont like but we’re not at war in? A Tory govt might ban you from travelling to Palestine, Yemen, Kashmir, Pakistan, CAR, or North Korea. A Labour government might ban you from going to Pakistan, Israel, China, Arabia, Turkey…

Along with internet copyright restrictions, “de-citizening” British subjects, increased stop and search, and other efforts, the government is bringing in an information dark age.

Theresa May is a fascist and bigot. A woman who gets the cabinet to call her “mummy”.

She is the ‘windrush’ woman, the go home van lady, the house arrest queen, the take away kids school meals villain, the Brexit bitch.

She wants us all to going running through the wheat fields as a homage to a bygone Hovis age presumably looking up the hill to see a tired Winston Smith who has managed to sneak away from Big Brother only to see him, in female form, frolicking below.

She is no iron lady. Whatever she is made of she’s covered in teflon. She is a fascist, a bigot, a tyrant. Someone who puts herself ahead of the entire nation, eroding faith in democracy by the day. She and her kind have set up their box on a speakers corner which is already soft and yielding (presumably from climate change) and it’s all going to fall away leaving chaos.

She is the Lady Protector of our time. The “Bastard Cromwell” of our age. The Shadowy Goebbels of today.

I won’t be happy until I see her head on a spear point on a new traitors gate next to Gove, Johnson, Duncan-Smith, and others who sought to exploit the people.

We are Britons. The only people who have ever defeated us has been ourselves.

Let’s put an end to these lesser men, these unworthies, these hovering jackals.

The Fading Away

Well, it’s been a while.

That usually points to two things; either I’m too down to post, or I’m OK and don’t need to vent or put down my thoughts in a space where I know they’re recorded but I’m pretty sure no one reads. This time, however, it’s a mix of the two.

Watching a YouTube video recently by a friend whose partner is transitioning made me realise that there is no real ‘end date’ for someone’s transition. A lot of the rebirthing joy I felt five years ago disappeared, as it does, fairly quickly leaving you with the struggle.

DON’T PANIC!It is important to remember that time is linear and people and things change. The shit that would stun you yesterday may seem like nothing today. You are resilient and will adapt if you’re able to create a little pocket-universe of goodness. In my case, I don’t have anyone and I really don’t think any of my exes would have been supportive or stayed with me but what I do have is my profession, which in truth would be seen as a hobby to many. Whatever your pocket universe consists of, find it. It might be your kids, good food, music, art, or 2.5mg of Birdsong and a healthy spoonful of bare feet on grass. You need to do this because you can’t be trans all the time. I mean, you are, but if that’s becoming all that’s going on, it can quickly leave you bereft of purpose when the Honeymoon is over.

You are going to get tired of being the font of all trans knowledge. You’ll get frustrated at the lack of progress. You’ll lash out at those who love you. It’ll happen. It’s important to remember that if a friend woke up tomorrow and forget who they were, where they lived, and everything about their life, they’d still know their gender. As a trans man or trans woman you don’t have that. You know everything else, but it’s like having a house built on sand. One king tide and everything you trust and your perception of it can be set adrift. This is why your health is more important than ever.

Keep well. Your endocrinology scores will be affected by weight, diet, and hormones. Repair your liver by pulling back on alcohol and fatty foods. Keep your blood pressure down. A few home truths about modern medicine…

Most GPs haven’t a clue about trans issues, good ones will try to learn.

No one can deny you your transition.

You can effect social transition without hormones or surgery. I’ve found it’s impossible though without some nice shoes. 😉

Medicine is an art based on a process of elimination, not an exact science. Be mindful of a real problem if it’s there. In my case, alienation from dysphoria led to depression, which led to stress, which led to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. So treating one of these things is merely a stop-gap. Try to realise the root of a medical issue.

Be kind to those who struggle to understand. Don’t forget, you may have struggled to understand for years yourself.

All things end, even sadness.

Those that fade away. This is a tough one. In Britain, there seem to be three sorts of people when faced with trans folk. The first, and thankfully the least, are the haters. There’s nothing you can say to them and they’re not looking to change anyway. The second is the folk who support you, and the third is those who are ambivalent. But there are also sub-sections to some of those groups. While there is a sub-section of haters who don’t agree but won’t say anything, and there are super supportive friends and family who are ‘right-on’ but blanch when it crops up in their circles, what I’m talking about is those who just drift off. It’s definitely going to happen. They’re probably not being hateful, or angry, or transphobic, or even conscious of it, but they drift off because it’s too confusing or troublesome to deal with. 90% of my family have done this and while I have no resentment, it is confusing and can lead to self-doubt.

In a way, they’re doing you a favour. The solution? Reach out to friends and loved ones and strangers who will support you. Let them know that you’ll have dark days but promise to include them in your good days.

Some people are incredibly supportive but we must also realise that they too have their struggles.

Go get a hug.

X

The impact of social exclusion

Some from the Chester Games Club are going to really enjoy reading this. Today i needed to cross the city, going from my doctors to my dentist, which meant i wore make up. It was the first time in a while and with so many people around me i felt extremely vulnerable and nervous. It felt, in a small way, the same as when i first came out as trans. You start to think everyone is staring at you and if you don’t ‘pass’ like me, that’s mostly true.

Games have been my life and for the last few years, my livelihood. The reason for my vulnerability today was because two years or so ago i was banned from Chester Games Club. I was maligned and accused of threatening someone but screen caps via a friend exonerated me. The kick in the teeth was even though my ‘friends’ took control of the committee in response to my i just expulsion, they never lifted the ban. They claimed that a new policy needed to be written first but it never happened.

This weekly night out was my only real social circle, my only excuse to dress up, my only reason to cross town. My exclusion from that broke my confidence in being out in public and took away my hobby. I haven’t had a regular, or even occasional, gaming group since. I’m kind of a semi ‘shut-in’ now.

I’ve tried to find a local gaming group and even attempted to set up my own but no one is interested. It has however given me a perverse vengeful glee to hear that Chester Games Club has seriously dropped in members and had to change venue again. Nasty, nasty people.

That said, a couple of people from that club are still my friends and they attend my gaming convention DevaCon which goes from strength to strength (and i love them for supporting me) but they live far away now and joining one of their groups would be incredibly impractical.

I look at my three huge book cases full of games and wonder what the point is. I accepted that i wasn’t gaming much until today when i realised it served more than just a gaming fix for me and was a reason for me to make an effort with my appearance. It also means that my lack of social encounters has left me feeling too vulnerable and anxious to go to pubs and shopping etc.

I’ve gone from fun loving and social to middle aged in the space of two years.

Like I said, some villains at Chester Games Club will love to read this. I suppose that speaks to their pettiness.

Aliens? Aliens. Aliens!

Sorry I’ve not posted in a while. My transition continues, I’m getting over serious bout of illness which nearly saw me off (pneumonia, pleurisy, infection, post infection infection, metabolic collapse, and the grumps.

still, now fully recovered I’m back to work producing books and also thinking of running games again on a weekly basis. I’ve no idea if it will be Call of Cthulhu, 2300AD, Traveller20, D&D5, or the new RuneQuest but I’m still eager.

After pledging on the Grimlight Kickstarter (link below to their excellent mini lights) I decided to see what they look like on my AvP minis painted by my friend Callum.

I think they look amazing. What say you? SOUND OFF, MARINE!

Get your Grimlights here: Grimlights