Friday, December 15, 2017

Christmas Wishes

Hi,

Well, what a great night last night was. Somehow, it all came together, and we had a grand old time. There was much laughter, plenty of smiles, sharing food & drink, plus dancing, and, well, being there for each other.

I had, perhaps somewhat pointlessly, been worrying about making the Chams Christmas Party just so. I don't know if it was because it was our last meeting of the year, or if I just wanted our lovely lot to get a good night as all of themselves.

A little more fancy than plain tables
With a few internet orders and a dash into the local pound shop in town. I was fixed for tablecloths, e-candles, and plastic cutlery. After a Laura's kind offer to do the disco, things started to be sorted. At that point, I felt that I was mostly on top of it, and all that remained was for the guests - and food - to arrive. Trust me, the Chams folk know how to cater! We're never short of nibbles when it comes to a Christmas Do. :-) Indeed, I think we'll need to check our cupboard as Val reports we've quite a few paper plates and whatnot stashed away. :-)

I managed to arrive at the Centre early for me. After some shuffling of tables & chairs, I think the layout was about there. It's not exactly The Ritz, but every little helps!

Did you forget your
skirt, Miss Jones?
I'd packed three outfits, but I was hoping my sequin number of yesteryear would still work. It's funny that that combination had made me feel very special, so I was hoping to re-run the joy of that outfit. As last time, I forgot how short the skirt is compared to what I usually wear, but people were kind enough to only say nice things. Clearly hanging on the blackmail negatives is the right way to ensure compliments. :-)

While getting changed a new trans-guy turned up, so we had a chat while the upstairs club piled on the slap. I'll keep his anonymity and I hope he makes it to another meeting. So much of what he had to say paralleled what 'FTM' people say; just the other way around, if that makes sense. More on that another time perhaps.

The evening itself.... Well, we had a full house with about 36 of us with new folk, regulars, and some old friends. Lovely to see Sandi & Tracey back (previous organisers) and the naughty so-and-so's gifted me with a lovely card and a bottle of wine. Not having expected them, I did not have anything to reciprocate. Still, I think I have their address about.

Talking of surprise gifts, those lovely ladies over at TrendCo had planned to pop by to see us. However, I got an email that due to other commitments, they couldn't but they had something for the group. This time I was prepared with a card and chocolates..... Only to find they'd gifted us a bottle of fizz for each of the organisers, some cards, and a cute Christmas card. Still, it's not a competition, and I hope they got the message that we're incredibly grateful for their support and help they offer the group. If you're not far from Nottingham. TrendCo offer the most fantastic customer service when it comes to wigs.

On another note, I had a number of very lovely chats with a few people, but as per, time ran away with me, and I didn't get to sit down and chat to everyone I'd hoped to. Apologies to all those involved!

With so many people 'in da house', my Christmas Wish to have a photo of the group came true. For privacy reasons, I won't be publishing it on-line. Instead, I'll keep a copy backed up somewhere safe, so we can look back in years to come. It lets us see how we've changed as a group: who's new, who's been here a while, and sometimes, by the absences, who no longer visits. With the latter, much as it's bittersweet to see people go, if they're going on to be themselves and happy, really, that's the purpose of the group.

With the disco pumping in the bar area, I did manage a few dances towards the end of the night. I love to dance. There's something about the freedom of movement, being lost in the music, and simply just enjoying the moment for what it is. I'm like this in Richard or Lynn mode; the only difference with the latter is I don't have to 'dial it down' when I start to move. Embarrassing parents eh? :-)

I'm certainly feeling the odd twinge in my feet today. Still, a fine time with great people sometimes comes at a slight cost. :-)

Take care,
Lynn

Friday, December 08, 2017

Being out. Being me.

Hi,

There are times when Life seems to have you on an assault course. Barriers, tunnels, and cold, wet mud to slog through. We push on doing what we can, sometimes stopping for breath, sometimes to help someone along, or even to get help ourselves. It's not so much aiming for the finish line, but clambering through until you reach easier ground. Mind you, any time you're not crawling through the proverbial mud is a win in my book. :-)

When my boss - who, BTW, is a thoroughly nice chap, BTW - showed me my remaining holiday leave, I dared to dream I may get a day out. Not that he knows... or so I hope. I did suspect a colleague knew a few years back. But that may have been the paranoia talking when I first started out. Trans people, we're a funny lot ;-)

So, a day out? Much careful planning was done to ensure everyone would be at school or work. I ran through a mental checklist of what I could wear and reduced it down to what I like to wear, and what won't kill my feet after two hours. Ladies, I know your pain when it comes to a day in heels. The unholy battle of style, comfort, and practicality :-)

Then, along comes a dose of the lurgi. The Ever Lovely Mrs J was the first to be set to bed by its evil germs. Wee Man followed, the Little Miss, and so the weekend passed by. So far, so good! They started to get better, and as my day off approached, I did wonder if I would - ACHOO. Shiver. Shiver.

Bugger. :-)

Still, with plenty of Lemsip, fruit, and the bloody-mindedness of a T person wanting a day out, Wednesday rolled around and I was not sneezing or shivering, so off I went.

Step by Step

With Wee Man and the Ever Lovely Mrs J off on School Run Part One, it was up to me to take Little Miss off to primary school. We have a chat in the car (mostly about books) and it's great daughter/father time, IMHO. I kissed her goodbye and set off back to the car.

It was at this point that the nerves start to kick in. I don't know if you have this crisis of confidence - if that's the right term - or worry bomb, but I do when it comes to going out. There's the will something bad happen?; will I be spotted?; to The Agreement. The latter, I don't truly hold up to, and this makes me feel guilty. In my defence, I do go far away on the rare times I go out as Lynn, so I'm hoping this would be okay. But, hey, we all lie to ourselves right?

One of the ways through the fear is to break things into steps. So, once everyone is off to work or school, I get ready. I usually know what I'm going to wear, so today there was only a few choices to be made around shoes and skirt. The top was a red jumper or a fall back to a red cotton cropped sleeve should things warm up. I ditched last time's heels (much as I love them) and plumbed for my ankle boots instead. That style seems very popular at the mo, so when trying to blend in following fashion a little seems to help.

With my outfit on, we're on to make-up. Best keep it simple and nothing too 'nighttime'. We don't want to scare people do we? :-) I chanced using two mascaras, as I'd read this helped with definition and I can say that a coat with Brand X, and a second coat later with Brand Y, does indeed give a better curl and more definition.

All that was left was to double check my bug-out bag. Time time, a small travel suitcase with Richard clothes, work shoes, and the all-important make-up remover. After letting the dogs and out checking the outside tempreative (brrr!!), I popped a pretty scarf on. All I had to do now was make it out of the front door and into the car.

Deep breath, Lynn. Ooh, maybe not that deep, given the corset's well fastened. :-)

Into the porch, pop the lock on the car, bung the suitcase in the boot, close it, get in, seatbelt on, and off up the drive into the traffic.

After that, it's a stop at a nearby-but-not-too-nearby layby to check I do have everything I need. Oh, and to sort my nail varnish out, of course.

Being Out

Oddly, once I was parked and on the move, my nerves settled. Parking was tricky as I guess lots of folk had come in for Christmas shopping. Whoever designed Leicester's main shopping centre had put in some wall length mirrors just inside. Not only do they bring the natural light in, they're also great for a quick selfie ;-)

I'd brought along my birthday money, which may go to show that I've not been buying much of late. Well, apart from a new red lippy for today. :-) My main aim was just to enjoy the day out, and maybe spot some Christmas presents for the Ever Lovely Mrs J. Leicester has some cute little shops away from the high street, so it's those I head for after checking out the usual chain stores :-)

My luck was out on the shoe front - not that I needed any - as all the 9s seemed to have gone. New Look didn't provide. Perhaps it being that awkward period of mid Xmas Party season, so they don't want to fill the shelves with goods that aren't going to move. Fast fashion, eh? If you've not bought it before you need it, you've had it. Ah well. I was trying on, more than buying, so it's all good.

-

I think I must have been in town between 11am until 3pm, which was long enough to get around the city centre. I had a lovely chat with a young lady in Body Shop. I'd popped in for a replacement blusher, and we started chatting. Turns out her partner is (was?) trans, and I found what she had to say about sexuality and growing up very interesting. She was not yet 20, so I think very much in the next generation. She was saying how she fell in love with the person, rather than the labels. The conversation moved on and I felt that if I wasn't going to buy anything, I ought to move on. So I did :-)

I had a couple of what I'd call just regular chats with people in shops. I say regular because they felt no different to how I'd talk to them in Richard mode. I think you can gauge when people want to talk, and when you're just intruding on their day or time. I had a long-ish talk about make-up routines with a specialist in a department store. Much as she's paid for her patter, she seemed genuinely complimentary about my make-up. Good to know I don't look a complete mess then! :-D

I didn't get any stares or rudeness really. It seems we trans folk are becoming part of the background more and more. I did spot maybe a handful of passersby taking a too long a look, but I wasn't really paying attention for the most part, and maybe they were curious, rather than judging. Hell, I can dream. :-)

Come the end of the day, I took a skirt I had no plans on buying into the changing room. This was solely so I could take some snaps in case the walkway one hadn't worked. By this time I'd swapped my jumper for the red mid-sleeved top. It seemed that walking about certainly warmed me up, despite the arctic chill on the wind.

Today's daytime outfit sans coat & scarf


The only snag to the day was when I set off to my usual 'getting changed spot' deep in the countryside. Eeek! I don't know what had gone on, but someone had blocked the short lane with a large tree stump. It took me another 30 minutes to find another place quiet enough. Maybe next time I'll think about getting changed at a service station. That or setting off earlier and using the facilities at Chameleons HQ.

All in all, a great day out and one that's left me with a lovely happy glow to my mood. Hello Christmas Spirit.

Take care,
Lynn