Heroes and Hope

It’s times like these that make me feel the most hopeless.

I haven’t always been good at dealing with feelings like this. But when the future looks bleak, I always turn to stories about heroes.

Super heroes have been with me my whole life. I remember going to school with a Batman figure in my pocket as a child, then running around the playground imagining I was a hero myself. Feeling different and having a secret let me feel like maybe this secret identity came from strength, not weakness.

When I was a teenager I escaped to a world of super heroes every week, reading every comic I could get my hands on. They were my friends at a time when I had none. Their world was a colourful escape from a life I’d become numb to. I didn’t have anyone to talk to about my anxieties and problems, but these heroes were there every week, making me feel a little less alone.

As an adult I even studied super heroes academically. I wrote my Masters dissertation about comic books, trying to disregard my love for them and look at their appeal with an objective eye. Understanding them on that level, diving into their history, analysing their allure, it really opened my eyes to the reason I’ve appreciated them so much for practically my entire life: they’re modern fables, 20th Century myths. They’re icons.

There’s no ambiguity to Superman or Captain America. In the end they always do the right thing. They might evolve and take on quirks or complexities as times change, but the core story remains the same: good vs. evil. The hero vs. insurmountable odds.

It’s a tired trope in super hero comics that no hero stays dead. It’s seen as criticism and something to mock. The hero always wins, they always come back, they never fail for good. But I think that’s also the strength of the genre. Super heroes are indestructible. They’re symbols that cannot be defeated. They stand for hope, for protection, for helping those who need them. Right now a lot of us feel like we could do with some help. Thinking about what the next few years will bring is enough to crush the spirit of anyone with a shred of empathy, anyone who knows they’re in for a nigh-impossible fight.

So I’ve been returning to stories about heroes. To feel hope, to feel that there’s someone larger than life to look up to and to try emulate. Something utterly incorruptibly good.

But of course, there’s no Superman in real life. He’s not going to swoop down and catch my falling friends or push back the threat looming over us all. Real heroes fight, fail and die. We don’t live in a world where everything always turns out okay.

Yet I still find a quiet inspiration in super heroes. In the fact that these immortal icons, famous bastions of moral fortitude, stand for ideals that we strive for. That they would be rooting for us if they could, the vulnerable of us who need help, it means a little something to me. It helps remind me to keep going.

Superman doesn’t give up when people are depending on him, when things look most hopeless. I may fail or falter, but I’ll do my best to emulate that indomitable spirit and determination. I won’t give up either.

In their absence we must strive to be each other’s heroes.

“You may not be here in body, but I know you are in spirit… The colors will fly.” – Superman #1 (2016)

thecolourswillfly

 

@OhMiaGod

To The Edge of the Nether (And Back Again)

So at long last, after 18 months of waiting, I had a GIC appointment. How was it? Meh.

Let’s re-cap: I live on the South Coast, but I used to live in Yorkshire. When I signed up for the GIC, I signed up for the one in Sheffield, as it was the nearest one with the shortest wait time. I can’t transfer to another one. So I have a hell of a journey getting to it.

My solution was to come stay up in Yorkshire for a bit and have a sort of mini-holiday. This meant I was able to make something more of the trip. I made this decision with some hesitation, as I was less than enthused about visiting my hometown, a place with a lot of bad memories and baggage. So I tried to balance it out by arranging some fun activities around the week. One was getting to meet up with the lovely Ruth, who I know some of you will also know from here on WordPress, while also meeting up with Evie, a friend from Twitter.

It was nice to see two friends, as well as spending time with my partner’s mother, but the headline event was the long-awaited GIC appointment…

 

Appointment #1

I found it very amusing that I was traveling to Nether Edge, the location of Sheffield’s Porterbrook Clinic. Nether Edge sounded to me like something out of a high fantasy novel. I was traveling to the edge of the nether, to finally access the legendary and mysterious gender clinic, a fitting quest for my journey North (…yes there is a nether regions joke in here too somewhere, but I’ll leave that one to you).

I traveled down to Sheffield from my partner’s mother’s flat, which I’d arrived at the day before. This meant grabbing a taxi, then a train ride, and finally another taxi. So not quite a straightforward journey, but certainly easier and more practical than going from home, 250+ miles away. Read More

“Are You a Boy or a Girl?”

I realised today that without noticing I’ve entered a strange stage of my transition.

I’m in a place where I’m read as female, male and sometimes, a big metaphorical question mark. This isn’t much of a new development in itself, but the how, why and when it happens has changed. Most notably, I’m losing the degree of control I have over it, and I couldn’t be happier about that.

I’ve been on HRT for 7 months now. The changes to my body have gone from subtle and personal, to obvious and noticeable. I should stress, there hasn’t been any hugely climactic shift nor am I expecting one. I still look like me, as I should but I’ve been nudged in a more feminine direction. On the surface it’s as if I’m becoming my own sister.

Parts of my face are still traditionally masculine and always will be, but other parts have changed. My face is softer now while my silhouette has shifted. My hips and buttocks are fatter, giving me a curvier shape, certain items of clothing now hang differently on me. My transition is no longer something I talk about as having just begun, or going to happen, it’s happened and is continuing to happen now.

Mirror, Mirror

This thought first occurred to me recently, when I wanted to pop out to the shops one morning. I just wanted to pick up some food and break up my sleepy day off work. As the weather was average and I was only going around the corner, I threw on some black skinny jeans and one of my old t-shirts, a black boxy unisex thing, but with a cute and amusing cartoon Ewok on it. Once I was out I ended up wandering into a local clothes shop, just to browse. Read More

Photos, Pride, Lasers and Blood

Time for a monthly update!

July was a busy month, with one week spent bedridden with cold and a few other events peppered throughout. I don’t want this to turn into too huge of a post, so I’ll just run down three noteworthy things that let me chat a bit about how I’m doing.

But first, I wanted to mention I’ve swapped out my WordPress avatar for a picture of me. Yes, Wonder Woman, who has been my avatar since December 2014 at the birth of my original blog, is gone. I’ve reached a place where, thanks to transition, I actually feel okay sharing how I look in a more public capacity. So speaking of photos… Read More

I’m A Mess – On being a 27 year old teenage girl

I have written and re-written this blog post more times than I can count.

There’s even a finished version of this post sat in my drafts that’s been edited so much it’s changed tone and topics multiple times.

No matter what I wrote, it looked wrong, it sounded wrong. Then I realised, I was doing it again: I wasn’t being honest. I was writing what I thought you folks would want to read and not what I needed to say for myself.

But I’m sure you’d all rather I be honest than simply try to entertain you, right? Some of you have been with me now for well over a year, from back on my old blog, which was a lot more painfully honest and emotionally raw than this tamer one.

So I’m trying this again. I have no plan, I’m just going to write. This is an update about my life and how I’m doing, from the gut, no holding back.

In a sentence: I’m a bit of a mess right now, June has been rough. Read More

Work, Stress and Laser Beams

It’s been a while since I’ve done a proper blog post and I’m really feeling the need to just ramble a bit. So if you’ll join me, I want to just chat about what’s been going on lately.

I know it’s groaningly cliché but the reason I’ve not been writing about my life is because I’ve been busy living it. Not that there’s a link between time spent blogging vs. living, but in the sense that I’m so exhausted at the end of the day lately that I just don’t have the drive to spend even more time on a computer. Most evenings I spend in bed catching up on my latest super-hero related television or trying to get an early night.

Work

So as you may remember, I got offered a job. I’ve now done over a month in the role. I’m getting settled, I know everyone in the office now and I’ve basically learnt my way around the place. I no longer quite feel like the new girl.

Prior to starting I did wonder if me being trans would be a bit of an elephant in the room. Would people be thinking about it in the back of their mind? Would they think it was weird? Would it stop them from forming friendships with me? Well I’m happy to say I’ve noticed absolutely no negativity or weirdness from colleagues whatsoever. Read More

Changes

So my last blog post kind of blew up, huh? For a tiny personal blog having something shared from it more than a thousand time around Facebook and well over 100 times on Twitter is pretty surreal. On top of that I ended up having an edited version appear on the Huffington Post, which itself got shared around social media.

I want to jump back into regular blogging this time, so I’m not going to focus on that entry much longer, but I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who shared it or gave it a read. I wrote it with the hope that it’d help a couple of people out who might be feeling lonely or confused, instead I had a people tell me again and again in comments, tweets, e-mails and private messages that it was a huge help and was what they needed to hear. Which means a lot to me.

I’m genuinely delighted that I was able to help so many people.

Anyway! A few things have happened in my life since my last update and I’d like to just take stock and fill y’all in. So if you’ll join me for a few minutes, I’ll bring you up to date.

 

You’ll Never Guess What Happens When This Trans Woman Comes Out In Her Job Interview…

…Okay sorry for the silly clickbait-y type title, I couldn’t resist the opportunity. Read More

Yes, You’re “Trans Enough” to be Transgender

UPDATE: There’s now an edited version of this post online at the Huffington Post, which you can find here. This is the original unedited version, but they’re essentially the same article.

It took years to believe I was “trans enough” to call myself transgender. That’s not even an unusual story when it comes to the trans community, I know plenty of people who struggled in the same way.

Today I feel comfortable and confident saying I am a trans woman, but that wasn’t a conclusion I could reach on my own. It’s intimidating to walk into a clubhouse unless someone invites you in first.

I’ve been thinking about this all day because a story came out this morning that a trans woman is trying to police someone else’s gender, accusing them of not being “trans enough” to be transgender. I’m not going to bother linking to the story because they don’t deserve more attention. But I also want to distance what I’m saying as being just a response to that specific instance, because what I want to say now is about the sentiment behind what she said, something that affected me for years and certainly continues to affect people today.

If you’re asking yourself ‘Am I transgender?’ then this next part is for you:

Read More

So, I’m On HRT

Yeah, I have HRT now. That’s a thing.

Nope, I’ve still not been seen by the GIC once. If anyone is worried I’m self-medding then I’m happy to confirm I’m not. I went private, meaning it wasn’t cheap but it wasn’t anywhere near as pricey as I had worried it would be either. But I have a doctor watching my back, which is worth the cost.

I won’t bore you with the details of what the appointments entailed and what I did to get here, but if any fellow UK trans folk are wanting to know about the route I took, then feel free to send me a message on Twitter and I’ll elaborate for you.

I feel like I should have had some bombastic celebration or dramatic speech ready about what it feels like to finally have HRT, but in reality it was a bit of a non-event. I chose patches and pills, rather than two sets of pills, and so far life is continuing as normal. I change the patches every 3-4 days, I pop a pill every morning, otherwise I’ve not thought about it too much… Read More

Job Hunting While Trans – How Not To Lose?

So I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about employment again. I say “thinking” when what I really mean is “fretting”, or perhaps “stressing”.

I am perhaps the most indecisive person on the entire planet and so far that’s made transition extra complicated, as almost every step has been met with me analysing the crap out of the situation. So now that I’m having to think about employment opportunities again, I’m back to going back and forth over what to do.

This last year I’ve worked from home, which has worked out okay. I say ‘okay’ because some months have given plenty to do while others have left me very light on work, and therefore light on cash. Although I did apply for the odd job here and there I was mostly content to stick to what I was doing, as it also meant I could take care of my partner better, who especially needed me around last year.

It’s reached the point now where I have two choices on how to pursue employment, and both are tightly intertwined with transition. Read More