Friday, 22 January 2016


I notice there's been a lot of talk of trans issues lately. It's not a new subject, people have been cross dressing for centuries, men living as women and vice versa for myriad reasons. 
Lou Reed sang about it, as did the Kinks and The Beatles and who can forget Freddie Mercury doing the hoovering in his mini skirt?

People now talk about being gender neutral. We are learning that not everyone wants to identify as just male or female. 
I loved the film The Danish Girl which beautifully portrayed that overwhelming feeling of having been born in the wrong body. Not every cross dresser wants to change their sex but for people who do want to change, medical advances mean it's a more achievable goal than it was in the days of Lili Elbe.

I cannot comprehend how it must feel to be born in the 'wrong' body but I do understand how it feels to have spent a lifetime hating my body and wishing it had been different.

I remember as a young girl telling my Mum 'I wish I was a boy'. I don't remember exactly what led me to express that thought but I do remember her reaction. She lost her temper, screaming and shouting at me in the street.

She'd had a son who she'd given up for adoption and got pregnant soon afterwards in order to replace the boy she'd lost. I wasn't the boy and she never tired of telling me the many ways in which I disappointed her. My childhood was tainted with a permanent feeling of not being good enough.

When I was a teen she hacked all my hair off, apparently because I was getting 'too much attention' from men. So whilst other girls at school were preening, learning to wear make up and attract boys, I was being mistaken for a boy. This wasn't helped by the fact that we were 'poor' and I wore cast offs from my boy cousins.

I was never the girl that all the boys fancied. I wore odd clothes, I had never fitted in before  and suddenly I'd lost my femininity as well. I didn't know who I was supposed to be.

I've learned in later life that a lot of the things I hated about my appearance are common factors in people with joint hypermobility syndrome and in those with scoliosis. My body shape was unusual as different muscles kicked in to compensate for those which didn't work as well, super huge muscles in places I didn't want them and no definition in places where I really wanted it. 

I used to watch girls at school, they all seemed to have the right look, the right mannerisms and the right body. My attitude, my body shape, my face, my hands, my clothes, everything was wrong. 
As I grew up I watched certain women, marvelling at how they could seemingly have men eating out of their hands, men falling over themselves to help them out and to do jobs for them. Unlike other friends, I didn't have a dad or uncle or even brothers to help out. I was uber independent, did everything myself and what I couldn't do didn't get done as I had no money. 

Succumbing to ill health has been a massive shock in many ways, but relying on others for so many things is hard, especially when it seems that most of the tradespeople in my locality are men. Some of them make me feel uncomfortable with flirty 'banter' or inappropriate comments. I don't always have the strength or energy to challenge them so am often gritting my teeth praying for them to just hurry up and go.

In of one of my favourite films, Tootsie, the divine Dustin Hoffman plays an out of work actor masquerading as a woman (Tootsie) in order to get a job.
'Tootsie' is horrified at how differently from men women are to be treated. Most of the comedy moments are him/her reacting strongly against chauvinists and everyday sexism. 

Years later Dustin said that he'd been disappointed when he first saw himself dressed as a woman, he was hoping he'd be more attractive. He then broke down, crying about the women in his life that he hadn't considered getting to know because they didn't meet his shallow beauty standards.
For decades Dustin was my dream man, if we'd met, would he have overlooked me because I don't meet the classic Western beauty standards? Pretty sure I will never find out!

I have a beautiful daughter who, like Calamity Jane, is happier in traditionally 'masculine' clothes. She hates having her hair done and refuses to wear dresses.
Because of my past, this used to really bother me. I didn't want her to feel isolated and different from her peers but she's adamant that at the moment this is how she wants to be.
Now, instead of nagging and trying to change her, I've decided to let her get on with it. She's choosing how to present herself. As a child I had no choice and it has had a long lasting impact on my self image.

The beauty of trans issues coming out into the open means that our young people can feel empowered to openly express themselves, to feel safe and secure in the knowledge that whatever or whoever they choose to be they are still loved and valued by our society.

Monday, 11 January 2016

And I Think my Spaceship Knows Which Way To Go

Hello! Happy new one! how did we get Here? We're In The Future!

As a young girl I loved sci-fi. Dates such as this thrilled me, imagine...2016...what would it be like...?

I longed to be there. Flying, gliding cars, zooming at night above silver lit streets. Malfunctioning  automatons, androids, humanoids, running amok in futuristic landscapes. 
Dreamworlds colliding with the familiar. Birdlike children, cuckolded humans, golden feathered aliens. The extraordinary becomes the ordinary.

I gladly left 2015 behind. Then I started my usual  introspective retrospection. It's like being visited by aliens, my brain removed, laid on a Petrie dish, probed and poked, the aliens asking each other 'why does she keep doing the same thing and expecting different results?'. 

Shitty things that 'happen' to me, are they just shitty things or are they lessons that I must keep attending until I take away something of value? 

Is this my karmic journey, to keep experiencing the same shit until I recognise the red flags and act upon them instead of blithely dancing with the devil, then weeping when he burns my fingers?

I have been taking a step back, watching myself and recognising well worn patterns.
I often let situations develop further than they should, not always out of recklessness but because I'm a people pleaser.  

Work, home, friends, lovers, family. Each interaction hammering home the message, trust your instincts, listen to your gut, if it feels wrong walk away.

I haven't made a New Year's resolution since forever. But this year will be the year that I learn to stand up for myself.
Feeling trapped, feeling helpless. Those are my old patterns. They got me nowhere, they brought me nothing except a sense of injustice and a feeling of outrage.

This is my year to make changes. What kind of a parent am I if I let people walk all over me? What am I teaching my children if I let them ride roughshod over me? How will they learn to stand up for themselves if their role model is a walkover?
I don't want to be the victim anymore. I don't want to be the sad act, querulously asking 'why me?'

This is my lesson. I can do this, I'm ready to change. Really change. 

The beauty of the future is that it can go anywhere, anything is possible. The unfathomable becomes known. Dreams become reality, life begins, people change, luck happens.

Please travel with me, what have you learned? Where will 2016 take you?

Keep the faith. 

Over and out.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Spirit of the Age

Here we are, another year nearly done.
So much rain and wind to wash it all off and to blow it all away.

Fuck it's been a hard year. I won't be sad to say goodbye to this one.

Of course it hasn't been completely without joys but being unwell and trying to be a capable mum is not without it's challenges.

I just want a break. I'm at the point where I genuinely do not know my next move. I am so unhappy in my job but staying there only in order to keep a roof over our heads.
I can't find a job that pays the same as this one and cannot contemplate working more hours at lesser pay due to the constant exhaustion.

How do people manage this shiz? If I didn't have kids and a house I would have left my job a long time ago. I feel as though I'm making it difficult for myself but can't see a way not to. 

When musicians die, legions of us join in grief, with shared memories, who can ever forget The Ace of Spades or Too Much Too Young? They leave something brilliant behind, a tangible legacy. 

When relationships die does anyone join in our grief? The one person who can console and comfort is the one who would do the most damage should you let them back in.

Then there are the losses which affect our universal consciousness, the wars, rumours of war, bombing, flooding, rape, abuse and torture.

We have all experienced unbelievable lows this year but can we share and appreciate our great joys? The things that keep us going when it feels too hard to carry on?

I have to acknowledge the joys, what would be the point of a life if only the low points are recognised?

Perfect joy: every day my beautiful children learn more and achieve more. I love loving them, watching them, listening to them, contributing to their development and sharing so many cuddles and kisses. Dancing together and writing our own set of house rules (which of course nobody adheres to...)

More joy: sharing laughs and naughty convos with friends, unfettered laughter, cheeky confessions and bonds strengthened over a cocktail or two.

Deep joy: silly, wild, abandoned dancing. Laughing and shaking it all about, knowing that I will be in pain tomorrow but doing it anyway.

Bittersweet joy: the feeling of being in love and the great sex that goes with it. Laughing, snuggling, dreams and whispers, whispers of dreams.

Endless joy: the sea, the cool saltiness, refreshing, invigorating, all encompassing.

So I am more than happy to say goodbye to 2015. I hope, dream and pray that 2016 will bring more joys for all of us. 

Happy new year xxxx

Monday, 21 December 2015

Deck The Halls

Only four days to go....winter solstice....tidings of comfort and joy....

I'm one of those for whom this time of year is full of mixed feelings. Although I do have beautiful children I don't have a warm or connected family.

Divorce for us means that we get the kids for half the day each depending on their dad's shifts.
As a child, a broken family for me meant that I learned from a young age not to have many, if any, expectations of the time of year. As I grew up I learned to revel in my care worker jobs, never being able to commit to Christmas plans means I was able to disconnect from any arguments about where to spend the all important day.

Being a parent brings with it other pressures. Mums are meant to be obsessively cleaning, buying, wrapping, baking etc. I can barely scrape myself off the sofa. I'm wiped out with something viral as well as signed off with stress let alone managing my daily pain.

I have boxes of things I've bought for crimbo but cannot face lifting them, going through them or organising them to wrap. I have cards to post, I have written them but I cannot get my brain to accept the next stage, popping in photos of the kids, addressing envelopes, stamping and then going to the post office. I dread getting there only to be told that I have missed the last posting day!

I am slightly reassured by a thread on Mumsnet today, where women competitively brag about their slatternly, or not so slatternly, ways.

I was a slattern for years, part of me was proud but part deeply wished I wasn't. I never learned anything from my mum, not even how to keep house at a very basic level, so having run away at sixteen I had no role model and spent my teens, twenties and thirties living in squalor.
I started to improve once I'd decided that my life was going nowhere fast.

I then married my now ex husband who had very high standards of tidiness.

I became ill while we were together, my ill health further compounded by my two pregnancies. He took sole charge of the cleaning and tidying. 
I railed against his standards but when we split I was left trying to keep house to his standards rather than my own previous standards.
What had happened? I, the dyed in the wool slattern, had suddenly become house proud!
Sadly I didn't have the fitness to maintain his standards.

I am trying and it does wipe me out but I wonder if I am paying it too much heed.
I know the house won't be perfect for Christ's birth celebrations but honestly, does The Holy Babe actually give a monkey's? Do my two holy babes actually give a monkey's? Their dad would be clearing up around us while we opened presents and I was begging him to just sit down and chill with us. 

This year I have wanted so much to prove how we can manage as a small family with me, a non driver, non sailor, at the helm. I let our train become derailed by money worries, work shiz and an unsuitable man.

This year, instead of crying over pain, men, work, money and substandard house care, I want my gift to our family to be my awesome presence, not just my awesome presents.

Merry Christmas, have a good one! What will your gift be, to yourself and to your family?

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Wait a Minute Mr Postman

This week I did the unthinkable. The thing that people always advise you not to do. The thing that once done cannot be undone.
I composed an email outlining all the things wrong with a family member's behaviour and attitude towards me.

And pressed send.

Now this has been an ongoing thing, ongoing for the best part of two decades. 

I'm at a low ebb and couldn't take anymore of the relentless assault, digs, muttered insults, and most recently spiteful tagging on social media.

Some years ago I learned that this person was violent and abusive. I tried to intervene and my intervention was at best well meant and at worst clumsy. It was also unwelcome, and resisted by the person subject to the abuse as is sometimes the case in these situations.

Suffice it to say, this person is still in our lives. I have grinned and borne much but felt that I should, as penance for my unwelcome interference.

I am struggling at the moment for a multitude of reasons. It was the straw that broke the camel's back.
Not true actually, it was one of a bale of hay I have is currently breaking my back.

My complaint has of course received a lukewarm response. Other people agree but think I should just keep ignoring it, or pretending to ignore. It will make future family gatherings awkward and uncomfortable. Knowing my family, I will be phased out, which is sad for me but even sadder for my beautiful children who don't have any say in the situation. 

Part of the reason I stood up for myself at last is because as my kids get older I don't want them to hear or see me constantly belittled by this person. I don't want someone around them who so clearly hates me. 

I just don't know what my problem is.

These things keep coming up. Stuff that other people hate but won't confront, I keep on confronting it.
And I keep on pressing send.

None of it adds to my popularity, and in my slightly paranoid state I think it tends to make people avoid me. It's not as though I have friends and family beating the door down to be with me. 
Being constantly tired or feeling poorly tends to grate on people after a while. 
There are only so many invitations that you can turn down before they stop coming at all, so I need all the friends I can get. 
But I'm not willing to compromise on quality for the sake of quantity even though sometimes I could almost kill for quantity.

It transpires that when managing pain and fatigue your (my) nervous system is working so hard to try and deal with these things that you ( I ) are pretty much permanently in 'fight or flight' mode. Where your (my) body is primed to either attack or escape the incoming threat.

Lately a lot of pretty shitty things have been happening in my life. My pre-pain me might have dealt with them with slightly more grace than I do now.
Now I just feel like I am a puddle of melty slush on the floor. I cannot challenge anything effectively. I can barely articulate a sentence due to the sedating side effects of my medication.
I am in danger of turning into a middle aged menopausal grumpy fucker.

I never used to be this way.

I used to laugh about most things, albeit sometimes maniacally but hey, I was still laughing.
My mantra used to be 'laugh in the face of adversity!' Now my mantra (to and about myself) is 'you're shit and you know you are'.

How does one come back from that?

I was a fit person, running, swimming, yoga, dates, slim, apparently looked good, but now I'm a lot overweight, again due to the stupid drugs I have to take to get through the day in a haphazard and pained fashion.

I have aged, which I have moaned about on here before. I am not against aging per se, I am just against doing it while my back is turned. I was young and fit then I became old and ill.

So come on, join me, I need some solidarity here, have you ever pressed send when it would have been better to keep it in your drafts box?
What's the worst that happened? Did any good come from it? 

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

It's a Hard Rain's Gonna Fall

I'm awake. A gorgeous child came to my bed again in the wee small hours, my little angel delights have completely messed up my sleep this week.
I have become slightly insomniac since my first pregnancy. I have to sleep before my painkillers wear off and if I'm woken during the night I tend to stay awake, miserable with pain. I saw someone somewhere refer to it as painsomnia. Most appropriate. Or totes aprope as I sometimes say (Sorry).

So, as one is wont to do in the small hours, I dwell on the many ways things could have been better.
My parents are two of the biggest disappointments a person could bear. I cannot even begin to put down in writing the myriad times they have failed not only their children but their families and of course themselves.

They married young, because they had to (yes me).
Both already very damaged teens, the black sheep of two middle class families. Sadly, they eschewed all the trappings of their upbringings and indeed those of polite society. Constant rebels, not in the romantic, bohemian sense but in absolute chaos, mess and disaster, to the point where people have disowned them and they are now both pariahs in their communities and drains on our taxes.

I am 'estranged' from both of them, for my own sanity and to protect my children, but as they grow older and evermore revolting, I have intense guilt for rejecting them and instead choosing relationships with men who mirror my parents' worst qualities whilst masquerading as my knights in shining armour.

Unsurprisingly, my parents' children, us siblings, have not met our full potential. For me, there have been regular bouts of low mood or depression. A feeling of never fitting in and such a deep sadness and loneliness that has been with me from a very young age. A neglected child, my mum told me many times how hard it was to love me and that has stayed with me.
I do everything I can to make my own children feel loved but I cannot do the same for myself.

My self esteem has never been high despite appearances. People who don't know me so well think I am brimming with confidence but in reality I'm anxious and full of self loathing.
I have very beautiful and glamorous sisters. None of them have any of the health issues I have. I feel like a gnarly dwarf next to them, unnaturally short due to my twisted spine. Riddled with pain, even my hair is a let down. Theirs is sleek and shiny, mine frizzy, tired, dull, despite the time and money spent on treatments.

I recently started HRT to try and support some of my issues, maybe to help with my dislocations and to steady my mood swings.
The Dr diagnosed me with PMDD which is apparently an extreme form of PMS. It has blighted my life and now in middle age I finally found someone to take it seriously.
He prescribed the Mirena coil alongside a bio identical oestrogen gel called Sandrena. The two together should help make the transition into menopause more easy. So he says.....
TMI ALERT: So far I have bled for four weeks. It could take three months to settle down although a friend tells me she bled for years. If you have experience of either of these, or the two together, I'd love to hear from you.

It is the strangest feeling, aging, coming to terms with all the changes. I have suffered pain since my teens then it became more serious and never went away, becoming 'chronic', bringing with it an unmovable fatigue.
I have never forgiven my body. I feel like it has turned against me, perhaps not forgiven me for not respecting it during my wilderness decades. 

Oh but it was fun, not caring, the nineties were all about breaking rules, being young and unbeknownst to me, beautiful.
It took me years to realise that in my youth I actually was beautiful. I never realised and sold myself short time and again. I wonder how many people did this? An episode of This Is England brought it home to me and made me realise, my story was not unique. Such a cathartic experience watching the series, what brilliant writing.

Having grown up in chaos I never understood the importance of exercise. I rarely went to school and when I did go, PE was not top of my list. I never learned about nutrition or healthy eating until my 40s. 
One day I was young and as far as I knew, invincible. The next day, I woke up, looked in the mirror, saw grey hairs, wrinkles, someone else's belly, and somehow, many stones heavier. 
I recently watched First Dates. There was an old boy on there, ex market trader, liver spots and floppy fringe. To me he looked exactly like David Bowie or how Bowie would look if he were not a gazillionaire. 

I often wonder how my face and body might look and feel had I had money, or had my parents chosen different paths and had I not caned it like a muthafucka for all those years.

Hey ho! This is me now, oui, c'est moi. I guess I have to make the best of it.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Easy Come, Easy Go

Hey! So I recently ended a relationship. Having been split from my ex husband for just over two years I was keen to find what had been missing from our marriage.
My first sojourn into the world of dating was actually with a very old and trusted friend. He turned out to be a nasty character who rode roughshod over all my boundaries. I was very confused as we'd had a great friendship for years. I didn't want anything to detract from the children so decided to have a break altogether from men and just concentrate on my little family.

As I barely ever go out, I didn't expect to be dating anytime soon, but you know how life is, I met someone in the course of my domestic life. I didn't actually want to get involved again but this guy seemed to tick so many of my boxes, similar interests, same age, cute and seemed really kind. So we got together over a few dates, I tried to keep it quite casual as I have so much going on in my life. He kept pushing for more and I felt I was constantly resisting him whilst simultaneously finding him irresistible.

Early on in the process I told him a couple of my immovable boundaries, my bottom line, my non negotiables. I got to really like him, we had lots of fun and he was very sweet and understanding of my conditions. There were some niggles but having talked it over with friends I decided I am a control freak and I would try and relax about the whole deal. 
I couldn't quite relax though and ultimately found him dishonest and a bit of a let down. He tried to say that my standards are too high.

Hey ho, I'd rather be alone with high standards than showing my children their mother settling for less than the best.

So I have been crying a bit, missing him a lot and wishing things had been different. I could really do with someone to share all this with. I have very little in the way of family and those that I do have are particularly dismissive of my health issues. I have not had much support since my marriage ended, prior to that, my husband was brilliant on a practical level, just less than lacking on the emotional front.

I am lonely and would love to have a partner to help out, to lean on, to laugh with. I don't have much of a social life because I am too knackered and I don't have many friends who are single and/or up for it on the (few) days that I am.
I have struggled being a parent on my own. I tried the Gingerbread group but although there's apparently a group in my town, I couldn't find anyway of making contact with them and the website was spectacularly unhelpful. 

I have a wonderful time with my kids and we've had a very full weekend of activity but ultimately it's a lot of pressure on my own. By the time their bedtime comes I am almost rigid with pain. Who knew hypermobility could cause such crippling stiffness?

I feel so bad when I'm stressing at my little ones to clear up their mess, not because I'm trying to teach them to be tidy but just because I literally cannot move. I cannot bend to pick up another thing.
Tonight I thought 'oh fuck, are they going to end up as young carers? Not able to enjoy a normal childhood because of their useless mother?'.

No offence to parents of young carers, I'm just letting off some steam. I struggle to come to terms with what my body is doing to me. My brain is taking a while to accept my pain and lack of physical freedom.

That's turned into a bit of a whingefest. Nowt my night meds and a good sleep won't fix! 

On the bright side, my little gems had amazing breakthroughs in the pool today. My little girl who swam a few tentative strokes last week, doggy paddled her way around the pool today with gusto and great aplomb. 
It was a hugely proud moment for both of us, her style was super cute and funny, made all the more poignant by the fact that I didn't learn to swim as a child because of my childhood which was pretty neglectful and missing most of the key moments.

On top of my this, her little bro decided to get in on the action and swam a few strokes under water! This from a boy who cannot bear getting his face wet nor water in his eyes. What a pair of superheroes!

Have a good week y'all.