Feel the music

In my quest to understand the world we all live in I tend to read, I love books, always have done, i can’t imagine a world without reading. I still remember the joy of disappearing to bed early when Jess was about 5 months old, a sleeping pattern had been established and finally I could take some time for me, to delve in to some make believe world of fiction, along with running it’s been my rock in life. Nowadays I find myself on the other end of a google search, or exploring amazon for information to download to my kindle. One of my recent purchases is ‘transitions of the heart’, Edited by Rachel pepper. I wanted something affirming to read, something that would fill me with hope and happiness, not tales of fear, worry and guilt. I’ve dipped into this book, it’s my car book, the one I can read between appointments, during lunch or a spare 5 minutes I have. But during the foreword I read the following

“no one ever tells you having a transgender child is a possibility. It isnt in any of the baby or child rearing books. How can anyone be prepared for this journey? It’s as if we have been forced into running a marathon and all the other runners are given a 5 mile lead and a map of the course. We spend our time trying to catch up, with no idea if we are even on the right path”

As I read this the irony of it actually made me smile which then turned into a little laugh, I suddenly felt I actually knew why I ran marathons. My running relationship of 28 years was my preparation, ok so 18 months ago with 3 marathons under my belt, when Jess told me and Jake emerged I knew very little about transgender lives, but I guess I knew how anything can be overcome with determination, passion and understanding. You don’t wake up one day decide to run a marathon and then run it, it takes months, weeks, days, hours, minutes of your life to prepare, it’s something you have to respect, the distant is an entity the majority of the population cannot even comprehend, there were times during each training session I had wanted to give up, to stay in bed when the cold winter weather beckoned me from my warm house, it’s cold windy breath hollering into my soul to run. There were times I thought I couldn’t continue but deep, down in my heart I knew I had prepared as best I could and my faith in my training and myself helped me. So I’m going to use this enlightenment, things I have little knowledge on I will research, i will try to limit the angst swirling in me knowing that Jake is more contented in his life and as he prepares to leave home and begin his work life I feel blessed my son is one of the most wonderful, level headed people I know.

I loved the film Flashdance, being a kid of the 80’s, what a feeling frequently appears in my running play list still, it also reminds me of the times I would put Jess to bed, a small child who didn’t want to sleep alone, so I would turn on the radio and tune it to a classical station and tell her to close her eyes and like the film flash dance I would say’ close your eyes and feel the music’ I love this quote, as who actually takes time to feel the music, not just listen to it? We would then make up stories of what the music evoked. Horses galloping along beaches, fairies dancing in the garden, dragons swooping in the air, dolphins swimming through the sea, what a feeling makes me feel as if I’m gliding over the ground, running with ease and eloquence even if others are seeing something different! Today maybe take some time, close your eyes and listen to some music and then feel the music. 😄

Dreams

I’m standing in my mums kitchen, family are all around, but I’m standing alone. I look across and see Jess standing alone too, her cousins running around her in play. She’s 10, I notice how uncomfortable she seems, her awkwardness in her actions, her body language displaying the fact she didn’t want to be there, or maybe didn’t know how to join in. For once I understood, tears trickled down my cheeks, nobody seemed to notice the pain I was going through, the tears turned to sobs, again I was oblivious to everybody.,
Then I awake, I’m crying into my pillow, my heart actually hurts with each sob, it’s just a dream I think.
It was a look back to the past but this time I understood.
I have no idea where that came from, maybe it’s because Jake has been away for a couple of weeks and is playing on my mind.
It’s time to put the poker face on as I have a busy day and clients need to see a smile.

Back to the present

So finally it’s present day in my blog,
You may be wondering about Jake? Well he’s had his follow up appointment with the surgeon and top surgery is scheduled for the beginning of September, so I’ve booked time off work to allow me to be at home that first week for him.
I think he thought the funding wouldn’t be there for him so didn’t say an awful lot after the consultation but something he commented on hit me like a tonne of bricks straight through the heart, it made so many feelings return, just when you think you have it all under control! It was that he would be able to go swimming again, I never really knew he missed going, I just thought that never being particularly interested in sport it didn’t bother him. oh how wrong I’ve been, if I want to swim I just go, I’m comfortable in my body, he’s not and the reality is a big thing to comprehend. I guess he has missed out on a lot of things kids do because of how he feels and his low self esteem. He has a lot of catching up to do.

Me? How am I? Exhausted is the word I think best describes me at the moment. It’s a busy time of year but no more than I’ve coped with previously, exercise is down, I’m wondering how 3 months ago I ran a marathon and now physically I couldn’t even consider anything over 5 miles, for me this is not good, actually running is so embedded with in my soul I’m lost with out it, I don’t feel me. I really want to get out there and pound the miles but I have no stamina, hopefully my scheduled dr’s appointment next week will solve this mystery.
On a very a very positive note I actually managed to use jakes name, I took a deep breath, the word almost stuck in my throat but I called him for dinner, he didn’t mention I had used it but I could tell he had noticed, baby steps for me!

Happy birthday

Twenty years ago today I welcomed my gorgeous scrap of a baby into the world, at the age of 26 I thought I had it all sorted! All those hopes and dreams you wrap up and  hope your child will have and not once did I ever think that 18 years later I would have a child that had grown into an incredibly intelligent and grounded young adult but one that also told me they were transgender. Suddenly I felt all those things I hoped for had gone, I realise now they are still there it’s just its taking me time to re adjust. I still have a lot on my mind, anger, hurt, sadness that entwines together into my ball of angst, I live with inside
The next step I guess that will add to my angst is Jake will leave home and join the big world of work this summer, a fantastic opportunity with ********, but even all the positives cannot wipe out the angst.
So today I’m having a moment, I’m at home and not working until this evening so I can take some time out, shed those tears with no one to see, I still fear if I confide how I really feel I will crumble so these moments keep me sane.
Hey I can cope can’t i? I mean what is the alternative, I always say I do a good poker face, so in a while I will be practising it, I have a lot of people I need to convince, if only they knew.
Remember to be kind to others, you never know what’s going on behind the poker face !

Ryland hits the social media

You may have already seen this link over the past week, it’s possibly hit all social media and has been hard to avoid, being in and out the office aka the car, I was continually bombarded with it with each news report and was interested to see how it was received within the public. Initially it seemed very supportive, most praising the parents for their support, understanding of this generally misunderstood medical condition, and then I was quite shocked and actually angered by the other comments coming in, saying how it was wrong, the parents shouldn’t encourage this as it was possibly a phase, nothing should be done until the child had gone through puberty, it left me feeling angered but I guess most people would never know the real truth about what families would have to go through when their child tells them this.

So maybe take a few minutes if you are undecided about this to consider the following:

– if this was just a phase, like others through childhood it would just disappear, I’m sure the parents didn’t take this lightly when decided to allow their child to transit.
– to allow this to happen at an earlier age will allow the child to develop happily and confidently, without the many years of angst, self hatred, low self esteem many go through before even telling others. Imagine waking up one morning and looking in the mirror to see the opposite gender starring back at you, how horrified would you be? Personally I can’t comprehend how distressing this would be, to me to suddenly look male with all the bits that come with it would be so wrong I’m wondering how my brain would cope.
– to delay puberty actually won’t do the child any harm, but not doing it can cause more distress to them mentally as they then have to cope with the ever changing image it can bring and of course aid a more natural change when hormones are introduced to begin the transition process,
– if you didn’t know it’s not just a case of going to the dr and saying please I want to be a boy/ girl and they say here you go take these pills and it will be fine, oh no, you have to learn the skill of hoop jumping!
Initial appointment starts with your GP and if you’re lucky enough to have one that understands the next port of call is an appointment with mental health, yep you then have to prove you’re sane and this isn’t just a sign of another disorder, so maybe a couple of months later you visit mental health and whoopy they confirm you’re not mental and write their findings for your GP who then has to write a referral to a gender clinic, the waiting game has begin. 6 months after the initial GP appointment you may be lucky to have your first appointment at the gender clinic whereby you have to discuss it all over again, but this time with somebody who actually understands you, believes you and agrees they can help you, your first step of the journey begins, you’re told to go and live in your chosen gender, change your name and come back in 3 months whereby the next stage of treatment will be discussed.
A year down the line hormones are prescribed to start the process, which doesn’t happen over night, it will be puberty all over again, but this time one that is embraced because at last it will be one to make the exterior look like the interior.
Again to gain surgery hoop jumping continue with visits for psych referrals, then the surgeon who will add extra big hoops before a desision is made and a date given. You may be thinking it doesn’t seem so bad, but imagine if this was you, would you still feel a few years to get to this point a short time? If you had some cancer or other illness would you have to wait and prove yourself quite so much?

Whilst this is happening you then have to continue your life in your new assigned gender, telling others and dealing with the public perception of who you are !
– so whilst the person changing, is beginning to feel happier and more confident lets consider the parents and family, how do they cope? Support ? Of course but inside that tough exterior they are showing to others how does it really feel?
– initially shocked and denial sets in, this can’t be real can it? It’s just a phase, surely?
– acceptance, after long talks, tears, research it comes, along with it the armour plating that allows you to cope and appear strong for your child
– angst, this lives within you, twirling around, constantly in the pit of your stomach, reminding you of the journey ahead, of the fear you have for your child at what they will have to deal with through out their life, you realise how you cant protect them from hurtful comments or actions from others, some days it eats you up and the armour cracks a little but never enough to allow others to know.
– the grieving, imagine all those hopes and thoughts you had for the future, suddenly you are being offered something different, you want to refuse but can’t, the pain and loss is incredible, I think it’s something that changes you as a person, you have to continue through life and try and change your whole perspective on what you thought would be. Family and friends are told, so you have to be strong to educate them.
-the support- this has to be consistent, loving, informed, sometimes the armour Will break and you will cry together, but that shows you’re human. I wonder what you would think would be the hardest part to deal with? Funnily enough I think it’s the name change and pro nouns, that’s a tough one, your child has rejected that name you chose and loved to something completely different with possibly no discussion with you, now that’s tough! This is one thing I guess a parent would never consider when you think of all the issues being a parent comes with, you wonder how you would deal with illness, bullying, drinking, drugs, mental illness etc but transgender? I know it was something I never ever considered, I guess all we can do is love, support, educate and most of all smile 😄

It’s been a long week

It’s been a bit meh this week for me.
Sigh I really hate moaning but if you wish just skip this , I’m sure it will pass.
Quiet on the work front this week and I actually thought this May help me get over feeling tired and all that but I think it’s done the opposite.
I returned home from MK marathon to hear scurrying sounds from Jakes bedroom, he was at last de junking as obviously will be moving out in the very near future, so I now have bags of junk either to go to the tip or plans to do a car boot sale, which means I have to go too as he doesn’t drive- great 😕 one thing I did rescue from the car boot sale, was roly, the cutest lab beanie dog, how could he I thought? He was one of the chosen toys, Nameless bunny THE chosen toy still remains on the bed, I couldn’t part with him so he’s now in my possession, a memory of a childhood that one wants to forget and I still cling on to. It smells of Jess, it’s been loved by Jess, it’s jakes cast off.
I think this was the start of the meh to be honest, I dropped Jake at train station on Thursday a d I don’t think he will be back until start of June for an exam, I know as parents we prepare for the fleeing of the nest, I still want to wrap my arms around him and protect from the nasty world, I know this is silly he has shown such strength of character over the years it makes me so proud just how strong he is but maybe I still think of him as my daughter, even though the resemblance has long gone. How can life be so cruel? Lots of things trigger the overwhelming sadness I have with in me, finding old photos, seeing the past being binned so easily, talk of grandchildren, babies flung in my arms by unsuspecting clients, the list is endless. I guess I still have a lot to accept with in myself, I don’t think I ever will loose all the sadness, I mean it would be the same with a bereavement , you come to terms with it but it will always fill you with sadness.
So I’ve seen myself withdraw from company this week, planned visits to mum have been binned, just couldn’t face trying to be happy, no energy to run, restless sleep, I just need to stop the world for a while- if only!
I need something to take my mind off this until it passes, I need to convince my body to run, to remember it makes everything seem manageable.

Seems like a good idea…

Ok after vlm I laid down on the grass and the tears began, tears of exhaustion, relief, disappointment, those feelings had me thinking that was it, no more marathons, maybe it just wasn’t for me. So I picked myself up and headed home. The following day I didn’t feel too bad, my legs once again worked fine with very minimal aches, the questions arose in my head again, if the weather was cooler could I have got nearer 4:30? By Wednesday my body was once again my own, although tiredness was hanging around, aches had vanished. A friend of mine had begun to tempt me to run MK, I couldn’t return, could I?

I thought back to the last 2 there, the first the worst weather ever and last years Shaun of the dead remake, hmmmm did I really want to return? Of course I bloody did, I still wanted to tackle this distance and achieve my goal. For my defense I will say physically I’m marathon ready so why waste that, even though I lacked a month in my training for vlm, I caught up ok and feel training went ok and let’s be honest it will only feel uncomfortable for a couple of hours max! Not much to sacrifice to achieve eh?

Today was another stepping stone in this journey, Jake had an appointment with the consultant for breast reduction, he has already jumped through hoops to get this far, the surgeon has given him another appointment in 8 weeks just to make sure, i mean you really would do all the things he has had to do over the last 18 months just to get this far on a whim!!! Seriously ! But hopefully surgery in September which of course coincides with starting work aghhhhh oh we’ll I’m sure all will be ok

Me and marathons

Before I begin can I just say marathons are pants, I’m not talking a nice sexy floral pair, or even my bright orange running pants, it’s comparable to a pair of big Bridget jones pants, this marathon I was wearing Bridget pants, they felt uncomfortable as in my head I should be wearing the floral pair!
Ok the day started well after actually managing the best nights sleep all week I awoke at 5 am fresh and feeling confident.
Arrived at blackheath, and the journey was so much better than last time, quite calm and I even managed a seat, I chatted to a bloke from stoke who was running his first marthon and had got a ballot place as his brother had entered it for him, he was telling me he hadn’t run any further than 16 miles, had developed shin splints, aching feet but was aiming for a time between 4 and 5 hours, in my head I was thinking poor man, you haven’t a clue but smiled sweetly and told him he would have an awesom experience!!
Arrived at blackheath and whilst queuing for loo spied another runner I knew from the internet,I think he was travelling incognito but I recognised him so went over for a chat. As I left to queue in the pens I told him not to piss himself like last year and have a good run 😄also chatted to a young guy who was running his first marathon, I commented on his choice of knit wear, a stylish brown cardi with patches on the elbows, he told me he had brought it from oxfam especially, I suggested he should wear it whilst running as the patches may help him go faster! I checked to see that he made it to the end, 5:18 it’s nice to know thoses you chat with made it!
This time I crossed the line within 10 minutes and all felt ok until about mile 11 when I realised I was far too hot and I wasn’t even half way, my comment to my fellow runner came back to haunt me as I had been pouring the remains of my water down my back and suddenly realised my dripping shirt was now soaking my pants and capris, I quite possibly looked like I had pissed myself!!
I had begun to slow, The heat was getting to me and to be honest if I could have stood there stamped my feet and cried I would have done, I wanted it over with I couldn’t believe I wasnt even half way, once again I realised I had made a stupid decision, marathons are just not for me at the moment, so on I went, switching on a little music at mile 14 I needed to concentrate and switch off from what my mind was screaming.
On a plus side it was bloody lovely to run for the charity mind, 3 cheering points that screamed at you and plenty of supporters along the way, it really did help even if i am moaning a little too much about my experience! It made me realise I had chosen a charity that obviously has a lot of affinity with those out there and it seems I’ve managed to hit my target of £500 pounds, that makes me feel good, as I only decided to run for a charity because so many people asked me who I was running for. I’ve had some great support from friends and clients and some have really surprised me.
So on i run when mile 16 OUCH my IT band had tightened, the pain was too much I stopped and had to lean on some guy and his girlfriend whilst I tried to stretch it out, they were awesome, I most probably smelt, they didn’t care and sent me on my way with a cheer, I love supporters😄 so the IT pain had started and intermittently came back over the last 10 miles, so I had to walk to release it. By mile 19 somebody had poured treacle into my legs and I was trying, really I was but some how they wouldn’t do what I wanted, I had been counting down the 5 k s and was looking forward to 30k as 12k left sounded manageable.
My leg hurt, I was too hot, I couldn’t even cry as no tears would come out, I grabbed some orange segments and just got on with it.
Miles 22 to 26 where tough, not only did I have treacle in my legs somebody had added cement and I felt I was coming to a standstill, I told myself to get a grip and shut the fuck up moaning and just run! I did although not fast, I was so relieved to see mile 25, i was nearly home! I had a hug off a random woman who was suffering too, i told her we couldn’t walk during the last mile, I didn’t manage my usual sprint finish, I hadn’t anything left to give, but I crossed the line with a huge smile, one of pure relief of course and set off to baggage area and then to meet hubbie. I then didn’t feel right so told him I needed to sit down for a while, I rootled through the goodie bag but nothing more than the apple excited me, I had had enough of that claggy sweet stuff, although I managed to run on 2 bottles of lucazade, few choccy buttons and some shot blocks, so not much really.i wanted crisps, why hadn’t I put some in. I thought, then the tears started, hubbie asked me why I was crying, I didn’t know, I was tired, hot and relieved it was over, continuing to run that marathon took a lot of discipline, I wanted to stop, I knew I had to finish, I was physically and mentally drained. So we walked the 2 miles to st pancras 😳
So on reflection it has taken 5 attempts to confirm marathons are pants! My 1 st in Nottingham 2011 was a fresh new experience, the start of the discovery, 2 nd was London 2012, the best where I ran all the way and loved every second, 3 rd MK a week after London in weather conditions that signified the end of the world, the home of my PB, 4 th 2013 where I returned to MK and the sun bloody shone and I had one hell of an experience and decided that was enough until I gained a ballot place for this years vlm, should have stuck with last years decision!!! Stupid me! I am disappointed but time to get over it, I’ve woken up and once again have minimum aches in my legs, I’m questioning what I need to do now, I know my legs are strong I guess it’s my cardio that lets me down, hmm legs of GFA marathoner cardio of a 5 hour one! So I have a plan, I know what I need to work on, I can bloody well do this.
Last week I was still wondering whether to return to MK in 3 weeks time but mentally I don’t think it’s a wise decision, parts of that have no support, it’s bound to be sunny and I have no wish to run another to be disappointed again although I’m very tempted to run the half!
Physically I’m actually fine, mentally a little broken but as the ever the eternal optimist.

How you doing ?

I guess it’s been a while since I asked myself that question, it’s one that can open up a whole can of worms so I try to avoid it, I’m good at avoidance.
Well I don’t cry everyday, so is this progression? In my eyes not really its just that I avoid thinking too deeply any more, so if I did open up the box with the big J on it every day I would be a wreck by now. The tears are not because I haven’t accepted, that came a long time ago, it’s the fear and angst I hold within myself, the fear of what others could do to Jake, the intolerant people that just don’t understand, will this ever go? I still feel guilty that maybe I could have helped earlier, that maybe I could do more, who knows, it’s a horrible ball of angst that I guess has become part of me.
Running has kept me sane, I have no idea how I have got this far this year considering how I felt on January 1st but it does allow me time to switch off from my angst or sometimes just to let it out, it’s hard to run properly with tears blubbering out but it does feel good!
Jake has achieved a tremendous amount over the last 18 months and I’m in awe at his courage and strength it’s sad his father is taking it harder to accept, maybe one day, it’s not that he says he won’t support but the contact has reduced greatly, but maybe that’s his story to tell and I may just ask him to write it.
I have to constantly remain strong with the smily face, cos when days get tough for Jake I have to be there to support, its exhausting  you know. I have changed and I know my relationship with others has too, some because of how I have become and some because of how they have reacted to my sadness- sigh- that’s life I guess.
So I shall continue to box my woes, recycle them occasionally and hope the future is bright.
Next stop the London marathon and time for major box recycling 😄

Tears of joy for once

After last week and huffing off to London I allowed Jake to cool down, to think, I sent him a text to ask if he was coming home explaining I still wanted to help and support, that I expected him to be leaving home but obviously under happier circumstances. He replied and said he would he home Sunday. So I could tell he was tense when I picked up from the station but I’m not one to hold grudges, so kept the conversation light. Off he went to uni on Monday and said he was stressed as they were awaiting news of their placements for years 2/3 of degree, he was very down and not hopeful.
As I was leaving for work he came down stairs to inform me he would be at Uni for 2 more years as he hadn’t secured one, I’m keeping my poker face on trying to reassure whilst my heart pounds and screams shit!!!! Then he laughs and said he had got a placement at ********* ! Omg tears of joy all around! I couldn’t have asked for anything better, so it seems my baby will be leaving home later this year to the bright lights of London but to the start of a new and wonderful life I’m still smiling