Nature or nurture?

I’ve been on a journey the last 2 years, one I never thought I would be taking, but one that has enriched my soul I guess.

I’ve also read many others blogs taking a similar journey, parents and other transgender people and I’m shocked by the amount of intolerance some have had to accept. I wonder if my acceptance is nature or nurture? That old question. What truly shocks me is the amount of religion that is tangled up with people’s misunderstanding. Now I’m not judging anyone on what they believe, each to our own, personally I feel I have no belief in an ultimate God. Sometimes I have been envious of those that have such faith, is it a comfort? I feel I can’t have faith in something that has no proof to me, there have been times in my life when I have needed help, desperately low and did God reach out to me then? No, so the opportunities he could have didn’t occur and this leads me to conclude either I’m unworthy or of course there isn’t one! Ultimately I have faith in myself, my strength to cope and help others. When I read others that have family not accepting them and inciting religious quotes it makes me angry. Surely a God is one that lives and accepts all? How can people claim to be so Christian when they can so easily turn their backs on their loved ones?

I think I’ve always be an accepting person but as the years have passed I have understood many issues by researching, thinking and re evaluating my opinions, that’s how we grow as a human isn’t it?
So where is this going you may think?
I have 2 distinct memories where by nurture has had an affect on how I’ve developed and both are with my mum.
Firstly- I was watching the summer Olympic Games I’m guessing the year is 1976 so I’m 9, my mum is ironing, I cheering at the screen, ah it seems I loved running before I discovered it! I remember shouting ‘oh look the N***** won’ it wasn’t a word I had used before but I guess I had heard it in the playground, my mum turned to me and sternly said ‘ don’t ever use that word again’ obviously I knew I had said something wrong and have never repeated it, but I wonder without this nurturing would I be the person I am today?
Secondly- Most kids have a special teddy, raggy cloth or blanket that they cling on to no matter what, that special thing they hold dear, comforts them to sleep, in fact I still have mine now, a doll I was given back in 1972, a doll that when given I didn’t like because it was different, it wasn’t the normal for that time, I remember flinging her on the floor and saying I didn’t want her, my mum lovingly picked her up and began to bath her and called me to see her tears ( ok it was just soap suds) that were streaming down her face, my mum told me she was crying because I didn’t want her, my 5 year old innocence saw through what was different about her and immediately grabbed her and wrapped her in a towel and she never left my side after that, I insisted she had birthday and Christmas presents, she accompanied me to school met me out of it, she was my special childhood toy, I would twiddle her arm or leg to go to sleep and she still has shiny bits from this! I guess that’s the first memory I have of being taught as humans we are all the same no matter what colour, religion, etc we are and I’m grateful my parents have that view as it has prepared me for my life now.

Anyway what I have come to realise is that adults still have their special comfort blanket, at one point it was the handbag, yes truly, you look around and see girls clinging to their most wanted possession, some have a radley bag or purse, seriously wtf is that about? It has a little dog motif on it and for the privilege you pay over the odds, or am I missing something? Does this little motif protect your goods, does it snarl and bite at anyone trying to steal it? Or how about a mulberry bag? Something so expensive you are afraid to use the bloody thing, hugging it to your body, not letting out of your sight, proudly showing it off to your friends like a newborn baby! I seriously don’t understand it!
Now boys are a little different, once the teddy is outgrown and discarded in a corner, they like to feel part of a group, wearing their beloved football shirts so they can easily recognise a kindred spirit, or sporting the new Nike air trainers.
Now there is a new kid on the block, it’s a universal comforter, one it seems every adult owns, many desire the latest offering with it’s all singing all dancing controls. What is this you may ask? Take a look in your hand are you clinging to your comforter now? Yes it’s the mobile phone. You only have to look around to witness this adult comforter epidemic. Girls have replaced the handbag with the smart phone, some have cases encrusted with jewels, pinging notifications from copious media applications- tweeting what they are wearing, Instagraming their lunch, face booking their check in points throughout the day, it’s never ending. Boys are equally as guilty, sharing football gossip, drinking exploits on snap chat, what’s apping fellow friends.
For some reason people are now afraid to be out of contact with people, couples sit together having a meal whilst simultaneously communicating via social media, quite possibly to one another!
And it seems amongst this social media frenzy many people have forgotten the art of communication, soon we won’t even share a coffee with friends but instead choose to snap chat a picture of it whist tweeting our day.
So for today lets all try and ditch a little of the social media and spend some time with some one we actually care about, just like the time when we were 5 and had that special friend 😃 it may feel good!IMG_1205.JPG

Leaving home

Those superheroes walk amongst us, getting on with their lives, coping with the extraordinary, you never know who they are, as they smile and hide the sadness and stress. This week I waved my superhero off to the bright lights of London Town, to a brand new start. I haven’t really thought too much about how I’ve felt, in fact I haven’t had time- yet, at the moment is just feels like Jake has gone visiting for a while, nothing dissimilar to the last 2 years, but ultimately this time I know he’s left home, yep 20 years of nurturing, worrying, loving, guiding have gone in a flash and brings me to this point, one of pride for him, he has achieved so much, without throwing in the gender dysmorphia, he truly is a superhero, even if he doesn’t realize it yet!

We arrived in London at 2 pm, ate lunch and then met with Matthew at their new apartment, it’s in the docklands area of London, very nice! Once the hand over had been done Mathew set off to meet with his removal firm and we hung around waiting- he finally returned and we quickly helped unload and then had to leave them, it was 7 pm we were then heading to Southampton. I felt a little guilty leaving them to unpack but realistically I knew this was their new life, this was all part of it. I had also arranged for a large supermarket to deliver the next day, at least they wouldn’t have to worry about food for a while, I guess it’s the one thing I could do and having been in this situation knew it would be appreciated.

Jake is healing well, 2 weeks post surgery and the scars are looking minimal, the dr was pleased and need I say Jake is ecstatic? His confidence has grown even more and when I asked him how he was feeling, he beamed at me and said he felt so much better, pointing to his body, see it looks how it should now, I have no doubts that this is the right path for him, I just never thought I would be dealing with it but that’s life!

We left London, Southampton bound to meet with my old school friend who works for a large cruise liner, she had invited us to spend the day on it, a tour and lunch, it was probably just what I needed to distract me. Over lunch I told my friend A about Jake, I knew she would support but I think the whole concept blew her away a bit, those that I have told have had a similar reaction, I guess I’m quite good at disguising what’s going on, poker face and all that!
This weekend we will be heading back to London to take some more belongings, it will be lovely to see their flat with all their belongings, to see how well they have settled in. Of course I will miss him, but I know this is the best move for him and I have a feeling he may just miss home a little, after he said he would still come home to visit his birds ( yep I got lumbered with those) and just because Matthew didn’t want to visit his parents didn’t mean he couldn’t! I took that as a compliment 😄

One week on

A week on and we’ve all survived 😄
Jake is healing well and proudly walking around with confidence, I really can’t believe what a difference it’s made. I asked if if he felt better within himself,
Yes he replied, look, everything looks normal, pointing to his body
Of course it was the right decision and I’m so grateful we have the NHS and they have funded his treatment. I guess some may think it’s a waste of money, when money is tight, I guess I may have thought it too wasn’t a priority many years ago, but having witnessed the anguish Jake has endured during the past years I can wholeheartedly support it. Who are we to judge that one illness takes priority over another!
Today we popped into town so Jake could purchase some new clothes, he picked up one of those vest tops and said see I can wear this now, I seriously thought he was joking, but no he popped it with his stash and has proudly worn it today.
He has also been packing up his belongings, that are currently piled in his room, on Friday it’s the big move to London Town, I jokingly said that once he had left there was no coming back, I caught the look on his face, one that gave it away a little, he will miss home!😄 of course I told him he can return at any point, we would always be here for him.
I’ve had a lovely week off work, household chores caught up on and 22 miles ran in total, not a huge amount to what I’ve done before but a start to getting back to normal, and today’s 6 miles started to feel easier, it’s all coming back.

Just a short blog today as to be honest I’ve used all my energy this week staying strong, I’m in a good place but emotionally I’m drained.

And then I understood

Surgery day arrived, Jake was a little apprehensive, I could tell, so I gave him a hug and said it would all be ok. We arrived at the hospital and he was checked in to his own room, our local hospital has had a new addition to it and the breast clinic is situated within it, the ward he was on was for all kind of operations but comprised of individual rooms with en-suite too, whoop whoop to the nhs! Once settled I left him in the capable hands of the nurses who were lovely and headed home.
To be honest I didn’t think about it too much, it was a day I needed to be strong. Firstly I went out and ran, 5 miles of freedom, lovely!
Around 2 pm jake text me to say he was all done and feeling ok, relief washed over me, at least he was ok, so I replied to let him know I would be up at 6 pm to visit. I did shed a tear but soon pushed them away and made myself busy.
Arrived, with Matthew to visit and we walked into an empty room, my heart sank, where was he? I asked the nurse who informed me he had returned to theatre as swelling and pain had occurred, I immediately flashed back to 18 months ago when we was in hospital having a cyst removed and had started bleeding internally, collapsing in front of me and having to watch the medical staff spring into action and take him back to theatre, I just about managed to hold back the tears, it’s ok the nurse said he’s back in recovery and will be here in a while. So we waited, a whole hour past before Jake made his return, but he was lucid and we manage to joke about his theatre encore again!
I had mixed emotions at this point, I didn’t want my child in pain, I felt guilty about what he was having to go through just to feel at ease with himself.
Then the nurse appeared to do his obs and check the drains and this is where it all began to make sense, a moment in time when you think
Yeah I really really understand now
Over the last 2 years I have been trying to understand, I have accepted and supported but understanding is maybe one thing I could never do, how could I? I had always been comfortable with my body and who I was. Maybe I thought one day Jess would make a reappearance, it’s strange what the brain suggests to you, even though I knew realistically the steps to take testosterone were the first and the effects that had had I could see daily, but my heart still wanted Jess back, even though Jess was never truly happy, I guess it was easier to deal with than what I had dealt with recently.
But as the nurse revealed his chest, with dressing I add, I was a little shocked, THEY were gone, Jake lay there with a proud look on his face, not bothering I was there, there was no covering up, feeling the need to hide his body, he displayed it for all to see, like all men do! You see it was as easy as that I finally understood. All the angst I have witnessed, his binding, years of depression and take away the boobs and finally Jake emerged, it filled my heart with pure love for him. I understood why he always was so secretive about his body, why he didn’t like a hug, he didn’t like what was there that shouldn’t be- simple
He has been recovering well, walking around topless, from his room to the bathroom. I feel at last a sense of peace, it’s really hard to explain but after the journey I have been on with Jake so far in his life, this point now seems like the beginning, a new start for him, to begin work and not feel his boobs will give him away.
So anyone thinking they too don’t understand maybe one day you,will trust me it all becomes clear.

My angst is a tsunami

 

My angst is swirling and has been all week although I have tried to ignore it, it’s approaching like a tsunami, I know there will no escape and tomorrow when it hits me I need to be prepared. Poker face and all that!
Tomorrow Jake will have top surgery, something he has wanted for a long time, something I feared wouldn’t be given so we would have to fund it privately but thankfully the NHS have provided the necessary funding.
Even though I’ve been living this life and dealing with what ever was needed the last 18 months tomorrow seems to be a big stride forward to me, it’s the day when any remnants of Jess will be left behind and Jake will be well and truly here for good!
I know Jake is apprehensive, but that’s normal I guess, Mathew has arrived and will stay for a few days and I’m sure this will help Jake and also shows the connection the two of them have, if ever there are soul mates these two fit the bill and I feel so grateful they have found one another.
I have a much needed week off work, so whilst caring for Jake I shall also use the time to run from my tsunami, I’m beginning to feel a lot better now although how I ever managed the milage I did in the spring I will never know, seriously it’s hard work getting back into the mindset of pacing out mile up on mile, I have a half marathon scheduled mid November but seriously don’t know how I will be ready, it’s not about just running the miles it’s about breaking that 2 hour time, I guess it’s going to take some hard work and discipline, but I need something to fill my mind and help with the recycling!