Breathing under water 

Yes 2016 was the year I learnt to breath under water.It was a year many people hated, it almost was portrayed as a cursed year.
For me It started with my brother in ICU, I seriously didn’t think he would still be here to tell the tale but thankfully he is and I know he’s had a tough year but hopefully he too has learnt he can also breath under water.

It was the year Jake returned home for half of it due to his relationship break up and final stages of surgery. In may when he returned he looked broken but with the care, love and support a family environment can give he started to heal and I know he still has issues to resolve but I think with in time he will get there, I’m just mindful at the moment to contact him a little more often and plan visits, I guess it can be lonely starting life again in a new town and job, we have always been very close and I do miss having him nearby.

For me 2016 was a sabbatical year as far as my running was concerned, I had lost all enthusiasm and I think this had a lot to do with where we had moved to, it’s a lot more isolated and I don’t feel comfortable heading out alone across the fields, also I was tired, even though I had entered another marathon I didn’t have the strength of mind to train for it so I listened to my body and sort out other types of exercise and fell in love with spinning and boot camp style training. The addition of our new puppy has now given me another option as I have trained her to run attached to me, she’s up to 3.5 miles now and as she gets older I will be increasing her distance. It’s pure joy to be out running with her, a different kind of running as I’m not pushing my pace just running to enjoy.

With a new found enthusiasm I have now offered to help train with 2 friends who are both running their first London marathon and our first long run of 8 miles was just pure pleasure, I ran at ease and it felt great to know I still had s good level of fitness, also to support these friends during their training journey excites me, I remember how I felt during my first one and how much I’ve learnt, it’s extremely valuable knowledge and has made me realise I can do anything.

So jake has had stage 2 and 3 of his surgery and finally all is complete. It feels like a long 4 years but equally the time has passed at break neck speed and the Jess of the past now seems another life to me. I still miss her, as in the young Jess who was a happy go lucky child with a thirst for knowledge, the 2 1/2 year old Jess who was bouncing on the couch singing along to the spice girls, pointing out how baby spice had bunches just like her, the endless games of my little pony, along with the obsession with Snow White. I had a beautiful little daughter and I will treasure those memories within my heart forever.

I’m now making new memories with jake and I guess I feel I have a whole chunk of memories that I should have but are missing, the teenage years were tough and I so wish Jake had not experienced it and just had the privilege most of us never consider, to be comfortable in our own gender.

Who knows what this year will bring the only thing I know is I run marathons, I can drive to London, I can do anything, I can breathe under water.

Hold on

It’s been a long time since I’ve been here, I guess initially I felt I had nothing to add, life was ok, Jake seemed fine so I was content in my little bubble.
The past couple of months we have been thrown into chaos as we decided to move house, a few years earlier than anticipated, at the beginning of the year I couldn’t even comprehend a house move, I felt I was only just emptying my stress boxes from Jake leaving home and starting work but here I am gradually packing up our home. We have sold ours and are hopefully moving into a new build not far from where we are now actually, but a house that will suit us better in 4 weeks time.
I’ve also decided to run another marathon in September, a final stab at getting a time I’ve trained for 3 other times and the weather along with hayfever has hindered it. I can’t say I’m loving running again, it’s a hard slog to commit to a training plan, but I can see it’s coming together, last Friday saw me completing 14 miles and it didn’t feel too bad although I can’t wait for the day whereby my legs aren’t omitting a low sound of ‘ouch ouch ‘ it will come I know from previous experience.
So how’s Jake you may be thinking?
He’s ok but has had periods of self doubt, thinking he won’t gain a good enough degree and looking at alternative employments, I’m hoping it’s just a little stumble, he came home for the weekend and I gave him a pep talk so I’m hoping his confidence is up again, it did make me sad when he told me the constant comments he has to endure at work by a select few, being told he should stop being so sensitive, this angers me, just because it’s not racial they seem to think it’s acceptable, I made him laugh when I told him I would love to punch any one who’s upsetting my boy!
He’s had the go ahead for further surgery which will take place over the next 2 years, when he informed ******** bank he would need 6 weeks off his manager asked him if he couldn’t take it as a career break- seriously it’s reconstructive surgery, not cosmetic, would this manager ask a woman to take a career break to have a baby, a hysterectomy or any other illness? I think not! I told him to stick with it and if needs be he will approach HR, I’m sure this particular bank doesn’t want to be seen as non PC!
Circumstances like this really remind you as an individual how you just accept your gender and the privileges that come with it, I’ve never felt this non acceptance and find it difficult how some people think they are more privileged than others because of their gender, skin color or nationality.
I’ve felt a little anxious over the last week as today Jake was flying out to Madrid as part of his study leave, after the tragedy of the tourists in Tunisia, it makes you,want to gather your loved ones close to you and the thought of him being in another country without me to help causes the angst to reappear.
But I received a text a short time ago that made me smile and realize although he is a child of few words he does still care. image

 

All roads lead to home

As its Mother’s Day here in the UK I thought it was apt to post a blog inspired by a comment from my mum.
In life we are all on a journey, interlinking roads that many of us travel, some of us take a detour and discover smaller winding roads, that others would never venture down- waves to running friends- those that have explored this particular road will understand the joy and strength that can be gathered from the challenges we put ourselves through.
There’s always been a road that I guess I never noticed, one to be honest I thought I would never need to travel, it was down a tiny little track, surrounded by trees, blink as you were passing and you would have missed it, 2 1/2 years ago I tentatively found my self walking down this track, the darkness from the overlapping trees scared me, I wasn’t sure where it would lead me to, my heart felt heavy and sad, I didn’t want to be on this unknown path but I knew I had to as my then daughter Jess had ran on ahead without me, ignoring the fears, she had ran as fast as she could, she had no other choice, it was a path she couldn’t ignore, in her world it was a motorway the quickest route leading to the place she needed to be.
It has been a long and winding road I’ve travelled, the fear begin to subsided as I took time to look around me, gather my thoughts, breath the air and just appreciate what life had to offer. Jess was still ahead of me, occasionally I would see her look back, I was always with in sight even if I had yet to catch up with her, I would wave to reassure her I was still there. The road began to open up, the sun broke through the storm clouds, I began to feel the warmth and love I was surrounded by and I found myself amongst friends and family that had too discovered they were destined for this Journey.
There were times I felt I was stumbling, the rain and wind lashed at me, these times I felt isolated, everybody who had been around me were no longer visible, they too were dealing with their issues, it was these times I wrapped my coat around me, dug deep to unearth some strength and ran against that cold wind to gain some momentum to catch Jess.
Then one day the path opened into a beautiful meadow, the sun shone, the birds were singing and the flowers surrounded me, as I blinked and starred at the beauty around me I noticed I wasn’t alone I had finally caught up with Jess, but she didn’t look like Jess any more, the same eyes starred at me but there stood Jake, smiling, happy and looking comfortable in his body.
That’s were I am now, I’m comfortable, it’s a tough journey as a parent but one we are all capable of taking when our child reveals they are transgender.
Jake made a brief overnight visit home a couple of weeks ago as he had finished uni a day earlier than expected, to save him a return visit the following weekend I suggested he had one of his injections then, the only problem was I only had time to drop him to the hospital and then to his Nan’s and she would take him home, he agreed and later on that day I received a text from my mum:

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So all roads lead to home but sometimes it takes as all a while to catch up with one another, it’s a good thing to remember when sometimes as a parent you think you are being shut out of your transgender child’s life, stay patient, support and eventually you find one another again , sometimes our children need to have a little patience with us.

Reach for the stars

It’s been 3 weeks since that virus got me and although I feel fine it has left me with aching swollen knees, not acceptable when you to want to run! I rang the Dr and the earliest appointment with my Dr was 23rd dec!!!! So I told her I would possible be cured by then, it seems not to be the case as I’m back on ibuprofen to mask the pain and have an appointment on Friday with the nurse practitioner, we will see!
Jake is back for a brief overnight visit on Thursday, which will be nice to catch up. When he was home 2 weeks ago we did have a chat about how he was doing etc etc and of course the subject came around to his father. He hasn’t heard from him since the end of August when he asked him to stand guarantor for his flat and basically he refused in a roundabout way, Jake told him what he thought about him and communication between them has ceased. I had to say I had no excuses for him, I couldn’t understand his behaviour and it was up to Jake on how he was going to deal with it, either confront him and tell him what he has done and how, it’s made him feel or box it and get on with his life, but the one thing he had to understand that none of it was his fault, if his father has issues dealing with his transition that is his problem, Jake shouldn’t feel guilty. If his father actually took the time to get to know Jake again he would see a person he should be very proud of.
On Friday I had a haircut planned with a lovely friend, sally, I hadn’t told her about Jake as the times I had planned to she was surrounded by her girls and I needed time with just her, once again another friend who accepted, tried to understand and had absolutely no idea this had been going on, she asked how I had managed it without cracking up, it’s what you do I said but I guess I could become a dam could poker player! So the circle of friends that I have spoken to is increasing, all responses have been positive.
My mum regularly sends Jake a text to see how everything is going and she told me how last week Jake phoned and they had a lovely conversation for 30 mins, now this is a major turning point in my mind, Jake doesn’t do phone calls and text messages are always short and to the point but I finally think he is feeling more secure with in himself, also realising the family that have been supporting him really do mean it, the Jess we once knew is returning as Jake, with the dry sense of humour and opinions galore. I guess when you don’t really know yourself it’s hard to respond to those around you that are going through the same kind of angst.
All you can do is reach for the stars and climb every mountain 😄

It’s complicated

Jake has settled in well but I do bloody miss having him around, I think that’s part of my next struggle, I guess I just need to accept he is ok, I just wish he would always answer a text, but hey why would he change the habit of a lifetime? He hasn’t answered the one on Sunday, I’m letting it go a while longer but I will have to point out to him I still care and just because his relationship with his dad has fallen apart there is no way I’m allowing it!

My relationship with running, well what can I say, last year it was my crutch, as difficult as it was it was needed to remain sane, to carry on through the tough times, to cope. It’s been a relationship of almost 30 years, in varying degrees. At the moment I guess if it was a FB status, it would be, it’s complicated, or we are on a break!

That’s how I feel, I don’t need the time away from home to recycle my mind boxes, I have lots of time at home to do this now, I no longer feel the need to get out there to push myself, I do miss having that feeling but I’m tired, I’m sad and I feel I need to protect what ever is left that keeps me fundamentally me strong and running is draining that. I’m sure it will return, maybe not in the whole marathon way but there are other goals I wish to achieve.

This blog has helped me, I’ve met others in similar situations so I have become stronger it’s just I also feel lost, what now? I need to do something that makes a difference, I need to challenge myself maybe, I need to think about where I’m going. I just need to be me again, happy, content and ultimately have a joy of life, I’m not sure where I will find it, but I guess it’s best to just go with the flow, something will change, time heals all.

edit- as I posted this Jake text me, seems my powers of thought finally got through, he will ring me tonight, at least I know he hasn’t disappeared completely 😄

Adjusting

I’ve been feeling sad this past week, but I think it’s a normal kind of sadness. The kind that many parents are probably feeling at the moment, parents who’s kids have left home for uni, Jake has been gone 2 weeks, nothing unusual in my world, as I’ve been used to this over the last couple of years with him living between home, uni and Matthews, but now it’s different, he has left home properly.

So I miss him, I miss the fact that at some point he will not be home, I miss not being able to judge how he is coping, I guess that worries me most, but am I basing my worries on how Jake was pre transition? Possibly, as he is more confident and assertive now.
I am trying to see this sadness as normal, it was always going to happen, that’s what you prepare your kids for.
What I won’t miss are the endless cups left around the house, plates not put into the dishwasher, crumbs on the worktop, Jeremy Kyle on the tv along with judge rinder and judge Judy, see there always is a positive to every negative 😄
Today Jake begins work, so of course I’m on tender hooks, hoping all goes ok, I told him I would call him later to catch up,
The weather is grim here today, the first rain in a long time, it’s as if someone has flicked the winter switch, I’m not liking it, I had plan to run today, up to 10 miles but one look out the window soon changed my mind, I think I’ve been cold too many times out there and today wasn’t one where I was feeling the love, so another day cooped up inside, drinking coffee and catching up on meanless chores, but sometimes theses days are good.

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