A slap to the face and all that!

A slap in the face, blow to the stomach, kick in the teeth, that’s how it feels some days.
I know I’m in a better place than I was 2 years ago and generally I’m in a more positive mood with a happy go lucky attitude but sometimes it hits you- bam and in that instant you feel the wind has been taken from you, sucked from your lungs in a second, the angst swirls in you stomach and your head screams ‘ why me?’ These moments are a lot less than previously but they are still around. It’s a moment when I feel sorry for myself, wonder why I have to deal with it, consider the unfairness of it all and once I’ve got over my own self pity I then think of jake and once again I can’t breath as then I realise how ever hard it is for me I will never comprehend how difficult it has been for jake.
The more I think of what he has dealt with the more my head feels it will explode

.
And then I remember he is dealing with it, he’s happy, he’s excelling, he’s alive and that’s when I gather all my self pity and woes pack then back into a box and close the lid, Until the next time.

Silence

So I wondered if I would get a response from the letter, to be honest I wasn’t expecting one but I rather hoped Jake had heard from him. A week past and I heard nothing so after speaking with Jake about the Christmas present situation, thankfully he decided to be the better person and buy gifts for his dad and siblings, I took the presents around, first visit nobody at home so I sent a text to his wife, Natalie I have spoken to her before when trying to reunite the pair and asked when she would be in so I could pop in.
On arrival I was greeted with a smile and welcomed in, she thanked me for the presents and I told her Jake was stopping in London for Xmas this year. Then I just asked if Simon had rung Jake, she didn’t think so and said he had tried but had stopped trying because he had no response? Hmm that got my back up a little as from not trying to communicate doesn’t this mean in jakes world his father has abandoned him? If it was me I would continually ring or send a text, just to show I cared and would hope eventually he would respond. I explained how Jake felt and all he wanted was his dad to be proud of him, she said ‘ he is‘ I guess Jake needs to actually hear this. As I spoke of how far Jake had come in the last year, etc etc Natalie looked at me and said ‘ you seem to have coped well with his transition ‘ well I nearly choked on my words ‘ it’s been difficult but what else can you do? ‘ I replied, she will never know how it’s been and hopefully she never will, I wouldn’t want any one else to witness the angst I have had to with my own child.
She said she would speak to Simon, as he hadn’t mentioned any email I had said and I agreed to speak to Jake.

I asked Jake this weekend if his dad had rang him, he immediately became defensive, ‘ no, he doesn’t care’ was his response. I chose my words carefully but told him I had spoken to Natalie and repeated what she had told me, I then just asked him to respond if his dad rang, to give him that chance again. I do hope he does, he desperately wants his dad in his life I can blatantly see it and is the only reason I’ve tried to get them together again.

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 😄

Dont just count those blessings

Don’t just count your blessings, count them, hold them and hug them tight and always remember you have them.
This is something that has been reaffirmed with me over the last weekend.
Saturday morning my FB page was showing some sad news, a client of mine who I consider a friend had revealed her brother had committed suicide, now L&J are a wonderful couple, I tell them they are the koolest people I know, completely down to earth, they have worked in some Kool jobs and meet kool people along the way ( they really are kool and not just cool!) so hearing this did tug at my heart a little, I realised how lucky I have been with Jake, I could so easily have been in this situation, then on Sunday morning my mum rang to inform me a cousin had died from a heart attack, he was only 48. I hadn’t seen him for years but in our younger years, as a family we were all very close, visiting often, it shocked me, I guess I began to question my own mortality.
Sometimes we are all to busy to pause and look at what’s really happening in our lives, it can take these kind of shocks to make us question our own lives and priorities.
This evening I saw L&J, as we spoke I knew the question of Jess and how she was doing would come up so I prepared myself for telling all and it is always a moment to me whereby you are trusting somebody to understand but also its a time whereby you feel you could be rejected, that’s why it’s always difficult to do, amid the ‘ you never expect to deal with this’ speech L said is she transgender? The concept to her wasn’t as foreign as maybe it had been to me, she said she saw how uncomfortable Jess was within herself, so we spoke, it wasn’t as difficult as it’s been in the past, I guess I’m more informed, I’m also a lot stronger than I was 6 months ago, my angst doesn’t swirl as much, life is good.
I do look back to how I was a year ago, 2 years ago and wonder how I’ve got to this point and remained sane, I’m guessing it’s my box recycling method – box it- seal it- open it- think- box it- seal it. Simple really 😄
Jake is coping at work, I think coping in general, maybe coping isn’t the word, he is excelling, I’m so proud of him.

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 😄

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!

 

A week of caffeine & rocket

Last week was tough. I mean super tough emotionally. I actually think I existed on caffeine and rocket ( yep rocket can perk up any mundane dish) there were some tense moments whilst sorting out the required paperwork for jake & Mathews flat but I think it’s all sorted now.
Jake has been at uni all week so I’ve been on the receiving end of numerous texts concerning the flat, at one point I told jake he was not ‘ managing’ a member of staff, I was more than capable of doing what was required and in fact he seem to have changed into his father! It actually upset me quite considerably to be spoken to like my ex husband did, I pointed out to jake this, it’s a trait that may work in business but not talking to your mum!
Jake has now switched to 3 monthly testosterone injections, this is so much more practical for him and he only has 1 week until top surgery. I’m already feeling apprehensive, I know it’s what he wants, I just don’t want him in any pain, it tugs at my heart and swirls my angst just thinking about it. But like all other times I will remain strong, smile, supportive and try to alleviate any worries he has.

Let it go!

 

At last I feel I’m returning
3 weeks on a higher dose of levothroxine and it’s beginning to take effect, I’m feeling happier, less tired, I’ve started back running and the excess pounds are disappearing, it was only 7 but 7 I didn’t want!
My decision to cut down to working 4 days a week is also making me feel happier, I think I had forgotten what life really was all about if you’re not working, but maybe it helped me at the time.
Monday had me catching up with an old friend, we worked together in our 20’s and been in and out of each other’s lives since then, the kind of friendship that is always comfortable even if we haven’t spoken fir a few years. She knew I had something to tell her and as I drove over I was fairly confident how I would approach it, well my plan went out the window as soon as she asked, as I explained, fighting back the tears, I had a moment of panic as I watched her reaction, it was if she wasn’t hearing for that split second, then she sat down and said how sorry she was but at least jake was happy, as simple as that, I didn’t really doubt her support but it could be a test in a friendship, she then rang her mum to pop around who I haven’t seen for at least 10 years, she asked if I wanted her to know, of course I responded. When she arrived a quick catch up and of course she asked about Jess, I began to explain but became too emotional so my friend explained, once again I saw the shock and disbelief in her eyes, trying to comprehend what was being said, I really did think she wouldn’t understand, and them the nicest thing happened, she turned to me, took my hand, said how sorry she was but reassured me it was obviously better for Jess. I felt utter relief to have such lovely support and reactions, I guess I always doubt people will understand.
On the opposite side of understanding a ‘friend’ on FB spouted some awful words about the recent coming out of frank Malone the boxing promoter, it really made me livid suggesting transgender was a choice, was just a phase blah blah, I really don’t wish to repeat his language, which really not only shows his ignorance but also stupidity, as the following day it was all about the death of robin Williams, so of course he was supporting depression etc, I commented on how his status was laughable due to what he had previously written, I basically said how it wasn’t a choice, suicide was higher in this minority group, and as humans we should show empathy and understanding, as we had moved a long way in the last century and only through education could we begin to understand, he didn’t understand what I had written and spouted more vile comments, I refrained from answering, I can only hope some one else reading his status may understand and then at least I would have changed someone’s opinion. Of course I could have just ignored it but I figured someone has to speak out to change the world! The laughable fact about this guys girlfriends sister is actually MTF transgender do that was why I really couldn’t understand his rant.
Feeling so much more positive I also told another friend who no longer lives in the area, she answered in a positive way, I guess it may take time to digest. It’s harder to judge over the internet on their reaction.
So how is jake?
Jake is going from strength to strength, he has his top surgery booked in less than a month and begins work in 2 months, his confidence has grown so much. We did have a conversation recently, when he was worrying about money over the first few months of leaving home, I reassured him we were here to help, that families supported one another and even though he is so like me in being independent, he really needed to share his worries, he smiled and seemed happier. I guess sometimes we all forget to tell our families how important they are to us.

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. 😄