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Thursday, 23 June 2022

Halfway: Going up or coming down?

Three posts in as many days. what is she thinking?

She's thinking that she's having the time of her life and rather wishes this could just go on forever,  but I'm just over the halfway point where I'm counting the days left before Susie has to go back in her box.

Decided to go the other way up the canal path this time and come back into town by bus. Forgot that my bus pass is only valid after 9am, so ended up with a longer walk back than I anticipated.

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Park Life

In which our heroine ventures - a bit - further afield...

'confidence is a preference' says Tony Daniels at the start of Blur's Park Life.

Having tried all the local parks, I thought I'd try one a bit further, although it's really only a short hop and skip of a bus ride. 

Actually I've been here before on an exploratory visit a couple of years before lockdown, so I knew there were generously sized gender-neutral loos that I could change in, and back for the trip home. 

I wasn't confident then or now to try the whole trip there and back as Susie, but maybe that's still to come. 

Glorious day, although perhaps leaving it to the middle of the afternoon wasn't the best choice. Or forgetting to pack a bottle of water along with the myriad other things I needed to remember for the change bag (skirt, check; flats, check; wig, check; forms, check; wipes, check; keys, check; camera, check; keys, check again). It's these days you really envy women who can just pull on a pair of shorts, sandals and a loose top and be out in 5 minutes without having to bag half the contents of the bathroom.

(Although I did see one girl, years ago, empty what looked like the entire Boots cosmetics counter out of her bag onto the bus seat beside her and give a full makeup demonstration to anyone watching. I wouldn't have been brave enough to put anything near my eyes on a bus hurtling down a country road full of potholes. Astonishing, she looked immaculate when she got off at the station.)


meanwhile, some other park life... (I was examined briefly for food and then summarily dismissed.)

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Another Green World

Well, perhaps not a world, but maybe a small island, or more likely another recreation park.

Google maps showed that there was another block of green out at the top of the village, although until now I had never found it despite the fact that I must have passed it several times, so this morning (it being a day for Susie, after what feels an long time, although it's probably 'only' been five weeks) I decided to go and find it.

behind the green door.
Whenever I see a door in a wall like this I am reminded of stories where someone comes across a mysterious door that they'd never noticed before in a wall  and whether they go through it or pass it by their lives change forever. Probably the most famous is H. G. Wells' story 'The Door in the Wall'. but fantasy is full of these doors to other worlds. Though I suspect this one is just to someone's back garden, but what a neat thing to have your garden open out onto a park.

And not just a park, but a nice bit of wild space with trees and interweaving paths off to one side which make this feel more out the way than it actually is, given it's enclosed on thee sides by residential roads. 
(When you go to the end of one of those roads, though, and cross over onto the footpath, the fields beyond run into the distance, with the top of the spire of St Mary's Church off to one side. 
I remember standing here early one morning years ago watching a family of deer playing.)

Today was an opportunity to give the sparkly silver trainers I mentioned at the end of my last post a first outing.

time for a nice sit down after all that exploring.
One of the exits from the park came out in the middle of a rather familiar looking road, almost opposite the house where a couple of our friends live. Since they don't know about Susie, I decided not to chance it and found another exit that would take me out a  different way.

In other news, yesterday afternoon's Teams call from work was the first time that the rest of the company Pride Network committee got to meet Susie, although they've know about her since I came out and shared a photo of Susie on Trans Day of Visibility.  blog post: Differently Wired

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Back to the Bridge

Same place, same bridge, and almost the same outfit - not quite almost eight montha on.

Last time I was here I had just got a long floaty skirt. This time it's a different one, which I thought also deserved a first outing. 

I like this place. It's peaceful and quiet - or is at the moment, until they start building a huge football stadium right in the middle of it. And I do like this rickety old wooden bridge.

It started misty earlier in the morning, but had cleared up by the time I'd done a bottle bank run and a quick detour though Sainsburys where I tried on a pair of trainers (too tight for comfort, even in 8 - but see later). Sainsburys now seems to have a far more expansive cosmetics counter than I remember.
Then across to the the nature reserve and a slightly circuitous route to the canal bridge (OK, I got slightly lost and ended up going in a complete circle) and a walk back along the towpath.
In all it turned out I'd been out just shy of a couple of hours by the time I got back which is, shamefully, probably the longest I've walked in a over a fortnight.

This was new - the  'Jubilee Grove'. 
Not so sure about the poem though. It seems to be the sort of thing people write when they're tying to be deliberately poetic. But then, I'm a Modernist. What would I know?

The cows were new too, in a fenced off area to one side of the path, all wearing fetching yellow numbered earrings.  

A couple more views along the towpath on the way back. Almost nobody about at that time except a pair of ducks and couple of people steering a narrowboat under a bridge.

I've seen this pair of trainers in the charity shop for a few weeks now and so far  resisted, but this morning the allure of a pair of girly trainers in sparkly silver proved harder to resist, although I probably need to be careful that they don't shed glitter all over the carpet that could prove hard to explain. (Harder than why the closet is filled with skirts and dresses, none of which are in L's size?)

Time was..

Sunday, 17 April 2022

A Good Friday indeed

 Another day, another hairstyle.
A cheapish brunette bob wig I've had for years, but I quite like the way looks in this photo.

The last afternoon (Friday) of a four day break spent almost entirely as Susie while I have the place to myself. In the words of the late John Le Mesurier, 'It's all been rather lovely'.
L returns in a couple of hours so time to clean up and tidy  away any evidence of Susie presence and put her back in the box until next time she can come out to play. (Perhaps I should have been named Looby Lou, although that reference may be lost on anyone not old enough to draw their pension.) How can a single girl leave so much mess in her wake?

I may have taken visibility a bit further than I intended in the morning when decided the day was too nice to stay indoors and went down the village to see if any of the shops were open. However, being a bank holiday, and an Easter one at that, I rather forgot that a lot of other people might be out and about, including several I know in non-Susie life. Two of them were taking part in a Good Friday service outside the church and I'm not entirely sure whether I got one of those 'where have I seen you before?' looks from one of them as I passed. 
Maybe it was that that also made me oversensitive as to what two girls were privately giggling about in one of the charity shops, given that I was the only other customer at the time. Who knows, and really, who cares?

Thursday, 14 April 2022

Over the fields and far away

You know those dreams where you are walking towards something in the distance but no matter how long you go on walking it never gets any closer? For a long while this morning, the spire of St Mary's church felt a lot like that.

I was in two minds about going out the moment I stepped outside the door. It was colder and mistier than I expected and I almost retreated back inside for a coffee. But I'm glad I didn't. It turned into a nice walk, though the camera had some problems finding a focus point in some misty distance shots. I even found a new footpath route, although I think it was one I might have explored before except only from the other direction. Although it wasn't filled with horses back then.
And the coffee was just as welcome when I finally got back.

I also twigged the reason why people are advised not put their new food waste bins out for collection the night before, as I carefully negotiated the contents of one overturned bin scattered across the pavement and into the road. Apparently foxes have learned to unlock them already. Which is more than we have.

I have now encountered the same delivery lady three mornings in a row on three different streets to the point where we now wave and exchange greetings. I've no idea what she's delivering to various houses, except the house selection seems quite specific. Perhaps I should ask if we cross paths again another morning. It might be Avon products. That might be interesting.

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Differently Wired

Yes, it's been a long time since the last post. Sorry about that. More about that a bit later.

Meanwhile, in deference to this Thursday's Transgender Day of Visibility on 31 March, I have finally taken a step that I've been thinking about doing for a long time since I became a member of my company's Pride Network committee, and finally came out to my fellow committee members as bi-gender/gender fluid by sharing a version of the picture below on a Teams chat. 

The opportunity came after the end of one our our Pride Network virtual coffee mornings (I prefer real coffee) in which we flagged upcoming event days for the month to the members including TDoV and fielded a bit of discussion about the different descriptions and pronouns within the trans spectrum. (Well-meaning and supportive cis allies have a fear of 'getting it wrong' and being called out/cancelled after reading too many scare stories on social and redtop media. It's such a shame when it really boils down to 'don't ask a trans colleague  or friend something you'd consider intrusive or rude to ask anyone else'.)

Anyway, when we talked afterwards about how the meeting had gone, I got the opportunity that it had never been quite the right moment for before to introduce them to  Susie. (Though I've still to actually tell them her name.)  It's something that had been nagging at me for a while as a feeling of mild imposter syndrome, being a member of a Pride Network intended to encourage to feel safe about being out and open at work and yet not feeling ready to do so myself. It's still only the committee - five other people - so far. Whether and when I extend that wider is another matter, and frankly I don't see how that would make much difference to how I work.

Back to that long gap between posts: 
Can you forget about your transness? 

I don’t think you can stop being trans, or forget that you are trans/bi-gender/fluid/NB or how you think about about yourself.

But it seems that the importance, and the need or even desire to express that part of yourself can wax and wane. 

It’s been  while. Nothing drastic, but between the cold, the weather, various health problems (more L’s than mine, though that's little consolation) and current affairs, the opportunities or indeed enthusiasm for expressing as Susie have drifted into the background. There were even a couple of days when I did have the opportunity of a day to myself, and in the past, in better weather, I would have looked forward to all week as an opportunity to spend the day as Susie and even get out for a couple of hours for a walk. Instead I found that I really couldn’t summon any enthusiasm (or, to be honest, any real desire) for the prospect, or for the hassle of getting changed, and instead spent the day working, reading and picking over the one of the never ending rotation of jigsaw puzzles that have been a constant fixture on the dining room table since lockdown.

These things come and go. It’s hard to think that this is a permanent state of affairs or the ‘new normal’. More, perhaps, a timely and needed respite from the constant background insistence of Susie’s presence that will almost certainly return at some point, when we will have re-engage with that delicate negotiation between desire, need and opportunity. 

[Minor update. In fact, the combination of opportunity, weather and desire have come together on a couple of days in the last month when I decided it would be nice to spend the day, or part of it, as Susie again. I was also working remotely on one of those days, and thought it would be a nice idea to do it in a smart office outfit rather than the usual shabby and shapeless jumper.]

This next bit has lain dormant in my draft box for a while now. Perhaps now is as good a time as any to revive it.

I have been circling back to something I wrote around around the end of last year, in Domestic Bliss?  where I mentioned my reaction to being told in jest that I would make someone a good housewife. (I hoped it was in jest and not a veiled proposal, because the person who said it at the time was hardly a match for George Clooney - nor even, to be honest, for Osgood Fielding III.)

Anyway, it set me to thinking back to other times when my reaction to a comment made me realise that I was wired differently to other boys around me, and I wondered if anyone else had similar memories and might like to share them.

The earliest one I can remember was when I probably 7 or 8 when we were staying at a cousin’s house. For some reason a shared joke (probably rude) between the two of us had set us both off giggling and when this continued through the evening and into dinner the head of the house finally lost patience and exploded that if we continued to behave like silly schoolgirls then perhaps we should be dressed like that and sent to school that way the next day. We shut up, embarrassed and abashed, and the meal continued in silence. Looking back now, I know that the threat almost certainly wouldn’t or couldn’t have been carried out, but at the time it awoke a feeling that must have been dormant for some while: a mixture of fear, shame but also the thrill that it would - could - actually happen. Although not enough to want to test it. Indeed, I’m not even sure even now whether the overriding part of that thrill was the desire to dress or be dressed as a girl or the prospect of humiliation.

The image in my head
What was more likely (still weirdly cute, though)

I have to acknowledge that in my private moments that uneasy mixture still remains part of me. Some childhood things never completely go away, although the thrill still get from seeing a box of proper metal Meccano with it brass gears and screws or my abiding love for Milne’s Winnie The Pooh are perhaps a bit more defensible even in my dotage. There have been several other occasions in the intervening years, perhaps for a later post, but that first memory still feels somehow formative.