I was referred to Principal Psychosexual Therapist Martin J Riley in October 2005 by my GP, after having counselling with RELATE Wrecsam. Back then, his office was at the Grove Road NHS Clinic. Earlier this year, many NHS clinic were moved to the Wrecsam Maelor Hospital campus, and now, he is based within Tŷ Deryn.
I remember feeling very anxious about talking through my emotions, feelings and the need to change gender with a man. I thought it would be easier talking through how I was feeling with a woman, after all, I saw myself as a woman. I was expecting to see an older man with a beard but not quite. He was grey haired and no beard and tall and very kind, thoughtful, understanding. Within 5 minutes, I was at ease I broke down in tears as I began to tell him about why I was there and why i needed help, and he handed me a box of tissues. I wasn’t telling him anything he had not heard before from other in my situation but, this was my story; my inner most feelings and desire I was spilling. It was not like I could lie to get what I wanted was it, after all; he would be able to tell if I was. Plus, what would be the point in doing so? I was there for his help, to guide me along the path I could no longer turn away from. I was scared …. shit scared in all honesty. Who wouldn’t be?I explained that if I didn’t seek help now, I would preobably end up being sectioned. I was losing the plot big time – rocking back and fro with my legs up to my chest, banging my head against the wall and talking to myself and losing track of who and where I was and of time too. I have very little memory of how I was back then. I try to fill in the gaps, unsuccessfully mind. Basically, it was now or never to seek help, I had told myself.
I had tried many times in my twenties (24), to seek help and I had actually sought an hour’s counselling with RELATE Deeside who, at the end of the session, had given me a number to phone in Wrecsam, that number was either for RELATE in Wrecsam or the Clinic on Grove Road, but I do not recall. I wish I had not cancelled the several appointments I had made. If I hadn’t, I would have gotten the help I so truly needed that much sooner – a good 10 years sooner. I was so scared and kept cancelling the phone call just before I dialled the last digit. Seems so silly now. I guess I just was not ready despite wanting desperately to change my gender.
For the first few years, I went to see him in my old gender and worked through my feelings, my doubts, talked about family, friends, work place and free time. As well as my childhood, when did I first start to wear clothes of the opposite gender etc. My frame of mind was in a real dark place and I had little to no confidence in myself whatsoever. This is why it took me a couple of years to finally accept who I am. During 2008, I had made my decision – I was going to transition from male to female. I had been wearing female clothes out and about for a few year – women’s trainers, jeans, tees, jumpers but looking androgynous. At my next appointment, I turned up head to toe as a woman much to Martin’s surprise! I had not forwarned him that I was going to do this and; I had not made the decision until the night before. I wore a brown leather jacket, jeans, striped tee and slip on shoes and padded out my chest. I felt like ME. From then on, I turned up for my counselling as Cerys whilst in my home and work life, I worked up towards coming out and going full-time, which did not commence until April 2009. I had to build up to telling my family, friends and work place, as well as applying for my name change via Deed Poll.
A Deed Poll allows you to back date your change of name (can’t remember how far back you can) and I didn’t. I applied in the April of 2009 and therefore, I have officially been Cerys for 4 years 4 months although I began using my new name since 2006 when I started using Yahoo, and chose it a few years previous after going through different names – Bronwen, Morgana, Blodwyn, Mair amongst those I contemplated. Why Cerys? Besides being a Welsh name, when I looked in the mirror, the name felt right. Cerys is a derivative of Carys which in turn is a derivative of Cariad (love), in turn stems from Calon meaning heart.
Shortly after my name change, my frame of mind took a severe nose dive for several months, taking me into 2010. For some reason, I had lost all confidence in myself and my transition to womanhood. Now, I have suffered with bouts of depression for years. My weight was affected each time – losing weight to 8st 10/9st 2 to gaining weight and ballooning to 11st / 11st 7Ibs. Wearing a size 14 jeans, be it for a months, freaked me out so much that I lost what I gained and got back down to 9st 6Ibs before putting weight on again. I remained at around 10st /11st mark for 18 months on and off, and only since May 2013, have I got myself back to 9st 4Ibs. By late spring of 2010, my mood rose and I was in a happy place which gained momentum when endocrinologist Dr Wong at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, prescribed me female hormones and testosterone blockers. Finally, I was on my way to becoming the woman I knew I am. So, besides the normal ups and downs, a few med changes along the way, hormones are working nicely.
October 2012, I got a letter from WLMHT (West London Mental Health Trust), part of Charing Cross hospital, that an appointment had been made to see Dr Stuart Lorimer on Friday 21st December at 1.15pm but, I was not able to attend. I had to send a letter to rearrange the appointment for the new year. Within a few weeks, a letter arrived with the date of my new appointment – Friday, 28th February at 09.15. This was no good because I require an afternoon appointment, what with me having to travel to London from North Wales. I rang WLMHT and after the receptionist looked at the calendar, Friday, 1st March 2013 1.15pm. The appointment lasted for 1 hour 30 minutes or so and Dr Lorimer gave me the green light to go for surgery pending what Dr Penny Lenihan said at my second appointment Thursday, 18th July 2013 and she too, gave me the all clear to go for surgery. Now waiting for a letter from the surgeons to arrange an appointment with them, hopefully before Christmas.
Coming back to the now, Thursday, 8th August was my last ever appointment with Martin Riley due to his retirement in October. I will miss going to Wrecsam every couple fo months to chat about how everything is going for me especially as I am so near to the end of my transition journey. He is happy with how I have got myself out and about and meeting new people – Facebook groups Rustic Rainbow and Rainbow 25, two groups whereby I gained many new wonderful friends (you know who you are), for whom I am ever so grateful to know. I told him how I am just waiting for Dr Midence (Ysbyty Bangor) to complete part 1 of my GRC (Gender Recognition Certificate) and post back to me, and will be 4 weeks come Friday. Normally, Martin would chase this matter up but, this time, it is down to me to do so if I do not receive the form by end of the week. After a handshake, a wish me look for the future, that was it, my final ta ra to Martin Riley after almost 8 years of counselling sessions.
It is going to be so weird not going to Ysbyty Maelor to see Martin Riley, definitely going to miss my appointments, especially for follow ups after surgery. From hereonin, my follow ups from Charing Cross will be with my GP Dr Elizabeth Shaheir. A brilliant doctor with whom I end up having a good laugh and a natter with each and very time I have gone to see her. Here is to the future …. may it bring me love, company and happiness.
(( Cwtch ))
I am a huge fan iof Doctor Who and have been for as long as I can remember. I got into the show when the legend that is Tom Baker was in the role (which he remained in for a record 7 years). I came into the show during 1976 which was Elisabeth Sladen’s final series as investigative journalist Sarah Jane Smith. I am happy to call myself a Whovian. The best science fiction show on the tele box.
Since Matt Smith announced his departure from Doctor Who on 4th June 2013, the search has been on to find a worthy replacement. Much speculation has been bounded about from the press and the fanbase, with such names as: Ben Daniels, Idris Elba, Domonic Cooper, Domhnall Gleeson as well as female actors – Dame Helen Mirren, Sue Perkins and 2 times BAFTA winner Olivia Coleman. 7pm this evening, the wait was finally over. In a special BBC One programme – Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor, which was simutaniously aired around the world. The programme was presented by Zoë Ball with on the sofa guests: Peter Davison (Fifth Doctor), comic actress Liza Tarbuck (Mount Pleasant), and child actor Daniel Roche (Outnumbered), along with comedian Rufus Hound and the marvellous Bernard Cribbins (Wilfred Mott) was there in person.
There were contributions from former companions including Anneke Wills (Polly), Katy Manning (Jo Grant), Janet Fielding (Tegan) and Bonnie Langford (Mel). Writer and actor Mark Gatiss also features in the show by way of a specially recorded video. There’ll also be video contributions from Professor Robert Winston, Jo Whiley, Bruno Tonioli and following his appearance in The Power of Three, Professor Brian Cox.
That took care of the first 28 minutes of this Doctor Who special before Zoë Ball finally got around to actually revealing the identity of the actor who will be filling the shoes of Matt Smith and taking over the helm of the TARDIS; PETER CAPALDI. At the age of 55, he is the oldest Doctor of the rebooted version of Doctor Who (so since 2005). In fact, he is the same age as William Hartnell when he became the Doctor back in 1966. Peter is a veteran of the Whoniverse with an appearance in the 2008 episode The Fires Of Pompeii where he played Caecillius and in Torchwood:Children Of Earth as John Frobisher.
Capaldi is a ‘lifelong Doctor Who fan’. He says he prepared by downloading old scripts and practising in front of the mirror.
Steven Moffat, lead writer and executive producer says : “It’s an incendiary combination: one of the most talented actors of his generation is about to play the best part on television. Peter Capaldi is in the TARDIS!”
Doctor Who companion, Jenna Coleman says : “I’m so excited Peter Capaldi is the man taking on the challenge of becoming the Twelfth Doctor. With Steven’s writing and his talent I know we’ll be making an amazing show with an incredible incarnation of number 12. I can’t wait to start this new adventure!”
Charlotte Moore, Controller BBC One says : “Peter Capaldi has all the genius and versatility needed to take on the mantel of the great Time Lord and make the role his own. He’ll bring his own particular wisdom, charisma and wit to the Twelfth Doctor and take the show into an exciting new era.”
I am happy with their choice for the twelth Doctor. Like many Whovians, I wanted the next actor to be older than the last three – Ninth Doctor Chris Eccleston (41), Tenth Doctor David Tennant (34) and out-going Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith (26). I personally was hoping that they would choose an actor who was in their late 40’s / early 50’s just liek back in the 1960’s and 1970’s. I just wish they chosen a Welsh actor 🙂
The picture I put together using the present Doctor Who title logo and an image of Peter Capaldi from the SKY ARTS1 documentary programme ‘Inside The Mind Of Leonardo’ (Da Vinci).
I can’t wait for the Christmas episode and Matt’s regeneration into Peter. Excited much 😀
(( Cwtch ))
The weekend of Friday, 26th July – Saturday, 27th July 2013 saw the GBLT community celebrate what it means to be Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered at the second Balchder Gogledd Cymru / North Wales Pride at Hendre Hall, Tal-Y-Bont, Bangor, Gwynedd.
Hendre is a grade 2* listed Victorian farmyard built in 1860 by the Penrhyn estate. The buildings form a unique venue, hosting a wide variety of events, from live music to weddings and private functions. The candlelit great hall with its huge open fire and mezanine gallery is reminiscent of a medieval banqueting hall – a favourite at christmas.
The long barn is licensed for civil weddings – a lovely beamed room with doors opening onto cobbled courtyard. Located between the coastal village of Llanfairfechan and the University of Bangor on the A55 expressway.
Hendre is ideally placed on the foothills of the spectacular Snowdonia mountain range.
Those who were camping over the weekend began to arrive at 4pm on Friday afternoon, with the entertainment kicking off at 8pm with James from Re-edit productions blasting out some top tunes which included those that coincided with the weekend’s theme – DECADES and cabaret.
The cost of the weekend was as follows:
£15 – Weekender ticket (Friday & Saturday)
£5 – Friday night only
£5 – Saturday day
£8 -Saturday night only
£5 – Camping per person
Saturday morning started off like Friday – glorious sunshine and very hot. I got myself ready – I didn’t dress up in fancy dress because I could not afford to do so this year, and I wore a sleeveless top and denim skirt and my flowery Trilby. I left home shortly before 11am to meet up with a Mirraelle (whose car we were going in) and Eric, before picking up Mirraelle’s sister Ezme in Holywell. We thought we were going to be delayed when 10 minutes past LLanelwy, we hit slow-moving traffic on the A55. Fortunately, the traffic was only staggered for a mere 5 minutes – reason unknown. We arrived at Hendre Hall at 12.35pm – half an hour after the opening by Roxy Fart and Crystal Bawls.
I had asked for my ticket to be reserved at reception as I had meant to purchase one from Rascals Bar on Friday 19th July, seeing how I was in Bangor anyway for an appointment at Ysbyty Gwynedd. However, I had forgotten to go in to town due to the heatwave on the day and I just wanted to get home in to shade. Even though I had not attended the Friday night, I still had to purchase a day and evening ticket costing me £13. Inside the room off reception were several information stalls covering the needs of the GBLT community – health, workplace, support groups and also Unions. I am a member of Denbighshire & Flintshire outdoor group called Rustic Rainbow who shared the Unique stall. So, if you live in north Wales, why join and come along to one to the events. I picked up a free hessian Balchder Gogledd Cymru tote bag, rainbow ribbon (50p) too (pictures at bottom of page).
1pm, in the courtyard was a performance by the Batala Drum Band from Bangor who are celebrating 10 years this year. There is a video section on their website. They performed for about half an hour – totally brilliant they are and a must see for sure. Once they had finished, I grabbed myself a Chipstick with a Portuguese Peri Peri sprinkling. What is a chipstick I hear you ask? Good question and I shall explain what it is. The stall is run by a couple of young Welsh lads and they have one of only seven Chipstick machine. They put a baking potato on to a wooden skewer and place in to this device which tops and tails the potato and unravels it so that it looks like what I call a helter skelter. They then place in to a bath of hot oil and fry for a couple of minutes before removing the skewered potato and adding a floured sprinkle of your choice. The Portuguese peri peri is extremely hot and would only recommend this favouring if you like your food very spicy and hot! Tasted lovely all the same.
In the main hall, I caught the tail end of Awen Haf‘s performance before watching Meinir Gwylim‘s half hour set. She sang in Welsh which is fantastic to hear and promoting welsh music, and then The L-Project performed their official GBLT charity single – ‘It Gets Better’. the single is still available for download and please download and help raise funds, thank you. Inside,, I caught up with a number of familiar faces both old and new (Rustic Rainbow and Prestatyn based Rainbow 25 ), before heading back towards reception to get my face painted…
I haven’t had my hair cut short (even though it does appear as though I have), it is tied back. Looking at the photo now, I should have worn it down but, at least i know I would look OK if I ever chose to have my hair short. Plus, I have kind of started to contemplate contact lenses again. It has been a few years since I last tried them but I found them uncomfortable at the time. I did wear contacts back in the 1990’s for several years. However, the majority say I suit wearing glasses. I was wearing my glasses but I took them off to show off the facial art.
Around 5 /5.30pm, Mirraelle was taken in to the ambulance as she was not looking too well – heat had got to her and the cobbles were difficult for her too. By 6.30pm, the Paramedics had suggested that I take her home, which I did. After all, her health is more important than the event. Eric and I stayed with her for a while and, after talking about it; we would return to Pride and let Mirralle sleep – which she truly needed. I went home to change before picking Eric up at 8.20pm and we arrived back at Pride by 9.15pm, which was pretty good going to be fair.
The evening partying was well under way and those that had left to go home and change for the evening had returned and were now enjoying the party atmosphere. I asked for a bitter shandy at the bar, as I had noticed they had Tetley bitter on draught. The guy behind the bar told me they didn’t have bitter but could do a lager shandy; which I chose to opt for instead. Big mistake! I am not a fan of lager these days and never really have and despite feeling a tad icky with it, I drank over 3/4s of it considering I had paid near on £3 for it. Rest of the evening I was on water – much better. The evening headliner was The X-Factor contestant from a couple of years ago Kitty Brucknell. I had not seen her on The X-Factor as the show never interested me in the 10 years it has been on ITV. She was enthusiastic and one can see why the gays like her. However, during her act, I began to wonder whether she was miming in parts (?). After reading comments on the Cymru Pride Wales Facebook page on Sunday, I am not the only one who thought so. That said, I did enjoy her performance to be fair. After Kitty, was Craig Cavannah who really got things swinging and also me on the dance floor – completely sober I must add!
11.45pm – Eric and I decided to head off back home as it would take 45 minutes to drive from one end of the country to the other. Before leaving though, I required food. I had two options – burger van selling hot dogs at £3.50 or the Chipstick lads selling hot dogs at £2. I chose the latter and saved myself £1.50 i9n the deal. Earlier in the day, I had tried a chipstick off them and I also had barbecue pork fifty-fifty. If you do not know what I mean by fifty-fifty, quite simply it is half chips and half rice. Got to say – total yummi! So, once I had noshed down my hot dog, gone the loo, we headed back to the car and drove home. By now, the heavens had opened up and it lashed down and thus, I took my time driving home.
Brilliant event and I thoroughly enjoyed myself no end. It has been so so long since I have partied like I had on Saturday at Hendre Hall. Roll on 2014 for the next one!
Looking a tad worn from the dancing 🙂
(( Cwtch ))
Thursday, 18th July 2013 – After my last visit to WLMHT (West London Mental Health Trust) back in March, July seemed to come around ever so slowly. 18 weeks in fact. When they gave me the date for the second appointment, this time to see Dr Penny Lenihan, I was disappointed and yet, not surprised that it was July and not sooner. Mind you, once the 18th July arrived, it only seemed a mere few weeks since my last visit down south. Wales and England are currently in the middle of a heatwave hitting 90°F or 32°C. The hottest since 2006. Down London, it was ridiculously hot – even in the shade! I was in denim shorts and sleeveless top and open sandals and I was still melting like a bucket!
My appointment was for 1.15pm (same as in March), and had to be at the clinic 1/2 an hour before my appointment so that they can check all my details. I was there for 12. 40pm. So, what did Dr Penny Lenihan have to say? Well, she said that she would go over what Dr Stuart Lorimer had with me at last visit but just ask a few similar questions and discuss next steps – surgery. She asked about my medications and only two had changed since March, and one of the was propranolol from 80mg to 120mg a day to help with headaches and a change from oral to gel estrogen (Sandrena 3mg). How supportive are my family? I told her that my mam and dad had come down to London with me and that they were going to make a weekend stay of it, whilst I returned home later that day because I had to be in Bangor the following afternoon. Was I working? No, made redundant at the end of November 2012. Did I transition at work? Yes. 2009 when I change my name too via Deed Poll. That I had no harassment from work colleagues nor from people out and about on the streets in my home village / town.
Prior to seeing Dr Lenihan, the clinical nurse Iffy Middleton was grabbing everyone attending the clinic to do the basics – height, weight, waist measurement, asked whether had any hormone related issues. At the end of the consultation with Dr Lenihan, she wanted me to see Iffy before I left the clinic to check whether I needed genital electrolysis prior to surgery. So, I had to get on the examination bed, reveal my genitalia for her to check. Iffy said that I did not require any electrolysis and was OK to go ahead for vaginoplasty when the surgeons are ready. I told my mam and dad about the whole appointment, and mam said “Bet that was embarrassing?” To which I replied, “No, not at all”. After all, the whole point is to convert my penis to a vagina. I would have been apprehensive seeing a gynaecologist had I been born with correct anatomy rather than with having a medical person examine my male genitalia.
After leaving the clinic, we headed to Charing Cross Hospital so that I could claim back my travel expenses, what with being on JSA (Job Seekers Allowance), before heading to Euston train station. Had a bite to eat at Nando’s – mild piri piri chicken wrap and mango juice – nice 🙂 The train was late leaving due to their being an off track fire on way down apparently. Was only 10 minutes departing London. I nodded off for a while on way home due to the heat and ever so glad of having a bottle of water with me. Got home around 7.30pm – good timing to be fair.
Friday, 19th July 2013 – Heatwave persists. 30°C 82°F in North Wales.
My Psychosexual Therapist, Dr Martin Riley had made an appointment for me to see Clinical Psychologist Dr Kenny Midence (Mid-ence not My-dence) after I had informed him that my Gp Dr Elizabeth Shaheir had completed section 2 of the medical section for my GRC application (Gender Recognition Certificate). Dr Midence is the only member of the GRC board who is resident in all of Wales!
Living in rural Wales, one has to travel miles to see all these gender specialist or any specialst for that matter because the majority, it seems, are based across the border in England or down in South Wales even. On this occasion however, Dr Kenny Midence is based at the Psychology Department which is in the Hergest Unit at Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor.
I left home at 10.45 am as I needed to nick into town first – stick a repeat prescription in Lloyds for my mam, and I thought I would have a leisurely drive down the A55 to Bangor, as it was such a glorious sunny day. So, by the time I had actually left Flint, it had gone 11am.
I arrived handier than I thought at 12.20pm and despite being able to see Ysbyty Gwynedd on approaching Bangor, I didn’t know where exactly I had to drive from within the town itself. Therefore, I drove round and followed the signs for the hospital, which did not take me long to locate to be fair. I decided to get something to eat; I spotted a McDonald’s on entering the town and grabbed me a cheese burger and fries at the drive thru and ate them in the car park. Not my usual choice of grub but it suited my purpose at the time. By now it was 12.40pm and I had just under an hour and a half before my appointment with Dr Midence – no point going round town as I had initially planned to do. So, I drove round and up to the hospital and sat in the car for half an hour before walking round the right hand side of the main hospital building towards the Hergest Unit.
The unit must be fairly new as it looked so from the outside and from within. I was 35 minutes early and only had to wait 5 minutes for Dr Midence to come for me. He had been phoning earlier to ask if I could attend earlier than my appointment but, it went straight to answer machine on both my home and mobile phones, the latter because I was driving at the time.
I had an A4 envelope with the GRC form (several pages long) all completed and just required Dr Midence to complete and sign PArt 1 of the medical proof. As he is on the GRC board, he asked the usual questions as well – At what age had I first ‘cross-dressed (as he put it) and whose clothes were they’? When was the next time? How did my ex-wife feel about my doing so? Had I self harmed? How supportive are my family and friends? Work environment? Home life – live alone or in a relationship? How do I identify – lesbian, straight, trans-female? Do I suffer any harassment? Answers I had already given to Drs Riley, Lorimer and Lenihan. I was with him for long – half an hour or just over. I have to say, such a lovely guy, foreign and had a bit of a laugh with him too. He is completing what he needs to do for me, post it back to me and then I can send it off and get my GRC; and then I will be 100% legally female!
After leaving Ysyty Gwynedd, I drove straight home but I should have had a wander around Bangor as I had driven all the way to the other side of the country! Mind you, I will be back in Bangor on Saturday, 27th July for Balchder Cymru Pride 2013!! I am so looking forward to it 🙂
((( Cwtch )))
(Picture: Pamela Davis Kivelson)
At the moment, all I can think about, is how better off I would be if I was no longer treading this mortal coil. This is a state of mind that I have difficulty in erasing from my thoughts for as long as I can pretty much remember. I do not want to think like this but i can not help myself. My life has been rubbish in childhood and adulthood. The only true good times that I have experienced have been with my close family. Out of 41 years treading this planet’s crust; I would estimate a total of 5 years of good times. That is pretty down depressing is it not?
I fought my Gender Dysphoria for so long, that once I finally transitioned, I stupidly believed that my life would improve for the better. After 4 years of living my true life; there has not been a vast improvement. Yes, I am 100% convinced that i have done the right thing for me in transitioning from male to female. After all, I could no longer continue living what i felt to be a lie. i was going complete schizo! I was thumping myself everywhere and anywhere on my person just to knock the GID out of me. If I was not hitting myself, I was head butting doors and walls, screaming, crying, over eating and then making myself vomit by jamming two fingers down the back of my throat, until what I had eaten came back up out of my body. A the time I was 5ft 4 1/4 ins and 9 st 2Ibs, and believed I was well over weight.Sounds crazy to everyone else but not to me. My ex-wife would comment how she hated cwtching up to me because my hip bones would stick in to her. That comment did not even register in my head.
Since transitioning and being on hrt, I have shrunk in height to 5ft 3 ins, foot size down from a 7 to a 6 but, I have gained weight which I am so not happy with. With me, I found that taking female hormones made me feel hungry all of the time. I was snacking in between regular meals and my I put on the pounds with ease. I rose to a just under 11 stones! I was utterly shocked. It took 18 months for my body to settle in to the intake of estrogen before I could start to lose the weight and I now fluctuate between 10st 2Ibs and 10st 7Ibs. I am still not content with my weight nor my overall appearance and it is pretty depressing and I do not know what to do.
But why is my mood down? I am alone and feel lonely. A simple fact – I have far more acquaintances in my life than I have actual friends.
Reading online friends status’ recently has made me feel melancholic. They have written status’ like: had a great night out with …. , enjoyed a good evening with …
Here I am, eager to be out and about and make new friends to hook up to go out wherever and do whatever; shopping, coffee, cinema, girlie chats and that. None of these activities are a part of my social life. In fact; I do not have a social life, not really. I go to monthly meet-ups with groups such as Encompass and Rustic Rainbow, but these are once a month. I can not seem to attract anyone to spend time in my company. This upsets me no end. I have made a few friends from the meet-ups but distance makes it hard to spend time with. It is not like I do not want to be out and about socializing, quite the opposite. I have had a belly full of being single and alone in my own company.
Today, Saturday 20th April 2013, has been a lovely day with a moderate temperature of 16 °C and what have I done to while away this sunny day? Stayed indoors and done pretty much frack all. I could not see the point of wasting petrol by driving to Brychdyn, Yr Wyddgrug, Wrecsam, Llandudno or wherever when I have not enough money to buy anything because I am currently unemployed. I tried to give my mam £20 for 3 tees I got from New Look at weekend gone but she would not take it from me. Thank you mam for the generosity yet again. I love my mam to the ends of the earth and back. I am fed up of going everywhere on my own but, if I do not, I won’t go anywhere. I need a change of scenery, a holiday away from here but, what is the point of going away by oneself when one is by oneself all the time? So wha do I do? I stay at home and a vicious circle ensues.
I want to find love and happiness. If they are out there, they are hardly likely (well, not at all), come a knocking on my door and sweeping me up off my feet. I am trying to find love by placing myself on online dating sites. Have I had any luck? Simple answer is NO and not for the lack of trying and various sites. Those that have asked to chat with me and whom I have accepted their chat requests, are only interested in having BDSM sex, a threesome, men. I have said it to myself throughout my life, that I will spend the rest of my life on this planet, which is revolving around our sun at a speed of 67, 000 miles per hour, alone and with an empty heart. That is despite being told time and time again that there is someone out there for me and that there is someone for everyone. If this is true, where is she?
Anyways, I am going to leave this blog here before I shed non-ending tears.
Been a bit of a funny time since last post. Moods have been up and down and I do not like it when this happens. keeping this one brief.
On Monday 25th March, I turned 41. The plan was to have gone out with my parents, younger brother, nieces and my auntie and uncle and their two daughters but this did not come off. Why? As can be seen from last post – SNOW!! It did not cease from the Friday through to Tuesday. My auntie’s family live in Sychdyn which is inland and high up compared to Oakenholt / Flint which is just off the coast of the Dee estuary. They had got snowed in completely – 4ft of snow! In the end, mum and dad took me out to the Running Hare in Ewloe Monday evening and my younger brother and his son managed to get there too. It is a very nice restaurant but expensive – £3.50 for a chocolate dessert with vanilla ice cream on the side, never mind the cost of the main at near on a tenner!How many cards did I receive for my birthday? All of a high number of FOUR! This is what it is like to be single, middle-aged and friends that forget ; although many wished me happy birthday or penblwydd hapus in Welsh via Facebook. Thank you to all of them!
Have to hand it to Flintshire county council; they did a grand job at keeping the main roads open throughout this nuts of weather this time of year. Good start to Spring.
This is what is left as of today; Thursday 4th April 2013 in my front garden. Looks all sunny but still very chilly.
Since my birthday, I have spent the majority of time at home on my own with the exception of the odd few hours here and there at my parents and mum coming round to watch certain programmes on SKY tv – The Walking Dead, Dexter, The Following, Primeval:New World. started to go a bit stir crazy to be told so, went to Wrecsam yesterday with mum by train. Kinda wow as we saw the levels of snow between the coast and en route to Wrecsam. It has only just started to thaw up there. I got to see the FA Trophy that Wrecsam FC won the last week and bought myself a pair of walking boots with the birthday money I got off mum and dad.
Wednesday evening was the Encompass GBLT meet up at the Community Café in Connah’s Quay. The discussion was about literature/films of GBLT that influenced you. I never went with anything as I just could not think of anything that did, although certain films and literature have. Having thought about it, I did enjoy Different For Girls a British transsexual story from the 1990’s, Boys Don’t Cry which is an American true transsexual story. Then there is the book on Lili Elbe who was the first male to female trans-woman to undergo gender reassignment. Nicole Kidman is to portray her in a film scheduled to be released possibly in 2014.
Whilst I was there, which was for 2 1/2 hours, I felt out of place and alone in a group of people; a great bunch of people I may add. Dunno why I feel like this but I do so so often. I think it stems from being singled out in childhood and it has remained with me ever since. I guess some things never go away and mental abuse from your peers at school stays with you for a life time. I am trying ever so hard to interact with people and to make new friends and I have made some good new friends which I wish I could see more often. My being has felt like I have been torn open and my heart removed. As if I had lost a love of my life. Hate it when this happens. No matter how hard I try, the mask always falls off and I have to accept that i am alone, lonely, and without love bar from my family. I long to be loved by that someone special.
On another topic; I had my Zoladex injection this morning. This is an anti-androgen treatment to lower testosterone in the body for male to female transsexuals. It last for 3 months and the nurse alternates which side of the belly button to inject. this is my third time having an injection of Zoladex; my first being Prostrap which was administered in the arm twice. So, I have been on injected medications for a year now. How the time has flown. This time however, I have come out in a major bruise to the left of my belly button and is a little painful but only slightly.
Gonna cut it there as it is late and I am tired and ready for bed.
The Spring equinox was the 20th March this year and the signs of new life were emerging in the garden. The first daffodils showed their heads and I did the first cut on the 18th March. The start of the week was sunny but a little chilly which was bearable. Then it came, Friday 22nd, the white stuff returned after a month or so away to wreak havoc across North Wales and various parts of northern England and Scotland.
On the Thursday, I had gone to Ellesmere Port to visit Aga, a friend whom I use to work with up until November 2012 when we were made redundant. neither of us have found a new job yet after four months. Aga had phoned Anna, who lodged with me for a short while back in 2005/06, and we went over to hers 40 minutes later and stayed until 9.30pm. A friend of Anna’s called over and we had a good nit-natter. Kerry asked me numerous questions about my transition; which I was happy to answer for her as she was genuinely interested. She asked questions like – when did I first know I wanted to become a woman? Can you have penetrative sex afterwards? Do you have breasts? I do not shy away from people’s questions about me. I know I will never look like a genetic female unless I have FFS (Feminizing Facial Surgery) but I do get by fine and I think it is because I am a short arse at only 5ft 3.
Anyhoo, by 10pm, I had left Aga’s and headed back home to Flintshire in North Wales. By the time I had reached the Flintshire Bridge; about half way home, it had began to sleet heavily. I didn’t think much of it when i went to bed; thinking it would not stick. How wrong was I? I awoke at 8am and l looked out of the window; the scenery was white as white and snow coming down heavily and non stop all through the day and the night and into Saturday too! I have not known it to snow like this in yoncs. Last time it had snowed in March; at easter time too, was about 11 years and that was on the 13th March which is mum’s birthday and mothering Sunday at that time. This time around, it is my birthday on th 25th and no sign of it thawing either! So much for spring. I do think Oakenholt, Flint, Bagillt and other areas on the coast road got off lightly compared to more inland areas like Coedpoeth, Wrecsam.
((( Cwtch )))
So, mum told and that went easier than I thought especially as I hadn’t, in fact, told her. Mum came out with it out of frustration at me not being able to tell her what was wrong with me. Who next? I’ve put every other family member in this one because they were very easier to tell and no awkward stuff rallly to divulge.
2007, taking my 12 year old niece Rachael to her guitar lesson in Connah’s Quay. She has always known me with an electric guitar or bass guitar in my hand and she wanted to learn, and i took her to the guy who taught me. On this particular day in February, Rachael had noticed the wooden bracelet I was wearing on my left wrist and that it looked ‘girlie’ as she liked it. I offered it her but she rather I kept it. So, I got her a similar one later that week. I asked her if she had noticed anything ‘different’ about me of late? Rachael said that she had noticed that my hair was longer; my clothes are more feminine and then progressed to ask if I was gay? I said no. She persisted in asking me questions to know what was going on with me. I told her I can’t, not yet. ‘Please, just tell me’. In the end, keeping it simple for a 12-year-old, I did. ‘I’m transitioning to female’. ‘Cool’, she said, ‘We can go shopping together?’ ‘Because I have always felt feminine and wanted to become a woman back in school’. Rachael then asked,’Is that why you divorced?’ Being honest, ‘Yes. Don’t tell your dad because that is down to me to do’. I found out the next day that she did tell her dad; and he went ballistic and calling me all sorts of names. He even rang our mum to see if it was true. So, thanks to Rachael (who said sorry for telling him), my brother Michael I did not have to tell.6 years later, he still will not speak to me nor be in the same room if it can be helped. The only time that we were, was for David and Sarah’s wedding in August 2011 and our paternal nain’s funeral in December 2011. Mum wouldn’t even invite him to her 65th birthday meal out in the Raj Indian restaurant.
I told dad on easter Sunday back in April 2009, a matter of weeks before going full-time in my private and work life. Mum went out to Broughton Retail Park so that I could tell him. There was my dad; in his dressing gown and laid on the 3 seater sofa and me; sat on the other sofa. The TV was on and showing the movie – ‘Lost In Space’ on Channel Four. As each break came; I found it hard to tell him. Just over an hour in; the fifth advert break I told dad – ‘I’ve been diagnosed with GID: Gender Identity Disorder’. Dad:’What’s that then?’ Me:’It means that I am transitioning to female; to become a woman’. Dad:’Are they sure?’. Me:’Yes and it is what I want’. Dad looked at me and then back at the TV and that was it. He did mentioned it to mum that night but no rejection from him either. 3 out of 4 so far and looking good.
Around the same time, 2009, I told my younger brother David and his then wife-to-be Sarah at their home. To be true here; I did not really need to tell them because they had already worked it out; by the simple fact that I had been wearing women’s jeans; trainers and tee-shirts. Sarah had mentioned the cut of my jeans being a women’s cut. They had discussed me between themselves and David wondered whether I would chooe a name beginning with the same initial as M or different altogether; and the latter I had chosen. They were more than fine about it and even said, ‘Your life. We want you to be happy and we have noticed how much happier you are now’. Sarah 2 late teenage children were fine too. 7 out of 8 – brilliant!
My mum’s sister and husband and their 2 daughters – the eldest being 13 and youngest was 9. Mum actually told them but I went to see them a week after going full-time. I went to visit them on a beautiful sunny Sunday in May. We were in the back garden where I explained why i had chosen to transition to female. Before I had arrived, my auntie and uncle sat my cousins down to tell them them I was changing and they were quite simply not bothered as long as I was happy. My uncle came out with, ‘women don’t have biceps’. They have gone thankfully in the 4 years on female hormones (yay). My auntie simply asked, amonst others, ‘Are you 100% sure you are doing the right thing? Definately what you want?’ To which I replied a resounding, ‘Yes’. That was easy to be fair. 11 out of 12 – getting more better.
As for my other relatives – my dad’s sister’s family (4) and his brother’s family (4), all fine with me. So that is 19 out of 20. I do have other family members but we do not talk to them due to a feud caused by them over an old piece of family history going back to when my mum was barely a year old! Bloody ridiculous too. 6 years later, and apart from my elder brother; everyone is treating me no different really. The only issue I have, is that they still can not call me Cerys apart from my auntie’s family, my nephew really. I try to ignore my old name being used but not easy and I do correct. What I get is, known you as M for 40 years and it is difficult to change. Bollocks – basically! It is lack of respect but in time, they will adjust.
Starting with the most recent history being two days ago – Wednesday, 13th March was my mum’s 65th birthday and no one can believe she is her age. Good genes run in our family and an ex colleague f mine last year thought I was 25! Sure as hell made my day that did I can tell you. Anyway, days before, mum said she had booked a table at the Raj Indian restaurant in Flint for 10. I asked who was going and Michael, my elder brother, was not mentioned. This was because he has not accepted my decision to transition from male to female. Even now, 5 years later, he still can not come to terms with my life change. Mum said she was not going to invite him because she did not want to feel on edge all evening, and I truly understood that. However, I did plead with her to invite him and if he opted not to come, then, at least the choice was his not to come. So, Wednesday afternoon, I asked mum whether she had asked Michael. She told me Rachael (niece), has asked him. Apparently, he asked if I as going and Rachael said yes. So, he said he would not come if I was going. At least I tried to get him to come.
I can not hold a grudge or resentment for long, no matter how much I have been aggrieved. It pains me that there is this issue between myself and my elder brother. Why he can not be accepting of me? He does not have to understand why, but accept his now sister’s decision. Truth be told, we were never close growing up. I believe that he had sibling as he had mum and dad all to himself for 4 years and 8 months and then I came long in the March of 1972 and took the shine off his world. Our younger brother David, arrived in 1974 and even with 6 years and 8 months difference in age, they have always got on like a house on fire. I have always felt like the black sheep even though David and I are close in age as well as siblings and shared a bedroom in our childhood.
To go back to how I came out to family members, my mum was the first I told or should that be tried to tell. Mum and I were always close and I think that was because I had almost died at birth having the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck and I had actually gone blue as blue and my dad had to name me rather quickly because the doctors thought I would not make the night. I am still here.
Seems like only yesterday when I took the plunge, heart in my mouth and made the decision to come out to mum. It was the summer of 2007 and I had been seeing Dr Martin Riley for a number of months. I went with mum to Chester morning as I figured I could tell her over a cappuccino as I thought she couldn’t make a scene if it went bad (I knew this would not happen but even still). So, we ended up in The Gallery Cafe, Foregate Street (now Caffe Atina), a small intimate cafe with art for sale. We sat down and ordered – 2 cappuccino’s and shared a cheese and tomato Panini. Mum could see there was something weighing on my mind and asked me what it was. Deep breaths, deep breaths I said to myself ….
“Mum, I don’t know how to say this”, more deep breaths. “What is it?”, mum asked. I was beginning to get hot and shaky, “You know that I haven’t been myself lately”, deep breaths more of and my eyes began to well up, “I’ve been going to Wrecsam for a while now to see a counsellor”. Bit of time out followed by mum, “Why have been seeing a counsellor?” Before I could reply, my eyes not only welled up more, they became waterfalls and I left the table and headed straight for the toilet to calm down and freshen myself up. Why is this so hard?, I asked myself, this is my mum for gawd sake, just tell her. I returned to the table and tried again but couldn’t get out what I wanted to tell her. We finished up, paid and left without telling her. I was so disappointed in myself.
We came out of The Gallery Cafe and headed back up Foregate Street to Marks & Spencer. Mum was asking questions as we walked up the street and in to the store. Up the escalator because mum was taking an item of clothing back. whilst we wandered around looking at the clothes, mum kept asking “Have you lost your Job? , “have you been suspended?” , “Have you hit someone?” , “Are you in trouble with the Police?” “Are you gay?” i answered a resounding “No” to each and all questions. Mum was beginning to get a tad frustrated with me by now and we finally left the store and headed towards the park & Ride at the bus stop behind the indoor market and next to the old Odeon cinema with mum still enquiring as to what it was i was trying to tell her. Finally, as we headed towards the entrance to Foregate Indoor Market, mum asked THE question, “Do you want a sex change?” Within what felt like a split second, I replied, “YES”. She looked at me and I at her and she replied, “Is that it?” “Yes, I said. “You don’t want to go the whole way and have your penis cut off?” “Yes, that is the whole point, mum” “Oh, M”, she said,”You’re not doing that! Have you seen what they do?” “Yes, and it is what I want”. That was it, no issue, no rejection, I knew mum would be OK but there is always that ‘fear’ in the back of your mind that tells you that you will be rejected from the family.
I mentioned earlier that mum and I were close, well, since my ‘coming out’ to her and with her seeing me living my life happily, we are even closer than ever. I do look like mum and with the hormone regimen that I am on, I am looking even more like her. One day not so long back, I was walking down my parents front path towards the side porch extension and I thought I saw mum w=looking towards me on my approach but no, as I got closer, i realised it was in fact my own reflection! I just laughed at myself and still do to this day. I have even had commetns by friends and family on how much i am like my mum. All I can say to that is; FANTASTIC!
(( Cwtch ))
“Don’t expect anyone to understand your journey, especially if they’ve never walked your path”
I, like many others in this life, tread a solitary path of acceptance, which begins early in life during our primary school years. Making friends is a natural progression for all of us once we are out of our mother’s arms. I say mother’s, because mine and l assume most father’s; are out working during the day, from before we rise to the time we went to bed as wee nippers. We all have a need to belong; to connect with another soul who we see a similarity within. I never really found that albeit from time to time.
My first friend I made on my own was with a girl opposite called Charlottte. She had blonde and slightly curled hair. We were together pretty much every day playing in her Wendy house, sand pit with spades which had water and little figures inside their handles. I remember being upset when her family sold up and moved away. To where, I do not know, after all, I was pre-school age. I do not know why I remember Charlotte but the memory of her has never left me and I get a wave of happiness filling me. Seems odd that someone whom I spent a blink of an eye with, should mean so much to me compared to someone who I have known since the age of 6 or 7.
Going through school I found hard. For some reason, I was seen as an easy target by the other kids. I started Ysgol Croes Atti in Flint at the age of 4, in 1976. Back then, one half of the pupils were taught through the medium of english and the other half through the medium of Welsh. Being so young at the time, we did not understand and so we would ‘fight the Welshies’, not realising we too are Welsh (Cymry). There used to be a separation net in the yard. Now, the school is a Welsh medium taught school which is just fantastic. A kid by the name of Mark yanked a chunk of hair out of the back of my head and I, in turn, thumped him until he bled. We were hauled in front of the head mistress and given a right talking to. We ended up progressing through the same schools up to the age of 16.
1979/1983 – Ysgol Gwynedd (Flint). My first assembly and my first nose bleed. I remember that day like it was this morning. The newbies were sat crossed legged at the front and Mr Hughes – the Headmaster, was up on the stage with the other teachers, welcoming us newbies on our first day to the Gwynedd Junior School. He was an amazing head teacher and he always knew every pupil’s name and their parent’s! In fact, he sees my mum in town from time to time and knows her by name and asks her how my elder brother is doing and he went there 40 years ago! So there I am, sat crossed legged in the front row looking up and not really paying much attention to Mr Hughes’ assembly address and I have an itchy nose and so I scratch away. Before I know it, my nose is bleeding a flood. Next to me is a kid called Dale; and he brings my nose bleed to the attention of Mr Hughes and tells Dale to take me out to the wash room and we go. From that day, we were close friends. At least that is what I thought. In 1982, school trip down to Black Rock sands not too far from Porthmadog in Gwyned,d and he locked me out of the tent we shared with 2 others on the first night. Great start to a week away. From then on, we were never friends and he acted as if he had done nothing wrong. Mind you, I did catch our supper that week – a rainbow trout. First and only time I have eaten one, can’t remember the taste.
I spent the majority of my years here on my own walking around the E-shaped building, talking to my imaginary friend who eventually I could visualise as if she was real. Many a time I would sit crouched up behind third wing looking out beyond the school fencing and over to the play area and the Gorsedd stones (Flint hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1969 and, as a result, has its own ring of Gorsedd stones). I would just talk away and ask questions to understand why I was on my own, had no friends to play with and Why I felt different? Why the girls wouldn’t I play with me either? No answers came that made sense. I couldn’t tell anyone because it was bad enough being bullied for being the shortest kid, let alone had I told someone that I wanted to be a girl. I could not handle being bullied for that, were it to get out and I knew that it would eventually. No, keep it between myself and Bronwen (who existed for me only). So, that is what I did throughout my school years. She did come back for a fleeting visit a few times in my adult life but, I have not spoken with Bronwen for a number of years now. Maybe one day again….
Ysgol Uwchradd Y Fflint (Flint High School) 1983/1988. I opted to go here because I thought I could my elder brother’s hand me down uniform to save expense for my parents. Turns out, I could have gone to the Welsh medium school in Mold – Ysgol Maes Garmon. But, I have always been aware of cost of living. First day of school, I am dressed in full uniform – black trousers, shoes, white shirt, school tie and red jumper and black blazer with school motif on breast pocket. I open back door to have a look see out and I see a friend’s sister doing the same and dressed exactly the same ba a skirt instead of trousers. I look at her and I am envious because she gets to dress in a skirt and I am stuck with boring old trousers – not fair. I am not a happy bunny walking to school. I had never really thought of the differences of uniform up until then, I do not know why. I guess just a coming of age thing I suppose. However, I do remember when that all changed for me. It was 3rd yearP.E and I noticed for the first time how different boys and girls were. Their were identical twin sisters in my class and on this particular day, one of them was wearing the short shorts which were very typical of the era – brown with a white trim. Looking at one of the sisters,I knew how much I wanted to look the same in the groin area. Trying not to make this seems pervy but it never was. I just felt so envious. Girls I had grown up with were developing in women – what I could not. After this time, I decided to block all thoughts on my longing to be female and be a MAN.
As much as I tried not to, I could not stop myself from cross-dressing. I would make up any old excuse not to go out with the family just so I could dress. When I did, everyday stresses, tensions angst would simply fade away in to nothingness. I was FREE I felt like ME and at ease with myself. I had to gauge the time careful so as not to get caught by any member of my family. On many an ocassion, it was extremely close. In fact, my mum came home early whilst I was still dressed a few times, never before had I ever undressed as fast as I did. Heart racing. I always thought my mum knew I was cross-dressing but she has told me since that she never did. Hard to believe that I got away with it.
When I was in my final year at school, 1988, one of the biology teacher’s was retiring, I forget his name but I can it in my mind. Hate it when that happens. Anyways, Mrs Stephenson asked if any the lads in the form class would dress as school girl to give him a bottle of whiskey, card and that. I was nominated by a lad called Martyn. Mrs Stephenson looked over at me and asked if I would. I gave a resounding NO! Secretly inside I was saying Hell yeah! If I had, would I have had the conviction to transition earlier than I have? Maybe, in an alternate universe, perhaps. A golden opportunity to show a part of me that was really the whole of me.
I had my first proper girlfriend at 15 -18 years old and ‘persuaded’ me to don her bikini one summer’s day. It didn’t take much if any persuading ha ha. We just laid on my bed and held each other. I managed to hold back the cross-dressing in the 3 years we were together. When we broke up, the need to dress broke free to the surface and that was it, any given opportunity and I would. I felt a mixture of emotions all at once but never once was it erotic or a turn on. I did feel dirty most of the time. Why? Because it wasn’t the done thing was it. After all, in the eyes of the law, I was now a man, an 18-year-old man. I would try and knock this ‘need’ out of me by head butting doors, walls, thumping myself in the head and throwing myself as hard as I could down the stairs. I thought if I could cause myself a head injury, then this ‘need’ to be a woman would go – but no.
Looking back now, I should have spoken to my mum at least and explained what I was feeling and how long I had been wanting to be a girl. I always knew that she would understand but, there is always that nagging fear of rejection preventing one from doing so. How different times were back then compared to the present day of the 21st century. Trouble is, regret plays a big part in my life which it shouldn’t. The time wasn’t right for me to transition earlier in my life but what if it was? At least I am who I am now and that is what matters. I am happy within myself and the happiest I have ever been even though I do weep over one thing or another and I do not feel that I have to restrain the tears anymore.
I could have gone on and on here in parts but, I tried to keep it short and not go off on too many tangents. I probably will go back and revisit certain points and elaborate further in the future. Sometimes, I need to do that and I do, in my head. Now that I am transferring what is in my head down on to paper, albeit digitally. I think i will leave it here for now.
(( Cwtch ))