Friday, 9 January 2015

Being kind to ourselves

Everyone seems to be penning their ambitions, resolutions and aims for 2015. Regulars to this blog will understand however that 2015 is probably going to be the most unusual start to any year of my life, ever! There are two very important aims that I do have for this year though and they both tie in with each other.

My main goal for 2015 is to have my GRS. Obviously, there is not much past my surgery (next Tuesday, 13th) that I can actually envisage just yet. These last couple of weeks have also seen a quite high level of anxiety because I am constantly feeling all the past errors that have derailed my getting to GRS. This has led to an almost obsessive worrying about whether it is going to happen or not. I can report that I had my pre-op phone call on Wednesday, my bloods and MRSA swabs have checked out and it is looking very good. In fact for the first time since my pre-op in July, I actually feel hopeful and excited that it is actually going to happen. There is still some anxiety and I truly don't expect to be over that until I wake up next Tuesday after the surgery and am told it has been done.

I have to get beyond my recovery before I can think about what I am going to do with the rest of the year. I am under no illusions whatsoever that my recovery could go any way. Everyone is completely different in this respect and age certainly has little to do with it. However a healthy weight and fitness do help as well as positive attitude and I have all those in abundance. It is a case though of whatever it takes and that can be 2,3, 6 or even many more months, it does not matter.

My other aim for 2015 is actually very simple, but harder to put into practice. Reading around a few others blogs and writing, it would seem I have a common issue with quite a few like minded souls to myself and this led me to think that perhaps I could use my GRS as a marker to make a major change to my life.

I have realised that over time I have become very hard on myself. I think this is something that can happen to any transitioning person. We get so caught up in the process of having to conform to a pattern of transitioning which includes invasive scrutiny that we forget that we have lives to live. There is all the having to deal with society, sometimes dealing with stigma of being trans, being misgendered and having to speak and act in mannerisms that do not necessarily come as naturally as they would to a cisgender person. Of course there is also the fact that as a community, we have to support each other and this means that the stronger of us often put ourselves out for those that find it harder. This is not meant to sound like a whinge but it does take its toll after a time.

In simple terms, I feel I need to be kinder to myself and this is something I have vowed to change over the next year. I am not going to suddenly put my fingers up to the gender clinic or stop supporting other people post-op but I am going to start thinking much more about how I treat myself in the scheme of things. 

My first act of kindness to myself is actually my GRS. It is going to put me in a very vulnerable place as I will be needing to ask for help but I need this to happen for me to be happy with my body in the future. Just for once, I have to shut down my supportive nature, not be there for everyone else and be good to me for a change. This will not be difficult, I will be physically compromised anyway and it is absolutely vital that I consider myself emotionally. Post-op it can be quite a roller coaster in the mind and many have mentioned this can surprise you more than the physical issues.

Once I have recovered, this will be when the real effort starts. It would be too easy to slip back into old routines and stop thinking of myself but I am going to try much harder to give myself something back. There are a few things I have decided to look into and I will probably write about them in more detail as I explore them. Some of the ideas and plans I have are probably well outside of who people think I am, but for me, I am just embracing ideas that my male side rejected. Part of this has come about from a Facebook group I have become a part of recently and their ideas inspire me. It is more about positivity and happiness than about the negative things in life. 

It will involve making more time for myself for start. I spend too much time volunteering and supporting and I can't remember the last time I spent 10 minutes relaxing. I am not counting the time on the PS3/PS4 or watching TV, I mean true me time. In fact the only me time I ever get are my 8 miles runs in the morning but that is not relaxation. I have seriously thought through my voluntary commitments and they will probably stay at what they were pre-op. What I must be careful of is not to take on any more than I already do.

Of course, this does not mean I am going to neglect my partner Mandy. I am her formal carer and apart from my recovery, this will not change. By changing my habits though, I think I can be an even better carer than I already am. I would hope that she too could become involved in what I am going to try to do because I feel she is someone who could be kinder to herself (and that's not a criticism when you read this Mandy!).

It also does not mean that I am withdrawing support from anyone I know if they are in difficulty. I will always have that nature and to remove it would simply be denying who I am. What it probably does mean is that I may be making the support a two way thing and some who I have listened to a great deal recently, may find themselves having to listen to me. I rarely ask for support, but that doesn't mean I don't need it. Again, this is perhaps a part of my old life, I was never able to ask for help.

Apart from making more time for myself, I have also got to be easier on myself. I have had to become very driven since entering the gender clinic two years ago and recently it has become obsessive. They have messed me about in just about every way possible which has required me to don armour and fight back. It has been time consuming and draining emotionally. Soon, I will no longer have to worry about playing their tunes and jumping their hoops. I should not forget about other aspect of my life that have also required me to be very focussed. They include sorting our housing and benefits, debts, divorce as well as other issues. These problems are now recently resolved and for once in my life I may be in a position to take some time out and enjoy what we have.

So even though my transitioning physically is nearly over, emotionally 2015 looks like a massive year of change. It's going to be a great year and the pain of 2014 can fade with the healing this will bring.


  1. I think the song suggests that learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all. But then I doubt they play much Whitney Houston on Planet Rock! But does the same apply to kindness? Almost certainly in my opinion.

    I've never felt though, Lucy that you were unkind to yourself and I know you're not suggesting that you were. But your concern for others (and believe me I know how it feels to be on the receiving end) perhaps left little time for yourself, as you've written here. Perhaps the most difficult part of showing kindness and concern for others is when that kindness isn't reciprocated. It's always been important to me to try and give back as much as I can as a sign of how much I appreciated what you and Mandy have given in terms of support and friendship.

    It will be very interesting for me to get to know the post-op Lucy and observe how much it enhances your life. In many ways I feel quite excited by the forthcoming events and only too happy to play my part in them. If it leads to better understanding of your own life and how you live it, then I hope I can be there to see and help you.

    But for now, take care of yourself, and I look forward to seeing you very soon.

    1. Thank you for your words Susan.

      I think a great deal of my problem is not so much being unkind and more not finding time and space which is what you are correctly suggesting. Many people I know are actually unkind to themselves instead but I know that I do not quite go that far.

      I also know the feeling when kindness you have given isn't reciprocated and you are probably aware that there was someone who not only didn't reciprocate, but also decided to get quite nasty in return.

      I hope the post-op me is not too different. I perhaps like to accept that it will as you say, enhance my life, rather than change it. You are also right to be excited yourself, I have played this part too for someone else and it is a fantastic experience and a privilege to be there at this time. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

      See you soon :)

      Lucy x