The Body Politics

Hi,

It’s been said that no good blog post starts by talking about the weather. I wonder if this makes Climate Change difficult to promote? 🙂

Given the Summer temperatures, travel into Europe, and a flexible dress policy at work, I’ve been in shorts for more of my time than usual. I’ll skip on the pun how a dress might be flexible. The shorts situation is both a good and a bad thing. The positives are that I can cool off quicker and therefore I’m able to concentrate at work. Given previous jobs where certain employers were, shall we say, less enlightened around office attire, I try to count my blessings. If I’m too hot, I get that heat funk where I struggle to focus and I don’t get much done. We may come back to this later.

The not so positive is when I see my legs, they don’t look like they should do. It’s – obviously – the hair situation. Hence the pun for today’s post. The thing is, do I risk alienating the Ever Lovely Mrs J, possibly weirding the kids out, adding more evidence around my appearance? Or, alternatively, having my body look as I feel it should. being more okay/content, and therefore less angry at things that shouldn’t make me cross? Less anger would be good I think. It flares quickly and I don’t like it. I’m pretty sure my family are tired of Mr Grumpy too. It feels like a rock and a hard place on bad days. I remember an addendum to the phrase: the truth will set you free. It was “but first it will p*ss you off.“.  So it seems that when you’ve seen how things can be, that this is who you are, that to return to the old, well, it can be a struggle.

There’s a concept called The Stress Bucket where things that stress you fill it like water, and at the bottom, there’s the Coping Mechanism Tap. Ideally, you want to be using healthy coping strategies – hobbies, mindfulness, exercise, regular breaks, etc – to help you lower the bucket’s level. The bucket certainly doesn’t want to be full – that’s a lot of water to be lugging around. 🙂 Bad coping could be drink, drugs, or other less than healthy mechanisms.

This week there’s been no sudden deluge, but a steady flow from tiny sources that all add up. My usual routes of exercise, enough sleep, or playing a computer game (ideally as a female protagonist) haven’t worked. Chams isn’t for another couple of weeks and with the school holidays, it’s not like I can blag some home working to create the opportunity. So yeah, the bucket is way too full at the moment.

I’m noticing my emotions triggering when seeing women in summery outfits. I need to stress that people are free to wear what they want and I’m not ogling them: it’s more the proverbial dysphoric demon on my shoulder helpfully (!) reminding me that I’m stuck in bloke mode. Usually, I see a workmate dressed just so, I think “they look good in that” and I’m happy for them. But when dysphoria is kicking off, it’s difficult not to feel…. well, that I’m not my authentic self and off we go on that downward spiral. So, grit your teeth, Lynn, and stiff upper lip, old girl.

On Thursday got my epilator out of the cupboard and I was thinking of heading somewhere – anywhere! – where I could return my pins to how I prefer them. I ended up calling a support line. Don’t worry, I’m not a risk to myself or others 🙂 But, I was really struggling with keeping it all together. Oddly, I’d tried my coaching skills on myself (did I mention I got my qualification through the post this week? Yay!) but I couldn’t get out of the loop. The volunteer who answered listened patiently, asked helpful questions, and while he didn’t tell me what to do (a golden rule it seems), we did discuss the options and some of the background. I was – and still am – very grateful for that.

Remember I said we’d come back to being able to focus? Much as I can remove myself from a hot room, where do you go to cool down emotionally? I have not found it easy to distract myself and keep the negative thoughts at bay this week. That I’ve struggled with, but the telephone call helped. I may not know the answer yet, but I feel better having talked about it. There’s a positive and it may be that I need to do something to help drain the bucket. Some self care that will help me and bring calm to help stop the anger from coming out. What that is yet, I’m not sure. Writing certainly helps.

Other than me getting this off my chest, what is the point behind this post? A few months ago a T friend said that on reading this blog, it felt like I had it all together and I was making this whole T gig work. I guess we read into things the things we want, so I’m not judging them. That would be rude. What I’m saying here is – like a lot of things – when they’re far off to you, they look okay. When you get to know a bit more – or peek behind the curtain – you see what’s really going on. In this case, occasional ups & downs and certainly a fair bit of mental juggling to keep things on the level.

Life can be tough, I think we can agree on that. The volunteer spoke to said that everyday ups and downs reach us all. He added that some of us – and not just LGBTQ+ folk – have extra things that add to our situation. Plus, it’s not all negative: I don’t mind being T something or other. It’s just the distress when everything kicks off that I don’t like.

When there’s a next time, maybe I’ll try to talk about my feelings earlier. That and try to tell myself I do have a choice about the leg hair situation. I choose not to do it because I want an easy life for my family, but there are times when you must put your oxygen mask on before you can be fit to help others.

Fingers crossed eh?

Take care,
Lynn

6 Comments

  1. Hi Lynn, I know the feeling only too well, with my offspring home from Uni, which of course is fabulous, I do not get a lot of Andrea time so it can be very difficult at times. Like you I do find myself getting depressed and I do get a bit grumpy, mostly when I'm working (my job tends to be a lonely one so getting annoyed at myself, more than upsetting any colleagues). I do find writing my blog or sending / answering emails for other girls helps but it can get on top of me at times. So unfortunately I do not have the magic answer, apart from thats just how life is, we can't always get what we want and as we are not prepared to forsake our family, friends and possibly job to be who we want to be, when ever we want to, we have little choice but to put up with it. Which, I know is not very helpful, apart from knowing you're not alone! So as you say "stiff upper lip old girl!"

    1. Hi Andrea. Sorry to hear that you've been struggling too. I hope that you are soon back to your regular self. For our two kids, they are back to school, but I would guess that it's a bit later for university students, no?

      Fingers crossed for the future. 🙂

    2. Hi Lynn, another two weeks or so before the youngest returns to Uni, the oldest has just moved to Amsterdam for a year so not long now! Although going to Pink Punters next Friday so that will be a great night out!

    3. I hope the eldest has had the decency to ensure the guest room is up to scratch, for your long weekends visiting Amsterdam? 😉

      I hope you enjoy Pinks and if the music is as loud as I remember: do take earplugs 😀

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