Good enough

Hi,

With the first few days of 2021 passing by, conversation and publications around New year’s resolutions will be doing the rounds. I seem to recall a friend saying that if something is important to you, why wait? But, sometimes life isn’t like that and the ritual of turning a new calendar page may be the prompt to make someone reflect and think of the year ahead. Maybe it’s like the feeling of the newly started exercise book: nothing but a clean, soft page of empty paper waiting to be filled. That feeling of a new start… usually followed by the joyful (!) return to work, but let’s not spoilt things eh? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Goals with self care

I would, if it’s okay, like to suggest a note of self care around any resolution. Specifically, try not to make it all or nothing. For example, some folk take January as a chance to go veggie (or vegan) or go dry by staying off the pop. Can I add that it’s okay to slip up but keep walking towards your goal? One bacon sarnie or a swift half after a tough day at work doesn’t, IMO, wreck the hard work you have put in. Just put it down to something that happened and take the whole thing one day at a time. Just because you didn’t manage a 100%, well, dare I say – with kindness, so what? If your goal was to, say, give up chocolate for a month, but you snaffled a bar one day, that’s okay. You still managed it for the rest of the time.

So, maybe aiming to do something less (or more) rather than a total commitment would be kinder to yourself. The vagueness of drinking less booze, eating veggie/vegan in general, or reducing fast fashion purchases. Not absolutes, but perhaps more achievable because of that. Feel free to throw in significantly or as best I can if that helps.

What I mean is, by doing something, you are trying. If you are trying, that’s a lot better than doing nothing. Even if you miss or slip up, you are still working your way towards your goal.

I think of this when a new jogger huffs by me while I’m letting the hounds sniff the grass. Yes, the runner may not be fast, but they’re faster than I am and certainly more energetic than the person who chooses not to walk or run at all. Maybe they will be faster tomorrow, maybe they are happy now: what matters is that they’re trying. IMO, it doesn’t matter if they run once a week, once a month, or daily – just so long as they’re doing what works for them to reach their goal.

Also, be wary of any activity that leads you into oh, to do this, you’ll need items X, Y, and Z. I’ve heard friends talk about not starting a new diet or exercise pattern because they’re are ordering new clothing, shoes, or gadgets. Maybe, just start with what you have and make it about your progress compared to where you were, rather than what you had to buy. Yes, if you don’t have a bike, it’s going to be tricky to take up cycling ๐Ÿ™‚ Yet, will a second hand bike give you a enough to get going, rather than spending loads on something you are not yet sure of?

How does any of this apply to being trans? Well, second hand shops or online stores (like Depop, Vinted, eBay, etc) can be an inexpensive way to build up a wardrobe. Aiming to get items you can mix and match means you can build up a series of outfits without having to break the bank.

Small steps at your own pace and a little courage are all that’s required

What about giving up on giving up?

About this time of year, the inbox for Nottingham Chameleons starts to pick up with new folk looking to explore who they are. With that in mind – and at the risk of sounding like temptation ๐Ÿ˜‰ – when it comes to being trans, what about giving up on giving up?

Yes, I know that sounds like a cheap gag, but that aside, the constant self checking and fighting yourself can be wearing: incredibly so, perhaps.

I am not saying you should burst fabulously from the wardrobe singing I Am Who I Am – although if you do, I’d love to see the video ๐Ÿ™‚

What I’m saying is, if you can, start to accept that being trans or gender nonconforming is just an aspect of who you are. Yes, it adds to you as a person, but it doesn’t define you completely. Certainly no more than being retired, a cyclist, a parent, a teen, unemployed, a writer: there’s so much about us that makes us, us, and that’s all good.

It’s okay not to have a label. It’s okay to not know where this might take you. It’s okay to take things at your own pace, stopping and starting in a way that works for you. You don’t need to compete with anyone, perhaps not even yourself. Just do what feels right, be kind to yourself, and try to enjoy the journey as you learn to accept who you are.

L x

12 Comments

    1. Thanks Joanna. Yes, I’m looking forward to the meeting next week as well. It seems like it’s been quite a while, perhaps even too long.

      Congrats on your coming out and great to see folk just accepting you without fuss or bother.

      1. I am blessed with very good friends. There has been a *bit* of bother – leading to a change of address for the blog – but it has been overshadowed (over-brightened?) by the warmth and wave of acceptance from my friends. ๐Ÿ™‚

        One of whom suggested a phrase that you might like: “it’s not ‘coming out,’ that gives people power; it’s ‘letting in’ because that gives you control.”

  1. A good post Lynn, some very sound advice you’ve taken the time to write and share with us.

    I used to have ‘No Bread’ diets were I’d refrain from eating bread but then if I had a bad day and I ate bread, I’d give in on the diet until the following week . That resulted in me eating too much bread for the rest of the week and over time I’d end up putting more weight on because I’d kept losing self control.

    Now I tell myself it’s okay to have a bad day as long it’s once in a while. Like you say it doesn’t need to be the end of the world because of just one slip. Now I no longer reset to the following week and therefore I’m able to still enjoy the odd slice of bread every now and then whilst generally staying focused.

    Good advice about buying second hand clothes to build up a wardrobe too. I do buy second hand stuff myself but probably not often enough. Like you say it’s an inexpensive way to get clothes and there are some good second hand bargains to be had on the likes of eBay, Vinted and Depop.

    I like your last section ‘What about Giving up on Giving Up’ very much. I spent too long trying to find a label for myself, I guess I was ashamed of the terms ‘transvestite’ and ‘crossdresser’ and much preferred the term ‘transgender’ but now I’ve come to realise that labels aren’t important. It’s about being me that I now care about and I no longer care much that what others think.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences, Charlotte. IMO, the nice thing about advice, is that you’re completely free to ignore it and come up with your own ๐Ÿ™‚

      I sort of look at these type of posts as ‘What if…?’ but I guess mostly, they’re topics I just want to explore. A way to get thoughts out on paper. Well, so to speak.

      Mmm. Bread. Child 2.0 has developed a taste for olive bread. That’s deliciously rich and rather good with hot soup. Thinking about what you put about cutting back, apologies for the temptation! ๐Ÿ™‚

      I do miss looking in charity shops and maybe I need to look online as you point out. I think it’s the eclecticness of what’s in the shop. That you might stumble on something that really speaks to you. Plus, it’s recycling of a sort and puts money back in the hands of people. Yeah, there’s a lot of ‘meh’ to sort through, but that visual noise may well be true in a large department store (remember those? ๐Ÿ˜‰) or when looking online.

      Labels are quite a thing and I think I know what you mean. I felt a bit… unbalanced. Does that make sense? Unbalanced as in, like you, the idea of being under the transgender umbrella worked for me. Yet, when I looked at the idea of genderfluid, bi-gender, or non-binary, that did affect my sense of self.

      I think I’m right in saying the term transvestite is nearly a century old and I never found it a good fit for me. Perhaps that’s because the modern terms have come from the community itself and the old model (TV or TS) hadn’t.

  2. There now seems to be one or more of these challenge topics for every month of the year, from ‘Veganuary’ to ‘Steptember’ and ‘Movember’. (The latter might not be a good trans look unless you’re looking to emulate Freddy Mercury in Queen’s ‘I Want to be Free’.) I’m not a follower, although raiding the forgotten stuff at back of your closet for Frocktober sounds the most tempting.
    I’m more for a habit of moderation throughout the year. We don’t overindulge (except for books) for Christmas anyway.
    I gave up resolutions long ago and now think of them as aspirations for the next year. The only one I really made came in mid 2019, when I decided I needed to stop trying to deny an essential part of me and come to terms with it. Even that backslides from time to time, but never yet to the depths of that period between 2016 and 2019 when I completely cut myself off.

    1. What’s Steptember? I would make a pun about a month long tribute to the pop group Steps, but I’m not on Radio 4. I know, ‘tragedy’ ๐Ÿ˜‰

      A T friend got some social pressure at work around Movember a few years back. Yes, it’s a worthy goal and equally, it may not be for everyone. If anyone reads the Daily Heil, you might want to skip this next bit… and indeed this blog ๐Ÿ˜‰

      So, Movember in terms of raising awareness and funds is a good thing. I think we may also need to be aware that…
      1. Not every man can grow a tache. I know I can’t.
      2. For trans men, does this exclude them or upset if it’s another thing they can’t join in on.
      I’m absolutely not saying we shouldn’t have it. I am saying we may need to think of ways to include everyone in that event. Grandpa J was ill with cancer a while back. How might Mrs J engage with Movember?

      Frocktober sounds like a lot of fun. We have Glamuary at Chams as it’s both about pushing back the winter blues and welcoming new folk in the new year.

      Glad to hear you have managed to break out of the denial situation. โค๏ธ That really doesn’t sound a very good place to be.

  3. Happy New Year, sweetie. Wishing you and the Chams group a good year ahead.

    What good advice all round. Yes, one must be kind to oneself and not fret if only 99% of the target was achieved (or even 50%!)

    Sue x

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