#JusJoJan Daily Prompt – Jan 2nd – Time

 

This post takes part in Linda’s Just Jot It Jan

jjj-2017

The word ‘time’ conjures up so many thoughts and emotions for me. Most significantly with the phrase “one day at a time”, which is a mantra I live by, given to me by my twelve step recovery program. Time is also a bitter sweet experience for me, I have wasted so much of it in my life, hiding from the world and from myself and I always wished it away. Now, with a sudden and dramatic shift in perspective since beginning recovery 6 years ago, there is suddenly not enough time.  Time has changed from being a slow lumbering painful enemy to a precious fleeting dancing fairy. I dance with it daily, living on the edge of sadness for the time lost, but turning my focus away from that so as not to waste any more of it exquisiteness.

As a transman going through transition, which takes an extraordinary amount of time, dancing with the time fairy in this way has been a challenge. Transition is a time of painful waiting, for appointments, for psychiatric approvals, for hormones, for surgery, for recovery, for my body to change and for my inner and outer social worlds to adapt. This means I have to work very hard to balance my view and my use of time, it’s too valuable to want to rush through having already wasted so much, but at the same time I am just so eager for the physical transition part of my life to be over so that I can simply get on with my life as the man I have always known myself to be.

I now mark in time the next ten days, when, on the 13th of January, I will have the final stage of my surgery and I will no longer be a slave to time but instead a dancing partner.

 

 

Advertisements

Happy New Year! – 2016 in review

2016, in many respects, has not been the greatest of years, both in my own personal life and in the world at large. It has been a very mixed bag of a year. Being as public as l am, most people are aware of my personal circumstances this year, however, only a small handful know the full details of the exact goings on. In my recovery I have learnt some valuable tools, the most helpful one being to keep my side of the street clean, which l try very much to live by. It’s been tough, because I’ve felt at times that being nice often doesn’t get you as far as you like, but what it does get me is peace of mind and the knowledge that I’ve done the next right thing.

Not making the full goings on public has also meant that I have truly discovered who my most trusted and loyal friends are. l work hard to keep upbeat, which is essential for my ability to stay sober and clean and maintain my recovery, but it’s not been easy. I’ve been the closest to a drink in this year than I have for a few years now and Christmas turned out to be tougher than l initially thought it would be. However, the special people in my life noticed this without me having to say so and have been my rock, you know who you are and l am so grateful for you in my life.

It certainly is true that you find out who your true friends are when disaster strikes and this has been the case for me. The love and support shown to me by my friends both nearby and online, has moved me to tears at many times throughout this year. I survived the most difficult of tests to my sobriety and mental health because of the many ways you expressed your love and support for me and there are not enough words to convey how much that means to me.

My own journey and the hard hitting loss of so many big names in 2016, has really hammered home what’s important in life, to cherish every moment and to spend time and energy on people and things that matter and walk away with love from those that don’t. l have an open heart and welcome warmly those who want to be in my life and want me in theirs, those that live by mutual respect, support and understanding and find as much joy in my life as I do in theirs. I will no longer waste my time on people that don’t live this way, I do not judge you, l simply am judging what I need in my life and what’s good for me.

It really has been one of those years of transformation and opportunity emerging from some very painful events. Moving to a new part of the UK was definitely not on my 2016 agenda but it has been the best move I have ever made and I have begun to make some wonderful friends here in Devon who have made the move so much easier and helped me to feel welcome and at home.  So while it has been a hard year, the fruits of good things have sprouted from it which l hope will go on to fully flower in 2017. Thank you to all my friends, for the encouragement in all the new adventures that have begun to happen this year. I’ve begun to believe in myself and  most importantly, I’ve begun to feel  able to say that out loud because of the special people that have reminded me of and  championed my abilities and  talents

Thank you to my wonderful friends who are such a blessing in my life, who walk this journey of life with me and allow me to walk in theirs.  l hope 2017 brings you happiness, love and  all the wonderful things you deserve.

Love and light

Finn

Keeping it real on Motivational Monday

41d7538c46fcdeb521da272f2b12a749

I am feeling good today but last week was a weird week, one of those where finding motivation is an effort, where objectively viewing doubt is a challenge and taking care of oneself is a marathon. I’m not sharing to concern anyone but to keep it real. I post a lot about recovery and about how to overcome difficulty and in doing so l think it’s important to show how l myself am still having to apply these things on a daily basis and how at times it’s not easy to do so.

When we struggle we feel we are the only ones and that no one understands. We tell ourselves that although others may be able to overcome their difficulties, we cannot because we are different in some way, we don’t have what that person has.

I’m telling you that we do, you do, we all do. No one is more special than another, there is no unique quality in recovery that one person possesses that another doesn’t.

We each have the ability to overcome whatever stands in the way of our inner peace and happiness. It may be slow, we may sometimes feel we take a backward step, but the power to overcome is in us all.

It simply requires a leap of faith, self honesty and willingness and most importantly an appreciation of progress not perfection.

One day at a time, there is nothing we cannot overcome

Keep on keeping on folks

10 tips for the media on how to be a better Trans ally

November is Transgender Awareness Month and I thought it might be useful to address some topics around key debates and concerns in trans issues. I shall be sharing on my YouTube channel, where there will be an an accompanying video to this post, and on all my other social media sites.

One issue that frequently arises is backlash after a poorly presented program, film, or article on trans people and trans lives, hits the public sphere. Sadly it is quite rare that the media gift us with positive and affirming stories of transgender people.

When I first started sharing my story of my gender transition, I was very keen to work with the media to help raise awareness and reach out to other people struggling with gender issues. However, I find myself having to say no more and more because I have done things that did not come out how I hoped or was told they would and it’s disappointing. I’m also sick of seeing articles and documentaries that patronise us or sensationalise our stories. I feel for other Trans people that, like me, want to help only to find that the message conveyed is not the one they intended.

I’m having to be strict now, all l care about is helping other Trans people, yes l want to increase awareness and understanding but for the benefit of Trans people, not for the amusement of the general public

I do not believe in boycotting all media as a response to bad press, I feel that’s cutting our noses off to spite our face and just creates a stalemate between us. Instead we need a dialogue, you are still learning about us, our lives and our language, you will get it wrong and that’s OK, but what’s not OK is not apologising when you get it wrong or not listening to us and continuing to get it wrong. There are many of us who do want to tell you our stories but you need to first stop, drop what you think you know and instead really listen to us.

Here are my ten tips on what it will be helpful to bear in mind when working with us.

  1. Only trans people know how to tell trans stories
  • I do not think the media can tell accurate stories or create accurate films and documentaries without the input of trans people, I believe it is vital that a production team member is trans or that the team relies heavily on the advice of trans people in the creative process.
  • Make sure to do research, talk to the wider trans community and consult with experts such as Trans Media Watch
  1. Stop generalising
  • Remember the Trans person or Trans people you are filming or writing about, are just a small sample of a vast population. We all are very different people, came to realise we were Trans in different ways and live our lives very differently so please do not generalise to all trans people.
  1. Don’t focus on surgery as defining us
  • Don’t focus on hormones and surgery as defining our gender, these changes reflect our gender, they do not create it
  1. Be aware of your preconceptions
  • Think of your impact on our lives. The way u portray us effects the way we feel about ourselves and the way society feels about us
  • Check your perception of us before filming does it actually match with what we are telling you?
  • Stop projecting your ideas about what you think it is like to be us onto what we are saying, instead bracket your ideas and listen to what we are telling you
  • Ensure your whole production team is singing from the same hymn sheet. I am sure that most producers mean well with their questions but the way it’s edited can completely change the message as can the choice of lighting, the voice over and the music. They all convey a message and too often it takes away from the trans person reasons for taking part in the first place and then misrepresents us
  1. Be aware of our vulnerability
  • Trans people are vulnerable people, even the strongest of us are vulnerable because of the prejudice that exists in society towards us.
  • Remember that every time we choose to be visible for you it is your responsibility to respect and protect that trust
  • Trans people agree to articles and programs because of a wish to increase understanding and to reach those struggling. Respect that and do not miss represent us
  1. Learn our language
  • There is a general consensus of best practices guidelines and the language to use when telling Trans stories, these guidelines are there to protect the individual and the wider community so please study them. I will put a link at the bottom to trans media watch who provide great advice for the media
  • Sometimes a trans person may have different feelings about words, in this case follow the person’s lead but clarify it was their choice. Again this demonstrates that each of us experience being transgender differently and navigate life differently
  1. Be aware of the power you hold in telling our story and the impact you have
  • Remember the power you have, over the Trans person/people you are working with and in the effect of the message you send out with your creation
  • As trans people we have little social power, we trust you, you’ve told us you want to tell our story, to help spread awareness, to humanise us. Due to your expertise we see you as people of power and we trust you. Do not abuse that trust, make sure you tell the story that we tell you and nothing else.
  1. Be honest and respectful
  • Be honest with us; tell us your aims, what will be used, how it will be used, what message you hope to convey. This will give us informed choice in working with you.
  • Be honest with yourself, what are your aims? Do you really want to help trans people or do you just want ratings?Remember we are people and people who are still fighting to be accepted, please do not exploit our vulnerability in order to further your own ends.
  1. You are responsible and accountable
  • If you write a story and pass it on l believe it is still your responsibility to ensure your original intent is not misrepresented. A great story can be turned into circus play with just a few poor tag lines and headlines.
  1. Remember we are people not ratings generators
  • Emotive tag lines may well pull in viewers and readers but they serve to feed the sensationalist view of trans people as people who are odd, different and to be gawped at which only serves to make things worse for us.
  • We are not freaks, anomalies, emotive tag lines, or tools to increase ratings. We are people, with inspiring stories to tell that go far beyond what gender we were assigned at birth, what our old names were or what we have in our pants.

 

Who am I? – Identity development in gender transition

As both a student psychologist and a man with a trans history, the topic of identity and how it develops over time fascinates me.  I have found that my identity never properly developed a stable base, in hindsight I expect this is why I was diagnosed with a personality disorder and I now believe it was down to the fact that I was never female and this caused the personality, identity and mental health issues I faced.

In transition I have experienced a loss and a grieving for my old identity, not because it was one I like but because it was all that I knew and without it I was in limbo whilst I waited for my new identity as a man to form and become stable.

During transition we are in a constant state of flux, as hormones and surgery change the body we have to get used to our new embodied selves and as our gender roles and societal expectations change we have to get used to the new way we interact with others. This constant flux means that the stable identity base is hard to build.

Now, nearing the end of my surgical journey and hormones having done their most significant work, I find I am at last able to put down stable roots to my identity, allowing me more security and stability from which to explore other aspects of myself.

In this vlog I discuss this process and the ways in which I am continuing to actively discover and develop my new identity.

 

Protecting An Arm Graft After Lower Surgery

I thought it might be helpful to share the ways in which I have been protecting my skin graft on my forearm. I originally tried a tubi grip but I found it hot and uncomfortable and have since found some much better options

Continue reading “Protecting An Arm Graft After Lower Surgery”