24 December 2014

Christmas

Christmas seems to have arrived very quickly (or perhaps suddenly) this year. I'm sure that it was Christmas only a couple of months ago, and all of a sudden another year has gone.

I've gone with a baubles covered in gold glitter look for my nails this year. :-)

I nominally finished work for the year on Friday last week, but spent from then to Monday night working madly on trying to complete unfinished work. I got about a third of the remaining work finished, and most of the remaining jobs at least started, then fell in a heap. The pressure of trying to finish it all before Christmas was too much, and I ended up with a headache that made it impossible to concentrate enough to get any work done. As a consequence, I expect to be working on paperwork (but not answering the phone) between Boxing Day and New Years Eve, which is my next nail appointment.

Incidentally, contrary to my last post, there was a court injunction handed down today against the closure of the railway line into Newcastle on Boxing Day. I have no idea whether they will stop running trains into the city, but they aren't allowed to start removing infrastructure such as level crossing boom gates and the overhead wires, so there is some chance that I'll still be able to catch the train into town for at least one more waxing appointment. :-)

Oh, and it's well over a month and I still have a girl photo as the profile photo on my Facebook boy profile. It turns out that it simply isn't an issue.

10 December 2014

End of an era

Today, as I've done many times before, I caught the train into town (Newcastle) for a waxing appointment. This time, I also walked to Civic to pick up some contact lenses that were on back order last time I was there, then caught the train home. By the time my next waxing appointment is due, there will be no railway line into Newcastle. :-(

The railway line is being shortened, with the last 3 stations (Newcastle, Civic and Wickham) being closed permanently, and a new station being built near the old Wickham one as a new terminus that is supposed to become an interchange to light rail, but it's not clear when or if that light rail will happen.

As a matter of principle, I won't pay for parking in Newcastle. So, from now on, my waxing appointments will either be on Saturdays, when pay parking doesn't apply to as big an area as during the week, or I'll drive and walk a long way.

Similarly, visits to my optometrist, which is not open on Saturdays, will be by car, parking several blocks away and walking.

A couple of interesting things happened. One was that the staff at the optometrist's practice again behaved as if my last visit had been perfectly normal.

The other thing was far funnier to me. When I got to Civic station, a rather scruffy looking family were waiting on the platform. While I was watching, the mother walked across and spat down towards the tracks. A boy then tried to copy her, but ended up spitting on her. Eww...

I checked the time that the next train was due and, upon finding that it would be about 15 minutes, went to the take-away food outlet next to the station and bought a drink, walked past the family and sat down.

A few minutes later, I'd finished my drink and the train was still not there, so I walked past the family yet again to put the cup in the bin, then past yet again to get to the right part of the platform for where I wanted to be on the train. The final time that I walked past, the father noticed my red nails and, to me, looked idiotic when he pointed to them and shouted to the family to look at them. I walked away with a big smile on my face. :-)

23 November 2014

On having facebook "girl" and "boy" profiles

When I've posted about Facebook in the past, I've always been a bit worried about mentioning that I have boy and girl profiles, as I did in the post about auto-unfriending, because I'm aware that it is technically a breach of the Facebook terms and conditions to have more than one profile, and to have a profile that is not in your legal name.

Recently, in spite of what appear to be fairly poor efforts in regards to removing or preventing blatantly fake profiles and pages that have been quite obviously set up for phishing and spamming, Facebook has become quite active at disabling and even converting valid profiles into community pages, merely because the owner has used a name that is not their real name.

There was also quite a significant controversy a few weeks ago, when someone systematically reported hundreds of drag performer's accounts as fake, resulting in Facebook disabling their accounts. Around the same time, at least 2 of my non-LGBT friends were affected by similar disabling of accounts. One was able to get his account re-enabled by having the first name changed from the name that everybody knows him by, to his legal name that most people didn't even know. The other, in spite of providing proper legal ID, had his profile converted to a community page and lost hundreds of photos, private messages, etc..

In this context, I had always feared that Facebook would crack down and delete my girl profile.

When I changed the profile photo on my boy profile to a girl photo on Tuesday, I thought that I'd wimp out and change it back within hours, and probably delete or hide the photo. I haven't, and as a side effect I've come to the realisation that the artificial separation between my male and female personae is probably not really necessary any more. To be honest, in spite of having my nails long and painted all of the time, before Tuesday, I didn't expect to ever break that separation down to the extent that I have done now.

I'm actually giving real consideration to the possibility of deactivating my Facebook girl profile in the near future, and just having my boy profile, which is in my real legal name, and has hundreds of work clients and several of my nominal business competitors amongst my friends.

20 November 2014

Can't get much more out on Facebook...

If I thought that I was very out on Facebook before, I've now taken a quantum leap further out.

On Tuesday, I changed the profile photo of my boy profile on Facebook. It's now the photo on the right, but without the watermark linking to my blog. That means that anybody on Facebook can see this as my profile photo. Whether people will make assumptions such as it being my sister or my wife is entirely up to them. :-)

At this stage, I'm not going to add my male name here because it's a relatively rare name and that would cause google to link my male name to this blog, which I'd prefer not to do at this stage. If people know how, it's trivially easy to make the connection.

So far, there have been a lot of supportive and a lot of joking comments, but none have even been passive-aggressive let alone negative or judgemental. :-)

05 November 2014

Breaking the drought

Prior to today, my last outing en femme was in April. I'm happy to say that I managed to go out today, breaking what I think might be the longest outing drought I've had since about 2001.

Being so out of practice, I was surprised that I managed to get my hair done okay with enough time to do my makeup. I wasn't surprised, though, that the makeup took about 75 minutes, and I still wasn't entirely happy with many details.

I arrived at the salon with about 5 minutes to spare, but they were running behind time, so I was able to go to the Building Society before my appointment.

After being greeted and complimented by two staff members there, I returned to the salon, where I was complimented by the client before me, both staff members and a nail products sales rep who arrived just before the end of my appointment.

After my nail appointment, I drove to my optometrist, as planned. There were two female staff members at the front counter, and when they went to process my health insurance card to find out how much the fund would pay, they had so much trouble with their computer that they ended up having to get the optometrist (who is also female) out of a consultation to try to fix the problem.

I was a little surprised that all three of them treated me exactly as they would if I was in boy mode. After previous conversations that I've had there, I expected some sort of response.

With a little time up my sleeve, I drove to Miskonduct Klothing, had a browse and chatted with Steph, who I've known for many years.

02 November 2014

No Tinkerbell this year, either.

Like last year, I had vaguely hoped to repeat my 2012 effort of going to Halloween in Cardiff. Unfortunately, reality had other plans, and with October 31st being the dealine for tax returns in Australia, I had to try to get all of the paperwork for my business and our rental properties sorted out, complete and lodge the return before Friday night.

I got far too little sleep between Monday and Friday, and struggled to work around bugs in the e-tax software that the Australian Taxation Office supply for doing tax returns. One bug caused the software to crash on my Mac (the only supported platform that I have) every time I tried to start it on Thursday night, so I wasted several hours trying to work out how to get around the problem without making any progress on the actual return.

On Friday night, I found a clue in a web forum on how to side-step the problem ~ copy the saved file to another account (user profile) on the computer and use that account instead. The program then ran. When it got to the point where it had been crashing, I twigged as to what caused it to work on Wednesday but crash on Thursday... There was a box offering an introduction to the software for people who hadn't used it before, and contained Yes and No buttons, plus a don't show this again tick box. The last time I'd started it, I ticked that don't show this again box, and now it crashed when the software was told not to show that box! Changing to a different account bypassed the problem.

Other problems included a worksheet for low value immediate deductions that wouldn't calculate after the 7th row, and the fact that the roll-over process of copying information from a previous year adds (Rollover) in front of the name of a rental worksheet, meaning that after 4 years of rolling it over, the software had made the address (Rollover) (Rollover) (Rollover) (Rollover) address. This non-editable field was now deemed too long by the software and rejected, meaning that I had to create a new worksheet, enter all of the details again manually, then delete the old worksheet.

So, after working through a massive number of illogical and frustrating problems over several hours, I managed to lodge my return Friday night.

Looking at the time, I decided that I'd see how I felt in the morning. If I felt awake enough before 9am, I'd do the whole thing without any hair or makeup practice, without completing all the preparations that I normally do, and in spite of the fact that I am currently 5kg (11 pounds) heavier than I was when I last wore the costume and didn't like how much I bulged around the waist last time.

Saturday morning, I spent quite a bit of time trying to convince myself that I was up to it, while knowing that I wasn't.

I still had to go into Cardiff to go to the Building Society, but when I realised that it was about 37°C (99°F), I was glad that I hadn't decided to wear a costume that would have involved at least 2 body shapers, padding and 3 pairs of tights...
 
I chatted with several of the staff at the Building Society who were disappointed that I hadn't dressed up, but understood the tax return dramas.

Last night, I managed to do many of the preparations that I normally do before an outing, including epilating and trimming my brows, shaving my hairline, getting my wife to trim the hair on the back of my neck, and washing my hair.
 
If all goes well, I might manage to get to my nail appointment this week en femme, and get to my optometrist to pick up my contacts while I'm at it.


12 October 2014

Behind the dark path

I've had several people comment or message me about yesterday's post. To all of you, thank you. I'd like to particularly thank the one person who actually offered to help me with hair and makeup.

I think that perhaps the only way to explain where I'm at is to explain where I'm at and why I'm so stuck.

My wife and I met in 1998, and married in 1999. She always came across as slightly distant or aloof, but claimed that it was a trait of her Gemini star sign.

After our son was born in 2003, her behaviour changed for the worse in subtle ways. I thought that she was suffering from post natal depression, and repeatedly urged her to seek treatment. She refused, apparently believing that she didn't have a problem.

Over the years, I've probably expressed concern about her apparent depression and suggested that she seek professional help at least every six months, because in spite of (or possibly because of) how badly I suffer with depression, I can see that her problem is far worse than mine.

Recently, a relative of my wife's had her son diagnosed as very mildly autistic. Upon learning that Autism Spectrum Disorders are genetic, and that it is common for the carrier parent to be diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome shortly after their child is diagnosed Austistic, she began reading up on Asperger's and realised that while she has some traits in that general direction, the symptoms fitted my wife far better than they fitted her.

She sent me the link to this web page, which has a section titled "Issues for partners of people with Asperger syndrome or ASD". It accurately describes the behavioural changes that I saw in my wife after our son was born, that I had been interpreting for all these years as depression.

When I read an article about a book about Girls and women who have Asperger's Syndrome, I was distressed to realise just how well it fits my wife's behaviour.

So I tried to discuss the fact that she may have Asperger's or a similar disorder on the autism spectrum with my wife. She has basically refused to even get a referral to a psychologist because she doesn't want to be labelled.

One person I know has been telling me for years that I should separate from her, and I already know that in spite of how biased towards giving mothers custody the family services system is, because of her behaviour and her relationship with our son, I would get custody. Our son struggles with her behaviour, and is more relaxed when they are apart. Aside from not wanting to be seen with me when I am crossdressed, my son prefers to be with me rather than with his mother.

The problem is that I still love her, and I've always seen marriage as a lifetime commitment.

Over the years, I've tried to make small changes in my work and around the house to try to make it possible for me to cope, many of which I've mentioned here in various blog posts. With my wife's refusal to seek diagnosis, I've tried to work out how to make changes that will help all three of us, and failed miserably, to the point that I've come to realise that my son and I would most likely cope better without her unless things change soon.

So, faced with the choice between going against my core beliefs and separating, and continuing to try to get the family to function again, I've continued to try. The problem is that crossdressing is an important part of who I am, and it is something that I have to do occasionally. While I struggle to keep everything else together, having my plans consistently ruined at short notice has put me onto that dark path. Even just one successful outing would probably be enough for me to cope far better with everything else for a few weeks.

11 October 2014

heading inexorably down a dark path

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I don't know how long I can hang on by my fingertips. Today, I came to the sad realisation that my life as it is now is leading me inexorably down the dark path towards suicide. I'm not talking days or weeks, but I can't honestly say that I will still be around in 6 or 12 months time.

Fundamentally, I am struggling with depression, exacerbated by comfort eating and severe sleep deprivation. How badly I struggle varies from day to day. One of the consequences of my depression is an inability to concentrate on paperwork. Unfortunately, paperwork is very much the core of my work, and falling behind means that time that I should be spending doing other things becomes time spent, usually very unproductively, trying to catch up on that paperwork.

Add in the fact that so many people seem to have no concept of personal space and time, and insist on contacting me via every available mechanism at all times of day and night, seven days a week, and the interaction between my work, over eating, sleep deprivation and depression is a downward spiral that I struggle vainly to escape from.

Surprisingly, my work is not the source of my depression problem. It just exacerbates it. The root cause is a relationship problem that I cannot fix, and cannot escape. Worse, I've recently come to the realisation that even if I could fix or escape that problem, there's no point in doing so as I no longer believe that I can fix the other problems that have come about as a consequence of the relationship problem and the long term depression.

So, for example, rather than getting up early and going to Sydney to a free hair and makeup event at Beauty Heaven a few weeks ago, where I would have got to catch up with several friends who I haven't seen in years, I surrendered to my depression, slept in and stayed home. Reading about the event from some of those who did attend made me even more depressed, knowing what I had missed out on.

To try to overcome a growing feeling that I'm no longer able to go out en femme, I planned to go to my nail appointment last Wednesday en femme. After planning it for a fortnight including doing the usual preparations such as epilation, I was informed the night before that I was expected to go, in boy mode, to a 5pm information session for a selective high school that we might want to try to get our son into. The option of going to my nail appointment en femme was taken away from me, reinforcing the feeling that I'm no longer allowed to go out en femme.

So, for now, all I can do is continue to plan and attempt to go out, realising that every time I plan to go out and am prevented is another step down that dark path, but making the decision not to try would be a one-way trip right to the end.

14 September 2014

Being out, but not going out

I've only been out en femme 4 times this year, and yet I seem to be more "out" than ever before.

On Friday, I had 2 male work clients who I'd never met before, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Both commented on my nails and asked what type of outfit they were to go with!

In both cases, I responded with "1950s pinup style". Both were quite happy with that answer, with one commenting that one of his friends used to be in Les Girls (a surprisingly common response given that there haven't really *that* many members of Les Girls).

While looking up the contact details of a guy (on Facebook) who is able to do rectification work for the second client, I pulled up the photo of the outfit that I wore to Kurri Kurri last year ~ on my boy profile. :-)

IMATS Sydney is on next weekend. After going on the Saturday last year, the year before, and the year before that, I'm not planning on going this year, and hence haven't bought a ticket. Unless someone miraculously decides to give me a ticket, I won't be going.

I went to get dinner at Subway last night, and while I was there, I also went to the supermarket, where I was served by the woman who asked if I was at IMATS last year. She asked if I was going to IMATS, and I told her no. I asked if she knew that it is at Moore Park this year and she said yes, and it's a bit inconvenient to get to.

Having been to Moore Park back in 2011, I know how inconvenient it can be to get to. Fortunately, I had looked at options for getting there earlier this year, and discovered that there are buses direct from Central railway station to Moore Park, and that you can actually buy a train ticket that includes the bus. I told the woman at the supermarket about the buses, and that there was information on the Cityrail (now Sydney Trains) web site. She sounded genuinely disappointed that I'm not going, but was grateful for the information about the buses.

While I'm not planning on going to IMATS, I may well be going to Sydney the following weekend, as I've been invited to an event at Beauty Heaven, similar to the one that I went back in 2010. It's remarkable how much has changed since 2010 ~ back then, I stripped the nail polish that was done at BH before I went back to work on the Monday. Back then, I wore a wig and wasn't into the '50s pinup style.

While I'm not going out anywhere nearly as often now as I used to, I'm far more comfortable with who I am, and who knows about me, than I was even a year ago. I would like to go out a bit more often, though!

06 September 2014

Plodding along

I've done some soul searching since my last post. I've come to realise that the root cause of my burnout is not my work at all. The real problem is relationship related, and my compromised ability to concentrate on and organise my work, which I initially interpreted is being the cause is in fact a consequence.

Worryingly, while the relationship issues that are causing the problems are essentially unrelated to my crossdressing, as with my work, my ability to organise outings has also been compromised as a consequence of the burnout problem. That compounds the problem, as spending time en femme is something that I enjoy, which helps to make me more productive in general, and would probably put me in a better frame of mind to deal with the relationship issues that I'm struggling with.

Where things go from here, I don't know any more. I've been clinging on by my fingertips since at least 2007, and I don't know if I can do it for much longer. Don't worry, while I'm depressed, I'm not suicidal at the moment ~ that was last week. Something will have to change soon, but what and how is up to my wife, as I've done everything I can to sort things out.

14 July 2014

Burnout

I always used to conflate burnout with having a breakdown, and thought that once you recovered from the breakdown you were no longer burnt out. Not so!

I read this article recently after someone shared the link on facebook. I re-shared it. One person liked it, and nobody commented.

After reading that article, I realised that not only am I burnt out, but by my estimation, I have been for about 7 to 10 years. For now, I'm assuming that it is primarily because of my work but there have been some other issues over the years that I need to look at to work out whether they are causal or symptomatic.

Now I have to work out how I am going to change my circumstances to try to fix it. Changing jobs is not an option, so I have to work out how to change the one that I have. I also have to try to work through other problems that have been causing me stress and work out how to resolve them.

It's scary to realise that I have almost every one of the symptoms listed, and have blogged about my struggles with many of them.

I know that I have a long struggle ahead of me, and yet so far it doesn't even seem real...

04 July 2014

Posture

Have you ever looked at yourself on a video from a security camera, and been really dismayed by your posture?

I have. Recently. :-(

No, I didn't do something wrong. The position of my office means that, without a closed circuit TV, I had no way of seeing people and vehicles come and go. For years, I had cameras feeding into TV tuner cards on computers, which I could feed across the network to watch on any computer. I had 4 cameras and 3 tuner cards, but didn't have any recording ability. There was only one camera that really gave useful results so I got into the habit of only using it.

After a while, I found that people would park near my office in a spot not covered by the cameras and unless I saw them drive in, I'd be surprised when they walked into the office.

Recently, ALDI (supermarket chain) had a special on a package of a small DVR and 4 cameras, so I bought one so that I could get better coverage of the yard from my office computer. I was thinking that it would work best to have a couple of cameras on the house and a couple on the garage, but they are too far apart to do that using one DVR, so when the price went down by $50 a few weeks later to clear remaining stock, I made the decision to buy a second one.

Over the past couple of weeks, I've installed both DVRs and 6 new cameras. I re-used two of the old cameras just to save time but will have to replace one or possibly both of them soon. I also had an interesting exercise in getting the software for the DVRs to work on my office computer, but that's a (very geeky) blog post in its own right!

The DVRs can be set up to only record when they sense image changes that they interpret as movement, and you can choose which parts of the image to ignore for this. This led me to start watching short sequences of video that the camera recorded.

I haven't walked around the yard en femme since I installed the cameras, but I have watched myself in my usual work clothes which, given that it's mid winter, cold and windy, includes a fairly bulky jacket.

Since I realised just how badly hunched over my posture is, I've been almost constantly making an effort to sit and stand up straight!

I'll have to keep checking the recordings to see if I can see an improvement in my posture. I'll also have to check it when I do manage to get out en femme. I'd hate to think that my posture en femme could be anywhere nearly as bad as I've seen in boy mode. :-(

03 July 2014

Spiked

Have you ever stepped on a thorn from a citrus tree?

I have. Recently. :-(

The one that I stepped on was over 25mm (an inch) long, and it went straight through the sole of my well worn jogger, into the ball of my foot.

On the upside, I didn't have to worry too much about infection, as it bled profusely enough to clean out the wound. It also led me to dispose of a pair of old shoes that were overdue for retirement.

On the downside, I wasn't able to wear heels for about a fortnight, which led me to abandon plans of attending an event that I would have liked to have gone to.

In anticipation of Wednesday's nail appointment, I got my red siren stilettos out on Monday night and wore them for a few minutes to see if I could. As usual, they were tight but wearable.

It still aches a bit occasionally, but I'm guessing that by the time I next have an opportunity to wear heels (I'm guessing that will be when work slows down again in the next school holidays in about 3 months), it probably will have pretty much healed.

02 July 2014

Admonished

I was planning on posting today, but this post will be entirely unlike the planned content... And just in case you're wondering, I have a few other things that I'll have to catch up on on my blog soon. I've been busy on predominantly non-crossdressing things but some do have implications for outings in the future.

I haven't been out en femme since the last nail appointment that I blogged about back in April. With work slowing down very slightly due to school holidays, I planned to take the opportunity to get to today's nail appointment en femme. In anticipation, I put in some extra effort to work on my paperwork backlog over the last week, and epilated my face on Monday night, expecting to do the remaining preparations on Tuesday night.

As with my plans for my nail appointment between Christmas and new year, on Tuesday afternoon someone else made plans that involve me without asking me, putting me in the same situation of having to choose between going out en femme and changing before going out in the evening at the risk of damaging my nails, turning up to the inlaws' place en femme, or abandoning my plans and doing the whole day in boy mode. Inevitably, changing too soon after the nails were done or turning up at the inlaws' place en femme weren't really viable, leaving boy mode as the only feasible option.

The reality is that my mood is a little down because of this, but having something upset my plans has happened so many times that it wasn't a surprise, and it wasn't as much of a blow as it would have been if I had got to Wednesday morning, then had something stop me.

At about the same time as finding out that my plans had been dashed, I was also admonished by an insomniac for neglecting my blog, and consequently failing to provide her with reading material!

At today's appointment, I went for a nail colour that I haven't worn in quite some time. It's a lot more subtle than the colours I generally wear now.

At the end of next week, I will be going to a daytime formal wedding. As was observed yesterday by a couple of women who will be going but are not particularly keen on dresses, makeup, etc., the irony is that the person who would most enjoy wearing such things (me) won't be allowed to, but they, who don't really feel like it, will be expected to do so.

Yes, I'm expected to go to a wedding dressed in a normal male suit...

At least I can match my nails to my tie. ;-)

25 April 2014

I thought that you were a mannequin until you moved

With yesterday's post being so long, I forgot to mention the funniest thing that happened all day...

Where I parked at Kotara meant that the most practical way in and out was via a lift. In fact, it was the same lift where I overcame my fear of lifts about 4 years ago.

After walking the full length of the centre and back, I pressed the button for the lift and stood to wait for it. Before it arrived, an older woman pushing a shopping trolley arrived to wait for the lift, but made no attempt to push the button, which I was standing in front of.

As we entered the lift, she commented to me

"I thought that you were a mannequin until you moved."
I wasn't quite sure what to make of that comment, or the contradiction of the fact that she didn't try to push the button! :-)

24 April 2014

Another nail appointment

I went to my nail appointment yesterday en femme. That's two consecutive fortnightly nail appointments en femme. After the very long gap between going to The Lindy Charm School in October last year and the Saturday of the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival last month, I've now been out 4 times in under a month, all in red or reddish orange retro outfits. :-)

After wondering how I was going to top the outfit I wore last time I went out, I ended up taking a rather different tack. Instead of trying to decide which retro dress to wear, or buying another one, I went to my unloved wardrobe of things that I had before I started wearing retro. I found this modern wrap dress that I bought at an op-shop, probably for $7 or less. I decided that the combination of layered ruffles around the neckline on a relatively simple wrap dress would look okay in a vintage inspired outfit.

On Tuesday afternoon, I received a work cheque in the mail, but didn't get the mail early enough to go and bank it, so on my way to my nail appointment, I stopped in at my local building society branch, anticipating an interesting reaction from the staff who know me. That was not to be, as there was just one of the regular staff and she was busy with another customer. While I was there, I decided that I'd also withdraw some cash, and by the time I'd completed the withdrawal slip, a male teller who I don't think I've ever met before had come out to serve. He didn't use any gender pronouns at all while serving me, but processed the transactions on the accounts in my male name without hesitation.

There was a slightly interesting moment when the lending manager who arranged our home loan last year was walking in the door as I walked out, and looked at my slightly oddly as he stepped aside to let me pass. I suspect that he recognised me, and it wouldn't surprise me if he knew about me from the other staff, in view of the Halloween Tinkerbell outing a couple of years ago.

After my nail appointment, I dropped into the local Lifeline shop to say hello, then headed up to Charlestown to start looking for a red bra to wear with red dresses and tops, in the hope that it would be less obvious than a skintone one if it happens to be visible around the edge of the cleavage. Having found nothing suitable, I headed towards the lifts to the carpark, walking past the same customer and her daughter as I encountered a few years ago. Since I'm now wigless, I know that my appearance is a lot less different between male and female than it used to be, and their business page in Facebook is a friend of my boy profile where I've posted photos of my last 3 outings, so I have no idea whether they recognised me or not. I have no idea why I shied away from them again, but I did.

Having struck out at Charlestown, I decided to try Kotara. After walking the entire length of the top level of the centre and back, I couldn't find any underwear shops that were different to the ones in Charlestown. I thought that there was at least one.

Doing all that walking, I also identified a problem that I had with the same shoes on the Sunday at Kurri Kurri. My feet perspire when walking long distances, making these particular shoes slide up and down my heels as I walk. With socks, I use powder to absorb moisture, but that's not really feasible with tights or stockings, so I've added non-powder foot anti-perspirant to the shopping list.

I'm back to looking for other things to go out for. For the first time in a very long time, I even considered going to the Newcastle cafe night this week, but my wife had already arranged to go to a pilates class on Tuesday night so I stayed home with our son.

20 April 2014

Love the outfit

I mentioned on Friday that my neighbour had liked and shared the photo from my nail appointment that I'd posted on my boy profile on Facebook, and that she had subsequently asked to tag someone else into the photo.

I forgot to mention that the text that I attached to the photo was "If you're getting you're nails done, you should look the part. :-P"

She later commented "Love the outfit. Reminds me of my younger years."

No negativity there. :-)

18 April 2014

Neighbourly knowledge

If there was any remaining doubt that my next door neighbours, whose house is alongside our driveway, knew about me or not, events of the past few days have eliminated all doubt.

Following on from having posted the photo of the outfit that I wore to the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival last year on my boy profile on Facebook, as I mentioned, I also posted both this year's Kurri photos.

On Tuesday night last week (the night before my nail appointment), I made a joking comment on facebook about wearing a 1950s outfit to take my son to his school end of term disco on the Wednesday night because he was annoying his mother. My neighbour asked how my son felt about that, and I responded that I wasn't actually going to do it. It's a running joke that if he misbehaves, I'll embarrass him.

A couple of nights ago, I decided to post one photo from my nail appointment last week on my boy profile. As I did last year, I shared the photo with "only me" to begin with, and adjusted the date and time of the photo back to the day that it was taken. Last night, I changed the sharing of the photo to "friends", and by this morning it had a comment and several likes. Then during the morning my neighbour not only liked it, but also shared it.

While I was typing this, she also requested to tag someone else who I don't know in my photo, so that that person can also see the photo. :-)

Having been out 3 times in under a fortnight, I'm more enthusiastic about going out than I have been in quite some time, but there are a few catches with that. One is that the more time I spend getting organised and going out, the further I get behind on paperwork. Another is finding places to go when I do go out. A strange one that has come up as a result of last Wednesday is that I was so happy with that outfit (aside from a bra band that kept coming up at the back and a slip that came up and gathered around my waist) that I'm struggling to work out what I could wear to top it!

13 April 2014

Shoe adjustments

As I mentioned on Friday, I bought a pair of Nine West patent leather flats on Thursday, after wearing them for a few minutes in the shop to see if they would fit and be comfortable. Great theory! Friday night, I thought that I'd start breaking them in by wearing them while sitting at my computer, as I've done for numerous pairs of shoes before.

It didn't take long to discover that the amount of pressure on the edge of the opening of each shoe above my big toes were going to make the shoes break my feet instead of my feet breaking the shoes in, so I dug out my shoe stretchers.

With a pair of lumps installed in the right place, I left the shoes to stretch for about 24 hours and, when I tried them on today, they were far more comfortable. While there is a little bit of pressure around the side of each shoe just behind where they've stretched, I'd say that I've fixed about 99% of the problem. What little pressure there is isn't painful like it was, and if I find that it does need more stretching, I'll have to drill more holes in the stretchers to put lumps in the right places. I'm just going to wear them and see how it goes.

I also mentioned on Friday that I needed to put some front half gel insoles into the red Siren heels that I wore on the Sunday of Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival and again on Wednesday because they are quite uncomfortable to walk any distance in.

I've come to the realisation that the problem is that there was a gap between the arches of the shoes and the arches of my feet, from the ball of the foot up to about the middle of the arch. It seems that the shoes are designed for someone with a longer arch but shorter toes, whereas all of my Tony Bianco shoes have the right length arch for me.

The solution, then, was to put a pair of inserts into the bottom of the arch to fill in that gap. I tried the ones from the old boots, and they worked but were scruffy and bent out of shape from the boots. The only drawback is that by filling in the gaps, the insoles increase the pressure on my toes a little. I need to try to find shoe stretchers that fit high heels so that I can stretch the toes of the shoes a little.

When I went out to get Subway for dinner last night, I dropped into the supermarket and picked up a new pair of inserts on special for under $4. :-)

Oddly, while I know where the full rack of shoe products are in the very last aisle of the supermarket and went straight there, I was also looking for cotton tips, and noticed that there was a small range of one brand of shoe products in the personal care aisle, about 4 aisles away. I wonder how many people only see the small range and don't even realise that the others are there.

The other thing that I find amusing is that, every time I go there, the young woman at Subway who served me after I went to Kurri Kurri on the Saturday now comments that I'm not dressed up. :-)

11 April 2014

Red patent flats

One thing that I've been aware of since I began wearing red retro dresses is that I didn't have any flat shoes to go with them. Obviously while wearing flats that don't go with the outfit isn't too much of a problem when driving, it is a problem once you get out of the car!

On the Saturday of the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival, I alternated between mustard flats that fitted with the colours in the dress and my relatively comfortable Tony Bianco nude heels. Not having flats that went with the outfit, on the Sunday I left my flats in the car and did all of the walking in my significantly less comfortable red Siren heels. That's when I went from being aware that I needed red flats to being painfully aware that I really needed red flats. It also reminded me that I need to pull the front half gel insoles out of a pair of boots that I don't wear, and put them into the red heels.

In the lead up to the Nostalgia Festival, I looked around for red flats in all of the usual shoe shops, but not being out and about en femme meant that I didn't take the time to go through the various dress shops that sometimes have a small range of shoes, typically in the back of the shop.

Wednesday's outing to Charlestown Square following my nail appointment gave me an opportunity to take a little more time to look around the shops that I hadn't looked in before, and I noticed some pointy toed red leather flats on sale at Nine West.

Sadly, they didn't have my size, but they checked their computer and assured me that their Kotara store did. Given that the two centres are only a few kilometres apart, I figured that I'd go straight there, but it was closer to closing time than I realised, and the traffic was heavy so I didn't get there in time.

Happily, on Thursday morning, I had a job finish early, which left me with about 45 minutes before lunch in which to take a quick trip to Kotara. Of course, that meant that I was in my usual work clothes, but I didn't let that stop me.

When I got to the store, I asked about the shoe that I'd seen in Charlestown, in a size 10. While the sales assistant was out the back looking for them, I spotted an even more suitable patent leather flat with a rounded toe. When the sales assistant came back to tell me that she could only find a 9 1/2 in the pointy toed style, I asked about the round toed style, and she confirmed that they did indeed have that one in a 10.

After trying them on for a few minutes, I bought what had originally been $99 shoes, on special for just under $64. Yay. :-)

10 April 2014

Finding an easier way

I have to say that I love the 1940s style teardrop hat that I got from The Lindy Charm School a few weeks ago, and I'm considering buying another one or two to go with other outfits.

When I wore it on the Sunday of the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival, I felt that it worked beautifully with the outfit, but I struggled to pin it on as securely as I wanted. There was a small loop under the centre of the back, but nothing similar towards the front. I couldn't get a bobby pin to go through the loop and grip my hair well enough on its own, and ended up pushing a plastic comb into my hair under the hat to provide an anchor, then putting 2 bobby pins through the loop and diagonally under the comb. That held the back in place quite well, but securing the front meant putting a bobby pin over the edge of the hat between the two flowers. I was worried that that would damage the hat.

Last Thursday night, I went to Price Attack in Charlestown Square to see if I could find a couple of clips that I could sew onto the underside of the edge of the hat, and picked up a $10 pack of 4 snap open clips that are used with hair pieces. They have two holes at each end to allow them to be sewn on.

I sewed two onto the hat, and when I wore it yesterday, it was far easier and quicker to attach! :-)

09 April 2014

Nailing it

For the first time in a very long time, I managed to get to a nail appointment en femme today.

The two ladies working in the salon were impressed with my outfit, and one wanted photos. I ended up messaging 3 of the photos taken with her iPhone across to my phone.

This is the same wiggle dress that I wore to The Lindy Charm School at Miskonduct last year, with essentially the same hairdo as I wore on the Sunday at the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival.

I came home briefly after the appointment, then decided to go to Charlestown Square to look for red flat shoes to go with the outfit. I spotted some red patent flats on special in a shop, but they didn't have my size. Apparently their Kotara shop does, but the traffic was predictably slow and by the time I drove from Charlestown to Kotara, it was closing time so I just continued home.

My son is going to a school end of term disco tonight. He annoyed his mother so much last night that when, while saying good night, I jokingly suggested that I could take him and pick him up again tonight. His response was to say NO! quite emphatically, but to cover  his face so that I couldn't see his big smile. My wife's response was a resounding Yes! :-)

08 April 2014

Does not Compute error

I always make an effort to wear my wedding ring when I go out, whether en femme or not. It's a symbol of my commitment to my marriage, and wearing a dress doesn't make me any less married. When we had our wedding rings made, I had to convince the jeweller to make my ring narrower than he wanted to. He resisted, as he thought that making it narrower would make it look too much like a woman's ring. The result was a ring that's relatively narrow for a man's ring, but towards the wider end of the range for women's rings. I think it works both ways, although the nails tend to make it look feminine regardless of how I'm dressed. :-)

In response to my post yesterday, How can it not be obvious?, one of my friends commented on Facebook that perhaps people assume that I bat for the other team.

There is an annoyingly common misconception that crossdressers are homosexual. It is quite pervasive, and in the majority of cases, it's also quite wrong.

I remember reading a book many years ago where the author suggested that wearing a wedding ring might improve a person's ability to pass as female. Perhaps this also ties in with the misconception, in that a gay man dressed as female wasn't going to be married, and thus not going to wear a wedding ring. Obviously, with marriage equality, that isn't as applicable as it used to be!

Perhaps the same effect works either when somebody knows that I'm married, or they see that I'm wearing a wedding ring. They can see that I have no facial hair, very shaped brows, long hair, pierced ears and long painted nails but they assume that I can't be a crossdresser because of the pre-conception that crossdressers are homosexual, and conversely that heterosexuals are not crossdressers...

I call this a Does not Compute error. :-P

07 April 2014

How can it not be obvious?

I went to Subway again on Saturday night, and the young woman who I was talking to on Tuesday night about my outfit from last Saturday was there again.

She enthused to the woman who was serving me about how great I looked when I was all dressed up, which led to me showing them the photos from last weekend on my phone.

When I mentioned that she had said that she didn't recognise me until I smiled, she surprised me with the comment that, in spite of talking about my long painted nails several times, like the hairdresser last year and others before that, she hadn't realised that I was a crossdresser.

I am still surprised when that happens. A guy has no facial hair (not even beard shadow), very shaped brows, long hair, pierced ears, long painted nails and people don't put the clues together.

Really? How can it not be obvious? :-)

As an aside, the flower that I wore on Saturday was one of the first ones that I got when I started looking in op shops, that cost me $1. I'd actually looked at it when I was converting them and thought that it was probably the one that I'd be the least likely to wear. I thought that it was too big, and wasn't sure about the sort-of dirty looking off white colour. As it turns out, it was a good colour to go with the outfit, and once I put it on, I realised that it wasn't too big after all.

01 April 2014

Recognition takes a smile

I went back to my local Subway restaurant again tonight, and the young woman who served me on Saturday night was working there again.

There were no other customers in the shop. We talked a little about what I'd worn, and I showed her the photos from Sunday.

I found two comments that she made quite interesting, and a question that she asked really amazed me.

The first was that she described my outfit as a China Doll look, and didn't see it as a 1950s or pinup retro style.

The second was that she didn't recognise me when I walked in the door as I had assumed that she did. It wasn't until I smiled that she recognised me. That reminded me of going to the local Lifeline op shop back in 2010, when my smile was also the reason why people who already knew me recognised me. :-)

The question that she asked, was how I managed to do my hair so neatly. Given that I considered it to be a mess of flyaways and not-quite-right details, I was amazed that she saw it as being neat.

She also asked me how I felt about people staring at me. I told her that it amuses me now, but when I first started going out, it had terrified me. I suppose that it's an indication of just how accepting the younger generations are now that she couldn't understand why anybody would be frightened to go out en femme.

30 March 2014

Sunday at Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival 2014


I managed to make it to Kurri Kurri again today, as planned.

I got a lot of compliments on this outfit and quite a few people took photos. :-)

Aside from having some difficulty pinning it into place, I'm really happy with the hat! There is a small loop that I put 2 bobby pins through to secure it, and the bobby pins kept slipping in my hair so I put a plastic comb under the hat, then pushed the bobby pin under it, in much the same way as I secured the snood yesterday. I'm thinking about stitching a small comb to the loop to make it easier.

Unfortunately, I haven't managed to get a pair of red flat shoes to go with this outfit, so I wore my heels from when I got out of the car to when I got back to it, which proved to be a bad plan and shortened the time I spent there. I find that these Siren shoes are just not as comfortable as my many pairs of Tony Biancos, including the ones I wore yesterday. I have to remember to put gel front half liners in them before I wear them again!

I caught up with a few people, including one who is adamant that I should go to another event called Krankit next weekend. It's actually closer to home, but I'm not sure that it's as focussed on the '50s clothing, etc as cars in general. At this stage, I have no idea whether I'll go, or whether I'll still be catching up from taking this weekend off!

Continuing on from last year, I've posted both of the full length photos on my facebook "boy" profile. :-)

29 March 2014

Saturday at Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival 2014

I made it to Kurri Kurri as planned, and also went to my local Subway restaurant to get dinner afterwards, dressed the same. The young woman who often comments about my nails was quite impressed. :-)

I didn't realise until I went to put them on that my nude Tony Bianco stilettos still have glitter on them that looks like it's from my Halloween Tinkerbell outing almost 18 months ago!

Tomorrow, I'm planning on going again, in a dress that I got from Miskonduct Klothing last year but haven't worn yet, the red seamed tights and red stilettos that I wore to The Lindy Charm School in October last year and a custom made 1940s style teardrop hat from The Lindy Charm School.

I'm really hoping that the rain holds off!

28 March 2014

Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival 2014

It's that time of year again. The Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival 2014 is on this weekend, and I'm hoping to get there both days ~ in different outfits.

Happily, the new freeway that was supposed to open late last year finally opened last weekend, so I'm planning on going on both Saturday and Sunday. Provided that they fit, Saturday's outfit will be based on the dress that I wore last year, but with some different accessories while Sunday's outfit will be a new dress with the shoes that I wore last year.

Annoyingly, it's been raining for the past few days so the ground will be wet at Kurri Kurri even if it clears up enough not to actually rain over the weekend. I've had to plan options for dry and wet weather, mostly affecting whether I carry an umbrella or a parasol, and whether I wear suede shoes or patent leather on Saturday.

I've attempted to experiment with hairstyles recently, and not been happy with the results. I haven't worn makeup at all since I went to the Lindy Charm School in October last year, so I have no idea how my hair and makeup will turn out!

I know that I will see a lot of people who know me through my work, including a lot of clients. Having posted the photo of last year's outfit on my boy facebook profile, it's pretty clear that most people know how I'll be dressed this year, and I haven't seen any negative comments. If people are saying disparaging things, they're not saying them to me. :-)

05 March 2014

Infamy

"Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it in for me!"
Kenneth Williams as Julius Caesar - Carry On Cleo (1964)

No, actually it's nothing like that. :-)

I went to get my waist-down waxing done today, as I do about every 6 weeks.

Chrissy, who does my waxing most of that time, told me a funny little story.

It seems that she and a female friend were at a bar, and her friend was chatting with 2 guys that she knew but Chrissy didn't. She wasn't paying much attention until the guys started talking about something unusual that they'd seen. This engineer came to their place to inspect a job, and he had long, bright red nails...

When one of them mentioned my male first name, she responded with both my first name and my surname, and confirmed that yes, they were talking about me.

So it seems that, while many people don't say anything directly to me about them, they certainly notice, then gossip about me later. I'm comfortable with that. If there is negativity, I'm not aware of it so it doesn't count. :-)

20 February 2014

More on sex and gender

After thinking about my last post a bit more, I realised that there were a few things that I should have mentioned in my essay but didn't.

What I stated as fact about brain sex being determined before birth is the leading current theory, which has come from extensive research. It's not just something that I've plucked out of the air. If you're interested, I'm sure that your favourite search engine could turn up links to such research.

What I call brain sex is often called gender identity. Because physical sex and brain sex are both fixed before birth but gender is a social construct, I much prefer the clearer distinction created by using one term for the two fixed characteristics and a different term for the social construct. I don't think that the term gender identity provides the same level of clarity, as it associates a brain trait established before birth with a social construct in a way that could be used by some anti-transgender (generally churchianity) groups who tend to claim that being transgender is a choice.

Clearly, the research indicates that it is not.

There is another thing that is also established in the brain prior to birth, which hate groups tend to also try to claim is a choice. Sexual orientation.

Like brain sex, sexual orientation is a continuum from being attracted only to males through being equally attracted to both sexes to being only attracted to females, with a sizeable area of attraction to various transgender or intersex people that makes it impossible to illustrate it as a line.

Sexual orientation is completely separate from brain sex. Yes, you probably read that right. Who you are sexually attracted to is completely independent of the sex that you identify as.

The theory of brain sex and sexual orientation being independent but both being determined before birth explains not only heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality in cisgender people (people whose brain sex and hence gender role matches their physical sex), but also explains the same range of sexual orientation variations in transgender people.

The part about the relationship between brain sex and sexual orientation that most people struggle with is the fact that most people think in terms of heterosexual and homosexual. A person whose position on the gender spectrum shifts, whether temporarily or permanently, throws that whole concept into disarray.

Fortunately, there are a couple of concepts that solve this problem quite neatly, and can also be viably applied to cisgender people. They are gynephilia and androphilia. These two terms define who a person is attracted to without reference to who they are. Gynephilia is attraction to females, while androphilia is attraction to males. There are also, of course, bisexual, asexual (not sexually attracted to anybody) and narcissistic (sexually attracted to themselves ~ I'd say "eww" here but I'd probably offend someone :-P ).

So, for example, my gender role tends to vary between male and female, but I always remain gynephilic.

Occasionally, people claim to have changed their sexual orientation at the same time as changing gender role. In practise, in the long term most will admit that they are in fact revealing their true sexual orientation, having pretended otherwise to fit into social expectations.

I believe that western societies are gradually becoming more accepting of both gender variations and variations in sexual orientation, and provided that we don't experience any radical social lurches towards religious fundamentalism, I foresee a time when children will be comfortable being open and honest about who they are and who they are attracted to, instead of having to waste years struggling to be someone who others expect them to be. The benefits to the individuals and to the community as a whole are enormous.

16 February 2014

An essay on sex and gender

I've been trying to complete this post for several weeks. I come to it, change a little, feel unable to complete it, save it and go off and do something else.

A few weeks ago, I exchanged a series of private messages with a cisgender woman who is struggling to understand how my transgenderism fits into my family, in which I am essentially a male ~ a husband and father, and whether my expression of femininity ~ hair, makeup, dresses, high heels, etc somehow implies that she is less female than I am!

I sent her what was essentially an essay. I originally intended to re-write it to fit the normal tone of my blog posts, but I've come to the conclusion that rather than trying to re-write it, I'll just quote what I wrote to her, with minimal editing to clarify things that she would have understood but others might not. I'm not sure how she took it...

To provide context to part of what I wrote later, I've included part of an earlier message, where I observed that:

The problem is that I know what the solution to my depression is. Spending time socialising "as female" is effectively the anti-depressant that I need, but like using a drug, the frequency has to be high enough to avoid bouts of depression between the doses. The Catch-22 problem is that if I get too depressed, I can't push myself to get organised and go out and it becomes a downward spiral of depression.

It really is as simple as that.


That led on to the main essay:
I do understand when people intend to be considerate, understanding etc but struggle to do so. As a child, my father (like many people in that era) was extremely homophobic, to the point that I feel that I have some homophobia ingrained into me, even though I consciously reject it. To make it even more complicated, that extreme homophobia effectively incorporated transphobia, because at that time all transgender behaviour was seen by most people as being a variety of homosexuality. The presumption of a connection persists to this day, and is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of dealing with other people's ideas of who I am.

If you think that it is difficult for you to understand, I assure you that you're not alone! Plenty of people who live it every day don't understand it either.

The first thing to try to get your head around (and it is difficult) is to separate the concepts of physical sex, brain sex and gender. Physical sex is an immutable biological fact ~ it's part of the DNA. Brain sex is a function of how the person perceives themselves, which is determined by hormonal "programming" that happens during foetal development. Like physical sex, it is immutable ~ it's what was programmed into the brain before birth. Gender is a social construct ~ it's generally what a society considers normal for people of a physical sex, but some societies have a category for "third gender", which basically recognises the existence of transgender people.

None of the three are binary male/female. Like intersex people who have a range of positions along the continuum between male and female, the brain sex can be ambiguous or even variable. The latter is how it is for me ~ it varies with context. Gender has an unlimited number of positions on a spectrum. When you look at someone and think "that's a male" or "that's a female", it is a gender attribution that you are making.

Crossdressing is seeking to temporarily align the gender role with the brain sex. In a social setting, it allows the person to behave in a manner congruent to how they think. That's where I'm at.

Transsexualism takes it a huge step further, involving hormones and surgery to alter the brain and body to approximate that of the opposite physical sex. I know quite a few people who have gone that way, including one who I've known for several years as "just" a crossdresser (their self-description), who has just started transitioning.

I can't see that in my future. At some point at the end of a day or night out, it is a relief to strip off that gender role because my mood has shifted away from feminine and I've satisfied the craving ~ I've got my hit, and I'm ready to do something else. To transition would be to trap myself in something that I don't want all of the time.

If you can get your head around all of that, you'll realise that "femininity" is a gender construct, and is quite separate from being a woman. If you ask yourself the question "am I a man or a woman" and you confidently answer that you are a woman, then that is what you are because that's what your brain sex is, regardless of physical sex and gender. If I ask myself the same question, my answer is either "yes" or "no" depending how much emphasis I put on the "or". I admire transsexuals for the fact that they are able to answer that question one way or the other, and that they have the courage to choose to adjust their entire life including their bodies to fit that.

Being a woman does not come down to makeup, fancy hair styles and dresses. For most women, other people will see you as a woman unless you go out of your way to look male. For someone whose body says male but their brain says (or screams) female, there is a need to alter the appearance so that most other people will see them as female. Because there are gender cues in hair styles, skin colour and texture, facial bone structure, body proportions and many other physical aspects, a crossdresser has to over compensate to some extent, drawing attention towards constructed feminine features to distract from masculine features. Likewise for mannerisms.

For transsexuals who use hormones and have had their body and face surgically altered, this becomes less and less of an issue, as the masculine features are removed or obscured, meaning that many tend to move more and more to living just like every other woman ~ little or no makeup, simple hairstyles and loose fitting comfortable clothes.

While I have, at times, made an effort to make my makeup subtle and dress down to fit in such as when shopping, it's not why I dress. My recent move towards 1950s "pinup" style is because it is "a bit out there" but there are enough women getting around day-to-day dressed that way that it's not completely out of place. It generates attention, but it is good attention because people tend to admire or at least respect the effort and results. If I didn't have confidence in my presentation, I couldn't pull that look off. I needed practice dressing down and fitting in to build my confidence when I first went out, but with that confidence established, I now tend to want to express my individuality ~ by dressing like all of those other pinup girls. :-P
Note (added 13 March 2014) ~ A follow-up post can be found here.

02 February 2014

Rearranging

I realised a couple of hours ago that we're now a month into 2014, and the only girly things I've done so far this year were to practice 1940s/1950s hair styling on a couple of nights while my family were away, and buy a couple of snoods.

One snood is black, which is a colour that I doubt I'd ever wear out but it was in an op shop for $2.50, so I bought it to practice with to see if I thought I could make a snood work for me before buying a new one. After the first night, I thought that I could make it work, so I went and bought a red one to go with some of my red dresses. The second night, I tried to put the red one on and couldn't get it to sit right. As you'll see in the photo, I've also discovered that quite a few of the artificial flowers that I converted for use as hair accessories probably aren't going to work ~ in general, they need to be fully open flat flowers so that the back can't be seen from any angle, or they need to be placed inside or under something, such as putting buds inside rolls.

I need to practice again, but I have come to the realisation that I don't feel comfortable in my own home when my wife and son are home, and tend to retreat to my office, which is in a separate shed. I'm yet to work out how I'm going to resolve that.

We still haven't heard back from the engineers about our house extension plans, but in the meantime I've begun a fairly major restructure of where things are stored in our house, including moving my breast forms and virtually all of my hair stuff (rollers, straightener, clips, accessories, sprays, etc) from the bedroom to a cupboard near the bathroom. I've also organised space for my makeup, but haven't moved it yet.
 
I'm also spending quite a bit of time at present creating an attic in our ceiling. It's something that I planned years ago and started by installing an attic stair unit, then didn't get much further with until a few weeks ago. We're fortunate that the ceiling space is quite open because it's a pitched roof. Of course, the ceiling gets quite dusty, so everything has to be either covered in drop sheets or stored in plastic storage boxes. So far, I've laid about 30% of the final floor area that I expect to be able to do, and filled it. That means that I've now got space in the house to rearrange a couple of rooms so that hopefully I will soon be able to have a wardrobe outside our bedroom in which to hang clothes that I plan to wear out, as well as somewhere to store jewellery.

I'm hoping that all of this work will mean that eventually, I'll be able to do my hair and makeup and get dressed in the morning while my wife is still in bed asleep, without having to spend an hour or more getting things out of our bedroom before I go to bed, stacking them wherever I can find space such that it adds considerably to the time taken in the morning, and still having to sneak back into the bedroom in the morning to find things that I've forgotten.

02 January 2014

2013 - a year of disappointment

Clearly, Something has got to change in my life. Back in 2010, I managed to average an outing every 5 days over the year. In 2011, that fell to a total of 51 outings, or an average of less than once a week. With some major work related stress issues, the total for 2012 was down to 13 (about once per fortnight), and I didn't think that it could get any worse.

But it did! In 2013, I managed a total of just 5 outings for the entire year, including IMATS and The Lindy Charm School, that I pushed myself to attend because I'd paid in advance, and the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival, that I planned months in advance for, because I didn't get there last year!

My sleep patterns are no better than they were last year, or the year before, or any of the dozen or so years before that. :-(

At around 85kg, my weight is still far too high. It's a couple of kilos better than last year, but about the same as 2 years ago. I have recently taken to having this old postcard photo of Betty Brosmer as the background on my computer, to remind me that I need to eat less so that I can have a smaller waist. Realistically, the thing that helped me the most to lose weight was going out frequently wearing a body shaper.

I'm still having a lot of trouble with disorganisation at home making it difficult if not impossible to get organised enough to go out en femme. The most recent example was that I seriously considered going to the New Years Eve cafe night, and got as far as straightening my hair and getting my red wiggle dress out, but couldn't get to the ironing board to press the dress.

We made progress with revising the plans for our house extensions, but we have to wait for approval from the civil engineers before we can submit them to council. I'm really hopeful that we'll actually get started on construction this year. To some extent, it worries me that I'm pinning my hopes on the house extensions making a big difference to my organisation and hence my ability to get out more often. I don't know how I'll cope if we put in a huge amount of time, effort and money and it doesn't help!

Perhaps the most troubling thing is the Catch 22 of outings and depression. Going out en femme helps to alleviate my depression. Not getting out means that the depression gets worse, to the point that I'm too depressed to fight all of the obstacles that make it difficult to go out.