Unexpected Changes


Two weeks ago I came out in general on facebook and here. I want to write about how it has changed my feelings and confidence, mainly because it has, and because I didn’t think it would.

Before though I cant say how much I appreciate all the positive responses I got. People seem genuinely happy for me and I hope in the future everyone who does the same as me will have a happy response like that, rather than a “this is a problem we can get through” response, or complete rejection and hostility, which many trans people still face from friends family and employers.

I also posted to Didsbury runners and had an overwhelming response. It was after going to Didsbury runners wearing a running bra and nobody batting an eyelid that I decided to force myself to wear only female clothes that I want to wear for a week. I was hoping it would give me some confidence and save time questioning how I would go out. It worked! The next day I met Sophie as I was out walking and she was really happy to see me. It was like fate because I never see anyone I know when I go out walking. I knew I was changed because as she approached me I thought how odd it was that I WASN’T thinking “oh god I should be feeling like I need to disappear right now” instead I felt relieved. Yes my reflexive thoughts sometimes get quite meta – thinking about not thinking about what I usually would think about e.t.c…. Anyway, it turned out to be an interesting week, including the BBC, I went to another group, Cafe Diagnosis where I had started creative writing and they were also great about it and have been supporting me with it.

I should write about that week at some point. But that’s another story.

Since getting the awesome response I did, I have lost a lot of uncertainty about the path I am going down, and that was completely unexpected, but its been nice not having it. Such doubts are common among transgender people I know.  I expect doubts to come back but I don’t miss them in any way. I really feel a lot more relaxed about the whole thing, which is pretty impressive considering I don’t have a bath in my flat. Also now I can put this picture up – my favourite picture of me running, and I can talk about other running stuff more freely. It could be an interesting year depending on what happens and I would like to document the running side. So thankyou Emma Simms for taking that photo!

I have also been super low the last 2 weeks, I think because of things that happened when I was young, when something good happens I always wait for something to come along and make me guilty for feeling good. And wait for a disaster to happen. When you start looking for fire you will always find smoke. I don’t know if I made that saying up, I’m sure I heard it before. A few things did happen I suppose but nothing to do with being transgender and no disasters.

I am looking at changing my name legally too, I will do another post soon as I am going to get the deed poll all sorted and then finalise it, it won’t be Jo any more, but I cant change my facebook name again for about 46 days, so facebook will be wrong again. It’s all free to do. Looking forwards to other changes happening in the future which is nice and I will let you know what’s going on in terms of running. My next race is the Manchester Half Marathon on the 14th October. Looking to beat the time from the Great North Run.

Love you all!!! X

P.S. Oh talking about changes, google sent me this photo of me from 3 years ago today. Glad to be out of the long sleeves too!

I am Female

As you might now I was pretty suicidal in the beginning of 2017. When I was released from hospital I managed to stop drinking alcohol and start running, as well as receiving a lot of mental help from psychiatrists, the home treatment team and the community mental health team. At some point along this journey, when I lost loads of weight and tried to feel better about my body, I realised there was still something really wrong. Like an itch I couldn’t scratch.

Well I’m writing this with the benefit of hindsight, nothing was quite as obvious to me back then, I was just still very unhappy and thought I was doomed to be so forever.

Sometime as I was approaching my target weight in 2017 I faced something inside myself. It was buried so deep I didn’t even know it was there, it took me by surprise. If I hadn’t been able to gain confidence and clarity over those months and learned to be myself unashamedly and not worry what others thought about me I would never have touched it. Well I’m not going to live my life based on the next persons definition of who I am.

All my life I have wished I’d been born a female. But I left those thoughts at that and just figured that’s how all males were, I became a bit macho and brave because I thought everyone else was pretending and pretending was easy. Sometimes I used to get extremely depressed when I saw females just walking outside and wished I was different, I never realised why. I don’t know how, but I never actually developed these thoughts from there. It might have been a survival mechanism. But although there were other big things it has been a big factor in my mental health, I’ve self harmed and tried to kill myself.

So that’s the thought I finally confronted. I realised I can be a female and transition, its not just a thing other people are allowed to do, I can do it too. It’s taken me a while to come to terms with who I am, and what directions I want to go. It felt like I’d uncovered this invisible mountain that had been weighing me down my whole life, and now I could begin to climb it and navigate it. I was also extremely surprised  and shocked because I had buried it so well, I didn’t see it coming. Fortunately I was seeing a psychotherapist at the time and summoned up the courage to talk to her about it. I was afraid she might say something like “I am not comfortable talking about these things, and can’t see you again”. Which of course never happened and it is crazy to think now but shows how afraid I was.

So I am a female. I don’t want to be transgender, I just want to be a female. But being transgender isn’t a problem, unfortunately society still has a problem with it. The only problem I have is I am frequently cursed to see the very ugly underbelly of otherwise normal people. I don’t know what will happen in my future, maybe I will change my mind, probably not. Life is short so I’m going to try and be happy try and leave the world a better place and I won’t be ashamed of anything.

I’ve tried to tell as many people face to face as I can, everyone so far has been brilliant about it. I certainly have the best friends in the world. I would have told more people face to face if I could, please don’t be offended if I haven’t told you there’s many reasons why it is complicated. Trust me. As well as the fact that I am pretty much a hermit anyway unless I am running. Then understand that as I have been living as a female full time for a few weeks, I am losing control of how people find out. Then on top of that, understand how making a post like this is just taking a lot of weight off my shoulders.

Since all this I’ve had higher highs and lower lows than usual, but I’ve finally started to think more than 1 or two months into my future, so things are hopeful for once.

I’m still the same person as I was before, with the same likes and dislikes and tastes and lack of taste. Saying that, I feel like I have changed a lot though my life for the better, and I am always learning and changing. I wouldn’t be surprised if my personality does change a bit, now that I am free to be myself but what will really change to start will be aesthetically I will appear more female, and if you think that isn’t a big deal then you are on the right tracks. I never had an interest in fashion or looking good before, I think that was a symptom of not feeling Male anyway, I would literally put my hand in a closet and randomly  pull out something blind and wear it. That might change, but I don’t know yet. I’m going by Jo for now and my pronouns are She/Her but will change my name in near future.

As you can see I’ve changed a lot the last year and a bit. I got sectioned, got free, lost 40kg, stopped drinking, started running a lot and changed my gender. Not bad right?

Another good thing about this is that I can finally talk about more things on here. And I will explain more in future, but it gives me more freedom to talk about my worries and experiences especially with running and transitioning and the good the bad and the ugly.

Lots of love and hope you are all doing well,

Jo xxx