Gender

Wow, it really has been a hell of a long time since I posted here! *waves* I’m still alive!

A few things recently have got me thinking specifically about gender. Now I don’t know nearly enough about gender that I should do, in fact, I know practically nothing about gender. That said, I know more about *my* gender than anyone on the outside world could possibly know.

Gender can be a big gender-y-timey-wimey blob of a thing. Everyone has differing opinions on what gender actually is, in reality people will never agree… ever. But that’s fine because it doesn’t actually matter! Whatever gender someone chooses to define themselves as is not the business of any other person on this planet.

It’s not rocket science, you don’t need to understand gender to get it. The person you are speaking to is a person, the gender that they identify as is completely irrelevant to practically any aspect of the relationship that you have with them.

Your religious views, personal opinions, your own gender, all have absolutely zero relevance to my gender, so please keep them out of it. Don’t try to tell anyone else what their gender is or isn’t, you simply will never know as much about them as they know about themselves.

That said, if you want to try to understand gender, go for it! :) I do however wish you luck! I’m probably not the right person to ask, but I can probably point you in the direction of people that get it more than I do.

 

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365 days later…

So, a year ago, this happened…

http://jeniemma.com/blog/video-jeni-moves-to-manchester/

I threw my lifetime collection of “stuff” into the back of a Corsa and Lexi safely(ish) delivered me to the north!

I walked into the pub and when I told people that I’d moved here, the general reaction was “what? you weren’t already living here?!”… figures!

So what’s happened in those 365 days? Here are some estimated statistics:
* 0 times watched X factor
* 1 successfully cooked turkey resulting in 0 persons with food poisioning
* 3 days in Macclesfield
* 6 days in London
* 6 days travelling to and from Birmingham
* 8 days in Hardy’s Well
* 15 umbrella’s left on trains
* 21 – the number of time’s I’ve sang “I think we’re in Didsbury” while passing Didsbury
* 50 bottles of wine
* 50 days in Birmingham
* 106 days sleeping
* 111 – the number of times that I’ve missed a 111
* 135 – the number of times that Kirsty has tried to talk me into going to KFC
* 208 status updates moaning about travelling to and from Birmingham
* 289 phonecalls from Lexi
* 300 repeats of the Big Bang Theory
* 362 days avoiding Macclesfield
* 365 days of no regrets
* 700 litres of coke
* 1000 tweets
* 1000 cups of tea made
* 11000 miles travelled (only 1000 of those with a car)

 

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I’m privileged

I posted something similar elsewhere, but here is a version for my blog :-)

Around various communities that I’m in, the word privilege thrown about as a bad thing, making out that some groups are more privileged than others. I don’t doubt that this is true, to be fair, we are all privileged in some way. I don’t want to rant about how this is just casually used in arguments with no real backing, I want to say what privilege is to me.

I am privileged to be able to walk down the street and not get any hassle, to not have to worry about *where* I go, or when I go there. There are so many people like me that haven’t been afforded that luxury.

I am privileged that I don’t have to hide the life that I lead, yet I still don’t push it in peoples faces, hence me rewording this post. Some people have to live the lifestyle they enjoy in private.

I am privileged to make the choices that I want to make, do the things that I want to do. People moan about the UK and what it’s becoming, but it’s a hell of a lot better than so many countries out there to live in for freedom.

I am privileged to pass as a girl. I don’t believe in my heart that I do, I don’t see a girl when I look in the mirror. But people around me tell me that I do, so I must trust them.

I am privileged for the advice I am given, even if I’m sometimes useless at taking it. It matters to me that people care about me enough to give it, it would be all to easy for people to give up on me!

I am privileged for friends from all walks of life. You don’t have to be a specific kind of person to be awesome, and I love you regardless of what slot in my life you fit into.

I am privileged to have the freedom to make my own mistakes, to look like an idiot, and to come out of anything a stronger person.

Not so long ago that I was struggling to find my place, I am privileged to now be finding it.

It’s a privilege to me to have people close to me. I really do appreciate that, lots. Without knowing it, the people around me save my life, very often.

This is what privilege really is.

 

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Updates

So I’m sat in a pub in New Street station, because silly Jeni got all the times mixed up and got here an hour and a half early… Doh!

May as well use this time to write a blog post, since I don’t get time anywhere else!

So what’s new in my life? I had an amazing birthday week… too much drinking, some epic hangovers and a load of very nice surprises all combined to make it pretty damn good! Oh, and some sort of chocolate based dessert daily? Yes please!

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Awesome chocolate cake!

One of the high points was definitely catching up with someone who I hadn’t seen in far too long, who I love to bits. That was one of the best presents I received, ment so much to me!

But the whole week took it out of me, and I finished my week off work far more tired than when I started! Was nice to start getting back into a normal routine… having some chill time and even gave up alcohol!

I was supposed to have come down to brum sooner… but to be fair… if you were offered tickets to see Guns N Roses… you’d totally delay your trip! The gig was awesome in every sense of the word! Though, with it ending up finishing at 2am… and me having to get up at 5… it was never gonna end well the next day :)

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Guns N Roses at the MEN Arena

Even though I don’t miss the place, I’m missing all my friends in the Midlands lots… I really need to make more of an effort to come down more often!

Have been totally enjoying the really nice weather recently, though today in brum has been pretty miserable.

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Enjoying the sun in Platt Fields Park... may have got a little burnt!

Oh, and one final thing… my boobs are massive!! Hehe… anyway, I’ve wasted enough time now, gotta go get a train!

 

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Self Harm

I originally posted this on my old blog about 4 years ago, I had lost everything I posted… but recently found a notebook with half my posts in, it is still very current.

When you are in the deepest, darkest pits of depression and your coping resources have run dry, its difficult to know what to do to try to continue to cope. Your judgement will be completely clouded, and things which you previously thought to be an unthinkable option, suddenly seem like such a good idea.

In this situation, some people, myself included, turn to harming themselves as a way to release the pain. It can take many forms including cutting, scratching, pulling hair out or overdosing. Very few people on the “outside” understand what is happening if they find out. Many will brand it as attention seeking, most people will insist that you stop, this only leads to guilt and worsening the pain.

A lot of the time, self harm is far from attention seeking, it is something they are very ashamed of and will go out of their way to try to hide. Sometimes it may well be attention seeking, but not necessarily in a bad way, it can be a cry for help. When you are stuck in the pit, it is a very lonely place, talking to someone is a very hard thing to do, it is a way of showing that you are badly hurting on the inside.

Most people who self harm will completely deny that there is any element of attention seeking, this may be the case most of the time, but there will always be people that do. They should never be frowned at, they need a bit of love and attention. Maybe they don’t want to talk, but just be acknowledged. Even something as simple as a hug can go a long way.

The worst thing you can do to someone who self harms is to insist that they stop. The guilt can be far too high and can lead to them starting to bottle up their emotions, inevitably this will get to a point where they will just have a breakdown, possibly with far worse consequences. Just offer a listening ear, company if they want it. Make sure they are being safe, the majority of self harmers will have no intention of killing themselves, they are just releasing their inner pain.

I am not a doctor, I have made no in depth research into the subject. I talk from experience from being on both sides. I used to self harm regularly, I look back at what I did with so much regret, yet I fully understand what happened, and in the situation that I was in, it was the lesser of two evils. I had the guilt of people telling me to stop, that almost pushed me to suicide on several occasions. It was the friends that stuck by me throughout out that pulled me through one of my darkest times. I now have the scars as a constant reminder of the valley that I went through.

I’m not quite sure why I’m talking in the past tense, the problem hasn’t gone away. I rarely self harm these days, I’ve come a long way yet occasionally I will still slip up. I’m terrified that I will start to slip back down on a slippery slope and end up back to where I started. I am a much stronger person now to what I was then, but nobody can be 100% strong all of the time. If the fragile outer shell that I have get broken, then I’m screwed.

I hope this helps if you know or ever meet anybody who self harms. If you are reading this and you harm yourself, just remember that the other side of the valley is never that far away!

 

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Depression

If you read the blog I used to write, this may sound familiar… so I’ll forgive you if you get bored half way through and stop reading it! This is definitely going to be a “me me me” post, it’s my experience with depression.

That D word that people seem to avoid talking about, that D word that grips so many people, most of which probably won’t try and get any help at all. Who can blame them? When you do try and get help, a lot of it isn’t actually that constructive. What good are anti-depressants? I don’t think they have that much value, all they seem to do is remind you that you are depressed, and that you have to be depressed because you’re taking tablets for it!

I talk from experience, I went through a very dark time in my life and it wasn’t actually that long ago. Every time I look at my arms, I have a visible reminder of how things were, every time I look at my arms, I have a trigger… it’s not a good thing.

Was I depressed because I was a girl trapped in a mans body? No, I was depressed because at that time in my life, I just couldn’t cope with anything around me. I mentioned in a previous post that I really don’t think I could have transitioned during that period, and I’m really glad I didn’t. I had to sort out my life before I sorted out my gender. At the time, gender was only a tiny thing, amongst a whole array of… well… “shit”

I coped the best way I could, and that was badly! I descended on a slippery slope, each day that little bit worse than the previous, sometimes for absolutely no reason at all. I cried, I hid myself away, I self harmed, I attempted suicide. Getting to that point where you are willing to take your own life, right now, I can’t even put that into words but I do know it was the worst feeling that I’ve ever felt… I knew exactly what I was attempting, I knew exactly what was going through my head, I *was* thinking straight, even though I wish that the opposite of all those statements were true.

If I ever hear anyone point out how selfish suicide is, I do legitimately feel like punching them in the face. Nobody that has ever been there and felt the emotions that you do has ever called it selfish. Saying something like that is a great way to make someone feel so small and stupid… why could anyone actually remotely think that that is a sensible thing to say to someone already on edge? Yeah… go on, kick them when they are down, make them feel that tiny little bit worse about themselves.

But, I’m in the next chapter of my life these days, that was over 3 years ago. Am I depressed? Yes, even though I wish it would go away, it hasn’t. I can hide it, and I think I hide it well… the more I hide it, the more I convince myself it isn’t there… but it is. I wish I could count the number of days since I last self harmed in years, instead it is still only months… but being able to count it in months is still progress in the grand scheme of things.

I tried to push nearly everyone around me away, I found that my true friends gave me space, but were always close enough to pick me up when I fall. Unfortunately, some of them just couldn’t handle it, and gradually… vanished, and in the grand scheme of things, I think I’m better off without them anyway. It’s a brave person that wants to get deeper into my head and see what’s actually on the inside, the feelings deep inside are still pretty much the same as they’ve always been, I’ve just learned to cope a lot better.

I believe the way to get on top of depression is to find ways to cope, not to find ways to take away the feelings, and I really don’t think a solution lies in a packet of tablets.

 

 

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Did I time it right?

My first proper time out!

I transitioned nearly 4 years ago back in 2008, my “big outing” was on my 23rd birthday and yes, I looked terrible… but lets face it, we’ve all been there once! I had it all prepared, I’d let everyone close to me know what was happening, even sending a mass-message to everyone on Facebook pointing out that they might notice something a little bit different about me! All this came after years and years of saying that I was going to do it, but did I get the timing right? Do I think that I should have actually transitioned earlier?

Not a chance! I think I got the timing more or less perfect. It was at a point where I was becoming more stable. I don’t think I could have coped with transitioning at the same time as going through that dark time in my life that I’d had in the years before that. At first, the transition wasn’t easy, while I had very little trouble from other people, there is still that level of self conciousness to deal with, which remained until I gained enough confidence to have another “sod it” moment (my life seems to be defined by a series of “sod it” moments!). The capacity in my mind at the time just wasn’t there to deal with *another* thing going on on top of all that!

Progress?

There are a lot of people that say they wish they’d done it sooner, and there are a lot of people that do it sooner, but everyone is different. If I’d have left it much longer, then I’d probably be saying now that I should have transitioned earlier.

And then there is the question, would I have preferred it if I’d just been born a girl? I kind of think both ways with this one… Yes, perhaps it may have made my life a little bit easier, but equally, I look back and despite all the rubbish I’ve been through to get to where I am now… a large part of my journey to get here has been fun and enjoyable, and to be fair has made me a much better and person!

So basically, I think I’ve got it right, and I don’t think that I’d go back and really change that much about how I got here, even if I had a chance to. I’ve made it here now, and I guess that in the grand scheme of things, that’s all that really matters.

Afterthought: Taking the journey this way, has made me learn a lot about other people in the world, which has given me some valuable lessons in recent times!

 

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