Katie

I’m sad. Very happy, but sad at the same time. My good friend Katie has found a wonderful new job and will be leaving us at the end of the month. I’m so happy for her, because she deserves it. But I’m so sad because I will miss her.
I mean where would I be without Katie? Would I even be Loretta at work without her strength and encouragement? Maybe, but it would have taken longer that’s for sure. So on the anniversary of Loretta at work, I will lose Katie from my day to day life. We will remain friends and we will remain in touch, but it won’t be the same.

So thank you Katie! Thank you so much for everything. You really are amazing. Your energy, your strength and really your aura simply lifts all of us around you. You throw us all on to your back and carry us all to wherever we need to go. I will miss you terribly and wish you and Stuart all the very best for your future. 

Photo by Rawpixel

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Gender Dysphoria

So I’ve always said that I don’t have gender dysphoria. I mean I love being a boy….just not all the time….like today. I’m not sure why, but I really didn’t want to de-girl at the end of the work day. It’s possible it’s because it’s Friday, so that means no girl time for two days. This hasn’t bothered me for a while, so it’s a bit unexpected.

I really didn’t want to take my flip skirt off, or my pink mules, and I really really didn’t want to take my bra and my boobs off. And right now I really really miss them. I resorted to giving my wrist a last spray of “Dare” to help me get by. At least I could smell like Loretta for a while longer. 

Hi, my name is Loretta. I have gender dysphoria. I never recognised it until this afternoon, but it’s true. It’s just not what I thought it would be. And now looking back over the years I can see that I’ve been gender dysphoric for quite a while now. 

I had thought that gender dysphoria was the distress from having the “wrong” sex characteristics. Now I don’t actually want to get rid of my penis, and turn it into a vagina. So I thought that I wasn’t gender dysphoric. However my gender dysphoria seems to show up from time to time as anxiety and at other times depression. 

The anxiety arises when I really need to be my girl self. Usually this occurs when I haven’t been a girl for a while. The depression only seems to occur when I am a girl, and it’s time to be a boy again, and for some reason, I’m not ready to be a boy again. It’s not a big depression. I’d actually say that it’s more melancholy than depression. So none of this is a big deal. Hence my not recognising it as gender dysphoria before. But there it is, I have gender dysphoria. 

Photo by Pete Bellis 

Are there two of me? 

So I caught up with one of my old friends at lunch the other day. And she asked if I felt like I was two people? I don’t think so, but my life is so divided into boy side and girl side maybe I am two people?

Work time is girl time, home time is boy time. That’s the way my life is structured right now. And it makes for a fairly clean split. People don’t get confused that way. But while it fulfills my need to express my girl side. It also doesn’t, because I don’t always get to express the side I want to express when I want to. 

To be honest I don’t feel the need to express boy me at work. But I do feel the need to express girl me outside of work. Ding ding ding ding ding! Ut-oh! Alarm bells. Am I really a transgender girl and not bigender???

Would I like to be a girl all the time? Is the question that simple? There are other very important people involved here. My wife and my son. It’s very important for me to be a husband and a father. I need that. But what does that actually mean? To be a husband? To be a father?

I take being a husband very seriously. Those vows we took when we were married weren’t just words. They were my love, my promise, my dedication. And I meant every single one of those words. 

Can I be a girl and still be a husband? I don’t think so. My wife married a boy. She’s not interested in girls, even if it’s me. Not for a second am I suggesting that this is my wife’s fault. Discovering that I’m transgender has been difficult but wonderful. For my wife however, it’s just been difficult. She has no control over the situation whereas I do. Do I still want to be her husband? Oh my God yes!!! I don’t have to think about that for a micro-second.

Being a father is important to me too. But what is it that makes me a father rather than a parent? I think it might come down to gender roles. The more boisterous things we do. Well I’m not exactly he-man so I don’t really have the strength to toss him around. But we do have more physical games which I think is important.

Did I tell you about the time I asked him what was on his face? And then I said “cuteness!” oh he chased me round and round the house. Then daddy decided to take a shortcut by jumping over the lounge…..and didn’t jump far enough…and broke the lounge!

So that kind of physical. Sure I could still do that as a girl. I might not have attempted to jump over the lounge though….. I would have been smarter than that if I was a girl. I’m sure that my son will remember the lounge incident for a long long time. Even though it was an expensive accident, I wouldn’t do it any differently if I could go back. 

It’s not like my son doesn’t know about my girl side. He’s seen me get ready to go out. He’s seen me come home. And he’s seen all of my clothes. And we’ve talked about it, and how daddy is different to most other boys. And he seems alright with it. I’ve asked him to ask whatever he likes about this. But he hasn’t. I worry that he has no one to talk about it with though. And that must be hard. 

I let my brother-in-law on my wife’s side know about me recently. And my sister-in-law has known for a little while now. So I think I’ll let my niece know as well. She and my son really get on well so she might be the peer that he can talk with. Sigh! Here’s me being a parent again. But is that daddy me? Or girl me? In the end it’s always going to be daddy me isn’t it? ☺️

I just had a discussion with my counselor. And she floated the possibility that maybe I am a transgender girl who is a husband. Oh that shook up my head a bit. Here I am trying to pigeon hole myself as one of the “known” transgender types and she throws something else at me that is totally logical. It’s a definite possibility that’s for sure. And one that I’ll continue to investigate. Who knows if I will ever get a right answer?

To be honest do I really need a “right” answer? I guess not. I just need to be authentic. Just be the real me. Whoever that may be. All I know is that I love my wife and I love my son and I need to make sure that they’re both OK.

Am I two people? No it’s just me. I just have a different look sometimes. 

Photo by Michal Pechado

Getting the right wig

I’m on the bus this morning headed towards the city. But I’m only passing through on my way to Chiquel. I’ve had my wigs now for eight months or so and I thought I would get Tanè to have a look at them to see how they are going. And to buy my next wig. I really want to make sure I get the right wig, because if I don’t I can really look like a clown. 
At the moment Raquel Welch is the front runner. A wig called “Star Quality”. This is one of the cheapest that come with a lace front and a monofilament part.

The lace front let’s you sweep the hair away from your face and still look natural. For me the objective is not so much to sweep the hair away from the face, but rather to find another way to cope with windy days.

The monofilament part makes it look like the hair is growing out of your scalp along your part. It’s not too big of a thing because I do like my current “Angelique” wig, which doesn’t have this. But it’s another step in looking authentic and natural. So that’s me worrying about passing again ☺️

I’ve been wearing my “Misha” wig a lot these past couple of weeks. I had barely worn it before this because it’s a heavier looking wig than “Angelique”. But I thought I should wear it to get a feel for the difference. It’s longer, which I quite like. But it does seem to be a little more difficult to untangle. I’m still not sure about the long fringe either and it certainly does look heavier. But because of the length I can use a hair clip and not look frazzled, unlike “Angelique” where I look very messy. I just can’t do it the way Tanè can do it so I need something simpler. The bottom line with “Misha” is that I feel like I don’t blend in as well as I do with “Angelique”. 

Hmm out for breakfast at the moment and just got mis-gendered. Never a nice feeling. Oh well, it’s just a once off stop so I won’t be coming back. At least it’s nice and sunny and warm in here. And the poached eggs are nice and runny, although too much vinegar in the poaching liquid again! And there’s some really good butter for the sourdough. Maybe it’s worth coming back to? Coffee’s pretty good ☺️

Hoo boy! Good wigs aren’t cheap! The one I had my eye on was way too thin. So I’ve had to go upmarket to the tune of an extra. $100! As a once off I think it will be ok. This one is a monofilament, lace front wig. So it ticks all the boxes that I wanted. And it makes me look adorable too ☺️ Well I think so and that’s what counts. 

My “Angelique’s” are showing a bit of wear. And one of them is just about at end of life 🙁 The other one still has a bit of time left in it but probably only a few months. Misha is still in good shape, not surprisingly, and she got a trim so that she doesn’t look so heavy. I think the result is good. 

My new wig, “Miles of style”, I think, is a medium long wig and it has a bit of a wave to it. And this gives it that adorable quality to it. And it makes me look softer. Sadly it doesn’t come in a soft black. So it looks like I’ll be rocking a dark dark brown do. It’s also able to withstand heat so it’s more “fixable” than my other wigs. Hopefully I’ve made the right choice but I guess time will tell. 

So now the expensive time is over, it’s time for bargains. I’m going back to paddy’s market to see if I can find my white scarf with red polka dots. Odds are very low, but a girl’s got to look right? 

Photo by Levi Saunders

Am I a girl? Or do I do girl?

I know I want to say, “Yes. I’m a girl.” but is that true? Or do I just “do girl”? And I know it’s more complex than that because I think I’m bigender. But is my girl side real? Or is it an act? Something to slip on and off as I feel like? Do I just like the thrill of being a girl? Is it just the clothes? Can I be a girl if I dress down?

If I take away all the things I “need” to be a girl, can I still be a girl? So like take away the makeup, the wig, the breasts, the clothes, the shoes. Take away all of those “props” and what do I have left? Would I still have the courage to be a girl? My initial response is no… I like to blend in, and without the ‘props’ it’s not really possible.

Having said that when I get ready to ride to work in the morning. And I look in the mirror, I can see my girl side there without any ‘help’. But then I know what I’m looking for. And at work before I change to girl clothes, and after work, after I’ve changed from girl clothes, I still interact with everyone at work as a girl. So maybe it is possible to be a girl without all the ‘props’.

Then there’s the whole telephone thing. I get ‘Missed’ a lot on the phone. And sometimes even when I’m trying to be boy. So there’s girl right there, no ‘props’.

Ok so maybe I can be a girl without the ‘props’. But am I a girl? Or do I do girl? The telephone thing is a bit of an indication that I am a girl. And when I’m at work I don’t consciously think about how to move or act. I’m just being who I am.

I do think a lot about my clothes. I try to mix up my shapes as much as I can now. For a while there I’d get stuck in a shape. In the beginning it was always pants and jeans. Then it was always a fitted top and a flared skirt. Now I try to have a different shape every day. Dress one day, then jeans and stripy top, fitted top and flared skirt, pencil skirt and a peplum jacket…… I have options, and more confidence with my clothes. And I think it’s an indication of me being a girl. Those early days clothing ruts, were me doing girl. I just didn’t have the confidence.

So maybe that’s the key. It’s confidence. I am a girl because I have the confidence to be one. And I do. And I am.

Photo by Gyorgy Bakos

Dear, old friends

We all have old friends. And often we wonder how they will react to our “changes”. Not that they’re really changes, it’s more like our being authentic, and true to ourselves. Anyway this post is dedicated to my dear, old friend, who I haven’t seen for six years, as he lives clear across the other side of the country. 

So it turns out that he’s heading to Sydney towards the end of the year and was checking up on me on my work website. Problem is that the me he knows, doesn’t exist on the work website. So instead he found Loretta. His thoughts were, “Hey I didn’t know ‘boyname’ had a sister that age. Wait a minute ‘boyname’ is the sister!”. 

He made some discrete enquiries with a mutual friend, who incidentally I’m having lunch with today, and she set him straight. And then he started texting me

… you will always be a good friend to me no matter what. I just want you to know that!

Unconditional support, just like that, out of the blue. Oh my! That was just so wonderful, I could scarcely believe it. But of course it was believable, because my friend has always been amazing!

So thank you so much F! I treasure our friendship, and you reaching out to me like that and supporting me, absolutely touched my heart!

Of course it’s from friends! 

Friday night debut 

Well getting together with S, for the Friday night social was a success! I managed to make it to the meeting spot with enough time go to the ladies to do a make up check. And sure enough when I made it back out, there was S waiting for me, in her new green blouse and pencil skirt. And she looked fabulous, the blouse really brought out her eyes. And best of all, she looked very happy and pleased with herself. 

And of course she was happy. First time out dressed, and there we were out at a nice pub enjoying a quiet drink on a Friday night, just two girls catching up. 

But the speed that this girl has moved at is amazing. From having no clothes to wear, to buying clothes, to then not only wear them, but also go out in them in less than a week? It took me decades to get there. And she did it in less than a week….simply unbelievable. S, you’re amazing! 

But we couldn’t hang around at the pub, we had to fit in dinner and some public transport and so it was go go go! Dinner was up the street at an Indian restaurant. Not my favourite cuisine but this one was quite good. Good enough so that I have added it to the list of Indian restaurants that I’m comfortable eating at. (Most of the time I find the spices don’t do my tummy any favours, but this one was alright.) 

We finished in time to scoot across the road to the bus. And then had just enough time to squeeze in a gelato between the first and second busses. In the end there was only just enough time as I had to run to the stop to stop the bus! But we made it, and we got to the Friday night social on time ☺️. 

As per usual, the social started out pretty slow. Have I mentioned that it’s like the country womens association, just no scones or cakes? However we did happen to snag some seats next to J and R. Thus was quite good fortune because these two girls are the last of the originals girls who started the group way back when. And as such they have a wealth of information to share with both me and S. 

There’s so much that I don’t know. And I know that there’s things that I can’t help S with. But with this group, S now has more people who can help. It was a very laid back evening, even by Friday night social standards. But that’s because they had the ball the weekend before. 

Oh don’t get me started on the ball. We have to stop running the ball because it’s losing us money every year. That time is past and we need to move on. We’re not here to compete with the formal. While we might have been first, now that someone else is doing it, we don’t have to do it and we should focus on other things. And not lose money!

I introduced S to some of the other girls there and she seemed so in her element and having a great time. It was wonderful to see. And then I found R. I hadn’t seen her since my first meeting, and I had wondered what had happened to her. It was great to catch up with her because we really hit it off at that first meeting. Anyway life had got in the way a little and then she went traveling in the outback. She was looking great. 

And then she I introduced her to S. And they hit it off too. You see R, like S and me, is a little further along the transgender spectrum. Most of the girls at the social are just interested in the clothes, but there’s a few of us that go a bit further along. And in fact the president would be right at the other end of the spectrum to most of the girls. 

It was a great evening, S got to meet some more girls and spent the night looking beautiful, as she was finally able to be the girl she is. It was all that I expected and more. It was a wonderful night!

Photo by Rachael Crowe

It’s Spring! 

It’s Spring! Time to pack away my overcoats. Well almost. I’m wearing my blush duster with my Minnie Ruffles today. But soon it will be too warm for overcoats. And that’s a shame. I’ll miss wearing layers. But I won’t miss freezing my legs off in the morning…..maybe I should wear pants sometimes?

The other bad thing about Spring is that I suffer from hayfever. Ah-choo! Actually I’ve got that under control. Some antihistamines take care of that problem. But it doesn’t solve what the hayfever does to my voice. I sound quite deep and husky. Not quite how I want to sound, as I sound a lot closer to my boy self than I want to. So attention to speaking is a key focus for me today.

And it’s Friday night social tonight. And I’m excited! Tonight S gets to be herself for the first time in the outside world. It’s one thing to be yourself at home. But to be yourself in the outside world, being able to interact with other people is just so incredibly different and fulfilling that it’s amazing!

And to think four weeks ago, I don’t think this was on her short term agenda. Yes definitely in her future but not so soon. It’s been an incredible month for her. I know she’s had highs and lows. Depending on whether things seemed possible or impossible. But this past week I sense that she thinks everything is possible! Oh I am so happy for her.

The lows have been hard by the sound of things.  She’s let her work know about being S at work, and it sounds like they are being difficult to say the least. In this age of diversity how is this possible? I guess like a lot of things the talking sounds good but the actions are bad.

Oh I feel for you girl. I get upset thinking about what you’re going through. There’s not much I can do but offer you my support and hope that you can get through this. Thankfully you have the support of the gender centre who are helping to work through the process. Fingers crossed it all goes well!

And tonight should be awesome ☺️

Photo by Chris Lu

It’s GQ meeting week 

Well it’s GQ meeting this Friday and I’m excited. Well it’s supposed to be meeting week but it’s been cancelled like last month. But at at least this time we know. Hopefully they have new staff on board for next month. But it’s OK. Last month was a case of the cloud having a silver lining.

Remember I had to chase S down and then we had our own GQ meeting at the pub? Well we have been in regular contact since and it’s been really nice. And this month we’re going to go to the Friday night social instead. This has been really good as it’s given her a target to work towards.

So on the weekend I know she was out shopping, putting her outfit together for her debut. And I know she’s excited about it, and so am I. I remember my first day at work and the tension and nerves and the excitement and happiness and euphoria and the amazement that the world didn’t end. It was simply incredible.

Now that was me, and I was an old hand at wearing girls clothes. But this is oh so new for S. Buying her first outfit and planning to go to the Friday night social this week. The courage and determination of this girl, to jump right in, now that she has decided what she wants, is incredible.

I can’t imagine the emotions she must be going through with all of this. It must be ten times what I went through because it’s all happening so quickly now. Maybe a hundred times more. I mean I had years of slowly, slowly but she’s moving very quickly now. Hopefully not too fast though.

So I’m excited for Friday. I can’t wait. I’ve already picked out my dress. I had to sew it up a little. I’m modest…..I don’t want to show off my breast forms! I really should have a red and white polka dot hair bow, and some yellow shoes to go with it….and then you could call me Minnie ☺️

Minnie Ruffle dress from the iconic 

Horrible hair day! 

It’s windy! And my hair is a mess! I don’t normally do ponytails or braids or anything. I just let my wig sit as it is. But with the wind I’ve had to use a hair clip. That’s a bit of a problem because if I really tie it up I’ll expose my boy hair that’s underneath! Not what I want to do! 
So I’ve got my hair fairly loose. The clip is keeping most of the hair out of my face. But oh my goodness it looks very messy. Not at all how I want to look as Loretta. Now my hair generally doesn’t look like it’s been expertly done. But today? Aargh! 

I’m in the breeze waiting for the bus and my hair is being blown to bits! And to make matters a little worse I have short skirt issues with the breeze too! Oh well what can I say? It’s not like I can complain. These are definitely girl problems. So I’m just going to have to deal with it. 

Would I prefer to be a boy today so I could avoid the problem? No. Could I have worn something else? Yes. But to be honest the skirt problem is minor. It’s really the hair that’s the problem. I did go with my long wig today. I figured there would be more to tie. And there is so in that respect it worked…..just not terribly well. 

So what’s the solution? Short wig? I think I’d be showing off even more boy hair then. More practice? Yes that would help. And it’s also why I’ve been wearing my long wig these past few days. I think I have a better chance of doing a good job of tying it up…..with lots more practice. 

Or maybe I need to grin and bear it. I’m transgender. I wear a wig. It’s windy so I’m going to tie it, braid it whatever and sure that will show boy hair but it would be more bearable…..wouldn’t it? Oh I don’t know! I’m not that confrontational. Blend in, blend in…that’s always been my mantra. And as you know passing is important to me. 

Maybe the answer is headwear? Most girls, most people don’t wear hats nowadays, but maybe that’s worth investigating. Beanie? Sun hat? Cap? Hmm maybe a scarf? Oh that might work. I’ll have to investigate. 

Yes, this is part of why I blog. It gives me focus. So here’s the plan. I’m going to channel Grace Kelly! 90cm square scarf. Fold on diagonal. Then place on top if head, folded edge towards forehead, then wrap diagonal corners under chin and tie at back of neck over the other two corners. Now where’s my big sunnies? I am so going to do this. ☺️

Oh and if you’re wondering why I’m on the bus again. Don’t worry my knee is fine! However I have another cycling issue to fix. And a few day out of the saddle normally does the trick. 

Photo by Cassidy Kelley 

Does every cloud has a silver lining?

So if you’ve been reading my blog recently you’ll know that I was off my bike for a couple of weeks. That’s horrible for me because I love riding my bike. And I ride to work rain, hail or shine. But that doesn’t extend to riding through knee pain. So it was on to the backup plan of bus and train.

The thing is, during this time off the bike I learned so much. It’s funny how every cloud has a silver lining, so here’s what I achieved:

Doing my makeup in low light with the clock ticking really made me concentrate on my technique so that I could do it more quickly and efficiently. So makeup routine is now down to under 12 minutes!

Running for busses and trains really improved my walking in heels skills. I was already good but I think the extra walking and running has strengthened my muscles, and improved my coordination so that I’m even better than before.

I got to practice layering. There is no need for a coat at work. But definitely a need for a coat waiting for busses and trains in the morning. So I got to practice with layers every day. And I got better at coordinating my layers through constant practice.

I experienced more of life. Being a girl at work, for me, is easy. Everyone knows me and there’s not so many variables. Being out in the rest of the world constantly, gave me new experiences, some good like being treated like a woman. You know courtesy and all that. And some not so good, like being objectified as a woman. But it’s all life so I try to take the positive parts from the experience.

So yes, I missed my bike but I learned so much without it. So certainly this cloud had a silver lining. But I’m not sure if it applies to every cloud. I guess it depends if the glass is half full or half empty, and I’m a glass half full kind of girl 👧.

Photo by Paul Morris 

Back on my bike :-) 

Today should be the last day of busses and trains for me for a while. As I plan to be riding home this afternoon. My knee seems to be better now, and a short test ride yesterday to the post office didn’t cause any problems.

I’ve really missed being on my bike. Apart from being able to enjoy riding around it really reduced the flexibility of what I could do and when. Things like the shops being too far away now. Oh that makes me sound like a girl. I actually buy things for the office from the local shops. But without my bike it was too far and too hard to carry things. So I had to get home delivery… And the lag between order and delivery is like 3 days. So planning ahead is a must.

Then there’s the constant checking of timetables to see if I had to run and in which direction! And run I did sometimes. So I’ve definitely improved my skills in heels no end. And with just my trusty Crumpler for company I could only carry a little bit rather than a full pannier load.

But there were positives about public transport that I will miss. Things like two less changes. Going by bike means changing into riding clothes to go and then to come back. It doesn’t take that much longer but it’s really nice to be a girl door to door. And there’s the bonus of less clothes to wash.

Then there’s time for me to relax on the bus/train and listen to music and blog. I can’t really do that on the bike. I know I’m missing out on exercise but the walk to the station and back is quite a good workout, especially in heels, and especially if I have to run!

Cars! Ugh! I can’t escape cars either way. Now I know 99.999% of car drivers are great. I mean I’m a great car driver ☺️ It’s just the 0.001% that give me grief. On my bike it’s those honking at me to get off their roads. On public transport, or rather waiting for the bus, they honk at me because I’m a girl (yes I got honked at again this morning. No it’s not my imagination. When there’s only one car on the road and only me at the bus stop I’m sure they’re honking at me). Can’t win this one.

Actually the best thing about catching public transport has been that I can wear my coats! Ooh layers! Yes indeed. I can’t wear them on my bike….they don’t go with my riding gear. And at the office there is no need for a coat. But when I’m freezing my bits off waiting for a bus or a train, a coat is perfect! And they make you look good too! I think those French girls were onto something with their layering techniques!

So I’m looking forward to my ride this afternoon. But I might just hop back on public transport sometimes too because it has its good points too. Just don’t expect me to drive to work.

I did a last test ride around the park before going home today. Just to make sure I was good to go. I really didn’t want to get half way home and find that my knee wasn’t ready. So a quick spin in my work clothes was the plan. See, if my knee did play up I wouldn’t have to get changed back.

So off I went in my pink blush ribbed long sleeve top, my velvet mini, and my pink double strap mules. Of course this is what all the fashionable girls wear when they go for a ride 😅 Just a short flat loop with one small hill. Then zip down the other side back to the office. No I didn’t flash anyone in my mini. You wouldn’t believe it, but it’s actually surprisingly hard to do!

Anyway I pull up at the door to the office, and I get the heel of my mule stuck in my pedal and fall over, bike and all. I haven’t had a bike accident for a long, long time. Probably a decade ago was the last one (bloody dog owners that don’t use a leash). Luckily it was a slow fall with nothing in the way except the ground. And in any case my fall was broken by my big bum.

Damage report:

Big bottom – superficial contusion;

Sense of humour – still intact;

New pantyhose – write off;

Pink double strap mule (left) – initially stuck in rear spokes but safely extracted;

Dignity – I flashed everyone in sight! Legs akimbo, sprawled on the ground. Fortunately there was no one in sight so dignity intact. And because no one saw it…it never happened 😉

So I was good enough to ride home and I did. And my knee is fine so I’ll be riding again next week rain, hail or shine. Yay! But I’m still annoyed about my pantyhose 🙁

Photo by Edwin Andrade