The Grind

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Hi everyone. Hope you all had a nice week. I'm going to keep this brief, as I need to work tomorrow (Sunday).

I'm trying to meet a very tight deadline at work, one that is tight because of circumstances beyond my control; accordingly, I've been writing frantically, particularly the past three weeks, to try to make it. I think I'll get everything done in time, but I'm worn to a nub.

I can tell I'm worn out by the kind of mistakes I'm making - silly spelling errors, typos, and forgetting to do routine tasks that I normally do automatically. But the combination of fatigue and racing to get everything done means those tasks aren't routine at the moment.

My personal life is hectic as well, for reasons I don't wish to go into right now. They're necessary, but they require a great deal of driving (4-6 hours on those days), which, as regular readers know, I find to be incredibly stressful and exhausting. But I have no choice in this case, so I simply have to grit my teeth, get through it, and hope it proves to be worth it.

I've been having trouble sleeping since the weekend before Christmas, and it's become a vicious cycle. I typically get this way at the end of a project cycle, but in this case it's exacerbated by the other matters to which I alluded. Even on the nights when I do sleep, I wake up feeling worn out. I get everything done, but it takes everything I have to do so.

I want to stress, once again, that as challenging as this is, and has been, it is still *infinitely* better than my life pre-transition. I am dealing with all of this as myself, and that makes all the difference. I can look in the mirror and like the person I see. That was not the case for most of my life. I earned that peace of mind by working incredibly hard, and I do not take it for granted.

Hopefully things on the work front will slow down somewhat after this week (or possibly the week after), and I will be able to catch my breath, metaphorically speaking, and focus on the big picture. For the moment I'm just focused on getting through each day as best I can. It's all I can do.

Next post I hope to write something a bit more upbeat. It merits its own post, so I will hold off until I get through this stretch and hopefully get some energy back.

Oh, and I realize I've neglected to write about my exercise routine, as I'd promised to do in my first post this year. I've been doing pretty well, given my schedule, my lingering illness at the beginning of the year, and simple fatigue. Once I get through this stretch, and once it's safe for me to run after work again (because the sun is setting later), I'll kick into overdrive again. For now, I'm doing as much as I possibly can. I've learned the hard way - several times - to respect my limits, so I will be careful to think long-term.

Have a good week everyone...


I don't think the photo at the top is particular flattering (I know I'm tired when my face is puffy like this, plus I can see the bags under my eyes, in spite of the filters I applied), but the expression seems to capture my mood at the moment. I included it so it will help me sometime in the future when I look back on this time. Hopefully it does the same for others reading this post.


I've been listening quite a bit the past few weeks to Nap Eyes, a terrific new band from Nova Scotia. I have some family in the Canadian Maritimes, so I suppose I'm inclined to like them already, but their music stands on its own merits.

This song, "Mixer," is the opening track on Thought Rock Fish Scale, their second album, which was just released a few weeks ago. Nigel Chapman, the band's singer/songwriter, has clearly listened to his Velvet Underground albums, but "Mixer," a quiet, thoughtful song about being alone at a party, shows he has a songwriting voice that is all his own.

Quick Check-In

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Hi everyone. Hope you had a good week/weekend.

Mine was mostly spent trying to rest. It's been a challenging few months on both the personal and professional fronts, and apparently it's taken its toll.

Several colleagues have made it a point to stop by my desk and ask me to take care of myself, saying I look "exhausted" (their word). My dear friend Alice told me, not unkindly, that I haven't been as bubbly and up as I normally am. I guess things have caught up with me. (I took the selfie above a few days ago, so judge for yourselves.)

The big project deadline at work is approaching, which means I can't really take any time off right now. So all I can do is grind out each day as best I can and try to get some rest when I can. I haven't been sleeping since just before Christmas, which is a long time even for a lifelong insomniac like me.

I will get through this stretch. I'm doing my best to remember better things are (hopefully) ahead. My therapist M told me so yesterday, and reminded me of how far I've come. I'll try to keep that in mind as I try to get through this period.

Have a good week, everyone.


I wanted to post The Beatles original version of "I'm Only Sleeping," from Revolver, but I couldn't find it on YouTube. But it turned out to be a good thing, because it meant I discovered this version by The Stereophonics and Oasis, which I really, really like. I'm not at all familiar with The Stereophonics, but that's going to change after listening to this. The lead singer has a terrific voice. (I'm a huge Oasis fan, so I'm shocked to discover I've never posted a single song from them in the nearly five years I've been writing this blog.)

Since I mentioned Oasis, here's my favorite song of theirs - the B-side of their "Roll With It" single in 1995, believe it or not. It's called "Rocking Chair."

Liam Gallagher has such a great voice - so full of character and emotion. And what kind of songwriting streak was his brother Noel on at the time that they could relegate a song this good to a B-side? Really amazing...

Talk Talk

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Hi everyone. I'm sorry I missed posting last week. So much is going on in my life right now. I discussed some of it in my previous post. I don't want to go much further into it, other than to say that it has been a challenging stretch, and I am still carrying a heavy heart.

Once again, I must say thank you to Alice for her friendship. Your true friends are those who help you even when they have nothing to gain by doing so.

(Full disclosure: I had written a lengthy paragraph about those who are not true friends. But I decided they aren't worth wasting space on in this post. Instead, I choose to celebrate people like Alice, who are most certainly worth it.)

Work has been unusually frantic, even by its standards. A huge project was dropped into my lap in the middle of an already-packed project cycle; as a result, I have six weeks worth of work to finish in barely two weeks. My manager L has been unwavering in her support, as always, which helps immensely. I feel very fortunate to have her in my life at this time, for both professional and personal reasons.

I am in the middle of planning and working on two other major events right now that will hopefully pay off later this year - assuming things go smoothly for once. More on those plans soon - hopefully in positive posts.

For now though, frantic those things have been, I want to write briefly about something I have been making time for as best I can. 


Thanks to the tireless, herculean efforts of The Divine Miss M (TDMM), who has been mentioned in this blog several times, a new ToastMasters club was chartered at work just before Thanksgiving last year (late November, for those of you unfamiliar with US holidays). In a nutshell, ToastMasters is a club designed to help members practice public speaking. (TDMM will no doubt blanch at seeing that description (my apologies hon :-p),  but that is its core purpose.)

I was, briefly, an officer in TM, but unfortunately I had to step down, which made - and makes - me feel terribly guilty. The Diving Miss M is the club president, and deservedly so, so I've felt awful about letting her down. (She has been unfailingly gracious and supportive, as is her nature.)

While I am no longer an officer, I try to take part as much as I can in our weekly meetings. As I mentored, we've been in existence for less than three months, so we are still feeling our way along. 

In the early days of this blog, I wrote a post that dealt, in part, about my experience working at a major FM station here in the Boston area while I was in college. I was also a DJ in college, and majored in Communications (and American History, as an aside). So, I have some experience with public speaking. Accordingly, I try to pitch in each week so people with little or no experience can see it's nothing to be afraid of.

So far I've given three speeches. The first was an introductory speech. While some people in attendance knew my history (I went full-time while working here), the majority did not. So, my first speech was about my transition.

I spent three evenings writing and rehearsing it, trying to balance being informative - for some people I knew it would be their first experience with someone who is transsexual - with giving a speech that engaged them.

It was a seven minute speech. Those of you with public speaking experience can probably relate to this, but it felt as if it was over in a heartbeat. I only stumbled once, while speaking about my sister and nephew. My voice caught for a moment, but I recovered and finished the speech without any further difficulty.

When it was over, I received a standing ovation. (For the record, all introductory speeches get one, so my head didn't swell too much. :-p) I'm out of practice with public speaking, so it was a bit difficult to gauge how I did. I no longer beat myself up over every single mistake, as I would have in the past; that said, I hoped the audience found it to be interesting and engaging.

I received my answer at the end of the meeting when the Toastmaster (the club member running that day's meeting), my fellow writer J, asked me to come forward. When I did, he smiled and handed me this:

This is my first ribbon. :c) I was, and am, inordinately proud of it. Not simply because of the recognition, but more because I was able to stand up in front of a room of nearly 50 people and tell them my story, without guilt or shame or embarrassment, and with pride and a sense of quiet confidence. 

I have worked for nearly five years to get to this point: to be proud of who I am, and what I have accomplished. The ribbon will serve as a visual reminder of how far I have come. I could give a speech like that because I had the approval of the only person who matters: myself. I don't need to be "validated" by anyone else, or told that I'm a woman. I know that already. And that makes all of the hard work worth it.

In the days following my speech, a number of people in attendance have taken the time to reach out to me, either through email, handwritten note, or in person, to tell me how moved they were by the speech and how much they appreciated my willingness to share something of myself. I told each person the truth: that I was honored by their generosity and kindness and acceptance. It was, and is, a humbling experience. I gave them seven minutes;  they have given me a lifetime of lovely memories in return. I think I came out ahead in this particular bargain.

Eventually I plan to go stealth. No one will know my background unless I choose to tell them. And those people are likely to be very few in number. Not because I'm ashamed of who I am, but because I'm ready to move to the next phase of my life: living fully as myself. 

I know I pass without a problem, a fact I don't take for granted. I didn't need any FFS, nor did I need to do anything with my hair other than let it grow. I can, and do, go out without a bit of makeup on, and do so knowing everyone will see who I am: a woman. I never would have dared dream that was possible five years ago. But now it's reality. And that is a story worth sharing - and celebrating - during this moment in time. 


My hometown was one of the first to get MTV for some reason, almost as soon as it began in (if memory serves) late summer 1981. I'm not typically a fan of the synth- and keyboard-driven stuff that was dominant in the early 80s, but I always loved this 1982 song from Talk Talk - also called "Talk Talk." I couldn't find the version of the video I remember, but I do recall seeing this one as well. Regardless, it's a classic of the British New Wave.

While this has nothing to do with the theme of this post, here's another keyboard-dominated track from 1982 that remains a personal favorite to this day: Thomas Dolby's "One Of Our Submarines." Dolby wrote this haunting, eerie song as a tribute to his uncle, who was serving on a submarine that was lost in action during World War II.


Beautiful song, isn't it?


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