Maddie came to visit for the weekend. She arrived happy and seemly refreshed despite the long drive though something she’d most definitely disagree with. I had a meal waiting for her. It would at least mean we could relax, talk about dick-head men, work and life. These are the things, as ex’s from many years ago, that we talk about.
Saturday morning and she was already enthusiastic to get out running with me. I was at least able to make a dinning-room table full of breakfast and a tea pot which meant I had time to wake up before we set off. It was a damp grey looking day. We went upstairs to the bedroom and looked out of the window with views across the green fields that sat in the distance just above the rooftops of the lower houses beneath. Judging where we thought the rain clouds would be heading we decided where to go to run.
Within half an hour we were out in the autumn damp air running the coast and waters edge. We did the first mile that was normally my limit before having to turn back.
“Can we run the rest of the bay.” said Maddie who had barely broken a sweat.
“What? A complete circuit?” I said a little distressed by the idea.
“Yeah. Is that ok?”
My joints ached but part of me really wanted to run the whole way despite not being as fit as I once was. A few years ago I wouldn’t have hesitated. If I didn’t do it now then when would I do it? It was one of those conflicts. That runner’s wall was never going to go away. It’s not as if I could pop down in the dead of night and sneakily run a few miles and not hit the psychological pain of that wall because it was in bed fast asleep. We ran nearly five miles. I didn’t think I’d make it but we did. I was exhilarated for the rest of the day. Maddie is such a good influence on my exercise and motivation.
We ran the last half mile along the walk-way lined with weathered delicate ornate houses from the nineteen eighties on one side and the calm waters of the river on the other with just the tinkle of mored yachts and a small outboard gliding on a mirror surface towards the sea. “You know…” I said breathlessly, the leg pain now settled to a constant that I could deal with, “I’ve put so much weight on recently. When I run down the stairs I can feel boobs jiggling.”
“You should go into La Senza.” She said casually, “get…” she tried to bring her thoughts together over the timing of her running breaths.
“Measured?”, I said.
“Yes, measured.” she said leaving me a little surprised.
“That would be a bit difficult.” I chuckled, “They’ve closed ours.”
At the end of our run we climbed the hill to the old side of town where the car was parked. The air moist and humid held to the ground by the grey clouds that threatened to rain which turned out to be an empty threat. The steep climb lined with trees along hundred year old black wrought iron spike topped railings took us quickly to an altitude with a view over the city and the sea. It felt like as much exercise getting to the top as did the last mile of the run on the flat.
With all this awareness of boob bounce and feeling a bit broody around babies recently I’m starting to wonder if someone has been slipping some ground Estrofem into my breakfast. I caught myself in the mirror last night after stepping out of the shower. Hair dripping wet with added length from the weight of the water I pushed the barely noticeable boobs up with both hands in a push-up bra test fashion. My god, they may not be that noticeable but when I’m hyper aware of my body and any changes it is still a shock that there is a substantial shape going on. In reality they’re probably the battery equivalent of Everyready tripple As rather than Duracell double AA.
I find myself in a bit of a quandary. A conflict between ‘wow, I have boobs.’ and ‘oh dear, I must be putting weight on.’ And it’s not just the Cadbury’s Flakes in the thighs but a taste for cafe muffins on the odd occasion. Once I finished playing with the invisible push-up bra I did the same to my tummy which for the first time seemed to have that little soap-bar shape that can be grabbed much like post-pregnancy tummies of women who just can’t shift that last bit of left over skin and flesh. It moved around and I could squeeze it together to make it into a substantial clump. This is exactly where those Friday muffins have ended up and indeed the Wednesday muffins on those day I just couldn’t resist or the stress of the working week had got to me. Let’s not over play this. I’m not obese and neither is it that noticeable unless I start trying to do pregnancy impressions or wear a small t-shirt or both, but it’s enough to worry about my future, especially if Estrofem, or a similar medical vice, becomes a part of my medicine regime.
Enough playing. I dried my hair carefully with the Clarke hair dryer. Starting with the high speed high heat at the arm aching required distance to dry my hair rather than drying-it-out, working my way down to the cooler settings. It’s a treat to do this. My long hair can take an age to dry and being rather thick its so easy to over dry it and become a bit of a dry mess. Taking my time is much like the body-image happiness I’ve talked about and it just makes me feel a little happier.
That evening I grabbed the workout-dvd, the one that transports me to L.A. along-side a swimming pool with views of the Pacific Ocean all accessible in my living room in the United Kingdom, and choose a new routine from the DVD that I’d not done before. A little challenging but something to at least make an effort to get rid of that soap-bar around the belly and may be, with a little hard wishing, keep my tripple A Everyready’s.
All these things are just a distraction though. I have an appointment looming. Those eight weeks have flown by. It’s not the appointment itself that I feel anxious about but the chance that nothing will come of it. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Doctor (not the one in the old telephone box) hasn’t been able to get a decision from the panel yet, and even then if he has, the chances of being referred onwards to make some progress are even slimmer with changes in the NHS I keep hearing about.
This may well not be the case of course and as I’ve said before progress can be made while waiting for the formalities of the mental health unit. Whether it’s huge steps like changes in social interaction as a member of the opposite gender that one is assigned at birth or some tiny important insignificant thing like wearing those pretty and obvious jeans to work. I said I was going to wait to loose weight before buying jeans but I couldn’t resist. I bought a pair of Skinnies from Next. A high content of elastane ensuring the skinnies cling to my legs showing the few lucky curves I have. I was in doubt Monday morning and couldn’t decide whether I’d wear them, but then I thought ‘fuck it’ it’s either now or never.
The thing is, as a pre-full timer, there are only a few ways to express my femininity and so apart from a few natural attributes I do have like certain body language cues, the expressive hands when explaining something or the not-quite-camp way about myself that is firmly in the hands of my deeper conscience, my sub conscience or as Jung would have put it, “the inner ego”, the only way to boost my expression is through my clothes, my hair or my skin. The clothes aren’t about cross-gender dressing, it’s just simply a part of womanhood. Part of the recipe of life.
I drove to work. It played on my mind a little, taking the odd glance at my stretchy denim clad legs between reading the road and the speedometer. I felt warm and at home. Comfortable. Me. The slight doubt double checked with me whether it really was ok to be wearing these to work but there was no sense of panic. No ‘oh god, it’s too late to change, what am I going to do.’ It seems those type of feelings are of the past. Nobody has cared. May be one of the women have noticed.
I sat in a meeting; completely content. One of my colleagues, a female colleague mentioned something. In fact if I was to pick someone who would have noticed the jeans or even anything I’ve done like my eye browse, it would be her. But it wasn’t the jeans. We were talking about how certain clients are with people, “I don’t have a problem with him.” I said talking about one of our most awkward clients, “When he speaks to me he seems fine. It’s strange.”
“You do have a softer voice though, may be it’s that.” said Becky.
It means nothing in the grand scheme of things but someone noticing something like that, when I hadn’t tried, kinda felt nice.
Until next time.