Bit of a self indulgent post

This is a slightly edited long tweet I posted to twitter earlier with bits added.

I don’t usually post things like this as it’s maddening to see post after post by people saying things like “look how wonderful my life is” when the rest don’t have it so good. But I was looking at Timehop at tweets I had posted this day in previous years, and it’s amazing how things have changed for me for the better. I’ve had some tough times in the past but I seem to have come out the other side pretty well, and it’s not over yet. So you could say I’m one of the lucky ones and I dearly wish everyone could be.
4 years ago I went to my counselling session looking like the woman that I am, and the 1st time that I had shown my true colours on my own in the small town where I lived. Thankfully nothing bad happened but I thought it’d be decades before I could transition.
3 years ago I was approaching my 1st anniversary of me signing my deed poll, which meant I dropped my bloke disguise on the floor – distroying it forever. I would also go to an actual trans support group held in that same small town. The trans woman who ran it also lived there, and until then I thought I was the only one who did. She turned out to be an utterly despicable person but that’s not the point; there were others there apart from me.
2 years ago I had been engaged to the most wonderful woman in the world since February. Someone who I met face to face for the 1st time at that trans group, and we had been living together since march. She is also trans, and we’re completely on the same wavelength. She is my soulmate and my everything. I would be going to look at wedding dresses (for me) for the first time in a few days and I couldn’t believe this was actually happening.
A year ago today it was just under a month to go until our wedding and my dress and everything else was hidden at my parent’s house, just in case someone stumbled across it before the big reveal on the day itself. I had also been swimming with cis people loads pre grs and nothing bad happened.
Today we’re nearing our 1st wedding anniversary, and a couple of weeks after that I’ll be having my grs; not that’s an end goal or anything. It’s just something I’ve wanted for years and thought would never happen like everything else in this rambling self-indulgent post. I don’t think I’ll properly fully believe that it’s happening until I’m on that trolley being wheeled down to theatre. Both my parents call me by my name, use correct pronouns and treat me as their daughter as naturally as though they had been doing it since I was born. At that counselling session (or one of them) I said that I was scared I’d be disowned if I transitioned as they were far from happy about it.

I only mentioned my GRS in passing, and many write reams and reams about it like it’s the end goal to completeness. There’s nothing wrong with that – everyone’s different. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no destination, just a journey. And as humans are we ever complete?

 

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A well overdue update

It’s well over a year since I last wrote anything in here, and so much has happened. I just haven’t felt the need to sit down and write about it. After all, I’m not writing my life story, and I post inane spur of the moment drivel on Twitter anyway. If my life was in any way extraordinary, then of course I’d write about it. I’m just your average blind trans woman just living my life.

With that said, here’s just a quick update.

 

I am now a married woman. I married my beautiful wife Louise last year, on the 9th of July. It was the best day of my life.

I appreciate that I am extremely privileged to be living in a time and country where same sex marriages are legally recognised. Also, the fact that our closest family and friends were there was so special to us, and not everyone has that.

I could go on and on about it, describing the day in excruciating detail even though some of it is just a happy blur now. But that helps nobody.

I will just say that our dresses were stunning, the ceremony was wonderful and I will never forget it as long as I live. I also have an audio recording of the whole thing.

 

I have gotten back into music production in a big way. It’s something I’ve dabbled with on and off for many years, but I was never happy with the tools I was using or the results. I’m not the best keyboard player around, so consequently I’d be quick to beat myself up about that fact.

Recently however, I have started to sort myself out. A huge boost to my confidence was hearing people who I’d class to be amazing musicians claiming that they’re not.  This brought home the fact that we all have our own strengths and weaknesses. I realised this before, but I’d think that my weaknesses were weaker than anyone else’s.

As for what I was using, I replaced my ancient pc with a brand new one, as that was one of the main sources of frustration for me. You’d only have to look at it funny to have it fall over backwards, and there was I, asking it to run software synths and the like.

With this new one, nothing I ask it to do is too much for it. It is also totally silent as it doesn’t have any fans in and uses solid state drives for storage. How they can keep a machine this powerful cool without using fans is completely beyond me.

Also, last year, something amazing happened that has in my opinion completely revolutionised how blind people gain access to music production software.

Native Instruments, the company behind Kontakt, Massive and several other fantastic products has added text-to-speech support to their Komplete Kontrol line of MIDI controllers.

In a nutshell, Komplete Kontrol ties all their products in their Komplete line together, and allows you to play and control it all as though they were all parts of a ridiculously powerful music workstation. Like a Korg Kronos on steroids if you had to use a computer to run it all on.

The upshot of NI adding speech to all this is that blind people are now able to use all these amazing software instruments in the same way as anyone who’s sighted.

There have been other attempts to make this all work in the past. As brilliant as these solutions are, it was all hacked together by 3rd parties as it seemed that none of the actual developers would ever be interested in making their software accessible.

Now that Native instruments have come on board, it is I think an absolute game changer.

It is by no means perfect. At the time of writing, we only have access to whichever parameters have been assigned to the knobs on the Komplete Kontrol Keyboard which isn’t everything. Also, None of the GUIs are accessible. But it’s a huge step in the right direction.

 

Armed with all this and my slowly improving confidence, I have started to post the random things I create to SoundCloud, one of which is embedded below.

 

 

I have gone on enough already, so until the next time I feel like posting anything, which could be in another couple of years, Take care.

Love the now Mrs Goldfinch

Hormonenniversary and Dresses.

Today is an important day for me as it’s my 1 year hormonenniversary. I’ve been on lovely oestrogen while keeping the dreaded testosterone at bay for a year. I can’t believe how fast it’s gone, and so much has changed.
Not much hrt wise has since my last hormone update, apart from that I went for a bra measurement the other month and found out that I’m a 36B. It’s amazing since this time last year I was a 36 nothing. I used Bras to give the illusion that I had actually had something there. Now, I use them for what they’re supposed to be used for.
5 years ago today, I moved out of my parents house into a flat that was my home until I moved in with Louise. Living there taught me so much, but I’ve written about that before. So on to something else.

A few months ago, I did something I thought I’d never do. I tried on a wedding dress. Well, technically, this would have been the second time I’ve worn one. The first time I was 6, it was my mum’s and I wanted to be a fairy. Amazingly my parents have no recollection of that event, or they made themselves forget.
Anyway, I was looking for a dress to wear for my actual wedding, to the most wonderful woman in the world.

I had absolutely no idea what I wanted my dress to be like, other than that it would be white and long. We’re keeping our dresses a secret from each other till the big day, so one of her sisters came with me.
There’s a shop not too far from where we live that sells discount dresses. They’re all ex-stock from bridal shops, so they could be last year’s or were worn by models. A wedding dress could be at least 2 grand, which is far more than what I want to pay. I could hire one but it wouldn’t feel right having to return it like a costume from a fancy dress shop. So the best thing for me is this shop, as they’d sell that 2 grand dress for 500 quid. Far more reasonable in the grand scheme of things.
It seemed pretty quiet as we entered. Just a few people pottering about, looking at the dresses which were all in huge polythene bags. A good sign showing that they care for their stock.
They allow you to take 4 dresses into the fitting room, and it wasn’t long before we had picked 4 for me to try on.

I’m not going to describe them in much detail as frankly I can’t remember everything about each dress, and one of them might be the one I ultimately buy.
The shop had quickly filled up by the time it came to queue up for the fitting room. I must have been waiting for 40 minutes before it was my turn as there were only 1 or 2 rooms. It soon arrived though, and I went behind the curtain with Louise’s sister and a member of staff who helped me into each dress.

The first was ivory, floor length and flared out at the bottom with a huge train. It also weighed a ton, in fact they all did. I don’t think my mum’s was all that heavy. It felt gorgeous as they all did. All silky and good stuff like that.
However, I quickly discovered that going for a long dress, at least one in that cut wasn’t for me. I kept walking all over it. It would be absolutely ruined by the time I had walked halfway down the aisle. Apparently I’m supposed to glide gracefully or something, but since I think I move as gracefully as a brick falling down a mineshaft, I don’t think that’s a possibility. Maybe I could get away with a straight one. And anyway, I didn’t think that “floor length” meant literally that. I thought it’d stop just short. Obviously I was wrong.
Then, a couple of dresses later, I tried on a tea length one that stopped somewhere near my calves, so no fear of treading all over it. Suddenly, that brick seemed to metamorphose into a feather and I felt like I could float out of that mineshaft into the sky.
One thing I’ve not mentioned yet is that part of trying the dresses on involved stepping out of the changing room in view of the queue of other women waiting for their turn. There was even a small box to stand on so you could have a better look at the dress. This didn’t bother me at all, although it felt a little bit embarrassing when I had a long one on.
However, as soon as I stepped on to the box in the tea length dress, I felt absolutely wonderful and started doing things like swishing about in it, or revolving slowly like a ballerina in a music box. It felt so magical. The icing on the cake was that everyone there thought it looked gorgeous on me.
I asked if I could try on a veil. The member of staff found one for me and fixed it in place. I’m not sure if I like them or not. It just seemed like an expensive net curtain to me which itched a bit round the back.

Weather that particular dress is the one I choose remains to be seen. Even if it was, I wouldn’t say on here yet, anyway.
I really can’t wait to go back again and try on some more and find the right one for me.

Nearly a year on hormones

I’ve been on hrt for nearly a year; there’s been a ton of changes,both to my appearance and mental stuff, so I’d thought I’d write an update of my experiences of it since I haven’t for a while.

I now have boobs. Proper boobs that look like they should do and are slowly getting bigger. It’s just so wonderful I have them and that they look nice.
My hips are a bit on the curvy side, although they could do to get a bit more. Fat’s going to where it should though now so that’s good.
My face is now more fuller, my hair’s gone quite a lot thicker and my skin is lovely and soft.
Emotional changes have carried on being interesting; throwing unexpected things at me whenever they feel like it.
E.G.. When I went to Marlin – a trans swimming group in Manchester a couple of months ago, I bumped into an old friend who I last saw a couple of years ago; maybe longer. Before HRT, upon seeing him again, I’d have probably just said something on the lines of “nice to see you again” and left it at that. Instead, my joy of seeing him again gushed out of me and I went “oh my god oh my god I’ve not seen you in years!” Then hugged him and was on the verge of tears. It really surprised me and my friend was I think not expecting so much of an overreaction. But that’s oestrogen for you and it’s lovely.
It doesn’t take a lot to set me crying. I’ve always been like that, but it’s increased. I can be lying in bed thinking about how special it feels to be loved by Louise, and the floodgates will open.
Depending on the situation, I can be a little bit more patient.

On the other side of the coin, if something winds me up, that feels different also. Instead of just shouting, tears will be involved somewhere too. They do like to make themselves known quite a lot, regardless don’t they.

Well, that about wraps it up for the hormone update for now, so be good and I’ll see you next time.
Byeeeee!

New start.

Here we are, almost a month later from my  last post.  I’m writing this in Louise’s house, which is where I now live.  I moved in on the 12th, and we’ve been spending the last week sorting the place out so it’s fit for 2 women, a Belgian Sheppard and a cat to live comfortably in. We’ve not quite finished yet but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I had lived in the same flat for the last 4 and a half years nearly. So it was with mixed emotions I said goodbye to the place.  On the one hand, it was freezing, had a poor excuse for a hot water heater, ridiculously expensive and frankly I couldn’t wait to see the back of the place. Also, it could be incredibly lonely.
On the other, it was the first place that I could call my own even though I was renting.  I could find myself, cook my own meals when I wanted, have friends over to stay, even have a bath at silly o’clock in the morning and it wouldn’t bother anyone.  There was no one I had to tell where I was going, so it wasn’t until I moved in there that I informed my gp that I am trans way back on remembrance day 2010.  I just got a taxi there and back with  no one else being any the wiser.

I had my first relationship outside of college in 2011. Even though I got burned, it taught me a few things which helped pave the way for bigger and better things.

Other highlights were having a friend to stay for a month or so while he was in between flats, and another coming all the way to see me from Australia for 10 days. she must have been mad. 🙂
Then of course there was all the wonderful times me and Louise had there.

I did a lot of growing up in that flat.  I was a prat when I went in, and I’m hopefully less of one now I came out of the other side.

Anyway, the past is in the past, we learn from it and move on.  Here I am now sat writing this in our office. The window’s open, the sun’s shining and I feel great.

Tweetup And Wonderful News

Wow 2 blog posts in a month from me. My 1.5 readers must feel privileged.

Anyway, I have some more things to tell you about, including something very, very special.

Some twitter friends of ours had been organising a “tweetup” in Leicester for a while, and it happened on the last day of January. We both had been looking forward to it for ages. I had met up with a few before who were going, so it was good to catch up with them again. Louise hadn’t met any of them before.

I really enjoyed it. Lots of food and alcohol were involved and lovely company. We had a meal in a An all you can eat buffet restaurant and a few drinks in a local gay friendly bar that one of the girls had found. I could have done with it to be a bit quieter though.

For me, there was something else that happened early next morning which I will never forget, something that I had been worrying and fretting about doing for quite a few weeks.
Me and Louise were snuggled up in bed together, and I said to her that there was something I wanted to ask her but… I dunno…
She said “go on?” Then I bit the bullet and said:
“Will you marry me?”
That was the last thing she had expected me to say so the first think she came out with was:
“Aren’t you going to go down on one knee and ask me?”
I was that close to getting out of bed to do just that, and then she said
“Yes I will.”

Well, I couldn’t believe it. I was floored. I was just so overcome with emotion that the most beautiful woman in the whole wide world had just said yes she will marry me I just held her and cried. All that worry. Was it too early? How would I best do it? Would she even want to? It just all came out. Above all, I was on cloud 9 – I felt and still feel so happy.

I had first realised that this is someone I want to spend the rest of my life with when we spent Christmas together, or maybe before. It’s hard to put my finger on a date.
Then when we went to London, every time I had a shower, my mind kept racing with all those worries and thoughts. I find showers or baths the best time to mull things over.
I even thought about dm-ing twitter friends to tell them what I was planning to do, but I thought what if Louise accidentally catches an interesting looking message on my phone.
So I told my dad the day before the tweetup. He just said do it when you feel the time is right, which is what I’m sure those twitter friends would have said anyway.

We were there in bed and I felt like it was now or never. I didn’t want to wake up on the Sunday morning without asking. So I just popped the question.

I didn’t give her a ring or go down on one knee. Those are hetro things to do I thought, and since we’re obviously both women, we’d both naturally want rings. I didn’t know the first thing about choosing one anyway, let alone what her ring size is.
I could have done it in the restaurant, but it was so loud she might have just said “yes I’ve got it. Do you want vinegar as well?”
I think it was special that by coincidence that I happened to ask her on the first of the month. New month,, new start, new life.

This Valentine’s Day was the first one where it felt like it had any meaning to me. Yes it’s commercialised stuff invented by the greeting’s card industry, but Louise had never had a proper one before, and the last time I had a card it was given to me by someone that I didn’t love anymore.
I will treasure Louise’s card as she wrote in it that she can’t wait for the day when she can call me her wife. It’s so lovely.
We also bought each other’s engagement rings, which just felt such a special thing to do.
We both have matching ones. A delicate white gold band that has a square thing on top with a single diamond in the centre. Sadly they didn’t have out sizes in stock, so they had to be resized.
I had my first laser session that day as well. Not the most romantic things to do on Valentine’s Day, but I was able to cope with it, and I can do it again. I was petrified that much beforehand I was physically shaking.

The day after, we went to look at wedding venues. There was one that we both liked, and I could imagine what it would be like for use to be married there.

Our rings were ready on the Friday just gone and neither of us could wait to wear them.
When Louise arrived at mine that night, she made a little speech about how much she loves me, and just because, she asked me the same thing I had asked her at the beginning of the month. I of course said yes, and she slipped my ring onto my finger.
I did the same to her return.

On that happy note, I’m going to wrap this entry up and post it.

Kara
x

That There London

Me again folks.
Last month it was Louise’s birthday. Because she’s so special to me, I thought I’d treat her to something equally special. So I bought us tickets to see The Phantom of the Opera in London’s west end, and what a good excuse to have a few day’s sight seeing as well.

It was the first time for both of us that we had been away together, and the first I had been away with someone I love.
The journey was pretty uneventful. It was just nice to be in each other’s company. Oh and I don’t recommend going on the tube when you’re not used to it and have luggage in toe.

After we had checked in, taken our things to the room and had a brew, we had a pleasant stroll to find something to eat. On our way we passed ST Paul’s. The bells were ringing which was amazing to hear.
We went for a look in since we were there. A service was in full swing, which seemed odd as there were people like us just walking around looking at the place. I suppose if you were in there for what it was built for, you wouldn’t hear everything else that was going on as it’s so huge.
The acoustics are something else, which makes the choir and organ sound ethereal. I couldn’t tell where either of them were as everything just washed around me, also there’s speakers everywhere.

A staff member came up to us and had a quick chat. At first I thought she was going to tell me not to touch whatever it was in front of me – a nativity scene I think. But she ended up waxing lyrical about that blind guy in the US who goes around clicking. If I had a quid every time someone mentioned that guy and his incessant clicking, I’d be a millionaire or very near one.
Yes, I’ve heard of him, and no, I don’t think he’s amazing. Far from it, in fact. She claimed that a guy she met could tell her how high the ceiling was by clicking. More like clicking the home button on his iPhone and asking siri.

Anyway, this isn’t a post about me ranting about Mr. Clicky guy. She was helpful otherwise, as I wanted to know about the whispering gallery, and she told me all about it. I’d love to experience it one day.

Back out we went, and had a stroll across the bridge that the death eaters destroyed in one of the Harry Potter films. I didn’t appreciate how wide the Thames is until I walked across there. It felt like we were walking for miles.
On the way back across over another bridge, we came across a guy playing the hang, which is a unique instrument that looks like a flying saucer with dents over it which produces different notes when you tap them with your fingers. It sounds a bit like a steal pan but more mellower with more of an attack. It’s lovely and I was itching to have a go. If you YouTube hang or hang drum I believe there’s a video of the same bloke we saw playing it.

That night, we had tea (dinner if you’re posh) in the hotel. The food wasn’t much to write home about, but I was pretty hungry.
I got asked for ID by one of the waitresses, which was a lovely compliment considering at the time of writing I’ve just turned 30. But it was so annoying as I don’t carry any. I obviously don’t have a driving license and I don’t want to take my passport everywhere with me just so I can buy alcohol. I might lose it. It’s not happened for a while, and maybe it was because I had my hair straightened. 🙂

On Monday we had a lovely long walk round all the touristy bits. We passed the old bailey, which felt kind of strange as it’s mentioned so much on the news and there I was trying to take a photo of it. Probably one place I never want to see the inside of.
we reached Elizabeth Tower just before big ben struck 12. As it did so, everything around us seemed to stop. The traffic, pedestrians, everything waited for it to finish. Then London came back to life.
I think Great Abel in Manchester’s town hall sounds far more impressive, but big ben is just so iconic.

Next we stood outside Downing Street, and had a look at the Cenotaph and horse guards. I was surprised to find out that the Cenotaph is in the middle of a crossing and not in the middle of a ceremonial ground as I thought.

We then walkied over to Trafalgar square, into the national gallery. I was given an audio guide which they nearly charged me for. It’s a great idea in theory, but it’s written for someone who really understands art and not for someone who just wants the paintings described. Louise did a far better job than that thing ever could.
Some of them are so detailed they look like photos. Louise took a picture of one with her iPhone and the facial recognition software detected that there were indeed faces in the painting.
She bought a print of The Execution of Lady Jane Grey, which is apparently beautiful. I don’t get how a painting of an execution can be, but there you go.
For some reason there was a guy dressed as Yoda pretending to float outside the gallery.

After a walk down the mall , we had dinner in a pub across from the tower where big ben is. They charged an arm and a leg for what was supposed to be a chicken burger, but it was the only place we could find, we were starving and my feet were killing me. Serves me right for hiking for miles in heels.

By that time it was getting late, and we wanted to get ready for the evening as Louise had booked a table for us in a Thai restaurant as a late birthday treat for me.
It was a little out of the way place that was lovely and quiet until a work party showed up. But our meal was lovely and the staff were friendly, so it didn’t detract from the night at all.

I’ve always wanted to have a look round the science museum, so we went there on Tuesday.
I’d say it was quite similar to the one in Manchester, which is probably because they belong to the same group. They must share exhibits.
Mostly everything was behind glass, but there was a few interactive parts. There was also scale models of a couple of exhibits that you’re free to touch. These come with accompanying plaques describing them which were in Braille. I thought that was a nice touch and wish there had been more. However they were unreadable. Even though they had been embossed on metal, some clown had picked off some of the dots, probably with a knife.
The most impressive and forward thinking display in my view was one dealing with trans issues. It was only small and mainly covered people transitioning from female to male, but it was a start. It was just a display of a binder, a packer and testosterone patches with info about the guy who had donated them, but it was impressive to see something like that in the science museum. It got the kids talking that were on a school trip, even if it was just to laugh at the “willy” in the case. Little did they know that right in front of them was 2 real life trans women.

We had planned to visit the natural history museum, but we ended up spending longer in the science museum than we thought. So we went back to where we were staying and got something to eat in the gourmet burger kitchen. Their burgers are awesome, and their skinny fries are to die for.

Then it was time to get ready for what we had came for, to watch Phantom.
I bought a new dress especially, and so did Louise. We both love getting dressed up. I sent my dad a picture of me, and he said I looked lovely.

The show was in Her Majesties theatre where it has been since it opened.
I had never watched phantom before so wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew the odd song here and there, had a basic idea of the story and that it involved a chandelier being brought smashing down to the stage, but not much else. Musicals aren’t really my thing although I enjoyed the film version of Les Mis.

I went from thinking it’s alright and not being sure what to make of it to being utterly blown away by it. I think this is in part due to the wonderful cast. Gerónimo Rauch starred as the phantom, and as far as I’m concerned played the part so much better than Michael crawford.
Harriet Jones was Christine. She was amazing, and I wish I could sing like that, or even sing at all for that matter.

Louise as I had imagined was completely over the moon with my little treat for her, saying it had been the best birthday ever.

Wednesday was our last day in the smoke. We weren’t due to leave til the evening so we went out for a bit more sight seeing.
We had a lovely walk round tower of London’s grounds, disagreeing amicably with what we would do with the mote if we were queens. That’s one thing I love about Louise, we have loads of random conversations about anything.

After that, we took the tube to Piccadilly circus and had a look around there and regent street, where we bought a few tops from a designer clothes shop.

All too soon it was time to catch the train back up north, but the fun didn’t end there. We had a laugh listening to some posh kids talking about stuff to do with Harry Potter. The really did sound like a couple of excited Hogwarts first years. What would have made it even more funnier is if it was a train from king’s cross.

It was a wonderful few days with my beautiful girl and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Kara
xx