Friday, 28 October 2016

Unexpected Fame

In distant times past, there was another blog. It was primarily one of my musings, ramblings and rants and ran for about 3 years. It was also a place that I published a number of my photos which you, gentle reader, have been spared until now.

The blog doesn't exist any more - I removed it a while back (yes, I know you can still access it through the Wayback Machine but that's not important).

In 2010 a three-volume collection of scholarly essays was published. Entitled "Queers in Popular American Culture" it is still available to purchase from Amazon and other booksellers

Imagine my surprise to find the following on page 53 of volume 2:

"The visual rhetoric of Selina Morse's blog is also transcultural [...] because she adopts the props and scenery of upper middle-class, domestic, "normal"heterosexual romance, placing herself in the midst of these symbols and, in so doing, calling into question their seeming naturalness and unquestionable coherence. Her blog contains, for instance, images that represent her outdoors, dressed in an evening gown of black satin and silver crepe, gazing over her shoulders as she stands between two ornamental urns, dressed in a costume ball mermaid suit, wearing a purple wig, and gazing out over a fairly extensive lawn"

I just thought we were taking pretty pictures.

And I'm not American either.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Knock knock

Hands up all those who remember Bob Monkhouse.

(Pause while those under thirty open up a google search. Found him? Good: then I'll continue.)

Bob was, presenter, for many years, of a programme called "Opportunity Knocks" - think "Britain's got Talent" without Ant'n'Dec and you get the picture. At the end of the show each week he would sign off with "If opportunity comes your way; don't knock it.

I mention this for two reasons. Firstly, that Bob was actually a distant cousin of mine on my mother's side (true). And secondly, because I have recently been given an opportunity. But it means leaving my beloved north-east. 

So, sad to say, I'll be making a mess of the migration statistics in a few months time, as I'm moving to Brisbane, Queensland. I'll be coming to grips with a whole new culture (for example, they don't have WD40 over there but a similar product named "Start ya bastard") along with finding out support groups etc. over there (or is it, under there?). 

I'll still keep my links with the north though - after all, "One day I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine."

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Exercise is a four letter word.

There are some out there who can eat and eat and never put an ounce of surplus flesh on. We tend to call them youngsters. However, as the years progress your metabolism slows to an imperceptible pace until you get to the stage where you only have to look at a chip to put a pound (453 grammes for the aforementioned youngsters) on.

Now there was a time when I would exercise for fun. Four times I ran the Great North Run in the 1980s - my best time being 1hr 20 mins. In those days I was so skinny I had to run around in the shower in order to get wet. However, those days are long gone.

Over the years the weight has slowly increased. There have been monentary "blips" (in both directions) when I have either lost half a stone in a few weeks or alternatively put the same amount on, but the flab has stayed relatively consistent. Even time spent on the treadmill has done little to slow the inexorable decline.

However, only a few weeks ago, the 13 stone (82 kg) barrier was breached. Time for serious dietin' (no "g").

But diet can only do so much so I decided to couple it with some exercises. Found a nice little online workout from America called "Metabolic Aftershock". Yes, it's full of Americanisms ("Great job everyone!") and it's also "bloody knackering" (that's a technical term). However, the proof of the pudding....

Ok, I haven't lost a huge amount of weight - just a pound or two - but in the two weeks that I've been doing it I've lost 4 inches (10 cm) off the waistline which is A Good Thing. So much so that I was able to slip into a lovely purple formal dress that I'd been given which I'd never managed to wear before.

Now all I need is a special occasion on which to wear it.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Under the surface.

I attend a regular meeting of like-minded people. Called Be it is a support group which has regular meetings to help advise, socialise and generally find out more about the issues surrounding the trans community - whatever colour of the trans spectrum you are. Ten minutes before the end of these meetings I turn back into a pumpkin. Off comes the hair and makeup. A change of shoes etc. and the male is back: Sel. has been relegated to a rucsac once more.

So why do I do this? My usual excuse is that my children would not really cope with seeing dad return home in a dress. Whilst this may be partly true it isn't the whole reason (they are usually fast asleep in bed when I get in, anyway).

The real reason is that I'm bloody terrified to go outside "en femme".

It all goes back to an incident which took place twenty years ago. In those days I used to occasionally frequent a dressing service in Lancashire. There'd be a host of outfits, wigs etc. to try on, complete with photographs to remember the day. I went on a few occasions and have very happy memories of my time there.

One occasion coincided with the bi-weekly meeting of Renaissance - another transgender support group based in Blackpool. So, wearing a somewhat short red dress, we headed off to the group meeting.

Now, I had always been a little nervous about being out in public as Selina, but was determined to go out with a few of my friends after meeting up at Renaissance first. I was chatting with a group of them and overheard one person say "Well, we can see what Selina wants tonight." I don't think it was meant in a catty way, but I suddenly realised how "available" I looked, and instantly had a massive panic attack. I couldn't breathe properly, almost passed out and was driven home.

It almost killed Sel. The thought of stepping across the threshold of a doorway as Selina made me panic. After a few more months I stopped dressing altogether. Didn't let her live again for over 5 years.

Even now, I've still to go out in anything less than androgynous.

I simply got older.

And I'm still bloody terrified.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Not With a Bang....

Cosmologists will tell you that the death of the universe will not be a cataclysmic event but will be caused by the gradual depletion of stellar fuel. One by one the stars and galaxies will go out until the universe is simply dead.


For the last three years I've been the co-owner of a business specializing in the manufacture of ladies' undergarments. I won't say it's always been the easiest of times - but it's often been fun.

[Now I don't want you to all suddenly start asking me to make you anything - I can thread a needle; though only when wearing safety goggles. I once tried to sew a button onto a shirt collar and one of the arms fell off.]

My job has really been as a silent partner - helping to fund the business at its inception and doing tax returns and suchlike since. For a former civil servant, it's been pretty easy. My partner has done all the real work, sewing and designing and so on.

But all that's changing. For reasons of her health, the economy and sheer bad luck, we've been forced to call it a day. We'll see out the end of the lease but then that's it. Today I signed off my role and handed over my set of keys.

No big farewell party.

No dramatic exits.

Just a parting of the ways.

The business, like the universe, ends not with a bang, but with a whimper.

Friday, 12 February 2016

The Kairos Moment

English is a lazy language, when all is said and done. For instance, we don't make any differentiation in gender for objects whereas many other languages do. In French, for example, cat is a masculine noun whereas mouse is feminine. (Dog is masculine too - the food chain doesn't appear to be a guide when it comes to working out the gender of a noun.)

Besides that, we quite often give same word multiple meanings. "Set", for instance, can mean a collection, or we can refer to the sun setting, or perhaps we are awaiting the state at which our strawberry jelly ceases to be liquid but is wibbly-wobbly enough to eat. ("Set" has over forty different meanings, but you get the gist of the idea from these three.)

In English the word "time" can have a couple of distinct definitions. We can talk about a specific time, usually displayed on a watch or clock or similar device. The Greeks use the word "chronos" to define time in this way (it's where we get "chronometer" from).

However, time can also mean an indeterminate period in which something happens.  The Greeks use a different word for this: kairos. A kairos moment, then, is a moment of opportunity (we speak of something happening "in the nick of time"). It's a moment in the passage of time at which an opening appears which must be driven through in order to succeed.

So much for philosophy.

It occus to me though, that everyone who has stepped on this path less travelled had a kairos moment when they decided irrevocably that this is the path for them. It's that moment in an individual's life when they realise with 100% certainty and clarity that their biological sex does not fit with their gender. Talking to others, it is often a case that they had a "road to Damascus" moment in which they suddenly knew beyond any doubt what their path was.

And having had that kairos moment they are much happier.

It led me to ask which moment was my kairos moment. And, try though I might, I can't pin down any single moment as being that one in which I had that blinding clarity. I've had glimmerings and strong nudges but never that total certainty.

My kairos moment still lies ahead of me.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

The Credit Crunch

About 2 years ago I applied for a new credit card from those awfully nice Virgin people. The card duly arrived. All was well.

At the same time I asked for a second card in Selina's name. This also arrived. All was weller.

I'd checked a bit of the background to applying for such things beforehand. It was stated quite clearly that it was not illegal to have credit cards in more than one name provided that it was not done to cause a fraudulent act. Celebrities (?) such as Cherie Blair (also known as Cherie Booth Q.C.) were noted to act in this manner as are some authors. Having more than one name doesn't require any legal certification, it seems.

Sadly all is now less well. A letter yesterday informed me that the data is now being handled by a different company who require validation of my additional cardholder's identity. A photocopy of a passport, driving licence, birth certificate, bank statement, utility bill, DNA sample or first-born son is required, it seems.

I suspect that a phone call is required to explain why they cannot have this information isn't going to be forthcoming as I am not full-time.

Watch this space....