I am going to change! Now!
We are quick to start, often quick to succeed - but often even quicker to revert back to the old behaviour. Why?

1. We embark on the change process when the discomfort of staying with what we know becomes bigger than the anxiety of the unknown. It is the same process whether it is smoking, diet, leaving a relationship – or embarking into a new relationship, leaving the job or starting a new job.
2. We then make resolutions about how our behaviour needs to change, because at this point in time the motivation to “get to the top of the mountain” is really high, there is some adrenaline kicking in and hope for the better future floating over our heads on a pink cloud.

3. After a while a novelty and excitement wear off a bit but the hope for a beach body, conceiving a baby, or being punctual and organised in new job, still keeps us going through the pains of doing something different to what the body and mind are used to.
4. Sometimes we press “f*ck it button” and give up,
5. But sometimes we actually get to the top of the Change Mountain… and what happens then?

For a while we may continue the new behaviour, but how often, almost unconsciously we roll back to where we started. There is no adrenaline kicking in any more, and once we got to the top of the mountain there was a big large plain full of people like us – going, “yeah I don’t smoke, why?” “No I never leave things unfinished why?” “Yes I do run every morning, doesn’t everybody?” No welcoming committee or even a small badge.
And we may feel like all the hard work was for nothing, and we can’t be bothered.
For the change to be permanent and not hinging on external approval we have to find a good reason WHY we want to do it. And it has to be a better why than “I just want to be in a relationship and will do anything to find someone”, or “I want to lose more weight than my mate Nick before our beach holidays”. Those reasons are good enough to kick us into a start, but not enough to survive the long boring walk on the Desert of Maintenance. This stage requires much deeper motivation to keep us persevering, even though there is no relationship to be seen and good old Nick is back to normal, happily scoffing full carb crisps with pork scratchings.
At this point we need to dig deeper – Why do I want to keep going?
The WHY has to connect with deeper values that our lives are about. And we may need to stop and think what they actually are. Then we will easily connect the dots.
“I want to work on my confidence and self-esteem to have more self-respect and make better choices in my relationships” or
“I want to lose weight because my family value a lifestyle which requires me to be healthy and fit and without it I won’t be a part of it” or
“I need to be well cos I am the only person my children have to look after them, and they are the most important feature in my life” or even
“I want to stop drinking because I owe it to my body, which defeated cancer and I don’t want to waste it”

Sometimes it takes a while to figure out that connection, and sometimes we don’t find any. And this is a useful information as well because it makes us wonder “why am I stressing about something that deep down doesn’t really matter to me?” – And we happily join Nick in a session of carb indulgence, because his friendship is more important than a beach body. Either way it is a long term win.

(photo by Fashion space gallery)

I turned up to the exhibition on its last day, accompanied by my friend and by my son, out of breath, not knowing what to expect but certain that we must not miss it.

My friend has just undergone the top surgery and looking forward to his first job interview dressed in a suit and tie.
My son is just about to go to University and about to have yet another assessment session to be put on testosterone treatment.
I am in the middle – or rather on the layby of this road. Not an actor but audience, deeply involved and concerned without much influence on the plot.
Each of us came with their own story and expectations from the exhibition, and each of us left saying the same thing – it was beautifully put together, with an amazing amount of sensitivity and ability to tell the stories that touched our hearts.

Museum of transology consisted of numerous objects which were important to the donors – and that importance was encapsulated on a small brown paper tag written for us to know.
There were referral letters from Tavistock, binders that went through a journey of fight, pain and adjustment. There were “first bras” and “first packing socks”. First ever lipstick – kept fondly, even though colour didn’t work. Pair of breasts in formalin jar, with a wall full of letters illustrating confusion and bureaucratic bewilderment of NHS with the request of their owner to keep them, albeit away from the body.

What touched me the most were a pair of tiny goggles – kept as a nostalgic memory of times were the owner could swim dysphoria-free, and a first pair of speedos – celebration of new life and freedom.
Both, my friend and my son are great swimmers. The former is just about to jump in to the swimming pool once given OK by the doctor. The latter is still lightyears away from this moment, not even knowing what kind of body the hormones will produce, what the long terms effects might be, will he have turned out to have inherited his Granddads non existing hairline? But still dying to be allowed to take up those risks.

There are also video clips of stories, interviews, discussions – one of them the message to the younger self, which made me cry, as I realised what my child was going through before he had figured out what is the nature of his deep unhappiness.

At the end everybody could pick up a brown tag and leave the message. Mine said:
Museum of Transology - How insignificant objects of ordinary, daily existence can tell the so-significant stories of extraordinary lives.

This is my first blog post - hope not the last and that I will have things to say. May it be a place for sharing thoughts, opinion and feelings
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