I’ve been quiet for a while I know, I’ve had so much going on that I’ve precious few moments I can call my own. What little time I do have is spent doing homework. So yea, I’ve gone back to college in a desperate attempt to gain more A levels and try to go to university. I need to get myself out of this complete and utter dead end of a minimum wage job I have. I’m really sad to say it because once upon a time I really enjoyed the job I do, but now I don’t. I’ve seen the company I’ve worked for, for the past four years turn into something hideous, the company once valued till monkeys like me we used to get give £15 from the company and told to buy ourselves a Christmas present and £15 a head to organize a Christmas party. Now we have to fund our own parties and we get a cheap and nasty bottle of Cava that tastes like it costs about £2, so nasty I wouldn’t even consider cooking or pickling onions with it! So what is it about this time of year that brings out the best or in some cases the worst in us all?

Yuletide has been a mixture of ups and downs for me both inside and outside of the work place. We will start with the high notes as that’s how things went for me, from fantastic to gawd awful. This winter season I actually managed to make it to an open blot and symbel organized by my friends and held in their own home. So public transport issues aside, I made it there in good time. This was the first blot and symbel I’ve managed to attend with friends and the people there made me feel so much more at home than my own family and other heathens. Most places I have gone, I have been shunned more because I follow Loki than because I’m transgendered. Trust me it hurts when others like you turn you away because of the patron who chose you to follow them. Loki is seen as the enemy by a fair number of heathens and yes I can understand why, even so he is Odhin’s blood brother and without one you cannot have the other. Loki is the chaos to Odhin’s order, the two must coexist for there to be balance, thus does it not make sense that there are those who follow Loki in contrast to those who follow Odhin. Every time I’ve made this point in the past I’ve nearly always be shunned further. With the exception of a few people whom I count as my friends.

The kindness I was shown at the gathering, even by those present who had met be for the first time at the gathering moved me. I’ve always been the outcast, the stranger on the outside looking in, but for one evening in my life I was made to feel like part of the family and I will always be grateful for that and to be considered family by those men and women there is a great honour. I feel like I’ve finally found a place and people to call home and family. It’s not often that I’ve been moved to tears at gatherings of any sort but this was most certainly one of those few, to feel a level of acceptance and feel a sense of worth is priceless and means a lot to me. I have a serious confidence issues and self image issues, well given I identify as male and reside within a female body is enough to mess my head up to start with, not to mention I despise the fact my body has so much wrong with it on an incurable genetic level just adds to the problems. Enough of that though, I was accepted as part of the family for who and what I am, things like that don’t normally happen to me and the experience is something that it going to stay with me for a long time.

After a few grueling days at work, trust me working in retail at this time of the years sucks balls, joutun sized ones at that! Got to hate pulling in 12 hour shifts. You get up, hurriedly scoff a bowl of cereal, poor the remains of your hot coffee into a thermos and then drink that behind the counter. Spend your entire lunch break trying to find a descent sandwich because the local tesco express, in their wisdom stopped selling sandwiches and salads in favour of cheeseboards and Christmas puddings. Once a good sandwich has been located and purchased you get left with about fifteen minuets to scoff said sandwich and make an attempt at ticking off another item from the Christmas shopping list. The doors finally close to the baying masses and two hours later you find that you are still trying to fix the shelves the inconsiderate children and their blind eye turning parents broke earlier on in the day. You eventually get out, get home, make dinner, fall asleep while attempting to eat dinner, wake up to find it’s stone cold, eat it anyway take a shower and then crawl into bed just to start the whole damned process again in about five hours. Oh I almost forgot about the mini argument with the assistant manager. He’s christian and I’ve got no problem with that. I had a problem that he put a nativity display in the front window of the shop, we sell computers, consoles and games, if it had been a proper nativity scene I probably wouldn’t have minded but he decided to use computer game characters… a my little pony as a sheep, a transparent Master Chief  as the angel Gabriel to name just two. I’m not Christian and I find that highly disrespectful, my mother is catholic and she found the scene offensive when she saw it. I made the point to the assistant manager that if he wanted to display something like that it should be done properly and perhaps have other items related to the festivals of other faiths that happen around that time of year as we’re not supposed to have religiously biased window displays. I also made him aware that I found the whole scene offensive, to which he replied “I’m Christian, tough luck I’m putting it up”. I managed to speak to the store manager a few days later about it, and nothing got done, even though some regular customers complained at how disrespectful it was. It’s still there now… We all have our own beliefs but who has the right to belittle and be disrespectful towards other faiths or lack of faith? None of us do, because at the end of the day none of us are wholly right and none of us are wholly wrong.

Thank gawd I managed to get the Solstice off and spend a little time with my fiance recuperating before my friend and mentor arrived. Yes that was the next highlight of the season. My good friends and mentor, a slightly nuts Icelandic chap in his 70s who I have the utmost respect for. Hell I’d lay down my life for him if it would mean he could live a little longer he means that much to me. Some people say I have a few screws loose for being prepared to do that, well maybe I do but that’s the way it is. The heathen community here in London has already lost one  brilliant role model of a man  and inspiration to us all from it’s midst this year, I’d sooner lay down my own life than let another guiding light blink out. Bar the usual London transport induced problems I had another brilliant day. A day full of food, mead, laughs and a movie marathon. Not much of a celebration but it’s being with those who we hold dear that counts at the end of the day, even if all idea of ritual was forgotten about in the mead induced haziness. A day of of good company and good fun to be followed by a few days back at the grind stone. Well at least the company were nice enough to let us drink from 2pm on the 24th, it made the hectic day pass just that little bit quicker. I wish it had not though, things got worse from there on out. I had to go and see my family.

My mother is both French and Catholic so for her the Christmas celebrations start with a massive dinner after church. Thankfully I was still at work when my parents left to go mass and I didn’t get dragged along, sometimes out of control kids in a shop are blessings in disguise. I made an attempt to dress up and try and look girly for my mother’s sake. I hate women’s clothes, and when you are my size anything on you will look as flattering as a  sack of potatoes. I wish I hadn’t done that, honestly wish I hadn’t all I got was criticism. Maybe I should have kept wearing the elf costume (re enactment gear with a pair of latex ears and a santa hat) and she would have shut up. To add insult to injury she started on my fiance too when he arrived, he didn’t get the chance to change he came straight from work! So yea, roll on one evening of being made to feel like an outcast amongst my own family. Should have expected it though, things haven’t changed for the past… I’ve lost count how many years. I don’t remember much else of the evening other than drinking a lot to try and drown out the comments and feeling of isolation. I think my dad must have dropped my fiance and I home, there was no way I could have caught a bus. Come of think of it though, the less I remember of the 24th, 25th and 26th of December the better.

So we got an unexpected but not unpleasant awakening the following morning. My fiance’s parents called to wish us a Merry Christmas and to see how we were. See we were supposed to be spending the Christmas period with them on the Isle of Wight this year but due to one particular managerial a-hole it didn’t happen. Maybe next year. His parents spoiled us rotten with gifts, we ended up with a sizable food hamper and a box of smaller gifts each, the smaller gifts were not valuable but they were items we would both enjoy and that’s what counts. Our hampers and boxes arrived before Solstice so we opened them then. Along with the gifts from one of my closest friends. My cat ended up as high as a kite on the catnip she had sent. What little of the herb I have left is going into a denim cat toy, hopefully this on will last longer than it’s fluffy predecessor. Time will tell. So after a short but pleasant conversation with my fiance’s parents my father was on the phone to let us know he was waiting in the car for us. Anyway to cut a long and boring story short, my fiance and I were made to feel like the outsiders again, even though it was my parents that invited us over for Christmas, he doesn’t eat fish so he was given a pastrami based starting course instead… the pastrami was two days out of date, had turned green in places and they got offended that he didn’t eat it. Hell I could smell the stuff had gone off. In the end he ate some of it to appease them and ended up ill later that night. So yea presents, most of the stuff I got I’ll never use and my sister irritated me the most. She bought me a second hand, incomplete mahjong set from ebay. I love mahjong don’t get me wrong and it’s a beautiful set of bamboo and bone tiles, just damaged, missing it’s scoring sticks, missing two out of it’s four six sided dice, missing it’s trumps dice and missing the winds coins. I scour the country to find my dad a brand new and complete set (Thank you Witzigs of Fakenham, Norfolk), spent money I didn’t have on it and I get a damaged and incomplete set for a present. Gee thanks, a mahjong set I can’t play mahjong with. Maybe I’m overreacting a little bit but I still feel a little bit hurt about it, not to mention the joint smegging presents again my birthday is the day after Christmas so nearly all my relatives cheap out and get me combined birthday and Christmas presents. I wait a whole freaking year and get half the presents the rest of the family does, thanks for making me feel like I’m not as valued as everyone else. It really gets my goat, it really does. I got something and don’t get me wrong I’m grateful for that, they cheaped out on my fiance too, he got all of about three presents from them. It really upsets me that I get a huge and expensive hamper to share with him from his parents and a large box of smaller gifts but my parents come up with next to nothing for him and my sister gets spoiled rotten with I dread to think how much all the jewellery is worth. More than enough to buy three possibly four pairs of Doc Martens with. Yes I am a bitter bastard at times, and yes I despise the fact that my sister can seem to do no wrong and is treated as such. Though I’m the sod that gets called at 2am in the morning to fix a computer problem, even though I don’t live at home any more.

So other than the pastrami episode Christmas dinner passed relatively easily and without any tears (makes a change) though the snide and unwelcoming comments from my sister towards my fiance and I didn’t stop and a blind eye was turned to them  by my parents. I’ve become so accustomed to them that I try not to let them get to me. After dinner, a few rounds of mahjong. Things were going well me managed to teach my grandfather how to play as well, always a good thing, but when my father and grandfather left the table to keep my mother company in the lounge things when badly badly wrong. My fiance, my sister and I continued to play mahjong, well for only one round, my sister lost the round and I had one. She is a sore loser and decided to start shouting at me and throwing the mahjong tiles about the dining room before storming off to her room, leaving me and my fiance to pick and pack up everything. We packed up and gathered our things and  asked to be dropped off home because my sister had made it clear I wasn’t welcome and we didn’t want to put up with her attitude any longer. I had to wait almost an hour for my mother to finish watching a DVD before they even considered dropping us home. Needless to say when we did eventually get whom I was an emotional wreck and almost did a number of very stupid things. If my fiance had not been there I would have probably slashed open both of my wrists. I spent a number of years in the past teetering on the edge of oblivion, and tried to end it all on a few occasions, my friends kept me alive but it does mean that it doesn’t take much for my family to drive me close to the edge any more, It was my mother that caused the previous instances the first time round. Not a subject I am completely comfortable with talking about, even to anonymous readers. There is so much in my past that eats away at my future, so many maggots I need to pull out, and stamp on but do not have the strength to do so. Old wounds run deep and don’t always heal.

The more I proof read this the more it seems to be turning into a rant, I do apologize for that but this is just one of those things that I need to get off my chest and into the open, so it doesn’t fester. I hope I am not boring you. I spent the rest of Christmas Day swinging between a state of emotional numbness to extreme depression with no middle ground between them.  Thankfully my fiance eventually pulled me out of it. He’s good at pulling me out of pits like that and it’s one of the many reasons I love him. He loves me dearly and goes out if his way to make sure that I’m alright even if I can’t see that myself. I don’t know what I’d do without him, I honestly don’t. I love him to pieces. So that just leaves my birthday to discuss. I don’t think I can, I need to to try and get this weight off my chest but I don’t know how to. My family hurt me so much, my fiance was served up the same off pastrami, the preserved asparagus that was served had gone off too, my birthday cake was a walnut coffee cake… I hate walnuts and they know it. My fiance and I both ended up ill and I with more of my sister’s snide and hurtful comments I landed up in the same pit I was in the night before, thank goodness I went back to work today, at least that kept my mind busy and drove my mind away from the dark places it goes to.

So what is it that makes my family invite me over to dinner for Christmas, make me feel like an outcast, wonder why I’m upset, get annoyed because I am upset and then expect me to do the same the following year? Another question to that would be why am I such a fool to hope that maybe next year things will get better? They never do though, same old routine, I always spend both the 25th and 26th in tears so why do I put myself through it every year. I must be a sucker for emotional pain and anguish because I can’t figure out an answer.

So here ends my rant of essay proportions.