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Cartoon characters engaging in sports.
May 24, 2021
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The time of our connecting is nigh

How are you all doing with your fitness challenges? Did everyone make resolutions and then get scuppered by the weather or was that just me? More than half of getting fit, and staying fit, for me is the motivation and so in today’s blog I want to talk a bit about motivation, about body positivity, and indeed body acceptance, and look towards the near future when we can all get together again. Having just had my second vaccine I’m feeling like someone on the starting blocks, ready to get out there again, just waiting for the rain to clear.

Keen followers of Chrysalis will have met our most incredible cyclist Paeton and her son Callum who took an incredible journey across Britain, across genders that was the Tour de Trans. Cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats, in weather that quite frankly makes the storms of this month look like light showers. Well this year they are bringing that Tour home to you. Inviting each and every one of you to get involved, get out, come together and make your own exercise count to the total miles. Paeton and Callum have no problems with motivation, they have been training daily, getting fitter and fitter while I have been looking out my window and despairing at where my oomph has gone.

This year the Tour is circumnavigating Wessex, stopping in all our favourite places, beginning in Weymouth on Thursday 19th August, then stopping in Bournemouth, Southampton, Portsmouth and finishing in Basingstoke on Monday 23rd. At each of our events you will be able to get active and get involved, or just bring a picnic and catch up with friends, come and cheer on the riders and meet the team. Keep an eye on our website for information on how you can help contribute to the 1000 mile target. You don’t need to be a cyclist, just to be active. We are looking for walkers, joggers, stair climbers, dancers, swimmers, riders, people who do exercises in their chairs, and all the other kinds of active that I have missed. Whatever you do to get the blood flowing you can use to help us reach that target and raise money for Chrysalis.

And why is Chrysalis encouraging you all to be active, why is this important to us? Because we know that this lockdown has been hard on everyone: whether you’ve been out working all the way through or if you’ve been furloughed; been stuck with people who don’t accept you; or perhaps had the opportunity to really come to understand who you are we are now finally looking at that light at the end of the tunnel and for many of us it’s feeling a bit bright, maybe even a bit intimidating. We want to give you a reason to come out, we want to empower people to come together and break down those barriers of isolation.

Hopefully the 21st June really does mark the end of covid restrictions for England, and whilst we can’t be totally sure we will get all our gigs and festivals in this year we can be sure that Chrysalis face-to-face support will be returning. In recognition of all the hard work of everyone at Chrysalis who kept the charity going right the way through the pandemic, turning on a sixpence to bring our support to you in online spaces, phoning all our members and keeping in touch with absolutely everyone we could we will be taking Monday 21st June off and then returning to the physical world with a vengeance. Monday 28th June sees us back in the office and my blog moving to a Tuesday as we continue to develop our social media. July also brings the first Chrysalis Away Day of the After Times, getting staff, trustees and volunteers into a room together to celebrate where we have come from and look towards our future; and the return of face-to-face counselling. Many of our members have already replied to Maximillian’s survey about what support they want moving forward and we are working hard to deliver a truly blended service that suits as many people as possible. We are taking the incredible gains of online working and enhancing them with those wonderful face-to-face services that everyone needs. Giving you a reason to get out and about. A chance to be in company to share and to laugh, to invite hugs and to connect in a way that is simply not there online.

We know that too many of our people have been excluded from accessing our online services because they have lived in environments where they did not feel safe or could not be out, having the children at home has brought a whole raft of challenges for everyone, even harder if you are not able to be your true self at home. For many people though this year has been a time of reflection, a time for hormones to start working, a time to refine makeup or shaving skills, to experiment with new clothing and now in those face-to-face environments it is time to wow your friends with your transformation. I can’t help but think of all the people who have told me they wished they could “just transition” and not have to go through the messy bit in between, for those of you who have been able to continue with your transition through lockdown I celebrate you in achieving this wish.

The new year brings changes, the opportunities of wider horizons and better connections means that Chrysalis is yet again evolving and transforming, we continue to grow and to do what we do bigger and better and in more areas. Tour de Trans relaunches our face-to-face support groups and I for one am really looking forward to seeing you all there in August: supporters, members, allies, volunteers and everyone for whom authenticity is important.  Come along to an event near you, or do the whole tour, you know that the best thing ever is for you to to you because we celebrate each and every one of you.

I’d like to end this blog with a quote from singer songwriter Sam Smith “It was only until I started to be myself that the music started to flow and people started to listen.” which is really the whole truth about transition, in accepting ourselves and understanding ourselves we go on to make healthy, informed choices and in doing so we become happier, more confident, more fulfilled and better able to love ourselves and those around us.

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