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Showing posts from September, 2021

You are not imposing!

 

Hell or High Water

"Hell or High Water" is about poverty and injustice. Superbly directed and acted its apparent cops and robbers exterior thinly disguises a philosophical message about the unfairness of life and how poor people are manipulated by the system and kept in their place. It received an Oscar nomination and it deserved it. See it on Netflix.

Nicole

Nicole saw me having coffee and approached me but I did not recognize her at first. She is the manager at one of the women's boutiques in a mall I used to frequent and I asked her if she had time to sit before her shift started. She was more than happy to oblige. I would occasionally go into her store and buy the odd top or skirt but since I have been downsizing I don't so much anymore. More often than not I am now thrift store frequenting although even that has somewhat fallen by the wayside since the pandemic. Nicole is gregarious and friendly and almost 20 years my junior but we seemed to hit it off from the time I first stepped into her store and we kept greeting each other whenever our paths crossed. Today I joked I might ask her for a job once I semi-retire and she told me she just hired someone although she would have seriously considered me as a candidate had she not done so; if nothing else the idea was flattering. We ended up exchanging cell numbers and I told her to

Fighting hate

 

Whatever time it takes

M oving about as a woman every day has become less eye opening than it used to be. I suppose it is because I have settled into my own normal and don't remark upon the differences between men and women as much as I used to. I think that when you are confident on the inside the physical aspects become less focused on and you operate on auto-pilot that much more. You don't need to obsess on the things you used to as your gender becomes less of a concern. In that sense, I am more relaxed than I have ever been in my life. I have mentioned here increasingly that my journey has become more internal and less about clothing or mannerisms. It has turned to the payoff of finding peace and joy as one relaxes into a life that perhaps always you suited best but you were petrified to attempt.  What remain are the cobwebs of the previous life but they don't worry me as it is harder for us older trans folk to patriate our past into the present and that will take the time it needs to.

Malaise

The malaise breeding inside the US landscape is clear and there has been far too much damage done for either side to let up in their indignation. As some family members die while not being able to get ICU beds, it becomes one more point of outrage of progressives and leftists against those right-wing voters who still cling to the caustic promises of Trumpism. One hopes that there will not be a new civil war and yet it is hard to argue against the point that it is already here. Belonging to either party is no longer just a political statement but more of a testament on your entire belief system. It is akin to asking the question: Are you a coastal elite or a heartland patriot who believes in freedom? Watching from a distance I admit that we have our own if slightly less jagged problem here in Canada and as more polarization sets in you can see how the powers who control the purse strings can take advantage of the culture wars. The educated despair at the ignorance while the uneducat

Good for the soul

T hose little coming out moments are good for the soul. Yesterday I took the liberty of doing so over a Teams call to a young construction engineer who has a lovely heart and smile and I wasn't disappointed. My confidence in the younger generations was once again rewarded. Isabelle smiled brightly throughout and was so honored to have been confided in. She even explained how she and her husband allow their five year old son to experiment with whatever he chooses to wear without prejudice. We have come so far since I was a child in the 1960's that I can scarcely believe it sometimes. I don't foresee losing any friends because I'm trans and in fact have only gained through my confiding in the right kind of people.

"I knew this would be a huge life change"

 

Philosophy

P hilosophy is not a subject which should repel us. After all, it deals with the larger concepts of life and what it should or could mean. Whether it's Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Camus or some other thinker, we can draw from their ideas to help us come to our own understanding of what it means to be human. At times life can seem nonsensical but if we attempt to analyze the structures and moral concepts which societies have fashioned, we can sometimes get small glimpses into how humans are wired and why we operate the way we do. We can begin to see patterns in sociological behaviour. As humans we have a thirst for the meaning of our existence and the development of philosophy as a field of study is proof of it. Trans issues fall into this area as well because ethical treatment of anyone who is different certainly should form part of philosophical thought.

Find

Sometimes you forget you've bought shoes and they get stored away for quite a long time. Today I pulled these low heel pumps out of their hiding place and intend to wear them out as they need some breaking in.  So glad they aren't too high so I can move about in comfort!

Bravado

Many if not most trans-femimine people go through their bravado stage where they deny their identity and immerse themselves into masculine pursuits or professions. Some transsexuals join the army to distance themselves from their thoughts as much as possible only to discover later that there is no escaping who you are. I went through my own denial process and it took decades to finally shed the mask. I recall the last gender therapist I saw telling me most of her patients were the same. Living as I do would have been entirely inconceivable at one time and yet today it feels entirely natural. Because once the internal battle was waged there was nowhere else to go but become oneself.

Change is good

Flexibility is what I am looking for and after 32 years of a high pressure engineering career being able to dedicate myself to more creative pursuits is what I crave. I am above all a musician, artist and writer and I will have no issues filling up my time. Keeping one foot in my current business by taking on sporadic mandates will be more than enough for me. In that sense there will be no retirement but more a shift to a new way of living that suits a renaissance person much more. As I move towards a life full of routine to one of more possibilities it will reinvigorate my life.

Bouree

One of the shorties from Handel's Water Music...  

Crutch

S ometimes in life we feel compelled to let someone go who we love. We have made the decision with a heavy heart and it hurts like the devil but the realization that there will be issues down the road becomes an unavoidable reality. P art of the reason I am in my own is due to fear of repeating such a painful scenario but also because I have seen too much of how real life works. First thing we must do is get our house in order such that welcoming another person into our lives becomes an added bonus instead of a necessity. Once it becomes need we risk depending on it as crutch and potentially wading into troubled waters. Couplehood is tough enough without the trans equation but it is made all the more so because of it. Therefore we must be open but not needy.

In the middle

My son and I have coffee on Saturdays and discuss different things. He is 21 and concerned with the ideals of social justice because he is a thinker. He sees how the world operates and how the levers of power are manipulated to favor the wealthy and influential and is dismayed. We have both agreed that we cannot repair the world but we can certainly conduct ourselves with respect for human dignity within our own immediate sphere of influence. We can try and make our own little slice of the world a better place and hope that everyone else does the same. For we cannot live in a permanent state of indignation for the abuses and the stupidity we witness on a daily basis. I do not dare destroy his hope and optimism but I do offer a more cynical viewpoint that age and realism has brought me and perhaps we can meet somewhere in the middle.

Coming home to roost

As the US faces a serious threat from authoritarianism by a rogue party, things are bound to get far worse before they get better. Trumpism threw a molotov cocktail into the political climate and now the extreme elements in the GOP are putting into serious question the validity of elections and blaming the non-white voter for destroying the preferred social fabric of their nation. The uneducated and easily duped among the GOP base have swallowed the ominous and divisive messaging while the capitalists whistle in the dark and hope all goes back to normal. It won't of course because now the southern strategy chickens have finally come home to roost.

Whatever works

There is another Louise I know who I met on my morning walks and we sort of hit it off. After seeing each other sporadically on the path over a few months we decided to have coffee on a couple of occasions and so far it's been fun. Louise, who is 2 years my senior, doesn't know I am trans but she fits into that category of person who I don't feel compelled to tell. If she's figured it out that's great but if she doesn't that works just as well. I know from the discussions that she has not. Being in that situation used to concern me but it no longer does because I don't give it much weight. I am just being myself and the gender expression part of it need not be so important. We are both comfortable and that is all that counts. Tomorrow morning is another such meeting and I look forward to the conversation.

Yes it can suck

 

Fervor

T he idea that Jesus saves you from being trans is perturbing but not surprising since it plays well to the religious right. Admitting that you were a sinner and are now healed also worked for a time when we thought we could pray away homosexuality. Heteronormative folks who only see the world in black and white live for these stories and they will cling to the 2% of trans people with transition regret as representing the whole not because it makes any rational sense but because it fits a predetermined narrative which suits them. It does make me chuckle but not when it affects those kids whose mentally disturbed parents force them into acts of self harm. Many of us who are older sat there in silence and didn't divulge anything but some of these kids come out early only to be met with fanatical fervor which harms more than if they had stayed quiet and acted after leaving the nest. Many people are blinded by their ignorance and in their own twisted belief that they are helping, will

Nothing more

I write here about different topics because I know that most trans people aren't one trick ponies obsessed with their "transsness". They are just like everyone else and have diverging interests as all people do. As I have settled into myself my trans nature has blended itself into my daily existence such that it no longer occupies as large a space as it did when I was trying to figure out how to best grapple with my dysphoria. Here, living the way I need to has helped immeasurably. Therefore over time, I increasingly see myself as a person who just happens to be trans. Nothing more and nothing less.

Meaning

Life is at once joyous and hopelessly drastic and I remember trying to make sense of it in my youth. Why were some children stricken with cancers and other horrible human beings spared their lessons. Not all is as it seems of course and people's internals are not privvy to inspection such that what can seem idilic at a distance can be fraught with great pain and turmoil. Organized religions tell us of the reward after our lives here are done and that our suffering is penance and preparation for what is to come. The veracity of that dogma remains to be seen but my instincts have always told me there is more than meets the eye in our universe. Whatever the great equalizer is remains to be seen and we may one day peak behind the curtain and understand so we may give our existence, and the suffering we encounter, some meaning. Such that it may not be "full of sound of fury but signifying nothing".

Authentic

 Authenticity is by no means easy and certainly not at an older age. Gabrielle Clairborne and I are virtually the same age and so she waited a long time to take a bold step; a step that you take when you've run out of road...

Western Provinces lagging behind

Much like in certain US southern states, Saskatchewan and Alberta are lagging behind in vaccination rates and unvaccinated COVID patients are taking up the vast majority of ICU beds. Those waiting for important biopsies for cancer, for example, are just plum out of luck. Needless to say, its frustrating to the max...

St-Henri

St-Henri used to be a working class neighborhood but now gentrification has converted it to a desirable area for the professional class. Part of the Sud Ouest region of Montreal, I walked there this morning and was struck once again by the changes. Then I met my two nephews and their girlfeiends for coffee at a quaint little Cafe nestled in a late 19th century building. At one point I asked them if they had been told I was trans and of course they knew and didn't care. They were all very curious about how I was able to grow up struggling as I did. This generation impresses me with their egalitarianism and they asked me to come as Joanna next time. I suspect that I will.  

The problem

Watch this video to better get a portrait of the problem (particularly in America) where individual rights win over everything else. Cenk makes the reasonable argument that you dont have rights to set fires or assault other people because that is where individual freedom stops. For many conservatives, however it all about their own freedom. Plus the two young people arguing here are completely beyond their depth and look foolish. Its hopeless to argue with them and it is part of the reason why COVID will persist for years to come...

In Ukraine

 

Never leave home without them

During the pandemic I have been foregoing lipstick which was something I never used to do without. However, there is one other one thing I have not given up on and that is my earrings. I make a statement with them and they make me feel great when I wear them. I am out and about everyday for many years now and have yet to leave home without them. They are an essential part of my wardrobe.

Removing the guardrail

I s transition for trans people inevitable? Well I would say that depends. I do think that some form of baseline needs to be arrived at where you are comfortable with the method of treating your gender dysphoria. Viewed in that sense, transition is what you need it to mean. All of life is a transition process where we hopefully improve our knowledge of ourselves. If that progression leads you to a medical transition then that is what you should do. Outside pressure should not form part of the formula but instead it should be a highly personal journey of self discovery. Things improved for me when I removed the guardrails and remained open to any option. The elimination of taboos allowed me to examine all possibilities with a more objective eye. I continue to remain open today.

Beyond dumb

 

Oops!

 

The scale

Reading countless webpages and blogs over the years helped convince me even more that Harry Benjamin was on to something with his less than perfect SOS scale. Even a casual sampling of these testaments showed me the diverging focus and interests of trans people and how close or distant from the idea of medical transition they were. On one end perhaps the married crossdresser and the yearly photoshoot and on the other the high intensity transsexual. They were easier to place but more nebulous were those in the middle some of whom seemed to progress on that scale as time went on.  That 6-type benchmarking matters less to me now than it once did but the idea of a spectrum became entrenched in my mind all the more so when we began to see clear parallels among genetic females who also ranged from tomboy through transgender man. I haven't diverged from my thinking since and likely won't until I see evidence to the contrary.

In isolation

I have wondered whether it is preferable to heal your own psyche versus being guided by a therapist. I am still on the fence on both approaches as I find inconveniences and benefits in both. One of the dangers of seeking help is finding the wrong specialist and then being even unintentionally goaded onto a path which doesn't suit you. One thing is for certain: doing it yourself takes longer but what I liked about it is that I was able to be certain of each step as it had been pondered over for quite some time. The other problem with therapists is that many are not well versed in trans issues. One of the gender therapists I was sporadically seeing wanted me in her group sessions because she wanted my input with her transsexual patients. I was flattered but I declined because I was afraid of groupthink and didn't yet trust my ability to resist embarking on a medical transition I was still marinating over in my mind. Interestingly I am now more than ever convinced that they are s

Being embraced

C isgender women of my generation were just as indoctrinated as cisgender men and hence when it came to gender roles they were hard pressed to process what happened when they unwittingly married a trans person. That divulging of information could have been akin to getting hit by a freight train and I have nothing but sympathy for them because I have often imagined the roles being reversed and how I would handle it. It must have been even harder when that information was divulged well into the marriage and paralleled the self discovery of the trans person themselves. That was my scenario. This is why I feel that trans people are better off on their own unless they happen upon someone who loves them fully for who they are; no preconditions on identity. Plus, if the trans person is more on the transsexual side of the spectrum, there could be serious psychological consequences to suppression. Here, man-loving (androphilic) transsexuals who are aligned in both identity and sexual orientatio

A growing threat

S ince the GOP morphed into a cult of personality they have only amplified their rage. The former president and messiah of the fringe, a putrid husk of a human being with no observable redeeming qualities, permitted them to say the quiet parts out loud and exposed the rot which was very much alive and well in the country. There is no going back of course and now that the entire right has been uncomfortably placed in the same crockpot, the party may be beyond repair. It must be said that the dangers of a two party system are not helping matters as the Democrats also fight for their soul in a battle pitting a progressive wing against a corporatist faction hellbent on preserving the status quo. Both parties are not the same of course and the fascist instincts of the right are making them the biggest threat to an already dangerously fragile Republic. If the Republicans' strategy to use culture war outrage as weapon continues, there may be nothing left to do but watch the damage happen

More lunacy

 

Crafting your own femininity

When I am out in the world I like to comport myself as a lady. Manners are important yes but it's more about being dignified and respectful of others (assuming they return in kind). Part of what embracing my femininity means for me is the idea of being a kinder and gentler version of myself who holds a more empathetic view of others. Living more honestly has helped me in that department where I can settle into myself even as I still know how to use the reflexes I was taught to employ while growing up. This can lead to confusion if we allow it and make us think that we must act to transition fully. While for some this may be the ideal and even mandatory medical transition scenario, others may find their internal balance point elsewhere by creating a unique vision of what being a feminine being means.

How you feel

The things that allow other people to gender you correctly are often about your clothing, voice and mannerisms. The thing that allows you to gender yourself correctly is all about your insides.

What is left to do

Many of us who grew up being sold the idea that we were fundamentally flawed struggled. We had no one to disclose our secret to and we might have thought we were the only ones who suffered from a problem that was preventing us from being like everyone else. That history leaves traces of damage and no matter how hard we try to erase it it's not going to be the same as for those kids who today are spared the indoctrination. Rewriting your narrative is not going to be perfect and you need to make peace with your past if you are to embrace the future. This is work which I have left to do and I am giving myself plenty of time to do it.  One fundamental aspect I believe is pivotal is to leave self judgement behind. For we cannot move forward if we still hear the voices from our past telling us that we aren't measuring up. We are always works in progress which will continue until our time here is up.

Can you understand?

Our full potential

I 've built a very nice rapport with my upstairs neighbor who is 72 years old and full of life. We hit it off from the moment we met and we helped each other get through the pandemic by having coffees and talking about life. She is also a great supporter of mine and has always been progressive. Her daughter is married to a woman for the last 25 years. As trans people we need to be proud of who we are and live in the light. I wish I had been able to live this way before but it's never too late to reach our full potential.

A forgone conclusion

Th e reason that overly dogmatic religious orthodoxy perturbs me is that it can cloud critical thinking. If you are already in possession of a foregone conclusion then you will simply look for evidence which fulfills it. However, th is problem can apply to any practice where ideology drives you to hunt for the like minded rather than staying open to receiving more evidence. As someone who needed to shake the shackles of a religion which rejected my identity, I needed to look behind the curtain to see where the problem lay and it was as usual based in human frailty and prejudice rather than in any cosmically ordained edict. Much of the world operates this way with a conclusion in search of the necessary evidence, and it is really such a shame. AGP theory, which I mentioned again here recently, was based on the same faulty procedure and it crumbled specifically because of it. It was yet another idea where the cart was put before the horse.

Routine

Where I have my coffee every morning is quaint, comfortable and rustic just like my neighborhood. Many of us like routine and I am no exception. There is something comfortable in the predictable when so many other aspects of our lives are the pure antithesis of that. Routine grounds me although I am assuredly going to jettison some of it when I slip into partial retirement. This particular one, however, is one I am unlikely to abandon.

Challenged

Life should be lived with the daily reminder that our time is finite on this earth. That realization should serve us to be judicious and wise with how we spend it and being mired in self deprication and fear may not be the best choice. The person who began this blog over 9 years ago no longer exists and a stronger and hardier variant was created during the search for self comprehension. Greater self respect was also gained as the ability to deal with my dysphoria ameliorated. We all have challenges in life and if we handle them with proper perspective regarding the right amount of effort required, then we can consider ourselves very fortunate indeed.

Morning Joe's moment of clarity

Kyle Kulinski cannot believe his ears at this moment of clarity from Morning Joe who blatantly states one of the obvious flaws in the American system.....

Passport

Thus far I have not had an issue with the Quebec vaccine passport. Even if the information contained therein has my male name, not one time have I had a problem. Perhaps for those who inspect it's because they don't look properly or simply that encountering a trans person in 2021 is hardly a surprise. Either way I am not perturbed and would be ready to just explain that I have not yet changed my gender marker and leave it at that.  We should never be afraid of these types of situations but I am not one to talk as a few years ago they would still have been a source of stress. No longer.

On Reflection

 

Keepers

W hen I wrote recently that I don't wear stiletto heels I forgot there is one pair left in my closet which I sometimes do. They are pointed toe with a 1 inch heel and are comfortable enough for short stints or when you don't need to walk for miles. So today I dusted them off and took them for a spin with my skinny blue jeans. If I can wear shoes for at least 4 hours and not wreck my feet then they are not thrown out. With these I am straddling the comfort/style tightrope and I keep them because having nice black pumps for more dressy occasions is a must :)

The damage done

Larry Elder who was running against Gavin Newsome in the California recall preemptively called voter fraud even before the election had occurred. This under normal circumstances would be comically ludicrous except these are far from being normal times. The truth as optional scenario need not perturb politicians because we have now reached the era where personal truth supersedes anything else. If you believe that voter fraud has happened (or will), then that is good enough. But this is just one example of many. It would have been hard to envision that unprecedented access to information of our era would have produced such a perversion of reality until one remembers what lack of education and the internet echo chamber have done to our world. Human intelligence has not increased and arguably has decreased through disinterest in intellectual pursuits which has yielded a mass anti-science movement among people who basically know nothing about most issues. As I marvel on an almost daily

"Mange la marde"

I am very nice with people and they the same with me however in the back of your mind you must have a little "mange la marde" in you which in good Quebecois colloquial French is a slightly more vulgar version of "eat shit" The attitude you need to have is confidence coupled with awareness of the possibility you may need to bare your fangs and if you are even looked at the wrong way you should be able to convey a clear message. Earlier in my life I swallowed a fair bit of the stupidity of society and hence today I am not to be trifled with. Because although you may want to inflict damage on me I am more than capable of returning in kind. In other words, "mange la marde" :)

The Gathering Sky

 

To the bone

My own lifetime has seen a movement from an almost monolithic world view based on imposed social norms to one of shifting spectrum built on individual identities. This has of course created a backlash among absolutist thinkers who desire a return to a predictable which we clearly will no longer be going back to. This paradigm shift has emboldened a more rabid version of the right wing but that is the price to be paid for an emergence of the shadows of people who simply want to be free to express themselves as they like. But this is too radical for those who have clung to dogma which facilitated adherence of the general population to simpler political and social models. Once you allow people more freedom you also find it harder to control them. Small wonder then that the elite factions which pull the strings are less than enthused. One such power used to be the major organized religions but they have lost much of their flock to spiritual movements which are themselves also highly indiv

Change over the decades

When I was much younger the expression of my trans identity was sporadic and infrequent because it was steeped in shame. As a result when it did happen much emphasis was put on making it count before things were tossed away. This meant making sure that the external presentation was focused on. Today as I have gained a more wholistic view of my identity, that expression has morphed and requires I focus less on externals. What is interesting is that this has not been a deliberate choice but rather a natural progression and a result of living mostly as Joanna.  Even among cisgender men and women there is a range of preference and focus and hence it makes sense that the same should apply to trans people. I have seen transsexuals trade in their jeans and T-shirts for those of the other gender and be happy. I never envisioned myself being where I am and it is fascinating to me how I have changed both internally and externally over the decades.

Living as honestly as we dare

Twice now I have seen what it is like living in a partnership while almost completely (the first time) and partly (the second time) suppressing my identity. I now know that living authentically to be the most favorable option which is something you cannot be certain about until you have seen both sides. Breakups are brutal affairs which leave deep scars and as much as I had not planned to be in that situation ever again, the last one left me in the position of rebuilding my life while promising to never to enter a relationship again. That oath is what allowed this long period of solitude to repair my psyche and see what life could be like living as honestly as I dared. It is very rare when trans people are in a situation where compromise is completely off the table, but I have realized that an identity cannot and should not be negotiated away. Hence as I was licking my wounds, I was able to experiment and treat my gender dysphoria as a priority rather than a secondary thing which i

Questions

I  have reflected on the treatment I get as a woman and it is very interesting to me as a subject. I ask myself to what degree it is because of the way I am presenting versus the way I am now interacting with others. In other words, is my freedom to express myself as a woman having more impact than people seeing and reacting to one? It is certain that I behave slightly differently as Joanna and I have given myself carte blanche to be more feminine without being a caricature. Once you remove the pressure to act deliberately male, the body and mind relax to interact as one pleases. That also begs me asking how much of behaviour is learned versus being innate. Have I learned to imitate other women through watching them and copying their gestures and was my male persona also a social fabrication meant to allow me to fit in? I doubt I will ever have the answers.

Something is wrong

Neoliberalism was supposed to democratize global economies except that it did just the opposite. Since many nations operated under conditions that infringed on basic human rights, it was easier for multinational corporations to set up shop in places where they could clearly take advantage. For example, people in North America who lost their blue-collar job had it outsourced to someone who barely had enough money to eat on the salary they were being paid in their own country. Human nature operates on much the same principles as it always has and, while there is altruism and decency in the world, a good portion operates on avarice and disdain for the plight of others. Left unchecked, many individuals and companies have worked without scruples to make the world a more fragile and precarious place. As the top margin of society continues to amass a larger share of the wealth, we are seeing cracks in the foundations. Small wonder then that the mistrust among the uneducated continues to g

Who knows

A s of now it is still unclear to me whether my male personna will survive long term but that notion doesn't perturb me any longer. Rather I am taking a relaxed stance to see how life progresses and let a natural fliow guide me to whatever resting point it must. All preconceived ideas are gone replaced by an openness to let life guide me. So long as the feeling of calm and peace persist and even improves, I will make whatever adjustments are required. It must be said that the improvement has come as I have begun to live mostly as a female which has left me wondering whether more changes are in store. Who knows.

It made all the difference

I t is more than a little conceivable that something highly desired yet unattainable before puberty could take on sexual overtones upon entering it. Since most trans people are aware very early that there is something going on with their gender identity, that longing can be carried along into the creation of the sexual being. Some older trans people, and in particular those who were not self-accepting, would have easily fallen prey to the idea that they suffered from a perversion rather than a biologically engrained reality. In this type of scenario you could see how some could have bought into AGP theory. In fact, quite a number of years ago I was contemplating it's validity and I remember contacting Anne Lawrence to discuss its merits. What has happened since I came to fully embrace my identity, is that a trust was built upon my earliest feelings and instincts. Rather than rely on conjecture, I relied on my internal compass to guide me. It made all the difference.

Belief

 

The importance of being earnest

I can usually smell dishonesty in people. Sometimes it is expressed in overly syrupy greetings or facial expressions which betray the fact they are trying hard to maintain the facade. As we get older and with some luck our game face drops and we fall back on an honesty rooted in the fatigue of having had to keep ours up for so long. It is one of the advantages of aging. Having to keep up appearances is exhausting (as most trans people will attest to) and there is much relief when the baggages can finally be dropped. I now try to associate with people who are more rooted in earnestness and who have no fear of the outside world. That vulnerability and honesty draws you to them and rewards you with more meaningful interactions.

Comfort heels

In keeping with the comfort theme, whenever I do wear heels out I trust my chunky heeled pumps which can be worn for hours at a time without feeling discomfort. The rest of the time I am in ballet flats and in the winter in sturdy (yet stylish) flat boots. When you need to be out for extended periods I have learned through painful trial and error that comfort is always your best friend. As a result I no longer ever wear stiletto type heels. Plus I am hardly looking to add height to my frame.

Wendy

I first bought Wendy Carlos's Switched on Bach when I was barely out my teens. As a keyboardist myself and an avid fan of the synthesizer, I was fascinated by her electronic interpretations of one of my favorite composers. That first 1969 release was recorded before she transitioned and some years later I was surprised by the news. In this 1989 interview she describes the functioning of early synthesizers...

Radio host anti-vaxxers

 

Canada not immune to lack of education

The pandemic has opened up a large rift between the educated and uneducated and the fact that our reality is dependent on mutual cooperation means that things won't be back to normal any time soon. Our Canadian western provinces (Alberta being the most strident) are more like the US Midwest and southern states and tend to be more anti-science and politically and socially right leaning which is why their COVID infection rates among the unvaccinated are only rising. Unfortunately this is not an easy fix. As we continue to see less fortunate countries do without vaccines as well as North Americans needing urgent medical care for other issues doing without treatment with some of them dying, I am finding the situation increasingly infuriating....

Empty vessels

The  measuring stick of who you were raised to be is somehow always there in the background. This is particularly true for older trans people who rejected their own identities by suppressing the feelings as strongly as we could. I have worked hard to redefine my self image and put away the narrative that I am flawed because I failed to meet a standard that didn't suit me from the outset. Eradicating it completely may be impossible, but clearly I have come a long way and certainly further than I ever imagined was possible. We are born empty vessels and information and indoctrination is poured into us. To what degree that exercise is detrimental or helpful is sometimes unfortunately the luck of draw. It becomes incumbent upon us then to work to rewrite a personal storyline which honors who we really are. 

Trust yourself

 

Comfort first

I have spent the last 2 years under-dressing and it turns out I love it. I have gone minimalist by reducing my wardrobe and simply use accessories as a way of changing things up. By switching shoes, purse or earrings it makes up for needing to own too many pieces. Hence , for the most part, I have been living in simple T-shirts and skinny jeans or casual skirts by striving for comfort above anything else. It turns out that you can still be stylish as well as casual in your everyday life :)

Love and trans

If you read the comments to this video (when viewed on YouTube) you will see many are heart breaking. I can relate through personal experience and even if I have not medically transitioned, I know all too well that the relationships of trans people are often fraught with disappointment. It is just a fact...

Un-American vaccine

 

Colleague lunch

It's wonderful to have support from your colleagues after coming out and this gathering had been long in coming. But COVID having denied us that opportunity, it was made that much sweeter when it finally came. These three women are smart, talented and sweet and I love them to pieces each for their own unique character and personality which shone through from the first times I worked with them. I knew I could trust them and my faith paid off in spades. Trust yourself and realize that you have but one life to live...

We have our own wackos

 

Addison Rose Vincent

 

Resistance

Our biorhythms betray us and in the space of the same day we can oscillate between a dull depressive state and a muted joy that has us seeing the positive in our existence. Being human is at the best of times a chore of maintenance which requires we pick ourselves up by proverbial boot straps and get through the day. As we become older there is also more reflective melancholy which is increasingly immune to the more petty distractions of life. The temptation to dwell in the past is irresistible as is the penchant to stress about tomorrow but we must try and resist both. 

Probable cause

 

Little Sis

Pat ricia is like my little sister. We met several years ago when she needed some technical help with her start up and we became friends over time. She calls me "big Sis" and we hang out and do stuff together like thrifting and going out for coffee and talking about life. Now she is moving away and I will miss her and the support she had given me over the last few years as I completed my transition into a trans person who is finally and truly whole. It's so important to have a support structure and be completely accepted for who you are. I cannot overstate that enough (and yes, we're both double vaccinated:))

Frankenstein

W ith the conversion of Dixie Democrars to Republicanism, the amalgamation of the south had begun in earnest. The guys in the white sheets were now affiliated to the GOP driving the stakes for the creation of a tent where fringe people and their ideas could congregate. The Frankenstein monster was well on its way to be electrified into life. Decades later, Trumpism wasn't the beginning of the already existing problems but it did shine a spotlight on the underbelly of a nation that was far from resolving its problems with racism and class warfare. Now the people who most need influx of capital in the form of infrastructure and the jobs are most likely to vote for the party hell bent on not helping them. It's a marriage made of strange bedfellows. YouTube regularly features interviews with people who derived their political ideology from a combination of FOX News and their uncle Harry's Facebook postings and it would be tempting to chuckle if it weren't so dire. As the U

Twainisms

 

Worth saving

I t could be useful to integrate our past selves with the new and improved version that is closer to who we are. This means they there are elements of our personality that got us through challenges and therefore deserve to be integrated rather than scrapped. I don't disown my past but have instead tried to keep what has worked for me while I work on new facets. Many of us found battling gender dysphoria far too difficult and some took their own lives. Christine Daniels comes to mind as someone who tried to transition and whose story ended in tragedy. There are many others. Whatever helped get me this far is worth saving and that fortitude will continue to be helpful to me as I move into the latter part of my life.

The wisdom of Carlin

 

Sentient

T he squirrels I encounter on my morning walks are sentient beings who probably aren't aware of what they don't know. They operate on basic instinct much like we do except that we have an expanded palette to play with which can encourage myopia. The problem with the human animal is that it often doesn't ponder on what it doesn't know. Living in our limited shells and Lording over the world it can be tempting to think we have things figured out when we really don't. We can let hubris guide our approach to issues that more require the deft and delicate touch of humility. Some of the biggest intellects in our history were deeply aware of the shortcomings in their knowledge and yet some of the people most devoid of mental prowess strangely seem the most boastful at times. At this point I could go on a tirade on right wingers but I shall refrain from doing so as it would make this posting far too long.

Paralysis analysis

Paralysis analysis is something I and many other older trans people are very familiar with. In my case, my mind over analyzes everything with the danger being that we become stuck in a state where we do not advance into a helpful transition (if that is indeed what you truly need and want).  Writing this blog helped me through my paralysis and fear and here Dr. Z explains how we can help ourselves out of it....

Productive

 

Maysways

 I am a huge Lyle Mays fan and he definitely influenced my playing. Unfortunately he passed away far too soon at the age of 66. Here is a fitting tribute by Andre Mehmari and one for the headphones...

Balance point

As a gender dysphoric, I have often reflected on why people who are mostly comfortable identifying as their birth sex develop the need to crossdress. If we accept that all people possess both masculine and feminine traits we also know that the vast majority do not feel a need for regular cross gender expression. If most people are happy with the proportion of male and female qualities and how they incorporate them into their lives, it may be possible that those who feel a stronger connection than average to express their other side must do so through this type of expression.  Those who read my blog know that I am a big proponent of the gender identity spectrum and it may be that at least some of these crossdressers represent stunted forms of transsexualism but with their expression they are able to get just the right dose to keep themselves balanced and healthy. Contrasting this against the complete psycho-sexual inversion of Benjamin type 6 transsexuals and we can see how dysphoria c

Mistrust

While it may be tempting during the era of COVID to ridicule people who take a parasitic treatment medication like Ivermectin, wash their groceries, or walk masked to the eyeballs in empty fields we need to get to the root of where the penchant to believe misinformation lies. Sure, large swaths of the population lack critical and analytical thinking skills but that doesn’t entirely explain why the temptation to believe hearsay over expert advice thrives. Clearly part of the problem is sourced in the power structures which run the world having proven themselves complicit in the public’s mistrust since much of their Machiavellian maneuvering has increasingly been exposed. That along with the development of social media have germinated the kind of echo chambers that can help spread misinformation and paranoia. I don’t think there is a simple solution for this since the human animal won't evolve beyond their obvious limitations, but we need to think of methods to curb what appears

Better Days Ahead

I remember this 1989 Pat Metheny Montreal Jazz festival show like it was yesterday and what a treat it was...    

Souplesse

Preconceived ideas don't work in our favor. Whether it is about other people or about ourselves, they set us up for disappointment when things don't work the way we thought. One of the big lessons of my life has been about not letting plans get in the way of living because you will oft be disappointed. There is a better way which involves the souplesse of allowing us to be surprised by life and once we are close to getting our internal house in order we can let unpredictability be our friend rather than a nemesis. Living one day a time with allowance for the unpredictable is what I am endeavoring to practice.