Posts

Showing posts from 2022

As good a time as any

This might be as good a time as any to stop since the beginning of another chapter of my life seems like a duly appropriate milestone. I can now say with absolute certainty that this will be my last ever entry here because the impetus to write here has dwindled and habit isn't a good enough reason to continue when your internal turmoil was the reason you began the blog in the first place. Risking repetition is also a good reason to stop. If I've learned anything in writing this blog for 10 years and over my almost 60 years of life is that you need to respect your essence. In figuring out who you are whatever steps you take moving forward should be towards fortifying and honoring the integrity which constitutes your being. Whether cis, transgender or gender variant that applies to everyone. Never let other people dictate who you are or make you feel pressured to compromise the essence which makes you unique. Life is simply too short for that. Be yourself without fear of prejudic

Angela

Image
 

What a surprise

Image
 

Secret

Keeping any part of your life a secret is very stressful and you only realize how much so once you are out. Remember also that the more dysphoric you are, the more the strain of concealment will weigh heavily on you because you need to do more to curb dysphoric feelings. This makes opening up even more important. Coming out in progressive spurts will turn out to be very therapeutic and you can do it starting with the people you feel will be the most receptive. This way you practice while building confidence before moving on to those who risk being more obstinate. You will likely find as I did that your worst fears are never realized and that the value to you is far more important than the reaction you receive regardless of whether positive or negative. At the very least the weight is lifted.

Fun

Being trans isn't fun and if you think so then perhaps you haven't felt any of its consequences. Spousal separation, job loss, societal derision and estrangement from family are among the many pitfalls. What we end up getting if we are fortunate is relief from dysphoria which is at best an end or at minimum some reduction to suffering. That disconnect between instinct and societal expectation is bridged perhaps completely or at least enough to be able to carry on with less discomfort. You see, I don't view reality as fun but simply for what it is which helps keep me grounded. If you don't think you are trans then consider yourself very very fortunate.

Just Go With It

Image
"Just Go With It" gave me big belly laughs with its brain switching off fun which includes chemistry between Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. It somehow works with some clear ad libbing happening between the main stars only makes it funnier. See what you think...

Cure

Was I easy to live with in the past? No. When you are hard on yourself you are equally so with others and you demand adherence to the same discipline you subjected yourself to all your life. The good news is that there is a cure for it if you want it badly enough.

Vicarious

Some older gender variant people live vicariously through what they see as the bravery from others and it makes me feel bad. I want them to have the ability and the courage to be open and be themselves in the world even if they cannot be completely out. Most of us born in the 20th century (the earlier within it the worse) did not grow up with much flexibility to explore their gender expression to determine what it meant for them in a positive and wholesome way and it was often relegated to stolen moments or special outings. This is mostly a foreign concept to those younger who today openly express variance or transition (if transgender) with much less concern for what the world thinks. As bad as things can still be today, it was far worse back then and probably wiser to stay under the radar. Small wonder that transsexuals opted for stealth. Where I sit now I cannot impart any courage or wisdom other than to whole-heartedly recommend that it's far better to live your own life than r

In between

Sometimes during the night when in that netherworld between slumber and being fully awake your mind goes into psychoanalysis mode and loads ideas about your life into your consciousness. Sometimes scattered but generally cohesive, they offer bits and pieces of the questioning regarding our life journey and whether we are on the right path. That state is so unique and in the morning things feel quite different but if we are fortunate enough some morsel of true insight we can hold onto will remain.

Lucky me

Image
 

The presence of euphoria

Euphoria can be useful because its presence can signify that we are headed in the right direction provided its not followed by big erratic lows. Once I started to experience it I realized that I was becoming happier which was yet another indicator that repressing my trans identity to the extent I was made me less so. Today I try and keep an even keel and don’t want to have my life become a roller coaster but the affirmation that occasional euphoria brings means that your dysphoria is being successfully worked on and once there you stop desiring validation or affirmation from others as you simply no longer require it. 

Scary stuff

Image
The American right wing fringe is ostensibly the equivalent of the Taliban and is comfortably entrenched within the GOP. It is these lunatics that are driving that party down and as corrosive as its policies (or lack thereof) already are without them, the Republicans made their bed a long time ago with the white nationalists who used to burn crosses on lawns and conduct hangings.  These extremist morons will never be eradicated because a faction of all societies has these types of people, but whereas in the past they would have been shunned from taking the stage as leaders, this cult is being actively embraced....

In the DNA

When criminality becomes instinct its engrained in the DNA. Therefore by taking documents perhaps as collateral or as imagined self protection down the road, Trump did something that people who aren't twisted psychopaths wouldn't do because they understand the gravity and potential fallout. That Trump's brain does not operate like that because the connections are faulty, can only ultimately be good for the country in prosecuting the offense. So here it's good that the tiger cannot change its stripes.

Being okay

Self acceptance happens in stages and when I thought I had reached it years ago I actually hadn't because there are two parts to its attainment. The first part is understanding the mechanics of what constitutes who you are and what drives you, while the second part is about using that understanding to heal the misplaced guilt and the shame amassed over the years and, even more importantly, to burn off fear. So while I may have come to a place of full realization about my being trans quite a number of years ago, it didn't mean that once there I had adequately dealt with the emotional impact and baggage that had been long ignored. This second leg of the process can take considerably longer than the first and it was only in looking back that I realized just how much change in my psyche had occurred because it had been so traumatized since early childhood. Plus, the more energy you have invested in trying to identify with your birth sex the more difficult this process will be. Once

Rick reacts

Image
 

Crest

Image
Is it possible that extremist right lunacy has crested in the US? yes, but is it probable? I think not and the way the judiciary has been stocked with right leaning judges runs counter current to a return to normalcy. Judge Cannon's ruling for Trump based on soiling a reputation that no longer exists was perhaps fitting for a 1st year law student but not for someone on the bench. That is a problem which isn't about to be remedied tomorrow. However one thing that is becoming noticeable is that the fortunes of the Democrats seem to be turning in large part thanks to the disconnect between public opinion and that of a white nationalist theocratic cult which threatens to take the country into ruin. People seem to have awakened to the reality that if the GOP in its current incarnation wins back the house and then takes back the presidency the American experiment is over. If Jim Jordan, Marjorie Green and Lauren Boebert now represent a heartland vote which is deeply uneducated and d

Balance

Image
Work life balance is much harder to achieve today. The blurring of office and home space was one thing but also work has been shifting for a while now towards a more reductionist and bottom line approach in which profits and efficiency become the dominant driving forces. This means that the concept of career fulfillment while also looking after oneself is given lip service in propaganda wrapped in euphemism. The bottom line is that the employee has never been more used as expendable commodity than now (pre industrial revolution of course excluded). Part of this is due to automating work such that the power of the computer meant hiring less employees which translated to more workload for each. The ability of each one of those people to then change companies makes it that the mistrust between corporate leads and the help is at an all time high. Time for me to get out of Dodge.

Gender crisis

Image
Another way to know you are trans is that untreated dysphoria risks exploding in your face one day. Sometimes when you least expect it. This happened to me at about age 42.

Toscana

Image
Toscana is not complicated and is sweet without being saccharine. The storyline deals with loss, grief, love and measuring up to expectation. While it's not going to win any Oscars it's worth watching for the Tuscan ambiance alone which you can almost taste and smell and makes you want to get on a plane.  All that to say that there are definitely worse ways to spend 90 minutes.

It's 2022

Image
No you are not dreaming it's not 1822 but you wouldn't know it....I keep saying people never ever get smarter. There is no Darwinian improvement....    

Consoled

The trans blogging community can become a feedback loop which feeds on itself and it is why I generally tend to stay out of it. That loop can be a lifeline to many but also an influence that might not necessarily be helpful to our own situation. I see, like with so many things, a double edged sword there which we need to keep at arms length if we want to find our own path. At its most placid it is a benign forum to commiserate with another in a similar situation. I don't think about that community when I write but envision myself at an earlier stage looking for guidance which interestingly enough came much more from being challenged by those ahead of me on the journey than from being consoled by someone in the same predicament.

Malcontent

Image
If this video seems like parody to you I assure you it's not. It's simply mercurial Jordan Peterson appearing incoherent and comical as ever in his new incarnation as right wing malcontent. You need not watch all of it to catch its flavor but merely sample it to understand how embarrassing this appearance would be for someone level headed enough to understand that getting back on Twitter to moralize should not be a life objective for a pseudo intellectual. Pitiful...  

Connectivity

Connectivity to the deeper self helps in dysphoria management when the realization that we are trans but cannot go to an extent that is desired becomes apparent. Not everyone can or even desires to fully transition so working in the inner self rather than getting lost in the far less important accoutrements of being transgender can be pivotal. Solid self acceptance is the most vital and important step where all signs of an apologetic tone for the way you were born can be removed and in so doing culpability disappears over time. After that is finding ways to curb or soothe dysphoria even when the ideal scenario is not available to us. This will take trial and error to achieve a balance that aligns with its intensity which tends to have cycles. I have always taken the approach of less is more and did the absolute minimum that it would take to manage my dysphoria with the changing external circumstances of my life dictating what I could or could not do. Understanding that trans people be

Real world problems

To the world Joe Biden is nothing more than a milquetoast centrist but somehow to the fringe right he is Hugo Chavez; that's how deluded these right wingers are. So while progressives in the States think Biden doesn't go far enough with climate change initiatives, student debt relief or social programs to help people in need, he is vilified by an authoritarian extremist party devoid of ideas.  About 30% of the country is unreachable and always will be hence you have to work with those with some degree of intelligence, common sense and pragmatic thinking; the kind of people open to solving real world problems instead of focusing on culture war outrage that the right loves so much to distract people from their lack of vision or platform.

Blood in the water

As an out trans person you had better develop an attitude and mine says look at me the wrong way and I will slap you silly. This is detectable by others because it imparts on you a strength which affects both body language and facial expression. It doesn't matter how well you pass because I have always been able to physically pass well but it was my fear which seemed to betray that something was off. People can smell fear like sharks detect blood in the water but they equally appraise confidence which will serve you more than a little in this messed up world where not everyone will like you; more their problem than yours.

Intervene

Parents sometimes live and die by their kids' misadventures and it is tempting to want to shield them from life thus doing them a disservice. At my children's ages it is no longer little problems but bigger ones which you cannot immerse yourself into. Your daughter's argument with her boyfriend or your son's anxiety must be handled with more deftness and finesse or better yet not intervened into at all. Sparing them pain doesn't help them and weakens their ability to handle what is yet to come and yet that pit of the stomach feeling appears in you because you want to help even if you know you cannot. They are adults and must be handled accordingly even if they will always be your kids.

Tug of war

Trans people with strong dysphoria will understand very well what I am about to describe. That tug of war which on some days tells you all is okay as things are and on others where the ravenous beast that is your dysphoria says otherwise. Eventually that battle wears you down bit by bit if you do nothing. I can say with great experience now that there is no way to outrun dysphoria other than to treat it and if what you are doing now is working then no need to move a muscle. If something continues to perturb however then you aren't doing enough; the reality being that the greater its potency the more consequential the action which will be required. In the end, the goal post gets moved not because you necessarily want to but because it must.

Conventional

Conventional can be overrated unless it appeals to you. It can mean boring, compromising and conforming which may not suit us and if you were brought up to adhere to it then moving away from it might at first feel unsafe. Yet it can be so utterly rewarding to not be conventional once acclimatized. The more authenticity beckons the more it falls by the wayside.

Motion sickness

Image
 

Dim bulb

Image
T rump isn't the brightest bulb on the planet but having 48 empty folders found and having one of them being framed in one his establishments shows a new level of stupidity even for him; one which might even surpass the bleach idea during the pandemic. This idiot used to be president.

Well said

Image
Some parents and grandparents have had enough of these ignorant right wingers meddling in their schools...

Here, here!!

Image
  Bravo I say!

Don't wait

The person I most want to reach today with my blog is the one who has always downplayed their gender dysphoria because that used to be me. They have led lives for years with a stiff upper lip attitude and think they can make it however dysphoria will slowly and insidiously grind you into a pulp if you let it. Those of us who have always claimed strong wills are at great risk for depression and there is little reason for it if we take this issue seriously which is not necessarily about physical transition (although it can be) but about taking the steps to seek help. There are gender variant people who are fine as they are but that may not be you and living in painful silence will only make you sadder and more despondent as you age. Therefore taking concrete steps to improve your situation becomes mandatory. In some ways we are a more high risk group than high intensity transsexuals who face a tough road but then positively know what they must do. We on the other hand suffer less debili

Company

I think that one of the ways to know that we are in not too bad a place is the ability to be on our own with mostly our own thoughts for company. Those who have been with the same person a long time already understand this and in fact the wrong partner can readily detract from our level of happiness. We live inside our heads for much of the time anyway and sometimes seek distractions specifically to avoid the pain of reality, therefore this litmus test needs to be passed if we are to find internal peace within ourselves. Don't get me wrong in that I am a great believer in great friendships and a fulfilling life partnership with a person who gets you, only that as the old saying goes, sometimes misery just loves company.

To live versus exist

I know just from reading numerous blogs over the years that many trans people live with an almost constant hum of low grade depression. They reside within the constraints of lives they have built for themselves which in part have become like prisons that they have deemed inescapable. This is something I completely understand because up until age 45 I used to lead the very same type of life which I thought was the one I was meant for. Those of you who are close to my age will comprehend even more perfectly what I am saying. Of course there is much at stake with spouses, children and extended family all counting on a person they think they know and so we put up a brave face and carry on but deep down something isn't right and we feel it. Life is devoid of its full colour palette but we feel powerless to fix it. I would not be honest if I said that where I sit today is perfect because paradise on earth doesn't exist but I am at a place where there is possibility and malleability

The Tyger

By William Blake Tyger Tyger, burning bright,  In the forests of the night;  What immortal hand or eye,  Could frame thy fearful symmetry? In what distant deeps or skies.  Burnt the fire of thine eyes? On what wings dare he aspire? What the hand, dare seize the fire? And what shoulder, & what art, Could twist the sinews of thy heart? And when thy heart began to beat. What dread hand? & what dread feet? What the hammer? what the chain, In what furnace was thy brain? What the anvil? what dread grasp. Dare its deadly terrors clasp? When the stars threw down their spears  And water'd heaven with their tears: Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the Lamb make thee? Tyger Tyger burning bright, In the forests of the night: What immortal hand or eye, Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Before it gets worse

I don't need to think about it. This is the most fragile the United States has been in my lifetime. What is particularly insidious here is that the lines are so deeply drawn you have lost the other side who now deeply distrusts you and your motives. Republicans lost to a cult of personality (an odious one at that) and an appetite for authoritarianism, have abandoned hope that their country can be saved other than through radical means which could extend beyond the usual gerrymandering and voter suppression. The perfect storm has hit just as social media and specialty propaganda channels control the minds of people like never before making Orwell positively prophetic. Each side is so repulsed by the other and does not understand why they cannot be reasoned with. All this began under Reagan and escalated to the fever pitch of today helped along by a dismantling over time of an economy where many people must work several jobs with no safety net which only leads to desperation and mor

Limits

Image
That some humans are capable of great savagery is not exactly news. The other day I watched a video about Otto Moll the SS officer who took great glee in torturing, mutilating and killing prisoners at Auschwitz. He was eventually hanged after the Nuremberg trials in 1946. Moll is just one of many people who, devoid of conscience, managed to escape learning the norms which prevent us from killing and a psychopathy develops and instills itself. One understands that something went wrong during the formative years and a conscience which would have necessarily included empathy was not formed. Sometimes these people are born this way but often our forensics into the history show signs of potential trouble down the line. Jeffrey Dahmer's mutilation of animals, for example, being one such forewarning of trouble. The psyche is fragile and can be easily perturbed which is why mental health becomes such an important component of a modern life where we are challenged so persistently. The dema

Just the same

Do I find some things in the gender variant community to be annoying and embarrassing? Yes but then I find just as much which is uplifting and positive. On the negative side for me can be in particular its sometimes excessive and insipid vapidity. Here is the caveat though: lots of people do all kinds of things whether trans or not because it's a great big world with lots of different types of people and it would be awfully surprising if we were immune to the same good and bad.

Incubation

There is no doubt that the COVID pandemic created a cocoon for many of us who were then forced to look more inwards into our lives. Being away from people made us reflect internally on where we are on our journey and in my case I was obliged to take more action towards better managing my dysphoria. This resulted in virtually full time living which I hadn't planned on but which came organically out of this incubation period. This is what I always strive for meaning that I never want to aim for a result but rather let things gestate and see what happens.

The Harder They Fall

Image
A stylized western that works is how I would describe "The Harder They Fall". Idris Elba plays the heavy here and is supported by a cast of characters who engage in raucous gunfights and saloon brawls. At the outset you aren't sure it will all work but then you are caught up and you watch till the end duly accompanied with a Reggae soundtrack. I say suspend your belief just a bit and fall for the spectacle.

Lessons

My son and I spoke over coffee today and I very much like where he is going.  At 22 there is a fledgling maturity peaking out and an appreciation of where he still needs to go. He is beginning to see the inner workings of society and how its gears sometimes grind against common sense and so he asks questions as to motivations which befuddle him as much as they did me. Comprehending himself as well as his place within the world will be a lifelong journey of discovery and there will be missteps as we who have been there before know all too well. What lessons he draws from them will be what counts most and if he develops the right reflexes his malleability will bring him back on course after he has faltered.

Serenity

I am to some degree still a recovering judgmental person which takes a while to completely cure. When you have unresolved frustration since childhood it's easy to be dismissive of others and my talent was being able to feel superior because I was intelligent; my way of punishing the ignorant. Of course that turned out to be a mistake and as your armor is removed and you look around to see people are as fragile as you with their own problems, you succumb to peace. The most important lesson I have learned is that the world cannot all be repaired but you can and that is what will ultimately bring you serenity.

The soul within the vessel

I f you fear you might be trans but are afraid to come out I can tell you with great resoluteness that it's much better in the light. Yes, there is always an element of risk but had I not done so my life today would be quite grey; something you can only understand once you see what it can be like on the other side. True, there can sometimes be losses along the way but then being appreciated and loved for someone that you are not is no way to live. Ask yourself what value is there in holding on to someone who does not support the person you fully are. If you aren't trans then rejoice in your gender variance because something this harmless is hardly a crime. If a spouse has an issue with it then it says something more about them than about you because people live in desperate fear of what others might think; one of the most unfortunate traits of many humans. If they despise that about you then ask why it perturbs them so much if they purport to love the soul which resides within

Just sometimes

She is a young mother I sometimes see in the mornings holding her baby. She smiles and stops to talk to me as if I have some wisdom to impart. I think maybe I give her the impression that I am in a good place which I am. It's funny how people are drawn to you when you are yourself and relaxed. You don't think you have changed all that much except there is more lightness of spirit which makes everything taste a little better. Life is not easy but there is much to love within it if we sometimes lift our heads just enough to look beyond our own issues.

Transmedicalism

I can completely understand binary transsexuals and indeed I count some of them as friends. Transmedicalism is a term we use which refers to those we used to call classic transsexuals; ie. trans people whose dysphoria was so extreme that medical transition was the only viable solution. The problem was the pecking order prejudice of the past wasn't helpful and helped create friction among trans people. I am on record as strongly believing that a trans identity is an identity in and of itself and although I will acknowledge the differences between an Eddie Izzard and a Janet Mock, I laud them both for their transparency and lives lived out in the open with m y own life having improved markedly through this very thing.

A distant second

It took me a while to get used to not being looked at because I used to be so tense I was just asking for it. Now when I think I should receive scrutiny I don't which sometimes still surprises me proving once again that a sense of calm and knowing who you are far outweighs everything else. Tall women can be found everywhere. Relaxing into yourself is paramount which is why that aspect should be worked on far more than what you wear on your body which comes in a distant second. Work on your headspace :)

No more illusions

The MAGA movement is simply a collection of the disgruntled which encompasses average folk hurt by ill conceived Neoliberal policies all the way to devious malcreants like the Murdochs or the Kochs who are all about toxic ideas long past their expiration date. If one thought society was past this we needn't have waited long to see the underbelly of a society's worst instincts when they are permitted to find fertile ground. Fascism is no longer a far fetched concept in a nation which struggled with the idea of equality right from its inception. Women and black people were essentially property at its founding and there were still lynchings up until the mid 20th century in a backwards South. Ideas regarding militias forged into the constitution meant for 18th century reality are still nonsensically used in the 21st as if Moses himself had descended them on divinely birthed stone tablets. The mind boggles. I have no further illusions about both extremes of humanity; from the admir

Useful

Is this blog as useful to me as it once was? Well no but one gets used to writing. There is no longer that visceral impetus which one with urgency has and over the years this has increasingly become a storage house of ideas and signature to my personality. My opinions on trans and other issues have of course evolved along with society's but then the world we live on today is no longer recognizable as the one I grew up in which is both a good and bad thing. What I liked about before was the order and respect for experience and knowledge but on the other hand much was forcibly hidden under the surface. Today our openness has let everything out including misplaced opinion and conspiracy buffoonery which does not serve the public good. So once again we are faced with the same double edged sword on which society is perpetually balanced.

Think for yourself

This blog doesn't try to talk you into or out of anything. It is simply encouraging you to think and discover who you are outside of the boundaries of what the world told you. Contrary to popular belief, that person isn't defined by society, your parents or your friends but instead by you and that voyage of exploration isn't always remotely obvious. If you have already arrived then I commend you. I want my blog to provoke you and make you think outside the box because that is the way you will fulfill your mission towards enlightenment. That box was pre-built before you were even born and it must be undone and a proper vessel built in its stead which more accurately captures your essence. If it were easy it would be odd because you may have noted that everything in this world worth possessing takes effort and this one is no exception. Every group and school of thought has a predetermined orthodoxy which you are supposed to espouse and the trans community is no exception. Er

Little Ben

Image
 

Only the best people

Image
Well, the criminal mastermind that is Trump had documents sitting in his desk of all places clearly marked "Top Secret" making this yet another hilarious but sad episode in the disaster that was his presidency. Now lawyers like Christina Bobb who signed affidavits saying that all documents had been turned over are risking prosecution for lying to the government. Of course you couldn't make this stuff up because it would be deemed too implausible even for a movie. But with partisan lines drawn so emphatically the right wing will defend Teflon Don to the end with the Murdoch owned Wall Street Journal editorial board headline of "Is that all there is?" being of those indicators. Needless to say another person would already be in jail for a much smaller offense of even one page of one of those many documents including a member of congress or the senate. But this is an era where justice and truth matter less than how you spin things for public consumption. I often sa

Follow up

As a follow up to yesterday’s video by Ashley who went through her own journey of self-discovery, I wanted to comment on the idea she touched on of a stunted gender identity. For example, some people might be too afraid to recognize they are trans and their full sense of self remains in stasis or even infantilized within the “crossdresser” self-definition. The reason this might work for them is that there is always a baseline to go back to which feels safe but which may be ultimately unrewarding. Am I saying that all gender variant people are trans? No but there are many who are and just will not or cannot admit it for a whole host of reasons. It is perfectly fine to fulfill a sense of playfulness around gender and even use it as sexual fantasy (the archetypal photoshoot dresser for example) but for some their progress into a full understanding of themselves stays undeveloped which may be due to a whole variety of reasons. This is not to say that physical or social transition need

Ashley asks a question....

Image
 

Crossover

Image
Masculinity and femininity are not automatically tied to birth sex which is obvious to anyone who has been paying attention. In fact these attributes cross paths over the gender binary which we can attest to via people we have ourselves known. That each is correlated to a particular birth sex has been either the curse or joy of many an individual. Both sexes possess them but the social constraints imposed meant that one could not regale in the one least expected and I have wondered how today's more relaxed social norms will impact society into the future. Many older gender variant people would have appreciated a looser grip on these norms and be entirely comfortable with their birth sex while still expressing gender without concern of judgement. Gender dysphoria won't be disappearing anytime soon via a loosening of the reins on expression however, but for those who want to liberally celebrate both sides of a persona, that gift would be just what the doctor ordered.  

Book

The other day Tracey contacted me regarding acquiring a copy of my book "Different" which I was more than happy to send her in pdf format. Although I wrote it 5 years ago, reading the concluding chapter made me realize I still wouldn't change a word. Anyone also wishing a copy can simply use the contact form on the sidebar of the blog and I will very gladly email them one.

For the better

By this age you have many memories which have marked your life. Some are perhaps key milestones after which things were different and so they remain locked in the psyche as defining episodes. They tend to return from time to time to remind where we've been and what lessons we learned if any. No life experience is a mistake if we have shared our life with others warts and all. We can be tortured by memory or instead take it as sign post of the journey we undertook and how it shaped us hopefully for the better despite the pain it sometimes took to get there.

People learn nothing

Fascism is being actively courted by the right because it's the only way they see to fix things. Now I don't relate to right wing mentality but I do understand what desperation makes people do and these people are both deeply dangerous and radical. I hate to break it to people who believe in American exceptionalism because your bubble has just been burst. Pulitzer Prize winning author Chris Hedges who has been warning of impending fascism in the United States for some time now, is close to having his prediction become reality. With the breakdown of the middle class and a rise of social media frenzy we are witnessing what happens when the social fabric breaks down and the masses (who aren't naturally the most intelligent of creatures) rebel. They don't understand how they've been duped but they are chomping at the bit for enemies and the "groomers" and the "radical left" are as good as any. Should Trump be indicted, scumbag senator and all around

Spectral mornings

Image
 

Still more good advice

Image
 

Futile

Being apologetic for being trans is both futile and counterproductive because if you were born this way what is there to be apologetic about? This is one of the reasons I make a careful distinction between gender variance and being trans which includes the important biologically induced element of dysphoria. Gender variant people have far more elective choice in their expression and can weigh it more judiciously against their life status. Conversely, a trans person has far less and must consider how much enduring dysphoria is worthwhile against the backdrop of an already established life. Again, my aim here is to help those suffering most not to make judgements. Considering that dysphoria is graded helps us here because it's the potency is what dictates the appropriate level of response. High intensity cases are not doing themselves or anyone else a favor by living a life which doesn't suit them however people on the outer edges of dysphoria can perhaps find some compromises w

Of past and future

My mother has known I am trans for about 15 years and although she has been out with me and we have even accidentally run into each other in thrift stores, I have kept the custom of presenting male when I see her. The other day I mentioned that I had gone to coffee with my neighbor near our old house where we lived in the 70's and she said I should have called her. For someone born in 1936 she has come a very long way and the next time I go there with my neighbor she will of course be there. For a few years the main problem was me and not her as any sign of discomfort on her part would have been difficult for me. However I burned that off and won't hide myself away from her in any capacity any longer. What is particularly notable about this coffee place (which was entirely different back then) is that in the mid 70's the then owner's wife looked at me in my longish hair and asked my mother: "How old is your daughter?"

Turning tide?

Midterm election races in the US suddenly look closer thanks to GOP radicalism with the abortion issue and school shoitings invigorating democratic and reasonable Republicans to think carefully before removing rights. Beto O'Rourke seems to be having success in Texas simply by pointing out Abbott's radical positions and general incompetence so that gubernatorial race could be another bellwether. The Republican party is now paying up for becoming a warehouse for fringe extremism all under one roof whereas the country is generally just right of center. One could have predicted that because Trumpism has been such a horrid influence on the country, it would eventually have consequences and swing the pendulum back it's just that one couldn't know when. Now might be as good a time as any.

Reminder

Walking home from groceries and see a young blind woman with a cane maneuvering her way down the street. A dose of reminder I have no real problems.

Anomaly

My traffic has exploded here recently to several times its normal which is why I suspect shenanigans somewhere. The internet is a strange place and my blog tends to be special interest within the world of gender variance which is why I am suspicious. Since I generally don't write to amuse, I am well aware that my bluntness and subject matter are not always to everyone's taste. Traffic has never mattered much to me however but still, this anomaly is intriguing me somewhat and if you are seeing the same with your blog kindly let me know.

Treatment

Gender dysphoria cannot be ignored and must be treated but the hard part is knowing how. That takes time and reflection to discover and using a one size fits all formulas won't necessarily help you in your particular situation. Some trans people begin hormones and then stop because it doesn't suit them while others must take them plus opt for surgery. The point is that whatever gets you to a comfortable baseline is your objective while at the same time considering the fallout which is no easy task. Do I think that inadequately treated gender dysphoria gets worse over time? Yes I do, can attest to it and were I not where I am now things would not be good for me. Again, there are many considerations here like relationship situation, job, children, age and physical health which play into the equation and all must be carefully weighed before acting. Paramount here of course is your own mental health which should not be ignored.

Corelli

Image
 

Orgullosa

Image
 

Our search

There are distinctly discernible patterns to human behaviour. Since we are driven by love and fear both of those play a leading role in how we interact with others. In fact we could say that the fear of not being loved is perhaps a good descriptor for our primary motivation. Interestingly we need to become free of outside opinion in order to appreciate others fully because when we are mired in our own fear we won't open up. Being genuine is actually not that simple if we possess much cautionary baggage regarding what we should do to avoid rejection. One of the benefits of aging might be that the search for validation from outside is greatly reduced because we know it has little value. This is particularly true for people whose presence in our lives would add nothing to its quality and perhaps even detract from 

The answers will come

I was born with the instincts of a girl but raised to be a boy and now have a dichotomy of nature versus nurture which I am in the final stages of bridging. Unlike what I have read some people state about themselves, there aren't two genders within me but only one and as an older trans person the trick is to marry the past with the present; in that light I am not burying a former person at all but instead resurrecting an identity which was suppressed and letting her breathe. From that vantage point I feel powerful these days specifically because the struggle has made me so. It took me a very long time to tweak not only the physical aspects but mostly the mental ones which are by far more complex and important. Therefore my advice to you is not to take shortcuts or assume anything but to simply let things gestate with much patience and without fear of judgement or ridicule because people's massive ignorance should be of no consequence to you. If you are truly trans your life has

Callous

From the moment a radio Canada reporter held a microphone to my face post American election in November of 2016, I knew the Trump presidency would be a disaster and said so. Did I think it would have been this bad? Certainly it was divisive for the country and gave permission to the worst instincts of the country's lowest common denominator to spew venom into the political discourse. Now as a disgraced and legally mired ex-president, Trump must face consequences or something like this will most assuredly happen again because there will have been no price paid for criminality of this magnitude. That Trump is a severely damaged individual raised to be a narcissistic psychopath disguised as buffoon was never in doubt and yet the fact that he was allowed anywhere near the seat of power tells you all you need to know about humans and their capacity for self delusion and callousness.

To return

Image
Trans people have a very bizarre journey. We know instinctively who we are from the outset, but then are taught to be otherwise and to fight instinct. We then spend years undoing the damage only to hopefully return to who we were in the first place. The longer we spend in denial the longer the return...

The Crazy Ones

Image
 

Of Body and Soul

Image
Two people crippled by life in different ways dream the same dream every night. In it they are both deer: he a stag and she a doe and they find a way to communicate there that they cannot when awake. Working in a slaughterhouse as they both also do is not the most pleasant of environments and this film is graphic at times perhaps in its revulsion of killing so that we can feast. In Hungarian this 2017 film was nominated for an Oscar as best foreign language film and one can see why. There is a subtlety and deftness of touch here and some jarring moments which could not be predicted in this tale of unlikely lovers which is tinged with flourishes of surrealism. We are all harmed by life somehow and must rise above it to find ourselves and it is this redemption which hopefully carries us towards a fitting curtain call.  On Netflix.

Leaving room for doubt

The purpose of philosophy is to try and understand the human condition and it looks for patterns, motivations and aspirations to try and arrive at basic concepts which can help guide us towards our raison d'etre. Philosophers don't all agree but their attempts are well meaning and in the spirit of establishing guidelines to help the human race to think about their own essence. It is the ambiguity and flexibility which appeals to me because I understand that as human beings our insight into the workings of space-time and the universe are beyond our capability. Conversely organized religion banks on certitude through excluding and yet bases itself solely on faith which makes little sense. My mother recently had a conversation with a parish priest who insisted that salvation came exclusively through the one true faith and i t was all I needed to hear to confirm once again why I cannot go back to something I have outgrown.

Confidence

If you don't currently have confidence then fake it until you do. Trust me.

A reflection

Here's a reflection exercise for you. If you believe you are trans and that being so isn't a choice then why would expressing your identity be in any way problematic? Unless deep down you think you have a choice and you aren't really trans? Park aside the issue of a non-accepting spouse for a moment and think  about it.

More road test

Image
I've got to say that after getting daily use for quite a few weeks, those Amazon flats are still doing the job. Considering how much walking I do, the price I paid and how comfortable they are, I think I need to get another pair :)

Emanuela

While I waited for my friend Cecile to arrive, Emanuela approached me out of the blue in the Premiere Moisson establishment "Excuse me but did you used to go to the Starbucks on President Kennedy sometimes?" I said that I did (on days off I would occasionally business woman it into the downtown core) and she told me she remembered me from her working there. She spoke to me in broken Spanish (she is Brazilian) and has lived in my neighborhood for about 4 years. She was so friendly and vibrant and ended up showing me pictures of her new baby. Some people are like that and just bring sunshine into the world with their energy. I must confess that I had not remembered her but I have been known to have tunnel vision and not always take notice of people. It was a very pleasant exchange.

An end to battles

Image
Once you have nothing left to prove to yourself or the world you have no choice but to relax. There are no more battles to fight other than eliminate your own indignation at a world that is innately unjust. That aspect is still being worked on and my disdain for those who embody entitlement coupled with ignorance continues to be an Achilles heel for me. What can help is to avoid these types of people as much as we can but in the end the world won't be changed therefore we must change ourselves instead.

Experimental gentlemen

Image
 

Hadley

Image
 

Why it didn’t happen before

Hypervigilance is a very common trait of trans people when they first step into the light. During those tentative steps we micro-focus on everything we do and fret about what other people think; something which took me a very long time to eliminate in part because I fought so hard to not be trans.  But then one day you become confident in who you are which is all about the certainty that you have as much right as any other person to have a good and productive life; a life out in the open and experienced with transparency. Suddenly things make more sense to you because you feel the need to remove rules and regulations of society from your playbook rather than repair yourself. But even if that lightbulb goes off in your head, it can still take years to accomplish your goal because the battle is often fought alone with little support from family. This is work to diligently undo the pervasive programming you were exposed to as a child which had you second guessing yourself. The consequence

No need to fear

Wanting to express a feminine side is a fairly benign thing and if that's all there is you should be glad of it. Gender dysphoria on the other hand is a much more egregious and sinister thing which works its way into psyche commanding attention like nothing else which is why it must be dealt with somehow lest there be psychological consequences. In my opinion spouses of gender variant people should be more tolerant (and indeed many are) because their husband isn't going anywhere other than perhaps to some group night or outing on some established basis. The vast majority of the time there won't be any need for unwarranted fears of transition and e ven those of us on the periphery of the transsexualism spectrum sometimes find other ways to come to terms and establish workable solutions. But if transition turns out to ultimately be the right answer there is also nothing to fear.

Purpose

At the root of all people lie the same motivations. We search for meaning, for love and acceptance. Love need not be the romantic kind although it can but it must eventually transcend the destabilizing initial phase and grow beyond it otherwise it is doomed. No one can make us happy except ourselves but if one surrounds themselves with the right circumstances the groundwork can be laid to find it. Our sense of purpose comes our of our originality and ability to separate from the crowd to find meaning beyond it otherwise our lives are but a distraction. In helping others even in small ways us where we find our truest sense of satisfaction and purpose.

Maudie

Image
Sally Hawkins plays Maud Lewis the folk artist and does so wonderfully. Ethan Hawke is her boss who becomes more but in this stark and harsh time it's by no means a conventional partnership. These people are simple folk but there is a blunt honesty borne out of tough and difficult childhoods where there was little pity or levity and where pure joy was perhaps a luxury. The landscape is bleak and sparse but both talent and love somehow manage to sprout from what could have been weeds. To convey that, t wo talented actors show us how to apply their craft and in the case of Hawkins, it's definitely Oscar worthy. A must see.

Patience

We should leave everything to become organic and effortless. There is no point resisting anything because if the river wants to take you there it must be for good reason. Reacting to where we are with calm and a sense of wonder might be better than railing against the universe. Patience is the virtue that gets us there.

Printed Tee

Image
I know I said I swore off printed Tees but then I found this one in a thrift shop and deemed it subtle enough to be matched with other things. I mean for $6 you can hardly go wrong right? :)

Moving forward

One clue to identify that you are trans is that your life around this issue has been progressing in stages. As you reach a new level of self awareness there is a change of mindset accompanied by a corresponding advancement. There may not be a particular goal in mind and perhaps yours is simply to have more peace regarding your unique identity. The point is that you are moving forward and with reflection comes new enlightenment. As my friend Connie says, you grow into yourself.

Rhetoric

The right is panicking which is why their messaging and approach is so increasingly radical. If you have no platform to help the electorate then it needs to be about illegal immigration and attacks on LGBTQ people to scare monger for votes. This used to be less of a problem in large part because the middle class I grew up with was larger and more prosperous which helped build a general sense of calm among the electorate. Today with the largest population of working poor in US history it is much easier to radicalize people and find bogeymen to blame. It is in large part why the Trump candidacy succeeded by simply stoking the fears of a largely uneducated electorate. The world is changing far too quickly for conservative tastes and that trepidation is ramping up rhetoric which is then amplified by agenda driven right wing media.