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Showing posts from March, 2022

Kierkegaard

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Between the ears

It's a recurring theme: anti-vaxxer, anti-science, almost a fetishism for autocracy and theocracy. This in a nutshell encapsulates the right wing's identity in the early part of the 21st century. It's tiresome and depressing I know but it is reality which is sourced in desperation for a changing world they are having trouble adjusting to. That struggle between the forces open to growing and progressing versus those who see everything as threat is eternal and is because the latter are petrified. However it's never been this bad thanks to the proliferation of misinformation and conspiracy theories. Nothing can be done other than do our best to educate those open to listening provided there is something between the ears other than the whistling wind.

No shortcuts

I ran into the young woman who I would encounter on my morning walks last summer. She would be cycling with dalmatian in tow but this time she was walking with that very same companion. She greets me with a toothy smile and a "ca va bien?" She is probably mid thirties, has a 9 year old son and is separated now for a couple of years reminding me once again how challenging couple life can be most especially in this fast paced era. She seems happy although she admitted there are ups and downs but she seems to possess a resilience that I suspect gets her through a lot. It's when we scratch below the surface of people's lives that we realize there are no short cuts here for anyone.

The last step

There is one task left for me which is to get to the root of my struggles with self acceptance. The reason being that I know it will help me get to the final finish line completing the process I undertook when I began writing 10 years ago. It is the icing on the cake if you will. I do understand the mechanics of course. Being born in the early 1960's into an observant Catholic family was a big part of it but it doesn't explain fully the continued resistance I put up even when I had understood this was the way I was born. So there is now just a little more TLC to be applied to completely close the chapter while understanding there will always be a visible scar. The advantage I have today is that I can do it in the complete absence of any psychological discomfort. I think, therefore I am.

Bigger fish to fry

Once I got my own house increasingly in order, my attention towards trans issues was incorporated into a larger and more generalized concern for social justice; something this world is woefully in need of. The eternal struggle of the powerless finding a voice has been hampered in every era by the self justification of those who combine greed with prejudice; for there are so many in this world willing to get ahead at the expense of others without a moment of hesitation. Hence the trans topic is still there just that it has been swallowed up by a bigger fish.

Spotlight

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Social media has shone a spotlight on how much people know but also on what they don't. For example, celebrities whose opinions on issues remained previously unknown, can now expound on them via Twitter thereby lowering the curtain of mystery that previously enshrouded them. The temptation to weigh in on political matters is suddenly too enticing even if that risks exposing ignorance. This has had the effect for many of removing much of the allure of what had previously appreciated about them as an artist and I recall liking Robert DeNiro even more for his stance on the Trump presidency. I then also noted seeing the reaction of fans who were disappointed that he saw fit to weigh in on an issue that he shouldn't have.  The exposure risk is large on social media and very few who are notoriously famous have escaped the fallout of expressing opinion quite so publicly which has sometimes made a sport out of watching them more than at their respective crafts.

When the right cries

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Right wingers in academia fascinate me no end (not that they are so numerous) and none more these days than psychologist Jordan Peterson who is still making the rounds of batshit crazy shows and most recently was spotted misty eyed as he made a reference to Cain and Abel on a program hosted by fellow sympathizer Andy Ngo. The tears flowed when talking about Antifa inhumanity and what kills me about these conservative types is that they feel perfectly comfortable degrading trans people while at the same time talking about the injustices of the world. It certainly makes for a convenient case of myopia. What makes people like Peterson particularly dangerous is that their entitlement appears rooted in faith gestated in a religious fervor which works against their better judgement and their empathy. His followers listen to his style over substance narrative and are star struck because they have found someone who shares their hatred but is more eloquent in expressing it. No tears are of cour

What we want

In life we don't always get what we THINK we want. But with some good fortunate, we will get what we need.

Three friends

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Thin ice

Imagine the precedent if the corrupt Trump administration abuses of power go unpunished. It sets up a scenario far worse than the January 6th insurrection sold by the fringe right as a tourist visit or as Antifa false flag operation. The right wing conspiracy machine having been well established for decades now, will allow no amount of factual information to penetrate its walls; not when you have your own television networks, websites and YouTube channels streaming 24/7 wingnut content plus rabid television clerics clamoring for a theocracy. You can see how you are on dangerously thin ice. I don't envy the department of justice here because any move to prosecute what are clear offenses of power by the idiot Trump and his cabal threaten to set off the powder keg the nation presently sits on. One only need watch interviews with the deluded to realize how bad it is.  It took decades to get here and I'm afraid it will take more to exit with hopefully the American experiment still i

Fascinating

It's fascinating as Spock would say: my trans related content goes down and my traffic goes up.

Get on with things

Self pity is providing yourself solace when we feel no one else is. It is also lament which can hamper our progress and mire us in a cycle of self defeat. No doubt that it can feel therapeutic to hurt but then the boot straps must be employed and we must pull ourselves out of the quagmire. We are emotional beings first and foremost and no amount of self control will change that. Acknowledging this is perhaps good because we can forgive ourselves for being weak and move on once we've sufficiently celebrated feeling sorry for ourselves. For when it has exceeded its usefulness, self pity becomes self indulgence we cannot afford lest we become stalled. My mother would always say to look at others behind me rather than those ahead and simply get on with things and so I did.

To be content

If we can successfully disconnect from the world's judgments, its irrationality and its whims we will find ourselves becoming increasingly content.

In earnest

Growing up, my sole exposure to trans characters was either maniacal deviance or complete farce. It wasn't very surprising then that most of us wanted to distance ourselves from it even as we knew on the inside the identification was there from earliest memory. It still isn't great today but at least it's mostly positive and characters have become more sympathetic rather than seedy or pathetic.  But back then it was either "Some Like it Hot" or "Dressed to Kill" which only made certain I would remain closeted much longer. In truth, male dominance over women only made things worse since toxic machismo is the same entity that would just as easily see women be limited in advancement as ridicule LGBTQ people as being genetic defectives. The structure of western civilization with few exceptions saw no value in anything other than aggressive dominance over others as strength. No wonder both men and women were so dogmatically trained to follow an order which wa

At this point

It took until Trumpism for me to realize to what extent people were gullible even in this modern era. Of course I was aware of people being able to be deluded but not on this large a scale some of which I attribute to social media amplification. A young man phoned in to David Pakman's show recently complaining that his mother seemed to be predisposed to right wing propaganda and sure enough had gone down the rabbit hole of Qanon after having begun her radicalization as an avid listener to 90's right wing talk radio. Now he says she is unreachable such is the level of conviction. We are all predisposed to varying degrees to be indoctrinated and thankfully not everyone becomes a Timothy McVeigh, but in this climate it is far more likely to happen than at any point in our history.

Convince me

If you can't convince me why you believe something using critical thinking then I won't bother listening. It's one of the reasons I don't discuss religion with the very orthodox who will just point to the Bible or the Koran as proof that they are correct. This lack of critical thinking infects every area of society and even highly educated people who should in theory know better.  When I had to rethink my views on religion I needed to use logic to realize that the argument for atheism was more nonsensical than theism only that the theists were wholly irrational; they could not admit that our limitations prohibit us from arriving at a complete understanding of what might lie beyond our plane of existence. Religion in its most basic form works for the more simple minded because it simply requires faith which is fine. This so long as that faith doesn't translate into judgement and chastising others which most versions of orthodoxy invariably end up doing. They will, in

Payback

If you put your positive energy out into the world, the world will pay you back with interest.

Satie

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Spring

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If it's runners it must finally be spring :)

Keeping me honest

As a shy kid, being stared at was the bane of my existence. My self consciousness exceeded a normal level which kept me very aware of how I should behave so as to avoid undue attention. Today, I sometimes see unearned confidence in young people which threatens to make their introduction to the bluntness of the world very unpleasant. Not developing the necessary humility and discretion that shyness sometimes provides, they have perhaps been overly basking in parental adulation for the smallest of accomplishments. To some degree I am glad for my son's anxiety which dampers his confidence level. Even if it is to a greater level than I would like it bestows him with a humble stance I very much appreciate. I already see he is being spared the development of survival skills which I used and he sometimes knocks me off my perch just enough to remind me to watch my flourishes of bluster. He helps to keep me honest, with his remarkable physical resemblance to my father only helping his cau

Instinct

I suppose I've never truly trusted human instinct. After all, if we possess the instinct to hurt others does that make it acceptable? And so my approach has always been to examine the rationale behind instinct and check it for aberrations. In fact, this blog began its life on that very premise. Of course there are instincts which prove harmful to others but even those that do not can prove to be for ourselves and drive our psychology off a cliff. My earliest days of internet exploration for example, included narratives from people desperate to cure themselves of what they termed their crossdressing affliction to which they had attributed a reduction in life quality. I suppose that is the ultimate litmus test in that you should always be aspiring towards psychological balance and if something is deterring it we need to evaluate its relevance in our lives. In other words, we need to determine if the instinct is positive or negative to our existence and address it accordingly.

Taboo

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I've just started the show Taboo on Netflix. Set in 1814 just as the war of 1812 between England and America was being settled, it deals with James Delaney's return to England to settle the estate of his deceased father. Long thought dead after traveling the world, he surprises all the wrong people and gets into trouble as his own interests collide with British colonialism and its dreaded demands. I'm already hooked.

Cutting room floor

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Being in a couple without the trans equation is hard enough but then adding that one element to the mix is just asking for trouble. In spite of the cases where it does work out (and which I am very happy about) they are definitely the rare exception rather than the rule. Having been burned before I won't enter those waters again and all the more so after some additional years of wisdom under my belt as well as enough t ime lived on my own to become sufficiently psychologically self sustaining. I honestly don't think that either side wins and most of the time you end up in a tug of war arrangement where neither partner is entirely happy. Perhaps those with milder to no dysphoria can pull it off and if so more power to them. Trans issue aside, I have seen enough shattered relationships to make me sufficiently wary of wasting time trying to start again at almost 60 and potentially seeing all end up on the cutting room floor once again.  Experience has given me caution but not disd

Working on it

Beating on someone weaker than you has no value other than to provide temporary feelings of superiority. As someone with something to conceal all my life I discovered that I could use intellect as a shield and hit others over the head with it as payback for me needing to live the I way I felt I was forced to. Of course this isn't right and inside the internal turmoil remains unresolved. Your rage against the machine has provided you temporary solace but that is all. Hence calling someone else deplorable doesn't elevate you but instead lowers you to a level where you don't want to exist because it's a cheap self defense mechanism that provides no value. Many people in pain are resentful and others cannot be allowed to be happy while they aren't, and while my angst wasn't to such a level, I couldn't entirely allow wilful malevolence and injustice to go unpunished; hence my outrage at a world that cannot easily be repaired. Instead I choose to repair myself an

Twilight Zone

The right wing appetite for authoritarianism is knocking down borders with the fringe right in America openly supporting an illegal invasion of a sovereign Ukraine. When all you have is culture war outrage and no policies to help the working class, any convenient distraction will do. This should worry many Americans who are seeing their country fracture into one side's healthy appetite for despotic leadership which openly mixes in pseudo religion as part of its desired governance model. When you have the wife of Supreme Justice  Clarence Thomas calling Mark Meadows to see how an election can get overturned and Meadows himself gets Biblical you know you have a very serious problem on your hands. This unraveling has been happening for a while on a worldwide scale and even a supposed communist country like Russia is run as an autocracy with a deluded madman at its helm promising to hold back the illusions and debauchery of the decadent West. Framing things in this manner, you can see

Un peu d'histoire

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The prevailing wind

I ran into Eileen and her little dog once again this morning on my way back from morning coffee in a steady rain. Louise had cancelled our Friday coffee because she hadn’t felt well and so I was on my own. “It’s Joanne, right?” she says after smiles are exchanged and I was obliged to make my own small correction after calling her Arlene. People are nice where I live, and I am starting to get to know the regulars and they to know me. I don’t need to overthink anything and simply operate on autopilot now because I have spent enough time fashioning a niche for myself. After a few minutes of chatter, I’m on my way again. The process we undergo is fascinating and seem molasses slow until we look back and realize it is actually quite remarkable. I am at a place where I had never imagined and, with no goal in mind going forward, there is something very pleasing about just floating along and seeing where the prevailing wind carries me.

To be fair

There is a nebulous area where the path forward for someone gender dysphoric isn’t at all obvious. At both ends of the spectrum the positions are far clearer with each side understanding what they must or must not do. My friend Sherry, for example, knew she must transition and even considers her transformation at age 25 to have been late. Conversely, people who occasionally indulge in gender variance are equally emphatic that a transition isn’t for them. Because this zone where I and others exist is so grey, I have always advocated chewing things over many times before acting and this has been made even clearer to me over the years. This philosophy of “less is better until you are sure” is probably the way to go with the understanding that thinking that any form of medical transition won’t help you at all isn’t good either; for it is not being open-minded. It is nevertheless the stance I always adopted. What is most fascinating of all is that the more I remained open to the idea, t

Blood pressure

Being a political junkie is no good for my blood pressure and when I see the state of global affairs in the 21st century, it confirms all my fears regarding the human race being able to progress into enlightenment. The combination of disinterest and ignorance of the populace is what often hurts us the most because there are plenty of bad faith actors in the world willing to capitalize. Perhaps then it's best for me to stay away from looking at the wreckage and focus more on my daily life and how I can positively impact the lives of others in small ways. Yes I will still look at the headlines but let the frustration go because it won't change my ability to impact the world. It's also much healthier for me.

What is decent

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There has always been behavior among some humans that is shunned and considered aberrant and I was reminded of this as I watched "Professor Marston and the Wonder Women". Marston, who created the comic book character Wonder Woman and invented the polygraph was very much a maverick and admirer of the traits of women who he felt were in many ways superior to men. The original version of the comic which came out during the second world war, subtly dealt with themes of bondage and submission (the lasso standing in for the rope) and Marston was attacked by civil decency groups for overly playing with these themes and ultimately forced to tone it down. The film examines themes of sexual freedom and free expression and what happiness means if ultimately we must be muffled by society. There is no judgement to be rendered here other than reflect on the border of malleability and tolerance for human expression that falls outside the borders of what is considered proper. The film cha

We already knew this

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Duh

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Well of course tRump is guilty of numerous felonies. Is there fear of charging him? Yup. Different set of standards for some I guess...

Photo

My neighbor is shown a photo of Joanna in her thirties and says it's not really me but then she's right because we need to grow into ourselves. At that time I was still very much in denial and the short forays before a convenient jettisoning of clothing into the bin was the order of the day.  I don't have many pictures of myself over the years because they were only used as verification that I wasn't totally deluding myself for even thinking I could step outside. Today I take even less and mostly to show someone a recent purchase. I just don't need them. She says that the eyes are not the same and I note she is right because there was indeed no confidence in them. Instead there was abject fear covered by a pretend smile except I had not realized to what extent until someone else pointed it out.

Expiration date

There isn’t enough impetus to deal with our trans issues based on novelty and excitement alone because everything becomes normal and routine after a while. The same problems that existed before are there only at least you have dealt with one disconnect you didn’t need which means life becomes more routine around the area of being trans. This happens to all of us after a while and I have read many accounts of people whose completely focused mission to transition suddenly became a question asking: So what now? Still, despite some of the gloss having come off the apple, it doesn’t make us any less trans. For myself I am glad that doing my groceries or going to the drugstore isn’t an adventure because in truth it isn’t. The only difference is that you have dealt with one nagging area of your life that you don’t miss grappling with. When we are in the closet, we yearn to get out of it but once out in the world you realize that absolutely everything has a novelty expiration date and that p

In reverse

The world mostly operates in reverse of science in that it finds conclusions without the need of evidence which is either entirely ignored or outright fabricated. This is because before we are rational creatures, we are emotional ones with our belief systems needing to be upheld regardless of their veracity.  What I find most objectionable is the combination of ignorance and malevolence which is more than ever freely practiced and even historically allowed pseudoscientists to expound on the lesser intelligence of Africans or the hysteria of women all for the noble cause of racist and misogynist mantras. As I have detailed often in this blog, this was something even attempted in the area of trans studies. Today as political parties are more than ever infiltrated by outright morons some of whom are hell bent on creating theocratic states, it is clear this is a scourge we will never ever be rid of.

Self value

Given our tendency to be self critical, many if not most of us undervalue ourselves. The problem with that being that the world is only too happy to oblige us in this habit and letting us continue. We can think that our families and friends value us yes but that doesn't always provide enough sustenance for the psyche when it is perhaps not expressed often enough and as parents we know that feeling when we wonder if our children appreciate what we have tried to do for them. In the end our own value must also be acknowledged by us and we must avoid the temptation to be overly harsh. Loving oneself need not be an act bordering on narcissism but instead an acknowledgement that, within certain limitations, we can still be the best version of ourselves even in imperfection and that there is perhaps no need for excessive self flagelation.

It's complicated

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The Meyerowitz Stories is about relationships between parents and their children with their subtle and not so subtle complexities. Its about the frustrations of things not stated and the flaws that impede communication and build walls which we then need to knock down before death impedes our ability to get closure. Dustin Hoffman plays the enigmatic artist father who doesn't listen and he loves his children in the only way he knows how which is through his craft. He is a man of his time and hence doesn't possess the language to describe his affection and his children in turn have complicated ties with him and with each other. Life is indeed complicated.

Sister Wendy

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Once again

Once again I am fascinated by much younger colleagues using the postscript (he/him) or (she/her) after their name on emails as a respectful way to recognize that not everyone necessarily subscribes to the binary even if they do. Despite the fact that it makes some traditionalist heads explode, it clearly reflects acknowledgement of a reality that has been with us since the dawn of humanity but which remained especially ignored by white Western Christian culture: namely, that gender identity is a graded spectrum rather than two adjacent monoliths. We might just slowly be learning as a species after all :)

Scary times

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These far right wing dipshit ideologues (some of whom are in congress and the senate) want a white, pseudo-Christian ethno state. Make no mistake..

Boutique

For transphobes and homophobes the idea of asking for basic human rights is a bridge too far and they tell themselves "wow these people are uppity; who do they think they are?". For at the root it is their antipathy which drives them. Instead of asking for equality they frame it as asking to be seen as special. When the LGBTQ community asks to be simply treated fairly vis a vis job opportunities, access to other things which most people take for granted or simply not being assaulted, it's considered a "boutique issue" as a tone deaf Bill Maher likes to say. "Don't perturb the conservatives with these matters and perhaps they won't see us as being quite so woke!". One almost imagines African Americans asking not to be obliged to ride in the back of the bus or needing to drink from separate fountains for fear of upsetting the normal way of things. "After all, we don't want to rock the boat". I have long ago concluded that in the be

Good enough

Being "good enough" is somehow unsatisfactory because we deeply want to do better. Unfortunately being an exemplary parent or human being really isn't in the cards for us because we are fallible and we will beat ourselves up every time we drop the baton. I think the secret is in the effort to want to improve ourselves and to love openly and honestly which is what makes up for those failings. That effort is measurable and gives us at least the knowledge that we aimed for the bar even as we failed to reach it. If we have made some progress we might even detect it when we look back at our past. We can then be a little more relaxed when we fail to meet expectation so long as that effort is always there. It might just be OK to be "good enough".

Keepers

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I was almost going to let these Payless comfort plus heels go because I tend not to like stilettos even when the heel is not too high. They just aren't comfortable over long periods. But then I thought the better of it in case some short wear occasion ever comes up. You just never know

UBI

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Universal basic income is an idea whose time may have come and indeed many nations flirted with it during the pandemic to keep some people afloat. The reality is that in the coming decades there will not be enough work to go around most especially with the increase in robotics and all forms of technology which are replacing menial labour. Right now, first tier nations are letting jobs that their population cannot or will not do because of dirt wages to immigrants or exporting it to third world countries. The problem with this of course is that those nations have now eliminated some of these jobs for a segment of their own population. In addition to that phenomenon, some people have decided that they will not continue to do jobs at any cost, and we are seeing the ''great resignation'' happen before our eyes as workers realize they have power. In an employer market one gambles but when the tables turn suddenly dishwashers, cooks and waiters are not so easy to find as so

Exorcism

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In 2022 t h ere are several major battle fronts we need to desperately address: the fight against misinformation, class warfare leading to income inequality and the expanding global appetite for authoritarianism. Most of these are of course being driven by and benefiting the political right; misinformation being the most convenient when you need to convince your naïve acolytes without actually doing anything for them. Moreover, none of these problems have easy remedies but I am somewhat counting on the younger generation to come in and at least make selective repairs before things get even worse. Their appetite for repairing globalization mistakes which have led to a worsening their own economic prospects plus furthering climate change will make them better suited than the baby boomers who ravaged and raped the planet to their liking. This means that monsters like the Rupert Murdochs and Trumps of this world will need to be exorcised from our system and be used as models of what never

PPSD

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From the Guardian: "It was October 2020 when I realised I was going to have to ask for help. I’ve always been anxious, but thanks to the pandemic, I developed debilitating health anxiety. A dire winter was coming and any respite we’d had over the summer felt like it was slipping away. I couldn’t get to sleep and when I finally did, I had nightmares. My stomach churned and my hands shook so badly I had to give up caffeine. I developed a chronic reflux cough and, on more than one occasion, got into such an irrational spiral about it being Covid that I had to book a PCR test just to be able to function. “One of the most diabolical things about this pandemic is the on and on-ness of it all,” says Amanda Ripley, author of The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why. “Humans can withstand a lot of turmoil and instability if they can recover.” Prior to Covid, Ripley studied people who survived tornadoes and terror attacks, emergencies for which the mental health conse

Renewed

One of the hardest things to do as a person who has lived a few years is make sense of your place in a world that has shown you all its flaws and injustices. The temptation to be cynical is strong because your illusions about it have been replaced with a stark realism. Hence, the work I need to do on myself now is focus on my surroundings and find value there because looking for windmills to joust a la Quixote will ultimately not prove fruitful. Besides, as an introvert I do not possess the gene for such outspoken advocacy. At the level of the individual, we are not alone in feeling powerless on the larger stage. However, each positive contribution provides a quiet dignity that speaks volumes and, by focusing on these efforts we can become renewed and eliminate most if not all of our cynicism. In my case however, I will admit that it won't be easy.

Free speech

Free speech is in trouble in America but I would argue that much of that stems from the inability to recognize that many issues are heavily nuanced. As the right wing has taken on increasingly ludicrous ideas which readily embrace anti-science views and conspiracy theories, you are left with no choice but to debunk rather than debate. This cannot be denied. One can also make a good argument for toning down excesses on the left and perhaps college students would be wise to not push for boycotts of speakers on their campuses. Best would be to engage them and let everyone see their radicalism so that it can be exposed rather than be muffled. The political discourse has coarsened and to bring people back to the negotiating table we need to hear them out as painful as that sometimes may be. Of course free speech is not about bolstering hate and propaganda and so it can be a slippery slope, but the aim should be to calmly discuss the issues so all sides can be aired without fear of reprisa

How the right sees freedom

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Emancipation

To me the term crossdressing denotes an act which is most often but not always practiced on a temporary basis and gives no insight regarding status of identity which is something more related to long term feelings and emotions. In other words, it is a term denoting what one does but gives no clue as to its significance for the individual. With the expanding of the trans community to include people who identify as crossdressers it has opened a series of questions vis a vis public protection. For example, a transgender woman is protected (most especially if she passes well and falls under the radar) but what about a person dressed as the opposite gender who does not pass as a female?   Clearly it can be far more dangerous to enter a men’s room dressed as a female. Society is having enough problems dealing with transitioned people and in the past transsexuals would wisely opt for stealth transitions which today are increasingly unlikely due to our ready access to information. What we

Quality

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If music is good, it will stand the test of time. Yes, musical acts can be the flavor of the month, but quality is timeless and if decades later people still enjoy it then it must have  artistic merit. We are all impacted by the music we grew up with which has a reminiscing quality which will often dictate what we gravitate back to when we want it to move us. We are all biased and I know I will listen to a song by Justin Beiber and hate it but then I need to remember that it has value for millions of others. If there were no redeeming quality to it why would so many people listen? One of the interesting things happening over the last few years is that older music has been slowly overtaking newer music on streaming services like Spotify. This to me speaks to a drop in new music quality because more ears are gravitating back to the older material; perhaps because it was created in a less manipulated era where artists had more latitude and freedom to create.  My children grew up on list

People power

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As one might have imagined, invading a country is not the least bit obvious and especially so when the occupying army is less than motivated. Russian troop losses are much greater than the Kremlin anticipated and the Ukranian army is being bolstered by ordinary citizens doing their part to defend their nation. Russian generals have been killed by army snipers and without their leadership the troops are having trouble coordinating attacks. Meanwhile Russia takes a massive hit to an economy already suffering from oligarchy abuses that makes an unjust American system pale by comparison. As the serfs rise up on a global scale against the abuses of economic injustice, the world may yet see a balance of power remade with the outlook of this war showing us to what extent power lies in the hands of the people.

Who are you?

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After identifying as a crossdresser for a while, Paola is transitioning and she asks you some questions in the process...

Air

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Unbelievable

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"Unbelievable" is about the chase for a serial rapist. His M.O is almost surgical and he is always one step ahead of the police. There is even some suspicion he may be somehow connected to law enforcement. The acting is first rate and the story draws you in as clues continue to trickle in at a snails pace. The show also works well as a detective buddy story. It's a short one at one season and well worth your time.

Still holding up

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This new pastel colour is still holding up and I'm sticking with it until the bottle is empty ;)

Advice

I don't presume to give anyone advice here but instead my posts are aimed mostly at myself and the work I need to do to improve myself as a human being. If something I say here strikes a chord with you I consider it a fringe benefit and validation that my blog has a purpose other than being a vehicle of self-help. I know I have benefitted greatly from the blogs of others over the years and some of their expressed thoughts still resonate with me. The human experience is mostly built on learned behaviour and if we can sometimes avoid being burned then I consider that a good thing.

Ego

It's not pleasant but every once in a while it's good to get a slice of humble pie. You've overstepped your boundary and you realize you've messed up and deserve to be put in your place. The ego can get a powerful thing and it can extend to places where it isn't welcome or desired. Being reminded of that should be welcomed with the ensuing discomfort serving as reminder to learn from the experience and avoid repeating it.

Media distortion

There are women who don't know I'm trans but the ones that do, I receive nothing but support from. Hence, framing battle lines between women and MtF trans people is a false one. There are of course gender critical feminists (otherwise known as TERFS) who try to paint all transwomen with one brush but in truth they are a tiny minority and most intelligent and secure people accept trans people at face value. Lately I wrote about Bill Maher and his perennial griping about "boutique" trans issues (get your head out of your ass Bill) and he was right back at it again just on his last show. JK Rowling for her part won't let it go and her spousal trauma might be best dealt with on a shrink's couch rather than with poisonous anti-trans Tweets. There are of course others, but basing yourself on high profile people with an axe to grind gives us a false image of the landscape and the more people who get to know us the easier it will be to gain broader acceptance.

Get used to it

At best the world operates on blissful but not ill intentioned ignorance and at worst on malevolent stupidity. We just need to get used to it.

Our well being

Doing the right thing for ourselves will ultimately result in improved sense of well being and mental health. Therefore if something we are doing is countering that desired state we need to question it. Life does not have a perfect road map but our internals are often a good guide for gaging whether we are headed in the right direction. This of course implies ignoring external advice from the well meaning and finding our own path. As trans people we are even more called to do this since our journeys are so unique and often run counter to conventional societal wisdom.

Uncut Gems

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Uncut Gems jangles the nerves with an almost overbearing score, quick cuts and frantic dialogue which instills an uncomfortable sense of realism. Here Adam Sandler as protagonist is freed from any need to be funny and instead presents a portrait of a character who has bitten off much more than he can chew. A diamond and precious metals merchant who thinks he has scored a bonanza, he must also deal with shady characters he owes money to and a superstitious athlete who wants his score possibly more than he does. I had hesitated viewing this film because of Sandler’s history of mediocre films and his dubious acting chops, but then was pleasantly surprised even as I squirmed at times at the frenetic life of someone who is far from having it all together. He does more than an admirable job. Highly recommended if you don't mind feeling more than a little uncomfortable at someone else's plight and, while comfort viewing this is not, by the end you realize it's been a rewarding r

Removing judgement

Removing the need to judge ourselves overly harshly allows us to then be less judgmental of others. If we have been too strict with ourselves, the temptation might be to assume others should behave in kind which tempts us to see them less favorably should they fail to measure up. This is why recognizing where we have been too severe with ourselves is so pivotal towards attaining greater sense of mental wellness and internal peace. I grew up with a series of imperatives about what should be done which then impacted my ability to be loose and spontaneous. Whenever I failed to measure up I was quick to chastise myself which then creates a loop of self-dissatisfaction laced with perfectionism. That very behavior is what also delayed my self-acceptance as a trans person. The good news is that it is never too late to fix that problem.

The travelled road

We've all had those imagined moments of what it might feel like not to be trans. Certainly it would make life easier and as someone who tried desperately to drown it in the bathtub, that effort turned out to not be worth the while. Still, we imagine ourselves at times being "normal" and think about what it might have been like to live as others do; what life might have been like without ever having experienced a stitch of dysphoria. That questioning still exists in me because it must and I have analyzed my thoughts for decades making sure that I was the genuine article; to make sure those very early days of mother's face paint and her clothing had been worth the effort and that there was no deliberate self sabotage.  I came to the conclusion quite a while back that something this deep seated must be the real deal which brought a degree of comfort even as it didn't necessarily make the traveled road any easier.

The inconvenient

We learn to put painful experiences into little mental drawers and every once in a while, when they are inadvertently opened, we realize we never quite adequately dealt with them. That has happened to me and it may just be the simple opening of a photo album to relive something that we were sure had been a closed episode in our history. We humans have great capacity for self-delusion and to avoid discomfort we will find ways to bury the inconvenient until it is resurrected when we least expect.

Groups

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I’m a very individualistic person and the idea of groups doesn’t appeal to me at all which is why I have never attended any trans related events; perhaps it is the way I am wired. Over the years I have been all about self-help and this blog was part of that journey. Hence my idea of supporting the trans community is conceptually tied to just wanting all people to be themselves and if my writing has in any way helped someone find that individuality, it’s a bonus. My efforts to meet up with people over the years produced mostly mixed results and only when I began this blog was I able to have some very rewarding overlaps. Still, those were one on one meetings which are my forte but put me in a group setting and I become lost in the cacophony. In that sense, I don’t want to be a banner holder for the trans community, but prefer to be thought of as someone who believes in justice and fairness for all.

Fact checked

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Candace Owens is not particularly bright but she is brazen and a useful tool for the right as the token African American woman who is on their side. For that she is handsomely paid to be a useful idiot...

The time for a change

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I can somewhat relate to this story as I too took advantage of working from home to advance my progress into becoming myself. From the New York Times: "For years, Deke Wilson, 41, was ambivalent about undergoing a medical transition to male. He felt it was critical for his happiness, but there were plenty of reasons to put it off: the expense, the difficult recovery, the potential medical complications. But while sitting at home during the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Wilson said he felt the urgency. “You’re trying so hard to avoid getting this one sickness,” he said. “Why? Because you want to live — you want to experience life fully to the best you can. For me, that means being comfortable in my skin.” Mr. Wilson, who works at a logistics company in Cleveland, underwent five surgeries from March through December last year at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, recovering while working from home. He expects to return to in-person work this month. F