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Showing posts from April, 2022

Permanent

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The dysphoric brain is permanently miswired from birth. Caught in a conflict between its conditioning and instincts running counter to birth sex, it tries to resolve this gap in any way possible while navigating the heavy restrictions of our world. In the end we are often left with methods that curtail dysphoria which do not involve the ingestion of cross sex hormones plus the possibility of their addition. However for many if not most of us the dysphoria is at best reduced but not entirely eliminated particularly if the methods to combat it began late which is why young trans kids today have more than a fighting chance before too many years are spent in internal turmoil. The reason I have always recommended that caution be used for those of us who are older is that medical transition does not always resolve dysphoria in a fully satisfying manner and often introduces other life impacts that can leave us bitter. This is certainly not true in every case as some are deliriously content

The trap drum set

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Children's Crusade

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Targets

While some like to think of the trans community as being more monolithic than it is, there are elements of it which are in some ways even anti-transgender. This division goes back a long time when Virginia Prince was trying to make distinctions between married crossdressers and transsexual women. The reality is that it has never completely disappeared which is why posts on crossdressing blogs garner massive views while those on trans issues barely get noticed. This is because the gender variance community is a larger portion of what we have been calling the trans umbrella. I have tried to point out distinctions without appearing prejudicial because it is not about that. It is more about upholding the rights of people who go out on a limb and live their truth versus others for whom it boils down to a sporadic practice that they might enjoy often without excessive consequential impact on their lives. I am not and never will be against the crossdressing community, but it does not inte

Candor

She is a philosophy professor and we just started chatting as we both sat near each other in my usual Friday morning café. She tells me she likes to grade exams while sipping a large latte on Friday mornings and by the end of the conversation, we agreed that we might meet each other again on a regular basis at the end of each week. I learned that her husband works in the music business, and they have a 15-year-old daughter. She has been living in Canada since the age of three when her parents emigrated from their native Chile. The fact we both spoke Spanish only fed the ease of conversation and I am once again reminded of how some people are so ready and willing to engage while others are so much more reticent. Its good not to overthink and be overly on guard while still using warranted discretion but not so much as to appear unfriendly. In the end it is a balancing act of candor versus exposing too much information that upon subsequent reflection makes you wonder whether you cross

Little to complain

My traffic is down because maybe I have nothing interesting to say. I am in a good place and things are coalescing towards the end of a challenging career. Both my children are doing well and as long as my health holds up there is little to complain about it. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Layers

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Some people feel they exist in the middle of two genders while others are perhaps denying their true one. Determining this isn't the least bit obvious especially when the investment in the birth sex and all its trappings has been extensive over a long period of time. We end up peeling away layers as one does an onion until we get to the root of who lies underneath. I have been doing that for decades and the answer still isn't perfect but the bi-gender moniker doesn't quite feel right for me. So I leave the descriptor as trans and simply keep peeling the layers.

Cencus

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Last year for the first time ever I was able to mark the option of transgender as gender identity on a Canadian Cencus. The results released today show that over 100,000 of us identify that way with the actual number most assuredly higher due to trepidation and fear as that only gives 0.33% of the population when we know the average global percentage is higher and closer to 1.4% (and only goes up from there if you include all gender variance). Still, its another step forward in recognizing that not everyone has their birth sex and gender identity perfectly aligned. Some years ago, had that option been available, I would have been among those too hesitant to speak my truth but no longer.

Trust

What is our impetus for trusting? After we've been burned a few times by life we discover that not everyone merits our trust. If we then turn to mistrust as a baseline position we have lost a piece of ourselves for then everything is seen through a prism of cynicism. We humans are flawed, insecure and driven by self doubt which can impede trust in others. When we fall victim to unpleasant turn of events suddenly our justification for mistrust is rewarded and fed.  When older we tend to have a better eye for gaging in whom we can confide which perhaps makes up for those early scorchings. Fine tuning our criteria improves our outlook by also necessarily reducing the number of deserving candidates. As trans people our reasoning for trusting less has some justification because we have lived the consequences of partial or outright rejection. Something which makes our journey to intimacy just that much harder.

99%?

That debate between Vaush and Deborah Soh exposed the core difference between those who accept versus reject trans people. Those dubious of trans claims fall back on chromosomes while those accepting understand that one can decouple sex and gender and appreciate the heavy connotation of social construct as component of the latter. One interesting point not touched was Soh's assertion about 99% of people being comfortable with their birth sex which isn't completely true. The reality is that gender norms being so restrictive and punitive when broken, the vast majority settle for adherence. Hence if tomorrow all rules were dropped plenty of genetic males and females would live their lives very differently.  So even if trans people represent the outer edges of the divergence between birth sex and gender identity, there is a large subset also willing and able to free themselves from impositions they did not freely choose. Even if these potential gender outlaws aren't trans iden

Tethered

When you are trans and in a relationship you are tethered and have a reference point as to where you stand. Being untethered is less restrictive but also more dangerous because knowing what to do becomes more complex. Without that reference point to hold you back you can become more uncertain about your future since at least before we knew what our limit point was: namely the border beyond which the relationship would end. I know many trans people who live knowing where that fence exists and are perhaps happy about it because, even if they might want to venture beyond it, their anchoring to another person they love is comforting and brings structure even as they sometimes imagine a world outside of that boundary. My natural state is to be cautious which is why even now I step gingerly past potential land mines in a world that doesn't really know what to make of me. Being tethered then, is not always the worst thing provided you exist at a limiting line where your response to your

Gender debate

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Vaush just being Vaush  :)

Balance

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Simple is good. Ballet flats, jeans, black top over which I place a grey three quarter knit works for me. The color scheme is simple and I have jettisoned most patterns (except stripes) for solid colors which match well with each other. It makes dressing easy and expedient. My caramel thrift store leather purse is also pragmatic and comfortable suspended over a shoulder which doesn't tire of it. Yesterday on CBC radio I listened to a young transwoman describe her increasing migration into a balanced blend of comfort and style after initially opting for extra femme choices and I  smiled to myself as I drove. Been there done that :)

Monologue

I try to be patient with monologists but it's hard. I cannot imagine being in their place and needing to talk without any apparent need to listen. The art of conversation appears to be a one way street for them and I become weary of their tactics very quickly. I don't want to judge but simply observe and chalk it up to neediness. I suppose it's as good a reason as any.

A cat's philosophy

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  Sure, cats have simpler choice span given they operate mostly on instinct. Still, there are some lessons here...

Sliding scale

I don't use the term "community" like some do because in studying this topic for so long some distinctions become fairly clear after a while. For example, today's trans kids are those people we used to call transsexuals and after that there is declining scale downwards towards what at the other extreme is ostensibly elective gender variance. We can make these distinctions without prejudice because acknowledging them is part of understanding the subject matter. Recently I wrote about the two streams: namely dysphoria versus none and I still believe that to be the main starting and distinction point to gender variance. The dysphoric stream having the greater pressure to somehow resolve a disconnect which makes itself known very early in childhood. I also wrote recently that gender variance is a big tent, however upon entering it we can begin to see the distinctions between its inhabitants.

Finish tape

I need to comprehend to what extent the post pandemic reboot and career fatigue are contributing to a kind of listless feeling I have these days. Here I am 6 months away from a new chapter and I reflect on what that will look like. Nothing in life is exactly as we expect and there has been more surprise in mine than meeting with expectation which shows you how brilliantly deluded we are in youth. Perhaps that idealism and our targeting are good for us because if we learn the truth too early we might be apt to abandon goals. This observation of fact is not consolation but more acknowledging that souplesse is what is called for. In my case my career was the only steadfast stalwart and as I see the finish line tape it means there are no goals beyond it other than to try and stay mentally and physically healthy with emphasis on the former. I don't like it when bloggers use their platform in histrionic self pity but I know that sometimes it makes one feel good to let the pressure out.

A different time

Spring and autumn as we used to know them are gone and in their place an extended winter and brutally hot summer have taken over. No it's not your imagination and I have reading about this cycle which is likely being fed by climate change. Today is a grey and dreary day in late April and then suddenly in May the mercury will do an about face with summer announcing its arrival with blunt force. This didn't used to happen I my childhood when the spring would linger for a while and the crisp and bracing September air would announce a return to classes and that the changing of the leaves wasn't too far away. It's not the way I like it and it makes me pine for a different time when life seemed simpler or at least when I wasn't quite so aware of how everything works.

Inspection

Women are hilarious and many will give you the up and down look from head to toe as kind of inspection. It seems to be an almost universal habit of sizing you up. "What kind of shoes does she wear and where does she get that jacket?" I've had women come up to me and ask me those questions and I answer them graciously and respectfully. However rude looks will only get you an up and down scan of my own :)

Calming

Living mostly as a female has given me increasing perspective into what I needed all along. Its not that I think my life is so much better only that I am now resonating more comfortably by treating my dysphoria with the respect it always deserved. When you are in the early stages of self discovery, you tend to think in terms of outings whereas now I just live my life everyday using exactly the same formula which produces a calming effect. Gone are the erratic emotions borne out of starve and feed cycle of dysphoria treatment which invariably introduce schizophrenic ups and downs. In the end, my journey became one borne out of necessity because you can only hold the dam so long before it bursts. Hence a solution must be found since with age come the increasing demands that authenticity be honored and respected. If I don't have major issues switching back and forth sometimes it's that I have my insides in order and they are always the same irrespective of the garb.

Engrained

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Human aspirations and abilities don't rely on gender very much but you wouldn't know that from the world I grew up in. Even today there are trappings which rely on prescriptive assumptions when the reality is that male and female differences are largely culturally imposed. Those who most desire to break away from what the world tells them, still find difficulty in attaining their goals although things are exponentially better than the era I which I was born. White European culture placed great emphasis on gender norms but only in a hypocritical sense for they had little issue with enslaved indigenous women doing hard labour alongside their male counterparts while their owner class women practiced daintiness and manners. Hence, there were two sets of rules employed which suited the white and male ruling class exceedingly well. There is no better way to subjugate a populace than set up conventions which then become dogmatic and remain largely unquestioned. Why one is obliged to

Fighting back

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Clip ons

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The lady at Claire's asked me if I wanted to get my ears pierced but I said that I will likely will later this year. In the meantime I did pick up these clip ons which I really liked and will wear this weekend  :)

In the balance

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Elon Musk's bid to purchase Twitter is dangerous for democracy. An erratic megalomaniac with a huge ego, one person owning such a massive platform smells Orwellian. A publicly traded corporation whose sole purpose is to make a profit cannot become police watchdog for fair play and if he takes the company private and allows bad faith actors back on, he risks losing two thirds of the platform's users. As unappealing a prospect as it is, governments must step in to help ensure the survival of democracy which hangs in the balance; no greater warning than the failed coup attempt in the United States to send shivers through the spine. It all hangs dangerously by a thread and failure to act now could see the implosion of numerous democratic countries as societies buckle under the weight of paranoia acquired through misinformation.

The harder we try

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Minefield

Breaking out into becoming fully ourselves is a journey we all need to make to varying degrees. For us trans people it is one fraught with traps and challenges that most people don't face, however everyone has some difficulty in acquiring authenticity in a world that seems to reward adherence to convention. If it's ever going to happen it is after we have removed the burdens of conscripted ideas which exist mostly to subjugate. Of course in youth we don't yet know this and we move about the world like pinballs hitting against bumpers and take our lumps until we perhaps invariably learn. Much of the world operates on dictates rooted in power struggle and those at the top will stack the deck in their favor. What remains for us to do then is employ just enough resistance to escape most of the artifical while avoiding being completely ostracized which can be somewhat like navigating a minefield.

What are women?

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I very much appreciate Lily Alexandre's epistemological approach. She works through definitions and examines their origins through a lens of separating fact from simply tradition meant to uphold a system which benefits some and not others.  One thing is for certain: this young Quebec transwoman is one smart cookie...

Uniquely stupid

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Valhala

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To deprogram

Even with Anne Vitale's very fitting descriptor of dysphoria as "Gender Expression Deprivation Anxiety" we can be left with a problem because despite being able to scratch the itch, many older trans people (myself included) have leftover trauma such that even when living the right way for us still leaves major baggage to be dealt with. The longer we spent denying our trans identity, the more effort must be placed repairing the psyche and eliminating vestiges of guilt and shame. Hence, in spite of my having made massive progress, I know I still have work to do. This element adds to our dysphoria because we cannot fully and adequately embrace ourselves until most of that burden is eliminated. Barring to do so is akin with trying to drink from a partly blocked straw. I am very aware of the obstacles in my way but I don't stress about them as much as I used to. I simply chip away at my psyche and give it the time it needs to acclimatize itself to my increasingly changing

Change

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I suppose I can now relate to other people who saw so much change in their lifetime at least on the technological front. Imagine someone born in 1900 like my paternal grandmother was and experiencing the massive changes like almost everyone owning a vehicle or being able to fly around the world when at the time of her birth all that would have seemed far fetched. I began my career in engineering using a computer with a monochrome monitor and a floppy disk and now the average cell phone has much more memory. Some older draftsmen were still using drawing tables at that time and now 3D models and virtual plant visits are the norm with the internet exploding at a rate I scarcely could have imagined when I first began surfing on Altavista in the early 90's. One thing which hasn't changed much is human nature which simply adapts itself to the new inventions. We find ways to simultaneously create positive and negative outcomes with each step because we are complex creatures with a

Un bon café

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Un bon café le matin ca fait mon affaire :)

Thailand and trans people

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Seeing is believing

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The next right winger who says there is no such thing as climate change I will clobber. The photo below was taken this morning and it's April 19th which is the latest I ever recall seeing this much snowfall in Montreal in my lifetime. Only last week the northern states like Colorado and the prairie provinces were hit with up to 80 cm of snow in a massive storm. No climate change? My a$$&@

Almost anniversary

In July, this little blog will be 10 years old and is currently just shy of 1 million views. For a limited interest blog that is not too shabby and when I began writing never did I imagine I would be doing it for this long. I think it reflects who I am pretty well and those who have joined me for the ride know that I have been for the most part brutally honest with my thoughts. For when you are reflecting on something which has had such a deep and significant impact on your life, there is no other way to go about it. No it hasn't been light fare but I certainly wouldn't have it any other way and I value the small but loyal readership which has encouraged me to continue my exploration of this topic and of life in general. So if you know this blog you pretty much know me.

Faith and reason

I take nothing for granted and want to look behind the curtain of everything before I accept its veracity. This is probably the reason why I delayed my self-acceptance and why I needed to reinvest in rebooting my spiritual belief system into adulthood. My father, a subscriber to the Aquinas axiom of there can be no faith without reason, also needed to get to the bottom of things. Perhaps it is a biologically acquired trait. Going with feeling alone is not sufficient because the psyche can be treacherous to us if subject to delusional thinking. If we are convinced we are right we must be able to defend ourselves which is why for the longest time I bemoaned many trans person's disinterest in delving into and understanding the subject matter. However as I learned, there comes a point where faith takes the reins once our path to reason has come to a dead end which was the aspect I found the most difficult to adapt to. For both faith and reason are equally important and must balance ea

2 off-shoots

The other day I came upon a YouTube video titled "How I Started Crossdressing" and was curious with the author describing the origins of the practice at around age 15. Before that no previous history existed and I have seen other cases like this of those who seem comfortable using the term crossdresser and are typically the post pubescent types. Again, this is not judgement based commentary but merely observation. We know of course of examples of trans people who have  never dressed and suddenly transition in mid life. But the more I have read and reflected on this over the years, it seems like we are often dealing with 2 distinct off-shoots namely: dysphoria versus not. For the dysphoric the disconnect is always there whether acknowledged or not, whereas for the non-dysphoric some event triggers the practice of gender non-conformance (eg. trying on their mother's pantyhose for example). What is interesting here is that the absence of dysphoria is probably more likely to

Lost

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Demented

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Yes Peterson is unhinged and here is another take on his right wing mindset...

No reason to

I knew she was trans. Tall and lanky she was maybe mid twenties at the most, her long red hair pinned neatly back into a bun. I've learned over the years not to even attempt recognition glances or give any sign that I know and if our eyes meet I will simply smile as with anyone else.  There was nothing overt that signaled her identity but simply little things that I gathered aside from her frame. What I liked what the self assured stance and the lack of self awareness and indeed no one gave her a second look for there was no reason to.  The voice as she responded to the batista was another little sign that tipped her hand but nothing so overt that would startle anyone. I sat at another available table and wrote this entry as she quietly worked on her laptop, everyone around her going about their business which made me so very glad. I often wonder what it might have been like not to have masticated this subject for years in a quiet purgatory and simply live like this young transwom

Noise

Getting together with family feels more awkward now; even more than it did before when I had already felt the connection had been mostly severed. Cacophony and I aren't friends and my brain short circuits on small talk. Still, I am very astute politically and can show no signs of discomfort. It was only a partial gathering and I had arrived soon enough such that when the very latecomers were entering I was making an exit without any sense of culpability. Of course the pandemic magnified this feeling, but rather than want to reimmerse myself into the fold I more keen to judiciously choose my interactions carefully. The smaller the contingent the more I am able to communicate clearly and effectively and understand where my partner in conversation is coming from at that moment in time. Perhaps living alone does this after a while where we retreat into the confines of our thoughts to make up for the external noise of the world.

Paring down

I don't like to talk about clothes here very much but one thing I do want to mention is how beneficial to my psyche it's been to settle on a basic wardrobe. The more one lives openly as a trans person, the more important it becomes that this aspect not become a distraction but instead just another facet of your full expression. This means finding a balance between practicality, comfort and style. As a reverse example, imagine for a moment a female to male transman always wearing a suit and tie or a tuxedo. This is not a reasonable or even desirable expectation. It certainly wouldn't be all that comfortable. Hence once we settle into ourselves, we take the over focus on the choice of clothing, shoes and makeup and make them work for us such that they blend into our existence rather than be a primary focus. By doing this I find I am happier and in the process my closet is getting smaller as I jettison poor choices over the years which I ended up hardly ever wearing. When step

Staying away from reds

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Staying away from red polish has meant less chipping plus I prefer the more subtle shades I use now. Doubt I will ever go back. This corral colour for example is my recent favorite.

Behind the drag

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Less is more

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Determinism

Genetic  determinism continues to be the disingenuous argument of the right winger. Unable or unwilling to decouple sexual plumbing from brain chemistry, they fall back on DNA argumentation that doesn't erase the fact that we exist and always will. Trying to convince us and the public of our folly changes nothing. It's a lazy argument to make and negates the trans reality as wishful delusion rather than empirical fact because we do not need to understand all the inputs into the creation of trans people to acknowledge that they aren't going anywhere anytime soon. But as I long ago determined, conclusions in search of facts are the modus operandi of much of the world and, like the existence of trans people, that is a reality which isn't about to change either.

Patterns

As we comprehend ourselves more we begin to understand others. After all, the factors which drive the human psyche are almost universal with only slight variations. We look for purpose, to love and to be loved which are our psyche's most fundamental building blocks. Figuring out how to get those things while navigating the challenges of this life is not obvious and in youth we sometimes look in the wrong places only to realize we had taken a wrong turn. Biological instinct and fear prove to have more sway early on until we figure what makes us tick as unique individuals. We are then more able to break away from convention and obligation which allows us to look at the world at a more comfortable distance. This perspective then reveals patterns which become more obvious and discernible. We have then figured out how to live.

Mavis

I crossed paths with Mavis this morning who is a nice older lady with a sweet Caribbean accent. I had not seen her for along time and she told she has just had her hip replacement before Christmas and can now walk more comfortably albeit still with her cane. I place her age as early eighties but of the well kept variety with skin that is hardly wrinkled. No doubt the advantage of her genetic heritage and a caramel complexion that looks healthy and vibrant despite her advanced years. She smiles readily and gives off a peaceful vibe that I hope to possess more as I advance in years.

Connection

Loneliness is not about being alone but rather about feeling so. We can even be inside a marriage and feel abandoned and lonely while a single person can benefit from judicious use of friendships to feed the need for human contact.  Of course there is no perfect formula and no one is spared the pangs of feeling things could be better. For the natural state of the human is to feel yearning for something that is intangible and cannot be easily defined. A retired colleague from one of our US offices left me a note yesterday that he had just undergone brain surgery and added that "you never know what life will bring you" and if course he was right. We never know. All we can hope for is that someone cares about what happens to us and we feel the same about them. We can perhaps reduce life to its bare essential in finding and maintaining connection with ourselves and with others no matter what form it takes.

Tragic

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I was watching a video on the life of Christopher and Dana Reeve and I was so touched. I recall well the accident that irreparably destroyed the spine of the former Supermam actor but what impacted me was the strength of the bond between the married couple. When Christopher whispered to Dana one day that perhaps she should consider letting him go she responded that he was still who he was and she was committed to their marriage. Tragically Dana herself died of stage 4 lung cancer 18 months after the cardiac arrest that ended Christopher's life which made you almost think that if divine justice exists their souls could finally reunite where they could be free of the trappings of this life. The foundation they started and the work with spine injury victims had a deep and lasting effect on society and helped thousands of others to rebuild lives with this difficult disability. Maybe not so tragic after all.

Brilliant

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Dark thoughts

As trans people many of us have had dark thoughts. We have wondered whether falling asleep and not waking up would be a blessing and every once in a while that still happens but then I think what a wonderful world this is despite the craziness, the injustices and the unfairness of it all. We have more than a right to exist and I would say more of an obligation because by living our best lives we can show the world that we belong and can even thrive amidst the insanity. Our lives shouldn't be more complicated than anyone else's but they are made so through artificial means. The prejudice of the world must be beaten back and not be allowed to perturb our internal peace. Best then to enjoy the company of those who appreciate us for what makes us tick and let go of those who don't.

Poe

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Short hair

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I t turns out that I'm much happier with shorter hair. There is never a problem with wind and its so much easier to maintain. No hassles at all which is why I'm sticking to it :)

How we got here

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  It isn’t just social media, but also the internet that got us where we are. Unregulated hate speech and forums of all types have encouraged the like-minded to congregate in echo chambers no matter the issue. So, while in the internet's infancy trans people could find out they weren’t alone, that very same platform allowed the radicalized to do the same. The great divide in America and the world is widening thanks in large part to scare mongering and feeding into the frenzy through hyperbole which only makes the enemy more hateful to you. There is no simple solution because if you begin to restrict access where do you draw the line. The platforms which have begun to apply policy rules are having difficulty doing so in cases where the zone between hate speech and free expression becomes grey. The world has always been a messy place but today we have a tool that levels the playing field more than ever before. We have unfettered access to places where radical and dangerous ideas ca

Republicans and trans people

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 I like Vaush and here he shows us how clever and analytical he is.

Ideas

I find that I am not interested in things. What I am interested in are experiences and ideas.  For things wear out their novelty very quickly but ideas help us to live better and experiences rest long in the memory for the savoring.

What cannot be

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I was recently looking at one of Jack Molay's old Crossdreamers posts from 2009 which had almost 100 comments and once again I was struck as to how far we have come since then. The comments were more vibrant, questioning  and urgent as people wanted to know where they fit. There was palpable anxiety that is perhaps largely dissipated today as many have begun to define themselves within a society that has advanced substantially since then. My own journey has calmed over that time as well since that July of 2012 first posting and although firm answers to everything still elude me, I have joined the ranks of those who just need to exist as who they are. That wonderful blog and its dialogue were instrumental in my own searching. Even as the waters are in some ways more dangerous today due to the transparency, we are seeing a more diverse world which is scaring the living daylights out of conservatives. Their recent backlash representing their push to put back into the genie's lamp

No perfect

We cannot have it all. Something must always fall by the wayside because our wants often conflict. Decisions put us on one road and we cannot be simultaneously be on two of them. The ability to see how decisions impact life is not obvious until we have lived a little and even then analysis is called for to assess why the dominoes fell the way they did. Many of us have regrets about roads not taken but that is based on an extrapolation of how we imagined those rejected options playing themselves out. For that there is no answer other than wishful speculation with the human penchant for rose coloured glasses distorting our memories. With age our piss and vinegar is hopefully depleted and perspective and humility take their rightful place. For there is no perfect.

Un jour a la fois

If we are too self absorbed with our own issues we miss out. The world is a big place full of people with much bigger problems than our own and hence we had best get on with things and be content. Carrying a weight for a long time can see us become relieved when it is finally shed but not always free of the habit to navel gaze. Hence when the instinct returns, I combat it and regain my footing. It's interesting to note that we can have expansive empathy for others but not so much for ourselves which then encourages bouts of defeatism. It is only when we are successful in gaining perspective do we realize that we are exaggerating the over analysis which can lead to self deprecation if we are not careful. Today I am much more able to recognize when I fall into this pattern and am slowly eliminating it from my vocabulary.  Un jour a la fois.

Without friends?

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Surprise

For only the second time in perhaps 20 years, I ran into my 85 year old mother in one my favorite thrift stores as Joanna. Masked it was even more fun to approach her and I stood gleefully as the brain gears slowly churned while this woman she didn't recognize stood in front of her. "Do I know you?" She said staring quizzically into my eyes and then suddenly all the tumblers fell into place. "Oh my God you look good and I like that coat. Did you get it here?" Of course this is not her first time seeing me but she didn't expect it. We spoke for a couple of minutes only and told her I would call her later and she went back to her habitual treasure hunting. She has made enormous progress as have I and now there is a clear understanding in her mind about who I am and how I need to live my life that is completely devoid of judgement. Her approval was important to me.

Better than none

Right wing misinformation and scare mongering is everywhere. Armed with pseudo-experts, religious fanatics, TERFS and general haters, the wedge issue of the day has become what 5% of the population is allowed to do or not do. Never mind that the statistics do not show any great adverse impact on society by giving LGBTQ people rights, culture wars are a strong ally as camouflage for those who don't have any strong policy ideas to sell to anyone. This is going to be a long drawn out battle because most people are hopelessly confused about gender variance and can't grasp even basic differences between drag, cross gender expression and transsexualism. This only muddies the waters and allows bad faith actors to add even more confusion to the mix. Common sense not being a strong asset to much of society, it is relatively easy to use hyperbole to trumpet one's own biases and agenda. Just as racism continues unabated to this day despite enacting of laws to combat it, this will con

Murielle

Turns out that Murielle was worried about me. I would often cross paths with her as she ran early morning along the lakeshore and having changed my routine she wondered where I had gone. This morning we caught up after a happenstance crossing and I ended up giving her my number should she ever want to grab a coffee. Murielle is 10 years my junior and works for a sporting goods company as a sales rep. Both her and her husband had caught COVID and had been out of commission and she wondered whether the same fate had befallen me. Her spouse had even been hospitalized with it. She had almost asked a lady we both regularly saw regarding news about me. Sometimes it's nice to know we leave a positive impression with people.

Choices

Life doesn't offer us firm answers but instead a series of choices that later reveal their wisdom or lack thereof. However, no experience is wasted and they helps form us into each new incarnation of ourselves. If everything always went well we wouldn't learn lessons and if all went sour we would give up on life out of sheer frustration. To only add insult to injury and confusion, what we sometimes identify as choices turn out to actually be necessities.

Abuse

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Abstract mass derision at the level of Twitter (which I am not a subscriber to) cannot be good for the psyche. The human brain just isn't trained for it and online bullying is now a major component of our lives and particularly if you hold positions on issues that enflame passions in others. Our 15 minutes of fame now extends much more for major content creators whose massive following sometimes gets them into trouble. Some have even been moved to close their Twitter accounts due to traumatizing abuse over something they said. Our world is too tempted to opine and I do it here often after having begun this blog with one purpose only. But what I wish I saw more of is just good intent and less misinformed and deliberate injuring which compels some people to flee in terror from platforms in abject fear. That is why a platform that encourages barb to barb combat is maybe not the best way to dialogue with others. Even without the shadow of anonymity we are left to wonder if we will eve

Lunatic

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Russell Brand looks and acts like a lunatic. Never mind the frazzled hair and the bulging eye balls, one look at the conspiratorial video titles and we have our first clue. I have attempted to listen to an extended portion of the content but the insane delivery style and the circus ring leader approach turns me off. As a general rule I don't like frenetic rapid fire talkers who claim grievance without answers. I am also still trying to understand why some people think he is a deep thinker when I am more picking up a vibe of a fast talking carnival barker. Have a look at the disjointed delivery and see if you agree. In this age of social media messiahs perhaps I am missing something? Because complaining about issues and promoting conspiracy theories without providing solutions sounds like empty bluster to me.

Break out

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I knew I'd break out the pumps this week and it turned to be this morning. To go along with my black heels a simple black top, black tunic and leggings. Simple but elegant with the length of tunic sufficient to cover the tush :) Keep it simple with intent to blend in without being dowdy. Comfort is also a big priority for me which is why these heels are only 1/2 inch. For me it's not about the clothes but about using them to express what lies inside.

What it means

What I took from the video in my last post is that we need to examine our motivations and make sure we are not fooling ourselves. There will be people who would benefit greatly from living full time and use every excuse not to. Conversely, others could sell themselves on the idea they should when regular cross gender expression is all they require for balance. Determining this is unfortunately not an easy task for many of us. I have worked very diligently to make sure I don't convince myself of anything even if that meant stalling my progression into fully becoming myself. I have made concessions for others and still do but then I have also never been closer to knowing exactly who I am. When your education has everything to do with denying your identity it makes the task extra difficult.  Another important takeaway from that video is that exaggerated femininity is neither useful nor helpful in your journey and actually stunts it. It virtually guarantees you remain a caricature.  Th

A warning

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 Good advice....

Spiral

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Better Call Saul season 5 is as good as I expected. It's not a poor substitute for Breaking Bad which continues to be the best show I have enjoyed on Netflix.  Bob Odenkirk is fabulous as James McGill (aka Saul Goodman) and his talents to find himself in the mire with the Mexican cartel is extraordinary. The descent into seedy lawyer is slow but believable as the death of his brother begins a downward spiral he seems incapable of escaping. Walter White isn't far away now.

Sometimes....

Sometimes when I post something and read it back I can see traces of post pandemic fatigue. Suffice it to say I am aware :)

I just didn’t know

My next challenge is to learn to have less disdain for obnoxious and stupid people. They are everywhere and one notices them more as one gains life experience. The blinders long ago removed, we are left with the challenge of navigating the rest of life without constantly having a low hum level of outrage. Today the level of entitlement has reached a new high or maybe I just notice it more. The manners I was taught are now just a quaint anachronism to be missed as one stares down the person with feet extended over the next free seat on the metro. My almost 24 year old daughter has also noticed this lack of concern and she has had the misfortune of being almost doubled over in menstrual pain and having no one give up a seat on a bus. I don't despair for humanity but rather am more aware than ever that it doesn't evolve. People are just as intelligent and kind but also as frighteningly stupid as they have ever been. My task today is to judiciously know when to look away from the

Of weather and other things

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One doesn't move to Canada for the weather and we are renowned for talking about it since we live for those days when we aren't frozen or sweltering in humidity. Even in temperate Vancouver one can pass a two month stint when the sun doesn't make an appearance and we are doused with a steady mist that obligates an umbrella as steady companion. We are nevertheless a peaceful and friendly nation full of mostly level headed people. Perhaps it is the weather itself which prompts our reserve and we often watch the antics to the south of us with dismay even as we have friends and family members there for whom we fret. I was talking yesterday to an equally politically inclined friend who is regularly asked why he focuses on US politics quite so much. The answer we both came up with is that as the elephant in the room for our entire lifetimes it serves as model of excess for both the best and the worst we find everywhere in humanity. It's exaggerated jingoism serving as solac

Vaccines and freedom

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The loner's path

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Kentucky sees the light

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s Democratic governor on Wednesday vetoed a bill that would bar transgender girls and women from participating in school sports matching their gender identity from sixth grade through college. In his veto message, Gov. Andy Beshear said the Republican-backed measure “most likely” violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection rights because it “discriminates against transgender children seeking to participate in girls’ or women’s sports.” The state’s GOP-dominated legislature will have a chance to override the veto when lawmakers reconvene April 13 for the last two days of this year’s session. The transgender bill sparked emotional debate at times but cleared both chambers with support from large majorities. Republican-led states increasingly have adopted such prohibitions on transgender girls or women, though the culture war-related bans have been challenged in several states as violations of federal law. Beshear noted that similar measures drew

Coordinate system

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If you have taken math courses before you will remember the x,y coordinate system perhaps supplemented with a z axis to then become 3 dimensional. In mathematics there is always an origin point to be measured from and it appears also in life. From the moment we are born we are measured against the coordinate system of our culture and society at large. It is how we learn to adapt and conform. While this life coordinate system works to varying degrees for many if not most people, those for whom it doesn't fit struggle to conform to it. Eventually with time we learn that it really never suited us to begin with and that it was entirely artificial. Only the norms meant to protect others and ensure a safe and orderly society ended up being useful. Unfortunately that was hard to separate out in our youth. This lesson takes time to learn because so much of what we are taught is done so as if it fell directly from the mouth of God and indeed through mixing theocracy into our cultural teachi

It's a big tent

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F or a while I was doing it too but then I realized it was wrong. Still, I could comprehend transwomen who wanted to distance themselves from what they deemed (rightly or wrongly) to be fetishism. Which then begs the next question: where do you draw the line? If you haven't guessed what I'm referring to yet let me explain. We've all seen the crossdresser pages with the numerous photos in different outfits; some skimpy or perhaps some as the archetypal 50's housewife vacuuming in killer pumps and while seeing me do that on this blog would mean I was running a temperature, there is no cause to be dismissive or nasty towards those who do. For I sometimes think of this scenario as someone reminding you that you are a lot like your mother and you get flustered because there is just the right nugget of truth in there to get under your skin. Gender variance is a large and expansive reality with lots of room for everyone. So long as the person is happy and well adjusted (which

Elbow room

I want to be treated well and I am. I am friendly with nice people and passing has long ago fallen off the radar once I knew I had women friends and acquaintances who don't know that I'm trans. That creates a reduction of stress which then allows you to simply be yourself.  I have always said that women treat each other differently and that is true. There is an understanding there and more willingness to smile and share with each other. Maybe that's also because I have relaxed in becoming myself. Gender has many facets to it but in the end much is steeped in performance art which then signals society to treat you a certain way. Even as women still have a ways to go for complete equality, some men are also trapped in the expectations of behaviour and dominance of their culture which gives them no elbow room to just be.

Magic formula

Excessive bubbliness makes me suspicious and sometimes I am proven right when its practicioners occasionally fall into a calamitous sinkhole. As someone more in check with my mirth, I always felt (whether rightly or wrongly) that a measured and steady approach to life was best. You are never ecstatic but then rarely fall down beyond a cloudy disposition on your worst days. Being an introvert perhaps encouraged it and beginning life in shyness was a likely originator. Today life experience has long ago burned off the shyness but the cautiousness remains due to episodes of lived history to remind me that life shocks and surprises when we least expect. Perhaps bracing for the possible while being content in the present is the magic formula.

Malaise

Low grade depression seems to be a symptom of the pandemic. I have been reading about it and must admit that there is no question I have been impacted. As much as working at home brought benefits, there were disadvantages that cannot be denied including a hazy borderline between work and personal life and a reduction of socialization between colleagues that permitted a level of commiserate sharing which mitigated the pressures. One thing is certain: I have never witnessed so many burnouts in my career which is a clear symptom that there is a malaise afoot. I don't know how it will be fixed even if I can identify the things we could do to help matters. As the nature of work morphs from the atomic age towards something new, we need to remember that the quality of life of the worker is important if we are to maintain an organized and just society.

The whys

Explaining yourself to yourself is probably wasted energy and your time is best spent being good to others. While you are at it, be good to yourself and don't beat yourself up any more than you need to. Life is confusing and difficult as it is without doing that. So much of our raison d'etre and what drives us is mysterious and maybe we don't to have to answer all the whys. Of course the person telling you this just spent the last ten years trying to solve a puzzle and in many areas came up empty. But somehow in the process of doing so, I was able to find myself.

When you do...

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I have only recently returned to using lip colour on a regular basis and one of the ones I use was given to me by a friend. The reason I like it is because it's not at all waxy and has some lasting power. It's the 24 hour mat by Cover Girl which sometimes makes me forget I am even wearing it. As my makeup use has abated over the years, I find that when you do it's important to use the right ones :) I'll also be pulling my pumps out of the closet this week for their first spring test drive as I saw another lady wearing hers.