"The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates

- - scatterings of ideas sent to my younger self, a sensitive boy who often thought he should have been a girl - -

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Forgiveness ~ Acceptance

For what is a lifetime for many (certainly it was a lifetime for the male façade who was blogging here for so long), I looked to others for approval. I admit it as a problem drinker might at an AA meeting; I was a chronic fixer. Everyone else came first. Maybe it happened because, as a child, it seemed like the only way to make grownups stop being angry. I don't know for sure, but that is who I was. Some call it "a pleaser personality". Every day I remind myself that this is an issue and I must stay aware of it.

I looked for acceptance and when I wanted something for myself, it was alway vetted through that filter: Will this make others around me happy too? When things went wrong, I did the quintessentially Canadian thing and asked for forgiveness - I am sorry.

Two years ago, I already knew what I needed to do and who I needed to be, yet fear ruled my life. To be myself I would have to let others down - badly. Surprisingly, when I told the most important people in my life, my children, they told me straight out that they knew I would still be me, but happier and healthier. There was acceptance and no need for forgiveness. We were good. We are good. 

Fear still ruled my life because my wife of many decades was terrified and disgusted by the prospects for her future with me as a woman in public. I wanted her to be ok; I wanted her to come along happily on this journey. But when she told me I will hate you if you do this thing, I froze and thought maybe I could put the life that had to be off a bit longer.

Friends who found out what was going on gave mixed reactions running the gamut from immediate acceptance to outright rejection. But those who spoke to my wife in private told her how disgusting it was and how she should just "take me to the cleaners" and divorce me. They were certain that as a woman I would be ridiculed and so would she. Some suggested that it would be dangerous; some might react violently against a transexual in such a small community. How could I do this to her?

I didn't do anything to her. I forgave and accepted myself. If nobody else in the world would forgive or accept me, it really didn't matter. I had to give myself permission to be myself. Once that was done, everything else was relatively easy.

Because I accepted myself, I acted naturally and confidently around everyone. That put them at ease and made interactions go well. I was not a target in the community.

If you have to break away from a life of maladaptive behaviour, begin by forgiving yourself for all the things you have done to others. Then forgive yourself for what you have done to yourself.

Accept and love yourself as you have accepted and loved others in your life for so very long.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Not doing Nothing anymore

Facebook has been good to me, so I won't slam it. However, it can be very annoying sometimes with repetitious views of the same thing - over and over. 

Some months ago, someone who knows me very well sent a message with this quote: 

"Promise me you'll always remember that you're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."

As beautiful as it is, somehow it didn't feel like A.A. Milne, but every search I did insisted that indeed it is - until today. Wanting to find out which of Milne's books it was from, I found this article that told me. The author of the article, Pat Morden, did some research and discovered that the words above were not authored by Milne at all, but by some uncredited writer, working for Disney. The illustration above is a Disney creation as well. Now, let's be really clear about something; I do not dislike Disney or the cartoons or the movies. However, as Pat puts it so well, "the Disney piece is ideal for Facebook—sentiment neatly tied up with a bow."

The illustration below (or decoration as it says in the book), is by Ernest H. Shepard and is from The House at Pooh Corner*. I find it equal to the heartfelt words Christopher Robin says to Pooh as he is saying goodbye at the end of the book:

"Then, suddenly again, Christopher Robin, who was still looking at the world, with his chin in his hands, called out “Pooh!
“Yes?” said Pooh. 
“When I'm - when -- Pooh!
“Yes, Christopher Robin?
“I’m not going to do Nothing any more.”
“Never again?”
“Well, not so much. They don’t let you.”
Pooh waited for him to go on, but he was silent again.
“Yes, Christopher Robin,” said Pooh helpfully.
“Pooh, when I’m – you know – when I’m not doing Nothing, will you come up here sometimes?”
“Just Me?”
“Yes, Pooh.”
“Will you be here too?”
“Yes Pooh, I will be, really. I promise I will be, Pooh.”
“That’s good,” said Pooh.
“Pooh, promise me you won’t forget about me, ever. Not even when I’m a hundred.”
Pooh thought for a little.
“How old shall I be then?”
Pooh nodded.
“I promise,” he said.
Still with his eyes on the world Christopher Robin put out a hand and felt for Pooh’s paw.
“Pooh,” said Christopher Robin earnestly, “if I – if I’m not quite – ” he stopped and tried again – “Pooh, whatever happens, you will understand, won’t you?”
“Understand what?”
“Oh, nothing.” He laughed and jumped to his feet. “Come on!”
“Where?” said Pooh.
“Anywhere,” said Christopher Robin.

So they went off together. But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing."

*Copyright, 1928, by E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc. 

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

She Persisted

My imagination is excellent. I have loads of empathy. Can those admirable qualities over the years have allowed me to know what it means to be a woman in our world? Not a chance.

I watched with anger and frustration as my wife was pushed aside in her work so that a man, with less seniority, who didn't know the job or do the work as well as she did, could have it. "He has to have this job. He has a family to support." She eventually left that company after a year languishing in the typing pool. 

In my heart, I have always been a woman, and yes, I live as a woman. By law, I am a woman; my birth certificate, passport, and driver's license say so. But what do I know of the sorts of hurts and challenges that a woman has faced every day in the world? 

It is International Women's Day, 2017. Last month the drawing below by artist Courtney Privett came to my attention. This Huffington Post article gives the explanation of how she came to create it. The drawing is self-explanatory and its title, Nevertheless, she persisted, says so much about what it has meant to grow up female in our society. 

I will reproduce the content below so that those who speak a language other than English can see what she wanted her daughters to know of her own life. I also feel a compulsion to absorb all of them more fully. I have heard only a few of these sayings directed at me in the past year. 

"What war on reproductive rights?" ~ "Feminists are annoying" ~ "You'd be so pretty if you made an effort" ~ "Stay-at-home mom? Get a job" ~ "Frump" ~ "You're too old to dress like that" ~ "Why are you getting so emotional?" ~ "Your husband is totally whipped" ~ "He picks on you because he likes you" ~ "Working mom? You're neglecting your kids" ~ "You just haven't found the right man" ~ "You run like a girl" ~ "over-sensitive" ~ "You're wearing THAT?" ~ "That time of month, eh?" ~ "Girls can't do that" ~ "Why didn't you just leave him?" ~ " You're going gray. You ought to dye your hair" ~ "You're formula feeding? That's not good for the baby" ~ "Breast-feeding a toddler? Gross" ~ "Catty" ~ "Whoa, take your Midol" ~ "How much have you had to drink?" ~ "That's a man's job" ~ "She was asking for it" ~ "Your clothing is distracting the boys" ~ "You'd be so much prettier if you wore makeup" ~ "You're wearing too much makeup. You look like a clown" ~ "Women will complain about anything" ~ "She's hormonal" ~ "Dyke" ~ "Slut" ~ "Whore" ~ "Frigid" ~ "Feminazi" ~ "Bossy" ~ "*Catcall*" ~ "Let the men work" ~ "Calm down" ~ "Smile" ~ "Relax" ~ "Moody" ~ May I speak to the man of the house?" ~ "Bitch" ~ "What were you wearing?" ~ "You'll want kids someday" ~ "You need to lose weight, for your health" ~ "You're too skinny. Eat a burger" ~ "Your biological clock is ticking" ~ "So many kids. Keep your legs together" ~ "Aren't you cute?" ~ "You're too fat to wear that"