"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 - -

Sunday, 30 May 2010

From a Young Halle?

Now that we know each other a bit, I would like to tell you the story of my avatar standing in for me here at “Facade”.

About twenty-five years ago I took an art course in the summer. For a week, some friends took various classes; mine were in photography (where I learned to process black and white photos, and took some very artsy shots with lots of varied depth of field and shading) and sketching. The sketches were done with pencil, charcoal, and conte crayons. No different from most budding art students, it was particularly challenging to capture the human eyes and mouth. For practice, I drew a number of self-portraits of my reflection.

One of the sketches from that time was a drawing of a young woman from the waist up, with curly hair and a rather serious expression.
It and all the rest got put away and pretty much forgotten not long after being produced.
Last year, looking through some stuff, I found the collection and realized that the young woman’s eyes, nose and mouth were mine, from those studies I had done over and over, while the hair and body was that of a woman whose shape and size were not that of my body twenty-five years ago, but not unlike my body now. Unconsciously, I had drawn a self-portrait of Halle at about thirty years of age.
Starting this blog, wanting to give readers an idea whose words they were reading, it made sense to scan and crop my sketch. My intention at that time was to replace it as soon as there was a decent photo of Halle available for general publication, as so many of you have done.
Now comes the true confessions part. There will likely never be a photo of me here, because this pencil sketch has become more important to me than a simple device for readers. I look at that face daily. I take in that attitude, and into those eyes looking into a future she never lived, and she challenges me to aspire to be more than I was yesterday. It must sound very weird, yet I try each day, now, to live up to the expectations that the artist (an earlier me) put into that fictional lady so long ago. He would have denied up and down that this was a self-portrait; it was just the best image he could make at the time.
If you have looked around here, you know that these are letters sent to my younger self. My younger self seems to have reciprocated.
How is it possible that I could create my own role model that far in the past, for a time I never knew would come?
Every one of us is a miracle, you know. Do not underestimate yourself, or the capabilities of the human mind.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Expand Your World Girl!

How we participate in this world, in my humble opinion, determines what good we get from it. It is true for anyone. It seems to me that those of us who have two spirits living inside need interaction with others at both levels to be successful as a human being.

I was a surfer for many months before I took up the challenge that was included in an article by one of our sisters here in Blogistan (you know who you are girlfriend) and I sent out that first email.

Give and take is the essence of a true life. I can divide my life as Halle into two very distinct parts. Chronologically determined by that one event, these two sides are more correctly described as internal and external Halle. Internal Halle dressed occasionally and felt empty. External Halle is not as concerned about the dressing and is a living and breathing person. She is someone who has others who she is getting to know, and they are getting to know her. She has issues that engage her and she cares deeply about her world, because she HAS a world to care about.

Please, if you are like I was, give it a try. Reach out to someone in Blogistan whose story touches you. Tell them something of yourself and what it is about their story you relate to. Let it be known that you welcome interaction. Take a risk. Expand your world girl.

Halle

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Can't Live Without Them - Conversation Part 3

(continued from Part 2)

Pictures and feelings and EMOTIONS; all way over the top! This lady is on overdrive all of the time; demanding that I "get busy and put it all into words, NOW!"

That mistress part has never been truer than these last few years. It is just like it was when we were a child, only worse because she loves everything SO MUCH, and she wants to be SO HAPPY and send messages to ALL OF OUR WONDERFUL SISTERS! all of the time, all of a sudden.

Where did this come from lady??? Unbelievable, how she let me know, in no uncertain terms that we were going to start making comment and sending emails and now we must write a web-log of ALL THINGS, under her name? Do you remember that line from ‘Ghost Busters’?

“THERE IS NO DANA! THERE IS ONLY ZUUL!” 

I am no zombie, believe me, but sometimes it would be nice if she could just stay asleep until past five in the morning. Like a little kid, she is, so full of ideas and fun and “please, can’t we get up and write this down NOW so we don’t forget like we always used to?”

No, I do not hate this lady. Sometimes I wish she could filter, just a little. But that is my job, and you know what? I honestly think I am having a good time here, so let’s let her go for a while, and see where it takes us. Life should be an adventure, you know. Maybe that is what she wants after all of those years, serving my purpose of getting on with doing what we had to do. Now she would like to have a bit of fun. If only she could send me images of something very macho that we’d like to emulate. It is always dresses, and high heels and hair that is like a halo with lots of waves and curls. Lots of bling, please.

Petra and Stana, you aren’t helping me out here, but you make her very happy.

Excuse me now, I need to try to send a message, and she is tired, and has had her way for the last couple of hours, so it’s hard to get her attention.

Hello in there! We are a man! Remember? Hello!

She isn’t paying the least bit of attention.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Reporting From Control Central - Conversation Part 2

(continued from Part 1)

There is a typical male attitude for you. He is making me this oh so wonderful façade, so I can hide behind it, hide behind him and, what? Just what is it he thinks I am going to do, wash dishes; clean the house? He wants me to be here to support him and do his thinking for him, then quietly step back into the shadows again so the world can believe he is this amazing metro guy who can do anything. I don’t feel any new mind warping drugs in my part of this brain, yet he is acting as though he is smoking some pretty good…well, you know.

His idea about the ‘femme side’ being locked away is pretty convenient but not quite accurate. The previous description pretty much sums it; he has had his façade for a long time, thanks to me. Every decent thought he has had, that was in the least bit original, has been from me. It was not a good idea to have him worrying about us, with so many other things to worry about, so I have delayed self-gratification. Pretty wise for such a young dame, huh? ☺

The name he dreamed up for me is kinda cute and suits me pretty well. Mistress Halle sounds better at the moment, though. That might sound as if it has kinky connotations, so we’ll keep that between us. O.K.? It is such fun to keep a man dangling.

Until he can come up with something better, (and you know that will be an idea sent from ‘she who must be obeyed’, hehe) I will allow him to go with the current plan and help him shore up that façade of his too. You can bet I’ll continue keeping him on edge though. I have learned a few feminine ways over the years!

Don’t expect to hear much from ol’ slim, by the way. In spite of what you might have been encouraged to believe, he has been pretty inarticulate over the years. Together we make a decent person. He needs to get used to that, and figure out a better way to deal with me existing in his world. I might make him twist in the wind some in the meantime. Personally I’m doing just fine (for now anyway) here in Control Central, thank you very much.

Hugs all ‘round girls,

Halle

(continued in Part 3)

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

She Said, He Said - Conversation Part 1

“Hey sad sack, what are you working on over here?” the tall, smiling lady in the sun dress asked, walking over to join the man standing next to the teetering object.
“You don’t recognize your own façade? I’ve been working on it for a couple of months now.” He tried not to sound too upset, thinking she should have had at least an idea what it was, even in its early stages.

Suppressing a chuckle, feeling a little sorry for him, she pretended to look more closely, while not getting close enough to be in the debris field if it was to come down.
My façade, is it? A little fragile, don't you think? What about using any of this old stuff lying around on the ground here?” she smirks.

“You know darn well we spent good time pulling this old crap out together and agreed it should be trashed!”

“Just making sure we are on the same page, old man.” She turns to leave.

“The least you could do is help a bit. Even a few ideas here and there might help me give it enough support to stand without all these temporary props I’ve been forced to put into it.”

Turning slowly on her heels to look back, grinning. “You seem to have things going along just fine on your own. See you later, slim.”

Women…

(continued in part 2)

Monday, 24 May 2010

Interlude for the Man

In my awkward way, yesterday’s post was an attempt to find a meaningful way forward. I need to build a new structure for the man; something to be proud of maybe.

My life has been an illusion of being a man. This façade is not new, just recently revealed. It has been here for those forty years, supported by all of the ways I had learned to ‘be manly’. The difference is in point of view. Knowing when life is a sham is difficult, but necessary.

Withdrawing support from a façade risks a sort of collapse, quite a dangerous situation until a new way of creating support is available. Old support systems do not suffice. They offer themselves constantly. I recognize them for what they are and reject them. They are not only worn out, they have been revealed for what they were. They were weak and false supports, illusions of structure only.

A lady stands by, not too close, but she is waiting and watching.

How long can the façade stand unsupported? The man hopes for calm. Even a gust might do the trick right now.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

If You Could Pass...

I would like to interview one hundred women on the subject of ‘If you could pass as a man what would you do differently? How would you take advantage of the opportunity?’
Even with this façade, there is still a feminine social conscience here. I could just use some help deciding how to best take advantage of what is, let us be honest, a unique situation and opportunity.

The Interview Scenario:
You woke up several months ago, and realized that even though you were still ‘you’ in every other way, emotionally, personal attitudes, desires, ambitions, and so on, your body was changed. Your face was scratchy with short hairs growing all over and most important of all, your most important female feature was replaced by that most phallic of all symbols. For all outward appearances, you have become a man. Testing your voice, you find it resonates far more. Covering your ears and speaking, you sound just like a man.
Maybe you get yourself some comfy clothes and take it out for a test drive, this man’s body. Just for fun, you run faster than you ever have before, and if you like tennis, or golf, or baseball, you have some new experiences. You find you are able to hit the ball harder (once you get used to the bulk and different balance) and throw with more power too.
Maybe you go out drinking with some guys, and eat way too much food for a while, since you can, and the body gets out of control. You only do that for a while because you really don’t feel good dragging your knuckles along the ground and tromping about like a guy does. You remember it was good being healthy, so you hit the gym, watch what you eat and start to consider what you would really like to do with the rest of your life. Though you might be able to pass as a man, you haven’t really enjoyed the mindless chit-chat about sports, machinery and so on. You’d like to be with your girlfriends, but don’t seem to have much in common with them anymore. So many of their issues are not your issues anymore, or are they? You still care deeply about so many of those things you always cared about.

Now we get to the heart of the question. You are a woman who can (and pretty much must) pass as a man for the rest of your life. Will it drive you crazy, or can you think of a way to take advantage of this situation?

I would seriously like to get some genetic female perspective, since it looks like these are my ‘advantages’ for the rest of my days.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Halle Takes Charge

Me, Me, Me alert!: I promise this will be the last entry (for a while, anyway) where the word “I” appears more frequently than any other. It is difficult to tell your own story without using it!

When you were left hanging, the lady in me had just made herself known.

As it became clear that this was not a temporary take-over that the lady inside had engineered, telling my wife what was going on (as I understood it at the point) became imperative. This did not go well. I will not detail the events, because you, gentle reader, are not without some imagination and intellect.

To keep it short, the love of my life (literally) had married a man, and a man is what she wanted. All of the concerns of the uninformed were asked and addressed, but the damage had been done to our relationship, and only time has put together new understanding. More than once she has wished out loud that I had never told her. Having no one to talk to about this has been, and continues to be very difficult. At any rate, we have re-established that love is our bond, and we are best friends too. She is a wonderful and patient person. It had never been a picnic being married to me. Maybe things are actually better with Halle in charge. I’d like to think so anyway.

As for the lady inside, like the prisoner she had been, (forty years incarcerated in solitary) she was not a happy person. The amazing thing is how quickly she rallied. Hopefully not getting too ‘split-personalitied’ here, it is possible that a lifetime in solitary gave her time to plot her moves in the event the door opened just a crack.
Once out, she moved me in the only way she knew how, with deep feelings. To be honest about the feelings, I was smitten with myself. She told me that she liked what we had done so far with the old place, and as long as I didn’t slide backward, she was willing to work to make it even better. She even promised to renovate the crappy attitude toward the rest of the world.
The biggest change was the new attitude toward my body. Gone were the days of neglect (or maybe abuse is a better description). As I (Halle) took over we began a new regime of caring about the old ‘display case’.

Whenever the old patterns of behavior such as nail biting, etc. tried to make an appearance, the message went out; ‘Thou Shalt Not Desecrate This Temple’. This might seem a bit biblical in tone, but that is what it took at first. An old friend once told me ‘God does not make junk!’ Until now, I had not really believed it in regard to myself. It took a huge effort to convince my male side that we were worth the effort it took to actually like our self.

Any woman knows, it takes more time to treat our self well. This is part of the change in attitude that is very obvious to my sweetie. Even though there are still days when I can come in from working in the shop, or in the yard and ‘hit the shower’ and be out the door in ten minutes, there are other days when a leisurely full treatment can take an hour; and remember, I maintain a façade, so we are not talking about make-up or fancy hair-styling here.

Nails finally growing past the end of fingers need shaping and smoothing. The ‘guy body’ has hairs growing from places no lady expects to see them. I shave my face more closely than ever before, and moisturize too. It looks and feels so much better, but it is still a man’s face. The other hairs, from the nose, and the ears…YUCH!  If there was a genetic plan, why did it have to include gradually getting less hair where everyone expects it (on top) and more growing from places where it really is pretty disgusting? Such is Halle’s life, and she deals with it!

In the winter, when the façade does not include shorts and sandals on the guy, the leg hair can go. I know, some of you are thinking that even in the summer, a lack of leg hair shouldn’t be a problem for a guy, but where I live, it just pushes the boundary too far, at least for now. I have purchased a small wardrobe of feminine clothing to compliment the new body, but that is only for special times when there is no (or very little) chance that doing so will ‘out’ my sweetie and I.

The above might seem to be superficial and vain. So be it, but part of being able to maintain my façade of maleness in an intolerant world while maintaining sanity, is the ability to convince myself that I am honouring my true feminine nature, in as many ways as possible.

My biggest change was self-acceptance. The effort required moving that ingrained person from self-loathing to acceptance was huge. Remember, since the time when the war was declared, and victory claimed, the armor the guy wore was never taken off. Getting him to accept the reality of a truly kind, loving and worthwhile personality was a very difficult victory. When it was won, I figuratively stripped him of the armor, so he could see what he really was, and grow to like it. Many tears have been shed.

Regretfully, my sweetie does not really appreciate how involved she is in the success of this process. The way she helps is pivotal. She is my best friend, even though we do not relate as women. She did not marry a woman, and I don’t expect her to try that now. She is getting used to the new me, and I try to be the best person I can be every day, one day at a time, for her. If she can ever accept and get to know Halle as an individual, that will be icing on my cake.

I credit much of the success of my effort to others here in www-land and, of course, to my family here in Blogistan; too many of you to mention. Some I will never have the opportunity to thank, but I do thank you all for the sharing that goes on here.

Finally, the reason for “Maintaining’s” existence has nothing to do with bragging, although I do feel proud of the new me, but has everything to do with what you read on the banner. These are letters to a younger self.

My deepest regret, and the apology I make to myself every day, is I didn’t allow myself to know or accept these things long ago. The approval of others should not be a motivation for a lifetime of misery. No one need look for more evidence to prove it, than the number of sisters here sharing angst over the ramifications to children and spouses and family and friends made during our times of denial. While our decisions as to how to act differ, I believe we all agree on one thing; everyone should be able to somehow live true to themselves, one day at a time.

Hugs to all of you,

Halle

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Finding Halle

In this entry, I am going to let down my guard. This entails a risk of exposure that is making the male side unhappy, however there are risks in life, and I need to be true to myself here, if ever I hope to be true in my real life.

Taking my cue from the sidebar my friend Petra, who I hope to be able to emulate some day, used to include; if you clock me because of today’s revelations, please remember that these experiences of mine have been and will be repeated many times by people all over the world. I am not the only person who has been inflicted this way, so maybe the man who you think is Halle in drab, is really just some other poor soul who has finally overcome some of their gender difficulties. Please be kind and understanding to all of us.

When you have a lady inside running the show in a body that she really isn’t happy with, well that is a bad mix. In my case, the lady inside came as a surprise almost two years ago. Sure, over the previous forty years, when I reflect on them, she had been there and had generally been making my life a misery. As I explained in ‘At War with Ourselves’, my feminine inclinations as a youth were buried deep, in an effort to overcome what I had believed was a very screwed up childhood. Finding and then being true to my feminine nature came as an accidental blessing, although from a certain perspective it was not a good thing. This might take some time to explain, so bear with me.

Three years ago now, I was an over two hundred pound guy with all kinds of issues that caused me grief. My face was usually puffy, with eyes that had bags and circles. My hands were a mess from biting and picking at them. Our sex life was almost non-existent. It really makes me emotional to think what a mess I was physically and in my mind; so confused and depressed for no good reason that I could think of. It never seemed to be enough, no matter what ‘it’ was that I did, or how well it was done. I guess you could say I really could not even like myself.

Like so many, I had suffered from lower back pain much of my adult life. It started to become a debilitating condition, to such an extent that I finally sought medical interventions. The remedies suggested were one of two options: physiotherapy with wellness training or surgery. Determined to give the first a try I began counseling, exercises and diet control. Losing the weight, especially from that belly, was a big help in relief of those back troubles. If you think of most men over the age of forty, a protrusion over the belt is pretty much a constant. Mine was dragging my whole body out of shape and getting rid of it was the beginning of getting the back pain and leg pain under control. Exercise is an important part, but a proper diet with food intake in moderation is really what helped me shed thirty pounds.
My sweetie had a big part in helping me with this, and we now support each other in the constant juggling act of eating right without seeming to be punishing yourself.

What else happened as I took back my body from the neglectful male custodian came as a tremendous shock. Looking in the mirror, I took some pride in myself, for what was the first time in many years. My mind’s reaction to that pride was the real surprise however. The imagery of my society began to work on me, but not in a socially acceptable way (from my male perspective, at any rate). Where society would say I should have been imagining myself walking the beach with my shirt off for the first time since teen years, I began to see a shapely body and legs that might be garlanded. I looked at the soft, colourful material on the women’s clothing around me and envy was the clearest emotion. Their hair-free, shapely legs with feet in pumps or Mary-Janes or high heeled sandals became, in my imaginings, my shapely legs. It was obviously a very difficult time. I was in denial again, for the first time in forty-five years.

What soon became clear as well was that the lady (nameless at that point) wanted a pretty face, and smooth hands and feet (of all things). As I made an effort to take better care of these aspects, my mind became quieter. I began to find peace inside at the same rate that some personal (and female) pride emerged.

The great truth here is that nothing that I did then, or continue to do now is bad from a male point of view. The shaggy eyebrows and the bags under the eyes were not attractive for a man either. The chewed up hands were unsightly and embarrassing. My feet gave me a great deal of pain. Getting rid of the calluses on them has increased their sensitivity which has improved my balance. I walk easier and with better balance, so my back problems have all but disappeared.
My sweetie could see what was going on, and she deserved to know what was going on inside too, or so I thought.

This is quite enough for one post (maybe too much) so I will stop here, regroup and continue later.

Halle

Monday, 17 May 2010

One Day at a Time

This weekend has been pretty interesting at several levels. Jenny over at Large Blooming Flower made a suggestion as a comment to Friday’s post that helped make what had promised to be a stressful time quite different. She suggested that if you find yourself surrounded by lovely women while in drab, enter into ‘girly chat’ mode so that you can avoid feeling even greater dysphoria. Thanks for all the supportive advice girls. It worked. The gathering was fun for me and I think the ladies at the gathering enjoyed it too, having a man listen to them for a change; not trying to dominate the conversation or be the center of it all.
This got me thinking about how my blog got its beginning.

I promised last month 'maintaining' would be about, well, what this weekend was about; being a man for the world, when the reality is, you are more female than male inside. I think it is time to explain where some of this came from.

Finding ways of getting through another day is really what we all need when maintaining our façade. Another day is how a lifetime happens. When you have a lady inside running the show, in a body that she really isn’t happy with, well that is a bad mix. In the next entry I will try to explain how I discovered that lady and how she saved me, so that we could carry on being a man in an intolerant world.

For those stopping by for the first time, some of my perspective about dealing with my dual nature was made in an earlier post, Why the façade? .

Sorry to leave you hanging. I will be back. It may take a little thinking time for me to put these ideas to virtual paper.

Hugs,

Halle

Friday, 14 May 2010

One of the Girls - NOT

It is not quite five a.m. as I write this. This morning my dysphoria is at vibration level. I do not need to consult a certified therapist to figure out what is causing my anxiety. Without giving anything of the man’s real life away, I will tell you this next few days is going to be like my earlier post ‘Joyful’, on steroids.

Sweetie and I are going to a fancy dress party this weekend. Unlike those other ladies around Blogistan who might write about their colourful gown, how it is cut, the neckline, what style heels and how they will accessorize, I will remind you that I am maintaining a façade. My sweetie and I have an agreement that I will not out her to our friends. I love her and a promise is important to me. Her love and support has sometimes been the only thing that kept me from saying goodbye to this sad story called my life. So, I will suck it up and be the man, literally. I will revel in her beauty (and she is beautiful). I will support her and do what I can to make her look good.

I will wear a very classic man’s outfit. In other words, disappear into the background, allowing the other ladies around me to glitter and dazzle. I will not glitter. I will not dazzle. I will look and act my part as a …. Nothing.

Façade sucks. I hate it.

There is no doubt that I will get over this, somehow, because that is what I have done for fifty years now. I suck it up and get on with it, as the man I learned to appear to be. But you know what? This time it is going to be better and easier, because under all that guy look, I will still be me, watching and learning so that some day, I will have a chance to be the real me. Just not this weekend.

Halle

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Ending it All

It is possible ‘Maintaining’ might have a very short existence. It might go on for a long time. As the old man used to say ‘time will tell’. At this point, with very little as yet, it would be of little consequence if I clicked on the ‘delete’ button over there next to ‘edit’. Things might get 'juicy' eventually... we will see.

Only having been in Blogistan for a short time, I have experience the ending of a blog only now and then, but the thought of it gives me a chill. What happens to all of that collective experience, the wisdom, the tragedy, the humor that is being shared here when a blog ends?

Of course, it is only my own perspective, but I believe the give and take aspects of this medium should both be appreciated by its participants. As one who has finally moved from the ‘taking only’ side, I can see how easy it might be to just stop. There are a few natural end points in what goes on in our lives as trans-folk, and when it’s done, and we don’t feel like writing about it anymore, or decide to change to some other medium or whatever, shouldn’t we just click ‘delete’ and be done with it?

Veronica in Canada is on my mind today, as a catalyst for thought and deep feelings about our journey. She is fully woman now and might become a candidate for that old DELETE key process. After all, ‘that’ is all in the past, and as she writes in today’s entry “Here and Now”,  “I have all the personal memories I ever had, but it's as though the current "me" has always been there. It's hard to remember having been male. It's getting hard to believe that I was!

She has three years of ideas stored over there at “Life Right Side Up”, three years of experiences that she does not really need anymore. However, I couldn’t help but notice that on her very first entry, dated May 18, 2007, there are two comments dated November 28, 2009; one a reader and the other Veronica. She understands that this is also about helping others, even if it starts out as a form of therapy for us.

A big hug and thank you Veronica, and the rest of you too!

Halle

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Ghost II

Maybe this post should have a warning; “The following post may contain scenes of depression and gloomy language… viewer discretion is advise.”

Today is starting out to be a very sad day. It’s not just the GD today. My post about ghosts was only part one, even if I didn’t know it at the time. I did hint at the existence of some less benevolent spirits. Today the malcontents want to be heard. Maybe if I put some of their story down, and send it out,  they will leave me in peace.

Through my lifetime at war with myself, there have been lots of casualties. The maimed and dying have mostly moved on. Some are still in my life (amazingly) but most are just ghosts. Many of my visitations come from folks along the way who would have been treated much better if only they had been allowed to know the real person who has been stuck away all of her life in the prison called me.

We all have histories that provide us with multiple excuses for our deficiencies. What good are excuses?. You cannot build the rest of your life on them. A chorus of ghostly voices as one says to me, “it is o.k. to say goodbye to us, we said goodbye to you years ago”.

Like a badly worn old 78 rpm record, my mind keeps running over that same old scratchy tune, then clicking and hopping back to play it again. Time for a new tune. Time for a new way of playing the new tune.

Véronique wrote eloquently on Mother’s Day about her attempts to stay connected, then to re-establish a connection with her mother. The fantasies she has written about resonate with me. My relationship with my father has been up and down (now mostly down) all of my life.

Many of you I know, are worried, as I am, about losing people because you tell them about the reality of your existence. You are worried about the ill effects of being open and honest. We are all correct in the belief that we will lose people. I am going to make a prediction however, based on my exalted position as one who has lost people through being closed and dishonest. If you truly believe in yourself, and do what you must do, you might suffer casualties, but they will have less reason to haunt you.

No good reflection on ghosts would be complete without reference to Dickens:
“Spirit!” he cried, tight clutching at its robe, “hear me! I am not the man I was. I will not be the man I must have been but for this intercourse. Why show me this, if I am past all hope!”


Halle

Monday, 10 May 2010

Ghosts

No, I do not have a sixth sense and I do not see dead people, although the long gone do sometimes cause me to change the way I respond in certain situations. They shared themselves with me; the good and the bad.  Let’s face it, we are the sum of all of our experiences.

Sometimes I imagine hearing my grandmother’s voice saying something encouraging for a situation she never knew about, or likely could never have imagined. I can see her body language, and the grin on her tiny, lovely face. A simple passing from life does not sever a life connection with someone who I understood and who understood me so deeply. Sadly I suppose, it is not within me to believe that this, or any other wonderful person from the past is really still alive in some other ghostly place. In some cases, where the ghost is less supportive or friendly, that is a good thing.

I suppose my belief in ghosts is like my belief in dreams. Do they tell us anything important? It is all in the interpretation likely. Sometimes my ghosts are very critical of the way I am handling a situation. When I am about to treat a friend badly by ignoring them, maybe thinking I’ve been slighted when in reality it is just possible they are preoccupied with their own lives (imagine that) I have a brief, ghostly encounter with an older, very dear friend who died some years ago now. We had a falling out just before he got sick and to make a sad story short, we never did have a chance to reconnect.

Ideas sometimes come to me as though they have been sent from some ‘idea-farm’; grown and raised then shipped fresh to a brain near me. This particular concept is not original, but I will promise that before I read it, I had thought it too. The book, “One” by Richard Bach is a story of parallel lives, and beautifully written. This blog has given me a small glimpse into how an author must feel. Here I am, giving birth to these embryonic ideas, nurturing them for a while, then sending them out into the world to fend for themselves. Does this make me a ghost for you now?

Just now, my Grandfather stopped by. He told me that I get the strangest ideas and I say the craziest things, but he likes hearing this stuff anyway, so I shouldn’t stop.  'Oh, and by the way I really don't understand this trans stuff, but you know, I love you anyway'

Yes, it is all in my mind, but every now and then these phantoms stop by and see me (Halle) as I really am, and it is revealing to gauge their reactions.

How about you; do you believe in ghosts?

Halle

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Our Intimate Conversations

A reality that seems pretty common in the experience of the trans-gendered is our internal conversation; that feeling of the girl inside trying to get out is one we hear over and over. In my case, that girl still manipulates me. The boy used to think he ran the show, but the lady knows how to push our buttons and get ‘us’ to feel just crappy enough to do what she wants done. Mostly this happens when change toward her direction is not coming fast enough. Just how crazy is that?

The answer is, this internal conversation and battle for control is not crazy or even unusual at all, according to Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, author of  “My Stroke of Insight, A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey".

In her book, well worth purchasing, downloading or borrowing from the local library, she describes what it is like to have a major stroke incapacitate the left half of her brain. She found herself fully conscious but without the ‘constant chatter’ of the left side of her brain until it could slowly recover. It is the left side that is logical, and forms sentences, giving us the ability to communicate with and navigate in the world. On its own, the right side of our brain, the holistic, artistic and feeling side cannot communicate with the outside. It still forms thoughts, but they lack boundaries and structure, linearity, logic and language.

Dr. Taylor’s chapter ‘My Right and Left Minds’ is particularly interesting for those of us who have been aware of two distinct personalities within ourselves. As the left half of Jill’s brain slowly regained function over a period of years, she had an opportunity to moderate the control this logical, talking side had as it attempted to take back her personality. She humorously refers to it at one point as the ‘shitty committee’ for its ability to see the dark, negative side of situations.

Those of us who participate in sports will recognize the damaging power the left side has. Just as you are getting ready to swing the club or racket, it starts to remind you of all of the mistakes you might make, sapping your confidence to the point where a poor result becomes a ‘self-fulfilled prophecy’.

On her website she refers to techniques for control over the brain and it’s functions, not unlike the skills those who meditate successfully acquire.

Personally, any ideas that can help me to accept who I am without having to give up the façade are welcomed. I don’t imagine my dysphoria will come under control, but I will be following up on Jill’s book and her ideas, if only to improve my scores on the links! ☺

Halle

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Parenting - - A Hazardous Job?

The hazards of being a parent are many. Living at a time that is 'interesting' has more challenges than most of us can imagine. When your son/daughter has enough confidence in you that they will tell you they want to be a girl/boy, or tell you they are sexually attracted to other boys/girls, you need to be able to act in a way that will show them love. We need all the help we can get.

As an update to a previous post, here is an article from Huffington Post on May 4, by Joanne Herman;  New-Age Parenting for Transgender Youth

The article reports that the organizers of Camp Aranu’tiq recently held a reception in the Boston area to introduce their program. Suggesting that parents who support their children in this way are ‘new age’ seems a little amusing to me, yet I don’t suppose such a label would be off-putting to young parents (at least I hope not).

One quote from the article stands out for me:

“Dr. Caitlin Ryan, head of the Family Acceptance Project, says that gay and transgender children rejected by their families were three times more likely to use illegal drugs, six times more likely to report high levels of depression and eight times more likely to have attempted suicide.”

Such a statistic should soften a parent’s attitude toward their LGBT children even if they have reservations to begin. Even if a parent cannot go as far as sending their child to a LGBT camp, they can listen and try to be supportive.

The Family Acceptance Project™ (FAP), to quote from their site, is a “new family-related approach (that) will help ethnically diverse families decrease rejection and increase support to decrease their LGBT children's risk and promote their well-being.

Promoting well-being sounds simple enough, but how do we do that, exactly? The 'experts' have conflicting views, that much is certain. A good trick is to suggest that together, you and your youngster are going to find out everything you can about what they have told you. Together you can think about what it means and what help you might need.

It may sound too simple, but a position of unconditional love for your child is always a good place to start.

Hugs,

Halle

What is This Thing Called Love?

I have an ear-worm that won’t be shaken.. so for a friend who shares hers regularly with us here in Blogistan, and is making huge decisions regarding life…, love…., and life and love, I dedicate this; the voice of a man who knew pain and love, Frank Sinatra, and a composer who was equally vexed by life, and love, Cole Porter.

Halle


Tuesday, 4 May 2010

The Appeal to a Higher Authority

I will suspend better judgment and the advise of generations to never discuss religion or politics with family for this occasion. Why? Because we should all examine our behavior from time to time, especially if our behavior might cause another harm and also because I am sure to be tested in the same way as those who I seem to be critical of in the following. I need to think hard about this too; so here we go.

In her blog, Leona presents the situation of trans-women in Singapore being referred to in the media using male pronouns This practice is insensitive enough, but it seems this is a result of a religious teaching, not simple lack of respect by one individual for another individual.
This got me thinking. We all have our opinions; I definitely have mine ;) and expressing an idea as your own opinion is an honorable thing to do. You are all free to accept my opinion (or not). If I have a need to make my opinion really powerful however, it is always tempting to quote some authority on the subject. It then becomes really hard for others to disagree without disagreeing with my authority. When the authority happens to be somebody's deity, things get very difficult.

How often have we heard criticisms for one thing or another being leveled on behalf of an ‘all-powerful’ deity that, it would seem, cannot be trusted to act on it’s own behalf. It is as if the passage “let one who is without sin cast the first stone”, or “judge not ‘lest ye be judged” didn’t make it into any other religious context other than Christianity. Of course, some Christians who can quote Leviticus with ease seem to have missed those too.

I fear a time will come when, while maintaining this façade of mine, I am part of a gathering of less enlightened creatures than yourselves, and am tempted to try to pass as a male by agreeing (even tacitly) to pass judgment on some group or another. I will think hard about how to avoid that, or, better still, how to turn whatever situation has caused this around on the group and help them to grow a bit.

In the meantime,  friends and family, let’s remember to have love for one another, and let higher powers take care of themselves, while you and I try to be true to ourselves.

Hugs,

Halle

p.s. May 5, 2010

I will try not to add something every time a new example comes.

This morning on Trans Talk we see religion at work trying to help us out, from their exulted position as experts in gender, as taught by those who interpret the writings of the prophet.

This is so sad, especially as it is only one example of what sisters all over the planet face daily.

Halle

Sunday, 2 May 2010

A Letter to Young Halle

One of the hazards of connecting here in Blogistan, is the large amount of time that one can spend traveling the world, reading and thinking over the diverse ways our sister (and brother) -hood deals with the reality of trans-ness. It is truly rich.

Last night Bree posted ‘wonderful interaction’, an account of one back and forth in a cycle of email contacts with a correspondent who hopes that by sharing what she now knows it might help Bree in her own life choices. Bree hoped her post would inspire comments. As one of my grandparents might have said,  “ it’s to laugh! Have I got a comment for you!”. Her correspondent’s purpose in writing resonates with me. It is in fact one of the main reasons this blog exists, so yes I have a comment as it appears having run through Halle’s filter of self-examination.

I find it amazing how we struggle to intellectually reason away this ‘problem’ of trans-ness we find ourselves caught in. Our culture has created the myth that what we experience is just something we have invented in our minds. We spend a lifetime burying it, in one way or another. A truly fascinating book (for all of us, not likely for the rest of the population) would be a collection of the multitude of ways gender-queers of the world have distracted themselves from their other selves through a lifetime of denial.

If only one good thing comes from all of these electron exchanges here in Blogistan, it might be from the effect it has on the young of our sisterhood, reading the stories we share.

I know my life path would have been different had a chorus of voices spoken to me at the age of fifteen or so, of the futility of denial. Speaking of the young, the worst effect of that resulting change of life path might be the loss of the children, born and raised by two loving parents who will never meet and procreate. Our gene pool will be changed for the worse I believe, since there are no more loving, caring people that I have ever met in my life than those who share this bond and their mates who struggle to continue to love them in the best way they can.

As concerned as I am for our young selves, deep in denial, it is their future spouses whose lives might be bound up by it that deserve a large dose of concern. While we can argue up and down that ours benefited from a loving person who cared for them and did their best, there is little arguing the fact that they believed the person they were with was a man, and they deserved to know that was not true. It is the nature of denial that is as complete as that demanded by our society that even we did not dare to contemplate that our self-deception was not a true banishing of the girl within. If we had been warned, as only those who have traveled this road can warn, maybe it would have spared these loving spouses the grief of our death (or at the best, alteration) to become a woman. At the very least, we could have informed that loved one of the truth as we see it from hindsight.

An alternate title for my blog might have been ‘Letters to Young Halle’.

I now acknowledge that she did exist, even though I did all that intellect and ‘good common sense’ of that time could help me do, to push her thoroughly away.  I got rid of her so that the man could emerge and take charge of a life that was clearly floundering in a sea of mindless bigotry toward the gender queer of that world

You have been given the gift of our stories. Try to be true to yourself.

Hugs,

Halle