"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 - -

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Not Worthy

I spent one evening this past weekend at a social club where my sweetie and I have cultivated some friends and mostly acquaintances. As much as I try to use this façade of mine to associate as a male, with males, eventually as was inevitable, I ended up sitting in on a conversation with two women. The topic was one I have personal experience to contribute; depression. Now this was not girly-chat. The two ladies in question (not me, sadly) spoke with great intensity to each other while I was quite obviously not worthy of eye contact. A couple of times, I tried to make a supportive comment and the discussion across from me moved onward, unimpaired by my apparent rudeness. When a woman who is handy with power tools sits in on a conversation about home renovations with a pair of men, she is probably treated roughly the same way.

Oh, how I longed to tell them; to let them know that not only do I understand depression, but “here’s one I’ll bet you’ve never had to deal with!” However, not only do I maintain a façade, but I really do avoid ‘one-upping’, so I would not be like that.

This is not a whine. There are lots of situations where my opinion is valued, not because I am a man, but because my life experiences (that I can share) give me a lot to contribute to a conversation; where I know how to toss in a tidbit that moves everything along, and makes it even more interesting. Oh how I love a good conversation, especially on a topic that is meaningful, or even controversial.

So what is this getting at?

It may be that the reason this episode with the two ladies won’t let go of my mind, is because it reminded me that there will be times that even though I am more female than male inside, I will just have to “suck it up” and accept that in a group of women I will ‘only’ be a man. As such, my opinion on some topics will be second class, until I join a social group where people only know my feminine side, if ever that day might come.

I value our exchanges more and more here in Blogistan.

Hugs,

Halle

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Define Manly Please

Since the beginning of my search for my authentic outer presentation, something that matches more closely what goes on inside, I have vigilantly guarded against resurrection of those old macho reactions. Apart from a few more extreme situations encountered over the last three months, I have had good success. So far, I have not detected many rehearsed reactions. This was my main goal; to allow spontaneous ‘Halle responses’ to guide my behaviors.

At the same time, I have become much more sensitive to the behavior and appearance of males encountered daily (please remember reading the following that these are observations in Canada and the media of North America. I have no idea to what extent they apply in the rest of the world). I have become convinced that the ‘standard macho over-rehearsed reactions’ and exaggerated stooping and 'over the pants' stomach growth I had observed in myself are quite common in men in general. If anything, it seems the tendency toward macho behavior and slumping posture are prominent in the very young (teenagers attempting to establish their place among their peers) and then intensify some again as they age (attempts to maintain that status?). My sweetie would be quick to point out that most of my male friends are not like that, and this might explain why they are comfortable with my recent behavior; not feminine but way less macho or stereotypical than typically seen.

My shift in self-image and the acceptance it has brought has only reinforced my care for my health. Most of the women I know (most in the sixty to seventy year range) concern themselves with balanced dietary practices, and a moderate to heavy exercise program. To generalize, the men on the other hand will eat anything they can. Those eating a healthy diet do so mostly to keep their wives happy (or so they say, to appear to be conforming to some male façade??). Body image even among these open-minded male friends is not a concern. Among the vast majority of men in the community I live in, it would be fair to say they do not notice the details; nail length, random growth of hair from various locations, bushy eyebrows, etc.
As Melissa observed recently, it is mostly women who pay attention when we remove leg or arm hair, and thin out those eyebrow bushes.

Personally, the concern I have for the confirmed males out there has to do with obesity, and the effects it has on back health, as well as the health of many internal organs. It has puzzled me that so many are self-destructive, as though they are worried that to pay attention to body size would be the same as being concerned with body image, and that might lead to, OMG, feminization!!!

Is it possible that in our culture’s definition of ‘male’ we do not find a set of positive attributes, but simply instructions that say “don’t be a woman”? Is it possible that ‘being male’ in North America has come down to such a simple negative? If so, it goes a long way toward explaining the negative reaction the MTF receives among the male population.

By refusing to define ourselves with a declaration “I am not a woman”, we challenge not just a societal norm, but the personal self-image of every ‘real man’ we encounter. We seem to say to them, ‘you are the phony one.’ Perhaps it is true that it takes a real man to wear a dress!

Just a thought.

Monday, 21 June 2010

On a Threshold

I am embarrassed to admit that these days I am living in lock-up mode, when there are so many of you who have taken charge, stepped up and just got on with living your lives. What I am starting (I am very slow at times) to get my ‘pea brain’ around is that if everything does not go as planned; so, that is bad because??? People will give you looks… and that is who’s problem???? The time has come to Do Something That Moves Me Forward!

Yup, I am in lock-up mode; with “Fear of Loss” gripping me tightly by my throat, yet I know by your examples and a lifetime of my own, that none of the consequences that give that faceless fear power over me are as bad as I can imagine. I must conjure up my own super-heroine with power over these fears.

The man inside me has never been afraid of anything he had to do before, usually going super-prepared into every endeavor. Not this time; confusion and emotional turmoil run my life these days. What is going on here is make or break; that is clear. If I step backward now, there is just another cliff behind me. This or that, and everything will change, no matter which.

It is only a matter of time before I can see myself as congruent person. There is the beginning of a model already, but it’s not there yet. My beautiful Avatar here continues to challenge me with the question, “How can you be in any doubt as to the direction we must travel?”, yet there they are, thoughts of turning back as I have tried to do in the past.

Every good thing starts with a thought. Without strong will and the trust to leap, good thoughts can be wasted. If it was in my nature, today I would be saying a prayer. I suppose that is what this is, in a way. Or maybe it is a promise.

Since this is the only one I’m given, I will not waste this life.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Not A Destination

I keep hearing a little girl voice asking, Daddy are we there yet? Mommy are we there yet? When will we beeeee therrrrre???

Recently I was challenged by a friend to come up with words of wisdom gleaned from my harvest while traveling here in Blogistan (BTW it was the luscious Petra Bellejambes who gave this place it’s name, as far as I know. I first used it in my May 2 post ‘A Letter To Young Halle’). So here is my wisdom at this point (wait for it)...
I don’t know the answer.
Some days I am not sure what the question is.

Therefore, since I have no answers, here is my advice (remember this is a free service; caveat emptor):

Continue with the journey and keep a journal.

I can highly recommend that you join in with others here who document and share their observations about the countryside and locals. You are unique, so you will notice things others have missed. It will do you good, and we will appreciate being reminded or told about them. Personally, I love hearing about the places I have been seen through others’ eyes. I especially love being told stories of the ‘road less traveled’.

Slow down. When you travel too fast, like glimpses of a panorama you get while driving, insights flash into view teasing, taunting only to be gone when you try to ‘take their picture’.

The bottom line; do not get your hopes up for the quick fix. Live it a day at a time. Be on the lookout for joy when you can find it. Be especially happy for times when you can lend a virtual or real helping hand to another traveler.

No sweetie, we are not there yet. Maybe later we’ll stop for a treat. Would you like that?

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Washroom Debate

I would rather have made this as a comment to Jillian Page's Patent Pending, but there didn't seem to be any opportunity on her site.

In her post she very clearly spells out the issues in a balanced fashion. In Ontario, especially in the larger centers it is becoming more common to have a single occupancy washroom labeled 'disabled' or sometimes 'family'. In either case they are larger, and afford privacy, and security. It is starting to become more common in business settings where two washrooms are single use and used to be labeled male and female to see the signs coming down. Two single washrooms then become available for people (what a concept!).

If you are visiting Toronto, I would recommend (for wonderful food as well) Le Papillon on Front, a downtown eatery specializing in Quebecois fare. The atmosphere is inviting, and the very pleasant surprise, a row of unisex washrooms. There are no common male/female washrooms to be seen. A very civilized dining experience all round.
Apologies to other restaurants that have picked up on the same clearly superior (albeit expensive) solution.

Perhaps a listing by city of businesses that offer single use unisex washrooms should be created.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Can I Cure My Cure?

We live in an age of instant everything, yet there are still some things that just take time. If you have ever cooked a cream pie filling (we all do that regularly, right? Hehe , I do), well take it from me, there is no rushing it. You heat the mixture of flour and milk slowly over boiling water in a double boiler. For long minutes you stir and stir, feeling for that magic moment when the thickening starts to take place. It is worth the wait, but wait you must before adding in those other ingredients that make that pie not just smooth and silky, but so incredibly tasty as well.

In general, I am pretty good at waiting, but lately I find myself impatient that somehow a cure for my cure has not yet been found. Let me explain.

Many of you might not consider acceptance of trans-ness to be a wonderful thing, but in my case, and I know there is nodding of heads going on at this, it was a cure to a multitude of ills. This post is not where I will slog through my catalog of ills that plagued me through my life (and don’t hold your breath sister, you will never hear them in graphic detail here). Take it from me, I am so much healthier and happier to be who I am right now.

What do I need a cure for now, you ask? Well if you are asking that, you have never lived with two people vying for control in your mind. It can be fun (sometimes I’ve hinted at that part here), but mostly it can drive you to be distracted much of the time. The rest of the time, you might feel desperate to embrace one and chase the other away! As far as I know (and I only have experience trying to throw the lady out so far) there be dragons there…. Very scary still, and apologies to those of you who are way ahead of me. I am such a wimp, I know.

So I twist and struggle, trying to think of other ways to ‘cure’ myself. Taking a pill isn’t the answer to everything you know. It is only sensible that if I could single-handed take on and defeat the multitude of ills hinted to above, then this one itsy-bitsy little situation should be a piece of cake, right?!

Where did I put that recipe for Halle Cake?

Must...improvise.

Hmmm, so, what will I do?, … I could…maybe I should…Argggh!

I have 5¢. Where is Lucy Van Pelt when you need her?

Friday, 11 June 2010

Fire and Ice

There is a doe standing in my meadow.

She is very still; wary, all the defensive skills nature gave her are heightened now. A predator was nearby, she knows; his scent was in the air when she arrived, a bit less now.

The urge to run is always close, yet she knows that to run now is to die.

Panic and exhaustion will be her undoing,

so for now she waits.

She listens

and sees everything.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

No Goodbyes

If you have been following here, you know that the internal conversation between me (male) and me (female) has been in large part what has absorbed me for a month or so. It has been necessary for the working over of some pretty major issues that have not been (and won’t be) detailed here, but have only been hinted at. We all have them and if you are like me, they run very deep and the hurts are huge. I did hate myself. I thought it was the male side I hated. It turns out that what I hated was the rift. Now I see a way to heal that and hatred has passed in favor of careful mending; the conversations will continue, maybe for the rest of my life.

Sophie over at Mental Boonies has written beautifully about her ‘other half’ leaving without saying goodbye. It moves me to tears to feel her wonder at the disappearance of ‘him’. Just thinking how close I might have come to the same observations if my path had veered just a bit, gives me shivers. My male side also hates goodbyes, and I felt him wandering away for some of this time. He has been dragged back and is here now, not kicking or screaming or hating anymore.

If you have been traveling with me here for the last couple of months you know that it has been self-examination in the extreme. My friend Petra pointed out to me some time ago that this blog was like me “looking at Rubic's Cube from every angle before starting to turn and twist things into shape.”

Petra, today is the first day of me twisting that darned cube, for the rest of my life I expect.

As a woman, the beauty myth teases and taunts me. If I was strictly male, this would not be true and maybe I’d be lucky, living in ignorance or at the least living unaffected personally by that lure. At this point I am happy to say this unified person embraces the lure. I will not fight it any more. I am hardly unique as a person who is living beautiful inside and unseen on the outside. I look around at the beautiful ladies who are never able to show it physically to the world because they are the wrong body type, or are the wrong age, or whatever real limitation to being some ideal that you want to choose. My limitations are multiple; Big Deal! I still have a beautiful woman inside, and I can live my life to show all the passion and tender-loving-care that exists inside of me, just as those cis-women do. You will see me walking down the street and see a man. If we get to know each other, you will see more. Perhaps you will wonder how a man came to have the perspective I have. If you gain my trust, you may read this and have an understanding, but that should not change anything, for this is the person I always have been. If you did not know why I am that way, did it matter?

Today may be a turning point. I say ‘may’, because this is not a promise to never return and take a hard look again. Mine will always be a life examined. When I chose the name Halle, there were various reasons; among them, ambiguity. Halle is a man and Halle is a woman. You may never know which one you are talking to. I will not know which is talking, because you see, Halle is neither and both, male and female.

My banner quote changed a few days ago, reflecting my intention to concentrate on our family in all its diversity. Before visiting Blogistan, I had no idea what good could possibly come of this feminine part that was ‘intruding’ into my life. No longer ignorant thanks to all of you and the care you show, it is obvious there are all kinds of possibilities ahead. Most important of all, there are friends here and in my ‘real’ world to care about, especially my wonderful best friend, soul-mate sweetie (who is so amazingly patient and loving). I am no longer alone and at war. Most importantly, I am filled with resources to grow and feel human while expressing my femininity and masculinity. I know there is no need for any goodbyes.

Hugs,

Halle

Monday, 7 June 2010

Half of The Time We're Gone, But We Don't Know Where

Public Service Announcement: Quick! Turn up the television! Put on the radio! Thought Alert!
None of you have to ask me because I wonder about it myself: where do all these crazy ideas come from? I have a suggestion. All of us have an idea factory, producing them in huge quantities. The reason we don’t hear them all is that we are distracted much of the time. In my case, working full time in an area that required a lot of mental focus distracted me for many years from consciously observing most of my ideas. Even when they came, I was distracted from them very quickly, and not just by the work; by the noise and fuss that is an integral part of our society. Paul Simon said it many years ago: “half of the time were gone, but we don’t know where”.

And now for your diversion, An Allegory:

In our part of Ontario we get lots of visits from fox, rabbits, the odd bear or moose as well as the regular sort of wild mammals that inhabit most of Eastern North America; mice, squirrels, chipmunks and raccoons. We also get lots of deer.
It is interesting watching deer feed, especially as a contrast to watching a domesticated cow doing the same thing. The cow is the ultimate model of confidence. No dangers exist in the life of the cow (they think), so while they eat they have a dull (no stupid is more appropriate) look. They take their time, moving slowly toward their next meal, or, whatever.
A deer is agitated while it eats, as though it is aware that eating might distract her from noticing a predator lurking in the forest nearby. The ears rotate in a sort of twitch. The eyes are bright and so alive.

Perhaps you may have noticed that getting distracted sometimes seems to be the number one goal of our society. People watch television, even when there is nothing on that interests us. Music playing in the background keeps shoppers from noticing that there is nothing they really need in the stores. Television screens on the walls of buildings convince us their product is one we really must have. Everywhere we go, distractions follow. Unaware of ourselves, senses are dulled to our surroundings and original thoughts are unable to penetrate the wall of sensory overload. We are happy and contented, buying products we are told to buy, believe the advertising we are drowned in, and every now and then wonder where our independence has gone, only to be distracted again and forget that thought entirely, returning to blissful ignorance.
No thinking required; thinking discouraged. Docile, Contented. Domesticated.
Like the cattle, we cannot be blamed if we do not know the truth of our lives, since it has always been that way.

If my guess is right, the previous description does not fit you, sisters and brothers of Blogistan. Let’s just say that I can hear your ears twitching, as are mine. Please, please, please don’t let it bother you that you aren’t domesticated yet. I for one love all of the 'outside the box' thinking that goes on here. I love that many of you will challenge my ideas and intrude with your own. It is why I am here. Above all, let your honesty shine.

Hugs,

Halle

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Don't Look Down?

“So, what else is new with you these days?” asks a friend… “Oh, not very much.” I lie.
These days, I need to be much more careful than ever before. Even as a child, I wouldn’t tell lies if I could avoid it, because keeping a story straight was hard work, and getting caught was very stressful. Now I remember those times oh so well, and cannot do anything about it.

Luckily, I chose a name that I rarely hear spoken in my ‘real’ life. I can imagine the horror if someone at a party, after I’d had a glass or two of wine, called “Halle”. I watch myself in slow motion, as I turn and respond, ‘yes?”.

Last night, it was a real situation that got me thinking about this. I began to be very quiet, then caught myself and put on my best facade, as friends started talking about the blogs they and their family are writing. As they filled me in on all the details, like how many followers they have, and so on, all this guy could do is sit and nod his head and play really, really dumb about all that ‘blogging stuff’. “Oh really, and how does that work?”… “and you can find out where people are who read it? Really? That must be interesting.”

Maybe it might have been more fun, if lately it had not already been on my mind that my personality is evolving in a very definite “Halle” direction.

It was a wide board for a while, but it is starting to feel more like a narrow gauge wire that I am walking, and looking down to check might be disastrous. Not looking may also be deadly. If this wire turns to air one day; PHT! G’bye façade and all the safety it represents.

Hi, I’m Ha….er, ….

Friday, 4 June 2010

Who's Façade Is It?

The façade is only so good, when compared with an honest life. Once we have acknowledged our female part, our public male side no matter how hard we try, is never perfect again. Sure, it is good enough most of the time, so we can go about our work and normal interactions with acquaintances. For loved ones from that moment on, they also have a façade. I say this from hard experience.

My sweetie’s situation worries me now more than my own. Now she has a façade too. It does not fit her. I know, we all know and understand the stress of keeping this sort of secret for years, but that was our choice. She did not make the decision, but is stuck with living the lie that we are still husband and wife, for us and for others.

I feel as though I am cheating by being here, sharing this. She so needs others to share and discuss this burden that was passed to her almost two years ago. I have all of you. She has me, a person she cannot really trust. In so many ways she hates me now, and that is another layer of falseness as she tries to pretend that everything is just fine.

Mrs. H is not used to keeping a false front. She has always been a very honest and open person. This quality above all was what attracted me to her when we met. Now it is compromised and between us nothing has been or will ever be the same.

Daily we create a new relationship. The process is made difficult because a Phantom called Halle is living in the room, a person she does not know and is afraid of. It may be that she will get to know her, or maybe not. These choices are still in the future because neither of us wants to take this risk yet. Real happiness is a condition from the past. An uneasy truce exists. The war against myself has simply move from me to us. Do not ask me about regret today.

It is fine to have a façade, and necessary too for many of us, but do not deceive yourself yet again by thinking the situation is great and normal. Honesty is not a policy, no matter what anyone tells you. Honesty is a way of life, and a façade is dishonest. I must accept that.