"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, 26 October 2010

Fear or Love

Do we ‘stay a course’ out of love, or out of fear, or is it a bit of both.

In religion it is an old story with some people going to church because they are convinced, that is the only way to avoid some fiery punishment. I can still remember when, as a child, people would talk of ‘God-fearing' individuals. I never really understood why I should be afraid of God. In the church I attended, God was always referred to as ‘God of Love’. How could God be loved and feared at the same time? It is possible someone out here will tell me; that might be something I learn from this post!

On the same topic, love and fear are motivations for people to stay together as they age. In the last few months, it has been a big concern of mine that my sweetie and I might fall into the trap of letting our fears rule our choices of whether to stay together. Fear factors include our financial state, which while comfortable together, would be poor if separated. Another is our age. Neither of us is young (even though I have been known to act like a twelve-year-old). The thought of having to take a job or two to make ends meet is a worry.

Loss of friends if we separate is a big worry. In our social set we are a couple, and singles don’t always fit well with old friends who are a couple. Men and women whose company I now enjoy might not find it possible to hang in as a friend if I presented as a female. We might have to move in order to stay together and find new activities and friendships. We might have to move for the same reason if we separate. Our children might not accept me as a woman, and this might cause a rift, separation or not. The fearful scenarios are daunting for all who consider living 'trans'.

Fear of loss should never be a reason to go through the motions, either with a spouse or a deity. Any deity worth her/his salt can tell the difference between a half-hearted worshipper and one devoted to the cause. It is no less true in a marriage. We deserve honesty and the sort of relationship that only love can bring.

Being trans has put a huge strain on our love, yet somehow, I am convinced we are still a viable couple with wonderful times to share in our future. How many of those shared times will involve my feminine part? Time will tell of course.

To be a partner to my sweetie, and to be someone worth loving, I will need both halves of myself to be fully committed; more than a façade that is cobbled together.

To be a partner for me, she will need to continue to accept who I am, and allow that growth, not out of fear, but out of love.

This is not going to be easy.

A life worth living together is hard work.

A truly wonderful life together requires love.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Terrible Sadness

It began in February of this year, not three hours drive from our home. The base commander of an armed forces base on the north side of Lake Ontario had been charged with some pretty serious crimes, including two murders. Thanks to a confession and swift trial (mercifully for the families of the two victims and the more sensitive members of the population), this man is now living in solitary confinement and probably will for the rest of his life. 

Sadly, the image ingrained for public consumption is the criminal’s self-portrait; in bra and panties stolen from some victim. For that reason, in public memory he will always be a crossdresser who murdered innocent women. We can connect the dots to understand that this man is not the only one who has been put into solitary confinement as a result of his perverse crimes. 

No amount of calm, rational explanation will counter the visceral response I and others have to that image. I do not even have safety in my own mind now. How I hate this monster whose name I refuse to remember. I will not give a name to my pain, even this one.



In Memoriam:  Marie-France Comeau & Jessica Elizabeth Lloyd


link to cbc coverage

Monday, 18 October 2010

My Own Worst Enemy

I wanted Maintaining the Façade to be a place where ideas could be freely shared to help others to move forward, while I learned how to move forward too. It never occurred to me it might become a ‘cautionary tale’.

For most of my life my acting ability was too good. In all of my pain while that internal war raged for decades, I kept it together and everyone, even those closest to me, believed what I showed them; a guy who was in control and invincible. Instead of getting an award for lifetime achievement in acting, what I got was a mental illness whose cure is worse than the disease. That is old news. I should have kept the old façade, the one where I hid everything from my lover, but what really happened is in order to live sane, I admitted deception to my sweetie and made a new facade; close to the old one, but with an undesirable houseguest.

The illness is not the GID, the illness is the denial and the mental stress that resulted. What I know too late is curing the illness was simple, but devastating. I began the search for the true self that had been hidden so long. The person I have found is not this or that, sadly. If I was just this, then I could just do that, and get on with it. If that, well you get the idea. There is no easy way to get on with life; more trial and error is needed. Time is not on my side however, because the person I most needed to be by my side through all of this has lost patience and wants her life back. She wants the old façade; the one without an elephant living in our home with us. As Anne pointed out in a comment to a post last month, it is not surprising that marriages often fail to survive this kind of situation. My sweetie married a man, and expects that, not something else she would not have chosen, ever.

Putting the ‘toothpaste back in the tube’ is not an option. I need options. That will be my focus for some time.

Things around here (this blog) may not be the same for a while. They may not be the same ever. I do not know.

You all know how complicated life is. I know you wish me well, as I do you. As our friend Leslie says, “Don’t Be Like Me”.

Halle

Friday, 15 October 2010

What Is In A Name?

Since my arrival in this part of the internet, even before the start of this blog, I have been consistently accepted as one of a sisterhood. I will start be saying thank you for that, to so many of you that listing names would be just plain silly.

Beginning with that first email, it has been clear to me that I have been accepted as a female writer, as crazy as my physical appearance would make that. It felt natural and right then, and it still does now. Today, in a post elsewhere, I have been reminded that it is not so for everyone and it does not bother me at all, apart from the obvious incongruity with past experience.

In this place some of us call Blogistan, I am Halle. In the ‘real’ world (whatever that is), I am not called Halle at all. The fact is, no matter where I am or what I am doing, I am Halle now within myself. I am “Lady and Gentleman, both and neither” because that is how I think. I answer to many other names, depending upon the circumstances. All of these names are appropriate and I cherish most of them. Some of them, like 'dad', I have worked hard over the years to deserve, just as I would if it could have been 'mom'. These other names assume one gender; male. One of them does not assume that I am male, and I am very grateful for that, because the part of me that responds to the stimuli of the world as a female very much needs validation, and it needs it way out of proportion just because all of the other names relate only to that male part.

Did it surprise me to be called Halle and be called ‘he’ in the same context? Yes. Did it hurt? Yes, then no. After I thought about it, in that context it made sense. The author is writing in his own blog, after all. I do what I want here, he does what he wants there. If anything I write here helps another seeker, I am content. If it helps them in ways I could never have imagined, and in order to do that they need to gender me M, so be it.

Having said all of that, it sure does feel right and good to referred to as ‘she’ and ‘her’ most of the time here in good old Blogistan.

Hugs

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Envy

It is one of the deadly sins. Is it wise to admit to such a thing? As another well-known blogger reminded me recently “I am a blogger. I have no secrets.”

Envy is visceral and it is a feeling so I do not have to justify it. While not proud of such a thing, mine is a life under examination. I accept it, and wonder what it means that such a feeling exists, especially one so strong. So I ask myself "what is triggering envy?" It seems it begins with admiration.

Lately I find reading about those of you who have transitioned or are in the process of transitioning is making me very emotional with admiration, then envy. Another situation when I feel admiration, then envy occurs when I read of crossdressed adventures. Even those of you who have been unable to avoid tremendous loss have at least taken your life into your control and have allowed others in your life to do the same. I admire that in you.

Do I desperately want to transition, or crossdress openly? It might be, but if I am reading my emotions correctly, it seems that what is admired and envied is some measure of control. Lately, nothing I do seems to quiet the struggle inside. The truce in that war that dominated much of my life threatens to be broken.

It also saddens me to feel unqualified to add to the discussions on your blogs when these sort of topics come up, even though I have thoughts and feelings of support and concern. If ‘walking the walk’ is a necessary qualification for ‘talking the talk’ then much of the time it seems best to quietly sit on my hands and listen to what the ‘real women' have to say.

Why the admission? Why not just quietly slip away? You might have read the quote under the masthead. I believe all of you out here in Blogistan, especially those of you I envy, are all my family because I take joy in your life and respect you all more than you will ever know.

It seems I can be joyful and envious at the same time.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Purging Indecision

Spirit of the Future, I fear you more than any specter I have met tonight! But even in my fear, I must say that I am too old! I cannot change! I cannot! It's not that I'm impenitent, it's just... Wouldn't it be better if I just went home to bed?

Maybe in this lifetime war against myself, my ability to cloak and deceive others and myself has been my worst enemy, because:

My family never knew I hated being told regularly about things I did that were not how a boy should do it.

My teachers never knew how wrong it was being force to go out in the ‘playground’ three times a day to be teased and bullied.

My male school chums never knew how much I longed to go and sit and talk to the group of girls ‘over there’.

The girls over there never knew that I just wanted to be one of them.

Nobody ever suggested there was a solution to feeling like an alien in your own body, like a stranger on the planet.

Maybe the rest of my world didn’t know or care about these things because it wasn’t their job to understand me. That was my job, and if I had been doing my job, maybe I would have refused to work so hard at pleasing everyone by making myself look and act as they expected. Maybe if I had just refused to play with the boys, gone over and sat with those laughing girls and laughed with them, the war against myself could have been avoided. Maybe instead, I would have had a good war against the parts of the world that interfere with people who just want to live their lives authentically.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received came via my Grandfather. He said “It is alright to make mistakes. You need to make mistakes in order to learn. Just don’t make the same ones over and over!”

So, it could be true today and for the rest of my life, that by refusing to work so hard at pleasing everyone, making myself look and act as they expect, refusing to ‘play with the boys’ if I don’t feel like it, going over and sitting with those laughing ladies so I can laugh with them, maybe I can become the best I can be NOW, and forget about a lifetime of regret that taught me these lessons.

Maybe it isn’t too late to stop hating the man I became because of my choices.

“Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset”

Hugs,

Halle

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Halle Can Be Pretty Naïve at Times

Am I the only one who is confused about transgender folk being left out of the gay rights movement? If so, let me think this through out loud, and get some feedback so I can get my head around this.

Although I am a genetic male who is hetero, I strongly relate to the world as a woman, and if I could work some magic, would become a woman in order to have some congruence between what goes on between my ears and what is located in and on other parts of my being. Even so, I relate sexually to women, not men. This puts me with the majority of MTF’s; with me so far?

If I was successful at this magic gender switch act, and remained (as I assume I would) attracted to women (one very special woman in my situation) wouldn’t that make me (and my spouse too) lesbian?

Now for the clincher. If I want to be seen as a woman who is deeply in love with another woman, then doesn’t that mean that I want to be seen as a lesbian, and would do what I can to support gay rights, since it is in my best interest, and I have some understanding of how gay people feel?

O.K. I haven’t walked the walk. I don’t intend to do it any time soon. I do still support the people whose lifestyle I would emulate and they should be able to see that too. However, as far as I can tell( and this may be where I am mistaken, I hope so) gays hesitate to associate themselves with trans individuals, which in light of the above seems counterproductive to their cause.

There is no question in my mind that I will soon be reminded how incredibly naïve I am, however, I truly would like to know where my thought process is flawed, so please don't hold back. It won't be the first time I have been either wrong or naïve. If it goes well, maybe some strategy might present itself for improving the understanding of our issues by all concerned.

Either way, nothing ventured... etc.