"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, 23 November 2010

I’ll Show You Mine…

No, not what you think. Although it does remind me of a girl I knew when I was about five and she was about seven. One day …
You didn’t really think you were going to hear a story like that from an old prude like me did you? LOL

We all carry around this backpack of metaphoric stuff. Some peoples are bulging yet pretty light, while others have these sleek looking things that are eighty pounds (35 kilos) if they are a gram. You just never know unless you ask to try it on, and for most of us, these things go mostly unnoticed.

Every now and then somebody starts carping about how heavy theirs is. I like to think of myself as a pretty good listener (ya, I know, you’d never know it from this blog…haha). I do try to empathize with others who carry a heavy one. Having children adds a lot to that backpack. As they age it does get lighter, BTW, and eventually, if you are very lucky like I have been, your children boost you up and make you certain it was more than worthwhile carrying that load for twenty years or so.

Blogging has been unlike any other activity in my life. I have enjoyed it immensely. It has been a chance to get stuff off my chest (like yesterday... more in a bit). Of course it is not a diary, so it is important to be kind to your readers too. Admittedly, from time to time a post slips by my internal crap detector. That device exists to tell me something like “yes, I would enjoy reading that one” or “oh, what a downer, why would somebody write that sort of stuff and expect anyone to bother ever coming back?” My last blog here was your look into my backpack, and from the reaction, I can tell it isn’t a pretty sight in there. Oooo Yuck! Thank you however to the brave and helpful friends who commented. I will take these words to my heart, given as they were under difficult circumstances.

Yes friends, I’m in a bit of a rough place these days and for various reasons it is not likely to be smoother for some time. My male side is getting lots of support (way too much as it happens). The lady part is really jealous. It is messing me up some, I will admit, so I should have noticed that my last post was crossing the line into trying to shift my load onto other shoulders. I am angry at myself now for that presumptive act, but have been angry at me for some time, and that makes me sound angry at everyone and everything. What a bitch and a sorry one at that, so I do apologize again. It might be my blog, but if nobody every wants to read it and comment, what will I learn then? Bupkiss! And if there is no learning, and I stay stuck where I am now… well if you think I am unhappy now, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! And if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!! :P

What heavy load? Not here. Now, let me have a look and see what you have in there sis.

Hugs,

Halle

Monday, 22 November 2010

Finding The Correct Treatment

As life goes on you start to get some ideas on what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to healing your body. Self-diagnosis can be easy and correct, or difficult and very dangerous. Diagnosis by medical professional, while not always required, is sometimes essential to getting to the root of a problem. Sadly, professionals are not always thorough enough. What gets someone through another day or week, is not really a remedy after all.
 
Some treatments are very simple; just take this for so many days and forget you ever had a problem. Other remedies are intuitively obvious, while some are counter-intuitive. Conditions requiring counter-intuitive remedies are pretty difficult ones, usually requiring an expert of some sort to identify and treat. Often, expensive tests are required and trips to specialists to interpret the results then prescribe the corrective.

Back problems are often that type, especially if the condition has progressed to the point where nerves have been pinched. The symptoms in this case are often not associated with the back, but some other body part; pains down the leg from sciatica are a good example. The treatment has nothing to do with the leg at all, often giving no initial relief, but if applied over time manages the condition well. It involves drugs, physiotherapy, exercise and diet control, among other things.

In the seemingly intuitively obvious category of conditions, about twenty-five years ago, I had a lesion on the back of my hand for months that wouldn’t heal. Finally I got myself to a dermatologist, who after inquiring of the history of the injury, and taking a small sample, recommended that I should try leaving it alone for a couple of months, instead of picking at it, as in fact I had been doing. The lesion healed up just fine, but the root condition did not. Other less obvious lesions did not heal, nor were they seen at that time. The doctor probably did noticed that the rest of my hands, especially around the cuticles were in very rough shape, but never suggested that I somehow stop picking at them as well, nor did the doctor suggest I take all my clothes off for a full skin examination either; after all, I had come in to have my hand treated. In retrospect he might have sent me to another professional who dealt in obsessive and self-destructive behaviors. It might have been at that point that some critical self-examination under the guidance of a firm, but kindly professional might have revealed root causes, and thus a treatment for a 'global condition'.

When healing the body involves healing the mind, things get complicated.

Is it possible that ultimately GRS is a treatment for a condition whose outer symptoms are a skin disorder? That does come under the heading of counter-intuitive, doesn’t it?

Monday, 15 November 2010

Why?

“A big question the trans world struggles to address with the non-trans world is about why we do what we do.” is the way Diana at Salad Bingo got the ball rolling. S at Our Transitioning Family picked it up. The Two Aunties did too. Today it is my turn, I guess.

So many ‘whys’… There is ‘why has my brain always hated my body and it’s label MALE?’ There is ‘why did I work so hard to pretend to be a real man for so long?’ How about, ‘why did you just find out about this gender conflict when in your fifties?’ (that is a good one), which could be followed up by ‘why do you write this blog?’ and of course, the ever popular ‘why don’t you just get the surgery done, fix the conflict and get on with your life?’.

My friend Anne asked me, in response to ‘Exploring the Labyrinth’, “Having fought the “good fight” for so long, and so well, why give it up now? I gotta tell you, being a woman ain’t all that special. It just is…”
What a great and important question this is, so, since I have addressed all those other ‘whys’ around here in earlier posts (and you will just have to wander around if you care, LOL), this is the ‘why’ I am going to try to tackle because the answer is one I need to hear too.

I was like an old-fashioned appliance, you know the ones we used to buy that lasted forty years and eventually got thrown out because you couldn’t find parts? For most of my life (as far as anyone looking on was concerned) a solid, reliable and hard working man, pulling my weight and never complaining. Hated myself too, but internalized the mess that was my fear and self-loathing. For fifty-five years it mostly worked. I had multiple coping techniques to make it keep running. So why can’t I just pull out all the old tricks and keep it going for another who-knows-how-many years?

When I examine this thing logically, from the man’s point of view, this idea of me being a woman (pardon my French) is a load of high priced merde.

Being a man might not be anything special, but being a woman is so much trouble! Friendships are so much more complicated for women. They spend time sharing what they feel about everything, as though any of that is really important. Everyone knows it is your expertise on a subject and how much you get paid that is really important. What and how well you think is what gets a person through this world. And when they talk, instead of cutting to the chase, they notice and describe every little feature in minute detail.
Make-up and jewelry has to be purchased and nails and hair to be grown out and maintained. Skin to soften and care for, just to name a few items. And the clothing costs soar as options go from casual and bland to colours to choose and different textures and weights of material to be selected from. Shoes that no longer cover and protect your feet, but pinch and lift you and change your balance points. I could go on and on. Why anyone would want to be bothered with it all absolutely baffles that logical side of my brain.

If this was a logical choice, no woman would do these things either. Some will say a woman is forced to deal with all of this, and they hate it. Although it is partially true, I am not buying that one. I know lots of women who are no longer competing for employment and could wear no make-up, casual monotone clothing and flat, sensible shoes every single day with no repercussions or change of lifestyle. They don’t. They won’t. Why not? Ask them, not me, I am a man, remember?

Nobody in their right mind would want to go through all of the fuss that women go through except for a woman. That is my story, and I am sticking to it.

Now, what was that question again? Oh right, let me rephrase it a bit; why not just keep being a man? After all, I’ve done it this long, and being a woman isn’t very special at all.

Against all logic, I want that troublesome female life. If I could ‘not want that life’ I would not be here, writing and commenting, and empathizing about something so incredibly illogical as this is. I would be reading a book, or doing a puzzle, or some other retired guy stuff, and wondering what is for lunch.

Of course, nobody understands a man considering transitioning to become a woman, unless they have gone through the insanity of GID, or maybe have heard a good explanation, or they have a great imagination and loads of empathy. I would wonder too!

Hugs All Around Ladies,

Halle

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Judge Not...

One of my less pleasant experiences in the last week has given me fodder for the reflective process; lots of reflection in a very short time as it happens. It took such a short time that I wonder if it is worthy for sharing. I wonder how many bloggers go through a drafting process like my own. About a third of them never see the light of a computer screen other than my own.

In brief, a comment left in response to one of my own on another site rudely suggested that I was in love with the sex organ given me at birth.

Am I? Yes in some ways and no in most ways.

No, it is not something I like to look at. It is not something I have ever used to my advantage on purpose. I cannot ignore those sadly obvious ‘benefits’ that seem to come just because I present as a male, things like generally higher pay, entry into men’s days at sport clubs (maybe someday I will get to go to a ladies’ day) and other items falling into the category of meaningless status. Ever since I can remember, the idea that some men violate women has been a source of tremendous shame in membership of the class ‘male’ for me. In retrospect, I missed out on many likely pleasant sexual adventures because I retreated from situations where I might have felt that I ‘forced myself’ on a woman.

What do I like about it? Well if you do not enjoy the pleasurable sensations that sex involves, you have missed out on a treat, haven’t you? It would be a terrible pity to miss out on that aspect of life as a human being for the sake of ‘shame’ isn’t it? The nerve endings and the sensations they convey would have been there one way or the other; male or female. I have often wondered if the sensations would have been different in any way if I was put right. I may never know the answer, but I do know that I do not hate that part of me that is involved in this pleasure; neither do I love it. I will admit it has many times been treated rather badly because of my GID, and that is as far as I will go on that topic.

I can appreciate that there are people out there who are fed up with men who want it both ways, because I am fed up too. Observing a person dressed as a woman while simultaneously flaunting masculinity is the worst possible advertisement for someone like myself. That sort of image is the main source of my sweetie’s nightmares about our coming out, convinced as she is that this is the way people will see me and they will hate both of us because of it.

The suggestion that some new words are needed to describe the various gender variations out there meets with my hearty approval.

It is scaring me some to realize how many days now contain thoughts that would start me on the road to make it possible to wear one label only: FEMALE.  For those wonderful people who were born with that label, or have done what you needed to do to now deserve that privilege, you have only my admiration.

You might be able to sense how hurtful I found a suggestion that I am a ‘penis-loving hypocrite’. I try not to be a hypocrite and that might be a criticism one could level if they read my writings. But only I can answer the other part, and here I have; no I do not. Maybe writing this will help me leave the injury that barb left behind.

 I have been so blessed on this blog to have commentators who are insightful and civil. It is not universally so. Please, as Ariel suggested in a recent post, when commenting on someone’s ideas, discuss the idea, not the person who stated the idea, and do not judge others on the sole basis of what they write. Maybe I should just say, let’s stop judging each other.

Hugs, 
Halle

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Become A Woman, Eh?

As you know, I am rarely lost for words.

Opening up a magazine today, an ad for vodka got my attention.
 SVEDKAs “R U BOT OR NOT?” campaign has been launched in Canada.

As a sign of who is in control in my brain, and the power of that hidden female, the reaction I had was first disappointment, then anger. What I'd like to know is how women feel. How are you affected by this advertising?

I acknowledge the efforts of their artist to include aspects in the imagery that will get the attention of the men who see the ad. Why this would convince them to drink Svedka vodka, or any vodka at all, escapes me. Thinking about it too much could send me to my favourite alcoholic beverage, I suppose.


Obviously, this creation is designed to be sexy. The elements include the ‘over-the-shoulder’ glance, the prominent breasts, rounded buttocks and the feet apart, high-heel dragging-behind stance, all say ‘come hither’. Please tell me, as a woman, do you want to ‘be’ this robot? As a trans-person, do you want to be this?

Is anyone else disappointed by this, or am I sad and old and just a lot ‘behind the times’ and over-reacting? Should I just shut up and pour myself a glass of prune juice and turn on a game show on television?

No, (you knew there was more, didn’t you?) instead I did some soul-searching. 

Here are some thoughts on my visceral negative response.

Assuming this image is an artist’s crystallization and therefore our society’s belief of what it means to be an attractive female, I will tell you that with a lot of help from a credit card, I can be this attractive woman, and likely, so can much of the human race, NOW.

Shave the head, put on a full body corset, falsies & bra, and cat-suit and let them do their magic. Get a local beautician to do the makeup, slip on the heels, and voila! Instant (well almost) woman! Not only woman, but stereotypically attractive and desirable 'fem-bot'.

Just don’t get too close, or ask them to talk about anything. Don’t ask that ‘bot’ to be anything real. All she can do is stand there, look sexy, and sell (vodka).

Before I leave, two other thoughts:

When a person is looking for a job, is this the image an interviewer has for a suitable woman?

When the ‘powers that be’ ask us to go full time for year, how much of what they expect us to be comes from this sort of stereotypical thinking?

So, before you leave, take a look back up top to remember that for some, that is a woman.

Lest We Forget

The final armistice of the Great War, world war one as it later became known, was signed at 5 a.m. on the morning of 11 November 1918, and came into effect six hours later at 11 a.m.
On November 7, 1919 King George V of the British Empire, what is now Great Britain and the Commonwealth of Nations, issued a proclamation calling for a two-minute silence at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. His proclamation requested that "all locomotion should cease, so that, in perfect stillness, the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead".

In the Commonwealth the day is now known as ‘Remembrance Day’. 

In Flanders Fields 

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
 
John McCrae, May 1915

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Exploring the Labyrinth

As suggested in “Purging Indecision”, we need at some point to acknowledge what is already known; I must stop running around that same worn path and engage in the process of finding the way forward from here. Everything here might be wrong, but for me it has been the best chance to move forward from another stuck position, so I have attempted a frank working out of what is true for me (the whole person), even though, for your use, gentle reader, these contents have been highly edited. I gather from some comments, much of it has still been familiar, and for that I am both sad and grateful; misery does like company.

I have visited the gatekeepers hereabouts, and the way out of the labyrinth could very well be via the route they offer, however I am not ready for the red pill to keep me in ‘wonderland’, not now anyway. They understand those who are on a path to transition. I really don’t think they understand or have a path for me. The gatekeepers’ suggestion for one who like mysef, chooses not to transition, and whose goal is to keep sane while hosting a girly-girl inside is “get out there and crossdress”. Some of my good friends here are shaking a cautionary finger at me, others are standing and applauding at this point, saying ‘you go girl’ I expect. Maybe. Maybe soon.

I suppose the idea is to feed the beast to keep it happy and at bay. There are a lot of reasons for my indecision.

I love the scene in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid where the main characters are fleeing the ‘good guys’ and find themselves standing on a high bluff; nowhere else to turn, they have to jump and trust that somehow they will survive.

In the movie, the main characters get away for a while, but as we know, (and this is giving the ending away if you never saw the movie) sadly, they die in the end, because their plan cannot be sustained.

The strange thing is that even though I have not been out and proud as maybe I should (I really do not know), my male side has developed what Petra once referred to as “increased curb appeal” because of our interactions here and an increasingly powerful internal ‘womanly’ presence inside.

The mind split is not a situation that can go away. I am trans. Maybe I should dress, but it isn’t nearly as important to me as being a good person.
The future, as always, is veiled in a secretive cloak. Every decision brings a new path and what is down there will be something I can think about and report on then. No matter what, here I will always remain your sister,

Halle

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Changed For Good

A lot of energy is spent on the different ways we are touched by and react to our gender variance. What I want to touch on briefly here is that universal potential we share.

Being two-spirited should not be a burden. In another place and time, we might join hands (not just virtually) and sing our joy at who we are and the contributions we make to that world because of that perspective we bring. The crushing weight of guilt and shame lifted, we would soar.

How wonderful to live at least part of the time in that brighter world. I will stay there for at least part of today and I invite you who have lifted me to come there for at least a while. (I will be the one in green BTW.)

Big Hug!
Halle



Tuesday, 2 November 2010

I Am Whelmed (part 2)

Who among the whole of the human race does not respond well to encouragement? The support of those who understand what we go through in our lives, or in our work (our peers) is the highest form of praise. Self-love, that most critical form of encouragement, is considered by some to be essential to a successful life.

Almost seven months ago she was a 'gleam in my eye'. Now she shines in my place. Her face, that face from the past is one that pushes me to try to be better every day in some way. One look in the mirror reminds me of how important it is to continue to strive to be better. Let’s just say I know what it means to be moving past middle age. I don't mean that in a bad way, so let me explain.

At some point we all realize there is only so much that we can do; we are all limited in some way. As a youth, we feel immortal and unlimited, but limitations become obvious at some point. For many, sadly, they come so awfully early. I was tremendously lucky; something that only has been revealed to me lately, lucky to fulfill many roles in my life so far, and be able to keep dreams alive too. I am the epitome of the saying “Getting older is inevitable. Growing up is optional”.

The woman I might have been was one of those dreams and in so many ways not a dream abandoned; she is here now (even though she looks little like the one in that drawing over there). I cannot yet be her older sister in person, but I cannot forget her, or in any other way desecrate that presence who reinforces me and makes me such a better person.

A bunch of us oldsters (mostly women) were together and laughing about our attempts to keep youth alive and the shock of looking in the mirror first thing in the morning to realize there is an old character there where the internal script says 'youthful'. It is just the way things are. It is just plain crazy to hate what you are, whether that happens to be an aging lady, or an aging man, or an aging man who thinks like a lady; it really does not matter. You need to be who you are, this very moment in this world in order to keep the other dreams alive.


The encouragement received here has been staggering and has lifted me much higher as a person than anything else I have done in my 'real' life. That fact perplexes me sometimes because it has been a life with many accomplishments. It makes me reflect on those other accomplishments and I realize that those things I have valued (apart from fathering my wonderful children) could have been done as a woman just as well, or even better. It says, be yourself and do what you do because you love doing it; you cannot go far wrong with that as your guide.


The banner title may change soon. I am tiring of just ‘maintaining’ anything, especially something so flimsy as the word façade implies. Suggestions are welcomed for my evolving blog for an evolving person ready for anything in spite of any obstacles real or imagined.

Hugs,

Halle