"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, 28 December 2011

Our Hearts' Desire

At a deep level, it seems to me we are guided. Some people believe in external powers that will help us if we let them. My belief is that we are led through our lives by a hidden inner spirit that uses all of its wiles to help us make the most of ourselves if we let it.

Because I have been aware of that wise playful spirit within, there is very little I regret from my past, beyond those things out of my control, like anatomy. There are some who will recognize my reference to anatomy and suggest that I could have done something, and in fact still can, to change many things about myself and satisfy a hearts' desire. They would be right and wrong. While there is a deep need to be able to 'do what the other girls do' here in my heart, (oh my yes) on the other hand, ignoring that imperative permitted me to satisfy an even more compelling hearts' desire of an earlier time, and follow a path that continues to bring joy today.

The reality was brought to mind over the holidays as we spent a day with our children and their spouses (no grandchildren yet, but maybe someday). I could sit and listen to them, and just be with them for days and never tire. They are such interesting and loving people. Yes of course, I am biased. :)

Best memories from a long life are dominated by images of caring for those two in their infancy then having the joy of watching them grow and learn for over thirty years now. There is no way I can imagine a life without these precious people and all of the surprises they bring. I am forever grateful that my inner guide found ways to divert my attention away from my deep feminine roots and left me to live as a man so I could help give them life and then provide whatever parenting skills I could as their father.

Young transitioning women have the option of freezing sperm so that they can have offspring. I understand and support that practice without question. Perhaps some day, medical technology will find a way to grow and implant our own ovaries and uterus along with the rest, and some future sisters will have that amazing experience of giving birth. It is something I can imagine, so it is probably something that brighter minds will bring to pass.

For my part, I will always have those timeless moments, holding those lives in my arms, falling asleep with them close to my heart, and today feeling nothing but awe and gratitude that some power prevented me from knowing a lesser hearts' desire in place of this one.


Thursday, 22 December 2011

Keeping Warm

Today is Solstice Day, like a Christmas gift from nature. In fact, let's be honest everyone, that is the origin of all other celebrations at this time of year. Its celebration predates all recorded religious rites, recorded in stone all over the world.

While there are likely readers who are in locations where the temperature will stay around 25 C, or 76 F in their homes without help from wood-stoves and furnaces, that is not the case where I live. Currently outside the temperature is hovering right at the freezing point. This past week I purchased some underwear that makes my old 'long-johns' look pretty sad. For those who do not know, long-johns are generally made of cotton, and are baggy. They do provide some warmth, but very little in the way of tactile comfort.

A week ago my wife and I were shopping in a grocery store in a nearby city. This grocery store has started to carry a line of clothing in the last few years (it is a 'Superstore' for those in Ontario) and we wandered into that part of the store to get my wife a thermal undershirt. I felt the material and immediately decided that I also needed one of those to try out, especially at the price; $12.

I am wearing it now while sitting around the house (blogging to you) and it is sooo very comfortable. The blend of materials is designed to wick moisture away, and hugs your skin like an all-over embrace. I paired this with some thermal tights. With these and a sweater, jeans and boots I can go walking outside and only have to make sure the ears are covered to be completely immune from the damp and cold, yet inside they continue to be comfortable. Oh brave new world…. 

When I was younger, such clothing would not have been available or acceptable for men. Now they are, and why not?

Clearly, I am not 'pushing the envelope' here as our friend Meg does in the 'underdressing' department. To be honest though, if she finds comfort in wearing a camisole under a shirt, why fuss? Why shouldn't mens socks be any colour and texture we want? I love flowers, so if I have them printed on my socks that should be my choice to make. I started wearing womens knee-high socks this past winter because I got tired of the ones that had elastic just above the ankle and just below the thickest part of my calf cutting into my leg then slipping down to bunch up around my ankles. The ones in the womens wear section are longer and fit just below the knee. They don't cut into my leg and they stay up.

Thinking back to some earlier comments, and comments I have been reading on other sites recently, it is interesting how some see a slippery-slope in doing the things our heart tells us we must. It may be true that getting in the habit of doing what exactly what you want to do with your body will lead right to a path you never expected. If that bothers you, do not change a thing, and for heavens sake stop that silly self-examination stuff.

Eliminate hair where you hate it: check

Wear close-fitting garments that make you feel like you are being hugged all over: check

Monday, 19 December 2011

Owning Our Story

This is not likely to be the last time Brené Brown gets a mention here, because she is a source of inspiration for me along the way.

She reminds anyone who cares to listen or read that we are worth the risk it takes to be ourselves, no matter how we think others might react to that, no matter how difficult we may find it as we search for who that person is under layers of shame or guilt or denial.

I do not know about you, but in my life there are only two other inspirations to be true to myself; the stories of those who are also living along this continuum, and the internal light that surprises me by shining brighter as I dare to be myself.

Follow the link down below at the right for more of Brené's thoughts.


Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Like a Rainstorm

I have tried to stay him for so long; way too much effort. I need to stop working so hard and just find out how much of him is really me. Maybe we will talk about that again, but not today. The whole, maintaining the façade thing was not working at all, so things were bound to change eventually. Apologies to those who thought me above "superficial". Today is a first (it might be the only) post about stuff that might seem superficial to many.

There was no rain of course. That is just a metaphor. No rain, but a flood happened anyway, a flood that came from some underneath source that has been held back for a very long time. This blog has been about an internal battle up until now. About a month ago, things went external on me, so either the blog could end, or it could morph with me. Let's try it and see how long it lasts.

A Hair Removal Story

I am a bit cheap and thought about going to a spa, or a hair removal clinic, or whatever to have the leg and chest and arm hair done. I then thought about what I already knew on hair removal from email conversations with others online.
Shaving makes the hairs tougher and does not last long before stubble comes in.
Waxing or epilating makes hairs come in lighter and the hairless state is longer. That was what I wanted. Waxing is best done by a professional, or a girlfriend who has done it before and wants to hear you squeal like a baby.

As I say, I am cheap (and have no girlfriend into SM, yet anyway), so I bought a medium quality epilator and went at it; it being my hands first, then my feet. Time for a little admiration. How wonderful not to feel and look like some sort of ape. The legs came next, right up to *there*. You might be saying to me at this point, Halle didn't that hurt?? You would be right of course, epilating is not for the faint of heart. I suppose this is the indication of just how much I wanted this evidence of male puberty and a long life of testosterone to be gone! No, it did not hurt; there was good pain. Every little snatch felt good. It took me a while to get the hang of the correct angle and pressure. Some skin got irritated in the learning process. The direction you travel across the skin matters. It was really helpful to trim the hairs down to less than a centimetre in length for the little tweezers to do their job.

I was really careful to clean up and wow, there sure was a pile of hair! I found the easy way to do this was to do the work in the bathtub (no water of course; not wanting to end my life, just the life of the fur) with a plug in the drain, then put a screen over the drain and rinse the evidence into the screen, thence to the garbage.

Now, I realize that for so many of you out there, this is old hat and if you got this far, thank you for hanging in. Maybe you are looking for some profound observations at this point. Let's try this.

I like the look and feel of my body better than I can remember.

Four weeks and a couple of easy 'touch-ups" later and I still get a kick out of feeling skin when I touch my hands. Why does it matter so much? It just does.

Monday, 12 December 2011

A New Site to Visit

Hi Blogistan,

Today, a break from me. There is a new blog up that is so well written and speaks to me, so I figure it will speak to a lot of you too.

Transsexualism Congenital Disorder.

I do not know who you are 'Sagebrush', but thank you for saying it all so well.

Let me know what you think folks.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

feeling disjointed

Today's post is about as close to 'blurting' as you will see here, for the feelings are way too raw to allow me to edit as well as usual.

In correspondence with a friend who reads this blog, she mentioned that 'things' seem to be going well for me right now. The recent posts are giving this impression it would seem, an impression that is not totally false by any means, but then, not quite true either. "Who wants to read a whiny blog?" says I, to which she pointed out "The blog is for any purpose you choose".

I choose to remind anyone who cares that no matter how calmly and carefully you might think you have approached it, being honest with yourself and others comes with a heavy price. Pulling at a thread in a tightly woven garment is dangerous, ok?

This is a world that will accept androgyny, in fact, to some extent, it seems to worship it, in fashion models and celebrities. If I desired a public life as an item of curiosity it would make my life easier, I will admit. At a personal level however, people are uncomfortable with androgyny.

Even when I was willing to pretend to be a manly man, it was never something I excelled in. No, let me be honest, I sucked at 'manly'. Since abandoning my façade this has only got worse. In a pack of men, I might as well have a bag over my head for all the conversation I can muster and the experience makes me feel like running away.

Changes have been subtle and remember, it has been an overall goal to somehow stay with my spouse of almost forty years, in spite of the obvious difficulties, for her and for me. She has never seen me dressed, because dressing is something done only from time to time and mostly to reassure myself that I am myself. I do not leave makeup or my undies lying around. I do have one thing that is pretty hard to miss that can be an indication of my rejection of male; my lack of hair from the hips down and on my hands. I really hate my furry coating, and after all, lots of men eliminate hair too, so "what of it" I thought. After all, I love her deeply, and that is more important than some superficial attribute, right?

Turns out, this is a deal-breaker for my wife. Keep in mind, virtually nothing else has changed externally here, but obviously, there has been change for her, that she has not comment on, and this has been a 'tipping point' for her. Where we stand at the moment; we are together, but emotionally disconnected. She feels abandoned by these changes, and so she has abandoned me. That is only fair I suppose. It really no longer matters what my intentions were.

We all know what it is like when a bandaid is stuck on the back of your arm and you know it has to come off, and when it comes off, it will hurt, no matter how you do it. Pulling out one hair at a time is slow and prolongs the pain. All at once in one swift pull is the right way. I am a band-aid stuck in her hair. She wants it gone. She knows it has to come off, so what is she waiting for? She is waiting for security, mostly financial, and don't think she doesn't deserve that. My wife put up with a lot and deserves better. She is right to be really pissed off, but we are not wealthy together, and apart, she would find it very difficult.

It is tempting to pull that sticky ol' mess off for her by saying "I am leaving", but that is the man talking, and I am not listening to mr. t much these days.

If I cannot continue to be a best friend to someone who has been my best friend for so long then the rest of my life will be wasted anyway, no matter what else I do. Losing the label 'lover' hurts, a lot, I am having a lot of trouble with that, but no, she will have to make up her own mind, and like a friend, I will do my best to listen and try to help her when she comes up with her plan. I have to do what is in my heart here and that is it. What she wants most of all is for me to 'Just forget about all of this nonsense and go back to the way you were!' If you are reading this you do not need me to explain.

As a good friend says, don't be like me. Be yourself. But be ready for that personal journey to reveal some surprises, and not all good ones.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

all in my mind

There are days when there is only confusion, verging on despair here, but every now and then the planets align, and in those moments, I play little mind-games, like this one for example:

I conjure up a younger Halle, sipping on a coffee, sinking down into her 'comfy chair' as the guy with the façade paces around and asks some of his really silly questions, like:


What is it like to be you? 
Do you wake up in the morning to a different thought each day, not the same one like I do? 
Does your brain still have noise, or is it really, really quiet and serene? 
Why can't I just be like you?


Putting on a serious look, and waiting just a bit to let him think these are hard questions, she tilts her head a bit, and smiles, then replies:

Some of these things would fix themselves if you would let them.
For the others, you already know the answers.

You are a good person.

Be yourself.



How did she get so wise?

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Free

I have always loved this music

The video speaks to me more than ever right now.


 

For what should have been - Via con Dios

Monday, 28 November 2011

Never enough

I will never get this post right, so it might as well be done wrong. Better wrong than not at all.

Another friend is gone. Another long illness has taken its toll.

I wonder what might have been, in a kinder more caring world.

Left to wonder what turn I can make so that in some better alternate future, we do not see the mourning of such a gentle, insightful person for no good reason.

Her illness might have been guilt, or shame, or self-loathing, but it is, was an illness, and what brings it on and what could send it packing is us. Being female or male or trans, none of these are an illness. Not accepting ourselves and more importantly, feeling we cannot ever be accepted as who we are is not just sad reality in our world, it is a fatal illness for too many.

I know why her death is something to take personally. This is not the first time it has occurred to me to give up the safety of stealth to speak out publicly. Too many young people are alone in their pain. It cycles round and round and eats them up. Coming out might save one life. Does loss of privacy and perhaps a few friends by my spouse and I matter enough to negate that need?

My friend was anonymous when she posted her comments and she will stay anonymous here as well. I cherish those comments and the email conversations we shared. I give thanks to the goddess for allowing me to know her a at all, but the pain is coming from so many directions right now and mostly for the thought of a loving spouse who is without her best friend and lover today. Nothing I do now or in the next months and years can bring her back. Nothing will fill the hole she has left in all those she chose to touch.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Every choice leads to a turn

Every choice we make turns us in a new direction.

My voyages into my own past are a psychic attempt to make sure that some version of my earlier self might find a sweeter future (not that I am whining about the version I lived) by donating an idea that might not have otherwise occurred to them. It is also a reason for my posts here, and my good wishes for some unknown gentle passerby.

I stay and blog because sometimes sharing an idea makes it clearer for me. I think of leaving because I wonder sometimes if the kind of learning that is happening here is helping me enough, and often because it is definitely time-consuming. There are other things I might do in that time.

It has been clear to me for a long time that if we do not influence ourselves, and give ourself the ideas we need, then someone or something will come along and influence us instead.

Some of the media has capitalized on this. There is too little space here, and way too much to say about how media has first of all found a way to turn off the impulse for quiet reflective thought in most of the humans on the planet, then, having done that, substitute their perversion of reality; fear, hatred, and whatever else they care to throw into their messages, overt and subliminal, that makes a person think their baser nature is really in tune with what is important in the world.

It amazes me that the few individuals who escape that influence are able to survive the loneliness, let alone be able to convince their comatose sisters and brothers that they should waken from it.

Am I preaching to the choir here? Well Duhhhh.. you are here, reading this instead of happily drowning in some soap opera reality offered to you by the television that is probably running in the background somewhere in your life.

Coincidentally, this morning two of my favourite bloggers have given us a window into the British newspaper scandal. If you are interested and have not already read Dru and Lucy's posts, I certainly learned something from them. It is bad enough that human nature is what it is, and people will not only fail to embrace those who will challenge a neat and tidy view of what everyone should be like, but will make fun of you and perhaps even try to end your life. In Britain it seems to have become institutionalized. As I suggest above, the media has tremendous power to persuade. They could choose to educate and bring the world out of the gutter. Instead, they choose the simple and quick and yes, dirty route. "Putting a fire out might be the right thing to do, but look, if I throw this bottle of gasoline (petrol) on it, look how high the flames dance! Hoorah!"

-----------

Some who have been here before know that one of my favourite authors is Richard Bach. In his book "Illusions…" he introduced the "Messiah's Handbook". It is filled with sayings that charm me. Bach's idea is you hold a question in your mind, then open the book at random choosing left or right, then read what it has to say to you. He suggests that this works with any book, even a novel, if you open the page and point at random then start reading.

I decided this morning to check it out using my copy. The question was "would it be better for me to continue blogging my ideas, or should I stop and devote time to other pursuits?"  By the way, realizing how much I enjoy reading others' blogs, I am not likely to give this up any time soon (unless I find myself in an empty room, of course). So, I opened up my copy of the book, chose right side, and …

A big help isn't it? :)

We must not be afraid to think for ourselves, and more important, not be afraid of those turns that we must take because of the convictions those thoughts will bring to us.
That is what being true to myself means to me.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Wishes Are Children

Careful the things you say,
Children will listen.

Today, just a piece of music, an ear-worm if you will, and the only way to purge it, is to indulge it, and perhaps, to share it. Just some music.... it cannot hurt you...

Careful the tale you tell, 
That is the spell...

Monday, 14 November 2011

If you could take a pill…

Part of my very successful façade was my 'handy-man' image. The only sort of work around the house that got farmed out was electrical, of the sort that could kill you if it was done incorrectly. I have replaced lights, and toilets, sinks, taps and I have made furniture and cabinets. The landscaping around our homes and all of the planting and patios and decks were all my idea, and most of the work was done by these (now well-manicured) hands. I just finished unclogging a sluggish drain by taking it apart and cleaning it out. Some would see this as a man's work, but for me, it is about being involved in the creation of something useful and sometimes beautiful. It has never occurred to me that anything done couldn't or wouldn't have been done if I'd been born or made female. I likely would have worn gloves more often, that much is certain.

Sweetie and I both love to eat good food, and most of the time that means buying the best ingredients our budget allows, then finding a recipe to make as fine a meal as we can. It's fun, and doesn't take as much time as Madison Avenue would have you believe. Most of our meals take a half hour or less to prepare, from start to finish. Of course, we clean up together; a good opportunity to give and get hugs. :)

As you can tell, self-sufficiency is part of who I am, deep inside, but more than that, personal responsibility is part of who I am too. Getting help for my gender issues has taken me a long time. It required shifting thinking to accept that asking for help was in fact taking charge. If the only way to get a project done is to hire some help, you can bet I will be taking the project over as soon as possible, and watching over the "hired help's" shoulder too, to see how "it" was done. If something about this project doesn't work out, I won't be blaming my therapist, even if I may give her a lot of credit when (optimistically) it does, no matter what that means.

Before arriving hereabouts, I traveled around the outskirts of Blogistan where many of the gender-variant look for instant solutions to their issues. In many of these sites, you can read about how, somehow, one would be transformed into a woman, usually a beautiful one. Sometimes the transformation would be magical. In many of the scenarios, someone else decides they are going to become women against their will. Often these 'forced femme fantasies' are written as a punishment scene; the man has been abusive, or insensitive in some way and needs to be 'taught a lesson'. Of course, deep down, he really wanted to become a she, and so the uniting theme turns out to be "instant gratification" and "lack of personal responsibility".

For some time I read fictions about transition. Luckily, the sites that provide these are well organized. You can filter out the sort you don't find interesting and zoom in those you do. Eventually I just zoomed myself out, because no matter how many different ones I started to read, I couldn't see myself as a character in any of those stories.

These days, I am enjoying reading fiction about powerful women. This is probably because I enjoy the company of powerful women too. Likely it is because inside that is how I see myself. If something is going to happen to me, I want it to be my idea, and it should be something that will ultimately make me feel good about myself, right or wrong by someone else's standards.

I suspect men who read and enjoy stories of being forced or tricked into becoming women have something about their history or their character that draws them to that sort of scenario. I do not understand that sort of thinking. I would not 'take the pill', because solving my problems is my job. I created the situation by my choices. If I don't like the choices I have made, maybe that will teach me something about myself, or about others. Perhaps by making a new choice I might be making yet another mistake. If so, it is my mistake, and there is power in making your own way in this world. Giving up your freedom to make decisions and choices is defeat in my world; not something I will take lightly, the same as blaming others.

Being victimized, forced to do something is an evil in my world. Nobody has the right to do that to another. So, making it into a 'literary device' for 'solving your problems' obviously does not work for me.

Role play is just that, and when we play games it should be fun. Nothing done in play should make permanent changes in our lives, even if it might change our minds about some things.

I often wonder if some seekers from that other world stumble by this blog and are puzzled by what they see here; or what they don't see here.

No magic or instant solutions. 

Lots of personal choice and responsibility. 

The Halle way.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Homesick

Today, a ramble from a homesick Halle:

Some called it the soul, others their conscience; it is that part of me that rises up above the day-to-day to encompass some 'higher' ambition. Some externalize this, calling it 'the angel on my shoulder', or even 'God'. These same people know an evil persona on the other shoulder, both whispering in an ear. I will not get drawn into some argument about supernatural beings. I have enough demons and ghosts around me to keep you and I both awake at night, thank you very much; no need for a new and different pantheon here.

For me, those forces that keep me from rising up need no persona, that is simply the background where my life began. I cannot enjoy watching television drama, or soap opera. It has always been incomprehensible to me that there are people who do not have enough drama or sadness in their own lives. They actually find entertainment in watching such television programs or movies. It is the same story with horror movies for me. Of course, it might be like hitting your head against a wall; it feels so good when you stop.

I often wonder where my siblings are, or if I am truly an alien, an ET among humans, magically made to look like them, but forced to still live with an ET brain and ET desires. That part of me that nudges me to rise above the sadness of alien-nation imposed by humans gets me through, and reminds me of home, at least for a while.

Don't get me wrong, I love the humans, and wish them only well, but oh my, I do wish I could go home someday to tell my ET family a wondrous-strange story of life among humans.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Is it this awesome?

Spoiler Alert! If you are a Gray's Anatomy fan, but have not seen the November 3rd episode (last night), then you probably want to read this another time. 

Every now and then a fictional account becomes much more to me. A good book (thank you Calie) feeds the soul, or a movie or television program moves you to think differently about the world. I love that, and hope that some day something I create can be such a catalyst.

For those who do not (or cannot) watch this television program, Gray's Anatomy (to grossly simplify) follows the lives of the surgeons in a Seattle hospital; their careers, their love lives, and everything in between.

Last evening's episode began with an operation to 'harvest' the living heart from an accident victim who was brain-dead, for immediate transplant. The heart was put into a device in a plexiglas box designed to keep it alive and beating. A phone call reveals the planned recipient has died. The heart, with no ready donor, is left in that box, in the keeping of Dr. Christina Yang, beating and in plain sight for the remainder of the episode. At first a curiosity, then a nuisance, the heart soon becomes a symbol of all that is miraculous, and truly awesome in the world.

Christina had made a 'bucket list' for herself, and needed to shorten it. By naming each item, then comparing it to 'heart in a box', she was able to decide which on the list should stay (as awesome) or go (less awesome).

There are times in your life when you need to dream big, and believe that truly miraculous and awesome is what you deserve. I will remember that heart, still beating, alive and eventually hidden again but still awesome; giving someone who might otherwise have died that day a miracle.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

A Long Time Ago...

"He has been through a lot in the last while, so please, let him sleep."

The voice came from a very young woman. It was hard to see her face clearly, almost as though her features were not fix. The voice was very kind but had a strength, a confidence that was remarkable for her size.

"Who are you?" was the only thing that came to mind, having traveled so far to talk to the little boy in his dreamtime and now being confronted by this stranger. Perhaps she was someone in his life at this age? A teacher? Not a relative, I'd remember her if she was. As her features settled down, a flash of recognition. No, she can't be here. He is way too young.

"I think I will ask you the same question; we don't talk to strangers."

My shock at seeing my own feminine self, so young, but definitely me. Turning back to look at the boy, sleeping so peacefully, then facing her I said quietly, "The boy in the bed is me. He grew up." I said it sheepishly, for some reason. " I really need to talk to him. It is very important to me."

She reacted so quickly, eye-darts flying at me "You waited a while, didn't you? A bit busy were you? What do you need to talk to a little boy about anyway? You must have long forgotten us at your age."

I must have looked shocked, or hurt. She reached out to touch my hand. "I don't know why I said that to you. I am sorry."

But she had been right. I had forgotten that little boy who, from the look of the room and the books and the few toys on my old shelf was about six maybe seven years old. It was the reason for my visit in his and my dreamtime, to try to find some understanding of how 'it' all started. I was suddenly concerned, and wondered if trying to visit my boy self was wrong, then realized that meeting her was what it was really about. "No, I should be the one to be sorry to have upset you. I had worried about angering him, but I didn't expect to see you. He needs to know how wonderful a person he is." Feeling a deep desire to connect with her, I asked "Do you have a name?"

Her soft reply  "Do I need a name? Nobody knows I am here, not even the boy." reminded me how old I was before I even recognized her as part of me. Of course the boy didn't give her a name, since she was just a part of him in this time.

"In my life, you have a name. I know you, and a few people in the world do too. I named you 'Halle'."

"That sounds nice, I suppose. It is sad for me to think that you still need me at your age; sorry, but you are a bit old aren't you?"

"Almost sixty"

"Oh my… I am sorry, I said that already didn't I?" Looking over at my child self, she gestured "He is getting restless. If you want to tell him something, please tell me and I will 'pass it along'. He is confused and upset enough with the adults in his world. He won't understand or accept anything you try to tell him."

She was almost crying, so sad and lovely, almost motherly in her attitude toward that little boy. Softly, I tried to say something she could use or tell him. "He needs to stop trying to make everything work out. He should get upset more. That little boy should react to the world instead of trying to control it. Most of all, he needs to learn to be a child and laugh and play more. Can you help him with all of that?"

A look of defeat came over her face as she sighed and quietly said. "You are all grown up and have forgotten how hard it is to be that sort of person for him. He needs all the help and love I can give him just to get through a day." Shaking her head, then she looked up at me.  "You want him to be a 'normal little boy', I think."
She paused for what seemed a long time. My child self turned in his sleep and opened his eyes briefly. She whispered. "I will try to do what you suggest. Come back again. We need to talk more I think."

"Oh yes, I will. I am on a journey. It brought me here. I did not expect to see you, Halle."

She smiled. "Thank you for the pretty name."

Friday, 28 October 2011

Stuck in Traffic

If you can imagine life as a journey, it seems to me that challenges can be dealt with, and disappear, or they can be ignored, and pushed down, and after a while they become so repetitive that they are like a traffic jam, forcing you to turn and take a new route, or put it in reverse to get to a place where going forward is possible, or just sit there, stuck.

Sweetie and I have a good relationship for the most part, but let us face it, life with me has not been a trip down a superhighway; nice and smooth with lots of opportunity to see where she is going. More like a narrow country road with hedges up both sides (I am thinking of a B road near Bath in England right now).
She has had to be prepared to stop suddenly to avoid oncoming traffic (me) going in the opposite direction from her intended. Such is the examined life, that it has been important to be able to stop and back up and change course to avoid traffic jams, or routes that go too near to drop-offs.

I do not like doing this to her; making her unsure of us when what she wants most is certainty, like that superhighway. Given a choice of course I would live in the open, and would drive straight ahead, sure of myself and happy being who I am. It would be a road less traveled, that is for sure, but it would be mine, not one for someone who I have been forced to invent. Oh how I hope, when I find and take that road, that she wants to drive a road that takes us to the same place.

In her post  "I panicked…" this past week, Rhiannon asks the question that is like a ghost haunting me too:
"Why has my life, yet again, become one of sneaking around, hiding, lying to the people I love to protect something I'm proud of and that is not wrong or shameful, but instead is a big part of who I am. Why, in the place of greatest intimacy and supposed trust am I forced to be the pretend me?"

To end the analogy with driving, life right now is a lot like being in a big round-about. I feel as though I am stuck, but I know there are lots of different routes available. I am taking my time, and trying to be sure I do not have to come back here yet again in the future.

This old wreck hasn't many miles left on it for that sort of nonsense.


Monday, 24 October 2011

The Path to Success

Sweetie and I have been traveling together for the past week, out of touch with the wonderful land of blogs. Returning, I find that some things have changed, but in a sense, nothing has changed. Dwelling on the changes will bring me down, so I needed to find some levity.

It came my way in an email from a good friend.
These things often do, just when they are needed. Funny thing about that, eh.

We in Canada take bears seriously. In eastern Canada, we have the black bear, no grizzlies here, thank goodness.



As I look down at the table beside me, a coaster sits.



Success 
is to have lived well 
laughed often 
& loved much





Now, on with the living and loving part.

Hugs,
Halle

Friday, 14 October 2011

When through the window...

This morning, a post that is pretty impulsive. I am not generally impulsive, but then, I have lived a very controlled existence for most of my life. While things in this regard are improving, sometimes it is good to be given a reminder. Worrying about image is such a burden, and who suffers most from the choice of an inappropriate public image more than the perpetrator, me in this case?

This morning on the radio, they were talking about Winnie the Pooh. It reminded me of the cute little honey lover's creator, A.A. Milne, and that reminded me of my childhood, and from there, a cautionary poem by the same author. Perhaps I should have been wiser, and taken its message to heart, but after all, I was only seven when I read this for the first time:


King John was not a good man — 
He had his little ways. 
And sometimes no one spoke to him 
For days and days and days.




I still have the book, sitting on my lap right now, "Now We Are Six", by A.A. Milne, with 'decorations' by Earnest H. Shepard. Oh how I loved those illustrations; still do. :)

Read the whole poem King John's Christmas here. I would hold the book up and read to you if you were sitting round the rocking chair with me, but this will have to do kids.

Hugs to all,
Halle

Monday, 3 October 2011

My Freak Flag is Getting Itchy

Some might have noticed a badge down the right side of this blog.

I choose AUTHENTICITY

It is not so much a statement as it is a goal and a reminder. What it means to me right now is that I accept that when making a choice, it is better to boldly accept my flaws rather than try to mask them.

In so many ways being who the world tries to make you be is wrong, yet too often because I am still avoiding shame or some other pain, I hide that real person for just one more day.

Brené Brown calls it your Freak Flag.

We all need to accept it; nobody is perfect. None of those people I am hiding my shame big bright flag from think I am perfect now. Heck, they have their own flags. Oh yes, so do you. Admit it. Maybe my world is just waiting for me to raise mine high. Maybe some will run away from this freak at first, but I am becoming more convinced that it might encourage them to show the world their own.

After all, some really nice people seem to think Halle is ok around here. It has to mean something, doesn't it?




Friday, 23 September 2011

A Death in the Family


She was one of the first to welcome me to Blogging, and gave support and new ideas in chats we had. She loved simple and beautiful things, as I do, and yes, I have been missing her for a long time.


Melissa Alison Price left the world on August 20, 2011. My last correspondence with her, three weeks before, was cheery, but short. That was to be expected. She was very ill, and heavily sedated, but of course, that was part of the process of getting better. (sigh)


There will be no more suggestions of some wonderful piece of music we knew the other would love. It is so amazingly sad to remember that never again will her comment pop up when something I have written moves her, or gives her a chuckle. No more news of life in the Piedmont.

My last email to her was sent a week after she died. It included the photo you see. I know she would have loved it, and assumed that once she recovered, she would send me a reply with a LOL in it, because it was just made for her mother's driving.

There is no proof of life after 'death' here on earth. I am not a religious person, but am a spiritual person, and believe in love and I know how powerful that emotion is. If she lives on, it is there, in some vast thing called love that surrounds us and so, I choose to believe that she is 'looking' over someone's shoulder as they read this, laughing at the dog's expression, and remembering that sort of feeling, and she is also reading and feeling all of the love that is flowing in the comment stream of her last post, on July 12, currently up to 44 comments.

Melissa, I miss you now and expect to be missing you for a long time, but not for ever. As Lisa Maria suggested in that comment stream, we will meet again where that love resides, a place even more beautiful than your place in the Piedmont.

Love,
Halle
xox


Saturday, 17 September 2011

Move Along!

There are probably a few readers who can relate to my love of sufficient planning no matter what the project. Many of my friends and sweetie in particular have pointed this quality out and called it "procrastination". I usually respond that I was going to procrastinate, but never got around to it. :)

Our good friend Petra once pointed out to me my resemblance to someone who is looking at a Rubik's cube, turning it this way and that before twisting it into shape.

Anyway, my point is that sometimes too much rumination on a topic can sidetrack you, and that has certainly happened to me here during the last year and a half. Of course, being sidetracked might actually be good in my case, since any progress has tended to keep the monsters at bay. Eventually however, the time comes to put all that good thinking to use.

I wrote to a friend about this, and am getting more certain by the hour (and yes, it did keep me from getting a full night's sleep) that unless something changes, the loss of productivity is going to continue to spiral until I do nothing but sit in a corner and vegetate. There is so much more to my life than I choose to  discuss here, yet what I do manage to accomplish feels like only a small fraction of what I might if my mind was clear and totally devoted to each project.

As though a mental push was needed, one recent event has moved me even further toward action.

A few days ago I had decided that while my sweetie was out for much of the day, I would get a pile of desk work done while dressed in some casual but definitely female attire; something I have not done for many months and had tried to convince myself I did not really need. A phone call changed everything. I spent the day elsewhere and did not get a chance to either do the desk work or dress as I had planned. The truly telling part of this episode is how profoundly disappointed I felt at the turn of events. An inner voice literally yelled at me that I had made a promise and now had reneged. All logic and rationalization of the event cannot erase this truth about my feelings, and honestly, I do not know what to make of it.

Many in Blogistan have come to the point where they are moving on, because that is something they can do now. My not so simple desire is to be one of those people who can move on. I desire to be trans-nothing.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Devil May Care

Every now and then some music that is currently speaking to me appears here. My tastes are very eclectic, but I like powerful messages and a powerful performance.

Not everyone cares for jazz, but you may want to at least read the lyrics and then chance a listen to Diana Krall and her combo, a Canadian jazz institution, sing and play "Devil May Care". I just love how her sidemen are obviously having a blast in this and any other performance I have ever seen.




No cares for me 
I'm happy as I can be 
I learn to love and to live 
Devil may care 
No cares and woes 
Whatever comes later goes 
That's how I'll take and I'll give 
Devil may care 

When the day is through, 
I suffer no regrets 
I know that he who frets, loses the night 
For only a fool, thinks he can hold back the dawn 
He who is wise never tries to revise what's past and gone 

Live love today, love come tomorrow or May 
Don't even stop for a sigh, it doesn't help if you cry 
That's how I live and I'll die 
Devil may care 

Monday, 5 September 2011

Dangerous Assumptions

Some time ago, I came across this cartoon. As Homer says "it's funny because it's true."
 
So yes, I admit it, I am a dog… :)

I would apologize for being who I am, then keeping part of it a secret, but gosh, that is what I have been doing all my life, so it really feels natural. Plus, it keeps all those people with torches from visiting our home.

Sadly, there are those who get really angry because Halle is "just a man" and they can't deal with that. After all, nobody else around here was born a man, were they?

I do wish that some folk would remember that being screwed up and confused and hurt is what brought quite a few of us to this place. Finding any way at all to become better than we were is important. There is more than one way to do that.

This gem was dropped by Jay today, and I couldn't agree more: "...maybe each of us does have our answer. But that doesn't mean that anyone else's answer isn't the answer, even if it isn't the same as our own. "

In my book, those who challenge us to really think are important, and I do not care if they are dogs or men or even women.

I need to be encouraged to think and dig deep into myself. Sadly, we seem to be slowly losing our best and brightest.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Something a Girl Without a Body Can Do

In dreams I take my show on the road. Sometimes I find out that everyone knew already, and they were just waiting for me to admit to it. That is the most pleasant dream of all.

How about something real this girl without a body can do right now, like pass along some good news? News that reads like one of my better dreams.

In it, there is a wife, let's call her Lucy, who is married to her best friend (sort of like me) who is transitioning (well, not really like me, but you get the idea).

Lucy had a moment of clarity this morning and I loved reading about it so much I just had to let you in on it. After all, what else should a non-corporeal girl be doing?

Hugs to you and especially to Lucy and Diana.

Halle

Sunday, 28 August 2011

It Changes Everything

For something to be humorous it needs to have a spark of truth, with a twist. Nothing is the same after you tell a spouse what I had to tell her back in 2008. We have grown to an understanding of who we are now, and while my sweetie is very patient about her new man, there are some things that can never be the same.

She and I view this cartoon, for instance, in a very different way from our friends.


Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Learning From Negativity

Living through difficult situations and coming out the other side can leave you better off I find. The old saying "what doesn't kill you may leave you stronger" seems to apply.

Other than the obvious ways of learning such as watching how to do it, listening to someone talk about it, read about it.. and so on, there is another less obvious one. It is available when we are tested by negative influences. This sort of learning cultivates self-discipline and has the added benefit of helping you avoid the pitfall of letting situations or other people manipulate you. These are those times when the natural tendency is to react in one of two extreme ways, either lashing out, or shutting down, sometimes referred to as the flight/fight response.

I have learned that cooly observing the negativity of a situation can teach me a positive lesson. I begin by refusing, or at least resisting the tendency of being overwhelmed by negative aspects. To do this yourself, try using those fifteen seconds you get when counting slowly as mom taught you, to let your mind begin taking a next step.

During that cool-down time, I decide whether doing something or saying something to get back at the world is going to help the situation, or make me feel better. Most of the time, during that slight pause, I find myself realizing that there is no way lashing out is going to make the person or situation better. If walking away, or somehow delaying reaction is possible, some good can often come of the situation. I had to learn that this walking away was not the same as fleeing, even when others might see it that way. A measured response, or some internal improvement that comes of such an event is worth more than a vengeful lashing out.

In the end, it is possible to make yourself a better person by simply observing behaviours that really turn you off, then becoming more determined than ever to avoid having others think about you that way.

There is another aspect of learning from negativity I would like to acknowledge here. When you have found and acknowledged negativity in yourself in the past as I have, it is a lot easier to be understanding, or at least less judgemental of the 'failings' of others. In other words, it is actually an advantage to have struggled in a positive way with negativity. You can find yourself in a better position to empathize with others and you might learn something too.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

I Don't Want To Be A Woman

I read the following in a comment yesterday, and it got me thinking: "The point of all of this is to become female." It might have been just careless use of language, or it might truly be what some individuals think we are all about. So, thank you for playing the game, but (insert rude buzzer noise here) ...wrong!!

We are so amazingly unique. I will guarantee that not every MTF would say they are doing what they do in order to become female, because I definitely am not.

This is not about semantics where some would say, "of course, because you have always been female, so you are not becoming anything but yourself. As true as that might be, I wish to repeat: I really do not want to become anything.

I want to stop having painful and distracting symptoms that have plagued me all of my life; symptoms I never understood until I came here to read and share my own truths.

In all honesty, as much as I might have thought a woman is who lives inside, whatever ends up giving me the best chance to stop that inner conflict and dislocation and distraction is the path I will end up following. So, if finding gender congruence turns out to be the only way out of this mess, that is likely to be my Act III finale.

For some, becoming female might be the result, but it is not always the motivation.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Two Headed Driver

A long time before the use of seat belts in cars became mandatory (come to think about it, they didn't even put them in the cars when I was a kid) we used to see what we called "two headed drivers" from time to time.

There would be a man's head on the left, with left hand on the steering wheel and right arm around the girl of his dreams whose head would be on his shoulder. Young love's embrace hurtling down the road.

Seat belts and driver training have made the two-headed driver obsolete, except in my case.

Observe Halle, two-headed driver, heading down the expressway of life, never quite sure which of the two sides of her persona has a hand on the wheel, or even whose feet are on the pedals. It may not be dangerous for the rest of the world, but personally, I am used to feeling a lot more in control than the present situation allows and to be honest, it is scaring me a lot. There are just too many situations where being of two minds makes for dangerous travel down the road of life.

Still, I am doing the best I can, and if that means fighting over the controls for a while, it seems that is what I will do. Good form dictates that sooner or later it will be one driver and one passenger, or perhaps just a driver.

I remember wondering how those two-headed drivers of my youth managed to stay alive with only one hand on the wheel. Heck, I still wonder sometimes.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Like Banging Your Head

"Why do you bang your head on the wall like that?"
"It feels so good when I stop!"


There was a time not so terribly long ago when personal self-acceptance seemed an impossible dream. The feelings then, so confused, drove me to seek any kind of temporary relief from myself. Over time, it dawned on me that if I kept on that path, eventually I would end my life. I hated myself that much.

As I look around our world, so much of what we consume seems to be in the category of temporary relief in the form of escape from reality. Industries, and crime syndicates have sprung up to provide them. Seductively designed to give the user a rush, when seen through dispassionate eyes, these 'items' are sometimes expensive, often bizarre and always geared to give that temporary release, then send you back for more, while increasing feelings of shame. Like a drug, the 'hit' needs to be elevated to be effective the next time.

Such is the item referenced in a post on July 17th by Miz Know-it-All; a prosthetic that promises to give the wearer the temporary illusion of being a woman. The item comes complete with photographic evidence and glowing customer recommendations.

We all bring our own perspective, of course. Miz K feels speechless and ill. I feel sad; awful terrible sad, and left to wonder how much further down the road away from self-acceptance such a purchase eventually moves the user (or is it used?).

I will not judge those who find themselves so confused, so desperate for some relief from themselves that they would be driven to acquire that and other 'items' in order to escape. Judging them would be to condemn myself at an earlier age; a time when I might in quiet, self-loathing desperation, have tried that or something like it too.

Numbing ourselves is never a solution to a problem. Realizing what it is that we are doing and finding a way to stop the self-hatred is a necessary first step to regaining control of our life.

If you have made choices that you regret, join the human race. We all have them.

If you feel truly at peace with yourself and the world, you are not hurting yourself are you? If not, consider the folly of hitting your head on the wall, just to feel better when you stop.

Miz Know-it-All's post here.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Every Time We Say Goodbye

There are aspects of straddling the gender divide that are hard to label successfully, in my humble opinion. I read blogs of self-described crossdressers that sometimes sound eerily familiar to me from reading blogs of self-described transexuals. We may be 'mainly this or that' but it seems we each can learn something about ourselves by empathizing with the other, unless of course, we are in the enviable position of having definitively 'solved' our 'problem'.

On a personal note, it is pleasing to be able to declare that having a balance between two halves of my psyche is going well. To recap, each morning I acknowledge to myself that presenting as a male is a bad, but necessary compromise that a long life of denial has made necessary for me. Having done that, and accepting that my mind and heart is somewhere else, it is time to move on and get on with my day as best I can.

I do not, I cannot dress the way my heart dictates, not even a little. Tempting as it might seem,  I am not the sort who can do the androgyny look, apart from the obvious. Lots of women are about in golf shirts, shorts and sandals in my part of the world right now, and that tends to be my uniform. Hairy legs are a giveaway of course as is the cut and style. My issue is not with the clothes at any rate; it is about who I am, and how that is expressed.

If I was going to accessorize my golf shirt, shorts  and sandals as Halle, it would be part of taking full control of the situation (moving to the driver's seat, as it were) and leaving the man behind. To say it bluntly, I must be one or the other gender on the outside. If I cross that line, there will be no heading back, because the mental crisis of back and forth, man today, woman tomorrow, is not something I could survive for long.

It has been said before here that I envy those who carefully and convincingly present in both the male and female, and seemingly dance back and forth at will. The word 'seemingly' was used intentionally. Every now and then these cross dressing friends (some I correspond with, but have not yet met, sadly) will write a post that makes me wonder whether they also suffer from a psychic malaise that going back to male brings after giving the woman inside full control for a while.

For me who knows I cannot do it, and for you who take the risk of having your heart ripped out each time you need to put yourself away again, a song that has been playing in my mind for a long time, and needs to be put out there.

Cole Porter was not likely thinking about our situation, but his lyrics and the music tell that story of loss better than a thousand of my words ever can.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Shifting Focus

This morning I had an epiphany (an intuitive grasp of reality through something usually simple and striking). I needed to get it written down, because ideas have crystallized here chéz Halle.

In this post I am going to use the word disability. Some might take my use of the term the wrong way, as though I am minimizing anyone else's difficulties. Please be patient with one who needs desperately to find a way forward.

In the last year and a half, the examination going on here has revolved around understanding a disability that has at times crippled me. Until I could know what strategies were available to eliminate or help me cope with it, the threat of further damage existed.
There is a way to correct it, but there are risks involved; both physical and mental risks, many of which I would be willing to take. Within that collection of risks however, there is a tipping point for my decision to live or deal with this disability. I will keep in mind that those considerations can alter with time, so the decision and path today is just that; today's path, for me.

People live with disabilities all around us. The most successful of these you would never know as 'disabled'. Their abilities are what defined them. They know about their condition, and they do not ignore it. They treat it. Once they have done those things needed to deal with it for that time, they move on and do everything they can do to lead a worthwhile and whole-hearted existence based on their collection of abilities.

I have a huge collection of abilities. I am not bragging. Many of them are very common. Some not so common too. If you have never catalogued your own blessings, do it. It is important that you should know how 'blessed' you are because living with your abilities is the strength of any plan to live well.

I am new to this as a way of living, but today I am convinced this is what I need now because continually rehashing the details of this disability is not helping me to deal with it better. Sure, I will continue to be aware of it; how can it be otherwise? It is always there, as is the knowledge of the treatment option. I will not stop blogging, but being bogged down in something I have made a conscious decision to accept is not a good option, so if it looks like that is where I am going at any time, I would really appreciate a metaphorical good swift kick in the ass from a sister or brother out there. 

Hugs,
Halle

On My Mind

If you always think what you've always thought,

You will always do what you've always done.

If you always do what you've always done,

You will always get what you've always got.

If you always get what you've always got,

You will always think what you've always thought.
(author unknown)
----------------

law of diminishing returns
n.
The tendency for a continuing application of effort or skill toward a particular project or goal to decline in effectiveness after a certain level of result has been achieved.

-------------

Sail when the wind starts to blow
But like a fool I don't know when to leave.


Knowing When To Leave (Burt Bacharach/Hal David)

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Driven Under By Fear and Shame

It set me back. I will never know how close it came to killing me. That was not how it felt at the time, but that is what is clear now; it made self-acceptance close to impossible. Better put, it was a revelation that made me sick to think about myself, and it drove me into psychic hell for a long time.

"It" was a revelation by my younger brother of a pivotal event in his young life.

I did not grow up with my brother, but I did see him regularly. That part of my family had a 'family friend' who was (he is long deceased) homosexual. It is that long ago that the word 'gay' had not started to be used for anything but 'happy'. This man was also a crossdresser, and we liked him a lot. He was intelligent and well-read and told many good stories that had nothing to do with being homosexual or crossdressing.

What I did not find out until somewhat later, as a result of my brother's revelation of his own devastating experience, is that this same person was a pediphile and rapist.

Things I believe now: When we prejudge people it is just plain wrong. When we broadly characterize people as a result of some particular quality they have, it is dangerous. Of course, I know that gay people don't usually crossdress. I know crossdressers are not usually gay. I know pediphiles are just that, and whatever other characteristics they have, gay, straight… oh whatever! When the person we prejudge is ourselves, what then?

Oh, how I hated this man once this came to light. I thought back on how we had all been taken in by this monster and it made me sick and determined that nobody like this would ever have a chance to do this sort of thing ever to my children. What was worse than hating a dead pervert, was the hatred it generated for myself, because I really did not understand what it was that drove me to my own personal 'perversion'; I was a closet crossdresser. Everything I had experienced in my life told me that this was wrong. Wanting to be a woman was perverted and wrong and I was secretly an evil and damaged person.

Sure, I sometimes crossdressed, but I would never do harm to a child. Heck, I would never have had sex at all without the encouragement of that wonderful woman who I married. Forcing anyone into sex was inconceivable to me. Sex is supposed to be the culmination of the most intimate getting to know and love someone experience that two people can have, not some violent hatred act forced onto a victim. Still, I lived in a private hell, wondering if somehow my mind was going to snap, and I was going to become what I hated most in the world. 

The full extent of the damage that one revelation brought I will never know fully, because it is a long time ago, but there is not a bit of doubt that my longings to be a woman were buried even deeper by  the profound shame I felt and the fears that it generated.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Sex, or Gender, or What?

While filling out a form in my high school days, I came to the line which looked like this:

SEX: _________

and I wrote in "yes, whenever possible". You might have done something similar at some time I expect.

They really wanted me to write in my gender, of course. Even then, I was a bit of a disturber of the smelly stuff, if you know what I mean.

Obviously, sex and gender are not the same. I write here about gender confusion. I am not (at this point anyway) confused at all about sex. To be really honest, there is little confusion anymore about gender here either, except when people look at me and then think about how I act, or when I look at my body and then think about how I feel.

As far as sex is concerned, for me, it has always been a matter of loving this person who completes me and for the last thirty seven years that person has been my sweetie.

Am I heterosexual? Everyone in my real world would say, of course. Those who really know me (like my friends here) might disagree. Personally, I say, who cares? To paraphrase a former prime minister of my country, you have no business wondering or caring what happens in my bedroom, nor I in yours. How and with whom I have sex is really none of your business, and furthermore, it has nothing to do with what I blog about.

So fine, we have that out of the way. Why does this matter?

Many in T land are transsexual. You seek to be consistent within your gender by keeping what you cannot change, and changing what you can. Others in T land are not seeking that consistency, but seek to have the freedom to express both sides of the gender spectrum. The two are not the same, but there are issues shared by the two. We all need to understand ourselves better, and come to a place of peace within ourselves. I believe we all wish we could live in a more tolerant, less judgmental world. Maybe we need to stand together.

Some reading this may be involved in the LGBT community, and that is fine, no matter what your motivation. Let me be really clear before I continue; there are really good reasons to try to change society, and the LGBT community is at least partly about that.

What, I might ask, do I have in common with the gay community, even though my cause has nothing to do with sexual orientation? Well, we share a common bond as outcasts by many in society. Intolerance of our basic rights to live as ourselves violates us, and puts us in mortal danger. For that reason alone, some might say, maybe we need to stand together.

It occurs to me, however, that there are all kinds of people in the world who are shunned by other groups for various reasons. Bigotry is hardly limited to sexual or gender orientation.

For my money (and yes, this is a financial issue) I would rather be part of an international drive for an end to bigotry and mindless hatred. Full Stop.

In my way of thinking, we don't get to fix homophobia, and continue to marginalize people who don't look like ourselves. We don't get to say how wrong it is to persecute our particular religious (or in my case, non-religious) group and at the same time shun those who seek to find gender congruence through medical intervention.

We don't get to hate all the members of some country, or ethnic group, or religious affiliation and at the same time claim to be loving and caring of others.

Personally, it is not enough for me to want my own particular pain to be dealt with, without noting that prejudging others based on any physical characteristic, or personal conviction they are rumored to hold is wrong.

This is like honesty, which is not a policy, by the way, but a lifestyle. You need to live this. You need to live tolerance. You need to remind yourself daily to be forgiving. We need to take responsibility for ourselves and clean up that yard, then go out and ask if we can help others to clean up theirs.

So, for me, this is not just about gender. It is certainly not about sex. It is about learning how to be a human being who cares about humanity. I really think that is what most of us who are reading and writing here are about too if we think about it. Thank you all for living that each day in the way you reach out to others.

Maybe we need to stand together, hmm?

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

J'écris, donc j'existe!

My world is populated with fictional characters. Perhaps you find this surprising, but for me, the you I know is a fiction. No matter how well you have described yourself to me, regardless of time spent together, or shared intimacies we have, I really do not know you. I know a version of you. Please realize this does not mean I don't listen, or care to know the real you. What it means is that eventually everyone has to create an internal 'you' that they carry around and think about and it is useful to realize that person inside is not the one that lives and breathes.

Have you ever had one of those sudden falling outs with someone? You thought you knew them better, but no, it turns out they were a phoney! Think back and try to be objective about the experience. When you made this huge discovery about something that did not seem 'in character' about them, what really went wrong?

Before two years ago, the 'I' who you know (or think you know) here did not exist. This is true in the same way that you don't really know your own adult offspring until they become adults; they change as they are growing in mind and spirit because of their experience. Three years ago, there was a presence here who I refused to acknowledge or name. Because she has been allowed the privilege of interacting, she has grown up. Childish in so many ways still, she is starting to mature into a reliable personality, and she is dragging the rest of me along, thankfully. Still happy to ride in the back seat, commenting on the scenery from time to time, I am learning slowly about the way the world works. I used to think I wrote here for myself. Then I wondered if it was for others. Now I know and really understand that I write to exist. If I ever stop writing, it will mean one of two things. Either I have stopped existing, or, I have decided to start driving the car, and have no need to write anymore.

We lament the fact that people cannot accept the real us. It is important to remember who 'changed the rules' in the relationship. Maybe we should have t-shirts made up with a sign to let everyone know that the ground can shift at any time.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Always Something There To Remind Me

It has always amazed me how the human imagination can fill in the blanks effectively enough to make a virtual experience seem very real. Reading a book, or listening to a radio play for example, we do not need to actually be there to be affected, sometimes deeply. I have not tried second life, but can imagine (there I go again) that it would engage me very strongly.

Both in your posts, and your comments, I find what is written and said here in Blogistan to be especially evocative, with the power to make a difference in how I think, and how I feel. The fact is, what you are telling me, and the effect it has, adds to my reality in ways that are actually starting to cause me difficulties.

A friend with a private blog wrote a post that reminded me how hard I have been working to filter my life experience here when I am in the "real" (for lack of better designation) world. Her spouse, like mine, does not want to hear about anything trans. Like Mrs. H, she is upset at times that we are not always attentive, not always able to make a contribution to the conversation; in short, we do not seem to be mentally present in the room where our body is located.

Some might say I am distracted, but in fact it is quite the opposite. My mind is there, totally engaged, but my dual nature and the promise I have made to hide it put me in a bind. I often have all kinds of things I wish to share, but those ideas or feelings are bound up with my life as Halle. In order to do justice to the idea, I would have to explain how I know about a blossom festival in Texas, or how I know about some pub, or nature walk in England, or a music camp in B.C., and on and on it goes!

Life here, so enriched by all of you, makes the real me seem to be very dull because I cannot acknowledge it to those around me. That real life feels diminished by pretending to be one dimensional. My admiration goes out to those of you who participate as yourselves in support groups, and shopping trips, and various other activities in the real world and still have to filter it all for people in your non-T life. It is no small wonder that 'coming out' is a huge event. Being authentic allows you to fully engage yourself in the present at all times.

No wonder I feel like Jedi Halle living in hiding some days. In order to avoid drawing attention to my self, I pretend to be "a mild mannered dope". So, once more, it is clear what needs to happen. In the meantime, move over Clark Kent.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Sometimes Technology Scares Me

As you can tell, I blog, like so many of you, using 'Blogger'. This is a 'Google' product. I also use 'Gmail', another google product for personal email. I use "Google" for my search engine, and "Google Maps" for that stuff. I don't own shares or anything, it has just worked out like that.

One of the prices you pay for using some big companies' software and storage (they store all of my emails in an archive they tell has almost 8 GB of available space just for me) is they put advertising on the page where your emails come up. It is a small price. The ads are also small; almost invisible actually. I get a kick out of seeing what ads and links automatically are generated, depending upon the topic and content of the email you are looking at. I will let your imagination roam on this topic now! :)

Sometimes technology can be a true pain. There are the spammers, and yes they are a pain, but it is a small action to relegate an email to the trash if the filter does not happen to catch it. Having to check the spam box regularly can be a problem, since every now and then something I really do want to look at ends up in there.

Recently, I have started receiving "friends requests" from a new (to me anyway) networking site. It basically came up as an email from this site telling me that a friend who I correspond with wants to be my friend there and I can either accept (big smily face) or reject (really sad face) them. Naturally, if you chose to accept, then you are joining this site, and they gain you as a client and can make money through the advertising you will see, and of course, the information you are going to provide them about yourself. I decided to email my friend and tell her I was going to ignore the email because I really don't do social networking sites. She replied that she had not joined this site, but had received a similar request from the same site supposedly via another 'friend'.

This got me thinking along the lines of how in the world they got our names and email addresses? It got me wondering how many of my contacts are now wondering whether they like me well enough to join some site that is telling them I need a friend and will be so hurt if they ignore me; whaaa! :(

Sure, I need all the friends I can get, but you can be assured that I will send you a personal email, and I will use my secret decoder ring password as part of the message!

Halle
xox
^ secret code ;)

Sunday, 1 May 2011

When Faith Hurts

Just a warning to those who have fragile religious beliefs and do not like to hear them challenged. This post touches on what I believe, or perhaps, for some they would say, my lack of faith.

When our children were young, I made sure they had to make their own decision regarding spiritual followings, and religion in particular. I am a great believer in choice, and personal responsibility. Children will unavoidably pick up on things when exposed to them, and it is very hard to fool them about anything, and I love that about some people. I call it their 'crap detector'.

So, we took our children to Sunday school, and my wife and I were both very involved, so that our children were not as likely to figure out that I was not a 'true believer'. I never lied to them. They never really quizzed me on why I was there. As it happens, neither one of them participates in any church now, but that is not what this post is about anyway.

In university, and in life before and past it, I have studied the human heritage well enough to understand where the main religions of humanity have their roots, and it is an interesting enough tale for me. I do not need the mythologies of others. I can write my own fairly well. In short, I do not believe in the great pumpkin, or any other supernatural being.

When it comes time to give myself or others comfort it is difficult to have no believable mythology to fall back upon. For me, when older loved ones die, it is enough to say they had a good life, and leave it like that, especially if that happens to be the truth.

In the case of those who die way too young, or who have lives (short or long) of suffering and sadness there seems to be little to comfort those who mourn; ourselves or others.

This past week, a blogger in Montreal who I follow has had her lover and best friend ripped away from her. He was there one day, then gone. She is inconsolable. She cannot believe that a loving God could do this to one who has loved Him. I desperately wish there was anything that could be said to her, or done for her to take away this terrible pain of loss. It seems, like those of us with no supernatural power in our lives, that she will have to live through this, and come out the other side changed.

It is possible her faith may survive this, and I hope it somehow can, because we do need things to believe in, and just because I do not see something does not mean it does not exist. Love is invisible, but I know it all too well.

It seems to me that I am lucky in my lack of mythological baggage; we all have a tendency to validate our own point of view. I feel lucky to not be in the position of having to deal with the loss of a god and a complex system of "support and comfort" as well as a loved one. To me, that is the worst part of religious belief; the shock of finding out that all of that devotion gets you nothing but disappointment and pain on top of the disappointment and pain the non-believer also feels.

Just because I do not have a deity does not mean I do not feel a deep connection to the rest of humanity. The fact is, my walls are much easier to step over than most because of it.

For that lady I have never met, but have felt close to sometimes; I feel so bad for you. Nobody ever dies as long as there is someone who can speak of them in love.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Here There Be Dragons...

I used to love the "Rocky and Bullwinkle Show" as a youngster. My favourite part, narrated by Edward Everett Horton (a wonderful kindly voice), was called Fractured Fairy Tales:

For your entertainment then, a cautionary tale for seekers of all kinds who might consider innocently wandering about.

ONCE UPON A TIME in a land not so far away, there lived dragons; fearsome creatures, who seemed to serve no useful purpose, other than to scare others who happened to come into their sacred land by breathing out great flames, and roaring mightily as strangers approached.

One day, a seeker arrived in their land. One of the dragons caught the scent, and slowly approached the stranger, roaring loudly the whole way (of course). Preparing to take in great quantities of air in anticipation of an exhalation of flame that would reduce the intruder to harmless cinders, the dragon was interrupted by a voice, neither frightened nor bold saying "Pardon my intrusion into your land, but could you tell me, has this always been such a frightening and forbidding place?"

As though stunned into submission, the dragon, for the first time in a long time, paused to give a thought (other than 'burn baby, burn') to a question. It was a puzzling feeling to actually have to recall a moment before the present for the dragon, but it was not impossible, because dragons (contrary to popular mythology) are not numb-sculls at all, but are in fact highly intelligent creatures.

"You are not supposed to be here!" roared the dragon as she began that great inhale once again, only to be deflated once more by "Why do you want everyone to run away from you?".

'Stupid outworlder', thought the dragon, but it was a good question and as such, managed to get past the main over-riding thought (burn baby, burn) to the inner sanctum under the ruffled crown she wore just above her eyes.

For a moment, just for a moment, the dragon considered that possibility of a 'tête-à-tête with an outlandish outlander. The image of that diminutive seeker and the great and powerful dragon, sitting side by side chatting about the history of dragon land and its relationship with the outlanders was enticing. But, what would the neighbours say? And if you chat with one, and start to understand that one, won't others come by and next thing you know, your whole beautiful dragon place is over-run with would be seekers. What would the neighbours say?

It was over in an instant, and the dragon went back to, well, whatever it is that dragons do when they aren't incinerating seekers.


* * * THE END * * *
It is better to have sought and singed than never to have sought at all

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Far From Perfect and Loving It

"Know your enemy" has always seemed like a maxim to me, but sadly, in the past year, I have found that "ignorance is bliss" has resonated more strongly as I desperately tried to put the genie back into the bottle. Lately in a somewhat hopeless state, I have found myself slipping back into unhealthy habits that dominated my life in the past.

In her book "The Gifts of Imperfection", Brené Brown writes "From the time we wake up to the time our head hits the pillow at night we are bombarded with messages and expectations about every aspect of our lives".

The messages surround us; from programming and advertising on television, articles and advertising on internet and magazines, and so on. Brown quotes Jean Kilbourne; "Advertising is an over $200 billion a year industry. We are each exposed to over 3000 ads a day. Yet, remarkably, most of us believe we are not influenced by advertising."
I find that so many of these messages are gender-targeted and of course my wiring causes all those that are targeted 'female' to hit me hard. It may be that others are not even aware of them, but those who fight the pull of the "wrong gender", cannot escape ourselves when exposed to these constant reminders of our inadequacy.

As though my maxim at the beginning is mocking me, my lack of self-control brings another even more painful shame. If I can understand how insidious these distracting messages are, why can I not find a way to ignore them.

And so, like any cis-female, it seems I need to develop effective means to build a positive self-image that does not depend on fighting against, or at least, is somewhat more impervious to the assault by media on our psyche.

As Brown points out, the natural response to the pain of our feelings is to look for a way to numb them, whether it be by the application of "alcohol, drugs, food, sex, relationships, money, work, caretaking, gambling, staying busy, affairs, chaos, shopping, planning, perfectionism, constant change, and the Internet". I do not know about you, but I found myself in that list several times. Some of them are obviously addictive. Some came as a surprise to me.

And so I find myself realizing that instead of attempting to put the genie back, I need to live with, or even become the genie. I find myself trying to recognize the pain, and rather than numbing at those times, remembering to 'lean into' that pain whenever I can, and when I must numb, realize that is what I am doing.

Becoming the best person you can be is a journey. The destination is unknown, but by paying attention to the scenery I am getting more out of my life right now. It may sound spiritual, but knowing that being flawed is a shared affliction helps. One thing is certain, I do not find myself judging others these days.

Finally, Brown points out that when we numb to lose the pain, we lose the joy too. More than anything, I need more joy in my life.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Staying In Control

There are so many familiar stories in this strange and wonderful land of Blogistan that fairly early on, I actually believed eventually I would find 'the answer' to my particular set of questions. After some time and soul-searching, it dawned on me that we must plot our own course; nobody will or should do that for you.

Of all the bloggers I have met, Calie comes the closest to saying the things that are in my heart. In her most recent post, she set out what she calls a 'disclaimer' that I completely share:
"I have not begun to transition.  I have never been on hormones.  I rarely crossdress.  I'm transgender."

There are those who will deride one who says they can actually make a choice about transition. They warn that when your bell rings, there is nothing you can do; you will transition or die trying. That is a fearful image. It is one I cannot reject. I really do not know how bad anothers pain is. I cannot even quantify my own terrible distraction that comes with my condition. I can tell you about the other symptoms that have abated because I am still in control of myself and have accepted that the need to continually work on this is part of who I am. There is a better person here, still living as a man. I may or may not be the best I can be. I take my life day by day.

In the same post Calie explains how strong the drive can be to transition; "the feeling … can be over-powering, unbearable, and overwhelming.  It can dominate your thoughts and time, and completely destroy your life if you don't take steps to deal with it."

No matter what I am doing, no matter how engaged I am in that activity, the fog follows. Sometimes it almost clears for periods of time. Those times I have learned to take careful note of what has given me that respite.
In a much earlier post, Calie described her TIDE discipline, a strategy that helps her continue to live as a man when every inclination says otherwise.

The easy parts of TIDE  for me are "D - diet and eat right", and "I - immerse myself in work and hobbies." Less effective for me is the "E- exercise and stay healthy" because of a life-long dislike for exercise for its own sake. I enjoy some healthy activities; walking or snow-shoeing, golfing, curling for examples. Unfortunately, these are not vigorous enough to distract me completely, but they help. In fact, sometimes it is very distracting  when groups of women are involved in the same activity and I feel the disconnect from my natural desire to be 'one of the women' that comes from having to act like 'one of the men'.

The first letter of TIDE, "T - Trans friends who understand me" has so far had mixed benefits for me. On-line I could not ask for better friends (you all know who you are! )In order to spend time with non-virtual trans-friends, it is necessary to find and make contact with them. Our nearest population center is a very small town where my male side is pretty well known. The risks are just too high to send out an open invitation.

One invitation to join a correspondent (and now fellow blogger) and her friend was squandered last year because of my reluctance to drive for three hours. I have wished many times that I had simply made that long drive just to benefit from truly getting to know and to be with her, someone who I would immediately understand, and who would understand me. I know that such an opportunity will not be wasted again. We all need to support one another, and learn from one another. Besides that, I believe life should include fun, and so far there has been way too little pleasure from this part of my life.

As Calie suggested, "pure will-power" is definitely part of the way I live one day at a time. It would be wonderful if the list of useful strategies to combat that strong drive to transition was longer. You can be sure I will add to it and share it here if and when I can.