"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 - -

Friday, 22 June 2012

Girlfriends

An old issue has come back to haunt me, related to that womanly heart that has been stuck all my life in a man's body.
For most of my life, I have had only one girlfriend; I married her. We are good friends mostly because, as she reminds me, we know each other so very well. We have shared history after all.
She and I compare notes on the women in our social circle, some of whom are her friends.
It comes naturally to notice the outfits they wear, and what makeup they are wearing and how appropriate each is for the occasion. Hairstyles and what sort of cut their stylist gave them get checked out and how they conduct themselves gets checked out too. It is fun to compare notes with my wife of course, because she notices all these things too. Her women friends are sometimes my friends too of course, but they are not my 'girlfriends'.
Since blogging started, I have developed a circle of friends here of course; you have been catalysts for growth and positive change; thank you all.

What I have noticed most of all though is how rare it is for me to meet someone in my 'real life' who I think I would want as a friend. Amazingly, in the last few months it has happened, three times. One of these three women is also my wife's friend, and that complicates things, but she knows and is understanding about my transsexuality. There are two other women who I have got past the superficial stages of conversation with, moving into feelings and what we really care about. No, they do not know I am transsexual, yet.

I am struggling; I want to continue to engage them in this sort of serious conversation. I care about who they are and what they think, and like good friends do, they are also wondering how I think and most of all how I feel about those topics we have already broached. They worry about me sometimes when I have a hard time hiding my depression.

There are problems at many levels with such conversations, not the least of which is an old problem. A man (and that is what they see) and woman who start such serious conversations can very easily seem to be 'coming on' to each other. In my case, it is not true, but it may be for them; I do not really know, but I really care because I do not want to hurt them.

These sort of concerns bring back memories of myself, a teenager, not understanding why my girlfriends could not just be my friends. They wanted more, and when I did not respond appropriately with sexual advances, they started to pull away. I realize how naive that 'boy' was now. They never asked if I was 'gay', but they were likely thinking that, and 'friendship' was lost.

Here I am, sixty, and still wearing the body of that teenaged boy, somewhat worse for wear, about to reach out, and risk much by attempting to navigate the 'girlfriend who is not a lover' conundrum yet again.

More to the point, here I am, considering the possibility of getting to know some new friends; ones who would very possibly be best friends sex change or no. They could become my first real life girlfriends. I would really love that, because they are both wonderful, interesting people.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Gender Binary

Humans have a tendency to believe in the situation they have chosen strongly.  It seems like a defense against second-guessing. Sadly, that same attitude tends to make us critical of those who make different decisions, or who are 'bucking the system', almost as though we are taking another persons choices as a personal criticism. Those who like myself who are quite clearly pushing the system to its limits feel like outcasts, sadly.

After living most of my sixty years fighting an internal war of the sexes, and acting crazy much of the time because of it, I am used to feeling like an outsider. As a pleasant change, perhaps a bi-product of the particular way I have chosen to travel this path, I have become convinced the way I am is normal, and the rest of the world is missing the mark, widely in many tragic cases. Of course, I am willing to believe I am a victim of that tendency I wrote about above.

It seems to me that the time has come for the war I fought so long against myself to be turned against the real enemy; a limitation to human growth whose usefulness is long past. Real men and real women don't have to prove anything in order to be human, but do real humans have to be either all male or all female?  

Let me speak personally first.
I have great respect for those whose life path takes them to follow the binary. If not for the binary my children would not exist; that alone is something to give thanks for. However, given other circumstances, this blog might not exist because I quite simply would have corrected a genetic defect and eliminated all evidence of maleness. Instead I chose to do everything possible to stay male and have suffered (and yes, continue to suffer) the unavoidable bouts of wrong-sex pain, sometimes greatly, and sometimes less. Ironically, that same choice has given me the gift of seeing life from a unique perspective. There is a huge difference between the person I am now and who I was when starting this blog. The change is all internal and it is about what I know and how I feel about being who I am inside. 

There is no guilt because I know who I am is not hurting anyone and not telling family and friends is simply a choice to not share a burden of secrecy, having nothing to do with whether I am good or bad, right or wrong.

I have nothing to be ashamed of, so shame is also gone. 

I do not hate myself. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Now, the strength of what is a unique way of seeing the world and of seeing my fellow travelers along the way is making me powerful in a way I never experienced before.

Moving away from the personal, "Guts... Glory... Ram" might be an innocent tagline, but how many truck commercials feature women stepping out of the cab after a day of hard work on the farm? And why not? I have nothing against Sam Elliot's voice, but it does make my point that stereotype is a marketing tool that works best when people believe strongly in the binary. When they make a commercial where a woman steps out of one of those trucks, you can be sure she will pull off her Stetson and her hair will billow out as though (you think?) she moments before stepped out of a hairdresser's chair.

There is so much more to being a man than driving a big-ass truck wearing a hat, flannel shirt and jeans with cowboy boots. 
There is so much more to being a woman than having billowing hair while wearing high heeled shoes and a little black dress. 
Nevertheless, for those who would cross the gender gap, you need to start somewhere, and there is no point in being subtle, is there? 
Little boys pretend to shave and try on daddy's Stetson. 
Little girls put on a dress and totter around wearing mommy's high heels.
There is nothing wrong with playing with gender. If the little boy wants to try out the heels, who is being hurt? I know from personal experience how it hurts the little boy when told to leave those heels alone and stop being a 'sissy'.

There is a sad reality for everyone. Wanting the clothing, or the pose, the skinny body, or the youth, or the truck, or the house; whatever it is that we have identified as being desirable is not something that promotes full humanity, but it could be part of a path to full humanity if it was treated as what it is, not some perversion.

In Allison Hope's article, with the controversial title A Penis and a Dress: Why the Gender Binary Needs to Go Away  she writes, "If we shook the very foundations of our limiting, binary-gendered society, we're likely to see a very colorful array of confident, creative, beautiful people who span the range of internal and outward gender identity and expression."

It is clear to me we cannot trust big business, or government, or our churches to help us through a critical time for humanity. Of course the media supported by the vested interests will tell you how perverted you are if you step away from that binary model they find so essential to their marketing plans. When churches and governments step in to support them the trap simply becomes stronger.

It is my belief that as a society we need to accept and develop the blend of traits and qualities that allows each unique individual to grow to their potential, risk free. 

There is too much at stake to continue to allow ourselves to be manipulated by superstition or greed.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Virtual Love's Virtues

I have struggled for a long time, and lately have been unable to really put into words changes that are bringing me a semblance of inner peace, finally. It is impossible to put it all into words, but here is a start.

It was some time ago you were introduced to 'C', my virtual boyfriend. This post is not an update on that relationship, something that may come your way sometime, but instead it will concentrate upon the revelations within me, ones that love has generated.

As in the lyrics of that song "For Good", I cannot say if I've been changed for the better, but I have been changed, for good. I will never again feel shame, or (heavens no) guilt about who I am inside or out. Walking through life and observing the young holding hands or gazing into a loved one's eyes has taken on new meaning. Why would I ever have felt shame you ask?

After puberty it was always a struggle to act the way I was expected by myself and others to act. More than one young woman tried to get really close and all were eventually forced to back away. I simply did not have the programming to do the manly things they expected of me. Finally, I found (or was found by) this one woman who could take my hand, and look into my eyes in a way that moved me enough to become her lover. She continues to walk with me and there is love there; a very special bond and the thought of losing her has brought me to tears. 

After so long, my spirit that traveled through life hidden inside, a real person who I denied and abused with my shame has finally been given life. That spirit that seemed to be a tormentor for so long has turned out to be the best part of me, and finally we live together as me.

That spirit's prodding caused me to recognize and hate the phony person I was, but that was not her goal. Nevertheless, I was damaged and hurting for most of my life.

She made me want the clothes and the soft skin, but that was not really her goal either. I crossdressed in secret and loathed myself for it; purging and repeating for so long.

She kept pushing me until finally we discovered others to talk with about what I felt. We found friends who cared about the real person who might eventually live here. I realized there were names for the way I had lived, and reasons to believe I was neither evil nor damaged.

Together spirit and mind sought a middle road, but none appeared for a long time. The man continued to fear the woman who desired so much without reason.

When I got to know and fell in love with 'C', our experiences together let me simulate the whole person I need to be. It helped me know that I don't need the clothing, but instead I need to open my heart and accept worthiness and love. 
In the best of worlds, I was born in the correct body, and grew up to become the woman. 
At some point along the way in this life born male, a second-best scenario would have seen me transition so that I could live some part of that life. Reality is what I am right now.

I needn't feel guilt or shame about that. Knowing that wholeness in some portion is possible, how can I do anything but accept and act on that? I embrace the heart and know there is worth here, something no body issue can ever snatch from me. The body issue is something else and one I am determined to continue to learn to grapple with.

Living through and dealing with this conflict that drove me to think myself worthless and crazy for close to fifty years might have been the best preparation for the rest of my life. If I was twenty, or thirty (and not married with children yet), there would have been no way to 'think my way out' and avoid transition surgery. It would not have been an option if I had felt this way then. I understand 'change or die trying' now.

There is an appreciation here of what the amputee knows as phantom sensations. Body parts not lost, but instead, never acquired light up in my brain when I am "with C". Feelings that remained dormant all my life dance about singing a siren song of sexual experiences only a woman could possibly truly know.

So, there is now some small inkling of what might have driven me if circumstances had been different in my youth. There is a heartfelt appreciation for what drives the younger versions of myself to do anything they must to give themselves a chance at what they know, heart and head, is the only reasonable life that is possible for them.

For me, right now, the heart is full and content, and the head knows it can survive, (and not just a bread and water existence) and needn't send mixed messages to the rest of the body when we give into the impulses that allow for survival in this body, with this mind and heart, as it is.  My life is my unique adventure. Truth for me, in this here and now and the circumstances that have been part of this life path. 
As I have been reminded this morning, there is no need to explain or apologize for being yourself.

If you have managed to get this far today, thanks for hanging in. Hopefully some part of this has made sense. I may have to re-read it myself from time to time, so what better reason than that to press the Publish button?

Couldn't have got here without you C... xxxx
Halle

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Followers and Other Statistics

In between posts I will go for long periods when there are no reminders to me or anyone else that I write a blog. Lately, real life has intruded in a big way, and there has been no time to write down those fleeting thoughts that once were the fodder of posts here.

During those between times here, the number of 'page-views' per day has seemed artificially high to me. According to that statistic, there are quite a few folk who look at posts whether they are recent or not. Perhaps something from my past is relating to their present. That is a pleasant thought isn't it?

Logging onto Blogger yesterday, I noticed that the number of members of "Team Halle", what blogger calls "Followers" had changed. When I thought about it, that number has been artificially high for a long time. It went down, and to be honest, I am not sure who left, but I have an idea and it makes a lot of sense if I am correct.

I know for a fact one "Follower" has been dead for almost a year, and I still miss her, but, unless I have completely misunderstood the afterlife, her face and name on my list is just a wonderful reminder of good conversations from the past.

Some are women (a couple of them very young too), and as much as I love the idea woman might find ideas here interesting, I am not sure why they would other than perhaps to be supportive. Come to think of it though, the best comments have often come from those women, so please do not think I don't appreciate your visits.

Quite a few friends have transitioned since they began following, and well, they are women now, so... read the previous paragraph.

As I have been reminded recently, having turned sixty last month, numbers cannot hurt you, in fact they really don't mean much at all. How you feel about yourself is much more important than your age, or even how many 'hits' your blog gets, hmm?

By the way, I'd like to say a special hello to all my readers in Russia! :)