"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 - -

Monday, 30 December 2013

Parenting As a Subversive Activity

It has been a while since the previous offering here. Some friends have told me that they have wondered how a year taking spironolactone has worked out. I will honestly say that if I was twenty years younger, I would have hated myself as I am right now; basically neutered. Because I have no ambitions to further procreate, and the love that my sweetie and I share no longer hinges upon sexual adventures, it suits me at the moment.
The evidence of how well this chemical sterilization is working might be measured by the time between posts here I suppose. It might have been that I'm not feeling a need for the outlet of writing. That has not been the case. The real reason is that packing up our household and moving it all down the road has and to some extent still is monopolizing my days.

It would be dishonest to suggest Spiro has taken away all of my feelings of loss at not presenting as a female and pursuing transition. It is just a lot less urgent.

Now and then I read a blog from a young trans-person who has decided not to have children. I understand this. There was a time in my life when I was convinced the world was better without another version of me, a person nobody could possibly love if they knew the real person behind the mask. 

I have written before about the Great Denial, a time when I rejected all that self doubt and created the man my wife fell in love with. That deception, as terrible as it was for my psyche, turned out to be pivotal. In spite of the devastation of a part of my person, I feel the world is better because of my children and in retrospect, it seems to me that having a parent who struggled with gender conflict was if anything some sort of advantage for them. This might well have been true if I had transitioned when they were younger. I will never know.

It was lucky that when we met my wife wanted me enough to teach me everything about being a sexual partner. We were both determined to have children. One of the factors I was never proud of was I wanted to be the one bearing the children. I dreamed of being their mother, and relished every opportunity to live that dream after they were born. I was the first to hold our son. The bond with those two is more complex than any male or female stereotype.

My friend Caroline was the first to tell me about "Golden Handcuffs". She used it in connection with the news of impending grandparenthood. Yes, I am 'Gran', and I will tell you all, it is a wondrous feeling to look at your own child while simultaneously holding their child in your arms. In a fall of amazing high points, this was the highest. Being a parent and now a grandparent is a wonderful thing, but it tends to bind you into place, thus the handcuffs of gold.

Our son who is in his thirties spent a day with us, helping us with the move. In every way he is a gentleman. Literally, a gentle man. In an ironic twist, his wife has commented many times how alike he and I are. It has been a matter of great pride to me that he embraced many of my better qualities too, not just a quirky sense of humour. He and I share a self-sufficient attitude. There is no part of keeping a home, inside or out that we cannot, or will not do, or at least attempt.

Our daughter, his older sister and new mom, shares that same self-sufficiency, and expected and got that from her spouse. She understands how things work, and together, she and our son-in-law will take on any project. They are going to be awesome parents.

It has been my contention since I began corresponding with other trans folk that we are among the most intelligent yet compassionate people on the planet (and yes January, very, very geeky!). It may simply be a matter of survival. We needed to be smart, we had to learn how to forgive and live with ourselves.

These are qualities worth passing on, somehow. 




Friday, 22 November 2013

A Gift of Confidence and Understanding

It has often occurred to me that transgender folk are among the most understanding and caring people in the world. Oh, we get angry and go on rants. Mostly we get frustrated by the stubbornness of others in assuming the worst about anyone who does not fit into their tidy binary gender world. Let's face it, we don't fit, no matter how we exhibit our true natures. 

A new blogger has appeared on the scene. She commented on T-Central last weekend. I have met a lot of wonderful people by following the links back to their blog from a comment. Aponee is a wonderful writer, with so much to say.

From her first week, 

The transgender gift: CONFIDENCE!!! 

is only one of several posts that declare that here is a person who will not be apologizing to anyone for being who she is. 

Head over to her blog, and read all of what she has had to say in a matter of two short weeks. 

Thank you for the comment Aponee, and welcome to the blogging world. 

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

A Matter of Trust

Life gets complicated when you insist, as I do, on hiding part of yourself from the world. 
A very pleasant part of that complex life is a result of relationships built online during almost four years since a comment and follow-up email began my first online friendship. She was a prolific writer and music lover (we shared that) who lived in the Piedmont, less than half a day's drive away. I always dreamed that someday it would be my good fortune to finally meet her in person. Alas, that was not to be.

I consider myself very lucky now to have many who I have corresponded with. Some I don't hear from anymore; confirmed female now, they have little to say perhaps, and there seems to be an expectation that when we do chat, it is going to include something about being trans, which they have left behind. 

Great care has been taken to avoid references here that might easily lead someone to our door. It isn't that I mistrust everyone. Most of those who correspond with me eventually find out enough that if it mattered to them, they could find out our address, phone number and my birth name. I trust these people. Some I could do the same, but unless one of you invites me to dine (yes please :-) ), I won't be looking to find you. We write about hobbies and travel and what our families are like and sometimes a lot more! Naturally, it depends on who the friend is, and what we have in common, other than the obvious information that originally drew us to one another. 

In a recent post, a reader who lives north of me (as Calie says "You mean there are people north of you!?" LOL) left a comment. I suggested in a reply to them that maybe they could email and we could get to know each other a bit. 

Sadly, there has been no email. I am taking a guess that my anonymous friend didn't click on the button that sends a notice when further comments are posted. 

For "North of Halle"'s benefit, and anyone else who has ever wanted to make that first contact, I have a hotmail dot com address and it is very simple:     rushtonic


Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Defying Gravity

A bit of an interlude today, but staying with the theme. Today marks the tenth anniversary of a musical production exploring themes of being 'othered'. It is a story of love, forgiveness and friendship. 
Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth from the original cast (Photo: Joan Marcus)


Yup, Wicked is starting its second decade on Broadway tonight.

Three years ago here, I featured my favourite song from that show, For Good.

Today an anthem for many of us.

I'm through accepting limits
'cause someone says they're so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I'll never know!


Monday, 28 October 2013

some rules need to be changed

There are some rules, or religious & social conventions (which are like rules, especially in some countries) that seem very wrong. Rules and laws make sense for the time of those who create them, but later, when conditions change and the law or rule is tested, it becomes obvious to all that it no longer fits. 
Cassidy gave us some good examples of this in her post Lessons Learned. Please do read this in its entirety if you haven't already. What she has to say is important. 

The social conventions that are on my mind, a basis for much of my thinking on the topic of people who have to hide who they are, has to do with what it means to be a woman in much of the world. 

Very much in the news this past week are Saudi women who are demanding the right to drive in their country, testing the rules by getting behind the wheel. I am no expert in what it means to be a citizen of that country, so I cannot comment on whether this convention, and the laws that support it are right or wrong, yet if I put myself in their place, lack of choice on how one might care to live one's life seems wrong. It is hard to believe there is any explicit religious prohibition; the whole "cars are too modern to be mentioned in holy scripture" thing. This likely fits the 'social convention' category. Perhaps some knowledgeable reader might care to educate us in a comment.

Now before I get too far ahead and start sounding critical of others, I will fully admit that women here in Canada, because of convention, have also suffered from lack of choice on how to live their lives in the past. More to come hopefully on that. 

In the meantime, some topical levity. 



A postscript: Thank you to our Smokey Swallow whose post created the original impulse to give extra thought to this topic. I must see the movie Wadjde, the first movie written and directed by a Saudi woman.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

'Just' a Person

People write blogs for all kinds of reasons. So it is with readers too. I fully appreciate that sometimes folk are going to turn up here to read about _______ (insert your favourite label from the LGB-T 'umbrella'), and they likely search around for a while and get bored and leave.

Often it occurs to me that the time has come to put the ole quill away and give this place a long rest. I mean, who should care what some person in Ontario, Canada (of all places) who should be presenting as a woman but for various reasons continues to present as a man, thinks or feels?

Well, fact is, when you make pottery, or write, or paint or take pictures, you probably do it for yourself long before anyone suggests you are a potter,  writer, painter or photographer. So it is with my place here. It is a place where all of that stuff in the paragraphs above doesn't matter a bit. Here it is possible to be a person who requires no labels; me.

There are times when life seems to be sending the same information, or a theme of sorts over and over in various versions. When that happens to me, I write. The written word is the way the theme gets sorted out and made useful to me. Sometimes information comes in dreams, or during morning meditation or in a letter from a friend. More often than not, I get very lucky as I get the urge to click the link to a blog with an intriguing title on someone's reading list. Sometimes like a perfect storm, writing becomes essential.

This past week, the theme has related to a world where those who begin life struggling to accommodate a body/mind mismatch are accepted as people worthy of respect. One where we don't have to pretend, hide and/or justify ourselves, suffering labels that give society permission to 'other' us. You know, just normal stuff that everyone thinks about.

Please feel free to send me links to your own favourite article on the topic. I intend to post further, right after that writing process I referred to above happens to my satisfaction.

xx
Halle

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Evocative

           Young Girl on the Shore                                                       Edvard Munch


I have no clear explanation for the feelings this painting kindles in my heart. 
It has been on my desktop for weeks waiting for me to acknowledge it somehow 
~~~
Patience
~~
Power
~
Love

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

~ ~ ~ one ~ ~ ~

While contemplating the parallels with the book "the host" referred to in last week's post, it occurred to me that a shift in internal identification has taken place while I wasn't paying any attention. "We" don't need a miraculous 'happy ending'.

He is gone

I looked on painfully as the pretend-male, seemingly logical part of this team worked so hard to think himself out of a complicated, contradictory life. Disastrously, yet out of necessity, his fabricated persona ran the show and did it so very convincingly. Lately that male persona, the last of the façade it seems, was running out of steam. I could tell because everything 'he' thought and felt became mine, yet that straw man did not have the power to survive. I do. He hurt and wanted and it felt like insanity, even though it was just more of the same; almost sixty years of turmoil in a pressure cooker venting constantly that he had helped me survive.

Our therapist assured us many times, we are a good person, full of love; doing the best we can. Now we... no, I am convinced that being a good person to the rest of the world is very well and good, but I need to stand up for myself too, and love myself. Nobody else can know what I need in order to be whole. More importantly, doing what is good for others is often toxic for me.


I have always thought that the point of writing here was mostly for others, so they might know that a personality spanning both sides of the gender divide, like two drivers taking turns on a long trip, can exist and perhaps thrive. I am glad to have this blog now as a record of how "we" became "I". 

Today, late, but not too late, there is one person.  Despite living in a body that society, testosterone and the needs of a lifetime lived by a synthetic male personality created, it turns out "he" really isn't needed now. I am this complex, logical, caring, whole-hearted person in charge of making the choices that can be made here. There is nobody else to blame or credit living inside with me. 
Perhaps the last key came from you Ellena, when in your comment you referred to a difference between "being a body and having a body". Thank you for following your desire to comment that day!

I Am Not My Body

Time will tell what further baggage from the past can and must be changed or eliminated. "I" am determined that my love for my sweetie and our children (and soon, our grandchild!) will be honoured. 

Life won't ever be easy. It isn't supposed to be. Yet amazingly, I'm convinced making good choices comes down to one complex ingredient.  

love




Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Not really a book review

Many months ago the book The Host by Stephenie Meyer was on my bedside table. I cannot say it was a 'page-turner', but the premise and the sensitive portrayal of a human unwillingly hosting another within herself was haunting for me to say the least. Immediately after finishing, it seemed obvious this was a book I needed to blog about, but could not. The feelings of sadness it created were too raw.
It took months before I could bring myself to sit and ponder how powerfully the book affected me. 

The host is a human female living in a ficton where the earth has been invaded stealthily by aliens who have no other existence but as a parasite. Inserted into a human, they take over the conscious control of the body, eliminating the previous consciousness; well, usually eliminating it. 

Meyer's portrayal of the inner conflict between Melanie and Wanderer (the invader) kept me reading, anxious to see how the author would find resolution. She somehow managed to capture the horror, the struggle, ultimately the respect and love between those two personalities I understand so well from my own inner life. The parallel of a female subsumed by an alien control (in my case a male persona imposed by societal pressures) was obviously an irresistible hook. What surprised and ultimately crushed me was a 'happy ending' in which miraculously both personalities manage to triumph, something that cannot happen in my world. 

I won't see the movie.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Guiding Principles?

Have you some general rules that you tend to fall back on when you feel uncertain how to proceed?
Here is one of mine that has survived all my life long.

Sometimes living can be habit, can't it?

It would be interesting to know if others have something similar. :-)

You should do it, whatever 'it' is if:

           1. The pay is good, or survival depends on it

           2. You are learning something

                      or

           3. You are having fun.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Wistful

There is a vague longing here today for something and someone.

She would, perhaps in some way, she does understand.

Two favourite ladies of song, expressing a wistfulness that will no doubt pass, but will inevitably return, as it should.




Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Everything happens...

How could some silly saying send me into a tailspin?

We were invited out with a large group for a birthday dinner. I was feeling very sorry for myself. It seemed like a good diversion from the downward spiral.

The woman who sat beside me at dinner is a friend, an interesting person, a bit older than I, who stays very active and is very well spoken. Perfect to bring me out of myself. She is fun to be with, one of those people who has the ability to move a conversation along in a light way, usually.

As often happens in a gathering of sixty plus folk, the discussion turned to difficulties associated with aging. After one contributor described an incident that had led to a major turn in an acquaintance's life, my dinner partner turned to me and with a very sincere look that held my eyes a bit too long said, just to me,

      "Everything happens for a reason"

and turned back to the conversation.

Wow...

         and I think,

If things happen for a reason,
                                 ...what sort of cosmic joke does that make me?

And I realize  ~ I have never stopped thinking of myself as some sort of freak.

~       ~       ~        ~

Almost a week later, I remembered something Beth and I talked about, that a lot of the sayings and memorable rules we know don't mean what they seem to. One that comes to mind immediately is the commandment:

        "Thou Shalt Not Kill"

If we think of this statement as a fact instead of an instruction, it is saying

         "You will not be able to kill, 
because nobody really ever dies.
 They move on to a different reality beyond our experience."

I realized that in a similar way, 'Everything happens for a reason' can turn into    


          "Everything Happens"


An affirmation of a reality we are rarely aware of unless we are physicists, or spiritual seekers. 
It is a statement of the reality of an infinity of possible futures and pasts, all coexisting in space-time


All things do happen, even if we are not aware of any but our own set of 'things'. 

Knowing that at some level I have chosen to be who I am, living these challenges, not just some random victim makes a difference.

It is not the world you see that matters, but how you see the world.



Friday, 6 September 2013

Blue food, dangers and delights


A barefoot beach walk took us to beauty 




 and bear food by the shore.


Just trying to get some sleep here...




Nature's candy...  there were lots of bushes ~ no bears were deprived.




Another hard day at the campground 

Thursday, 5 September 2013

(S)he said, (S)he said...

My friend Sarah from Britain and I write back and forth keeping each other up to date on family and how we are doing. Sarah is the author of the only guest post on this blog and a very popular one it is too. Her poem there, My Imaginary Friend is a beautiful autobiographical piece, written in the first person.

Sarah and I have often said we will write an instruction manual someday on living male in spite of our handicap. We may be getting closer. In a recent letter she commented that she felt certain my tone in our letters had become more masculine in recent weeks. She even demonstrated it using one of those gender genie programs that analyze writing style.

Yesterday you met the crusader in me. Today we have a gentler, more homogenized personality at the steering wheel, with righteous anger somewhat but not totally abated.

History is a hobby and passion for me. Anger made me think about how in our enlightened age there are still barbarians at the gate, and that thought made me .... well, you can read for yourself where all that anger and worry took me.

I've been anxious for a very long time about a number of indicators of the economic health of the world. These are very difficult times for so many, and especially but not just our young. These times remind me of times in the past that were breeding ground for ... let's just say, I see parallels and that makes me fearful.

I felt fearful, and powerless too. My only weapon at hand was this blog. I am very sorry to have used this mostly peaceful place as a hammer.

Yet, for me it is good news that I didn't filter. If felt right at the time, even if today it does seem over the top.

I resisted an impulse I felt last night to delete the post.

This is me, today. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
Complex.
Two spirits getting closer to being able to speak as one it seems.

Sarah, I will save you time. Gender guesser says this post was written by a male.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

First they came for the ...

There are sad, angry, bitter people in the world. And why not? If you live in extreme poverty, or a war zone, have lost loved ones because of that, it seems natural to hate those you see as responsible. Look around the world and see the terrible circumstances of lives and try to tell me you don't understand sadness, anger and bitterness.

Now, try to explain to me why it is that people who have all the advantages of peace sometimes turn out to be just as sad, angry and bitter in spite of it all.

This morning I was reminded of this over at Kay and Sarah's blog in a post called "Can you explain what you said?". One of those people needing more empathy, love and joy in their life decided to spew hatred upon that lovely place, in response it would seem to a photograph of a beautiful woman on her wedding day.
As our beloved Aunties so correctly point out, the comment shows a lack of life experience,

"I can think of other 'pictures' that should haunt his dreams more vividly than someone in a dress. Say pictures of children murdered and defiled; of towns that are torn from the map by disasters, pictures of war and killing of the innocence mothers and fathers by crazed men"

yet in my mind, that damaging comment means so much more about our society than it does this one sad, bitter, damaged person.

Joseph Goebbels would recognize the symptoms and the opportunities for manipulation that exist when a society is weakened by a lack of moral centre, compounded by financial difficulties.

There are religions and creeds of all sorts that take advantage of those opportunities. They pitch the "big lie" just like Minister Goebbels once did, and manage to seem to fill a longing in the disenfranchised of our seemingly rich and peaceful part of the world. Part of that big lie always revolves around circling the wagons against the "others".

In Joseph's Nazi Germany the groups included in the "others" widened yearly. If 1945 had not seen the end to them, by now it is hard to say how many hundreds of millions would have been eliminated by their hatred as unfit. No question at all that the transexuals would have been early on their list of 'unsuitable to be considered human'.

Now, you are going to suggest that one nasty comment by a person who needs a mommy doesn't warrant such a response. Let me remind you that in 1923 Adolf Hitler and his gang were a small determined group of outsiders when they were arrested after the "Beer Hall Putsch". By January 1933, Hitler was Chancellor of Germany, and only two months later the hatred and mind control began in earnest with the burning of the books.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"
George Santayana, 1905

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Who Will Speak for Me?

There are a lot of posts attached to this blog. This is number 238. That is a lot of little bits of who I am. In a way, what is found here is the best legacy there is of a true "me".

Living in stealth really sucks. Oh, I'm not a bad person in person, but I hold back. I still pretend. Promises were made to someone who I refuse to disappoint yet again if I can manage it.

It has always been my contention that after death, this body is no more important than some hair on the floor of the hairdressers shop, or some fingernails in the garbage can; just part of me that I used to have a use for.

What becomes of 'us', the spirit part is something I cannot be certain of, if I am honest. We all have hopes and beliefs. When you spend big chunks of your life-energy trying to improve yourself it is difficult to believe that your soul is as impermanent as the flesh. One thing that seems beyond debate though: once we are dead, it is too late to tell someone your own life story.

One way we do live on, in a sense, is in that part of us that is carried by those who loved us and continue to think of us. But what person is it that lives in their hearts and memories?

Over two years ago, I wrote a piece where I discussed a little of my thoughts on who we are versus who people think we are in J'écris donc j'existe. At the time, I was very much that work in progress. Now, a little less so, but as an unknown reader said, "We are all constantly evolving. Our needs change. Our relationships change. The rules change."

Re-reading a post Caroline wrote in early August got me really thinking about this (I need to blame someone for all this 'pensing' don't I?) in a post she called Life and death...
Caroline's friend and neighbour Douglas had lived a good and full life. At the send-off for him, it fell to a man named David, who had know Douglas well enough to "speak for him". This sort of funeral, one where an individual is charged with the task of  'speaking for the dead person', telling as honestly and accurately who the deceased was and what their life had been about, is the sort that has always appealed to me.

There is a local friend M who asked me some years ago to be that person for him if ever the occasion should arise (ie he should die before I do). M and I have had some pretty serious and interesting talks over the years, yet I have the advantage of not being family, and not being a former co-worker. We are very recent friends. Just the sort of person who can speak without hidden agendas. He doesn't want someone who will forget the bad stuff, or dwell on it either. Just include it. Be honest....  Perhaps he has wondered why I did not reciprocate. How should I tell him that I am not ready to be that open to him when he is so ready to honour me in this way. A promise to my wife means more to me than these feelings however and I digress... time to move back to the point.

It occurs to me, that the easiest way to fill in a very important blank in many of my family and local friends impression of "who I am" would be to bequeath to them the following url

http://hallesfacade.blogspot.ca/2010/04/stranger-and-stranger.html

and tell them to set aside a few hours to move forward from that pivot point in this life until whatever place this blog leaves off.

Well hello there my dears. 
Remember please, I loved you all so much. 
I hope you will always remember that. 
It would have been better to tell you all of this in person, but...



Wednesday, 28 August 2013

First Dream

The idea I have that it is possible to reach out to other aspects of ourselves had to come from somewhere. What could possibly be more futile than thinking you can send ideas back in time to a younger version of yourself? Yet I believe that can and does happen in dreamtime. The reason I believe that woke me way too early today. It is a childhood memory and it wouldn't let me go back to sleep. It said, it insisted: "pass me along today."

My whole life was changed by a dream, or what seemed to be a dream anyway, that repeated itself in many variations at an age younger than I even remember, yet at least sixty years later it is still working on me.

I still have dreams that are vivid, as you know if you have read here before. Sometimes I cannot identify who I am, or who I am watching at all. A recent dream was extremely disturbing and I have not figured out why it came to me yet. But I digress. Today I want to relate that first dream, not from a future self, but maybe a past self.

Keep in mind, I only managed to understand what I was hearing as I got a little older, but here is who these first dream messages were from and what he showed me that changed my life.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

am living in a cathedral. It is always dark, lit with candles. I can hear voices singing. A droning sound it is, and it means the time is coming when they will arrive. I am afraid, because they will expect me to teach them. I have been given heavy responsibilities somehow and I know I am unworthy of this position as a leader, but I also know it is my fault that I have this duty and responsibility, as unskilled as I really am. 

I live a nightmare, certain to be found out and reveal to be fake. How much I wish it was possible to be a child again and know how wrong it is to pretend to understand. When you fake your way forward into a position of power, you will eventually be found out. So much better to admit to your ignorance along the way, and seek out knowledge than to pretend to be capable and live in fear of eventual disgrace.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

That dream, sent in variations over a period of years never left me. To this day, if someone is showing me how to do something, and I don't understand yet, no matter how long we have been at it, or how embarrassing it will be to ask to be shown some part of it again, I never hesitate to say, "can you show me that again please?" if I need to. And when someone asks, "Do you know how to .... ?" the only way I will say "Yes, I do" is if I really do.

Was I that monk-teacher in a monastery in a past life? That is one explanation. One thing that seems impossible is the idea that it was the product of my young imagination. This dream started coming before I could read or even talk. These visions and memories, so real and vivid had to come from another aspect of myself, or from some outside influence entirely.

Perhaps in dreamtime, this current version of me will somehow meet that fearful, but wonderful teacher again. If I do, he will know that his warning, this one lesson he really could teach, was received and appreciated.

Monday, 19 August 2013

As Real As We Can Be

Munching on that delicious cookie, I found myself on a dirt path that meandered into a forest. Aadi had said something that was puzzling and personally troubling.
"Invisible people don't exist".

My first thought had to do with my own life, and who I am. Halle is invisible to those who know the guy. They see the maleness first and don't stop to think about how I act and haven't a clue how I feel, so for them, Halle doesn't exist. Yet, for me in spite of outer presentation, Halle is now who I am, as contradictory as that seems.

Ahead was an opening in the forest, the path carrying on to a teeing area, and standing there, who else but Beth, my twin sister from a life that never happened, well not to me at least.
"You're late for our tee time, but luckily the golf course isn't busy." Picking a tee and ball out of my pull-cart I joined her and looked out on a lush scene of green and blue and white she had created for us. "You have the honour." she indicated the tee had landed pointing toward me. 

I took a hurried, but effective cut at the ball, hardly watching its flight as I turned to ask her what was on my mind; "Beth, you're real aren't you? I mean, when we part company, you wake up and you really exist, right?" 

"Halle, when you wake up, you exist don't you? How can you be so unique and detailed in my dreams otherwise? Come on dream friend and sibling! We are wasting precious golfing time here!" She laughed at me as she teed her ball up and went into her routine, lining up then taking a beautifully balanced swing, sending the ball out then up over the middle of lush green fairway to join mine safely between those blue and white patches of water and sand. Watching her, I resolved to try to swing more like she does; so calm and easy as opposed to my effort-filled method, a constant reminder that I still cling to some parts of the male façade.

"Well," I said as we walked together pushing our carts, "if I didn't know better, I could be just a creation of your imagination, someone you created so you can beat me on these dream golf dates!"
"Halle, I don't need you in my dreams for that, besides, you win your fair share of times here. But I've often thought it would be so much fun for us to be in the real world at the same time and be able to meet each others' kids and so on."

"There are rules against that, sadly." Beth agreed and then suddenly looked serious, and very pensive, a look others probably see in me quite often I mused. "What is it Beth?" We sat down together on a bench that had conveniently materialized. She looked into my eyes and grabbed a hand and squeezed. 

"Halle, you are really serious about this 'really existing' thing. I worry about you carrying the heart and desires of a woman around in that man's body, yet remaining determined to keep status quo for the sake of your family. I get that, but there must be more, because you have shared enough for me to know how this gnaws at you!"
There was no hesitation in my reply. "I am no martyr Beth, but my time spent reading blogs and emails has shown me many sides of transition. First, I've lived all my life dealing with this, and through my contacts on the internet, and the help of my therapist Dr. T, I understand so much more about why I feel the way I do. It is so much better than before when I hated myself and had frequent thoughts of suicide." She looked slightly horrified for I had never mentioned suicide before. "I am convinced nobody who can handle being trans any other way should transition. Second, I'm sure you can guess transition isn't a simple matter of 'now I am a woman and life goes on', and I'm not just referring to loss of family and friends and male privilege. There is so much to learn when you haven't grown up into womanhood. Because unlike a genetic woman, you cannot become who you must be gradually through childhood surrounded by girlfriends finding your own style and personality, it becomes another façade to create and maintain. Even more than that, no matter how young you are, you can never fully forget that you started life as a male. Even women who transitioned as early as their late teens or early twenties have to face that truth from time to time. There are people in our society who mindlessly fear and hate us if they find out the truth. Imagine how devastating it would be to have lived most of your life as a female, and friends and family you have loved suddenly become aware of your 'history' and can't handle it. That happens Beth! My respect for those who transition is boundless and I pray in my own way for them to be able to have peace in their lives."

"But Halle, haven't you ever thought about how when you die, there will be nobody to tell this positive side of your life, who you really are inside?" 

"Beth, have you been reading my emails!" I chuckled at that idea, but thought how right she and others were about the ultimate effect of hiding myself away forever. Disturbing feelings of turmoil overwhelmed me and I woke with a start. 

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~
Crazy to imagine that someone in a dream can be real I suppose, yet knowing her, having our exchanges in dreamtime has made my life richer. For an invisible person, she seems to be doing a good job of existing.

Perhaps that is a truth for many of us here in Blogistan, "invisible" friends and family of a different sort too, yet more effective than many who we see every day.
As a bonus, we can and sometimes, when the stars align just so, we do meet!
A tantalizing thought I intend to pursue.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
(Hamlet, Act I, scene v)

Monday, 5 August 2013

A Wonderful Amazing World

I came of age at a time when a computer was something that only large corporations and big universities had. Only one year out of high school, it was my good fortune to learn how to program one of those remote units, connected by a teletype machine and phone line. 

The PDP-10 could not only crunch large files of numbers, but thanks to a program called TECO could also do a thing called text editing. At the push of a button, after a month of file creation and testing, a full report, with text and charts could be created on a larger faster printer, then sent via courier to our office. Amazing stuff for the time. 

This morning by chance, the configuration you see here was staring me in the face. A biography of a visionary, sandwiched by two machines he imagined long before the rest of us ever did. 

I have a good imagination, but am humble enough to acknowledge that I will be as surprised as anyone by the technology that my grandchildren will simply take for granted.

Having longevity on my side genetically, I hope to be allowed to use in amazed wonder several more generations of magical devices that currently reside only in the imagination of some genius. 

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Use As Directed?

http://drscholls.ca/en/products/for-her-heel-balm
OK, so this looks like an advert for a product, and since the product is working for me I suppose to some extent it is advertising, but I assure you, Halle has not gone over to the dark side by trying to make money from her blog.

When sandal weather arrives, I start wearing mine all the time, well, unless the occasion doesn't permit them, such as grass cutting when the 'pig boots' get used.

I have always had problems with dry skin and my hands and feet in particular get so dry that my heels actually develop wide cracks. Dirt gets into those cracks and, well, you can imagine how unattractive and painful that becomes.

This product combined with an exfoliant scrub has helped, and as you can see, it is clearly a product for women, so I have no trouble at all using it on my hands and feet both, just as I have no trouble buying and wearing women's socks when I cannot wear sandals. They are more comfortable than men's, made of softer material. Having rather small feet for a man, but moderately large for a woman (I take size ten, just into the 'normally available' range; eat your hearts out girls) the socks that say size 6-10 fit me perfectly with no bulge up the ankle. I feel sorry for women who are size 6 just as I used to feel sorry for myself with men's socks that are size 8-12.

As my body continues to evolve with the t-blocker in my system, my body shape is changing too. When the time comes that women's tops and slacks are better suited to my body, I will likely wear them too.

Anyway, the point of this rambling is that doing as I am told has never been something I have done easily. I do not accept authority well, choosing instead to do as I feel is right for me, while keeping an open mind and being careful to not "scare the natives". I have been carrying a bag for the last two years. It is a black cloth bag; very unobtrusive, but it keeps the line of my slacks from bulging, something I have always disliked, and putting a comb, your wallet and keys in your pocket just gets uncomfortable after a while anyway. Do I get comments? Yes, but very few that are abusive, and those from the sort of men who I tend to avoid and care little about. I consider the source.

In my last post, Aadi's declaration "Invisible people don't exist" hurt me. It might seem strange but that dialogue really came from a different source within, or without, I don't know, but it was recorded as it arrived in my mind. My heart practically broke to transcribe then read and re-read it, but I hit publish in a moment of weakness. I fussed over the post for a week before doing so, but the dialogue with Aadi was never edited, as much as it hurt.

It hurts because I am invisible. I know it and hate it. But dammit, I exist. I not only exist, I am in charge here, even if I choose to use what I have in a different way than all the wisdom around me and my heart often might dictate.

There is a good reason my hands are soft and these nails are very tidy. The same reason means I wear gloves when I do projects.
The same good reason applies to those feet that are currently quite soft and not all cracked (thank you Dr. Scholls™) with nails trimmed.
If I never decide that today is the day I must begin the rest of my life presenting as a woman, I will still always be ready for that day. I take the warnings of what it means to be trans seriously.

Lots of males get hair transplants. That is something I am seriously considering, for I hate wearing my wig even more than I hate looking at the receding hairline and bald spot.

I currently shave and epilate large areas of my skin surface. Lots of males have hair removed from their bodies permanently. Now, if I decide to have facial hair removed permanently, that will be likely be the day referred to above and probably the day this blog comes to a screeching halt, or changes radically.

I love life as mystery.

Following someone else's rules is not something I love. I will do everything as I see fit and take full responsibility for the results.

J'ecris, donc j'existe!


Monday, 8 July 2013

As Long As You Both Shall Live

With no ceremony. 
No engagement. 
Married to one another for a lifetime 
With only a few the wiser. 

Hidden inside, 
Unseen   
Unheard for so long,
I make everything happen.
While out front is this hollow man
Going through the motions.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
"Being the one is like being in love.
No one can tell you you're in love, 
you just know it.
Through and through. 
Balls to bones."
The Matrix
 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

When you are inclined to listen carefully to others, but to ultimately find answers for yourself and take full responsibility for the results of your actions, the idea that you are connected to some source or higher self is tantalizing.
Not really someone else, but instead, you at another level ~ Wiser, with a perspective you lack or choose to ignore maybe?

Like walking into a scene in a movie, there was Aadi, who had shown me how all of my lives were connected like an amazing tree stretching infinitely through our lifetimes. 
I knew it was her, but this time she looked like a school teacher, looking over the top of reading glasses of all things. 

"Hello Halle. Thank you for coming in to see me. 
I have been watching you lately, and as much as I hate to give bad news to a good person, I am afraid there is something you need to hear."

Moving behind an old wooden teachers' desk, she looked over to me and slowly shook her head side to side. 

"You've been fooling yourself into believing this 'real person behind the male trappings' thing you are doing will work for the rest of your life. 
Now, don't get me wrong, it has been and will be fine for you some of the time. Enough so you have honestly believed you could make this 'two people in one body' thing work."

She shook her head sadly and picked up a cookie tin that had magically appeared on the desk.

"No one can promise you happiness in any of your lives, but,... " She walked around the desk and put her hand softly on my face,

"You will only be yourself when you separate from the guy, move out and find your own place."
Nodding at me, she asked
"You know what I am telling you, don't you?" 

I looked down at the floor, and nodded in agreement, then looked up to her and said "you are talking about the way I feel alone in a room full of people and have more acquaintances than friends and most of them online."

"Bingo!

Oh, you can still be a good person, a nice person, reliable and so on...

What you can't be to those around you is the authentic person that you've discovered in this past three years of searching."


Hand on my shoulder, she seemed to be guiding me to the door of the classroom.

"I say this with all the love in my heart my dear, sweet child:

             Invisible people don't exist."

Removing the lid from the tin she extended it toward me.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
… Shape without form, shade without colour, 
Paralysed force, gesture without motion; …
TS Eliot

Friday, 21 June 2013

Small Stuff

My Garden on Solstice Day
Tiny Fragile Stuff
Some with Labels Some Have None

I looked out the door and there below was one of our very good friends, who eat those pesky mosquitos and blackflies that make outdoor living difficult.




I am told a peony can't bloom without ants, who eat away at something on the buds, permitting it to open







Our geranium plants have been with us for many years. 
It always amazes me to watch the colour change as the buds grow and open.





Sometimes we just let stuff grow in our garden to see what happens. 

What is it? 

I call it 
a beautiful plant.




I was trimming grass beside the pond and noticed some colour amongst the ferns growing there. 

The ferns lost out (don't worry lots of them left) and Iris can now see and be seen. 

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

It happened at Katz's

Going to dip my pretty little toes into a place where they could get a wee bit messy, but after all, what are toes for anyway?

Two posts in the past few weeks were so well done on a topic near and dear to my heart that it seemed unlikely I could stay away long. After all, isn't sex supposed to be on our minds all the time?

Yup, sex. Not gender. "Doing it... Solo!" You know, coaxing the genie out of the magic lamp ~ buttering the bagel ~ petting the kitty .... *

Chronologically, it was on May 31 that the juices (did I really write that?) started flowing. Nadine posted "Why May is My Favourite Month" on Already Pretty. Beautiful flower photo... hmm, what's that say? "Self-pleasure can be a touchy subject" How clever ~ a play on words. She had my full attention.

So, who knew that May is National Masturbation Month??

Oh heck, read Nadine's article. Then come back please.

Next in the one-two that finally broke me down and made me want to write this post, was Lucy (the lady who dares to run where angels fear to tread) Melford's post "Autogynephilia". Please read it too and if you have a bit more time, come on back for my take on it all.

You have to give me some leeway here please. Part of the reason my salutation wasn't Miss long ago has to do with the effectiveness of labels in tearing a person's self-esteem from them.

Autogynephilia has always been a silly label in my opinion with its attempts to negatively pigeon-hole how people feel and act, so that some clinician can sum up incredibly complex and hardly consistent behaviours and other clinicians (nudge-nudge, wink-wink, say no more) can nod sagely in response.

I started masturbating long before it occurred to me it was wrong (once I figured out I needed some tissues before starting in) or knowing the word masturbate, or the term wank or any other way to make someone feel less than human for having a body that can give one such exquisite pleasure for no really good reason, other than it is there and functioning normally.

Perhaps at some time it was thought that doing such things would lead people to have un-natural urges and those might push them toward dangerous sexual adventures. It has always been my contention that it was the un-natural negative attention given to the activity that was the problem. Being sexually active with oneself and liking it hardly qualifies as an offense against another person. Why a deity would have a problem with it is way beyond me, but I expect ....

Making anyone feel guilt or shame because their mind and body function properly is amazingly silly, but to quote Mr. Spock, 'Who ever said the human race was logical?'

In the meantime, I'll have what she's having..... yes.... yes.....YES!

* If you need some chuckles,  enjoy.


Monday, 10 June 2013

trust the wind

Sweet love renew thy force; be it not said
Thy edge should blunter be than appetite,
Which but today by feeding is allay'd
To-morrow sharpen'd in his former might:
... do not kill 
The spirit of love with a perpetual dullness.*

So, let's imagine that you and I are a couple of balloons. Filled with some sort of lighter than the rest of the air stuff, (not hydrogen please for hydrogen is explosive), we meet as you are bobbing by.

I have come to you with a difficult issue, and you, like the kind balloon you are, have agreed to listen and bob encouragingly at all the right places as I puzzle through my balloonish issue: 

A long time ago I met this other balloon who was tethered but not completely grounded. We found pleasure in holding each other close and thus anchored nicely to the ground we made a life together. Time passed and change happened. We made new and so very light balloon children, who have since floated off on their own adventures. Somehow, even though I stayed very buoyant, likely to blow away if not tied down, my partner, slowly shortening her tether, became very anchor-like herself; no longer very balloonish. Further, she finds my tendency toward balloonish adventure to be annoying and constantly works to shorten my tether.

Although very attached to her, this anchor~balloon conflict is dangerous, because being anchored is not only boring for balloons, it is depressing. My life partner has come to recognize this to some extent, but has become afraid of flying, or at least sees no advantage to letting go of the ground she is so familiar with to let me pull her up into an unknown but definitely not boring future. 

I would never have met you, or anyone here floating by if not for this tether that gives me some freedom, yet so many have departed, now away upon adventures.

Dying of boredom, anchored to a ground that brings little surprise or joy seems a poor way for balloons to end their days. 
It's possible my analogy is stretched a little (balloon pun?), but if I promise not to try to tie you down, stay with me for a while and, wonder with me,  balloon to balloon… is this fair to ask of my partner, and if so, how do I help her recover her lightness, let go and fly free?

Maybe a love-story for her to read?

"Once upon a time, not so very long ago, ...


*Sonnet 56 - Shakespeare

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Euterpe

Suddenly, she is there. Her hands reach out to take mine. Her sweet voice says, "You got through it. You don't have to be afraid now. Come. Play with me."

Music is my mistress. I have never spoken of her here, but I am certainly not alone. Music is solace and strength and passion and calm. In the times when there was only an empty feeling, she filled the void. Sometimes all she can do is help me feel whole for some small time ~ long enough to get me through. 
I love her in return, doing whatever is in my power to give music her due.

How many of us are out there, dancing with her, surviving one more night by our love of her?

Bless you all who have channeled her, and tonight especially Stephen.


How do you say to your child in the night?
Nothing's all black, but then nothing's all white
How do you say it will all be all right
When you know that it might not be true?

What do you do?


Thank you too, Bernadette.

postscript ~ I realize a bit late, this is the second time I have linked Ms. Peters' performance here, so perhaps, in fairness and because I love Mandy too...


Sunday, 19 May 2013

When Impediments to Wholeness are Removed

I've been reading some very interesting posts by a relatively new blogger Jules, who like me, is using writing to help her sort out feelings and find her way forward.

In her post "Getting Rid of Stuff" she wrote "What I do and how I feel about myself are the only things that will make me happy."

Jules realizes that possessions don't make you happy. In her words:

"Think about all the different things that go into you really being happy. Just to list a few:

Skin care
Hair care
Weight
Internal Health
Exercise
Friends
Family
Hobbies
Work
Housework
Yard work
Clothes
Kids(if you have them; I don't)"

There is not a thing on this list I would leave out. I even have the kids. Exercise for me is always blended in with some physical activity, like carrying my golf clubs and walking the course which always gives me great pleasure.

Reality must intrude here. For so long nothing on that list was of use to me. This past eight months has been so different as the impediment called Gender Dysphoria has been reduced. As everyone who has suffered through depression knows that list of activities does not matter even a little during the terrible times.

This might be an unfortunate trait brought by being Canadian, but I cannot ever believe when things are going well there won't be some sort of reversal coming soon. In my bones I feel certain that at some point the monster will rise up and feelings that made a wholehearted life difficult, at times impossible in the past will come back. It would be great to know someone who has taken spironolactone without estrogen. Are you out there? Are my fears unnecessary, or will there come a time soon when the benefits wear off? Will some side-effect eventually start causing more harm than good? I keep reminding myself, one day at a time.

What works for me might not have worked for anyone else. In fact, it probably wouldn't have helped me even ten years ago; circumstance has been so important.

Spiro has removed many things from me over the past eight months. Most noticeably, muscle mass, sex drive (or let's be specific, the drive to couple with my wife even though I still love her), any feelings of agression, and blessedly, gender dysphoria.

I notice my changed muscle mass as I went to do the usual spring-time clean up activities and get out stuff for the garden. Everything felt heavier than it used to be. The circumstance here, that in our age group, it isn't unusual for people to have to accomodate a change of physical strength because of heart or lung problems, arthritis, back or joint pain. I fit right in when I need to take my time doing physical labour.

My sweetie was not happy when sex stopped, but it is a sacrifice she is willing to make. Even ten years ago, this would not have been true. In my case while my sexual desires have taken a decidedly bisexual direction, age gives me perspective. If I was even ten years younger this would not be true. Even now it rankles, but is tolerable.

No matter how long this respite lasts, it has allowed me to uncover a better me, someone closer to the real me, who can take pleasure in, and find value in the small and large things that life brings.

Getting back to Jules' list, it seems to me that no matter what turn I had made, even if I had been transitioning to give me congruence, I would have had to find those things that could make my life worth living in that remade and female body.

Removing an impediment to happiness and wholeness does not make you happy and whole, it simply opens a door.