"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 January 2017

How Do You See the World?

A week ago, the message on this poster was added to the banner below my sunrise photo. 

The photo in the poster was taken one grey morning after a very heavy snow storm. Everyone was complaining about how much snow had to be removed, how difficult the driving was and so forth. 

I thought it was beautiful!  ~ I still do. 

I have been saying it for so long, I cannot recall whether I thought of it myself, or someone else wrote it first. I'll be happy to add credit if someone can tell me who the author is (other than me, that is).

Postscript: The puzzle is solved. See Lindsay Byrnes' comment below.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Finding the Upside of Depression

I recall a time not so long ago that felt like the end of the world, or at least, it made me feel that I wanted the world to end - so deep into the spiral of depression that the best I hoped for was an end to it that would leave those I cared for deeply, safe and secure, without me.

This morning I was watching the video linked below, and it brought back those feelings. But it also reminded me what it was, and still is, that others did, that helped me climb back out of that deep hole. It was empathy from people who cared to enough to take the risk of offering connection. They let me know that when I was ready, they were there for me - no ready solutions, no platitudes - but simply a hand held out that told me "you aren't alone". 

I will never be done with the journey. If there is an upside to coming out the other side of depression, it is what I learned, and who I've become, by letting others know who I really am, and trusting that I would find some who would connect. 

It is a huge risk to make yourself vulnerable with the truth. Some might have and did hate me for being who I am. But there were others who had survived; others who would take the risk of saying "I am here to listen and care", and in that way pass along their strength. They might not even have understood the details, but they cared, and would not judge.

If there is an upside, it will be my own willingness to be that person who takes the risk and holds out my hand to others and say, I am here. I've been there. I will stay with you.


Dr. Brené Brown narrates the following RSA Short, with animation by Katy Davis and subtitles in a variety of languages, thanks to Amara. Click on the cc for captions.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

And Now You Are a Woman

Sounds like some sort of benediction, doesn't it? Just exactly when does someone like me become a woman

Since mid February of last year I have lived as a woman in all aspects of my life. As soon as it was possible, my identification papers (every single one of them) were written in my proper female name and with the help of my doctors, the designation area of each one says "female" and has since June of last year. I have travelled extensively as a woman and have learned to accept that I no longer hold a door and allow anyone to walk through ahead of me unless they are my senior by a lot, or are infirm. I am a woman, and that means that often the door gets held for me. It is part of our culture to give some deference to women. I always say thank you. 

I have also learned that men's washrooms are clearly larger than the women's...  otherwise why would there be lines of us waiting to get into ours and men walking in and out of theirs at the same time?

What I haven't yet experienced is the dumbing down of any discussion because I am a woman. Granted, I never have been particularly handy with automotive repairs, but who is, in this age of cars you plug into a computer for a checkup? If there is still a carburetor under the hood there, it is definitely not located under the air filter anymore.. where the heck is the air filter?? 

There have been many times when I had to ask myself whether I should still do some of those things I was really good at before. Things like woodworking and snow removal and splitting of logs and hauling big bags of conditioning salt for the water softener are guy jobs, aren't they?

There are new things I'm learning that might seem womanly, but I have always loved to cook. With the help of a friend and the internet I'm learning to crochet. It is fun! 

I will admit that a year and a half of hormone replacement therapy has left some of my anatomy less well equipped to heft 20 kg bags about, but darn it, someone has to get those things from the store home and into the basement and there isn't a guy anywhere about. Someone has to clear the walks and driveway from the blanket of snow that can make walking or driving impossible otherwise. I live in Canada and that means you either operate a snow blower and heft a shovel or you hire someone to do it for you. I am not infirm, wealthy, lazy, incompetent, or weak, or deathly afraid of sharp blades, so I can and will do it myself. 

Will being able to crochet make me more womanly? If I continue to discuss the workings of my car, drive a golf ball 250 yards, heft heavy loads, remove the snow, or make up my own fire in the stove, does that make me less womanly?  I think not!

Oh, and by the way, I have an appointment scheduled for next month to arrange for my gender confirmation surgery and I am over the moon happy about it! 

Surgery won't make me a woman. I have been that for a long time; long before the documents or the hormones. It will give me something that was denied me for most of my life however. Sometimes you have to wait for the world to catch up with you. 

Yup, I am a woman and proud of it.