"The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates

- - scatterings of ideas sent to my younger self, a sensitive girl who was fooled into believing she was a boy because of anatomy - -

Saturday, 19 October 2019


I've noticed a trend in my life experiences and a tendency in my thinking over this past three years. I really don't get it. No matter what "it" is, more likely than not, I cannot relate to what is going on. I feel like a crotchety old person when I say this: the world has become very strange, and seems to be getting stranger.

I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s. They were not a golden age for me by any means. People 'like me' who refused to hide their nature were, at the very best, made fun of. While some things have become better over the past half century, other things have crept in and, as I say, I don't get most of it.

K and I moved during the summer, and, for a variety of reasons, we do not have broadcast television now. We might not have it until next year, we are told. I'm sure for most North Americans, that prospect would be horrifying. The feeling here is close to relief. This situation will provide an excuse when others ask about some topic I would rather not be talking about - "oh, sorry, (Canadians always manage to work in 'sorry') we don't have cable where we live". Don't get me wrong - I have my news links that I can check whenever it seems a good idea. There is an election here in Canada this week and I know all about it - but only what I want to know about it. When some "expert" starts trying to tell me who not to vote for (that is the way it is done now; vote for the least repugnant candidate), I can just move on to the next item or close the news feed.

I have no idea whether the program about serial killers, Criminal Minds, is still on the air or what even-more-violent depiction of American life has taken its place, but a search for "tv program about serial killers" yielded fifty-one such. In that nation where in 2017 almost 40,000 were killed by a gun, how can anyone believe this sort of program doesn't contribute to the problem? But as I say, I don't get it.

I don't know what actor got the sack on what program. Reality tv is no longer making me think the average person is incredibly stupid and gullible. Yes, I know - it isn't real, it is just for fun. Tell that to those 'average people'.

Speaking of reality, does it take being alive almost seventy years to have noticed that storms are more severe than ever? Winds are stronger on average. Does it really take a sixteen-year-old from Sweden to raise the alarm? It amazes me to see how the media can pay so much attention to irrelevancies and so little to the future of the planet. I don't get it at all.

I don't know what horror is being exploited by the networks this season. Is it vampires this year or the undead? Or has that reality star, the American President, managed to make real-reality more horrifying than anything a screenwriter can imagine? Come to think of it, the Donald and his crew might be trying to arrange for folk like me to be the next horror television theme.

Don't get me wrong - I have great empathy for people of intelligence who are still hooked by media. It might be interesting to know who is leading in the baseball standings ... oh, right ... the playoffs. In the end, though, I won't remember who won a month after it is over. I used to like watching hockey, but have no idea who played in the Stanley Cup final this year (professional hockey's North American championship), let alone who won.

If you made it this far, all of the above is just to prepare you for an important revelation about this blog and its blog-mistress. I have come to question its and my relevance. Sad, but true; my life is about a lot of other things that have nothing to do with my history. And yes, that is as it should be. 

A good friend is working in the current election for the Green Party. No, we don't expect Elizabeth May to be the next Prime Minister of Canada, but someday the young people will vote and who seems to care about their future? There are important things to be done for people like me who don't get it. 

When it comes to our television situation, fear not, our vast DVD collection is getting some use. And on the topic of this old blog, I'm still here, ready and willing to answer any questions you might have about what it was like back in the old days.

K, would you pass the Geritol™, please?

Saturday, 31 August 2019

No Guarantees

Everyone has had a splinter. Maybe it was a bit deep or it broke and was in there for a while. Splinters are nasty things. Ignore one and you can get an infection and die from blood poisoning. Mostly they eventually work themselves out and we move on.

If you are reading this blog it is fair to say that at some time and maybe now you would say something is driving you crazy. Like a splinter in your mind (yes, that is from The Matrix and who would understand that idea better than the Wachowskis?) it won't allow you to rest until you find a way to remove it ... but how?

Likely you spend all of your free waking hours researching and, maybe, if you have that resource, you go to therapy. The need to remove that splinter drives people around you crazy, too, because you act like a crazy person most of the time. You lose friends and, maybe, family, but it is a splinter and you have to get that thing out!

Therapy is hard work, but you have to do the work because if you don't you will never know what potential you have. So much of it feels like bullshit, but you trust that somehow it will make you understand yourself better, and that might be the key to getting rid of that thing that is driving you. 

Better informed about the cause of the problem, you make choices to make major changes in your life to stop the pain or live with it.

Here is the what if part: 

What if you decide to change and after all of the work and the pain of changing, you are then alone and poor but whole - no splinter? If you could go back, would you say to yourself, live with the damned splinter

What if, once you have that unimaginably painful thing gone, you are now at peace. You are a person that others don't mind being around and, more importantly, you are a person that you want to be; what if that? 

There are no guarantees other than the obvious ones. Taxes and death, they say. I had a choice about what my last thought on this earth might be. It could have been "why did I live with that damned splinter all my life?" 

Instead, I chose the path that has me thinking "what was it like to have that splinter?" and I expect my last thought will be about something else. Because I have been really lucky, and I did the work and made major changes, my thought will likely include being thankful to have lived this life

Monday, 12 August 2019

If She Walks and Quacks Like a Duck, ...

For my non-trans friends who visit, a warning: this post is very definitely on a subject near and dear to our hearts: passing

I have heard stories that once upon a time, when a trans-woman attempted to do something about that "being stuck in a male body" problem, she was expected to take on a façade of ultra-femininity. On top of that, if she was attracted to women, not men, that was a sure sign that she was really a "he" and, well ... end of story. In other words, once upon a time someone like me was doomed to live her life as a man; which, by no coincidence, is what I did up until the world became a kinder more reasonable place, for people like me, quite recently.

Part of learning how to be a real man so very long ago had to do with how I naturally walked and moved. Around the age of ten, my grandfather took me aside and told me that I used my hands way too much. The same instruction session included, "Point your toes forward and take bigger steps. You look like a GIRL!"  Not coincidentally, from then on, my parents joined in - making fun of the kid who waves her (sorry, his) hands around when talking and walks like a girl. Before long, I was walking in a very manly way while holding my hands at my sides (with the exception of the times I was biting my nails down to the quick). 

Happily, I don't seem to have any trouble now with my walking style or use of my hands. Hormones have changed my balance for the better and surgery has definitely helped. 

So passing is not an issue, right? Well, my hair is too thin and looks awful, but what woman loves her hair at my age? The real thing about being me is - I'm not a girl, I am a woman - and a woman of a certain age, too. Being really attractive to others is not my goal. It makes me happy to be me - far from ultra-feminine. Looking around at other women my age, what do I see? It turns out that most of them put on little, if any, makeup and wear blue jeans most of the time, even in warm weather. So, should I dress like other women my age? Given that they look like women dressed that way, and I look like a man, that is a silly question and the answer is clearly no. If being like the other women my age isn't a good strategy, then what is? The answer to that sometimes gives me fits. I want others to see me, the way I am inside. 

Recently, the videos of Natalie Wynn - CONTRAPOINTS - have captured my attention. In one titled The Aesthetic, she has a discussion with a character of her invention she calls Tabby about the importance of appearance. The Cat Lady is giving off the vibe of a drag queen, but insists that she is a woman who has her own style; why should she fall into stereotype? Here is the sticky bit ... when someone calls you sir, should you get into an argument or fight with them, or should you realize that this has to do with how much effort you are giving to letting others know you are who you say you are? As usual, Natalie explains the issue much better than I, so have a look at the video if you have twenty minutes to spare.

Back to us - women who transitioned later in life. If dressing in blue jeans with no makeup is going to immediately clock me as a man, whereas wearing nail extensions, false eyelashes, mini-skirt, and sky-high heels is going to immediately clock me as a man, then where on the spectrum between should I be? The debate rages on in my head, along with a healthy dose of who am I dressing for anyway? and didn't this whole thing begin with abandoning a façade that was driving me crazy ... so why would I choose to create a new façade just to make others happy now?

At the moment, my choice is to dress in a way that makes me happy and then go a bit farther into femininity. A bit more makeup than I think, a frillier top, or a nicer skirt instead of slacks, or slacks that are sexier than I might think is right. In other words a balancing act; look good, but avoid having those who see me do a double-take. 

What matters more, the way things are, or the way things look?

Feel free to select captions in a language of your choice.. Blogger won't let me make a post with a full transcript of this video.