"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 - -

Monday 28 March 2011

Difficult Question

Anne at Ella es asi has asked "A Difficult Question" today. As she puts it, this is a question that was originally directed to a spouse of a 'late transitioner', but really is for the transitioner themselves: "…was NOT your partner aware of their "condition",  PRIOR, to your relationship/marriage? Was it not incumbant upon them to be forthcoming and truthful BEFORE allowing the natural progression of LOVE?"

So here I am, not a transitioner exactly, but one who might be close enough to satisfy the criteria, with no excuses, just an attempt to remember what it was like to be me forty years ago, and try to piece together whether what was going on in my head constituted an awareness of my condition. This post started life as a comment to her post, but it grew and grew, taking on a life of its own.

The thing that stands out the most was my deep desire in my teen years not to become a woman, but to be what everyone wanted me to be; a real man. I remember hating myself, and contemplating suicide because of it. I had no idea there was a way out without dying or being reborn in some fashion. I chose life. I reinvented myself and played a part that soon I believed in so strongly; that the weak, silly child was just *gone*.

When I met my wife, I was this man; this mentally tough man who I had created. There was no reason I could think of to reveal how messed up I had been in the past; he was another person. Was it incumbent upon me to be forthcoming? In retrospect, OMG yes; how I wish I had been, yet what would I have told her? What I truly wish is that going to see a healthcare professional had been something even considered to deal with my issues as a teen. I didn't. I did what needed to be done to survive, as I saw it.

This brings me to my current dilemma. It seems unbelievable to me that this lovely person who I deceived (intentionally or not, it does not matter) wants us to find a way to stay together. What price should I not be willing to pay to give her what she wants under these circumstances? I am beginning to answer that question, and it is not what I expected to ever hear myself say, or think.

Regret gets you nowhere. I have apologized for this to that wonderful person who is my wife many times. I am tired of being tired of being that phony person. The fact is, killing off yet another version of myself won't fix anything any more than the first 'murder' did so very long ago. Nobody needs to die. No new creature needs to be fashioned. I just need to learn to be myself and live that way; no façade, no excuses.

As a selfish aside, we spent part of the weekend past with our 'kids' who are both in their thirties now. I cannot in good conscience leave you thinking that there is only regret for living this life. What I do from now on notwithstanding, those two, who never would have existed but for my invention of 'the man', have become wonderful friends who I love like crazy!

Thursday 24 March 2011

Today's Real Post - Film At Eleven

Scenes of destruction get repeated endlessly on television. I believe it must be built in to us to enjoy (at some deep visceral level) watching a train wreck, or a hockey player's head being violently twisted as he is body-checked into a support column.
For your 'viewing' and 'edification' we present Halle.  Watch her self-destruct:

Halle came to Blogistan almost a year ago, claiming to be trying to find the truth about herself; hoping she could stop the internal war and keep everything else the same. Wanted to end her 'dysphoria' she did. She examined that problem from all angles (as Petra put it, looking at Rubik's Cube from all sides before beginning to twist it into shape) and made many interesting observations as she went. All the time, the war was halted, as though a truce had been called.  Just as a reminder of what her goal was, let's quote her directly:

"Unless it becomes obvious that I cannot be the best person I know how to be while staying in the body I came with, I am not going to risk losing the people who I love."

How badly did she want to be that 'best person' you ask. Not enough. She has the truth and cannot handle it. (Insert slow motion train wreck footage here)

Enough third person stuff already. It is almost a year since that bold declaration. Earlier today was another first for me here; a post that was pulled. It was vague and unsatisfactory. I should be plain. 

I know how to end the war. I don't have the nerve to go through with it. I admire so many of you here from fifteen to over sixty in age who are (or have been) putting yourself first by becoming a person you can love and a person you can live with. You are risking, that as that true person, others who are true friends will be there for you. You believe in yourself and I salute you.
Another group I admire is heading out the door dressed beautifully as women, even though they still are quite happy being a man most of the time. Oh how I wish that sort of life would stop the war, but sadly, I do not 'want to' look like a woman.  

I want to stop pretending and find a way to live without having to think about it all the time and I know what that means. I have joined another group here and yes, you are admirable too in your own way, because you understand others and accept them as nobody who lives a life of peaceful, blissful ignorance of trans-anything can ever do. I promise to be there for the rest of you here in my little closet.

The war is back on. It is back because I could not handle the truth about myself. I cannot bring myself to risk losing the people I love and who I know would walk through fire for me for anything but this, something that is so foreign to them it cannot be accepted as sanity. For their sake the war should end, but they do not know or care about the war, or the carnage, carefully hidden behind veils of excuses easy to explain away when you are a man; a grumpy, old, man. 

I know what I fear almost as much as the truth. Becoming that grumpy, old man. When I fear that more than anything else, then all of this might change. Who else on the planet gets to make such a choice? What a 'gift'.

As my friend Leslie warned: "Don't be like me!" I don't even want that.

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Almost a Guest Post

Today is a first for this blog. I would like it to have been more, but my new friend Sarah is modest and not quite ready to introduce herself to Blogistan. I am going to keep working on her on your behalf, because I am sure that she has thoughts on our condition that would benefit many here. I will just add that in our few exchanges of ideas via email I am learning more about myself.

So, while this is not quite a guest post, here is a poem by Sarah Thompson. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, and perhaps with a word of encouragement or two we might hear more from her soon.


My imaginary friend
As children we cohabited quite happily.
One body, harmlessly male.
Sometimes I confused my mother.
After puberty it became impractical,
'She' became an exile.
Gently, persistently, demanding repatriation.
"Let me free, now".
In a house of girls it was easy to comply.
Dresses, skirts, tights...
She gave me a pleasure in sensual things,
Sharpened my sense of the absurd, made
any self-confidence feel distinctly false.
I buried her for 30 years, but she never gave up.
Waiting until the hormones weakened.
Until I was freer to be 'myself'.
She returned subtly, never attracting attention, just another
weed in a rich chaotic garden. Always rewarding me.
But she was ruthless after decades of neglect.
She assimilated each victory
Incrementally redefining normal.
Bangles, necklaces, handbags...
'He' was helpless.
He longed for me to dominate him,
I was patient but relentless.
That male surface, those millimetres, are just a shell.
Functional, a legacy of times past.
I made myself comfortable inside.
His attempts to deny me were pathetic.
I took his concentration, his awareness, his remaining confidence.
I drew, locked, his thoughts increasingly into my loop.
I gave him imagination, lightness, and warmth.
He enjoyed being female.
He yearned to submit.
Hair, mascara, nail varnish....
Between my legs just a foreign scrap of flesh,
After a bath I covered my breasts.
I learned to move freely.
The walk, the hands, the way I held my head.
I desired to be desired.
He clung on, acting for his life,
clinging to old habits.
But the battle was won.
The end was so easy.
My reassuring gentleness inundated defences as soggy as cardboard,
And the drowning man gave up.
So now there is just me.


Sunday 13 March 2011

Choices, Choices

Many years back a friend showed me a really good way to use the flip of a coin to help decide which of two options to choose.
Let's call them option A and B for convenience. What you do is assign heads to one option and tails to the other. It does not matter at this point which is which.
Now, flip the coin and note which option has been "chosen" by the coin toss. Let's say for this example that the coin toss has selected option B.  Note your immediate feelings on the result. If you are unhappy about it, you know that option B is not for you, so choose A. If you feel happy about the coin's choice, then B is the good one and away you go.

This morning I was thinking about (what else) my gender confusion. From the amount of time my mind devotes to this, you would think one or the other side was obviously in charge, but I have not been as certain as this morning's test revealed to me.

This morning, I invented a 'thought experiment' to see who is in charge upstairs. Recently in some blogs I follow there has been discussion about sexuality and transition. Over the past year I have become convinced that sexual orientation is malleable. I have become certain that in my case, my female self would in fact want a male to complete her. Ariel sized this up as an orientation toward "the other". As a male, I want the other (female) to complete me, so after transition I would therefore still want "the other".

About my thought experiment: I found a quiet place to meditate on the following. I imagined that two of me were in the room. There was my current male presentation and a clone of me identical in all respects but female in body. In the experiment, these two were allowed to 'get to know each other' if you get my drift. I tried to imagine all of the details from both points of view. It didn't take me long to find my truth. If you would like to do this for yourself, here are the rest of the instructions:

If one of the two is clearly a winner, you are done with the process. If you are having trouble acknowledging the preference, time for the coin toss. Assigning male to be heads (language is wonderful isn't it) and yes, female got 'tails', flip your mental coin and let it land and examined your emotional content carefully.

I invite you all to find a quiet place of your own now.



Saturday 12 March 2011

Trans - Late

Most who read here will not really care about this, but I couldn't hold out any longer, so I finally did it today, and I figured even if it is only useful for a few visitors out there, that is good enough a reason for me. Better late than never they say!

Velkommen til to ånder - One Halle
Benvenuti a Due Spiriti - One Halle
Croeso i Dau Gwirodydd - One Halle
Ласкаво просимо на два духи - Один Галле
एक हाले - दो आत्माओं में आपका स्वागत है
Welcome to Two Spirits - One Halle , no matter what language you might care to use

Google translate is one of those miracles of modern technology  I dreamt of many years ago and is just taken for granted by some now.  Remember, I am old enough to have used a computer that gave you warnings if you loaded data in excess of 8K (not M or G) of RAM, and took up a good portion of a room.

With it, one step translation of the whole site is available for those who are interested.

If you have a site and would like to add this feature, follow the link. If you use Blogger, then there is an icon at the right side "Add to Blogger".

Anyway, there it is, and yes in other languages the order of the words confusing might be, but even if my words end up sounding like Yoda, how bad is that? :)


Tuesday 8 March 2011

Being Special

I grew up in the 1960's. That was a time of 'do your own thing'. We really believed it too, that we were very special and quite 'modern'. I think most of us realize now that we were just doing what everyone else was doing and trying hard to belong. Mostly we were acting the way we were programmed to by the media (weak as it was in comparison to the juggernaut we see now) of that time.
You all know what really doing my own thing would have meant for me back then, but I was the ultimate conformer. Maybe because of that history, or in spite of it, I can never quite let go of the deep desire to be special in some way.

The musical "The Fantasticks" is playing in Toronto right now. Sweetie and I took it in and remembered what a wonderful story it is. As with any good piece of writing, each time you visit, you receive a new gift. This time its gift to me was 'the girl', who is 'special'. When we meet her she tells us;

I'm sixteen years old and everyday something happens to me
Oh... Oh... Oooooh! I hug myself till my arms turn blue, and
then I close my eyes and I cry and cry till the tears come down
and I can taste them. I love to taste my tears. I am special.
I am special. Please, God, please, don't let me be normal!

and then sings

I'd like to swim in a clear blue stream
Where the water is icy cold.
Then go to town
In a golden gown,
And have my fortune told.
Just once,
Just once,
Just once before I'm old.

I'd like to be not evil,
But a little worldly wise.
To be the kind of girl designed
To be kissed upon the eyes.

I'd like to dance till two o'clock,
Or sometimes dance till dawn,
Or if the band could stand it,
Just go on and on and on
Just once,
Just once,
Before the chance is gone!

I'd like to waste a week or two
And never do a chore.
To wear my hair unfastened
So it billows to the floor.

To do the things I've dreamed about
But never done before!
Perhaps I'm bad, or wild, or mad,
With lots of grief in store,
But I want much more than keeping house!
Much more!
Much more!
Much more!

Try to remember and always be young enough to dream.

Sunday 6 March 2011

Super Heroine?

As you know, I have a secret identity to cover my true status as a person with supernatural powers. I use this 'mild mannered man' appearance to protect loved ones from the dangers that would beset them otherwise. Sadly however, and more frequently than not, this super-heroine is getting tired of having to pretend she is less than she truly is. More dangerously, from time to time, one life threatens to bleed over into the other.

Hiding behind my pretend powerless (and supposedly clueless) persona most of the time means I need to be able to share time with other super folk like you. It is so wonderful to not have to explain myself. We are not all the same, but we all have experience of another layer of reality unavailable to the average person. We can relate to each other without having to filter all the time.

Everyone in my secret identity life think that 'real' person is oh so wonderful. They have no idea! Sometimes I yearn to tell them that there is a really wonderful part of me they need to meet, then go into my 'phonebooth' and twirl a few times to emerge as my real self; Jedi Halle. Sadly, this is not the way for super-heros or heroines.

Today's post is mostly inspired by thoughts of Teagan's post "extricate thyself". Reading it, my first reaction was 'how very healthy and right her attitude is'. My comment to that effect was heartfelt and immediate. I will admit it saddens me to realize how far from her situation I am by living in two worlds.

Having two lives that cannot overlap is not healthy; I know it. I need to get a copy of "Living As a Super Hero For Dummies" I guess. Maybe I will develop a secret formula to allow me to integrate the two, keep the super-powers of courage and compassion and understanding I have learned here and somehow feel confident enough to let the people who know the mild mannered man into the others parts of me without scaring them off too?

Oh well, at least I have managed to get my problems to evolve some from where they were a year ago. I may only be a 'heroine in my own mind' but that is definitely a start!