"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 - -

Friday 25 January 2013

Beth ~ Live in the Present

Feeling really tired, I thought, maybe a little snooze. I wonder what Beth would do in my place. Hmm....

What a pleasant dream! Bright and sunny, warm (not like in the real world of -20C) and a golf course! No, not just any golf course, but my favourite. Please let this dream keep going!

There on the first tee, looking back at me was my dreamtime twin Beth. I wondered if she would recognize me. The first time we met and talked I had been in men's clothes for some reason and now, well all was as it should be is the best way to put it.

"White tees ok for you, twin?" she asked. "That will be fine, except when we get to six if you don't mind. I prefer the challenge of hitting over the canyon, so I'll play the blues there." 
"It's my first time here, so please, be my guide." she said with a smile that was as wide as my own. It was really good to see her again.

Off we went, and of course, in dreamtime the shots were perfect, long and perfectly shaped; why else would we say "in your dreams' to someone wishing for such perfection in this game?

There is lots of time to talk when you walk a golf course, but Beth didn't waste time on small talk, cutting right to "That post on your blog was a lot whiney you know. I was glad to hear you and Grandad got along too though." 
"Why do you say 'whiney'?" 
"Sorry to be so blunt, but it sounded like 'Oh poor me. I don't have anyone who really knows me; can't have a good conversation. Yada, yada...' says that poor whiney person who needs a wake up call named Halle."
I hadn't thought it was that bad, but if anyone can call you out and get away with it, it should be your twin.
"It really sounded that bad did it?"
"Let's just say it wasn't your finest two minutes. Sorry to hear you are feeling down, but don't you think everyone feels that way some days? I don't live with your history, but I don't have anyone I talk to about my deepest concerns either."
"Not even your girls or best friends Beth?"
"Not really. Most of the things that bother me are ghosts that nobody can do anything about. Regrets and stuff like that. Like I said, yada, yada... My best friends wouldn't be such good friends for long if I went on about my worries all the time. "

I thought about what she had said, and had to agree, but tried to defend myself "There are all kinds of issues on the side that are making it seem worse I guess." She put her arm around my shoulder and nodded, "Ya, I get that, and you don't have someone in your life you can unload on. Welcome to the world of the single woman sweetie! It seems to me you have reached that exalted status of person who actually understands themselves and you aren't sure what to do about it."

I nodded back, acknowledging the truth of what she had said, then looked at the five foot putt she was lining up. A slippery downhill left to right. "These are really slick greens, just so you know."
She chuckled "Mind games already and just the first hole!" then stroked the ball into the middle of the hole. "Yup, fast and true, just like Dad always liked them."
We walked off to the second tee, both enjoying and commenting on the beautiful view. Then she stopped and turned to say,
"Halle, you can live one day at a time and find as much pleasure there as you can, or you can wonder what else you could be doing, if only, if only. Just another choice, don't you think?"

She had the honour, so she stepped up and sent the ball down the middle of the fairway, and of course, in my dreams, I also hit that least likely of shots and soon our balls sat together in the distance. We strolled along. I took her hand.

"Can we meet up now and then to chat so you can straighten me out?"

She kept looking forward, but squeezed my hand.

"As long as you don't mind me doing the same, sis."

Living in the Present

It occurred to me this morning that I have gained a personal insight into something my grandfather told me a long time ago. 

He was quite the wit. At their sixtieth wedding anniversary party, sitting together hand in hand a family member asked my grandparents how they had stayed together for so long. Without a beat, Grandad replied, "Get married young, stay together and live a long time."

Those words of his were not the ones on my mind today though. 

When he was into his nineties, with my grandmother dead for a few years, he observed as many do at that age that the hardest part of living a long life was being left as your friends and family pass on. He explained it wasn't just loneliness he felt though. It was a lack of connection to the present. There was nobody in his life who had been with him on the whole journey. That meant that any meaningful conversation had to begin with explanations of who he had been, and what things were like then, to give context to the conversation. Of course, what he needed to do was make new friends and create new contexts, yet that meant abandoning all those rambling, pleasant thoughts of who he had been (who wants to listen to some old guy ramble about that sort of thing?) and trying to find and maintain new relationships using current events and contexts. 

Not old enough to be in that position, still I know how he felt; lonely and disconnected from the present. Daily life has become superficial. How can I feel truly connected to people who don't really know me? How can one talk about feelings or even ideas without explaining where you are coming from. Like Grandad felt and told me, it's silly explaining stuff nobody wants to hear at any rate.

A long time ago, I stated a goal (what part of me is goal oriented do you think?) ~ to be as true as possible to my feminine nature, while presenting as a male

Back in those days, a lot of what I was feeling (what part of me do you think that was?) was the need to live true to myself

Recently it seems the goal has been reached.
Be careful what you wish for. 
Being content is not the same as being happy.

I am not convinced that I am living true to myself. 

Wednesday 16 January 2013

THE truth

There are some things that are difficult to describe to others. Some things, nobody is going to get, no matter what you say or do. There are some ideas that one has to suss out for oneself.
If you have read some of my stories about dreamtime meetings with alternate or past selves, you can tell I am a believer in life being a journey, not a destination. There is nothing wrong with giving someone a little nudge though, in the hope it changes things a little.

Just a few minutes ago two friendly young women from a religious group came by with their version of the New Testament and a pamphlet in their hands and a question that (I guess) was supposed to be thought-provoking enough to lead into my conversion to their club. We ended up our short discussion agreeing to disagree about some pretty fundamental ideas, the biggest being how their particular edition of the NT was "The Truth" since their particular editors had been inspired by Jehovah himself (their gendering) unlike so many other groups of humans who had taken on the task before. Not sure whether they believed those other humans to be uninspired, or perhaps inspired by some different God. They didn't seem to be monotheists, interestingly.

As I say, they were nice young people, intelligent enough to know when their time was being wasted. I do not suspect what I had to say (including a history lesson on the New Testament by the way, something they obviously had no idea about) had any influence at all on their thinking, but they did get me thinking. Perhaps God (or was it my muse Aadi?) does move in wondrous ways.

These young salespeople represent a disturbing subsection of society for me. They are those who think that for everything there is a single truth, and if we can only find it, we don't need to think anymore.

One Answer for every Question.

Sounds pretty boring to me, but you knew that about me already didn't you? :-)

The interesting thoughts, by the way, were
1. how happy I am to be someone who doesn't twist myself into knots anymore trying to be who others think I should while at the same time, am happy to accept that others have the very same right to be themselves,
2. how I recognize myself as one who cannot resist an opportunity to apply a strategic nudge.

I'd love to know if one of those young women takes the time to research the history of the New Testament.

Sunday 6 January 2013

How Do You Tell a Teenager?

It's an old joke, and the answer is, "You can't tell a teen anything"

In my experience, if you want to tell a young person something, it is best to put them into a position of thinking they learned it for themselves. Come to think of it, it works for adults too. 

I have jokingly told those who know of my love of learning "I can't decide what to do when I grow up". Lately this has become a question with a much more serious answer. I relate to teenagers very well these days.

It may be the most futile desire ever, but one of the wishes I had starting this blog was to be able to send letters across the years to my child self, a lonely kid who learned to become very self-reliant but also self-abusive in response to the constant pushing and poking to satisfy the needs of the adults around him. 

Those adults were afraid for the kid. I found out the sort of thinking that had gone on in a heart-to-heart with my grandmother a few years before she passed away:  
"We thought you might 'become a homosexual' if we didn't get you away from all those girls you played with." 
I look back and think how misguided that sort of thinking was from so many points of view, while also recognizing with sadness how characteristic that sort of thinking was in the 1950's. I often wonder sixty years from now what people will say of the 2010's and our primitive thinking.

If I could meet with the fifteen year old me in dreamtime, what sort of case could I make for turning away from the internalized pressures to recognize and harness suppressed feelings? How could I explain that everything important he would do while living that pretend life; marriage, children, career, friends, all of it would simply make it harder to recover and honour the real person, and having found her, to then do something to correct the birth defect? How could I get across how futile and wrong it is to work so hard escaping from yourself?

It would take some pretty fancy planning to come up with a way to have that teenaged me think those first thoughts to defy every voice but the one he learned to hate the most, the one inside; to ignore the danger he has been taught to believe exists in that voice and turn it around. I want to yell at that stupid brilliant hurting kid I was "Rebel damn you! Stupid teenager who didn't ever rebel!!"

Some days I would like to say damn you stupid person who has never grown up or rebelled! to the person in the mirror, but it seems life has already tried to do that. Instead, what I am doing now is taking what all the normal people around me see as my blessings, marriage, children and all, and finding a way to live as honestly as chemical intervention and goodwill can allow.

Every person has regrets at my age. They can all look back at events they would handle differently. I have lots of 'normal' regrets. This feels different. This is one of those 'this should never happen to someone else' regrets. It is a feeling that somehow it should be a life mission to find a way to help anyone I can to run that gauntlet (for we cannot avoid pain or hard choice no matter what the rest of the world is like), and live their life authentically.

I will admit being afraid to take steps to use what I know in the here and now to help young trans-people. It would mean outing myself, even though I have no intention of transitioning. The reason I won't take those steps is the very same reason I haven't transitioned in fact. 

Tuesday 1 January 2013

Involuntary, Pleasant Changes

It has only happened like this one other time, and that was a long time ago. It was a moment when my reaction to an event told me clearly that I was a different person than I had been. Perhaps you have had one or two of these. 

The first was when I was seven. All on my own, riding my bike (probably too fast as I loved to do), suddenly the bike had stopped and I was flying through the air. The landing was poor, but fortunately my arms and knees, not my head (no helmets back then) took the brunt of the punishment. You will likely remember the unique pain of flayed skin (or you were never a kid). There was that feeling as though they were on fire. Looking down and seeing lots of blood confirmed that I needed some help. Then came the revelation. I had just looked down and thought, "I'd better get some help with this mess". What I hadn't done is cry out, or cry at all. No tears, just the frustration at self after having done something stupid. It was the first time for that, and the last time tears and crying out were even considered as a way to get help. It was a small thing, but as you can see, it stuck with me as a moment when something had changed.

The second incident, just before the start of the holiday, also involved frustration and anger and my reaction to it. 

There are some things about me and being in a male body that have changed because I abandoned the facade, that suit of armour that I had invented so long ago to keep me from being found out. One thing that was never an act was how anger could overcome my thought process. I have always had a very long fuse that led to a potent charge. Wanting to throw things, to punch holes, to yell and stomp off to be alone (and that I did) and generally vent when frustration got to be too much was never an act, it just was. I was never happy about it, but couldn't control it well. 

My spouse and I had a bad time just before the holiday. The issues may get an airing here at a later date, but really they're not important to today's story. Let's just say the discussion got heated enough that separation and divorce were on the table again. The blame game was being played and was threatening to go into full-body-contact mode. Realization didn't fully come about how changed I am right then, because everything was too intense and happening too fast for analysis. In retrospect though, how I reacted to anger and frustration was so different, and so much more effective than ever before. Let's just say that the absence of the 'throw things, punch holes, yell and run away' mode of behaviour made it possible for me to be part of a move away from the precipice very quickly into safer and saner territory. We were both hurting, and knew the other was hurting and quickly remembered how much we 'cared about' each other, even if we disagreed intensely on this and related issues and wondered seriously how we could possibly carry on together. 

Is the spiro (up to 75 mg btw) helping? I guess without some sort of 'control version' of myself who is not taking it we may never know. 

In time I might know whether this change is temporary, or fleeting, or permanent. I do know one thing and that is that I like myself better as I remember how on this occasion, anger did not run my life as it did in the past in similar situations. Time wasted in the past on yelling and wanting to find something to throw, like a child sitting on the pavement bawling, seems silly to me right now and fact is, if I had indulged in that reaction, the moment to reach out to that lady who has been my sweetie for so long might have been lost and she might have been walking away before I recovered control.

Reality is, we might yet chose to leave one another. There are lots of good reasons for her to want to start a life on her own. There are reasons here too. There are also good reasons  on both our parts to stay together. We are remembering to be loving and careful with feelings. We are reminding each other when there is danger nearby and for now it seems like a good idea to go around those dangerous places.

Whatever happens, because of this second change, I feel better equipped to hear what my heart and mind are saying and not some other (and rather ugly) part I have always hated.