"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 - -

Sunday 15 October 2017

Be Here, Now

Some time back, I found the clock that is at the very bottom of the page here. It tickled my fancy and I put it there to see if anyone might comment. A question from an online friend has prompted me to think about how important being in the moment has become for me. 

It seems to me that modern life actually conspires against living in the moment. We are dragged into the past by ever-present music. We are pushed into considering a foggy future by commercialism that wants us to be dissatisfied by what we "have" and purchase some product that promises to make that future oh-so-much-better. News programming sends us all over the world, vicariously living the tragedies of others. As if our own lives didn't have enough drama, television brings us more along with all sorts of fantasy, and worst of all for me, violence. 

Against all of these and other ever-present distractions, I struggle to bring myself back into the moment. The catch phrase these days is mindfulness. I went looking on the 'net and found a site that has some very gentle ideas to help one stay in the moment: 

1 Observe the present moment as it is. The aim of mindfulness is not quieting the mind, or attempting to achieve a state of eternal calm. The goal is simple: we’re aiming to pay attention to the present moment, without judgement. Easier said than done, we know.

2 Let your judgments roll by. When we notice judgements arise during our practice, we can make a mental note of them, and let them pass.

3 Return to observing the present moment as it is. Our minds often get carried away in thought. That’s why mindfulness is the practice of returning, again and again, to the present moment.

4 Be kind to your wandering mind. Don’t judge yourself for whatever thoughts crop up, just practice recognizing when your mind has wandered off, and gently bring it back

That friendly question I mentioned was something like "Now that you are no longer concerned with your gender, what is it that is motivating you?" I had to admit, with no shame at all, that I have no over-riding motivation behind anything I'm doing these days. 

Time to think about what we are going to have for lunch now. 

Monday 9 October 2017


As illustrated by the previous post, there is a certain distance now that is getting in the way of good (relevant and honest) communication here. One can only say what one knows. One can only use the tools that are at hand to say what one wishes to say.

There are words aplenty archived over the seven years so far on the subject of dysphoria and transition. There are stories of success that came through struggle and hard decisions. There are also hints of a spiritual development that defies religious expression. Without that, I wouldn't be here at all. The words I will likely add from here onward can only speak from the perspective of my here and now. I will never forget, but neither will I dwell in the past.

I won't change the title of the blog, because most of what is archived relates well to two spirits and the reality of that sort of life. If I could partition this blog, the part from now on would have to be labelled something like: Halle's Place. Dull but accurate.

I am the person who survived the internal struggle and can only speak my truth.

As well, one must face the question about technological relevance. Blogging is a medium that suits me well. Facebook would have been useless as a platform on this topic, as would Tweeting. Photos of my dinner, or the repairs to a musical instrument, or the latest score of a piece I'm working on are not things I choose to share with the world at large at any rate.

Is blogging or this blog in particular still relevant? I've no idea. I will say that this blog gets more "views" per day now than at any time, but fewer comments. More important to me personally, in the past two years the blog has generated zero new email contacts. I have friends (real ones who I break bread with) who I met because of this blog. I am so very grateful to know them.

I shall never stop examining my life and doing my best to make sense of it; that is what brought me this far. My true family is all around and we can talk any time you wish; ask (use "halle.randall08" at gmail dot com) and an email will come your way. Any new insights I get into some topics will have to come from revisiting them. I am most likely to do that in a conversation with you.

Love and be true to yourself.

Friday 6 October 2017

An Unexpected Visit in Dreamtime

Dreamtime isn't always so obvious; sometimes it feels as though I'm awake, but this time there was absolutely no doubt. A bitterly cold wind was blowing off Lake Ontario. Waves were crashing onto that beach of many childhood memories. There is no way I should have been there; too dismal a place for my current mood. And, yet, there I was strolling along in my boots, all wrapped up in woolies, watching the dark clouds scoot along overhead; nobody else in sight, until ...

The last time I'd had a dream about this place, it was to visit and talk to my childhood self. Because that was a dream and I had known it, I had projected myself as the woman inside to talk to that boy. Today, I was just me - now, as I look everyday. However, the person sitting on the beach was no boy, but a man. A rather rotund one actually; familiar as the male façade I'd projected to the world up to two years ago, but in much worse shape.

His hair was thinner, and unkempt (the wind wasn't helping of course), his clothing haphazard, and his eyes were almost glazed over as he stared out into that stormy horizon.

"D.....? What has happened? You look terrible!" I almost blurted this out because he really was a mess and I couldn't ever recall letting myself go this badly.

"What does it matter to you? Who are ... oh, no way!" The confusion in his face showed that he knew only too well who I was, but was shocked to think what that meant.

I had to know: "It is October 2017, right?" He looked a bit puzzled at this, and then the penny dropped for him.

"Yes, that's right, and you are an alternate me who has transitioned. Oh, ... my ... How can that be? There is no way I could make it work; it wouldn't work! What did you do?"

"What didn't you do is a better question! Didn't you go to the endocrinology appointment?"

"I decided that wasn't going to work, because there is no way I could have kept our marriage together if sweetie had thought I was going to transition."

It shocked me for a few seconds to recall the total, one-sided devotion that had been in force not that long ago. I was convinced that my job was to fix every problem in the world, and divorce had to be avoided at any cost, even if the price was my life or at least my sanity, if need be.

"I had to go to that appointment, because without the estrogen I would have given up on life. I would have been going through the motions and would have hated myself. I had to transition and nothing was going to stop me. You should know all of this!" I was almost yelling at him; so angry that he valued his own life so little and valued the lives of people who had no idea what we had gone through, so much. "Look what this has done to you!"

"Is womanhood so important, so wonderful? What price have you paid?" Clearly he was just as angry and disappointed in me, for his own reasons.

Suddenly my part in this dreamtime drama was clear. To have told the truth to this version of myself, who had sacrificed all to remain true to a lifetime built on selflessness, would be a terrible cruelty. What good would come for him to know of the life I am living; so fulfilled in ways that could never have been believed two years ago?

"Womanhood is wonderful, and it fits me so much better than the life you have preserved. I've paid a price for sure, but I don't regret anything that I had to do. You and I are different in some very important ways D..... , otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation in this howling wind on this cool afternoon."

He pulled his jacket a bit tighter and looked more intently out at that churning water.

I continued: "You needed this dream for some reason though, and the only reason I can see for having me here is to tell you that it will never be too late to do what you deeply believe you should do. If that is to follow your present course, then that is exactly what you must do. If you see me and it somehow gives you insight into your own mortality, know this; it isn't too late. I wasn't the oldest person having surgery that day last month."

It was time to end this, before the gulf that separated us, emotionally, philosophically, and physically became even greater. Neither of us could imagine the other's existence but there we were. Truth be told, I don't want to know what happens to him, but as soon as I say that, I know that there are as many different paths he and she might take as there are for me in the future.

As that beach and its horrid weather evaporated into dream dust, it was a relief to realize that most of the challenges I face are nothing at all like his. I don't miss gender dysphoria a bit.

Sunday 1 October 2017

It Just Is ...

In the first year of this blog (2010! ... that long ago?) a woman who had transitioned a very long time before wrote in a comment: "I gotta tell you, being a woman ain't that special. It just is ..." At the time, I wasn't impressed by this comment, but having crossed over into womanhood myself (in fact the terms transexual and transwoman really do not apply at this point) I have some thoughts on what is special. 

First of all, some thoughts on rebirth. Readers of Cassidy's beautiful blog will already be aware that Cass and I both had the same surgeon two weeks apart: Dr. Brassard in Montréal. I think Cassidy will agree that everything about this operation (pardon the pun) is top notch. In my case, ten of us had GRS over a two-day period (including two transmen, by the way) and we had a chance to get to know one another as we took our first steps after surgery and then, step-by-step were brought to the point where it was safe to send us away from the cocoon. Those baby steps were taken at L'Asclépiade, just steps from the surgical building. Some do walk there on the second day after surgery. 

Asclépiade (or asclepias) is the milkweed plant, which nourishes the monarch butterfly. It is actually the only plant the monarch will lay eggs on. 

Having successfully passed through our pupation stage in Dr. Brassard's care, L'Asclépiade was exactly where we needed to be while testing our wings for the first time. Everyone who works there is ideally placed to support and encourage, whether they be nurses, cleaning staff or admin. A special mention to the kitchen staff, who prepared meals that tempted the most delicate palate. Love you all! 

So, here I am three weeks later, feeling about as womanly as I can possibly be (where in my purse did I put those extra pads?), and asking myself "what is so special about being a woman?" And the answer is nothing and everything

When one has spent a lifetime struggling to exist in a body (and the stereotypes that go with it) that run counter to every instinct you have, it is a very big deal to be done with it. I will repeat here, by the way, that nothing said here is meant to deny the wonderful things that I managed to accomplish, or the family I was part of while trying to seem male; I did everything possible to make that work for as long as I could. 

So being a woman is a very big deal because the struggle to seem to be what I wasn't is over. As healing progresses, it is increasingly clear that I can now simply get on with being

When it is time to get on with one's life, there is nothing special about being a woman. The label "female" will not define me now any more than "male" did. 

I have been given the gift of time to live my life in the best way possible ... one day at a time.