"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 31 March 2019

The Ray

Over twenty years ago, my daughter C, then about 17 years old, came home after a day with a friend and asked me an interesting question. "My girlfriend says I intimidate people. What do you think?" After a few moments it occurred to me that some things, such as the ability to intimidate, can be inherited. "Sweetie, you have the ray, just like I do. You know the look you and your brother sometimes got that let you know you were out of line? We inherited it from your great-grandmother. She seemed very intimidating. Once you got to know her, she was really a very kind person. There has never been anyone as fierce, though. So the answer is, yes, you can seem very intimidating. It comes in handy at times, so learn to control it."

When I was teaching, there was never any doubt as to who was in charge in the classroom. Because I  showed respect for students by coming well prepared and making it clear that I would always be fair but firm, the young folks quickly learned (and I suspect older students passed along a warning to their younger siblings) that it was safe and fun to be in my class - as long as they were respectful to one another and the teacher. 

For students who threatened the peace in the class, I would employ the ray, that special look that was a clear warning of danger. Any student who ignored that glance did so at their peril! 

These days, there is little use for the ray. When I am in a group, everyone is friendly and I am in charge of nothing but myself. What a lovely situation. K commented today that she has never seen that look. Hopefully she never will. 

From time to time walking in a mall, down the street, or in a crowd, such as a theatre lobby, when there is little better for anyone to do than people-watch, someone's gaze will stay on me for a bit too long. Generally, I just smile to let them know they have been noticed and I am harmless. For those who cannot let it go, there is that look that lets them know it is time for them to show some respect and back off!

Intimidating? Not me! Let's just say - I don't suffer fools or boors gladly. 

Friday 15 March 2019


From time to time it seems that there are civilians who understand us, even when they don't reference the transgender community directly. It takes a strong person to resist the drive to conform. 

Visit Emily McDowell's webpage here
‘Finding yourself’ is not really how it works.
You aren’t a ten dollar bill in last winter’s coat pocket.
You are also not lost.
Your true self is right there, buried under cultural conditioning, other people’s opinions, and inaccurate conclusions you drew as a kid that became your beliefs about who you are.
‘Finding yourself’ is actually returning to yourself.
An unlearning, an excavation, a remembering who you were before the world got its hands on you.

Emily McDowell

I checked out a bit of Emily McDowell's story. In her twenties, she was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Now, in her early 40s, she authors and decorates what she calls, "Greeting cards and gifts for the relationships we really have." Clearly she is an extraordinary person whose experience changed her life and the way she sees the world. Not satisfied with simply living her own life differently, she helps others to understand or, at least, send more understanding messages to those in life challenging situations. 

The quote above says something about the return to self that has been chronicled in this blog. I recognized what I called my façade. At first it seemed that although it wasn't something I liked about myself, I would try to maintain that façade; that was the title of this blog for some time actually - "Maintaining the Façade"

As Emily suggests, I unlearned and excavated myself. In retrospect, I can see times in my youth where I might have challenged the world. Instead, I helped the world bury that true person. 

It would be pleasant to think that the person I am now is somehow a reflection of whom I might have been without that conditioning. I am, instead, a reflection of a different sort of conditioning, self-imposed in order to be happy now. Where the façade felt wrong, who I present to the world now feels right and good. 

Along the way, I have learned so much and have found family and a partner whom I love and who love me. 

By what might be called, in a huge over-simplification, a fortunate set of circumstances, I have returned to myself. 

I am home.