Beautiful Darling (2009)

Beautifuldarling

 

I watched a movie I didn’t know existed until a few days ago, about a woman I knew nothing about. Now I sit here with tears in my eyes and a sadness in my heart because hers was a life too short.

The movie is ‘Beautiful Darling, The Life and Times of Candy Darling, Andy Warhol Superstar’

The title seems a little dry after watching the film, though accurate in it’s way. 

I’ll share with you the storyline as given on IMBD website.

“Candy Darling was a fixture in the New York Off-Broadway scene in the 60s, in Warhol films such as Women in Revolt and Flesh, and became a prominent personality in Warhol’s circles, influencing such noted contemporary artists as Madonna, David Bowie and Lou Reed. This documentary will use a series of interviews, archival footage, and images from Candy’s home in Massapequa, NY. Archival footage includes rare 25 year old interviews conducted by Jeremiah Newton with members of Warhol’s Factory and Tennessee Williams. The film features interviews with colleagues, contemporaries and friends of Candy, including John Waters, Peter Beard, Holly Woodlawn, Bob Colacello, Geraldine Smith, Pat Hackett and Ron Delsener.”

 

My thoughts…

Watching this, I found myself fascinated by Candy. I wanted to know more about her, who she was, why she was… If I hadn’t know from the description on Netflix that she was Transsexual, I never would have guessed and it wouldn’t have mattered if I did. She was, by her own hand and deed, larger than life. The flame which draws the moth, and like the flame, burned out too soon.

She was part of time which, when looking back, seems so far from us now. A different climate, a different understanding… society has moved on… Yet it really hasn’t. What you see and hear of life in the New York LGBT community of the late 60s, early 70s isn’t so far removed from where we stand at this moment. Maybe laws have changed, maybe people want to believe things are better, yet listen to the words of those interviewed, see their reactions to the memories which lie no so far beneath the surface and you will the same battles we fight today.

I do have to wonder about this film and it’s purpose. If it is to showcase a lost treasure, it does it well. If it is meant to be a cautionary tale, it does leave the proper impression. But if it is meant as a way to honor a unique soul. To spotlight the trials and tribulations of life… well then, I feel it missed the mark just a little.

You get a glimpse, through her journal of the sadness and loneliness which marked her days on the earth. You can just see, almost hidden from view, her desperate need to be accepted and loved for who and what she was.

And you can feel the weight of each passing day in which she did not find what she wanted most.

If your interested, the movie is on Netflix, available to streaming. 

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Today’s Stories

Barneys Is Counting on 17 Transgender Models for Its Spring Campaign

In a departure from its traditional spring marketing, luxury retailer Barneys is launching a campaign to raise awareness about transgender issues.

Source: Time Business

 

Maine Supreme Court rules in favor of transgender girl in Orono school bathroom case

PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Thursday guaranteed the right of a transgender child to use the school bathroom designated for the gender with which he or she identifies.

Source: Bangor Daily News

 

Transgender study looks at ‘exceptionally high’ suicide-attempt rate

A whopping 41% of people who are transgender or gender-nonconforming have attempted suicide sometime in their lives, nearly nine times the national average, according to a sweeping survey released three years ago.In a new study released Tuesday, researchers dug deeper into that number, analyzing the results of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey to examine what puts transgender people at such “exceptionally high” risk.

Source: LATimes

 

Dane County survey provides insight on transgender youth

Including the option to identify as “transgender” on Dane County’s 2012 Youth Assessment provided insight into mental health correlations and showed needs for guidelines that actively support transgender students in the community.

Source: The Badger Herald

I’ve Been Thinking…

Yes, dangerous I know.

Most of the time when I write about the issues I am having, I seem to try to convey my emotional state more than anything. Maybe it’s because as I find myself dealing with issues, it is the emotions which come to the forefront. Which color my sight and leave a metallic taste in my mouth.

Yet I wonder how often this ends up clouding the issue.

These past few days are a good example, so let me take a moment to try and explain much of what has been bothering me. Maybe in this way my day to day life become a little clearer. After all, as far as I know, there isn’t anyone reading this blog who knows me in my day to day life out in the ‘Real World’ or if they do, they haven’t said as much to me, and so the only images you have of me outside of this space is what I write here, and truthfully, 99% of this is about what is happening on the inside.

Most days I do little or nothing to change my appearance from what it has been for the majority of my life. True, I have let my hair and nails grow. I use lip balm more than I use to, but really there isn’t much of a noticeable change. I still spend my days in jeans and sweat shirts or tee shirts depending on the weather. I wear tennis shoes more often than not, though I have to wear boots for work. When I look in the mirror I see the same reflection as always…

When I speak I hear the same voice in my head. I have made no efforts to feminize my voice.

I have adjusted the way I walk, but it more to the point where I don’t obviously walk like a man, ram rod straight with a tight, overly aggressive step.

Outside of this, I have tried on many levels to allow my thoughts to open beyond the narrow day to day view I had trudged through for so long, yet it is all too easy to fall back into those familiar, comfortable patterns. 

It is the same with my emotions. Yes, I have loosened the bonds I kept them under, to do anything else would have lead to a breakdown, yet I still find times when it is difficult to let go and just feel.  Then again, the very fact I can feel anything positive at all is a vast improvement over where I was. Too many years of nothing but negative emotions, the self hatred, disgust, loathing, and the anger… Oh, so much anger… 

Still, even here I can find myself falling back into those old, familiar ruts. It’s the path of least resistance. The sharp, bitter taste I know all too well.

You see, in so many ways, in so many things. Thoughts, actions, emotions; I often find not much has changed from what has gone before. So many days when I think,look, or listen to myself and I wonder what has changed? 

I think, often, if I went full time, this would change. It would have to wouldn’t it? To make those changes, no matter how minute, which transform me, in my own mind, from costume to reality and lead to the “new” me becoming more “real” than the old?

This is the question I cannot answer. Maybe it is the thought of being given no other choice but to change these things which attracts me to the idea. Maybe it is the thought; by maintaining so much of the trappings of my old self, I can never be anything else…

If I look in the mirror and see the past staring at me, am I really anything else?

I think I have said this before; if I could rip off this skin, like a snake or bad parlor trick, and step away as I know myself to be… I would do it in a heartbeat.

If I could step into the shower and standing under the stinging water to be transformed, I would rejoice.

Nothing is ever so simple though, is it?

There is a constant tug of war between what was and what I wish to become.

I don’t know… I really don’t. Some days are easier than others. There are times I want to get up and sing and dance like no one is watching… and then there are the other days. Days in which I want to scream until my throat is raw. To dig my nails into this skin and tear it from the bone.

Days when I just want to be me and days when I want to be nothing at all.

Maybe some day I will find my balance. A time when it really won’t matter what I look like, how I sound, what name someone addresses me with.

A day when I am truly myself.

Just a Pig In Lipstick.

I try to think back to when I was a child, what did I think my future would be like? I know some of my hopes for the future weren’t the same as many of my classmates. I couldn’t wait to turn thirteen, thinking my dad wouldn’t hit me any more, then wanting to be eighteen so I could move out on my own. 

I remember wanting to be an artist, to make my living creating beautiful works on paper and canvas. At one point I wanted to be a game designer and work for a company such as TSR where ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ reigned supreme.

There were other dreams which came and went over the years but there is one instance which still stands out in my mind, and it may be this which define so many years of my life. In the early eighties I thought about the turning of the century which would happen in my lifetime. Thinking I would be thirty four… and in a moment of chilled silence I thought,

“I won’t be alive.”

I didn’t know when but I knew beyond doubt I would be dead by my own hand before the clock struck midnight and closed out the twentieth century.

Jump ahead a few years and it almost proved to be a self fulfilling prophecy. Laying there wondering if I had just made things worse than I could have imagined, wondering if I would ever be able to move again, I still couldn’t see myself at thirty. Thinking about it was on par with thinking about eternity. Being enveloped by this feeling of a vast emptiness, cold and silent, stretching away to infinity. It was mind numbing.

Now we know more of the story. I didn’t die that night nor was I paralyzed, though I deserved to be. I eventually got up and moved on…

Yet I think I left a part of me back there, on the couch and it has taken me until now to find a way to repair the damage I did. Until now I was a ghost. An apparition passing from one day to the next, flitting through one person’s life after another, leaving no trace of my passage.

Some might call it sleepwalking, but it was more. It was deeper and troubling in a way I cannot describe to wake each day and not know the date. To have little or no memory of the days and weeks just past.

I have likened it to being on autopilot. The punchline to a bad joke…

Breath in, breath out.

Yet this is really all I did. 

My body was alive but my heart was dead. I had lost any semblance of purpose. There were no dreams, no goals, no hopes. Just an endless fog which turned the world into an infinite field of grey.

For those who have been following along, you know things have changed. It has been a long and difficult journey to reach the point where I am now. Yet it is still a fragile thing. So many years of conditioning. So many ingrained habits, all nothing but a bid at surviving just one more day… one more night… one more hour.

These are difficult things to undo. A Gordian Knot of mythical proportions.

There are times, such as today, when I find some remnant of those no so far gone days rises up like a fire ant nest when it’s been kicked and it flares out of my control. It is brief, a lightning flash, then gone leaving behind as nasty afterglow burned into my sight. The regret a rolling thunder shaking the very foundations under my feet.

I have traveled far in so many ways, yet my shadow still follows me, lingering just out of sight, waiting for a chance to pounce and engulf me at the slightest sign of weakness.

Old habits. Old regrets.

They hang in my closet like an out of date leisure suit, waiting for all of the new clothes to be used.

This isn’t an easy thing to shrug off, or disregard. When I find myself in this place I just want to crawl away and hide. It leads me to doubting myself, to doubting what I think and feel. 

It leads to statements like one I said today;

“You can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig.”

I hate to admit all of the times I feel like this… just a pig in lipstick.

Mt Reading Today

Government surveys schools’ stand on gender identity disorder

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) has launched a survey nationwide to schools on how they deal with the issue of gender identity disorder (GID) in their institutions. All schools from the elementary, junior and senior high school levels were included as participants of the survey.

Source: JDP

 

Fox News, CNN Ignore Their Own Advice On Transgender Coverage

Media critics on Fox News and CNN criticized a recent article that outed the inventor of a golf putter as a transgender woman. The two networks’ history of problematic transgender coverage suggests that CNN and Fox could stand to take their own advice.

Source: MediaMatters

 

Taking a stand: No jobs, no rights, transgender community decry social apathy

 Transgender and social activists have decided to kick off a rights campaign from today in the wake of recent police raids and discriminatory television programmes that have allegedly shown the community in a negative light.

Source: The Express Tribune

 

Transgender Men And Dating: Elliott Deline, Bill Roundy And Matt Kailey On HuffPost Live

HuffPost Live guests offered their advice regarding transgender men and dating as part of a spirited discussion last week.

Source: Huffingtonpost

 

Transgender Musician Rae Spoon Takes On Sundance

At Sundance Film Festival’s Music Café last Tuesday, musician Rae Spoon sings on stage, armed with a guitar and laptop. Beginning with acoustic folk ballads, Spoon’s set eventually moves to a more electronic indie-pop-rock sound reminiscent of groups like Metric and Tegan and Sara. To explain the palatable shift, Spoon jokingly prefaces one of their (being transgender, Spoon prefers using gender-neutral pronouns) more experimental songs: “I was really inspired by the folk music in Germany—which is techno.”

Source: The Daily Beast

My Latest Finds

I almost forgot I said I was going to share my latest acquisitions.

 

Coach Handbag

IMG 0502

 

Matching Coach Wallet

Coach Wallet

 

New Coat, (Washable Suede)

Suede Coat

Turtleneck top

Turtle Neck Top

Turtleneck Sweater

Sweater

 

I bought the handbag a little while ago but when we were at a local consignment shop, we found the matching wallet. (It still had all of the tags, inserts, and security tags inside).

The coat is washable suede, looks brand new and we we found it at Goodwill on sale for half off.

The turtleneck top is another Goodwill find that I fell in love with.

The turtleneck sweater is from Costco.