Sometimes, just sometimes; stars will shine in the darkest night.
Writing is an interesting thing. Like any form of art, each person who sees it brings with them a unique experience and understanding, each takes away something unique as well. It doesn’t matter what the original intent of the artist was, what piece of thought or wisdom she tries to share, each of us will find something different which will stay with us even when it was never even considered. Of all the millions, indeed trillions, of words which have ever been written, the vision they share is, by their very nature, a very personal thing. I sometimes know what I hope to share, sometimes I am as confused as a child, lost in the flow of thought and emotion. I have been told what I write here is important, that my words have meaning and purpose. Maybe this is true, I do not know. I have never had an opportunity to speak directly with anyone who reads this blog, though maybe one day I will. Maybe, one day, I will have a chance to look into the eyes of someone who has read these things and had felt an impact, no matter how small, on their lives. Maybe I will die without ever experiencing such a moment. Either way, I will have spoken. My voice, as small as it may be, has been heard. As a writer, I can ask for nothing more.
I tell you these things because I’m not sure how what I type next is going to be taken by anyone who may take the time to read this post. It may be you will see here a pattern, an ongoing cycle which has dominated this blog from the beginning. Maybe you will read this and, taking a moment, look at the pictures I have posted and see the woman sitting at her computer, typing away with determination. Maybe, like me, you see nothing but your reflection in the glass… a reflection which cannot bring the reality into alignment with the dream.
You see, over the last few days I have lost something, some small faith in myself.
A recurring theme here is my uncertainty I am expressing myself correctly. As I said, each of us bring to this conversation our own unique experiences and thus a unique way of seeing things, even those things which to one might seem as black and white as words on a page. This is as true now as it has ever been.
I am at a loss to explain how I have been feeling, this combination of doubt and stomach churning fear. These emotions which send shock waves of ice through me from head to toe. To be sitting here and almost being physically ill.
There are things I have not shared here, things I thought too private, things which could out me if the wrong person read it, things I just didn’t have the words to explain. Some of these have been frustrations, some fears, some have been simple opinions. Some though, have been my deepest thoughts, my darkest fears. Those things I just don’t have a way of expressing, not to you, not to A, and not even to myself. They are shapeless blots of darkness, unformed and ethereal, yet all too real none the less.
One example is something I have tried, and failed to explain properly to those who know me personally. It is my appearance. What you see in my pictures is not how I present on a day to day basis. In fact, if you knew me years ago, I look much the same. It is rare for me to even wear a wig, I never wear makeup except for special occasions and as for how I dress… Well, it is pretty much jeans and sweatshirts or T-shirts depending on the weather. I have had it pointed out, time and again, this is nothing. After all, many women dress the same. Many don’t wear makeup and they are right. What I haven’t made clear is the difference this has for me, how doing the same now as I did before has a deeper meaning for me personally. How putting on the same clothes now as I did in years past, how having my hair the same, how going about my day being seen as I have always been is crushing me, little by little, more each day.
I have tried to explain how it isn’t the clothing its self, but what they represent. It isn’t my hair style, but how I see myself. None of this is something most people even think about. Most people don’t see an old, favorite shirt and have it bring them doubts and fears because it represents someone they no longer associate with who they are now. They don’t pick up a pair of pants and see in it a lifetime of self denial and pain. I do.
I have lost count of how many times I have been told I think of and worry about stuff no one else even notices. That I make too much of things, that what consumes my mind has no importance. If I were like those around me I would say they were right. But I’m not. For me, the things I handle in everyday life, the things I do, the things I see, they all have stings attached. They all have a deeper meaning. So much of the day to day is a constant reminder of what was, what can no longer be, at least not in my heart. They are relics of a by gone age. Yet I cannot cast them aside. They have a reason and purpose in my life still, and will do so for the foreseeable future. I hate them, yet I need them. I despise them, yet I use them, not because I want to but because I need to.
Day after day after day, I am hammered by a past I cannot hope to escape. I am weighed down by the reminders of who I was, who I am still expected to be.
All of this things, big and small, noticed or not, are another strand in a web I cannot break.
So there comes times like these. When I sit alone and feel the unrelenting weight of a life I can no longer embrace. Knowing there is nothing I can do at the moment to change the course I am on, only able to hope for a future time when things will change.
But hope can sustain a person for only so long before they stumble and fall. Before the weight they carry becomes too much and they are left wondering if it is worth all of the pain and effort. If it wouldn’t be easier to just give up, to surrender the fight and return to a life which, while difficult and painful in its own right, is an easier path than the one you are currently on.
Given enough time, even a mountain can be reduced to a pile of sand.
That is what I face. A never ending assault by an ocean of expectations. Wave after wave, storm after storm. At some point something is going to break and I fear it will be me.
As hard as it is to believe, there are 500 people following this blog!
I would like to say a huge
to each and every one of you!
Some more information….
from 115 different countries.
I was suppose to write about something else, but I decided for today this was what I should share….
Music from my “Unbound” playlist:
“Orange Sky” Alexi Murdoch – Four Songs
“Arwen’s Vigil” The Piano Guys – The Piano Guys
“Stay” Sara Bareilles – Once Upon Another Time
“Transcendence” Lindsey Stirling – Lindsey Stirling
“Survival” The Colorful Quiet – The Sun Is Melting
“Dream Montage (Instrumental)” Gary Chang – The Breakfast Club
“I Don’t Know You Anymore” Savage Garden – Affirmation
“Undone” Haley Reinhart – Listen Up!
I’m afraid I have fallen miles behind when it comes to posting about awards. No excuse really, just been busy with so many things, being able to acknowledge awards has slipped into the “To Do” column. Well, time to “DO”.
I’m going to start with the newest and work my way backward. If I miss anyone, then I apologize, it wasn’t intentional.
The Beautiful Blogger Award from Sea Play Photography
Also, the Shine On Award from Sylvie’s Fashion Secrets
As I said, I am way behind… I also received these awards but need go them posted. My thanks and deepest apologies.
A heartfelt “Thank you” to everyone for thinking of me of me. Over the next several days I am going to update my blogroll to provide links to each of these blogs. As for the personal information… well, I don’t have time tonight to go through everything, but if you want I can answer questions or put out something later and try and fill in the blanks.
It seems that things may have finally run their course here at home, at least I hope so. It has made for a very long week and I look forward to getting things back to normal. Of course, having sick people home and being ill myself has thrown a real kink into my writing, not just of this blog but for Unbound as well. Since we are now in a new month, I decided to view it as a mini challenge. I want to put as much effort into writing for these twenty eight days as I did for this past NaNoWriMo and see what happens. I know this will mean a lot of pure, from the heart to the keyboard, writing with no editing… again… but I think in the end it is going to be worth it.
Speaking of my WIP, not being able to sit down and stare at a blank screen every day has left a lot of ideas bouncing around in my head and I have had some breakthroughs in the story arc, character development, and even a new scene or two. Not sure how it’s all going to come together, but I am getting excited about this again.
More so than that, I am again finding the emotional connection I had with the main character which I had lost to some degree. It was certainly the the passage of time added to the near burnout I suffered in dealing with my own personal demons… or was she an angel in disguise? Either way, I can once again close my eyes and see her, see so many things connected with her and her story and feel my heart soar with her triumphs and break with her failures. I can feel her hope and her fears.
This is something so hard to explain, this emotional connection I feel with what I know is a part of myself, and yet in my mind I can see her as a separate person, living her own life within the story I am creating. So much like a dream one remembers with total clarity upon waking. Even though this is all in my head, I sometimes feel like a spectator, simply recording what I see. I don’t know if there are other writers who read any of what I post, but if you do and you understand what I mean, drop a note and tell me I’m not totally crazy.
On a different and darker note…
I have another therapy session Saturday. Unfortunately, I also have another doctors appointment earlier in the day, so I am going to have to go to both presenting as male. This is proving to be a bit of a problem… As many here know, I went to my last session full femme for the first time. It was only the second time I had dared to go out, but both times was such an empowering experience. The first times in my life I felt one hundred percent myself. The first time I have been in public without fear or doubt. The first time i really ever felt like myself. I have found my thoughts returning to those moments time and again. I long for being able to live every day that way. Just being myself without pretense. I’m not saying there wasn’t fear, there was, I’m not saying I wasn’t nervous… I was. But there was something different this time because it just wasn’t the same as anything I have ever experienced before. I was aware of those things but they just didn’t carry the same weight as before. I felt I was able to face them with the knowledge that this is who I am. Going out presenting as male seems more and more like a lie, a deception. It isn’t who I am, it who others expect me to be. It isn’t my truth, it is theirs. At my last session my therapist asked how long I might be able to continue living two lives before I became resentful and angry. I know she meant this in regards to A and my family obligations, but I find I am already angry and resentful, not at them, but at a society which insists I live my life in ways that make it comfortable, that meet its expectations of who it says I should be.
I don’t know… I just don’t know anymore. Maybe it’s just because this week has been so stressful, maybe because I’ve been ill and it took more out of me than I realized. Whatever the case, I have found myself feeling more and more as if it isn’t worth fighting anymore. I just want to give up… everything. Though what that would accomplish is beyond me. I realized last night that as long as I know my kids need me, then certain things are off the table. So that is another door closed to me by my own hand…. Every where I turn I seem to be boxing myself in, bound by my own sense of honor and duty. My own family failed me so many times, in so many ways and there is that within me which refuses to follow their example… that no matter the personal cost I will do anything for those I love because to me they are worth more than I will ever be.
Maybe this is just too much. Maybe I’m just whining, looking for an excuse to throw myself a pity party. Maybe I should follow my own advice and learn when to “just shut up.”
Just one final note…..
In looking for a picture for this post, I saw the picture below… I wonder, is this me?
think it is fair to say gender is a very complicated aspect of what it means to be human. The very fact there is now so much heated discussion on the issue should be as proof of that. Any dialogue which can be started must be approached with an open mind and a willingness to learn. Attempting to engage in talks with a predetermined assumption as to a correctness of view, with no room for compromise, accomplishes nothing.
One of the ways in which we can approach these discussions and especially the arguments which arise from them is to seek to educate ourselves. I don’t mean simply reading Wikipedia, but taking the time to do in depth research. The problem, if you want to see it as such, is that even with the power of the internet at your disposal, it takes time and patience to find usable and (most important), reliable, information which you can then refer people in support of your position. This is what I am trying to deal with at the moment. I am doing research online in an effort to better educate myself, to be able to write competently and convincingly about the issues which face Trans* people and to refute the claims by those who seek to invalidate us.
I have found one site which I I am currently reading and so far it seems as good of a starting point as any;
Understanding Gender: http://www.genderspectrum.org/understanding-gender
If anyone has other useful resources, links, books, videos, whatever, please feel free to share them. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is seeking to understand this issue.
Thanks to (e)m for pointing me to this article from Natalie Reed: http://freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed/2012/07/16/signifying-gender/
I’ve been thinking all day about what I would write about and I kept coming back to one word; Gender. Earlier this week I became involved in a discussion about the use of the prefix, cis and how some find it offensive. This lead to questioning the meaning of “privilege” and “gender” as they are being used in the discussions about Trans* rights and transphobia. I don’t think those last two were intended to be part of it, but they did come to my mind as I read not only the article which started the exchange but another article as well.
I am not going to link to the second article though I am going to talk about some of the things the author brought up. Normally I wouldn’t do this, but something occurred in the comments which for me invalidated anything useful which might have found its way into the original post. to not be too cryptic I am going to share the comment and response and let you make up your own mind.
Please note, I am not including the names of anyone involved in this discussion, I am providing the following only to share something I found personally objectionable.
I entirely disagree with the premise of this article. I see this perspective as transphobic and has very little understanding of trans and gender theory. I wish I had more time to articulate all of my points, but perhaps I will have to come back later.
1. The underlying argument that trans/cis is a mutually exclusive binary is false. There is a whole spectrum of gender queer identities in between these two labels. These terms are used to describe the difference between those who, upon being referred to as their assigned gender, do not feel an uncomfortable and uneasy sense of identity and those who do. That is to put it very simply. Of course many people feel feel themselves all over the gender spectrum when it comes to presentation (many people identified in the comments here as butch dykes) but the underlying difference that makes one cis is that they still feel comfortable with their perceived genitalia defining their pronouns. If anyone reading this article and agreeing with it has ever had a conversation with a trans* person, you might have a less fucked up perception of these terms.
2. This article seems to believe that by acknowledging cis-privilege, this is erasing male privilege. Once again, THESE ARE NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE. The idea of intersectionality understands that there can be different types and levels of oppression that overlap. It’s complicated! That’s okay! Yes, women in this society are at a disadvantage to men. But this fact does not negate the struggles that trans* people face every day as well. To not be recognized as being the gender they identify with, and have to read fucked up articles like this, is a constant struggle. So even though cis-women don’t have the same privileges as cis-men, being cis is still a huge advantage over being trans*, where people are constantly telling you that your identity DOES NOT EXIST. Transwomen still face disadvantages in terms of privilege as opposed to transmen.
3. That whole tangent about sexual violence is completely missing the point. Do you realize how much sexual violence trans people endure? From strangers asking about what’s in their pants to rape. Don’t assume that sexual violence is a “woman” thing.
3. Don’t even get me started on the fucked up comment “Jacqueline S. Homan” made above. Really? You’re going to hate on transwomen because they have the wrong biology to you? Can you even understand what it’s like to be told the way you want to be referred to and how you want to present isn’t a valid identity?
I am a queer cis-female. I don’t have the same background as someone who is trans* to properly articulate that experience, but I’m not about to read shit like this and let it slide. Who the fuck are you to police other people’s identities?
Where I have a problem is with the response.
Now maybe I’m bing over sensitive here, but I found this not only personally offensive, but bigoted and transphobic as well. As I said, with this single paragraph she completely invalidated anything else she may have said, right or wrong.
The general premise of the post was that using the prefix “cis” was offensive because it implied privilege which doesn’t exist. That indeed, women cannot be thought of as being privileged within the context of a male dominated society. That gender is not a social contract as much as it is a “socially constructed power hierarchy” designed to enslave women. Since men and women cannot exist within the gender binary equally, then they cannot be seen as the same in regards to “cis” privilege.
Now I admit this is an over simplification of the argument made, but this is a very lengthy post and I could spend weeks just going over what was said and picking it apart, but for me this really wasn’t the point. I found it a motivator to do my own research, to learn for myself just what forces are at play within the context of society and the gender binary.
There was a lot of time and effort put into thinking all of this out, but there is something about it which just doesn’t feel right. I agree one can make the argument for hierarchy within the gender binary, but to say that those who stand in the mainstream of what is considered “normal” as defined by the majority don’t benefit from that is a little naive, even if the case can be made that such benefits are less than those enjoyed by males. i also feel that the author has made an effort to not understand the discussion from the other, “Trans*” side and has instead sought to frame the discussion from a point where she and like minded people can seek to make themselves into victims not just of a society which punishes women for not being men, but also of so called “Transgender wrath.”
There is an ongoing conversation I am having in regards to a post I read yesterday. It can be found here: Don’t Call Me “Cisgirl”.
I think this is a very good opportunity to open a dialogue in the hopes of furthering understanding between Trans* and non trans people. From this conversation, though still in it’s initial stages, I can see where there is a very real difference in the way people are viewing what is being said. Indeed, it has become obvious to me that we are not just coming at this from different directions, but from worlds of experience and understanding.
I think for myself, when I first responded to this post, I did so from certain assumptions which have caused some misunderstanding. It is quite possible this is just a fault of my own, that I simply am not a very good spokeswoman in these matters, but I can’t help but feel that much of this arises from what we think others should know in regards to own viewpoints and this is true for both sides.
I hope there will be those who will take the time to read the exchange in the comments and let me know what mistakes I may have made and how I can explain things better.
I hope that if nothing else is accomplished, then I can gain a better understanding of the issues that concern all women and through that understanding, become a better advocate for women, Trans” and non Trans alike.
found several writings which, upon reading them have really made me think about things. They are both dealing with the issue of a recent blow up which started with an article written by Suzanne Moore, (no relation), which caused a serious row on twitter and other points online. If you haven’t heard about it, well maybe that is best, but a little searching through WordPress or Google is bound to lead you to it.
I’m not going to go into my own thoughts about what happened, I think it best if each person takes the time to get the facts and form their own opinions.