Friday, May 27, 2005

a caved-in upper lip and the effects of spacetime progression

It finally hit me the other day just how old and fragile my grandmother really is now; how the passage of time and the relentless weight of gravity have in effect beaten and cowed a strong, proud person into submission. She had, as she periodically does, made me some of her delicious goulash and I stopped by on my lunch hour for a game of gin and to pick up the free goodies. The difference this time was that for the first time ever in front of me, she did not have her upper dentures in.

As a result, her upper lip was indented sharply into her gums and it completely changed the tone and way she talked. In addition, her facial skin was more wrinkled than I'd ever remember seeing it, even though I had seen her only a couple days before. Combine that with the continuing degeneration of her ability to stand upright and it made her suddenly appear to be a hundred years old and on the verge of death.

I do not think she fears death by any means. From my perspective she asks nothing more than to live out the rest of her life in dignity and respect and as much independence as possible. I suspect, in the end, this is all most of us will ever want. I didn't start this entry with the thought of dwelling on such a morbid topic, but now here it is. The thought of losing her, my last remaining grandparent, is heartwrenching. This is made more pressing because I can see now, in retrospect, that in the past when my relatives have faced and passed through into death, I did everything in my power to avoid thinking about it, to avoid coming into contact with it.

As a result, I was never there to give them my love or support at I time when they obviously could have used it. Instead, in my self-centered youth, I foolishly spurned these strange people from a distant generation that from my view would never understand me. The regret of those past actions, far more than any other in my life, succeeds in getting to me sometimes; creeping into my dreams, my nightmares even.

But I do my best not to dwell on past (or future) events that cannot be changed or known. Instead I look to the NOW; to what I can do for those like my grandmother who are still in this world. I only hope up I'm up to the challenge...

Thursday, May 26, 2005

I saw the light with my eyes closed...

Yay! I survived my first laser hair removal zapping session! The wonderful and super-nice Janice Gilley in Glens Falls did the work and I can report the pain was mostly mild, with just short blasts of somewhat stinging pain on some of the more sensitive areas (the upper lip and the chin mostly).

The process was pretty cool in general. I started out with a close shave before I left and then dabbled a light sheen of this blue, numbing goo on my face and neck and headed off to the Salon. After giving me a little shave touch up in the hard-to-reach places (right under the nose and under the jawbone on the sides) she gave me a heavy pair of amber-tinted goggles and set to work frying the water at the base of my currently blooming hair follicles (only about 10-20% of hair on the face is actively growing at any one time, hence why multiple sessions are needed).

The zaps themselves felt like a quick shot to the skin with a couple rows of sharp needles. And I could see short bursts of light when she was doing the zaps on my cheeks, which are close to the bone - bone transmitting the laser rather efficiently, I think. It was actually the anticipation of each zap that made me sweat more than the actual pain. I have some kind of quick, anticipatory reaction system perhaps. For example, when I go to the optometrist and they shoot that loud air gun thingy into each eye, it usually takes multiple tries to get a clear shot of my eye - I close it too quickly in anticipation...

The effects of the treatment so far are, of course, basically non-existent. The hair that did get zapped hasn't even really fallen out yet (that takes up to a week). I can't wait to get a couple sessions under my belt so I can really start seeing the longer-lasting effects!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

fuck you fundamentalist fascists!

You know how a lot of these fundamentalist christians and muslims (and no, I don't mean all or even most christians or muslims) are always inferring, saying, and acting as if women are inferior to men somehow, because their own ancient creation myth says they were derived from the rib of Adam?

Here's a little factoid for them: the English word female is actually older in usage and origin than male. That's right all you woman bashers out there!
See the details in The American Heritage Book of English Usage:

Large parts of the bible's Genesis story, btw, are derived directly from even older mesopotamian (pagan) myths:

And while we're talking about fundamentalists and their exclusionary "faith," the radical right's recent claims that our founding fathers were christian is also false. Get a view of that argument here:

Expand your mind!

ps: guess I am in an ornery mood this wet, gloomy morn

Monday, May 23, 2005

vita solitudonus

It's sort of funny (she says with a dark laugh and a touch of sarcasm). In most respects I am happier and more confident and in touch with my feelings than ever before. In addition, I have a whole set of wonderful new friends and acquantances, in addition to my pre-existing small group of close friends, and yet at times (like now!!!) I feel consumed by total loneliness.
Perhaps it's because I'm closer to being self-expressed in both gender and sexuality. And the fact that I haven't met anyone to intimately share those parts of myself with is very, very frustrating. This is compounded by the fact that 98% of those who pursue the new me are shallow, two-faced idiots, self-centered fakes, or at the very least, too distantly located to consider pursuing seriously (I demand constant attention...heehee!). That isn't to say these suitors are all bad - I have chatted with and even met some extremely cool people in the last year and a half. Unfortunately, nothing to write home about just yet...

Thursday, May 19, 2005

more about ME!

I know, a vanity whore 'till the end...hahaha!

I have shared my recent life changes with a few more distantly located friends and family now and it never ceases to amaze me how awesome these people are, how important they are to me, even if I only see them on rare occasions. I recently revealed my new self to my oldest childhood friend and another friend from my post-college days in Pittsburgh via e-mail letters and they both e-mailed back and phoned me soon after to give me their support and love! The same thing happened with my aunt and uncle in DC (my mom told them face-to-face when she was down there recently).

I can't describe how wonderful it feels to finally not have any dark secrets between me and those I care about!

I have also made the decision to tell my last remaining grandmother. I had been putting this off for the simple reason that in her aging isolation she tends to unduly worry about and dwell on things. But I see her weekly and love her dearly and just don't want to have to keep my true self from anyone, regardless of the reaction I get. Besides, I plan to go full-time in 6 months and by then won't be able to hide it! I still think my grandmother may come to accept this in time. She is a smart, tough old broad with a mind of her own. She watches tv and so I'm sure at least knows and has seen the boob tube's stereotypical caricature of transsexuals. It will probably be a shock to her though as I know she loves me dearly and if anything I said or did resulted in harming her or causing her grief I would be very sad.

Anyways, first I have to spill all the beans to my brother when he comes to visit next month. He and his wife know I have been crossdressing for a while now but I have not yet had the chance to share my transition plans with them. I'm sure he will be remorseful about losing his brother, in his own quiet, tight-lipped way, but I know he will support me in the end. My plan, more for my own pleasure in seeing his face since he has not yet seen me dressed, is to pick him up at the airport in femme mode. Hopefully that will also express to him how serious I am about this decision. Wish me luck...

Finally, I also just met with the "diversity officer" at my college and spilled the beans to her about my plans. She was totally supportive and is going to work with me to make this as smooth a work issue as possible. That made me feel very happy!

Peace and harmony!

Monday, May 16, 2005

US spends more on defense than the rest of the world combined!!!

You read that right, although that startling stat won't be official until about a year from now. Get the facts here:

Think about this for a sec, the US has about 4.5% of the world's population, yet we are spending this fucking much every year - the same as the rest of the 95.5% of the international community?! The 2006 defense budget is going to be around 442 BILLION DOLLARS for one year! And of course that doesn't even cover the extra 80-100 billion per year needed for our current "wars" in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Philippines, etc. Think these figures affect the spending and military stances of other countries? In effect, we are fueling a worldwide military arms race.

Which brings me to another topic: our use of the term "war." Iraq is NOT A WAR anymore. In fact it never really was an official war, the same as Vietnam - there was no formal declaration of war from congress). Iraq and Afghanistan are both military occupations, or in Bush administration psuedo-speak (if they thought for a second that people paid more attention to these labels), "peace-keeping operations." Nothing more, nothing less. Of course, the costs in human lives and financial burdens are far more than most would expect from a simple peace-keeping operation and so the terminology of war and freedom is actively exploited by our government to justify the human and capital waste...

In my opinion, it is not until we and the mass media stop using "war" to describe these events that people will stop thinking in terms of fear and aggression and hatred and violence. And then perhaps, there may be a better chance for peace...

Friday, May 13, 2005

the executive cocoon

Get an illuminating (and scary) view of the constant fakery and real-life isolation that envelops and dominates the lives of our current presidential family:

Talk about being in the closet... :-)

Thursday, May 12, 2005

This heathen's faith

Unfortunately I think the concept of "faith" brings with it a whole lot of baggage and falsely implied religious connotations in today's world. We are so deeply schizophrenic about religion and self-worth as individuals, as social groups, and even as a nation, that separating "faith" from religious belief almost seems impossible.

But let's get something straight: religions DO NOT have a monopoly on this concept. The word itself is derived from the Latin (coined long before JC was born, btw) fides, which referred to trust (in anything). And no, this entry is not about the right wings' hijacking of the Christian faith. That coup d'etat was only a victory over one group's understanding of the word (to the detriment of that group: Christians). The truth is that some movement or faction (usually a radical one) within every organized religion throughout history has periodically hijacked "faith" and instilled it with their own distorted, usually exclusionary meaning; for their own power and gain.

What I want to rant about today is secular faith in yourself. As I mentioned above, faith at its root = trust. To me that is the crux of the whole thing. I have talked many times before about self-confidence, which I also believe is deeply connected to faith and trust. From my view, these traits are sorely lacking in a large percentage of the closeted transgender population. But here is my simple mantra:

trusting in yourself = confidence in your instincts and decisions = faith that you can identify and realize your goals

Now I don't want to get all touchy-feely and puffed up with self-help mumbo-jumbo here, but how does the statement above apply to me and you? They're just fucking words, right? Well, fear, compulsion, depression, hate, alienation, etc. are all just words too. It's how you live (or ignore) these concepts that matter...

Perhaps a sound strategy might be to start small, start with a single word, trust (or whatever word you identify as a positive one) and examine how it applies to you and slowly build from there. Positive change usually only comes with self-reflection and focus. Are there reasons you don't trust your own judgement? Are those reasons correctable? Everyone makes mistakes in judgement, but can you learn from those mistakes or do you only look at the past in regret and shame? Are there possible steps you might take to change these thought patterns?

I don't have the answers for any of this (because I believe every one's answers are different), but for me at least, change began with asking honest questions of myself, especially those where I feared what the answer might be (for example, "am I gay?" or "why am I drinking so much?"). We transgendereds are often prone to lying to and hiding from both ourselves and those around us (a typical symptom of keeping a dark secret for any lengthy period of time). If at all possible, talk through these things with a professional therapist or a trusted friend - getting another perspective is never a bad thing.

Concentrate/meditate/cogitate on truth and trust within yourself and you may just find that you do indeed have a little faith...

Monday, May 09, 2005

social security issue in layman's terms

Check out this flash-based animated short that lays out the current social security arguments (albeit from a left-progressive perspective) clearly and effectively. Pass it on to your friends!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

swinging in the emotional winds

Looks like the oft-cited emotional side-effects of HRT are finally hitting me more fully. Up to now I have felt only small mental changes due to the hormones (except more crying during sappy parts of films). I had a guess that such subtle changes were probably happening and building behind the scenes but otherwise undetectable from the usual mood swings and life changes that come with being transgendered. That seems to be the case.

Anyways, I had a minor emotional meltdown in a small meeting today at work for which I felt I needed to apologize to my co-workers. They accepted my apology with good will and no damage was done, except perhaps to my ego. In addition, last night after a good workout, I went into a bit of a depressive nose-dive; doubting all my decisions and worrying about things totally out of my control.

Luckily, like my crying episodes, these feelings passed once I had properly released them and thought to breathe and hence put things in perspective...

For anyone interested, you can read a ton of great resources about HRT here on the wonderful TSRoadmap site:

Monday, May 02, 2005

next target in the conservative's scorched-earth information war: PBS

The conservatives have already conquered all the major media platforms and made them bend to their political leanings. This is especially apparent in watching major network news programming - they have become simple mouthpieces for government talking heads and right-wing propaganda.

So, having already conquered that medium, they are turning their sights onto primary and vitally important fonts of objective truth, knowledge and open minds. Their first two targets in this war were science and academia. While academia continues to fight the good fight to keep political partisanship out of it's halls, public science has basically succumbed to the pressure with only minor leaks of truth and protest at being used.

Now the victorious conservative's have turned their sights back to media and public broadcasting. Their strategy is simple and single-minded, but also devious and two-pronged. They decry over and over again the "liberal bias" of public broadcasting and at the same time queitly take over positions of power within those organizations and force out anyone with a point of view that is different than theirs.

They constantly mistake objective truth and fact as being biased against them (although I would argue they know full and well that the "liberal bias" argument is just a ruse).. What they can't see or admit is that these days more often than not the truth is what they disagree with. The truth often points out their faults and lies and distortions, their underhanded agendas and their self serving political tactics. The only way they can respond to this is to then suppress those truths...

We need to be up in arms about this now! Write a message to PBS here:

You can read more about this most recent assault on truth here:
NYT (requires free reg):

Houston Chronicle:

Peace and harmony to all,