Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Fear is the mind-killer

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
-Frank Herbert, Dune (1965)

My own fears at the moment (in an effort to pass them over and through me, because we cannot survive without fear, but we should always strive to not let our fears rule us):

  • Loneliness: I fear I will not ever find my soul-mate, either through some cruelty of the universe or through some fault of my own. Perhaps I must find and come to peace with my own soul (and by this I def. do not mean in the organized religious sense) before I can find a kindred soul.
  • Money, money, money: we are taught from birth to live and breath and worship this all encompassing source of social fabrication and, to my mind, false value. There is no escaping it's tight grasp, so I try to put it in its place: as a minor occasional, socially-necessary annoyance; on a par with jury duty or taxes. I will never be rich and to me that is a proper thing (for me) - I have seen precious little of true value (and invariably, almost zero truth), in fact, come from money or the things it can get you. But still, I need "things"; I want other things. And to get them I must undertake actions that from my perspective jeopardize my happiness. So I sometimes feel stuck in a limbo between the mostly false happiness of physical possessions and the lack of true wholeness that I suspect comes from living a life free of money or possessions. And no, I do not want to become an aesthetic monk or something - you need to believe in a god for that to work...I only believe in myself and truth (and subsequently, hopefully, love) when it comes down to it.
  • Rejection: suppose I find my soul-mate someday - what if she rejects me? What if that person is already in my life and I just don't see it? What then?!!! However, I do believe we make our own destiny and that what we put out to the universe will be echoed back to us in the same tone. So I continue to hold on tightly to hope and truth and try hard to maintain my self-confidence in the face of the continuing failures of my love life.

So in the end, at the bottom of us all, perhaps all there is is a choice: hope or fear. I will always choose hope - of that I am sure! Whether I can carry that choice successfully into my actions on a regular basis, however, remains to be seen - and hence the eternal, internal struggle and balance between hope and fear...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Thailand Chop Shopping

If talk about getting your penis cut off and converting the raw materials into a vaginal cavity and clitoris makes you uncomfortable, then please by all means skip this entry. Hahahahahaha!

It's amazing the medical cost differences between The U.S. and other countries, especially the one I am looking seriously at, Thailand. Specifically in my case, I am talking about Sexual Reassignment Surgery, or SRS (or I think more accurately called, Gender Reassignment Surgery, or GRS). Here in the U.S., average costs for the surgery (and aftercare) is around $15-17,000. In Thailand, the average is around $5,000!

I know many people's first reaction will be along the lines of "but isn't Thailand dirty and unsanitary and without modern technology and techniques like the U.S.?" The answer is no - Thailand is actually an international Mecca for plastic surgery and other medical procedures and has at least a half dozen excellent doctors that specialize in SRS. The facilities there, told to me firsthand by a recent patient and through some other secondhand accounts, are top-notch, with all the latest technologies and equipment. Not to mention the exotic scenery and great food! Altogether, counting round-trip flight, a three week stay so I could explore the country (only 5-7 days of which would be in a hospital), and medical (SRS AND breast augmentation) and everyday costs (like food, lodging and shopping!!!), the Thailand route would run me in the vicinity of $10-12,000. The equivalent trip to Trinidad, CO (to the highly esteemed surgeon and transsexual herself, Marci Bowers), would run me about $18-20,000 (minus the breast augmentation, shopping, and extra week of vacation time that I wouldn't use in Colorado as opposed to Thailand). Montreal wouldn't be that much cheaper an alternative either.

So I'm looking at a savings of $6-8,000! Given my financial circumstances, this discount is worth a ton (if I want to get this done anytime in the next year, which in many ways I need to do). Hell I could almost get a new used (hopefully green-friendly/hybrid type) car for that amount! Even though I don't quite have three weeks of vacation time saved, I'm hoping that two weeks of the trip can be covered by sick/medical leave and the rest with vacation time. My parents also said that one of them may go over with me for the duration of the surgery and recovery (always a good idea to have someone go with you) - they are so awesome in so many ways!

So that leaves only a couple things to do on this front:
  • actually taking the first step and commit to a date
  • making sure I have the money to pay for it all (always my biggest worry)
  • making sure all my paperwork is in order for the trip and procedure
  • gelling everything with work, the doctor, etc.

The procedure itself doesn't scare me at all by the way. I so want this and any fears about the actual surgery itself are far, far less than that desire. So now time to take those first baby steps. Wish me luck!

Friday, January 13, 2006

My dog is a hypnotist

"You WILL do as I command and capture that bitch feline across the street who keeps taunting me by strutting back and forth inside MY territory with her butt held high, and bring her to me..."

Emmitt demonstrating how subjects look while under his hypnosis. He later used this skill on himself to kick his nasty pig hoof addiction...

Me while under Emmitt's control...

"Yes, master - I will do as you say and bring the infidel to face your cleansing canine justice."

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Fog of War

The fierce and sometimes bitter opponents are now at violent loggerheads on two battlefields: my mind and my body. War is about control, and in this case I see it in the larger scheme as control of my destiny. Luckily, my true side, (the good side :-) is basically in the mopping up stage of this conflict. The former patriarchal rulers of this kingdom are now engaged in a last ditch guerilla-style effort to assert their lost sovereignty.

There are several fronts in this war:
  • Emotions : every once in a while ninja-like stealth mercenaries from my former psyche impinge themselves into my mental existence. These villains are cold, calculating, and distant; experts at compartmentalizing and censoring feelings and in all aspects of hit and run tactics.
  • Bladder: hormones are raging to and fro in the control centers of this complex machine. Their game is to sabotage any and all functioning excretive pipelines and bladderous dams. They strike at a moment's notice and the results, while rarely catastrophic, have been harmful for morale and disruptive to strategic lines of urinal logistics. As a result, I must resort to many more stealthy, lightning-quick excursions up to the front lines; the traditionally gender-crooked bathrooms.
  • Body fat: the soldiers are bloated on the spoils of victory. I noticed the other day that I have a lot more flab hanging off a couple parts of my body than I ever noticed before. And this isn't due to any lack of exercise on my part - I workout every day! See next item.
  • Eating habits: daily rations are getting tiresome and with the riches of the already conquered battlefields at my feet, I have indulged myself perhaps too much. I never used to wolf down handfuls of sugar-drenched flavored tootsie rolls or cheese curls or greasy french fries. On the other hand, I don't like beer or drinking in general nearly as much as I used to. So those two factors should offset in the struggle to control the field above, right? Think again!
  • Voice: hoarse from the struggles of trying to be heard above the constant din of hormonal warfare, I sometimes find my throat echoing distantly remembered but no longer instinctual male speech patterns; croaking out a patently thoughtless and timber-heavy exclamation or moan.
  • Self-perception: are we really fighting for the right side? Such lapses in morale are few and far between, in fact almost non-existent now that victory is at our fingertips, but once or twice they have raced through my legions like a pandemic or a hurricane; felling once tall, sturdy trees of confidence and forging a path of excessive introspection/self-destruction. But such trees are soon replaced by others, and their roots intertwine with those that survived the onslaught, and so our defenses in the end are strengthened. It may even be that it is indeed advantageous to briefly, and in as controlled a way as possible, let such forces run their course and thus clearing away any dry, hidden, almost dead underbrush and leaving my psychic forest healthier in its wake.

There are certainly times when I find these in-a-way-hidden-and-violent struggles too tiring to even acknowledge them. But then there are many other times when I find myself giddy and eager to thrust myself out onto the forward pulpit of my man o'war; breathing in the roiling sea of changes below and looking forward to braving, conquering, understanding the next wave; the next storm; and arriving at the next new port of call, wherever that may be.

'till then my hardy crew, keep your hopes above board, your actions according to Gunter and your eye on maintaining this annus mirabilis.