Happy Feet

Life has seemed pretty heavy lately and my posts have probably reflected that.  The truth is there has not been a great lot of joy for me in the last few months, but there are a few things that make me smile.  As odd as it may sound, my socks are one of those things.
Have you ever had that really cozy pair of socks to wear around the home?  In the past my favorites have been fuzzy socks.  They are so nice and warm and the added bonus is how they slide on a smooth floor.  It is easy to feel like a kid again in fuzzy socks.
My current favorites are not fuzzy or slippery, though.  In fact one of the cool things about them is that they have grips on both sides if the feet.  No matter which way you wear them, you can not slip.  
They are warm and cozy, though.  That is a must for comfy home socks.  They are a nice bright blue with white grips.  Another must for me is nice colors.  The visual should make me smile as well as the feel.  The white grips on these socks form a big smiley face on each side.  Whichever way I wear them, there is always a big smile looking up at me.  How great is that?

The other must have for my perfect pair of socks is the fit.  These are too big for me, which is perfect.  I can pull them up tight and they keep my feet and most of my calf warm.  When I walk around though, they slip down and I end up with my toes an inch or two away from the end of the sock.  The result is floppy feet.  I love floppy feet!  The socks flop up and down with every step I take and something about that has made me happy since I was a kid.  I would love to have a pair of those oversized clown shoes.  Floppy feet are fun.

It may sound silly, but it is nice to have this small thing that brings me a little joy.  Everybody needs something to smile about, don’t they?  What little things in your life bring you happiness?

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Reality Check

Sorry, but no happy Christmas post from me today.  Please don’t read if talk of suicide is triggering for you.
Just under a month ago, someone I knew briefly a couple of years ago took her own life.  She was an incredibly beautiful young woman, but what was most memorable was her infectious smile and the sense that she cared about people, you were important to her.  I found out about her death a couple of weeks ago just by weird coincidence.  My very first thought when I found out was, “good for her, her pain is gone.”  That shocked me and embarassed me a little.  I shouldn’t have a thought like that about such a wonderful person’s death.  I in no way would advocate suicide for anyone and I have a great deal of saddness for her family and friends.  I also think she had a lot more to offer the world than she got to share in her short life. 

Why would I even bring this up then?  It is early Christmas morning.  A time for family and friends.  The only person I have physically spoken to in 36 hours was the person I ordered a coffee from. I have no one in my life. Before that it was my therapist, who was kind enough to chat with me on the phone because of a moment of anxious panic I had.  She is a kind and caring person who helps me so much, but a professional that is paid to talk to me can’t replace true relationships.  There is absolutely no offense intended by that at all, either.  

After last Christmas, I swore I wouldn’t have another lonely Christmas.  Having no one who cares on this day is especially tough, but now going through it two years straight convinces me that I am not capable of making meaningful relationships for some reason.  

With Haigan’s death so recently, I don’t think it was a huge surprise that I had thoughts of that option myself.  I can’t though.  First, I am a huge chicken.  I think the second reason did more to stop me, though.  I am transgender.  As soon as I transitioned, I gave up my rights as a person and I became a label.  Like it or not, it is true.  If I killed myself, what is more likely? Will the authorities see it as someone who is so desperately lonely that the pain became unbearable or will they see it as another trans woman unhappy with her life?  Somehow when the word transgender makes it into the sentence, everything becomes about that.  Who would guess that my transition is actually the most positive thing in my life right now?  I may not be happy with my life in general, but damn, you would not believe how incredibly happy it makes me to get dressed in the morning and step out the door as myself!  I am not a label.  I have all the same problems I had before my transition.  I am a person who needs to be loved and needs to love.  If I hurt myself physically, it could just add to statistics used to define the trans community.  I won’t do that, and that honestly is taking all I have this weekend.  Trans people commit suicide for a lot of reasons, but my issues have nothing to do with my gender and I will not allow the two to be linked. I am feeling more pain than I can bear, just for want of some kindness and a hug from someone because they know me and care about me.  There is no pain because I am transitioning.  

On the Red Carpet

Yes, its true, I got to walk the red carpet last night in a fabulous new dress and heels for the first time. It was a great evening. No major slip ups, I may not have been the most comfortable in heels, but I didn’t look like a newborn fawn either.  I mixed and mingled in a room that was shoulder to shoulder with celebrities, media and in general very few people I had met before.

The fun started when I got home.  I have a new face wash, a pump bottle instead of wipes and last night was my first time using it.  So I splashed some nice warm water on my face, grabbed the bottle by the sink, sprayed it in my hands and lathered it up.  Funny though, it doesn’t really foam up.  Why would they boother calling it foaming face fash?  Maybe it still works though, so I rub it on, extra attention to the eyes, that mascara is hard to get off except the moments you don’t want it to run.  Another nice rinse in warm water and pat dry and I feel great.  Now its time to check out this bottle, because I was really looking forward to a nice soothing foam.  Thats when I realised the trick to getting foam is using the right bottle.  I had just washed my face with the hairspray I had left on the counter when I was getting ready.  So I guess I am one of those people they write the silly warning labels for.  This product is not intended to be used as a face wash!

Christmas Past

Thanksgiving in the U.S. is over and you don’t have to look hard to see that we are in the middle of the holiday season.  This is an odd time of year for me that has meant lonliness for many years.

My counsellor often says she feels like she is snooping in my personal life when she reads my blog.  In this post I will freely share some very personal thoughts and moments for anyone who cares to read them.  Only sharing certain parts of my life was always one of my ways of protecting myself.  It procteted me from me and from everyone else.  Being more authentic has been freeing though and writing some of these personal things is therapeutic, so here are some of my holiday memories.  Maybe writing about Christmas past will help me change Christmas future.

I am not sure why this one always come to mind, but my first Christmas away from home was on a ship in the middle of the Pacific.  5000 people stuck in a small ship is usually not that lonely, but I think most of the crew was lonely that day.  We seemed to bond over that, though and even though we all wanted to be somewhere else, it turned into one of those movie Christmas’.  We sang, we cried, we prayed, we ate and we even laughed some.  We were all closer that day than any other time I was on the ship.

Years later I experienced a much worse kind of lonliness at Christmas.  I was going through a pretty nasty divorce and we shared custody of our 2 year old son.  I was to pick him up at noon Christmas day.  I went to see him and no one was home.  I called my ex, but no answer.  After waiting to make sure they were not just running a little late, I went to the police with my court order.  Turns out there isn’t much they can do on Christmas day.  No criticism to them, they were understanding and empathetic. My ex knew how to work the legal system to her favor and I have not seen my son at all in the 15 or so years since.

6 or 7 years ago, I had gone home to see grandma one last time.  I spent a month or two after she passed with my parents.  At that time, I think I was really struggling with my identity and I was realizing that no matter how much I love them, my parents are not good for the adult me.  After a month of sleepless nights, I decided it was time to go home to Canada.  This was in the middle if the recession and I had made very little money in the months I was away.  Jobs were literally impossible to find down there.  So nearly broke, I left about a week before Christmas to drive cross country to Victoria.  I couldn’t afford a hotel, so I made record time, driving about 20 hours a day.  I got off the ferry in Victoria with a dollar or two to my name, my gas tank almost empty and no where to go a day ir two before Christmas.  I spent that Christmas in a homeless shelter and thankful for it.  After the holidays I was able to stay at a friends, find a good job and start rebuilding my life.  My parents and I have not spoken since I left on that trip.  It is sad in a way, but I also think that allowed me the freedom to be who I am.

Christmas triggers a lot for me.  I want to change that.  One thing I know though, being alone at Christmas is not preferable, but it could be a whole lot worse.  I am happy and healthy and more confident in myself than ever, so how could it be all bad?

Happy

Today started out poorly.  I had a doctors appointment first thing, but knew I was facing a lot of pressure at work, so the few hours missed would make the day harder.  On the way to the doctors office, the elastic in my tights broke.  No more cheap tights for me.  The doctor visit was not bad, but not as encouraging as I thought it would be.  When I left the office, I had an urgent message from work waiting for me.

Then I made it to the bus stop to head to work, and the only other person at the stop told me my hair was gorgeous!  That opened a conversation that lasted the entire 30 minute ride.  She even invited me to visit her in the Philippines, where she spends time with family and takes care of underprivileged children.  She is retired, unfortunately I don’t have as much time on my hands.  I could have spent hours chatting with her.

Not everything will always go my way, but isn’t it funny how things seem to have a way of balancing out most of the time?  Just when I seem to get wrapped up in my problems, or perceived problems, along comes a wonderful, friendly, smiling stranger to brighten my day and pull me out of my own little world.  I didn’t even get a name, but she did promise me a great meal if we meet again!

Hate the Sin, Not the Sinner

This is a phrase I have often heard as a stance of the Christian Church.  I don’t think this phrase is actually in the Bible, in which case it is something people have added to a faith that is supposed to listen to God’s word and not add anything to the Bible.  While this phrase looks virtuous at first glance, is it really?

With all of the violence around the world, I personally think hate is too strong a word to throw around lightly. Isn’t the word sin just another label to put in people you don’t agree with?  When you hear about the latest violence in the world, and you will anytime you access a news source, listen closely to see if that violence was directed at a person or a label.  How many of the violent acts are directed at policeman, insurgents, rebels, extremists, women, homosexuals and the list of labels goes on and on. We don’t hear of nearly as much violence directed at an individual.

If the Orlando shooter had personally known the individuals, would he have killed 49 of them? We will never know of course, but what we do know is that he hated a label, or sin, and expressed that hate by hurting individuals.

There is an amazing mother of a very young transgender child that I recently connected with online.  It is very heartwarming for me to have that opportunity in this ever shrinking world, but the same tools that make that possible isolates us also.  A majority of days I do not communicate at all with the people on tranait with me.  People I see everyday are so engrossed in their online world, that we do not even share a good morning, and yet we can have social supports on another continent.  There must be a happy medium here.  Would the world be such an angry place if we took the time to know individuals?

How many times did Jesus show compassion to individuals who did things he did not agree with?  Instead of condemning them as a label, he met the individual.  I don’t think hating the labels we put on people is a healthy attitude.  Growing up in a Christian Church makes it easier for me to use that perspective, but this is certainly not limited to them.  It is an epidemic that affects nearly everyone. Maybe it’s time we took a break from hatred.  Next time you are tempted to hate a certain sin or label, get to know an individual within that label before condemning a whole group of people.  You might be surprised how much we all have in common and how hard it is to truly hate when you see past the label.

Love and Sex

I always knew there was something weird about me, but I never dug deeper than that.  I think I was really afraid of what I would find.  I kept my life compartmentalized.  My urges to wear women’s clothes had nothing to do with why I constantly wanted to recreate myself.  My problems in relationships could not be tied to my uneasiness with myself in any way, at all.

I was married before i finished university.  She was a beautiful, slightly shy, small town girl.  University was her first time away from home, and her last while we were together.  We met the very first day of school.  Freshmen had to park in a big lot a couple of miles from campus.  She was waiting for the shuttle with a friend and we had nothing better to do than chat.  She always told me when I called their room the next day, she thought I had confused the two of them and really wanted to talk to her friend.

We were married for six or seven years.  It seems so long ago, it’s hard to remember the number now.  Those years went by fast, though.  We had our share of arguments, but they are even harder to remember than the number of years.  For the most part we were happy, at least I know I was, and I really think she was, too.  We loved each other and I think we still do, even if we haven’t seen each other in so many years.  About ten years ago, long after I had moved far away, a friend told me they ran into her and she asked about me.  She is happily married with kids that must be grown now.  It brought me joy that she was happy.  Also that she asked about me. 

She was the last woman that I truly loved that I had a physical relationship with.  She is not the last woman I truly loved.  She is not the last woman I had sex with.  The combination of the two scares me though.  Maybe I can see why now.  Connecting the dots has not given me a clear picture, maybe I haven’t connected them all yet.  I can see that all those things in my life I kept separate, were never separate.  I am not a real man.  If I sleep with a woman I love, she will find out I am not a real man.  I don’t want to relate to a woman I love as a man anyway.  Why does love and sex have to be so complicated?  I can continue to love if I keep sex out of the equation.  Not a perfect solution, but it is easier.

There have been some very wonderful women in my life that I have had great relationships with.  I still love them and I like to think they still love me.  That is not the case with the ones I have slept with.  Like the fights in my marriage, the sex was mostly forgettable.

Maybe the dots will keep connecting until the picture is more clear.  Maybe one day I will fall in love with a woman and she will fall in love with the woman I am.  Maybe then I will have what I had in university, but better.  Maybe we can live happily ever after.