June 25, 1996

Can you learn to lead with your soul rather than your head? I believe that the head will never cede control and protect the soul. You get antsy when I talk about getting control out of your head.

Your soul hears simple things, not convoluted ones. Say things in threes and let it hear and be affirmed

I see you walking down the aisle, changing, dropping externals, and becoming woman, and when you get to the end of that aisle, you turn, smile at the crowd, who smiles back and then you marry yourself. Maybe you even have a child, who is also you, fresh and reborn

Your soul is female and she needs out. Yet you struggle with the constructs of female/woman/feminine being different because they make a nice intellectual package. Do those intellectual packages slow down or stop the growth of your soul? Of what purpose are they?

You can write from your soul, you know. It may not be the same as writing from your head, but it is good.

This is not a world that respects the power of the feminine. To accept the feminine into your life means not simply coming from intellectual will, but from an open heart.

Is your soul or your head smarter? What will continue to exist when the body dies? Do you trust your instincts?

Suggested affirmations -- Say each out loud, three times, anywhere, anytime.

  • I believe I am a beautiful woman.

    I believe I am a believable woman.

    I believe the future is perfect for me.

    My beautiful female Goddess self is manifest.

    I believe the essence of woman is female and male.

    I believe I am what I have always been -- a woman.

    I believe I am perfect just as is.

  • You can invoke what you want -- we have control in this illusion. I created my green eyes, and other body changes, and you can create changes in the way that people see you if you work on it by doing these (and other) affirmations.

    You know that people see what you project. And by choosing to project something else, people will see it. You have seen people read your energy, your heart -- that's what needs to change.


    The change from a seeker to a penitant:
    We all fight the calling.

    My affirmations:

    The embracing calm of the universe is available to me in every moment.

    My expression is natural, normal, healthy and beautiful.

    Goddess shines inside of me and through me.

    When I smile, my radiance shines into other people's souls.

    No one on this planet can judge my soul.

    Success is safer than failure.

    Joy is a choice I make.

    I can choose love, not fear.

    Challenges are opportunities for me to choose love.

    We each need love and affirmation -- giving love is getting love.

    My cosmic mother loves me.

    Sharing my gifts is the only way to be happy.

    My future is perfect for me.

    Standing for myself is standing for joy.


    OK, It's time for this week's Rob Brezsny's Real Astrology, Week of June 27:

    Virgo: Of the 9,000 great ideas you were allotted for this lifetime you've only used up about 2,300 so far. So what are you waiting for? Not only do you and everyone around you desperately need fresh hot ideas this week; not only are there about a hundred great ideas inside you that are ready to pop; the cosmic powers-that-be are also extremely eager-I'm tempted to say "horny"-to aid and abet you in translating those notions into pragmatic action. So please stop "saving yourself for later." This is later.

    My mother gave me her most precious possession - her failure complex. It's simple to use. You become a perfectionist, then you fail to achieve perfection, then you start feeling sorry for yourself and don't focus, so you fail the next time. There you have it, a perfect system to keep you small and sad.

    Who are my models for winning? What do I fake until I make it? How do I learn to trust the abundance of the universe, and not come from scarcity -- like Mom.


    Getting Clear:
    The Urge To Purge.

    Dear Pamela, sweetheart --

    Why did you have to get him all riled up like that? All of us know that the point is not to lead with the head, but with the heart, the spirit. This is clear.

    However, none of us can be left behind. We each have our role, and they are all vital.

    The issue for us is not that the brain is not in control, that it has to cede, but rather that the heart has to lead. This is what all that stuff about focusing on the light, on the possibilities and not on the fears is about.

    My mind will let my heart lead as long as the danger level doesn't flare up. It wants it's say -- consensus and process, just like we learned in women's studies. And that's OK. My brain is not my enemy, but it can be destructive it gets out of balance, just like anything else.

    The challenge came when I had to harmonize soul affirming statements and intellectual constructs. I told you that I know why they are both important, and I had to balance them. You asked Why? Why not just toss the intellectual constructs -- they only hold you back.

    The point, for me, is not driving out the fear, but trusting the light. When the light is being affirmed, when I am doing my work, my soul can lead. You have seen, over the last five weeks, me get more and more comfortable and assure -- more trusting of leading with my soul.

    To try and focus on what has to go is a negative lesson. I need to focus on what must come. It is not my head that needs to cede control, it is my soul that needs to take it. It must believe that it can live in the way that it is called and make magic happen.

    For me, the key is affirming the feminine, not denigrating the masculine; affirming the heart, not denigrating the mind.

    Remember the words you liked from my last notes:

  • Finding the wins helps more. It is recognizing and trusting the miracles and joys in my life that make the world a better place. Embracing the gifts of my goddess calms my fear -- and reminds me that I am loved.

    It is trusting the sunshine from inside of me that is crucial, that helps me face the clouds of ego and fear from me and from others. It is wrapping that iron crate of fear in sunshine -- for it springs open in darkness.

    Maximize the wins. Find a way to let the light shine. The way to erase the darkness is not to fight it -- but to light a candle.

  • I feel like in our discussion, when I said I had to have some time to integrate the affirmations with my intellectual beliefs, that we started wrestling the darkness, rather than finding the light.

    Changing My Mind is the title of my book. Transvestitism is about changing clothes, Transsexualism about changing sex organs, Transgender about changing your mind -- changing the gendering that was socialized into you.

    I am capable of changing my mind. And I know that changing my mind is the only way to free my heart, open to show the authentic, natural and beautiful me. I need to believe in my heart -- not to stop thinking with my head.

    I talked about how I envied the part of you that was able to accept the mantle of priestess without enormous self confidence. You invoked affirmations, wore ethnic dress, collected prayer wheels, studied Eastern religions -- and I tried to be a boy. I watch Caryl & Marilyn and see them simply be women and Mommies and friends and wonder if I can do that.

    For me, it is the ability to connect on that level -- as we did on our walk -- that assures me I can be natural and not be separated, rather that my being natural will open up other areas of connection.

    It is our rational minds that can move us away from acting on emotion and fear and into acting on love and connection. It is by deconstructing our beliefs, diving into our darkness, and finding our essence that we can make good decisions about what to trust -- the fear or the love. It is not rationality or intellect that is our problem -- it is using that to rationalize and support our fears.

    It is not my rationality that is the problem -- it is my irrational fears and my rationalizations.

    It is also not my rationality that will make me happy -- it is my service and feeling of connection.

    Rationality is just a tool, a tool that can be used for bad purposes, bolstering fear and separation, or a tool that can be used for good purposes, seeing the things society uses to control us as the illusions they are.

    I need to trust my heart, my instincts, to be open to the symbols that let me see things on a deeper, spirit level. But that doesn't mean I have to not learn, to not be smart about my choices, to ask the important questions

    My intellect is a gift. Deconstruction and reconstruction can bring our structures closer to spirit. I believe that.

    But I also believe that I need to transcend my intellect. And that arguing with it merely gets it riled, not finding new ways to be and express who I am.

    "Sometimes I feel that if I ever stop concentrating you will be able to scrape me up and put me in a peanut butter jar." I said that many times during my teens and twenties.

    You are right that what I want to be able to do is to stop concentrating and still exist, to trust that even without constant mental exertion I can be happy -- and lovable. Moving from a human doing to a human being.

    You talk about what is at my core as being female, being a woman. That is, of course, what I don't believe -- for all my life it has been labeled deviant, sick, perverted.

    I would dearly love to be female bodied. But that isn't going to happen. I might be able to simulate that in some limited way, with hormones and sexual reassignment surgery (SRS), but I will never be female.

    I have seen too many people who think that somehow just changing their body will change their life. They run though the hurdles doctors have put up to ensure that you are a good candidate so they can get a "cure" to their transgender and become an ex-transsexual, finally normal. They buy into the medical model of transgender as illness to be cured -- and I think that is sick.

    But that doesn't mean that if a magician offered to change my body, I wouldn't take it.

    Can one simply be a woman and be transgendered? How much do I have to have the serenity to accept what I cannot change? (as well as courage & wisdom for other things. . .) I have seen too many TG people stand up and announce "I am a woman. And I'll kick the shit out of anyone who says otherwise!" to be comfortable with a simple claim.

    I learn from you about being a woman. You affirm my own woman-self. And because I trust you, I don't have to be the one keeping up the defenses all the time. This is one reason we bond with other women -- to keep each other safe. I can relax, knowing someone else is driving. And that means I can develop and trust a set of responses that come from somewhere below (or above) my mind.

    Why aren't TG people simply women or men? Because their sex was determined at birth and they were socialized into a gender role not of their choosing.

    Clearly, the external characteristics of sex -- the genitals -- are not the only thing that determine who we are. Chromosomes, brain structures, all sorts of other things. Biology -- not my favorite subject. People like biology because it is so determinate -- well, I tend to see life as more indeterminate. I tend to see me as more indeterminate.

    I am more female in some deep biological way than most males? Sure, I guess. But does that make my body less male? No. Do I lie when I don't acknowledge my male body, my history as a man?

    I have come to some compromises. I can celebrate my woman-self. I can be a woman. I can express my female side.

    And I see clearly the limits of these structures. They stop me from full integration, full comfort, full joy. the nature of humanity, the nature of me -- to be liminal, in two worlds at the same time. It is being secure that I really exist in both of them that is the challenge. I was man, I was not man, I was woman, I am not woman.

    I was never simply a man. I will never simply be a woman.


    What can I be? How can I see that?

    You say you see me as a woman. Is that because you think I want to be seen as a woman? Is wanting to be a woman at all relevant? Is that my spirit wanting it, or something less than spiritual? How do I resolve all the things I want in harmony? Do I trust the cycles of life, that in time the circle will be unbroken?

    Immersion into the feminine. Just time to do that? Yeah, probably. But the way to do it is not to think about it, but to do it. This is hard for many therapists, who want to teach clients how to communicate between the parts -- right now, my heart just has to lead with strength & grace, not try to convince my fear to step back.

    _____________

    "There are extremely talented female impersonators like RuPaul nationally, and our own Zola in Boston, who deserve to be called entertainers. But most of the time it's just some clerk from City Hall, armed with beard stubble and a bad attitude, donning a sequined tube dress and lip-synching Gloria Gaynor -- usually interrupting a good set by some DJ in the process."

    "Gay and lesbian community leaders should continue to resist the efforts of transgender activists to blackmail and threaten our community groups into taking on a burden they are ill-equipped to handle. Our issues are discrete, complicated, and deserving of attention not muddied by peripheral issues."

    --Jeff Epperly, editor of the Boston gay newspaper Bay Windows.

    <<<<<<<<

    "As a commentator, I can't have my hands tied with role-model status. Because if you are indeed a role model, you have to be wary of what it is you say and what you think and what you feel - - because you're trying to project a positive image. I'm trying to effect change."

    --Dyke comic Lea DeLaria to the lesbian mag Curve.


    Why Does Gender Have to Be So Hard?

    Callan Williams Copyright 1996

    I am touched and moved by people who are throwing up their hands in frustration at gender fluidity. "How can we even come to consensus on who we are if definitions of things as simple and basic as male and female keep changing?" they say.

    Others get crazed with the convoluted and pedantic language, full of exception handling and conditionals, and based on metaphoric and/or mythic constructs we use to talk about something as simple as how we feel about ourselves and how we act towards each other.

    Where are the touchstones we can grab? What foundation can I use that won't shift? How can I be sure that I am connecting, not setting myself up to be shot at? How do I know what or whom I am talking to? Where is shared ground?

    These are very hard questions for me, too. If everything is fluid, what is solid enough to build a life on? We all want to build our identity out of solid structures -- and in this crazy, paradigm shifting world, what we see to be solid often turns out not to be. The job down the plant, the house we grew up in, our ethnic heritage, the people we trust, our sexual partners, and more all seem to shift away, turn to dust when we need them to hold on to rather than falling into the vortex of change.

    People have talked about change being the only constant for years, but it is now, in an age where we are deluged with contradictory information, where we are transient in ways we never could be, where virtual communities spring up and are taken down in a matter of weeks, that the force of change appears to be going to knock us over and drown us.

    I have been watching America On Wheels on PBS, a history of 100 years of the automobile, the journey from horse to car, from depression to war, from flying fifties to oil crisis '70s seems mighty short. Drop someone from 1646 in 1696 and they probably wouldn't see much difference -- drop someone from 1946 in 1996 and they would be boggled. I cant even guess what 2046 will be like -- and while I may live to see it, I know there are people on this list who will see it.

    The faster change comes -- and for TG people change is the norm -- the more I need something deeper that I can use an anchor. For me, the only thing that has worked is a belief in spirit. I choose to believe that we are connected, all essentially the same, and the separations and changes remind us of what lies at our core. Surface changes, but at our center we are all simply human. To me, we are not humans living a spiritual life, but spirit living a human life -- and that life is made of change, of opportunities to learn and grow.

    I do keep wondering why gender -- and life itself -- has to be so hard, complex, fluid and exception laden. But when I get to a spiritual core I see that change is on the surface, not at the level of meaning --and at that level I can feel comfortable and centered.

    That doesn't mean I don't have to understand or act in the level of surface, the illusion of the physical world that we all share. That is where we learn, and the symbols we exchange on that level are the ways we help each other grow and find their center. That's why I do a bit of deconstruction.

    The meanings of symbols are always subjective, and to try to cast them in stone limits all of us. What keeps us growing is working to understand what people meant by the symbols they chose, not finding an arbitrary interpretation of symbols and applying it to people, which is very limiting.

    But that deconstruction of symbol, at least for me, only helps me to reveal meaning, and to try to express my own meanings more clearly. It allows me to try to talk from my core rather than simply repeat the symbols I have been given.

    I see identity as the mental image of who we are, and when we get that image in touch with our authentic self, we can create effective expressions. I do that so I can talk about other factors that affect that mental image, like socialization, learning and such -- but it seems we mostly have agreement. When we get our mental image in line with our authentic self, and create our expression from there, then we have a solid anchor in our own soul.

    I see each of us building a gender expression like we build a work of art, to try to say the things we hold deep inside, to express our nature. That is not building who we are, but rather building who we think we are and expressions of who we are.

    I feel boggled by change, by impermanence, by transformation, by the deaths that occur all around me -- after all, I live in the dying industrial belt of the Northeast. that's why I have had to being to believe in change by believing in rebirth, believe in symbols by believing in meanings.

    Why do things have to be so hard? For me, it is because I don't trust the part that is easy -- the part where I simply trust my connection to the universe and everything in it.

    In any case, it is the core of humanity -- or whatever you choose to call it -- at our center that provides the stability and the connection that we crave, not the shifting symbols around us. Without an inner stability, we will have no stability at all.


    Clinically Insane or Cynically Insane?

    Callan Williams Copyright 1996

    I have been reading "Thinking In The Shadow Of Feelings," by Bar-Levav. He talks about how irrational fears keep us from enjoying life and actually cripple people. He talks about the sedative effects of affluence and security, arguing that only risk taking -- transcending irrational fears -- can keep us, or our culture, healthy.

    One big point he makes is that we are taught to take things personally, to not put them in context. 20 Americans killed in Saudi Arabia is sad -- but in what context? One new wife of a slightly injured airman cried on ABC news saying "Until I see him get off that plane, and know he will never have to go back there, i won't believe he is safe."

    Get a clue! None of us is safe! Why do you expect to be? And why do you expect that you are important enough to be a big factor? I have heard of a RC priest who brings up a bowl of rabbit turds with the communion hosts and wine, to remind us that we are all just little turds.

    Are we clinically insane, or just cynically insane -- such cynics that we can't see joy because we see the dangers and enemies all around us? Oprah did a show on killer diseases today. It's nice that she doesn't do shows on human deviants anymore -- but she still can get ratings by frightening the audience with tales of disease or criminality, even though in context, very, very few of her viewers will ever face these dangers. I saw two kids (about 6 & 8 yr. old) in a car outside a supermarket today and my thoughts flew to kidnapping and carjacking -- and even as they did, I knew that was just irrational fears.

    I suspect we all have felt these irrational fears. We need context, need to be able to see the joy for the fear. Or at least I do -- I just don't want to be cynically insane.


    Is Being Joyous Corny & Old-Fashioned?

    Callan Williams Copyright 1996

    So Rosie O'Donnell is doing a talk show. Highest rated first week for a new talk show ever. Her new show is like, she says, the old Mike Douglas show or Merv.

    Whenever I remember Mike Douglas, I remember him coming out and belting out a peppy tune -- and more often than not it was:

    Let me take this occasion to say
    that the whole human race
    should get down on it's knees
    show that you're grateful for mornings like these
    when the world's in a wonderful way
    on a wonderful day like today

    Wow. Seems so corny now -- and yet so necessary. Where the heck is our "attitude of gratitude?" Can we really stand up today and say we are happy and joyous without getting scowled at? Is irony our only choice to greet the world?

    I have been thinking about how people deal with pain. The old (and corny) way seems to be "Every cloud has a sliver lining," the notion that the pain was simply part of the process, that it brought gifts from God.

    Instead, many people today think about "Well, it could be worse. I had a leg amputated, but gosh, some people have both legs gone!" This is an attitude, that while sounding nice, really enforces suffering by rationalizing it.

    In ACIM, a miracle is simply a shift in perception. "Jesus, let me see this in a more godlike way." In other words, we don't pray for no clouds, (because what is life without a little rain/pain?) but for a way to see the silver lining, the opportunities for learning and growth that come with every action.

    I went to an ACIM study group where the leader invited people to ask for a miracle and pray for it. Sweet, and it may work, but it is NOT ACIM. The point is not trying to get what you want, but rather opening up your eyes to the miracles all around you. See the pain as the miracle that it is, clearing out the hurt, teaching you something, and letting you move on.

    So there are days when, even though Rosie is around (and Caryl & Marilyn, grown-up funny women who I love with their own talkshow) that I miss corny old Mike Douglas. I want to just wake up and sing:

    Show that you're grateful for mornings like these
    when the world's in a wonderful way
    on a wonderful day like today

    I just need the reminder.


    The Joys Of Heterosexism

    Callan Williams Copyright 1996

    Whatever else you can say about heterosexism, that structure that made clear divisions between men and women and enforced those divisions with stigma, humilation and separation, that separated them so the only way they could become whole was by joining, by marrying each other -- whatever else you can say about heterosexism, it was good fpr children.

    Heterosexism better have been good for children -- that was the point of the whole system. It's a system appropriate for a agrarian or industrial cultures, where we need more and more bodies to do the work, to be the market. It's not a system appropriate for cultures, like hunter-gatherers, where a stable population size is desirable. Gilbert Herdt, in Third Sex, Third Gender, notes that TG expression comes in populations where breeding pressure is lessened.

    We know that we need to transcend the limits of heterosexism, to not just keep people in cookie cutter molds, but to let them express the diversity that heterosexism supresses.

    But as we do that, how do we still keep the world a good place to raise children? How can we create families that are stable, loving, and safe, giving children what they need to grow up healthy -- but that celebrate diversity, and don't rely on arbitrary limits to keep the unit working together for the benefit of the babies?

    Most of our rebellion against heterosexism is not made by considered choices. It comes in fits and starts, bursts of energy that swell and shatter. We are deep in the midst of a pardigm shift, where the old system has stopped working for many of us -- but no new system is in place.

    But the advocates of traditional values -- of heterosexist thought (and I assure you they are heterosexist and proud!) -- when they want to smear us just have to say: "But what about the children? Is it the littlest ones who have to pay for your sexual freedom?"

    We reply that in many cases we didn't want to abandon our children, but it was the price we were told we had to pay for our deviance -- for our attempt to be true to ourselves, to be integrated and authentic, rather than being crazy in a cookie cutter model.

    The old models of child rearing don't work. Even from an economic perspective, to maintain the standard set in the 50's and 60's we have to have two parents working. That changes the equation signifigantly, both because there is less time for the children, but because both parents are engages outside the home, open to new ways of thought, new pressures, and yes, new sexual opportunities.

    But what new models can we offer? More than one reviewer of Kate Bornstien's "Gender Outlaw" asked the question: "What about the children? Where do they fit in in this brave new gender paradigm?

    I'm not sure. I know that queer people can raise fabulous kids -- I just saw Audre Lorde's son on a POV special about her, and he is a fine man. In fact, we may be able to raise better kids, more open, authentic, honest, questioning, more embracing of the human diversity that gives us the magic power to change, grow and adapt -- the power that has kept human cultures surviving for so long.

    But to just try to replicate heterosexual marriage has limits.

    William Dragoin, who has studied shamans, notes that TG -- and queer -- people have always had something special to offer society, but that in this culture they spend so much time fighting stigma that they cannot give to culture -- exactly what those who want to keep culture serving themselves want. (In this case it was the RC church during the burning times that turned up the flame under queer voices that talked of another connection with spirit.)

    Maybe we can't serve our role to the children until that stigma is off. I know that I worry about how people will feel about me being around their children -- and yet I have a natural affiinty for them. I trained as an elementary education teacher.

    But in any case, the issue of how we deal with kids, if not in a routinized and ritualized heterosexist way, where breeding is the most important thing, will contonmue to be a key area of discussion for us. It will also be a key area of attack from those who are enforcing the family - and see family as meaning heterosexism.
     
     

    I was at my brother's house on Wednesday. It was the day I drove the Taurus and knew I would have to get rid of it, the day I remembered investments.

    In the raw basement of his new house was a sheet of plywood with an big A3 monitor staring at me. His company is putting in an ISDN link and 100BaseT Ether throughout the house for him, and this computer was for work.

    I tapped a bit at Win95, and his wife, Linda asked me to bring up something she could write on. I brought up Word Perfect 6.2, taking up the whole screen in 100% view. I popped the view to 150% and set the font to Zapf Chancery, something curvy, like she asked, for her to put out a note to the neighborhood asking for contributions to a directory.

    When I saw that screen I wanted to write. That simple. No head turning like I have to do now that my monitor is off the top of the opened case of this box, all hanging apart and reminding me of the illness it has. No shying away from work because the workstation is uncomfortable and I am running.

    We invest in our future, put our time, our money and our heart in our dreams, but for me those dreams terrify me -- so out, so vulnerable, so big. But that doesn't mean they aren't important. It does mean that I have almost nobody to share them with, to incubate them in late night talks, loving giggles, knowing glances. I am afraid that my dreams isolate me -- but I know they are my only hope for connection. I know we only keep dreams alive by sharing them, passing them back and forth, like breathing dreams from one heart to another.

    Erica Jong:

    We are all made of God.
    We pass the gift of God to others.
    And they pass it back to us.

    I go past the illusion I know into one that is still unformed. But I either invest in it or lock it away.


    A Note to Vicki, Sunday Morning

    Vicki

    In a message dated 96-06-29 21:10:19 EDT, vn@albany.net (vick) writes:

    help me out here...

    I hope these questions are all okay...i'm new at this, remember...lots of different feelings going on...

    Questions are fine. But I choose what to answer and how.

    what are the perameters ? If we go to civitello's to get lemon ice and walk in the park...do u dress in your boy clothes or girl clothes? day? night? what is comfortable for you?

    I define myself as a transgendered woman. I am in a definate change period, moving into a new phase of my life. What does that mean? I'm not sure, but I am finding out.

  • "I don't feel it is necessary to know exactly what I am. The main interest in life and work is to become something else that you were not in the beginning. If you knew when you began a book what you would say at the end, do you think you would have the courage to write it? What is true for writing and for a love relationship is also true for life. The game is worthwhile insofar as we don't know what will be the end."

    Michel Foucault, interviewed by Rux Martin

  • So I get to be who I am. Isadora Duncan: "My motto: Sans limites." I will not adjust my gender expression not to be transgressive to suit others -- I have spent years doing that. That doesn't mean my gender expression will always be transgressive -- I do still do boy clothes, but I do them for me, not for someone else. My dress is my choice, not anyone elses.

    the one thing i'm sure of: i really enjoyed spending time with you the other nite when we went to dinner at LuLus with Judith Emily and Jeanette and talked at JD's Playhouse.

    ...i would like to get to know you better...

    will i feel comfortable with you in your girl clothes if we're not in a place like Lulu's or JD's? Now that i don't know...and i want to be completely honest with you about it...i want us to be able to talk about it openly and honestly...i feel like you are with me on this...

    I understand your fears. But I don't need your fears -- I have spent enough time dealing with my own, and with the fears of others around me. My goal is to transcend fear, go to love -- just like ACIM.

    So you pays your money and makes your choices. Delight in who I am, or move on.

    It's the same thing you'd say to a man who said he wasn't sure if he'd be comfortable being seen in public with you because you are a woman of size.

    I like you, we have things to learn from each other. But I am who I am. That simple.

    Callan

    (FYI: Vicki likes Jeanette who presents as a femme man, but is uncomfortable with me, who presents as a woman. She tried to say I was reenforcing gender stereotypes by being blendable -- an argument I have heard before. Jeanette noted after dinner "You and I are so different -- and Vicki wants us to be the same."

    Subj: transcen*dance :
    Date: 96-06-30 10:50:08 EDT
    From: vn@albany.net (vick)
    To: callanw@crosswinds.net

    At 10:15 AM 6/30/96, callanw@crosswinds.net wrote:

    I understand your fears. But I don't need your fears -- I have spent enough time dealing with my own, and with the fears of others around me. My goal is to transcend fear, go to love -- just like ACIM.

    ...believe me, i don't "need" my fears either...transcending them is also my goal.

    So you pays your money and makes your choices. Delight in who I am, or move on.

    It's the same thing you'd say to a man who said he wasn't sure if he'd be comfortable being seen in public with you.

    ...you're absolutely right about this...i would say exactly the same thing.

    I like you, we have things to learn from each other. But I am who I am. That simple.

    ...well "who we are" is never simple... :....but i get your point.

    And i have also used the expression "i yam what i yam" quite recently in fact.

    I'm in a 12-step program that teaches me that fear is the absence of faith...

    I allowed fear to rule me most of my life...don't wanna go there anymore...

    What you're doing takes tremendous courage. This is a very unaccepting society we live in...as i have found out by personal experience. I made the decision years ago to stop dieting and accept myself as a big woman...and it has been a journey in doing so. I have come a long way...

    so my new friend, i understand where you're coming from...and i will continue to be honest and open with you. Please don't take my fears personally...do u want me to keep them to myself from now on? I tend to want to "share" all...but i don't have to...my intention is only to be open....not to be hurtful.

    Today, I am going to the newport jazz festival with a friend...i will be thinking about what you wrote...i would like to chat with you on the phone or meet you for coffee this week...what do u say?

    ~V

    ______________

    The big, chewy sweep of humanity behind even the most enormous humans. . . Even Audre Lourde is simply a messy human. The goal is not to stop being a messy human, but to be out, big, courageous, fun, and enlightened and messy at the same time.

    ______________

    Ok, yeah, but I'm like an artist. I mean you don't have to suffer for art, but it sure as fuck does help if you have gone through the hell to find the core of you.

    ______________

    The SAAB Question: Do I trade practicality of belief?

    ______________

    The Southern Love For Language: On Becoming Miss Lucinda Mays

    ______________

    You know, I don't hate being a guy. It just feels limiting and unfulfilling.

    ______________

    The issue with the affirmations is that they presume I wan to become something that this culture has defined, rather than that I am something this culture would rather not acknowledge. the goal is not becoming someone who fits in, bur rather to be assured that I fit in because of who I am and what I carry inside.

    ______________

    The embracing calm of the universe is available to me in every moment.

    My expression is natural, normal, healthy and beautiful.

    Goddess shines inside of me and through me.

    When I smile, my radiance shines into other people's souls.

    No one on this planet can judge my soul or my choices, only my actions towards them.

    Success is safer than failure.

    Joy is a choice I make.

    I can choose love, not fear.

    Challenges are opportunities for me to choose love.

    We each need love and affirmation -- giving love is getting love.

    My cosmic mother loves me.

    Sharing my gifts is the only way to be happy.

    My future is perfect for me.

    Standing for myself is standing for joy.


    Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.

    Sren Kierkegaard


    In a message dated 96-06-30 20:54:50 EDT, SheerChaos writes:

    What is Anger? It is Passion. Passion appears as Love and Anger, both are really the same thing. They are both about embracing the World. Passion is the blood of the Goddess. It can be scary to let it flow through our frail and mortal arteries. It is the path to your own God-Power.

    So anyway, around 1988 I'm back with a therapist who I saw as a couples counselor in 1986 when my ex (6 years)and I were breaking up.

    He says to me: "You two had such good communications, I couldn't figure out what was wrong. But then you started talking about the issues of anger and sex in your life, about how she couldn't accept your passion, and I knew we were in trouble. After all that's all Freud wrote about, sex and anger!"

    You remind me of some key points. We are nothing without our passions, yet this is a world where passion is to be denied. That leaves us with a world of passionate people who have no outlet, and so they churn inside, tearing themselves up --- and tearing up their familes and their world at the same time.

    My passion is my power. When I am passionate, I am empowered. Kate Clinton said about her humor that what she needs is "the right angle and the right anger." Yet it is that same passion that distances me from people, that is separating.

    Do not go gently into that good night. Rage, Rage, against the dying of the light.

    Did you know that I am one of The Drama Queens? People have always been telling me that I am too theatrical -- and Me & The Big Bitch (Sabrina Marcus) have taken the stage to prove it. But theatre is passion encapuslated -- and most of us are not yet able to take life by the horns and become the star in our own life. We keep thinking we will be safer as the sixth spear-carrier on the right.

    Our passion is for the spotlight in a specific area -- and our fear is for the darkness. So we try to hide in the darness, not being illuminated by the light of our passion.

    Can we open that door to passion we locked so long ago? I sure hope so.

    Callan


    3/July/1996

    Subj: Re: What Do Transgendered People Want?
    Date: 07/04/96
    To: SheerChaos

    In a message dated 96-07-04 11:25:04 EDT, SheerChaos writes:

    I want verisimilitude. I want to know what gender I am in the altogether certain way that my Gendered friends do. I want to wake up in the morning and take my gender for granted, and I want to see in everyone else's eyes that they too are taking MY gender for granted.

    Wouldn't that be lovely?

    A therapist friend said to me: "You seem to be constantly at war with yourself."

    I agreed, in an instant. I am liminal, in the doorway, between two worlds. Those two worlds are not just male and female, but virtually every two worlds you can name.

    Powerful space. Every Shaman's power comes from being able to change realities at will, to walk though walls that others see as solid -- like the wall between this world and the underworld.

    But that means that there is always a part of you left in that other world, and that it calls to you. You are never simply in one space -- you are always in many spaces. You are never quite solid -- there is a part of you that is vapor, ethereal. And people see what they see of you -- and it is never all of who you are -- you are never that simple.

    The conflict of crossing worlds, the joy of crossing worlds, the awesome & shattering power of crossing worlds. And none of it honored or even understood very well in this culture.

    I don't really believe in this - but I want it anyway. I was chatting with a trans online the other night. She insisted that since surgery, she is no longer Trans. Now, she is a woman. I didn't argue with her - the strident tone, the deep denial, they came through loud and clear, and they scared me down deep.

    Kate talks in "Gender Outlaw" about wanting to get on her knees in front of a woman and yell "Tell me what it's like to KNOW you are a woman!" The first time I read that, i didn't get it.

    But I get it now, oh yeaah.

    That's what Transsexuals want. They want to be sure. They want to be able to relax. I told a friend this morning that I want to take a gender vacation - I want a week where gender never crosses my mind. One week.

    And yet, they also want to be unsure, to retain their power to cross worlds -- it, like pain, is a gift that we think we don't want -- but is one of the most incredible gifts we can be given. It is, in many ways, like living with x-ray vision, and understanding that nothing is as it seems -- and yet that all is perfect.

    What are the chances?

    Of finding peace and calm?

    Leslie uses the analogy that her life is like standing on two (or more) ice floes at the same time -- for Les, the lesbian and gender communities -- and Les has an interest in seeing that they don't separate, for that separation will rip Les apart.

    But isn't that the truth for all transgendered people? We bridge worlds, and our real interest is in making sure those worlds stay connected, not separated. The world of body and spirit, of technology and soul, of masculine and feminine.

    Sometimes, we see that task as impossible, and we simply try to deny, to cut off the part of us that is in the other world. Crossdressers try to cut away woman, Ex-TS cut away man. We do that, because in this culture, the task of bringing them together seems overwhelming, that if we try, we will be torn apart, ripped in pieces and have our heart fall to the ground.

    That's what people around us, all our lives, who have spoken for separation try to convince us -- that forging connection is impossible, is too hard. So we have a horrible choice -- cut off part of ourselves, or get torn asunder.

    Achieving the impossible requires attempting the absurd. As Charles Pierce says, "Somebody's gotta be the drag queen" -- and I guess that this lifetime, it's me.

    But yes, I still crave the moment of peace, of for one moment, one week, not being torn apart because I live in two worlds that are coming apart at the seams.

    Finding peace and staying liminal. Challenge and a half.

    Callan
    (who thinks part of the trick is learning to feel comfortable in more than one world.)

    Subj: Re: What Do Transgendered People Want?
    Date: 07/04/96
    To: SheerChaos

    So anyway, it's about five years ago, and I'm on a computer project. It's been about a week, and this young guy was watching me, learning from me.

    "You really are amazing. I don't just do things the way I was shown, I try to find the best way and do it that way. But whatever it is -- even getting a directory -- you seem to do it a different way each time."

    Well, how else am I going to be able to pick just the right solution?

    Making up your mind is highly overrated. How else can you keep learning? How else do you keep fresh and connected? Just get comfortable with taking the arbitrariness of life and choice, and accept what you end up with as correct -- accept that something guides your choices when you trust the voice inside of you.

    Two paths diverged in a yellow wood -- and I took both.

    For me, one of the tricks is immersion -- I think I have to be comfortable enough to immerse myself in something and be sure I am still going to be whole. I have immersed myself in manhood -- now I am working on immersing myself in womanhood.

    I don't watch much SciFi TV -- for example, I haven't seen all the DS9 episodes -- but I do feel for Odo. Everything from being ashamed to turn into a puddle in front of Droxanna Troi, to learning about things (and people) by becoming them, to the latest horror he has, being made a solid by the founders. His fascination and his terror at becoming a solid is cutting -- and heartbreaking.

    Transformation is not honored in this culture. There is no where to celebrate its power, learn its nuances -- to learn how to save yourself. I have seen too many shamans who see too much become tied into the sickness of the society, and end up trying to drug themselves into a solid state simply to survive. How do we learn to use the powers that people label ADD, hypersensitivity, TG, and many other syndromes and illnesses.

    And you? You will do what you need. You will find the answers. Your novel is far from trite, but the mark of learning. First novels are better with a touch of discovery and navet. There's time enough to mature -- but growth is the fountain of youth, learning the lifeblood of energy.

    Can you hear that voice in your heart? Can you trust it and jump?

    I'm reading "Wild Kat" by Karen Kijewski, a fine "Woman P.I" genre novel, and this line stopped me:

    "She had the simple, passionate fervor of a Joan of Arc: This is right. It must be done. I must do it. One does not become a saint by doing good works and living a blameless life. Very few saints -- any? I didn't know -- died in their beds of old age. They were crucified, or stoned, or drowned, fried like griddle cakes, fed to the lions, crushed beneath . . ."

    The issue for me is not what gender I want to be, but what my calling is. I don't think the "why" of transgender is about picking a gender, but about boldly living a life.

    Can I follow my calling? Pilgrimages are as much about sore feet as spiritual enlightenment, as James Carse reminds us in "Breakfast At The Victory: The Mysticism of Ordinary Experience."

    Oy.

    Callan

    ___________________

    An "Ensure" commercial:

    "Honey, you're still my little girl. . . "
    I was never anyone's little girl.


    I always thought I was a gifted, generous embracing human -- it's just nobody ever saw it. In fact, what I got hit for was being enlightened.


    Can I say out loud that I think I was born to be a star? I was given gifts, I think.

    performance & the shape of sounds. . .


    Pamela & Callan: Both called to teach -- but teach what?


    Someone to play with, to pass the gift of God between.


    One of the most inflammatory phrases, when spoken by someone not in the group, is "People in the group are . . ."

    The lack of standing: getting credibility to speak as a man and a woman.


    The Two Rules Of Making It To The Top:

    1) Never tell everything that you know.


    You seem to be at war with yourself.

    I get it -- you don't want to become a woman, you want to become who you are, which does include being more comfortable with your woman-self.
     

    Color ( You See Self)

    Animal (Others see you)

    Pink

    Wildebeest

    1) Calming 1) Strong
    2) Nurturing 2) Empowered
    3) Lovely 3) Wacky
    4) Centered 4) Breathless

    See Yourself

    Others See You

    1) Bright 1) Bright
    2) Scary 2) Sloppy
    3) Warm 3) Arcane
    4) Embracing 4) Obtuse

    White Room (Death)

    Body Of Water (Sex)

    ---------

    Atlantic

    1) Sterile 1) Cold
    2) Isolated 2) Amniotic
    3) Plastic 3) Powerful
    4) Bare/Sparse 4) Connected
    (Dayglow daisies emerge)

    You do pretty well as a woman. . .

    Issues of the "third sex" -- freeing or isolating?

    One reason some people may get peeved at TG people is they see them as having the best of two worlds.


    Subj: Re: What Do Transgendered People Want?
    Date: 96-07-04 15:57:22 EDT
    From: SheerChaos
    To: TheCallan

    Callan, as always, you astound me.

    I shall try to respond with some glimmer of clarity:

    Do I really want to stay liminal? I'm not sure. Yes, all of my life, I have taken advantage of a source of insight that others seemed not to have. A weird mix of boy-logic and girl-knowledge. Sure, being able to cross worlds is fun and exciting.

    But all of my life, I have also been horribly indecisive. "Do you want fries with that?" people ask, in a million ways, every day. And I can never come up with an answer.

    In psychology, they talk about "Style" as a form of Cognitive Miserliness. It would take to long to actually decide what you want to wear every morning, so you develop a personal style. I like this, I don't like this. You order Coke instead of Pepsi because you're a Coke person, without thinking about it. This saves you a lot of time every day. The point is that in many cases, the answer ain't so important - so get over it and set up a "style" and rely on it.

    An Army Sergeant is valued for her ability to make and stick to decisions much more than for her ability to get them right.

    Gender expression is a form of style. If you have a gender, it tells you how to handle certain situations. This is usually seen as function of society, but its more than that. it is also a function of Style, a way to help you through the millions of choices that clutter up your day.

    I feel that without Gender, I'm forced to make a lot more choices - and fail to make them, to. Give me a shorter menu, I haven't time to select a lunch from all of these possibilities!

    The other day, a friend (I keep saying "a friend" in these stories, but it's always the same one, really, the one that likes to discuss this stuff with me) told me that my trouble making choices was based on having failed to make up my mind about gender, all along.

    I was shattered, because it seemed so obvious, in hindsight. I swear, my life is a very badly written and obvious novel. Oh, for a more subtle writer to shape my path!

    My friend asked me something about what my life would have been like "If you were born a woman." I said, that if I had been born in a woman's body, I would be a F2M Trans." She was astounded.

    "I'm a Transsexual" I said, "You didn't change that part of it in your scenario. Ask instead, what if I were born a woman and not Transsexual?"

    The answer of course, is that woman wouldn't be me at all, she'd be someone else entirely, who'd never stood on the threshold, like me. She's like a sister to me. Would I rather have been her? I don't know. But I can't help but think that her life would be happier than mine.

    Would I trade it all for certainty? I ain't proud to say it - I think I would. I think I would sell my soul for that Peace, to know what it's like.

    But that confession of weakness doesn't matter - I don't believe it can be done. Like you said about vaginas - I would make that deal with a Magician, but it can't be done in the real world. I don't believe that a Trans can really leave Trans behind - protest though they might. I'm sure, at least, that I cannot.

    So what am I going to do? I have no idea. I stand at the cusp of all the scary choices that have haunted my life - waiting for inspiration to guide me - or desperation to push me.

    But 35 years ago I was born with one of the great gifts that the Goddess grants, and I have hidden from it, denied it. Whatever I did to deserve such a boon - I hope I don't do it again!

    I would rewrite the old Chinese curse, I think. "May you be born an interesting person" heehee.

    I need to do SOMEthing, but I am afraid. My life has been bound by fear, I think. i shall write about that next.

    Sheer


    14/July/96

    The Missing "I Am" Statements

  • I am one of the most advanced queer thinkers in the world.

    I am a powerful and effective communicator.

    I am an excellent writer.

    I am connected to the godhead, and through it connected to all else.

    I am brilliant, both spiritually and intellectually.

    I am a both a frail human and a powerful teacher.

    I am love.

    I am a heavy hitter.

    I am very, very good at what I do.

    I am capable of miracles -- of changing the perceptions of others.

    I am sexy and alluring.

    I am overwhelming.

    I am continually challenging -- I am a mental virus.

    I am at war with myself to burn away that which is not essential.

    I am a potent and powerful leader.

    I am intense and relentless.

    I am soft and loving.

    I am afraid of showing my brilliant light to others.

    I am seriously funny.

    I am capable of invoking many spirits in my heart.

    I am visionary.

    I am able to see though walls -- and walk though some of them.

    I am consciously playing small, handicapping myself.

    I am woman. I am man. I am human.

    I am alone and isolated.

    I am misunderstood by those who, if they understand me, will have to change their lives.

    I am incredibly strong and resilient.

    I am extremely adaptive to any situation.

    I am able to see the implications of ideas.

    I am gifted at seeing connections between things.

    I am required to build my own family/tribe/ organization/congregation

    I am opaque to those who see only what they expect to see.

    I am routinely surpising.

    I am awesome.

    I am beautiful & gorgeous.

    I am intriguing and provocative.

    (An Esther Dyson Inspired List.)


  • Shopping As Sacrament

    Callan Williams Copyright 1996

    I read a great piece a while ago where the author said that in many ways, shopping was the key sacrament of our age. It is the time where we exchange our energy -- concentrated in the form of money -- for that which we value.

    Though the choices we make when we shop, we acquire artifacts that we use to symbolize who we are, in clothing, ornament, and decor. The choice between a a T-shirt that says "Save The Whales," "Dallas Cowboys," "Miller Beer," or one that is hand painted is a very clear way we make this choice.

    For most people, shopping is not a conscious activity. We follow the crowd, like we do in most of life But for some of us shopping becomes a very conscious way to change and define what we value and honor in this world.

    I recently read a Marxist critique of TG behavior, saying TG was about economic imperialism, and noting (among other complaints) that having two wardrobes must be a sign of status because it was pricey.

    To a woman, especially, having a large wardrobe is like having a large vocabulary. She communicates many things about who she is by the way she adorns herself. For some women, they have gone though experiments, and now prefer a simpler wardrobe, focused and well edited. For others, they are oblivious to the messages of their clothes, dressing for comfort and ease as much as anything else. Some simply trust their style to others, letting sales consultants put us together. But even these choices say much about who a woman is.

    We communicate though symbol, and that includes not only words but images, intonations and behaviors. And the way we acquire those symbols, though long, gathering treks, or focused acquisitive hunts also tells about who we are -- and shows in the eventual symbols we display.

    I asked about scared space a while back. And I have been thinking about it, and how the three women who answered talked about how they fill that space with symbols of the things they honor, symbols that represent either a meaning or the process they went though to acquire the symbol.

    And I am becoming aware that I need to remove the symbols that I don't see as sacred from my life -- to edit. In the words of one anti-clutter guru, "Use it, love it, or throw it out."

    But even when I drop the symbols that I have acquired in my lifetime of hunting, I need to remember that I don't lose the meaning that they had at the time I acquired them, and that is important. After all, they all must have meant something to me at one time, or I wouldn't have bought them -- even things like the three inflatable Stanley Cups I paid $1 each for.

    I don't eliminate the meaning. I eliminate the symbol, to focus on other symbols, to more effectively reveal the parts of me that I hold sacred at this time in my life.

    I think that this may be one of the fallacies behind the classic TV purging behavior -- if you eliminate the symbol, you eliminate the meaning. Wrong.

    So I know that the way we acquire use symbolic objects -- and almost all objects have some level of symbol, even something as functional as the type of cup or glass you use -- is a spiritual act, on some level.

    As an old sales person, I know that nobody buys just out of rational decision. Some go though the process of weighing the functional parameters -- an act that shows what they value -- but they end up making a short list and eventually buying the one they like, that they feel good about. The sales process may be rational, but every close is emotional, spiritual.

    Now I have to edit the objects, the symbols at hand. I have to focus on what is scared to me. That's hard -- because I love to be awash in symbols, like I am awash in meanings, looking for connections between things. A certain amount of clutter is necessary for surprises, for there may be a time when you need that meaning to fit into a new work of art, a new construct.

    I dress the same way I think. I start from one point, usually something new I just acquired, and see how it fits with other things. That blue scarf I picked up years ago finally fits -- and it's great! Or that notion about British Travel Writing illuminates the connection perfectly!

    I love my clutter -- but sometimes it is too much. You have to focus on the sacred.

    I am aware that many of my choices to acquire are based on my belief in scarcity. I collect when things are cheap to stockpile, to ward off scarcity rather than trusting abundance. Will Goddess provide what I need? Do I believe that? An old joke goes that a man will buy an $10 hammer for $20 if he needs it, and a woman will buy a $50 dress for $20 if she doesn't need it. I know which side of that equation I am on. This lack of trust in the abundance of the universe, fear of things being scarce -- including love and connection -- drives many of us, and while it's fine to be prudent, that case of Swiss Miss Hot Apple Cider drink I got cheap at Sam's Club still sits there -- and takes up room, money and mental energy.

    Our symbols are the only way we can express our meanings and beliefs. As such we have to learn to honor them -- and not just take the first symbol that comes down the block. We need to learn to assemble both symbols and meanings in new ways (new works of art) that more effectively show our inner self. Shopping for those new symbols is a sacred activity. Just like giving objects away -- purging -- is.

    Our challenge as transgendered people is to communicate our whole selves in a way the world can accept and grow from -- and that means using symbols in a powerful and creative way. We must have both meaning and symbol to communicate that meaning -- and that means that shopping for effective symbols and throwing away ineffective ones are both part of our quest.

    At least for me. Now, I just have to do it.

    Callan


    The Challenge Of Femininity:
    Attracting, Opening, being Vulnerable -- with power


    Video Star? Or just the media that you see?


    Of All The Worlds I Cross

    Callan Williams Copyright 1996

    Of all the worlds I cross, perhaps the widest gap is between queer and corporate. Even the gap between man and woman seems bridgable -- after all, many do it every evening when they go to bed together.

    But how do I bridge the freedom and embrace of diversity that comes from being queer and the responsibility and honor that comes from leading a group of people -- a corporation?

    I went to the New York City Ballet a number of years ago with my then girlfriend, a choreographer and former Balanchine dancer. I told her I knew nothing about ballet, but as I talked about my responses to the program, she told me simply: "It's not that you don't like ballet. You just don't like bad ballet." Apparently the pieces I didn't like just weren't very good.

    I think the same thing applies to business. I don't hate business -- I hate bad business. Business that doesn't keep in mind the humanity of organizations, serve the three constituents of any business: the customers, the investors and the employees. All those businesses who live for the short term, from profit cycle to profit cycle, squeezing until the blood runs to find out where the fat is. Reagan capitalists who think profit talking is a joy, and business is merely about profit, not building wealth.

    Every business book I have ever read has argued against this phenomenon. Tom Peters, Harvey McKay, Peter Drucker, all agrue for the spirit in business, the soul in business -- and that soul comes from every corporation being an organization of humans. If you celebrate the humans and not the machines -- not try to treat humans like machines -- you can do anything.

    This morning I am reading "Leadership Is An Art" by Max DuPree, a book that President Clinton has called "Astonishing and reasonably priced." It is, because it talks about the soul and the spirit of business, and of the people who take on the responsbility and honor of leading a group of humans to band together and make something more than they ever could alone, to build wealth, both in the physical world and in the spiritual.

    When we are called, many of us are called to lead. We know that, but leadership is hard, because the models we have are so self serving. Max DuPree offers other models that are deeply grounded in spirit and that also create wealth and abundance.

    How do we take the responsibility to help people share a dream of a better world, and then work together, each contributing their own unique & diverse strengths to make that dream come true, to create abundance of respect, love and wealth right here? At its core, thats all a business is -- and I see no difference between that goal and spiritual ones.

    But still, I look at most American business and want to vomit. It has lost the spirit and hurt us. Just part of the cycle of life, I know -- but we need to become corporate in order to be human.

    It's so much easier to be a solitary queer visionary. But I know that unless I breathe the dream into other people, help them find connection, that I have not done all I am capable of. I do stand between solitary thought and corporate caring.

    And those worlds seem to be tearning apart -- and I need to help put them together.


    Subj: Vick @ JDs
    Date: 07/12/96
    To: jeanette

    so, anyway. . .

    I'm sick, hacking up plegm, but I sit with Vick until about 12:30. She starts by going back over the whole symbol thing again -- why do you have to be a drag queen, a woman? Why can't you just be fiesty, sensitive? The first are labels to her, the second terms.

    I see them all as symbols, as abitrary as we want them to be. And I know that people who don't want me to use "negative" labels usually have issues with those labels -- and I am a queer faggot dyke drag queen, as sure as I am anything. So I go though symbol and meaning, and get peeved, and she hates the music.

    Eventually she gets into the discussion. I'm not giving her a chance because she said she was uncomfortable with the thought of being out with me. If she hadn't *said* it, I would never have known. It's her honesty playing against her. Wrong.

    I go though the issues, and try to tell her that I don't need her fear -- like the fear she had for Gina being a guy-in-a-dress at Fenders, It's clear she has the same fear for me. I know the risks of being a male-woman -- but I also need to trust the power She sees me as a guy-in-a-dress/crossdresser -- not how I see myself.

    It's like real clear that she is trying to fit me in her context and convince me that meaning without symbol is enough. Be TG without the layers of symbol. Will she be woman without hair, makeup, jewelery, and in coveralls? No.

    I'm not giving her a chance. I say life is finite and we all set priorities -- and getting x-rayed by her is not high on my list. I told her that at LuLus. I told her that last week at JDs. I told her that on e-mail. I feel like a specimen around her -- one she wants to cage -- and that ain't fun.

    She looks stricken. She sees this a character flaw -- I just see it as the way she is, the dance she dances. She seems to understand how her trying to have me describe myself in her terms is limiting to both of us.

    So she tells me that she had a piece of mine sent to her by Judith Emily. "Do Transexuals Have Choices?" she thinks it was. She liked it, found it compelling. Didn't want to tell me because she was protecting JE.

    I note that's a good way to know me. "I am the shadow my words cast," as Octavio Paz said. I note that I have sent her texts to read -- maybe even to comment on -- that was another chance, like the fiction I wrote for her and her buddy.

    She leaves, struck, saying she wants to start over again. I think, fine.

    Then today, she drops me a note.

    Does it say "I'm going on vacation, I'll think about what we talked about, and let's get a nice fresh start when I am back."

    No. It says, "I'm going on vacation, now that we cleared the air can we get together tonight after my ACOA meeting at 9PM before I go away?"

    Somehow, it don't feel like clean air. I reply, as nice as I can.

    The end of my message goes like this:

    You found me me interesting when you read my texts, came into my world as it were, and then you spent a lot of time peppering me with questions and trying to fit me into your world. You tried to put your own concerns, like the safety of transgendered women -- who you feel some see as "men trying to look like women" -- onto me. And when my answers differed from what you expected -- like on the issue of wielding symbols ("wouldn't it be great if you could be natural and just out of the shower?") we got into debates.

    Your pattern of putting things in a context that you understand is perfectly normal, and I bet it helps you. I just tend to be more accepting of other people's realities, no matter how queer they seem, either in meaning or in symbol. I just do my best to see the world though their eyes -- to use them as a mirror -- and to discover new insights about myself & my world.

    As for tonight, I'm really feeling awful. I'll pass. Why don't we set up a time when you get back, and you can think about what you want from this relationship. Is it learning, cross-examining, teaching, compaionship, flirting, fighting, or some combination of the above? I just tend to think we would do better with some sort of structured agenda rather than just "sitting down to talk," at least at first -- like even just seeing a movie at Proctors.

    Who knows -- we might actually be able to see though each others eyes, and I can learn from how you faced your issues with parents and size and such, and you can learn a bit about how I faced TG and such? It sounds like a much better deal than me just pushing you about how I think women of size should live their lives, if you know what I mean. It would be nice to know that the air is cleared a bit, and that the storm has also blow out to sea and a new front has come in.

    We will chat.

    Have a great vaca!


    Callan<<<<

    Vick's really sweet. But she doesn't know how to flirt worth a damn, how to make the other person feel special -- unless you count feeling cross-examined. I keep opening up chances -- and she keeps leaping and knocking me down. Hard to keep getting up. I can be Ginger or Fred -- but when my partner is just bouncing around, it's hard to be either.

    She wants me now and live (not text) -- and I want her to actually see me (and reflect that), not see who she wants me to be. Interesting contradictions.

    I don't want you to do anything other than listen. Vick and I will work it out in whatever way we do.

    But I did want to vent to someone who knows the situation. Thanks for reading!

    Callan


    Subj: Re: the morning after
    Date: 96-07-13 10:15:48 EDT
    From: (vick)
    To: callanw@crosswinds.net

    At 4:37 PM 7/12/96, callanw@crosswinds.net wrote:

    I'm not sure I believe in character defects, At worst we have patterns that are of limited effectiveness, that rather than helping us get what we need, sometimes get in the way. Of course, that's true of every pattern -- it is useful sometimes and limiting other times.

    ...just an expression we use in 12-step programs...to account for the behaviors we developed to survive the horrors...the things that prevent us from living a peaceful life. They served us well once...helped us to survive. Now, they only hold us back.

    You found me me interesting when you read my texts, came into my world as it were, and then you spent a lot of time peppering me with questions and trying to fit me into your world. You tried to put your own concerns, like the safety of transgendered women -- who you feel some see as "men trying to look like women" -- onto me. And when my answers differed from what you expected -- like on the issue of wielding symbols ("wouldn't it be great if you could be natural and just out of the shower?") we got into debates.

    ...all true.

    Your pattern of putting things in a context that you understand is perfectly normal, and I bet it helps you. I just tend to be more accepting of other people's realities, no matter how queer they seem, either in meaning or in symbol. I just do my best to see the world though their eyes -- to use them as a mirror -- and to discover new insights about myself & my world.

    ....very appealing. Believe it or not, i tend to do this also. I haven't done a very good job of it where you're concerned, i know. But i'm making amends for that. I have already learned much about me...through our encounters.

    The gift of a lifetime is becoming who you are.

    ...exactly. I believe this with all my heart...and rejoice in it.

    "If all the world is a stage -- I want better lighting!"

    ...i prefer to be backlit...highlights the blonde better :

    I'm really feeling awful. I'll pass. Why don't we set up a time when you get back, and you can think about what you want from this relationship. Is it learning, cross-examining, teaching, compaionship, flirting, fighting, or some combination of the above? I just tend to think we would do better with some sort of structured agenda rather than just "sitting down to talk," at least at first -- like even just seeing a movie at Proctors.

    ....i've thought a lot about this in the past 24 hrs...and one thing jumps out at me right away. A truth for me...which also shows me how much i've changed thank goddess.

    What do i want from this relationship?

    There was a time when i would have told you exactly what i want...but you won't get that answer from me today. That answer would have come from the old me...who wanted to control everything...because of fear.

    The new healthier me...the saner me...believes this: I no longer want to try and control outcomes...people...relationships...whatever. My philosophy of life today is to "go with the flow." To allow nature to take its course. To be guided by my goddess. To let things happen as they are meant to happen. To accept people and places and things as just the way they are supposed to be at the time.

    What do i want from you? Only time...to get to know you better. To find out what "vicki and callan" are together. I have no agenda. I've wasted too much time and energy with them. I have no desire to do that anymore. I believe with all my heart and soul...(forgive the drama)...that all that is real and good and holy happens on its own when people just trust the process...and themselves.

    My previous behavior with you has flown in the face of the philosophy, i am well aware. I got off track. This takes practice and vigilance. My old control issues rear their heads sometimes. I thank you for helping me get back on track.

    As far as planning an activity like a movie rather than an open "let's get together for dinner"...if that is what you're more comfortable with, that would be fine. Again, I'm not going to try and "make " this be anything other than what it will be on its own momentum.

    So how about you make me an offer? I won't refuse :

    Who knows -- we might actually be able to see though each others eyes, and I can learn from how you faced your issues with parents and size and such, and you can learn a bit about how I faced TG and such? It sounds like a much better deal than me just pushing you about how I think women of size should live their lives, if you know what I mean. It would be nice to know that the air is cleared a bit, and that the storm has also blow out to sea and a new front has come in.

    ....the air is fresh and sweet : Can you feel it?

    ~V


    Subj: Hows With You?
    Date: 07/12/96
    To: AlbGender

    Jennifer

    You seemed to be under some stress last night. I know part of it was me not responding to your last note, where you wondered about my growing "isolation", my repressed need to "talk," my "control" issues, my lack of "compassion & understanding", my flawed perspective on transgender and transsexuality, my acting like a "spoiled child" and my behaving "uncharacteristically."

    I know that this was an issue because you opened it up in front of the group. But I was willing to let it lie -- after all, I have known you for many years, and this isn't the first time you have "analyzed" someone. There are more than one of us who you see as "being the same as you, but a few years behind," and who are not always comfortable with that assessment.

    I have expressed my concern for your safety and well-being on many occasions. I know some of the rigors and challenges a TG person can face -- after all, you have told me of many of yours, from the isolation from your kids to the stress of your job & the difficulty of finding something better.

    If you want to chat about anything with me, please do.

    Otherwise, I hope you find at least a little joy in every day, and keep that joy in your heart.

    Callan

    Subj: Re: Hows With You?
    Date: 96-07-14 08:38:00 EDT
    From: AlbGender
    To: TheCallan

    Dear Callan;

    Yes, I was under stress Thrusday night. A small part of that stress was the fact that you didn't respond to my (PRIVATE) email. I was concerned that you may have taken offense at the correspondence. Please, be assured that I only speculated as to what I was seeing. I didn't mean to analyze you but, I was concerned about what you might be going through - which I don't know a lot about. I was also concerned that you might be mad with me for what, I don't know, but I've been through that type of misunderstanding before and its not fun. I only asked at the club, because I hadn't received a responce and I was trying to get a read on If you were mad.

    I was under a lot of stress because of my job, which I fully expected to be fired from or quit on Friday morning. (Ask me about what happened when I see you next).. I know you well enough to not try to analyze you! But like you the offer is there if you need someone to listen - No Advise, no analysis. Sometimes we just need to verbalize what is on our mind. And, Yes, at one time, I thought you were on the same road I was on - but that was many years ago -- We all are on our own paths. It's sometimes, those paths run parallel.

    Yes, I've had some tough times, especially regarding my children and the job, and betrayal and loss of the only person I really loved. Well, I guess that's the way it goes. Oh, just one more thought, In many ways I've known you longer than anyone in the gender community, It would really hurt to lose you as a friend over some misunderstanding, like the one that separated Barb and I as friends. I hope that's not the case. You can be very bitting with your wit, and sometimes it's hard to tell when you are serious or sardonic. I just hope I haven't done something to cross the line. If I have, please let me know.

    Just Slightly Paranoid Huggs
    Jennifer

    Subj: Re: Hows With You?
    Date: 07/14/96
    To: AlbGender

    Jennifer

    While circumstances didn't give us much of an opportunity to speak on Thursday, I hoped that you understood that I was talking with you, and was interested in your comments. Like any family, I may not always be thrilled with your choices -- nor you with mine -- but I do understand that we have a connection, and I honor that.

    I hope work is looking up for you, that you survived your crisis, and more than that, learned something from it. What else is life for if we don't keep learning?

    While I can be cutting with my humor -- trying to cut through the layers of life to the core -- I do work hard to show the feeling underneath it. I am concerned about you, and while changes happen in everyone's life, I have no intent to deny the relationship we have had -- and have today.

    Just relax. You know, paranoia causes wrinkles. . .<g

    Callan

    Subj: Re: Hows With You?
    Date: 96-07-14 22:19:20 EDT
    From: AlbGender
    To: TheCallan

    Just relax. You know, paranoia causes wrinkles. . .<g

    So does smiling! :)

    Huggs,
    Jennifer


    July 23 1996

    I do believe that old souls are made old before their time by being adultifed early -- having to be the parent. Being adultified early means you can be sick of being of being a grown up.

    And what does that mean? To me it means having to make too many compromises, knowing that you are always going to be wrong -- because no decision, no one is ever perfect. That's one reason we like relationships, because they let us speak from an absolute position -- yet still create a compromise.

    To be adultifed early means never being able to believe in a dream -- or at least to believe that it is not safe to share your dreams with anyone. The dream as a template for failure -- how sad.


    Sometimes I get crazy about being opaque to everyone, even TG people. Issues of why people choose to be blind. People see only the part of me that they can grasp.


    Is TG my full time work?

    Work is (in physics) converting one form of energy to another.


    This is the support group I would want to join:

    Women Of Transgender Experience (WTE) is a caring and compassionate group that is open to all women who share the experience of feeling limited or shamed by gender-based expectations. The focus of the group is in helping each other find the power, strength, beauty and grace of our diverse expressions as women, and to support each other in continuing our individual growth to achieve our dreams and potential.

    Many women know the experience of being humiliated because they didn't follow the unwritten rules for being woman, know the feeling of feeling ashamed of their own unique feminine expression. We may be too strong, too smart, too large, too dramatic or even too feminine to fit into other people's expectations of how we should act as women.

    One key area of the group will be how we can transcend the expectations of others around us, move past the limits that relationships put on our full expression as humans and as women. We will focus on developing relationships that affirm all of who we are, rather than expect us to play small to receive the love and connection we need.

    All women who are working to take responsibility for their own lives and to more fully express themselves beyond the traditional limits of gender are welcome at WTE, to share in the meetings and connect with others like them. This includes, for example, women of size, women of color, women who are working in business, women on public assistance and women born male.

    Together we will all work to empower each other to live our lives in a more full and complete way, moving past limiting social boundaries to exemplary humanity.

    Blessing my semi-empty house

    We gather here to open this space to Goddess, to place in her hands the power of this area and all who inhabit here.

    We ask for her blessing, her caring and her love to sustain us through the days -- to when, things become too much for us, when they become procrastinated or screwed up to trust that she will protect us in our actions.

    We are afraid that acting big will separate us from our mother, our parents and our friends. But we trust that playing big will bring us closer to our cosmic mother, who gives us all the love we need.

    Shining brightly in the world will attract those to us who are also on a journey and who can help us on our trip into the future.

    Our history will always be with us, no matter how many artifacts we leave behind. We will always have the peace inside ourselves, the quiet and the calm of the ocean in our hearts

    We will find the balance in our hearts, for the leaps we take in trust will bring us to a place that is more centered, less hectic. Even as we allow our life force to swirl around us, bringing hectic chaos, we will find the peace that comes from knowing that we are home.

    We are swept away in the energy of the world -- yet we trust the calm and serene center that Goddess brings. We boldly take risks, make choices, knowing that what we are here for is to learn, to spend ourselves in a great manner, for only by spending ourselves do we gain the rewards that this life can offer us.

    So we bless this space and all in it, and pray the progression to getting clear continues. And we know, that just like reworking a house, sometimes to get clear we must jump from our small well-known chaos into the middle of the unknown chaos. And in that moment, the only thing we need to know is that we are children of God and that our cosmic mother is with us -- and she is sure that the best we can do is enough.

    May this island of peace empower us to hear the voice of the godself inside of us, and may we follow that voice into a brave and bold future, where we carry the message and the light of our humanity and our connection to the bigger world.

    Amen.


     

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