jakieheartsong

Just another WordPress.com site

Hopes

The city is cold tonight as I find myself lost in thought. So much has changed over the last few years, not just my body or my location.

As my mind wanders through the past, trips over the present and rests on its own nature, I am confronted by the fact that, for all the people I have known, I have known myself the least. This is not some “finding myself” rant, but rather the realization that I have tried to define myself through the people and situations I have surrounded myself with.

It has taken being thrust into a situation where I have no control over my environment to realize that how I am different is a matter of more than being transgender or disabled, it is an issue of how I see the world. I have enforced a separation from even those who I call my friends. I have taken a vow of pacifism long ago. Even before I had known that one could do such a thing. All I have ever truly wanted is a world where compassion is our greatest motivator.

To this day I remember being quite young and crying because the people of the world seemed incapable of living simply for the kindnesses we can give each other. The Bible, the Bahgavad Gita, even modern science all tell us that in the end we can only succeed through our love of one another, and yet we give in to anger, greed and hate.

In the end I am not surprised that I have such a hard time functioning in such a world. And yet I have no desire to leave it. Even in the face of their anger and hate I love these people too much to not speak up when they drown themselves in darkness.

And yet am I any better when I judge them, and yes even myself, so harshly. The first person to seek kindness from is ourselves, for that is who harms us most. And yet if we share our kindness freely, and we see it flow from others we may be able to finally see that we are worthwhile.

I may be a fool, but I am a fool who hopes. And if I am lucky there are others brave enough to be foolish with me.

Advertisements
Leave a comment »

TDoR

     It’s that time of year again, Transgender Day of Remembrance. I have been out for over a year and a half now and it’s still strange to think that after a lifetime of fear I took the risk to be me. I do not believe that anyone has the responsibility to put themselves at risk for the community by being out, it is a intensely personal decision that must be left to the individual, but I would like to take this opportunity to discuss what my reasons for coming out where and how I see them now.

     My first reason was my child. I have a young son, just over 5 1/2, who is the joy of my life. He is far more of a guy than I ever was. He loves sports and rough-housing, he thinks monsters and zombies are awesome. He is an entirely different person than I ever was, and I like that about him.

     I knew that one day I would have to tell him who I am and I dreaded that day with every fiber of my being. As I thought about it I realized that the discussion would be much easier if we had it before he heard the hate I heard while I was growing up and so after a very long talk with my ex (his other mother) we sat down and talked.

     Children seem miraculous to us because they have not yet been taught to hate what they do not understand. Consider for a moment the importance of this, children understand almost nothing around them yet, therefore such a state of judgement would leave them in a constant state of fear and anger. And so in children we are faced with (and far to often confused by) an acceptance of others that we would be at our best to emulate.

     My second reason was far more selfish (or self-full as some of my friends tell me). Coming out was, in a way, a decision to survive. I have been plagued by self doubt and depression since I decided to stay in the closet. I was eight years old. This kept getting worse till in my thirties suicidal thoughts became a regular problem for me.

     Therapy helped me decide. Having someone to talk to privately and honestly is one of the most important things when making a difficult decision. Not a yes-person, but someone who will help you to actually confront the thoughts and feelings you face (and hide from) every day.

     I held no illusions that my life would suddenly improve, I had a fiancé who couldn’t (or wouldn’t) accept me, I lived in a religiously conservative town where I knew I wouldn’t be accepted and admitting my feelings of dysphoria actually made them harder to deal with till I started my transition. And yet even with all these challenges the relief of being myself was enough to help me get through them.

     The third reason was slightly more complicated. I was always a believer in accepting others as they where. If people are kind to others I consider them friends no matter how they look, what they believe or what they have. And yet I was hiding because I did not expect this treatment from others. I “knew” that coming out would result in the loss not of some of those that loved me, but all of them.

     My family may be confused by my transition. They may screw up my name and pronouns. But they are still there, and for this I am lucky. I have lost friends, leaving me far too alone. But, though they are far too distant, I have gained others. Life moves on and as some connections are severed others are forged.

     This process however, is dependent upon your willingness to be open with others. It is what we share with each other that brings us close. Not only our similarities, but the differences that we point out, not with the intent of changing, but of revelling in and celebrating. The best of friends are not those who are exactly alike, but those whose differences enrich us. This simple fact is all the permission we need to take that risk and be honest about who we are.

     For the lives we enrich will be not just our own, but the community around us, the people who accept us when we least expect it. It is a risk, as all life is, but without it we are without the thing we truly need, the honest smile of a friend who knows.

Leave a comment »

Running Away from the Past

It has been to long since I have posted. I have seen many friends suffer as of late and have been considering the why’s.

There is a mythos in the trans community which states that the only way to be ourselves is to leave the old life behind. Friends, family, coworkers, all that we where, so that we might start with a clean slate. To become new.

As tempting as it may sound, to deny our past is to deny ourselves. To abandon what support we have at our most vulnerable time is at best a risky proposition.

I must however admit to the caveat that some of us have received not only no support, but worse, anger at our decision to be honest about who we are. For these brothers and sisters there is little other choice.

But this, even if frequent, must be the exception and not the rule. Even the confusion of our loved ones in the midst of their love is better than the abandonment of them.

We must stand for ourselves, no matter where, but to do so first with those who already care for us and in exchange to receive their continued support as we tread carefully through the minefields of transition is better than to seek the support of those who have not had the blessing and knowledge of the special people we truly are and where.

Keep the blessing of your past, for though it may come with baggage, there are wondrous joys that must be discarded with their loss.

Leave a comment »

The Biggest Tribe

The Biggest Tribe.

Leave a comment »

The Biggest Tribe

Quiet. It seems a blessing when you seek it, and a curse when imposed.

We are social creatures, ever seeking our tribe in a world that seems to ever more be separating us based on every minor difference. The result of this, we are told, is to show us all how beautifully unique we are. But though it is our differences that make us individuals, there is a tendency to allow them to drive wedges between us.

Truth be told, we share far more than could ever separate us. If your views differ from mine, yet you respect me as a member of the human tribe, I will still call you friend. I frequently have a hard time figuring out why others struggle with this.

Think for a minute, as far as we understand, 98% of the genetic code simply defines what is necessary for life. Whether it be the life of a human, or a tree. Same code.

And people are even more similar. Democrat or Republican, gay or straight, cis or trans, we are all far more similar too each other than any other thing on the planet.

We fear our neighbors because they might be different. They may follow a leader or religion that we disagree with. And yet we where all born, we all grow hungry, cold, lonely and old. We all, in the end simply wish for a friendly voice to look past those differences, to look upon us not with pity, but compassion.

Maybe it’s time to share the very thing we seek. Our humanity.

Leave a comment »

Friendship and Self Acceptance

Friendship is an odd sort of world all its own. Truth be told, I have found that a far higher percentage of friendships are functional then romantic relationships. You never expect your friends to be perfect, or to cling to your every word or act. A friend may come and go in your life without having it held against them. Disagreements between friends rarely end in fights. In fact it is all the allowances that we make for friends being different people that makes those friendships last a lifetime.

The odd thing of it is, I think in the end friends may be far more important then lovers. All the exceptions you make for them, they also make for you. We all need far more leeway in life than we wish to acknowledge, and yet we do for our friends.

The thing is, I’m not sure we do it enough for ourselves. When’s the last time you thought back to a really bad mistake, and instead of beating yourself up for it said ”Well, that’s just who I was back then. She’s still a great friend.”

Our best friends know us and they’ve already written off our past blunders to “it’s just you”. How many times have we wished that our families where as open and accepting as our friends. But families feel responsible for each other while friends leave this burden behind. We are responsible for our own pasts, but that does not mean that we must punish ourselves, only that we must live with the consequences of our actions.

Yeah, there’s a lot to learn from friends all right. But my favorite lesson is when to just let it slide, enjoy the ride and take it slow. Enjoy life. 🙂

Leave a comment »

warning, this may trigger dysphoria

I was born in 1977, as the youngest of four children. The eldest was my sister followed by two brothers. I always loved ballet, opera and gymnastics but was discouraged from these by my mother who always told me that I couldn’t because I was a klutz. I still remember my favorite toy, a spectacular doll house that my grandpa built for my sister. Around four years old I told my youngest brother (who was two years older than me) that I wanted to be a girl and was told never to talk about it again because I would always be a boy. My friends where always girls and I never did understand sports. My father was a traveling salesman and was absent for most of my youth, my mother was struggling with depression and spent most of it in front of the TV.

At about the age of 8 my youngest brother and I started watching voltron and he noticed that I liked pretending to be the princess, so he showed me his idea of a womans place in society. I still don’t remember everything and almost hope I never do. After that went on for a few months I promised myself that I would be a good little boy and that way no one could ever hurt me like that again. I tried very hard but was never very good at being masculine.

My parents noticed at a very young age that something was different about me and I spent a lot of time getting tested by developmental psychologists. They decide that I was dyslexic, even though I read very well, so in fourth grade my parents transferred me to a special school that specialized in dyslexia. It was all boys and in another city so I lost all of my friends. By the time I transferred back to public school my friends had all become popular and where lost to me.

When they enrolled me I had qualified for several advanced placement classes, but since I was enrolled late they kicked me out of them two weeks into school. I quickly became disenchanted with school after that and stopped doing my homework(one of my great mistakes). I soon made new friends (boys this time) in the local stoners, who where very accepting of my odd ways and intelligence.

I still remember the extreme discomfort as I started to go through puberty. The sprouting of hair and lowering of my voice disgusted me even as it seemed to excite my classmates. I became even more shy of my body.

By high-school I couldn’t keep my gender dysphoria in check anymore but I kept it under my clothes with the exception of hair bands that match my long brown hair. It wasn’t till I turned sixteen that I even thought to try dating. My first girlfriend had been sexually active for quite a while already and when she decided it was time for us to do it she took my virginity by force in a dark garage attic. I stayed with her because my understanding of sex had been so warped years earlier. Months later she broke up with me and it wasn’t till I had gotten a letter from the state asking for my consent to adoption that I found out she was pregnat. She had told her conservative christain parents that I had gotten her stoned on pot and that because of that our having sex (something I had never asked for, as I was uncomfortable with the idea and my body) was rape. No charges where pressed but my second rapist was able to convince her parents and mine that I was the very same vile monster that had now victimized me twice. In anger I had moved out of there house, and when I did I moved in with a middle aged man who ended up being a convicted pedophile and took advantage of me as payment for my rent.

When I could no longer handle that I finally moved into a safe place in the woods outside of town. I started biking fifteen miles a day to work but finally after having to see the mother of my first child I decided to hitchhike across the country.

3 Comments »

This is just a spellchecked copy of an old poem, but I thought I’d repost it here. :)

a world can seem so empty
alone in your own thoughts
harried by the winds of self doubt

we call those winds god
and wonder why we feel
as if
the world hates us
we see our pain as a wall
keeping us alone
isolated and afraid
instead of a gift
the sharing of which brings us close
share with me
break the bread of suffering with me
that i might be your friend

Leave a comment »

Nature, Freedom and the Ruts in Life

I hear birds chirping away, the small engine rumble of lawn maintenance, children playing. All the sounds of summer knock at the door of my mind. How I crave the feel, the steady rhythm, as my legs propel my bicycle (such an awkward collection of steel such a thing is) forward into this world. Regal in its overflow of life. I crave the sound of the insects between the trees, singing their contentment. The slow crunch of the mulch on the trail as I hike to see more of the untold beauties before me. Freedom from the drudgery of a too big house in the middle of a too small town.

The woods have a peace to them that no city apartment or house can ever match. The city has tolerant people, yes. But natures only judgment is whether you are food, a threat or just an observer. And how I love to watch. People, animals, even the stars. Such wonders should never slip by us without inspiring Awe and wonder. But in nature everything moves a bit slower. Birds do not worry about school or job. Insects never concern themselves with bills. And flowers have a fashion sense delightfully separate from the Paris scene.

A craving for simplicity is not unique to me within the human experience. Thoreau retreated to Walden pond that he might break free of the ruts in the path of life. I am no hermit though. Beauty is much more fulfilling when shared, but to hear the sounds of the woods, instead of cars rushing by (too fast to know where they had been, no less where they are going). To smell the green and brown of growth and decay that makes the woods its own magic land.

When I pick a wildflower it inspires a completely different feeling than a flower in a garden. It’s as if it is saying “I have survived free, and so can you.” And so I shall, as soon as I finish these chores that tie me to the ruts of life. As soon as I find that job, pay those bills and find the right outfit.

Or! I could just go. Go and live, breathing the air in contentment. Go to glory in the beauty of the world. After all, I am free.

Aren’t you?

1 Comment »

My Random Dating Rant

Why is it that the best friends in my life are platonic, yet the creeps I meet all seem to want a relationship?

I have had an uncomfortably close relationship with the word unrequited for most of my life now. The people in my life who I would like to have adventures with are not much for holding hands and those who would like intimacy have no interest in anything so innocent.

And yet, such is life. We wait for someone who sparks joy in our heart and we hope that we do the same for them. Then we hope that we can navigate the complex maze of each others hopes and needs to find common ground.

Every time that such hope is dashed, it seems to raise again. An old flame appears again or you see an admiring eye across the room or maybe a friendly voice compliments you over the internet and melts your heart.

But in the end it is our own expectations which limit our options most. Questions like “am I worthy” can drive us to silence. It is the thought that we must be swept off our feet that results in some of the best people we know being no more than friends. And the expectation that life should be easy that leads many a relationship to doom.

But please do not think that I am without hope. Truth be told, I am learning again to take these risks. For whatever life is, it’s better with someone to share it with. As long as it can be shared honestly and without illusion. Without artifice and with a willingness to let each other be free.

Maybe I will not find them today or ever, but I will continue to search for that person who wants to be heard but will also listen. Who finds comforting and being comforted a strength and not a weakness. A person who is not afraid to be open with their heart nor scared of mine.

Leave a comment »

%d bloggers like this: