A tranny paradox

“I had my balls cut off, so I could be attractive to women.”

I wanted to chat to S, the naval officer, simply because he was one of the few there I had not met before. He asked some probing questions about my trans status, and I told him first that I am attracted to women, and then that. As we were saying goodbye he came over and said how difficult he found that, so I looked him in the eye and repeated it.

“Does not compute,” he said. No, it does not make sense, I agreed. But if you still have Stuff or Baggage to deal with, that will not make sense to you either. If it did, you would have dealt with it by now.

Everyone has difficulties with self-acceptance. One of the blessings of transsexuality is that our inculcated self-concept is so different from our organismic self that we simply have to do the work of self-acceptance and self-discovery. I cannot have a partner unless I am true to myself, because I could not have let her know me.

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I have just been to the HAI community weekend, and it was lovely. I got there at six, more and more people arrived, we cooked over the barbecue and I was in cocktail-party mode: you know, chatting away socially, making connection at a fairly shallow level but pleasantly.

And then we started the evening exercise, and suddenly I was Present. In that state, all my defences are down. I trust that in the moment I can deal with any attack: and my defensiveness is not useful at defending, and does a lot of damage. In that state I can make a true heart-connection.

That evening, two people referred to me with male pronouns, and that created a distance from them in me. I hate it. In quest of authenticity, I take my wig off, and I sing baritone because that voice is richer and holds the note better than my counter-tenor; and I still want to be seen as female. After all, I am female.

HAI has the concept of a Withhold. We say it in this way.

A: I have a withhold with you. Are you ready to hear it?
B accepts or declines
A: I perceived you as [being or doing] and that created a distance from you in me.
B: Thank you.

The idea of this is to surmount barriers to authentic connection. My withhold is that barrier which I feel. B can respond to it immediately, though it may be better to let it settle within before responding.

My general withhold is that if I hear you referring to me as male, I am hurt, and I withdraw. And I want to hear the withhold from others: if you cannot accept me as female, I do not want that to be an insurmountable barrier between us.

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“Either Jesus rose from the dead, or he didn’t”- heard in the night on a programme on the Catholic Church. So the whole Catholic Church has to believe that he did, physically. But why not both? Hold both possibilities in the mind. How could each view enrich your understanding of God?

Cadbury’s

Any Quaker can tell you of Cadbury, Fry, Rowntree, the chocolate manufacturers. From memory I can tell you that Bournville in Birmingham was a model community for Cadbury factory workers from the 19th century with better housing (and no pubs), houses which still stand; that they pioneered personnel departments as welfare departments for workers, and that Cadbury gave his great house to Quakers for the Woodbrooke Quaker study centre. The Joseph Rowntree Trust continues, funding research into social issues. Margaret Fry the prison reformer was on the £5 note.

Cadbury was a public company, and the Quaker connection ended. Then in 2010 Kraft Foods, an American company, took over Cadbury, and promptly sacked a large proportion of the British workers.

Now I start to research: Wikipedia shows that Kraft sacked 13.3% of the British workers.

Looking for bargains in the supermarket, I see that this bar of “Dairy Milk” is 67% by weight of the price of other Cadbury, so I bought it. For sugary¬†sweeties Cadbury is pleasant enough, but for chocolate, I buy Lindt. (Well, I can’t afford to be a wine snob.)

Look at it, how utterly baRRRitish it is. The¬†typeface for¬†“Cadbury’s dairy milk” harks back to 1950s packaging, and there is that huge crown (they still have the Royal Warrant, initially from Queen Victoria). It celebrates the Diamond Jubilee, and¬†the last Dairy Milk I bought supported the British Olympic team. And having bought a large bar, I will have that advertising round my house for days- the bar has nearly three days’ calories in it. It could, in that time, emphasize its cosy, reliable Britishness, subliminally, as I see it though barely consciously notice it.

Yet they downsize, rationalise, whatever, British workers.

I have read bits of the Wealth of Nations, and can quote to you Adam Smith’s example: we could make wine in Scotland if we liked, he said, but we would need heated greenhouses to grow the grapes, at vast expense. It makes sense to import wine from warmer countries.

I don’t like the downsizing of British workers. I think Kraft foods are swine. Well, I could hardly call them bastards, swearing on my blog. Let alone the word I first thought of. I know that those workers¬†might have been sacked if it had remained a London listed company, and that the company has to make a profit, and Still.

Qi ki prana

Qi is the same word as ki, as in reiki, explained D. Chakras come from yoga.¬†Yoga uses the idea of fields of energy in the body, and calls it “prana”. So my spiritual healing with the Friends Fellowship of Healing or the Healing Trust is an eclectic mix of Eastern¬†ideas of different traditions, building on a Christian idea of healing by the laying on of hands, which can also¬†be found in Hippocrates; and the locations of energy centres, and their meanings, are different in different systems.

I had thought that I wanted to develop my own understanding, my own intuitive feeling with my healing, but now I feel moved to investigate the observations of others, and the dogma, if any, which has grown up around this. I also want to spend more time with people whose hands get warm. More training beckons.

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My morning and evening ritual now begins with ten minutes kneeling, opening my chakras.
Open the base chakra, open the connection to the Mother Earth, Gaia, life and growth.
Open the creativity chakra, spinning, glowing, making.
Open the solar plexus chakra, projecting my power in the world.
Open the Heart chakra, open in love of all things.
Open the throat chakra, to speak my truth in the World.
Open the third eye chakra, to perceive Truth.
Open the crown chakra, open to Spirit Love and Truth.
Open the past life chakra, a source of love and energy
Open the Soul star, my connection to all living things with whom I connect.
Open the Stellar gateway to the Light of Spirit Who is God.

The last three I hear of through the golden light project. They have meaning for me.

Also, I am standing on one leg, to develop leg strength and balance, and punching a shoulder level punch, one hundred at full focus, to develop a beautiful first kata.

I am considering focusing on these energies to mitigate insomnia.

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M sat down, and I did a-

you know, my thing. I stand behind her, and stick my hands out, not touching her. I move around her. Her mind’s eye saw various things, I had various intentions. My intentions were good, and she liked it-

It seems presumptuous to call it a “healing”. She had told me of things in her life, physical and psycho-spiritual, and to imagine that I-

It is not I who do it, it is We,¬†with the Ocean of Light who is Consent and Love. And if I expect all M’s issues to just end, and for her to be Happy, then almost every session I do will be a “failure”. So- I want a Shift, and perhaps a shift which makes progress over coming days and weeks. That is not my responsibility. I do my part.

M sat down, and I did a Healing.

Democracy

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Democracy is the worst system, apart from all the others.

At the last UK general election, there was very little difference between the Conservative and Labour parties. The Conservatives offered to reduce the deficit to zero, the Labour party to half it. Though the Labour party shout about Keynes, even Keynes would have placed some limit on borrowing, and would not have borrowed during a boom. And the Conservative plan to reduce the deficit to zero depended on far higher growth than has transpired. The difference is the political will. Both parties wish to be seen as competent managers, and to do what is pragmatic; but the Tories would rather spend less, and the Labour party more. Not less on nuclear weapons: the £75 billion estimate will be dramatically exceeded.

Yet in 1983 we had great ideological differences between the parties.

Both seem to agree that the greatest disaster would be the slightest reduction in house prices. See how gravely the Evening Standard reports a price drop of 0.4%. The policies of both have ensured that house prices have gone up vastly- over¬†three times the retail price inflation- with the result that I am unable to afford a house. And I am suspicious of the term “dwellings” in that link: how many are houses divided into flats, how tiny are the new build homes. There has not been the halving of house prices seen in Ireland,¬†but we do not have enough homes. The boom money went into increasing the price of existing houses rather than building new ones, as would have been sensible.

And what do they mean by policies for Growth, rather than Austerity, if they say a stimulus for demand is wrong?

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I am a reluctant monarchist, because I can see nothing better.

A powerful president, elected separately from the parliamentary election, would be a great change to the constitution, and whether to do that is a separate argument from whether to abolish the monarchy. Perhaps we could dispense entirely with a ceremonial head of state, and just have a head of Government; but if we had a president, we should start with a purely ceremonial role.

So I would ban previously elected politicians. Bruce Forsyth would be a good man for the showmanship of it; Nicola Horlick might find ways of extending the role. I would favour Rowan Williams: interesting to see, when he stopped having to unite the disputatious Anglican communion, what he really thought himself.

It would reduce our symbolic links with the Commonwealth. So, perhaps, we would start to work on more practical links.

Empathy

Never mind walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, I want to walk a mile in my own. High heels are pretty, and all, but why should so many women’s shoes have such thin soles?

Onywye. Some people have no empathy at all. You may have seen the nutcase pastor, Charles L Worley, a Baptist from North Carolina,¬†who wants to take the lesbians, and the queers, and the homosexuals and put¬†us behind an electrified fence.¬†We would die out because¬†we don’t reproduce. Obviously he imagines that we do not have straight parents. But for me the most striking thing he said was that it made him puking sick- “Can you imagine kissing some man?”

Presumably he has some women- straight women- in his congregation who quite like kissing men, and can imagine that easily. He cannot empathise even with his own congregation. He says The Bible and God are against homosexuality, but he is not preaching the word of God: he is preaching his own feelings, his own disgust for other people who feel differently from himself. Whereas Christianity is about Love for others, which must include some attempt to understand where they come from. Not telling them that his way of feeling and thinking is the only way.

Ron Racer has a blokish blog, I quite like it, and here he supports gay marriage while expressing his feeling that gay people are “a bit ‘off’.” He does not think we can be born that way: there might be a genetic predisposition, but “a dick in¬†the butt is a choice!” Well, yes and no. I asked him, can you imagine not being attracted to women, but only to men? So, sex with women did not do anything for you, and your only chance of having your jollies or building a physical relationship was with a man. Then “a dick in the butt” is choosing not to be celibate. Ron, you choose not to be celibate, don’t you? Can you begin to understand that choice now? He replied that in that case he would probably try straight marriage.

Most people can empathise with someone in a directly similar situation to one they themselves have experienced, though some fail even in that. It is a¬†worthwhile struggle to accept others’ choices, because that enables me to accept my own.

And I hope that Jonathan Grant Galleries will forgive my breach of copyright when I extol this wonderful image. The Chieftain is seeking to understand others. We who are in a position of weakness get the practice. With thin soles, I feel the ground beneath my feet.

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Another thought on Leviticus. Those opposed to equal marriage often cite Leviticus 18:22:

22 Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.

It is more rare for the Oppressors to cite Leviticus 20:13:

13 If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

Even the Oppressors realise that the call for Death is nutty, and few of them (except Charles Worley) really support it. So why do they not realise that the condemnation of gay love is equally nutty?

Damien Hirst II

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The man who sat beside me on the train carried a Daily Mail, greatly lowering my expectations of him. He took one of the colour supplements and pushed it behind the tray on the seat-back. “More rubbish”, he said.

“‘Good Health made simple’ would be wonderful if it were true,” I said. So we got chatting. It wiles away the time. He works in electron microscopy, creating images. He made this one¬†for Peter Gabriel’s last album. Gabriel did not know what the picture was: it is¬†a stem cell on the tip of a needle, but Gabriel said it was a blood cell. (Though I may have got that story wrong, and identified¬†the cells wrongly myself.) Here are more of Steve’s beautiful images. They come monochrome, and he spends hours painstakingly colouring them with photoshop. He is going to give a talk at a gallery about the Gabriel images.

He has done lots of pictures of bivalves: what the White Cliffs of Dover are made of. He loves bivalves. He tells me how these creatures are giving ideas to nano-technologists, such as how to make a tiny box for delivery of a drug to a precise area. He used to work in cancer research.

Damien Hirst used his images in a work, which I have probably seen. He or his technical assistants blew up the image, laid a few scalpels on top, and sold it for ¬£250,000. Steve sought legal advice: could he get some of that? The advice was that Hirst had created something new with it, so, it was not worth trying. He is understandably irked at this. He heard that Hirst has very precise instructions for laying out that ashtray, fag packet and cigarette on that desk. Well, yes, I could see that there was something in the proportions and the layout, but the chief value of it as far as I could see was its size and emptiness: not every thing is Art, or even I can make anything Art, but anything is Art if I say so. Hirst’s arrogance was the point. Oh well. We are both travelling second class.

I really enjoyed talking to him, and have had one of my prejudices challenged.

 

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Yet more proof of my complete inadequacy, I thought, then thought wow, that is an incredibly harsh judgment. Not a good habit, though good that it is so extreme, because it makes it noticeable and improveable. No, a good experience, and a learning experience, and there is more where that came from.

On the Tube I see two Chinese fops: they have obviously taken a great deal of care of their appearance. H, one of “the last colonial administrators” around thirty¬†years ago¬†in Hong Kong said that the Chinese hated anything but jet-black hair in themselves, it was an impurity, but one man has dyed mid-brown hair, and one has brown highlights.

The train back is crowded, and I sit at a table by a party of seven from Nottingham, who have been in London for a wedding. “You’ve drawn the short straw, sitting by us” said one, but I saw no reason to agree: seven tired but happy blokes in their forties, ribbing each other a bit. “When I were¬†a lad,” says one, “it was my job to get the fish from the chippy every Friday night. It were two mile. I could walk there, but I had to run back, because if it was cold I would get battered.” Another tells of making his own skateboard from a bit of plywood and some casters. I think they are playing the Four Yorkshiremen game. How much did you spend on drugs? ¬£160? Well, considering I paid for the trip, that isn’t much, says one.

Astrology believers

It was bad enough with¬†U taking astrology seriously. Not C as well…

U told me that she had observed similarities of personality¬†according to sun sign. Just, no. I cannot accept that beyond her noticing things which confirmed her theory, and ignoring the things which don’t: and that disappoints me, because I respect her intellect and level-headedness, and also her spirituality: and if she accepts astrology, she is a less persuasive witness for her complementary therapy practices.

C, however. This astrologer had been recommended to her by several people, and he was brilliant. She told him her date and time of birth, as far as she knew, and he made his calculations and cast his chart. Then, as he explained to her the influences of the planets, and the relationships between them, she was amazed by his accuracy. Her history became clearer: he explained to her parts of herself, which had seemed to be in conflict, or wrong. He told her that this was simply who she was. He explained it like archetypes or myths which fitted her experience.

Did he have a computer, to cast the chart? She does not know. He was in America, they talked by Skype. He could, perhaps, have the signs and planets in his head, but it would make sense to use a reference.

How may I value her experience? Possibly, he was cold-reading her. As he talks, and selects which characteristic of which trine to name, he observes her reactions. Often, Rationalists behave as if cold-readers are all con artists, telling lies to make money, peddling psychic woowoo bullshit to exploit the gullible, but this is not necessarily so. He could be an intuitive, who perceives her unconsciously, so that his insights feel like inspirations, like the voice of spirit or muse. C believes he has performed a valuable service. She feels he has explained her to herself. Perhaps he has.

I found myself weeping, and I thought it was that. Indeed, that was the immediate precipitator of it. I told C I was completely miserable, and she asked which part of me was miserable. Oh, that is interesting. A small, child-part of me. Can I look after her? Can I reassure her that I can?

And indeed I was highly irritated with myself for weeping over that, thinking I should be over it by now: it was months ago, I have reframed ways of thinking of it, and while there are reminders of it about, I would prefer not to be so susceptible. Now, though, I think it a symbol, I weep over life. Possibly, weeping over life is cleansing.

The Kingdom in you

More from the Gospel of Thomas: saying 3:

Jesus said, “If those who lead you say to you, ‘See, the kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.”

That is, the Kingdom of Heaven is here. We are in Heaven. Some people do not know themselves, do not know what people are capable of, seek salvation outside and not inside themselves or somewhere else or even after death. But heaven is in every person, and we create it here on Earth. This is the modern Quaker insight. Like Christian Aid, we believe in life before death.

It is only a question of seeing. Saying 2, then saying 5:

Jesus said, “Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the All.”

Jesus said, “Recognize what is in your sight, and that which is hidden from you will become plain to you. For there is nothing hidden which will not become manifest.”

Translated by Thomas O. Lambdin.

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Rather than thinking of “my procrastination”
I will think of my ability to start a task, and to complete it.
I have these abilities.
It behoves me to develop them.
I can notice and celebrate when I start and complete a task,
such as, doing the washing up.

And so rather than thinking of a “fault” I will think of a skill which I have, and how it may behove me to develop it.

“Be perfect as your father in Heaven is perfect”. My “Perfectionism” is a barrier to me. I do not judge my action perfect, I am upset and embarrassed, I do nothing, in order¬†to avoid those feelings of failure. So. My ability to accept my own reasonable performance is a skill which I have, and it behoves me to develop it. Alternatively, “I am perfect as I am”. This is what I may achieve, devoting myself to it for a reasonable time.

Jellie-babies

I am spending a vast amount of time on the blog, and I comment on other blogs to bring the page-views in. I go to the tag finder to find LGBT posts, and comment, as we share an interest.

Some of the posts are from Evangelicals, Jellie-babies as my friend calls them, who rant away that Jesus calls gay sex sinful. I respond, because I speak fluent Evangelical, and it is a way I have of expunging the last vestiges of my internalised transphobia. Years ago, I would have read their stuff and worried they were right, but now I read it and know it is crap. I like to wind them up. More and more straight Christians are taking Equality for LGBT folk as their battle too- this blog, that denominationРand the oppressors get more strident, for they know their time is short. (Rev. 12:12- see what I mean about speaking Evangelical?)

One homophobe is a poor man who, though gay, believes that gay relationships are wrong. Movingly, he said that he was frightened to go to church, even though he is “side B”- he considers gay sex is sinful, and so eschews it. So the Oppressors should have compassion for him, if not for other gay men. The term “side B” comes from the Gay Christian Network- so he is exposed to gay Christians. There is hope for him. I said to him,

That you are Side B, gay, and terrified to go to church shows how far from Christ the churches you go to are.

Acts 26:14: It hurts you to kick against the goads.

I hope it touches him.

Then again there was this other blog, where they glory in their oppression, calling it Christian truth. They say we are not “born that way”- “how can one be born having sex?” They¬†say that if people leave churches because of the homophobic bigotry, it¬†only shows they were not “Saved” in the first place.¬†They mock, and reassure each other of their rightness. So I go in and tell them they are wrong, and get ignorant, predictable and self-righteous responses back. But then I left this comment, which was published on the site:

Actually, having quoted Ezekiel and metaphorically shaken the dust off my shoes, I should really not come back, but I want to think through a verse which I have never understood. How is it that people can not have ears to hear, so that they cannot turn and be saved? Is this God being needlessly cruel? No. I think that person is you- and you have no ears to hear because you have no willingness to see things from another’s point of view.

Why do I dress female and use a female name? Because I want to. Because it is better than the alternative. Because being born this way is more important than being born with testicles. I too am ‚Äúborn this way‚ÄĚ. But you cannot imagine that. You have no ears to hear.

Oddly enough, after a week the blogger has not responded. I dare to hope that what I have said might have made him think! But another commenter alluded to John 15:19:

As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

Misuse of that verse allows you to hermetically seal yourself from humanity and reality. The angrier people get with him, the more he knows he’s right.

Wedding ring

I said hello to Derek, and he stopped pruning his hedge to chat.
-Have you lived here long, me duck? I’ve seen you goo past.
18 months. -Not long then. We introduce ourselves. You’re not from round here, then- he likes my name, he does not know another like it. Reound back, his hedge is 8′ tall, and he is scared of heights, so he gets two young women to trim it for him.

When he came here, there was a fence at the front, and he took it out and put a hedge along there. He lost his wedding ring. Thirty years later, he took the hedge out and built a wall, and his ring was round the first branch in the hedge. He shows it to me. It’s a miracle, Audrey said. He’s been alone three year. One daughter lives just along from you, round the corner, the other in D—. Lovely house it is, four bedroom, from her bedroom you’ve got a view across the paddocks. How is it where you are? Three year ago, it was awful. Kids running wild, they threw mud balls at his windows. He knows the fathers, and the father of one lad told him to go and apologise to Derek. I’ll ask him if you have, he said, and if you haven’t I’ll take you round myself to say sorry and give you a good hiding. So it was alright after that.

Across the fields. I thought these cracks in the surface were a sign of long dry soil, but here there are puddles from the heavy rains we’ve been having- the river is higher than I have seen it, I could not walk across the ford, water was flooding over the lock gate- and just next to them, the surface is cracked. It’s the type of soil.

The volunteers are out round the lakes, and I chat to the man from the Trust who is working with them. They have to keep the willow back. It just grows anywhere, cut it and it grows more. Here, it will be a maze for children. They cut branches, and planted them deep in gravel, they can water it if it gets too dry, and the branches are regenerating. There are walks down the valley, S. will tell about the gravel from the glacier in the Ice Age, and that longbarrow there, the burial site, which has never been excavated. They had to excavate the other side, where they found the Saxon village, when they built the bypass. Round Cygchester there are Roman remains. Have you been down there?

-“Chester”. Of course. I had not made the connection. No, I haven’t. Somewhere to cycle to.