Random Thoughts

I need to release these words, these emotional triggers, they’re bound up in my psyche like moths in a spider web, I need to cut them free, let them drop to the ground

But to deal with the feelings I have to deal with the pain that comes from confronting them, without any assurance that it will do anything other than make me feel bad.

I had a dream the other day, the phone rang and when I said hello I was surprised to hear my daughters voice.

In a sweet bubbly voice, she said “we’re having a cookout for the 4th why don’t you join us for some grilled hot dogs and beer.”

I immediately woke up, struck with the realization that this was a dream, because this would never happen.

The disappointment will surely linger all day

———————————————-

This morning I watched a program on PBS, an in depth look at gay history and profiles of individuals and their personal histories and struggles. Each of them discussed the people and events that were instrumental in their acceptance of the fact that they were gay. Looking back, they realized how it was a pivotal moment that kept them from living their lives in darkness.

In most cases, the moment in their history that proved to be life changing wasn’t significant in isolation, yet even the largest explosion requires a spark.

In one case it was simple as acceptance. A friend, the first he had come out to said, “none of that matters you’re Tom and we’re friends.” Now 40 some years later he sought to reconnect with her to tell her how important that moment in his life had proven to be.

I never did find out if he had success in finding her, I couldn’t watch anymore, I was crying so hard. It was natural that I would take each of their stories and compare it to my own. The results left an ache.

All those years, how would my life have played out if I had had a friend that made me feel safe enough to be honest with. Could their simple acceptance have nourished the awareness of who I actually was and released me from a lifetime of darkness?

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Lousy Timing

Sorry, you just missed it, or my favorite,gymnastics-bars
Damn, you should have been here yesterday.
That doesn’t make me feel any better, try again
If timing in fact is everything in life, 
as the cliché pundits would have me believe,
Then I certainly can make a claim
As a spokesperson for lousy timing.
In retrospect, 
it seems as if life has seen fit
to bestow on me an overabundance of lemons
So as is the suggested solution, 
I made lemonade,
It soon became apparent though, there was one minor oversight.
The Universe has neglected to supply any sugar,
Was this an additional lesson?
Ever had lemonade without sugar?
I have, gallons and gallons in fact.
Left with lips in an almost perpetual pucker,
eyes pressed tightly into squinty slits
I’m shouting this is a joke right, but the answer is obvious.
Some, it seems, are always in the right place at the right time,
me not so much.
Such is life….
My decision to deal with my transness and
Begin transition was steeped in positive timing.
Society had grown more accepting;
marriage equality was moving swiftly forward.
Trans people were more and more visible every day.
On magazine covers, on TV, they proclaim their truth.
Ultimately this wasn’t the reason I began to transition,
Because truth is, nothing short of death would have stopped me.
Although it was slightly reassuring that “shoot on sight”
was no longer society’s top priority.
Lulled into the false assumption that social change
Moves in only one direction I stepped out of the darkness.
No sooner had I abandoned my invisibility
It became profoundly clear that promising social progress isn’t linear,
Reality strikes like a bolt of lightning from a clear blue sky
The spin of the Earth has suddenly reversed, 
black is white, up is down
Persecution is official policy, hate is a viral contagion,
and religion is the enemy.
Rapid advancement has been replaced by equally rapid retreat
Yet there is no going back for me,
there is no longer any back to go to.
Invisibility, which I had always clung to desperately
No longer exists as an available refuge,
my truth proclaimed for all to see.
The intervening years have strengthened my
Rising in defense of those like me,
for only together will we survive.
If martyrdom is the cost of visibility, so be it.
I have made my stand,
I will not apologize nor take a step backward.
I raise a glass of sour lemonade,
to all trans people everywhere.

Strong Woman and What They’ve Taught Me.

 

We didn’t meet until my declaration was recorded historyconfident women
The crossing of our paths, serendipity.
Proof of the Universe’s ultimate awareness,
Once again providing what I didn’t know I needed.

In a childhood wrapped in the fear of sexuality, I withered.
Adolescence spent in a world where enjoyment of one’s body was shameful
I cowered in search of invisibility, consigning myself to perpetual silence.
crawling toward the finish line on hands and knees
Assuming the end wouldn’t end in triumph but darkness.

But things have changed, with transition came enlightenment
and introduction to a circle of self-assured women
That proved that fear was not a universal truth.
Shining examples of what self-confidence looks like
Suffering no stuttering hesitation, in discussion of a sexual self.

Their effect on my life was entirely unintentional.
Growing from fundamental honesty and unassuming presence
An aura of acceptance, a lack of judgement
Imparted understanding by example.

It pains to imagine how much different life could have been
To have learned that my body and sexuality are a gift.
To be cherished and enjoyed to the fullest.
Pleasure for pleasures sake my new mantra.

Connections to the Past

While I was cleaning up my contact list on my phone I came across several names of people that I was once close to. People that have passed beyond the vale into the dimness of history. I pause at each one, being carried backward into the memories of the times we shared. Some are happy some sad but all generate a feeling of loss and longing, a feeling that cannot be soothed.

My finger hovers above the delete button while all these stories play out in my mind. In the end, I can’t push the button, can’t erase the tiniest link to their existence. Maybe some day, but not today.

 

Her Name Stares Back

Her name stares back at me from the depths of the pale electronic glow.
What began as a simple exercise in housekeeping on my phone
Has come to an abrupt halt, now taking on a significance never intended
Powerless to break from the memories her name draws forth
The gentle ghost of her voice, calling my name from that time before,
the echo of her infectious laughter drawing tears from my remembrance.
The desire to speak to her, just one more time, grips my heart.
But there is no cure, no comfort for this longing, 
no letters to recall her words.
There are no photos to reconstruct a moment, No yellowed clipping
Marks the day of her passing or what small piece of this world
Might have given her rest. 
All that remains is what I carry in my heart
And this name staring back from the screen I hold.

Family Ties

Families are a complicated organism, this is especially true when one is trans. All the emotions, all the politics, the hurts and slights present in the world at large are also present in the family dynamics of those of us that are transgender. To this toxic mix we also have to add a dose of guilt along with potentially a sense of betrayal, when our expectations clash with their actions.

It’s always said that blood is thicker than water, While that may be true in some cases it isn’t a universal truth, it depends entirely on context and expectations based on your particular perspective. Does a hurt delivered by a family member hurt more than the same insult delivered by a stranger, Does their inability to understand your situation allow them to claim the “I had no idea excuse.”

My former brother in law and his wife were incredibly hateful to me when I began to transition and it ended very badly, so naturally their beach house is the location for a Campbell family get together. After the way I was treated I would never go there, and in fact I haven’t had any contact with them for almost three years. There is no doubt in my mind I would not be welcome and absolutely nothing would be accomplished by my showing up.

The trouble I’m having is my obviously unrealistic expectation that family should consider my feelings when planning events like this. I usually find out it second hand, an offhand comment that simply appears in an otherwise innocent conversation.

So I write, dumping all my hurt feelings, my sense of betrayal, my disappointment into poems and blog posts. sometimes they’re angry, sometimes bitter and always somewhat sad. Needless to say the words never make any difference.

 

Storm Clouds

I can feel the downward pull at the corners of my mouthstorm clouds

As if these tiny muscles had forgotten how to resist the pull of gravity

It always seems to start with the disappearance of my smile

A warning issued like the storm flags rising on the coast

The signs of the coming tempest unmistakable to any that would see

The darkening sky, the rising wind, the deepening frown.

What drives the storm, and which came first, the thought or the gale

Could knowledge of its origin restrain its progress or shift its path?

Concern shifts to how bad will this be, will simply closing the shutters suffice?

Or do I need to flee to higher ground?

As the day draws to a close, darkness settles incrementally

While the threat of a desperate battle remains unfulfilled.

The night passes slowly, sleep arriving reluctantly

Ears strain for the first rumble of thunder that never comes

Curiosity at what awaits the coming light of day

Provides the theme for restless dreams.

At the first moment of awakening awareness

Gratitude shines at the sunlight that greets me.

Hurriedly scanning the horizon for hidden turmoil

The storm, its energy spent in the darkness,

Nowhere to be seen.

Law of Unintended Consequences

I’ve written about the Cruel Irony of being triggered by individuals whose job is to help me.

There was a time that I would never have let them or anyone else know what it was that had suddenly turned my world upside down. To my credit, my growth into the person I am today has included a giraffeshealthy dose of self-confidence as well as a new-found ability to allow myself to be vulnerable. What that meant in this case was that this was the very first topic of conversation at my next therapist appointment.

In fairness to her, after unloading all my shit, in a nice way naturally, we had a long discussion about the demons rattling in my head that were so offended.

I accept the rationale that medications need to be monitored especially since the anti-depressant treatment is basically a trial and error crap shoot.  The problem that I have is that I have carried a load of baggage through my life, much of it related to my existence as a trans woman. Years of having thought I was insane and it would only be a matter of time before I was carried away to a locked psych ward has left me slightly less than trusting. This fear prevented me from seeking a therapist all my life much to my own detriment. The feeling that these providers could be whispering secrets about me, while not really rational, is no less real to me.

The casual mention of bipolar disease lit up my fight or flight response warning lights. A diagnosis like that would carry so much more stigma than being simply depressed, not only in my own head but in the world at large. It changes the response from one of sympathy to one of fear, with many people view it as something akin to schizophrenia, a mental illness that could potentially make you dangerous.

So, an off-hand comment about my fear that the good mood I was in wouldn’t last or was all an illusion led it become a self-fulfilling prophesy.  In the end I have decided that I’m not bipolar, an opinion shared by my therapist and others, but the smallest seed of self-doubt was left behind.

As an accomplished over thinker having worst case scenario as a core strength I’m sure this will come back to bite me at some point.