Tag: Friday Philosophy

Friday Philosophy: Love

First rewrite:

Sometimes, in order to stretch the boundaries of who I am, I give myself a mission.  I force myself to write a poem about some subject in order to see what I really think about it.  Or I try to write an essay.

Several weeks back, I assigned myself such a task.  Having written about death and fear, pain and struggle, I needed to write something about love…no matter how much it hurts me to do so.

It is not an easy subject for me.  I have experience to draw upon.  Love hurts.  Or can do so.

Maybe I think I know love when I see it.  Or maybe I’m just full of it.

Each time I seek to grasp for the words I wish to say, memories of times past, fears of rejection and its actuality, push them out of my reach.  Pain is remembered.  Mental scabs are picked at.

Friday Philosophy: Getting Real

I suppose I was real when I was born.  I assume so, though I can’t remember that far back, since I doubt that I had the capability to understand that being real is something that society does its best to stamp out.

Soon after birth however began the seemingly never-ending subtle, and too many times very unsubtle, messages from those around me about how I should behave, how I should act, how I should be, and who I should be.  There were so many “shoulds.”  And I learned that in order to get along with the world, being real, being who I truly was, was not the order of business.  Being who and what other people wanted me to be was what must be done in order to survive.

As time passed these messages became more and more vehement, sometimes to the point of violence, more often via a caustic remark, a devastating rumor, or the isolation of ostracism.  Perhaps just the threat of these was sufficient to make me bow to the pressure and conform.  And submit to the pressure was what I did, allowing the world around me to build my identity.  But I knew that identity was not really me, but rather a shell that I had allowed to be built around myself for protection.  I so desperately wanted to be part of the world around me that I walled myself off from it, hidden within that “acceptable” shell.

Friday Philosophy: Outness

I sometimes refer to when I came out/was outed.  Sometimes people ask what I mean by phrasing it that way.  I’ll get to that in the story that follows.

I am out.  I make no secret about being a lesbian.  And I make no secret about being born male.  Some people don’t like that.  Some people think I’m doing a disservice to all sorts of folks by being out.  Some people think I should shut up and go back into the closet, so everyone (except maybe me) might be able to be happy.

Recently I’ve been engaged in several discussions about the proposed exclusion of gender-variant people from the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.  A few days ago someone wrote to me:

Are you a woman or not? If so, then the rights you should be fighting for are those of womens’ rights. Which means being legally recognized as a woman and having access to all the rights of women and nothing more.

Seeking special laws to address transsexual women is a self-proclamation that they are ‘different’ from other women, which is a setback and a political dead-end.

Friday Philosophy: I am a Lesbian

My partner and I spent an hour on Wednesday with the college’s chaplain, getting a start on the design of our civil union ceremony.  We live in New Jersey and have been domestic partners since this state provided that acknowledgment of our relationship and on October 20th will upgrade that designation to civil union.  Some day, we hope to have that designation changed to “married.” 

You see, regardless of what people have been saying about transfolks, we do have sexual orientations.  Most of us are members of our GLB communities either before or after our transitions…or both.

Friday Philosophy: Learning to Count Past Two

If I were not exhausted and didn’t have an afternoon meeting…or if maybe sometime during the week I would have seen this coming and managed to set aside some time to write about it, this is where I would have posted a piece about the talk about the removal of protections for transgendered people from the Employment Non-Discrimination  Act.

But I am tired.  Oh, so tired.  As Fanny Lou Hamer said,

I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired

Since I am having a meeting today to discuss trying to get my stuff published in book form, I have no time.

So I went back in the stacks.  Way back.  This was presented first to a Psychology class at the University of Central Arkansas in the mid-90s.  The professor who invited me to give this and several other lectures did not earn tenure at UCA.  I’m sure there was no connection.

Friday Philosophy: Death

I sometimes (partially facetiously) refer to myself as “immortal until proven otherwise.”  This is different than I have felt about the subject in the past (witness four or five suicide attempts).  But I am apparently a survivor and see no reason for that to change.  Sure, my body might wear out and no longer function well enough to support keeping my being in contact with the world of our outward shared reality (or is that our shared hallucination?), but I cannot believe that my body is the sum total of who I am (for one thing, there’s just not enough room in there to hold all that is me). 

Our culture (is there really such a general concept?) has always seemed to me to place too much emphasis on death, about how we must “prepare” for it (some people spend way too much energy doing so, in my opinion) and how we must live our lives so that some unknown Good Thing will happen when we die.  The truth of the matter (well, it’s my truth) is that we don’t really know what will happen to us when our bodies no longer function.  All is speculation or hope…faith, if you will.  Someday my heart will stop beating.  What will happen at that moment is any body’s guess.  Think of it as passing through a Door that only permits one-way travel.  

Friday Philosophy: The Closet

The Closet is a scary place, filled with gremlins and goblins and things that go bump in the night.  I lived there until I was 44.  Or maybe I didn’t.

Maybe it’s all a matter of point of view.

Recently I have been expressing my displeasure about people talking about “self-loathing, in the closet gays.”  Sure, they have couched it in terms of Republicans, but political party doesn’t change the adjectives which have been used.  They still hurt.

They still have displayed how much little understanding there is of people who are different in fundamental ways from others.

So do the gay jokes.  Or rather, the anti-gay jokes.  My ears don’t hear any difference.

Friday Philosophy: Nonviolence

I was raised in a violent atmosphere.  Our house was not filled with the physical violence that leads to bodily injury.  But there was physical violence that results in psychological trauma and much verbal and emotional abuse.  It’s difficult growing up knowing that one is not good enough, that one’s talents and skills are not appreciated, and that who one is less important than who one might be perceived to be.

My father was an angry man.  While practicing his bowling in the living room and simultaneously arguing with my mother, he “accidentally” threw his ball through the living room wall.  Because he was having trouble with the Christmas tree one year, the tree was thrown through the plate glass window in front of which it was to supposed to stand.  That his anger did not produce physical violence against his children is testament to my mother’s fortitude.  But there was always the mental abuse.  All four of us kids are just starting to cope with that…40 years later.

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