Tag: society

Saying “Transwoman are Women” misses the point.

Honestly, the whole Trans Women Are Women mantra misses the point I think. Women are 2nd class citizens, so I’d rather we just stop massively bullying and marginalizing femininity? If I’m a feminine man to others, I don’t really care. I’d just like the abuse to stop when I choose to do typically feminine things. And I want that for our boys too. I don’t use a male bathroom because I don’t want to be assaulted.

I remember a story of Louis Armstrong, a black musician, where he was adopted by a Jewish family and they gave him love that he never had felt before. I feel like that with the cis-female community. I am not really one of them, but they have given me love and acceptance, so that’s why I transition. My time with the male community was filled with constant alienation and abuse.

I transitioned to be able to breathe and emote how I wanted to emote. It was an imperfect decision that has had its own set of dangers and abuses. It’s definitely hugely complicated and reducing it to commandments and slogans simplifies it way too much. Ultimately, I would MUCH rather live in a society where I could have grown up and been celebrated even if I never transitioned. Things are just so bad in our society that it was transition or suicide.

These are my thoughts today. End Gender Apartheid. We’ll still have a separation between the two because sex hormones create different perspectives, but some people need to be able to cross the line to the other side if they want to. Tear down the walls and let us be.

Social error correction and how to use it

Computer systems talk to each other over networks that are prone to failure and data loss, so computers have built-in error correction algorithms that sense when the data that the computer is receiving might be incomplete. Humans are wise to do the same. We have multiple peer verification systems like peer review. This operates also on the individual level. We reserve judgment until we can get a “second opinion” or a third.

It is important to remember that communication is inherently incomplete. As computers get more and more able to fool the viewer, we should increase our emphasis on skepticism and error correction. The whole “Russia-gate” thing was really an exercise in error detection and error correction. There are massive networks of bots out there spamming on social media. But there are also massive networks of real people, screaming for justice.

When we transitioned from the migratory band of hominids to the multi-million person city, we lost the ability to trust in many ways. When one is surrounded by only one’s known friends, one does not have to negotiate every transaction. You know that your friends will protect you when you are weak. You don’t have to file paperwork to defend it.

But now we enter into the age of mass-everything. You don’t know your DMV worker. They don’t know you. So you rely on codified and universal rules to communicate with them. I don’t think we have yet really found a new equilibrium for this new type of relationship.

This new relationship of the one and the abstract other is new. We are still trying to figure out how to move from the village to the cosmopolitan existence. The ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes was the first to use the term cosmopolitan. He meant it in the literal sense: a citizen of the cosmos. So this idea is not new.

Hopefully, as we transition further into the Aquarian idea of the individual in a sea of other individuals, we can reach a broad consensus on what universalities we need to be a stable society. I don’t know what those are, but I think they are coming.

masks

the masks we wear, they wear us out

from when I was a straightish man
to yes, a “sportsman,” I once deigned
and then the mask at once became
a gayish, 19 years of age
sweet Jupiter was wooed I’m sure
the cleverest boy, with boyfriends too
to married father, divorced rage
and this transgender thing they say
I’ve always been quicksilver
darting Mercury through the haze
and so a traveler wearing masks
becomes the masks he at once gazed

and then the deepness tackled out
to bring the truth with Hades’ clout
I’m won because I’m just so sure
Masks are all and nothing more

What is a Proper Life? [My Sunday Sermon for 11.17.19]

The origin of my suffering was the pursuit of a life without pain. Acceptance of the element of chaos within every moment of my life taught me that I cannot build castles and towers of Babel to remove myself from pain. Pain is my teacher and should be befriended and listened to so that I might grow. A modest life in tune with nature seems to me to be the path or way. A life of poverty has been instructive to me.

One might ask “how do you know what is modest?” If you are not lying to get wealth through manipulation or directly stealing wealth, then you can do as much with your time as possible to build defenses against calamity. Unfortunately, our American lives are built on stolen wealth, and that wealth should be returned so that our lives are closer to Earth and closer to pain.

Our cultural notion that a “primitive” life, close to the Earth is a miserable existence is so baked into our collective consciousness here in the West that we cannot imagine a simple, anarchic existence of living in tune with nature. The very influential philosopher Thomas Hobbes described the primitive existence of humans as “nasty, brutish, and short.” And yet, now we have constructed lives that are nasty, mind-numbing, and longer.

Within our beings is a plant called wisdom. In order for that plant to grow, it needs to be watered by the tears of pain and lighted by the sunlight of humility or it will never mature. This is the present that we find ourselves in, a present without wisdom because we have vanquished pain and eschewed humility.

This life exists so that we might grow from children into adults. There is a seriousness that needs to be achieved in order to live a fulfilled life. That is my experience. Seriousness saved my life. Life need not be serious all the time of course, but until one can look life starkly in the face and have true acceptance for one’s part in what’s gone wrong and be able to make changes to correct the situation, you are not there. You can live without wisdom, but you will miss the point entirely and probably will need to distract yourself with shiny things until you die, unfulfilled.

Why Transitioning Genders has Reinforced my Belief in Gender Differences

Having transitioned genders and lived under two hormonal paradigms (testosterone dominant and estrogen dominant), I actually am a stronger believer in the inherent differences between biological men and women than I was before I transitioned. Testosterone made me much more aggressive and assertive. I was much more interested in sports, and I was more sexually dominant. Estrogen has made me much more passive and congenial, and I am more sexually submissive. I can see the difference very starkly when I switch up my hormonal medications now as well.
 
I suppose that most people think that trans people are here to demolish gender and create this sexless environment, but that has been far from my personal experience. I think that hormonal differences can program people to be more effective in certain jobs, and so it is unlikely that certain jobs will ever have perfect gender parity. Honestly, I see the sexes as an evolutionary adaptation that allowed for specialization of labor in order to maximize survivability in early humans. We needed certain people to specialize in being nurturers and others to specialize in being explorers and hunters.
 
But now technological advances have dramatically decreased the value of those specializations and normalized the difference between maleness and femaleness. We don’t need men to go out and survive the jungle to get some venison. We don’t even need men to construct things with their physical size anymore. Robots do those jobs for us now, and they will continue to take up more market share. I don’t know about the statistics, but mechanization might be replacing typically male jobs at a faster rate than typically female jobs, and this dramatic drop in the social value of maleness might be contributing to our current social freak-out.
 
This being said, there is still value, in my opinion, in gender specialization. I don’t foresee a totally androgynous future because certain specializations based on inherent biological/hormonal differences will provide a competitive advantage on the margins in certain situations. We need some people to be the strident, rule-breaking, transgressors and others to be nurturing, Venusian caretakers.
 
However, we must allow for the cross-socialization of genders for those of us who exist on the fringes of typical maleness and femaleness. Although 90% of people will probably not have issues socializing with their biological peers, others of us are very damaged by being socially deprived of our peers who might not share our genitalia but ultimately are the people we need to socialize with. This kind of social deprivation happens with minorities outside of gender minorities, and this kind of social permeability is necessary for people like myself. We need to find the balance between a certain rigidity and permeability of structures in order to allow for the greatest possible socio-psychological flourishing.
 
So, I’m somewhat conservative and somewhat skeptical about the coming “evaporation of gender,” so I can identify with some of the “right wing” rhetoric. And yet, technology moves forward and disrupts our value structures unabatedly.
 
Any thoughts?

Prayer to Eris, dark queen of chaos, wanderer of the Kuiper Belt

Oh in the name of dwarf-planet Eris, icy queen of the Plutonic Kuiper Realms, I inhale the vapors of the Libran full moon, I call on my transgender powers to end all of Western Civilization just by being, I drink from the goblet of Saint Hoffman, and I exhale…

So now that Christ is dead until Sunday and all. Since he’s indisposed, I thought I’d share without worry of shame because sometimes I really overthink my perspective, and I just need to get it out. I should probably just give a report on my life since Facebook is beseeching me to share!

It’s definitely a ride in the ol’ Yellow Submarine machine. I thank my lucky Neptune that I’m still alive, and I somehow happen to have a beautiful girlfriend too!

I’m working full time, and in school full time to become a mental health worker, so all super serioso stuff. I live in Portland, Oregon, a city that is absolutely without peer in its total inability to handle the Trump presidency without internalizing the official “the sky is falling!”, “you’re a pathetic serf,” “no gods will love you,” premise, which is the whole fucking point of the Trump “we really, really don’t like black presidents!” golden apple shitpost of a presidency. I mean, I know it’s like the perfect bait for the holy roller Luke Skywalker staring into the desert class. I get it. But, this shit is too much. Laugh people! Laugh at your captors! Gleefully squirm in their shackles.

Oh, and I work for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and you know how pissed we are at everything. I’m shaking my finger at you world! My facebook post is now being edited by grammarly for appropriateness now. Goddess forbid that I mispel a word!

And right now, I’m just barfing up digital confetti because that’s the appropriate reaction to the Paleo friendly Zuckerberg stew that we’re all pigging down on. But don’t worry! Silicon Valley is disrupting our way to salvation!

But lastly, please don’t let any of this profane anti-social speech condemn my future and my children’s future to a life of bleak toil on the lunar spice mines. I need to get a license and all. Thank God I can use this phony creation called  Discordo-shaman to the interweebs and total alter ego and definitely not the other girl on my resume that shall remain nameless.

Praise the giant dwarf planet asteroid dancing in the sky who conjuncted my moon as a babe. I know you will always be with me because you know, you can’t spell Aries without

oh well, you get it…

Please return to your veneration rituals to the solar zombie god.

My struggle as a beat up and sick trans woman with few answers in America. I just want to learn something better

I carry so much weight. I pay child support for two children I haven’t seen in six years. It takes up half of my meager salary. I have PTSD from years of alienation. I have social anxiety and sensitivity to noises that can be debilitating. I am transgender, and, well, I have to be a woman in America. I have debt. I have fibromyalgia and fatigue that stab me all day long with weird pains in my neck and back. I have pain in my heart so deep that I lock it up so no one can see it because I’m terrified that if I show my hurt and vulnerability I won’t be able to just keep crawling forward. I’m terrified that if I open my heart, I will fall apart. If I feel, I will fall and never get up. I can’t do this on my own, and I can’t just dump it on other people too. I don’t know how to manage my life. I stagger around in life in a repeating cycle of trying to be this strong woman so this system will give me scraps. I use drugs, alcohol, and medications to propel myself forward in a stupor, carefully managing a cadre of pills upon pills that works for a while and then ultimately ends in total defeat.

I’m afraid to share. Inside I hate my vulnerability. It is the enemy. I hate it in others too because of this. I go to war against myself, and scream at myself inside to get it together or else. I tried killing myself, and death terrified me even more than living. I want to succeed. I want to live. I want to be open. But I don’t know how. My muscles and soul is tired. How do you live when you’ve been whipped and are still whipped daily? I alternate between hating that system and realizing that I’m just internalizing the system’s poison by doing so. The balance is so tight.

I know I’ve done good things with my life, but I’m tired. I’m most likely going to go back into residential treatment because I just don’t know how I’m going to manage my life. If I get a new job am I going to be able to do that without slowly collapsing from the weight? I know I have to succeed and survive. But I’m terrified of being fooled by my brain into more toxic behavior patterns. Depression upon anxiety upon pain upon manipulation upon fear upon doubt upon loss.

I made the decision seven years ago to be more honest with my gender, and that helped, but I’m very poor at certain things. I’ll last for a while and then explode. It was exactly two years ago that I decided to go into residential treatment the last time, and here I am again. Oh well, if that’s what I have to do, then that’s what I have to do. I’m not really super good at sharing my feelings. I’m good at talking, and I usually just talk over my feelings. But insightful people see through that.

I have fear and pain so deep that I’m locked up. So I just leech off of loved ones until they grow resentful. I have to escape this cycle, but right now I don’t know how I can do it. Right now, all I know is that I’m hurting people around me and hurting myself. Addiction is a scourge. I don’t even want to admit I’m an addict because I fear that everyone will run away screaming. How do I do this? I suppose just by getting through today.

What I’ve Learned from Living with Chronic Illness

Antibiotics are chemotherapy. The word antibiotic means anti life. I have to take some antibiotics right now, and the side-effects are really heavy. I’m feeling very low and drained. But I think it’s the right decision, because I have prostatitis which is related to my fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS). I usually just kind of live with it and focus on the positive to not lose my personal power, but right now, the bombs have to be dropped to see if it helps. It sucks, but I’ll get through it.

Honestly, I’ve been thinking pretty heavily about my chronic illness. When I first got sick in my early twenties, I got a lot of resistance from the medical establishment and loved ones. I learned to sort of put it in my private life and not really share it. It’s a very difficult psychological balance to live in a fast world with a “hidden” disability. Our medical tests at present are very poor with detecting what’s going on in lots of chronically ill people, so often the medical establishment just defaults to the “it’s all in your head, take an anti-depressant, and deal with it” approach.

I deal with a ton of symptoms including: cognitive impairment, confusion, deep muscle and joint pain, intense fatigue, depression, anxiety, sensitivity, insomnia, and others. They seem to follow a very irregular pattern and always pop up at the seemingly worst time. It’s something I’ve had to shoulder silently for decades now, and I did reach a point two years ago where I was completely overwhelmed with my health and various other difficulties. But I reached my bottom, and I gave up. I acknowledged my powerlessness, and said “OK, I don’t have control of this situation, but I’m going to keep climbing no matter what. I’m listening and open to learning.”

Dealing with chronic health issues is a very complicated thing because often the best drug is optimism. When you have a poor self-image, a victim mentality, and a “the world is all against me” thought process, it can make you sick. I honestly believe, and the data backs this up, that a lot of my chronic health issues are due to a childhood of trauma and disempowerment. That’s not to say that there are not real, material things at work in my body, but the two factors go together.

My diseases and queerness and losing my children and everything else really broke me, and now I’m happier or more at peace. I don’t care about small things. I’m human, and they bother me, but I soldier on with an understanding that life is pain. I feel disabled in some way, and I have to do a complex set of daily adaptations to handle my various disablements, but that’s ok.

So, I’ve decided that my five year plan is to go back to school to get a Masters in Counseling in some capacity with a focus on the Psychology of Chronic Illness and start working in that field. I think I can help others find balance in a very confusing and overwhelming circumstance, and I feel a real calling to do so. Ultimately, I want to work outside of the medical establishment and integrate my alternative beliefs like the power of ritual and empathic therapy into my practice. But I need the paper to be a “real therapist.” 

There are often not any easy solutions in situations like mine. There is just work and balance. Maybe providence will smile on me, but it’s ok if it doesn’t. I know what it’s like to feel crucified here on Earth, and there is transcendence in letting go and accepting our limitations. There is a tarot card that keeps popping up for me lately: The Hanged Man. In most decks it shows a man hanging upside down, completely suspended and powerless. He has lost all of his earthly power, but in so doing, he sees the world upside down, and he has total spiritual clarity. Life picks us up and turns our lives upside down, and although I’ve seen great loss, pain, and trauma, I’ve grown to see divinity and feel a joy that never dies, even in extreme darkness.

Rambling stream of consciousness thoughts on life Entry 1

Most people don’t understand why they’re stressed out. This thing called the 9-5 work week is eating at them and they don’t know why. Like a good fish we’ve each gone along with the school as it has moved in its increasingly strange undulations; the dance called cultural progress moves on. But we have radically altered so many of our personal environments that we don’t really know what we are anymore. Your life would be completely alien to someone born just two hundred years ago. It’s not a matter of “where are the aliens?” We are the aliens. We are achieving liftoff and distancing ourselves from our life mates here on planet Earth.
What does that mean? I don’t know, but it’s true. We are getting so remarkably good at automating our mundane tasks that our brains don’t know what to do with the free time. So we are creating conflict around us to try and keep the inner wheels spinning. But what is the purpose of all of this? What is the meaning behind this big abstract thing called culture and history and language. I’ve found amazing things in silence that cannot be communicated because they operate on the level of the heart. When I first started to really get that there were things and values that were hidden away from words, I was troubled. I thought that these things must be spoken about! But of course I missed the point then. Silence is lovely, especially when it’s internal silence. And words are gaudy neon signs on top of the true existential majesty of reality.
My personal meaning for life is to grow as much as I can spiritually, and that requires me to feed all of the other things that support that pursuit. I have to watch my health and try and stay moderate. My being is an ever changing and evolving jalopy that requires I be both a mechanic and friend to myself. I have learned to manage my vices so that they don’t drive me over the edge. I’m happy that I’m getting old. It’s like I’m getting the keys to a new luxury automobile. I learned what doesn’t work for me, and that’s invaluable.
I know I can be meandering and all faddish and all over the place. It’s my own personal style I suppose. I’ve found ways of understanding it through astrology and religion, but it’s just me. And I’m pretty happy with this jalopy of a person called that is doing its best to survive.
I’m most happy that I have learned that life is about having a good time. I’ve had some “Grade A” psychedelic/psychotic/paranormal/perplexing experiences which defy language or that I don’t have words to express. I’ve been able to discern a little bit out of the torrent of strange, and I have my personal philosophy and mythology.
I think one of the most important things I ever learned was nothing. Nothing is amazing! Sometimes I just go duhh… and that’s the best place to be. I used to think that I had to be thinking all the time in order to be a “valuable member of society.” But I like being a zero. If only for a while. Compulsive thought is my cross to bear in this existence. I’m learning to let it go and just be zero.

The Parable of the Exploded Volcano

I struggle a lot with negative self-perception. My life has kind of exploded repeatedly due to my own fiery nature. But to put it more honestly, it was self-protection that created the problem in the first place. I had to live in fear because I didn’t want to get murdered or completely rejected from society. It sounds over the top, but growing up with a strange gender is still pretty much like living under Jim Crow. I’m not a huge fan of comparing states of suffering, but it was a pretty heavy existence. There is a singular difference between racial and gender issues though. You can’t hide skin color, but you can hide gender, and I hid it mightily. I used the magical power of repression®! Stuff it down inside!

But in psychology it’s the opposite of physics: what goes down must come up, and I blew up like Mt. Saint Helens, all of my repressed shit since about the age of 5 rained down on those around me. It was like holding my breath for two decades, and I was literally about to die from it. I really didn’t know how to process being an exploded volcano. A good number of people thought I must be insane and just waited for me to put the top back on the caldera and apologize. But as you can guess that didn’t happen.

Being an exploded volcano has its benefits: you get to see inside yourself more clearly. When you see all of the things you ran away from and suppressed spewing out all around you, as long as you don’t go totally insane, you can learn a lot about yourself. I feel more self-aware than the average person. This isn’t to say I’m alone in this respect. I’ve surrounded myself with more self-aware people in recent years. My exploded volcano peer group.

Now I’m mightily just trying to heal. I know where I need to go. I’ve found a deep power within myself that I couldn’t ignore. The thing that I was trying to suppress all those years just happens to be my divine feminine nature. I used my overactive mind to heap mounds of obfuscating dirt on top of those pesky feminine emotions and intuitions, but the mind is not as powerful as it professes to be at killing the heart. And really I’m no different than everyone born male; all people including all men have a divine feminine sensitivity. They are taught to bury it deeply when young, and some of them keep it buried, while slowly turning into a sad shell of a person. But every now and again that volcano starts to rumble, and they’re filled with an amorphous fear that they don’t really understand but that petrifies them.

Life is more complicated and less complicated since my eruption. I had to relearn a ton of different things from a heart-centered perspective, and now I’m more visible to the haters, so I had to get used to that. But I know now that fear is the real enemy. And I know now that I am enough, blown up bits and all. I can take a deep breath and rest in the goddess knowing that I’m not fighting it anymore.

Happy exploding friends. 🌞

Identity Politics in the Real World

I have a very complicated perspective on identity politics. As a queer and transgender person, I am constantly surrounded by intense debates that center on buzzwords like privilege, race, and intersectionality. I came out as trans six years ago into the tumbler of Tumblr style politics, and I picked up the flag of radical identity politics like a good liberal and ran with it. I spent thousands of hours writing outrageous polemic after polemic that snarled at the white, male oppressor because I was, unsurprisingly, very damaged by said oppressor. I grew up being bullied by 99% male peers starting before I really had any idea what gay, queer, trans, or any of those concepts meant. I just knew I was the target. This instilled a deep resentment in me that I’m still to this day (I’m 37) trying to dig out from under and probably will be until I pass.

However, resentment is not all roses and candyland. As Mark Twain once quipped “anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” I became a festering pit of toxic resentment, which was really just a hyper-defensive state of extreme paranoia. I became increasingly suicidal until after years of living on the edge of death, I finally woke up and realized that this line of thinking was doing far more damage to me than to the “enemy.”

It’s not as simple and binary as saying that “now I’m better because I realize that identity politics is terrible!” Our system pits us against each other like terrified Pit Bulls in a dog-fighting pit with screaming Plutocrats on the sidelines urging us to bloody our fellow citizens. By the time you wake up to the fact that the other dog across from you is not the real enemy, you have become hyper sensitized to react to those dogs because they do pose an existential threat. In my estimation, this is how we are controlled from the aristocracy, and it doesn’t have to be a conscious top down phenomenon. The rich know that when people are too busy fighting with people who should be their allies, they are too distracted and damaged to band together to effect real, substantive change.

Honestly, I believe that one of the core reasons for this nascent tribalism is that our intellectuals eschewed grand unifying theories a century or two ago and devolved into Balkanized camps where each group’s minutia was equally important to the others. We lack an intellectual cohesion and vision, or this kind of vision is kept from becoming ascendant. I’m not really sure what the cause is, but yeah, I don’t know a lot of things. I’ve found more grand unifying theories in esoteric writers like Aleister Crowley and Robert Anton Wilson among others than from the official ivory towers wherein I started my search. I studied Economics and Philosophy in university, and then I realized that there was little novel creative thinking going on in those institutions. But I suppose I’m a bit of an esotericist by nature, so I needed something more avant-garde anyway.

I have seen the best queer minds of my generation destroyed by the pursuit of that elusive victim status that is going to take all of their problems away. But life is rough. Everybody has pain, even your so-called enemies of privilege. Even though I have been decimated by injustice, I now know that trying to victimize myself is a trap that I don’t want to go back into. But it’s a balance. It’s not as reductive as we’d like. Middle path, middle pillar, golden mean…

Be well fellow pitbulls.

Until we understand the psychological roots of our current national freak-out, we are not going to evolve and grow as a society.

My understanding after a few decades here is that 80% of Americans are misinformed and hobbled by improper education and that that 80% is split up into two groups called the “right” and the “left, and they are stuck in this blame cycle like a room full of crying children that is only getting louder. Strength comes from unity and deep understanding, but most people would rather consume their 7 hours a day of vapid, commercial-laden media than work to educate themselves. Nobody is going to educate you. If you think that society is going to educate you, you are most likely going to have very few skills for navigating a world that with all of our “advances” can be completely overpowering to your personal psychology.
 
Life is the shit you really don’t want to do but you do it anyways because you’re not God, you’re an animal in the jungle trying to survive, or you’re somewhere in-between. I find that my generation of Americans (people born after 1975) are incredibly spoiled, and I was one of those useful idiots who just assumed that I had some sort of birthright to be happy all of the time. In consequence, I was constantly depressed because all of these “baddies” out there were fucking it up for us. I tried to kill myself and generally self-sabotaged until I was so close to death that I was forced to grow up in an instant and let my dumb, entitled ideas fade into the void. I learned the hard way that mental health treatment can be a trap that self-perpetuates your sadness by supposing that you deserve to be happy. People all over the world and throughout time have been mixed levels of happy. If happiness comes, that’s great, but thinking that you are entitled to happiness will bring on a nasty paranoia and eventual self-loathing because life is about more than happiness. Life is about growth.
 
Upon hearing thoughts like this people will inevitably try and squeeze me into some sort of right wing stereotype even though I loathe the corporate rich and their slave empire, and I’m a transgender and queer woman, so they don’t really want me anyways. So I feel like a woman without a country most of the time. I’m supposed to be a fired-up leftist, but I really, really do not want a Maoist Cultural Revolution style feeding frenzy to happen in my society. So I’ve just resigned myself to probably not having much of an impact on my people. I’ll just meditate and make my music and look to feed myself for the day. Maybe I too have been indoctrinated to think that I have more influence and power than I do. It’s probably a remnant of growing up as a white male in America, something that has emboldened me but also crippled me in many respects.
 
I’ve spent a lot of time in mental hospitals, and I know what people who are disconnected from reality sound like. I’ve also been around my fair share of hopeless addicts, and America really is starting to resemble a crack house. I think we really have to shake loose this idea that we are entitled to happiness and luxury. I know that this concept is called decadence, and in late stage societies, it kind of plays out like clockwork, but I suppose it’s worth it to try and figure out what might right the ship.