Friday, August 18, 2006

What keeps you from being Happy?

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What prevents us from being happy?

I believe the answer is quite simple. Every person on this planet who is not happy are all suffering from one emotion. It is the cause of all wars, racism, crime, and hate. What a powerful emotion it must be to be responsible for all of that negativity. That emotion is fear and it is affecting you in ways you may not even be aware of at the moment. Fear of failure, fear of being alone, and fear of what people will think. Have you stopped and looked at the people you are afraid might judge you? Are their lives in a place where you would like to someday be? If not, then why are you concerned with their opinion? They will judge you out of envy and ignorance. They see you succeed and they want that for themselves. But they do not want to take action to succeed. They will say you are lucky, or spoon fed, or more attractive. They will die with a million excuses as to why their life didn't turn out like yours... but they are just excuses. I would much rather die with reasons why my life was great instead of excuses why my life was not.

If you take a chance what is the worse that can happen to you? You fail. Sure there are a bunch of other details but ultimately the thing you remember is the feeling of failure. Do you know what failure is? It is feedback. You take action and the Universe gives you feedback. Failure implies the end of your efforts. To never try is to truly fail. Everything that happens to you in life whether you want to call it luck, tragedy, or failure is merely a lesson. You are the person you see today because of your experiences. You cannot know something without having experienced it first hand. So if you want to be something different but are afraid to take a chance you will never change. Positive thinking, affirmations, and prayers will not change your life without action. Without action those are just words created by man formed into a nice little phrase. You have to show the Universe your intentions.

Would you like to learn there is nothing to fear? How powerful would you be if you realized there was nothing to fear? What would you change? What is shaping your life today? Your life today is the outcome of your thinking and beliefs up to this point. What are beliefs?

Our parents beliefs passed down + our life experiences + our current level or awareness

=

Beliefs

So basically how we view our past is what shapes our lives today. What is your current level of awareness? How are your beliefs affecting your life?

Beliefs

We believe what our parents taught us which was passed down by their parents and so on and so on. Does that mean we are destined to live out our lives with these beliefs? You were taught most of your beliefs when you were a sponge with no judgment. You probably thought the tooth fairy existed and that babies came from storks. The fact that Santa was not real did not make him any less real to you as a child. When your parents told you he was not real you probably cried but your belief changed. Beliefs are not hard coded. As you got older and people started to lie to you more frequently you began to form judgment. Now you didn't believe everything you were told. You formed your own opinion based on past experiences. This became a shield to protect you from hurting or being mislead. It became part of your toolkit for survival. You became afraid of the hurt associated with dishonesty and betrayal. So you began forming beliefs to shelter you from pain. Do you have beliefs that aid you in survival but are self defeating?

Awareness

What we focus on becomes reality. For example, Eric is in the market for a new automobile. He is shopping around and a certain model catches his eye. He decides to purchase it. It is perfect for him and he has never really seen them on the road so it is not too common. Curious thing though as Eric was driving his new automobile he notices that specific model several times over the next few days. Were there less cars of that model on the road before his purchase? No. Eric was simply not aware of them. When his focus shifted he became aware of that specific model all around him. Using that example do you focus on more negative aspects of life or more positive aspects of life? If you focus on negative aspects I bet you can guess what you notice more in the world around you? Ever see those happy people that always seem like they are on something. What do you think they are focusing on? Stop for a second and notice your breathing or your heartbeat. Did you heart just start beating or did you simply just shift your awareness.

Synchronicity

Have you noticed when two people walk they tend to synchronize their steps. Go to a local mall and just observe. Have you ever noticed when you pass someone they often speed up to stay right next to you. I am not referring to the people who are being difficult but the people who gradually sync with you like when driving on a freeway long distances. Synchronicity is common in all things. Through the use of binaural beats scientists have learned that our brain will sync with frequencies when they are noticed by the brain. So do we sync with thoughts as well? After all thoughts are just frequencies. Have you noticed in the presence of some people you cannot help but feel happy or excited? When you are around negative people do you notice that you might be more negative? Do you act one way around certain friends and act completely different around others? We sync with our environment. So what can you do? Do you hide somewhere and avoid your friends who are always negative? No. Change your perception. Know that those people are just experiencing life through a set of filters you do not have. Love everyone even the nasty people. The nasty people do not know how powerful they are and they live life as a victim. They are not aware they are an infinite being of love and compassion. They live life as if their past or present defines them. These people are doing the best they can with the resources they have available. Be aware of the negative but do not sync with it. Do not hate. Do not judge. Do not criticize. For you will surely sync with those feelings.

Negativity

It is impossible to avoid negativity in this day and age. You can however choose not to react to it. Control your emotions. Every person in your life that troubles you is testing you. The person you are irritated by most is your best teacher. Complaining, whining, and placing blame does not help solve anything and stifles your personal and spiritual growth. Every challenge you face whether big or small should be viewed as a challenge. For without challenge we would not grow. Harboring negative thoughts and feelings for others makes your body ill. It pollutes the mind. It clouds your judgment. People who are negative are neither happy nor successful. After all the definition of success is happiness. You can be rich with money but poor in happiness. You see that all the time in Hollywood.

Distractions

Why do you think fads and trends exist? They are distractions. People who meditate are usually successful and happy. But it requires you to sit still and do nothing for a period of time. Meditation for some is to be without distraction. Western culture is all about distraction. Ask yourself this. Are you happy? What distractions do you have that prevent you from being happy? People run from this question and stay distracted. They settle in relationships that do not make them happy and they end up settling in every aspect of their life. They stay distracted until the day they die with mountains of regret. For some security even if negative is better than pursuing happiness since there is no guarantee. Addiction is a distraction. Some people are so afraid to pursue their happiness they would rather die an addict. It is not that hard to attain a state of happiness but people are afraid they might not find it. Addiction becomes an excuse for inexcusable behavior and ultimately a reason why their life isn't turning out right. Is it that hard to take control of your life and be happy? Addiction is not limited to drugs. Lust, love, and anger are addictive. The same neural receptors for love are shared with chocolate and heroin!

The Brain

What an amazing tool we all possess though very few use it to its full potential. How very little most people know about the brain. The subconscious mind processes about 40 million bits of information every second. It is responsible for monitoring the operations of the body, motor functions, and literal thinking. The subconscious is habitual and timeless. It only understands present time. It also stores our past experiences, attitudes, values, and beliefs. The conscious mind on the other hand is time bound in other words either past or future. The conscious mind is responsible for volition and abstract thinking. The conscious mind can only process about 200 bits per second. Our subconscious mind filters out most of our surroundings since the conscious mind is so limited in its processing capabilities. So if we use the example above you do not notice that specific car model because the subconscious mind filters it out. When you give attention to something the subconscious mind then sets a filter to notice it and does not filter it out. Do you now understand why affirmations, prayers, and positive thinking exist? If you give attention to positive and growth related ideas what will the subconscious make you aware of?

Fight or Flight a.k.a. Acute Stress Response

You probably learned about fight or flight while in school. Walter Cannon in 1929 described it as animals react to threats with a general discharge of the sympathetic nervous system, priming the animal for fighting or fleeing. Fast forward nearly 100 years and biologists have improved upon this simplistic theory. The visceral cavity is home to all our major organs. When the body is presented with a threatening situation the adrenal glands will release a hormone that will squeeze the blood vessels in the viscera. The squeezing of these vessels sends the blood from the viscera to the limbs. If you are running from a lion your muscles need the blood to get you to safety. When the blood is rerouted from the viscera things like your immune system are weakened. No need for fighting a cold when a lion is chasing you. In addition to the viscera being affected the blood in the forebrain is routed to the hind brain. You are more likely to need reflex and coordination more so than the ability to solve mathematical problems. In biology there are three states a cell can be in growth, neutral or protection. A growth state in which the viscera and fore brain are being supplied with blood properly. A protection state where the blood is being rerouted from the viscera to the limbs and hind brain. When you are in a stressful situation you are less intelligent. Imagine being in a constant state of protection. Have you ever noticed that people who are always stressed out fall victim to illness more often that those that are not stressed out? It is not magic or that the person has better genes. It is simple science. Love has been proven to be beneficial to a child's growth and development more so than even nutrients. A child who is loved will grow more than a child who has proper nutrition but is neglected. You cannot be in a state of growth and be in a state of protection at the same time. What state do you live in?

FEAR Is A Tool

Everywhere you look on television, in newspapers, and on the Internet there is a reoccurring theme. FEAR! It is a tool to enslave people. Don't you find it odd that science has proven we are energy bodies and that energy cannot be created or destroyed but most people live in fear of dying? When Theodosius converted to Christianity and declared it the only valid religion of the state during the Roman Empire do you think it was out of love for the people? He declared one religion official over all others. Is that an empowering belief for humanity? You minimize others who do not share your beliefs. You break the communication with your fellow man and judge all others. It makes you skeptical about others based on their beliefs but worse yet it makes you fear death. It puts you in a constant state of fight or flight. Who benefits from the fear campaign taking place in the media? Who benefits from making you afraid of death? The masses are enslaved by fear and biology proves we are getting sicker and less intelligent as a result.

Genes DO NOT Control Biology

The human genome project was supposed to give us a blueprint of the human body. The scientists thought they would have blueprints to make any organ. What they found out is only 1/5 of the genes that were required based on their assumptions were there. We also found out the Bonobo Chimpanzee is a 98% match to human DNA. Oops... :) Not all was lost though we also learned that genes do not control biology. Your perception of the environment controls your biology not your genes. How do you perceive your environment?

The Power of Intent

Dr. Emaru Emoto has discovered that our intention can alter the physical properties of water. The human body is over 70% water and our brain is over 80% water. If our thoughts affect water how do they affect our physical bodies or more importantly our brain? Dr. William A. Tiller has discovered that our intention can alter matter. Now listen to that voice in your head. Is it spewing positive and productive thoughts or is it dwelling in the past which is gone forever. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow will never get here because it becomes today. Today is the only moment in time that is important. What are you intentions?

What Is Real?

We are made up of energy. Energy cannot be created or destroyed. Everything is made of energy. Wait... this desk I am sitting at is hard and made of wood not energy. Actually the desk is made up of billions of atoms which are not solid. Your intent that it is solid keeps it solid. If you neglect something over time it starts to falls apart. Your neglect for that object and lack of intention and focus makes the object break down. You literally create everything you see around you. When science started to study sub atomic particles they discovered that the deeper they delve the less and less was there. Matter is just vibrating energy. Our thoughts are frequencies. A study using athletes running a race who were hooked up to EEG machines produced specific and unique brainwave patterns. The second part of the study was to hook these same athletes up to the EEG and have them visualize the same race. The same brain patterns were measured when the person was seated in a chair just visualizing the race. Our brain does not know the difference between what we see and what we think. What do you spend most of your time thinking about?

Ok, Ok I get it.. I need to change. But I don't know how.

Do you not see how powerful you are? You make your eyes the color they are, beat your heart, and digest your food all without any knowledge on how you do it. Every human wants one thing. Peace. However they can only understand what they are aware of. Why do you think addicts and people that hate are never content? Because they really seek peace but are so lost they cannot find it. When you look at a person don't see their physical body. That is temporary. It will someday die. See them as an infinite being with a wise spirit fighting to get their human on the right path :) Seems silly but it helps when dealing with the less likeable among us :)

What Can I Do?

1. Meditate.

Meditation can do a lot to put you on the right path far more that anything I have encountered. Stillness of the mind is like bliss. Until you experience it for yourself you cannot grasp how important this stillness is.

2. Forgive.

3. Stay curious and adventurous.

Make everyday, every person, and every task an exciting experience. We learn from our experiences. Seek out knowledge and share with others. To be happy is to be in growth. Find the good in everything. Live life everyday like it is your first day on earth. To seek knowledge is to be in a continuous state of growth. To settle and not seek knowledge stifles your personal and spiritual growth.

4. Learn to allow.

Allow others to be who they are. Allowing others to be will make you more patient and understanding of others. Allow people to give to you.

5. Love

Most important of all is to love all life. Love is the most powerful force in a child's development. Love can heal hearts and minds. To love is to grow. Love can change the world. Literally!

Men Who Wear Stilettos - And the Women Who Love Them

All around us, every single day, progressive understanding is happening. Yet another example is this recent feature on the Women's Entertainment Network entitled "Married to Cross-dressers: Men Who Wear Stilettos - And the Women Who Love Them", which was a candid and openly supportive glimpse into the lives of several married couples. Here is the write up about the episode, along with the link to the website.

*****

You love your husband, you adore your boyfriend– so you let him slide when he leaves the toilet seat up, forgets your birthday, or find out he's seen Star Wars 212 times. But what if he asked to borrow your favorite blouse, and maybe some of that new violet eyeshadow. Would you, could you, deal?

Lots of women do.

There are thousands of heterosexual men - married or in committed relationships -- who routinely dress in women's clothing. It's estimated that at least 1% of the male population "cross-dresses." But even in this new millennium of nipple rings and ringtones, the idea of a heterosexual man wanting to dress in heels is still perceived as weird, even threatening. Cross-dressing is a subject that's been widely misunderstood, and it's just as confusing for the cross-dressers themselves - and the women who love them.

Misconceptions are rampant. For example, most people associate cross-dressing with effeminacy or homosexuality. But Dr. William Stayton, Head of the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Human Sexuality explains that most cross-dressers are "very definitely heterosexual. In fact one of the most difficult areas for cross-dressers is how to deal with the women with whom they wanted to be involved.

"The truth is that, rather than shying away from women, most cross-dressers are as interested in marriage or being in a relationship as any man. "There is even some advantage to being a heterosexual cross-dresser," says Dr. Stayton. "When dressed they often become more sensitive and understanding to the women in their lives. Their wives tend to find them delightful and often it can become a real enhancement to marital relations." However that "enhancement" can only come if the woman feels comfortable with her husband's occasional dressing.

In "SECRET LIVES OF WOMEN: WOMEN WHO MARRY CROSS DRESSERS," we get to know women who share their lives with transvestites. Women like Peggy Rudd, a 60-something grandmother who remembers the day her husband delivered a 42-page letter to her office one month after marrying "her soulmate." Her new husband's letter detailed the secret he couldn't bring himself to explain face-to-face. Seems her soulmate liked to wear ladies' clothes.

Carreanne has also found that life with a cross-dresser has its challenges. Her boyfriend Joe uses his female persona, "Tori Lynn," most of the time, and it's raised a few hackles in the couple's small Midwestern town. "It's hard to get out of the house as Tori Lynn," she explains, "We've had some negative reaction at local bars."

But some women publicly embrace the lifestyle. Kelly, a mother and cosmetologist, owns a popular cross-dressing boutique. The store offers wigs, clothes, prosthetics, undergarments -- and even rents lockers so men can secretly stash their female garb in a safe place. Perhaps most importantly, Kelly empathizes with her cross-dressing clientele since Kelly's husband, Jerry, is occasionally "Jeri." Kelly, Jerry and "Jeri" all live and work happily together with Kelly fully supporting her husband's love of female garb.

In fact, about a year ago she tossed all of Jerry's boxers so even when he's not in full-on Jeri drag, Jerry can still wear panties every day.

http://www.we.tv/uploads/SecretLives/episode_crossdressers.html

Thursday, August 17, 2006

This One Goes Out to the One I Love

[This is a compilation of things, many of which I’ve discussed with my wife—though never in the exact form that follows. I simply intend it to be a way to present my view of how transgenderism can actually benefit a marriage. It just seemed easier to write as if it were a monologue.]

I know you know most of the things that I’m going to tell you because you’ve often told me how much you appreciate them. But I’m telling them to you because I also want you to appreciate one of the reasons behind these behaviors.

I know how much you appreciate that I can be very sentimental and am rather easily moved to tears even in public, particularly in church. And have you noticed how I don’t apologize for “losing it” anymore? Or that I’m not ashamed to get misty eyed or teary when it comes to really important emotional issues like family? You wouldn’t get that from most of the guys you could have married.

I know how much you appreciate that I pitch in and help with the housework, often without even being told. And how I do most of the cooking. Or that I’m the only one in the house besides you who picks up after themselves. I do that because I love you, but have you ever thought about why I don’t have any hesitation to join in with these tasks that most of the men you could have married would consider “woman’s work?”

I know you appreciate how I prefer to spend time with you and our daughters rather than going off with male friends. I don’t hunt, fish, race motorcycles, cars or other vehicles, raise hell, get drunk or engage in any of the time consuming, expensive and risky pasttimes that are common among the men you could have married. I spend time with you and the family because I prefer that, but have you ever wondered why I am not all that interested in engaging in extensive male bonding?

I know you appreciate my interest in our daughters’ activities and how I enjoy spending time with them. I love my daughters and watching then grow and helping them develop into the competent, confident and good-hearted girls they’ve become thus far. I know you appreciate my answer to the question I frequently get about “don’t you wish you had a son.” No, I really don’t and you know that a big part of that is simply love, but have you ever wondered why I don’t have a little twinge of disappointment—like so many of the men you might have married would have had-- that I don’t have a son?

I know you appreciate the quality of our intimate moments. I know you appreciate that I’m attentive to your needs and desires. I know you appreciate how we’ve become very attuned to one another in so many ways. But have you ever wondered why so many women complain that their husbands aren’t this way, but I am?

I know your answer to all these questions, as you’ve told me before: “You’re just a good person.” I do appreciate that and it makes me so happy to know that I please you and fulfill you; and I couldn’t stand to know that you didn’t think that. But there is something else that is involved-- my transgendered nature. I think it predisposes me to try to look at things from the female perspective, to try to understand the essence of being female, and to honor and respect females in a way that most men can’t or don’t out of fear of being thought feminine. I’m not afraid of that, indeed I embrace and pursue it. I know I’m not always successful at it—and probably never can be, after all I still have a masculine traits that are equally a part of who I am.

But my point is that being transgendered (a term I don’t particularly like, I’d rather be called ambigendered as I believe I’m more a blend of genders than one or the other—and I certainly think this goes a lot further than just crossdressing), shapes my personality in positive ways. It isn’t the only thing at the core of my psyche, but it’s part of it and it creates an outlook that prompts me to be different from the other guys you could have married. Rather than feeling threatened by that, I just hope you can see that it is as the important asset to our relationship that I believe it to be.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

One State of Compromise

This is where a matter of opinion rests, not judgment, that is no one can say what is right and what is wrong for another person, and we will all handle our affairs in a way that we see fit and best at the time. So long as all things are done with compassion I say. This is just something to consider...let me add, please forgive the simplfication of all this. This is an ideal.

In writing about opening up to a spouse I have this also this to add, "What world do I live in?" yes me, my world apart from all others, as if I were alone, "What is best for my world?". Sounds "selfish" perhaps, but it ultimately is not, one must be "selfish" enough so as to consider the happiness of all we love.

Because, we create the world we live in, if we are not in tune with who we are or selfish enough to know ourselves, and we are in a way where we reflect the expectations and emotions and approval of all, even our spouses, at the expense of our own, we fall victim to such "giving" decisions such as marriage to a person when we are so incomplete and disconnected.

Under such circumstances we all know of the potential catastrophy that can result, along with its mediocre existences. Yes we may be married by now, but should that philosophy now alter, why? Must I only be partially complete for my love once I have discovered myself? And would that be any good? Bare with me.

Marriage for me is not a martyrdom, nor is it a possession. I own no one and no one owns me. Yes, that certainly does leave me open to the whims of another philosophically, but the reality is we are anyway. But more inportantly, it leaves me open to be loved truly and completely for who I am and not what I am expected to be, for my love loves me for free. With that idea, would I also not be more likely to give my love the same in return?

I do not believe in that kind of compromise, where we must soften what we are or withhold truth any longer to spare a loves feelings. Feelings have a way of sticking around with such compromise, because the ground under which we stand is soft! Sounds harsh, but faith is what I had to learn in my loves ability to understand. Faith that one could see past their fears eventually, to make a choice of what is good for us both. My job? To just stick around and let them know I am not going anywhere.

Yes it could be a great upheaval and I dont say that lightly. But no life is without drama and I will not stop myself because prison, and a diluted life is a drama too, because for me the cost is far greater then finding my love leave me for something else better for them, and again faith in the process of truth is a surprising thing, with many ups and downs sometimes, but never ultimately regreted for itself.

Freedom next to love, is the most important thing to me even within a marriage. Not the kind that has no regard, or care, that is not love. But as difficult as it may seem, I for one would comply if my love wanted to build a ladder to the moon, I just might even hand them a hammer. It is not my place to tell my love who they are, it is only my place to accept it or not. If they change can I ask them to only be 50% of what they are? Not me, I wont do it, personally I don't feel I have the right, and secondly I don't want 50% of a person. If I don't like it, that unfortunately IS my problem, and yes I must make a choice and will. But then again, in such a place I can also build a ladder to Venus, and what can my love tell me but, "do it honey"?

So you see for me it is all about the nature of the relationship and what we think relationships are. It is a conscience matter, left to the individual, because there are no rules in love. How I see it, I want 100% of my love, not just for me but for the relationship itself, and my loves happiness, how can I claim to want that for someone if I wont let them fully and completely be. To have a fraction of the one I love facing me, would frankly leave me cheated, and left with that all to familiar feeling that one is living a diluted experience.

I write this also with the children in mind...

"there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one's conscience tells one that it is right." - Martin Luther King Jr.

Distinctions

So many of the details that define our conscious understanding of this life get blurred together until there is, in time, no truth in meaning for the common person. Learning to make distinctions directly effects our ability to understand the complexities of awareness which can be achieved, and opens us to a myriad of emotional subcategories that, if applied properly and responsibly, can change the manner in which we interact with one another.

Simple, yet profoundly complex, would be the example of love. Too many times this perspective is misunderstood, misapplied, or misdirected. We've seen such misfortune historically, as in the example of Vincent Van Goght, and tragically see it daily in our lives with regard to the deaths of whole families due to unbridled jealeousy. In the past such acts were romanticised due to their seeming rarity. As well, those early times acknowledged the specifically defined understanding of language and were able, again, to make distinctions regarding affections, and viewed precision in speech with reverence.

For example, the Greeks, classically, distinguished between five various forms of love expressed. Xenia was the attention given by a host to a guest...a form of respectful reverence which, culturally, was wrong to deny. Philia, familiarized in our culture by the word "Philadelphia", signified a love of, and loyalty to, a companion or friend..."brotherly love" as it is commonly expressed. Storge referred to the affection held by a parent toward her children. Eros, from which we get the word "Erotic", is, well, pretty self-explanitory...

And then there is Agape, signifying the act of being completely given over to someone...or something. Strangely, this same word described those who were attached to material possessions or entitlements as well.

Imagine the difference it would make in our culture if each of us were conscious of these distinctions and made use of them in our speech and motivations. How much more responsibility would that place in our hands regarding the way we direct our interpersonal dealings? If we could simply understand and define the various levels of attention we give others, would that not go a long way toward resolving much of the emotional turmoil that seems to plague this human race?

Well, this is a dream, to say the least. I don't claim to be one who often holds out much hope for humanity in this, but that doesn't give me an excuse to give up. Too much is at stake, and life seems a rare and precious commodity.

Our minds are wondrous devices, capable of expansion beyond scientific measure. Will we settle for a meager "less than 10% usage at any given moment, despite the fact the every part of our brain is functionally capable of processing information?

We, as a race, grow increasingly lazy in our desire for progress. We dream, we invent, we push forward, but we do it within a downward spiral of intellectual and emotional apathy. We are the epitome of terra-bound walking contradictions.

As a race, we live as if we are without hope. But hope lives, sometimes despite ourselves.

In the hearts of two who love deeply, hope is the foundation. In a child who grows daily, learning the depths of this life, hope is the life-blood of their imagination. In one whose body is painfully ravaged by disease, hope is the cure for their soul.

As for me, my hope endures in threes.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Through a spouses eyes...

Hey Everyone!
Recentely our group here has gotten me thinking more about unconditional love. We as TG's want nothing more from our spouses, but are we really giving of ourselves what we so much desire? The more I think about it the more elusive it seems to become. After some soul searching I have found a way for my spouse and I to work toward that goal. Here goes...
To tell the truth, most love is not unconditional. Few people will put up with continued abuse, dishonesty or infidelity just to name a few things. Even the best of love has limits. IMHO, to receive unconditional love you must give the same, you must also respect and honor your mate. We in the TG world seem to equate the total acceptance of being TG with unconditional love. Such is not the case. As TG folks we need to know when our spouses reach a limit they are comfortable with. I mean the last thing we want is our spouses to be uncomfortable, that is the least we can do. Why? Because we unconditionally love them, or do we. Do we ask more of our spouses then we are willing to give? Do we ask them to, accept, change, feel unfilled or go without, all while trying to fulfill our own needs? Unconditional love or love of any kind is a two way street, it requires trust, respect and a desire to see both your spouse and yourself happy. If those two goals are not compatible, then there is bound to be problems. In the recent past, I have started trying my best to see things through my wife's eyes, and you know what? She is pretty awesome, I am not sure I could muster the same support and acceptance if the roles were reversed. Many of us (me included) always seem to want just a bit more. But looking through my wife's eyes I see how much I have and how much effort she puts into accepting me for me. It is now my turn to do the same. Accept her for any limitations she has regarding me being TG, accept her for the times when she has "had it up to hear" with the whole thing, accept her when she gets upset with Shari. I owe her that much, lord knows she has gone to great lengths to try and accept me.
Peace all
Shari

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Views of a Wife Who Opposes

The wife of a transgendered person replied to my earlier post, though not the same wife as she to whom my letter was originally written. This bystanding wife raised several points, which I do appreciate her for voicing them. Though I prefer not to quote her directly, what she said will serve as a thoughtful reference to us, which highlights the common concerns that many other wives have.

She stated that a wife is not solely responsible for her husband's happiness...

She is correct, we must lead our lives in such a way that we are happy inside. If either partner prohibits the other from being their true self, it is against their respecitive abilities to exercise this choice to happiness. She is not responsible for his happiness, nor is he responsible for hers. Yet to needlessly deny happiness to one another is to either live with a very miserable spouse, or worse to put an early end to an otherwise good marriage.

She questioned why he "hid" this for so long...

Some people feel TG individuals "knew all along" the full extent of their gender identity, and chose to be "deceptive". I feel this is unfair to the TG person. How could the TG people of today's generation have known? Growing up in the pre-90's, there wasn't much information available, common understanding of the TG phenomenon was slim to none. Without any frame of reference for their TG feelings growing up, how could they have "known" something NO ONE really knew of at the time? The only thing they knew for sure was the feelings were confusing and frightening because they were all too compelling. They knew that others wouldn't approve, and perhaps they even suffered harsh punishment for attempting to express themselves. As "men" of this generation their only coping mechanism for the unnamed feeling was to try and shut it away, block it out. He didn't "hide" this, but rather it is a revelation to him/her as well, coming to accept and understand what's inside after shutting it away for so long.

She claimed my earlier letter made it sound as if the wife is "obligated to accept" the changes...

I did not mean to imply either party is obligated, as I pointed out a few times that these matters are highly individual choices. In situations where the spouse resolves that a change in their partner's gender is totally out of line with their own ability to love, than dissolution of the marriage is inevitable. I cannot say that this is wrong, because each person has to choose what is right for them in this life.

It's true that many people would be unwilling to stay and/or unable to be happy with a partner who changes gender, even if it is only on a part-time basis. I never say that unconditional love should be "expected", or an "obligation", for it cannot be. Rather it is a gift and a blessing that some couples share, but unfortunately it does not apply to everyone. I am only suggesting an "ideal" love, one which some couples are able to achieve. Yet I fully recognize that many people do not believe they are capable of such unconditional love, and therefore choose to end a relationship because of a superficial element like the condition of their spouse's appearance or physical body.

She argued that changing one's physical anatomy is "a major deal", one which violates the terms of the marriage contract.

Put into context then, it is a major deal if either spouse fundamentally changes in appearance during the course of years. Does the same standard apply to the wife? What if her own looks change after marriage? What if she gains weight or has a physical ailment that changes her body? What if after 20 years of marriage she no longer resembles physically the person he married? Is this a violation of the terms of the marriage contract? Unfortunately, many men have thought so, and either cheated on their wives or divorced. Yet, does this make it right? Or is it possible they were loving for superficial reasons?

The question is whether maintaining your spouse's body and/or physical appearance according to your specifications, is more important than his happiness? Does he impose the same standards on you? Or does he see past your appearance and still love the real you no matter how you look?

No matter what we do, even through the aging process, our appearances and bodies WILL change over time. When we marry someone, our *hope* is that they can love us through these changes.

She pointed out that a marriage contract would be breached if they had agreed to have children which were as yet unborn...

This is a good point, although many/most TG people don't intend to permanently alter their bodies using hormones or surgury, so this wouldn't be an issue. This would only be a viable concern in the case of someone transitioning permanently. Fortunately there are sperm banks for those who know in advance that they may want to have children who are genetically their own. If this is no longer an option because the TG spouse has already been taking hormones, still the transition does not affect the wife's ability to bear children and artificial insemination is a well-established process.

She concluded by noting her opinion that "one can choose" alternatives to transitioning, and that the spouse "electing" to make such a decision is deliberately making life more difficult for others around them.

I cannot fathom why anyone would "choose" to feel and live something so challenging. Being TG is one of the most difficult paths imaginable due to hostile societal conditions, and the potential risk of loss of family and friends. Why would anyone freely choose this if alternatives existed?

For many TG people, wanting to transition is not a factor. Many TG people enjoy having and keeping both male and female sides of their gender identity intact. In such cases, the femme self is revealed on a part-time basis. Yet his femme self has no less desire to be accepted and loved by those around her, than her male counterpart, your husband. With a dual gendered TG spouse who has no desire to transition permanently, their wife can enjoy both sides of his/her personality without fear of permanent change.

For TG people who do "want" to transition, my understanding is that it's not a choice at all. It is more like a "dire need", which has often been accompanied by "life or death" type of urgency. They are willing to risk forfeiting everything they've worked so hard to achieve in life because they are drowning inside of themselves. For someone married to such a person, this change must be met with loving compassion, or loss is inevitable, either through divorce or death.

The ultimate catch-22...

Some people argue that it is selfish for a TG person to come true, while others proclaim it is selfish to lie. Is it better to live a miserable existence, lying to oneself and the world, becoming repressed, bitter and angry in the process? Or is it possible that would be a disservice to others and a waste of precious life energy? Should it not be considered that mental and emotional balance are prerequisite to reaching our potential in life, thus enabling us to have a far more positive impact on our loved ones and the world at large? Without this reference point, transgender people are often put between a rock and a hard place in the views of others.

The good news...

While the response to my letter by this particular wife was disheartening, she gave us much food for thought. On the upside, the original wife to whom I wrote the letter has also responded, except her response was most encouraging and will be available on our site in the near future. Among much else, she said "I love my partner with all that I am and I am willing to make whatever adjustments need to be made to make her happy and to make our life together the best that it can possibly be." In fact, both her and her TG spouse have decided to become regular contributors to our blog so anyone who is interested will soon be able to share in their journey with us.

Friday, August 11, 2006

A Rock and a Rock

Who among us has walked a path fully knowing? How many of us, have always known even what was in our hearts all of the time?

The wise of old said, “Know thy self O man”. Why would they say that? They would say it, because we don’t always know WHO we are. None of us have come here fully knowing. We find out who we are by living. Experience teaches, and we become forged by virtue of it. That is the reason for this journey. The reason we were born. We have come here to know, and find our reasons for being.

People may marvel at someone that brakes through to the other side, from a life unknowing to one fully realized, and wonder, how could this person have not known what they were? All the while they could ask this question of someone else and not even know themselves. That perhaps is the greatest marvel of all, we are so forgetful. We forget where we came from and the mark of one wandering this life without a clue to who they really are themselves, is a judgmental heart with its black tongue.

What does a transgender person do when they finally come to know themselves? Let us say such a person had some inklings of what they were in a distant past as a child, does that mean that the knowledge this child naturally possessed will not falter? What child has the fortitude to overcome the waves of what is expected? Due to the overwhelming fact for most of us, we are taught very early on, that in order to be loved, we must abide by certain rules. A man to dress as a women is not one, in fact is one of the greatest of shames. We are taught a way of thinking so as to further deny our truest natures, and we can build a wall in all of our reason so great so as to hide even from ourselves!

And finally, one day as it becomes particularly clear, as the soul says ENOUGH, our mirrors become the telling place of an old forgotten nightmare for which we have no control, just like every other nightmare, all must be faced and WILL surface at anytime. By now and with the purest intention and with the only truths we have known, only to ignore the ones that would keep us from being loved, we have fallen in love, gotten married, have children, jobs, friends, churches, and dreams that belong to that shell we once were just yesterday, and the hopes of little faces look up at us for guidance, and the proud faces of old watch us carry their touches that they no longer have the strength to bare, and hope in us too.

We go into our lonely rooms and then we ask, “what should I do?”, I turn to the left, there is a rock, and turn to the right, there is a hard place. On one rock it is written a very, very large word, so large you can barely read it, it says LIE. Lie for them. Lie for yourself. Don’t tell them, don’t destroy all that you have done, and do not put your family to such a test. Don’t bring this shame upon everyone.

On the other rock it is written in the smallest of letters, like a tiny little voice calling from a dark lonely cave, TRUTH. Tell them the truth because they need to know you. Tell them the truth because you can not be happy lying to all you love, and therefore you cannot give them the joy you want for them, because you yourself have none, because your life is a lie. After agonizing thought and trial of process, you realize the weight of your own lie ment to save them is crushing your loved ones slowly, and all faces including your own will find a premature death, the kind that does not wait for the grave. As you slowly suck the life from all you love, and wait for the next pass to be yourself so you can be the one your hearts really want.

Guilt when you turn to the left, and guilt when you turn to the right. All you have is the “lie” and the “truth”. Which stone will you choose? Which stone would your family what for you? All the while guilt is choking your life out, like not even the most brutal warrior could.

Contracts? Meaningless vanity and illusions. Life ignores our contracts and we all fall to the destinies that are much larger then we can ever hope to be. No contract with loved ones, jobs, churches, and dreams is without vulnerability to what befalls us in this life. This is not a game! This is not dress up! There is no “choice”, how ridiculous! Do we at birth, choose the time of our death? This is life. This is what happens when we make contracts and plans.

Truth…its seems like such a small word sometimes. But it is the ultimate savior, and in our vain crying and shame and anger it WILL be the last word we will utter. Because as much as one wishes the opposite were true, you cannot fully love if you live a lie.

Monday, August 07, 2006

To the Wife of a Transwoman Coming Out

I received a letter from the wife of someone who recently revealed their transgender status after 10+ years of marriage, and who intends to transition permanently to live full time as a woman. After reading one of my earliest pieces, "Best of Both Worlds", she reached out to me in the hopes that I may be able to help her to cope with these changes in her partner, particularly in regard to sexual orientation. Fortunately she loves her spouse immeasurably, and wants to accomodate their needs if she is able. While I was only able to scratch the surface of this topic in a single letter, my hope is that I provided her with a few important points to consider. I expect that this will be an ongoing discussion, and plan to post again on this topic in the near future. I would really like to get your feedback, because I am considering writing a book on this topic. Please tell me if I am on the right track.

*****

Please forgive my delay in responding honey. I wish I could provide some easy answers, but I don't want to make light of the situation you are facing because I do understand how you feel. First off I should note that I wrote "best of both worlds" about a year ago, and in all honesty, I have personally evolved in the year since writing that piece. At the time, I was still under the impression that my partner needed to have a penis. I have since reconsidered that notion, because quite frankly, it is not the penis that I love but rather the person. A penis does not make or break the sex life, but rather, the passion and intent of each partner to please one another is the real key; the body parts are just details.

The only real certainty in life is change. Nothing remains static forever. This is especially true with human beings. Because we have minds, hearts and spirits, we are constantly evolving, changing, growing. This is obviously more true for some people than others, but yet everyone does evolve through the course of life, even if in very minor ways. Some people change drastically, for various reasons, be they intentional or otherwise.

One way or another, change is inevitable, and the only way to remain connected to another person over the long haul is to change together. As your partner evolves, you must also evolve in ways that accomodate and/or inspire your partner's growth. Otherwise, you will grow apart and find yourselves no longer compatible. To resist changes which your partner feels are essential to their happiness is to deny them the right to blossom, whereas to support their evolution is to enable them to reach for their best. A happy partner makes the best possible partner for you, so it's a win-win, provided the changes bring no harm to you.

The thing you will have to face is that as your partner transitions, she will be less inclined to assume the male role, especially in bed, mainly because it reminds her of what she doesn't want to be. If you demand this of her during intimacy when she is most vulnerable, she will come to resent the pressure. Whereas if you focus on pleasing her in the ways she needs to be pleased, quite likely she will be happy to reciprocate in whatever ways she is able. Have confidence that your partner will be far more sexually responsive if she is contented with herself, in which case she will be a more attentive lover to you.

I understand your misgivings about your own sexual orientation, as you noted you've never considered yourself a lesbian or even bisexual. I have come to realize that there is no label for my sexual orientation, because what I really love about a person is their heart, mind, and spirit, whereas anatomy is secondary. Therefore I am not a lesbian, nor am I hetero, nor am I truly bisexual (because it does not account for loving gender-fluid people). I guess if someone had to label me, it would be something like "queer" because I don't fit into any pre-defined box.

The question is whether your sexual orientation defines you as a person? Quite likely, in the grand scheme of you as a whole person, sexuality is just one fraction of who you are. Thus, to get hung up on this detail to the point where it might lead to questioning your love relationship, seems giving too much importance to something that doesn't even define the totality of you.

You loving your spouse, no matter what her anatomy, does not mean you are suddenly a lesbian attracted to all women, it simply means that you have the ability to love your partner in any form.

The fundamental point to ponder is, are you harmed by the changes?

You may feel that the changes will bring negative social stigma to your life... in this case, ask yourself whether the opinions of outsiders matter more than your partner's happiness?

You may feel that your children (if any) would be confused by the changes... in this case, ask yourself whether you wish to raise your children to understand only what's inside the old box of societal norms, or if teaching them to be open-minded and accepting of diversity may actually be a service to them?

You may feel that the changes will diminish the excitement of your sex life... in this case, ask yourself whether you are more excited by the totality of your partner as a person, or by their body parts?

You may feel that having a partner who changes gender will mean having to change the label of your sexual orientation... in this case, ask yourself whether the label is more important than the love?

I can't answer any of these questions for you dear one, only you know what's right for you. All I do know for sure is that your heart is in the right place in asking the questions you did. Your spouse is very blessed to have you as a partner, because it is clear that your love for her is pure and strong.

I wish you all the best, in whatever path you may choose.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

I Believe in You


There are times in our lives when we may find ourselves facing challenges that can seem overwhelming. The situation or task we are struggling with seems hopeless, and it is easy to stop believing in ourselves, our goals, and our dreams. It is during these moments that it can be reassuring and reaffirming to turn to the people in our lives who do believe in us, especially when we are finding it hard to believe in ourselves. An encouraging word, a reassuring look, or hearing the words "I believe in you" from someone who matters can help us turn our situations around in an instant.

Everybody has someone who believes in them, whether this person is a teacher, parent, friend, loved one, or an employer. Often their belief can wrap us in warmth, bolster us, and offer us a supportive hand to grab onto until we can regain our own support. Having that special person who believes in our abilities and our worth is a wonderful gift. But when we are feeling unworthy, it may be difficult to take in something so precious. We may even feel like we need to do it all on our own and that we shouldn't be asking for help. However, in letting their belief and support impact you, you are acknowledging the part of yourself that knows you are worthy of trust and esteem. By allowing them to believe in you, your own belief in yourself and your abilities will start to emerge again. Borrow their vision, and you can make it your own.

If your special someone is not there to spur you on, you also can lift yourself up with the gift of a positive image. When you feel uncertain, you can create a vision of the future you desire that will serve as a beacon of light. To do so, simply imagine a future that is exactly as you'd like it to be. Imagine in detail how you feel, what you are doing, and how others are responding to you. Make your vision as real as possible, and allow your doubts to recede so you can focus solely on the goal you seek. The more intently you focus on the image of what you want, your belief in yourself will step to the forefront, making it easier for the universe to open up a path and guide you.

From www.dailyom.com