Sunday, November 29, 2009
But this is what has caught my eye, rather than all the glitz, tinsel and artificial plastic decorations.
Out beyond my neighborhood, where no developments have sprung up, no stores have moved in, it is still nothing but scrub grass and steep hills that graze cattle on either side of the road. Trees ride the ridge lines in the distance and there is no sense of civilization hovering at either end of the little bypass as you navigate the middle. Down in the high yellow grass at the pavement's verge, there are tiny volunteer pines that have sprung up here and there, 10, 20, 30 yards apart, seedlings blown by nature and not planted by man.
A few days ago I was driving towards my house down this road and did a double take...someone, quite randomly and for no rhyme or reason other than sheer joy, had made their way to one of the little trees, and they had decorated it with Christmas decorations! There it stands, all by itself, perhaps no more than four feet tall, with tinsel and Christmas ornaments glinting and swaying in the breeze of passing traffic. Somebody was practicing random kindness and senseless acts of beauty and decorated a random anonymous tree on a busy road, for no other reason than the joy that it might bring! I pulled the car over and got a picture.
The commercialism fades away and the artificiality is gone - for me the real Spirit of Christmas this year began on a paved cut through road devoid of everything save trees and scrub, as a gift from a stranger...Lets pass it on, people. What can each of us do, to randomly represent the true Christmas/Solstice/Yule spirit?
Let us give, with love, to the stranger at our gates...
Monday, November 23, 2009
"Girl meets Girl. Girl becomes Boy. Girl and Boy become a band. Meet COYOTE GRACE. If you want a lesson in organic chemistry, take notes and watch the sparks fly between the acoustic downhome duo known as COYOTE GRACE. This old-timey salt & pepper shaker pair is comprised of Joe Stevens, a transman singer/songwriter from Northern California, backed up by Ingrid Elizabeth on vocals and upright bass, a sassy femme originally hailing from the hills of Southeastern Ohio. The two met while living in Seattle, and have been performing as a duo since December 2004, sharing the stage with bluegrass, old-time, folk rock, jazz, and cabarets alike."
Here are two of their amazing songs. The first is "A Guy Named Joe", which speaks directly to Joe Stevens transformation from a girl to a guy and showcases his musical talent as singer and song writer.
The second song is called Summertime and tells the same story from her perspective with the delightful line "thank God boys like her like the girls like me!"
As they travel the Midwest performing, they continue to speak of transgender issues and awareness. Their music is available through their website, and they are generous about posting music to listen to on their site. If you like this quirky delightful laid back music, go buy some CD's and help keep them singing!
Friday, November 20, 2009
Having posted some very somber statistics for the Transgender Day Of Remembrance, I wanted to take a moment and remember and honor the living. Heather and Alex's story is a triumph of music, art and the power of the human spirit. I wrote a three part blog post about them awhile back, but I wish to share again their music.
You see, Heather and Alex are one and the same person. Heather was Transgender...and after years of internal struggle reached the point where she could not go one step further without turning and becoming who and what she truly was...she risked her voice and career to transition and become Alex.
She gave one last concert as Heather to say (and sing) fare well, and then she "went to the Land of Fairy to be granted her deepest wish." Alex meanwhile, "escaped" from the Land of the Fae and came and stood in her place, heir to her musical legacy.
Here are two videos, one of Heather and one of Alex. The video of Heather is dark and the camera is shaky, but it is worth seeing for the power of her performance of Fairy Queen" and her presence on stage.
This next is Alex's version of the same song, to tell his side of the story, as he came back from the lands of Fae...
So this is a triumph of the human spirit, of authenticity and some fantastic music as well.
(and this is not the only trans musician I follow...I will post more of that another time)
Please enjoy the music, and if you want to read my original three posts, follow the tags. They are linked, in case you wish to read a fuller account of their incredible story.
Alex's website is found at Fairy Tale Minstrel,
Please go check it out, support his music and get CD's...and Heather's music is still available though this site as well.
This is tagged so that it is linked with the other posts I did about Alex and Heather.
So this Trans Day of Remembrance closes here with inspiration and hope.
May you enjoy the music and be blessed even as I have been...
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Buddha, known as BooBoo, was only four years old.He was an incredibly enthusiastic solid cat who meeped and mrrped and headbutted and loved on us with all the affection in his body for the brief time we had with him.
There was no visible reason for his passing...his weight, health and hydration all appeared good. He was, however, from a very inbred population and I think his heart basically stopped. None of his brothers and sisters survived birth. I suspect we had him as long as we were meant to have him.
I cannot believe he is gone - Dreamweaver and I are both devasted. I thank God for the blessings of BooBoo in our lives.
May he be well in the Summerlands, until we meet again.
Monday, November 9, 2009
May you be blessed, as I have been....
Major in Fanfics & Procrastination, Minor in Sleep
I recommend it highly...not only is she a terrific writer, she is an artist and a brave courageous person whose life inspires my own...her latest post is powerful and I'd like to share it...go take a look!
Monday, November 2, 2009
I attended church with energetic consistence, went to singles groups and retreats (these were designed btw, pretty much for the sole purpose of catching a spouse, not for how to function as a single individual, whole unto one’s self. The singles activities were all social, with a thin veneer of Bible study, designed to have you meet your opposite number and prepare to be a good little submissive wife, or authoritarian husband. There was an unspoken undercurrent that we were all in the singles groups until we “graduated” by marrying some one…until then, we were just marking time.) In an interesting aside - none of the nice, well spoken Christian young men in these groups ever looked twice at me. I was actually well liked, but I was also always treated like a friend or a sister, or even as “one of the guys”. It would be years before I figured out the how’s and whys of that dynamic!
At this point, I was 24 about to turn 25. I dated men with a grim determination – a friend, “Irishman”, who owned a local independent bookstore…a handsome co-worker at my job whom I will call “Doubter”…a good friend of Irishman whom I will call “Couch Potato”. There was even, very briefly, one more woman, “D” who was more than a friend…but I still could not face this part of myself, and I turned away from her, even more determined than ever to be true to what my conservative upbringing had indoctrinated into me – Homosexuality was a sin, a choice and one I must reject or lose my connection with God.
After a confused period of about three years (and I am leaving SO much out, but this is focused NOT on the details, but the substance of this part of my life…) the relationship with Couch Potato had grown and deepened into dating, loving and became an engagement. It was not without it’s ups and down. Twice during those 3 years we broke up, and then came back together. He was far more in love with me than I was with him. In many ways he was the ideal for me – we shared many interests, he was gentle and loving and he was a joy to talk to. I had told him my deepest darkest secrets – everything from the rape in my past to my struggles with my sexual identity and my “choice" to give up my interest in women…he never once flinched. I was able to talk honestly with him, as I could few people in my life at the time.
However in many ways, Couch Potato was also a big problem. He was ambivalent about the church – that was an issue, because I refused to marry outside my faith. He had a difficult relationship with his mother and sister – their communication consisted of verbal abuse on three sides; NOT a characteristic one wants to follow in to a marriage. He is not nicked-named Couch Potato here in my blog for nothing; he was utterly addicted to television, and I so was not. This last was masked from me, because at this time, in the end of the 1980’s, there actually were TV shows I was following, a rare event in my life. When the 3 – 4 shows I was watched finally ended a few years later, suddenly I was no longer particularly interested in TV…and his constant TV fixation grew over the years to the point of seriously interfering with our relationship. He was also a porn addict – and I say that in all seriousness. Someday, I will post about him and the years that I knew him, until his death last year. He deserves an elegy. But this post is for other things...
Truthfully, I liked his long hair, but the gesture was a noble one, and it did ease some things for my dad a bit. Finally, the engagement became a marriage – on May 5th, 1989, he and I were married. There was one other thing that was a part of his life – he had Muscular Dystrophy. He had the Myatonic type that affects the extremities…his arms and hands did not have the strength they should have had and his legs as well. But by in large, he was reasonably unaffected by it, and the Dr. who diagnosed it assured him that he would have a mostly normal life. Little did we know then, that the Dystrophy would cost us so much more than we ever dreamed in the future…but on our Wedding day in May, we were happy, and young and in love, truly.
Every now and then, the deep part of me that was put aside forever would stir...the sight of an attractive or striking woman walking down the street would catch my eye...or there would be inevitable new program or political upheaval about gay rights...and I would turn away from that deep internal twinge. Of course, the fact that things were stirring every so often inside me meant that - even if I denied it - someday, it was all going to rise again, to the point that I could not ignore it. But at that point in time, I was happy where I was. It was the happiness of someone oblivious in the path of a hurricane of epic proportions, or living on a slowly slipping, eroding earthquake fault. The happiness was real...but it could not last. Other things were also stirring subconsciously - undealt with issues with the rape and assault, undealt with situation with church. I was a walking ticking time bomb. And simply could not see it coming.
It was the summer when the movie Rob Roy starring Liam Neeson and Jessica Lange came out. Couch Potato and I scrambled to see it, and then saw it again, multiple times more. Great movie...but it triggered something within me in that deep uneasy silent place that I was so busy ignoring. To this day, I still haven't quite unraveled it. In the oddest way, I found myself identifying so strongly with the lead character. I still haven't unraveled my gut reactions to that movie - but I am quite sure that some of the deep nudges to my intuition had to do with being a butch lesbian and my years later realization of being transgender. At the time, I simply knew that I felt more than I could express about what I saw in the character of Rob in the movie. Strange how the smallest things that seem trivial can have messages for us that we can only unravel much later. It's like having a random piece of the puzzle, but not enough of the rest of the picture to put it in place. You know it's significant, but without context, the meaning eludes you...it haunted me for a long time to come.
The other thing that happened in the fall of '95 is that over a period of months, Couch Potato simply checked out of our relationship emotionally. All of a sudden, over that fall and into the winter, he simply, somehow left even thought his body was still sitting there. We became like roommates, sharing space. I was confused, I was lost. I could not figure it out - I still haven't, even in the wake of his death last year. I have some educated guesses, that I think are pretty close to correct, but since I never could get him to talk about it, and now he is gone, I will not know in this life what happened for certainty. Another distressing part of this time with him was that in parts of our relationship, he became abusive...not something I would have ever expected from him, or ever saw any warning signal that things could turn this way. It was completely out of character for him. I struggled desperately with the situation, unable to cope or understand, unable to ask for help, or confide in anyone.
Over the next four years the situation worsened. The abuse became frightening, though it finally peaked and burned out at last towards the end...and left us just coexisting in our house like two strangers who happened to meet in the middle to pay the bills. Needless to say, in the vacuum of my marriage's destruction, and after over a decade's suppression, the long buried issues of my sexuality and orientation, and my faith and beliefs all began to rise. I wandered around my house empty and lonely, and thinking of things that I had firmly set aside...
....and this time there would be no stopping the inevitable truths. The change was inevitable, unavoidable and necessary - change or die, all over again. I'd been down that road before, almost to the bitter end. I chose a different road this time.
And my journey was never going to be the same...