A Heart’s True Home

Composed and circumspect she walks
twixt times, twixt places and spaces,
inside, outside, hither and yon thru low valleys
and casual embraces.

Grey skies snug down and nestle around
her quiet composed aching soul,
for they noticed her sighs and longings for someone
to come and complete and make whole.

Hugged by the sands and kept in the crook
of the far horizon’s safe arms,
Her treasure lays there…in the shimmery air
just before, just beyond bitter harm.

So the snuggly grey clouds settle velvety soft
and kiss gently on her longing cheek,
and then gracefully lift having blessed the sad rift
with gifts greater than all tongues could speak.

Worlds, realms, and tangled realities torn
are the territories she roams.
And just maybe…glad someday…she finds her desire,
and at last her heart finds her True Home.

Until that far day she will welcome the Grey
and its precious and bright silver lining,
She walks glad and in Beauty set free of dull duty
and free from her long lonely pining.

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What I Like

I like good books
under a snuggly blanket
while the rain scritches
at the gutters and windows.

I like preparing fresh food
chop by pile, and then
going to heaven on the aromas
and dance as they come together
into a dish of delicious love.

I like singing
on my bike
while I ride
through the mountains
as trees sway
and rivers prance
and wind roars
in my heart
while the hawk
glides above all.

I like writing,
and writing poetry
especially.

I like talking with people
about their hearts.

I like saying that
just right word
of kind encouragement,
and then seeing someone
do the impossible.

I like studying out new insights.

I like spending time
with Mama and
feeling Her love for me
where once I felt
only lonely shame.

I like Jesus
and His funny jokes
and sometimes capering ways.
And that He cries.

I like romance movies
where it all ends like it’s supposed to
but surprises me anyway.

I like teaching people
about wine, and watching them
wake up to a
whole new world.

I like hearing my kids
tell their thoughts and
being taught by
their fresh perspective.

I like making music
and listening to music.

I like having
a whole bunch of people over
and making a huge feast for them,
insisting they be free
to take joy in the food and drink
and fellowship.

I like being kind
and being a blessing.

I like driving
in the flow.

I like shopping
all day
with my oldest daughter
and then getting great food
and chattering together about
our awesome bargains
and red hot new look!

I like being with my baby,
me small and safe
in her loving arms
while we
talk the blackness
away.

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Many Paths and Peace

Deep, in a tangled wood, damp,
sodden in velvet dew and drenched, perfumed
with cedar, with pine, with fir
and oak.

I have hunkered down here,
comfortable and peering out,
into the distant and clear cultivated field
with its timorous tractors trailing
droning beetle-like scrabbing and scritching
thru metal lined throats.tumblr_n2udhchnjO1s2z59jo1_1280Deeper in, one can get caught,
snared and snagged in the brackish brambles.
They clutch with needle-lined palms and
infect with greedy lassitude and
seduce you to stay, and become
part of the ever-tangle.tumblr_n4exm2jPku1qixiezo1_1280But here, in the copse on the edge,
I am free to nudge a bit deeper
into the tangle when I am low and tremulous, and
free to step out to the clearing and
wave my red-cape soul at that android bull
and holler out…

I love to linger here,
wrapped in my blanket and
huddled down with simple things.
Crunchy yeasty baton of pungent
bread broken, and chunks of Dunbarton Blue
growling explosive bass lines of
musky-meaty-briny-cream intertwining
the tangled wood’s sweat in the heat of the sun, and
simple thick garlic sausage, hard and chewy
and satisfying.

Day passes, and I sip strong dark roasted coffee soused with cream
and peaty scotch, and let its tides stir me, calm me, open me…
And I hear the throaty gurgle of the deep tangle calling,
and I hear the scuttling hurly-burly stylings of distant throngs…
and the birds, surfing that in-between gulf, smudging that line,
that threshold with magic singing  seamlessly weaving
a spell of sound, of longing, of contentment…and wistful peace.tumblr_n2oewarUKo1s2z59jo1_1280And I wonder at what I hear.
I wonder how long the oaks have sat,
humming oaky thoughts that transcend
the transient Kingdom of human history?
I wonder if the Oaks sang the vines awake,
or did the Vines, pregnant with fecund waking
sap and summer, thrust up and reach with their
familiar and low-rhythmic song to wake oaks and
taunt the tangle with merry fingers waggling
and grateful and greedy and hungry
and content?

Later, in the early soft gloaming I rise from my
den of antiquity and ancient comforts.
The tangle, the clearing, the fields and fowls
… and the vines…
have pierced me, are in me,
have made me one of them now,
one with them, and I amble home
full of many paths and peace.tumblr_n43zooElHv1t3jtfro1_1280

I am shaking

Constance, I am sitting, stunned!
I have been editing Spitting Bones and I am trembling at the emotions it has evoked within me.
Waves of tears well up from my gut, and overflow in fear, and then in anger…

and then finally tears that turn to tears of joy.

I do not really know where this poem came from.  I awoke on Sunday morning with that phrase

…spitting bones…

ringing in my ears and I was all discombobulated, but I knew it was a phrase of power and portent and would grow into a poem.
I think this poem will unfold itself to me for a long season.  For now, it shimmers as something hard-won and safe,
but glitters as something glinty-eyed and still not tame!

What the heck is going on with this one, Constance?  I like it…I fear it…I treasure it.

Spitting Bones

I remember the bones…smooth
with the thick patina of reverence and religion.
Pushed thru the bars of my crib, one by one,
proffered by priests and priestesses
frantic in the grip of their god.
Their god of two faces, only two…
and bones, always endless bones.
I cried fearful and turned away from
the face their god thrust into mine,
wrathful and hungry to eat me,
and spit me out as bones.

I remember the birth of days, endless continuum
of spitting bones (they fed) forced into my heart
by fingers of dread and violation.
Their food was wormwood, was fungal,
was necrotic and charnel charcuterie,
it was bones thrown, divining that
never-never-land, that future of failure
and folly-laced affliction offered
as communion that roundabout me
all partook of, eating the body and drinking the blood
of a god breaking them all for itself!
Wretch that I was, east of Eden and hungry,
alone and spitting bones.

But the days when my cradle concealed
only an ash heap desolate and bleak in the wind,
and the nights where my bars branded themselves
into my soul to make me their always-prisoner,
began to be cracked by winds, by tremors, by thunders
and by storms, always storms railing,
leaving me soaked to my bones
and raw from my bars,
but slick and wet, ready for birth.

And even as I had spit the bones of that god
bitter from my velvet mouth, I reached,
and gripped hard, and wrenched in desperate anguish
until at last those sharp teeth
(that hungry god’s unwisdom teeth)…
those brands burnt sizzling into my heart tore loose!
Bloody and gore spattered, glistening
with dread power draining, diminishing.
I welled up my outrage, my despair,
my affliction and conjured from them
alchemal ancient power and found my niche,
found my mission spitting bones!

And now?
I sit on downy green mounds,
on high hills become mountains!
I forage in fields of gold, omnivore
and gleaning food from gods forgotten,
gods ignored, from Grace Herself
Who is bounty and variegated victory!
And I eat, freely, with no fear or terror
of the old god who died and cannot rise again!
I draw strength from the meat of complicated cuts
that must be cured and marinated and braised off
until they loose their grip on gore and their poison is annulled.
For all my days, I will be one who can consume all things
and grow to grace others and thrive,

eating the food… and spitting bones.Luna

Renewing an old acquaintance with a new friend

I had the most blessed opportunity over the weekend (I want to write about that, perhaps later).

I was at a wine event.  Now Constance, as you know if you have read from the beginning, Wine is the central metaphor in life for me.  And if you are a new Constance, I am considering posting about that metaphor again, as every time I write on that topic, I learn more and grow.

Anyway, what a wonderful time, and lo and behold I saw a winemaker whom I had been out of touch with for a couple years, primarily because of the wrenching and wrestling that I was undergoing as the Lord and Lady brought me back to myself and began to restore me to wholeness.  They used work as their huge demolition tool, and what with all that coupled with my friend’s own business and some significant changes in her own life, we simply paddled down the river of life best we could with eyes only on the impending rapids seemingly always ahead.

We were happy to see each other, and as she is perceptive and highly intelligent, she figured out right away that I was very different.  And, I admit that I was just a bit less veiled in my word choices as I spoke with her.  The upshot is that we reconnected which is always good, but here is something that is great!

In email exchange, I finally had the chance to tell her how much I had esteemed her in my heart of hearts!

I had just written of friendship, and particularly how I had felt so cut off from female friends due to the gender binary enforcing upon me the role of my genetic sex (male).  All interactions were laden with these directives, expectations, dictates and requirements!  I could never just be myself and LIKE someone, lest confusion set in, or accusation rail down, or things be taken wrong…it was a mess!

And then after I got married, and most of that was laid to rest, there was then the so-called “problem of morality” of being perceived as a married “man” who was overly-friendly to women not his wife!  The fear of being a creeper, or a horn-dog, or a rounder bound me up horribly and my heart ached.

And then worst of all, the women I esteemed the most tended to be within 10 years of the age of my mid-twenties daughters!  Of course now I understand that, as I am emotionally around that age in my own truncated growth as a woman.  But physically???  Well the permutations of creepy grew so quickly that I was nauseated at the very prospect of what others would think, and horrified that the girls I wanted to draw close to and imitate and learn from and hang out with and look up to would see some old letch!

Sigh.  Sigh.  Sob.

Thankfully, I am finally being restored to wholeness, and the timing of the opportunity to reconnect with my friend was brialliant!  And I was so blessed with her words back to me, of acceptance (thanks for stressing that word dozens of times! LOL), affirmation, and vulnerability.  This young lady is vibrant, visionary and valiant!  She works closely with her father and also works on the side professionally.  She is thoughtful and intelligent, considerate and strongly confident.  She is sometimes sad and lonely inside, but finds strength and commitment to press on, knowing that tough times don’t last but tough people do.

She is just one of those people you want to hang out with…she cool!

Look around you today…there may be shy ones who long to leave the shadows and walk in the light…all they need is someone to hold their hand until they get their balance.

 

Blessings and Joy,

Charissa

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A wonderful amazing new follower, and a comment

Constance, I got an email this morning that I had a new follower.  This always results in my giving a squeal of delight, and yes I will admit…disbelief!  LOL!

Even now I find it unbelievable that anyone wants to read what I have to say!

Anyway, it is happening, and as with so many other miracles happening in this time, I am just accepting it and saying THANKS LG!!

So my new follower has a blog where she expresses herself, and it is creative and unusual, unique and precious.  I was absolutely riveted by a post she made, and I want to re-post it here for you all to read.  I could have written that post!!  I am continually amazed as I read story after story after story, from all different cultures and eras and epochs that mirror my own story and echo my own sorrows.

But I think I have been receiving some insight, some instruction, and I think that I have been given the faith to insist that

THIS. EXISTENCE. IS. NOT. A. DEAD-END!!

NO!!  I think we can blow that back wall apart with joy and kindness and mercy and surrender.  Like water we can flow around, over, through, until that hated mortar dissolves and the walls do the Jericho dance!

On to her post:

THE SADDEST PEOPLE

“I think the saddest people always try to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anybody else to feel like that.”

(Source: Tumblr – blissfulxparadise)

This. This. This is exactly what i wanted to say to people or friends who just laughed when I told them I was depressed. They laughed because they thought it was not possible for me to be depressed because I was always there to make them happy, make everyone laugh, make their day, and help then every time I could. They laughed because they often see me smile and laugh. What they don’t know is that at night, when I am alone, I am a different person. I am the saddest being you would ever see. As ladies remove their makeup before sleep, I remove the smile that I painted earlier in the morning. I know how it feels to be miserable and underappreciated… I don’t want anyone to feel that way… That is why I try my best to make others happy. I make them feel good and appreciated. I never show my own wounds because it can make them sad, too. However, here’s is the price I pay: no one believes me when I say I am exceedingly sad.

Oh, dear Yi, you said it so very well!!

I think that the beginnings of true joy are always found in seed form in the deepest aches and sorrows.  I think of the examples of redemption stories from around the world that always involve the Redeemer who has to descend to the deepest and darkest depths of despair and doom in order to transcend them in resurrection, rising to victory over them and living in a new creation.

Certainly in my faith and redemption story, Precious Jesus went to the very bowels of hell and to the absolute bottom of the bottom, underneath all things before rising, and leading a host of captives to liberty with Him.

Lately, I have been finding that the goal of helping others to be happy, to be joyful and edified is remaining with me, in me as a state of being!  I am thrilled, of course, because as Yi so tenderly puts it, night used to have the power to unleash the hounds of hellish anxieties, fear, and dread.  Those demon dogs would ravage my heart and rip it to shreds, and I would lose anything I gained.

How did I get there? HA!  In a way that made no sense!  Well, no sense by the upside down logic of our world…I simply gave up!

Yep, surrendered, yielded and said kaput!

But the secret is this:  I didn’t give up to the nothing, I gave up to Someone!  Lady Grace had made promises, to other people in other lands and other times, and She said that these promises were for all peoples in all lands and all time…and I realized that I literally had nothing to lose.

I had nothing.  Nothing could be lost, finally.

And Someone would find me, and She was faithful to what She said She would do, and so She brought me a mighty long way.

Consider:  was I not as hypocritical, incongruent as the very ones I sought to help?  For I was telling them that joy, happiness, gladness and gratitude was the state of being which would yield the greatest fruitfulness…and yet I myself was using those very qualities to cover up that gaping gash in my very own heart!  I felt lost because I knew it was impossible to conjure them out of the awful stuff inside me.

Thanks be to God, for being those very things in me…for being present to fill me with joy, and peace, and clean contentment.

I want to echo Yi’s poignant post, and remind you to be aware as you walk each day, there are those all around you who may be teetering on the brink of despair…and just one touch, one smile, one compassionate hug may be the grain of sand that starts an avalanche of change for them.  And I also want to exhort us all…let us look beyond, to the time and place of transcendence, and to the One Who transcends all things and has overcome the world!

Love, Charissa

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The Blindness of Unbelief and Assumption

Here is a passage from the book of Mark that I have been pondering this morning:

Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him.  And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue.

And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands!  “Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?”

So they were offended at Him.

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.”

Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.  And He marveled because of their unbelief.

Here is what struck me this time, and I have read this passage at least a hundred or more times…Jesus Himself was unable to effect change in the lives of these individuals because of their unbelief.

Unbelief…harsh word?

Well, consider, the first thing we are told is that they were astonished when they ran into Jesus again after He had been away.  He had been baptized, filled with Lady Grace, purified thru testing in the wilderness, and essentially been commissioned to get on with the job of being God Incarnate.  He clearly was much different!

But:  this difference scared them, made them uncomfortable, and so they played out the tapes of assumption based on years of thinking they knew Him.  They recite the lines, and by doing so infer that HE should be adhering to them…and then comes the real core of the issue:  they were offended!

The choice to take offense is the choice to become infected with unbelief.  I will post about Offense sometime, but for now, what struck me was this:

As a transgender woman, I am quite fearful of being myself openly when I am around people who “know me”, and the longer they have been acquainted with me the more reluctant I am to be open.  When I am around strangers, I am openly myself in dress, vocal tones, vocabulary, gesture and countenance.  It is really a big difference.

We are guilty as humans, due to laziness mostly, of allowing daily events and regular occurrences to become the scripts and stage directions by which we live and understand the world.  This is evident anytime there is a significant change but is very very commonly demonstrated when someone chooses to come out.  Statistically, the longer someone has been known by others as being one way, the more violent and shattering the reaction by them to the one transitioning.  In this crucible, many many relationships melt down for good.

I have written before of how shocked and dismayed I was when I realized that I was not the owner of my own gender identity, but in fact everyone around me was!!

A transgender person does not own their gender identity!  No, we have to claim it, and then take it, and tragically this often means that little to no relationship will ever be present again with numbers of people in their lives.

Back to the passage in Mark:  even Jesus suffered from this, and was stigmatized by the twin powers of Unbelief and Assumption, and renounced in their name.

I am encouraged, oddly, by knowing that even Precious Jesus found His hands tied when He was among the offended Unbelieving people of the past.

In conclusion, join me in choosing to first of all not take offense, and then secondly to not assume we know just because we knew!  I think we will all be happier, and certainly more of a blessing to God and His creatures!

Love, Charissa

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(This poor thing was dressed by assumption and victimized by offense!!!  giggle!)

A book I want to recommend…

I am reading a book by a woman named Stasi Eldridge, called Becoming Myself: embracing God’s dream of you.

Wow.  Let me tell you a little story first.  Years and years ago, when my baby and me and our kids regularly attended meetings in a building on Sundays (this is referred to unthinkingly as “going to church”, church being the building and the service that is held in the building…a pet peeve of mine that church isn’t going to people, but that’s a different post! giggles), I was heavily involved in the administration of these services, both in front and behind the scenes.

As a person blessed to have been born into an intact family with strong christian beliefs and principles, I was exposed enough to the Lord to get infected and not inoculated.

chew that notion for awhile:  are you infected, or inoculated?

My roots went deep, and God had faithfully and very mercifully revealed Himself enough that I hungered and thirsted for His presence.  So it was a natural thing that I be tapped for that particular activity that we have labelled “ministry”.

Now, in the process of that, I was involved in small groups, home groups, bible studies…oh, and then the meetings I hated the most:  Men’s Group!  OMG, we had all these macho names we cycled thru, of who we were, and who we were supposed to be.  I sat in countless breakfasts on Saturday morning watching these “animals” shovel food down their gullets that was grease-laden and starchy and all I could think was that I would balloon 10 lbs if I ate an ounce!

Men’s retreats, Promise Keepers, I saw it all…omg and then the books I was handed to study!  Good books, for the most part, but so irrelevant to my life, and soo depressing to read.  Because it was simultaneously an indictment of my failure and a curse on my being.  Oh, I was good enough at comprehending what was taught, and applying it best I could as a worshipper of God and the parent of children I love and the spouse of a person I adore!  But it was a curse…cus I wasn’t what they told me I ought to be…and a burden cus it went against the very warp and weft of my heart!

My honey would go to Women of Faith conferences, Women’s retreats, Women’s Tea Social and Fellowship time, and various asundry other things, and wow did I get sad!  (But I got good brownie points for being so interested in what she learned!  LOL).

So anyway, one author in particular that I struggled with was Jon Eldridge!  Such a seemingly good man, and a fabulous writer, his emphasis was on being robust adventurers for the Lord.  Being a man meant striding out confidently with clear vision, being on fire and committed, and being tough and resolute spiritually and mentally.

THAT.     JUST.     WASN’T.     ME.

So I ended up slogging thru this stuff and learning it, so I could teach it to the men that I was thrown in with…and also so I could take my daughters aside and show them the kinds of things that men are thinking, not thinking, and being taught in churches.

Eventually, we were casualties of a split church, a nasty leadership fight, and the wagging tongues of gossip, and in the year that we lost my father in July and my baby’s mother in November, we resigned from the church and started “detox!”  One of the hardest things I have gone thru, and one of the best as well!  Huge lacks were revealed in our lives that had to do with having real relationships.  Tragically, every relationship in our lives had been built on the sinking sand of “ministry”…so when ministry was gone, so was anything built on it!  This was in 2005.

Since that time, we have attended many groups referred to as Church, some for months and some for weeks, but mostly, we have tried to live, and be kind, and we have continued in our journey together with the Lord.  And of course for me, beginning shortly after Dad died, Lady Grace began to actively dismantle all my shields and walls…and set me free.

So back to the present:  I am reading Stasi Eldridge’s book.  She is Jon’s wife.  Little did I know then that I was reading the wrong Eldridge!  LOLOLOL!!

This book touches me with nearly every word.  Oh, it is not complicated intellectually, or high and majestic theologically…no, this book is written from the heart of someone who for years felt the same way about herself as I feel (and this is more “felt”, praise the Lord! 🙂  ).  She put things into words that I had previously lacked vocabulary for.  She writes with her heart, and speaks to my heart.

I am recommending this book, pending completion of it, but I don’t think it is going to take any funky turn.

I do wonder, though…how would she feel if she knew that she was blessing a transgender woman, and providing her with the spiritual sustenance to see her through to the end of her transition?  This exemplifies a far broader concern and area of a lot of apprehension…what will be the reaction of that group of people called “The Church” in our culture when or if I ever try to attend services and worship the Lord?  Based on the things I heard men saying all those years, I tremble with fear and my heart quails.  Based on the way I saw women in those days rip each other to shreds with their words and rivalries and competitions, I want to sink into the sea before I go into some den of lions like that.

But then there are the ladies I am meeting here…Dani who blogs here…and a new friend named Kaitie Bortell who also blogs here.  They have been kind, edifying, encouraging, and have warmed my heart so with hope and joy.  Maybe there are others like them in all of the “churches”?

And maybe, in embracing God’s dream for me, He will send me into those places to break down walls and to build up the broken and set captives free.  It terrifies me to think on.  But consider the odds:  if transgenderism is statistically more common than cleft pallet, then there are literally thousands of transgender people, suffering silently as did I for all those years, fearful of being condemned and policed.  And consider also:  since homosexuality is far more statistically present than transgenderism, there are even more, suffering under the same fears and accusations.

It is not my place to figure out someone’s sexuality.  It is not my place to scrutinize them, trying to figure out if they or anyone for that matter, is a real christian!  But it is my place to be kind…to bless and not curse…to love them, freely with no expectation of return but great hope of increase…and to be merciful and sit with the broken and ooze Grace upon Grace upon Grace!

Maybe Lady Grace will call me to break down walls, and build up the ancient ruins…and maybe Lady Grace will call me to cook everyday for my loved ones and take care of our household. That is up to Father, Jesus and Her.  In the meantime, I am going to keep on plowing thru Stasi’s book, and pray for the courage to Become Myself, as God would have me become.

May Grace multiply to you always with the Peace of all peace…

Charissa

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Horrified…Relieved…and finally Rejoicing!

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I saw this image, and I burst into tears.  It was almost like PTSD…my heart began to race, and I had a hard time breathing.  From my earliest memories forces outside me had been putting that suffocating corset over my heart, my soul…over me!

Family…acquaintances…institutions…paradigms.

Pulling it tight!

And pulling it tighter.

And tighter.

I had to force myself to breathe, and beg Lady Grace to touch me and hold my heart.  I quoted my older brother David son of Jesse:

“Be still oh my soul, and know that He is God!”

Bestillbestillbestill bestill bestill bestill be still be still be still

Be.

Still.

He is God.

…and then it happened, and I realized that my life is finally going the other way…Lady Grace on one tie, and Jesus on the other, gently loosening those tangled ties…taking out the intricate knots placed by fear and death…

Thank you so much, for this woman caught in adultery (we all are she), this woman at the well, this woman hemorrhaging internally since birth, this woman bent over at the waist since awakening…

…is now at Their feet, being loosed!  Being untied!  Being Set FREE.

Won’t you join me, letting go of whatever it is this broken place forced onto your heart at birth?

After all, my walk thru transition is amazingly parallel to my walk transitioning from the realm of death to the realm of life!

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Thank you, Dearest God!  And Blessings and Grace and Peace to you all this morning.

Love, Charissa

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Friends: Who are they, What are they, & Dani IS one!

http://www.chicagonow.com/trans-girl-cross/2014/04/defining-friendship/

Good Morning Constance!  I am going to do some re-posting of things that I think are really worth reading and processing.

This article on friendship is good, and in the context of this blog, I wanted to repost it because there are people who have touched my life thru this medium, people I otherwise would never have known were alive.  Almost certainly we will never meet in this earthly period, but I am supremely confident that we will when the King Returns and cleanses all and brings the City of God to Earth and there is no more crying or killing in all His Holy Mountain!

There are a lot of things in the article that touch on parts of what makes someone a friend…and I want to say here that Dani has done so many of those things for me, and been those things for me as well.  While we do not “know” each other, her writings and her timely encouragements gave me strength and hope to not give up and sink into the morass of despair.

And of course, my family…my beloved and our children…I have been blessed by their choice to allow a friendship to grow on top of the foundational relationship that God ordained for us all in putting us together as flesh and blood…thanks guys!!!!!

…………and thanks Dani!  Bless you for your heart dripping with the gusto of Grace!

Love, Charissa

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Defining friendship in our lives | Trans Girl at the Cross.

My Heart of Hearts

The dawn, peach fuzz on this dripping peachy day,
smelled like juice dribbling down my chin,
and musky yellow perfume.

Your earrings flashed in the sunbeam sneaking thru the blinds
Your eyes flashed, lamplights of love sneaking thru my blind
and gleaming like that cat Cheshire.

I intended to rip my heart from my chest
but it came free eager in my hand
which was covered by yours (I had not noticed that happen)
tumblr_mqtuqw1Evm1rwuj4qo1_500Fell from me like that peach
with groaning, heavy relief and ache
into your waiting basket (I was the only one there)

You carried me to bed, and there we sectioned our fruit
and fed each other with fingers, slick and sticky
and smelling of the peachy summer day

And we drowsed, and woke to find our hearts grown again,
except mine was now you, and yours was now me
Oh my Heart of Hearts, My Heart of Hearts.tumblr_mbyc264X6q1qllucco1_1280

My Heart of Hearts (sans images)

The dawn, peach fuzz on this dripping peachy day,
smelled like juice dribbling down my chin,
and musky yellow perfume.

Your earrings flashed in the sunbeam sneaking thru the blinds
Your eyes flashed, lamplights of love sneaking thru my blind
and gleaming like that cat Cheshire.

I intended to rip my heart from my chest
but it came free eager in my hand
which was covered by yours (I had not noticed that happen)

Fell from me like that peach
with groaning, heavy relief and ache
into your waiting basket (I was the only one there)

You carried me to bed, and there we sectioned our fruit
and fed each other with fingers, slick and sticky
and smelling of the peachy summer day

And we drowsed, and woke to find our hearts grown again,
except mine was now you, and yours was now me
Oh my Heart of Hearts, My Heart of Hearts.

Charissa is a sloppy happy teary mess o’ praise after watching Hezekiah Walker New Video “Every Praise” – YouTube

Constance…when I hear my blessed Mama living in the music of Her children as they sing, I burst into tears…literally every time.  When Precious Jesus is inhabiting the praise of His peoples, I cannot help the tears of joy that simply jump out of my heart and stream tangible baptisms of gratitude, and flowing fountains of inexpressible and unutterable thankfulness that The Lord has had mercy on me, this broken and alienated stranger in a strange land.

Even as a small child, this happened to me…and then I was ashamed, because boys don’t cry.  I always cried!!

Oh, it just feels sooo good to let my heart overflow and offer Him my own soul’s inner waters out from my eyes.

It doesn’t happen to me everytime I hear a worship song, or every time I hear a hymn, or sing even…but there are those times…if you were lucky enough to be in a church that wasn’t so freaking oppressive that Mama simply looked on from a distance, silently, Her incredible generous and compassionate essence quenched by the soul-stealing stench of pride and haughtiness…then you know that moment I am talking about.  Something just…changes!  The ceilings are gone…the floors are gone…horizons expand, and suddenly you know…you. know. That God is alive, and love.  That you are alive and loved.

As a small child, as a teen, and as a young adult, these times would happen, and I would hide myself away in Them, snuggled down my tearful face buried deep in Their side, and I would breathe my thankful utterances that in this awful and desolate land that I was sentenced to dwell in until I died, through no request or doing of my own was I born and then born a prisoner…I would tell them…Oh Lovely Lovely Shepherd (for that is who I talked to then, to Jesus the Good Shepherd who left the 99 and came to get me…Jesus the compassionate who had mercy on the prostitute caught in the act of adultery…Jesus the Healer who felt the touch of faith’s heart at the hem of His garment in the throng of thousands of grabby greedy desperate hands)…Oh Wondrous Shepherd of my soul…if I can have my sentence of life in prison punctuated and pierced by these moments of furlough and reprieve, however brief…then I will follow You always.  I promise and do so choose forever, come what may.

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And then I would often weep all night long…literally…draining out the sorrow, the self-loathing and the shame and despite for my awful awful self…I would pour out my thankfulness that even to a wretch like me They would draw nigh and commune with me…even humble Themselves to TOUCH me!

And They were faithful to be there…

And They were faithful to continually work over me, labor over me, in the womb of my imprisonment and dysphoria to ready me for birth…and when labor began They went silent, for the pangs and contractions had to be strong, had to be ultimate, had to take me past my limits.  Well, they did that, and I came home finally, came out finally to live and be born…

and the moments resumed, commenced once again.

Now?  Oh. My. God.  Mama took me under Her wing, and has been teaching me, Her tongue a good Theme.

So I would ask you to give the vid a shot, for at minimum you can hear the soundtrack that played while I bawled in utter thankfulness and total gratitude for life, for Life.

And at the maximum?  Have some tissues on the by!

Love and Grace be unto you in the richest most lavish extreme…

Charissa Grace the Grateful Girl forevertumblr_n4mf72qUM41rk1cbbo1_1280

Hezekiah Walker New Video “Every Praise” – YouTube.

Privilege and perceptions: masculinity vs femininity Insufferable Intolerance

Hi Constance…this is a somewhat different angle on gender roles, expressions, and identity…as such it cast fabulous light on the topic in a fresh way, to me, at least.

It will serve to help inform any who want to learn more.

I truly think that as gender is understood, it is waaay easy to separate gender identity/role/expression from morality, which is that flow in life that basically leads/guides/exhorts the manner in which we are and do what we do!

When one understands that they are not evil simply because they are of unusual gender identity/expression/role, they are actually freer to more clearly hear the voice of their moral guide.

Mine is Lady Grace, Jesus, the Father…NOT the vain portrayals that have tragically gained prominence in our cultural collective unconscious.  I know them to be loving and enthusiastically involved in the essence of my being.

Bless you on your journey, and may your light be clear and your heart be bold, and may hear always the clarion call of Truth.

Love one another, forgive, be kind, do justly, love mercy, walk humbly…if you be in this creed, you be on my team!

Love, Charissa Grace

 

 

Privilege and perceptions: masculinity vs femininity Insufferable Intolerance.

Comments on Creation’s Communion

I rarely take the trouble to interpret my poems for you, Constance…I think it is part of your own pleasure as a reader to dig in and chew, or to imbibe deep and feel the intoxicating buzz later when it enters your blood and sings its song there…dare I even insinuate it is also your responsibility as a poetry lover to allow it to disturb you, or trouble you, or even flummox you until you suss it out?

My poems are hidden inside themselves very frequently.  They are one thing on one level, multitudinous other things on other levels, they are always the same unless one word is read with different meaning and all is transformed…

…hey I am a transgirl, so is it any wonder that my poems are like me, someone hidden inside something?  Giggles!

Anyway, I want to provide a bit of background to a few things:  First of all, I want to tell you what happened after I birthed the poem, and began to go back to clean up my baby, dry off the afterbirth, feed and nurture it to vitality.  I immediately began to adjust the women-seasons metaphor.  Everyone knows that Spring is the gay and skipping girl, flouncing boldly into Old Lady Winter’s mouldery austere house, throwing up the windows and letting the stale and leaden air out!

Right?  WRONG!!!!

The poem did not give that contented groan (like my doggie when I scratched her secret spot) as I attempted to edit!  No…it went Dustin Hoffman under Laurence Olivier’s drill in Marathon Man!  Screamed in horror, fear, and outrage, it did!!  So…I went with it, and actually I love the way it turns the expected and familiar on its head, and it challenges our ideas that each season is representative of a different stage of a woman’s growth (for to me, the seasons have always been feminine)…it poses the notion that each season has a complete cycle within itself, and in its usurpation of the fading queen, it dooms itself to the same overthrow!  That clash thus takes on a fascinating depth and the iterations of metaphor grow in multiplicity.

Secondly, the word haint is an old slang word for haunt found generally in southern and rural locations.  Consider the variety of meanings layered in haunt, and understand that application of haint.  It is also a funny contraction of “have not” and/or “has not” together with “ain’t”…haint.  So ponder the reference to places as that contraction, and the elevator begins to move rapidly in its own directions thru the poem.  Lastly, haint eventually took on the connotations of a scary-mean woman, or an evil bitch…and thus the poem circles around on itself (even as the seasons chase each other endlessly in a game of Tag) and references the women mentioned in the first stanza, and the whole understanding of who is the biddy and who is the bouncy flouncy Queen B gets tripped topsy turvy.  It plays back in to that cycle of usurpation.

When people see me, they “see” me…and then if they spend any time with me with open heart, they SEE me…that is how my poems are.

I invite you to reconsider this poem with these clues…perhaps it will help with this one.  I quite like it, but only time will tell us if it an unruly towhead that gains dignity, gravity and gusto as it grows…or if it is a juvenile delinquent that is hellbent to be the lovechild of Meatloaf and AC DC!!

 

Blessings, Charissa

 

and High Mountains. 

Always High Mountains beckon me…
years of riding their stringent intractable slopes,
dizzying switchbacks,
and punishingly friendly gradients….oh High Mountains!
Sweat and tears my offerings,
and fitness and expiation
the blessings They bestowed upon me. 

How I long to share with you these feasts,
deep and austere
On this Golden Gravid Spring Day

Casting Love’s Light on the paths of dark unknowns

People like Marisa are impossible to find adequate words to describe, to attribute, and to thank.

My dear, valued and esteemed cis-gender readers…I think it must be very difficult for you to truly viscerally grasp how “final” and alienated a trans-gender person feels when we are rejected, policed, othered, or even politely tolerated/ignored in our daily lives…let alone when love and desire enter the situation!

In my own case, I am one of the few people (thank you, Dearest-Darling) in our gender who actually has retained relationship with my original spouse…she is one whose heart is as Marissa’s, whose spirit is like Lady Grace, and whose smile is like the sun…

But truthfully, the revelation overwhelms most individuals, and they are awash in feelings of betrayal, confusion, sometimes abhorrence, and the typical witches brew of fundamentalist tinged theology that is shame-based and guilt oriented and understands belonging to God as some requirement to avoid something instead of the blessed privilege of embracing someone and being embraced.  So there are judgements of the trans person that include labels like pervert, sinner, demon-possessed freak, deviant, etc. etc. etc.

So along comes someone like Marissa…who lets her heart cast the light of love on the paths of the dark unknown, and the darkness itself is transformed from threatening and blinding horror to exciting and embracing adventure yet unveiled!    I was inspired by her, I was moved by her.  I was overjoyed, tears streaming down my cheeks as I read of this incredible and blazing heart!

Would you all join me in honoring her by reading her account of falling in love…and how transgender issues became her wonderful shared adventure and land to discover, settle, and prosper in.

Love, Charissa

PS: Super HUGE kudos to Marie Claire Magazine for featuring Marissa’s story!!!

 

April 22, 2014

My Self-Made Man

When Marisa Carroll met an intriguing new guy at her local coffee shop, she had no idea that his life-changing journey would become hers, too

HAVING LEARNED ALMOST EVERYTHING I know about dating from watching teen dramas like The O.C. and Gossip Girl, I expected to do some crazy things for love: get wrapped up in a lover’s drug-smuggling ring, perhaps, or steal a rival’s yacht. But helping my boyfriend in his transition from female to male was not an act of devotion I could ever have anticipated.

I first met Liam in a coffee shop in my Bronx neighborhood three years ago. When he started a casual conversation in line, I was struck by his country-boy charm and cute gap-toothed grin. “What’s your name?” I asked. His slow, swaying voice sped up: “Liam, but that’s a recent thing because I’m transitioning—I’m transgender. I was born a girl, but I’ve always known I was a guy. Is that OK?” From looking at him, I never would have known about his recent past. “Of course,” I said, posturing behind my liberalism and years of gender studies classes. But I wasn’t actually so confident. While I’d met other transgender people, Liam was the first to come out to me directly. I felt like I was handed a live grenade—weren’t confessions like that supposed to be explosive?

“How’s that going?” I asked. His warm eyes lit up. Apparently, I was trustworthy. He told me the basics: He had never felt like a woman and had never tried to look feminine. In high school, he bulked up his 6’1″ frame with weight lifting and diet supplements. He played rough sports, worked construction, and trained his voice to sound deeper. Now that he was an adult, he could finally live as a man. For him, that meant using a new name and wearing a binder—a tight, meshy undershirt—to tamp down his chest. “That’s impressive. I can barely commit to a new haircut,” I joked. In truth, I was in awe of the idea of totally reinventing yourself. I felt myself drawn to Liam’s frankness, so when he asked me to lunch, I said yes. Maybe we’d become friends.

THAT NEXT MONDAY, we met at a café near my apartment. For two hours, we talked about politics and bad TV, how I missed my hometown of Chicago, and his dream to work as a legal advocate for other transgender people, who face rampant discrimination. I didn’t realize that Liam thought of our conversation as a date until he walked me home. Outside my apartment, he caught my eyes dead-on, hoping for a kiss. I tried to give him a formal handshake, but he wrapped me up in a hug that stopped my train of thought. His touch felt electric. “Catch ya next time,” he said, grinning as he walked away.

Caught off guard, I sped up the stairs. I hadn’t expected him to come on to me, or that I would like it. I was straight—that wasn’t up for debate. I had never dated a woman before, let alone a transgender man. And I didn’t know how to brush Liam off without making it about his genitals: “Sorry, if you were born a guy, I’d be totally interested, but …?” His identity was more than a personal quirk I could use to differentiate him from other men I’d dated (“Rock Critic Guy,” “Might Have a Girlfriend Guy”); being transgender wasn’t a funny thing to talk about with my girlfriends over brunch. Still, I kept thinking about us in bed, and saying, “Whatever you want to do, I’ll try it.” What would I call that: a whateversexual?

By the end of the week, temptation got the better of me, and I invited him over. On an unseasonably warm January night, we sat next to each other on my fire escape, where I felt comfortable telling him things I hadn’t even told close friends, like about my struggle to get sober the year prior. He told me about growing up in his strict family, how tough it was to come out to them, and how they’d rejected him afterward. He said he wanted to start hormone therapy—weekly shots of testosterone—as soon as possible and get reconstructive surgery on his chest.

As we talked, his identity stopped seeming like an obstacle. Instead, it felt like just another aspect of him, like the gold speckle in his left eye or the anchor tattooed on his left shoulder. Somewhere during a lull in conversation, he leaned in and kissed me. My stomach dropped as he pulled away. I didn’t want him to stop. And at that moment, any fears about his gender vanished.

Before I could think it through, I was dating a trans guy. It might seem like I’d be lost in confusion, wondering what my new relationship meant for my sexual identity—but I wasn’t. I was too love-struck to intellectualize it. I couldn’t fathom us not spending our lives together; I didn’t worry who I’d be attracted to if it didn’t work out.

At first, I didn’t want to tell anyone. The fact that I had fallen head over heels for Liam out of nowhere was big enough to handle; would his trans identity be met with invasive questions? After my then-roommate confronted me about spending time with “some dude,” she was more surprised to see me dipping outside of my normal dating pool (indie rappers and guys who brewed IPA in their bathtubs) than to find out about his transgender status, but she was totally supportive. My family was, too—after initially being confused about what exactly “transgender” means.

When the early relationship fog cleared and I finally did start to think about what it all meant, I realized that I wasn’t attracted to the “human male” as defined by an anatomy textbook. I was attracted to masculinity, to manliness, which Liam had in spades. I liked being wrapped up under his broad shoulders and having him pull out my seat for me at a restaurant. I wound up with the world’s best deal, I joked: a boyfriend who could lift heavy objects and empathize about my period.

Dating a guy in transition means committing to a moving target, though. Once he started testosterone therapy, his body and personality changed at sometimes alarming rates: His familiar face thinned down and began to sprout hairs; his sex drive exploded; his voice got deeper; new muscles surfaced every day. At first I worried that he’d evolve right past me. But after plenty of long, 3 a.m. talks about my fears, I realized that no matter what happens during this transition, our love is unwavering. So when he proposed to me last fall, I said yes, prepared to embrace the unknown. Isn’t that what marriage means for anyone: committing to an uncertain future, together? Ours may be a little murkier than that of other couples, but I’m ready to be surprised by what’s to come.

Julia Serano: Amazing Quote from “Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity”

Hi all…I can’t recall if I already posted this, but it made me cry when I read it…fierce tears of passion and purpose, as it summarized everything I aspire to someday be as a person, and as a woman.

Trans or Cis:  I challenge us all to aspire to these sorts of heights, and leve behind the lowland easy conquests of outward appearance and sloppy confirmity to the slavish requirements of the current paradigm of what make Beauty.

 

Love,  Charissa

 

“My friend, still seemingly perplexed, asked me ‘So if it’s not about genitals, what is it about trans women’s bodies that you find so attractive?’

I paused for a second to consider the question. Then I replied that it is almost always their eyes.

When I look into them, I see both endless strength and inconsolable sadness.

I see someone who has overcome humiliation and abuses that would flatten the average person.

I see a woman who was made to feel shame for her desires and yet had the courage to pursue them anyway.

I see a woman who was forced against her will into boyhood, who held on to a dream that everybody in her life desperately tried to beat out of her, who refused to listen to the endless stream of people who told her that who she was and what she wanted was impossible.

When I look into a trans woman’s eyes, I see a profound appreciation for how fucking empowering it can be to be female, an appreciation that seems lost on many cissexual women who sadly take their female identities and anatomies for granted, or who perpetually seek to cast themselves as victims rather than instigators.

In trans women’s eyes, I see a wisdom that can only come from having to fight for your right to be recognized as female, a raw strength that only comes from unabashedly asserting your right to be feminine in an inhospitable world.

In a trans woman’s eyes, I see someone who understands that, in a culture that’s seemingly fuelled on male homophobic hysteria, choosing to be female and openly expressing one’s femininity is not a sign of frivolousness, weakness or passivity, it is a fucking badge of courage.

Everybody loves to say that drag queens are ‘fabulous’, but nobody seems to get the fact that trans women are fucking badass!”

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― Julia Serano, Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity

Creation’s Communion (without images, for flow visually as a poem)

and High Mountains. 

Always High Mountains beckon me…
years of riding their stringent intractable slopes,
dizzying switchbacks,
and punishingly friendly gradients….oh High Mountains!
Sweat and tears my offerings,
and fitness and expiation
the blessings They bestowed upon me. 

How I long to share with you these feasts,
deep and austere
On this Golden Gravid Spring Day

 

Creation’s Communion

Spates of lacey rain which pretend to be huffy tuffy winter rain,
but her joy and laughter caresses as drops light onto vines,
and perfume the earth deliciously.
Smells of loamy soil and green gritty saps running,
and flowers broadcasting fiercely and fragrant! 

Birds serenade along, as earth and sky, lovers always,
vie and embrace, and join,
and then retreat to their corners of creation between rounds…
lovers rounds, music rounds…and sounds.tumblr_n4ikc2rM671r89lywo1_500
My heart walks, LEAPS into favorite territories, and haints…
moors and hills and lanes…
forest tangles and rows…tumblr_n4exm2jPku1qixiezo1_1280

and High Mountains. 

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Always High Mountains beckon me…
years of riding their stringent intractable slopes,
dizzying switchbacks,
and punishingly friendly gradients….oh High Mountains!
Sweat and tears my offerings,
and fitness and expiation
the blessings They bestowed upon me. 

How I long to share with you these feasts,
deep and austere
On this Golden Gravid Spring Day

On Notice!

Let the powers know
that I am being found,
am finding myself
and I am glad, and scared,
and soaring to depths, heights
hawking my way
through chasms and
slamming into depths and crevasses and
then piercing velvet dark
frosty air, rising, rising,
an eagle golden and free.

Let the Tetrarch know
that I will step forward
in grace and upon grace
a wounded-healer to be.57dcca2a25c7abbce57b0b42f3e53cd9And let the Prideful Patrons and
Practitioneers of Patriarchy
be put on notice:
If the sword of the healing-wounder
should ever bless my grasp
with its blue-bejewelled hilt and
silver redemptive sharp blade,
I will wield it with
remorseless pity, and soft relentlessness!
I will the rivers and seas follow,
to overcome by giving way.tumblr_n3004aNe8v1qllucco1_1280

And let the humble hear,
let the lost perk up to the echoes
of turtledoves and
the heralds of hummingbirds
and the buzzing of many drowzy
busy bees that Mama has
opened Her hives, and
honey pours once again
to all those
famished and forlorn.Von

Harvest Dream

Last night we had a rain storm
to beat the band…wind blowing hard,
rainy fat little lakes of water
hurtling along and surfing the windy currents.
The air was wild and electric, fresh.
We left the bar and walked.
We were stirred up and feeling wild.
She was practically vibrating
with desire and pent up energy,
and wanting to be wild,
so I drove us to the vineyard

…late…

and among the groaning
vines fat with fruit
we took off our shoes and clothes
and let the weather drench us
with its furious grip!
The grass was tall between the rows,
the dirt sodden around the vines,
and there we ran,
and tackled each other,
completely stark naked!!
Down to the earth we fell,
again and again,
rolling and kissing…

and everything.tumblr_n284i9tGMN1qj9ytzo1_500

Later, we sprinted to the winery,
and rummaged for extra clothes, towels,
and a coffee maker and fridge in the crush.
We dried each other off and
put on some warm clothes
and then let our others dry
while we had coffee,
and then beer.
The space heater toasted us up,
until we were warm enough
to go to the cellar…

in the ground, in her womb,
the smell of yeast pungent
like the smell of us.
I grabbed a couple bottles
and a wine key (to heaven),
she carried lots of blankets and candles.
We went to the deepest quietest place,
back in the corner and had…

Communion…

I the bread and she the wine.
If I am dreaming,
never wake me,
for it is bliss.tumblr_n29vrxYJQR1risr9ko1_1280

 

 

When Rain Runs Backwards

How can I find draught
when rain runs backwards,
rivers reverse and earth swallows up all…
waters, grains and grits?
In a topsy-turbulant epoch,
chained to hate and fear
I grow parched, thin
and desperate for drink.

Mama stands tall,
open and frank and
waiting for me.
But courage fails,
fears follow and
dog me knackered
And so I thirst, I thirst…

until driven I
fly to Her face,
and flit low to
Her Gentle Power
and there I drink
till I am sated and renewed…
and fly fly fly
safe…whew!

It is only then
that I realize that
She drank from me as I from Her,
and my fear,
my pain and sorrow
has been drained and I am
full of the freedom of never-more!

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Infection Crucinfection (Easter 1980)

{I have been contemplative over the difference of this Easter compared to any other one in my entire life.  It has me looking back, at old poems, old journals, etc.  Thus the spate of poems 3 decades old.

I have changed a lot, and I think that is good.  I think my poems are better now, too…Terraces, right??

This poem was the first poem about Easter for me.}

 

He sat in the straw
mute as a rock
crudely undone.

Ranker than swine
coarse to our nails
we swung to our job.

Infected with Truth
He hung in the dust
Drenched to His Skin,
Bleached to His Bones.

Then He went
all the way
coming to
common terms
with loss as
Blind as Wind.

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Challenge (Spring, 1980)

Don’t be afraid to plead–
Be proud to be outrageous so long as
you have regard for “un-with-it” truth.
Say things that are, and are not the same.
Accidental or intentional, internal or external,
or both, it does not in the least represent sloth.
All of us feel losses.  And we–we were not robbed
of the pastoral dream of youth–
just the pastoral dream of maturity.

To write in mockery of the system is the ultimate
Slavery to the system, of all things.
To say “I Love You” to language, especially now,
in its decayed condition–
to tickle the ear with musical savvy–
to say that human integrity can walk
hand in hand with responsibility…

It’s a challenge to chaos

Hurled!

Why use language?
Why simply to save the Word.

I’ll say it forever, damn it!
Life in a harsh world IS worthwhile!

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Veils and Terraces

I put up veils that day…in the midst of the screaming panicked anger.
In the grip of vile and hateful words (they hit me like icicles and melted).
I put up veils, to cover landslide avalanches words started inside me.

I was small, 6.  I was alone, now, lost amidst the melting mountain of self
that cascades like Mississippis of mud, of dirt, of noisy horror and
buzzard squawks in my fevered mind.

On that precipice I teetered, feeling the depths draw and mock me
feeling the pressure of the wind and heat from adults lashing and railing
(in the name of love).

I fled dimly, frenzy-fueled and fearful (forever, I thought)
and hastily found in the lonely nothing my shame, my self-loathing
and my razor thoughts, and wove veils.

Concealing the rift, the chasm.  Covering the evidence
that I was a monster, deviant, and worse…
covering the life of pretense…

Imagine my shock, these days, as veils are torn asunder by laughter
as coverings are ripped away by joyous contentment, revealing
where there were only chasms, there are now terraces!

I am far larger than I ever was, and veiled only in terraces.

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Landscapes

Tell me landscapes are frames of mind.
I believe words have meaning!
No gift will do…tell me what this means

to you…

I’ll come at summer’s end,
Your spirit’s sky, the highlands of your

Bearing, your heart’s Blue Night
Here, the rainbow above winter is your
Banner, your face a masterpiece

a landscape

Tell me landscapes…
I believe words…
No gift…
Tell me…

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Thank You in the Pain (December, 1979)

O Boundless One, in Whom Wisdom doth dwell
You calmly exercise Your purging blade.
One cut, and I scream Cease! This pain is hell,
But You heed not this reckless renegade.

Strife finds the wounded sparrow of my soul,
and stalks it without quarter through the heat,
in dark-fire trials of purgation patrol
strife captures its cut quarry in deceit.

And then You demand thanks in all the hurt!
With that command my sparrow falls from flight!
Yet only in its fall am I alert
to the reasons for praising Your foresight.

Thank You for the pain’s sweet overthrow,
a sparrow cannot fall and you not know.

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Easter Understandings Dawn

We all of us move…from unbeing to being…and back.  Someday we will rise above and always be in that wonderful moment that is beyond the endless perpetuation of minutes piled up and raining relentless on our weary bones.  Someday we transcend time, while still retaining the pleasure of memory, but cleansed and healed, and a history filled and made whole.

We all of us move…from unknowing to knowing…from hiding to being found and known.

This Easter period that happened to me…both things alluded to above.

Last year was a time of such horror, such destruction and wrenching that I had at last despaired that God was present and listening.  In spite of the years of presence with me…in spite of healings, miracles, inspirations, provisions, the walls had finally caved in.  All I knew to do to be successful turned to dust.  Everyday was filled with absurd and unpredictable emergencies.  Betrayal from individuals in places of power was rife and thick and without remorse, quarter or mercy.

Prayer, fervent, loud, desperate…unheeded and evocative only of the towering and dark silence of the cosmos expanding into nothing.

Prayer, soft and plaintive and tremulous in the agony of pain…unheeded and rebounding on brass skies closing off all avenues for me.

The new year came, and over time Mama began to once again make Her person and voice known to my heart, and She spoke on behalf of Jesus and the Father…tenderly.  Simply.

Distilled and common words, but lively with living Life of Life.

She taught me to live again, and drew me close again…and it was not some mtn top experience, or mighty religious event.  On the contrary, it was so basic as to be insulting to the pride of the eyes which wants its religion to be towering, solemn and stately.

And She bubbled in my thoughts, and in my heart, and in my words, and in my deeds…present within like salt in a dish hidden and yet influential.  She was gravity, drawing me to the Father and to Jesus and once again into the cuddle that kept me from death for decades.

On Good Friday morning, we set out for the beach…me packing our bikes, all our clothes for riding and other equipment we would need.  I planned that we would do rides each day, and since I began HRT we are equally yoked in our cycling speeds and approach.

We got to our destination, unpacked, and…discovered that I had left my cycling cleats home!  And my cycling shorts home!!  As my bike has clipless pedals, I cannot ride safely without those shoes, 3 hours away!

I began to cry, feeling so stupid and frustrated and thick!

My baby encouraged me, and soothed me…so I got up to wash my face and go to the bathroom…

……….KER-PLUNK-SPLOOSHY!……………………..

what was that?  omfg omfg that was my

smart phone in the toilet bowl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Aaaaaaaaaaaccccckkkk!!

Fished it out, tried to see if it was ok, and it just died, blacker than the sadness I felt at my complete and utter ditzy-dumb-scatterbrained idiocy!

I wept more…googled what to do, and as my baby had already told me, and I did not listen cus I was too upset, I was supposed to put the phone in rice and walk away.  So we did.

After a few minutes, say 30 minutes later, I found myself talking to Mama…but instead of the desperation of the past year, or the complaints or the agonies, I just talked together with Her.  And She told me that all was well, all was in Her gaze already, and She was making a way that was simply HERS, and not mine!  And I could either fret and agonize until Her ways came to be, or I could enjoy being alive and Her daughter and deeply loved child…She had secured me, on a new journey to a land that She would show me as we arrived.

Quite honestly, I was shocked at my ready and easy acceptance of Her words, and as I embraced them, they embraced ME…in a peace and quietude that clung like foggy mists to the craggy boughs of the gnarled and beautiful scrub fir trees near our room.

The weekend went by, one of the very best in my entire life…and quite literally the very first Easter for me as a fully aware and awake and transitioning woman.  I am in blossom and bloom…She is that within me.  Each hour filled with joy and packed with contentment.

Sunday morning rolled around, and I decided to check on that phone…battery in, and…

there!  It came back, resurrected from the grave on Resurrection Morning!

Somehow this seems a predictive parable for me for this coming season…oh, and let’s not forget the gift of the painting I received!  Bare trees in the background, tall and stark, and a wild pear tree in full blossom there rioting in joyous bloom!

Just like me…Charissa Grace Blooming finally and here to stay!

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Poet Stew

I shuffled in slow and placid…outside
and rolled in fast and fluttery…inside.
The lineup for the nightwalk included
alleged and documented
perpetrators of poetry!

They looked shifty and dangerous to my naive and tremulous eyes and
I swear they walked on water with practiced ease
that would’ve made Peter turn green!
Their banter (actually friendly and gracious), sailor talk, for readying
a ship of poems to sail on the word seas, and they relished

movement, rhythms, the beat…
…and my own nervous and stilted heart…
they knew what lay in store for me! And laughed in joy.

All sorts of sailors…wearing masks of nice humans, open, zesty, at liberty to sing…
(see, in my anxiety I knew the ruse, from times of past troubles and other places).
Oh yeah…Miss Know it all…NOT!
Strange how skert eyes & throbbing thudding heart
pastes masks where open faces shine?

The ship launched with little fanfare, little ceremony and no pomp.
I was swallowing that lump in my throat as the dock grew small and distant,
and I was clawing at the air with my nostrils sharp, distended and desperate,
spooked land-legged horse tharn with own horsey-headed fears & spectral song.
The shanties, chanties, the riffs and skiffs, slings and throws and practiced ease
played around me, soundtrack to my panic and funhouse mirror fears.
It swelled and then…there!  Those tight bands around
my scudding heart were loose…looser…gone!

Deck duties adjourned and Athena gave her summons to the kitchen
(at least that was what I was told by the big kids! They seemed to hear and see
and know and talk while I wasn’t looking, no matter how hard I stared!)

Then Ben brought out a big hunk
of pungent garlic laced sausage and plopped it down.
And Cassie brought out (ummmm!!! CASSIE!!!)
basil & oregano pinched rosemary’s butt till it’s fragrant self wafted our noses silly!
Threw in a bit of whimsey cheese for balance too!
(I thought it was chedder, but she said
the way of whimsy whey was far deeper and most effective
when hidden neath seemingly silly hats and jackets).
Eileen stepped on gusto’s back with sure foot and glinty eyes
and threw down the veg!
Shorn fresh in the last years were her greens, her tomatoes, her root veg and just

that

touch of hot pepper.

(and she added wine too…
1st/last/communion cup full and sloshy red)

Before I knew it I was forgetting masks
(which weren’t there except behind my own eyes),
I was smelling herbs and drawing comfort from bishy-basil breath of fresh promises,
dancing with rosemary…
like baby’s breath, if the baby were the god-child of dawn and dusk

…and then, there I was…

laying something down on that board of plenty for the pot (and poet-mariners)!
I still don’t know what I gave! Was it bread? butter? tofu? Onion/garlic/leek?
Or saffron, odd and small in gatheration and grip, to
send a strange and exotic note into this amalgamation of feastly elements
and everlasting never ending communion of low saints?
Whatever…I threw it down, and Holly gathered it in along with
the other things which glistened and pulsed
and muscled their tawny-throated songs
into ears itchy for relief and tickle.

Then came hunks!  Josh flung ripped hunks of meat,
some beefy-lamby pungent flesh…
or was it a fowl and frosted with salty brine fine turkey…
no…chicken…no PHEASANT!
Or was it that Ox of legend and lore Babe the Blue…yes, that must have been it!
Anyway Josh had this…this…STUFF! And it wanted to look bloody but
it really looked blue and ready and running to gather
all the wonder forgotten by the earth as she gave up her big-bounteous -booty
to our eager and fevered hands, plucking and picking and pruning and petting
and … and… yeah, that’s it! PRAISING…
of juicy and dripping wine from the Press of Creation’s well.

Christine put in this bitty of balsamic vinegar…rich and variegated
mystery hiding behind simple brown.  Francis brought cilantro-garnishes,
for his was finding itself floating onto everything that was tossed
on the work table and gathered lickity split into the pot.
Holly put in her bouquet garni, to steep…
her hand stirred, mingled, her bundle of balance
gathered in all the parts and parcels and people into savory and diverse union…
Rochelle brought slow sweet sugar root, brown and molassesy and
lent a stable homing in reminder that in all things sour,
there is still sweet…a princess disguised as a scullery maid
sashayed up with a savory broth and mushrooms.
She said it wasn’t hers, but we tasted the longing and knew her
as a master chef to be…

…and Nancy Awwwwwwwd YEEE_YAH!
SALT BAYBEE!! With some habanero scotchy elixer…
(from a secret vial and of her own design, she told us conspiratorially!
I took her serious until she winked at me and helped one of my legs get longer)…

…and the spell of years and fears and tears and jeers finally broke,
and the scales flew off my scared and lonely heart,
and I saw the players in this kitchen sailing on savory seas of festive inner oceans
and rising on waves of

peppery piquant POETRY! poetry, dammit!

Those cats, those bouncy and ancient royal jesters
masquerading as sailors and putting
Julia Child to the boards of effort…
those sleek and graceful ocelots, those
madcap merry-andrews were damn poets!
And I was home and breathing!!

Wine was poured, and heat applied as Josh riffed and moaned his jazzytry and
Francis decanted peace and still harmony in his high and lonesome homey song and
Nancy poured oceans of ecstatic delight
from eyes that didn’t even PRETEND to not leak!

I left, half drunk half sober,
though I could not have said which was what…
and full of Poet Stew.

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Easter Weekend

Last week was a busy week at work, and thus cut way into creative thinking time.  But there were a couple of highlights:

First, on Thursday night I went to a Poetry Reading Open mike…as myself!!!!  The reception there by the people was so amazing.  I was completely accepted with not even that sort of concentrated intentional choosing that people often engage in when they don’t fully understand what they are seeing but are at heart very decent salt-o-the-earth types and extend amazing kindness and compassionate interaction.

But the poets there Thursday simply treated me as a person…from the start.  It was so cool to be able to not even think about presentation at all…and then afterwards one super cool lady came up to me and said, “Hey, I hope this is affirming, but I want you to know your body language and gestures are very girly.”

I.     WAS.     THRILLED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My internal self, feeling free, simply was who I am, and I was delighted.

I read On the BeachGhostsGrace Ain’t EasyChrystal Clarity,  and “…having eyes but not seeing…”

there may have been one more that slips my mind.

It seemed to me that Chrystal Clarity gained a HUGE reaction!  People seemed to really like it…I do too, as it was that moment when I realized what was past had truly been left behind, and what was coming was indeed real and could be received as the miracle it was…revisit that one?  I think it is standing up well.

Each poet there had pretty good stuff, and most had amazing stuff.  One person blew my mind, the skill and ease and depth and “arrogant-humorous-humility” that only someone who is talented and knows it, but is not enslaved by it can have.  I loved that person’s work.

I learned from each poet…heck one person actually made me feel sorry for a rattlesnake!  LOL!  And I HATE rattlesnakes!  Giggle!  (Way to go Francis!)

We left the next morning for the beach, a wonderful community on the Long Beach Peninsula.  We stayed at a place called Adrift.  Let me just give an unqualified recommendation based on the friendliness of the staff and the well run nature of the place.  If you are in to creature comforts, you will need to book a suite, as the rooms are pretty much like comfy dorm rooms…opulence is not the watchword!

But everything else was fabulous…and here was what broke my heart with gratitude:  not one time was I othered, policed, snnered at, disdained, ignored, or avoided.  I was treated like a queen (and I don’t mean in a fetishized sense!  🙂  )  I was granted the same status as anyone else:  honored guest.  When I feel confident enough to be me publicly, I am not flamboyant, or effusive in appearance.  I go for flowing things in my favorite colors (pinks, silvers, shades of blue and purples, and brown accents).  I wear jewelry that seems nice, and also age appropriate for my chronological age.  But it is definitely not what most people expect to see from someone who is a couple inches over 6 ft tall and weighing around 200 lbs.

Plus I still have my beard as my ultimate line of defense…for work, mind you, as I still have a few years of transition to go until that is all that’s left to do.

Anyway…I actually told some of the staff a little of my story, and was so treasured by them.  I sat in the restaurant (which is good food, I class it as gourmet pub food…or pub food but done with an elegance and deft touch that was clean and fresh and very flavor-able) on Saturday night, and I was so overcome by the sense of wholeness and well being and actualization that I just silently wept, tears streaming down my face so overcome with grace and compassionate mercy on me.  Such an amazing night before Easter Morning…best one I have ever had.

We walked on the beach, rode bikes, talked, ate, went to the chowder festival, and visited our favorite art gallery…up in Ocean Park, the Bay Ave Gallery.  In this small space is a remarkable aggregate of truly fine art, interspersed with very nice and reasonably priced “tourist-oriented” arts and crafts, things to commemorate a beach weekend.

I have purchased several paintings here, and my favorite artist, Bette Lu Krause has become a good friend and kindred spirit.  She graciously gave me a couple of hours on Sunday to tell her my journey of the last few years, and was so touched to learn of how her art had literally saved my life several times, staying my despairing hand from doing mortal harm to myself.

She gave me a painting.

She.     GAVE.     me.     a.     Painting!

It would take too long to tell of its content and nature and origin…but I was so touched I simultaneously burst into tears and danced in glee.

And of course, keep in mind this was on my very first Easter Sunday as an out Transgender woman!  How wonderfully prophetic and full of promise.  The implications stagger me and humble me, and greatly stir me to embrace life and hope, and turn away forever from despair and sorrow.  Oh, yes there will be plenty of those things along the way…but never again to be sorrow’s toy!

Thank you, Adrift and staff, and Tiffany one of the owners…thank you Bay Avenue Gallery and the gracious and visionary Sue Raymond…

…and thank you Bette Lu Krause, fellow walker of the spirit road and lover of life.

Love, Charissa

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PS:  if anyone is interested in a resurrection story involving water and a cell phone I would be happy to share!  Lemme know…

On “Passing” As A Woman | The TransAdvocate

I laugh sometimes, when I think of these re-posting jags I go on.  Usually I am dribbling around, bouncing my words like playground balls, off the walls of my heart and the floor of my soul.  But when I run across an article that just says it so well…that is cogent and clear, to the point and on point, well I simply must re-post it.

What I like about this article is it fuels my own growing infant of identity…my resolve to not be a “transgender woman”, or a “transgender poetess”, or a transgender anything!

Rather, I am a woman, and one facet of my life is my gender.  I am a woman, and one big central component of my being is an affinity for poetry.  I am a woman, and ________.

Fill in the blank, right?

I wrote a poem about this some time ago.  It is a bit wordy, and likely needs some distillation, but it is running fallow right now…perhaps I will prune on it in due season.  Check out

Broken Kaliedoscopes

again, and then read the article below.

 

On “Passing” As A Woman | The TransAdvocate.  by Dana Taylor  September 22, 2013

Right up front I will tell you that I cringe when I hear passing as a woman in relation to a trans woman. What this really means is passing as a cisgender woman. A real woman, right?

We see this all of the time in trans* related support forums where trans* women give advice to other trans* women on how to look like a woman. It is all based on the oppressive sex stereotype of what a woman is supposed to look like.  This is what makes the patriarchy happy. They want all women to meet certain stereotypical criteria which includes how you look, smell, walk, talk, etc.  We should never tell our sisters that they must meet this criteria to be a woman.

Even though you may think you are trying to help this person you may actually be causing damage to them. For instance, there are some trans* women who have physical male characteristics that will never allow them to meet the passing criteria.  I am one of those women. If I had listened to a lot of advice from trans* women on being a woman, I am not sure where I would be today. It is difficult enough to come out and try to be who you are than to have all these other requirements put on you. This can cause some trans* women who are not out yet to never come out thinking there is no way they could pass. And we all know what that could lead to. We are painfully aware of the attempted suicide statistics in our community.

A woman is a woman who makes her own choices on how she wants to look, dress, smell or anything else that has to do with her own body. If she wants to follow the stereotypical concept of being a woman, she should be free to do so.

What we need to do is this. With the help of our allies, educate the public on what being trans* means and to make transphobia and transmisogyny as unacceptable as being racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. We need serious help from feminists and womanist groups to make this happen. One group of feminists have done just that and I must share this.  Feminists Fighting Transphobia has written an article about feminism being trans*-inclusive. This was in response to the comical The TERF Empire Declares War Against Trans People where an organization that doesn’t really exist wrote a letter telling trans* women how icky they are and had a small number of supposed feminists and academics sign it.  The Feminists Fighting Transphobia article has received close to 700 signatures and is still growing. They can barely keep up with the new signatures.

We need our cis allies to call out transphobia and transmisogyny when they see it, contact media outlets for the same and also to listen to us when we are talking about our own experiences. To those allies who are doing this now, thank you. Thank you THANK YOU!

And to trans* support groups, please think before you help someone transition. Ask them how they feel about themselves and how they want to express themselves.

Also, please take a look at 30 examples of cis privilege minus the one that shames sex workers.

In closing I would like to say I am a woman and i will look and act the way I fucking want to.

Dana Taylor

Plug for new website to stop online abuse
http://stopabuseonline.org/

Current petition to address Ask.FM abuse.

Dana Taylor

Contributor at TransAdvocate
Dana Lane Taylor is a SR Information Security Analyst with the University of Pennsylvania.
She is also owner of NI @root http://netinfiltration.com which discovered two remote execution vulnerabilities in Oracle Reports.
She is also a feminist and fierce trans activist.

– See more at: http://www.transadvocate.com/on-passing-as-a-woman_n_10218.htm#sthash.qnuE73bE.dpuf

 

 

Ignorant Trans-phobics: The Gender-thought equivalent of Anti-Vaxxers

There is something that happens which is caustic, impossible to put into words, and the worst feeling that I can recall enduring.

Out of all bad feelings a cis-gendered person is inclined to view the above statement as overly dramatic or exaggerated.  After all, how can words hurt?  “C’mon!!  Lighten up, right?”

NO!  NOT. RIGHT!

Brynn Tannehill writes a cogent and persuasive essay that sums it up far better than I…but I would like you to know:  as someone who is just living my life and is not “an activist” (though that topic is one that I will write on…Activism: A Calling to Anyone Who Breathes), I have nearly died from internalized transphobia, because the side effects of this process are deadly.

Increased self hatred.  Decreased social desire and involvement.  Longing for only the ceasing of pain, even if it means the ceasing of life.

And ultimately, that ill wind snuffs a flickering and sputtering candle leaving only the smoking and naked wick mourning in the wake of the death of another transgender person.

I ask you:  Is it really worth it?  Indulging your hate and fear…nursing your fear of the unknown, and the orgiastic release of projecting your own “Monster/Shadow” onto whatever people group is below you, currently transgender people?

I am truly convinced that the majority of hatred expressed against transgender people is done from ignorance and literal unawareness of the issues at stake and the operative dynamic effect on the recipients.  But that fact doesn’t make the result any less deadly.  Like any disease that kills…there is no conscious thought or intention from the killing organism.  It just does what it does and death grows fat on misery.

Ponder please?  And read on…

 

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones.. But Words Can Kill the Soul | Brynn Tannehill.

Yesterday, the LOGO network announced that they would shelve the Drag Race episode featuring the “Female or She-male” contest. They also stated they would no longer include the “you’ve got she-mail” segment at the beginning. GLAAD, who had been urging LOGO to address the issue, applauded the move. “Logo has sent a powerful and affirming message to transgender women during a pivotal moment of visibility for the entire transgender community. GLAAD is committed to continuing to shape the narrative about the lives of transgender people with fair and accurate media images.”

RuPaul was less than amused. He tweeted shortly after the announcement:

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His supporters on Huffington Post responded quickly too, decrying the “over-policing of language.

Are we policing language? Of course we are, because part of that’s how you win in civil rights movements. We have known this for more than 50 years. Bayard Rustin wrote in his autobiography:

“It is to recognize that the job of the gay community is not to deal with extremist who would castrate us or put us on an island and drop an H-bomb on us… Our job is not to get those people who dislike us to love us. Nor was our aim in the civil rights movement to get prejudiced white people to love us. Our aim was to try to create the kind of America, legislatively, morally, and psychologically, such that even though some whites continued to hate us, they could not openly manifest that hate. That’s our job today: to control the extent to which people can publicly manifest antigay sentiment.”

Republicans understand this as well: Control the language, control the debate. The coining of the word “Obamacare” is considered a masterstroke of political language engineering.

Which is why when RuPaul and his supporters defend the use of the words “tranny” and “she-male,” it gives the power of those words to those who would “castrate or put us on an island and drop an H-bomb on us.” Defending those words is tacit permission to others to use those words as weapons, to openly manifest their hate, against people who lack the ability to fight back. We police words, because they have the power to drive us to despair when we live under an unending torrent of hate.

There are real life consequences to that implicit permission. One of my closest friends, a transgender woman and veteran, works for the same industry I do but at a different location. She is constantly called she-male, faggot, shim, it, and tranny freak. When she reports the abuse, she is simply told, “You need to grow a thicker skin.”

It’s killing her slowly, but she can’t quit. She needs the job, and the money. Finding work that pays well in your own field as a transgender woman is often next to impossible. So she puts up with it, day after day. I’m watching her sink slowly into a strangling morass of internalized transphobia in that soul killing hell. I hope she finds work somewhere else. Before it does finish her, spiritually or physically.

I’m not certain which would be worse some days. She suffers in ways no one should have to.

For everyone out there defending RuPaul and these words, you are partly responsible. You are giving the people using them against us permission. You’re contributing to the world’s attitude that we should just “toughen up” when they’re used as weapons against us.

It’s slowly destroying one of my closest friends. The woman my son runs, screams, and leaps at to hug, and brings stories to read every time she visits. The woman I watched teach my girls how to low crawl across the lawn “army style”.

If RuPaul were doing this simply out of ignorance, I would be inclined to forgive. But he has done this over and over again, never backed down from it, never apologized. At this point, he cannot be ignorant of the harm this language causes, and I am forced to conclude he simply does not care if people different than him are hurt.

The excuse that they’re reclaiming the language does not hold water: you can’t reclaim it while it’s still actively being used against you, and especially if the words are being used against some other group than your own. I can’t accept the excuse that policing language is somehow a greater moral wrong than the harm of that language on the people it is being used against.

RuPaul is not transgender, and does not define himself as such. Yet, he has decided that he can unilaterally dictate what language is offensive to transgender people, a group that isn’t his own. Imagine for a moment if one of the most popular and prominent members of the transgender community was encouraging straight people to use the word ****** when describing gay men. Imagine if they refused to step back from the use of this word. Would there be a similar debate?

Of course not. Yet here we are because people are still conflating drag and transgender.

But, every time you defend those words, every time you defend RuPaul, you let others use them against us. Against my friends. My troops. My family.

Me.

Follow Brynn Tannehill on Twitter: www.twitter.com/BrynnTannehill

 

SHOUT OUT!!

To Jamie Lynn…thanks for stopping by, and here is a word of encouragement…

It gets better!  Really.

A year ago, I heard that from people, and thought they were full of it, because things were so bad that I could hardly stand it.  On the outside, everyone thought I was fine, and doing really well…but on the inside I was like a squirrel in a cage in the middle of a forest fire, and I was freaking out!

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As time passed, my support network slowly grew, and I came more and more into alignment with my true self.  HRT was a huge boost as well.  I found an understanding naturopath (Dr Jessie you rock my world, as do you Dr Colleen and Dr David!!!  MY HEROES!) and they are able to prescribe what we need.

Please, read back thru from the beginning…maybe there will be something of help in my own struggle to emerge from this cocoon.

I also highly recommend Dara Hoffman-Fox’s blog at http://conversations-with-a-gender-therapist.com/ .  She is one of the most compassionate, cheerful, intelligent and downright committed human beings it has been my good fortune to listen to and read.  Perhaps one day we will meet, but in the meantime her blog is a big encouragement.

One day at a time…and before you know it you will be high on the mountain and enjoying a far different perspective on life.

Blessings, Hope, and Love…Charissa

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Opportunity to Make a Difference!

Hi Constance…sorry for the dearth of poems this week…all my ideas are piling up in my lil pea-brain and percolating like bees in the spring clover fields!

In the meantime, please check out the things I am re-blogging, as each one has content that I consider to be important and representative of what life is like for transgender people, or great educational material, or pointing to the blogs of individuals I deeply respect and believe to be doing deep and transformative work in breaking the old paradigms regarding gender and sexuality (Thanks Dara!!  🙂 )

The opportunity below is something concrete you can do, but I repost this primarily for the links at the bottom of the article…please, take courage and click through on them…to truly gain passion and fire in your gut that you will need to endure the kickback from privileged individuals who see their inherent power evaporating and knowing they will have to stand on their own merit as human beings, on their character or lack thereof.

Take heart, knowing that in a generation we can look back and know we counted the cost and paid the price for children to walk in greater and greater liberty.

God Bless!  Love, Charissa

 

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Show Support For The Statue

    1. Petition byPalm Springs, CA
    2. Thomas Clinton

 

If you all will find it in your heart to sign into your Facebook and send this out to your friends or send this out via email to your friends it would be greatly appreciated.

It is the dream of a few members of our community to donate a statue to Palm Springs California, in memory of those persons that have been victims of savage violence against Gender Identity and Gender Non-Conforming persons for no more than being different. This has never been done before and it is believed that one of the questions that may be asked by Palm Springs Parks and Recreation Department when presented for approval, is, “Would the Community Support It?”

The Statue will be hand carved from rare Black Marble, weighing close to 7000 lbs, and approximately four feet across. It will be a gender neutral statue, to represent all that should be remembered and encourage others that violence is not the way. The circular form itself will have the different land masses to represent these victims throughout the world. Rising from the void in the North Pacific Ocean will be a gender neutral face breaking from societies predetermined restraints placed upon them, looking up as to ascend and for the desire of peace and hope for all.

In front of the statue will be a matching headstone and on that headstone it will say:

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Nov. 20th

Peace and Respect over Hate.

It is our hope that this statue will bring public awareness that violence is not the way and all people equally deserve Peace and Respect over Hate.

By signing this petition, it will show your desire to either participate in the annual event on Nov. 20th in Palm Springs California, or that you support this action and may one day come to Palm Springs and see the statue and reflect and give your respect to those that should not be forgotten. If you wish to have more information about the project or wish to donate, our website has a secured PayPal account at:http://www.transgenderdayofremembrance.com/.

If you have questions about what Gender Identity and Gender Non-Conforming persons are who have been victims of brutal and savage violence, examples as to what this statue will represent are shown, but not limited to what is documented below:

Transgender 19 Year Old Teen Burned to Death. (MI. 2011)http://la.gopride.com/news/article.cfm/articleid/23612500

Transwoman brutally assaulted in a McDonalds (Md. 2011):

http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2011/09/13/woman-sentenced-to-5-years-in-rosedale-transgender-attack/

Homophobic Teen Set Gender Non-Conforming teen on Fire on Bus (Ca. 2013): http://www.katenews2day.com/homophobic-teen-set-transgender-on-fire-on-bus-richard-thomas-16-set-luke-sasha-fleischman-18-on-fire-for-wearing-a-skirt-aboard-a-bus/

Man Beats Transwoman to Death (Ca. 2013):

http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/man-arrested-beating-death-trans-woman-southern-california210913

Transwoman Bound Beaten With a Soup Can and Skillet and Shovel (Ca. 2002):

http://articles.latimes.com/2005/jul/05/local/me-gwen5

Transgender Woman Beaten To Death in Fontana California. (Ca. 2013)

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2013/08/22/suspect-sought-in-murder-of-transgender-woman-in-fontana/

Horrific Beatings of Transgender Women in Hollywood California. (Ca. 2013)

http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/man-arrested-horrific-beating-trans-woman-hollywood240613

Parolee Sought in Transgender Murder Hollywood. (Ca. 2009)

http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?id=7020155

Toddler Boy Assaulted for Wearing Pink Headband in Wal-Mart. (2013)

http://www.mommyish.com/2013/07/31/toddler-boy-called-a-faggot-at-walmart-for-wearing-pink-headband/

Trans* Women Are Not Drag Queens — Everyday Feminism

This is a very well written post that helps anyone not overly well-acquainted with what exactly a transgender person is…and isn’t.

I always soo appreciate writers that do such yoemen’s work in helping to push the ignorance boundaries farther and farther into the seas of forgetfulness.

Won’t you please click on thru, and learn some great things, not to mention enjoying the great writing!

Love, Charissa

 

Trans* Women Are Not Drag Queens — Everyday Feminism.

Understanding Gender  

Good morning everyone…the article I am posting is from the website https://www.genderspectrum.org/ , a very informative and balanced tool to peruse for your own education, or to point others in your life towards so they can become informed.

Constance, I have found that the number one barrier between people is nearly always ignorance.

IGNORANCE

That word means simply lack of knowledge.  It doesn’t mean stupidity, vapidity, foolishness, or willful denial.

In my experience, you address the ignorance problem, and the other problems evaporate in the warm sunlight of knowledge disseminated in a wise manner.  Phobias, hatreds, and indifferences are gone.  Nowadays that process is called “Having your consciousness raised”, or “becoming radicalized”.  While I think that both of those terms describe something that happens, I also find that people generally do not want, and are not willing to have their consciousness raised or become radicalized…but they are willing to read a few things out of general good will…and in that place, knowledge can gain a foothold and begin to pierce that great veil of unknowing that lays across the face of the deep within the hearts of those ignorant on a subject.

This article is some basic teaching regarding gender, and the difference between gender and sexuality.

I hope it is helpful to you, and even to someone you know…pass it along if you would?  To that person who wraps herself tightly in their Jesus-Jersey, and that other person who is the little man behind the curtain of the Great and Terrible Oz…give it to the one who is most blase over the issue…you never know, you may give the keys to a person who has been locked up and quietly suffering from dysphoria for years, and in that gift they find courage to walk away from killing themself.  God knows the horror of that place…so do I.  tumblr_n3f1ehrikU1qdh7g0o3_500

Blessings and Grace,

Love Charissa

 

What is Gender?

For many people, the terms “gender” and “sex” are interchangeable. This idea has become so common, particularly in western societies, that it is rarely questioned. Yet biological sex and gender are different; gender is not inherently connected to one’s physical anatomy.

Sex is biological and includes physical attributes such as sex chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, internal reproductive structures, and external genitalia. At birth, it is used to identify individuals as male or female.  Gender on the other hand is far more complicated. Along with one’s physical traits, it is the complex interrelationship between those traits and one’s internal sense of self as male, female, both or neither as well as one’s outward presentations and behaviors related to that perception.

The Gender Spectrum

Western culture has come to view gender as a binary concept, with two rigidly fixed options: male or female.  When a child is born, a quick glance between the legs determines the gender label that the child will carry for life. But even if gender is to be restricted to basic biology, a binary concept still fails to capture the rich variation observed. Rather than just two distinct boxes, biological gender occurs across a continuum of possibilities. This spectrum of anatomical variations by itself should be enough to disregard the simplistic notion of only two genders.

But beyond anatomy, there are multiple domains defining gender. In turn, these domains can be independently characterized across a range of possibilities.  Instead of the static, binary model produced through a solely physical understanding of gender, a far more rich texture of biology, gender expression, and gender identity intersect in multidimensional array of possibilities. Quite simply, the gender spectrum represents a more nuanced, and ultimately truly authentic model of human gender.

Falling Into Line

Gender is all around us. It is actually taught to us, from the moment we are born. Gender expectations and messages bombard us constantly. Upbringing, culture, peers, community, media, and religion, are some of the many influences that shape our understanding of this core aspect of identity. How you learned and interacted with gender as a young child directly influences how you view the world today. Gendered interaction between parent and child begin as soon as the sex of the baby is known. In short, gender is a socially constructed concept.

Like other social constructs, gender is closely monitored by society. Practically everything in society is assigned a gender—toys, colors, clothes and behaviors are some of the more obvious examples. Through a combination of social conditioning and personal preference, by age three most children prefer activities and exhibit behaviors typically associated with their sex. Accepted social gender roles and expectations are so entrenched in our culture that most people cannot imagine any other way. As a result, individuals fitting neatly into these expectations rarely if ever question what gender really means. They have never had to, because the system has worked for them.

About Gender Diversity

Gender diversity is a term that recognizes that many peoples’ preferences and self-expression fall outside commonly understood gender norms. Gender diversity is a normal part of human expression, documented across cultures and recorded history. Non-binary gender diversity exists throughout the world, documented by countless historians and anthropologists. Examples of individuals living comfortably outside of typical male/female identities are found in every region of the globe. The calabai, and calalai of Indonesia, two-spirit Native Americans, and the hijra of India all represent more complex understandings of gender than the simplistic model seen in the west.

Further, what might be considered gender nonconformity in one period of history may become gender normative in another. One need only examine trends related to men wearing earrings or women sporting tattoos to quickly see the malleability of social expectations about gender. Even the seemingly intractable “pink is for girls, blue is for boys” notions are relatively new. While there is some debate about the reasons why they reversed, what is well documented is that until the 1950s, pink was seen as a more decided and stronger color, and thus more suitable for a boy, while blue, viewed more delicate and dainty, was commonly worn by girls.

Gender Terminology

Given the complexity of gender, it is not surprising that an increasing number of terms and phrases are developing to describe it. Below are some of the key terms you might encounter:

Biological/Anatomical Sex.
 The physical structure of one’s reproductive organs that is used to assign sex at birth. Biological sex is determined by chromosomes (XX for females; XY for males); hormones (estrogen/progesterone for females, testosterone for males); and internal and external genitalia (vulva, clitoris, vagina for assigned females, penis and testicles for assigned males). Given the potential variation in all of these, biological sex must be seen as a spectrum or range of possibilities rather than a binary set of two options.

Gender Identity. One’s innermost concept of self as male or female or both or neither—how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One’s gender identity can be the same or different than the sex assigned at birth. Individuals are conscious of this between the ages 18 months and 3 years. Most people develop a gender identity that matches their biological sex. For some, however, their gender identity is different from their biological or assigned sex. Some of these individuals choose to socially, hormonally and/or surgically change their sex to more fully match their gender identity.

Gender Expression. Refers to the ways in which people externally communicate their gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, haircut, voice, and other forms of presentation. Gender expression also works the other way as people assign gender to others based on their appearance, mannerisms, and other gendered characteristics. Sometimes, transgender people seek to match their physical expression with their gender identity, rather than their birth-assigned sex. Gender expression should not be viewed as an indication of sexual orientation.

Gender Role. This is the set of roles, activities, expectations and behaviors assigned to females and males by society. Our culture recognizes two basic gender roles: Masculine (having the qualities attributed to males) and feminine (having the qualities attributed to females). People who step out of their socially assigned gender roles are sometimes referred to as transgender. Other cultures have three or more gender roles.

Transgender. 
Sometimes used as an umbrella to describe anyone whose identity or behavior falls outside of stereotypical gender norms. More narrowly defined, it refers to an individual whose gender identity does not match their assigned birth gender. Being transgender does not imply any specific sexual orientation (attraction to people of a specific gender.) Therefore, transgender people may additionally identify as straight, gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

Sexual Orientation. 
Term that refers to being romantically or sexually attracted to people of a specific gender. Our sexual orientation and our gender identity are separate, distinct parts of our overall identity. Although a child may not yet be aware of their sexual orientation, they usually have a strong sense of their gender identity.

Gender Normative/Cisgender. Refers to people whose sex assignment at birth corresponds to their gender identity and expression.1280869_775281615823053_1549559522_n

Gender Fluidity. Gender fluidity conveys a wider, more flexible range of gender expression, with interests and behaviors that may even change from day to day. Gender fluid children do not feel confined by restrictive boundaries of stereotypical expectations of girls or boys. In other words, a child may feel they are a girl some days and a boy on others, or possibly feel that neither term describes them accurately.

For a more complete list of terms associated with gender see A Word About Words.


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Gifts you give yourself

Forgiveness, towery and meritorius
when viewed from the lowly valleys and dales
of hard hurt and wounded ways
stands, stentorian and stark and stately.
To approach such lofty heights from there
seems tough, seems stubbornly sacrificial,
and requires a great provisioning
of the heart’s overflow into Mercy’s Rivers.

Acceptance twins from the next ridge over,
and it seems to wounded eyes
that these noble and lofty houses
aspire to heaven,
aspire to grandiose airy grounds
to weed out the weak-willed and shuffling supplicants,
the plodding and pitiful pilgrims
who failed to fully count the cost.

And yet if one but persists and never lets go
their grip on the Garment’s Hem
they will themselves be drawn up and sunder,
like doves mounting up in the velvet dawn
And discover comely cottage, cozy cabin,
home at last and free,
And finally receiving
the gifts you give yourself.

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A choice, not a curse

In the moonlight,
gloaming up from earth
with great soft wings,
Insight, understanding,
flashed cross her face
and found their nest
In her azure and sapphire soul.
They blessed her heart, and the fire
snap-crackle and rice krispie
popped in merry affirmation.

Dirty Deeds done with malice,
weaponized words hurled with spite,
and the bloody results are never
never to be ceded to
or granted might.
The towering taunts and punches
of the privileged must fall!
But in this night
and under this tawny moon
acceptance shimmers in
fresh and renewed glow.

Find your peace with what transpires,
as the wind finds the leaf’s soft
secret underbelly,
as the water finds the stones to smooth
and curl around,
as the flower finds the sun with eager questing
glad-hands,
as the soul finds its Homely Rest in
Grace’s Guiding Heart.

Transcendent, trans-formative and tender
mercies gush and geyser up and
artesian always out to water and
resurrect and restore
the juicy apples from
the Orchard Acceptance.

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I am a woman in a long line of Poets!

So…I was just talking to my mom on the phone, catching up on things.

Imagine my shock when she told me, upon hearing some of my poems, that there have been several established poets on her side of the family…all women!

Guess I lucked out and got the mantle, eh??!!

LOL!  I don’t know if I am any good, but I do love it so!

 

Thanks for reading,

Love     Charissa

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