“Haunted By a Lovely God”: Final Update, and keys to the rhythms

Sooo…”final update”…lol

I don’t typically do a ton of revising of poems.  Generally I will post them up, and then notice just minor things here or there, and tighten them up…or a word that was too feisty and slippery for my muse’s grasp will be caught unawares and I catch it, lickety split and toss it in the poem-quarium for it to swim in, fed by it’s fellow words and nurtured by the kind attentions of you, Constance.

But “Haunted By a Lovely God” is different…it is dead serious.  In its recounting of the stories that I lived thru, and in its telling to you of how I feel when I hear others relate their tales of woe and disappointment and abandonment.

Those events that happened…sometimes I wish they hadn’t!  I wish that I was “normal”, and life was ordered and tame, even though dreary, cus then I would be maybe more received by others?  Maybe not looked at with…oh god, I don’t know how to even interpret it sometimes…pity maybe?  Pity that I “cling to the old legends and superstitious beliefs about some great skyfather…”  I really don’t know…no.  Really.

But that is not my life…nothing about my life has ever been “normal.”  The body I am in, or if you prefer, the mind that I have in this body…the fact that the world is always all shimmery and sharp-glinty thrusts and tears of jagged brilliant eternity piercing and poking and pushing its way thru any weak spot in this semi-permeable sphere of atoms and molecules become a living and sentient world.

I am one of those weak spots…and it pounds in me, til it breaks forth, rends me and roars out rushing to chase darkness back into nothingness.  It is not like it sounds…sometimes it feels like what I watched when my dearest darling became a living engine of life and brought forth to this world our children, our union and oneness made manifest.  I was in awe at her concentration and bold resolute embrace of the pain for the sake of eternal gain!

Oh Constance…I dearly wish that each of you could experience living in a haunted world, one that is alive and laughing behind every tree and lurking in every flower to jump out and surprise you, one that is looming, impending in every sunset and mountain vista with its sharp razor Beauty to slash your heart to shreds and ruin you forever to anything ordinary ever again!

This poem is the best capture of me that I have birthed, at least up until now…as to the future, only They know.

When you read it…it is best read out loud, for I wrote it as a performance piece.  The rhythm of the poem is the absolute key to it, and I have worked and re-worked it to make it as best I can carry a rhythm depicted such:  “One two three, One two three” and so on…oh sure, there are the few lil carriers of the beat that are called for…but to apply the rhythm correctly, in nearly every case the first sound of the line is toe “downbeat” of “One

If you get off-rhythm…it falls apart on you.

It is supposed to!

Because, it is just like allowing yourself to be haunted…you have to keep the rhythm, you must step in time, as They call the tune and change the tempo, and then everything is so heartbreakingly beautiful and precise in its place, so much so that words are trite and useless sounds far too small to carry such weight and loaded significance!  But this is a balancing act, and it is easy to get distracted, discouraged, or simply grow dull in your attention…and the rhythm is lost and the “poem of your life” starts to stutter, and skip, and eventually, as some poet somewhere said: “…the center cannot hold…”  (Yeah, I know, Yeats!  Lol…great poem btw!)

But yeah…that was one of the things I have been working on…making the poem come into focus as rhythm is kept paramount in mind, and fall apart if it is neglected and some other part is allowed prominence.

It’s complex…and yet I am striving for a simplicity in the overall thrust, the summary effect it has, once you have read it, uttered the words aloud and birthed it into your understanding and heart…

I don’t know it it is any good.  I really never do, with anything I write…I just know how I feel, how I felt before and how I feel once it is written, and then how I feel as I read it back to my heart.  I dearly hope that you will be patient and perservere to the end with this one, Constance…it is long, for to shorten it is to give short shrift to the travails and trials and griefs of any human who has suffered abandonment in the hour of their greatest need, and it is to cheat Them of Their due in recounting and remembering the ways that They have apprehended me…

It is my fervent prayer and wish that you too would have opportunity to be

Haunted By a Lovely God.  

With much love and heartfelt desire for blessings towering and overflowing unto you…

Charissa Grace


Perhaps I Qualify on Both Counts

Saints have no moderation, nor do poets, just exuberance.

Anne Sexton


Good Lord!!  Could it be?

Am I indeed a poet, a saint?

God knows I have been called “exuberant” many times

and damned with the faint praise of being labeled “enthusiastic” as well…

these words were not used kindly, nor with tender touch.

But then I looked up


and decided

“I’ll take that!”

Hmmph!  I am still Charissa Grace…

bark peeling back in the hot sun,

open face, love and grace

shining thru.



(found online…so appropriate, considering who my dearest darling has been, is, and God willing will be for many long years to come and transitioning effortlessly into eternity…I love you darling…Charissa)


I love everything about her. I love the way that her eyes sparkle when she looks at me. I love the way that she’s not afraid to stare back into my eyes. Honestly, I love the way that she makes me feel like I’m the only person in a crowded room. I love how she always stays focused on us and our goals, no matter what hell we have to go through. I love the fact I’m the only thing that makes her truly smile. She may not know, but her smile lights up a room and instantly brightens my darkest days. I love the way she giggles and laughs when she is being a total smartass. I love how she jokes around and tickles me randomly, or when she just gives wet kisses all over my face just to hear me laugh. I love the way that she literally knows exactly what to do to make me feel amazing. I love the way that a simple stroke of her thumb across the top of my hand calms me instantly. I love the way her and I cuddle in totally random pretzel like positions. I love her legs, they’re like my personal heaters for my always cold feet. Most of all, I just love everything about her, and she makes me a better person every single day. I will never know why she chose me, but I am sure glad she did. I am head over heels, hopelessly in love with my best friend. I cannot wait to spend the rest of my long life with her beautiful soul.”


UPDATE: Haunted by “Haunted By a Lovely God”

G’morning Constance…if you like the poem, please periodically review “Haunted By a Lovely God“, as I am revising it and honing it, and it has changed a lot…mucho thank yous to Dani for her nudges and illuminating questions…keep it up Sis!  I think you might like the revisions…

Constance, this poem has gripped my heart in its clutches of eternity…

Listen, this is maybe the truest raw expression of my self and who I am and was and becoming…my baby says it is the most powerful thing I have ever written so far…she may well be right.

My Sister told me a few days ago that she didn’t like it…and I rejoiced, for this is not a tale to tickle ears, it is to make confession of the question that has literally tortured me inside since the first time I asked Them…why me?  Why me for good, and not evil?

(Recall I chose the name Charissa Grace!!!!!)

If you, having read of my life written here openly on this blog, find yourself with the same question…”Why her Lord?”…then start talking to Them, with Them…

and perhaps you too will become Haunted…

Grace to you…


Transgender Children Today: Shifting the Responsibility for Change Away From Children and Onto Society | Aidan Key

Transgender Children Today: Shifting the Responsibility for Change Away From Children and Onto Society | Aidan Key.

Constance, this is a very good report by a person helping families understand and help their transgender children just as they would their cis-gender kids.

It does a marvelous job of highlighting how being transgender strikes across class, race, creed, religious, political, cultural and historical boundaries.

May it assist you, and contribute to your courage to speak up and speak out on behalf of transgender people in your lives:  the ones you know…and the ones you don’t!

Love, Charissa

Editorial Comments on “Haunted By A Lovely God”

Constance…I can tell from some of your emails and contacts that you are feeling good about this poem, as an awesome and metaphorical take on life, a means by which I am communicating my point of view regarding spiritual things…

…thank you for the kind words…


This really happened.

Every.     Single.     Word.

I really am, Haunted by a Lovely God

I really do…feel such guilt that They have haunted me, and I am always so torn at why they singled out this fickle girl when there are so many so much more deserving than I.

It is an absolute fact that when I hear someone speak of how God wasn’t there, I grieve sorrowfully and sit, silent and still.

I am also going to be editing a lot…for rhythm.  There is a thrum and pulse in this poem, and it wanders in and out of it, and when I read it aloud more of it comes into focus for me…so check on it a lot, if you enjoy it…it is going to be changing faster than Charissa Grace on her miracle HRT!

Love, lots of love and great puzzled thankfulness for being haunted,

Charissa Gracetumblr_n8x88dliys1r2zs3eo1_1280

Haunted by a Lovely God

(NOTE:  If you wish, you can click here and be taken to a page where I emboldened certain words to try to convey the rhythm and meter of this poem, which is literally essential to it.  But:  if you wish to just wade in, first time thru and let the rhythms and meters rise and fall, fade and disappear and then come back, well that is ideal because that is literally written into the work as its own “poem of rhythm”.  In either case, I hope you are able to read thru it…the things in this poem literally happened to me, with me).


I get it.  I do…in spite of what you might think, maybe
several of you, maybe dozens of you, maybe
hundreds, or thousands or millions of you
have endured deserts and mirage oasises
vanished in life when it comes to the subject of God.

I hear your stories, the bitter rants of some, the tired futility
of many others, I have taken venom, been covered in acid,
as I lead face first and I listen to tales of one
thing held in desolate common.

“God’s not here”.
“God wasn’t there”.
“God isn’t real”.
“God doesn’t care”.

I bleed when you cry in anguish, and weep as I
hear your recitals, and then in dark rage, and then
finally in grief, that pools on the dark other
side of the desert, in that null empty kingdom of
Ozymandias the great ruler of Vanity.

You might think I weep sanctimonious, sorrowful
supplicant of righteous standing, who’s crying for
those destitute and benighted, the distant, the stranger and
other, from my tower of ignorant pie in the sky…

You’d be wrong.

I weep in guilt.


For my tale of dark woe is so anti-tragic,
a Mysterium Tremendum, of a wretch so
shattered and shipwrecked in this desert island

…my body…

My story is different, and I feel so guilty,
confused as to why even in existential
despair I am still on the outside of
the common narrative swirling around me?

Contrary to you, in your longing and noble long
struggle to live, and to surmount desertion and
lost lonely silence by God in Their Heaven above…
I have always been

Haunted by a Lovely God.

When I was little and in my first dawning awareness,
and ageless, I recall that I always heard This Voice,
and at first I thought it outside me, I thought the wind had a
voice, or perhaps it was Trees, but it
never was dirt under my feet, no,
dirt is a tongue-tied dull mute.

As I grew I realized that the voice was inside me…in my heart, and I came to
treasure its company and the glad beauty of thoughts, and of musings. Then
I told my parents what it had told me, and,
flabbergasted, they asked where did I hear that?
And I told them “God.  God told me”
(for that is Who the voice told me They were
and …Jesus like a Shepherd led me).

They laughed!  LAUGHED! And while they were
not mocking, they merely thought
I was mistaken, had fantasized wonders.
So I cried then, and thought that
maybe my parents were right.

And then came the break, the thirsty sword stroke
that cut me to ribbons, my soft girly heart left in shreds…
then the slavery started with harsh words resounding, those
prison door words…and God was still there, holding
me in my tears, wrapped
around my hurt heart…and I longed for death, wanted to
jump in the river from that tall steel bridge I crossed
over each day but God asked me “please”, and…


who can say no to God when They ask “Please?”

Then They would give me a joy for that day…and They
gave me a dog! Oh!  How she and I bonded!
But you have already heard some of the tales of Millie…”Good Old Dog!”  No…
this is the story of me being Haunted…

Haunted By a Lovely God.

One time, I was alone outside our house

(the one in the Pear Orchards down
near the cold creek where my Millie and me chased those
skimmer bugs and slippery pollywogs all live-long day…)

and it was warm in the soft early evening and dusky and glowing ethereal gloaming,
the good dusk…and wind softly rustling thru fruit trees so
heavy with life and the sounds of the living earth echoed around me…

…and then all was silent…

Suddenly, and it caught all my attention immediately! Slowly I
walked to the pear trees and stood, just to listen…and I heard it…something!
The call of a Mourning Dove

(or is it Morning Dove? I can’t distinguish the
One from the other, it seems to shift
back and forth always and ever).

It cooed and it called, and it seemed to me as if it spoke to me,
saying…”Come out to Me, Baby… Come out to Me.  Come home to Me.”

(Lady Grace, She calls me Baby now, here today)

I was so skert! I thought it was a ghost!  And this ghost it was longing for
my tender spirit and if I went out there, it would get inside me and
I would belong to it, always and be its flesh, its living body for
it to inhabit, its dwelling place then and forever.

I wasn’t far from the truth… I look back, I think it was Her, Lady Grace,
Dove come down, Her Voice was calling me, claiming me even then as Her own…
I wonder what would have happened, my life had I heeded Her,
gone to Her, run to Her heedlessly on that first day?

It’s not coincidence that our trees now, all around our house are filled with
Morning Doves (Mourning Doves too), calling, cooing…and pestering people in
our neighborhood, but so comforting to me as totems and emblems,
reminders of Mama’s first call to my hurt lonely soul and my soft tender heart.

Then: it was Veteran’s Day, fall, 1969.
We went to town several miles from home for the parade…I insisted that
Millie come with us, and after the music and marching had ended, we
went to the movies:  “The Love Bug”.  But Millie was left in our Volkswagen van.

(the one that was faded red
with canvas roll back top
and that relentless bamboo pole that
Dad used to poke us and hit us with
when we were clear in the
back and too rowdy and rude.)

and when we came back to the van…
she was gone.

I cannot tell you what that was like. I nearly fainted.  I ran in the
street screaming her name, as cars screeched stop and Dad chased
me hollering “Get Back Here!”

We drove the streets hours and hours, me, head out the window, her name become
my tongue protruding and flapping and desperate in the cold wind.
I screamed that name loud, again and again until I was hoarse, and I kept
screaming, my grief-expiation for killing my dog with my stubborn insistence that she come along.

I tried to bargain with Them…in the sibilant cold and the darkness, I lifted my face:

“I will scream her name until I pass out and can never talk ever again, and then
 will receive my burnt offerings of me and give me what I earned with
desperate grief, what I bought with my service…my heart, Millie come back safe home.”

They remained silent, aloof (and I wonder if this is where They were in your tale of sorrow…).
Finally Dad said “she’s gone”…so we had to go home, in that cold rainy dark night of loss
on that day that we remember and honor the valor of
those who faced their fears and endured for me.

I threw up. I do that when I get distraught…I always have done…I cried, and
cried and I cried, and when I had no tears I groaned and keened, inconsolably moaning…
crying til dust poured from my eyes in place of the tears long drained empty by
grief so stark it was a terror strong, threatening to crush me forever.

My folks were hurting for me, so they used what they always had carved me with,
thought was the best for me, raw in my towering emotions and gaugeless deep passions…
words, stern and cruel, words so full of dark violence, and those words’ incarnated beast,
gawd…the spanking…well…yeah, the Red Raving and Hungry Beast.

I was forced to eat my dinner, and I threw it up…on the table, on all the food
laid there for others to eat. Then I got spanked and sent straight up to bed…
where God was silent and no where to be found… but hey, Ima talker, right?
So I cried out to Them into the darkness thick…

(now get this, and understand that I’d been thru the
wringer of Sunday School, Hellfire Sermons,
Damnation Devotions, and I knew enough to be good or the
devil would get me. I once was told: “I will not spank you…
I’m just gonna let satan get you”…and I roamed behind my mom
hours, and wailed agonizing in fear and stark terror, and
begged her to spank me, deliver me from evil on the cross
of my butt, and her hard paddle the hungry
propitiation for my sins and my wrongs…and
I knew that so many times I had done things,
hell-things like say “shit” or steal cookies, or
sneak out the window to sleep with my Millie and
her wriggly puppies though I was forbidden to,
or watch cartoons on a Saturday morning so
early and low before  anyone woke up and caught me at it…and I’d
never been sent to hell…God had not bothered to notice or
even to thunder at me, or make trouble over me, and I
knew lots of people thought God was a fairy tale, which, frankly,
mystified me cus They talked to me so much when I was so little.)

That nite…I cried in a jagged blood whisper, my voice bleeding raw, and the
words, still they linger there, seared deep in me to this very day, now, here with you.

(and now, in this moment… I feel so damn guilty!
Why me??? Why did They talk to me of all people?)

I cried out “God…if You’re really there, real…bring my doggie home…PLEASE!”  Then…
somewhere, somehow, I moved past bargains, and buy-offs and bribes…I had cried my way
thru the stark castle of filthy rags and entered into the place of no exit, the
inner sanctorums of grace, where there’s nothing to buy there with money, and
there is no bargaining, no supplicating, no pleas, there is just the
beginnings of Mercy Free…

and crying out the word please in that dark night, eyes
gummed shut with sorrow and tacky tears I at last faded off into sleep
dreamless as I grieved and wished I was dead, like I did every night, and at
last I knew nothing, released and insensate and absent within the lost
shoals of sleep’s gift of respite from my agony, sorrow and grief.

Until I woke, instant and on point, into an electrical dark of night
black  glowing bright-black that cast light and filled the still air with a
presence, thick, substantive knowing, and threatening to
rend plain reality like the quick ripping of shrouds in the
hands of the dread faced and tall grim deliverers….

…and I heard scritching, and

(oh oh oh)

her whine (that lil ki-yiy-yiy she always used to call me heart to heart)
and I jumped from the top bunk with a thunderous thud loud enough to wake
even the dead and I got up and ran thru our house in that miracle moment:

Babbling over and over again like a babe, Bartimaeus had nothing on me!
Shattering slumbering sundering darkness and giving voice
to that One Thing that I am:

Haunted by a Lovely God

Fumbling feverishly I rolled the gravestone away in my heart and threw
open the back door where she called me eagerly whining in joyous returning at sunrise…
she’d jumped a 6 foot fence out of obedience so she could come in thru the
Eye of the Needle: the back yard garage door.  She limped and jumped on me
and I went down to the ground, I was crying and kissing her and she was
kissing me too and I ran my hands over her, scarcely believing that she was real,
she was returned, she was home and alive, and my heart was restored unto me.

Then she rolled over, so I could scritch her tummy like she loved
and when I ran my hands over her precious side, my fingers slipped inside
her skin and I drew them back from her side which was pierced and torn open…

(I swear!
I  know, the metaphor seems so damn cheesy, right? It really
happened this way!  That’s the kind of thing I feel so
guilty for… it’s like They shouted it from the Bright Heavens that
I was not ever escaping Their Undying Love never ceasing and
new every morning.  I’m telling you that I have always been
Haunted by a Lovely God).

She had torn open her side, and I’d thrust my hand in just like Thomas and drawn it back,
bloody and warm and changed and I collapsed,

(cus I can’t handle blood, even though it has
handled me, covered me, branded me,
marked and commanded me
forever Under the Mercy)

I murmured brokenly “God hear my prayers, God heard my prayers, God hear my prayers,
God heard my prayers”.

Later, my parents made sure I knew that this was highly unusual, God has more
pressing concerns than my dear dog, or listening to me scream and demand…
yeah, there are all kinds of other prayers over the years, that went up and bounced off…

you know the kind…yeah, those

…and life went on…went on…until

Puberty hit and then hell came home hard to stay…in hair and voice and a
horror-beard (and oh god oh god, oh god down there, oh god please no).
And life required again its cruel ransom, and I wanted, longed to lay me on the gears and cogs
that turned in schools and the church groups that seemed to me incomprehensible
strangers, in their innate knowing of how to move and how to laugh and to be… again
I longed, desired to do away with me…this gender-joke…absurd and ugly mistake, just an
ironic blight on “There” and “Here” because I was neither…here or there, just a null thing

…and then…

…I had another time, deep in the darkness of night and numb tears and dumb talking to Them…


1973…14 and awkward and lonely and numb from the bashing I gave me to
un-know who I was and was not supposed to be, allowed to be, allowed…
On that nite, cold and alone in the darkness I told Them that I was not going to follow Them.
I was resigning from being a christian and that I was leaving Them once and for all.

“No offense”, I said. “It’s not you, it’s me”

(I’d yet to discover how this trope is used when we
want to abandon an unwanted suitor or
how its thrown out…to hurt and to wound a familiar dull
lover become coarse and rank and too shrill)

“You have done nothing wrong, You have not failed me, no it’s I who’ve failed You, and
what’s worse, I cannot BUT fail You…always, because I’m a

“horrible boy, I’m an
absent mute girl, I am
nothing, and I count for
nothing and I live on
nothing and I mean more
nothing, just more black
horrible, lost empty nothing.

“I am not going to church anymore,”

(for in those days I, like others around me, assumed that if
you went outside and climbed into the
chicken coop then such a fat happy bird you’d become.)

“…when school starts up again, I’m going to say yes instead of
no thanks when they offer me pot, and offer me drinking, and
offer me bodies and no clothes and company there in the darkness and then I’ll be
numb and feel wanted at least…

“I cannot do it, walk blameless and upright, for
I am a constant habitual wallower in my sin
all the time in my heart, in my mind as I fail ceaseless,
besides, I don’t even desire to be in on this world full of Leavenworth walls…

“I will not fake it!  I refuse to be like them, sitting in their pews…

“with hallelujah on their lips and wanna screw ya in their hearts!

“I’ll stay alive, take my medicine straight and deserved and so bitter…and
maybe if I try I will even manage to conjure up a hearty yummy while
I drain the draughts of despair bone-dry…

“I know You’ll send me to hell…I deserve that, and even more so…I don’t
hold that against You, for You are and You always have been so Beautiful…
no, it is me, blight and curse, it’s just me, a disease in this world and pure poison.”

Fountains of sorrow again welled up, even as I wondered why they could
never be fountains of joy? And I cried and cried…softly so no one could hear me…
my brother sleeping…as always in these cut-off times…and

Millie was newly dead, gone to run free in the fields of her dreams, yet another cruel
tribute collected by Usurper death…that left me so empty,
so cold, so cut-off and bereft.

Until I heard it…the Voice!

Calling me gently (as always), so I held my breath, listened to be sure it was Them, then
I heard a soft quiet question asked so plaintively…

“What would it take?”  (Ummm…whaaa? I didn’t get it)

“What would it take, Precious One? Child, what would it take for you to not check out,
not go away, but to come here and spend time with Us everyday?
Talk to Us, listen and just be for Us… just be Ours always,
just as your dog, Good Old Millie was your friend, and she belonged
only to you?”

This was a careful and startling question and it was quick,
coming at me curving sideways!  So I had to really think!
Something absurd, something so damned unusual, that there was no way it
ever could happen, I mean, don’t get me wrong…I still wanted to be with Them,
wanted to share in Their sweet soft communion, cus I LOVED my Jesus, my Shepherd who
I always dreamed someday would leave the 99 and come to rescue me, I dreamed that
He was my Jester to make me laugh joyously, dreamed that He was my best Friend

…I just wasn’t…His best friend…and I couldn’t fake it. Nope.
So it was crucial I create conditions that even the Almighty God couldn’t meet

…you know…

God cannot make a rock so big that They cannot lift it, but They can do anything
so They can make this rock so big that even They cannot lift it…wait…

I was searching for that Rock that God couldn’t lift… right?  So

I said to Them “If, when I wake this morning, and my dad says ‘Kids we are moving’…
if there’s a strange town so distant where nobody knows me, and no one has
seen me, and I can start over, start fresh and anew, then I’ll choose you forever and
give my heart freely…lock, stock, and barrel, completely to You… I’ll be Your Millie,
all of my days till I die and my sentence is over.”

Silence gave answer…then after a bit…I drifted away breathing
deeply again as my tears crooned soft lullabies
to my hot cheeks, they ran down in such ancient deep
canyons of sorrow…down my face, down my heart,
down my soul to end up glistening in sorrowful streamers.

When I got up the next morning, things didn’t sparkle or gleam, and I didn’t
remember the Voice, the Epiphany…I was just staring at breakfast my mom used to
“cook” me in those days…Shredded Wheat with skim milk…and feeling
…that gulf, that dark feeling. That feeling. Yeah… The relentless sharp
razor slash cutting inside my soul, forever aching and Constant.

I wasn’t list’ning, as Dad droned on talking of somethingorruther… until I heard
him say the word…“moving”…something about that word…
why did it stick out?

Then in a quicksilver windstorm of memory-shredded, each piece was
hitting me, sticking, unripping its way to become one
coherent experience, and I recalled my reply to Their inquiry…
so I turned quickly and asked my dear father what did he just say…and he
said it again! He confirmed it! Just as I’d laid forth, to a T!

Haunted by a Lovely God.

(I feel so guilty… why am I treated thus?
Why me? Why not the prayers of parents
whose children suffer and die in horrible pain for
nothing that they ever did?
Why not the prayers of wives for soldiers
Cain has already marked for death’s dark
gaping foul maw, prayers supplicating
deliverance, protection, but
they go unheeded and
Death eats again?)

And of course, we moved, and I did…commit myself to Them…
once all for always…yep, I was in…And I’ve hated it sometimes, and loved it at others.
I’ve grown and I’ve changed, seen Them change before my eyes as they were
opened and I could see other than my own idolatrous self and that
small god I fashioned, so stunted, blind, deaf and so mute in the
vanity of my self worship when my box, my image of Them I had
made was so gloriously broken!

I’ve sorrowed and railed… I’ve been outcast by mean so called
spiritual family, been stunned by the towering cruelty of those who should
know better, done blindly in the Most Wonderful Name of Them…

Lovely God to me, and so ugly and coarse, buffoonish in their mocking mouths.

I met my darling, and we had our babies…
she/they are amazing miracles…I watch the
lives of my college acquaintances shipwreck, their
marriages foundering on the black jagged rocks of their alluring
careers and blood money…and I watch the children of
hard working salts, such dear people around me, more worthy than I, better
people than I, quaff drugs like their hearts are on fire, and join themselves
numbly to anyone there in those earthquakes of loneliness,
wreckages strewn in their wake and their orphans tossed
careless like litter abandoned.

And I have prayed with these people, so passionate, supplications far more
suitable than my own bumbling tongue-tied petitions and tall ebenezers…
and seen them bounce off, with dust poofing, dry-cloudy in
dull drifting mockery…

…and I feel so guilty.

Such.          Guilt.

Because They have haunted me… They’ve apprehended me… taken me…
They have not let me go, not let me drift… and I,
transgender woman held in such derision by
most of the offspring of the Blood of the Lamb…
The Holy Spirit has even shown me Her Name and Herself, Lady Grace,
and She’s drawn so near to me, to be ma Mère…my Mama, and teach me
my secret heart and my self, so young and emerging.

And yet still I ask myself why am haunted?

I could go on, forever recounting the
stories of Their faithful presence and meddling hands…of

Yosemite Sacred, cathedrals where mountains became the
Triune God, and I fell asunder to claw at the dirt in despairing blood-guiltness and
crying for mercy… and wonder of wonders!
El Capitan: Papa…Half Dome, cut asunder became My Friend Jesus…
Yosemite Falls: my Lady Grace, flowing and washing forever until I am pure…
Bridal Veil Falls was me, shifting emotions and prevarications blown
lacey and wandring across rocky faces but always to Them…
rising up from the ground, clean and unsullied as
Waterdeep sang for me They have been nothing but
Good in my life!

Each time I hear someone’s tale of woe filled with despair or with cynical bitterness flowing,
or just fatigue and futility…I am worse than any teller, and merit less than the askers, more
toxic than anyone else whose had issue with God, or
issue with Their present absence, or make issue with Them because

“there is this construct God which has come
out of nowhere, seemingly and thus doesn’t exist
(unlike anything else which its knowing of testifies to its being)…”

I have not told you this tale to shame you… I who am shame incarnate for so long.
Nor to claim privilege or power, position… I do not have an iota of that.

…I have not told you to lobby, convince you… or
proselytize, or evangelize you. God No!
I have made my expiation to you, my confessors…
The sin I am guilty of? Of this I Charissa Grace stand blood guilty:


Haunted by a Lovely God.



I finally see you there, perched on what you take as my shoulder.
Your raucous cries, your crooning insinuations snaking and slithering
Slyly, twixt my uncertainties and my joys…

I know what you do, laying your eggs to hatch, infest
my heart, consume my soul’s supper and crawl back to you
black minions vomiting into your gaping gulf
what was to be my fortifying fire.

I am on to you, foul lurker! I have looked directly
and cast your vorpal brood from my strong heart!
Your wormy litter is turned against yourself!
Be gone you creep! Your doom is to be bound, alone!
I spit upon your atrimental bones!


The Work of Night’s Soft Hands

Night has Her reasons for pulling plush sloe shades around our borders.
Searing sun scorches, scours sharp gimlet hot relentless purging.
(He cannot but shine in piercing prying shafts into our corners.)

But Night, silent Singer of Mercies creamy and thick,
harbor of ships in shattered turmoil, nestles and hovers
and grants sanctuary to all who would pause and gather.

Take stock, in yourself. Weigh, scrutinize those rugged rocks
you took on as “ballast”, your hedge against the smothering dust of fear.
Cast off that one (or two) by means of which you inveigle you.

And rise, treasure sure, to float free, to drift amongst swimming stars,
ice-fire diamonds brilliant and glitt’ry in the tenebrous skies
with face open and pumping vital heart well emptied and smooth.

And Night, She shall lift you dark, hold you high and smoky
until you catch the sun’s arc long before weary earth wakes
and abundant you shine, displayed and cultivated

as the work of Night’s Soft Hands.


Come Home To Yourself

It all seems like a dream…like I woke up
into Real life and there you were, grinning,
that crooked lil smile and that small dimple
at your mouth’s corner, honey cupid bow.

It was as if we happy-laughed forever!
And cried for ever too, both all at once.
It was as if my torrid fever broke!
Things clear now to me, I’m in on the joke

regarding the us that we were…we are.
How I must have puzzled you, my dear!
Befuddled you and discouraged you too,
for you saw my real red and pulsing heart,

and underneath, the shade of deep dry rot.
From that mad carnival my wistfulness
and longing that you would be double blessed
sprang up to cover over my despair

and make a castle for you in the air
(I long for naught but glad good things for you!
Blessing and health, and most important Love.)
Capital L Love, vital and alive.

Thus my recoil from your beguiling ways,
from that slight space you harbor to survive
and aloofness you must have to thrive.
But passion, fire for you…remained and bloomed.

I give you those things, slight space, aloofness,
so crucial to your sense of who you are
and how you are…BUT…you… you must cast off
the boredom of the same old peccadilloes!

Soon you will find your true-north self again,
your way again, to walk the sacred spaces,
and haunts of ancient peace, familiar places,
to draw comfort from them, at rest within.

God placed such presences in this bright world
and lets them flourish, glad and glorious.
God’s threatened not by great manifestation
of beauty taken to be gods unknown…

God simply is not threatened. Pure and simple.

God’s given us Beauty, and this is Truth…
…God gives Truth, and this is our Beauty…
Alas! It’s we who fracture and dismember
with reason’s rule we drown out Beauty’s ember.

So…Walk those roads, the trails, the barren beauty
verdant with its own color and life…and way.
Hear the sea, she’s ever-always singing
her ever ancient, ever new swan song.

And let yourself come back home to yourself,
as torn, defiled places are knit together.
Cleanse all the places pain has hollowed out
with haunts of ancient peace…and grace throughout.

To treasure your words, modulate my own,
…“return to that self I have never been,
and yet I always was in breath and being”…
The trust to simply talk to you about

anything gone awry in innocence,
and you will hear my heart as clear as day,
and I will hear your heart as well…the warmth,
connecting, friends who’ve gone thru thick and thin.

So…we dive now into our sleep together,
and when I wake with terrors in the night
you’re there…and when I get up because sleep
avoids me like I haven’t washed for weeks,

You slumber on, and I pass time until
at last I sleepy get, and gently slink
back to our bed and you in graceful slumber
still know that I am there and slide your arm

under my head and pull me oh so close.
I fall asleep my cheek upon your chest,
hearing your breath unguarded, raw and new,
your heart, steady, flutt’ring on so different

than my erratic anxious dark contrast…
And you, temple of Love so tender-fine
comfort me…and I lose myself at last,
to be found…yours…and you forever mine.


It’s Not Insomnia by Josh Gaines (Published Gloom Cupboard Jan 2012)

Good morning Constance.  I am posting a poem of my friend Josh from poetry group.  He is one of the nicest people I have ever met, and a fantastic poet too.  I really admire his work.  For those of you with me, he is the author of that poem Grace and the Space Between…the one that I had such a strong affinity for that he said it is now belonging to ME!  lol!

Anyway, he read this one a few months back…it stayed with me, and I post it here for your pleasure.  Somehow, it captures that strange moment when someone who knew me previously discovers that things are transitioning with me…

Grace and Peace, Charissa


It’s Not Insomnia (Published Gloom Cupboard Jan 2012)

“It’s not insomnia
That’s keeping you awake.”
Shaking his head
With two fingers
On the pulse wrist.
“You’re just dead
And didn’t know it.
There’s nothing we can do.”
The doctor wrote down
A time of death.
He rounded up
Like it didn’t matter.
“You’re dead,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter.”
“But I just feel tired!” I said.
“Give it time,” he said
“You’ll come around.”

I walked away
With a certificate of death
And a prescription
I couldn’t read.
I wondered what it was.
At home, my dog
And my wife were missing,
Like somehow everyone knew
I had died.
People apologized to me
Or cried, or drank to my memory,
But the bar wouldn’t serve me.
“Look I can pay you in two days!” I said.
“You’re dead,” they said
“Your credit is no good here.”
When I slept,
I dreamed of being alive.

I had to move some place
Where no one knew me,
Where no one could tell.
I started wearing all warm colors
Even in winter.
I started picking dead people
Out of crowds.
I found where all the dead people
Go to hang out;
I can’t tell you where it is.
If you were dead
You’d just know.

I filled the prescription,
But the pills didn’t seem to do anything.
I called my doctor
And he refused to talk to me.
They said he’d taken it real hard,
Gave me a number to call
For an embalmer,
Who was also dead.
The doctor’s office sent a refill script
In the mail—
The note with it said, “We’re sorry for your loss.”

You can keep me in one of your cages and mock my loss of liberty


‘Trans Bodies, Trans Selves’: A Modern Manual By And For Trans People : NPR

‘Trans Bodies, Trans Selves’: A Modern Manual By And For Trans People : NPR.

My friend Bette Lu Krause alerted me to this…I offer it again in the spirit of further education.

I truly find that the more I get to know people and issues as unique people and general issues, the less likely I am to judge.

Give it a listen:  it is good.



Love in your dish

G’morning Constance…I love to cook.  I love to get in the kitchen and start letting ingredients come together and meld, mingle, and metamorphose into something completely different.

My cooking is sooo much better these days…now that I know myself.  I have wondered why.  And perhaps this quote, from Chef Jacques Pépin sheds some light on the subject…and it makes me wonder:  if every day is a dish to be prepared, are you including the crucial ingredient?

And as a poet, I think the metaphor holds very well…check out the quote, and make a gourmet day out of today!

Love,  Charissa

“I have asked friends many times, “What are the best fundamental dishes of your life?” Invariably, their response goes back to food prepared by a mother, a grandmother, a father, an aunt, or some other relative or friend. A main ingredient of those preparations is the love with which they are prepared. Those early tastes remain with you for the rest of your life.

“The Chinese philosopher Lin Yutang said that patriotism is nothing more than the love of dishes you had as a child. Certainly, in times of stress you go back to the essential dishes of your youth. As those young soldiers in Afghanistan would certainly agree, Mom’s apple pie, Boston baked beans, or a lobster roll are among the dishes they crave or dream about.

“In Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez, the book’s main protagonist, Dr. Urbino, doesn’t know anything about cooking, but when he eats and entertains in his home, he equates the goodness of the food with how much love was put into the dish. He would reject a dish, saying, “this food was cooked without love.” It is a criticism that is closer to the truth than most people realize.

“Julia Child used to say that you have to be happy when you cook for the food to be good, and you also have to be happy in the eating and sharing of the food with family and friends. Otherwise the gastric juices will not do their job and you won’t digest the food properly. I agree with her assessment. It is impossible to enjoy food when you’re angry and tense.”



Very Informative article regarding Sexual/Gender Orientation and rude questions

Hi Constance…I am still on slow burn from this morning’s disheartening news…but this article covers several good points regarding what not to do or say when you encounter a person who is different than you.  She writes of the LGTBQ community…but I find these ideas extremely applicable under any circumstance with anyone.

Blessings to you, and grace to have courage!!




Why Your Disbelief in My Queer Identity Doesn’t Negate Its Existence

July 14, 2014 by Erin Tatum

LGBTQ folks have to put up with a lot of ignorance.

One of the most obnoxious forms of said ignorance comes in the form of identity policing, which often manifests as other people providing “theories” to explain your sexuality.

These microaggressions can ruin your day and even erode your confidence about your identity. A microaggression is a small, intentional or unintentional statement or action that is often repeated, to the point where the person experiencing them feels worn down or attacked.

Microaggressions occur in everyday environments, and as their name implies, they often go unnoticed and easily accumulate.

Identity policing certainly falls under the umbrella of microaggressions. When someone makes an assumption about an identity that isn’t theirs, particularly in regard to sexuality, it comes off as interrogating the other person’s self-perception, with the implication that their understanding is somehow flawed or inferior.

Being queer means that people who aren’t in your community always feel entitled to an explanation or worse – they think they know better.

Let’s explore how ridiculous this notion is by going through the various incarnations of queer identity police.

1. The Judge

I always cringe internally whenever anyone outside of my queer bubble brings up anything that would give away my sexuality. Not because I have any problem with my orientation or because I fear rejection, but because I’m never in the mood to go through the inevitable point-by-point analysis to justify how I identify.

Whether you’re coming out for the first time or simply mentioned your sexuality offhand, the obligation to explain your queerness to someone outside your community is cumbersome and irritating.

This is doubly true with cis and/or straight people, who always play the role of heteronormative defense lawyer, no matter how genuinely curious or non-queerphobic they claim to be.

They expect you to lug around your mental briefcase of citations, detailing when you first felt the way you did and when your first experience was and all the times you felt “not normal” since you were a fetus–bonus points for self-loathing or anything that sounds like they may have heard it in a Macklemore song!

Apparently, you can’t be queer without having enough history and credentials to fill an encyclopedia. After all, you’re clearly just craving their approval and validation, right?

As a woman who has considered herself bi/pansexual with leanings towards ladies for several years, I’ve frequently tried to convince myself that I’m actually a lesbian because people understand that so much better than “I realized I don’t really consider gender as a defining factor in who I’m attracted to.”

That’s right, I was allowing any skeptical rando to gerrymander my orientation into something that it wasn’t. I paradoxically used everyone else’s reactions as a barometer for how I ought to define myself.

No one owes you an explanation of their gender or orientation.

Conversely, if you don’t understand someone’s gender or sexuality and you don’t recognize it as legitimate, that doesn’t mean you can pretend it doesn’t exist.

2. The Detective

Then there’s the next level of intrusive – people who think that they have all the answers to your identity. You can say almost anything about your gender or orientation and they’ll always have an objection or a suggestion.

Sometimes these comments are benevolent; sometimes they’re offensive. They range from stereotypical (“you’re bisexual so you must be obsessed with sex”) to just flat out rude (“you’re asexual so you must’ve been though trauma”).

People also have an impulse to conflate gender or gender presentation with sexuality, when in reality there may not be any correlation. For example, straight trans* individuals are frequently accused of pretending to identify as a different gender to avoid the pressure of being gay.

Newsflash: Although it may be tempting, it’s time to take off the Sherlock Holmes hat. If someone you know identifies as queer, it’s not a gateway to interrogate them.

People who are in the majority can go through life with their identities unquestioned. Even if the majority person is well intentioned, the marginalized person should not be forced to jump through hoops to educate or cater to the status quo.

Beyond that, it’s incredibly insensitive to steamroll someone else’s already hard-won identity with your own opinion just because you think your perspective is superior to or more sophisticated than theirs.

Gender and sexuality is not a fun whodunnit mystery or an opportunity to show off your liberalism or level of education. You don’t have to insist on creating a rationale for every piece of the puzzle.

Frankly, queer people couldn’t care less about your analysis.

3. The Authenticity Jockey

Perhaps the most galling is queer people who have the audacity to question or put down the identities of other queer people. Really? Just… really?

We face so much prejudice already, you’d think more of us would have the good sense to respect everyone’s autonomy to define their own identities.

Given that so many outside of our community preach to us about how we are or how we should be, it’s unfortunate that we sometimes treat others with the same scrutiny and skepticism.

The LGBTQ community has been derided as all about the LG with only a reluctant willingness to acknowledge the BTQ, which regrettably holds true too often.

Bisexual and trans* individuals are thus more inclined to be subjected to a volley of “interpretations” – often thinly veiled insults or discrimination – from fellow queer people.

Unfortunate confirmations of this include the alarming consensus that bisexuals are promiscuous or untrustworthy, or that being trans* is a trend that’s now perceived as merely an evolution from being gay.

There seems to be a bias in every subset queer community against just about everyone. Drawing briefly from my own experiences with queer women, feminine women routinely face objectification and misogyny, while others scoff that masculine-identified women “aren’t real women.” You just can’t win.

So, why do we feel the need to cut each other down? By questioning the legitimacy of someone else’s queer identity, Group X asserts that their identity is superior to Group Y, therefore implying that their identity is more respectable.

A hierarchy of authenticity soon forms as everyone works to reaffirm their superiority in the imaginary battle to determine what the best type of queer is.

Here’s a secret: there isn’t one! There’s no manual or checklist on how to get the most queer brownie points.

Queerness is yours to explore however you want and we should all embrace that rather than inexplicably recycle asinine heteronormative policing.

If you’re queer and you feel the need to inform another queer person of how you think their identity works, think about how irritating you would find the same behavior if it came from a straight/cis person. You wouldn’t like it, so don’t inflict it on someone else.

Everyone’s Experiences Are Valid

It may sound like a kindergarten lesson, but it bears repeating: treat everyone with respect. If what they’re doing isn’t hurting you, leave them alone and let them do their thing.

It takes a lot of determination and passion and confidence for many people to be queer. Queerness obviously has a complex and often tumultuous history. Turning it into a platform for your own monologue or a silly game of 20 Questions for the sake of giggling at your own knowledge demonstrates an unbelievable disregard for the person’s journey.

Queer experiences are crucial. They constitute the cornerstone of our understanding of ourselves as individuals and our community in a broader sense.

Queerness usually involves a great deal of reflection and introspection, so don’t pretend you know our sexuality better than we do because you took one gender studies course or watched a documentary.

At the end of the day, your theory amounts to little more than white noise.

The integrity of our experiences and identities will never fail to transcend your “theories.”

Did you hear the one about…

…the 5th (read FIFTH) transgender woman of color in 41 days who was murdered in the Baltimore area?


I didn’t think so…after all, she deserved it…she had it coming…she brought it on herself…she had a choice…

…victim blaming at its finest.  Let it soften your resolve, let it waft into your conscience like opium smoke and numb your “give a F**K” so you can sing the dreamy song of the addicted “same as it ever was, move along move along”.

Just keep on chooglin in your ordinary and safe, insulated and comfort lined…nothing going on here…


Yeah, right.  Nothing going on except a probable serial killer on the loose…well, isn’t that what we would think if it was the 5th young white girl murdered, mutilated and discarded in 41 days?

Constance…it does start with you.

If you read here regularly, if you by some miracle have found value in the things that I have written, if by an even bigger miracle you have seen me, desperate and kicking in my bondage, but slowly getting free with the help of modern science and the Love of God, then you need to realize that whoever is killing these women would kill me without a second thought, and throw me in the trash.

When will we discover the courage of our convictions, and speak out?  Wilberforces of our day and time, Esters to our generation of the oppressed and murdered?

They cannot free themselves.

Speak up.  Tell your friends what you are learning about what a transgender person is…and isn’t.  Correct ignorant statements, confront misogynistic statements, reject transphobic words and behaviours, and call into accountability the lifestyle of xenophobic  ostrich emulation.

Gawd, above all, when you see one of us, just greet with normal eyes and soft voice of kindness.

This morning I confess that I am slammed hard with the fresh reality that there are those who mouth the Precious Name, and then spit it into the mud and treat it

just like a murdered transwoman.

Staring you in the eyes and asking will you go?  Will you speak for us?

Will you speak for me?

Charissa Grace


“That’s Good Enough” (Debi Jackson, Mother Of Transgender Child, Gives Moving Speech)

G’Morning Constance!  Another amazing mom tells her story of love and finding her girl inside a little boy’s skin.

I listen to these stories, and wonder what if…

This story is somewhat different, in that this Mom, Debi Jackson, experienced quite a bit of discrimination and trans-misogynist blame.  She takes on the typical tropes that were thrown at her like stones in attempts to police her and her family…and her daughter.

She is a fabulous, poignant speaker.  She is not afraid to show tears and passion…she is unashamed of her love of God, and knows biblical references to refute the hatred thrown her way by so-called christians.

Please…won’t you take a look?  These stories are all similar, but each unique experience adds a special tile to the mosaic of the expression of God to us in humanity.  I am excited to be a part of shining forth the parts that trans-gender people have to show for Them.

Love, Charissa


Debi Jackson, Mother Of  Transgender Child, Gives Moving Speech

Posted: 07/15/2014 11:43 am EDT Updated: 07/15/2014 11:59 am EDT

“My daughter is six years old. She transitioned, which means she changed her outward appearance from male to female and started living full time as her true gender, when she was four. Until that point she was quite a rough and tumble little boy with a buzz cut and a shark tooth necklace.”

And so begins the absolutely beautiful speech Debi Jackson gave earlier this year about her transgender daughter, AJ, at the Unity Temple on the Plaza in Kansas City. As Jackson continues, she outlines how her family came to realize that AJ is transgender, what happened the first day she went to school “in girl clothes” and the bigotry her family faced.

But the best part of the video may be when Jackson addresses the comments she’s heard about her daughter and sets the record straight about statements like you “wanted a girl so you turned your child into one” and “kids have no idea what they want or who they are — my kids wants to be a dog, should I let him?”

Spend six minutes and get to know Jackson and her family a little better. You’ll be happy you did.

(h/t A Note To My Kid)

I told myself that this “happens” to other people — not me. Wrong.

Hi Constance…I found a cool article about yet another parent who has the vision, courage and love to raise her transgender daughter with love, acceptance, and support.

She made a statement in her article, and it so resonated with me, because I remember that fateful late March afternoon just last year (!!!)…after extensive reading about transgender people and lives…I was so lonely, and so separated from everyone and everything.  Surrounded by people who loved me, but not me me…just who I posed as for their security and happiness, and yet I felt totally alone.

I was worthless.  I had no meaning.  They had actively and intentionally sought me, found me and time and again healed and sustained me…and I still just wanted to disappear.

And on that day, rain drizzling coldly outside, heaters ticking and popping, I read of the loneliness and alienation of my trans sisters and brothers…and I was soo struck by how their stories jibed with mine, how people whom I had never met wrote as if they were inside my head!  My compassion welled up, and I wept for them, because I truly knew what they were suffering…and then the stories of the people who decided to transition instead of kill themselves, and such a longing consumed me…a longing to feel something normal, a longing to be “right”, a longing to know I belonged to someplace…

…belonged to myself…

and then I heard Mama say to me in my heart, that if I was totally honest with myself, I would see that I too was transgender, just like the ones I was reading of.

And that is where the statement that Julie Ross makes came out of my mouth…”No Lord…that happens to other people, but not me.  I mean, I have always thought I was a girl trapped in this male body with no way out, but that doesn’t make me transgender!  lol!

But She persisted, and besides…I knew, right then that she was right.  All that had to be dealt with was the constructs of immorality and perversion that had been formed in my mind and heart due to the childhood experiences I went through.

All of that is going to be avoided for Julie’s lovely daughter!  She will still have trials, and heartache like every human in this shattered world…but she will never feel the emptiness, the horror of nothingness where there ought to be life.

May Mama shine on each of our hearts with Her convicting love that upholds us, sustains us, and washes us everyday…and may we find the courage to go out of our way to ease the journey of someone else today.

Much love and rejoicing,  Charissa



Julie Ross

Raising a Transgender Child: A Star is Born

Posted: 04/20/2012 5:08 pm



Eight months ago, my 9-year-old son tearfully shared with me that “his whole life, he had wanted to be a girl”. Pressed by the therapist (who, thank G-d, was in the room with us) to clarify whether he wants to be a girl or is a girl, George immediately replied that he is a girl. And so began a crazy-ass adventure that I never, in a million years, expected to find my child or, frankly, myself, on.

To be clear, my husband Rich and I always knew that George (who is now Jessie) was different from not only our older son, but from other kids — male and female alike. With sparkling eyes and a wildly observant and funny personality, he was known by everyone everywhere we went. Never one to shy away from a conversation or situation (particularly if it involved dolls, dresses, wigs or mermaid tails), he captured the attention of anyone he came into contact with. When behaviors that concerned us in preschool and kindergarten — including, but by no means limited to his self portraits (a frequent drawing assignment) consistently depicting a girl in a dress with long, flowing hair — continued with even greater vigor in first, second and third grades. We concluded that he was probably going to grow up to be gay, yet didn’t quite buy it ourselves. He was a boy who greatly appreciated a beautiful girl and what she was wearing. He never met a doll, wig, dress or mermaid tail that he didn’t feel a total compulsion to own — no matter how strongly he had to fight for it. And despite the fact that he was not even slightly effeminate, there were several occasions that he harassed and harangued me for hours on end requesting everything from hair extensions to wigs to dolls. It never added up. And then he asked for (and by “asked for” I mean “demanded”) a pierced ear.

Our initial reaction to the earring request was that “little boys don’t wear earrings”, but he was having none of it. As he obsessively pursued this request, it became increasingly clear that it was not a desire, but a need. Since growing out his traditional little boy haircut was going to take some serious time (we had agreed to allow him to grow his hair — anything to stop hearing about hair extensions or wigs), a single pierced ear seemed an easy enough allowance in hopes of placating him. Of significant note was, just prior (and I mean as the alcohol was being rubbed across his lobe) to the piercing, he implored the piercer to be sure to do it in the ear that doesn’t mean “gay”… clearly he was building up the courage to tell us something, we just didn’t know it yet.

It was not long after the newly-pierced ear that our confusion was put to rest and we were told of George’s truth. It took me about a minute and a half to absorb what he was saying and to give myself a virtual whack upside the head. It all started to make sense now, except for the part when I told myself that this happens to other families — not mine. Wrong.

We continued along with our “if-it-was-ever-normal-it-isn’t-now” lives for a few weeks, noticing a huge change in our child’s mood and temperament. Clearly, an enormous weight had been lifted. And then there came what we refer to as “the article”. It was a Sunday in December, which also happened to be George’s tenth birthday. On the front page of The Boston Globe there was an article about identical twin boys, one of whom had identified as transgender and was now living fully as a girl. I, not surprisingly, was raptly reading the story when George came up behind me, noticed the photo and asked who they were. Upon telling him he responded, with his mouth agape, “You mean I’m not the only one?” It was at that moment that Jessie was born, moved in and has since made herself comfortable in my house.

The following day, I dropped George off at school and told him to be cool; we would come up with a plan. He was cool. Until 11 a.m. (not bad considering the school day starts at 8 a.m.), when he simply could not keep the truth to himself and, without fanfare or drama, told one of his teachers about his “secret”. The cat, ladies and gentlemen, was out of the bag. The next day, as it happened, was pajama day and, after a hasty, late night trip to Target, I successfully outfitted my “son” in head-to-toe pink, purple and green polka dotted pajamas in which he ran (not walked) into school with zero hesitation and without so much as a glance over his shoulder for support. Jessie had been waiting her whole life for this day. I almost wonder if that was why she felt the need to share when she did… just to ensure the perfect little girl pajama ensemble for what will likely (hopefully) be her last school sanctioned pajama day ever.

Since those first crazy days, we have had her second ear pierced and have had countless meetings, discussions, questions, plans and concerns hurled in our direction. At times we have laid low: mostly at the beginning, when we were nearly immobilized by the mere thought of what it meant to have a transgender child. Other times we have been “out there”: when, for example, we announced on Facebook (with her encouragement) “George becoming Jessie”, complete with a photo of her in her inaugural dress. This was a means of survival for us and done mainly so that we weren’t forced to explain the situation to everyone, everywhere, every time we left the house. But no matter how people learned of Jessie having identified as transgender, the response has been consistent: total acceptance with a healthy and appropriate dose of trepidation — both for us and, frankly, themselves.

Our family has been lucky. We know that we are just getting started, but are grateful that Jessie’s social transition, thus far, has been as seamless as we ever could have hoped for. She has that sparkle in her eye and a new confidence which is the envy of many an adult. We take each day as it comes and have as little an idea as to where this will land as we did eight months ago… but at least now her self-portraits make more sense.

PS: At this point, it is noteworthy to tell you that it felt strange to refer to my child as George or to call her a “he”. “New normal” surprises me every day…

This post originally appeared on George.Jessie.Love.

My Lil Hamster mind is churning…

So, Constance, I have been thinking about Trans-girl at the Cross’ post which I re-posted…I decided to do some study on some of the words she referred to but chose not to expound on right then, as the analytical linguistic study of greek words and modern meanings can get pretty stodgy!

BUT:  in the process of studying, I found a resource which I found very helpful:


Here you will find a kind, understanding tone, and a genuine attempt to shed clarity and light on how certain passages from the KJV translation of the Bible have found their way into the warp and weft of christian presupposition in our culture today.  They consider the historicity of the times the biblical passages were recorded, as well as the same dynamic for the times of the translators.  They consider various agendas that were historically influential in the power struggles between church and state and how that struggle led to error.

Best of all, they try to give a nuanced and detailed understanding of the various words both biblically  and in the common use of the day culturally.

If you are a believer and grew up being taught the common cultural expressions that christendom was infected with from the KJV, and if you also sense in your heart that those positions just do not cut it and are not reflective of the Love of Jesus and His lifestyle, and if you still want to feel good about living by the Bible and its teachings so you don’t just get tossed about on every wave of doctrine and current fashion of thought, then this site will be of help!

If you are a believer and you are of the ilk that considers homosexuality to be the ultimate triple-dog-dare double secret probation sin above all sins, this site may help you see how your approach “murders” the very ones you profess to love so deeply while despising their short-comings.

And to all of us, Constance…let’s strive to accept everyone we meet in the very way we desire to be accepted!  I think that the story of the prodigal son provides a good model for us, in the person of the father…and I have this sneaking suspicion that anything different than this sort of acceptance and compassion would be a shadow on His heart and a pain in His side.


Love, Charissa


The Doctrine of Trans, Part 2

The Doctrine of Trans, Part 2.

Good Morning Constance…Part 2 from Trans-girl at the Cross.

Prolly of interest only to my readers who are Christian, but even if you aren’t it is worth a look, for it gives some insight into the subtlety of biblical interpretation, and the importance of letting the text speak for God instead of the reader reading her own opinions into the text and then taking the name of the Lord vainly by claiming that God has said something He has not said.

Praying that Lady Grace prevails in the hearts of the Church, and that a place for all LGTBQ people is warmly secured at the table of Their Communion and Fellowship,


“As Good As It Gets”

The movie…

So, Constance, I am not at all a Jack Nicholson fan…if you have read here long I am certain that would not be a surprise! LOL!

I am also not a Helen Hunt fan…nothing at all like how I feel regarding Jack Nicholson, I just never clicked with her, or her movies.  She did a movie in our town, when she was just a girl, and that whole phenomenon was interesting, but…meh.

In spite of that, I have loved the movie “As Good As It Gets” since the day it was released.

I have watched this movie at least 5 times, and maybe more…it is 17 years old!!

For me to watch a movie more times than once, it has to be special to me, and there are films I regularly re-watch.  But I cannot predict them, or decide. Some are just calling to me over and over, and most never do.  The Sound of Music…My Fair Lady…Music Man…Clint Eastwood movies (only some)…Babette’s Feast…The Fisher King…and some others.

But this one, well, it is just impossible for me to not watch it when it is on, and I have never ever been able to figure out why I like it so.

Until this year.

I recorded it onto the DVR about a month ago, and decided to save it and watch it first thing, early in the morning on my birthday, alone while my darling slept.  And this year…I finally got it.

It’s theme is redemption, transformation, transition, and love and grace win the day over alienation and loneliness.

Usually there is a character I relate to, and I know it.  But in this movie, until just now, I didn’t know which character I related to cus I disliked them all (while loving their journey and blooming)…

But this year?  I get it.

It is Carol the waitress…she is me.
It is Simon the artist…he is me.
It is Melvin the writer…he is me.

Plus it has Van Morrison music!

As Good As It Gets…there is a never ending never running out supply of good, when we allow ourselves to connect and love, and receive and give…

…and above all, just accept others.

I think it is a living parable that speaks out Micah 6:8.

Thanks to all the creators of this amazing piece of art…I am ever in your debt.

Love, Charissa



Dear Constance…


I have thought about it for a few days…what I would say this morning, if anything.  After all, there are some things that a woman just never tells.



I am different than other women, both in that I am myself and unique, and also because I am myself and transgender…in each way I am set apart, and thus have a strong sense of both my freedom to do or not as I choose, but also my “obligation” to report, to chronicle, to make my best effort to inform anyone interested in what life is like inside the oppression of the wrong gender.

The metaphor is just too perfect:  We are, all of us, trapped in a wrong place, in a wrong time, with the sense that things ought to be different, and will one day be restored to “happily ever after”.

So with that said…

55 years ago today, I was gripped and smushed and pushed and eventually pulled into the rough light and harsh noise and frighteningly huge space of this world we live in.  I was born July 13th, 1959.

It’s been such a long journey, and yet 55 years is literally nil when considered in the light of the days that have gone before.

But to me, it has been all I have ever known, and so I had a history of being on the outside, being outcast and no one knows, and being condemned to persisting in keeping my heart beating and my chest heaving, and my fruit sweet in the midst of a land that had no air, and weighed a million bajillion tons and was the stark backdrop for growing cactus and joshua trees.

Last year was a year of finishes, and it nearly finished me…so much ended, so many things fell apart in my world, and only a few things remained.  At the time, it was unbearable.  I would go to the mountains on my bike, and scream myself hoarse.  It was either that or die.

Jesus told a church back in the day to wake up, and strengthen the things that remain.  See, they had invested in transient things, and ignored what lasted.  He exhorted them to get a grip, assess priorities and focus on eternal things.

When we don’t listen to the exhortation, He simplifies our options by removing the transient things…and this happened to me last year, a year of sorrow, loss, and ultimately deliverance.

I am glad to see it end, and so happy as well for the way that Mama took me in hand the last 3 months of the year and rooted, grounded my feet and heart in a renewed understanding of my worth and value and significance to Them, to Her…She taught me to begin to love myself, and thus I can with a true heart truly love others.


I have always associated the number 5 with Grace, for a variety of reasons.

So 55…this is gonna be the year of double grace…Grace upon grace!  Charissa (which means grace) Grace.

Moses said to the Lord, in that famous encounter that began with the Lord testing Moses’ heart with the declaration that He was sick and tired of the stubborn nature of the people of Israel.

CLUE:  He really wasn’t, but Moses was!!  I have found that the Lord often times presents Themselves to me as if THEY are like the attitudes of my heart, in order to mirror to me who I am in that moment.

So here was Moses, pretending on the outside (even to himself) that he was not tired of them, fed up with the dullness and stubbornness, and so the Lord tells Moses that He is done with them, but that He will take Moses himself and raise him up into his own nation of great and awesome people, just like their Progenitor was! (Sarcasm intended btw…this is the same guy that tried to become the great deliverer if Israel by killing an Egyptian slave guard, and then ran into the desert to hide for 40 years!).

But…thank God that Moses had hung out with Them enough to know that when this sort of word came, it was a really good idea to listen with the heart of hearts and not the heart of desire…and so as he thought it over, it became manifestly obvious that it was better to have God Themself over merely Their blessing and protection.

So Moses says this:  “Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight.”

Did you catch that?  Moses asks for grace to get grace!

Do you need grace in your life…undeserved favor unending, and the power to do whatever God requires?  That is the biblical meaning of grace, by the way…it isn’t some cheap get outta jail free card fire insurance…

The lesson is that it starts with Them, it is by Their power and ability, and it ends in Them, while They in love loop us in to the joy and blessing of Their perfect fellowship.

They include us in Their family.

So…55 years…and new beginnings for Charissa Grace…me, this cursed child of loneliness who has been redeemed from the pit of emptiness, from death.  I am walking in faith this year is going to be a year of grace upon grace.  The wonderful undeserved unmerited Shalom They have extended over me, to me, in me, thru me, and the power to walk and be fruitful in the land of my afflictions.

I have gone forth sowing in tears.  I shall return, harvesting in joy.

And this is the year it truly begins for me…and that is indeed a faith statement!!!  It scares me, the gravity of 54 years pulls hard back to the pits of loneliness and despair, but the power of Their love and affection is a strong magnetic irresistible draw.

I cannot resist it.

I do not want to resist it.

So I surrender, and say Happy (yes…for the first time, Happy) Birthday (for I was in so many ways born last year too) Charissa

Happy Birthday, Charissa Grace, blest of God and most fortunate of beings



In the Oak Grove

All existence seems qualified
By your smile–
or a dubious look in your eyes
All existence becomes distinct, (distinct)

crystalline and substantial
by the grace that flows
from a movement
of your hand that confers
forgiveness for words spoken
without reflection

All existence is turning here, now,
About a fragment moment.  OH!
You must know that only you
Bring me health and a
Cooling breeze from heaven.


A love poem

written in the sky with

birds, clouds, blue

spoken by the silence that

cannot help being beautiful

She cannot help being beautiful
and I have learned to love that sculpted
flow of hers–all that’s secretive…

Blue surfaces.  Silences.

Now I know the depth of blue, flowing,
that depth of blue, my love, silent.

She cannot help being beautiful
Oh my love my love my love__who_owl_hill___by_nine9nine9

Suzanne Grossman Writes: “Why I Chose Grace as a Gay Christian”

Suzanne Grossman


via Why I Chose Grace as a Gay Christian.

I love this young woman’s faith, courage, and orientation to grace!

Hang in there Suzanne…there are fellow believers who realize that Faith thru Grace in Love is the winning recipe for connection with Them!

Please…read the article, and then think if you had those obstacles in your faith journey, in addition to the common difficulties we face.

Grace and Peace…


Give Ear to My Words…

…oh Lord, consider my meditation.
Hearken unto the voice of my cry,
My King and my God.

For unto Thee do I talk each day,
it is my voice You hear in the mornings…

Oh Lady Grace, in the mornings will I direct my prayers
and heartsongs and meditations sweet, unto You, and
I will look up.

For Your lovingkindness is better than life
My heart sings, sweet and silent and ever grateful
so thus I will Bless Thee, and lift up my hands unto Your Goodness.

For it is Your grace that sustains me and Your mercy that
endures forever…

But Your steadfast Love…it never ceases…it never comes to an end.
It is new every morning!!  Literally, new every morning!
Oh Mama!  Great is the Wonder of it!


Great is Your faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.

And so accept me this day, my Lovely King and Lord
your daughter true, born of blood, and blooming with love
and receive my life for Your purpose in today.

Those I meet, those I pass by, and those whose hearts are breaking.

In the precious and wonderful Name of Immanuel, God with Us…



Should We ‘Fix’ Intersex Children? – ​Charlotte Greenfield – The Atlantic

Should We ‘Fix’ Intersex Children? – ​Charlotte Greenfield – The Atlantic.

Dear Constance…PLEASE!!  Please click thru…

See, humans are born on a gender spectrum, both emotionally and physically.  This fact has long been covered up by our cultural paradigm regarding gender:  That gender is a binary condition, and variations from this binary are anomalies that must be fixed, and fixed immediately.  So, for decades, thousands of parents every year had to make an agonizing decision which was thrust on them by well meaning but wrong medical professionals:  let us fix your child’s body.

Here is the problem…they were usually wrong!  Long term research is now available which has followed the lives of people who were mutilated as infants…yes, the word is mutilated.  Just because the motives were good the facts of the deed remain the same.  When they got it wrong, the mental health and spiritual difficulties of the lives of these victims went off the charts.

We are finally becoming more enlightened, and there are now some medical professionals who advocate just waiting until the child can express themself and tell the world who they are, what they are.

Imagine this:  you went to bed, perfectly content in your lil life, imperfect as it may be…and woke up the next morning to discover that your body had been surgically altered!!  If that prospect makes you feel eager and happy, welcome to the identity of being transgender!  BUT:  if that freaks you out and horrifies you?  Welcome to the world of a transperson who either is in the wrong body by birth…or who has had their intersex body mutilated and in the exact wrong way!

I am excited for this time and place in our society…we have true opportunity to make a way for future human beings to live in freedom and a greater degree of wholeness…and with those obstacles removed, perhaps more time to spend contemplatively, growing and becoming who They made us to be.

In grace with much hope!



Exhortation (1981) edited 2008



I who have dwelt for a season
at the root of a scream,
I who have read my heart like a man
with no hands reading a book
whose pages turn with the wind…

I say Listen, hear me.

When you play at “strife-in-eyes”
and you stare to see which will go
under first–PLEASE PLEASE

be the first to smile.

Do not harden yourself…yourself…
Though it mean surrendering all
Turning yourself out
To Be Known at the world’s mercy

You may lose your name, you may not know

your shape, even the words
you breathe, spoken out so clearly
will loosen and disperse
possibly forever
all given over to the wind crying upon distant seas.

Moment of terror, should the
Moonlight name you a profile
Among Fallen Flowers

Yet you may survive, for many have done so.
You need only to close your eyes…

(Beautiful, Feminine Gesture)

And do not be afraid of the strange woman you find
Lying in the Chamber of your throat

So it will be:  Dark.       A     Long     Vigil.

far among splendours of despair…but
everything will be true, pure,
your love most of all.

But now, please, open your eyes.
Have we not said, down with all tyrants–

even our own?

They will glitter with knowledge of the other side

of the moon–their light of such
a quiet intensity that smiles and frowns

will fall away like shadows of
wild birds flying over–

Yet a degree of affection remaining, like
when you find an old Bible in an

old cupboard in an
old     empty     house–so it is.

Freedom and Beauty.  Do not be afraid.
Assume the freedom of those
born in captivity
who find the purity of being.

Do not be over-modest.
Wear the delicate beauty of those crippled

at birth who earn the grace
of their maiming.

 You must look     and you must seek

in the dreamless dark.

But I await you there…

The Dark Light Of My Eyes Burning With Patience

And then, my eyes will answer…

but they will not command a summons.


Transgender Violence Is a #YesAllWomen Issue | The Nation

Transgender Violence Is a #YesAllWomen Issue | The Nation.

Constance…this is must reading, but even more so…must living.

It must stop.

I do not care if you are male, female, gender fluid, straight, gay, bi, asexual…

I do not care if you are conservative or liberal, christian identified or not…the killing of women in general, and trans-women specifically is literally unacceptable!

By any standard, in any ethical system.

And yet it continues…

Men:  if you do not begin to lead out strong in your groups and spaces, and live out just and humble relationships, then you are as guilty of these crimes as the actual perpetrators…

Women:  if you stay silent, in word and deed, and do not find a way to make it clear to the people you are in relationship with that this way of living is unacceptable, then you are the modern day equivalent of the 1940s Jewish collaborators who sought to avoid persecution by collaborating with their oppressor.

I regret that I did not understand these things years ago…but that is irrelevant, for this is now.

Change must start now.  Right now…for if not, when?

After thousands more have been brutalized and senselessly slaughtered?

Sober and sorrowful,


Grace and the Space Between (by Josh Gaines)

This poem is by another friend from my spoken word group…I bought his book, and was reading along until I hit this poem like Thelma and Louise hit that cliff…over the edge I went and into the gulf of wonder regarding how someone could write a poem that was about me, but yet had not met me when the poem was written!

I read it over and over…and over again…and cried…yeah, huge surprise!  Charissa is crying again!  LOL

Seriously, I was soo amazed.  So I wrote to Josh to tell him about how the poem was mine!  🙂  In the process of that, though, I recognized a poem in the email that I had composed, so I pried Prose’s fingers off Poetry’s slender ivory throat, and Deaf Earth’s Denial was the result.

I give you now the genesis poem for that one…

Grace and the Space Between

Grace dreams in the shapes of clouds
Of the spaces between
Here and highways
Willing to wilt in the sun
On the thirsty river roots of cypress
Whose bows, living between her
And her dreams,
Decide to shade her anyway.

Grace dreams in the movement of dust
Climbing the sun that sneaks through curtain-covered windows
Swirling in ghosts
In dreams she twirls with them.
The mattress beneath her smells of second hand
Like salt-water, grass and motor oil.
Some dust settles over her heart
When it sees she has no blankets.

Grace allows form to the formless.
She calls out the names of shapes
Yet to be invented.
She remembers: Between every space
Is the note that binds spaces,

And behind every cloud is the shadow she casts on the sun
Carried up on sun dust song wings
When she sings.
When she sings.


Use Soft Eyes

When you look from the tops and the corners
of your glance at the walkers thru deserts
of this world full of pain-gilded glories…
Use Soft Eyes.

See, they may be on journeys much longer
than the scope of your heart can consider
bearing burdens of mute tongue-tied stories…
Use Soft Eyes.

Under placid and neutral expressions
that deflect any prying mean fingers
lives eternal unending awareness…
Use Soft Eyes.

Let your countenance radiate kindness
like Niagara gushing relentless
with a laughing voice full of compassion…
Use Soft Eyes.

Travelers talk, and the story
will spread of the human oasis
who generously sees, so determined, to
Use Soft Eyes.


When The Longing Breeze Returns

T’was turning slowly in dawn’s breaking light
and shimm’ring whispers silky beyond sight,
the chimes sway beneath hinting soft caress
of yearning summer breeze in ebon dress.

The breeze blows, smelling of exotic birth
from secret womb, beyond far spicy hills
concealed ‘neath velvet star-pricked sable covers
Become substance and presence, become here.

Invisible, not seen, present only
in keening touches tentative, lonely
desiring to stir the sleeping chime,
awaken it to wonders beyond time.

Yet, unknowing chime resists, unhearing,
not smelling jasmine melodies crooned low
by cool voice breezy-breathy, underlayed
with warmth…and longing, sung forever so…

A last push of love, longing…then in sorrow
the breeze blows on by, trilling sad desire
while playing in the always trees of wonder
surrounded in the gleam of new dawn’s fire,

she’s running in her yearning paths again…
But after, when the day is still a rumour
and night is not yet knowing time is up
the chime jingles, clangs, hungry, it remembers

faint sleepy golden dreams of grace-delight
it dances, sways, it craves that feath’ry touch
and nuzzling spicy smell, and then resolves
that it will dance, with open arms and soul

when the longing breeze returns to make it whole.


Christianity and being Transgender – Why I won’t justify my transition

Christianity and being Transgender – Why I won’t justify my transition.

Hi Constance.  I was delighted to run across this article.  It is a decent essay regarding relationship with God and being transgender.  It speaks also of the pain and sorrow of the religious reflex which kicks in and then kicks us in the butt when the fearful and narrow-minded and deeds-based church culture people decide to be judge, jury, and executioner over other’s faith status.

I am posting it because I am hopeful that if you find yourself in this place, as a person of faith who is weirded out by a transgender person, or if you have always assumed that a transperson is mentally ill, trapped in sin and sexually perverted.  Hopefully you will see Meggan’s heart, hear her voice, and realize that she has a life lived in the Redemptive Arms of Love.

Me?  If you really want to know?  As far as being judged by other christians, I don’t give it a second thought.  The presence of the Lord is simply too “there” everyday for me to even entertain the notion that They do not like me.  They draw near, each morning and the conversations of our hearts is edifying and encouraging.  Sometimes They are silent…and Their world sings to my heart of Their beauty and truth and love.

Besides…I have already been judged soo often in the past by people over basically everything you can think of!  Sometimes on the same Sunday morning I would be judged for the very same thing by people who saw it from the opposite stand point!  Sometimes my sermons were too full of scripture!  Sometimes my sermons were not full enough!!

I got to know Abe Lincoln’s famous saying about pleasing people very well…

The last straw for me, the one that set me free, was when we were in the midst of a vicious power struggle as leaders with a spiritually abusive pastor who was far far FAR past his “pull date”, and knew it…but just…couldn’t…let…go…and I was one of the very few who refused to back down in the face of his rage and anger and horrible ways of making people pay.  Many times the wrath would flow…the congregation was about 85% solid on moving on with our new leadership team (leading by plurality), but about 15% were the old guard…didn’t like the new fangled ways like playing guitar and singing choruses and raising hands and waving flags…yunno, really evil things like that.

So…during this time, my father suffered and died from frontal lobe dementia, a rather nasty variant on a nasty phenomenon.

It was so trying, so painful for me.  I loved him so, and still do.

And…after he died, someone sidled up to me in order to “comfort me”, but managed to tell me that he was certain that the Lord would not have killed my father if I had not been in rebellion against the old pastor!!!!!

Yeah…that is why I really could give a rip whatever people think…except for God, and my family, and my friends, and those I serve everyday.  Haters gonna hate…and show their black hearts like simpering socialites at the Cannes film festival.

Just remember…unkind words are never ok, for any reason…especially from those called to speak in the Name of Love Himself.

Love, Charissa Grace

Can You See Me?

Dear Constance…I don’t know if I have told you…I am in a spoken word group in our city that consists of some of the nicest and most accepting people I have ever been privileged to be around.  I went there, the first time, as myself.  They have known me always as myself, and consequently are a haven and refuge for me when things get rough…not to mention their stellar poetry which feeds my soul.

Anyway, last meet-up, I made food for a lil 4th of July celebration, all based on Red, White, and Blue colors…things like strawberries, blueberries, marinated mozzarella cheese, and sliders with lil flag toothpicks stuck into them.

My baby and I worked 2 days on this!  So by the time the event rolled around, I was walking on airs, as cooking fills me with just joy and happiness.  I love to take ingredients, and put them together, and then live their change into a yummy dish…I love to create in the kitchen, try new things…I love to have family and close friends over and place before them my labors of love and wriggle with delight at the way that they take such pleasure.

Imagine that…a transgirl taking pleasure in the transition of elements!  Giggles…

Anyway, I was dressed very nicely, my hair was just right, I had new earrings and was feeling so congruent and whole and in focus.

I got up to read…and looked out at the group, munching contentedly on the food I had prepared (we had prepared, as my darling had been a huge help together with me)…and I felt so ME, so THERE!

I burst out, before I even knew what I was saying, “Can you see me???”  They have seen me since April, and I have seen changes, and I wondered who they saw…or what they saw…I asked some other things that I don’t remember right now, but it just popped out of me, like a check in with some “family”, how am I doing?


Well, as I was leaving, one guy who is super nice and writes very well, hollered out “Hey Charissa…I see you!

Awww…how nice, I thought…he wants to bless and encourage me.  I felt good about his kindness.

Well, last night the poem below hit my inbox…and I am sharing it here…whattya think, Constance…

does he see me???  (Hint…I cried for nearly an hour after I read it!)


July Fifth

Can you see me as I stand before you,
in all my beauty in all my array
or are you mistaking outsides for insides
the form for the function.
Can you see the true beat of my heart
the color of my stone
the color I am meant to be
not the one I am expected to be
by family or by society.

Looks can be so deceiving
when we all wear masks.

My mask is slipping
elastic worn out from too much use
from stretching itself for others.
Do you see it falling
revealing the heart dream desires
long suppressed
as I find myself
no longer in the corner where I was painted
but in the center of my universe.


Do you see me now.
The sum of all the parts
Past, present and yes even the future.
That unknown space we all grow into
as we drift through time.

Can you hear me now,
when I whisper in your ear the secrets of a life
hidden so well it was more than forty years
before the key was found,
The secrets of the child full of wonder
before the layers of expectation began to form
like a hard crust around the soul
protecting it just as those layers also imprisoned it.

Can you touch me,
reach out in acceptance and love.
Even if you do not understand.
Even if you can not understand.
Allow me the dignity of choice.
Cradle me in your embrace
Keep me safe while I break free
While I am reborn

I stand before you naked.

Do you see me?

(by Vargus Pike)Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset


How to Stop the Stupid Debate About Taxpayer Dollars Funding “Sex Change” Surgeries – Top News – InsuranceNewsNet.com

Good Morning Constance…I liked this article, in that it helps educate about the reasons that SRS is desired by transgender people.

Know this:  while it is indeed an “elective surgery” in the sense that were the option available to me I would of my own free will gladly endure one of the most painful medical procedures there is, and then be set free from so many things, it is “elective” in the same sense as if your appendix had burst and needed to come out if you wanted to continue to live and you have the choice to accept surgery, or choose to take your chances of surviving without surgery.

That is not an over-dramatization!  As you read the article you will see various statistics detailing the threat that dysphoria is to the lives of transgender people and how that threat statistically diminishes to virtually nothing.  I think my analogy is very sound.

How can I explain what a terrible and unpredictable thing it is…go to bed feeling fabulous and content and wake up in the night skert, anxious, and so full of despair that you are still in prison, still under the ancient sun that rolls around the sky continually, and facing another day of work to simply regain the joy of the prior day…

The costs are literally miniscule compared to the overall costs of dealing with the results of the suicides (successful and non-successful attempts), not to mention the spiritual and emotional costs to the lives of those who love or are related to the trans gender person who is struggling.

Have a read…I think you will be enlightened a bit.  I know I was!


Love, Charissa


How to Stop the Stupid Debate About Taxpayer Dollars Funding “Sex Change” Surgeries – Top News – InsuranceNewsNet.com.

So: We see bald-faced…the trans-panic defense!

Quamar Edwards, suspect in transgender woman’s slaying, turns self in | Local News – WLWT Home.

Warning:  trigger alert.

I have not watched the video attached to this story, but I have read the account.  In it, we find the victim mis-gendered, and then blamed for her own death.  The murderer presents HIMSELF AS THE VICTIM!!!  

Think about it…isolate it out in your mind:  This huge strong man gives a transwoman a ride home, claims he panics because she made a pass at him (but he is thinking that she was a man and gay…so I guess that makes it justifiable to take a human being’s life?)…and so the only thing, really, to balance the scales of having an unwanted pass made at him, was to murder her, and then put her body in a fucking dumpster!!!!!

And then turn himself in while saying he wants to do the right thing.

Are you kidding me?  To my female readers…do you kill people when they make an unwanted pass at you?  If you did, there would be no men left on the earth!

I am asking you, Constance (and this means YOU…) to vocally and openly expose this form of victim blaming anytime you encounter it!

It is never okay to kill someone.  Period.

The worst part for me?  What these animals do with their victims’ bodies, which shows that it is never enough to just kill them…they must be dehumanized and demeaned to the ultimate, reduced to garbage, or fire fodder.

This is my world…I could be killed at any moment, should some animal decide I have no right to life merely because of how I was born!

In sorrow and tears,with broken heart…

Charissa Grace


I identify with Jennifer Knapp’s words

Good morning Constance…I ran across an old interview with Jennifer Knapp, a singer-songwriter who has come out regarding being a lesbian who loves God intensely and has no intentions of turning away simply because the Church has turned away from her.

That is shameful…the shunning that goes on in the name of “Righteousness” sickens me and makes me feel so dehumanized and denigrated…more for the shunners than for myself!

What an awful surprise they will have when Jesus keeps His promise, to measure out to them in with the same measure that they measured out to their brothers and sisters.

Anyway, Jennifer said it well, so here is a small snippet for your edification and exhortation:

“… But if you remove the social problem that homosexuality brings to the church—and the debate as to whether or not it should be called a “struggle,” because there are proponents on both sides—you remove the notion that I am living my life with a great deal of joy. It never occurred to me that I was in something that should be labeled as a “struggle.” The struggle I’ve had has been with the church, acknowledging me as a human being, trying to live the spiritual life that I’ve been called to, in whatever ramshackled, broken, frustrated way that I’ve always approached my faith. I still consider my hope to be a whole human being, to be a person of love and grace. So it’s difficult for me to say that I’ve struggled within myself, because I haven’t. I’ve struggled with other people. I’ve struggled with what that means in my own faith. I have struggled with how that perception of me will affect the way I feel about myself.”


How should we then speak?

Hi Constance…I am recovering nicely after yesterday’s very difficult day, thanks for asking!       🙂       Writing those poems helped some, getting those feelings out there so I could see them, and somehow wrestle my own self into a somewhat numb place, to endure.

For anyone reading this who isn’t susceptible to the assault that feelings can be on your heart, think heavy rainstorm:  you can walk around in it with regular clothes, or you can dress in rain-gear and an umbrella…but you cannot make it stop raining.  It will stop when it stops.

Anyway…I am re-posting an article that I thought was very educational about gender dynamics and socialization in our culture…please read it and follow the numerous links for a pretty good layout of the issues.

But here is why I am re-blogging this:  I am wondering, as a daughter of Lady Grace and child of The Father and sister to my older Brother Jesus, what should my speech dynamics and content look like?  This question popped into my lil hamster brain and has been running on the wheel ever since.

I do believe that even a cursory search of the New Testament will give plenty of raw material directed at speech and conduct that is gender-neutral, and is directed at looking after yourself first instead of correcting and policing others in their behaviour according to your own pet view of what these verses say and mean.

It always does a ton of good to bite your tongue, literally if need be, before you utter one negative or harsh word to someone else.  First, walk an entire week practicing the very thing you wish to lay on someone else.  Second, read about beams and sawdust specks in the Sermon on the Mount.  Third, walk another week practicing the thing that caught your attention.  And then, lastly, finally let it dawn on you that Lady Grace was prompting you on the very thing you projected onto someone else.

You will then be so sweet that people will be drawn to you like bees to a sweet flower, and they will ask you for input.

Just some thoughts from Charissa Grace…now read on for far more erudite and informed ones!

Love, Charissa



Soraya Chemaly Headshot

10 Words Every Girl Should Learn

Posted: 06/30/2014 1:57 pm EDT 

This article updated from original, which appeared in Role Reboot.


“Stop interrupting me.” 

“I just said that.”

“No explanation needed.”

In fifth grade, I won the school courtesy prize. In other words, I won an award for being polite. My brother, on the other hand, was considered the class comedian. We were very typically socialized as a “young lady” and a “boy being a boy.” Globally, childhood politeness lessons are gender asymmetrical. We socialize girls to take turns, listen more carefully, not curse and resist interrupting in ways we do not expect boys to. Put another way, we generally teach girls subservient habits and boys to exercise dominance.

I routinely find myself in mixed-gender environments (life) where men interrupt me. Now that I’ve decided to try and keep track, just out of curiosity, it’s quite amazing how often it happens. It’s particularly pronounced when other men are around.

This irksome reality goes along with another — men who make no eye contact. For example, a waiter who only directs information and questions to men at a table, or the man last week who simply pretended I wasn’t part of a circle of five people (I was the only woman). We’d never met before and barely exchanged 10 words, so it couldn’t have been my not-so-shrinking-violet opinions.

These two ways of establishing dominance in conversation, frequently based on gender, go hand-in-hand with this last one: A woman, speaking clearly and out loud, can say something that no one appears to hear, only to have a man repeat it minutes, maybe seconds later, to accolades and group discussion.

After I wrote about the gender confidence gap recently, of the 10 items on a list, the one that resonated the most was the issue of whose speech is considered important. In sympathetic response to what I wrote, a person on Twitter sent me a cartoon in which one woman and five men sit around a conference table. The caption reads, “That’s an excellent suggestion, Miss Triggs. Perhaps one of the men here would like to make it.” I don’t think there is a woman alive who has not had this happen.

The cartoon may seem funny, until you realize exactly how often it seriously happens. And — as in the cases of Elizabeth Warren or say, Brooksley Born — how broadly consequential the impact can be. When you add race and class to the equation the incidence of this marginalization is even higher.

This suppressing of women’s voices, in case you are trying to figure out what Miss Triggs was wearing or drinking or might have said to provoke this response, is what sexism sounds like.

These behaviors, the interrupting and the over-talking, also happen as the result of difference in status, but gender rules. For example, male doctors invariably interrupt patients when they speak, especially female patients, but patients rarely interrupt doctors in return. Unless the doctor is a woman. When that is the case, she interrupts far less and is herself interrupted more. This is also true of senior managers in the workplace. Male bosses are not frequently talked over or stopped by those working for them, especially if they are women; however, female bosses are routinely interrupted by their male subordinates.

This preference for what men have to say, supported by men and women both, is a variant on “mansplaining.” The word came out of an article by writer Rebecca Solnit, who explained that the tendency some men have to grant their own speech greater import than a perfectly competent woman’s is not a universal male trait, but the “intersection between overconfidence and cluelessness where some portion of that gender gets stuck.”

Solnit’s tipping point experience really did take the cake. She was talking to a man at a cocktail party when he asked her what she did. She replied that she wrote books and she described her most recent one, River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild WestThe man interrupted her soon after she said the word Muybridge and asked, “And have you heard about the very important Muybridge book that came out this year?” He then waxed on, based on his reading of a review of the book, not even the book itself, until finally, a friend said, “That’s her book.” He ignored that friend (also a woman) and she had to say it more than three times before “he went ashen” and walked away. If you are not a woman, ask any woman you know what this is like, because it is not fun and happens to all of us.

In the wake of Larry Summers’ “women can’t do math” controversy several years ago, scientist Ben Barres wrote publicly about his experiences, first as a woman and later in life, as a male. As a female student at MIT, Barbara Barres was told by a professor after solving a particularly difficult math problem, “Your boyfriend must have solved it for you.” Several years after, as Ben Barres, he gave a well-received scientific speech and he overhead a member of the audience say, “His work is much better than his sister’s.”

Most notably, he concluded that one of the major benefits of being male was that he could now “even complete a whole sentence without being interrupted by a man.”

I’ve had teenage boys, irritatingly but hysterically, excuse what they think is “lack of understanding” to [my] “youthful indiscretion.” Last week as I sat in a cafe, a man in his 60′s stopped to ask me what I was writing. I told him I was writing a book about gender and media and he said, “I went to a conference where someone talked about that a few years ago. I read a paper about it a few years ago. Did you know that car manufacturers use slightly denigrating images of women to sell cars? I’d be happy to help you.” After I suggested, smiling cheerily, that the images were beyond denigrating and definitively injurious to women’s dignity, free speech and parity in culture, he drifted off.

It’s not hard to fathom why so many men tend to assume they are great and that what they have to say is more legitimate. It starts in childhood and never ends. Parents interrupt girls twice as often and hold them to stricter politeness norms. Teachers engage boys, who correctly see disruptive speech as a marker of dominant masculinity, more often and more dynamically than girls.

As adults, women’s speech is granted less authority and credibility. We aren’t thought of as able critics or as funny. Men speak moremore often, and longer than women in mixed groups (classroomsboardroomslegislative bodiesexpert media commentary and, for obvious reasons religious institutions.) Indeed, in male-dominated problem solving groups including boards, committees and legislatures, men speak 75% more than women, with negative effects on decisions reached. That’s why, as researchers summed up, “Having a seat at the table is not the same as having a voice.”

Even in movies and television, male actors engage in more disruptive speech and garner twice as much speaking and screen time as their female peers. This is by no means limited by history or to old media but is replicated online. Listserve topics introduced by men have a much higher rate of response and on Twitter, people retweet men two times as often as women.

These linguistic patterns are consequential in many ways, not the least of which is the way that they result in unjust courtroom dynamics, where adversarial speech governs proceedings and gendered expression results in women’s testimonies being interrupted, discounted and portrayed as not credible according to masculinized speech norms. Courtrooms also show exactly how credibility and status, women’s being lower, are also doubly affected by race. If Black women testifying in court adopt what is often categorized as “[white] women’s language,” they are considered less credible. However, if they are more assertive, white jurors find them “rude, hostile, out of control, and, hence [again], less credible.” Silence might be an approach taken by women to adapt to the double bind, but silence doesn’t help when you’re testifying.

The best part though is that we are socialized to think women talk more. Listener bias results in most people thinking that women are hogging the floor when men are actually dominating. Linguists have concluded that much of what is popularly understood about women and men being from different planets, verbally, confuses “women’s language” with “powerless language.”

There are, of course, exceptions that illustrate the role that gender (and not biological sex) plays. For example, I have a very funny child who regularly engages in simultaneous speech, disruptively interrupts and randomly changes topics. If you read a script of a one of our typical conversations, you would probably guess the child is a boy based on the fact that these speech habits are what we think of as “masculine.” The child is a girl, however. She’s more comfortable with overt displays of assertiveness and confidence than the average girl speaker. It’s hard to balance making sure she keeps her confidence with teaching her to be polite. However, excessive politeness norms for girls, expected to set an example for boys, have real impact on women who are, as we constantly hear, supposed to override their childhood socialization and learn to talk like men to succeed (learn to negotiate, demand higher pay, etc.).

The first time I ran this post, I kid you not, the first response I got was from a Twitter user, a man, who, without a shred of self-awareness, asked, “What would you say if a man said those things to you mid-conversation?”

Socialized male speech dominance is a significant issue, not just in school, but everywhere. If you doubt me, sit quietly and keep track of speech dynamics at your own dinner table, workplace, classroom. In the school bus, the sidelines of fields, in places of worship. It’s significant and consequential.

People often ask me what to teach girls or what they themselves can do to challenge sexism when they see it. “What can I do if I encounter sexism? It’s hard to say anything, especially at school.” In general, I’m loathe to take the approach that girls should be responsible for the world’s responses to them, but I say to them, practice these words, every day:

“Stop interrupting me,”

“I just said that,” and

“No explanation needed.”

It will do both boys and girls a world of good. And no small number of adults, as well.

Follow Soraya Chemaly on Twitter: www.twitter.com/schemaly

That Numb Relief

When feelings take form inside my belly
(conceived by malevolent rape of fear)…

they float inside, tentacles trailing
and dripping venom, stings
and lashes left as their brand
and claim they own my heart.

Ugly jellyfish,
fat glutenous bodies
pulsing in anti-rhythm
that shatters my harmony.

And I know
I am ugly and coarse,
I know I repulse, repel
and am become castaway

Robinson Crusoe marooned with his man Ugly

When feelings gain control
and surge and pound,
tides unleashed from
the Moon’s tender tether

I know I am unlovely
and unlovable, and giant.
Denied position, denied a place, a table
and the seas choke relentlessly

and hope drowns.

When feelings reign supreme, alas!
I am lost, lonely, and never-loved.

Never attractive,
never desired or wanted
of no value, garbage
worthy only of slaughter
and funereal raging flames
of hate to eat the remains.

When feelings are it,
consuming and drowning me
Mama has Her work cut out for Her,

over awful repulsive me,
repugnant and shameful,
head low and eyes
digging dirt for stones

to crawl back under,
to disappear in.

When feelings take control,
I finally find the numb relief
of endurance, and another day
rolls on.

When feelings take control