10 Things You’re Actually Saying When You Ignore Someone’s Gender Pronouns — Everyday Feminism

10 Things You’re Actually Saying When You Ignore Someone’s Gender Pronouns — Everyday Feminism.

Constance…immediately pass this on to every stubborn person who is important to you.  It is that good, and it does give the basic and true message communicated by those who refuse to use proper pronouns.

I know in my life?  So unfortunate, but the people that I love, was willing to sacrifice for and even die a bit for, well, they did not feel the same way about me and they engaged in terrible acts of betrayal.

So, weirdly, it set me free.

Now?  Well, thanks to them, and my wonderful horrible very own haters who come as dementors, I have toughened up…and here is the truth:

When you gender-shame me with improper pronouns and hate filled speech, you identify yourself as a hater, and make the whole thing easy for me.  I can save my love and effort for those who are engaged and loving.

“But wait!!”  I can hear the haters right now.  “Wait!  You have to love your enemies and be kind to those who persecute you!”  Well hater…I will after you do.  You stop showing up here spewing your crap, and show me how to love…and in my case, I am not even your enemy and have never done a thing to you, have never even met you!  So you have the easy down hill…you simply be nice and love me…and then I will think about it.

“But what can I do to love you??” asks the hater…

Use the proper pronouns.  We’ll start there.

Charissa

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Transgender Children – Transgender Stories – Woman’s Day

Transgender Children – Transgender Stories – Woman’s Day.

Okay, I just bawled my way thru this story…Oh Mama, please bless this woman for her faithful love of her son and of you.  Please honor her for praying that prayer “Change my heart”, instead of wreaking havoc by climbing up on the throne and trying to change everything and everyone else!

Love, Charissa

Are You Real?

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful.
“When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse.

“You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

– The Velveteen Rabbit (or How Toys Become Real) by Margery Williams, 1922

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Going Beyond the Western Gender Binary

Hi Constance:  This came across the transom today, and I found it fascinating!  Clearly, the phenomenon of gender variations has been extant as long as gender.  I am quite interested in reading of how this has been lived out socially in other times and places, cultures and spaced.

I hope you find it enlightening as well.

Charissa

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thepeoplesrecord:

Going beyond the Western gender binary – unlearning our backward cultural conditioning 

In Western colonial society (which dominates many aspects of the globalized, capitalist world today) we operate under the presumption that there are only two genders, male and female. But gender is a social construction. One’s options for what gender they identify with are shaped by the culture they are born into. Biological factors are most-often the primary driving forces that choose among the available socially-constructed gender categories.

Cultures around the world have different ways of talking about, thinking about, and identifying gender. It’s often a challenge for (particularly cis-sexual) Westerns to think about other ways gender can be socially constructed. Westerns have the false equivalency of gender and sex drilled into their eternal psyche from the time they are very young, and re-enforced through examples in popular culture. There is no biological reality to gender. Many Westerners have the bizarre belief that one’s XY-sex-determination should also inform one’s gender identity, a socially constructed role in society.

In some cultures, there is no distinction made between gender and sexual orientation and the same can be said for sexual orientation – our culture socially-constructs the options and our biology helps us identify which socially-constructed option feels most ‘right’ and best resonates with us.

I’ve attached some photos to offer some examples of non-colonial, non-Western construction of gender. They’ve all been uploaded onto our Facebook page photostream in case you’d like to ‘like’ or ‘share’ them there. There are literally hundreds of ‘third-gender’ identifying peoples around the world. The eight I’ve chosen are mostly examples I remember from some of my anthropology courses but if you google ‘third genders’ you can find many lists and examples.

Who cares? Why it matters.

The most obvious reason to care about the way our culture has constructed gender and sexual orientation is to deepen one’s capacity for solidarity with people who identify as transgender, transsexual, and others whose gender or sexual identity exists outside of binary Western culture.

But there are other reasons as well. Western culture’s binary nature often creates non-sensical, problematic binary identity constructions that are inherently problematic. For example, I believe that Western masculinity (dominance, aggression, lack of communication, lack of emotional expression, etc) is inherently problematic. I believe that to be the reason why most acts of large-scale-violence and terror are committed by men (see: 100% of the mass school shootings in the United States), and I believe it fosters a degree of internal misery within people who heavily adopt these particular ‘masculine’ traits.

In the age of information, and the age of global connectivity, there is no longer any reason (particularly for young people) to feel isolated or restricted to Western definitions of gender, sexual orientation and identity in general. I think the social ramifications of a generation where more and more people begin to identify outside of the gender binary would be tremendous, and I think we should all consider how we can unlearn our cultural conditioning to embrace other, perhaps less exploitative and dominating identities.

Background information on the identities depicted in the above images:

Hijras
Hijras are male-body-born, feminine-gender-identifying people who live in South Asia (mostly in India & Nepal). Many Hijras live in well-defined, organized, all-Hijra communities, led by a guru.

Although many Hijras identify as Muslim, many practice a form of syncretism that draws on multiple religions; seeing themselves to be neither men nor women, Hijras practice rituals for both men and women.

Hijras belong to a special caste. They are usually devotees of the mother goddess Bahuchara Mata, Lord Shiva, or both.

Nandi female husbands
Among the Nandi in Western Kenya, one social identity option for women is to become a female husband, and thus a man in society’s eyes. Female husbands are expected to become men and take on all of the social and cultural responsibilities of a man, including finding a wife to marry and passing on property to the next generation through marriage. Female husbands may have lived their lives as women and may even be married to a man, but once she becomes a female-husband, she is expected to be a man. Women married to female-husbands may have sex with single men uninterested in commitment in order to become pregnant, but the female-husband (who is often an older woman, often a widow) will father the child of said pregnancy and treat the child like her own.

Two-spirited people
Two-Spirit is an umbrella term sometimes used for what was once commonly known as ‘berdaches’, Indigenous North Americans who fulfill one of many mixed gender roles found traditionally among many Native Americans and Canadian First Nations communities. The term usually indicates a person whose body simultaneously manifests both a masculine and a feminine spirit. Male and female two-spirits have been “documented in over 130 tribes, in every region of North America.”

Travesti
In South America (with a large presence in Brazil), a travesti is a person who was assigned male at birth who has a feminine gender identity and is primarily sexually attracted to masculine men. Therefore, sometimes the distinction between gender identity and sexual orientation is not made. Travestis have been described as a third gender, but not all see themselves this way. Travestis often will begin taking female hormones and injecting silicone to enlargen their backsides as boys and continue the process into womanhood.

The work of cultural Anthropologist Don Kulick (a gay male by Western definitions) in Brazil demonstrated that gender construction in Brazil is binary (like Western gender construction), but unlike Western gender construction, instead of having a male-female binary, there is a male-notmale binary.

In this particular construction of gender:

** Males include: men who have sex with women, men who have sex with Travestis but are never on the receiving end of anal sex, men          who have sex with men but are never on the receiving end of anal sex.

** Not-males include: women, men who receive anal sex from ‘male’ gay men or from Travestis.

Fa’afafine
Fa’afafine are the gender liminal, or third-gendered people of Samoa. A recognized and integral part of traditional Samoan culture, fa’afafine, born biologically male, embody both male and female gender traits. Their gendered behavior typically ranges from extravagantly feminine to mundanely masculine

Waria
Waria is a traditional third general role found in modern Indonesia. Additionally, the Bugis culture of Sulawesi (one of the four larger Sunda Islands of Indonesia) has been described as having three sexes (male, female and intersex) as well as five genders with distinct social roles.

Six Genders of old Israel
In the old Kingdom of Israel (1020–931 BCE) there were six officially recognized genders:

Zachar: male
Nekeveh: female
Androgynos: both male and female
Tumtum: gender neutral/without definite gender
Aylonit: female-to-male transgender people
Saris: male-to-female transgender people (often inaccurately translated as “eunuch”)

Kathoey
Australian scholar of sexual politics in Thailand Peter Jackson’s work indicates that the term “kathoey” was used in pre-modern times to refer to intersexual people, and that the usage changed in the middle of the twentieth century to cover cross-dressing males, to create what is now a gender identity unique to Thailand. Thailand also has three identities related to female-bodied people: Tom, Dee, and heterosexual woman.

-Robert

EDIT: So let me clearly say that in no way am I intentionally encouraging white people (or anyone else) to appropriate these identities.  Rather, I hope that this post and conversations like this will lead to an understanding of cultural diversity and other gender constructions/identities and an understanding that there is no biological reality to gender, and that gender manifests itself in many beautiful ways across many cultures.

AM encouraging people in colonial society to have a less-binary, more nuanced approach to gender that doesn’t lead to so much domination and exploitation.

I also understand that in order to talk about these things, words like ‘male-bodied’ or male are inherently western concepts. Each of these societies and cultures have other ways of talking about these identities. Although I wasn’t born in the U.S. I have spent most of my life and the entirety of my adult life in the United States. I speak no languages other than English. There are concepts that I can’t understand, that my language limits me from even talking about, and in order to communicate these ideas, I am restricted by the only language I have available to talk about these concepts with. My perspective is etic. I do not belong to the above cultures, so when I talk about these things and use the English language to describe them, I am limited in my options for describing a concept as abstract as gender. The very categories of gender and sexuality belong to the cultural lens through which I view the world and I could not possibly provide a comprehensive emic analysis of the way the things we call ‘gender and sexuality’ actually are understood (if at all) within these cultures. In that way, mine is a very limited perspective. But it is geared toward other people living in Western society and it is aimed at changing this culture, not to appropriate these others but to not be so terrible toward gender and sexual variant people in this culture and to begin to question the implications of how we define gender and sexuality both personally, and as a whole culture.

Also, there’s some problematic stuff in the way I framed this and some of these only have one source.

-Robert

 

Hummingbird Hurricanes

all was hushed and quiet, so still
that the fiercely beaten air fanned by that
ruby throated hummingbird became a hurricane.
her breath was fast and furious
in crimson jeweled puffs darting,
diving streaky panting gasps,
her wings whirring, fluttering frantic
roaring in the looming silence,
in my towering still moment
me so quiet here, so settled and so solid
that Nia-gara Herself would whimper
and under her breath would mumble
terse and choked, reduced to churny tumble.

then a solitary cricket
just erupted into singing
and then nothing dared to stir
dared draw breath or dared to move…

and there,
in this space of cricket clamour,
in the hurricane of hummingbird winds blowing
but so far away on lost lamenting shores
(in the edges, in the edges)
and an instant comes, arrives

when a wave is born and rises up
no longer sea but now itself
and knowing time and longing
to emerge and run forever
to the moon and to the shore…

this kinetic stillness stretches
in this intersecting moment
touching time and touching timeless

from the whirring wings aflutter
and the cricket in the gutter
and Niagara’s jealous mutter

to this wave leapt up from clutter
hanging on that crucifix there
not yet broken by its futile try

to fly across the endless sky
to kiss the moon and touch
her golden placid face…

the moment…the wave

hanging

no more sea from which it heaved
but not yet broken and unbalanced,
not yet shattered on the edges

not yet fractured there forever
to be that wave again…
…never…

that one moment of moon passion
and that rushing exaltation
(in the eye, in the song, in the mutter of this matter)

and then the moment shatters
and foretells a falling future
and the wave loses its option
has no way to retain wholeness
and just slide back unobtrusive
to the silver sea unbroken
there to merge again with nothing
and unknowing.

and the hummingbird is stricken
in the sound and in the breaking
of a moment and a wave
in a hurricane of movement
midst the singing of the cricket
and the mutter of that falls
and it darts away, is gone,
trailing airy sangre breaths
and the cricket falls asleep
and Niagara is emboldened
to again assert Her tumble
and the hurricane is gone,
yes the moment it has broken
and the Voice of God has spoken
in the quiet, in the mist.

but for me, well moments still
string together into prayer beads
slipping smoothly thru my fingers
as I mutter like Niagara
and I sing the cricket song
with my hurricane-heart flutter,
wings a-beating with such longing
for another rising moment
to arrive and to break over me
in knowing soft moon passion
and a promise of redemption
and release to finally rise
and fly away, my spirit panting
in red puffs and exaltation
when I reach the shore so broken
I can be no more there broken…

until then, well I will live,
midst the whirring,
in the singing
thru the muttering
in the breaking
on the shores
of Golden Morning.

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8 Things Parents of Trans Kids Want You to Know | Brynn Tannehill

8 Things Parents of Trans Kids Want You to Know | Brynn Tannehill.

Posted without comment, on advice from my bff and my baby.

Constance, please read this…please hear hearts

Charissa

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Powerful Quote…Charissa Perspective

“Do not fall in love with people like me. I will take you to museums, and parks, and monuments, and kiss you in every beautiful place, so that you can never go back to them without tasting me like blood in your mouth. I will destroy you in the most beautiful way possible. And when I leave you will finally understand, why storms are named after people.”
— Caitlyn Siehl

WOW!  This quote gets to the heart of a very salient, perhaps the salient aspect of Love…it transforms us.

Period.

Once you are loved, you are never ever a “not-loved” person again.  Oh, you can lose all your friends…acquaintances who were kind can turn on a dime and revile you as evil and lost (Charissa waves her hand and says holla!  Been there…am there)…but then you will be one who was loved who is no longer…and thus still one who is/has been loved and thus never “not-loved” (or maybe to say “has never ever been loved”).

There are many things that masquerade as love:  desire, lust, hate, fear, anxiety, courage, wanderlust, romance, religion, law…and many others,  Each one of these things affects us, impacts us…but to transform us, now …that is a completely other thing.

I am speaking here of the transformation that is of this order:  tadpoles into frogs, caterpillars into butterflies, ice into steam, plain water into tea or coffee, one who has never reproduced into one who is holding offspring, one who was totally spiritually dead who is not alive with a life not of this worldy order and frame, but with a Life that comes from Beyond the Universe…transformation.

So now re-read the quote, and you can see there that what she is saying to you is that if you show yourself to her, she is going to give you everything, no holds barred, nothing held back, come what may…and she is promising, no…she is covenanting with you that you as you are right now in yourself will be transformed…or “destroyed in the most beautiful way possible”…

I get that.  I get what she is saying…and I want to be this kind of person, but with a slight but important twist that would read something like this:

Count the cost
if you find me interesting
and want to know more.
If you really want to be in my life,
we will be together, and in that place,
everything looked at will never
be seen by one again!

We will see it, from now on!
Works of art well known
will seem strange and alien and
need explanation and interpretation.
Long familiar haunts of ancient peace
will be new and turbulent and full
of glorious upheaval as they
settle underneath the feet of we.

You will never again
taste anything as it once was…
it will taste always of peaches in hot sun
and fudge in cold snow,
of salt in rainy days
and honey in times of sorrow.

Every moment
I will be present with you
and the me I am
will be an always kiss
of your heart,
to your soul,
of your vital you.

I will never go away
until death sunders us,
and in that moment
you will hate death
as deeply as I do,
and vow to join my side
at the arena wall
when He stomps death dry
and disappears it forever.

Count the cost,
and if you still want,
then I love you
and let us go laughing.”

Love, Charissa Grace and all her sticky bleeding heart

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Terminology and the problem of unintended offense (Part One)

Constance, I think I will be okay to post about this, as it is unrelated to the other issues I am dealing with in my life.

I want to talk about terminology…and the way that an issue is presented, discussed, talked about and written about has such a profound effect on the overall zeitgeist of what the issue actually is.

Let me build on the article I posted yesterday (right here is the link again:  Gender Confirmation Surgery:  What’s In a Name? ), and tell you a bit about what it is like to be someone like me…or really, someone from any minority group that is little understood…but I only know about mine, right?

Imagine if you will that suddenly, for no reason that you could tell, everyone you met began calling you by the gender other than the one you identify as…if you are a woman, they called you a man, and if you are a man, they called you a woman.  What would you do?

First, you would correct them…but wait, then you see the looks of confusion, or puzzlement, or irritation, cus no one likes being corrected for anything.

So then you will think, well, I just wasn’t careful enough…what is obvi to me is hidden to them, for whatever reason.  So you decide to explain a bit…and the eyes glaze over, or they roll cus you sound so condescending and pedantic in your convoluted attempt to explain you are the gender you are.

Next, you will check yourself…your dress, your pants, your shoes, all the visual cues you can control, your voice and your walk and gestures…but nothing works.  No matter what, you are still called the opposite gender.

No…really try to take a moment…don’t just read the next line.  Please stop:  imagine…there.  Now you are getting a scintilla of the experience, minus the wonders of the gut-grind of dysphoria.

That is the first thing.

The next thing is say that it was permanent for you…and you needed to do something or die.  You began transition, and you found others who are like you for support…and then lo and behold the culture begins changing a bit.  You discover allies!  Even friends!!  YAAAAYYY!!!!

But you also find that there is a lot of simply uninformed thinking operative in those allies and friends.  You feel like you already are getting so much forbearance from them that it seems nit-pickish to point out their well intentioned but inaccurate vocabulay…or the truly supportive but incredibly wounding comment…what do you do?

Correct them, to save them future embarrassment and feeling bad because the support they intended ended up wounding just like the bullies who misgender on purpose?  Or overlook it, and continue to try to educate as a context for the relationships so they can soak it up and find themselves in the right spot organically.

I will be vulnerable and tell you all something:  whether I am misgendered by a bully who does it on purpose to hurt me, or whether I am misgendered by a friend who literally has no idea, it hurts just as bad.

And it is a defeating hurt, a deflating one…punctures, drains, and then, nothing but empty and worthless…the shell seen and nothing inside.

I don’t know what is right, so I will just tell you what I am choosing here:  I am going to try to gently, gracefully and lovingly correct.  As I do that, I will ramble and say waaaayyy more than I likely need to…cus I would rather err on that side than the terse too brief and too open to question posting of “just the facts” Joe Friday style.

Part 2 will continue below.  I hope the things I write here have some impact…honestly I often feel like it is shouting into a canyon and what I hear coming back is just the echo of my own voice in the lonely stillness.  But that is nothing I can control…I write, so that is what I will do, regardless

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Terminology and the problem of unintended offense (Part Two)

Hi!  🙂  Still with me?  GOOD!  Let’s move on now to a very sensitive and very important understanding you need to have if you are a trans-ally and/or friend:  the misunderstanding that a transgender person is “changing genders” or “changing sexes”.  You simply have to get this right, because the proper understanding of this is what will give you the heart connection with the plight of transgender people, and begin to expose the presupposition that biology is the locus and genesis of gender.  If you need some information about why that is not so, it is readily available on line.

When you as an ally say to your other friend “I have this friend Charissa that I really love…she is changing sexes from male to female”, you think you are saying something affirming and supportive, right?  And I get that.  I do!  You want to help explain what is occurring in my life, you want to show an identification with my quest, and you want to support me.

But here is the problem:  from my standpoint I am not changing from male to female…because from the time I became aware in the world, I have never ever thought of myself as male!  And that is the core of the horror itself!

When you as my friend tell someone “My friend Charissa was sooo brave today.  He had the courage to be himself and paint his nails and wear his female clothes”, you think you are speaking of my courage and my grit…but you are actually wounding me very deeply by not really really grasping that your friend Charissa is not a he…and has never been a he…in spite of how I look.

I look the way I do because at puberty my body was flooded with testosterone…and if you are a natal female, the exact same thing would have happened to you!  Think about that for a moment:  imagine all your hopes and dreams as a young girl growing up, excited for the moment you began to blossom…and then instead you sprout, and sprout, and poke out, and other things worse…

Please…I am not trying to be a jerk!  I am not trying to be that shrill on-guard defensive lashing out at everything anyone says sort of person.  I am trying to let you know that if you really do care for your trans-friend or family member, your words will be life or death to them, regardless of the intent behind them.

I posted to the really good article on Gender Confirmation surgery in Part One…I want to say a little about my own feelings on this topic: it hurts me when people say to me I am changing sexes…even when they mean well.  It hurts when I am afraid to correct them because it might hurt their feelings.  It hurts me to not correct them because they will continue to speak the way they do in complete innocence but sadly rooted in total ignorance and will thus continue to wound not only me but any transperson they run across.  And it hurts the worst when they finally figure it out, and they are then horrified and wounded that I never said anything.

That is my dilemma…I feel like every option is a bad one for me, except for maybe the possibility of writing about it here in one of my interminable mewling whining posts that drones on and on…

I am pressing on:  it has been called “Sexual Reassignment Surgery”, and “Gender Reassignment Surgery”…but as you hopefully can see now, to me as a transgender woman that would be an inaccurate name, because I am not changing sex, or changing gender.

I have never identified as anything other than a woman.

So that was me…long winded and trying to be as gentle and kind as I possibly can, bleeding and feeling like it is an unwinnable battle…trying to educate on trans issues

Constance…I really am trying to help you…really, even though it seems like I am trying to school you or correct you, I am not.  And frankly, right now I just want to run away and never come back and let the world just roll on.

But I have pressed thru too many times of discouragement to not know that tomorrow is another day, and joy will always find a way.

So in the meantime:  your transfriend is who they say they are.  They want to be loved by you if you say you love them, and they want to be talked to the way you would talk to anyone.  If they are female, then they are not getting a sex change male to female…they are undergoing the medical treatments their body needs to live a fulfilled life (just as you would if you were natally female but you had a hormone disorder and didn’t make estrogen naturally, or you made too much testosterone)…

I am Charissa Grace…I am confused, discouraged, hard pressed…and I am determined to not go away and let the pain that has already been spent to all be wasted.

Sowing in tears, hoping to reap in joy, and seeing more clearly than ever that my name is my only hope

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27 Signs of a Good Relationship

Constance, in general, I think that the stuff I am posting below is pretty good stuff…certainly my baby and me have experienced fruit in all of these ways and areas.  And it is a good friendship guide as well, filtered for the obvi romance stuff.

So what about it?  How are your relationships?  Maybe this guide can help…and if you find a trouble spot, maybe you can isolate it and then dress it so it heals.  Hey, when you get a sliver, just take the dang thing out, right??!!???  No need to cut off the finger!

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27 Signs of a Good Relationship

We’ve all asked ourselves the same question at least once in our life: “Is this relationship going the way I want it to?” Finding someone unique, someone who stands head and shoulders above all those who came before can be an exciting prospect. It’s all too easy to cling to the hope that the special someone you’ve been seeing is actually the one you’ve been looking for, and sometimes it is necessary to think logically about what that person offers, and how both partners behave when in each other’s company. Here are 30 signs of a good relationship.

#1 You can be yourself

In daily life, we put up walls to block out the people around us, and it can be difficult to let our guard down once we find someone we genuinely want to spend time with. Often, relationship woes are the result of this internal struggle. Being yourself is one of the toughest things to do- not only in relationships but in everyday situations. We sabotage our own chances of relationship success when we shy away from being ourselves, and the mark of a great relationship is one in which both partners don’t even feel the need to alter anything about themselves.

#2 You are able to tell them everything

If a couple meets for the first time and they are comfortable enough, they often get a crazy, sudden urge to come clean and reveal all of their dirty little secrets. At some point, both partners will have to decide whether or not to succumb to this urge, and the choice they make can have a huge impact on the relationship. The type of impact it has can tell you a lot about the nature of the relationship. If both partners are able to open up to each other and reveal things about themselves that they wouldn’t dream of telling anyone else, it is an extremely positive sign. It means that they both genuinely want to be with each other no matter what. The mark of a great relationship is one in which both partners don’t even think twice about it, they “come clean” with each other, about anything and everything.

#3 Strong emotional connection

A strong emotional connection with someone is hard to describe in words, everyone experiences it in a different way and everyone thinks they understand it. It can elude many, slipping out of one’s grasp easily, and there are many things which masquerade as a truly strong emotional connection. But nothing comes close to the real thing and when you have it, you know deep down that it’s real. This is an essential part of every good relationship. If both partners aren’t fully committed to each other and don’t truly care about each other, then it is a waste of time for both parties involved.

#4 They’ve been through a lot together

Sometimes a person’s true qualities are revealed when they are faced with serious, perilous situations. Sooner or later, a couple will be faced with such a situation, and the way that situation impacts their relationship is a sign of how strong the connection is. Sometimes a couple already has a long history of hijinks together, even before the relationship began, as in couples who have known each other since early childhood. In any case, shared experiences between the two partners strengthen the relationship immensely, especially if they are success stories.

#5 They’ve rarely fought as in really fighting; their arguments are usually playful and helps build their relationship

Fighting is never a good sign, but sometimes it is necessary, and never is it a good idea to keep concerns bottled up without expressing them. Communication is key in any relationship. It is imperative, however, that the need to express oneself does not overstep the boundaries of communication into physical violence. People who truly care about each other do not inflict pain on one another. In some relationships, levels of passion run so high that people are driven to do wild, uncontrollable things. Sometimes this is unavoidable, although still completely inexcusable. As long as there is no violence or abuse whatsoever, a fight can actually build tighter bonds and prove to both partners that intensity is present in the relationship.

#6 They both can trust each other

Trust is a crucial part of any relationship. One could even go as far as to say it is the foundation of a good relationship. Without trust, both partners will be fighting an uphill battle until they resolve this part of the puzzle. Trusting someone means believing in someone, it means casting aside all doubts and diving headfirst into the unknown. This is one of the hardest things to do in any relationship, because it means risking everything. That is why only the strongest of relationships exhibit true trust, because both partners risk betrayal and heartbreak when they put their trust into someone, but they do it anyway out of complete faith in their partner.

#7 They sleep together

Sleeping together is an essential part of a healthy relationship, and has been proven to provide many health benefits. It has been shown that sleeping together reduces stress in the human body by reducing blood pressure. It also has been observed that people who sleep together get a better sleep and an improved immune system. It is a way for the two partners to reaffirm their interest in each other, reassuring themselves that there is still life in the relationship. If a couple is sleeping together, it signifies a strong emotional bond, trust, and true unbridled passion.

#8 They get each other

Communication is a key part of any relationship, but it is also necessary that the message itself is understood. There must be some level of empathy between two partners, and the mark of a great relationship is one in which couples can finish each other’s sentences and put themselves in each other’s shoes. Sometimes this can manifest in an eery, almost telepathic connection between two people, in other situations it can be more of an unspoken understanding. If at least a basic level of understanding is maintained between two partners in a relationship, unnecessary misunderstandings and worries can be avoided entirely. A mark of a great relationship is one in which a couple is crystal clear about each other’s feelings at any given time.

#9 They take care of each other

When a couple are in a loving relationship, they are completely devoted to one another, each hopelessly dependant on the other. In a way it weakens them both, and in a way it makes them both stronger. They cease to be two individuals and become one whole. They take care of each other because if one partner is suffering, the other feels it as if the pain were their own. Indeed, it is almost as if they both exist as a single body, and one does not allow harm to come to one’s own body. It is a mark of great endearment when both partners take it upon themselves to look out for each other and put their partner’s best interests first.

#10 They can rely on each other

A couple’s trust is truly tested when the need arises for one to come to the other’s aid in times of dire need. Actions speak louder than words. It is one thing to claim devotion to someone, and another thing altogether to actually follow through with it. Even the most unreliable, forgetful and inconsistent person will still pull themselves together for someone they truly care about. A mark of a great relationship is one where a couple has no doubts about putting their fate in each other’s hands, because both partners will always deal with their own needs and desires only after the one they care about is satisfied.

#11 They don’t really keep secrets

A great couple is always confident that they will have a strong connection no matter what. Fear of rejection and abandonment can sometimes lead to one partner keeping secrets from another. This fear is understandable, because one partner doesn’t want to lose the other, but in the end it will always be detrimental to the relationship. People who truly care about each other cannot stand to feel the guilt that arises after the deception of one another. When a couple keep absolutely no secrets from each other, it is a sign that they truly have faith in the strength of their relationship.

#15 They commit to each other

Unless two partners are truly committed to each other, their efforts to please each other will undoubtedly be half-hearted. To be considered a great relationship, a couple must be overjoyed by the feeling of causing each other comfort and pleasure. It must be a top priority. Commitment can also mean being unafraid to shoulder increased responsibilities and taking more serious steps forward in the relationship, like moving in together or having a child. Commitment is present in every great relationship, and it means that a couple is devoted to making each other happy and plans to continue doing so for a long-term period of time.

#16 They have pure love

Ghandi once said that the strongest example of love on this earth is the love between a brother and a sister. A brother and sister have pure love, they care about each other and it simply because they care about each other, there is no other factor involved. Pure love is not loving someone because they are pretty, rich, famous or visually appealing. It is the love of who a person is, plain and simple. It is the intrinsic value of a person’s soul which inspires true love. Great couples have a strong emotional connection with each other based on who they are, not what they are.

#17 They don’t really need others to validate their relationship meaning approval from friends/family

In the classic tale of Romeo and Juliet, two lovers from rival families fall in love and although their relationship is ultimately doomed, this is a great example of how two people who are truly passionate about each other will always find a way to be with each other, no matter what they risk and no matter who objects. A truly great couple will never put the wishes and opinions of their friends and family above their own and those of their partner. It a great sign when two people in a relationship overcome the opinions and objections of the people around them and persevere through faith in one another.

#18 They sacrifice for each other

A willingness to change things about one’s self, and to make concessions in order to please one’s partner is a sign that the relationship is a strong one. One should not feel the need to become a vastly different person in order to please one’s partner, or to spend lots of money on them, but in a great relationship both partners are willing to make sacrifices for each other. Sometimes this can end up improving both partners’ lives, especially if one is forced to give up a bad habit to please the other. A couple’s willingness to put their own needs after each other’s is a sign of a great relationship.

#19 They don’t focus on the past and when they do it’s more a matter of something they’ve accomplished

Couples who are truly content with each other’s company will always remain positive, no matter what has happened in the past. In a great relationship, two partners who are in good health will always be happy with the fact that they are together, and right then in that moment, that is all that matters. They count it as a miracle and a blessing that they have each other, and that feeling is so sweet that it makes them focus only on the here and now, the present. Often in great relationships couples are proud of the long road that it took to get them where they are, and count the path that lays behind them as further testament to the strength of their bond.

#20 They don’t expect each other to always be strong

A truly great couple can break down and cry together without fear of losing face. Neither partners tries to uphold a facade of being a superman or woman, they accept each other’s humanity and realize that life has its struggles, and that we all can feel low sometimes. A couple who truly care about each other doesn’t lose respect for one another when they see each other suffering, instead they try to understand it and help them through it. A mark of a great relationship is one where both partners have experienced firsthand each other’s weaknesses, and they have persevered with each other’s help.

 

#21 They ‘ve thought about as far as if their significant other is not around, they wouldn’t want to be around too.

Couple who are truly serious about each other often think about what kind of effect the loss of their partner could have on them. It is almost unthinkable for both partners in a great relationship to have to go through the pain of losing each other, it is not something that they even want to think about. This is because in a great relationship, both partners are such a huge part of each other’s lives that without each other’s presence their lives would be empty and meaningless. the acceptance of this sad truth is one of the things which makes a great relationship.

#22 They both appreciate each other’s flaws and bring out the best of them

It is often said that people are attracted by good qualities in other people which remind them of their own good qualities. On the other hand it is also said that people are repulsed by bad qualities that they observe in others which remind them of qualities they don’t like about themselves. In a truly great relationship, both partners are able to put these feelings aside, and instead focus on simply who that person is at their core, rather than what that person reminds them of. If in fact partners in a good relationship remind each other of their own flaws, this feeling is not met with reluctance but acceptance, and it can even inspire both parties to improve themselves and accept their own flaws.

#23 They don’t really try to make you jealous.

If someone feels the need to make their partner feel jealous, it is sometimes because they are not sure whether or not that person cares about them, and wants to see how much their partner will suffer after seeing them acting intimate or friendly with someone else. Other times, it is simply because they want to see their partner suffer and squirm. Either way, this behavior is not a hallmark of a good, functional relationship. A great couple is truly confident that they are desired by each other, and doesn’t feel the need to reaffirm this fact or prove it to anyone.

#24 They don’t take each other for granted; meaning each moment is something they appreciate.

One doesn’t simply get bored of a genuinely meaningful relationship. When two partners are truly captivated by each other, everything seems new and meaningful, nothing is routine. If the passion fades with time and a couple feels like they are just going through the motions, then the relationship is not a truly worthwhile one. In a great relationship, a couple may come to assume that they will always be together. Too often however, is the assumption made that this enables partners in the relationship to get away with all manner of wrongdoings and still be able to count on the one they care about to still devote themselves to the relationship. Truly great couples do not take the affection of their partners for granted, and will never abuse their partner’s trust.

#25 They feel like life is worth while

As long as two partners with a strong connection are in a relationship, life will always be worth living to both of them. If one feels dissatisfied or unhappy with their life and is currently in a relationship with someone, then the person they are in a relationship with isn’t someone they truly enjoy spending time with. A couple in a great relationship could be completely broke, going through the worst spell of bad luck imaginable and still love life, because in spite of all their difficulties they still have each other.

#26 They help each other stay grounded

Couples with a strong attraction to each other sometimes experience the strange phenomenon of being reminded of their true self when in each other’s company. It comes as a kind of heavy realization, that a couple only feels like they can truly be themselves when in each other’s company. Indeed, it can feel as though one’s whole life previous to meeting one’s partner was merely a false prelude to one’s true life. The mark of a truly great relationship is one where both partners feel at peace with themselves, each other, and the world around them when they are in each other’s company.

#27 They constantly empower each other

Couples that have a strong connection beleive in each other. Partners that are in great relationships never belittle or patronize each other, they take each other seriously. They might playfully tease each other or joke around, but it never becomes mean or distasteful. They are constantly encouraging each other to succeed and to try things which they might not believe they are capable of. A mark of a truly great relationship is one where each partner never looks down on the other. When people truly care about each other they compliment each other and constantly reassure one another of their potential

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‘Gender Confirmation Surgery’: What’s in a Name? | Loren S. Schechter, M.D., F.A.C.S.

‘Gender Confirmation Surgery’: What’s in a Name? | Loren S. Schechter, M.D., F.A.C.S..

Hi Constance… I just referred to this in a comment over at Dani’s blog, which hopefully I handled in a graceful and kind way.

I thought you all might enjoy reading it as well.

Blessings,

Charissa

 

Related to THE Gift post…

‎’Slut’ is attacking women for their right to say yes. ‘Friend Zone’ is attacking women for their right to say no.
And “bitch” is attacking women for their right to call you on it.

Constance, recall how I have written of my axiomatic belief regarding sexuality…if you aren’t familiar with it you can scroll a bit and find it pretty easy.  Well, in light of that I would obviously look at any sexual encounter other than a seriously contemplated and abstractly chosen one when not under the influence of feelings or hormones stirred up as a less than wise choice likely to result in brokenness and sorrow.

That is not to pass a moral judgement on that choice!  It is, rather, a wisdom-oriented outlook assessment of a choice.

Having said that, I think it would be easily inferred that I would consider sexual behavior that exemplified in a true sense any of the words I am going to list as a less than optimal choice:  Stud, Slut, Horn-dog, Whore, and any other similar slang.  Okay, we clear on that?  I am not affirming those choices as wise.

BUT:  the quote I posted is powerful, because it confronts the way the current paradigm uses words, labels and the sexual choices of women as clubs to beat them with and bars to bind them with.  And as such, I oppose using those means to abrogate the essential and legitimate right of women to choose their own destiny and fate with every last bit of right and permission from Them as any male has.  Period!

And once that is settled, there is a true basis to dialogue together as human beings on how to empower everyone to make choices that best poise each one for wholeness and fulfillment.

Love yourself before you love everyone else…especially all ye who love to “speak the truth in love”…start with your own heart first, in all its towering deceitfulness before you start on anyone else’s…I think we each have enough to keep us busy without needing to start in on others whose hearts we cannot even see let alone truly know.

Love, Charissa

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In Light of my BFFs post on the T-Word…

Constance, here is a lil web comic that might help out…several of Dani’s readers indicated that they were deeply desirous to reach across the divide, but uncertain how to do so without offending…I think this may help.

Love, Charissa

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5


The T Word: Transgender

Constance…I have no words to express what this means to me…what is being said to me…both in the post and in the comments. I simply will repost this, and let you know something: each of you is a potential ally in someone’s life. I an so very blessed to have the one that I do, and she knows how I feel, who I am, and our welcoming, beckoning road…and thus for me to say anything more is inappropriate, in that the only legit words for to say are uh-MAZED and broken thank yous…55 years of loneliness is a long time.

Dani De Luca

You don’t get to decide the truth. Other people have their own experiences, just as valid. This is easy to forget. Your slice of life seems so large and unmistakable, like a mirage of wholeness from where you stand. But it is your job to know better and not confuse your small piece for the whole, even if you sometimes forget. Life is big—much bigger than just yours. This is the only note to self: other people are real. That’s all there is to learn. 

— Frank Chimero – The Only Note To Self

At an event earlier this month, I sat reading over the only flyer available: an advertisement for The New Three Tenors.  As I glanced over the neon page, I saw two sandled feet standing inches from where I sat.  I found the feet peculiar, noting that the toes weren’t bare but layered with seamed stockings, and…

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So true…but the headwind, ohhh…the headwind

Saw this just now, and wow did I relate…the quote, I related to it in that I have some blessings in my life who assiduously refuse to allow me to beat myself up (if they see it! lol), and the pic…well that is just life right now.

Stop beating yourself up. You are a work in progress –
which means you get there a little at a time, not all at once.

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Calligraphic Gesture

Still and quiet sits the morning soft in drizzle,
shadow shades shroud drowsy trees lulled by turning leaves
singing of the coming great descent…
Clouds cling low and skulk about as mists,
as fogs, as wisps and scraps of rainy lace
over Autumn’s aged hallowed face,

and she lays still,
lines, marks and comments made undone,
unmade each day one by one
until she is unmarked, undrawn,
unmasked her surface still and flat
mysterious unasked, her tranquil secrets told,
and then retracted, written and redacted
as days grow short and night walks
in smoky peace longer in the stillness,
lingers fragrant in the moment
and into morning coffee.

My mind, it too is still like Autumn,
and yearns to walk in Autumn’s graceful backwards glance,
her slippered foot fall soft and earnest in her dance,
it reaches for my heart’s desirous dipper to pour out…what?

Words…tears…love…me, yes. Me…my heart’s dipper
pours me out like waters into Water
and then those ripples run,
those ripples push like still wind against
the placid growing unmarked surface…

and I push off neat and quick and skim
across her glory fading into stillness,
my heart my skiff, my words my oars,
my poem my tribute there and gone.

My heart’s hieroglyphics stutter,
eternal and undying until they swoon
and into slumber they are flying
to be swallowed once more into her bosom,
until she wakes again and my heart rises up again
from deep within her waters running ever,
I wake my poem cunning, fleet and clever

to row again, to draw again
my quick calligraphic gesture
to signify eternal her bright blue
beautiful vesture

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The Only Note to Self

Constance, I like this quote.  Read it carefully…

On it’s face, it is tempting to view it as a relativistic statement, which, if you have read here much, you know that I have issues with that approach.  Oh it is not that I think that I have the market cornered on truth…it is just that I cannot wrap my mind around an approach that says all things are relative and there are no absolutes…or there is no absolute truth and each person’s choice is absolute truth for them…

BECAUSE..these statements both have an absolute premise as their pre-supposition.

Do you see it there?  Yes?  Good.

No?  Well, let me help:  the first statement that there are no absolutes can be rejected, because it in and of itself logically is an absolute statement…and the same with the second!

So philosophically I don’t give serious weight to anyone who says or thinks in such short cut ways…for that is what they are:  short cuts to deeper and more prescient observations and the potential for wisdom gained.

I do think that what this quote is saying is far closer to where we want to go.  It is basically exhorting you to understand that you are not God, the all-knowing all-encompassing author of all things and thus the only One qualified to discern ultimately, decide ultimately, and judge/rule ultimately.

And here is the kicker:  as beings created in Their Image, we have a “Junior G-Man” version of this authority!  It is an honor, a wonder, and a responsibility!  In all ways we must emulate Them…all ways that is, but one:  humbly accepting that our view is limited by the scope of our enlightened awareness and consciousness combined with what Grace They have given to each of us to be Their ambassador in our space and our time.

So that’s why I love the quote below…it saves us from hurting a lot of people…it saves us from hurting ourselves.

Blessings, Charissa

“You don’t get to decide the truth. Other people have their own experiences, just as valid. This is easy to forget. Your slice of life seems so large and unmistakeable, like a mirage of wholeness from where you stand. But it is your job to know better and not confuse your small piece for the whole, even if you sometimes forget. Life is big—much bigger than just yours. This is the only note to self: other people are real. That’s all there is to learn.”
— Frank Chimero – The Only Note To Self

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LOL! DEFINITELY me and my baby, and me and my bff as well!

OMG…I sooo love this quote.  It really takes the difficulty and sacredness of establishing true heart connectedness and lends a levity to the process, it is self-deprecating and thus liberating.

Thanks Baby, thanks DDH!!

“Maybe a relationship is just two idiots who don’t know a damn thing except the fact that they’re willing to figure it out together.”

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I Sail In a Boat Big Enough

Remember “Jaws?”  The movie? And that moment
when Richard Dreyfuss shouts in shocked alarm:
“We’re gonna need a bigger boat!” The sound,
his voice, the realization he was up
against something more brutal, more unknown
than they had realized…had dark suspected…
Well, I was thinking today about boats
about Mama’s Boat, Her Clipper Ship Sailing…
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and She’s not limited to oceans only…
She can sail up rivers, onto trails,
trod by shaggy elk and ancient Indians…
Her Masts are tall, majestic, She sails over
Groves and Glens, She sails over vistas foul
and fair, views of beacons, of hills and lanterns
red with hateful thoughts the redder still
beneath the clingy ivy choking love.

But if She sails on stormy weather inland
from seas Pacific o’er mountains to the deserts,
or She sails in from long Atlantic shores
across those Carolinas south and north,
so fair, so foul, riddled with love and hate
like starlight thru bullet holes…glowing bright 
lovers of kindness constant in that night…
Mama knows, She knows!  Her boat is big enough!

Her Boat transcends the sharks of sea and land
Her nets are tensiled taut titanium
I’m safe on Her Ship “Big Billy Goat Gruff”
and trolls that lurk like land-sharks there beneath
henley flannel bridges near the mills
the waterwheels revolving in the waters
called clearwater but in fact so stagnant
infected with mosquitos like the plaguetumblr_lfr3wa3xsf1qcjp3go1_1280

the trolls will jump and thrust, strain viciously
and find their revelation in such smallness,
their petty crooked goblin-cruel teeth,
their flat black piggy eyes that never blink,
their taste for tender flesh, for stumbled children
tripped on blocks becoming dread millstones,
they jump, show off their sleek and ugly snouts
that bristle row on row with rancid knives…

they shall find that shackles slickly slipped
over their necks and chains meant for the others
have doubled back and clicked closed there for good,
and those land-sharks, those south of Charlotte trolls
at last are cast into the slate grey sea
awaiting eager, quick to swallow up
and ne’er a trace seen e’er again of them
and thus the children run to Them so free.

I sail in a boat big enough, I sail
in Mama’s Good Ship Big Goat Gruff and Glory
and ever I will sing Her Mercy Story.

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Applies to friends, OR lovers! (Not my writing, reposting)

Relationship Wisdom Notes:

In life there are a number of truths to live by. Some are obvious, while others require a little bit more thoughts and life experiences. At the end of the day these are the things that make life easier, and make life more enjoyable in the long run because you’re spending less time being focused on things that shouldn’t have your attention in the first place. This is especially the case when it comes to understanding other people, especially when we’re talking about a relationship. Here are 5 pieces of wisdom that everyone should know in relationships.

1. If he doesn’t answer a text message, he probably doesn’t care.

If he wanted to talk to you he would, and you would be receiving more than – at best – 2 to 3 word responses. If someone cares about talking to you they will be genuinely interested in sparking, and maintaining a conversation with you. They might make it obvious that they’re trying to keep the conversation going, or maybe they won’t – but either way, the conversation is kept alive, and you’re not wondering where you stand.

2. People will make time for you when they care about you.

This goes for friends, and potential significant others. If he says he’s too busy, or is constantly dodging hanging out with you then you should have a fairly good idea where you stand. And that might seem blunt, but ultimately it’s the truth and it isn’t a secret that people make time for others that they care about, and that they genuinely want to make time for. Don’t take it personally. Learn and grow from it.

3. Don’t let him physically touch you on the first date.

Maybe a kiss at the end of the date, but if he’s looking for something more, or something that you are not there for – particularly a hook up – then the date was happening for the wrong reasons. Understand what you want out of a date, and keep yourself at those limits. Someone who actually cares about you will understand your own boundaries and limitations.

4. You can learn a lot about someone from their favorite book.

If you ask them what their favorite book is, and they say “none,’ or “I don’t know,” then perhaps it’s time to reevaluate what you’re doing, or who you’re investing your time in. A book tells a lot about a person’s personality, life experiences, and what they want out of life.

5. Ask questions that are uncomfortable.

Ask about really bad experiences, and really great ones. Ask about regrets. Ask about their childhood. Ask the important things now and open that door before it closes. Connecting with a person goes far beyond just running through typical legs of conversation.

 

 

Fear. Pain. Doubt. Shaking Hands. Voice Trembling…STARTING!

Start now. Start where you are. Start with fear. Start with pain. Start with doubt. Start with hands shaking. Start with voice trembling but start. Start and don’t stop. Start where you are, with what you have. Just … start.
Ijeoma Umebinyuo

 

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Why Not Mama?

“I do believe in an everyday sort of magic—the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we’re alone.”
— Charles de Lint

Constance…what a great quote.

NOW:  here is Charissa’s lil pea brain whirling round and round:  there is a sweet and awe inspiring privilege in being caught up in this mystery, awake.  And there is no loss, is there, if that is all we have…that connectedness inexplicable and synchronicitous. If there is only that, when we die we will be glad for it and made the richer as we found courage to dive in to the Mystery, the Mystic, the Hidden and the Made Known Without Words.

But my Q:  Why is there such resistance to the idea that there would be a Personal God, Infinite in power and presence and horribly wonderfully finite in its involvement with us…and that God is so personal that it chooses to manifest itself in 3 persons, so as to be available to everyone of us…and then in that availability and pursuit, in that Quest for communion with us more arduous than lovers, why cannot They be the magic, the connectedness, the whispered voice, the presence?

I have never met anyone with a problem with the God who talks to me…literally.  Either they love Her-Him-Him, or they think my God is just part of me, but a creative and wonderful and fairy-tale ought to be sort of “Charissa Imagination”.

Every person I have met who has a problem with God has been raped and abused and dehumanized by a god presented by evil people wearing masks and a name that their heart violently murders in each beat.

Constance…would you do a favor for me?  Would you read the quote, and then imagine, what if God was just like that, and would talk with you, dialogue with you, listen to you, and then connect you with magic?

What if….

….well, then you would have met my Mama…my beautiful and wonderful blessed Mama Holy Spirit.

Deepest love, and written in tender crushed pain right now but bleeding gratefulness to Mama, who loves me

Charissa

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My Previous One Post about sexuality

The idea that sex is something a woman gives a man, and she loses something when she does that, which again for me is nonsense. I want us to raise girls differently where boys and girls start to see sexuality as something that they own, rather than something that a boy takes from a girl.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

 

Constance, I have written precisely one time on my explicit beliefs regarding sexuality and love.  You can find that post at Love, In a Sexual World .

I reference that post, because it is saying very similar things to this lil quote I posted…

…the key point in this quote and the absolutely essential thing to grasp is this:  sexuality is something you are given as your very own, and thus it belongs to you.  It is a state of being that is held in potential, and when you choose to engage it, you forever are altered…just like when you get married, or become a parent.

Oh…marriages can end, but you will always “have been married”…children can die, but you can never “un-become” being a parent.

And to take someone’s sexuality…to let it be taken…well, that is the greatest act of theft that can occur:  either the person taking it the greatest thief or the one letting it being taken the greatest thief from themself.

Recently I have been beset with acts of betrayal and broken trust.  And in another place where I attempted to contact an author whose book raised many things, I found myself accused again of sin…sexual sin, mind you…simply for being open that I am transgender.

As a matter of fact, sexuality is actually one area that is pretty darn together in my life, thanks to Mama and my darling holder of my heart.

I will soon post about the awful and hateful things that were said by complete strangers…but in the meantime, seeing this quote reminded me:

teach your children that they possess the gift of the ages:  their sexuality and the right of its dispensation.

Love, Charissa Grace

bleeding and cut, bruised and battered, but refusing the bribes of defeat

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Clear The River!

“Be wild; that is how to clear the river. The river does not flow in polluted, we manage that. The river does not dry up, we block it. If we want to allow it its freedom, we have to allow our ideational lives to be let loose, to stream, letting anything come, initially censoring nothing. That is creative life. It is made up of divine paradox. To create one must be willing to be stone stupid, to sit upon a throne on top of a jackass and spill rubies from one’s mouth. Then the river will flow, then we can stand in the stream of it raining down.”

― Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

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For my baby AND my bff AND my Magic Red Door Woman!!

Does she scare you a little? Good. She should make you fear her love, so that when she lets you be apart of it, you won’t take it lightly.
She should remind you of the power that beauty brings, that storms reside in her veins, and that she still wants you in the middle of it all.
Do not take this soul for granted, for she is fierce, and she can take you places that you never thought you could go; but she is still loving in the midst of it all, like the calm rain after a storm, she can bring life.
Learn her, and cherish her, respect her, and love her; for she is so much more than a pretty face, she is a soul on fire.
T.B. LaBerge

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My Only Way Out Today: an Anti-Poem

Pray that I hit the hole

when I am hurled violently,

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that I roll like cats
and land soft on paddy feet
that I swim like otters free
and surf like Icarus of the sea
and waterproof

i dangle now
stuck in and out
and bleeding
upside down
and reeling
eyes throbbing red
red red red dark

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today will be a birth
or an abortion
a hand or
a sharp knife
and liberty
or lambasting
and sentenced
to Kafka penitentiary

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Hearth of Empty Ashes

our cottage is still,
today…empty.

oh, I see the flotsam and jetsam
that jumped from the garage sales
on life’s oceans, my knick·knacks
strewn round about jousting
with your bibelots and baubles

our lace tablecloth
crawling in intricate pattern
on our lil table like a web
sprung from Oh Smart Charlotte
and laid down for our delight,
and our kettle like a bird
flown into its window-nemesis
and broken.

our hearth lays there, still…silent
and sorry ash too listless to even
puff and rise for flights of fancy
with dust motes and sunbeams.

our mittens and scarves
lay over there, forlorn,
bereft of body and they listen
to the music of clothes
piled beside railways to hell.
they are thankful for tiny tragedy,
small in scope and easily buried.

but i am still in me,
like the ashes in the hearth,
and I know that tragedy is a hologram,
from the smallest piece to the greatest
and I miss your quick warm movements
that sing without saying a word.

cottages, tables and mittens…
all hearths of sorts,
and full of empty ashes.tumblr_ndclfgcvTC1tpw2ero1_1280

 

A Casualty of His War: A Poem about surviving abuse, by Lucy

Constance…in light of recent events, I am continuing posting things I find germane to my current place, current state of mind, and current resolve to not accept blame for the actions of abusers…you all know the trope:  “if you hadn’t done (or been, or said, or thought, or gone) X, then would not have had to say (or be, or do, or think, or exploit you in the place you went) Y.  Classic displacement of responsibility from where it rests squarely and justly onto the shoulders of the one who happened into the path of a monster for whatever reason.

I am vague about “abusers” for very good reasons of counsel…sorry, I would love nothing more than to name them publically.  I might never get back what was taken from me, but they should have to wear the permanent stain of their actions like heart tattoos.

Insidious, institutionalized, and so deeply inculcated into our point of view societally…blaming the victim, and then comes that wonderful training in Stockholm to teach victims how to blame themselves, police themselves on behalf of the abuser.

I wrote a poem last year around this time called The Terrorist .  It is making the point that emotional terrorism is just has destructive, just as death dealing as physical terrorism, and quite likely even more so, because it leaves its victim alive and violated, dehumanized and then made into the object of derision by the blame shifting that is then engaged in like a demonic game of Duck Duck Goose.

Over at Everyday Feminism you can find this article:

I Confused Love and Abuse Until I Refused To Be a Casualty of His War

This contains the poem that I have taken formatting liberties with for effect…it contains it as a poetry slam short film.  I encourage you to first of all watch.  I also took the liberty of giving it my own title.  Certainly if this is in error I will edit that ASAP, just let me know anyone…I just thought the piece I pulled for a title was apropos.

Then…after you watch…I want you to think of something.  Think of someone in your life, someone in your past…the worst bully you can recall being around.  Or, maybe just the most banal, the most bathetic…they are one in the same.

Try to remember what it was like when you were subject to that foul flow, puked in scalding gouts acidic and harsh…and then remember how good it felt to escape it, finally.

Then ask yourself:  what became of that person?  Did they go on from me to bully others?  Abuse others?  Are there other victims out there, and if so how are they…are they scarred like me?  Worse?

And then lastly, imagine what things would have been like if you stopped the bully for good, or better yet, if someone had courageously stopped them before they got to you.  Now what would the imagined future be like?  Ya know, it is sorta like having your own version of “It’s a Wonderful Life” except in reverse…everyone has been living that bully’s truth which is in reality Aftermath.

I am confronted with a daunting and arduous road.  Likely in this confrontation, I will be completely trashed in reputation, motivation and presentation…but maybe it will make the bully think twice next time…and maybe the sight of me publicly humiliated will somehow be the turning point that cracks a hard shell encasing a torn heart, and an enabler will be convicted to take a stand with the powerless in identification instead of taking leave in the safety of what we do now…blame the victim.

I dedicate this poem to a certain “Dick” in my life.

Charissa, clear minded and terrified
Quaking and resolved
Condemned to die and trusting Them who specialize in resurrection

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Thank you. Hi, everyone.
I’m Lucy, and the title of this piece is…

Uh, the title of this piece is…

People make a big deal about eyes,
but it was really
the wrinkle in his forehead
that caught me
as he fumbled to
write down his number.
We fell in love
like children running downhill:

wind whipping past,
parading each other to our friends,
to the sky,
to the old couples we
imagined as our future selves.

When he moved in,
I swore he fused with the house.
I could hear his sigh
in the hum of my ceiling fan,
I could taste him in my coffee,
and anyone could
see him in my poetry.

The grooves in his palm
spoke of tragedies.
A frayed lifeline spread
to the pinky tip.
I traced along
those calloused patches
and kissed the scars
on his knuckles.

When you love hard enough,
you can embrace those scars.
And when you love long enough,
you excuse or even ignore
almost imperceptible
changes in the terrain:

when he gripped me a bit tighter,
a bit more often.
When “How are you?”
became “Where were you?”

In college,
I learned that in World War I,
soldiers rarely wrote about their misery.
They were living
a new kind of nightmare,
so what good were
the same old words
and metaphors?

Poets died in those trenches.
I thought of them
as I tiptoed
around the landmines
that littered our home.

When you live in a battlefield,
where do you find energy to pick up a pen?

Like a numbed soldier,
I lived from moment to moment,
and when the moments were sweet
(and many were),
I savored them because nothing
tastes as good as hope.

Because even on the bad days
when it seemed an eyelash
could set him off,
when he threatened
to leave the apartment
or this world,
still each night
he would murmur
into my ear that
these were the natural
ups and downs of love.

But there is nothing natural about war.

He was my comrade,
sinking into the trenches,
grasping at my face,
my arm,
my collarbone.
I wanted to rescue him.
If that meant
bearing his blows and
his slurred insults,
I would do it.
If I could’ve
swallowed his sadness,
I would have.

My friends considered me MIA,
but I reported for duty every day
and would’ve marched into death
if she hadn’t made me listen.
In that moment,
I realized I wasn’t his comrade,
but a prisoner of his war.
And after two years
and seven months,
I finally made
a break for it.

Some nights I find myself
clicking through old memories.
I marvel at the smiles
and the closeness and realize that
these are the images which remain
with me most vividly.

When time has had its way with me,
has softened the edges of my memory,
I’m afraid I’ll only remember his charms:

the crook of his arm,
the way he said
“Hey baby.”

I’m afraid I’ll miss these ideas of him.

But then
I remember those poets,
and how long they lived
in those trenches,
and the mornings
I spent crying
into my breakfast.

And now
when I pick up my pen,
it is heavy,
but it is firm.
I lean into it
like a staff
as I tread the ground
that hardened beneath me
the moment
I let you go.

The ink smudges my hands
like war paint.
I am bruised from battle,
but I am not
a casualty of his war.

I am free.
I am free.

I am mine.

Feminist cancels USU talk after guns allowed despite death threat | The Salt Lake Tribune

Feminist cancels USU talk after guns allowed despite death threat | The Salt Lake Tribune.

Constance…here it is again:  an attitude, a threat…and the woman blamed simply for being.

Read the link, and digest the threat, made by a man…and then consider the response made.  Of course, in the name of safety, of not taking chances…right?  Which is implicitly also saying that if the woman did not desire the free expression of her thoughts in a venue that had solicited her input, then none of this would have happened.

Frankly, it sticks in my craw and is not something I am swallowing or buying.  And this is my position regardless of how easy or difficult my own journey is right now.  Some things are never okay…no matter who says them, no matter why they are said.

I have not caused anyone to do anything simply by anything I say, do, or am…and neither does any other woman.  Whoever it is that says something, does something or is something is responsible for the things they said, did, or chose.

Wisdom is key, yes.  Discretion to be desired above gold…but this feminist lecturer did not cause this situation…the poor, deluded, sick bully who wrote what he wrote absolutely did.

Charissa Grace, resolute and clear minded…
thinking of justice…praying for mercy, in me and for me…and finding it so difficult to even know what humility is, let alone walking in it…

…I have come too far to be chased back to shame and silence.

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Our Little Hut

Darling, are you awake? Yes?
Good…do you remember our beginning?

A little hut by the sea
wearing grey cedar shingles like feathers
ruffled in rainy winds and shot thru
with browns and blacks…
the red round rock stacked
shambling into walls that just spelled home,
nestled midst woven thatches of
marram shot thru with sedges and dandelions,
clinging to shifty sands like picnic blankets
strewn round that heart…that little hut,
our beginning kissed by windy sands
scritching out beach music
on violin decks and cello chairs of cypress.

You were a wordless humming song
and tidal in my veins you moved
in rhythm, rhyme, in time to that
strumming music tidal
joyous humming in the dancing of the waves
and sand and wind and sky.
We walked each day steady
across those shores ever reaching
to the sea and the sea ever running
back to sands and sunset ever blessing
everyday each moment with its many colored kiss
in hues of pinks and purples, oranges, yellows, hues of bliss
in reds and blues, and greys… you…
always grey lining blue of mine with you,
in silver shot straight thru
with grey shot thru my blue.
We knew each sunset,
whiled away another day
closer to that sunset last
and that final mystic gateway
at the end thru which we enter
Lone and sundered, hoping that we yet may
walk together on a new shore
where there are no sunsets because
there is only sunrise
sunrise
sunrise
yet again
and yet again…

We walk still each day,
and every sunset bows to us,
and then bows to the night,
to the next day yet born,
to the next sun yet risen,
to the next sunset kiss…
and the stars always
over head and constant,
glitter chips of always-light
against the thick and sable night,
the stars nod in return, return…
ahh…the beach at night.
Air refreshing, breezy, flexible,
runs its loving hungry fingers
thru your hair pliable
as we walk, the sand
packed and wet and clean
and time at last is friable
in the smell of salty air
its kiss brushes against you,
trailing fingers across your cheek,
over your skin, and I too brush against you
(rush within you kissing,
trailing fingers
)

We are Quietness
nestled deep in certain stillness,
and snuggled yet deeper
in the steady static roar
of the ever crashing waves
and the gurgling swishy swirling
of waves playing tag
with sand and seaweed
and seagulls refereeing
crying foul foul foul
so the waves run
and retreat in laughing ripples
back to the waiting deep safety
of the vast receptive sea,
and us safely snuggled
in our you and me.

The sand is crisp and cold and damp
as we walk, you and me, our steps
singing skritch skritch skritch,
singing in time
to the cry of those legalistic gulls
and our feet slide as we move from wet to dry
and we skim across the surface
walking like penguins
so we can move thru time
and yet leave nary a trace
and you feel so safe, like you are home
and you feel so safe in my feeling that…
find safety in my adoration
and you are home…
We can see
a vast array of stars overhead,
a broad expansive sea swelling before,
and stretching there a beach, the shore
beneath our sliding skimming feet,
comprised of endless grains of sand
uncountable but having number,
speaking of the days of time
since time began…

everywhere

are unique things uncountable,
innumerable…and you:
a one off, one and done
and rendered even just that much more special
on this stage of infinince
in the midst of audience
of blank uncountable conclave.
and there upon that stage
you are all the more substantial,
present, solid, singular,
just the endless treasure of your beauty
and the vast stretch of my love
(echoing stars and sand and sea)
singing harmoniously
in the presence of this eternal array,
this echo of infinity
we’re in.

And we walk, away from our little hut,
towards our little hut, and away again,
and time is scrolling out before us,
we two, we poised to write
with heart quills dipped in love’s well,
and then time rolls back into itself
(ah, it sees its the sea,
rolling out to kiss the sand
and rolling back to dump those kisses
into waiting heart so deep)…
time rolls out day by day by day, and back again
neath the stars,
in the night,
with the wind.

I wonder in the midst
of this sandy sacred setting
which thing it is my heart echoes
as it aches and hurts so fierce,
so good as it longs, yearns
so empty and so full,
so hungry, satisfied,
so intricate, complete…
my fiery core of passion and of promise

what…

Rolls in and out in waves?
Glitters fierce like diamond stars?
Never ends like grains of sand
everywhere there’s earth?
It aches too fierce, too good,
it thrills, thrums too ferocious
to identify and focus on,
and then it gets dim and blurry
when I look at you and see the quiet
gentle fierce glad brightness
of your countenance at night that
dims the stars, and
blurs the sands, and
makes the waves stand still
breathless and in awe, and
I know then my core
is ever always you you you

we married,
long ago beside this same vast ever sea,
on the same shore of sand golden, tan
and singing to the music
laughing in the running waves
beneath the glitter gaze of stars
overhead and hanging on angel visions,
we married…
and the moon officiated,
she gloamed before us
as we walked into her temple,
her the Officiant,
the Congregant of Always and gentle love,
we walked her moonlight aisle together…
some marry on mountainsides midst craggy peaks
to the wedding songs of brooks and creeks
and others still mingle in the firelight
beneath the tall stentorian witness of deep forests
redwood and sequoia who roll out meadows
soft and green, and arrayed more beautiful and
richer than the wealth of Solomon in their dress of flowers
and stalks and stems as the birds serenade
and sing their praise to them.

we visited there, you and me,
we heard that brooky song,
we saw that craggy might,
we lay in meadow soft
resplendent in love and
we have in our many walks found that
we were foundered, mired
in swampy lowlands funky, smelly,
decomposing rotten and releasing
the last gasp of life in its methane relief
but still stinking of that unbecoming…
we have thought us lost but then discovered
that it is here that wombs become impregnate,
become renewed as elements of used-to-be-alive
stick to our skin in longing desperate clingy clutchings.
But it is back,
always to the sea,
we are drawn, we,
to that intersection
of time and truth and bright eternity
that we see tangible
and with us in the sand,
and stars and sea.

and inside us,
you and me, burns a flame we share,
yes the same one, the same blade
of those fires that we see before us
in the night and yet to rise anew
in the day yet to be born,
the echo of stars and suns,
of the moon’s desires and passions
for lovers everywhere
and the twin of driftwood fires
that we kindle every night
as our offering to beauty,
to love, to us, to light midst
the crackling shouts of wood at last
consumed and released popping up up and away
in sparky eager pieces at last
free to become the stars overhead
that driftwood prophecies of old proclaimed their fate,
and the incense of their longing
drifting around us in thick vapours
that smell of longing
at last to be fulfilled,
smelling of worship,
smelling of Mama’s breath
and the courts of the Risen Lamb,
and smelling of Us,
you and me,
and our little hut.

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Branded

Constance…right now I feel pretty darn unlovely, if I am open…

struggling thru these circumstances where it is my truest and best self that I have been becoming, with soo much good and yet that is going to get me fired from my work…

or worse, leave me there after they have so deeply violated me and ripped out my guts…

I find out tomorrow…oh yes, in their exquisite torture they wish to prolong the agony, in the name of further investigation.

Q: you are a smart and perceptive person Constance…in anything I have written since post #1 have you read anything that would indicate I am a “vindictive”, “revengeful”, “bully” who uses position and power to coerce and threaten others…?????

I confess that the way they used those words…well it was as if they grabbed branding irons and branded the insides of my thighs and while I know in my heart that is the literal opposite of who I am, it left these severe marks…

…perhaps with Mama’s grace I can someday wear them as badges of honor, but until then the pain is nearly unbearable

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A lil poem of encouragement

Constance I left the following as a comment to encourage someone…I decided that maybe it would have value here as well…hope you like it

The ache inside, the empty chasm
looms threatening in the night
and our heart writhes, and moans in spasms
and tries to hang on tight.

The darkness hangs its cloudy veil
and lays its claim to time
and grinds all words fine, down to Braille
and it seems no reason, rhyme

Can ever answer our hurt cry
can ever heal our pain
we know from here we’re meant to fly
clean, free from death’s dark stain

Sis, take heart, we’re out here, we
survived our cross of woe
we learned to share hurt, that’s the key
to rise again and grow

My heart is with you as your heart
beats every second out
may grace and peace to you impart
deep mercies in this drought.

I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, dear one…if you can but manage to hang on, you will be glad, one day. But now, in the hard times, the silent scream times…just hang on, and think of thousands who are with you.

Love, Charissa

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The Loneliness of Being Other

The raucous room and wine, rollicking around us
awash in social currents and plumage all fanned out
and passers by drifted close to take a look and then
shifted chins and rolling eye to sit jowl to jowl and nook to crook.20141011_190936

(Donne wasn’t talking about trans-folk when he quipped
“no man is an island”, for I was a life boat drifting on an endless sea
and stranded, the fishies below and the birdies above
and me no water to drink in the midst of many waters)

tables full and over full, like bellies and wine glasses
which were groaning and clinking atonal and rhythmic
choruses echoed in this gathered congregation of the goddess Socializing
and her consort mammon to whom offerings would be made of time and treasure20141011_190856

Ah, but look…and see our dingy, drifting on desert seas entire
in this oasis of walled off spaces, our puffed up air-filled punt
the good ship “I Alone Survived” bobbed high and pristine, clean, in order
midst the merry chaos and the choruses of othering swelling with the music

perhaps we were mistaken as tee-totalers of banquets,
or the step children vegan and red headed in the throng.
OH! the weight watchers attending but on such a strict repast
that we were tasked to come and eat the food but fast the feasts of friends.20141011_190909

We sit alone, apart (the better to stare at you, my dear) in this overcrowded room
full of overcrowded tables, one there in the middle overcrowded by blank emptiness
occupied by someone glowing shining sparking becoming but accounted as a
lost placeholder only, and the one who loves her there, sitting side by side and stark.

It’s a long and lonely desert trudge, and not all deserts dunes…
sometimes deserts teem with life and trees and nights under soft moons
but the doors are locked, the gates are hidden deep in mystery
of how a transgirl finds her way and what becomes her key

To walk amidst the forests, in the fields of human kindness
there to forage for the herbs medicinal to cure that blindness
and to find that song, the notes to open up locked hearts, deaf ears
until then the Other will go forth, sowing in tears…Image 001

“…Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.  She who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing her sheaves with her.”

Psalms 126:5-6
*gender pronouns altered, meaning not violated)

Coming Out – Yes, it still does matter – LGBTQ Nation

Coming Out – Yes, it still does matter – LGBTQ Nation.

Constance…how ironic that it is “Coming Out Day” today…I post a really great article about it and while it deals with the topic of sexual orientation and being public about that, it translates perfectly over to gender orientation as well.

Salient words for me here (I substituted transgender for gay):

Truthfully, most people believe that just saying the words “I’m transgender” means you’ve come out. In a sense it does, however, the real coming out, in my opinion, is when you look at that reflection you see in the mirror and say “I’m Transgender” and you don’t look away in shame – that’s when you’ve come out.

When you can accept yourself and love who you are and understand that the world can be cold and lonely and ignorant and intolerant – and you can still smile at your own reflection – you’ve come out.”

I have a long road ahead of me, God willing…one that I have just begun to scratch the surface of the joys and sorrows waiting.

But something is different:  joys and sorrows are old acquaintences, especially the sorrows, and I walked with them in hollowness and null, void.  Oh yes, They were there, are there…but:

What is different is me.  Me.  I am here now, and perhaps that will tip the balance in my favor at last.

“I’m skert Mama!!”

“I got this too, Baby…I got this too.”

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This made me weep

Listen, I loved my father.  It was out of that love and respect that I split in two, so I could please him.  I heard his heart even thru other things. He never bullied me like what you will see in the beginning of this lil video…but he was a towering figure, and his presence was writ over my life large.  When the twist at the end occurred, a torrent of tears tore loose…and I could not help but wonder what would have been…could have been.  I used to mourn and grieve the amount of time I had left…before I was at last released and set free from this double crossed body, betrayed by sin and betrayed by gender..but now?  I mourn and grieve the time I have lost, wishing I had those years to live proper as myself.

I mean…bff…would that particular source of weirdness and strain and uncertainty that surrounds our friendship be present if I had the right body?  I don’t think so…I think that after the oddity of how we connected so deeply via writing and then fell into our future and walk our our present backwards, navigating the folds…after that was internalized, it would be a casual shrug, and we would be free to function in our world as we women always have, under the noses and before the unseeing eyes of men who comfort themselves with thoughts that we are like cackling hens and chitchatting crickets easily satisfied with baubles, shiny things and trinkets.

But for me being me…the penumbra of ignorance that surrounds me colors everything, taints everything…i think i would die if it ended up impacting you harshly and causing you trouble in your life.  It haunts me, frankly, and makes me want to flee screaming in the night “unclean, unclean!”  Modern day leper.

Anyway, this video is very redemptive, and gives me hope…inspiration…to keep going forward and not quit, and pray that my pain would be transformed into someone else’s power.

Bleeding and unable to staunch the flow,

Charissa Grace

Sobbing…thank you dear one!

To the Happy Few

Do you know who you are

O you forever listed
under some other heading
when you are listed at all

you whose addresses
when you have them
are never sold except
for another reason
something else that is
supposed to identify you

who carry no card
stating that you are—
what would it say you were
to someone turning it over
looking perhaps for
a date or for
anything to go by

you with no secret handshake
no proof of membership
no way to prove such a thing
even to yourselves

you without a word
of explanation
and only yourselves
as evidence

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“To the Happy Few” by W.S. Merwin, from Collected Poems: 1996-2011. © Library of America, 2013. Reprinted with permission.

October 10th, 1981

She walked in white
and wore a white dress simple.
she was Beauty writ so blatant and blinding

Her eyes flashed smoking, fierce she ruled that day,
her day, and as her one choice my day too
and all was bent and formed in her glance.

There was a muddy brown hillside behind the church,
slick with recent rain fallen brown and fragrant
onto October ground boasting in pumpkins and passion.

She was eager to the altar ascend, and she hiked her skirts
and then herself and up that muddy slope treacherous she
trod on hinds feet, on glory wings and she was come into her Own.

I stood fearful, clad in brown drab (and hidden inside the hole of me)
I cried out “be careful baby!  omg don’t fall!”
and she turned, halfway up, left leg poised up hill,

right leg firm, rooted to the very core of the Earth (and her solid present self)
and turned loose those brown lasers on me…flayed me, saw me hiding
(but didn’t know it was me she was seeing).

Her hair moved in the dancing wind and she flung out her hand
(oh her right hand sought, kissed, and become my bridal bouquet)
and she said “Do you actually think I would Stumble on my wedding day!!??”

I wanted to fly into a million pieces, each one singing screaming crooning
blessedblessedblessedblessedblessed…I wanted to coalesce, come out,
but instead I just stood there, gaping and fearful and frozen.

Her lids lowered (that adored half mast glance),  softened even
as they grew more chrystal amber gold and she said
“Come on up baby, I am here always” (ohhh)

I took her hand and ascended (were my feet even on the ground?)
and we walked into that building decorated and celebratory
and got scolded by the clucking biddies cus we saw each other before…

The next time I saw her, she moved in music and light, rode waves
and walked forward to stand at my side and never go.
And then she said I did, I do, I will…then we lit Our Candle

and I was delivered to Joy forever.
Happy Anniversary my Dearest Darling
I never lived until there was you.

Love, Charissa Grace

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The Girls We Were Without Knowing

high strung doesn’t even come close
to how high strung i really am…
but i lay like the dead lifeless,
empty inside, afraid,
seeing your departure as
the substance of my ugliness
and your withdrawal as
seceding heart to heart and
heart in heart.

anxiety is a fix-needing junkie
inside me, twitching and
twerking at the intersection
of thought and rational discourse,
wielding its squeegee
(some eldritch Excalibur)
over my heart wet and sloppy and screechy…
in its wake i am driving blind.

your hand feels absent.
my heart feels absence…
but your eyes are present,
wide in shock and gaping,
and finally open hurt outrage
asking plaintive, in naked anguish
what does it all mean, the cumulative
crowd of days and throng of years
in the long lost land called trans.
(and we didn’t even know
we were living there!)

your god-damned beautiful
perfumed forehead

(smelling always of heaven’s bakeries hot and warm
and working for that Feasting Day Coming)

it’s furrowed, that one line
near your left eye (silver-grey sea)
jumps up, twists and shouts
“this is not about you!
why is it always about you!
no it is not about you!”

you move off
like clouds racing the wind
black and billowy
to the mountains
to rain there on naked rock,
but I dwell
in the valley lonesome
and shadow deep
and dream of days
past and uncertain
to ever be days to come,
days of waffle weekends,
movies and popcorn (make my day)
chocolate and coffee…

and I am missing
long hours of talk
at the beach
in the wind, and later
at the fire
over wine…and later still
at hearts bonded deep
and words not needed
and action (then, now, coming)
rendered irrelevant.

I will indeed again
confess my love for you,
my desire for your company
and time and song

…and seeing…

oh to learn to be
grown women together,
all the while being informed
by the girls we were without knowing
and without needing to know
as long as we knew
how to remember wonder…

but you will never read this
(you never come here, why would you?)
so i can paint with fingers, feelings
and this canvas of grace
showing every clumsy stroke,
every wrong move
public and on display

and maybe
(Mama be gracious)
someday these words will be etched,
stained crimson on my crystal heart shattered
and each piece shouting love love love,
will sing to you of
all i thought
all i felt
all i forgot
all i am

all my loveImage 002

 

11 Myths, Misconceptions, and Lies About Gender Non-conforming Children

Constance, this article is really good.  Pass it along, please.

Sorry for my terse prose…I am feeling a bit down.

Running to Mama…Charissa Grace

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11 Myths, Misconceptions, and Lies About Gender Non-conforming Children

Source: Lindsay Morris

Originally published on The Huffington Post and cross-posted here with the author’s permission.

Recently, a video about a transgender child in California named Ryland Whittington went viral. It is beautiful and moving and shows the power of unconditional parental love.

Sadly, like every other conversation about transgender children, the comments section was often unkind. Scanning the comments, I saw the same poorly thought-out ideas keep popping up. Many of them were similar to things said about transgender adults, but others were particular to transgender children.

I think it’s time to put these misconceptions to bed.

1. Children are too young to know these things or make these decisions.

The overwhelming consensus of the psychological community is that gender identity is formed by the age of two or three. The consensus of the medical community is that sexual dimorphism of the brain occurs in utero as a result of exposure, or lack thereof, to androgens.

In other words, gender identity and expression are determined before a child is even born. It is only at two or three that they can express it.

Even those psychologists who push for “reparative therapy” to “normalize” gender non-conforming children acknowledge that if a child is still asserting a particular gender identity at the age of six, the odds of it changing are exceedingly small.

2. You are whatever your bits say you are.

In utero, the reproductive organs develop and differentiate earlier than the brain does. When the brain later develops in ways that typically differentiate between male and female, it is based on whether or not the androgens are present and received.

Usually, because the gonads are already in place and producing minute amounts of hormones, this differentiation allows the brain development to match the typical pattern. When something (such as endocrine-disrupting chemicals) interferes with this process, you can get a mismatch between phenotypes.

A person’s sense of self and their gender identity and expression are based on what’s between their ears. Who you are as a person is defined by gray matter, not by genitalia.

3. Gender non-conforming behavior and identities are a result of something the parents did.

Usually this line of attack is meant to imply that the children grew up in a broken home, or that somehow the parents were gender non-conforming or ultra-liberal or somehow encouraged it.

I have spoken with many parents of transgender kids who live in conservative, religious, two-parent military families with both parents filling stereotypical gender roles.

Wayne Maines became an advocate for his transgender daughter and transgender children nationwide despite previously having a very conservative philosophy and values that suggested that transgender children did not exist. Watching his child grow, he could not deny the fact that she was indeed a girl, not a boy.

But these stories are all anecdotal. Let’s see what research has to say about the matter:

There is no proof that postnatal social environment has any crucial effect on gender identity or sexual orientation.”

Next.

4. If you just made them behave like a proper boy/girl, it would fix the ‘problem.’

Let’s look at two of the most famous case studies of trying to “fix” gender non-conforming children. There was George Reker’s case study of “Kirk,” and then there was the case of David Reimer, who was raised as a girl after a botched circumcision.

In both cases, trying to cram these children into a box they didn’t fit in ended up killing them.

Nearly every parent of a transgender child I have met has told me that they reached a point of acceptance when they realized that they had a choice: either accept their child or lose them altogether.

5. My kid said he is an elephant. Does that mean I should put him on an all-peanut diet? No! These parents are just being indulgent of a child’s fantasy.

We’ve already discussed that this isn’t a fantasy; there are biological origins, and simply identifying as male or female is not abnormal. However, this reminds me of nothing so much as the same sort of ill-considered opinions that people have about raising other special-needs children.

It also bears repeating that the majority of parents who have children who have socially transitioned reached a point where they feared for their child’s life. Suicidal ideation is common even in very young in transgender children.

I cannot say this more plainly: You do not have a right to question or judge a parent’s decisions when they fear for their child’s life.

6. When I was young, I was a tomboy, and I didn’t turn out to be transgender.

Individuals saying this sort of thing may have demonstrated some cross-gender behaviors but not a persistent cross-gender identity.

This is a key difference between the two, and such comparisons represent a false analogy.

7. If you let them socially transition, you’re just setting them up to be bullied.

This is another form of blaming the victim. Shouldn’t we focus on preventing bullying rather than making the victim conform? We do not accept that forcing kids to act “less gay” is right. We don’t like the idea that avoiding being raped is the victim’s responsibility.

The parents of transgender and gender non-conforming children aren’t to blame if their children are bullied. More often than not, they are already doing everything they can to keep their child alive and happy.

If blame is to fall anywhere, it more rightly belongs on those doing the bullying and on school administrators who allow it to happen.

8. They’re giving ten-year-old children hormones!

No. Doctors are prescribing Lupron, which blocks the onset of puberty. This drug is already being used on children who aren’t transgender to prevent precocious puberty.

The reason that doctors block puberty in transgender children is that forcing a transgender child to go through the wrong puberty is more or less irreversible, does permanent harm in terms of ongoing dysphoria, and results in greater difficulty living in their target gender.

9. What if these kids change their minds?

For children who haven’t undergone any sort of medical treatment, they transition back socially. However, after age six to eight, this becomes very uncommon. If they are on Lupron, they stop taking it, and puberty proceeds as normal, just as it would for a child who had been given it to stop precocious puberty.

According to Dr. Norman Spack, who specializes in this field:

[A]t the time that puberty begins — that means between about age 10 to 12 in girls, 12 to 14 in boys, with breast budding or two- to three-times increase in the gonads in the case of genetic males — by that particular point, the child who says they are in the absolute wrong body is almost certain to be transgender and is extremely unlikely to change those feelings, no matter how anybody tries reparative therapy or any other noxious things.

At the age of 15 or 16, if the child is still asserting a cross-gender identity, there is almost zero chance that this will change. Then, and only then, are cross-gender hormones administered.

In short, the medical and mental-health protocols are designed to only take permanent medical steps after everything possible has been done to ensure that this is the correct course of treatment. Until that point, everything is reversible.

Along the way, however, steps are being taken to minimize potential harm to the patient whether or not they are transgender.

10. These kids should have to wait until they’re 18 before doing anything medically (including puberty-blocking drugs).

By that time it is too late. Puberty has already given them a body that can’t be easily fixed.

Medical science can attempt to mitigate the harm, but at that point it is expensive and painful, and the results only partially compensate for the effects of going through the wrong puberty.

In short, forcing them to wait can (and often does) cause massive, irreparable harm.

11. You transgender activists want to force all these children down a medical track.

No. No. And a thousand times no. I have met the parents of gender non-conforming kids. These kids may express themselves differently but do not have a cross-gender identification (e.g.: they are a boy who identifies as a boy but likes things that are gender-stereotyped as more feminine).

I absolutely do not want children who are simply gender non-conforming going down a medical track.

What parents of transgender and gender non-conforming children want is the same thing that every other parent wants: for their children to be happy, safe, loved, and protected.

If medical care will help their children go out into the world with every chance of achieving their potential and having a fulfilling life, then they will fight tooth and nail for it.

It’s what any good parent would do.

Brynn Tannehill is originally from Phoenix, Ariz. She graduated from the Naval Academy with a B.S. in computer science in 1997. She earned her Naval Aviator wings in 1999 and flew SH-60B helicopters and P-3C maritime patrol aircraft during three deployments between 2000 and 2004. She served as a campaign analyst while deployed overseas to 5th Fleet Headquarters in Bahrain from 2005 to 2006. In 2008 Brynn earned a M.S. in Operations Research from the Air Force Institute of Technology and transferred from active duty to the Naval Reserves. In 2008 Brynn began working as a senior defense research scientist in private industry. She left the drilling reserves and began transition in 2010. Since then she has written for OutServe magazine, The New Civil Rights Movement, and Queer Mental Health as a blogger and featured columnist. Brynn and her wife Janis currently live in Xenia, Ohio, with their three children. Follow her on Twitter @BrynnTannehill.

Reeling in Rome

Things feel like silk over thistles.
My heart is home, snuggled down
certain…in place…and yet underneath
being home pulses pain, sighs and sorrow,
sings sadness…tambourine thistles,
timbrel thorns tipped with sting and with sticker
tipped with grief for the meanness released
in this world, cacophonous, clanging
macabre symphony wailing and keening
and it easily pierces my thin certain silk
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it is here, in this place…home…
where I am snuggled down certain…
…it’s here too, crept ‘neath walls of love
we raised higher (longer) than the Dragon
and broader than the Icy Bear.

…meanness dissolved…

(become smoke from cauldrons stirred
by darkness and tended by sneaking death)

crept under, around, thru, in vapors
breathed in gasps, poisonous, choking
off health, flowing life from even the elect

(oh Mama, could it be?  Say it isn’t so!)

me and my heart met and we mingled
and made our nest in walls of love,
in temple tones, rhythms so homey
and consecrated with Sacred Love…

but cuckoos crept in on the croaking
raucous dissonant din of black crows,
under safe and the sacred, they sought to steal, thieving
and taking goodness and life, and leaving our chicks

(our heart our heart our heart our heart)

torn and rent by meanness and scratched by claws
and marred and us

(married)

hands fluttering, hands wringing…hands empty

I am reeling here, snuggled down solid
I am reeling…tipping to and fro,

rocking…keening

as I look and long for that imagined future
we dreamed of for our dearest chicklings

(because my own, miscarried misshapen,
deadly-still and sightless in Gaza)

as I look and I long but I see only smoke
and haze, and I hear only laughing, gibbering
vaporous voices blown off cold cauldrons,
stirred by stale darkness, filled with green poison and
witches brew swirling and reeling…
reeling like me.

Mama…oh Mama do You see?
do you hear me here, bereft,
weeping in Ramah with Rachel
for my hatchlings hounded, harried,
torn and carried away
on torrents in time, in tears,

to tarry, to tarry, reeling in Rome
when they should be settled
joyous in Jerusalem
and glad singing.

Oh Mama…oh Mama

(my face slick with tears and my heart reeling in Rome).Image 001