Charissa the Introvert

I know, I know…I can hear the squeal of mental brakes locked up, smell the smouldering acrid heat of belts spinning fast on cogs that are jammed and won’t move…did Charissa just say she is an introvert???

Giggle…believe it or not, I am indeed.

So, before I get to my point, I want to preface with this:

I love what my friend Dani writes of and speaks of when she mentions icebergs as a phenomena and metaphor for seeing and understanding what you see.  She points out that the vast majority of an iceberg is under the surface, regardless of what is visible on the surface.  She then has sort of developed this teaching moment for her readers, derived from her own life practice, and instructs us to understand that we must intention to see, and in that intentionality we can see what we don’t see…granting credence, respect, inferring presence and thus legitimacy to something more, something that exists and extends beyond our own way of defining it.

I think it is this intentionality of being and granting being that informs Dani’s writing and thus infuses it with such potency and presence.  And it is also what enables her to see me, something that is a literal miracle to me but the scope of which far exceeds this forum’s ability to reflect or contain.tumblr_nbnbijRCwd1sjf3jno1_1280

Anyway, I am an introvert, in that all that is visible is really not that much compared to the things unseen in me, unsaid by me, and unacted on thru me.  I have tried to build in an “airlock” in me…a space thru which I try to pass all things before they exit or enter me.

I am much better at filtering the things I allow out than the things I allow in!  But I am working on that!

So this post was stimulated by the quote below:

One of the risks of being quiet is that the other people can fill your silence with their own interpretation:
You’re bored. You’re depressed. You’re shy. You’re stuck up. You’re judgmental.
When others can’t read us, they write their own story—not always one we choose or that’s true to who we are.
Sophia Dembling’s The Introvert’s Way

I think that is what goes on in a lot of ways with a lot of people…and it was an insight moment for me in regards to my dementors.  They simply must settle things, and settle them in the way that makes them feel–what?  Authentic?  Present?  Solid?  Justified?  Affirmed?  Secure?  Any of those things can drive dementing.

I want to go ya one further:  even when it is more benign and less toxic, less radioactive and destructive, the small, daily banal ways that we do this “defining” of others can really be a source of a lot of alienation and separation.  The ways we look at our spouse when they are quiet, and we want to know what is up…or the way we imagine our friend when we haven’t heard anything…or the way we speculate on the inside of our teenager’s brain…it might be the one greatest source of separation between people there is…and the truly sad thing is that most of the time the motives are fairly benign!

So…give another go to the quote, and really chew it.  Then give some more thought to Dani’s beautiful practice of Intentionality…and then lastly, see what you see, and see what you see by what is unseen!

Love Charissa

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward being is perishing, yet the inward person is being renewed day by day.

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.

“For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

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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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This is why the subject of Acceptance is soo inportant

Found this online…Constance…oh, Constance, this could have been me.  I myself have written of identification with the monster that Viktor Frankenstein gave unholy birth to in that tragic and terrible story (terrible in an awe-ful way).

This could be me…without my Mama, without my baby, without Heather…

Constance, as late as last November, I was on the edge.  Go back and read some of those fall poems from 2013.  I have actually been reviewing the last year, and I marvel at where I am now, but I tremble at where I was then.

Here is the story of a woman who had no one, and nothing but everyone’s hatred, in black and white.

I recently heard that “no one is quite as mean as those people who are ‘mean for Jesus'”…and while there is a sad truth to that sometimes, the actual fact is that mean is mean.  Period.  Here is the story of Filisa, the sister of Charissa.  If you love Charissa, or if you have fondness or admiration, I would ask for a favor:  find someone outcast in your region…trans, cis, gay or straight…and go love them.

Just.
Love.
Them.

Charissa

“On January 5, 1993, a 22-year-old pre-operative transsexual woman from Seattle, Filisa Vistima, wrote in her journal, “I wish I was anatomically ‘normal’ so I could go swimming… . But no, I’m a mutant, Frankenstein’s monster.”

Two months later Filisa Vistima committed suicide. What drove her to such despair was the exclusion she experienced in Seattle’s queer community, some members of which opposed Filisa’s participation because of her transsexuality — even though she identified as and lived as a bisexual woman. The Lesbian Resource Center where she served as a volunteer conducted a survey of its constituency to determine whether it should stop offering services to male-to-female transsexuals.

Filisa did the data entry for tabulating the survey results; she didn’t have to imagine how people felt about her kind. The Seattle Bisexual Women’s Network announced that if it admitted transsexuals the SBWN would no longer be a women’s organization. “I’m sure,” one member said in reference to the inclusion of bisexual transsexual women, the boys can take care of themselves.”

Filisa Vistima was not a boy, and she found it impossible to take care of herself.

Even in death she found no support from the community in which she claimed membership. “Why didn’t Filisa commit herself for psychiatric care?” asked a columnist in the Seattle Gay News. “Why didn’t Filisa demand her civil rights?”

In this case, not only did the angry villagers hound their monster to the edge of town, they reproached her for being vulnerable to the torches.

Did Filisa Vistima commit suicide, or did the queer community of Seattle kill her?”

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“Today, be the reason someone feels loved.”

I saw this quote today…and wanted to issue

“Charissa’s Love Challenge”

Can you set aside your own priorities, perspectives and passions for those moments necessary to identify someone in your circle of influence, focus on who they are and what they are, tune in to their need, hunger, obstacle, burden, whatever (choose something that is in your power to bestow), and then simply be a conduit of blessing…from Them thru you to s/he/them.

You will be surprised at the result…inside your own heart!

Your inner poverty will be exposed as those areas you think you are rich in…and you will at last understand that it is in the turning away from self-preoccupation and carving out the time and space to “take care of you”, and then turning instead to an other orientation, a servant identification (think St Francis and becoming a “channel of Thy Peace”)…

…and you will find your self enriched, multiplied, and strangely fulfilled and at peace, at rest in ways you have never been before.

Imagine if every reader does this…and then from the overflow of riches does it again, and again, and…

…yeah.  You’re catching on!

In Grace and Giving,

Charissa Grace

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