Postings At Facebook

Dear Constance:

I have been posting a lot of thoughts on Facebook lately, seeking to use my social media account in a more active and aware way.

I have many thoughts about the avatar for our shadow selves known as Donald Trump.

We have met the enemy, and he is US.

If you want to read there, search Facebook for Charissa White and you can send me a friend request.  If you are an unknown person to me, please message me as well and identify yourself as a reader here on Grace Notes…and we can go from there.

If you do NOT identify yourself?  Likely I will ignore the request, simply because I get a lot of really creepy friend requests over there from military dudes, who post pics of themselves with their guns (surrogate penises) and their shirts off flexing…what about me says that this would be a good technique to make a connection with me???

In what world does it work to “attract a girl” by this means?
It repulses me and sickens me and I immediately block such as those.

Anyway…that is why I have not been writing much here.

Fear not…my blog will be here cus I am still and always jotting down poems and will post them as appropriate, and all my poetry goes here.

I want you all to know how grateful I am that you choose to read here…it is an honor.

Much Love,
Charissa
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Reposting a perspective that resonates so much with me…

Constance, I have been fortunate to become FB friends with the person who wrote this.  We have never met, but it seemed that we resonated with each other.

I think she is such a genuine person, and a kindred soul in her commitment to be kind and love God.

Please read this, and if you are someone who likes FB, she is worth seeking out!

Taken from a previous post, but it was so long, I felt it necessary to repost here as its own.
———
OK so back in front of a PC. Now I can elaborate more on my thoughts…

First off, I’m not a man. I know this should be obvious enough, but it still needs saying. I have to make that abundantly clear. In fact, its SO WEIRD, even when speaking to my brother because there are people he’s in contact with that quit talking to me years ago because of my transition and it feels like I’m being time-warped every time I have to hear about them, and how they call me by a former alias, and use the wrong gender pronouns.

Its a very weird thing to go through. Its like listening to someone talk about someone else. Like a past life time or something. Its just not something I go through often, and I’m fortunate for that but when I hear someone call me a guy, I don’t think they realize that if they ever seen me in public, they’d have NO IDEA. If they seen me enter a men’s changing area, I would be asked to leave immediately, not only that, but I would feel so scared and out of place, that I wouldn’t use it. I would react the same way any other woman would.

I don’t think these bigots understand what they’re speaking on, at all. When trans guys start having to use the ladies changing areas, they will see just what I’m talking about. I’m talking about men like Billy up there, and so many others who have transitioned to live authentic to who they are, not who they are told to be by others, or the system.

We fight the system, and some times are killed by it, for wanting to do nothing other than live at peace as ourselves. As I mentioned in a previous post I made, I don’t want special treatment. I just want to be left alone. I want people who are trans to stop being targeted and ridiculed.

What we need is an aggressive information campaign intended to educate, and disseminate information to the masses about just what this is by experts in the fields of psychology, neurology, endocrinology, and other related fields that can import much needed datas and wash away the fear of the unknown, and make this world a more hospitable place for all.

No one, and I mean no one, should ever have to go through what we do. No one should ever have to be targeted for being different. For any reason.

This world is already a cruel enough place without the divisive, self-imposed barriers that we create among ourselves. Its time that we look beyond them, and begin real change.

~ heart emoticon

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A Meeting, A Foreshadowing, A Banquet of Friends

Dear Constance…

Jane and I had the absolute wonderful honor to get together with John and Jennifer Pavlovitz and some people they knew via their blog and Facebook.  They were out here from the East Coast for the Gay Christian Network Conference.  John had posted on Facebook that they were holding an informal 2 hour meeting in Portland, and as we are only an hour or so away, we just knew we had to go.

The event was set up by a lovely woman named Diane, and we met Bridgit, Jessica, Terri, Steve, Gordon, and Ken.  We had never met any of these people before, and yet somehow we all felt as if we knew each other for years.

It was a foreshadowing of eternity.

It might also be a foreshadowing of another sort, a blogger convocation that I have my lil pea brain churning away over, but that is months if not years away yet.

I cannot tell you how edifying it was to us.  We are in a season where people are falling out of our lives faster than the speed of terminal velocity…being transgender is worse than being a leper, I guess.  Constance, not to worry…it isn’t contagious…though the hatred that swirls around it sure seems to be.  In its own way, the season of abandonment is a good one, because I have always had this deep question that has haunted me:  am I loved because of what I do, the gifts I have and the things I contribute?  Or am I loved just because I am me and I am alive, regardless of what I do or say or write or think?

I know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt that the people who are friends now, few as they may be, are here because they really love us, and not just what we do.

Well, the other part about this meeting that was amazing is that it foreshadows the time coming, when Mama begins to add people back into our lives, and I know She will because They are good.  And these people will be people who see us.

Last night was such a time…we saw…and we were seen…and love waxed thick and comfortingly delicious!  Words fail me, because it wasn’t some grandiose profound thing!  It was just a bunch of ordinary dorky human beings who love an extraordinary and Lovely God, and in that meeting with us all and Them, we were beautified and overshadowed with grace, glory and gladness.

I wrote a poem for my new friend Terri…you can see it a couple of posts back right here.  All the imagery and conversation has direct integration into the evening together.

Constance, do yourself a huge favor and head over to John’s blog and prowl around.  He is all heart with a mind awake and a ready laugh so freely infusing the tears of the world.

I guess the best thing I could say about him is that he is safe and I trust him.

To John, Jennifer, Diane, Terri, Ken, Gordon, Steve, Jessica, and Bridgit:  if you find your way here, Hiiiiiii!  BIIIIGGG  Charissa smiles and huggz!!  I love you all and we just met!  If I see you before, it won’t be soon enough, and if I don’t see you again here in this vale, well then I will see you on That Glad and Glorious Day Eternal Bright and Fair!

Do Justice.  Love Mercy.  Walk Humbly.

Charissa

PS:  we ate at a place called Killer Burger.  Jane and I split a hamburger with peanut butter, bacon, pickles!  YUMMMMMM

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4 Reasons Why We Need to Drop ‘You Must Be Doing Something Right!’

Constance…this is a great article!  Please read it, and put its advice into practice.  I know for myself, sometimes here I have made pleas for support, for a kind comment, for an encouraging word, and they have not returned fruitful.  I thought it was just that people didn’t care, and only wanted the pretty poems and love songs to God…well, maybe it was just that we aren’t very good at it.

Anyway, I found it helpful myself, and am resolved to encourage, regardless of the actions of others.

Yours in Encouraging Words…Charissa

 

4 Reasons Why We Need to Drop ‘You Must Be Doing Something Right!’

Source: Picky Wallpapers

If you do social justice work – especially if you’re vocal in this simultaneously glorious and frightening world known as The Internet – you’ve undoubtedly suffered your fair share of abuse.

If you’re in a marginalized community, it’s likely come in the form of oppressive violence targeting your identity in an attempt to silence you.

And if you’ve refused to shut up and sit down, I imagine that you, like me, have experienced the terror of death and rape threats.

And if you’ve ever been vocal to your friends and family about your experiences, I’m going to bet that at least once in your life, someone has attempted to placate you by letting you know that “you must be doing something right” if you’re making people angry.

And, okay, I get their point.

Social reform doesn’t come easy. And attempting to affect the fundamental nature of society is, of course, by definition, radical.

I may have a complicated relationship with the word “radical,” but the truth of the matter is that questioning – let alone actively working to upset – the status quo is always going to be radical in nature. Because it makes people uncomfortable.

But there’s a big difference between making people uncomfortable and making them violently angry.

Making people uncomfortable? That’s part of the job. That’s a good sign that you’re doing something right.

People coming at you with death threats? Not the same thing.

And I don’t know about you, but when people apply the “you must be doing something right” band-aid to every instance of my feeling vulnerable and emotional, it has the opposite effect that they hope it will.

It doesn’t feel comforting and inspiring. It actually feels kind of trivializing – and even silencing.

So here are some reasons why you might want to drop “you must be doing something right!”

1. It Isn’t Necessarily True

I do values clarification-based education for a living. My job, day in and day out, is to run workshops where I challenge people to question their most deeply held beliefs around sexuality and relationships.

Facilitating affective learning is a skill – and it’s a hard one. It involves very consciously and deliberately bringing people to the edge of their comfort zones to offer them alternative perspectives. It also means (at least externally) withholding judgment, which includes in its bag of tricks a very practiced poker face.

Now, if I do my job correctly, people will walk out of my workshops with a little bit of anxiety and a whole lot to think about. They should leave there feeling challenged, but safe. They should feel that their worldviews were respected while also engaging in different viewpoints.

But sometimes that’s not what happens.

Sometimes I get that one student on an already stressful day who continually disrupts my lesson to assert their belief that – most commonly – people who stay in abusive relationships must like being abused or there are conditions under which people cannot say no to sex.

And sometimes when this student really grates on my nerves, I can lose my cool and say something snarky or otherwise assert my dominance as the leader in the room. It happens rarely, but it happens.

And that is the point at which I have failed.

Because that student is going to walk away having learned nothing except that the lady who came to their class to talk about domestic violence can’t follow her own ground rules around respecting others’ opinions.

In the case where someone feels unfairly disrespected by me, I have not “done something right.” If anything – and trust me, my supervisor would agree – I have done something wrong. And telling me that turning what could have been a teachable moment into a power struggle was appropriate actually isn’t helpful.

Look. We’re all human, and we are all expected to have these days where the weight of the world is simply too much to bear and we take it out on someone whose comment is our last straw, but that is not an indication that we have done something right.

It’s simply an indication that our work is still desperately needed.

Bringing people past the brink of discomfort is not what most of us are setting out to do – certainly not if we’re trying to affect real change.

And telling us that we “must be doing something right” just because we got into a verbal scuffle with someone diminishes the good, hard work that activists and educators are doing every day.

Instead, try this: “It sounds like you had a really rough day today. I’m sorry that that conversation escalated to a place that made both of you angry. The work that you do is greatly valuable and necessary – as is evident by this story. I’m glad you’re out there in the trenches. If you need anything, let me know.”

2. It’s Misunderstanding the Issue

I have friends – many of you are probably reading this now: hi! – who I greatly respect who sometimes I have huge disagreements with. Sometimes the articles that I share on Facebook become battlefields where groups are pitted against one another, trying to prove their points.

And we get passionate. And we get frustrated. And probably for a little while, we’re not one another’s biggest fans.

But then we calm down, we remember how awesome one another is, and we agree to disagree.

This can happen with strangers, too.

Sometimes people really do want to engage with you intellectually, even if the two of you completely disagree. Sometimes people really are looking for a debate, rather than a fight. And if you find those people hovering in your Twitter mentions, it’s okay to engage with them.

A conversation can be passionate without being threatening.

And while you might feel frustrated or misunderstood for a little while, usually these conversations don’t end in your feeling scared or dejected. They don’t inspire subtweets or venting text messages to your activist friends.

These aren’t the conversations we’re referring to when we go on a rant.

These are conversations that you expect and even sometimes invite. I – as naive and idealist as this arguably is – want to have conversations and work toward creating a better world. Sometimes that means debating.

Those are the times when, yes, I am “doing something right.”

But when some asshole on the Internet is calling me an ugly slut because I wrote an article about how grammar snobbery is oppressive, that’s a problem.

And when you lump a productive (albeit stressful) debate together with a straight-up attack and apply the same salve to those wounds, you’re missing out on a hugely important difference.

In one case, there is equal power in the conversation. In the other, one person is asserting control.

And when the latter happens, it doesn’t make me feel better to be told that I “must be doing something right.”

Instead, try this: “I know that you probably already know this, but that person had no right to say that to you. It was brave of you to engage in a conversation with them, but also remember that you deserve to take self-care, and it isn’t your job or responsibility to respond to trolls. You can call me to vent if you want to!”

3. It’s Dismissive

If I put up a Facebook status that says that I had a really difficult interaction with someone, particularly on the Internet, that resulted in my feeling uncomfortable at best and threatened at worst, the last thing I’m looking for is quote-unquote “validation” from someone letting me know that I “must be doing something right.”

What I need in a time like that is support.

If I’m reaching out to you – either directly, like in a text, or indirectly, like in a general post – it’s because I need something more substantial than a pat on the back.

And while I tend to be really, really good at specifically asking for the type of support that I need, most people are not. Most people will throw a general comment out into the void, hoping (consciously or subconsciously) that someone will come along and say or offer the right thing.

Rarely is “you must be doing something right” what they’re looking for.

Unfortunately, on top of the many other ways in which society has screwed us over, most of us were brought up thinking that we’re magically supposed to know how to solve every problem. It’s like we think we came equipped with problem-solving abilities at birth, and that if we can’t fix it, we must be failures.

So, for that reason, people feel really, really uncomfortable asking, “What kind of support do you need right now?”

Well, everyone except therapists and some other human service professionals, in my experience.

The impression that “you must be doing something right” can give is along the lines of “you’re strong enough to deal with this on your own” – which I don’t think has ever really made anyone feel much better.

So often, other people (especially women, especially women with other intersecting marginalized identities) that I’ve known have shared with me something that I’ve felt for my entire life, too: that they need space to feel weak sometimes.

The point is: Yes, we know we can get through this. But if I threw out a cry for help, it’s because I need help – not because I need a reminder of my strength or righteousness.

So help me.

Throwing out a pseudo-inspirational gem is dismissive of the severity of the problem that I’m having and of my need for support.

You don’t need to have a magic cure. But it certainly helps more when you offer me a life raft than when you remind me that I know how to swim.

Instead, try this: “I really want to support you right now, but I’m not sure what you need. Just remember, honestly, that I’m always here for you. Here’s my number in case you don’t have it. Maybe we could do dinner next week? Anything you want. Just let me know.”

4. It Implies That Abuse Comes with the Territory

I know that this is going to feel like a huge jump to make, but hear me out.

Something that I hear a lot working for a domestic violence agency is the idea that sometimes abuse is excusable – or at least something that simply needs to be tolerated.

From “they’re violent because they’re passionate because they love you so much” to “you live a good life and are well-taken care of, so this is a small price to pay,” some people hold onto the notion that we have to take the good with the bad – even when the bad is abusive.

So let me be the first to tell you: That’s bullshit.

Just like I make it clear to my workshop participants that no one deserves abuse ever, I want to make it clear to you activists out there that no one deserves abuse ever.

There is not a single thing on Earth that you can do that warrants being attacked – physically or emotionally.

And the implication that “you must be doing something right” in your activism if you’re on the receiving end of cruelty and threats is a dangerous one – because it implies that abuse comes with the territory.

Does abuse come with the territory? Unfortunately, yes.

Should it? Hell no.

And you should not be expected to tolerate it.

If you want to block @MRAsAreSoCool on Twitter, go ahead. If you want to disable your comments on YouTube, you can. If you want to shut off anonymous asks on Tumblr, that’s an option for you. If you need to unfriend some annoying acquaintances on Facebook, go for it.

And if you want to complain about abuse and expect your loved ones to support your liberty to be an activist without the threat of violence, that is in your right.

And no one – no one – should make you feel like you deserve (or should expect) it for “doing something right.”

Because when I’m doing a good job, I want a gold star or something (hey, I’m easy), not someone to tell me that they want to smash my teeth in.

And (shockingly!) that’s not an unfair expectation.

Instead, try this: “No one deserves to be talked to that way. I’m sorry that that happened to you. I know how frustrating this side of activism can be. If you want to talk about it over coffee, I’m down. Just remember that block features exist for a reason, and you’re not showing signs of weakness by not tolerating this kind of nonsense.”

***

When I’m in a stable place and a good mood, I can roll my eyes and laugh off some threats, knowing that all these people are doing is proving that my work is necessary.

But there are other times when I cannot contain my anger, my fear, or my tears.

And that’s okay.

But at the end of the day, when I’m crawling into bed, I already know that I’m doing something right – or else I wouldn’t be doing it.

Sometimes what I need to be reminded of is that my friends and family care about me, support me, and will defend my right to live fearlessly.

Give me more of that.