Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Retrospect 2014

Tonight the curtain comes down on another year, just as it opens for the next.

I typically don't make a big deal of New Year any more than I do of Christmas.  Both represent opportunities to think back over years past and take stock in life more than than they contain any celebration of deeper relevance.  Last year I was in bed by 10 on New Year's Eve - I wouldn't be unhappy if the same is true tonight.

I can think back to many Christmases over the course of my life.  Only a handful of New Years are similarly memorable.  Perhaps the most relevant New Years Day was on Jan 1 2000 - the new millennium.  I spent New Year's Eve packing up all my guy "stuff" in preparation to give it away.  My transition was a few months old at that point and I had gained enough confidence that I was on the right path to make that commitment to the future, and to begin moving away from the past.

I was living in Arizona at the time and had decided to spend that historic New Year/New Millennium day doing something spiritual.  I took my dad's ashes to the Grand Canyon and threw them into the deep cavern as part of my quest to sprinkle his remains at places he'd enjoy as a final resting place.  The weather was horrible and it was a long, scary day.  In retrospect, that's one of the things that makes it all the more special.

I'll spend tonight with a certain someone.  Over all the years we've known each other I can't remember spending a New Year's eve together.  That's actually hard to believe given all the other time we've spent together....I'm not sure if my difficulty in recalling is due to the fact that there's nothing to recall or that my memory is failing me.  Regardless, I'll remember this one.

2014 was a transformative year...where one significant Chapter in my life ended and another began.  As the year unfolded I was in Nebraska planning to come back home.  Now, as it ends, I'm closer to home and poised to finally make it back soon.

I've spent part of the Christmas holiday looking at houses.  I haven't even thought about getting a house for a long, long time....partly because I haven't had any confidence that my life was ready to land anywhere long enough to make it worthwhile.  But, as I've said before, the thing I need most in my life right now is stability and that starts with a place to call "home".  As I pack up to leave my apartment in 6 weeks I'll be headed to the 12th place I've lived in the last 10 years.  Good thing my mom writes my addresses down in pencil....I hope she can start using a pen this next time. and never have to change it again.

My health seems good, I enjoy my job, my heart is happy, and I'm excited about the future.  My family is doing well, dear friends in my life seem content, and I can't think of any better place to be in at this point in life than I am now.  If this somehow turns out to be my last New Year all I can say is that I'm good with it.  I'm not trying to be morose or dark, but the realist in me constantly realizes the need to live each day as though it were your last.  And, I do.

I've got a long list of things I want to do this year, and as I look back at this time a year from now I hope most of them come to pass.  I'd like to get a house, and to settle down.  I'd like to have a little more stability in my professional life.  I'd like my relationship with my life partner to be burning brightly just as it is now.  I'd like to visit Europe.  I'd like my hobbies to flourish in my life - my photography, my scuba diving, my motorcycle riding.  I'd like my health to be good....and my family to be happy and healthy.

I could never have imagined much of what constitutes my life right now at this point last year.  But then again, that's part of the beauty of life.....letting it unfold in ways you never imagined.  I realize that life is made up of good stuff, and not-so-good stuff too.  But as long as more of it is good than not - well - that constitutes a good year.

Some misc shots from house-hunting over this past week...

Christmas 2014 was wonderful.  It was quiet...which was just what the doctor ordered.  And the best part is that I spent it exactly where I wanted to be.

Christmas Dinner
On a trans note....

Someone posted something on FB about having no respect for people who de-transition.  I find that kind of talk fairly silly and ignorant.  They seem to lose sight of what transition is meant to be - demonstrating to yourself that you can lead a happy and productive life in your authentic gender.  Some are wise enough to realize that they just can't - for any number of reasons.  That's not something to be anyone.  There's no need to justify who's "real", and who's has nothing to do with courage or desire or validity.

My own life was mentioned in the long conversation that followed.  The fact that I was poised to transition, called it off, regrouped, then did it again was used as an example that there's no one right way to do this.  All too often we approach this from an emotional perspective and the practical elements somehow get lost.  This is an incredibly difficult thing to achieve and it still blows me away to see where I started and where I am now.  But the fact is that it's very much like the Matrix - you need to take the Red Pill and unplug to see for yourself what's real and what's fantasy.  Many aren't ready to be unplugged yet...

Anyway - 

All things considered - I'm very content right now.  And, I'm excited about what comes next.

Whoever reads this - Happy New Year to you.  May 2015 bring happiness, health, and peace.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Some Random opinions...

It's hard to believe that Christmas is less than a week away.  Last year I came to Charleston from chilly Nebraska and the trip turned out to be a life-changing one.  The decision to come back east and everything that has happened since were a direct result of that trip.

I've made another life decision.  The lease on my apartment in Charlotte runs out mid-February and they need 2  months notice of my intentions.  I gave official notice that I will not be renewing it.  I'm not sure of the specifics of where I'll be come my birthday in a couple of months - expecting it will be Charleston (although my job in Charlotte will keep me busy thru the end of the year).  But what I do know is that I've got quite a bit of work to do between now and then to move out and make arrangements for "what next?".

I'll also share that I have started to investigate the possibility of buying a house.  I'm at the early discussion phase but at least I know what my options are and what would be involved.  I haven't had these kinds of discussions since late 2001 so even considering this is a big deal me.  Anyway, I expect there will be more to come on that.

I wanted to weigh in on a couple of things that seem to be fairly controversial at the moment.  Nobody asked me for my opinion but I'm going to share it anyway.

First, I wanted to say something about the recent bru-ha-ha about the movie The Interview and yesterday's decision to shelve it as a result of threats (presumably from North Korea).  There is quite a bit of sentiment that Sony shouldn't have caved to these threats, and that it sets a bad precedent.

Well, I think it's only the most recent bad decision that Sony has made in this mess.  The fact that the movie depicts an effort to assassinate the leader of North Korea inherently put it directly into the crosshairs for some kind of international confrontation.  They should have known that.  I would have expected that the movie would, perhaps, use some fictitious character based on North Korea's president who leads some country that's very similar to North Korea as part of a satire.  But to make a movie that specifically mentions killing real people is begging for trouble.  Can you imagine the international outcry if the movie depicted killing Putin in Russia?

If the shoe were on the other foot - if someone in some country made a movie that depicts an assassination attempt on Barak Obama there would be a huge outcry here for sure.  Well - in my book this was ill-concieved from the get-go and shouldn't have been made in the first place.  Sony put themselves between a rock and a hard place and now they're dealing with the consequences.  I realize my opinion may not be , but Sony doesn't get a free pass in all of this in my book.  They tempted fate and fate bit 'em.

The second topic of the day is a recent song by B-52's siren Kate Pierson titled "Mister Sister".  It's the first song from her upcoming solo album.  Kate made the mistake of saying that she hoped the song would become a sort of "trans anthem".  Not wise.  (story, and the video, here).

I'm convinced that Kate had good, if misguided, intentions (and yeah, I know what they say about the road to Hell....that's not applicable here).  I saw the B-52's at the HRC National Dinner a number of years ago and they were wonderful...they're very supportive of the community.  But I could list at least a dozen reasons why this song is bad, starting with the title.  To take that at face value and then take take the leap to label her as "transphobic" is wrong.  She's not. 

The subsequent outcry on social media targeting Kate Pierson was unnecessary and misguided as far as I'm concerned.  This was an education moment, not an attack moment (see one response here).  It seems as though many who demand that the world recognize that gender is NOT a binary adopt a reaction approach that has only two flavors....allies and transphobes.  It doesn't work like that.

A similar pattern is happening over a recent landmark Candy magazine cover featuring 14 prominent visible transwomen as role models.  We've already started attacking that.  Not good.

This has been an incredible year for the trans community.  I was recently friended on FB by someone who helped me a great deal in the early days.  Her willingness to share her story online helped me find the courage to finally begin accepting myself before transition, and became a reason I felt a need to pay it forward.  She published a very detailed account of her life and her transition online and it was one of only a half-dozen stories or websites that resonated with me.  That was almost 20 years ago and I sometimes forget how different things were back then with compared to now.  I hope this rate of change continues.

I'll be headed to Charleston today on my usual weekend trip home.  I'm very much looking forward to it....

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Filling the Gap

It hasn't been lost on me that I haven't been posting as much as I used to.  Frankly, I just forget most of the time.  At various points in my life this blog has served a number of roles (which is why I've kept it going for so long) - it's as much for me as for anyone who cares to read it.  Things are pretty tranquil at the moment, comparitively, so there really hasn't been much to say.  I realize that the mundane day-to-day narrative of my comings and goings really provides no value.  But this blog is a pretty good history of my life over recent years so I don't like to leave big gaps.

It has been 3 weeks since my last post.  Over that time I went to Dallas to spend a very pleasant Thanksgiving with mom, and to Denver to spend a wonderful weekend with my son.  I've met up with a couple of FB friends, and another couple of "real" friends (as in, we've actually met before).  Mom is in good health, son seems happy and well, so all told this most recent bout of travel has been well worth the hassle that traveling can often be.

Here are some pictoral highlights:

My son - a day of Bills football in Denver.
I've got a half dozen jerseys that I don't get to wear very often.

We did a beautiful Saturday motorcycle ride to the Santee Canal
A day of skeet shooting. 
Shem Creek is always picturesque and beautiful

It's hard to believe that Christmas in only 2 weeks from today. I've written in the past that I don't really do much different over the Holidays than I do the rest of the year.  It's just not that big a deal to me.  I'd just as soon spend it quietly with special friends, or by myself, than do anything big or flashy.  I realize that it can be a difficult time of year for those of us who are displaced from where we want to be, or from loved ones, and I'm thankful that I don't feel that pain.  Anyway - I'm hoping to wind down as the year draws to a close, and before another year kicks in.