New York – I am in you!

It’s been a while since my last post, even though I told myself that I’d write more this year. This past month has been a total whirlwind in my life; some of it good, some of it stressful, but I’m dealing with it the best that I can. 

First bit of good news, we were able to get another vehicle, a very nice 2010 Mazda which makes me beyond happy. I’m a huge Mazda fan.  With said new Mazda we were able to make the trip halfway across the United States to our new home in New York. While we are staying with friends, this place still feels like home, a feeling that I don’t ever recall having before. When we got here we weren’t told, welcome to New York, we were told welcome home. 

Home.

It might not seem like a lot to some people,  but for someone like me who has always felt alone or left out…those four letters mean a lot. We are working on getting our own place, but I have this feeling the New York is going to be my home for a long time.   

Last night we had a get together for my family to meet the wonderful community here that helped us get out of Arkansas, and leave the crap we faced there behind. I had a hard time to start with, because of my inability to ‘people well’ I was sitting with my wife a bit away from everyone. I felt really bad because my social anxiety was starting to kick in and I was feeling overwhelmed. That mean little voice of self-doubt was laughing at me in the back of my mind. These wonderful people had done so much for my family and me and I couldn’t even interact with them. 

Then the strangest thing happened, a total first for me, people actually came to me a few at a time and I was able to fight past my anxiety ultimately and even spend time with a fairly large group of people. We played a music game, laughed, talked, and even sang together. 

I felt welcomed.

I felt loved.

 I felt like I belonged. 

I felt like I was part of a community. 

It was wonderful.

#community, #family-2, #new-york, #social-anxiety

Holidays

I have a love-hate relationship with the holidays and each year when November rolls around I am struck with this mixture of giddy depression and a longing for my childhood years before my family started breaking apart.

While my family (my wife, children and I) don’t celebrate Thanksgiving now because of what it truly means, when I was growing up my family (my mother, father, siblings and I) did. The memories of my mother cooking all evening the day before Thanksgiving and then most of the morning and afternoon the day of Thanksgiving are still etched into my mind.

If I close my eyes and try my best to remember I can still see my mother making pies from scratch while cookies and cakes baked in the oven, or can smell the turkey while she mashed potatoes. I can feel all of this like it’s happening around me, a sense so overwhelming that I feel if I opened my eyes I’d be eight-years-old again standing in the kitchen begging to stay up just one more hour so that I could help finish the deserts the day before Thanksgiving.

I feel a twinge of guilt because of what Thanksgiving means to the Native Americans, and being part Cherokee, what I means to the Native brothers and sisters I never had the chance to grow up with. These are my memories though, and they are not forged from hatred, they were a time for my family to all gather together and to spend time with one another. It was a time of love and caring, something that I can never have again, because I am not welcome in my parents or my sibling’s lives. Sometimes I wonder if transitioning and becoming more comfortable with myself was worth the loss of my family, but then I remember where I was mentally when I started and how far I’ve come. The loss wasn’t worth it, but becoming myself and being more comfortable with myself has been.

I feel like I’m about to get over the emotional roller-coaster brought by November and then I’m struck with December which brings Christmas. Christmas is my favorite holiday, tied with Halloween, but still my favorite. I love the lights, decorations and the music, especially the bells. I’m sure I’ll never live it down, but I really like Carol of the Bells played with just the music. (My wife reads my blog and that’s her favorite Christmas song. I like to tease her all month about it. She likes the choral version though, and for me just the music alone is enough.)

For children though, Christmas is all about presents, and while my children may not be the most materialistic kids, that isn’t always necessarily true of their classmates. Children can be cruel to each other, especially those without a lot of money. This is painful lesson that I learned growing up. Without a lot of money presents aren’t as fancy or plentiful as other better off families, and when kids return to school after the break they get picked on if they didn’t get the latest or coolest gifts.

I can’t begin to put to words the amount of guilt I feel for this. It makes my depression even worse knowing that because of my disabilities we struggle each and every day which makes Christmas even worse. Often we’re lucky if we even have a tree while other people go crazy and spend thousands of dollars for one day. So I’m left with that feeling of giddy depression for the entire month of December with the hopes that the following year will be better.

I feel lucky that I have a family now to spend these holidays with even if they can be mixed bag of emotions for me. I think of all the people that don’t have someone to spend these times with, times that from grade school are so ingrained in our lives that we feel like we are horrible people if we don’t or can’t be part of society’s idea of holiday normal.  

It’s really tough.

Though over the past several years I’ve seen more people coming together for some of the holidays that don’t even know each other. Businesses are opening up and inviting anyone to come together for a meal regardless of anyone’s ability to buy gifts or pay for food. It may seem like a small act, something trivial to most but for some people it’s all the family they have and it can make all the difference in the world.

Seeing things like this, give me hope that one day, we as a people, can finally come together as one race and live in unity and understanding.

#caring, #childhood-memories, #christmas, #community, #family-2, #friendship, #holidays, #thanksgiving

A New Start for the Summer

I’m headed back to Arkansas, it’s really the only place that I have to go if I want to keep my sanity and not kill myself. Over the past two years, I’ve come to realize what a horrible, unwelcoming place that parts of Virginia are or have become.

When it comes to community, it doesn’t exist here unless you’re picture perfect or as close to it as anyone can get. If you’re not skinny enough, slutty enough or willing to sacrifice everything that you stand for just to fit in, you’re not welcome. To me, that isn’t a community, that is the same old high school drama that I’ve fought so hard to get past since I graduated fourteen years ago.

Since I moving to Virginia I have been: threatened with a gun, been refused assistance when I had to break down and ask for it because I am transgender, had my vehicle vandalized after appearing on television to talk about how my coming out has impacted my relationship with my birth family, profiled by police officers in my county that now proudly bare “In GOD we trust” across their police cruisers, my children have been denied the services they need in school to thrive to the point where I have to homeschool my youngest who as ASD, my eldest is being discriminated against by a teacher at school and neither the principal nor the vice-principal will do anything about it. In short, life for us LGBT Pagans is hell in Virginia.

The state motto shouldn’t be “Virginia is for lovers” it should be “Virginia is for heterosexual, cis-gender, Christian sheep”.

So we are headed back to Arkansas with the hopes that we can start over again work towards a better life. We have an uphill battle, as usual, the deck is stacked against us as it is for most Pagan or LGBT people. Doctors don’t want to touch the “offensive tranny”, therapists don’t want to deal with the drama of someone “mentally ill”. There is so much hatred towards people like it, it’s no wonder that the suicide rate is still climbing.

I can hope for a change, for a better future for my children, but that’s all it is…hope.

There is so much anger and violence in the United States today, I don’t see a positive change happening with the spilling of blood. Another civil war…

 

#arkansas, #community, #discrimination, #healthcare-discrimination, #lgbt, #lgbt-discrimination, #pagan, #pagan-discrimination, #religious-discrimination, #starting-over, #tg-community, #transgender, #transgender-discrimination, #virginia

Say what?

“No one wants to see your fat whale ass, go kill yourself.”

This was the sentence that pushed me just a little further than I could stand. It pushed me to the point where I have to stand up and speak out. This wasn’t even directed at me, but rather it was on a post of a heavy nude model that happened to pop up on my Facebook feed.

Go kill yourself…

The words still ring in my mind as I struggle with my own weight issues, most of which stem from an abusive past with my grandmother who forced me to eat even when I was not hungry. It’s more than just telling someone that they should kill themselves because they are overweight, it’s saying that a person who is overweight has no worth as a human being whatsoever and therefore, should die. It’s dehumanizing someone on the basis of their looks; not the worth of their character or their actions, but simply because they are heavy.

Someone that has never been heavy doesn’t understand the struggle it is just to get out of bed and get moving at times. They don’t know the internal monologue where people berate themselves for eating two pieces of french toast in the morning for breakfast instead of one. This is where our daughters and even sons begin their struggle with weight; with people that demand they end their own lives because they don’t have the bodies of super models. These are the people that don’t understand eating can become an addiction because it is the only thing that brings happiness when all the world around you is so cruel because you’re “fat”.  They don’t understand crying while eating a piece a cake that you know is going to destroy your diet but your day has been so bad otherwise that you’re craving that little piece of good.

People think that being fat is always a personal choice, but there are times when it is no more a choice than having a mental health problem. There are people that have imbalances in their bodies that prevent them from being able to lose weight, and they can’t afford the $30,000 to have a surgery to help them get healthy. Instead they are trapped in their own bodies, struggling to get by each day, and yet this is the reality we face:

“No one wants to see your fat whale ass, go kill yourself.”

#all-lives-matter-2, #community, #depression, #discrimination, #support-not-shaming

Gender Equality is a Myth stacked in the favor of women.

I have never thought that one gender or sex is better than the other, nor do I believe that one should be considered to be better than the other. Just as everything in nature has a duality of male and female that work together, I believe that humans should be no different. Everyone should be treated as equals and work together for the better of society, but that idea was long lost with the rise of “modern society”. Now you have people demanded that they be treated better than others because it is owed to them because they are different. The excuses vary depending upon the person; the catch-all phrase used is usually a minority of some class, whether based on gender, skin color, religious preference, etc.

One of my biggest dislikes for these groups of people demanding special treatment are the feminists, more specifically the radical feminists that further the divide between male and female and work only for a female dominated society, leaving men to beg for forgiveness for, you know, having a penis. This is the most hypocritical load of bullshit that I’ve even been subjected to. These are the same people that demand to have all of the “perks of being male” but none of the responsibilities.

In the United States when a male reaches the age of eighteen, they have to register for the selective service. Until they reach the age of twenty-five, when they are no longer of “optimal age” these young men can be called to service and forced between going to war or going to jail, simply because they are male. This is law. There is no equivalent for women, even though women are enlisting in the military of their own volition. There is now even a female army ranger, and women are no longer barred from active combat. Yet, if a draft is put into effect it will be the young men ages eighteen to twenty-five that are taken from their homes and their families, young men alone. Where is the gender equality when we are willing to send our young boys off to die in war, but most women refuse to take this responsibility?

Across the United States, there are shelters created for the sole purpose of aiding battered women and their children with an escape from unhealthy and detrimental relationships. Nearly all funding for shelters like these, whether government, non-profit or from private donors, goes to shelters specifically for women when approximately thirty-five percent of domestic violence victims are men. There are virtually zero shelters specifically for battered men or battered husbands. While about 35.6% of women experience rape, physical violence or stalking by a partner, 28.5 % men experience the same attacks with women being the perpetrator. Where are the people rallying to the aid of these men that are beaten by women? Instead, men are ridiculed if they admit that a woman has abused them. Feminists claim that if a man has been hit by a woman he must have deserved it by hitting her first. Men are made out to the aggressors and women the victims, no matter what the truth of the case may be. How is this the gender equality that feminists claim they want?

There are countless scholarships, assistance programs, grants, and business loans for women simply because they are women. If a man wants the same opportunity, he has to compete against other people, male and female and hope that he comes out on top. Being a poor female gives you more opportunities to succeed in life than being a poor male, yet men are still expected to take care of their families and sacrifice themselves for the sake of others. They are disposable to society, especially to radical feminists.
Women are allowed and encouraged to take on the jobs that men traditionally filled, however when a man takes a role that is traditionally female, once again he is ridiculed and thought of as unworthy of being a man. Women are encouraged to leave their families in the care of others, or not to have families at all, and become business women while men are discouraged from being stay-at-home fathers. Men are thought of as being incapable of taking care of children, cooking, cleaning a home, or performing other “homemaker” tasks. This is not gender equality, this is female privilege.

It is especially prevalent among the transgender community and has caused a massive group of people who identify as transgender to become invisible. When someone that is assigned male at birth begins to transition to her true self, she is derided, harassed and faces massive amounts of discrimination because of the idea that a “man” cannot be feminine. Yet after transitioning she is viewed as a strong and independent woman, and all the opportunities afforded to cis-gendered women are hers for the reaping. However, when someone that is assigned female at birth begins to transition to his true self, he faces the same issues and more. He is often labeled a lesbian even after his transition. His identity as male is often denied, and he has to fight for every step he wants to take forward. Even with transgender services, they are mostly all geared towards women rather than men. People become outraged when a transwoman loses her life to violence or suicide, but when a transman is killed or takes his own life he quietly passes from this life without so much as a mention of his correct gender.

The idea that all men have power and therefore privilege is nothing more than a myth, and what little power men have is merely an illusion. In whole, society works to provide for and take care of the female at the expense of the male.

#community, #discrimination, #domestic-violence, #domestic-violence-towards-men, #female-privilege, #gender-equality, #gender-inequality, #male-inequality, #male-privilege, #male-privilege-myth

Isolation

Nearly every human thrives from having close relationships with other humans; though for some of us these interpersonal relationships are nothing more than elusive fantasies. Having a disorder that inhibits are restricts ones ability to make and keep friendships can leave an individual feeling alone and lost in life. I know this, because I am one of these individuals.

Until two years ago I thought that I was just crazy, I had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder on the basis that I have mood swings on top of severe bouts of depression, and extreme social anxiety. Two years ago, the therapist that I was seeing declared that I wasnt bipolar, I just had gender dysphoria, and after I started hormone replacement therapy (HRT) the bipolar like symptoms should disappear.

I started HRT a little over two years ago and while many of the bipolar symptoms eased, they didnt stop altogether. My social anxiety was still so bad that it was debilitating. About a year ago my wife noticed a trend in what triggered my anxiety and suggested it might be something more than just social anxiety.

When I tried to go back to work, because of management refusing to adhere to agreements that we had made before I was hired I ended up in crisis mode and resigned from my job. It was at that point I started looking for another therapist.

The first therapist that I saw said I was extremely depressed and had PTSD and needed to see a doctor about medication, that was her answer to my issues with no regards to my social anxiety. She was always late seeing me and I didnt feel like she really cared so I stopped going. Shortly after that my wife found another therapist that had experience with the LGBT community and I started seeing him.

My wife and I discussed the issues I was having with him, and he screened me for autism. While he doesn’t deal specifically with autism he was able to give us a list of doctors and organizations to start with to find someone that does.

For thirty years I thought I was crazy or just defective when it came to making friendships and finally this year I had an answer.  Basically, my mind doesn’t work like the vast majority of other people. What ‘normal’ people might not think much of bothers me intensely, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t simply ‘get over it’. In the past when I have made friendship, I have been loyal to my friends to a fault. No matter what, I’ve always done everything within my power to help them. (This was the reason I went to work for someone that I considered to be my best friend. Big mistake.) It seems though, regardless of how hard I work towards keeping these friendships, I’m always left behind and ultimately forgotten.

Having this happen over and over makes me feel like I’m a complete failure as a human being, no matter how hard I work I fail. I end up having no one (other than my wonderful wife) there for me when I need a friend. I have no community, neither religious/spiritual or otherwise. I do not have a place in the transgender community, or a place in any spiritual community. I feel alone, and it leaves , me with a hollow empty feeling that I wouldn’t wish on anyone else.

#autism, #community, #relationships, #transgender