Pasupatidasi's Blog

thoughts, poetry, life as it is…


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thinking

i’ve been doing alot of thinking about thinking these days.

brought on by a natural tendency to do so, an article i read online and examination of propaganda as teaching…

 

the article i read had to do with the differences, actual physical differences betweenthe brains of right-wing folk and their left-wing counterparts.

 
it stated that the brains of self-identified right-wing types had a thicker region inthe part of the brain called amygdala. this region of the brain is called the primitivebrain. it is credited with the type of survivalist reactions such as respond with aggression to a perceived threat. it is the selfish part of the brain really. ( anyone curious can google amygdala for more information.)

 
it stated further that the brains of self-identified left-wing types had a thicker region in the part of the brain called anterior cingulates.  this region of the brain bordersthe frontal cortex and among other things, empathy and the ability to think outside the box of ‘self’. (again, google this area of the brain for more information.)

 
these two bits of recent discovery got me thinking…does this mean that right-wing assholes and left-wing bleeding hearts aren’t to blame for the way in which they process information, perceive their world and respond to it?

 
were these regions of their brains always thicker and more active or did repeated use of one or the other build up the region, the way one might exercise a muscle?

 
there have been studies of the brain that suggest that serial killers have differences in the way their brains work as compared to those of us who don’t kill. does this mean that they just can’t help themselves?  and if so, does it mean that they can’t be held accountable?

 
if these regional brain differences exist independent of external influence or internal exercise can there really be any hope of changing someone’s mind?

 
certainly propaganda experts through the ages have believed it was possible.  but is it really?

 
can a person whose anterior cingulates and cerebral cortex predispose them to empathy and thinking of others as well as themselves be turned into xenophobic self-preservationists?

 
can a person whose amygdala makes them more concerned with their own survival and self-interests be taught to be compassionate, self-sacrificing for the whole?

 
i’m less of a determinist than some.   i believe that change is possible,  for better or for worse.   if someone’s brain predisposes them to a certain way of thinking, i like to think it isn’t set in stone.

 

but would that mean that someone whose brain defines them as female while their bodies declare them to be male can have their mind changed too?  or someone whose brains predispose them to sexual tendencies such as gay or bi?  is there really any flexibility at all?

 
perhaps some things about the way we think can be changed and others can’t.

 
if we don’t give serial killers  ‘a pass’  even tho their brains can be demonstrated to be different than non-killers,  how can we condemn transgender people for the way their brains are?

 
did everyone affected by the nazi’s propaganda in a way that led to follow along have a tendency to think with their amygdalas?   were those who resisted the ones whose anterior cingulates region was more developed?

 

can racist’s minds be changed?

 
i have no therefores.

 

just thinking about thinking is all…and ya know what?  it just might be that the tendency to think about thinking is something not all brains do well…

 
but since i am of the belief that thoughts are things not far removed from deeds, it is my sincerest hope that it is possible to think differently and change a mind.

 

and then maybe…change the world

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the elephant in the room

i’ve always heard this expression and never really experienced the reality of it.  until this christmas.

my family has long known that i am, well, queer….not just because of my sexual behaviour either. very little that i have been or done in my short fifty five years on the planet has been what they might consider ‘usual’.

since this has always been the way of things, there never seemed to be a secret something that folk had to look the other way about…big sister is out there! no doubt…so no need to avert gaze or mentally avoid a subject.

but this christmas was different.

i’m sure mom had warned those who hadn’t been around zion and i of late about the recent  …’changes’ ….altho, she probably didnt frame it as a positive thing…

thus it was that zion bounded into the house in her beautiful dress and went right to the toy room after saying hello.

while i was busy putting the gifts we’d brought under the tree and laying out the food i’d prepared for the meal, my sister judy started to talk about zion, not mentioning the way she was dressed and seemed to be going out of her way to use, ‘he’ when referring to her.

i restated her words with the proper pronoun for a girl. but judy seemed intent on talking on and on about zion, obviously avoiding the obvious, and repeatedly repeating the incorrect pronoun.

it was becoming annoying.

i took off my coat at this point and made sure that she, and everyone else in the room, had ample time to read the message…”my kid’s transgender, if that’s a problem…get some help!”

i didn’t directly address the issue, a family gathering seemed not the place to broach such a controversial subject…instead i continued to insert the correct pronoun in place.

at one point, it became obvious that judy was purposely talking about zion and not taking the hint about the pronouns on purpose…the thing i caught out of the corner of my eye that let me know it for sure, was her glancing at mom as if to say “i told you i wouldn’t call zion a she”.

mom looked back with a look that said, ‘i hope you know what you’re doing’.

at this point zion had come out of the room and was sitting down at the table in the living room with the rest of us.  my brothers had quit trying to refer to zion in the third person at all. but even tho zion was right there,   and judy could have asked her a question, she kept speaking about her in the third person,  addressing her conversation to me…”does ‘he’ have a lot of presents under the tree?   what did ‘he’ ask santa for?”….that sort of thing.

at this point it was ridiculous for me to keep correcting her,  so i leaned into her ear and said,  “zion is transgender and we would appreciate if you could use the proper pronoun when speaking of her”…

i hadn’t whispered, tho i’d spoken it as an aside near her ear…no doubt everyone in the room had heard.  judy swallowed hard and said ‘oh’…the room grew suddenly silent…

then zion added, ‘if that’s a problem- get some help’ …and laughed out loud.  i joined her in her laughter…and modeled my shirt more obviously…like a clown, dancing around as the elephant in the room disappeared.

 


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here we go

the parts of the christmas meal i am to bring are done, with the exception of the bread which i will make and bring while hot…

zion is bathing before donning the beautiful purple and black dress she has chosen for today…i have chosen my t-shirt that announces “my kid is transgender…if that’s a problem, get some help”

i don’t wear this to be provocative, but as a means to do away with any unnecessary and unwanted dialog concerning the fact of zion dressing as the girl she is.

my family tend to be less than aware on issues like gender, sexual preference and such things.  but as christmas gathering is not the place for them to debate the issue, i decided that a simple and strongly worded statement in support of my trans-daughter was the better part of wisdom.

otherwise, i’m convinced that someone would feel it ‘their place’ to bring up the subject along with all the opinions they undoubtedly have with regard to zion’s reality.

ah, families!

i have a friend of many years, a gay man, whose mormon parents and family make it so uneasy for him to come and visit for thanksgiving, his birthday or christmas that he simply won’t go…he and i conspire to keep him ‘previously engaged’  for thanksgiving/birthday by purposely planning our ‘together travels’  for that time.  that’s how much love he feels from his family.

it is a sad state of affairs that some families can only make their own members feel welcome if those members either be who the family wants/expects them to be or hide who they are.

it makes me sad to think of all of the people like zion whose families have totally severed ties with them because their minds can’t wrap around the notion of transgender.

so i will wear the t-shirt, which zion loves. because knowing my family…they won’t dare to say anything if i do.

 


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make my day

well it is nearly that time of year when my family gets together at mom’s house.

presents under the tree, smells of too much food wafting about, great grandchildren underfoot waiting to open gifts…

i’m not much of a people person, even when the people are my family.

as the oldest of seven, with fiftyfive years under my belt, and a tendency to be overtly honest as well as terrible at suffering fools, this year, being the first with zion openly a girl, there is a lot of ambiguity toward this gathering.

my mother understands by now that i won’t tell zion that she can’t wear one of her new sweater dresses to grandma’s.

she knows by now that every time she refers to zion with a male pronoun, i will correct her by supplying the female one in it’s place.

actually, my mom…with seventyfive years under her belt, has been pretty darned good about accepting that which she readily admits she doesn’t understand.

it is the others expected to be in attendance that may try to make things into controversy.

in advance of this eventuality, i am wearing my new  favorite long sleeved t-shirt..

.it reads:
‘my kid is transgender……if that’s a problem

GET SOME HELP!’
(zion loves this shirt!)

people who know me already understand that unless they want to lose, it is best not to pick a fight with me

,…about anything!

so, altho the usual loathing of crowds, even if they are my family, is firmly in place…i will attend, with an ‘i dare you’ attitude that says:

‘go ahead…make my day!’


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thoughts on butch

this morning i treated myself to reading the various entries for the ‘butch symposium’ that were posted at lesbian neurotica.

i say treated because whenever i avail myself of the opportunity to expand my awareness it is like dark imported chocolate and merlot on a moonlit night.

expanded awareness into the realms in which one is a stranger isoften a tenuous one tho.

perhaps one can only truly understand butch from the inside.

folk, even my own lovers, have accused me (sorry about the word choice here) or perhaps flattered me by labeling me butch. an assignation that truly befuddled me.

were they responding to the outward appearance
clothing:
pants (because having legs bare up to there just seems wrong   so no dresses.)

and baggy ones at that (because it is easier to move)

shoes, probably ugly (if i knew what that means_to me they’re comfy)

hair often very, very short…(who wants the bother of combing           and styling, keeping it out of the face.)
mannerisms:
no affectation of what are allegedly feminine wiles. (who has time for them?    even if i knew what they are…)

no fear of spiders, snakes etc.

no swaying hipped walking

hands often in pockets

no make-up obsession (my face looks fine thanks, but on occasion i do carnival   type face-painting or during high rituals).

based solely upon such externals the term ‘butch’ has been applied to me.

but upon reading the entries from all the beautiful butches and those who know and love them, i come away with a much clearer idea of why the label, applied to me, isn’t quite right.
i am only queer.

a fifty five years young queer person raising her transgender adopted child.

i am one who dresses and behaves in ways that are most comfortable and natural to me.

one whose desires transcend gender where relationships are concerned.

this description falls far short of the title of ‘butch’.

reading the posts to the symposium has given me insights into the insides of butch people.

my world is richer for having read them.

and i have a new and improved knowledge of those in my world who are butch-identified.

.
anyone who reads me and is curious about this discussion, go to

http://lesbianneurotica.wordpress.com/2010/12/18/butch-identity-a-little-catchup-ketchup/