Pasupatidasi's Blog

thoughts, poetry, life as it is…


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vindication

it’s a strange title for the piece i want to write today.  it’s a strange notion on its own.  still, it is the overall feeling that i took home from the recent trip to maryland for the gender spectrum east symposium.

first let’s look at the word in this definition from merriam webster dictionary.

everyone clear? because all of the various meanings in this entry are what i feel upon reflection of the past few days events.  but i suppose first it would be fitting to explain a few of the reasons, or circumstances, that preclude the need of vindication.

first there is the fact that my daughter is both transgender and autistic.  as regular readers of my blog are aware.  this in itself would not require a parent to have a desire to feel vindication.  but any good parent has doubts as to the child-rearing methods they employ.  we all want to ‘do right’ by our children.  and there exists no dearth of opinions both for and against the way in which we proceed.

this is especially true of parents whose children are “divergent” (by the way, this movie by the same name is a good allegory for our society and its fear of those who don’t easily fit its slots)

we are held up to scrutiny by strangers, by family, friends, and by professionals that believe we should do things their way.  sometimes well-meaning individuals even feel it necessary to report us or our methods to child protection services.  and frequently doctors, specialists, teachers and other ‘authority’ figure types try to bully us into changing our way.

for example, right after the very first vaccination given to zee, she began to have terrible seizures.  they lasted for about 12 months, terrible at first, then tapering off.  i knew that it was caused by the shot… i knew i would never allow another vaccination to be given her.  and of course, you can imagine the flack i have taken for this decision.  but many children who have a ‘bad reaction’ to the ‘shots’ are subsequently diagnosed with autism.  now there is no proof by which i can feel vindicated in this instance,  but she no longer has seizures, and has never had a sick day in her life…even when other children, vaccinated children, were coming down with things the shots were supposed to protect against.  no measles, no mumps, no chicken pox…no dreaded flu or whooping cough.

but as to my decision to homeschool zee, i have often heard the same caution.  it goes something like:

“well of course, one on one education in the homeschool situation is good for learning most things…but what about socialisation?”

even the most well meaning of my friends and family, as well as counselors and professional people have raised this question.  but in my experience, schools are horrible places to learn socialising skills, especially for the ‘divergent’.   there are  bullies,  teachers often don’t have the time or inclination to intervene, and one is not rewarded for socialising during class time…but rather, is punished for it.

i’ve not had opportunity to know whether  or not i was depriving my daughter of this skill, one that is already difficult for many autistic people.  then this magickal weekend at the gender spectrum event happened.  and unlike the previous one she attended in berkeley, (where she didn’t have much of good show of those skills) she was an absolute butterfly!  even the volunteers that looked after the tweens were pleasantly surprised at how unguarded and open she was.

for my part i was nearly blown away, when she, faced with a tight squeeze to sit at the craft table and make her name tag, paused only briefly before shrugging it off by saying:  “well, socialisation is important for me so…”  even two years ago this had been a nearly impossible feat for her.  lack of schooling in a public school hadn’t crippled her after all…and being autistic, which often means social awkward-ness, 10628112_594366457359671_3795345244803197134_n 10151146_594366544026329_4318594729212057215_n 10734180_594366524026331_6456139925374766851_n had not stood in the way.

there is another aspect to this weekend having given me a sense of vindication.  the other transgender children…and their supportive parents, family and friends.  seeing acceptance in action, the good it brings, both serves to prove to me that the path we have chosen is the right one, and give me hope for the future.

i had a couple of experiences recently that make me want to vent…but for today’s post, i just wanted to bask in the glow of vindication.

 

 


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“so i’ll remove the cause, but not the symptom!” doctor frankfurter, ‘rocky horror picture show’

so this happened…

i’m quite disappointed.  despite all the recent gains, despite positive role models being plastered on the cover of ‘TIME’ magazine, and with the advent of rights such as medi-care and obama-care covering transgender health issues, or the advancement in some states to replace laws that restrict gender marker and name changes on birth certificates, it seems no matter what progress arises there will always be affronts to the dignity of trans-folk.

this is why i try to educate people in my little area of the world…and broader plains where i am able. it is also why ziona refuses to be ‘stealth’.  perhaps it’s her autism and resultant lack of adherence to social norms, or simply her fighting spirit, but likely it is also her sense of right and wrong that make her adamant about NOT hiding who she is, and likewise NOT being ashamed.  she gets righteously angry at slights, slurs and especially outright wrongs done to people just because of who they are.

her indignation extends beyond her own group.  she is angered by all manner of bigotry: racism, sexism, ageism, looksism, sizism…so many ‘isms’ to reject, so many to fight.  and in our discussions about such things as these, we also talk about the best way to combat them, identifying their roots and identifying their causes.

but even if we remove the cause,(ignorance)  it seems the symptoms remain…a rather dire prognosis if we don’t also find a cure for hate and bigotry.

“so i’ll remove the cause, but not the symptom!”  doctor frankfurter, ‘rocky horror picture show’


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a ‘passing’ grade

just wanted to share this awesome Janet Mock article with any readers of this blog.  

now to rant.

i hate the term ‘passing’ as it is applied to transgender people! we are so looksist and sexist in our society.  when people use the term ‘passing’ for a transgender woman, what i hear behind the words is: “he really looks like a woman”   

no one worries about how i, as a cis-woman, ‘present’.  i can wear pants and no make-up all day long, be as frumpy as i please and no one challenges whether or not i am a woman.  no one questions that i ‘pass’.  so i can’t imagine how unfair it must seem for a transgender woman to be held up to some unreal standard of ‘passing’.  i’ve heard the saying that gender isn’t between the legs, it’s between the ears.  i totally agree.  so where does ‘passing’ figure into it?

it seems a back-handed compliment at best and not very trans-friendly to judge whether or not a woman makes the ‘passing’ grade.  

some of my older friends who are transgender tell me that my daughter is lucky to be receiving puberty blockers that will keep her from suffering the irreversible effects of testosterone.  that she will be able to ‘pass’ much easier.  but i feel that it’s a shame that it’s such a big thing.

of course, this is all a very cis-gender attitude to have.  after all, with or without make-up, i am read as a woman, and there’s no danger that a man, who has felt attracted to me, will later feel betrayed and angry enough to beat me for not being a ‘real woman’.  i will not have a job interview go south because i don’t ‘pass’.  i will not be followed home down a dark street by dangerous idiots that taunt me as being a ‘she-male’.

whether i think passing matters or not is of little consequence.  but i look forward to a day when no one worries about such a thing.  when a woman is a woman because she says so! when that is enough! i look forward to a day when ‘trans-exclusionary radical feminists’ realise that their own ‘womanhood’ is not more than that of a transgender woman.  when society lets go of a need to judge…

i look forward to a time when people are more concerned about their own being able to  ‘pass’ for a compassionate human being.


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if tears could but heal

as loving parents, the pain our children feel is our own in a way…a deep way.  my daughter is going through pain i wish no child ever had to feel.  and there’s nothing i can do but stand by and hurt right along with her…

except i can’t really know how hard what she is going through is for her.  she has a body that every day tells lies about her.  that says, ‘you’re not what you think you are’.  the part of her she most wants nothing to do with seems to have its own mind…it has its way with her.   it jumps up and slaps her with the most unkind reality.

entering into tanner level two means that we can move forward a bit now.  we can get the puberty blockers that will stop her from developing the irreversible male traits testosterone would cause. and that’s a good thing.  but this level has also made her acutely aware of her helplessness in the situation.  every morning and often throughout the day, the penis she wants no part of makes itself hard and even harder to ignore.  she is crushed every time it happens.  she wants so much just to cut it off of her body.  i talk her through it with the same words every time.  that cutting it off would injure, maybe even kill her.

the problem is that she is in such pain that death seems an option for her.  she would rather be dead than have to go through what she is dealing with.  she threatens suicide.  i watch over her closely,  remind her that the problem of her having the wrong parts is temporary, fixable but that death is forever.  the words echo and clang around …so many empty cans kicked down the alley.

lately she sleeps, way too much.  i know why.  when i was in prison i wanted to sleep until my release date.  this is what she is doing.  she even admits that she wishes she could slip into a coma until   “after the surgery”.  she is every bit as much in a prison as was i.  though mine was only steel bars, walls and barbed wire fences, and mine was one i had earned.

her prison is far more constraining.  and she committed no crime justifying the sentence against her.  how i wish i could free her this moment! how i wish i could wave a magick wand and change her into the girl she will be.  how i wish it were possible to get the surgery done yesterday!

but i am as much a prisoner as is she in all of this.  my hands are bound, and i have no power to open the gates that will set her free.  there are protocols that are in place for good reasons.  there is a prescribed way forward that unfortunately must include time.  time so unkindly slowly passing between now and the day she can be under a surgeons blade.  time that doesn’t speed up no matter how much we want it to.  circumstances that depend upon time for their resolution are always most unkind!

this is a depressing read, i know.  and if anyone is still with me by this point please understand, i will get her through this.  i will keep her safe.  but how can i alleviate the pain she feels?  my own heart sinks below the horizon of a future that seems so far out of sight!  i am torn apart!  whereas she can temper her sadness with anger about the situation, i haven’t the benefit of this.  instead, feeling every bit as frustrated that so much of her being made whole depends solely on the passage of time and the reaching of a certain age,  standing helplessly by without remedy that can soothe her, i bleed from every pore of my being.

if these tears could but heal.


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if only i didn’t love her

today we, ziona and my self, spoke to her psychiatrist for gender dysphoria in advance of our trip out to university of san francisco for her appoint at the child and adolescent gender clinic.  dr. giamattei asked me something that i almost never hear: “what are you doing for you?”

having a transgender child is worrisome enough. there are hurdles and protocols, expenses that often one must fight to have insurance or medicaid pay…there is the pain of watching the child’s pain about something beyond our power to reconcile.

it’s not like when they’re sick, and feverish, … so that an over the counter pain reliever or febrifuge will suffice.  it’s not like when they’ve fallen down and skinned their knees, when a bit of healing salve and a kiss to make it better helps.  it’s not like when someone at school has been mean or unfair to them and you march right down to wherever to stand up for them and demand an apology.

there’s no one to speak an apology for what has happened to ziona.  there’s no medication to alleviate her pain.  and all the kisses in the world from ‘mom’ or anyone else can’t make it better.

things like puberty blocking implants are only a first step…the one we are at these days.  then it’s down to waiting again. for time to pass, for the magickal age at which she can start cross-hormones. and then another wait. it will be at the very least, five whole years before she turns 16, when a surgeon who has already agreed that ziona should get the reassignment that early given her level of dysphoria, can give her the rest of what she will need to feel whole.

because ziona is also autistic, and has issues with self-calming and ocd, this whole transgender thing, this condition, is even harder on her than on a child who is able to ‘take a breath’…to let this ‘wrong part’ not be an overwhelming thorn in the side,  one who is at least capable of  avoiding a melt-down when the unavoidable pop-ups (erections) occur.

yes,…it hurts us as parents when we must stand by, with nothing whatsoever that we can do to alleviate our children’s suffering…it hurts…and i don’t know what to do for me.  for the frustration i have that time doesn’t go faster, that i can’t wave a magick wand and change her into the girl she is. i don’t know what to do for me, to make me okay with the pain i see her going through every day.

if only i didn’t love her…


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i hate monday.

some days i feel like simply pulling my hair out by fistfuls!!!

what, you might ask, has this usually calm and centered person so frustrated that such an exclamation is made?

as many of you may know who are regular readers of this blog, i have a young daughter.  she’s lovely, transgender and has autism.  the transgender part of this statement causes me discomfort because of the pain she feels at having what are, for her, the wrong genitalia.  the autistic part of this statement causes much more frustration on my part, as she is unable to tolerate a school environment (altho i don’t think schools are the best places for children anyway) and therefore is homeschooling, with me as teacher.  it is this last part, that is giving me the screaming fits right about now.

many high-functioning autistic persons have difficulty with schedules that are arranged by others, or by situations over which they have no control.  many high-functioning autistic persons are NOT like ‘rain man’ and actually have great difficulty transferring short term memory input into long term memory storage.  thus my daughter, altho very intelligent and absolutely comprehending maths and algebraic formulae must still refer to a multiplication table and counting on fingers to accomplish these lessons…altho reading at about a 9th or 10th grade level, has problems remembering how to spell ‘because’ or any other sight word.

i have plenty of patience for this…it is her absolute refusal to come to the table and actually cooperate with the lesson plans that bothers…er, drives me crazy.  for example, today’s lessons were prefaced by an entire 3/4 of an hour of her trying to convince me to double up tomorrow’s lessons and let her slide today.  and that whole process was prefaced by 15 minutes wherein she accused me about lying when i told her it was Monday, and thus a lesson day.

already she only does about 4 hour’s worth of actual lessons on any given day…did she not include the many fits and tantrums that amount of time would define her entire ‘school day’.  but after adding on the time she spends in bargaining, angry reprisals and resistance, her day is stretched to about 6 hours!

it is almost a given that on lesson days there will be a fight.  she will require me to raise my voice and be sternly resolute about the fact that the work will be done.  it is almost a given these days that i will have to remind her that she either learns from me or is enrolled in public school. that there are laws to which i must adhere to ensure that she gets an education,…my way or theirs. no matter that i have tried to raise her and all my children without threats, when it comes to her cooperation with lessons i am almost always reduced to the “therefores” that sound so menacing…

no video games, no t.v., no ‘this’, no ‘that’…and “i’ll have to enroll you in school”

so today, another monday…another sesssion of futile bargaining…and another morning of raising my voice…

gods! i hate monday!


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augury of a groundhog

today is february second, what in contemporary culture is called ground hog’s day. there will be various ‘soft news’ stories wherein some famous mammal will be showcased and paraded around as either having seen or not seen its shadow; the augury that will portend if the weather will be starting to get more mild or have another six weeks of cold.

in catholic culture, this is st. brigitmas, who ever the hell she was, but her name means bright and so it ties in well with the more ancient meaning of the day.

today is february 2nd, one of the high holy days on pagan or wiccan wheel of the year. it is the half-way mark between winter solstice and spring equinox. it is imbolc, which loosely translated means ‘in the purse, or bag’. on this day, the seeds in the ground begin to stir, the light of day tends ever to be reborn becoming brighter until one day, at the vernal equinox, it equals then night. and then begins to out-shine it.

the four corners of the year that are most celebrated as just what they are, the solstices and equinox times are now the official markers of the beginnings of their respective seasons. but the four points between these have all been either turned into commercialised representations or been outright appropriated by the catholic church.

there’s a reason for especially the latter; the early agricultural communities and the traditions which they incorporated were constantly at odds with the mandates of the roman catholic church. these ‘heathens’ (which by the way means dwellers in the heath) were not wont to forget about the traditions that so well served them. they could accommodate a male god, their religion already had a dying and reviving god after all, who was celebrated at lughnasad. as well as a male god and co-creator with the divine goddess whose union and fecundity thereof brought all things to life. the celebration of this ‘hot couple’ was physically represented by the beltane fires and the may pole erected on the first of may.

we lose much when we are divorced from nature, as the modern world seems to make necessary. but we lose even more when we dilute the traditions that could serve to keep us joined to the natural world. those traditions rooted in a common past and simpler times are complex in their understanding of the connectedness of all things. those practices, celebrations and ceremonies that both symbolise the turning of the wheel and remind us of our place upon it.

today is february 2nd. on this day, called imbolc, we celebrated the life stirring beneath the ground and the light wakening the world to life. in the past a ‘wise woman’ or priestess if you will, would read the auguries, which in some european traditions included haruspicy (google it) a practice by which the entrails of an animal, often a sacrificial animal, were ‘read’. when the wise woman caught the ground hog, which given his usual residence was the perfect animal, she would cut him open and determine by the amount of fatty tissue whether or not the warm weather could be expected soon. this knowledge would help the early agricultural community determine when to plant.

so modern culture has kept at least one remnant of the ancient tradition, augury by groundhog.
and catholic tradition has at least ascribed the day an appropriately named saint. altho i don’t know her specific story even tho i grew up catholic.

but what’s been lost?

the true meaning behind the traditions that marked these pagan (which means dweller in the countryside) high holy days were powerful, and beneficial not only as symbols, but as reminders of the sacred, as ways for the human world to interact and join in with the rest of the natural world in its rhythm of life. instead these days we water down these symbols, turning them into commercialised media events or relegating them to some special saint’s day on a religious calendar

today is february 2nd, and i for one will mark the day with more traditional ceremonies. ones that enrich my understanding of life, and remind me to join the earth in her sacred turns.


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sublimation and the mind of god

having grown up in colder climes of northern minnesota, from time to time i feel a bit displaced…usually in winter. this is because my childhood during the long months of cold, was filled with sledding, skating, snowball fights, snow forts, snow angles, cross-country skiing, and more and more snow!

these are found memories for me. being the eldest among 7 children in a small house, once the snowplows had left behind massive mountains of snow on the curbside, an immediate remedy for having some time and space alone was afforded me. i’d rush to shovel the front sidewalk, then dig into the four to five foot snowbanks. a snow fort was a necessity for me!

after hollowing one out, i’d harden it inside and out by pouring water on it, which in the extreme sub-zero temps of the season turned into an armor of ice. an old piece of rug or towel was then brought out for a floor. and there it was! my castle of solitude.

of course, here in the deep south along the gulf coast of florida, no such opportunity avails. but this morning i was treated to another of my favourite things about winter…also an exceedingly rare occurance here: sublimation.

sublimation is a physical change in the property of matter, in which matter goes from solid to gas, bypassing the intervening state of being fluid. it is really quite magickal when you pause to think on it, and for a poet like my self, it proves as easy metaphor to describe all sort and manner of transcendent experience.

for example, sublimation can allude to physical love which becomes transcendant, and ethereal. it can describe enlightenment, whereby the physical world is seen for what it truly is, a vapour. it can even serve as a kinder reference for the process we call death. you can probably come up with many more examples of this, especially if you’ve ever witnessed the event.

so imagine my sense of anticipation when upon awakening this morning, before sunrise, while still the waning moon’s beams danced upon rooftops thickly glazed with frost! the prospect for sublimation was made even more probable due to the warming trend forecast for today.

i was not to be disappointed. as the sun climbed higher into the crisp blue skies, its golden touch upon the crystalline deposits on rooftop and lawn, transformed solid ice into gaseous vapor, right before my eyes! like a flash-flood, every allusion, analogy, and metaphor that this vision has ever birthed in my thought-stream filled my mind!

who cares that the sub-zero (celsius) temperature would delay my daily sauna? never mind that i’ll have to wear my winter gear just to step outside briefly…after all, such opportunity for reflection, daunting any mundane perceptions of life, overwhelming them with the glare of its beauty, with the genius of its allegory…well, its not every day one feels privvy to the mind of god!


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attitude of gratitude

its great to awaken in a state of gratitude! it is, in and of itself, a blessing ~ since some people have a much harder go of their emotional and/or mental life. (like ziona, for example)

i don’t know when it was that this state of grace befell me. it goes back many more years than the births of either of my grown daughters. it had fortunately been in place long before ziona came into my life, carrying along all of the special ‘othernesses’ and difficulties with which she is equipped.

this grace has helped me to rise to any and all occasions, regardless of depth or scope. it has revealed to me the bright side in every hell, in each trouble. with it, came an ability to see beyond the immediate and visible reality, projecting likely and alternative outcomes or perceptions onto whatsoever circumstance should present. it has granted me as well an ‘eye in the center of the hurricane’ sort of calm.

it would be flattering to myself to be able to attribute this boon to some feat i have accomplished, or some faithful and daily ritual performed such as yoga or sitting meditation. it would be wonderful if i could point to some trauma, or some transcendent religious or spiritual experience as the source of this mindset of gratitude, if only to explain why i should be so endowed while others seem not to be.

moreover, it might justify why such a loathesome and lowly creature as i am (no false humility or overstating of the facts here, anyone who knew the particulars of my life story, inside and out would use similar adjectives) has been granted such an auspicious benefit.

i wish i could point everyone i know, and even those i’ve not met, toward some faith or tradition, toward some religion or ascended master ~ something, (anything!) so that all they who seem not to be in possession of this blessing might attain it. i wish i could reach inside of people and flip some invisible switch that would turn it on.

the simple fact of the matter is that there is no magickal formula, no daily practice, no penance or shining good deed done to account for the grateful heart. there is nothing that one must ‘do’ but rather it is that one must ‘undo’.

a cup that is full, no matter with what, cannot be added unto. an empty vessel can receive much. it is only the drum that is hollow that beats strong as a heart. the fulness of a flute’s tone relies on the unhindered flow of the breath. the space between drumbeats creates rhythm. in the space between thoughts there is heaven.

undoing, making room at the inn, letting go…

perhaps poetry and aphorisms are the only way to explain the means through which gratefulness of spirit comes to reside in one’s heart. and perhaps only poetry can describe the benefits. but as the new year begins, as we move further into the age of aquarius and the time of the fifth sun of the mayans, it is my most fervent wish that folk the world over and in every estate, unfurl within themselves this gift. one which everyone already has…but have yet to unwrap and enjoy.