reblogged from “reading minds”
yesterday i posted two things on this blog.
one was a video of a transgender girl named jazz, whose story on a barbara walters special in 2007 started me on a path of research and understanding for my own transgender child. jazz’s story is a positive one; one that has encouraged me and given me hope.
the second thing i blogged about yesterday was the death of my friend and canine companion, benji. it was such a sad post that my daughter, who usually likes me to read her what i write on this blog, said “i’m glad that was a short poem, mom…it was making me sad.
life is like that.
it has those moments that bless us with hope and happiness and those that touch us to loss and sorrow. like the waves on the ocean that rise and fall, just so, our lives have their own waves. they buoy us up one minute, then wash over us the next, til it feels we might even drown.
altho this is completely normal, there are corporations that try to profit off our moods by convincing us we need to buy their latest product to be always feeling our best. big pharma, with its tentacles in every corner tell us that the natural lows are depression, and need to be medicated. the waves we experience are called ‘bi-polar disease’. but not to worry, there’s a drug for that.
children being children are diagnosed adhd and medicated to make the classroom tolerable for the teachers, and yesterday i read an article about the higher than usual percentage of foster kids that are on ‘something’ or the other, as a way to chemically restrain them. the article was about floriduh (intentional misspelling) but it goes on all over the place. and of course, nursing homes are excellent examples of the use of big pharma’s wares as a way to make their residents a more controlled population.
but life is ups and downs.
it is feeling, experiencing, processing and learning.
how can we grow our hearts if we shy away from these offerings, these boons, turning instead to a drug to dull our senses? how do we begin to know our innermost self if we are frightened to embrace our emotions? how will we ever learn to like ourselves if we are always accepting the message of corporate driven media telling us that we must be younger, thinner, cooler, richer?
the metaphor of a surfer comes to mind as i ponder my own ups and downs, the waves that course my own seas. with my back to the oncoming swells i ride them to their zenith then plunge down their depths to shoot the curl, and let the waves carry me, then wash over me and bring me closer to my own shore.
i am not sad today.
benji died, everything that lives dies.
i have said the same goodbyes to friends, lovers and elders.
someday, folk will be saying goodbye to me.
but death is only one small part of life.
its bittersweet taste becomes lost in the next ecstasy.
without valleys, no mountains.
without waves, what would the ocean be?
two things happened today. one of them filled me with hope. one filled me with apprehension and dread.
life is like that.
the thing that filled me with dread was some horrible news about my sister’s grand-daughter. she is only 5 years old and was just recently diagnosed with cancer in one of her kidneys. she was to be set for surgery to remove the tumor on monday. until it was discovered that the tumor is the size of a football. and has displaced internal organs. now nothing is set. nothing is known.
i tried to put my self in her shoes. but it is just too close to home for me.
you see zeeona has juvenile polyposis coli. and altho the pathology on the lesions has as yet come back benign, the longer her colon produces these pre-cancerous lesions, the greater the possibility of malignancy.
i have no idea what lies ahead for my sister’s grand-daughter. but hearing about it reminded me both of how lucky we are…yet how tenuous health and normalcy can be in this life. how we tend to take such blessings for granted.
the other thing that happened today, the one that filled me with hope took place in the local furniture store.
i had just purchased a new chair and table for zeeona’s room, and was being checked out by the older woman with whom i prefer to do business there.
she’s about my mom’s age, around mid 70’s. she’s sold us every piece of furniture that i’ve bought for this house, since 5 years ago when we first arrived. and so, she knew zeeona when she was a three year old boy named zion running around and playing hide and seek amongst the tables and couches on the sales floor.
it was natural for her to say, “is your little boy at school?”
i didn’t take even a moment’s hesitation when i answered: “turns out it i have a little girl.”
she looked at me with a quizzical expression, so i went on.
what followed was a very nice conversation in which i explained to her what it means to be transgender, and a bit about some particulars.
like how i waited, probably too long, to allow her to be a girl, how i thought, even hoped, it was just a phase. how i researched and learned more about the whole thing and how finally, to spare her the psychic pain should would suffer did i not support her right to be who she is, i set aside my fear and ‘he’ became ‘she’.
the elder woman listened intently. her eyes showed an open and inquisitive soul, an underlying compassion shown through them. she looked at me with an empathetic expression and said,
“it’s better nowadays than before. people are changing. it’ll be even better in years to come.”
then she said, ‘he’ll be just fine.”
“she” i corrected the pronoun choice softly and respectfully. and the woman smiled and apologized for the incorrect pronoun. saying.
“i’m sorry, it’ll take me awhile to get used to it”
“that’s okay” i said “my mom still has a hard time remembering.”
this whole episode filled me with such hope! that a woman, not a close friend or family member, but slightly more than a stranger, was so understanding and open minded. and of course, what she said was true: it is better now than back then, and it will be better in zeeonah’s tomorrow than it is today.
there’s still a long way to go. transgender people are subject to discrimination, to ridicule, to harrassing and violence. but the world is coming around, ever so slowly. i have hope that someday, the gender to which one identifies, and whether or not this matches the natal reality, simply wont matter to anyone at all.
in reality, i’m far more worried about zeeonah’s juvenile polyposis morphing into cancer than i am about the fact of her being transgender. and i’m filled with way more dread and apprehension about my sister’s grand-daughter than i am about my own daughter’s future.
maybe i’m only an optimist.
or maybe i a dreamer.
but dreams are the things that give us wings. dreamers truly can change the world!
before he died – i could – pretend
forever – was our lot –
and circumscribe- with poet’s pen –
those deeds that – i’d forgot.
the words unspoke – the plans undone –
tomorrow – would – be time
enough for these – i reasoned – once
and therein – was – my crime.
some day – thought i – more time to spend
together – like as not.
and framing thus – our circumstance –
no remedy – was sought.
and even now – with poet’s pen –
i bind them up – with rhyme!
regrets – still – unto now – from then
all set upon – a line.