Trying to get in shape in sunny Portland while trans can be a workout in itself

Trying to get in shape in sunny Portland while trans can be a workout in itself

I thought about joining a gym yesterday in Portland. I walked into a nice one in the center part of town, and I talked to the gym dude about the rates and the such. Then I asked what their transgender policy is because “I transitioned many years ago, and I identify as a woman.”

“Well, this is a family owned gym, and you would have to use the facilities with which you were born…”

We looked at each other knowingly.

“OK, that’s all I need to know!” And I left with a smirk on my face.

“Family owned” Why do they have to assert this notional ‘family’ as a defense against transgender inclusion? I’m not going to parade around naked while yelling various intersectional feminist slogans. And if I go into the men’s locker room, with my transitioned body, and walk around naked, breasts akimbo while I do my eyeliner, is this going to be the ideal situation?

No, there is no place at the inn I’m afraid. I’ve actually been a member of a world class gym as a trans woman, and there was no issue ever. I’m discrete just like everyone else. Good lord. Can we move on to trans-inclusive society version 6 yet? This version 5 sucks ass. 4 was disgusting. I know we’re getting somewhere.

Upgrade peoples!

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Recovery and Rebirth in Interesting Times

Recovery and Rebirth in Interesting Times

America makes you crazy, so you gotta give yourself a break. I’m trying to work on getting over a lot of my instilled fear of groups and friends. I spent so long being incognito, desperately trying to be this “perfect male” so that people wouldn’t know who I really was. It takes a lot of deprogramming to undo that kind of thing, and you have to be careful about it and not just go at your history with a flamethrower. Truly remaking yourself, healing your mental health, is the subtle and daring work of a shaman or artist more than a “good patient” or whatever the authorities advocate to heal. I think that mostly I need to have an unerring devotion to the notion that I am fallible and be ready to cut those wrong assumptions about myself at the root when I find them. I rather enjoy being humble and accepting my own flaws. But it takes a lot of work, and I have to be able to accept when someone else says something true about me that I don’t want to hear. It takes practice, and each time gets easier.

I have a lot of anxiety. It comes and goes, but it has been my most loyal companion of my 37 trips around the sun. The anxiety is rooted in fear, a fear of rejection and loss of security. I’ve had people I thought cared about me suddenly turn and shun me so many times in my life that I’ve developed a serious inferiority and instability complex. Having my kids taken away was the nuclear bomb that severed me from my history. I was so broken that I was forced to start over and try anything to not want to kill myself on the daily. But I haven’t been like that for almost 2 years now because I learned to laugh at the total insanity of my situation and my behaviors. A good laugh can cure just about anything. I have my secret and unorthodox means for arriving at these salvations, and I wish I could be more open, but we live in paranoid times, so the prudential people must follow the ancient Chinese proverb in “hiding their light and biding their time.”

Life is still just as much of a challenge as when I was at my lowest. It might be even harder because I was ignoring so many things back then that I have to address now, but I just have a different perspective. I think something Buddhist or Christian or whatever stuck down in my heart, and I internalized the truth that pain is a constant in life, and yet in spite of pain, we can still have joy. It’s easy to pigeon-hole folks like myself as overly emotional social justice warrior millennial whiners, but I just have to say that some of us have a lot of shit to dig out of. Growing up trans or queer or radically in the minority is heavy, heavy stuff. There are some people who are just addicted to the victim attention for sure, but most of us misfits are just trying to get better, do better, be better, etc.

I do have great news to share though! My cat of 12 years, Snow, is recovering incredibly well from Hepatic Lipidosis which is a fairly common liver disease for house cats. I’ve had to feed her through a tube twice a day for over two weeks now, and it’s been a challenge, but my little Snowbie is doing great and returning to her cranky and loving self. Our vet is also using traditional Chinese herbal medicine to assist in her recovery, and she looks better than she’s been in a long time. My heart is so joyful over it. I am so completely blessed that my partner was able to pay for the expensive surgery too.

It’s such a strange time for America and for transgender people and everybody. There is a funny Chinese aphorism that one tells to someone they don’t particularly like: “may you be born in interesting times.” Well these sure are some interesting times. My life has been nothing if not interesting. I’m not sure exactly what I’m supposed to figure out with this Sisyphean exercise, but I’m gonna figure out whatever I can. I’m gonna play this video game until I see the final credits! 

Alchemy, A Poem

Alchemy, A Poem

You’ve gotta find a thing to serve
cause life takes guts and a little verve
in serving something, you’ll brave the worst
and the gods will send a hopeful curse
to lift you while you’re meekly sitting
knowing all around is crumbling
while swirling feasts of grace start singing
“You’re the fire, life’s the kindling
burn from right within your heart
so that your smile is the highest art”