"The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates

- - scatterings of ideas sent to my younger self, a sensitive girl who was fooled into believing she was a boy because of anatomy - -

Friday, 8 September 2017


As I write this, I am doing something I really don't enjoy; sucking on a cough drop. I do it for a very practical reason. Coughing right now (and for the past three days) is really painful in a non-productive way. Let me explain.

On Tuesday, the good doctor and his surgical team did what they could to create a physical world for me that genetics could not. Using the material at hand and their extensive understanding of how the body works, they set me on a path. That is all they could do. 

I am now adrift in this new world. 

It is amazing how a Truth will turn on you if you are not careful.

It is not the world you see, but how you see the world that matters.

This world I am now in is one of new sensations and most of them are painful. They are improving. I could choose to view these only as a bad thing to be endured or something else much more useful and appropriate to my situation and the choices I've made. 

In a very real sense, there is a birth happening here. Birth, as we know, is wonderful and, at the same time, incredibly uncomfortable. 

A girlfriend my age texted me:  "How do you like being a girl now? Lol... Seriously.... hope you're not hurting too much."
And my reply to her:  "Did anyone ask you that moments after you gave birth?" Her reply was to laugh herself silly. 

This birth is happening in slow motion. I can tell that there are beautiful new parts of my body that I will soon have to care for religiously. This is what I have. This is what I want. Getting upset at the painful sensations is to miss the messages those body parts are sending. "I am here. I am alive and I'm letting you know I can feel things."

I am trying to avoid the kinds of pain that are repetitious and annoying (thus the cough drop ...). Of course, I am anxious to be done with this birthing process but, at the same time, I'm leaning into the pain so that I miss nothing. 

This is a miracle, after all.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Who Are You?

There have been a lot of changes in my life over this past two years. Two years is significant because that is when physical transition truly started with a visit to an endocrinologist and a prescription for estrogen therapy. It was a year and a half ago that I came out to all friends and relatives. Since then, living as myself, one might think that all vestiges of the male façade might have left. A gradual process to be sure. 

One evening a few weeks ago my best buddy from high school days, whom I've kept in contact with for the fifty years or so since, phoned. We talked the same way we always have; as though we haven't been separated at all. He knows I'm still me. However, what came from within me came as a complete surprise. I was shocked to hear echoes of that persona who was his best friend, his very male friend for all those years, talking through me very, very briefly. It was the cadence of my voice from those days, not the pitch, but still I was taken by surprise. 

Coincidently, there was a reunion in person with that same friend along with some others this past week. In person, I found myself relating to him and another male friend very differently; still me, but definitely different. I felt tenderness toward them, if that makes any sense at all. 

On a very personal note, and I almost hesitate to post this; oh what the heck.... next week I shall be having some very long-overdue corrective surgery furthering that gradual process referred to above. No surgery is minor; there could be complications and to have any elective procedure without full appreciation of those risks is folly. 

In high hopes your hostess will be back to report a speedy recovery in a couple of weeks... 

Monday, 29 May 2017

Handling the Pressure

I will start this post with a warning for all my transgender friends: do not put yourself in danger. Know your audience. Be safe and do what you need to do to stay that way. 

This post is a reflection on thriving in situations when others would be distracted and fearful. I am going to use analogies with sports and performance to think about living authentically. 

As regulars here will recall, I enjoy the game of golf - a lot. I used to watch golf on television for hours, but really the best part of golf for me is not watching somebody hit great, sometimes amazing shots. What impresses me has to do with the bigger picture. There are golfers who can dominate in competition. Pressure doesn't seem to phase them. When asked about how they do this, it is clear that their focus stays in the moment. One shot at a time. They aren't paying attention to what others are doing , or thinking about what others might think, or how important this next shot is. They know where the ball needs to end up. They have the skills to get it there. They are oblivious to everything else. 

Similarly, I love playing music. I look forward to performing in front of an audience; it really is the point of all that work after all. As with a sport like golf, one works very hard to develop the skills needed to be able to rely on your body to accomplish your goals. The big picture is the ability to rely on those; to trust them to be there, as you perform for others. I've been asked many times what my secret is. How does one stand in front of others and play, sing, or speak without seeming nervous? Mostly, it has to do with being as totally immersed in the details of the activity as possible. It seems to me that being nervous has mostly to do with two things: feeling unprepared, and letting your mind wander to thoughts of what might happen if ....  In other words, getting distracted. 

If you know you are going to be out in public doing something where others might pay attention to you, get as prepared as you can. Like the old joke says: "How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice."  Then trust yourself when it is time to head out into the public eye. Self doubt is the great destroyer, whether you are trying to play a sport, or play a sonata, or walk down the street as your authentic self for the very first time. 

Believe in yourself. Be confident. Stay in the moment.