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Stress

Posted: July 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

I would like, if I may, to take a moment to talk about stress. I have a limited knowledge of exactly how it impacts the body physically so this is more just a “think about your stress levels” post. I want to raise a bit of awareness as well.

A friend of mine was admitted to hospital for minor surgery last week after suffering a minor heart attack sometime earlier in the week. She has a history of heart problems. But being somewhat like me, overworked and stressed to the max; she pushed through the symptoms and ignored them for a few days. In the end perhaps not the best decision, but I’m sure we have all pushed on when we haven’t been feeling well. It doesn’t all end the same way of course. But is there potential? I feel like I am hearing about more and more cases of younger – seemingly health – people suffering from heart attacks to various degrees.

Surely it is tied to our faster paced stressful lives. Mobile computing devices have seen us bring home work more readily. Whether to meet deadlines, finish off a project, or just carrying access to your work email on a (work) mobile phone. More and more people are bringing work home. I hear people talking at work about leaving with their work issued laptop and going home to the kids then working into the wee hours after putting the kids to bed.

Isn’t all this adding stress to our lives? Taking away from that work life balance my employer tried to promote (perhaps unsuccessfully given that people are working from home in the hours of darkness). Some stress can be good for you. But a lot of stress will eat away at you, deteriorating your health and silently taking it’s toll.

Let’s take action now. Let’s try to lead more healthy and balanced lives. I know I know, it is easier said than done. But if we make a change today, and reduce our risk factors for sever – and even mild – health events, then isn’t it a change worth making?

Here today, gone tomorrow

Let’s make sure people don’t have a cause to say that about us. Of course accidents can happen, and not that I want to jinx myself or anyone else, but anything could happen. But for me, I don’t want it to be something that I could have made less likely by making decisions differently. I want to be here for years to come, and if that means I need to exercise, eat healthy, and manage my stress better. Than that is what I will do! Will you join me??

Of course sometimes such events are out of our control, but I want to make the best of what I can control. Let’s do it together! One day at a time.

Confronted

Posted: July 20, 2014 in Family, Transgender
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This was written a few weeks ago, but I wanted to share it.  It was very profound and confrontational.

So I am feeling a bit confronted. I rang Mum on Friday morning, when she answered the phone I said “Hi Mum”, but I don’t think she heard. She asked who she was talking to. All these things flashed through my head, “It’s your daughter”, my birth name. But all I could think was how wrong that was. In the end I said “It’s me” and then she knew. But it was disconcerting and weird. My own Mother didn’t recognise my voice.  I know it’s changed so much but she has always recognised my voice in the past. Always. It was strange not to be recognised. Very strange.

Mum has been calling me she all the time still.  It’s frustrating and a bit hurtful.  It feels like she doesn’t care, that she doesn’t want to try to change her mindset.  The only evidence I have to the contrary is a brief conversation that my wife and I had with my cousin.  Mum did ask me yesterday about the testosterone injections and how they were going.  Mum asked me herself, we didn’t bring it up, which has to be a step in the right direction.  It will be slow going I think, Mum still hasn’t dealt with Dad’s passing, and that was three years ago.  I have a feeling I am not going to get anywhere fast with Mum, but that doesn’t mean it hurts any less.  I don’t want to push and force Mum to talk about it, but what else am I going to do?  I have to do something, I can’t just sit idly by…  I have to do something…  But what?  In the past when I have tried to bring up anything about the transition Mum has changed the subject as soon as I paused to take a breath.  Needless to say I gave up after a while.  It left me feeling very defeated.

Good thing I have a psychiatrist appointment coming up.  I will talk to her about it.  I need some guidance because I have no idea how to do this myself.

Changing World

Posted: June 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

In a world where masculinity is changing, is my presentation of traditional masculinity and values still valid? Masculinity is more modern and “metro” than I am. Not that I want to use stereotypes, but I am not sure how else to describe it. In a changing world, do I need to change as well? If not will I become obsolete? Hair cuts, fashion, expression, emotionality, it’s all changing. Do I need to adapt or is there still a place for my traditional expression? With my straight leg flat front pants, short tidy hair, wide ties, and chivalry. Do I need to adopt skinny fit pants, skinny ties, French cuff shirts, big assed sunglasses lenses, and polka dot shirts? Am I going to be lost if I don’t change and adapt? Do I need to bite the bullet and suck it up to become this new aged man? I am not sure I am prepared for that….

In a chaining world, will I be lost if I stay the same?

This might be aimed at gay men but I think there are things on this list that apply to all of us.

57 Things I’ve learned about being gay in my 20s.

Brienne of Tarth

Posted: December 22, 2013 in Uncategorized
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So I have been listening to Game of Thrones Book 3. I am only a short way in to the book, but already I can see that Brienne and I have something in common.  The way she scowls at Jamie when referred to as “my lady”, or “wench” or, anything feminine. In the chapter I am half way through Jamie even says to Brienne that it is not his fault the gods did not give her a penis. Brienne did not respond.  George has given me, us as readers, a lot of evidence that Brienne may in fact be transgendered. I must admit, not the place I thought I would find a transgendered character. But George has written a lot of other diversity into his books so why not?

It did get me thinking though. What was it like in such times for men and women who experienced gender dysphonia? At a point in time, not all that long ago one would have been thrown into a mental institution for expressing such a thing. But what about before that, what about medieval times? What did people do then? Transgendered men, born women, may have been able to pass and go relatively unnoticed.  Unfortunately I cannot say the same for Transgendered women, born men.

Perhaps I need to do some research.  My curiosity is getting the better of me now. I would think that there have been transgendered people as long as there have been people on the planet. But I have nothing to back that up with either.

Alas I digress, Brienne seems as uncomfortable with her femininity as I am with mine.  When it is something you know so well, it is something you can recognise in others.  George has given me lots of information to give me reason to believe it was his intention to write a transgendered character.  I am a lot further on in the book now and Brienne has now been seen in a dress and was ever so uncomfortable with herself, which made Jamie uncomfortable with her as well.  They have since found her a tunic, pants, an iron breastplate and helm. 

I must credit George, not too many people traverse the unknown, much less writing characters that fall in to such small minority groups.  George has written Brienne very well, much to his credit.  Sure she is a minor character, and she does not need to be too well developed as a result, but George has, in a sense given her a stage of her own.  He has given her the opportunity to be a living character in the book, a character that can breath life into this transgendered nature and let people see what t is and what it means.  And let me tell you, this world needs to see that, needs to know that.  Yes it is set in a medieval land that does not really exist, and thus we can frame Brienne as an ‘other’ and discredit her.  But George has given us an opportunity to say that this it, this is what it is like.  This is the stereotype, but it gives you an idea.  And just like Brienne, we struggle with it.   We battle with others about it, we battle with ourselves about it.  It isn’t easy, and I think that in a sense Brienne typifies that awkward nature we have within ourselves, and just how awkward it can be to live and survive in a society that does not understand you.

I want to thank George, for giving us Brienne, I can only hope that in some way she can help us educate the masses about what it is like to be transgendered and just how difficult it can be.

Its been a while

Posted: September 9, 2013 in Transgender
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So it seems it has been a while since my last post. In thinking back to why the only reason I can come up with it that I have been so tired I just haven’t been capable. Now most people would think that a lame excuse I am sure. But when you look at why you may understand. It has been found – after some torture investigation – that I have hyperactive parathyroid glands.  This results in high calcium levels and high levels of the parathyroid hormone in my blood. Thus causing, among other things, my constant and worsening feeling of being tired and borderline catatonia. So as you may imagine I have not done much more than is necessary, like dragging myself to work each day for the yawning to begin at 10am because I feel tired already…. Frustrating.

How is the transition going you ask? Well truth is I feel like it has stalled. Yet again waiting for my next psychiatrist appointment.  Hoping beyond hope that she will tell me what the plan is going forward. I have met my minimum requirement for the number of appointments I have to have and the minimum 6 months of “treatment”, so hopefully a plan will begin to form with my next appointment. I’d like to think it has already formed. I am trying to take heart in her earnest and continued encouragement and recommendation to talk to Mother about it all. Which I have now done. She will be happy with that I am sure. She still wants to meet my Mother, but that is going to be interesting from a travel perspective and one trip I’ve yet to work out.

I still feel like the decision is out of my hands and is more to do with meeting diagnostic criteria than my mental health and comfort in and of myself in the future. There is such a clinical aspect to it all and I am finding it hard to deal with that and still believe that it is for my future health and comfort that I went in the first place. I have always struggled with the diagnostic component. It makes me feel like something is wrong with me. Like the way you are diagnosed with Schizophrenia or Dissociative Identity Disorder, or the way a serial killer fits in to an archetypal stereotype – a profile – that tells you everything about him… Knowing what it means to be diagnosed and the stigma that can accompany that, as well as the belief that it can hinder rather than help, are all reasons why it has never sat well with me. I don’t believe there is anything “wrong” with me. So why do I need to be diagnosed? Having said that it wasn’t until 1986 that homosexuality was completely removed from the psychiatric and psychological bible; the Diagnostic and Stastical Manual. In this respect I guess science and medicine have been behind social revolution and revalation. But to be sitting here in 2013 and still need to be “diagnosed” before I can even be categorised as transgender irks me. Though to think about it in medical terms, I had to go through a series of tortures tests until it was found that I have a hyperactive parathyroid, it makes some sense that I have to also go through some tortures tests – bouts of being bombarded with questions – so the doctor can be sastified that moving forward she is treating me for the right thing.

So I shall try to think of it as fact finding rather than being diagnosed. Fact finding I can deal with. Being diagnosed? Not so much… so fact finding it is. 🙂

Let’s hope that sticks…

Transing Gender on the go thanks to Andriod