Sunday, August 16, 2015

Serenity

Not this Serenity ...

Not that I have an Issue with Firefly.

I love that series and the movie.  Such an incredible cast working together perfectly to bring their story to life.

A group of misfits jumping around the galaxy just trying to get by.  Despite all the ... ummm ... interesting situations they wound up in they managed to work together and survive.

It was such unique story, but unfortunately it never had any success in the mainstream markets.

If that were the serenity I was looking for ... If I was a character on Firefly, I would definitely want to be River Tam.

River went through so much in her life, but she still survive.  She is such an awesome character.

She is an absolute genius.

Alright ... she was an intense, psychotic killing machine created by the government.  Despite that little quirk she was such a survivor and truly protected those she cared about in the end.

So obviously I'm not devoting a blog entry to a sci-fi show.

Okay, maybe not so obviously as I do tend to ramble on about some different topics.

Many years ago my first therapist insisted that I recite the serenity prayer several times every day ... "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change ..."

This is an issue for me.  If things bother me I want to  change them.

Yes ... it is my issue and I need to work on it.

Yes ... I know there are many things I cannot change.

Eventually I do realize that if I continue to worry or gripe that I'll just cause myself unnecessary stress ... the problem is trying to figure this out earlier in the process rather than dreading things for days or weeks.

I think the problem lies in the interpretation of the word accept.  When many people hear this word they think of:

       - To take or receive (something offered); receive with approval or favor.

       - To agree or consent to; accede to:

There are many definitions to "accept."

If you look at the etymology it is derived directly from Latin "acceptare:"  Take or receive willingly,

Sometimes the more appropriate definitions to use are:

       - To accommodate or reconcile oneself to:

       - To regard as true or sound; believe:

Also, when something happens that is harsh or unexpected happens the prayer does not say, "God make me joyous or excited ..."  It says, "grant me the serenity ..."

Serenity - from the Latin root meaning clearness.  Today it means tranquil or calm.  Back in the 1500s the word was used in regards to weather.  Clear or calm weather makes sense.  Being clear or calm in life also makes sense.

The prayer doesn't say immediate calmness or acceptance.  It is asking for the capacity to be serene so I can be able to receive or accept things.

If I were to get rear-ended it is not likely that I will be tranquil right after the accident.  I will need to deal with the immediate shock, possibly physical injuries ... I will contemplate how this may affect me in the immediate future.  How will I get to work?  What if we need to replace the car?

When I call Pam she will have the same worries.

These emotions are normal ... they are human.

Asking for the serenity to accept the situation means being able to stay calm enough to handle it in a clear minded manner.

I have seen many people get hit and they start screaming at the other driver.  Sometimes they threaten physical violence ... or inflict physical violence.  This is neither calm, clear minded nor accepting.

I know I cannot un-rear-end my car ... I cannot un-break an ankle ... I cannot undo, reverse or change many things.  I do not have to like it; I simply need to ask for the calmness to stay clear minded and accept it.

A small example ... a small step in the right direction.  Last week I found out that my company was changing my medical insurances.  I was scared.  Would my doctors be covered?  Would my medications be covered?

I did have a brief meltdown while trying to find the information, but it was brief.  I was given this serenity that often eludes me and I realized that whether or not my issues were covered that this was going to happen.  I realized that there would be a solution to the issues regardless of the answers to my concerns.

Pam did a little research and found that everything we currently have is still covered.

This was a good lesson to carry with me through other issues.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Chasing sunsets

The Ventura County Fair
from Grant Park

It seems like I am consistently finding myself ignoring some aspect of my life ... my well being ... my sanity and spiritual wellness.

Recently I have been ignoring my "me" time.

Unfortunately this is an aspect of my life that often suffers as I concentrate on other issues.  I do not really have any time to spend "me" time.  I know there will not always be time for me, so I need to take advantage of it when I can.

This week has been a stressful week.  There have been so many things going on at work that I feel like I'm running in circles ... in thick mud ... carrying a 50 pound trashbag full of Jello.  I was feeling really worn out and was getting a little stressed.

The Ventura County Fair is running this time of year.  It is held at Seaside Park near the Ventura pier.

I had gone up into the hills above Ventura to take pictures about a week before.  Grant Park (known locally as The Cross) has a wonderful view.  I was able to take several pictures from there and was happy with them

I had an idea for a different picture ... the sun setting behind the fair and the pier.  I just needed to be near there at sunset.  I needed me time.

Seagulls swooping over the beach
I got some me time.

Thursday evening Pam and I went to the beach.  It was nice being out of the house ... and not being at work.  We made sure we got there about an hour before the sunset.

Pam waited in the car while I walked out toward the ocean ... this is a story in itself, but I will just say that my legs were not used to (and probably not ready to) walk in the sand for that distance.

The picture
the sun setting behind the fair
Spending the hour on the beach was really relaxing.  I took so many photos; caught several good shots.  I still haven't looked at them all, but many are very similar.

Seeing the pictures after I got home made everything about this week just fade away for a while.  The waiting and planning were worth the time. I definitely need to make sure I get some amount of me time on a somewhat regular basis, whether it's taking photos, riding my bike or just going for a walk.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The 2 month gap

After my last entry I had a couple comment to me that they worried a bit because it had been nearly 2 months since my previous post.

Nothing really exciting happened during that time, but that usually doesn't stop me from writing.

Well ... many things happened, but nothing that would top my list of "Wow, that was cool."

In the school bus industry the summer tends to be busy for the training department.  We don't get this wonderful summer break that so many ask me about.  I actually kind of like it because there are fewer routes and more time to get things done ... in theory.

Summer is also a time that the company plans some of the training for the supervisors.  This year we had a large group of training supervisors and instructors gathered in San Bernardino, Ca.

If you don't know where this is ... well ...

I don't like the area personally.  It is way too hot in the summer and the air needs to be chewed  before inhaling.  The heat is just so physically and mentally draining.  It makes me feel like I am running in slow motion on the last few moments before my battery just dies.  As an added bonus, this was my first trip there needing to wear a bra ... I'll just say it was an entirely different experience ... a new level of hot and sweaty that I could live without feeling again.

But the training was enjoyable.

California tends to be scoffed at by other states because we require so much training for our school bus drivers, and because we do things other states do not do.

For the first time ... literally, the first time since I became a trainer in 1995 a person from outside of California complimented our training and trainers.  That moment made my day.

There was one issue that came up during the trip.

When I woke up Tuesday morning (the second day of training, and after the first night at the hotel) I could not move.

I have never experienced this to this degree.  I was freaking out a bit.

My back hurt so bad that I couldn't move.  My arms could move, but any attempt to move my torso or legs was excrutiating.  The pain was so intense in my lower back the thought of walking to the bathroom seemed impossible.  When I did make it to my feet I realized that the pain was radiating into my right hip.

Five steps to the computer chair was my limit.

After resting in the chair I made the thirteen steps to the bathroom.  Sitting on the toilet and stepping into the shower bath would prove to be a totally different adventure.

I eventually made it to training, but I was very sore ... very sore every day of training ... very sore every day since.

Pam called the doctor after I got back home.

After an x-ray my doctor told me the issue ... I have arthritis and degenerating discs in my entire lumbar region.  These issues are causing pressure on my sciatic nerve.

Well, crap.

So what now?

Luckily the pain is not radiating all the way down my leg ... just to the hip.  This is apparently a good sign ... but it doesn't answer what I'm going to do for my back

How about this ... lose weight.  If I lose weight and strengthen my core while stretching my muscles I will likely get relief from the pain.

If for some reason losing weight doesn't bring relief there are further options starting with epidural injections.

Let's hope the weight loss helps.  If options one an two don't work the option three may be surgery.

Maybe this time I will actually lose weight and get back in shape.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Courage


Once again I find myself speaking about something I promised myself I would leave alone ...

Does Caitlyn Jenner deserve the Arthur Ashe award for Courage?

Well ... I'm not going to answer.  I'm just going to point out some facets of the debate.

What is courage?

So being the girl I am I do love words ... word roots or origins ... word meanings.  It makes it much easier to communicate when you actually know what you are saying ... and maybe more importantly, what the others in the conversation are saying.

From dictionary.com (slightly better than Wiki-anything)
c.1300, from Old French corage (12c., Modern French courage) "heart, innermost feelings; temper," ... from Latin cor "heart"  which remainsa common metaphor for inner strength.

In Middle English, used broadly for "what is in one's mind or thoughts,"hence "bravery," but also "wrath, pride, confidence, lustiness," or any sort of inclination. Replaced Old English ellen, which also meant "zeal, strength."
Did Caitlyn show courage?  If you answer no I would love to know your reasoning.

Standing in front of one person saying, "I am dealing with an issue you may not understand," takes incredible courage.  Standing in front of the world and exposing your innermost demons for all to criticize takes much more.

My therapist suggested I read a book by Brene Brown - "The power of vulnerability."

Wait!  Did you just admit you are still seeing a therapist?  Are you crazy?  How embarrassing!  I would never admit that.  I don't have any issues I cannot work out for myself.  You must be weak! 

Um, let me check ... ... Yep, I did.  Does this bother you?  Why should it?

When I went into Catharine's office just over three years ago I truly thought I was dealing with one issue - being transgender.  What I did not realize is this one issue was buried under and amongst so much pain and issues I have never talked about.  By exposing my deepest secret I also dug up many other emotional issues.

In essence, it's the difference between cutting a picture in half and making a jigsaw puzzle.  One can be easily repaired, even if you will always notice the cut.  The other ... well, sometimes you just cannot find all the pieces to make the picture whole again.

Anyway ...

Brene Brown speaks in very simple language on a very deep, emotional and personal issue (I watched a video ... more of an audible learner rather than a visual learner).  One of the things she said that caught my attention is that humans communicate through story.

Okay ... I initially guffawed at this because we don't tell stories ... ... or ... wait.  Do we?

What she says makes sense.  The earliest forms of communications were stories written in picture on walls.  Many cultures passed their heritage through many generations by way of story telling.  Modern history is told via story ... news reports are stories ... recipes are written with "directions" which tell the story of how the item is made.

So to show courage you are expressing your story with heart or inner strength.  You make your innermost feelings vulnerable to those who are listening.

But who is really listening?

Listening implies one is closely paying attention.  If someone is closely paying attention they can choose to show compassion ... to be empathetic to the person confiding in them or they can choose to ignore or reject the person.  They can believe that because they do not understand the other person's point of view that the two are no longer equal ... or maybe they always believed that the other was somehow inferior.

I find it interesting how someone can break their arm and so many are willing to help them.  "Can I carry that?"  "Let me open the door."  "Are you going to need physical therapy?"  "Call me if you need anything."  "Maybe I can go shopping for you."

When someone has cancer or other illness it becomes a little more difficult to know how to help, but so many are there to be supportive.  "I just wanted to visit."  "Call me if you need to talk."  "What kind of treatments are they using?"  "I'm here for you."  "I can't imagine how you feel."

But a person admits to mental issues, learning disabilities, personal issues regarding religion or sexuality or gender and suddenly so many become the expert ... or they disappear ... or they talk about the person behind their back.  "I choose to think happy thoughts so I don't get depression."  "If you try a little harder then ADHD won't be an issue."  "I don't know why you are choosing to be transgender."  "Anxiety never stopped me from doing anything."  "Those with addictions are mentally weak."  "I read an article that says depression doesn't exist.  It was created by the pharmaceutical industry."  "Dyslexia is just an excuse people use to not read or write."  "You can't possibly have PTSD.  Only people who suffered real trauma deal with that."

Where is the, "Call me if you need something."  "I'm here for you." comments?

Obviously this does not apply to everyone.  There are so many incredible people who do care ... who do understand ... who do listen without judging.  It's very sad that more people do not have these traits.

So ... Does Caitlyn Jenner deserve the Arthur Ashe award for courage?

She showed amazing courage.  She brought a very secret topic further into the mainstream.  She has generated conversation.  She has made herself very visible so others know they are not alone.  She has made herself ... her life very vulnerable.

She has shown great courage.

If you look at the list of previous winners, the majority are there for issues in their personal life.  All have dealt with adversity.  All are inspirational in some way.

Quoted from Wikipedia:
The Arthur Ashe Courage Award (sometimes called the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage or Arthur Ashe for Courage Award) is an award that is part of the ESPY Awards. Although it is a sport-oriented award, it is not limited to sports-related people or actions, as it is presented annually to individuals whose contributions "transcend sports". Often these transcendent figures are also athletes who have been at the top of their sport, such as Muhammad Ali, Dean Smith, and Cathy Freeman.
1993 Jim Valvano (College basketball coach - died of cancer)
1994 Steve Palermo
1995 Howard Cosell
1996 Loretta Claiborne (Special Olympics Athlete)
1997 Muhammad Ali (Boxer - suffers from Parkinson's)
1998 Dean Smith
1999 Billie Jean King (Tennis player - openly gay)
2000 William David Sanders (posthumously) (teacher killed at Columbine)
2001 Cathy Freeman
2002 Todd Beamer, Mark Bingham, Tom Burnett, and Jeremy Glick (posthumously) (All were passengers on flight 93 on 9/11)
2003 Pat Tillman and Kevin Tillman  (NFL players - Pat killed in Afghanistan)
2004 George Weah (Passenger on flight 63 on 9/11)
2005 Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah and Jim MacLaren
2006 Roia Ahmad and Shamila Kohestani
2007 Trevor Ringland and David Cullen from Peace Players International
2008 Tommie Smith and John Carlos
2009 Nelson Mandela (You may have heard of him)
2010 Family of Ed Thomas
2011 Dewey Bozella
2012 Pat Summitt
2013 Robin Roberts  (TV personality - breast cancer survivor)
2014 Michael Sam  (First openly gay NFL player)
2015 Caitlyn Jenner  (Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon - came out as transgender)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A little bit of everything

So I'm sticking with my plethora of disconnected rambling thoughts theme.

Really there is nothing specific to tell you about ... it's more like a bunch of thoughts and issues that all seem to happen at the wrong time.

I will start off with my 2 week progesterone update.

I am really not as moody as I thought might happen, or like others have encountered ... well ... I am moody, but I think it is caused by so many other things that are going on at the same time,

What I have noticed physically ...

 Hold on.  I know some people don't want too much personal information, so plug your ears for a minute or so.  Well, I guess, you need to plug your eyes ...

Whatever ...

I have gained 12 pounds in just over 2 weeks.  A big part of this is the fact that I find myself craving certain foods that are neither healthy or low calorie.  I am not shoveling buckets of food in my mouth, but I am definitely dealing with a different level of , OH MY GOD!!  I HAVE TO HAVE THAT!!!" that I have never experienced before.

The extra weight is obvious when I step on the scale because ... well, because the number is higher.  The extra weight seems to be collecting more in my boobs and butt rather than just on my belly.

And when one of the side effects of progesterone says, "May cause breast tenderness" this is an understatement.  It needs to say, "They will become so tender that you will feel it if somebody looks at them for too long."

I'm sure things will get back to normal as my body adjusts.

So why am I moody?

Where do I start?

Pam's front tire went flat last week.  This caused a sequence of events that made my one remaining nerve begin to fray.

- Fighting with the spare tire to dislodge it from the trunk.  I mean ... I broke a freakin' nail, had a small laceration on my forearm and aggravated my elbow which has been sore anyway.  Then, while planning on how to get the car to the tire shop because the stupid spare is in bad condition it was like Pam and I were suddenly speaking different languages.  We were saying the same thing about needing to tow the car and I drive her to the shop, but we just weren't grasping what the other was saying

The tire fiasco set us back somewhere around $200.  I won't add the "Your front axle needs to be repaired" amount.

- My tooth has been bothering me for a while ...

Well, I have more than one tooth ...

It would be better to say that I have a tooth that has been bugging me for a while.  Somewhere just before Pam's tire gave up my tooth decided to try harder to get my attention.

We have wanted to switch dentists since our last visit 3 or 4 years ago.  I went to the list and decided to search for a female dentist.  No particular reason ... well, I do feel a little more comfortable talking to women even on dental issues.

When I called to make the appointment I gave all my legal information, then I said, "There's one more little thing ... "  It is so cool that everything on my records refer to Tiffanie rather than him.  My legal name does have to be on certain documents, but there is no awkward adjustment period going to a new doctor.

It is a bit of a plus that she is kind of good looking, but that did not play into my decision.

And why is it that most dentists and optometrists seem to be less than average looking?  It's like they are thinking, "I'm going to get into a job where I'll spend most of my time mere inches from someone's face so they have to look at me."

I don't want some faces that close to my eyeballs ... I don't like anyone that close to me, but if they have to be can't it at least be someone halfway decent looking?

So I find out that the last (and only) cavity I had filled was very close to the gums.  There is now some decay working under the filling causing my pain.

I already have an appointment to get a crown.  Personally I would prefer a tiara *rolls eyes*  This is another $600 that we don't have.

So as of right now my "Get my name and gender changed" fund has gone from $0.00 to negative $800.  This is not the most frustrating aspect of the issue, but it is just another obstacle between me and a goal that I truly want.

- All of this has been exacerbated by an environmental study being done at my bus yard.  This group is drilling 10,563 holes and taking soil samples to test for  ... well, I probably don't want to know what they are testing for.

So every day I am hearing this extra noise on top of the noises from shop, the airplanes taking off from the airport and the other businesses in the complex.

The last few days the drilling, jack hammering, and all the other heavy machinery was just outside my office wall.

It has been a week of sensory overload beyond comprehension.

This may actually be a part of why my tooth has hurt so much more this week ... I have been clenching my jaw so much that everything is sore from my navel up to the top of my head.

I did get a chuckle when the lead worker told us that he had a probe stuck in one of his holes and didn't want a bus hitting it.

On the brighter side.  My brother and sister in law stopped by for a visit.  It was nice to have a visit that doesn't include family emergencies or other frantic events that have everyone on edge.  They brought down the Christmas gifts ... yeah, it's been that long since their schedule has been calm enough to manage a trip here.

My brother is running a marathon tomorrow.  I hope it goes well for him.

*** Epilogue ***

The bulk of this entry was written Saturday evening.  I do know my brother finished his marathon.

Today I went for a walk in a local botanical garden while Pam visited her mom.  The walk was nice, but proved to me that my assessment of my fitness level was spot-on.  The effort of walking up even a small hill on a half mile loop killed my legs and bothered my knee a bit.  The stress was enough to get me wheezing the same way that running did a few years ago.  My pulse never raced and I didn't get winded, so all is not beyond hope.

Pam's mom wants to know why I didn't come in and visit afterward.  Until a few weeks ago she did not know about me being transgender.  After the Bruce Jenner interview Pam found a moment in a conversation to tell her about me.

I will need to visit her.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Born this way ...

Breakfast of champions
So I will tell you upfront that some of the things I am going to say may not be popular opinions.

My thoughts, my ramblings, my observations are just that ... mine.  And no, this isn't a huge LGBT advocacy spiel.

Well ... not really.

If you remember I did say that I've had a lot of random disconnected thoughts recently ... I may be proving that here.

When people tell me that I see things differently, or I think about things in an awkward way or whatever, I just shrug.  This is me ... it is the only way I have ever thought so it is normal to me.

A long time ago I began joking that I had ADHD.  I joked about it because somewhere in me I knew it was true.  A year or so ago I was tested and pretty much pegged the scale on the attention deficit aspect of the test, not so much on the hyperactive portion.

In short, I was born this way.

Does this make me a different person than you knew a few minutes ago?  ... a few months ago? ... years?

The creativity and imagination that distracted me during my school days are the same attributes that have moved me forward in life.  These are the same quirks that allow me to see things from different angles and find solutions that others cannot see.

Back in the 70s most people called ADHD hyperactive ... others called it spoiled or out of control kids.  It was not as common to give medication for these conditions.  Teachers, principals, parents, so many others did not understand that we weren't intentionally looking for excuses to break the rules or not complete our work

Much of the time they would say things like ...

Try a little harder ...

Behave like the others ...

Just focus ...

Apply yourself ...

Sneaking in through the fence
In other words, change who we are to fit in.  Alter how we feel and act to please others.

It is a little ironic that so many people don't hesitate to say things like, "He's a natural at his sport," ... "She was born to dance," ... "Music runs in their family."

Whatever ...

We don't ever seem to question these God given talents ...

They were born to do this ...

Anything positive is said to be a gift from God.

I don't hear many people say "She is blessed to be on the autism spectrum." ... "His gift is severe anxiety and depression." ... "He was born to have muscular dystrophy, or Parkinson's, or dementia."

Life is life ... it is what we make of it.

Now here I am saying that God has set me on this path of transitioning to female.  I am positive something good will come from this.

There are many who tell me that I am not truly female, that I have chosen to pretend to be something I am not ...

I am lying to myself ...

I have turned my back on God ...

I am an unrepentant sinner ...

In other words, I am supposed to change who I am to fit in.  Alter how I feel and act to please others.

beautiful flowers
outside the house
All I can do is shrug.  This is me ... it is how I have felt my entire life so it is normal to me.  I am at peace, I am happy and I have grown closer to God.  I know what my path is, and I don't expect anyone to truly understand.

In fairness I have to say that not many Christians are holier than thou, hate filled bigots.  The ones that are ruin the reputation for everyone.  To those who are adamant that my life is a conscious choice to live in sin, I have a question.

Were you born Christian?
John 3:18 (NIV)Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 
Romans 10:13 (NIV)
for, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 
Being Christian is a choice ... a lifestyle.  The Bible states it takes a conscious decision to become Christian.  It is not how anyone is born.

I can imagine dozens of people not reading to this sentence while screaming, "Here's another atheist, bleeding heart, left wing liberal spewing anti Christian sentiment to justify her sinning lifestyle."

Well ... wrong, wrong ... and wrong.

I am relatively conservative thinking, although libertarian leaning.  I think the constitution has a lot to say if everyone on both sides of the aisle stop creating interpretations that include their personal agendas.

I am Christian ... I just don't feel the need to yell and scream at everybody I feel is not acting the way the Bible and Jesus has said we should.  I prove more with the way I treat others than by quoting verses and judging other people's actions.
Matthew 6:1 (NIV)
Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
Hebrews 12:14 (NIV)
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
A little blue sky
peeking through
the clouds
What cracks me up is when these few defend their comments by saying, "I'm not attacking you personally ..."

Just to enlighten you, words like disgusting, abomination, atrocity, repugnant, vile, vulgar, repulsive, revolting and similar words are a tad bit hostile and are usually taken a little personally.

I do wonder why so many these Christians yell and scream and protest the LGBT community but don't feel the same acrimony toward other issues.

Why aren't there groups of angry Christians at every bar or club protesting those moral values or holding signs with I Samuel 1:14 on it
“How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”
Why are there no marches at Islamic centers, Pagan festivals or other non-Christian celebrations?  Why don't they wave signs with Exodus 20:3?
"You shall have no other gods before me"
I am not saying people are not entitled to their opinions.  We all have our own perspectives ... our likes and dislikes, and talking to others in a civil an open manner is often a means to come to an understanding or a level of mutual respect with many people or groups.

Intentionally singling out a group to exclude them from one thing or another is called bigotry, discrimination, fanaticism.

To makes comments like, "We don't allow gays in our church." is just announcing your disregard for a person's spiritual  well being.

And how do you know there are no gays in your church?  Are you flirting with people of the same gender to see who is interested?

And if you are right and we are all doomed to hell shouldn't you be wanting us to be there?

Is this not like a hospital saying, "We don't treat the sick or injured ... only healthy people are welcome here."

A restaurant owner saying, "We will only serve those who have already eaten.  Hungry people don't belong here."

A homeless shelter only allowing people with proper identification and proof of residence or an address in for assistance.

A barber shop who only will accept naturally bald patrons.

A college not accepting an application because the person has not already earned their degree.

Wow ... I could run this list for several pages, but I think I've made the point.

We all live in one world.  We were all born with our strengths and weaknesses.  It is not for any of us to question what or why people are the way they are ... we just need to be there for them.
John 15:12  (NIV)
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you
I am not trying to change the world ... not even my little corner of it.  I am trying to understand why so many have trouble sharing it.

Another flower with
fresh droplets of water
from today's rain
 
 
If you are not Christian, I hope you realize that not all of us are the screaming radicals the television media show.  I have too many friends who practice other religions ... or o religions.  I have learned much about love and acceptance from you ... especially self-acceptance.

If you are Christian, this post is not aimed at everyone.  I have too many friends that do not fall into the category of hateful, small minded bigot that I get so frustrated with.

I generally do not engage in political or religious discussions.  I just had to get this off my chest.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

There's a madness to my method

The M^M universe
Will likely redo this photo
I have had a plethora of strange and disconnected thoughts over the past few weeks.  This in and of itself is not unusual ...

There are so many times throughout my life I've been told that the way I do things isn't the right way.

- I hold the golf club wrong ... but yet I can out drive so many and have pretty good accuracy.

- I don't know the proper way to throw a bowling ball ... but my average was the highest in my jr. league, and I beat everyone of my coaches when I went to the adult leagues.

- The way I hold chopsticks is strange ... but I can use them better than most people.  I've even eaten cake and ice cream with chopsticks because I was challenged.

- I do not hold a pencil or pen properly ... well ... okay, my writing sucks and always has.  Holding the pencil differently never made my writing better.

Organized my earrings
The point is that I figured out what worked for me.  It may look unorthodox to other people, but what difference does that make.  The world would be very boring if everyone did everything exactly the same way.  If this was the case we would never have seen any of the technological advancements we all enjoy today ... nobody would have thought to do something differently.

I seriously doubt anybody is horribly offended or mortified that I do so many things in my own unique way.  It is highly unlikely that a Facebook friend will see that I hold my chopsticks wrong and unfriend me for being socially unacceptable.

I mean ... we all have our quirks ... our own things that we do that are exclusive to us.  Isn't this what makes us individuals?

I am, and always have been self conscious about my weight.  In a society that sells size 2 women with double d breasts I am really out of place.  I get stressed out about my weight an looks at times ... the issue here is that I eat when I get stressed.

Can we say downward spiral.

My therapist mentioned a girl on Youtube ... the video was called "Fat Girl Dancing" and she has a television show about how she copes with her weight issues.

I got home and whipped out my Google ... Whitney Thore was thin and loved to dance when she was young.  She suffers from a medical condition that has caused her to gain a lot of weight.

She got tired of being treated like a non human just because of her weight.  She found a way to love and accept herself.



This all helped me realize that you can love yourself and embrace your differences.

I mean ... if the most horribly unacceptable thing about me is that I'm fat then I am doing pretty good.  I would rather spend time feeling good about the positive aspects of me and stop demeaning myself for that one issue.

Not that I am satisfied with being fat ... I will make adjustments to lose weight, it's just not *the* most important thing.

Ever since I stopped worrying so much about the number on the scale I've started losing weight.  Realistically I know I will never fit the super-model mold, but I don't need to.  I need to be happy.

Very recently my niece Andrea contacted me and said she wants to start our Saturday morning training again.

Images in the smoke
What do you see
Well, maybe not training.  More like walks ... slow and probably short walks as opposed to the 10 mile training runs we did in 2011.  Either way I am thrilled.  I do want to make sure my knee is ready for the additional stress a walk that includes slight hills and not perfectly even surfaces, but this is in our immediate future.  It is a step in the right direction for my weight and fitness goals.

I just don't understand why people treat others so horribly because they are different.

The poor child on the autism spectrum that catches hell daily because the other kids can't comprehend that his brain works differently.  The others probably don't realize that the one they are traumatizing can likely outperform them in many areas ... he just needs the chance and the right environment.

The kid that stutters, the kid with ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia or any other learning disability ... these kids are often tormented by teachers and parents because they are not functioning as well as the rest of their class.  If they only apply themselves they might ...

They might what?  Become normal?? ... No, they might get more frustrated and learn to hate school.  So many of these kids have superior skills in other areas ... memory, math, learning by hearing or seeing, physical capabilities.  Why not appreciate what they do good.

The boy who acts feminine ...

The girl that is a tomboy (although a little more socially acceptable) ...

The kid that's too tall ... too short ... too fat ... to skinny ...

The daydreamer ...

The shy kid ... the one who would rather be home ...

The kid whose grades are too good, or they seem too smart ...

The kid who is not athletically inclined ...

The black kid in the class of whites ... the white kid in a class of Hispanics ...

Wait a minute ... wasn't I talking about adults and societal expectations?

Well ... yes.

More smoke
This mindset ... this bigotry starts somewhere, and that place is almost always childhood.  Kids are taught that people who are different than them  are ... well, different.  They are taught that what they are must be better, or at least more normal than what these different kids are.

This attitude will follow them into adulthood.  Often the attitudes become more intense ... so ingrained into their being that they look for differences in people so they can feel superior.  They want to make others feel bad about themselves.  They cannot tolerate anything that falls anywhere outside their narrow view of acceptable ... can we say Westboro Baptist Church?

Westboro is not the only hate group, but they are the first to come to mind.

Not all kids who pick on others carry their biases throughout their life.  So many learn to become accepting and see the value of people in spite ... or even because of their differences.

The kids that take the ridicule carry something as well.

We are shackled with doubt and low self esteem.  We begin to believe that we are not good enough ... that we will never be as good as ... that nobody will ever truly accept us.  We become our own worst enemy.  We cannot trust, so very few people ever get to see the real person inside.  We do not want to show what we might be able to do because we've been told it will never be good enough.

We become stuck ...

afraid to move ...

and not asking for help because we feel like we don't deserve it.

I'm sure there are some reading what I just said and are thinking, "This is a load of crap.  You're just making excuses for your failures.  Step up and take responsibility for your own shortcomings."

To you I will simply respond with this ... Thank you for proving my point.

Love my silly fur-babies
Maybe it's time to stop thinking others are not thin enough ... not smart enough ...not rich enough ... lack motivation ... don't do things the right way ... don't fit in.

There are so many ways that I am different than others.  There are so many things that I do not use "the proper technique."  There's a madness to my method, but it works for me.

It feels good to see what I have accomplished despite ... or maybe because of my unique processes.  

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Taking a P ...

No ... this has nothing to do with restrooms.

Although I will finally say this.  Just over a year ago my HR department decided to change the 2 restrooms at my facility to unisex restrooms rather than having a separate men's room and ladies' room.  Both are single toilet facilities with locking doors so there was never an issue of privacy.  The reason the HR rep gave was in essence to make restroom use a non-issue for everyone.

Tiffanie's brain heard, "Because there is now a transgender person in the facility we cannot force her to use the men's room, but we ant to avoid hearing complaints of her using the ladies' room."

This hurt.

I did not ask for this, but EVERYONE thinks it was me.

I mean, it was more than 6 months after I announced my transition at work and began really being me.  Why was it suddenly a potential issue?  Nobody I know of complained.

I waited until now for 2 reasons.

In my office
It is very likely that people from my work read this blog.  I don't really care if they do.  I speak my mind, I never mention who I work for so I am not defaming any person or the company.  I did not want to make an issue over something like this.

Actually, I have never asked for or expected any special treatment.

It is truly the exact opposite ... I wanted to be treated normally.  So many in the company do exactly this.  They treat me like they did three years ago or more.  I appreciate them soooo much.  There are so many new people in the company that they have only known Tiffanie and not the other facade I presented.

 The only concession I every asked for is understanding.

When I first went on estrogen I told several people that I was basically going through puberty again ... I was going to feel like and maybe act like a teenage girl.  I had no clue how I would act ... and truthfully, there was a period where things became very rough, although this was not completely hormonal ... it was depression and PTSD driven.

The first time I went hormonal at work the understanding I received was a comment, "We've all learned to control our moods and emotions.  I expect you to do the same."

Really?

You controlled your mood swings and behavior 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 years into puberty?  I really want to talk to your parents, teachers and siblings.  I do not know of any teenager, male or female who has gained control of their new feelings in a matter of weeks.

Today my doctor prescribed me progesterone.  This shouldn't be as bad from what I've read ... but everyone is different.

I wanted to start it 6 months ago, but I was not in a good place mentally ... and I told him that.  I also told him everything I read and acknowledged that there does not seem to be any conclusive evidence on either side of the issue.

He seemed a little impressed that I went in with information from articles studies  He went over some of the negative possibilities and stated he prefers to not go the progesterone route, but it is up to the patient.

But here are some of the potential positives ... Slight increase in breast size, possibly more full looking - Possible increase in energy, more efficient use of fat for energy - Possible lessening of anxiety, a calming feeling - Possible more regular sleep patterns.  There are more, but those top my list

He wrote the prescription and said to monitor myself and stop taking it if it is causing adverse effects.

He does ask why I haven't changed my name or gender legally yet every visit.  I really want to tell him that nobody is willing to give me the nearly $500.00 to do this, but I know he is trying to encourage me to proceed.

My next appointment is in 6 months.  Maybe ... just maybe this process can be underway before I see him again.

To celebrate a day together and a successful appointment Pam and I ate at Sushi Fresh in Ventura.  We rarely go there, but today we deserved a treat.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Desperately seeking attention

No, not me ... not really.

Well ...

I don't think this is as much about going out of my way to get attention like my kitty Little One does.

She definitely let's everyone know what she wants ... even when she's doing things she knows are at least irritating, if not totally against the rules.




It strikes me as funny when people assume a person is doing something just for attention.

Anyone who falls out of societal norms are often thought to be attention seekers ...

Different hair colors or styles ...

Atypical fashion or clothing ...

Listening to different music ...

Their diet, friends, who they date, where they hang out ...

Whatever.

Is it possible that some kids who act "normal" are doing so to get attention?  Can it be that they would like to be that different person but prefer the attention they get for fitting in?

"Bruce Jenner is just transitioning to get attention!" ... "He's just trying to boost the ratings of that show he's on."

Really?

She must have been insanely intelligent ... I mean ... as a kid.

To be able to plan out a life where she won the Olympics in amazing fashion becoming one of the most recognizable sports figure of her day, to stay in the public eye on speaking venues would all have been done for her need for attention

Then, in the 1980s she knew that she'd be on a reality television show and began taking hormones to boost the ratings of a show that never would have even been considered possible ... especially because the people on the show weren't even famous, and possibly not even born yet.

Sounds like the most logical timeline to me **Rolls Eyes**

Maybe ... just maybe she would have transitioned despite the show ... despite the Olympics ... maybe earlier in life ... maybe in private and without the media scrutiny and torment.  Doing the interview took a lot of courage ... it was a necessary step to try and lessen the daily invasion into her life.

She deserves at least a little respect.

I can assure you that nobody chooses to transition to get attention ... people transition because they can no longer tolerate the physical being they are.  Discrimination, rejection, threats of violence, rumors and worse are the type of attention we want to avoid.




Cats are funny creatures.

When it is feeding time they almost always choose their specific place and wait for me to bring their food.  My Prissy kitty will sit there and want me to slide her food to her.  I suppose that's really not special treatment ... it's more of a habit or a game.

There are people who seem to think that asking for something that some do not ask for, or may not be offered to everyone is akin to demanding special treatment.

Sometimes special treatment is necessary.  It's not out of line for a person in a wheel chair to want a room on the ground floor of a hotel that has no elevator.  A legally blind person may need things written in braille.

But these aren't really special treatment ... they are reasonable accommodations.

Asking for something different is not demanding special treatment.

"Fallon Fox transitioned to gain an advatage in MMA.  Why should she get special treatment?"

Sure ... possibly losing her career, suffering public scrutiny and continual bashing by some famous sports figures like Joe Rogan is so special.  Everybody wants every move they make to be dissected by media personalities.

"Jenna Talackova shouldn't be allowed to be in a female beauty contest."

I don't see how being transgender is an unfair advantage.  She received no favoritism ... she had to do all the same things that all the other contestants did.  The only special treatment she received was when Donald Trump was trying to figure out how to kick her out of the contest and save his oh so macho image.

"Laverne Cox should not be allowed to take rolls from female actresses."

Why not?  If she auditions and earns the part then what's the problem?  How is any of this special treatment?

"She transitioned so she could see naked women in a locker room."

I can't speak for every transgender woman, but if I want to see naked women I could go to a strip club.  Even going into a ladies room in a public place still makes me a little nervous ... sitting in a locker room gawking is out of the question.  I won't even touch on the fact that it's inappropriate and that I'm really not interested.

"Why should I call her by that name?  That's not the name I'm used to."

Should I even bring up the point that many women change the name they were born with and take their husband's last name?  I don't know why they deserve special treatment ... I mean, I never used that last name with them before so why should I now?

I suppose that may be seen as out of line.

I will just say that Marion Morrison, Demetria Guynes, Allen Konigsberg, Krishna Pandit Bhanji, Alphonso d’Abruzzo, Caryn Johnson and many others may have differing opinions on what name they want to be known by.

And no ... I'll make you google them if you don't know.

Asking to be called by a chosen name is in no way asking for preferential treatment; it is asking to be shown a modicum of respect.  Accidentally slipping up is understandable, but flat out saying I will not call you by your name seems to be childish ... maybe selfish ... I don't know.

I guess maybe I don't understand this incessant need to invade other people's private lives.  If you meet a woman in a public place are you going to say, "Nice to meet you.  At any point in your life were you a man?"  My guess is, why ever your were seeing her that would end the conversation.

Would you want anyone to ask you, "Have you ever used a different name?  Any pseudonyms, aliases?  Have you for any reason changed your name?  I need to know because I will only address you by your legal birth name."

Is somebody's social status based on, or does a person earn a level of respect based on a checklist of what you deem acceptable?

Are you willing to be held to someone else's standards?

Wouldn't it be better if we learned to see each other as people ... to enjoy our common grounds ... to respect our differences?

I'm not wanting to change the world ... not even my little corner of it.  I'm just trying to live my life ... and trying to figure out why others care how I accomplish that.

I'm tired.  I heading to get some sleep ... if my cats will let me.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

RIP my precious fur-babies

This is quickly written with no specific point to it ...
Loki and Thor

Yesterday I came home to find my Loki Kitty feeling ill.  It was so clearly not him ... lethargic, whimpering and not wanting to move.  He could move, but clearly was not comfortable moving around.

Loki and his sister Thor  adopted us about three years ago when their mother, Midnight left them in out yard so she could go have another litter.

Spunky, Spooky, Shadow, Patches
Midnight is another kitty that adopted us a couple years before, but was never quite as comfortable as her children.  As a totally feral cat it was unusual for her to allow humans to get near her or her babies, but she did allow me to pet her, and even climbed into my lap if I was sitting outside.

Midnight had several litters of kittens, but not all of them came to our house ... in fact only 2 litters were near our house longer than a quick snack.

Midnight
she was so cute
Two years ago was the group that included Spunky, Shadow, Spooky and Patches.  This group grew up in our yard, but only Spunky and Shadow trusted us enough to come in and be playful.

So why am I rehashing this history?

I don't know ... or maybe I do and I'm finally connecting the dots.

Red - Adopted us in 1999.  Her family moved from our apartment complex and left her behind.  She chose to come to our home of the dozens that were in the same area

Moose and
Little One
Moose - Adopted us in 2000.  A litter of kittens were abandoned in our bus yard.  Moose stayed by my side all day, so I took him home.

Little One - Adopted us in 2002.  She appeared on our patio emaciated.  We fed her and she chose to stay with us.

Smokey, Simba (and a lot of others) - Appeared in 2005 with our new neighbors.  The neighbors moved and left the cats and their kittens abandoned.

My favorite photo of
Smokey ... being defiant
... like a cat
Yetti and eventually Mr. Meowgi and Prissy were cats that were either abandoned or feral by nature, but either way were not being cared for.

I do not understand how people can be so heartless.  I cannot comprehend how somebody can leave a creature to "fend for itself" after they have been domesticated.  I cannot understand the mentality that says "it's just an animal so it doesn't matter if it dies."

It matters ...

They matter ...

They have feelings and deserve to be treated better than so many people treat them.  Those who abuse animals, who are cruel to them or mistreat them sicken me.

Yetti
Knowing that all these kitties were abandoned in one way or another breaks my heart.  Knowing they trust me enough to care for them ... having them bond with me is very fulfilling.  Not everyone can say that a completely feral cat trusted them enough to climb on their lap and wanted to be petted ... most people cannot say that a cat that was left to fend for herself and did not want to be within 20 feet of people climbs onto them every evening to be brushed.

Red died a few years ago.

Mr Meowgi
Midnight and three of the kittens disappeared on the same day 18 months ago ... I hope this does not mean that some hateful person took them, or did something cruel to them.

Shadow and Smokey both died less than a year ago.

Yesterday Loki died.

I cannot describe the level of hurt I feel ... I cannot describe how empty I am.  The other cats are acting very sad.  Thor is not her usual self ... she keeps looking outside like she expects to see her brother waiting to want in.

Prissy
Having the other cats does not make the deep ache any different ... we are consoling each other as we mourn our losses.

I do not plan on adopting any more cats, but if another feral or abandoned cat walks into my life I will not ignore it and let it suffer.  I cannot be that inhuman.



RIP Loki - I miss you