Back in Vancouver. Heck of a Christmas

- A bit loely without the dog there. Got to do some processing with my mum.

- My 15(?) year-old roleplayer/music-geek younger cousin (the one who taught himself to read at 20 months?) told me all about his completed Nanowrimo entry.

- At Chirstmas dinner, my Aunt had to go in the ambulance. She's fine. Gallbladder.

- My Mum was thrilled with the six-petaled-lotus-shaped candle holder made from scrap aluminum, as well as the painted birch box. Go Trades! Then she had to go to the hospital. She's fine too

- All of my relatives are now informed about my "lass" status. As in "both sides of the family." It turns out that all of them are either tolerant, supportive, or interested in this "trans" thing. I am very fortunate.

---

On a humourous note....

One aunt gave me pyjamas for surgical recovery. Bless her.

But it turned out they were too small. So we took them back. To La Senza.
La Senza. Think: pink sparkly teenybop heaven!!!!
(Google image search does not do it justice)
Also think. Me. At La Senza. Trying on pyjamas. In snow-mobile carpenter's pants, steel-toed boots, and a not-so-wintery pigshave haircut.

Once you stop laughing, I ask you this:

Does anyone want to trade (anything - anything at all) for a La Senza gift card with refunded pyjamas on it?

[Edit: It's been claimed.]

I need to do two things when I'm writing a self-examining post.

1. Try to infer what external causes have prompted me to write this (AKA take at least a minute to calm the fuck down and think)

2. Don't pull my punches.

Overlooking both. Bad habits. Showing improvement though.

Anyhow, what I forgot in the last post was:

1. Context

I'm growing out my facial hair as a step to going to the L.A.S.E.R. hair removal clinic. This is the last time I have to do LASER hair removal on my face. After this, a matter of electrolysis.

When I do this, I tend to dress in a much more masculine fashion, because while I don't like being a "boy in a dress," I like being a "bearded boy in a dress" even less. The gender of my presentation gets on my mind, as one might well imagine. Each time I grow out my beard like this, I know that the next time, it will be even sparser. This reminds me that I am making, and have already made irreversable changes to my body. It's good, but it drives home that I have committed myself to this.

Also, due to the changes in my face and build, each time I grow out my beard and toss on some baggy shirts, I look increasingly FtM, which amuses me to no end.


2. Pulling punches

The dilemma can better be summarized as:

What's the point of trying to look feminine when the more I try, the more it highlights all the parst of me that don't look like a girl, so I  present like a crossdresser? Am I dressing like a boi out of fear of having "tranny" stamped on my forehead? Or do I actually just not want to look feminine? Is this discomfort and the dire towards the masculine more due to the fact that I just don't feel right in a feminine presentation?

[this was where this post was supposed to end, but following my own advice has led me to really sort things out]

And is the problem with intelligibility more to do with my worries about seeing my family?

When I told my Mum about how her "advice on femininity was welcome, but I'm not a gender normative female," she said that she didn't consider herself "to be a gender-normative female." I had to drive how that when I said "not gender normative" I didn't mean "I'm comfortable being single, kayaking and carrying boxes up stairs" but rather "the kind of woman that, a while back, my Mum would describe with the hushed phrase, 'I think she has some gender issues.'" So I said, when I say non-normative, I mean kinda butch.

"Kinda butch" was not the best term, but I used it because I thought that my Mum might get it. Our former neighbour was/is dealing with his daughter's coming out and suddenly "looking like a butch lesbian." Those were his words - I would say that she looks and acts like a Greenpeace volunteer whose sexuality is her own business, but if that's my mom's baseline of "butch" then that would make me Leslie fucking Feinburg.

A lot of my conversations about my changing my sex (my sex needs changing, my gender is fine) include similar problems. The issue in my head is that most of my family hasn't seen me since December, when the biggest change in my appearance was that I was wearing better fitting clothes than normal. Thanksgiving is coming up and I just want to go to Kelowna and eat some salad and drink punch and talk with my loved one - i.e. I want to forget about all this trans shit

This is likely because I've spent the last week introducing myself to other SFU students as female and having no bloody idea how I'm coming across

But come Thanksgiving, I know that I have the choice of presenting either in an intelligibly feminine fashion, or as the giant (possibly somewhat butch, possibly not) dyke that I am. The former is not something that I want to do - or am going to do, so I guess that dilemma is solved. But the latter may lead to more well-meant expressions of concern over "whether I've really thought this through."

Gah! Of course I've thought this about this
.

Oops.
I mean, of course I've thought this through... I think.

Oops again.
I mean: I... guess this is the right thing to do, but if you have a better idea I'd like to hear it.

All of these relate to looooong concerned/worried/loving/irritating conversations that I don't want to have - in part because I want to come out to someone and get slapped on the back and offered a celebratory beer (Anne Travers is, so far, the only person to take this tack) - but largely because I've already had the "Have you actually thought about what the fuck you're doing?" talk about six times with others, and about four hundred times with myself. Maybe I should just write my best guess as to my gender identity down and what the hell I'm doing with/to my body, career and personal safety on a business card, hand it out and say "it's all there, now let's forget about it, eat and talk about the last season of CBC radio, Dynamic Optics, social history and all that other wonderful stuff." And maybe we can actually forget about it instead of using it to cover up the giant ball of mutual concern that is the product of me changing my sex.

Okay, maybe I don't actually want to forget about all this trans shit, but rather be able to have meaningful personal conversations with people that don't rely on me going over the basics to the point where I'm wondering why it's Helen Leung and not me who's teaching "Introduction to Gender Studies."
...to follow up on the last post

Most of the other deaths in my life were expected The second death was my paternal grandmonther, who'd been fighting with cancer, and so her death was no surprise. I don't remember why my mom went to the funeral and not myself. My Paternal grandfather died suddenly, but I made the trip and saw his body. My maternal grandfather was obviously anticipating dying when I went to see him last.  My maternal grandmother, who died last spring, was the fifth human death. She was ill first. I went to see her knowing that she was dying. I got there, and she died the next morning, then I saw her again. Animal deaths too. Rags, my dog died suddenly and painfully, but I was there when it happened.

The exception to this is the first death: that of my father. He killed himself with car exhaust. I think it was in my grandparents garage. It know it was on Easter weekend in 1987. On Sunday, two men came to the door, I don't remember any more than that. I was told that he died. My mother was concerned that if I saw the body, my nightmares (which often shifted into walking night terrors, would worsen). I agreed: nightmares needed to be managed. So I didn't see his body.

As a consequence, twenty Fathers Days later, I will have dreams where he's still alive. Unlike the other dreams with dead relatives, I can't say "Waitaminute, I saw you on your way out." With my father, there's an explanation: he faked his death and ran off, or I'd been chronically misinformed. In my sleep, I have no evidence to contradict.

I guess this is one of the reasons why you might want to see the body.

McNair
Margaret G.            Frank E.
   1916-2006             1918-2002

My mother, three aunts, and one uncle stepped formard to fall on their knees around the hole in the ground. They were gently handling my grandmother's ashes at the end of the sevice. It was a heavy brass box - I'm told that eight pounds of ashes is a lot. They took my grandfather's box out of the hole. It had lain there for a little over three years. Had it really been over three years? The verdigris that tried to hide his name informed my time-sense. They put them face-to-face, then sealed the top and we tossed a little dirt on it. More service, popcorn prayer, then candles and shovelfulls of earth. The capstone will go on later, I think.

It's a stone's throw from my father's grave:
James R. Fox
1945-1987.
It has Maple leaves on it. He liked Fall.
He was also an American, sort of.

It was good, or at least kind, that I realized that I could see death and grieve without feeling angry at someone. Not "I'm going to make sure this doesn't happen again goddamn it," but instead, "God, this really hurts."

Later, after the aunts and uncle were done, the elder cousins (this includes myself) were at my grandmother's, sorting through old belongings. We were giving a new home to masterless possessions. This felt right: full circles; proper scavenging.
Grandmother's apartment. Same relatives as yesterday less one cousin.  Aunts and uncles who've finally got some sleep. Presbetyrean minister. Consensus decision-making. What hymns do we sign? What prayers do we say? Who says them? Tea. Uneaten cookies. You want ot talk and everybody's looking at you but you can't choke out the words. Moving empty cardboard boxes up from the van.

I feel a little alienated. I like my family's faith: it's beautfiul and it does good things; but I don't believe. I didn't appreciate this before.

Then to the funeral home. Muzak. Third-order Knights of Columbus crest on the wall signed by the Grand Knight and the Dungeon Master, or something. No one met us, so my uncle and mom sat while I wandered around and into a roomful of caskets.
A few people mention him, usually in passing. Outside of my mother, I've only heard "you remind me of him" once.

So be it: a man takes his own life. He's one of many I suppose.

But... I want answers. That I'm so interested disturbs me. For someone who's so gung-ho on society before biology (adopt!) (before god?), why am I so intent? I'm twenty-five, he's been dead for over three-quarters of my life for fuck's sake.

                                    but I hear this is the age of asking questions,
                                            an age that precedes a life
                                                    of living in unknown answers.



Indeed, it is on the edge of now. And now, much to my surprise, I may be able to consult a necromancer, or what passes for one nowadays.

So, speak to the man with the secrets, conjure a shade and ask some questions. It worked for Saul.

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the_fantastic_ms_fox

August 2017

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