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Loss of Signal

Have you ever cast a bottle with a note into the sea; a note to a helium balloon and let it go or driven down the high way with your headlights turned off at night?

What makes us do these things? Testing of faith? I have done these and many other things before… and I have always come back to this reason – that it was a way for me to detach myself, even if for a moment from who and what and where I was… to escape or send off my thoughts into another place, because there was simply no more room for them to remain in my brain alone.

LOS or Loss of Signal is a very common occurrence in the space program. It occurs when the capsule (shuttle) cannot receive radio communication from ground control. In a sense, there is a black out period from communications.

I believe that my journey is at the equinox of this moment of Loss of Signal… a point where all the preparation and training and planning MUST now serve me well, for where I go from here forth, I must do so with out a safety net of ground control.
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At a Crossroad

I’m beginning to think that I reached another crossroad in my path that I seem to be delayed at. With just moving back with Vicky and the kids, I’ve slowed down to make the transition easier on them and for the kids to get used to my new look. This delay seems to have me feeling more anxiety as of late. I’m finally starting to use a touch of makeup at home know. I have been wearing some tops around the house that I recently got and it’s been nice to be able to relax and be myself around my kids for once. I’m going to start the research of the local places to take care of my facial hair this week. This is an item that I needed nearly complete before I wanted to go fulltime, so I’ve been thinking of using this slow time to start laser hair removal, or electrolysis. This is a must for this summer. As for what else is on my list, I have not set any dates for anything else because I’m taking this one day at a time. This is the only way I know to handle everything right now. With everything that can happen being trans and the stress of coming out to others. I’m trying to just handle what I can today and move on. I don’t want to say that its going great, but I must say that it has been one of the most calm periods I’ve had in a long time. Without many of the stresses I once had I’ve been able to relax a little at home. I’m finally sleeping better and have had more mornings now that have been easier to get through. But I know this pinned up anxiety will need to be taken care of soon.

I seem to be at place that is comfortable and its scaring me some. I’m starting to see me delay things and it is getting to a point that I feel I need to be ready for the next step soon. The comfortable place is home with my kids. The scary part is although I have talked to my kids a lot in the last few years about the things I’ve went through, and they have been good so far, they have not seen me in person. I’m terrified of their reaction. One part of me say’s “Come on Michelle, this is when you feel the most comfortable with yourself, you’ll do fine!” and the other say’s “What happens if it don’t, will they still have enough courage and compassion to hang in there with all that could happen?”. I have shown them both pictures of myself and I haven’t had any bad reaction to anything of the things that I’ve talked to them about. Sure, that should give me comfort in knowing that, but something still is burning inside me saying to keep your eyes out, be ready, that it’s going to happen any moment. I’ve come to expect something to go wrong just when I think things are going well.

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My Greatest Burden, My Greatest Gift by Marti Abernathy

In a recent email I received, someone wrote “When love is good, life is good.” It reminded me of how I felt after finding love for the first time after my ex-wife. My ex was the “the love of my life.” When we married, I never expected us to part. Our relationship lasted for 10 years, then things fell apart. That experience of loss reminded me of the the Hindenburg. I spent the next 4 years feeling like a charred piece of rubble. In December of 2004, I found love when I least expected it. Meeting Ellen and finding that fire in my soul again totally refreshed and renewed my spirit. It’s when I wrote the tag line for my personal blog, Marti Abernathey.com, “Breathing is existence, but loving is living.”

One of the biggest hurdles for me in keeping love (in the past) was looking for love from others, before I believed I was worthy of it. No matter how many people told me they loved me, I just couldn’t believe it myself. I felt different, I felt ugly, I felt… wrong.

There are many times I wonder if I did the right thing by transitioning. The more I get into different theories (feminist and otherwise) the more it’s made me analyze my thoughts and feelings about why I’m trans and why I transitioned. In every step of the process I’ve always felt it was right. It reminds me of Christ’s words in the bible about bad trees not producing good fruit, and good trees producing bad fruit.

“Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Matthew 7:17-18”

My life, my spirit, and my essence have found a peace and a focus I’ve never felt before, since I’ve been aware of my existence as a human being. The rock of that joy and the goodness of that tree is something I don’t think I’ll ever be able to describe.

The B Word

For some strange reason I have been feeling pretty good lately. There isn’t one thing to pin the good vibes on to, but, things have been building up.

Two weeks ago the Pride Leadership program began with a two day retreat at a lodge in Newark, Ohio. Pride Leadership is being run by the United Way of Central Ohio. It’s the only such program in the country which selects applicants from the TLGB community to be educated on what it takes to be in a community leadership role, and/or a position on a not-for-profit Board. Needless to say, but I am the lone Trans person in the program that also includes 16 members of Project Diversity (men and women of (all) colors) making the total at the retreat 32. This is a win-win situation from a personal standpoint. For 8 months I will be trained twice a month in everything from cultural competence and resource development to parliamentary procedures, leading through conflict, racial disparities, and more. Seeing the various aspects of community service can only help make me a better, stronger person for others, and myself. Not to mention meeting 32 new people that have much better jobs than I do with degrees to spare. Good things happen when you meet good people. I am starting to really believe that.

Feeling good about the future can be a wonderful thing, and, that can lead to more potentially wonderful things. Being in TransOhio http://www.transohio.org/ has opened up the opportunity to take part in discussion panels at OSU’s main branch & the Newark campus for Gender & Sexuality courses, PFLAG meetings, and, even a group of 14-16 year old kids at a local college prep school to talk about what it’s like to be trans in today’s world. One point that’s important is to say that I only speak for me, as far as experience, and most trans individuals can, potentially, share an eerily similar story. The groups have all been great. Very receptive. So far it’s 5/5 with positive responses. mmmm, I’m feelin alright.
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The New York Times Covers Married Couples Staying Together Through SRS

A positive news article covering both a success story and the legal implications (but why is it in ‘Fashion and Style’?)

Through Sickness, Health and Sex Change

“We’re one of the few of our friends who are still in our original marriage,” Denise Brunner said.

But it is not exactly the same union, as evidenced by their marriage certificate, which they have enlarged to poster size to make the point. The original, from 1980, listed Donald Brunner as the bridegroom and Frances Gottschalk as the bride. But a sex-change operation in 2005 turned Donald into Denise. Fran stood by her spouse, and the couple secured an amended certificate, putting “Denise” next to “bridegroom” for lack of other options.

Read the full article here

Male au pairs make inroads in child-care role, but slowly

Once again, traditional gender roles are challenged.

From the Arizona Daily Star, April 28, 2008:

It would be an overstatement to say male au pairs and male nannies are threatening the dominance of Mary Poppins and Julie Andrews and their ilk. What does seem to be true, however, is that awareness about male caregivers has been on the rise as traditional gender lines continue to blur.

Read the full article here.

The Transcendence Continues

I thought I would link Kinsey’s blog concerning an issue her husband has with her friendship towards trans women. It just goes to show you how complicated gender issues (or transgender issues in this case) can make our lives.

Reading about a husband’s honesty and willingness to communicate what he might not understand or and cope with was refreshing. I think you’ll agree with me.


A Cooler Kid Than I Ever Was

I just wanted to take a few moments and share this blog entry I found today.   This kid is in 9th grade and willing to make a stand for LGBT rights.

How cool is that?

A Belated Introduction

(Post inspired by this post from Donna Rose)

So, many of you have probably seen my name popping up recently in comments around here (and other places, such as 360 and Livejournal) and wondered “Who is this strange person and why is she here?”

A brief summary to start with – I am female-bodied, and female-identified (Cisgendered, or Genetic Girl). My spouse of almost 13 years is currently questioning their own gender identity, which has made me reflect on my own life and discover how much of it has transcended gender norms and led me to a place where gender identity is almost a non-issue for me.

I was raised in a small town in Southern England in the 1960s. My mother was a single parent, and we lived with two elderly, never-married sisters who had been friends of my late grandmother. Thus my home environment was very much a matriarchal one, with females performing all roles – driving, finances, home maintenance, breadwinner, as well as the traditional female roles. My mother maintained a fairly androgynous appearance and would frequently get “sir’ed”, much to her annoyance. One of the sisters ran a Cub Scout Troop which met at the house, and thus my earliest playmates were male. I preferred my ‘Action Man’ (G.I. Joe) to my dolls, my train set to my doll’s house, and spent many hours climbing trees and becoming a “little woodsman” in our vast backyard. To me, none of this seemed odd and the only difference I was aware of between boys and girls was that we used different public restrooms. As you can see from the photo of myself aged 4, I looked like the typical ‘tomboy’.

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Know Your Role

Know Your RoleEach and every person has their role to play, be it father, mother, wife, husband… etc. My roles have been father, son and husband… friend and even boyfriend to others. I remain a strong person, committed to my responsibilities, but does or can my role change with my transition? Can I be a mother, while upholding my fatherly responsibilities? Can I be a fulfilling husband as a TransWoman to my wife? Can I still fulfill to my parents the aspirations they had for me as their son?

I won’t make a cop-out statement that “I am who I am” or “I’m the same person I always was”, because, quite honestly, I’m not -AND- if you would have asked me this even a year ago, I would have not agreed with what I just said.
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