Archives for July 2019

“It appears the page is run by a TERF”

It’s amazing how difficult it is to talk about women’s issues.

Today I was outed as a “TERF.”

Viral Post

The post that started it all

For those uninitiated, that’s Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist.

Which is technically true, I suppose. In that I understand that the only thing that makes a person one sex or the other is their anatomy. The rest is all gravy.

Trans Politics Dwell in Hyperbole

I have resisted getting directly involved in the conversation for two reasons:

  1. My focus is women. Not what makes someone a woman or men who want to be women.
  2. I have more important things to do than deal with trans rights activists who are not going to listen to a damn thing I say.

I already lost one old friend over this. A friend who started life as a girl and now lives as a man. Someone who I knew years ago and care for deeply.

Someone who wouldn’t listen when I said that I do understand.

I thought of myself as a man in a woman’s body for 15 years. I mentioned this before, but it bears repeating because every time it comes out that I disagree with trans identity politics, people assume I don’t understand.

Or that I was never “really” trans.

Yeah, and no true Scotsman could be a sex maniac.

Because I disagree, they try to write me off. Because disagreement isn’t allowed.

Policewoman

Stop right there! I’m gonna have to issue you a citation for Engaging A Famous Fallacy!

Which tells you everything you need to know, really.

What Are We Even Arguing About?

It’s not possible to “be a woman inside” because the only thing that makes anyone a woman is her outsides. The “science” they cite is all small, cherry-picked studies. It reminds me of how Rene’ Descartes declared the pineal gland the seat of the soul.

He’s the one we have to thank for this whole body-soul separation thing in modern philosophy, by the way. Thanks, Rene’.

And do I need to remind you that “lady brain” has been used to treat women like children for ages??

Not to mention, if you’ve never been something, you’re only imagining what it’s like.

If being trans is totally valid, why transition? If transwomen “are women” then what are they transitioning to?? Why go through hormones or surgery? Why worry about “passing?” Normalize presenting somewhere between the accepted categories! Please, for the love of god! Little gay boys and girls everywhere will thank you.

Not to mention the bald-faced irony of trans women wanting into women’s spaces as safe havens from men…. while ridding us of safe havens from men!

Your body is not female just because you say it is.

You can be the most effeminate guy around, you may very well be more “ladylike” than me. But you are a man, honey.

Brazenshe You're A Man Honey And That's Okay

It’s okay, darling, we’ll figure this out!

Yes, I received several braindead replies saying that transwomen have female bodies.

None of them were able to tell me what ‘female’ means. Woman = female = woman is not a definition, it’s a thought loop. 

I was having a lot of fun for the first few hours. But eventually I got tired. I told someone that they knew perfectly well what ‘female’ meant and that the argument was dumb.

They did not respond to that.

This Isn’t About You

You may have noticed that my original post above doesn’t mention trans anything.

I never said trans people aren’t people. Or that they are not deserving of human rights.

I said what women are. And what I believe motivates anyone who says differently.

And lots of people took that very personally.

Trans women are men. Anyone with an identity integration issue that messes with them that bad needs help, not hormones.

By The Hair

Transactivists don’t care for your opinion!

But compassion is only allowed one shape. Only “affirming.” Independent thought is discouraged. I came to the wrong conclusions so I must not understand.

And it’s their business to make me understand.

Actually, this is the weirdest part to me.

I do not know most of the people I argued with today. Come to find out through a third party, they were sent my way by my sister. Who told me to leave her alone but doesn’t feel the need to return the favor.

Why they felt compelled to Set Her Straight I can only speculate.

But it sure doesn’t come across as security in their convictions.

And, anyway, how self-absorbed is it to insist that everyone around you play along with your denial of physical reality? Or you will threaten them. Or shout at them. Or sue them (and call 911 when they ask you about it.)

And yes, this is about transwomen, really. Literally the only person who spoke up for transmen was my old friend. 

But I was told how “transwomen are women” by over half a dozen uninvited guests.

Transwomen are Not Our Allies

But the reason I have a problem, the reason I care to begin with

Is because transwomen are not allies to women.

Bogey Man

We need to wake up!

They don’t care about abortion access except to insist healthcare providers call us “uterus-bearers.” They don’t care about rape survivors being traumatized by the male form. They don’t care about women in third world countries. Or the ongoing plague of female feticide.

They don’t care about the United States’ awful maternal death rate, so long as the midwives refer to us as “pregnant people.”

There’s only one type of person who might get pregnant. And we have been oppressed for millennia because of it.

And trans women don’t care about that. They don’t see that. They see us having feelings and wearing dresses and call that “freedom” because it’s what they want to do.

So do it!

You have a sex and a personality. One doesn’t have to determine the other.

That’s really all I wanted to say.

Fight Despair Together: What Does Life on Your Terms Look Like?

You see the well-trodden paths in your life. You learn ways to stop getting stuck there. You go, killer! The next question is, “Where do we go from here?”

We have to forge new paths, create new ways of relating to people around us. If we are doing our inner work well, this should be obvious to us. We recognize familiar situations and remember how we would have reacted in the past.

Late Night

My coping mechanisms work fine…. Until they don’t!

Take Responsibility for Your Reactions

Personal example, a weird thing I have is I hate waking up alone. Like, if I went to bed alone, okay. But in that half-awake haze of the Night Owl at 8am, I seek out the comfort of my beloved.

And if he’s up early playing a game, it takes me to this weird, awful thing where each of my parents preferred a screen to my company.

Please keep in mind, I’m still barely half-awake.

There have been days when I was well into a spiral of lashing out and self-loathing by the time I really became conscious.

My new favorite YouTube shrink is Abdul Saad. In one video he says that stability is necessary before self-development can begin. This is so true! I’m so grateful to my husband for putting up with all my drama and being a consistent presence in my life.

Saying ‘No’

Sometimes I’m sad when I think of my old family and how none of my efforts made any difference. But without those people around, my dust is finally settling. I can begin to see myself as I truly am, without being drained by people who don’t know how to give.

So, when you see the old reaction – In my case, freaking the fuck out – but the instinct behind it is muted because you have been working through the blockage that triggers it – My fear of abandonment – you begin to see new ways to handle things.

Mostly these days I can stay calm long enough to remind myself who I’m talking to. Why I got up in the first place. Maybe I help deal with something bothering him. And, more often than not, I simply go back to bed.

Yawn

I love you guys, but I need my rest!

You might call this a ‘soft no.’

Another thing Dr. Sahd said is that suffering is a necessary prerequisite for personal growth. Not to throw a pity party but, dear readers, I have been suffering.

I have been tired before. I ran myself ragged in my 20s because I didn’t know any better.

And I thought pushing myself would make me harder. It just makes me numb.

Since I married my husband I have pushed myself harder than ever, in love instead of fear. I hoped this would carry me through. I hoped I would adjust to this complicated life.

I’m doing okay. But I have had to start saying no, as an act of desperation. It’s not easy! My impulse to prove myself and my enthusiasm for giving made me turn away from my own inconvenient needs a few too many times.

My family is a wonderful source of love, cuddles and companionship. But I need to be alone.

I have described it to my husband as a house – I am happy to have guests but I need time to clean up and take out the garbage. It’s starting to pile up.

Despite all my explanations, he is very extroverted and just doesn’t quite get it. He is getting better at anticipating my needs, but I can’t expect him to be my emotional babysitter.

I have to let go of needing to always please others and always feel included, because I have to find a way to include solitude in my life.

This is a must. I’m starting to lose my inner thread more and more. Even when rested I’m irritable and distracted.

Reading By The Window

I know I wrote it down somewhere!

Life on My Terms…. Who am I?

I bring it up because life on our terms isn’t just about deciding what we want and pursuing it. I reshaped my life a few years ago because I reached a crossroads. But Happily Ever After is always more complicated than we might wish.

We will always hit walls. Sometimes our goals don’t align with our abilities and we have to re-evaluate.

Most of all, remember you are a work in progress. Life on your terms requires a strong understanding of yourself.

My first dream was to be a musician. I pursued this dream for years and with various methods. At 20, life on my terms would have looked like playing out with my band every week. Travel, drugs and alcohol, all that stuff.

Now I understand that, if I had succeeded, that lifestyle would have fried me. And quite possibly killed me. The crippling anxiety that stopped me makes sense in retrospect. I still hope to communicate with the masses, but I don’t even like watching other people play stadiums!

A big part of actually accomplishing growth is letting go of how you thought things would be. The Buddha said the root of all suffering is wanting and, although asceticism mostly pisses me off, I think this is where that wisdom applies.

The Only Constant in Life is Change

It’s important to keep trying to be a little better, day after day. And while our goal vision is a great motivator, remember that it’s just a vision. It’s an idea. The only thing that’s real is what’s in front of you right now.

Life on our terms is not about bullheadedly pursuing an ideal. And you will find that your terms, your boundaries, your needs change as you change.

Unbalanced

I had it balanced there for a second!

My mother once cautioned me against using psychedelics because “it changes your brain chemistry. It changes who you are, forever!” Later I learned that, yeah, that’s kinda the point.

And anyone who wants to stay exactly the way they are is not someone I want to spend a lot of time with.

Once again I’m going to urge you to keep a journal. Just a notebook to write down your thoughts as they come up. It’s an invaluable tool for organization and reflection. Plus, you will be amazed how much you plain old forget.

What you want is only half the picture. Who you are will assert itself in sneaky ways.

Radical Acceptance is the Cure for What Ails Ya

I could easily have gotten some pills for the anxiety and blamed the world for whatever level of failure I attained in the sexist music business. And I can only imagine what a miserable fuck I would be at 35.

Don’t imagine for a second that this tomboy thought she would have four kids and just want to stay home to clean and write. Hell, no.

There is what you want, and there is who you are. You have to radically accept who you are, otherwise you will be running in brambly circles forever.

**We’re coming up on the last push in our Fight Despair Together series. I hope I have helped a few of you gain some insight and get a little grounded for the hard work in the coming year. Heal yourself, come together.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Why Do Men Run the World?

The film begins with a man in a kitchen. It’s the scene of a revolution, he says, where men and women are renegotiating the human power balance.

By The Wrists

This isn’t what I meant by ‘holding hands’!

When you don’t get much time to sit and read, a good documentary can be the greatest thing.

I found one that really pulls it all together. And it’s over 25 years old!

Dr. Gwynne Dyer is another new name to me. He’s getting up there these days but still maintains an active publishing and speaking career. He even has a Twitter.

He’s a journalist and historian who’s taken his education and experience and synthesized a unique perspective. He uses it to spell out the origins of Patriarchy.

He explains why it first emerged and how it’s become an outdated handicap.

Filmed in 1992, the backdrop of the inaugural festivities of President Bill Clinton provides its starting example of The State. Militarized, hierarchical.

Then he takes us all the way back to the cave times. Hunter-gatherer societies were different depending on their circumstances. Some were warlike boys’ clubs, but others were egalitarian.

Dr. Dyer tells us that, before agriculture, there is little evidence of one sex being considered superior. Then with the advent of farming – “probably invented by a woman” – men suddenly lost their role.

A Men’s Revolution

During the village time, the members of the village discussed things and came to a consensus of how things would be. But women oversaw the homestead.

Hilda Reaps

I make things grow, what can I say?

Fertility goddesses reigned supreme. Hunting was no longer necessary, and men took a back seat. He tells us archeologists find 100 female fertility figures for every one male figure from this period.

But perhaps most gut-wrenching of all was that, at the birth of the concept of Wealth, a man’s property was passed to his sister’s child when he died, not his own.

You might not know who a child’s father is, but you always know who the mother is.

Dr. Dyer tells us about “the makings of a revolution, ….so old it’s not in the history books.” Men took over and spent thousands of years taming the power of female sexuality.

As agricultural villages coalesced into nation-states, a full quarter of the early Mesopotamian laws were restricting what women could do.

Huda Lutfi taught history at the American University of Cairo in 1992. She had many amazing things to say in this film. She was studying women in Medieval Islam, which meant reading between the lines.

Women in Medieval Islam are invisible. They wrote nothing and left no records. She says she knows what they were doing by what the scholars wanted them to stop doing.

Why Would Our Men Do This to Us?

Why did men, who basically cared about their mothers and wives and sisters and daughters, cooperate in such a scheme?

As civilization became bigger and more complex, tyranny was the only way to keep everyone together. Ruling by terror was the only way to communicate to the masses.

Despair

How could you do this to me, babe?

Needing to Defend Their Country Gave Men Status Again

Dr. Dyer shows us how the great pharaohs’ tombs are surrounded by hundreds of other graves belonging to servants and slaves. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Welcome to civilization.”

These men who stepped up to fight other aggressive men offered men in general a much-needed status boost.

“Sure,” says Dr. Dyer, “you’ll have to obey us but you’ll have control over your women. And your property will go to your sons when you die.”

And Patriarchal religions tied it all together, the Universe a perfect hierarchy with God at the top. Then man, then woman.

Why Push Women Down?

The tyranny necessary to create and defend a nation is fueled by soldiers. If women have freedom, the birth rate drops because babies are a lot of work. And women develop other interests.

Reducing women so our only place in society is childbearing is how you get enough soldiers to win.

“Men Were Never Oppressed.”

Dr. Dyer tells us how global mass communication is chipping away at “the old ways.” Global culture is, by its very nature, more cooperative. More feminine, I suppose, if only by virtue of women participating at all.

One thing that hits me that Dr. Dyer doesn’t really dwell on is, “men were never oppressed.” When women have freedom we don’t use it to lock men away. A woman-lead society is a more equal society.

I believe part of this is because of innate differences in perspective. The interconnectedness of people can be a brutal force in your life when you make people with your body.

And when that body and the world remind you of this possibility incessantly.Film Capture

A record number of women were elected to Congress in 1992. One of them was Elizabeth Furse from Oregon. She tells the story of taking the group picture on the steps, she was at the top, in the back.

Just in time, two white men stepped in front of her. “There’s no me, it’s almost like I’m not there.”

Above the pageantry of the 1992 inaugural parades, Dr. Dyer tells us that Patriarchy is slowly collapsing.

After 5,000 years, Patriarchy is not just in our institutions, it’s in our heads. But it is not in our genes.

“The problem is not ‘human nature,’ it’s that mass societies are still trapped inside the ancient machine they built thousands of years ago, to deal with the problems of thousands of years ago.

Lifeguard

Just stay right there, okay, cutie? You know, forever.

“The machine called Patriarchy was the only way to run an early mass society. It was refined into both a killing machine and a breeding machine as the early mass civilizations started fighting one another. And we conquered the whole planet with it.

“But now, our weapons have become so destructive that we can no longer afford to fight major wars. And we don’t actually have to live in patriarchal dictatorships anymore. Mass communication means that we can be democratic.

“Patriarchy no longer makes sense as an institution.”

As a white man and military historian, he has no axe to grind here. I think this makes his words that much more insightful.

He leaves us in the kitchen where we began, saying men and women are renegotiating the most fundamental human partnership. He offers this as reason for hope.

He doesn’t specify what partnership he means but, as he shares a bite with a little girl in the final shot, the meaning is clear.

Reproduction and raising the next generation is both the biggest burden and the biggest opportunity we have to impact the future. In modern times, women have asserted our rightful place of power in the system.

We don’t want to enslave men. We want our reproductive capacity to not be weaponized against us.

Dr. Dyer’s hopeful tone stands out to me because many of us are good at pointing out where Patriarchy fails us, but so few have an inkling where we are going from here.

He leans into snark a few times, making his own feelings clear: Patriarchy is on the way out, and everyone will benefit. Just as a natural result of the evolution of society.

This information should be everywhere. It should be in children’s books and kitchen conversations.

Understanding our past will enable us to consciously create a better future. So few of us have any real understanding of the causes or the effects of the societal structure we live in. We tend to take it for granted (or even claim it doesn’t exist!)

We can’t afford to go stumbling into the future without a strong understanding of ourselves.

Watch the movie, it’s less than an hour long. It explains everything.

Fight Despair Together: How Do I Know It’s Working?

When we are going inward and doing personal work, the most important thing is to stay on-task.

How Do I Choose Which Path to Take?

Raking Leaves

This is harder than it looks!

Stay focused on a simple goal, don’t be distracted by side paths that may pop up. If you are working on expressing yourself more clearly and you realize that you are experiencing social anxiety, it’s tempting to run off and treat the anxiety.

But why? Who’s to say the communication issue didn’t cause the anxiety? Or they could both have origins in a single, forgotten event from childhood.

But you know they are related. Focusing on one will help the other.

Pick one.

Keep notes of your discoveries so you can go back over what you run into. Focusing on one thing at a time is harder than it sounds, but it’s vitally important.

I like to think of my mental landscape as a forest, some paths well-worn and easy to follow. Some are new and tentative, others old and overgrown.

But I try to follow one simple course at a time, because it’s easy to get distracted and end up going in circles.

I’ve done it. So many times.

But how do you know when to switch it up? Building new habits can get boring and frustrating. How do you know if you should stick with it?

How Do I Measure Progress?

You know that feeling when you’re out and about and the self-consciousness is just weighing on you? You realize you feel like a weirdo.

You second guess every little thing, stressing about how you’re standing or the shirt you chose or whatever never-ending minutiae. That feeling of being 13 on the first day of school, forever.

Wigs

I obsess over superficial things to avoid my own lack of definition!

Maybe you’re dealing with a negative person. Maybe these feelings are coming from your own mental habits.

Regardless of origin, the less often you feel like this, the more you know you are on the right track.

I think the end goal of personal work is to never feel this ever again. Not just because it sucks but because it’s the manifestation of so many different mental misalignments.

The world at large is not judging you. And if they are, they need to get a life.

War is Over, if You Want It

There are (mostly) two kinds of people out there – Friendlies, who are willing to engage on the field of social commerce, and Unfriendlies who aren’t.

This classification system is good for every bank teller, store clerk, customer, playground parent and most co-workers.

If they are not interested in engaging with you, feel free to decline in return. This will free you up even more to pursue your goals.

The negativity of others should roll right off of you because you choose not to engage with it. You are too busy with your important business.

This mindset is a machete for slicing through the brambles. As a sensitive person, it’s very helpful to have a method of steadying myself against constant bombardment from the world.

And that self-conscious feeling makes the machete mindset almost impossible. When you notice it’s been a while since you had to remind yourself that no one is staring at you, you’re making real progress.