Sunday, April 30, 2017

Death and grief while pagan

It seems almost appropriate.

Tonight is Walpurgisnacht, the last night when witches get up to mischief before spring puts an end to the revels. A night when the world walls are thin.

And last night, a fine witch crossed into the Summerlands.

Kali had fought pancreatic cancer for two years. She had suffered, and sorrowed but never quite despaired. We went to see her for her last birthday, and despite being exhausted, I'm glad we did. She thought the world of my youngest and Oli adored her in return.

She was a large soul and given a chance would take up most of the psychic space in a room. She was generous and loving, with many who loved her in return. She was terrified of storms after 2010, when her house flooded during the May 1 floods.

Pagans have an odd relationship with death. We treat it as another stage in our life cycle. But we still hurt when it happens. Every death leaves a hole in us. I was raised believing that when you cried because someone had died, you were only feeling sorry for yourself. I agree with the idea, if not the condemnation. We are feeling sorrow and pain because a part of our life has been taken from us and we will never have that piece back.

We cry and we sing and we remember the good things. We think of the person often, for the dead hear us remembering. And at Samhain, we add another picture to the altar and speak the names of those we have lost.

Depending on our beliefs, we know we will find the person again, if not in the afterworld, in another life and another form. For now, we mourn the end of this life, and remember.

Freya, we send you a warrior.
She has fought against impossible odds.
She has stood on her feet twice as long as most who face this enemy do.
But she has lost the battle.
Welcome our beloved Kali.
Give her the riches she has earned.
Let her feast and drink deeply that she may recover her strength in your Hall.
And grant your love and care to us, who must continue here,
with bleeding, Kali-shaped holes in our hearts and lives.
Freya, we send you a warrior.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

As I currently understand it: sex, gender, performance

Earlier today, I made the distinction that while I consider transwomen to be women, I don't think of them as female. Just as I kind of flinch when I hear the term "transmale." This is based on my, probably dated, understanding of things.


Loosely defined, sex is what's in your genes/jeans. How did the sex cells recombine?

My basic 300 level college genetics course dealt in X and Y chromosomes. These mostly pair up, as chromosomes do.  XX produces female offspring. XY produces male. They are usually differentiated by a check of the progeny's genitals. The chromosomes do combine in other ways: XXY, XYY, XXX, X0 being the most common.

Because of the chromosomes, puberty triggers hormones in humans to develop secondary sexual characteristics.

We are born male and female. We become men and women.


Gender is how we behave. As I had one character tell another, "Being a man is here " he tapped his forehead, "and here" he tapped his chest, "not what's between your legs." Sex is what's between your legs, gender is head and heart.

Most people's gender matches their bio-sex. They perform according to societal norms and never question. In a highly conformative environment, say white middle America, any deviation is seen as a threat to well, everything: sex, the family, religion and probably the country itself. There is some latitude for girls to perform some masculinity, tomboys, but very little for boys to perform any femininity.

Some people, their mental gender doesn't line up with their body. This is where transgender comes in. It's no longer called a sex change or transsexual, since the sex of the patient is not actually changed (although the hormonal therapy necessitates medical professionals treating the patient as not only the sex but the gender as well)

Masculinity and Femininity

These are how Man and Woman are performed. They are defined by dress, activity, societal expectation and sometimes law.

Many who are genderqueer and non-binary criticize transfolk for performing their gender so close to stereotypes. But in order to be taken seriously, the masculinity or femininity must be performed strongly to counter the other visible markers that say the person's body does not match their presentation. 

There are many performances for masculinity and more for femininity. These can be played with to a degree. The problems crop up in other people's minds when they've gotten used to thinking of a person one way, and then that person performs outside of the accepted boundaries.

My junior husband is not a jock or a manly man. He's a rather fem man, and sometimes he's a boy in a dress. The dress disconcerts me because I associate it with my former girlfriend. I run rather more masculine in my positions. Because if I'm going to be a man, I'm going to be one where there is no question about my manliness. (I refused to be a sissy, even as a girl)

Nonbinary folks may be saying I'm thinking in stereotypes and that the dress shouldn't make a difference. Perhaps it shouldn't but it does. Part of me thinks "When I'm a man, I'll have to give up skirts in the summer, certain perfumes, cool socks and a lot of jewelry. Because otherwise, I might as well stay a woman."

I don't perform femininity often or well. I've called it "doing drag" for over a decade now. Being required to do so can feel restrictive, but losing the option to do so can feel just as bad.

Where I am

Right now, I'm starting to change over my online life. I have to stay a woman for a while, because the gods have crone work for me to do. 
Right now, I'm stepping into a whole new world, one where I'm behind the times in many ways and not sure I can catch up. (I still call it Making The Change) 
Right now, I'm hesitant to be around other transfolk, especially younger ones, because I know I'll screw up and get corrected. Sometimes it's a useful correction, sometimes it's a jumping on. And I've been on the net long enough to respond with endless sarcasm to the latter.
Right now, I'm sorting out the outcomes of changing over, and kind of horrified the best conclusion I'm finding for me is a eunuch in a suit, a bitch with a beard and boxers essentially. I don't have any interest in make-believe sex or toys. Surgery is chancy at best (55% reported complications, only 9% had erogenous sensation and only half were able to perform sexually) and moreso as I age.

In conclusion
I will never be male. I'm stuck with a XX body.
I might be able to be a man, heart and head after all, with some artificially-created secondary sexual characteristics.
I can perform masculinity. Half the reason most people think I'm a bitch is because I say things with authority and without qualifiers. I've been performing masculinity for years. It;'s more of the same.
I'd just like a mustache to twirl as I do.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Where I've been

Here it is April and I haven't made a post this year,

My new job keeps me away from the keyboard for up to 13 hours a day. By the time I get home and eat, it's bed time.

And there has been much thinking with little conclusiveness

There are posts I need to make:
1) the coming post-work society
2) transition, living with it and living it and questions that are too rude to ask on facebook
3)  My top is my razorblade: when BDSM becomes self-harm
4) Talk like a man. They already think you're a bitch.

My life is in a great deal of turmoil and I'm actually considering giving up sex. I've always thought I was hypersexual: wanting so much more than hours of masturbation and so much more sex than my husband. Then I find out the people who slut-shame me are having more sex than I am. By orders of magnitude. 48 times in 48 hours, 4 guys in a weekend. And I'm the slut because I love my husband, throw pheremones all over the room and write smut with no apologies or regrets.

But in the last few years, I've learned I'm doing sex wrong, doing kink for the wrong reasons, having orgasms improperly if at all (they only leave me tense, there is no release) and giving my husband a rash (the slight acid irritates his skin). My desire is already low enough that all this just makes me want to quit having sex. I gave up masturbating a couple years ago.

And for me, that's like waking up and finding my eyes are suddenly blue. An integral part of my identity has changed. I'm an autumn, I can't carry blue eyes. I'm a slut. This desire for celibacy has left me feeling very odd indeed,

So pardon the turmoil while menopause, transition and too much introspection have rusted my lust.
We're all very confused here too.