Sunday, October 19, 2014

I Don’t Go to Church Anymore

This afternoon, Comet C/2013 A1, better know by its thoroughbred sounding name, Siding Spring, raced past our neighbor, the red planet Mars, at 35 miles per second, hurtling towards the sun.
Traveling from a place called the Oort Cloud, which is a swarm of icy objects believed to be debris left over from the birth of our solar system 4.5 billion years ago, this space traveler will eventually turn away from the brightest star in the sky and it’s gravitational pull, returning to whence it came, a million of years ago.

Before I sat down to watch the simulcast (yes, I’m an space geek), I took a long walk in the woods behind my house.  You see; I don’t go church anymore.  Instead I spend time in nature.  I’m usually running along country roads, snowshoeing across fields, swimming in the ocean, or walking in the woods, all with the same destination, home.

This time of year in Maine the woods are spectacular.  Lemon yellow birch leaves explode alongside the amber leaves of beech trees like fireworks on the 4th of July.   The earthly scent of decaying wet sugar maple leaves and needles from the towering white pine decomposing under each step reminded me that winter is not too far off, but the warmish humid air rustling through the stubborn oak leaves, hushed my concerns.  Like Frederick the Mouse from one of my favorite childhood books, I told myself, I can stack wood another day.

Walking quietly along the edge of a field, I heard an unfamiliar song in the wind, and then noticed two small birds fluttering from branch to branch. They reappeared every few seconds, singing a jumbled high pitch call that sounded like the chattering of children. No bigger than a lime, the two chased each other from bush to bush, and then I noticed a flash of red from the top of one of their tiny heads, but with the speed of a comet, the Ruby-crowned Kinglets vanished into thin air. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Spread you Wings

I know, I know, the movie Mulan is racist, trans-phobic, fat-phobic, and more, but I couldn't resist. I watched the Disney classic for the first time this morning.  That's right, I've avoided this animated fantasy and many newer Disney films for years.  But this morning, as I was recovering on my couch from a near perfect long run, I gave in.
And despite all that is wrong with this engaging, and at times silly film, the message is clear. Women and girls are smart, passionate, strong, and yes, defiant in the face of history, culture, and society that doesn't value us for what we're capable of.  A recent example of this is Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai, who at age 15, was shot in the face for believing girls should be educated. Malala is a fighter and she survived. But she is a benevolent leader, using words, books, and pencils as weapons against oppression, not violence and hate. 

So on this National Coming Out Day, I wonder, as friend questioned earlier today, what's the purpose of such an occassion?  For me, it seems like I've been coming out my whole life, but there were times when I was pushed back in, or chose that closet for safety, for the privilege of gender, for the security of a job, and for the comfort of a relationship. Being a transgender woman, is a unique experience, not only because I've have lived a life in two genders, so to speak,  but because when I leave the protection of my house, I'm outing myself. I know I'm seen as transgender, or something worse, but I'm okay with that.  It's taken a life time to get that point, but I think it gives me special powers, being able to confront people's expectations of gender just by being me, just by buying milk at the grocery store.  But I'm human too, and as I listened to the character Mulan sing about the disconnect between how she feels on the inside versus what she sees in her reflection, I know that there will be many more tears, but hope just as many smiles, as my journey continues.  

What's on next, Lion King?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Fading Sun

It’s hot for September, but in those tiny blue shorts she gave me goose bumps.  My hand brushed her leg and her skin felt like the faded white sand made soft after millions of years of rocks and sea life crashing and decomposing together. Lying next to each other on beach towels we laughed in envy as we watched a small group of teenage girls teaching each other how to shake their ass out of sight from their parents. Hungry afternoon clouds quickly swallowed the sun, so we packed up our gear and zip closed my colorful striped cooler. I never had those youthful experiences as a girl.

Awaken the next morning to the chirps, cries, and buzz of birds, squirrels, and cicada; I realized I’m closer to fifty than she is to thirty. I try to convince myself that’s okay, but the fleeting weight of time crushes me like waves crashing onto the rocky coast. She didn’t stay the night. It’s not as though I expected her to, but I had dreamed of being held by her long arms, arms that flap like a seagull when she dances. Arms that make me smile.  

Heading to refill my glass of water, I recognized I drank too much, and hoped to find my friend asleep on the brown leather couch in the living room.  My feet stick to the kitchen floor splashed with fruit juice, vodka and white wine from the night before.  Through squinted eyes I noticed her abandoned half empty glass sitting on the edge of a stack of fashion magazines I barely look at any more, leaving a dark condensation ring on the surface.  All the lights were left on and the TV screen was brilliant blue, like the bachelor buttons cut from my garden and placed in a glass vase, bending towards the adjacent window and the rising late summer sun. The message “No Signal!” bounced across the electronic surface like a ball from a video game when I was young.