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7 Questions – Trisha

I love it when you all get creative.  Trisha explains her approach to answering the 7 Questions very well below, so this needs little in the way of introduction.  All I’ll say is that we were nearly all “closeted, confused beginners” at some point, no matter how out we are, or how confident we now seem.  I welcome stories from all of you, wherever you are.  Thanks for sharing Trisha!

—–

Preface: WeHappyTrans.com is running a project to try to get happy transfolk of many types to answer 7 questions about themselves.

Now since the first question is one’s name, and they are posting largely video responses rather than written responses, I’m guessing that they don’t get a lot of closeted, confused beginners. Certainly the ones I watched so far (there are a lot) were confident, experienced and seemingly out. But I like hearing lots of different stories. Honestly, I’m very new to all this, but I’m pretty happy at the moment, so I’m going to try to answer these. But as a twist, I’m going to try to answer each of them with a poem I have written. 1

1) What’s your name? Chosen or otherwise.

Unanswerable Questions

When you are given an unanswerable question, you have 3 basic options:
Give an honest and therefore unhelpful answer,
Attempt to explode the question (usually via humor, or some jay’s-trick),
Or give a partially helpful answer to some different but vaguely related question, and disguise it as an answer to the unanswerable question.
I like to alternate approaches.
It’s good to admit that you are flummoxed sometimes and reduced to useless armwaving.
Personally, I prefer futile flailing over time-worn platitudes,
Because I want people to see ME being half-lost,
Not that being half-lost is so common it has worn its own path.
But it is good to let them see that you understand the question is unanswerable too, and are side-stepping it rather than just refusing to answer. 2

Sometimes the closest we can get to uttering truths is to veer around erratically, like a cat chasing a laser dot,
Earnest and silly, and frustrated in equal measure …

2) Who has been most supportive of your transition? If you haven’t started transition, who’s been most supportive of your gender expression, questioning or explorations?

Excerpts from R. M.’s Facebook Timeline

Oct 17, 2012: “Newsflash: crap sloppy thinking is not okay, and it doesn’t suddenly become okay if you like the point the crap sloppy thinking is trying to get at.”

Oct 16, 2012: “Thou shalt not use poetry, art or music to get into girls’ pants. Use it to get into their heads….Thou shalt spell the word “Pheonix” P-H-E-O-N-I-X not P-H-O-E-N-I-X, regardless of what the Oxford English Dictionary tells you….” Gods I love this song. [link to Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip]

Oct 14, 2012: “Very frustrated. Why do people never give you the benefit of the doubt, even when they don’t have complete information? Do they have so little respect for me that they just assume that I do things out of laziness? This is what I worked all weekend for. Yeah.”

Oct 11, 2012: “You know, watching my friends reactions to the debate on FB and Twitter is probably more fun than watching the debate itself.”

Oct 10, 2012: [Link to Micheal Leunig – Seven Types of Ordinary Happiness (sigh)]

Oct 9, 2012: “Uh oh. The pumpkin-based recipes on Pinterest are starting to be overtaken by the eggnog-based recipes. I think Pinterest might actually be the source of a potential time-dilation effect. Not good.”

Sept, 2012: “Kids camping with grandparents. Marvelous afternoon, followed by the best sushi in the western hemisphere. Serendipitously ended our night at a hookah lounge where I finally came to terms with my love of dubstep. Sleep now, yes please.”

Sept, 2012: “The next baby booties I make will have, at an absolute maximum, one button each. AAAAUUUGH.”

Aug 2012: “Camping with family this weekend. Lunch date with husband this week. Next weekend, off to a neighboring city for our (much belated) anniversary dinner and hotel. I’m so happy with my marriage right now that Cosmo would probably warn me that I’m being cheated on. I feel like we just got married. Life is good. =)” 3

July, 2012: “Behold the awesomeness of my son’s chalk-art! (We dubbed this creature “The Blueberry Dragon) in honor of his appearance at the Blueberry Festival).” [Image]

July 2012: “Yeah, dude, these people are totally going to wreck our society. You can see it in their joy-soaked eyes. Doom, I say. Doom.” [link to article “Sweet Scenes From Today's Same-Sex Weddings in NY]

April, 2012 “Uh… I seem to have gotten a bit of a highlight for this piece. When will I learn to keep my mouth shut?” – [Link to local newspaper story about the politics of historical preservations of buildings in our city]

2011 A.C. To R. M. – “This was F****’s prototype cheese press, shown with a 10″ cheese mold. The ones he’s making you will have a larger, square base (the base on the prototype is just a cutting board).” [image]

2011 – Likes RIFT

2011 “Okay folks, I’m famous. Here’s the news piece about my family, and my blog about it.” [Link]

2011 – Note entitled “Day 4: We came for the Pagans, but we got the Marxists” – posted from Mexico City

2011 “Holy crap. I’m going to be featured on [local TV station] for my “sustainable lifestyle”. Gaaaah.”

2010 “I have a desk! I have a door!”

2010 “My new employment home. *faints* *revives* *looks at website* *faints again* (but still manages to hit the enter key).” [link to eco-charity she still works for]

2010 “HOLY SHIIIIIIT I GOT THE JOB I GOT THE JOB I GOT THE JOB OMGOMGOMG I’M CRYING I’M SOOOOOO HAAAAAPPY!!!!”

2009 “I want the universe to know how awesome my new haircut is (and have even agreed to photos to prove it).” [image]

2009 “just had the delightful experience of not being able to afford a medication for the first time. So, if you’re a friend of mine, and you try to explain to me why a public healthcare option is a bad idea, and I can reach you, I might deck you. Just FYI.”

2009 “My 2009 Garden, yo. I am Demeter, gardener of gardeners. Look on my works, ye mighty and DESPAIR!” [Images]

2009 joined Facebook

2008 founded local food based non-profit

2001 Married me

1993 Began dating me

 

3) What do most enjoy about your life since beginning transition? That is, what are some of the things you love doing now, that you couldn’t do before? And if you’re not there yet, what about the possibility of transition excites you the most? What do you look forward to?

Wines

There are calm happinesses, that sip perfectly brewed green teas and just breathe
There are cathartic happinesses, which lose subtle pains in a blaring guitar line with eyes squeezed tightly shut
There are bubbly happinesses, where we hum to ourselves and every step bounces
There are domestic happinesses, thick and white as milk in a cereal bowl, or a fresh towel
There are horny happinesses, which moan and shudder and can’t finish the thoughts they start
There are nostalgic happinesses, the dusty dried flowers of good days past
There are childish happinesses, silly games in primary colors
In some happinesses we are so absorbed in the things of the moment, that we don’t even notice we are happy, or remember, but if shown a picture later we cannot deny that we must have been
There are contented happinesses, a last sigh before sleep
There are even angry happinesses, where we burn a bridge, but soar with heady and dangerous freedom
There are dark happinesses, where a thousand terrors oppress the heart, and yet it sings
There are cheerful happinesses, infectious smiles that creep into our eyes and voice
The wines of a hundred lands are not as varied as the ways to be happy within a single life. 4

 

4) Who are your trans role models? or Who have you looked up to in the trans community? Who inspires you? Whether it’s someone you know, or someone you’ve admired from afar, this is your chance to give a shout out.

National Stay In the Closet Day, 2012

Once I lived open as a supermarket,
Every topic in my heart on display for the wandering eye
Now I have secrets and fears

Every conversation has become a minefield.
Will I be too afraid to go venture in that direction?
Will I tiptoe carefully, in hints?
Will I be blown up?

* * *
A lazy day, coziness, with my honey
Like an echo of an imaginary honeymoon
Sunshine, but enough coolness to justify snuggling

Moments of calm and peace, after a dark time
The slow euphoria of truth in the depths trickling upward
But the tender happiness that only comes with fragility
It would be so easy to wreck it all …

* * *

I listen to the speaker tell her story.
She’s dressing full-time now, and telling the crowd about it, after years in secret 5
Or the poet who crows about burning down his closet after 8 years in 6

Or all these other bright bold people living their selves in the open 7
Maybe they should be role models
But I just feel like a failure and a coward next to them
How did the proud make them feel their first year in?
Admiration certainly, but also hope maybe, or shame …

* * *

The beginning and end have different agendas
The first flicker looks at the bonfire and
Sighs and hides from the wind.

The bonfire couldn’t hide what it is anymore if it tried
So why not shine in pride and celebration?

* * *

Such certainty they seem to have
Where I am all confusion and internal conflict
Fear holds my tongue, yes, but honesty does too
All terms seem like lies next to the squirming truth

Can I begrudge the proud their hard won pride?
The precious dangerous labels they have claimed?
Ha, I can begrudge anything …

* * *

So my closet is more cluttered every month
There is the occasional visit
But the flame hasn’t gone out yet …

 

5) What change(s) would you most like to see in the world? This can be trans related, or not, but we’d love to know where your passion lies.

Communication Protocols

The message resists our discourse
We have too many defenses against it
We put it down, but won’t look it in the eye
Like the cow that becomes our hamburger

But the truth surmounts all syntax!
If we assault it, it will hide
In the depths once more
But will surface again and again

The truth, the awful truth
It’s too big to fit into normal words
Or fancy words, or academic words
Or policy-statements or press-releases
Or newspapers or sound-bytes or even pop songs

The truth, the awful truth
It’s too big for any of our usual discourses.
One more blog entry would miss the point completely.
I wrote an academic paper and it was just a waste of ink.

O reader you know the peril
And you know the message
You know the costs
You know what’s at stake

Our ice it is melting
Our storms growing bigger
Our oil grows dearer
Our time running out

Our farming is in shambles
Our finances lies
“Unsustainable” means it can’t go on forever
When it falls apart it should be no surprise

Soon come the floods
And the wars and the price-hikes
Soon comes the hunger
The squabbling for scraps

I have no solutions
I have only questions
I’ve been given the message
But can barely face it myself

Mine is the bugle to call us to danger
Mine is the plea on the brink of despair
Mine is the attempt to transform my habits
Mine is the fear it’s already too late

Shut fast the factory lovely and new
We cannot afford its staggering cost
Clean off the rust of the cheap and abandoned
And pray that the old ways are not already lost

 

6) What are you doing to make those changes happen? That’s right all, no getting off the hook! We’re all in this big ol’ mess together, and we each need to do our part. Share with us how you’re the change you want to see.

Shopping List  8

Kielbasa – 1 lb
Hamburger – Royer’s local beef
Pepperoni – 1 package
Butter – 1 lb, salted or unsalted
Treat – some little thing to make shopping seem bearable
Shredded Mozz. Cheese – for Pizza, at least 12 oz. unless it’s cheaper than usual
Cottage Cheese
Some new product in a bright package to make this week seem different from last week
Brownie mix
Red wine – 1 cheap bottle, Cheapass maybe
Wine – 1 bottle for actually drinking
Hope – 1 week’s worth
Apples, 1 bag, any varietal
Bananas- 1 bunch organic
Onions
Duty
Whole Ginger –organic if possible
Cabbage – 1 head, green unless the red is cheap
Parsley – I bunch
Some produce that’s overpriced to give me the illusion of doing something virtuous, even though I really know just how close industrial organic is to regular industrial, and that none of this produce is local or farmed in any way I could feel good about, and neither my lifestyle nor anyone else’s is changing at anything like the rate needed to save us all from a doom we richly deserve and which I can’t think about without breaking down in tears.
2 Boxes of Raisin Bran
Bread – 1 loaf, Spring Mill local bakery if possible
Frozen Spinach – 1 box
Jam – 1 jar, maybe if I buy the upscale stuff I won’t feel quite so poor
20 oz bag of red potato wedges – WTF? Why not just buy red potatoes? Well that’s what the recipe says, ok we’ll try it their way the first time …
Sauerkraut – 14 oz
Cider or apple juice – 1 cup – Ha! Like I’ll find it in that small a quantity
Sparkling Apple Juice – for the kids, if it’s still on that kickass sale this week.
Feeling like I accomplished something, even if it’s trivial and ephemeral
Yeast
Morton Kosher Salt
This is the literature of our actual lives, hidden in fragments between the everyday
Canola Oil
Condoms 9

And finally, magical number 7, tell us something, anything, special and unique about you, your interests, your story. Never forget, gender is just one part of the larger project of becoming a fully authentic human being.

Once I was

Once I was a poet
I loved words and hated them too
Beautiful, beautiful but
Failures all to capture
What they were words of

So I became a scholar
I loved theories and hated them too
Beautiful, beautiful but
Failures all to capture
What they were theories of

The living truth outruns us
It dodges all our arrow-words
And theory-nets
The patient ones track it but never catch up
The bold ones catch a glimpse
And are lost again in the woods

Once I was a math teacher
I loved patterns and hated them too
Beautiful, beautiful but
But perhaps
We find a pattern and then
It breaks and we find surprise

Beauty is the economy of surprise

So now I am a housewife
I love my spouse and kids and house
Beautiful, beautiful but
The failure is me
Now the task is learning
to love myself

 

Related posts:

Notes:

  1. And some endnotes.
  2. Ok, I AM refusing to answer, fine, whatever. I go by Brian a lot, Trisha a lot, and on computer accounts, Columnaxia a lot.
  3. Posted exactly 1 month after I came out to her as trans.
  4. My increased overall happiness has just been a lot more significant than any one particular aspect of things so far.
  5. Ryan at http://www.thetechnojesus.com/
  6. Walter at http://passedoutfullyclothed.blogspot.com/ bi not trans, but still an inspiration to me
  7. Shout outs to BrinConvient at Bigender.net and YouTube, MaryXYZXYZ at Rachelshaven, Forrest who I once knew IRL before I ever considered this stuff for myself, and several other beginners/friends struggling along with me (Fiona, Shannon, A/kira, etc.)
  8. This poem is older, 2009, its the only one of these 7 poems that I haven’t written or severely re-jiggered since coming out to myself a few months ago. Even my grocery shopping has gotten less awful over the last 3 years …
  9. In fairness, my wife works full time at a charity focusing on our concerns, and founded and spends a lot of time helping another non-profit seeking to address very similar things. Keeping our family together so she can do her good work and working on our own lifestyle as much as I can, while building the skills to do so even better, (and I guess writing a bit, and trying to sort myself out and learn to be happy) is pretty much what I can do at this stage of my life.

2 Comments

  1. Allie wrote:

    I swore to myself that I wouldn’t comment tonight. Just read.
    And then I thought, after reading #’s 1 & 2, how clever & how self-indulgently evasive . . . .

    And for some reason I read on, and I am so happy that I did. How many of your beautiful lines do I want to quote back to you to let you know the image landed? Just about all. Indulge me these two:

    “The beginning and end have different agendas”

    “Such certainty they seem to have
    Where I am all confusion and internal conflict
    Fear holds my tongue, yes, but honesty does too
    All terms seem like lies next to the squirming truth”

    I could copy & paste the whole lot. You are a thing of beauty, Brian/Trisha/Columnaxia.
    StephenAllie

  2. Sandi wrote:

    Trisha,

    I’m so glad I found your answers, partly because yours is written out – and if I answer the 7 Qs,
    I will have to do the same. Not being very verbal, I will just say that your poems are beautiful,
    and I’m sure they convey a great deal of who you are – a beautiful person! Thanks for being
    you, and for sharing who you are with those of us who are so fortunate as to read your poems!

    Blessings,

    Sandi

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