Ode To My Truck

About two years ago I wrote this post about what vehicle to buy next.   While this subject is probably not directly related to gender for many people, it is actually something that I have given a lot of thought to in regards to my gender expression.  A couple of weeks ago my quest to find my next ride came to an end.  I had mostly decided that I wanted to get a small SUV like a Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 or Subaru Outback.  I never drove the RAV-4 but both the Honda and the Outback had scored very high on their test drives.  Candace is also looking for a new vehicle and has been pretty sure for a couple years that she would either get another Honda Pilot or a Toyota Highlander.  After testing the Honda and being disappointed in it we needed to go look at the Highlander.  At this point I had mostly decided to get an Outback in green with all wheel drive.

This was going to be my next car:

subaru

I like the color, it’s small agile size, muscular lines and incredible intelligence.  This car practically can drive itself it’s that smart.  Not the manliest vehicle, for sure, but still a handsome driver in my opinion.

I’ve been driving this truck since 2007 and have loved it:

avalanche

This time around I wanted something smaller with a hatchback and all wheel or 4 wheel drive.  I wanted something rugged and masculine looking that didn’t make me look like a little old lady.  I was pretty happy with my decision to get the Outback, even though it’s not super masculine.  I’ve had an affinity for them since they first came out in the 1980s.

Basically, there have been four vehicles that I’ve always wanted to own.  They are the Ford Mustang (owned a black 2004 Anniversary model for about two years.  It was fun to drive), the Toyota Celica (no longer being produced), the Toyota 4Runner and the Subaru Outback.  I was on the edge of owning another one of my dream cars but I wasn’t really very excited for some reason.  One night I was outside with my dog and my eye caught sight of my old faithful truck sitting in the driveway.  Suddenly I realized that I wasn’t ready to not have a truck anymore.  When I went back inside I pulled up the Toyota dealer’s website to check out their used inventory so I could see what options they had on the lot.  I had basically ruled out buying a 4Runner because of the cost.  They were more than I wanted to spend and usually when I found them used they had over 100k miles on them.  I didn’t want something that old.  But, I got lured into looking closer at the 4Runner because they had a used one with 47k miles within my price range.  When we went to look at the Highlander for Candace I was going to take a look at it.

Well, I loved it.  It was grey with black leather interior and looked very handsome parked up on the curb.  The fact that the salesman had to drive it off the curb for me to test drive only made me like it more.  I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t drive as stiff as I’d imagined that it would and had a very comfortable ride, while still delivering a truck-like feel.  The interior was very handsome and comfortable.  When we came back from the test drive I parked it in front of what I thought was a new blue truck.  Candace commented on how pretty it was.  Yes, it’s very pretty but I don’t want to pay for a new one.  The salesman informed us that it was used and opened it up for us to look at.  A couple of years younger and with only 17k miles on it, a little spiffier interior and a really beautiful blue color, a few features the older one didn’t have that I had wanted and we started to make a deal.  Ultimately I drove that blue 4Runner home that night and we did the paperwork the next day while Candace ordered her new Highlander in red (Ooh la la Rouge, to be exact!  Where do they come up with these names?).

Here’s my new baby:

4runner

So far I’m happy with my decision.  This is not my favorite model year of the 4runner to be honest but it is actually the nicest as far as the interior features they’ve ever made.  I don’t intend to do any off-roading, which this is very capable of doing, but it’s nice to know I can.  In some ways I actually liked the older grey model better because it looked a little less pretty and a bit more rugged.  I definitely wouldn’t have been worried about getting it dirty or scratched.  I’ve always liked this blue that Toyota puts on some of its cars though, so I’m really pleased with that.  The interior is very handsome in black leather and I definitely feel like a cool dude driving around in it.  We took it on a week long trip to visit family a few days after we got it and it performed very well and handled all of our cargo as well as keeping the dog comfy on the long trip.

I’ve become a bit obsessed with my 4Runner and the vehicle in general since obtaining it.  I watch YouTube videos and look at photos online, read the wiki page about it and generally obsess over it.  I wanted to look back at the history of the truck because I was having trouble remembering when it was that I first saw one.  I remember the experience well, just not the year.  My ex and I had been invited to help one of our friends do something called a “Loon Watch” in Northern Minnesota.  The Loon is the state bird of Minnesota and every year the DNR gets citizens to volunteer to count them.  They assign each volunteer a lake (they have 10,000 of them, ya know?) to go to on a specified day and count how many loons you see on the lake then report back to the DNR your results.  So we had met our friend who had brought another friend to join us.  Her friend (can’t remember her name) had just bought a brand new Toyota 4Runner and I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever laid my eyes on.

This is what it looked like:

87-4runner

It was basically a small pick up but the top could come off and it had a back seat.  I drooled over that truck all weekend.  The next day we woke up at the crack of dawn and launched our two canoes into the first of several lakes we would need to traverse to find our assigned lake.  After several hours and a couple really scary portages across swampy muck filled terrain we finally arrived at our tiny little lake.  There were no loons anywhere to be found on that lake (which was more like the size of a small pond).  The trip was a grand adventure though and I’ll never forget it or the cool truck I met.  I’m still not sure on the year, but it had to be around 1988 or 89.

While the 1st and 2nd generation 4runners are still my favorites of the 4runner family, the current, 5th generation, is probably my next favorite.  Sometimes I look at the truck sitting in my driveway and can’t believe that I finally have my own 4runner after all of those years of admiring them on the roads.  Candace’s mom always names her vehicles and she’s got us starting to do it as well.  I used to call my Avalanche Megatron because it’s kind of a transformer truck, similar to how the old 4Runners could morph into a convertible.  When Candace asked me what I was going to name my new truck I immediately told her it’s name is Sapphire.  Then I told her that we should call her new Highlander Ruby, which she liked a lot.  Hopefully they’re both going to be beautiful jewels that we will enjoy for many years to come.

Just for fun, this is the picture I’ve put on my computer’s home screen, to further prove my incessant obsession with my new truck.

old-blue

Now that truck is ready to climb some rocks and ravines.  I think this could make me want to take up the hobby of off-roading.

Thanks for indulging me my obsession.

On a personal note, I have put in motion the pieces I need in order to change my gender on my driver’s license and passport.  I’ll write a post about all  of that once it’s completed.

Carry on!

Note: If you happen to be interested in learning about the Minnesota Loon Watch here is a link to the DNR site: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/nongame/projects/loon_survey.html

Also the loon has a very unusual, beautiful call.  You can listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ENNzjy8QjU

Note 2:  It occurs to me that, though I named this piece “Ode To My Truck”, I really didn’t talk about my old truck much.  Suffice it to say that I still love it and I didn’t trade it in, so it’s still sitting in my driveway.  I drove it last night for a couple hours and it felt like a nice old broken in pair of Levi’s.  I need to keep it until we sell our camper or at least move it to a sales lot somewhere.  After that, I guess I’ll have to sell my truck and that will be a very sad day for me.  I’m a little bit in love with it, though not obsessed.  It’s probably the coolest vehicle I’ve ever owned.  Of course, that’s my opinion only.  Perhaps I should have called the piece “Ode to My Love Affair with Vehicles.”

 

Heading into the Storm

storm

I didn’t stay up all night watching the election results.  Around 11pm I pretty much knew Trump would win and decided to head to bed feeling defeated and angry.  Apparently, Mother Nature was also feeling pretty nasty this morning because I awoke to a cloudy, stormy day.  How appropriate, I thought, as I made my morning coffee.  All day I’ve been trying to make sense of what has transpired in my country and in this election.  It’s obvious to me that people here were willing to over look a lot of personal flaws and deplorable misconduct in order to get the change that they seem so desperate to see in their government.  I was not one of those people.  Yes, I want change.  Positive change.  I didn’t truly think that Clinton would give us the change we need, but I also didn’t think she would set us back 50 years in our cultural evolution either.  I felt confident that she would not lead us down a road of mass destruction like I feel Trump is itching to do.

But, the people have spoken and like it or not, no matter how distasteful and disgusting, he will be our next president.  Now it’s time to figure out what’s next and how to handle the new regime that will be taking over the White House in just a few months.  I look at the actual numbers of the results so far and I see hope there.  Clinton actually won the majority vote.  In my simple mind that should be enough, but it isn’t.  But that means to me that more than half of our population is not aligned with Trump and his agenda.  On top of that, I personally know many people who voted for Trump who are not misogynist, racist, homophobic, xenophobes either, so I would estimate that at least half of the Trump votes came from sensible people who are just so achingly hungry for change that they saw no alternative but to vote for him.  This gives me hope.  The majority of the population of my country do not hate me and what I believe in.  We do disagree about many things, but that doesn’t make us enemies.

I do agree with the Trump people on one thing.  This country needs profound political change.  I would have preferred to see the kind of changes that Bernie Sanders was pushing for (still is pushing for, by the way).  Things are definitely going to change.  How is yet to be seen.  This defeat does not leave me feeling defeated though.  It emboldens me to be stronger and braver and to speak my mind more about the things that are important to me.  It emboldens me to live my life fully out there with no apologies.  It emboldens me to stand up for my rights and those of others and not let the bullies win again and again.  I hope others will join me and not let this election sink our ship in this storm we’re heading into.  Now is the time to come together for what we believe and make our voice heard and start our own revolution of sorts.  More than half of the country voted against Trump.  MORE THAN HALF!!!!!  Let that sink in for a moment.  We are NOT in the minority here.  We have strength in solidarity and shared purpose.  Do NOT let hate and fear win.  Fight on!  This war is just beginning.

Big Brother

I got one of those phone calls we all dread last Thursday morning.  My brother was being rushed to the local hospital because he was having trouble breathing.  What has happened since is a whirlwind of events and emotions.  After a lot of testing and days waiting around it’s finally been determined that he needs a heart valve replacement and a bypass surgery.  For most people, their brother being in the hospital is probably just a blip on the radar and not much more.  For me, it’s a life altering event.  Our parents are both dead and he never married or had any children so I am his closest living relative and contact person in medical emergencies.  So that means that when something happens to him, I am the one they call and ask to make the hard decisions.  Fortunately, for now, he’s capable of making his own decisions, but that can change swiftly and I need to be accessible and involved so I can do what’s best for him.

When I got that call I had a rush of emotions.  I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I was more worried about myself than him at that moment.  I figured his shortness of breath was an anxiety attack and nothing more.  He did have an anxiety attack but there was more.  I was concerned about whether to tell the hospital staff I was his sister or brother.  That was complicated by the fact that he gave them my old name as his contact and we had to correct that with them.  I usually get around saying I’m his sister by simply stating that he is my brother.  Usually that is enough for them to leave me alone but occasionally it doesn’t work out so neatly.  So at that hospital they referred to me as his sister a couple of times but now that he’s been transferred to a big city hospital where they have a cardiac unit I haven’t had to deal with the brother/sister thing since they seem too busy to care much.  Everyone there has addressed me as he/him/sir.

I’m out to my brother but he has not gotten to the point where he’s willing to call me his brother yet.  He may never get there.  People have been telling me I’m a good sister for taking care of him.  Well, I owe him big time.  And he’s my only family.  I don’t feel like a good “sister”.  I do what I do out of obligation.  If I were a good sister/brother I would spend more time with him and be more tolerant of his irritating quirks.  You see, our dad died when I was just a baby and he was 14.  At that point he was thrust into the “man of the house” role and spent the next 20 some years financially supporting my mother and me.  He didn’t have to do that.  I know that he looks at me and my life and feels angry that he sacrificed for me and I haven’t sacrificed anything for him.  Well, paybacks are hell big bro.  For the past several years I’ve been going to his doctor’s appointments with him and helping him manage his life because there’s something wrong in his brain that keeps him from being able to deal with that stuff like most adults.  My mom always did everything for him so he never learned to take care of himself, speak up for himself, communicate with people, etc.  My theory is that he has a mild case of autism or something on that spectrum but I’m not a professional and he’s never been diagnosed.  All I know is that when I started showing up at his doctor’s appointments they were all thrilled to see me because he never seemed to be getting any better.  I would ask him about his health and he always told me he was fine.  One day he told me that his kidneys had a problem but he didn’t really know what the problem was.  At that point I decided I needed to know what was going on.  It’s been a wild ride ever since and I’m paying him back for all he did for me growing up.

This might all sound cold-hearted on my part.  Perhaps it is.  I love him, don’t get me wrong, but he and I are like oil and water and we just don’t get along so this is hard for me.  I wrote my “family” off a long time ago for the way they treated me when I came out and he was part of that writing off.  But, time heals, they say and I can’t hold a grudge for too long and it’s time to pay the piper.  So I’m spending a lot of time in the city that I hate the most in a hospital (hate those too) with a man that I can barely stand most of the time during the busiest month of the year at work.  It’s not my idea of fun.

Am I his brother?  Who cares?  I need to get him through this surgery and healed up.  And if he doesn’t make it through all this I’m at peace with the fact that I’ve done everything I can for him even if he isn’t grateful for it and thinks I’m intruding in his life.  Honestly, it’s really hard for me to think of myself as his brother.  He’s my brother but I don’t know what I am.  I haven’t seen myself as a male long enough to be comfortable with the title of  brother.  It’s an odd place to be for sure.

Stealth Cruising

Many months ago, Candace and I planned to take a cruise up into New England to celebrate our 19 years together.  It was our anniversary gift to each other.  We mostly forgot about it until, one night while having dinner with my old high school friends (all female) that I still keep up with, one of them started talking about this trip that she and her husband were going to be taking soon with her sister and her family.  I knew her sister from high school and playing in the band together as well as the many family outings that I was invited to join them on during my youth.  As she talked about her trip it started to sound really familiar to both Candace and myself and eventually it turned out that we were all going on the same trip on the same ship at the same time.  My heart sank.  It isn’t that I don’t like this woman.  I do.  But I had been looking forward to this trip as a time when I could go and be myself, the new me, without anyone around that knew me before who could make me feel self conscious.  Now that was all blown.  Candace reassured me that it is a really big ship and we wouldn’t see them much or maybe at all unless we wanted to.  I told myself that it didn’t matter what they thought of me and that I owed it to myself to live my life on my terms.  I wrestled with whether to contact my friend ahead of time to see where her head was regarding spending time with us.  She was definitely interested in hanging out with us some.  Again, my heart sank.  I had given her every opportunity I could to bow out without sounding rude and like I didn’t want to hang with her.  It didn’t work.

So the time came to board the ship and from the moment I got out of my car I was referred to as sir by everyone who I dealt with.  The guy that took our bags, the terminal check-in person, the security people, the people trying to sell us drink packages and trip excursions and all of the ship staff called me sir.  When I stepped off of the ship to take a tour or into a store to look at trinkets, I was called sir.  The restaurant staff, the cleaning people, bus drivers, other cruise attendants all called me sir.  We hadn’t been aboard the ship 30 minutes before my friend found me and chatted with us while we ate a quick lunch and  waited for our room to be ready.

In preparation for the trip I went to Men’s Warehouse and was fitted for and bought my first men’s suit, tie and dress shirts.  Candace wanted to go to the “formal” dinners (suit and tie, tux if you are so inclined, but many show up in neither) so I needed something to wear.  I wasn’t wearing a dress as I’ve done in the past.  As an aside, the experience at the Men’s Warehouse was awesome.  A very nice lady helped me pick out a suit and fit it for alterations as well as helped me pick out some accessories to go with it.  It was an expensive venture, but also one that felt like a rite of passage into manhood.  She taught me a lot about men’s clothes/fashion and treated me from start to finish like any other man that came in there.  If she knew I was trans or suspected that I was not born male she never let on to me in any way.  I explained not knowing my sizes by telling her that I had lost a lot of weight (which is true) and needed some new things but didn’t know what size I’d wear exactly.  I also told her that I never wore long sleeves because my arms are so short that they’re usually too long (also true).  I’m not sure she bought it, but she was a good sport and was able to find me a couple shirts that fit remarkably well and were of excellent quality.  I was ready to cruise.

Our first formal night was the second night of the ten day cruise and I was nervous.  I confided in Candace that I was worried about running into my old friend and her family as well as other people thinking I was merely a woman wearing a suit.  If you’ve ever taken a cruise you’ll know that they take pictures of you constantly on the ship and then offer them back to you for a nice fee.  We posed for a picture on formal night and I was absolutely blown away when I saw it the next day.  Not only did I not look like a woman in a suit, I looked convincingly like a nice middle aged man and the picture was one of my best I’ve ever taken.  We bought it.  And I did not run into my friend that night before we went back to our room and changed our clothes.

At some point on the trip we did run into my friend again and her sister’s family was all introduced to us.  Here is where things got really weird for me.  I used to know her sister well and even attended her wedding back in the day.  She acted throughout the whole cruise like she didn’t know me.  No, she acted like I freaked her out and was pretending like she didn’t remember me.  Every time we bumped into them…and it was actually quite often (every day, several times a day) she got this weird deer in the headlights look on her face and ignored me as much as she could.  I thought that maybe she didn’t know who I was because my friend hadn’t explained to her that I had transitioned but then I realized that she would treat me very different if I was just one of her little sister’s friends that she’d never met.  No, she acted like she just wanted to get away from me as fast as possible and wished she’d never seen my face.  It was bizarre.  In fact, they had a couple of their friends join them on the trip and those people, who actually were strangers, were nothing but pleasant and friendly to us.  They even told us that we were welcome to hang with them any time.  That’s how strangers treat new people.  They don’t treat them like they have the plague.  So, I’ve come to the conclusion that she knew exactly who I am and just was completely wigged out about my transition.  It hurts my feelings, but really she is nobody to me so I have to let it go.  My friend treated me fine throughout the trip.  Her husband was a bit cold and distant but was not rude.  Again, their problem.  Not mine.  All in all, having them on the ship with us did cramp my style and in some ways spoiled the experience for me, but I made the most of it the best I could.

Being on board a ship of over 3000 strangers (mostly) who all 100% of the time* saw me as male was quite an interesting experience.  Candace and I felt free to refer to each other as husband and wife, to hold hands and even kiss in public.  Everyone assumed we were a married couple and we blended in with the crowd unseen and hidden.  We did nothing but be ourselves to provoke this assumption.  It still feels very strange to refer to Candace as my wife, but I do it when I feel like it’s appropriate (we did have a little ceremony for our 10th anniversary, but it’s not legal).  We chatted a little about how invisible we were on the cruise and how that has both positive and negative aspects for both of us.  We both liked the fact that we could be affectionate without concern for our safety or other people’s feelings.  That was nice.  Being seen as a man, especially at the formal dining hall, was a little intimidating to me at first.  Generally, the male waiters treated me like just another guy and everything went fine as they joked around with me about behaving myself and Candace keeping me in line.

I can’t talk about this trip without mentioning bathrooms.  The ship had at least one handicap single use bathroom on every floor but I didn’t realize that until nearly the end.  The men’s rooms on the ship were fine, but out in the world, when we got off of the ship there were a few times that the men’s facilities were just not the best.  Thankfully, all of the buses that we rode had a bathroom on them.  I no longer feel that I even have an option to use a women’s restroom at this point, so I’m stuck with whatever the men’s option happens to be.  There was one bathroom I attempted to use that was so full of guys that I basically didn’t even get through the door before I walked out and decided to use the bus toilet.  One stall and two urinals seems to be the norm in most men’s rooms and an amazing number of men use the stall, even if it’s to pee standing up with the door open.  Often they don’t even bother to lift the seat, so it usually has pee on it.  Thanks, guys.  I really, really, really hate this part of transitioning.  I hate using public bathrooms in general and men’s in particular.

I’m still kind of in disbelief that I was gendered male so consistently on the trip.  At home, I’m probably at about 90-95% depending on what I wear and how short my hair is.  Button up shirts and super short hair with a ball cap almost guarantee a sir from strangers.  Take the ball cap off and put on a polo shirt instead and it drops to about 95%.  Grow out the hair some and it drops to 90%.  Why I care really has to do with the blasted bathrooms.  We all have to relieve ourselves throughout the day.  I just want to be able to do it safely and freely.  I want to walk in and not get hassled or messed with in any way.  If it weren’t for the bathroom I wouldn’t care as much, though I have to admit that being able to confidently don a men’s suit and tie was a thrill for me.**  And not being referred to as a lady or ma’am is a breath of fresh air.  The cruise was a huge confidence booster for me as far as my passing.  We had a funny interchange in Portland, Maine when a young guy with his girlfriend commented that Candace’s shirt matched his girlfriends shorts (they both had little anchors on them) and wanted Candace to give his girlfriend her shirt.  When Candace said she thought his girlfriend should give her the shorts instead he said, “well, she looks pretty cute without her shorts” and winked at me.  Then he told me we should exchange shirts and started to lift his off as I started to freak out that he might be serious.  Thankfully, he was just joking.

*I did get called ma’am once by a female waiter on the ship but she only did it once and switched to sir.  Once in a store in Canada a fellow shopper called Candace and I ladies.  Why, I don’t know.

**Suits are hot!  We have a friend who’s husband refuses to dress up for anything because he claims that it’s not fair that a woman can just throw on a skirt and a top and be dressed and he has to wear a tie and long pants (he’s a shorts 24/7/365 kind of guy).  I would love to put him in a skirt and blouse, make up, stockings, maybe even a girdle and those stupid little shoes women force themselves to wear and see if he still thinks he’s got the raw end of that deal.  Other than being hot, suits and ties, if fit properly are very comfortable to wear.

 

 

 

 

Elections

I don’t normally talk about politics here, or anywhere else for that matter much, and I’m not going to start today.  Vote for whoever you want.  I really don’t care.  Well, I do, but that’s between you and the voting booth and your conscience.  Personally, I’m so fed up with all of the negativity and lies on both sides of the aisle that I just want to go to bed until it’s all over.  My Facebook feed is full of stupid negativity and lies about all of the candidates.  I’ve already made my decision.  There’s nothing any of those ignorant memes can say to make me change my mind.  My guess is that most of my Facebook friends have also made up their minds.  Yet, they post this crap naively thinking that they can sway someone to vote for their candidate.  Two elections ago I was doing the same thing.  One  of my friends unfriended me and several stopped following me.  The truth is, I was posting all of that stuff in a little competition with the one that unfriended me.  He tripped out the night my guy won and his lost and shut his Facebook down for several months.  That’s sad, really.  We’re friends again now and I’ve vowed not to hit the like button on any political stuff this time around or share any stupid memes about how awful the other person is.  Well, I have hit the like button a few times but I need to quit that.

Don’t get me wrong.  I care VERY much about who wins this election here in the US.  It seems like every election feels more and more important than the last one.  I’m convinced that this is a battle over good vs evil or at the very least mediocre vs. evil.  Personally, I’ll take mediocre over evil every day of the year.  And maybe I’ll be surprised and the mediocre will actually be phenomenal in the long run.  That would be nice.  The other side will be a disaster and destroy my country.  Of this I have no doubt.

The thing that really bothers me about this election is how divisive and negative it is making our country.  I’m really worried about us as a culture.  I’m worried for the world at large.  We talk a lot over here about being the greatest country on the planet and about how awesome we Americans are but really, you don’t have to look very far to see that we have a LOT of problems here.  The Republicans are splintered and falling apart between Trumpism and the Tea Party taking over their party and the Democrats have their own struggles between the Sanders camp and the Clinton camp playing nice together.  I truly feel sorry for moderate Republicans.  They got nobody to vote for that speaks their lingo.  Democrats have their problems but at least they’re working it out…at least it appears like they are.

I think I’m going to stay off of or severely limit my time on Facebook for the next several months until this thing is over.  It effects my mood in a big way to see all of the nastiness out there towards each other.  Like my dog, I just want everyone to get along and work out their issues.  But I have a feeling this is going to be a long, dirty, bloody battle for the White House and it ain’t going to be pretty.  Hold onto your seats folks and keep your heads down.  We’re in for a bumpy ride.

Who Do You Think You Are?

This is one of my favorite posts from one of my favorite bloggers. Unfortunately, he no longer posts but I’m hopeful that one day he may start back up again. I needed to read this today and I thought maybe some of you might enjoy it as well.

Today I Am A Man

The Hubble Ultra-Deep Field, revealing thousands of galaxies. Source. We were born in the borderlands of the ancient civil war between the sexes. Some of us become migrants, carried with the seasons, crossing back and forth and forth and back again. Some of us settle down in the little border towns of our youth and make ourselves a decent home there. Some of us go out, cross over, and never cross back again; we make our desert home on the other side of the fence.

All of that is fine. Actually, the difference between such choices is trivial, in the long view. All that matters: decreasing pain. The only imperative: live well and help others do the same. There are a lot of border towns along this wall. Fit in wherever you can.

Don’t get stuck too long in the swamp of your own indecision. If you’re not ready…

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Nobody’s Normal

I used to think no one would really understand me.  Heck, I didn’t even understand me.  I wondered why I couldn’t just be like everyone else and why life couldn’t be simpler.  I wanted to fit in and be “normal”.  The other day I read a post on a forum I belong to from a person who was pretty much saying what I’ve felt for most of my life.  He wanted to know, in a nutshell, if others in the group ever felt like they just wished they were born in the sex they truly were and if others were also tired of always feeling like they didn’t fit in.  Oh boy!  You bet!!  Not only did I read that and nod my head in a knowing “mm hmm, yep” but a lot of other folks jumped in with their own affirmations and explanations for this not so odd commonality in the group.  Some of the comments got me really thinking about why we all want to be seen as “normal”, ordinary, fitting in, so much.  I think I figured it out, at least partly, and I want to share it with you today.

It’s because we’ve all been brainwashed from birth to believe that life works a certain way and that if you deviate from that one true path than YOU are the problem, not the system.  We live in a one size fits all society.  We’re put in pink and blue boxes from the minute we’re born and read fairy tales and watched Disney movies that only have one story line.  Boy meets girl.  Boy loses girl.  Boy gets girl back and they live happily ever after.  Well folks, there is no such thing as “happily ever after”, not all boys want to live happily ever after with a girl and some boys might look more like a girl than a boy.  I’m not saying that people can’t make marriages work for a lifetime.  They can.  There is clear evidence of this.  But, it takes a lot of work and give and take to do it.  And sometimes it sucks the life out of one or both people in order to pull it off.

I grew up watching shows like The Brady Bunch, Eight is Enough, Leave it To Beaver and Father Knows Best.  They all portrayed these perfect families with two loving opposite sex parents and their nearly perfect children.  Even when the kids or the parents did something bad it wasn’t really BAD stuff by today’s standards.  Even in the 1950s that just wasn’t realistic.  It is a nice fantasy, especially for a kid who’s life is far from perfect.  But it’s just further propagating the lies and making people feel like they’re failures when they don’t measure up to Ward Cleaver or Carol Brady.

I saw a meme on Facebook yesterday that asked if we (society) were ready for a lesbian Disney princess.  Heck yeah!  Bring it on!  We need to re-write all of those silly fairy tales out there and put all kinds of relationships and genders in them.  Why not a trans princess?  Or a gay prince?  That would be a start.  I know it will offend some people, but you know, it’s high time they wake up out of their dream land and realize that they’ve been living in the Matrix and sold a bunch of lies.  Life is not as simple as ‘if you have a penis then you’re a boy and if you have a vagina then you’re a girl’ and ‘marriage is only between a man and a woman’.  Nope!  It’s way more complicated than that and it’s time to stop perpetuating the brainwashing and lying about what our children’s futures are going to look like.  Very few of us are going to marry a Prince or kiss a frog and meet the love of our lives and none of us are going to fall into blissful, perfect love with someone and live happily ever after.  That’s all a lie.  And I think it’s destructive.

This destructive brainwashing and programming is what makes us miserable because, when we can’t conform to what society says we should be we think there’s something wrong with us.  The problem isn’t with us.  The problem is with the lies that society perpetuates to keep us all in our nice tight little confined boxes.  If one studies nature at all you can’t help but notice all of the color and variation as well as ‘abnormalities’ that naturally occur.  We celebrate four leaf clovers as being lucky, but really they are an a rare variation of the three leaf clover.  Roses come in a whole array of colors and that’s a wonderful thing.  There’s an animal rescue group in Alabama that house a lion, a tiger and a bear all in the same area because they grew up together from babies and they love each other and get along great.  Tell me that doesn’t go against nature!  People pay money to go see them and think it’s a great thing.  And it is.  But why can’t we allow people, our fellow humans, who are all struggling to just live their lives, find happiness how they wish with whomever they wish without condemning them and spitting in their faces for being ‘different’?  We can.  We just have to wake up and smell the roses and realize that we’ve been lied to our whole lives about what it is to be human.  And, for God’s sake, show some compassion and human decency for each other.  Celebrate the diversity of the human experience in all of it’s colors and glory.  Be you and enjoy your life!