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Archive for April, 2009

I never really like it when a single thing consumes my life. It’s happened before with everything from inventions to lovers, and recently with my trying to adapt to a new way of living. After a time of overfocus, it takes me another time to remember what the hell I normally think about in my spare time. I mean, I usually surf the net for stuff related to building synths, clothes, and chem supplies (in that order).. and I usually spend spare sit time planning synths to build, flowcharting my own work processes, or trying to come up with completely novel things to do. Beyond that, I’ve spent lots of those extra waking minutes doing something Qi Kung related for the last year or so, whether it’s working on connections whilest walking or sitting in any number of ad hoc positions, doing some breathing practice, or trying to walk up and down steps whilest sinking my weight. Those little things are cool ways (outside my normal practice) to refine myself.

And then there’s all that time it takes me to ask “what is my intention.” Here’s where I feel I made major shifts over the last couple of years. I look at my approach to my sexual and gender issues and I see that it’s really benefitting me to be able to ask, “what’s my purpose” behind every behavior or social cue that I seek to change. I think it’s helping me to stay more sane throughout this process (well, yea, notice the relativism :-).

Also, as I seek to reintegrate my whole life and reexamine my initial goals of being in Taiwan and get back on track with synth manufacturing — WOW, it’s a little bit overwhelming! I am reminded of revisiting old sheet music I wrote years ago and thinking, “I wrote this? This is really good! How the hell did I do it?” Now I’m looking at drawings, and board layouts, and CAD designs and business plans and I’m thinking the same thing. I had some real momentum with all that and was progressing in what, in retrospect, was a more powerful way than I gave myself credit for.

So now I anticipate weeks of plodding along seemingly aimlessly, “stuffing the duck” by just inundating myself with the information and reacquainting myself with the necessary tasks until I know what the fuck I’m doing again.

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One thing I don’t like is for my life to be tossed around too much. I decided I needed to deal with all this issue with my gender in order to hopefully find even more stability and balance in my life. It became finally apparent that it just needs taken care of and needs a space in my life. On top of that, I’ve been moving a girlfriend into my house and setting up.

My patterns are now waaaaaaay off. I have that feeling I sometimes get after spending a lot of time and effort on one single thing that I cannot remember what I usually sit around and think about or do. I slid out of practicing Wujifa as much as I want to. I also stopped work on a lot of important projects. Now instead of productivity when I sit down, I find myself feeling amiss, awry… or simply lost.

I hope I can get my groove back soon. One desire I’ve had for a very long time is for gender to settle into a nice slot somewhere in the back of my mind, comfortably. I want to spend my mental energy on making money and creating things. But spending a lot of energy on TWO things, one being a significant social lifestyle shift, the other being the building of a relationship with a new domestic partner… wow, I hardly know where to start finding my own intentions and things I want to build again.

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I had a new person to Qi Kung. He wanted something to contribute to his yoga.

So we went up to the mountain, overlooking the river and yinghe. I like to do Qi Kung there, and we sat in a little temple and talked a minute, and I helped him into some stance.

It’s a “good place” to “play Qi Kung.”

Which I notice helps convince me and convince him.

He asked me why people who simply stand there will sweat so much when they do it.

Then I helped him find a good stance. I kept having to correct 3 and 4 as he’d slip out of it to be more comfortable (I now wonder what was happening with 1 and 2 during that time).

Once he did it for a few minutes he said “ouh! I’m sweating now!”

Nice convincer for him.

So after a little while he stopped and told me about a buddy who does Qi Kung and just stands there. He wanted to know what that developed… He said he likes Yoga for movement. He find it hard to stand still for so long. He gets bored. … and I showed him how we gradually develop that heaviness and groundedness, along with connection whilest standing, then learn to bring it into walking and moving around. I talked about the boredom, compared to sitting and staring at a T.V… I tried to remember how R says it.

Then I showed him what he’d come for, which was breathing methods. Since he does yoga, I helped him understand what is a connected breath (like the Reichian Orgasmic reflex breathing). I couldn’t really explain how I think feeling of drawing from the qua works and how I believe breathing in the belly creates balancing counterpulls through connections within the body, and it all relates back to stand and relax… Maybe all that’s just my way of getting there anyways. Instead I just showed him orgasmic reflex breathing and talked about connections and dynamic breathing, which I think for a yogi is a good way.

So he did some nice breaths, and maybe it helped me calibrate some corrections to him and perhaps to answer some of his questions. I felt weird playing “teacher” in this regard. Even though I teach kids English, and I know that what I showed him was very basic, solid material… I even think I’ve explored breathing pretty deeply over the last few years, and I know I have some insights. I just felt weird playing that role.

I also showed him all around breathing, simply as a good way to breathe. I think it’s a healthy and nice practice too…

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I’d managed to go a month with my ethics depleting, quickly, like bleeding out from a massive wound. By a couple of weeks ago it felt like the last drip drip of an animal’s blood draining, the animal hanging by a leg noose. Nihilistic sadism was setting in deep, and I finally felt so comfortable with it that I didn’t even need to tell anyone anymore.

Then, last night I stood on a parapet overlooking the little part of Sansia upriver from my home, off the side of my lovely mountain. I had walked up there fast, to burn off my late meal after getting off work at 9PM. I calmed myself, sank my weight, and started to feel connections to my breath. After awhile I realized something, with stark clarity. It was obviously true and important, yet something I hadn’t even wondered about, had never considered.

For my entire life, I’ve internalized the notion that being transgendered, let alone attempting to embrace the qualities and identity I value, is wrong in some fundamental way. When I was little, my parents reacted pretty badly anytime it would come up, my grandmother, my aunts. Gender infractions, even stuff that doesn’t, in retrospect, even relate to my transgenderism were met with long embarrassing discussions, ridicule, and occasionally naked anger. When I got older, the religious order treated it as a sin or a serious problem to be overcome with God’s help. Older still, doctors, friends, the social order that I knew basically made it out to be a sickness, or an obstacle to be overcome, if I beat it, whether it was a sublimation, a fetish, a nonfunctionality, or a neurosis, then I was to be lauded — like one of those exemplary people who overcomes great odds — a triumph! If I acted upon it then I was acting out of something within me that was broken.

I’ve spent many years coming from this same frame. So choosing to allow, to embrace, myself: In my mind it’s been so connected to being sick, evil, or despicable, that I simply rolled these two things together.

Last night I wondered, maybe it’s just part of being me. Perhaps, after all these years, cultivating as much of what I find worthwhile, valuable, beautiful, or enjoyable within myself may be a very good thing to do, through choice, behavior, technology or anything else I can find. Maybe doing so is, in fact, kindness and goodness. Then I noticed my breathing becoming easier, my chest opening up and not being so tight*. My vision widened and I saw the trees and sky and mountains in the nighttime as I have not seen them in weeks.

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*Previous to this, for years I often noticed that I carried weight and tension across my back until I decided to embrace being a woman, then I’d feel openness across my back traded for a tightness in my chest. I think having neither represents and interesting shift. I place all this here for you bioenergetics froods at SoCaP.

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Nice.

My boss REALLY wants to keep me.

I just got tax breaks, a bonus and a raise. It looks like if I stay with her for another year, I can pretty easily meet my financial goals. She has the stated and practiced attitude that if she pays her teachers well then they can be good teachers for her. I think that’s sound business. Liz and I were considering moving to another city, and we checked out the South of the island. While I think I could be happy there, I think I could just as easily be happy here and my job here is really really good.

Onto negotiating prices.

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“Presentation”

Gender presentation is so funny. I think I do and say about 95% the same as I would had I been born with a pair of X chromasomes. Sometimes I think I go even more femme than I would in that case. And no one questions a gal in tshirt and blue jeans with a shaved head, except that maybe she’s gay.

And if I wear what is considered “women’s clothes” … assuming they fit or are cut or tailored right for me. I might suggest that any external observer would say I’m dressed like a rock star, or like Mystery, (or very mod on the conservative end) LOL. This country is accepting of me enough that I can wear ladies pants and a modest cut shirt to work and my boss compliments me. Or I dressed even at work, and across any gender lines this seems a little odd for a teacher, in velvet pinstriped pants, a plain but lacey cream shirt, and a velvet shirt on top, and pink leopard print belt. They had photographs of their teachers that day and the director’s husband was really happy with how I was dressed for the pics.

I’m pretty comfortable to put on a skirt or whatever and walk around small town Asia. I don’t actually think it’d be a more of an infraction than the bondage pants or the pants that are cut all the way up to my ass that I wear all around small town Taiwan. The cynical part of me suspects living with my girlfriend makes everything okay with whomever it needs to be okay with here. But until they saw me with her, the guard downstairs thought I liked boys. Nor did he seem to care about that either.

And I have been training my voice a lot on the days when I don’t have a hacking cough. Nicely, lots can be achieved that sounds natural and easy and I’m happy with my progress here. I teach plenty of my classes with as uber femme of a voice as I can talk with. I’m looking for my cold to go away so I can get back in to this well. Students don’t care, and TAs don’t care either. I like bouncing back and forth, no one even smiles, snickers, or looks at me funny. There seems to be no reaction at all, other than if I go really hyper manly, they do what I say a little faster.

Other than that though, if people are talking about what transgendered folks normally do, I’m never going to go with heavy “illusion” makeup and a wig. So what can I say is a “male” or “female” presentation? Based on body out line, anyone should be able to mark me from a quarter mile away (literally) as male… So I’m not really running any sort of dual mode presentation because it wouldn’t make sense on any level I can see. I think anything I feel congruent with is in and anything I don’t feel congruent with is out. That’s a simple standard. Yet I’m working towards creating social feedback loops, so I’m pushing my own edges here a little too.

So I consider my personal presentation of self as leaning towards (and I actually dislike labels like this) “queer.” The nicest thing about occupying a space like that is that it feels as if I can do anything I want. I mean, if you meet someone new, and your reaction is this human is as male, but that person is also dressed like Annie Lennox, David Bowie at his most femme, or otherwise appears to be sporting high waisted pants with a funky plush crocheted wrap over that tastefully cute shirt… I mean what assumptions do you make? Does it then bother you if the person has a female name? A male name? Or for that matter, a really wierd space-glam name? Wouldn’t you have stopped talking to that person a long time ago if any of that was going to be an issue?

It seems like my perfecting that space breaks repor with everyone’s sense of knowing what to do and may create the greatest freedom of all for me (and find a deeper repor with…?) Given that I’ll gradually be more and more androgynous as I have all my excess body hair removed, get reconstructive surgery to fix testosterone damage to my face, etc. I’m continuing to alter my wardrobe (It’s all wearing out, I haven’t bought much in about six years) so soon everything I wear will fit this same pattern, mostly androgynous. Stuff most girls could pick up at Target or most guys could pick up off a runway show. I’ve always been thankful for my sense of fashion anyhow. I think it all looks damned sexy on me and I’ve always been thankful for my body type in that regard.

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