Being an Ally For Yourself

Whether you are identify as trans, gay, or one of the other letters in LGBTQ community, or one of our valuable allies, you will at some point find yourself explaining something to someone of another point of view. This is a fact of life. If you have already been in this situation and survived, go you. Give yourself a pat on the back. For some of us, it comes up more than others. There are a plenty of articles on being an ally. Like this one, that one, or the other one. I am not about to write another. This is about being an ally to yourself.

Depending on the situation, you are forced to debate a topics that are personal and close to you. This might be a hypothetical about someone using a bathroom, or it could very well be your friend’s livelihood, or your personal rights. Things get heated quickly. You will screw up from time to time. You will get defensive. You will get drawn into the argument. You will succumb to your passions. You will overshare, and you will allow it to be personal. You will let it get to you.

First, acknowledge that these heated feelings mean you are still human and still care. Pain and anger mean you still give a damn about yourself and others. You are still connected. Go you!

Second, walk away. Allow the other person to sit on those thoughts for a while. And you can take a breather to calm down. You go full tilt all the time, and you forget what you are fighting for. You are bound to forget the goodness in the world.

Third, forgive. Forgive yourself. Don’t worry that you weren’t perfect and didn’t change everyone’s mind. Don’t sweat that you made a misfire or weren’t the perfect ally to “the cause.” And forgive the other person for not seeing your point of view. They may come around eventually. Remember that time you were deadset against doing something and ended up having a good time, anyway? Same thing.

Fourth, go for a walk. Spend some time with family or friends who will give you a break from arguing, debate, researching, and thinking politics. Seriously, take a break from the darn articles. I don’t care what was said at who’s convention. Just go. Your people miss you.

Fifth, do some journaling. If you are still feeling argumentative, write down your feelings and explore them. Ask why you feel so strongly and why it bothers you. Maybe start a blog. You can also call your state and federal representatives and get some things off your chest. It’s their job to hear your concerns and change the system, so you are no longer upset about it.

Sixth(Optional), hold a townhall meeting and invite them. Publicize it if they don’t show up. Be an active participant in changing the way things are. Don’t just vent your frustrations about the system, change the system for you. Become a leader in the community and actively change things. Take back the power in your life. Maybe even run for senate. Note: This path makes you fully accountable.

Wash and repeat.


Of Warriors and Faeries

Bravery does not feel like being courageous. It feels like being terrified.

I have reached that awkward stage in my transition. I am doing things that are “traditionally” female, yet I have a body that is still recognizably male. This makes many of those around me, especially those with traditional values, uncomfortable. By being open about my transition and talking about transgender issues, I can alleviate some of their fears and worries. I will not lie. Every time I speak on the issue, I feel a tinge of my own fear rise up.

When I first came out to my closest friends, I was terrified. I expected to lose them. I expected to be judged and ridiculed. When I told my family, I expected the same. Though there was some pushback from family members, my being transgender has not cost me friends or family members. I have been lucky. Though it has put some distance in certain relationships, it has brought others closer. I am aware that many trans individuals are mistreated and many have sacrificed to get us to this point. I am under no illusions I also take a certain amount of risk, and I am grateful for everything I have. But it was not my awareness of other trans folks and their sacrifices that made me afraid but my awareness of gender constructs. It was the social programming from friends, family members, and even complete strangers. All my life, I had been told, “be a man” and been made keenly aware of the consequences of letting people down in that regard.

To me, one of the greatest battles we fight is not the one where we fight for our rights or even the one for normalcy. Though those battles are important and must be fought, it is in my opinion, a far more important battle that is waged in the mind of a trans individual. For us, one of the greatest trials is overcome simply anytime we tell someone. It is the battle we win every time we explain what we do and the details of our transition and our life. If someone comes out to you, they just won a major conflict. Be supportive. Show encouragement. Thank them for sharing this part of themselves with you. And if you know someone who isn’t out yet, do not shame that person. You have no idea what kind of demons that person may face every day of their life.

I believe the ultimate battle that anyone must face is for self-acceptance. That initial knowing and accepting of oneself is crucial. One must face their darkest fears and find self-love deep inside. Either one accepts themselves for who they are, and they are willing to fight, OR they give up, saying something or someone else is in the way. But contrary to what we learned in English, “accountability” begins with the letter “I” and accepts no excuses. This life is about you and no one else. Are you and your dream worth it? Are you willing to fight to make your own wishes come true? It is never too late.

River ♥
May all your wishes come true.


Coming Out

Just to let you all know, I am a trans woman. I know many of you are family and friends with questions about this journey. So I have put together this FAQ, based upon questions I have been receiving from you, the family and friends. I understand that this is not just a transition for me, but for everyone in my life as well. Please, remember I write this with all the love in my heart. ♥

Q. Are you and Laura staying together?
A. Absolutely! Laura has been supportive as I have gone through this exploration of self. As it turns out, she has done some self-exploration as well, and I have been supportive of her changes. We believe people evolve and change, and that it’s what it means to be human. We are still very much in love and still hope to grow old together.

Q. What about your daughters, Lilly and Aiyana?
A. We have taken steps to ensure they have support as they adjust to the changes. So far, they seem to be doing just fine. In fact, they both seem happier with the new me.

Q. Does that make Laura a lesbian?
A. Yes. Though according to this article, most women have been attracted to the same sex. It’s really nothing new.

Q. What do I call you? What pronouns should I use?
A. Thank you for asking. I prefer to be addressed as “River” and the pronouns “her” and “she.” I am going to work on changing my legal name at some point, but it is a process for many trans folk. Perhaps we can make a deal. How about I practice patience while you adjust to my new name and pronouns, and you practice patience while I go through the process of changing my legal name?
Name change and pronouns can be important for some trans individuals, as it helps them adjust and become comfortable, as they transition into their new lives. Little things like this also help them to see that they are supported by the people around them.

Q. What steps are you taking?
A. Transition is not a straight line, but rather a long check list of gender-affirming activities and actions. Some of these things one individual might deem necessary while another does not. And a few of these things may be easily attainable for some, while out of reach for others. “Transition” is the process of going through one’s personal list and getting all the things they feel necessary for them to fit their target gender. It is a process that usually lasts years, if not a lifetime for some. It can include hormones, voice training, electrolysis, relearning social queues, counseling, name changes, surgeries, and much more.
I began with meditation, counseling, and then electrolysis. I try not to think of what has to be done, but rather what is being accomplished. Otherwise, it can be rather intimidating. For instance, the electrolysis will take 18 months or more. If you wish to stay updated on my transformation, simply subscribe to this blog.

Q. Have you always felt like this?
A. Answering this is not simple. When I was younger, I knew that this was who I was and what I wanted. For years, I longed for it. But because of certain circumstances, I felt that I had to take this part of myself and bury it. I did not feel I could survive and still honor my female self. All I can say is that I grew up in a harsh environment. Many years later, I began meditating and these feelings came bubbling back to the surface. So for about two years, I have explored various gender energies in meditation. At the same time, I have reconnected with those old parts of myself that were buried so deep inside. Meditation is a wonderful way to heal old wounds. Now in order to continue, I must live authentically and be who I was always meant to be, instead of what was wanted for me.

Q. What prompted this?
A. When I peeled back enough layers to see myself for who I really was, my dear friend and teacher, Alfred Willowhawk put a figurative mirror in front of me. It was then that I realized that I had been chasing everyone else’s dream for me. I had never truly pursued what I wanted for myself and had to become what he calls a “spiritual warrior.” We all have a tendency to do this, and this applies to things other than gender. To learn more about this kind of thing, please visit his website, Warrior. He has a radio show, devoted to such topics as becoming a spiritual warrior and your authentic self. It can be heard here, The Cauldron, Fridays at 9 pm eastern.

Q. Does this new life make you happy?
A. It feels like being home after a really really long grueling day. I am unsure of how else to phrase the feeling. It is similar to the feeling of wearing your favorite jacket on a chilly day, or one of those days that makes you realize how grateful you are just to be alive.

Q. I miss the old you and don’t want you to change. How can I express that?
A. By speaking with me. You can tell me exactly what you miss and why.

Q. Are you getting the surgery?
A. That is between my wife and myself. I love you, but I don’t ask you about your plumbing, as I see it as being irrelevant to my life.

Q. Is it true that once you join a pride movement, there’s a musical number?
A. LOL This is my choice. Here is Laura’s. Enjoy!

Q. I have more questions!
A. If you are curious, try googling it and doing some research. If you have personal questions or would like to know more, just ask or message me. If you are interested in seeing my transformation, please just follow the blog. I am also working on a resource page with a list of transgender internet resources. If anyone has more sites to add to the page, please let me know. Thank you!

Thank you and blessings to you all,
River and Laura

Should Men Paint Their Nails?

Explaining my actions is not part of my job description. I do what makes me happy, so long as it harms none. If you have a problem with something that I do, you can go home and rethink your life. It is your lesson, not mine. That said, there is an exception to every rule. I paint my nails, and I do it, partially, for your benefit. I paint my nails, because we live in a society where straight men can’t be pretty. We live in a society where women are expected to be pretty and unintelligent. We have done ourselves a great injustice. Let me back up a bit.

Let’s start with “gender constructs.” Gender constructs are expectations that we have been taught by society for gender. For instance, we have been taught that men and women think differently and like different things. Women are sensitive, and men are logical. Women like dancing, and men like sports. Yet, if you start talking to young children who have not been taught social norms, you’ll find a mix of interests between both biological genders. Little boys and girls like all kinds of things. They are both thinking AND feeling individuals. So, how do we end up with gender constructs? I was talking to my six year old daughter about colors. I informed her there were no boy colors or girl colors. She could like whatever colors she wanted. Up until now, the only color she has ever talked about was purple, a typical “girl” color. All of a sudden, I heard “My favorite colors are purple and blue.” We get these ideas in our head and repeat them like facts. And then, we repeat them like lessons. It’s really not helping anyone. Stop making assumptions. Stop having expectations. Stop thinking in terms of gender roles and constructs. We can only limit ourselves.

Gender constructs can become dangerous. How dangerous? Let me introduce you to “repression.” He has two friends, suppression, and oppression. Along with the idea the men are not feeling, we have gotten the idea that men are not supposed to be feeling. We have also gotten the idea they are not supposed to be in touch with anything feminine, such as compassion, intuition, or real spirituality. We oppress these things in young boys, discouraging their creativity or actual discussion of their feelings. We chastise them for being “girly.” We punish them for expressing themselves, and this leads to suppression of their own feelings and their own feminine energy. After we have been punished (by ourselves or others) for a trait often enough, our subconscious takes over. But the subconscious cannot discern between inside the mind and outside. So, when we repress something internally, we often oppress the same energy externally. Essentially, hurt children turn into traumatized adults, who do things like calling a man who paints his nails “gay” or even something as extreme as abusing women. And this is why women will never be seen as true equals in the eyes of men, until we start seeing more men in touch with their own feminine. I suspect that as more men begin to get in touch with their own inner feminine energy, we will stop seeing the oppression of women and the LGBTQ community. But change is slow and happens one individual at a time.

Women have risen up and empowered themselves when need be. They have often had to realize that they are a combination of Beauty and Strength. Because of this realization, they have made the push for equality and have done a pretty damn good job. The idea that men are in charge is in a way, an illusion. Empowered women have been been leading this world toward a future of balance. As more women join the call, the question becomes will men finally see their own inner Beauty? Imagine the world when all people find balance. Your feelings are wonderful and divine. You should get in touch with them more often and honor them, even the ones you don’t like. By honoring your feelings, you honor your beautiful self. And who knows where else it may lead? Spirituality? Meditation? Writing? Painting? Music? The possibilities are endless!

So, why do I paint my nails? Because too many young boys have been told they couldn’t do “girly” things. Because too many men lash out at women as a result. Because our society needs to change. And for the same reason that women do it: because it makes me feel pretty. Perhaps you should try it.

Sensory Meditations

Excellent way to introduce someone to meditation or begin again if you are out of practice.

Gern Laverty

For those new to meditation, these simple exercises are a great way to get started. They will teach you to relax and focus. For everyone else, they’re a great way to add a little peace back into your life. They can be done in any order. Try doing them alone, with a partner, or even a class. You can do one or two a day. Experiment, have fun, and make them your own.

Some tips on these meditations: Dress comfortably. Sit comfortably. Close your eyes and focus your sole attention on one sense. Block everything else out. Nothing else exists, except you and that sense. Good luck!

Sound Meditation. Find a leather drum, bell, chime, metal pitcher, triangle, or anything will ring when struck. I used a drum. Sit quietly and close your eyes. Strike the instrument. Practice listening for the moment it stops ringing. After doing this repeatedly, you…

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Men who honour the Goddess – PaganSquare – PaganSquare – Join the conversation!

Men who honour the Goddess – PaganSquare – PaganSquare – Join the conversation!.

Yay! Candise published her article on Men who honor the Goddess on her blog on the Witches and Pagans site. Guess who is featured with Hekate’s ritual. Thank you Hekate, and thank you Candise!

Expectation Meditation

We all have the weight of many expectations weighing down on us. We have what society expects of us. Society demands that we are good boys and girls. We fits our roles and fulfill our jobs. We must buy the company’s products and spend money on the economy. Our family expects us to do our job. That could be taking care of the house or making money or both. Our parents had expectations of us, and we still hear their voices, occasionally. It is unfortunate but true. Our children, our pets, our neighbors, and even complete strangers seem to have expectations of how we are supposed to behave and treat them. But that is no longer us, because we are Spiritual beings. We live for ourselves. It’s time for a shower.

The next time you take a shower, I want you to wash away the dirt, the grime, and the thousand expectations of a thousand other people off of you. This is your life. It is meant to be lived how you see fit. You do not need to make apologies for succeeding or doing what you feel is right. You have to be you 100% of the time. You have to live in your skin. Make sure you are comfortable in it. Focus on getting off the negative looks and judgments from everyone else off of you. They have disappointed themselves, for whatever reasons. They are jealous, for whatever reasons. They projected their lessons on to you. Wash it all off and watch it swirl down the shower drain. You don’t need other people telling you how to live or judging you when you don’t measure up to their standards. Clean your entire body and focus on living in the moment with no expectations. When you are finished in the shower, know that you are capable of anything at any time. Surprise yourself. You’ll be happy when you do.

Blessings to you all,
Waterfall Sunfeather