Throwing Out Expectations

It’s now been over a month and a half on HRT(hormone-replacement therapy). Many mundane, yet miraculous things have changed. My face has feminized so much, I am called “ma’am” at stores. My body shape has changed so much, I no longer fit into men’s clothing. My mood swings are mood roller-coasters. My breast development now requires the wearing of a bra. But something far deeper and more important happened. I let go of my expectations.

I had all of these grand ideas about how transition would go, what kind of woman I would be, and what I would look like. Not watching reality television, I was not lured by glamor or beauty. Instead, I had done a lot of research into feminism, women’s rights, and gender constructs. I would not be the stereotypical woman, overly emotional and concerned with fashion. I would not give into the pressure to “look good.” I would be conscientious to prove I was hardworking and concerned with the things that matter most: the environment, helping others, and of course, women’s rights. I would refuse to be oversexualized, put people with male privilege in their place, and would never settle for anything less than equality.

Right…. LOL!!!

While I believe we do get to choose our Path, I also believe our Path also chooses us. I have two daughters, who are probably more emotionally stable that I am right now. I am moved to tears by the word “kittens” and or even thinking “happy thoughts.” I’m also the most fashion-minded one in the house. I have heard the women in my life make terrible comments about their bodies. Body acceptance isn’t easy, but I feel it is crucial. Feeling comfortable and taking a little care in how you look is such a huge confidence booster. I’m still interested in things like the environment. Whether it’s making a purse out of an old jacket, a skirt from tattered bandannas, or a standing garden table out of an old box spring, I love to reuse things. It cuts down on waste.

I still do what I can do help others, but I’ve become so involved with transition that I honestly have become somewhat self-absorbed at times. I have found that it is typically better to wait until someone asks for help, and so that is what I do. I’m too busy trying to fix me. And though I still consider myself a feminist, it is for very different reasons than going in. I just want equality and realize I am now on the outside looking in, asking for/demanding it. I can now see male privilege in certain people. And when I try to point it out, I see male guilt. The situation is way more complex that I ever could have realized, and I am only just learning.

Things are so far different, I think I have become my own Shadow. The only emotion that has stuck with me, through it all is gratitude. I am grateful to be here. I am grateful for my supportive wife and her guidance. I am grateful for my bewilderment, for my disappointment, and for my letting go of who I was. I am grateful for the fact that I am still changing, and I have no idea who I will end up next. It’s time to throw out expectations like an old pair of ill-fitting jeans and embrace the new individual in the mirror.

Love and blessings,
River

MensWomensJeansSizeConversion

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.

Blessings,
River ♥
May all your wishes come true.

blue-fairy

The Mirror Challenge

Everyone has insecurities about their body, and it is little wonder. With images of models and actors in their prime and who have been hand selected for their exquisite outer beauty, the ordinary person has not a chance when being compared to them. We also don’t have the money for the clothes, the make-up, the hair, the personal trainer, etc. But who is doing the comparing? How many times has our loved ones really told us we need to look like that? We do the comparing. We have been programmed to compare ourselves to everyone else. We do it out of nature and habit. It’s how we learn. If we cannot compare, we cannot see if we are doing something correctly. Unfortunately, we apply it to body image. And while we might not have all the money, we do have personal power. And we have the ability to shift our perspective. And now it’s time to our body back.

Some of us love the mirror. Some of us hate it. The challenge is to look in the mirror for 5-10 minutes every day. No make-up. No clothes. Hair down. Just you as you are. And tell yourself that you are beautiful. Tell yourself that you are ok with how you look. And tell yourself that you forgive yourself. 5 minutes a day, every day. Until you mean it. That is my challenge to all of you. If you don’t do this, then maybe nobody else will. And if you do this and mean it, it won’t matter what anybody says about your body. You will never compare or be compared again.

We know that society’s standards have been wrong, and they’re slowly changing. See the Ugly modeling agency here. Robyn Lawley, a plus-size model graced the inside of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue this year. Read about it here. Read about a beautiful ad campaign from ModCloth here. And when society(like Victoria’s Secret) does throw us a rotten fish, we fight back like this and this. The people in these articles had to come to terms with their bodies. Now, it’s your turn. Go out there give your body some love.

Waterfall

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.

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!

Sunfeather Challenge

This was originally posted under my other blog, but I thought I would give it another go and see what happens. I am not the first to notice the great lack of feminine spirit among men. We have been told we cannot be beautiful, compassionate, or graceful. I say, we are balanced human beings. I say, it is in our capacity to be whatever we wish. I am challenging men to go out there and prove it.

The Sunfeather Challenge is to find something Beautiful to do. Specifically, it is about finding something “uncomfortably feminine” to do. Why uncomfortable? Because that is where change occurs. You find the place that divides comfort and unimaginable, and you will end up in discomfort. Maybe you can see yourself crying during a romantic comedy, but you don’t see yourself ever wearing a dress. Taking dance lessons would be uncomfortable, but you’d do it. Then, take dance lessons. Take dance lessons long enough, and they won’t be uncomfortable anymore. Discomfort is the place of eternal change. If it means painting your nails, shaving your legs, wearing a skirt, yoga, or making a video of you singing “I’m just a Girl”, then do what makes you uncomfortable but not unimaginable.

In the end, men need to re-learn how to identify with beauty, emotion, and ultimately, their feminine side. It will not only free them to be balanced individuals, allow them to be more compassionate, but maybe even help take some of the mystery out of understanding women. After all, women are human, too.

Good luck, gentlemen,

-Sunfeather