Friday, March 20, 2009

"Watch the way we drop our scars"

Hey y'all,

A slow week this week - which makes for a nice change. So... umm... not much to say really :-)Not that that'll stop me. I am a blogger :-P

While poking around this blog, I stumbled upon the Blogger news feed. I don't know if you read that feed or not, there's an entry about Plinky. Not a person or the sound a coin makes when dropped in a jar, but a web site that asks you a question in case you've got blogger's block. When I looked the neural prod was: name a book that changed your mind or opened your eyes.

Well, I used to read. Not quite as voraciously as other people I knew but over the last year or so my reading habits have dwindled to just about zero. Oddly, so has my television viewing. I might catch the news while eating my tea, but a quick flick through the telly's what's on feature and most of the time I give up and go and do something else.

I am, at heart, a fantasist... or perhaps more accurately: an escapist. I like to day dream and the obscure and the whimsical hold my attention. To that end, I don't read biographies, watch soaps or straight dramas. I'm more of a science fiction (or fantasy) fan.

The BBC recently ran a series called Being Human. That I thoroughly enjoyed. Sure, it was effectively 3 people sharing a flat and while the motifs of the vampire and werewolf as people first, monsters second isn't brand new, I was gripped.

While I said I don't watch dramas, I did watch Queer as Folk when it was on. Why? Because it was a subject outside of my world. The characters interested me and while it was still very much this world, the side world that they seemed to inhabit was so different to my middle class white boy suburbia, it could well have been Moonbase Alpha. :-)

So to get back to the question in hand: which book? Gibson's Neuromancer holds a special place in my heart. I came back to sci-fi after a long break and while it was a good eight years after its release, the idea of a broken future seemed fresh and it appealed to me. Don't get me wrong, I like were I live (now anyway), but a dystopian future was an interesting place to read about. It certainly gave my imagination something to mull over. Perhaps it was my teenage nihilism, but looking through the cracked mirror you saw people who while flawed, strived against the environment. Is there a moral to this? Maybes... If I give my head a shake [ow!] some fortune-cookie soundbite may rattle out. Now doubt something along the lines of: no matter how bad it seems, there's always hope.

So, it is Neuromancer? No. Excellent though it is, it didn't change my world view. Neither did the Bible (in case you were curious) nor a couple of self-help books I made my way through. Instead it was a book the dear Mrs Jones gave to me in passing. It was one of those society/psychology books you get, although to be fair that doesn't to it justice. The book is Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps by Allan Pease & Barbara Pease. It's by turn serious science, witty anecdotes and wry personal observation.

The book discusses the differences between men and women in a friendly, light hearted manner. Frankly, it's a miracle either couples manage to stay together when we're so seemingly damned incompatible. :-) But beyond the witty banter, the more serious subject of us being very heavily influenced by our brain chemistry started to ring true for me.

So why did this change my world view? There's a section on gay folk where the authors state that being gay isn't a lifestyle choice: it's a physical state of being. If that's true of gay people, my brain wondered, is the same true of trannys? For years I wondered if I could or should stop. Why did I keep coming back to this 'lifestyle' if it - as it did years ago - freak me out? Why do I share the same pattern of behaviour with other trannys? The early memories, the teenage panic, the 20s purging and then the deep dive back into it during my 30s. [ Although technically, that's not 100% true: I was seriously off the wagon in my late 20s - just seriously in the closet. ]

I settled on brain chemistry... or hormones... or genetic differences - whatever science you want to wrap it up in, that's cool. The key thing - and to be honest, it's more my interpretation of the book rather than proven science - is that I'm wired this way. Which brings us back to Neuromancer and what Molly Millions said:
"'Cept I do hurt people sometimes, Case. I guess it's just the way I'm wired..."

Wired. I am built this way. To me it's a natural as breathing or wanting to care for my family.

I felt... relief? No, more than that. Like... like I had the answer. It may not be the answer for you, but it was the one that made a little light go 'ting' in my head. After that wee Epiphany, the whole 'Sh**! I'm a tranny' gig slowly wound down and fizzled away, until one day, I realised it just didn't bother me. Sure, I have the odd blip, but then I do over being a good husband or doing the right thing as a dad.

So you go. Plinky to the rescue. Stay safe and I hope you have a good weekend!

Take care,
Lynn
x

[ Today's lyric: Kissing the Sun by The Young Gods ]

ps: Talking of writing, you know what they say: you wait for ages and then two TG themed articles appear on the Beeb's website :-). This time it's the turn of Boston Belles.

10 comments:

  1. I guess that's the crux of most heated discussions. The religious right view it as a sinful lifestyle choice to be repented of (both being gay and trans). Thus the condemnation and offer of salvation if only we'd stop our evil ways.

    I think this also causes much great pain among people who first discover their trans nature. I know for myself I felt dirty, and wrong for doing what I did, yet at the same time I couldn't stop. I tried, went through cycles of purging and promising to change. Only to find, well, I am who I am and that is that.

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  2. Can't beat that light going on.

    For me it was reading about the research into the hypothalmus and the conclusion that during foetal development a lack of the right amount of testosterone would mean a smaller one, which genetic females have, and therefore more feminine behaviour in the male.

    Lynne, possibly another light has just gone on - may blog about it, but don't hold your breath.

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  3. You must really have had writer's block: I'm accustomed to reading you on Friday not Saturday. You're almost like clockwork. I wonder if it's because you didn't have a club meeting this week?

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  4. Vanessa: I'm with Bill Hicks on religious condemnation: "Then forgive me." :-D

    Another way of looking at it, if you are religious, is perhaps He made us this way for a reason.

    Alex: I'll look forward to reading that post... but I won't hold my breath :)

    It seems the more research that goes into our behaviour, the more and more we go down the route of our actions being biochemical in nature. Last year, the BBC ran a programme featuring John Barrowman about the research done in showing the differences between straight men and gay men's brains.

    One day maybe someone will do some research into us trannys :-)

    T.G.C: I'm off by a day? Rats. :-) I wrote the entry on Thursday night and scheduled it for Friday. Looks like I may have botched the calendar entry. Oh well :)

    When I started off, I'd write an entry on the night, but I found - and I don't know if you're the same - that some days you have something to want to say or to share, and other days you don't. To that end, I'll write when the Muse strikes, but for some odd personal rule, I tend only to publish stuff on a Friday. Maybe I'm hoping for an editorial one day! LOL

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  5. Hi
    Thats the very phrase I always use when a perplexed man asks me why I'm dressed the way I am..

    Simply "Its just the way I'm wired.".

    Seems to do the trick! :o)

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  6. Karol: LOL. An old friend of mine when asked "Are you a man or a woman?" simply replied "Yes" and then walked off. :)

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  7. Much better the question in your reply to Karol than the one asked of Groucho Marx many years ago:

    "Are you a man or a mouse"

    which caused the classic reply:

    "I don't know, throw a piece of cheese on the floor and we'll find out"!

    I think he'd have liked your friend's reply!

    In my late 30's Jeanette Winterson's "The Passion" convinced me I wasn't the terrible person life had convinced me I was. The ever widening circle that spread from it actually gave me permission to quit loathing myself for the first time in memory.

    Life is much brighter now!

    alan

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  8. Alan: Good for you, hon! I think there's something special when an author's work touches a person so profoundly.

    I must confess I had to Google the author and title - it sounds like she's living a complicated life.

    Ahh, Groucho Marx and his rapier wit. I wonder what wry observations he would come out with about today's society?

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  9. Hard to know the process of where trans-ness comes from. I have stumbled across a number of theories from Freud's to those already mentioned. But in the end it's the way I am wired.
    I do like dystopian visions maybe I still can be quite nihilistic. :)

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  10. Lucy: Does it help knowing an answer? I dunno. It did for me, for others it may not matter.

    As to dystopia, I think it's something we Brits tend to see in our sci-fi dramas - perhaps more so than in American ones. Is it because we lost an empire? Careless eh? :)

    I mean, look at Blake's Seven, Survivors and to some extent Doctor Who. There's an element of both the underdog and a struggle against a bleak background.

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