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Remember Me???

Hey!  Remember me?

Yeah, it’s been a while.  I know.  Things have been a little crazy hectic here.  But we finally got everything moved out of the old house and into our new home (and the garage and shed).  No, we aren’t actually unpacked yet…  but I’m making slow progress.

We have our computer/crafting nook set up.  Which, let’s face it, is of prime importance in this family – and I’d suspect many more others than will admit to it.  The girl has already been busy at work both on the computer and sitting at her own little craft station, making all sorts of things.

The girl’s bedroom is MOSTLY set up.  For now her mattress is on the floor and she does have some boxes still that need unpacking.  She has usable space though, and her clothes are all accessible in her closet.  So I’m happy with where we’re at there (for now).

We moved in our little antique “three bears” kitchen table and chairs yesterday so finally got to use them.  If you remember way back when, I blogged about them when we first bought them.  🙂  They’re super cute, but I’ll be honest…  while their style fit in perfectly at our old place?  They don’t match quite as well here.  So I’m open for suggestions on how to paint/stain/refinish them to help them blend a little better in a European kitchen.

Our bedroom is partially put together.  Still a long way to go in here…  but we have a bed, a closet, and a tv (as well as a butt load of boxes).  I know it will come together yet, but yeah.  Our room isn’t exactly the priority.

The bathroom requires some work…  new tub, new vanity, new counter top, new light fixture(s), new floor.  Honestly?  I think the only things I’m okay with keeping are the toilet and the sink.  So we’ve definitely got our work cut out for us in there.

So yeah…  exhausted.  But I am slowly putting things together.

Damon had taken the last two weeks off to help pack up the old place, move, and get started on the unpacking.  Today was his first day back at work.  It feels kinda odd not having him around.  I’d gotten used to it.

Today was also the first day I used my new key fob for our alarm system.  I’ve never had an alarm system, so it does take some getting used to.  Gotta get in the habit of pushing those buttons when I’m supposed to.  LOL

Today the girl had her school photo retakes too.  And yes, I’m sure this one will turn out MUCH better.  She was just too darn busy playing with her friends in line to want to bother with the picture last time.  Where today it was just her in the room, so it went much easier.

Further, today marks the International Day of Remembrance.  A couple years ago I had organized a candlelight vigil down at the memorial bandshell beside the North Saskatchewan River.  This year I’ll mark it quietly at home with my family.  And I do ask that those of you who aren’t doing something en mass do the same.  Just take a moment to remember all those amazing people who lost their lives simply for having the courage to live authentically.  It is simply not right that so very many *trans women and men are murdered EVERY YEAR for being themselves.  It is so beyond a time for change.  Some Women have penises, and some Men have a vagina – get over it.  People should not have to die because they don’t fit into some other persons idea of what “man” or “woman” means.  My *trans sisters and brothers are incredible, strong, brave, compassionate individuals and they should not have to fear for their safety every time they leave their homes.  So yes, if you do nothing else, take a few minutes out of your day to remember the many, many men and women who have been brutally murdered for the crime of being who they genuinely are.

A Trans* Doll’s Journey!

I had to share a recent project by an artist whose work I really enjoy.  It’s not their usual medium, however they were inspired by a find at the family cottage and so set to work.  She is refinishing a dollhouse originally built by her Grandfather and played with by her mother, and is sharing the progress on her Deviant Art account.  Why do I feel the need to share this?  Well, the most recent addition to her tiny home is a Transgender doll that began it’s existence as female, but has transitioned to male…  right down to the binder (worn a little low, but still poignant).

I’d like to introduce you to this bibliophile of a doll, who is yet unnamed, but seems quite happy in his new life:

Trans* doll by Ullakko

You can check out more of Ulla Thynell’s work at DA, where her username is ullakko.  Here is a direct link to her journal, where she first introduced us to our unnamed friend and shared a little about his transition:  http://my.deviantart.com/messages/#/d595iqi  And while he was not created with the intent of any kind of deeper meaning, I believe there is some truth to be found in how his physical self had to be ground down to find his final and true form.

Being a Unicorn – Living Authentically

To be your true, authentic self in a world that rejects even the possibility of that self, is a very brave thing.  Yet there are more and more people who are doing just that.  And more astoundingly?  There are more and more young people embracing themselves and refusing to live a life that doesn’t feel right, refusing to live the lie that their parents, doctor/midwife, and society has insisted they live.

I can’t even imagine the bravery of these young Transgender individuals.  Knowing that they don’t fit into their assigned gender, and refusing to be forced to live according to some standard that insists they are something other than what they feel – what they KNOW to be true.  That’s pretty freakin’ huge.

I have so much respect and love for the two individuals who have come out to me recently as being Trans.  For such young people, to have such a deep understanding of themselves, and to know what they need to do to make things right?  It’s an amazing thing.

Far too many people (both young and old) find it easier to live, trapped in societies view of what they should be, then to make the changes required to live authentically.  So when individuals who are half my age know what they need to do to make their world work for them?  And are willing to commit to making those changes happen?  They’ve earned themselves a wealth of respect in my eyes (of course, these two people already had both my respect and love… ).

So here’s to all those who haven’t gotten there yet, to all those still struggling within themselves, living within societies view of who they should be:  Here’s to finding inner strength, to finding love within yourself, and once you have those things to finding the support you need.  Here’s to being who you really are!  I believe you can get there.

Rainbows and unicorns my friends.  I wish you rainbows and unicorns!

 

A2Z – Removing Stigma while Reintegrating Socially

Blogging our way from A to Z on sexual and gender identity - Removing Stigma while Reintegrating Socially

So yeah…  it’s Friday, and here I am… blogging.  I know, I know.  I don’t blog on Fridays.  But I’m breaking my rule tonight with a double letter post.  That’s right, here we are with R and S…  and all so that T will fall on the 21st.  LMAO  Not sure why that’s important?  Well, just make sure you come back tomorrow.  😉  Now, onto Removing Stigma while Reintegrating Socially!

I’ll admit, I’ve never had to come out to my family and friends as being a different sex or gender than I was assigned with at birth.  For that?  I feel very blessed.  I can only imagine how difficult it would be, and how brave you would have to be.  Coming out to yourself, and finding who you are when it doesn’t match who you’ve been told you are takes courage, but then going even further and coming out to everyone who knew the OLD you?  That takes big freakin’ brass balls.  And I have SOOO much respect and admiration for all of my Trans brothers and sisters.  It’s hard enough to live authentically in our world, but to live authentically when you face that type of obstacle?  It takes someone who is amazing: amazing, incredible, and fierce!

After all that?  Well, the good news?  Stigma just falls away when you get to that point.  When you are ready to take your life back and live for YOURSELF?  Your TRUE self?  Then anyone who matters will be so in awe of everything you went through to get there that the only thing there will be LOADS of freakin’ respect.

No, that doesn’t mean it will be all roses.  There are going to be asses in your life that will make things hard, and they may even make you question everything you’ve lived through up until that point…  but cling to the fact that you are amazing, and that you DESERVE to be yourself.  You have a right to live the truth, to be who you are, and to do so surrounded by people who get just how long of a journey authenticity can be.  So forget the h8rs, you don’t need them, and be gentle with those who are trying (but may occasionally misuse a pronoun or old name) they’re worth the reminders.  It won’t be easy, but once you get there it is SOOO worth it.

Nothing but love!

And know you aren’t alone.  If you are in Saskatchewan, check out TransSask at http://www.transsask.org/ and if not, check out some of the resources listed in my A2Z Community post.  Building a community of people who love and support you is one of the best things you can do for yourself!

A2Z – Kinship

Blogging our way from A to Z on issues of sexual and gender identity - K is for Kinship

 

The acronym community is vast and varied, full of many types of people with a wide range of beliefs.  Yet some folk seem to think that there should be this instant kinship or camaraderie between all LGBTT2QIA individuals.  The fact is, kinship is a choice, and often something you have to work at.

In this day and age there is a huge separation in class amongst gender variant and sexual minority individuals.  There are some who believe the fight is over and we have won.  This is especially prevaelent among upper class, white, gay men in their 40s… there is an entire subculture made up of the “suburbian gay”.  We fought the good fight, we have marriage equality (in Canada), so now we can go on living our lives of privilege.  It can be hard to find kinship in a population who doesn’t live the fight every day that some of us do.

For my trans brothers and sisters, the fight is especially brutal today…  and it is just beginning to get the focus it deserves from some segments of the media.  Transphobia is alive and well, I am afraid to say.  And it can be found even in the hearts of those who claim to be allies of the community.

So… kinship is not as easy as one would think.  Finding a kindred spirit is, as always, a difficult and amazing thing.  So when you do find someone with whom you share that instant connection, don’t let them go.  They are worth fighting for.

And yes, I realize this post ended up being a little rambley.  My head is fuzzy thanks to a cold…  and even a neti pot isn’t about to save the cloud that is inhabiting my brain.

So yeah…  my point…  Kinship.  It really is a choice.  You can decide to find it, even amongst a diverse population, or you can create for yourself an island – big enough for one.  But that is a very lonely place to be.

 

the april alphabet blog challenge.  blog your way through the alphabet, one letter at a time.

 

A2Z – Asking

As I mentioned yesterday, I was considering taking up the April A to Z blog challenge.  I already blog almost daily, so that wasn’t the issue.  For me?  The biggest challenge is actually staying on topic.  I enjoy writing on whatever hits me as interesting or important at the moment.  I lose my interest otherwise.  But, I figure, if I pick a topic that is dear to my heart – putting in 26 days shouldn’t be an impossible task.  So, I’m going to do it.  …and if I feel the need to go off topic, well…  on those days I’ll just post twice.  LOL  So here we go.  Day one:  Blogging our way from A to Z on sexual and gender identity.

Blogging our way from A to Z on sexual and gender identity - ASKING

For some folk, the most intimidating thing when encountering someone who doesn’t clearly fit into box A or B on the sexual and gender binary, is asking.  And honestly?  It’s something we need to become more comfortable with as a society, because even when someone appears very clearly to fit into “HE” or “SHE” it doesn’t mean that’s their preferred pronoun.  A wonderful individual, whom I am proud to call “friend”, recently posted the following on their Facebook status:

“I find it is no longer important or useful, and in fact has become a negative experience to identify as male. Rather than identifying as another type of gender, I will leave the spectrum of gender identity altogether. This means that the current English language of gender identity pronouns, such as she, her, his, her, xe, and hir, become problematic when referring to me. So with great respect and earnestness, I ask that you refer to me simply by using my name, for in a name the entire soul resides. Thank you.”

This is an individual, whom upon appearance, would very easily fit into the neat and tidy package we call “male” or “masculine” and is proof positive that we cannot, nor should we, presume to use male pronouns based solely on our impressions of said individual.

How we each identify is an intensely personal thing, and it is perfectly okay to ask someone what pronouns they prefer – if any.  In fact, for many of us, it’s a question we welcome.  So the next time you are introduced to someone try asking.  Not sure how to word it?  Give this a go:  “Hi Francis, it’s a pleasure to meet you.  Would you mind telling me which pronouns you’d prefer?”  Plain, simple, straightforward.  And if you feel the need to say more, try this:  “I’d hate to offend by insisting on using something that you don’t identify with.”  Chances are they’ll be happy you had the respect and courtesy to ask.

The a2z april blog challenge

And hey!  Ever had something you wanted to ASK (see?  I’m keeping it on topic) about gender, sex, affection, desire, expression, orientation or on any other topic of interest to the acronym community now’s the time.  26 days is a lot to fill, so help me out.  Let me know what YOU would like to see me blog about.  And thanks to Sarah for her suggestion of “Asking” as our very first in the alphabet series.

A girl is a girl is a girl!

A “girl” is not defined by what is between her legs as this Girl Scout and her family believe.  Having someone so young spouting such bigotry and hatred breaks my heart.  I don’t blame her though, the fault lies with her family and community at large.  It is hard enough growing up confident and secure in oneself without the added problems faced by transgendered children.  To recommend that people boycott Girl Scout Cookies because Girl Scouts (as an organization) have chosen to accept transgirls as they are, as GIRLS, is abhorrent in every possible way.  This girl’s family should be ashamed for spreading such hate through their child.  Talk about pushing an adult agenda.  Hate is ALWAYS an adult agenda, it’s never the choice of a child.

So go!  Buy your cookies.  Heck!  I’m considering having some shipped up here to Canada just to say YES! We support our girls!  ALL of our girls.

Want to see what has me so upset?  Check out the hate below:

And some people wonder why my project “The Power of SHe” is so important, now more than ever.  For more information on The Power of SHe, and how you can get involved, head on over to:  https://td365.wordpress.com/2011/12/10/the-power-of-she-2/  I’m currently looking for women interested in being photographed…  I have some captures in mind, but some will be based on the stories of those who apply.  Let’s challenge the view of what defines Women.  We are mighty!  Diverse yet united!

The Power of SHe!

It’s a late night for the Smith household.  We just got home and kid-kid is fast asleep.  We went from a late afternoon photoshoot (my husband serving as an assistant) straight to my parents place and spent the evening/night there while they went out to visit with friends and listen to music.  I’m always happy to help out watching my youngest sister and the older gentlemen who live there, but it was a very late night for the little girl – so it’s nice to have her in bed now.

My photo shoot today was the first in my The Power of SHe project.  It was with a fabulous woman named Sigrid.  She dressed in full Viking kit, complete with sword and shield.  And I was thankful for the mild Winter weather as we were shooting outdoors – down near the ice flows on the river.  I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally have the time to devote to this project.  It’s been in the planning for a couple of months now.

Initially I began working on a project I called Celebrating Motherhood…  but it became clear to me that this was only one aspect of our story – the shared narrative of what it is to be Women.  So Celebrating Motherhood has been swallowed by The Power of SHe.  The motherhood segment will receive it’s on exhibit space – as I believe it deserves it, but it is part of an even greater project celebrating all that we, as women, are.

So today, the first of several planned shoots for this exhibition took place – and it feels damn good to finally be moving forward on it.  I really enjoyed working with Sigrid, and am sooo looking forward to doing the remaining work on the pieces we’ve begun creating today.  I’d have liked to have started the post-shoot work already, but as I mentioned…  kinda busy with family.  😉

I have a few more shots planned out in my head for which I’m seeking the right “models”.  And no, I’m not looking for professional models.  I’m looking for real women, with stories, with lives, with histories…  And even if I don’t have something planned that would be right for YOU, and you are interested in participating, drop me a line.  Perhaps you will inspire the next shot in this project.

Here are a few things I know I’m looking for:

  • a nursing mother engaged in an extended breastfeeding relationship
  • a nursing mother currently nursing two children
  • a woman willing to appear in her skivies in a public place (nothing erotic, I promise)
  • a woman willing to be photographed in a body suit outdoors in Winter
  • any women with interesting hobbies or histories  (Sigrid was one who inspired me with her story, and the image/shoot was built around her)
  • a drag queen (drag queen’s may not be women but their art is in celebration of women)

This project excites me to my very core.  It will bring about questions for some, and answers for others.  It’s about finding unity amongst diversity, what makes us Women?  What defines us?  Where do we draw our strength?  How do we find our power?  It will be an amazing journey!

 

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Not all of us are lucky enough to be born into a body that matches our gender.  We all bare our battle scars.  Growing up is tough.  Growing up transgendered is even more so.  And sometimes – thanks to the ignorance and brutality of others – it is actually impossible.

Today is the 13th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.  Today, I ask you to do ONE THING.  Regardless of your beliefs, regardless of your feelings, regardless of who you are or who you know or who you want to be.  Take a few minutes and read through the list of people at this web page:  http://www.transgenderdor.org/?page_id=1663

The people listed there are all individuals who have suffered and died at the hands of others for being born different and having the strength to live honestly.  23 people who have suffered horrendously because they had the courage to be who they were.  23 people who lost their lives because of bigotry and hate.  23 people, this year alone, their lives stolen, savagely, all for the crime of living a genuine life.

I’m not asking you to change.  I’m not asking you to weep.  I’m not asking you to speak out.  I’m just asking you to read their names, read how they died, and remember that they were people once.

http://www.transgenderdor.org/?page_id=1663

The Power of She!

A friend had this on her FB status:

I am not hot or gorgeous. I don’t have an amazing figure or a flat stomach. I’m far from being considered a model, but I’m ME. I eat food, have curves, love my PJ’s, and will go out without make up on. I’m random and crazy, and I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not. I am who I am, love me or not, It won’t change ME! Ladies put this on your status if your proud of who you are.

I say to hell with that! I am hot, I am gorgeous. My figure is perfect. No, I don’t have a flat stomach, and I’m far from being considered a model. I’m a mom. And I kick ass! 😀

It’s about time we stop criticizing ourselves. Don’t buy into what the media tells you beauty is. Beauty is honesty. Beauty is loving who you are for who you are. THAT is hot. THAT is gorgeous. Love yourself, but don’t do so with apologies.  Be proud of who you are, but don’t undercut that by leading with “I am not hot or gorgeous.”  Doesn’t that defeat the whole freakin’ purpose?

The media may try to dictate to us what is “hot”, what is “gorgeous”.  But don’t let them.  Don’t allow them to define you.

I’m a size fifteen, and I’m 5’0″.  According to the media I’m not worth looking at, but you know what?  They’re so beyond wrong!  So flipping beyond wrong that it amazes me.  I may have a “mother’s apron”, but you know what?  I’M A MOM!!!  That doesn’t take away from my beauty, it only adds to it.

Join me in celebrating all that women are, all that we can be.  All that the public media would edit out.

Women are strong.  Women are smart.  Women are beautiful.  Women are amazing.  Women are diverse.

This project is about celebrating women, for all that we are.

Together, myself and artist Zacery Volpe will seek to find unity through diversity.  Strength in the face of the media’s insistence of inferiority.

Interested?  Drop me a line.  This project is about celebrating women (and that is decidedly NOT limited to cis women) in all our many facets.

You are strong.  You are beautiful.  You are amazing…  and don’t ever forget it!

As I’ve said many times, and will say many times more:  I Believe in the Power of She!

 

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