March 10, 2008

Family Matters

My boyfriend's parents don't approve of me.

In of itself, this is not a problem. My relationship with him is not dependent on his family liking me; he still loves me and is still going to be with me regardless of what they think.

Even personally, it doesn't really bother me. After all, they're not important parts of my life. They are important parts of his, yes, so of course there is some overlap there. But when it comes down to it, the world could continue moving perfectly fine without me ever interacting with them again.

And let's face it, the times when we've all been in the same room have been awkward to say the least. I feel out of place and judged, and they probably feel rather awkward about having to deal with this freak of nature in their space.

My boyfriend's family is very normal, white middle class. Their core values revolve around their careers, they have opinions on privacy and sexuality that are basically the exact opposite of mine, and emotions are not valued at all but rather seem to be viewed as something of a distraction to overcome. Sure, happiness is good and falling in love is probably a good idea if you want to have a family someday, but that's about the extent of it.

Now I'd like to make it very clear that I don't think that these people are "wrong" at all in how they live their lives. They have faults just like any of us, but how they're living seems to be working for them really well. So with that in mind, please don't think that I disapprove of Lee's family - they're good people who are living life the way they want to, and that's pretty much my whole value system right there being utilized.

Now, to the point.

They disapprove of me.

They disapprove of me because I am fat, because I am disabled, because I am transgendered.

They firmly believe that their son could do so much better than me.

They also don't like that we have been together so long; they are of the opinion that Lee should not be settling down and should instead be "having fun" without too much commitment.

But what it essentially boils down to, in my opinion, is they have ideas about what makes a person worthwhile, and those ideas come from the society that they function in. I doubt they have ever much questioned society; I wonder if they've ever researched how or why it was "discovered" that being fat leads to poor health? I susect they haven't; I suspect it's simply "common knowledge" that they have been fed by the world.

In the white, middle-class world, you are defined by how useful you are to society. And how useful to are to society depends on:

* What kind of work you do.
* How much work you do.
* How fertile you are.
* How attractive you are.
* How much money you earn.

As someone who does not work, my value has immediately dropped simply from that. What little I do when I can - my art, my workshops, etc - are "hobbies" in the eyes of Lee's family. Art is almost certainly not a "real job", even if I was working fulltime on my art, it still wouldn't count. And my workshops, well, they're all about SEX and that's just a naughty topic. Normal people don't attend workshops about sex. They do it with the lights out, heterosexually, maybe they'll do one kind of vaguely kinky thing once in a while to spice things up.

Because I do not work, because I am disabled, I am on a pension. This means I am poor. Again, my value has dropped.

Then we get to attractiveness. Their idea of attractiveness is very clearly based in wat is "normally" attractive in society. And what is normally attractive in society? Is basically the opposite of me.

I am fat; fat people are not attractive by societal standard. I am transgendered and that is breaking one of the most important laws about attractiveness in society - men should be (and look like) men and women should be (and look like) women. I am breaking all the rules. I am not attractive by their standards.

I admit this part confuses me. I don't give a twit about looks myself so I can't say it would bother me if my son was dating someone "ugly". But then again I suppose it's one of those things you only understand if you have it yourself.

There is also a slight sexuality issue. Lee's mother has had some trouble accepting his bisexuality and had quite a difficult time dealing with the guy before me. I not only break the rules on this one I'm confusing as well - her son is in a gay relationship with someone she sees as a women. I gotta admit, that would be pretty confusing.

It's not that Lee's family don't try to understand my transgenderedism. They just don't get it. It's very clear through my interacting with them that they see me as a woman. Which of course is worse - dating an ugly man, well, he's dating a man and he's gay and that's all scary and rule-breaking. But dating an ugly woman? It's the end of the world!

Everything about me that makes me who I am; all my rule-breaking, all the reasons WHY Lee loves me, are the exact reasons why his family has trouble approving of me. It's clear that they want him to find some attractive, intelligent (by which of course I mean university educated), able-bodied person (probably a woman) to settle down with. To settle down with a fat tranny cripple who dropped out of school when he was 14 is to settle for something that's just not good enough.

Of course in the end, it doesn't matter. All that matters is that Lee loves me. But it sure makes events where I'm expected to be with and around his family very stressful.

March 6, 2008

Making Your Mark

I know that this blog is supposed to be about sex and bdsm and gender and all that good stuff but I wanted to talk about something else.

I want to talk about "making a mark" in life. I want to talk about "purpose".

I got to thinking about this because of Wake Up Tiger, which does delve into the idea of our purpose in life being to live it, etc. It's an excellent blog and I found it very inspiring, and you should check it out.

It got me thinking about my own philosophies on life. I have a few, they're easily summarized in short, happy motivational ways:

* Never give up.
* If it won't matter in five years, then it doesn't matter.
* Throw everything you have into everything you want.
* Don't live your life forever planning the future; get what you want out of life NOW. Seize the day and all that.
* Bring the good china out for every meal, not just the "special occasions".

It also got me thinking about the need that we have, as people to make our mark on society. We need to feel that should we die, we leave behind some kind of legacy.

I try to live my life so that should I die in the next five minutes, I will be satisfied with how I have lived so far. I will be satisfied with how I have dealt with life, the steps I have taken, the sacrifices I make, the dreams I fulfil and the people whose lives I touch.

In particular I got thinking about that final point; the people whose lives I touch.

I remember the first time someone said to me, "Thank you, you've made such a difference to me. You've had such an impact on my life." She was a teenage girl that I had been talking to for a while, we discussed her problems and I listened to her and comforted her.

I cannot express to you what that felt like to me (but I'll try). I was surprised, first and foremost, because I don't particularly try to live my life in order to affect people's lives. I try to live life so that I am satisfied by it.

But I was deeply honoured. I was so stunned and affected deeply myself, by their words.

I have had people have astounding effects on my life - one in particular comes to mind. He was, at first, merely my karate instructor. But he became so much more than that - he became my father figure, my mentor, he became the one person who has had more impact in my life than any other. I looked up to him, I respected him, and I still mourn his death almost ten years later.

As well as mourning him, I mourned that I never told him how much he meant to me. I never told him that I loved him, I never told him that it was because of him that I became a strong person, I never told him that he had such a powerful effect on me. I still wish, to this day, that I could have done so. I make an effort to do so every time I visit his grave.

Then there was the wonderful woman who rescued me from the influence of society when I began to question it. Instead of being crushed under the weight of what was "normal" and "right", I had a safe harbour to turn to. She talked with me and laughed with me and listened to me cry when it was all too much. She may have saved my life; I do not know where I would be today if wasn't for her.

But I wonder sometimes if she knows what an impact she had on me. I wonder if she knows that it's because of her that I am able to fight back against what is "expected" of me, I wonder if she knows that it is because of her that I am confident in who I am in a way that I wasn't even sure existed previously.

In case she doesn't, Lisa, thank you. You saved me from a cookie-cutter existence filled with fear.

With these two lovely people in mind it came as a shock to me when I became that person to others. The first time I was told this, it was by the previously mentioned teenage girl. I was blown away. Surely I, a small creature like myself, could not have an effect on someone as huge as the effect on me was from Sensei, or from Lisa?

I thanked her, smiled, and put it out of my mind.

A couple of years later, I was told by two people that I had indirectly (and directly, in one case) saved their lives. I had given them hope, I had given them strength. I had made them believe that there was something worth sticking around for, even if all it was was me, yelling at them to tell them that I loved them and I'd kick their asses if they did anything stupid.

Once again I was blown away; surely I could not possibly have saved people's lives? That's the kind of thing heroes do!

But the label stuck - and many people began telling me I was a hero, I was inspiring, I gave them something to look forward to.

It was around that time when I realized how life works.

We are all heroes, and we all save each other's lives, and we all have profoundly deep effects on those we touch. We are all powerful, amazing, beautiful people and every single one of us has someone out there that is grateful to us for existing.

I have my heroes, my wonderful people who changed my life. Why was I under the impression that I couldn't do the same? I can do the same and I have, and I will continue to do so.

Changing lives happens when we touch, speak, breathe into each other and receive love from each other. We are all changing our lives and the lives of those around us all the time; we are leaving emotional brands on each other's mental flesh. We love and we are loved and that makes us heroes, that makes us inspiring, that makes us who we are.

March 3, 2008

Fresh blog, smells like tea tree.

So, here I am in my new bloggy thing. It's been suggested to me several times to start a blog that isn't my livejournal, so I have caved to peer pressure.

You won't find anything here that you won't find in my livejournal as well... this is just going to be reposts of blogs about fat, gender, sex, BDSM, disability, and so many other delicious wonderful things.

Hopefully it will kick me into posting "better" posts more often, as well.