Wednesday, October 28, 2015

New Look!

Sometimes you just have to change things up. No more pink nails blinding us with their pink glory. Instead I want to go for a more refined look. Hopefully you like it as much as I do.


10-28-2015 Entry: Being Accepted as a Woman

Hello my darling readers! I hope all is well with you and that life is treating you well. I hope you are continuing the ongoing battle against cis-hetero-normativity and are rebelling against gender norms whenever possible.

Today, however, I write to you about something that’s started to happen in recent weeks. It’s hard to fully explain and it’s been such a subtle/gradual change that it was difficult to tell how much progress had been made until it hit me yesterday.

So, as most of you know, I am approximately 8 months into my HRT journey and I have now been living fulltime as Emma for about 4.5 months. In that time I have gone through a lot of good things and a lot of hard things, but there is something different about my life that I didn’t necessarily anticipate. What I’m teasing you with is the newly found discovery that people treat me like a woman.

I’m sure you are like: “Ummm, okay? Wasn’t that the point of transitioning?”

And you would be right, but you wouldn’t understand what I actually meant. What I mean is that I always expected that some people would treat me like mostly a woman, a lot of other people would treat me sort of like a woman, and a few would just be assholes about the whole thing. What I did not expect, however, was to have so many people accept Emma and include her as part of the girls without hesitation, awkwardness, or even really a second thought; for them to truly treat me like I was just a regular cisgender lady.

Let me give some context. The “aha!” moment, as one of my professors calls it, came yesterday in class. The class has 11 students and none of the students are male. In this class there have been several occasions where attention was drawn to the fact that there were no “men” in the class with us. This always felt nice, but was too impersonal for me to really get excited about. It’s one thing to respectfully not be included in a wrong category, it is something entirely different, however, to be included in the (mostly) right category intentionally.

We were going around the class doing a check in (because in therapy it’s important to be aware of your own wellbeing as well as those you are helping) and I got to go first. I said my piece about feeling overwhelmed with school and work during this midterm season but that I was glad to be doing it. The next few girls echoed these sentiments. Upon reaching the third or fourth person after me, one of the girls said something like, “It’s just like all of the other ladies said; it’s an overwhelming time” and while saying this she gestured directly at me.

Wait… did that just happen?

I was one of the ladies… and there was no hesitation. No unspoken asterisk next to that title. No inferred “sort of” in her tone. There was nothing like that at all. In her eyes I wasn’t a lady*, but instead was just a regular lady. I’m not sure I can explain how much that touched me and moved me. I was a lady to her, and to everyone else who accepted her words and echoed them again and again. They all kept referring to us and me as female. They accepted me without condition or pretense.

And this kind of thing has been happening more and more. I have had a great number of new people enter my life since I started living fulltime, and almost none of them know anything about Robert. Some know I’m trans* like the girls in my class, but none of them saw Robert. That person doesn’t exist to them, all that exists is me, Emma, the lady. One of my new friends who read the 1 year picture entry even mentioned that it was strange to see the old me because, to her, I was only ever this new me. She had only known me as Emma, the woman.

I have several new coworkers (because this place has a stupid amount of turnover in employees) who only know me as Emma. They don’t know that I used to be Robert and certainly didn’t ever work with me as Robert. They see me as Emma. They treat me as Emma. I’m just one of the girls to them.

I understand now why so many trans* people end up with entirely different social circles after they transition. It is so much easier to be accepted by someone who never knew your old self. Those who did know you before will always have the image of that person somewhere in their minds. Even if they accept and love you for this new person, you are still that old person to them in some really permanent ways; especially family members. My mother will likely never accept me as Emma without still seeing me as Robert in a major way. My dad, who has been great about this transition, will always still think of me as his son. My wife, who has been so amazing with all of this, will likely always still think of me in some part of her mind as the man she married instead of who I am now.

I believe this is why starting over is so common in the trans* community. In order to thrive and grow, you have to pull up the anchors of your old identity in order to really move forward. I’m not saying I’m cutting off all of my old friends and family, but I’m definitely finding that my new friends and adopted family are much more welcoming and accepting while many of the old friends and family are not.

In many ways it’s not their fault. They had no say over whether or not I was Robert or Emma, so it’s difficult for them to see me as anything but the person I used to be. Sadly, though, I am not that person anymore and I cannot tolerate being seen that way anymore. I’m not Robert and never will be again. I’m an asterisk-free “lady” in my new life and in my new social circle.

I just feel so happy with this acceptance. I love walking around and having people see me as a woman. I love having men be all nice and hold the door for me (that shit did not happen when I was seen as a man, let me just say). I love when people I don't know refer to me as a woman. I love when the bus driver** calls me ma'am or miss.

Additionally, I feel so thankful for the people who’ve been there for me. Now I actually have hope that this can be my life one day if I want it to be. I can be just one of the ladies if ever the time comes for me to pass the baton of transwoman extraordinaire to another. I love being out and proud, and that’s not stopping anytime soon, but I’m also loving being just a girl. Nothing special, nothing different, just a regular lady.

To think, I spent so many years being afraid of this life, and now that I’m here living it, I couldn’t be happier or more at home in my mind and body. I love being Emma in a way I never could as Robert. This decision to transition is by far the best thing I have ever done for myself, and as I do research into studies on transition, I’m finding that this is the case for so many others too.

I explored the cave I was afraid to enter, and I have found the treasure I sought. It is a treasure beyond value and it can never be taken away from me. I am Emma, and I am a lady. =D


**(That bus driver is awesome, btw. He almost deserves an entry just to himself honestly. Just imagine the most friendly and chipper bus driver you can, and then make him like 30, give him blonde hair, a beard, and aviator glasses... actually just look at this picture and you'll get the idea: I won't post it directly because it is copyrighted and Emma doesn't want to get sued but he looks a lot like that)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

10-22-2015 Entry: Gender Transition and the Second Adolescence

Good morning my darling readers! I hope you are doing well and that life is treating you kindly. Overall things are going pretty good for me. If you read my last entry then you know I’m not real happy with my mother and things between her and I are not in a good place.

Perhaps the universe (or God/Goddess) has a sense of humor because in addition to going through a second puberty via Hormone Replacement Therapy, I’m also somewhat going through a second adolescence, which is really weird to me (even if this is actually somewhat common in transitioning adults). It’s very strange this far into adulthood to be this hormonal, with my body changing, my personality becoming more and more individualized as time goes on at the same time that I'm having struggles with my family/parent not accepting me.

In less than two weeks I will be turning 30, I have a professional job, I recently bought a house, I’m on my second newly purchased car, I’ve written two novels, garnered thousands of readers around the world, and am pursuing a master’s degree, yet I’m feeling more and more like I’m living the life of a 15 year old. Arguing with my mother over who I’m going to be and struggling to have her recognize that I can make my own decisions??? It feels like some Freaky Friday nonsense.

In many ways, though, this is like going through a true adolescence for the first time. When I grew up under the tyrannical rule of my mother (I chose those words specifically, in true 15 year old fashion) I never really rebelled against her. I never really sought to create a true identity for myself. Sure, I became reserved and pulled away from her like most adolescents do, but it wasn’t so I could become my own person, it was because I was depressed as fuck and so confused about who I was or what that “feeling” I had about myself meant.

I’ve said time and again that I never understood that I was really, actually, (mostly) a girl inside. It never dawned on me that that was even a possibility, even if things inside wanted us to be a girl. We wanted to be a female and felt that we were one stuck in a male body, but we didn’t understand what that really meant. It was too big, too hard, too scary, and honestly too weird to process, not when there was so much pressure all around us to conform to the expectations of others (home, school, friends, peers, society etc.).

So, we never rebelled, we never pushed back, we never fought for independence, and we never really formulated a true, solid identity. We just did what we were told. The consequences were always so quick and harsh when we stepped out of line that it never seemed worth it to really risk pissing my mother off. Maybe it’s because she’s a cop, maybe it’s something inside of her, or maybe it was the way she grew up, but in many ways my mother was somewhat like a “benevolent” dictator. It was her way or the highway, and when you made her happy, she was kind and generous. When you pissed her off, she was stubborn, fierce, and honestly a little scary.

She HAD to be in control, she HAD to be the authority, and her rule was NEVER to be questioned. Her favorite saying to us when we grew up was “Don’t you talk back to me!”

We never really thought about those words, but looking back on them how could we not see how authoritarian they were? Don’t you talk back to me! Don’t you contradict me! Don’t act like you know better than I do! I am your mother (ruler) and you will do as I say!

And we didn’t, for the most part, talk back to her. we didn’t contradict her, at least not blatantly or visibly (we did get pretty good at being deceptive as a necessity for freedom) because if we did, the consequences were always harsh. Now, she never physically abused us, but we definitely got our ass spanked as a child. She did strike us one time (when we were talking back) but it was only ever that one time. (Emma is almost judging Robert right now for his desire to rationalize away the incident).

No, physical punishment was rarely her go-to after we were a child. Her method of securing stable rule over her kingdom was a very harsh and often prolonged suffering via grounding. Oh, that thing that makes you happy? Well it’s gone until you remember that what I say goes! I think two weeks will do it!

What? Two weeks!

Make it three weeks then! /crazy eyes daring me to test her, followed by me angrily submitting and stomping off to my room.

And that’s how my teenage years went, except, oh wait, I had a super authoritarian step-dad too! One that also required strict compliance to all rules and regulations (whether spelled out or in his crazy head). In many ways, I lived in a minimum security prison for a home (where I learned my flair for drama, of course).

If I was on good behavior, they’d let me have a little taste of freedom. If I messed up, it was solitary confinement followed by a period of very close observation. (Did I mention that my mom used to work at a prison? Might be relevant to remember).

So, overall, I didn’t have much room for individual exploration. The most room I ever really got was my exploration of religion (which fell into the “good behavior” category, except for when that religion was Wicca/witchcraft. Oh, I can still see the look of horror on her face when I told her I wanted to investigate witchcraft).

Yes, I was permitted to continue my searching for the answer to the question that plagued my mind day in and day out: “There is something wrong with me, but what is it?” but little else was done outside of expectations. I was a “good kid” for my mother and step-father. I never skipped school. I got decent grades most of the time. I did my chores. I didn’t commit any crimes, that I was caught for, at least. >;)

I didn’t fall in with the wrong crowd. I didn’t party or do (many) drugs. I didn’t get anyone pregnant (my mom thought I was a virgin like 4 years after I’d had sex, so she wasn’t even worried, apparently) and I mostly did everything I was told to do.

But you know what the problem with being the “good kid” was?  I never allowed myself to really severe the proverbial umbilical cord. Sure, I went away to college, I moved across the country after college, and I got married, but I was never really that separated from my mother. Adolescence is about learning to separate from your parents and become your own person; it’s the stairway to true adulthood. I didn’t do that. I couldn’t do that. I didn’t know how. I didn’t know how to be a whole, complete, individual person, not when half of me was locked away in a prison of shame and fear.

So, guess what! That’s what I’m getting to do now! /feigns excitement.

The only problem is that I’ve been the “good kid” for so long, that suddenly becoming the rebellious, talking back, fuck-you-I’m-doing-what-I-want, independent person is REALLY hard; not only for me, but for my mother as well. I’m certain she is feeling rather like a deposed ruler over a people that have finally had enough and have driven her out of the castle.

“It’s like you are erasing me.” Those were her words, and how telling they were! Who is she if she’s not my mother (the ruler in control)? Who is she when her identity can no longer be upheld and validated by her child’s life? What is a queen or king without a kingdom to rule?

This has been a long time coming. This adolescent rebellion and eventual separation had to happen. It always does, otherwise it becomes a dysfunction. In order to become a true self, a true, solid, stable identity, I have to stand on my own, which means I have to cut off her control over my life.

But what does that cutting off look like? How do I cut the proverbial umbilical cord off without cutting the relationship off completely? How do I be stern, unbending, and determined without being cold and hostile? Cold and hostile is the easy route (aka the 15 year old's route). I could be a complete asshole in response to my mother’s child-like tantrum over me changing my name (which was really just the trigger for her to pour out all the issues she's had with this transition as a whole), and might even feel valid in that response, but wouldn’t that be an over-correction?

Can you see how this second adolescence is so strange? I’m almost 30 years old. I’ve gone through and experienced so much. I have lived and learned so much over these thirty years and yet I’m placed in the shoes of a teenager. It’s almost like I’m time travelling into my own past, except I get to take the place of my former self with my full knowledge, experience and understanding. (not to mention all the knowledge I’m obtaining in grad school about the stages of development)

This time, however, I have to talk back, I have to assert my point of view, and I will not be punished for standing my ground. This is my decision, my choice, and my life. I get to say what it looks like. I get to be the adult in my life. I love my mother, but she is not the boss of me, not anymore. Her rule is over, and a new (fabulous) queen has taken the throne. Her name is Emma, and she really is a benevolent leader. The future of this kingdom looks amazingly bright and beautiful. There will be singing, and dancing, and frolicking. The rules are mostly cast aside and freedom is the song of the day. But what to do with the old queen?

We can’t execute her (i.e. cut off the relationship) without becoming that cold dictator ourselves. We can’t imprison her (i.e. the silent treatment) without becoming that authoritarian who punishes bad behavior. But we must make sure she cannot steal the throne back. We truly must make a grown-up decision about how to handle a very complex and volatile situation.
Too often when we face our family we fall into the same dysfunctional dynamics we’ve developed over the years and growth cannot occur. This happens with her and I all the time, but it can't happen if we are going to change the situation. We have to set a new dynamic, one that is more equal in its distribution of power but what does that dynamic look like? When and where do we begin to construct it? How do we cope with the other person’s attempts to undermine and destroy that new dynamic?

My mother will not go down willingly, this much I’m certain of. All the years living under her rule has shown me how stubborn she is when she wants to be in control, but I must break her of the stubbornness in a way that doesn’t also break her spirit. I do not want her to be defeated and filled with shame. A 15 year old might want that, but this 30 year old adult knows better. A compromise has to be made, but where to begin?

Sadly, we do not have the answer now. We’ve recently adopted the mantra that “Patience is the greatest virtue... and the will to act is the second greatest virtue,” so that is what me must do. We must be patient until it is time to act, and then we must have the will to do so when the time comes.

So, I guess stay posted. I’m certain this has only just begun.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

10-20-2015 Entry: The Difficulty of Family Relationships During Gender Transition

**warning, this is going be an entry with some pretty intense and raw emotion behind it, but I think it encapsulates what it can be like to go through this issue and others like it.**

“How could you do that? Don’t you know how disrespectful that is? That was your name that we gave you! If you change it then it’s like you’re erasing me!”

Many of us have been there. Many of us have felt the pain of a parent who just doesn’t get it; that parent who refuses to use the right name or the correct pronouns. The parent who was so loving when you were living as your assigned gender but is now cold and distant as you embrace your new life as your true gender.

You wonder why they can’t just be happy for you. Things are getting so much better. The dysphoria is finally being dealt with, and you’re growing into this wonderful person. You are beautiful/handsome, you are confident, you are excited, you are living a fulfilling life and you are happy. So why aren’t they?

I think for me, the hardest part is the betrayal I feel about the promise my mother always made: that she wanted nothing but the best for me. How can someone who spent their entire life trying to make sure I had everything I needed suddenly stop caring?

Maybe there are a lot of people out there who are not like me but this transition, this becoming Emma, is what I needed, and I needed it for a long time. I needed to become this person, to finally step out into the light of day and breathe the fresh air of authenticity. I couldn’t keep hiding this part of myself. I couldn’t keep pretending I was just another guy when I knew, to the core of my being, that I really wasn’t.

So how can a woman who vowed to always make sure I had what I needed suddenly turn her back on me, her only child?

The words at the beginning are hers, although they are tarnished with memory and may not have arrived in that exact order. More than that, they can only somewhat convey what was hidden beneath and behind them. They do not adequately convey the sobbing cries of the miserable person, wounded, hurt, and angry as she spoke them to me. They are also further obstructed by the pain I felt upon hearing them; a pain that left me in such a state of despair that I can hardly described the misery I felt for hours afterwards.

Yet, here these words were, thrown at me like I was some sort of monster. She wanted me to believe that I was the one being selfish. I was the one being disrespectful. That it was her I was erasing, not myself.

I could hardly believe it. When I hung up the phone I was in such a state of shock that it took almost an hour before I could finally wrap my mind around the situation. A relationship that had felt so close and loving just one year earlier now felt so cold and distant.

I knew when I embarked on this journey that things wouldn’t be easy. I knew that it would be difficult for my family to see me as a woman after they’d known me for twenty-nine years as a male. I knew it would take adjustment and that things would take time, but I never anticipated this. I never anticipated that the person I could always depend on, the one who’d always been there for me, even when no one else was, even when it was just the two of us against the world, would abandon me so abruptly; not now, not when I needed her so badly.

I felt anger, I felt pain, I felt abandoned, and I felt betrayed. How could she be so cruel when this isn’t about her? This transition isn’t about her, and yet all she could do was think about how hard it was for her, as if it’s been so easy for me.

So few people know what this is like. So few people ever have to worry about things like this. So few people ever have to go through the trials of a gender transition. No one understands, not really, not unless they’ve been there themselves. To have a parent, a sibling, or even a child stop wanting the best for you, stop caring about you, stop respecting you, or even stop loving you is one of the hardest things you can go through, but it is so much harder when it’s because you decided to be your complete or authentic self.

They always say blood is thicker than water, but what happens when that blood runs cold? When does a person give up on such a close family member? When does being patient become an exercise in futility? How does one cope with a situation like this?

I love my mother and always have. I have always looked past her faults, her mistakes, and her failures because of that love. I have always forgiven her for the times she wasn’t at her best and always stood by her when things were difficult. Ours was not an easy life, not after she and my father divorced and my father moved away. It was so often just us against the world.

I watched as she grew out of her twenties, through her thirties and into her forties. I watched as she grew in her job and her skills, beginning as a lowly sheriff’s deputy at a prison all the way to her becoming a decorated detective despite all the hurdles a woman faces in law enforcement. I watched as she was interviewed on the news, time and again, and felt so much pride when she ended up on national television for her work.

I watched her fall in love and get married. Then later I watched her heart break and her life fall to pieces. I watched as she picked those pieces up again and kept progressing. I stood by her side the entire time, even when so many others had nothing good to say about her, because I loved her without condition. She was my mom, how could I not?

Three nights ago, however, I did not love my mother. I could not feel pride about my mother. I stood by her side and tried to comfort her as she broke my heart again and again with her words, but I did so, for the first time, begrudgingly.

How could she be like this? How could she, after all we’ve been through, after all the times I stood by her when she was at her worst or lowest, turn her back on me like this? I was erasing her???

The nerve! The gall! This wasn’t about her. Changing my legal name to Emma isn’t about her. Finally taking this important step into my new life isn’t about her. This is about me! This is about my future! This is about what I need! If I’m erasing anyone it’s the man I used to be mistaken as. The only person who has a right to be upset is that person I’m actually signing away, and he is here with me, making this decision.

I’m sorry, but I cannot keep doing this. I cannot keep comforting my mother, or any other family member, while they break my heart and disrespect my decisions. I thought she and I had an understanding, that we’d love and respect each other no matter what. I know I’ve upheld my end of the bargain, why hasn’t she? She keeps mourning the loss of her son at the expense of her new daughter and if she doesn’t figure that out, she’ll be morning the loss of her relationship with her child as well.

People are always saying I need to be patient with her, that I need to try to understand what she’s going through, but I think they’ve got it turned around. In actuality, she needs to be patient with me and try to understand what I’m going through. Even if my decision to transition to Emma affects her life, I’m the one going through it.

I’m the person who has to take the hormones and feel my body painfully change. I’m the one going through a second puberty fifteen years after the first one. I’m the person who has to build a new life from scratch at the age of thirty. I’m the one who has to fill out legal paperwork and use a name that doesn’t fit anymore. I’m the one who has to out myself when I go on job interviews. I’m the one who cringes every time I get a piece of mail that says my old name, or when my university refuses to change my email/blackboard/student record to reflect my true name.

I’m the one who gets harassed on the street and has friends and family members alike turn their backs on me. I’m the one who gets to take on the new role of social outcast because our society hasn’t figured out that the binary is a convenient lie people tell themselves because the truth is too messy or confusing for them to easily understand.

I’m the one who gets discriminated against, who gets called names, and who gets berated by people who don’t even know me. Every time I step out on the street in my big city there is a significant chance I’ll be assaulted or murdered just for being who I am. I am the one taking on all the risk, taking on all the burdens, and dealing with all the consequences.

How dare she make this about her. How dare she say I’m being selfish when clearly it is her, not me, who is being selfish. How dare she accuse me of being disrespectful as she tells me that I shouldn’t change my name and says that doing so erases her.

Parents, I get it. It’s hard to suddenly see your child as a new person. It’s difficult to watch them put everything in their life at risk to live a more authentic life, but if you have a kid (regardless of their age) that is going through gender transition, you need to make it about them before yourself. They are the ones who need support, not you. You are the one who is supposed to be the grown up, the mature one, the wise one. If you are struggling with it, it’s your responsibility to deal with that. Talk to friends, talk to family, or talk to a therapist, but whatever you do, don’t unload your baggage onto your child (who is already probably dealing with more than you can imagine).

There is already so much guilt and shame used by society to make those of us who do not fit in conform to uncomfortable norms. As a parent, it’s your choice of whether or not you are going add to that for your own children. If you’re having an emotional reaction, then it’s about you and something going on inside of your mind that needs work, not theirs. That’s not your child’s responsibility, not their fault, and they certainly don’t deserve to carry that burden for you.

The question you have to ask yourself is what’s more important, that you have a positive relationship with your child, or they conform to your gender expectations? Is it really that hard of a question to answer?


Thursday, October 15, 2015

10-15-2015 Entry: Feminist Transphobia *Edited 10/16/2015*

Hello my darlings! I hope you are doing well. I am, for no particularly explainable reason, in a really chipper mood today! Perhaps it is because it is still early and I haven’t yet had to deal with work. Only time will tell, but that’s not why I’m writing today.

Today, I’d like to discuss some topics related to feminism, trans activism and feminist transphobia. I will try to be as inclusive as possible in this discussion but please forgive me if my perspective is offered frequently from and upon the subject of trans women and the issues that they face with parts of the feminist movement. I know that trans men are also pretty affected by some of these things and gender non-conforming and/or non-binary individuals are also an important part of the equation. (*post edit, I’m thinking I might try to tackle each of these perspectives in their own entries)

So, to begin, I want to give a bit of back story on why I’m talking about this. My wife has been listening to some podcasts for quite some time now and has been insisting again and again that I listen to them as well. I, ever the rebellious spirit, resisted the temptation almost on principle (what that principle was, god only knows). The only thing I knew about these podcasts was that there were two women chatting about random subjects. The few times my wife forced me to listen to the podcasts I found them to be somewhat interesting although not intriguing enough to devote any real time to listening to them on my own. I am, after all, a rather busy lady what with fulltime work, fulltime grad school, the unforgivable amount of homework I’m sorry to say I’ve fallen behind on, this blog, the occasional volunteer email, and, let’s face it, a strong World of Warcraft addiction. As such, I never really figured I would listen to these podcasts, despite my wife’s enthusiasm about them. I kept them in the back of my mind thinking, “I’ll listen to them eventually, when I find the time for it.”

Well, finding the time for it came sooner than expected. Yesterday I found myself with about two hours and absolutely nothing to do. I certainly could and should have been doing homework but as fate would have it I didn’t adequately anticipate this two hour lull and left my textbooks and laptop at home. All I had to keep me busy or occupied while I waited for the time to pass was my phone (with a dying battery) and my car. I know, you are thinking, “Holy first world problems batman!”

I spent the first thirty minutes or so at a nearby diner dinking around on the internet and Facebook. It wasn’t long before that activity was boring, so I tried to decide what to do. I had to pick my wife up about 2 miles away in like an hour and a half, my phone was losing battery power faster than I could tolerate, and the diner I was in felt like the arctic circle (a lovely new addition to my life thanks to HRT; I never used to get cold, but now I’m cold a lot of the time, so I can only think HRT is behind the change).

I decided that the need to seek warmth was too important to ignore, so I left the diner, walked to my car and got into its toasty interior. After basking in the warmth for a minute or two I found myself in the same predicament, yet again. What to do? I decided to drive over to the pickup spot and figure out something to do there. I had an audiobook I could listen to, so I turned that on as I drove and proceeded to listen to it for about twenty minutes.

Again, this quickly became boring and was making me unacceptably sleepy so I shut the book off and let out a sigh. I still had about an hour. Should I take a nap? (I’m sure you are wondering the same thing as you read this boring story, but it gets better, I promise).

Wait! An idea! What about those podcasts she is always trying to get us to listen to? I texted my wife and begrudgingly asked where to find the podcasts, knowing that she was on the other side feeling all proud about herself that she’d finally whittled away my resistance (I can be rather stubborn when I don’t want to do something, after all).

She replied and told me where to go. I went to the website and started browsing the podcasts from the last month or so. Most of them didn’t really tickle my fancy until I came across a Feminist Transphobia podcast done last month. Okay, now that’s a subject I would be interested in listening to.

I know, you are shocked and amazed! Emma, transwoman extraordinaire, transgender mystique theorist, feminist, and trans activist was interested in feminist transphobia? You don’t say!

So, I fired the podcast up. My baby (aka my car) knew exactly what I needed from her and started playing the podcast via the Bluetooth through the car speakers. I reclined my seat and sat back as I listened to these two familiar female voices I’d heard echo through my house countless times before, chatting about feminist transphobia. If you have an hour, I strongly recommend you go and listen to it yourself at:

I listened to it and found it interesting, but more than anything it got me thinking about a lot of things. Feminist transphobia is nothing new, this isn’t the first time I’ve been exposed to it (generally or personally), and I’ve even discussed it before, but there was something about this podcast that gave birth to some new ideas and thoughts.

Let’s start by defining feminist transphobia. According to Radical Women, (a 2nd wave feminist organization) feminist transphobes are feminists who:

 “pathologize transgenderism for a variety of reasons. They characterize being transgender in various ways: as an extremely kinky sexual practice or a mental illness such as body dysmorphic disorder …[and]  who see the phenomenon as an effort by men to turn themselves into women in order to infiltrate ‘women’-only spaces.”

Obviously, you can see why one such as myself would find this viewpoint a bit disturbing, but despite the disturbance it creates in me I find it intriguing. Ever the academic and researcher I wanted to dissect this, examine it piece by piece, and see if I couldn’t figure out what would drive a person to hold such a belief.

The obvious first component to feminist transphobia is the transphobia portion. This is not unique to feminists. This is not even unique to women, or men, or governments, or religions or society. Transphobia is something that spans the globe. It transcends the barriers of culture, religion, language, borders, and time (history). Transphobia is a byproduct of the transgender mystique.

According to the mystique, there are only two acceptable or “real” genders and anyone who does not conform to those acceptable/real genders, their roles, or their expectations immediately takes on an “other” social status. This “otherness” begins to determine for the individual how they will be perceived by others and the assumptions these others make about who the individual must be. “Otherness” becomes the defining characteristic and eventually erodes away at any other characteristics that might have been seen, perceived, or believed had “normalcy” been present. You might be a good, stable, successful person while you presented as a penis wielding male or a vagina containing female, but contradict those expectations and your otherness dictates that you MUST be something other than those previous qualities (i.e. you become: bad, unstable, mentally-ill, and damaged) because to be “other” means to be lesser. Others are lesser, and therefore are permitted to be defined by those who are not “other” or who are superior because of their lack of “otherness.” Normalcy supersedes otherness.

It is no wonder, then, that under such a system of pervasive cultural and societal underpinnings about the nature of gender, that even feminism, a movement that rails against gender norms/expectations, would be influenced by transphobia. Now, it’s important to note that not all feminism is transphobic. Many feminists, especially the younger generations of feminists, see transphobia as out of place in feminism. Only certain parts of the feminist movement (and certain individuals with loud voices and large audiences) display transphobia… but why?

Sure, transphobia and the transgender mystique pervade society at all levels, but that doesn’t paint the whole picture. Why would a group of people who denounce the patriarchal system’s oppression of women (based simply on the fact that they are women), then turn their backs on a group of people suffering similar (if not greater) oppression from the same system?

I believe it is because transphobia is just one of the many oppressive love-children of the patriarchal system of oppression. The gender binary itself is the foundation upon which all gender or sex based power disparities are built. The inherent and exclusive existence of two sexes is the foundation upon which men have traditionally oppressed women. If you are not man, you must be woman (and therefore lesser).

Betty Friedan helped start the 2nd wave of feminism by her discussions in the Feminine Mystique which outlined how the societally approved and upheld sacredness or “mystique” of femininity was used as a tool to oppress, manipulate, and ultimately take advantage of women. Being a woman meant that you were supposed to be: wife, mother, homemaker, sex-kitten (inside marriage), obedient and of inferior faculties. Being a woman also meant you were not supposed to be ambitious, intelligent, critical, hardworking, single, sexually promiscuous (outside of marriage) childless or a career woman. If you contradicted what you were supposed to be then you were seen as unfit, untamed, a sexual deviant, mentally-ill, sick, broken, or confused (why do those terms sound so familiar, I wonder?)

So, we begin to see why a person who might be labeled (although labeling does little to get at the root of the issue) a TERF, or Trans-exclusionary Radical Feminist seems to be a walking contradiction. They detest the patriarchy and its use of gender norms/expectations and sexism to oppress and take advantage of women. Yet, they turn to transgender individuals and say you can’t be what you say you are, because gender norms/expectation and cissexism dictate that your just a man (or woman) putting on a costume. You don’t conform to OUR beliefs about the nature of gender (more on this in a bit) so you must therefore be a sexual deviant, mentally ill, or simply a bad person trying to infiltrate the *sacred feminine* realm.

Let’s take a moment and allow that to sink in a bit. I think Jackie Chan can best encompass my reaction:

So, let’s get this logic straight:

 Patriarchy uses the sacredness of femininity as a means of creating a divide between the sexes.

 This divide dictates what each side is and isn’t, and the dos and don’ts for each of them.

The feminine side do’s/don’ts are inherently oppressive while the male side do’s/don’ts are inherently empowering (over others).

Patriarchy is therefore bad.

Okay, that makes sense. Good so far...

Trans-exclusionary Radical Feminism uses the sacred feminine as a means of creating a divide between “real women” and trans women.

This divide dictates what each side is and isn’t, and the dos and don’ts for each of them

The trans side do’s/don’t are inherently oppressive while the “real” side do’s/don’ts are inherently empowering (over others).

Trans exclusion/transphobia is therefore… good??

Okay, setting the contradiction aside (even if we have to walk awhile to get around it) it’s important to examine this thought process; to dissect and deconstruct it. In order to do that, we have to get into the mind of a so-called TERF (I know some find this word potentially offensive but please bear with me as I’m using it academically, not as a slur). Each person is different and not everyone who might be considered as fitting under this label will come to the same conclusion the same way.

Personal experiences of any individual are going to strongly influence their perceptions. Negative experiences with trans identifying individuals may also strongly influence their perceptions (as the podcast discussed, one of the loudest voices in TERF’dom was harassed and threatened by a trans woman). The inability to see the reflection of oneself in others will also play a key role. Let’s go to the land of make believe for a minute and see how a person might hypothetically reach the above logical fallacy.

The following is all just conjecture in order to display and deconstruct some relatively common themes in TERF’dom:

There is a cisgender female, she feels very passionately about the oppressions she sees around her from the patriarchal system. Perhaps she, herself, has even been a victim of some terrible oppression or discrimination. We will not say that she was sexually assaulted because that would only propagate an unfair stereotype of “man-hating” feminists, but perhaps she was discriminated against at home, in school, at work, or in public because of her sex (perhaps she witnessed this tragic event in another person’s life; maybe a relative or close friend). The only way she has found to reconcile this event or these events in her (or another’s) life has been to really identify with and embrace her power as a woman. She knows who she is, what she is worth, and cannot be held down. No man will ever tell her who she is or what she can/can’t do/be/have. She firmly believes the patriarchy is oppressive and must be fought against.

We won’t delve into her sexuality but will just assume she is single. She goes to feminist rallies, events, and groups that only allow cisgender women in. Together they bond, they identify with the passionate feelings they have, and they work together to protest the patriarchy in various ways (writing, speaking, art, music, sex, etc.). She feels safe there. She feels empowered there. It is sacred there. No men, no patriarchy, no problems.

Then, a trans woman tries to get into the rallies, events, and groups. Maybe this transwoman doesn’t “pass” very well and still has some obvious male physical features. Maybe they even still have a penis. Our friend feels very uncomfortable about this. She hears this person claim they are a woman but it feels like a deception to her. She looks at the masculine features, maybe even listens to the masculine voice, and part of her thinks, “it’s just a man in a dress and makeup.”

Seeing this person as a man triggers all of her passionate feelings/beliefs about the patriarchy and she starts to see this person through the lens of the privileges and characteristics of a typical man. She doesn’t know this person but begins to make broad assumptions about their character. She, and perhaps some others experiencing similar discomfort tell this trans woman that they aren’t allowed in because they aren’t really a woman. The trans woman, feeling attacked and delegitimized like so many times before begins to protest and argue with them. Things turn nasty, maybe there is even some physical violence that ensues as the trans woman fights for acceptance. Maybe the trans woman, feeling attacked, harassed, and vulnerable pulls to her male upbringing and says something truly male-privileged and threatens to rape the women (i.e. the story in the podcast about a trans woman threatening to rape a feminist). The trans woman doesn’t actually want to do that but has been the victim of so much abuse and intolerance that she doesn’t know any other way to resolve the conflict than to resort to old power plays, as bad as they are. (don't mistake me, threating to rape anyone is never okay; I'm simply trying to illustrate how a person in a heightened defensive state might say something they don't really mean or wouldn't normally ever say)

This just solidifies our friend’s initial thoughts that this trans woman is really just a man, and she begins to think up reasons why this person wanted in to begin with. She reasons: They must be mentally ill to think they are a woman when they are so clearly male; or they must be some sort of sexual deviant or pervert for wanting to be a woman when they are really just a man; or it’s just another man trying to assert power over women by claiming to be one to infiltrate their sacred place; he’s just as oppressive as the rest. Maybe she thinks all of those things, maybe she thinks none of them, but either way the damage is done.

One negative experience precipitated by preconceived beliefs and emotions about the patriarchy and all of a sudden our friend begins a narrative in her mind. Perhaps she finds common ground with the others who struggled with the trans woman and they all reinforce our friend’s narrative. They talk about it, they write about it, they use it as an example, and before you know it you have a group of Trans-exclusionary Radical Feminists creating a movement, finding like-minded people, and solidifying their stance.

Is this what actually happened? Probably not, but can you see how easy it is for something like this to happen? Can you see how the situation with the allegedly stalking trans woman who threatened to rape the outspoken feminist in the podcast might have been similar to this?

One misunderstanding, one poor use of judgement, one altercation, one threat and suddenly the very oppression our friend was fighting against comes round full circle and she starts propagating it in a new way. Which brings me to the point of this entry/response to Stuff Mom Never Told You’s podcast about feminist transphobia.

Feminist transphobia and Trans-exclusive Radical Feminists are both a result of the (patriarchal) system of power disparities as outlined by the transgender mystique. They are born out of a resistance to existing power disparities but are actually created in circular fashion by those same exact power disparities.

Let’s break that down into more digestible terms. In the social pyramid of power game, white, cisgender, heterosexual men are at the top. Near them, albeit below them, are white, cisgender, heterosexual females. Next to those white, cis, hetero women we actually, these days, find gay men, particularly gay white men. That’s a new development but they often have about as much social power as white, cis, hetero females do. In some ways they may actually still be above them because of male privilege.

Below that tier we begin to see the different minority groups, each with the men slightly higher up the pyramid than their respective women. At the very bottom of the pyramid, however, we see a hodgepodge of those who do not fit the white-picket-fence fantasy of white, heteronormative culture. We have those who are handicap, those with visible physical impairments/abnormalities, those with invisible impairments, those who have mental illnesses, criminals, gang members, sex workers, the homeless, LGB people of color or low socioeconomic standing, and you guessed it, transgender folks (among many others).

We could split hairs and figure out which of those has more power than others, but for simplicity let’s just assume they all have relatively similar social power. If they are white, they probably have a bit more. If they are affluent or educated, they will also have more, but on a whole, they are far from the top of the pyramid.

(*Please note, I’m not suggesting this system is good or right, but simply that it exists*)

In this system of power disparities men rule the roost so to speak, especially white, cis, hetero men. They utilize their privilege and power to gain advantage over others, and often times at the expense of others (oppression, colonialism, cronyism, etc.). They set the rules of the game and those rules are always stacked in their favor, intentionally or not. For a VERY long time they used that rule setting power (via religion, government, laws, science, psychology, social expectations, etc.) to systematically oppress and take advantage of women. They denied them education, freedom, artistic expression, money, land, the power to vote or even choose their mate, and so much more. This still happens today, although to a lesser degree.

This oppression was ingrained in the cultural and societal psyche of women. It was passed down from generation to generation for centuries. Women were only finally able to loosen its crippling grasp over the last 200 years or so, but they still aren’t completely free of it. Our society (especially America) is still very patriarchal in how it is run. The pyramid still stands and the white man is still on top.

More than that, however, the psychological effects of the patriarchal oppression of women are still in the collective psyche of women, especially TERF’s. What I mean by that is our society is still so ingrained with the normalcy of power disparities and social privilege’s inherent power to dictate to others what and who they are, that even when a group (like feminists) fights against that system, they can often end up perpetuating it.

TERF’s have simply taken the patriarchal place of men and put transwomen in their previous place of lower power. They believe they have the social power and privilege to dictate to another person who they are, just like the patriarchy does, because of their placement on the pyramid. They have divided “them” and “us” into arbitrary categories based solely on genitalia and made one of them greater than the other, just like patriarchy did with women.

I see it as no wonder that TERF’s exist at all. Trans-exclusive Radical feminism is a naturally occurring inverse of true misogyny. They are the yin to the yang, thus completing the circle of patriarchal power disparities and reversing them at the first opportunity.

Think of it this way. Patriarchy has indoctrinated our society with the belief that power disparities are not only naturally occurring but essential to the functioning of society. It’s the way things are supposed to be. Everyone cannot be equal, because if we are all equal then who gets to be in charge? If someone is in charge don’t they deserve more than those who are not in charge? What about those who contribute less than we want them too or don’t fit into or measure up to our expectations, shouldn’t they get less? And so the spiral begins.

I believe that TERF’s are a product of that indoctrination. They see it as them fighting the secret invasion of patriarchy into their sacred realm of femininity, but in actuality they are cashing in on their opportunity to be the powerful ones by isolating and excluding a group of people far less privileged than them. They are so damaged by this indoctrination of power disparities that they cannot even see their dysfunction. They bar the entry of trans women on the grounds that their gender is completely determined by sex organs, yet rail against a cultural system that separates people into power-imbalanced groups based solely on sex organs.

This isn’t about whether or not a trans woman is a real woman or not (because by their own admission TERF’s assert that gender is a social construction, so male and female don’t really even exist in any solid or permanent state), this is about asserting power over those they deem lesser than themselves.

What, in your estimation, could be more patriarchal than to assert power over those you deem lesser than yourself simply because of their sex organs?

Utilizing the *sacred feminine* as a means of exclusion of others is criminally reminiscent of the patriarchy using the *sacred feminine* as a means of excluding women from full and meaningful personhood.

And if gender is a social construction, as they frequently claim it is, then how does a *sacred feminine* even exist under such a system? Do they think that because it is "their" social construction that it means it's more real or valid than any other social construction? Are they the exception to the rule about not dictating to another what they can and can't be based on sex?

Additionally, what about non-binary individuals? What about those who are both male and female? what about those who have no gender or those who identify as androgynous? What about those born with no or ambiguous genitalia? Where do they fit in this heavily policed *sacred feminine* realm where only feminist women with biologically developed vaginas can inhabit?

They frequently argue that trans men are simply women misguided by the patriarchy into believing they could become men, so are they allowed in? They were assigned female at birth and likely have a vagina, but does that make up for the fact that they may be living a life filled with male privilege? Or have they lost their sacred femininity, never to be reclaimed again?

The point is, TERF'dom is an ideological stance perpetuated by intolerance and blinded by zealotry. It's a binary creation and is therefore forever trapped by the limitations of a binary. Their entire argument is built upon a faulty assumption that there are only two "real" genders, despite any of their claims that gender is a social construction.

Trans individuals do not hurt feminism. If anything, the trans revolution and the chipping away at the binary infrastructure of our culture will only aid in the feminist movement. Feminism is the first step to tearing down the pyramid of social power disparities, but it won't be until we overthrow the binary altogether that the pyramid will come down for good.

 No one deserves more because of their sex, orientation, gender, ethnicity, or any other arbitrary category the transgender mystique/patriarchy tries to divide us with.

So, to any TERF's out there, I want you to realize that exclusion is the dark heart of the patriarchy, and only inclusion will truly undo the patriarchy's power.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

10-13-2015 Entry: A Poem for the Chinese Food Cashier

I see your eyes,

Filled with confusion,

And surprise.


Or do I see revulsion?

They look so similar,

It’s an easy confusion.


Perhaps it’s both?

Or maybe neither.


You’d think I had orange hair.

The way you gawk and stare.


Your eyes grow so wide,

I can almost hear inside.


Is that a man?



The words are written,
All over your face.
But your rudeness here,
has no place.


I want to answer,

I want to explain,

No, I am not a man.

But still, I abstain.


The way you shrink back,

As if I’m diseased,

Shows me your lack,

Never to be pleased.


All your life,
you were told a lie.

That genders can only,

come in a bi.


It’s not the truth,

And it takes no sleuth,

To see that things,

Aren’t so black and white.


Genders are like colors,

So many and so bright,

Why should we ever,

Hide them from the light?


I take my change,

And walk away.


Hoping that you learned,

Something new today.


Black and white,

Can be just fine,

But living in color,

Doesn’t cross the line.


I’m still a person,

Filled with good,

I’m still a customer,

so treat me as you should.


Save your scowling eyes,

For thieves and flies,

I don’t deserve the stare,

Just because you,

were unaware.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

10-8-2015 Entry: Being Harrased in Public for Being Trans

Hello darlings! I hope you are doing well. I’m definitely feeling frustrated this morning, so hopefully you are doing better than I am.

I’m not exactly sure about what’s been bothering me over the last few days but I feel the need to write this out to see where it goes. I think it all started with me being harassed on the street for being trans.

That’s right, Emma, transwoman extraordinaire, was the victim of public harassment just for being herself; and the worst part is that it’s not the first time. I’m not sure I ever blogged about the previous encounter (although I might have briefly mentioned it) but this most recent incident was the second time I’ve been blatantly harassed for being trans.

So, what happened? Well, the first incident was a few weeks ago and at first I didn’t realize what was happening. I was walking from work to the parking ramp I leave my car at when I drive to work when it happened. The ramp is about three blocks away from work and is located rather close to a homeless shelter (one that is known for safety issues; i.e. someone was stabbed like a month ago and a few people have been robbed in recent months). As I was walking along the last block I passed by a woman and a man hanging out on the sidewalk, maybe smoking a cigarette (I wasn’t really paying attention). Out of the corner of my eye I felt the woman look at me and make some sort of expression. After walking a few paces I heard her say “Juwanna man.”

I wasn’t positive if she was talking to me or not, but those words rang a bell in my head. Although I struggled to remember what they meant I had a fleeting memory of some movie about a cross dressing man (I later discovered that to be exactly what it was). I decided to ignore it and kept walking. As I continued towards the parking ramp entrance I heard her say something like “it was a man.”

Still, I tried to ignore this woman, uncertain if she was talking about me or not and kept walking. Again, I heard her say in a louder voice “we know you’re a man!” by time she said this I was at the far end of the block starting to cross the street, so I decided it wasn’t worth confronting this lady. I entered the ramp, took the elevator up to the 5th level, walked to my car, and got into it fuming mad. The more I thought about what happened the more I became convinced she WAS talking about me the whole time and that she was being really awful too.

I wanted nothing more than to drive my car over to where she was hanging out, park it, get out, and kick the crap out of her. How dare she be so rude and cruel to me. How dare she try to define me without knowing anything at all about me. I felt such rage, and beneath the rage, fear. Never in my life had I experienced something like this. Sure, I would get stopped all the time as Robert by incoherent and possibly mentally ill people on the street asking me for things (usually money), but I never really feared for my safety. None of them ever turned violent and the ones who became angry never became threatening, and understandably so. I was a tall, rather burly/large, white male.

My physicality and my social privilege as a Caucasian protected me from violent or harassing responses. I was never blatantly mocked or ridiculed just for being a white dude on the street. I was never compared to a character in a movie. If anything, I was generally avoided, ignored, or invisible. I was just another white dude in in the city wearing business clothes.

As I felt the powerful and violent emotions course through me I stopped, took notice of what was happening, and decided to just allow it to be. After a moment or two I started to examine the emotions. Why was I so triggered? Clearly my defense mechanisms were in full swing as I wanted nothing more than to physically assault this woman for her intolerance, but there was more going on. That’s when the fear became clear to me. I went into myself, sought out that inner child that’s always at the center of an emotional reaction, and found that little Emma felt not only afraid but deeply rejected.

“You see, they will never accept us as we are. All they want to do is hurt us! We are worthless.” She moaned to me.

I knelt down, put my arms around her shaking body and tried to comfort her by explaining, “Just because one person is so filled with intolerance that they cannot see your beauty and worth, doesn’t mean you don’t matter. She lashed out at us because of her own suffering, not because we deserved her cruel words. She tried to hurt us because she, herself, is in pain. You are beautiful, you are powerful, and you are important. Never doubt that”

That seemed to do the trick because as soon as I had comforted that inner-child version of Emma, the powerful emotions subsided. It was okay to be angry, to feel fear, and to worry about our safety, and as such, we could move on. I forgave that woman as best as I could at the time and moved on with my day.

That emotional work within me, however, wouldn’t last as I encountered the same woman in the same spot again, just a few days ago. Again I was walking to the parking ramp, on my way to an appointment when I encountered the same woman and the same man hanging out on the sidewalk, smoking a cigarette. Had I noticed them earlier I might have chosen to walk on the other side of the street, but by time I realized it was them, it was already too late.

Immediately, almost without thought, the defense mechanisms activated. I was in no mood to be trifled with and I wasn’t about to let some cruel lady on the street harass me about being trans. I hadn’t put makeup on that day because I was too tired from the previous 15 hour Monday and Tuesday, so I knew that I wasn’t very passable (Especially several hours after shaving). I figured that if this woman had read me as trans when I was in full makeup, then she would absolutely read me today.

As I approached the duo, I kept a scowling eye on the woman to see if she was going to pull her shit again. She caught my gaze and immediately recognized me. She said “it’s the man!” as I walked in front of her.

I couldn’t help myself from responding with, “Fuck you bitch.”

I was so mad, so angry, and so fearful about the situation. This woman was proving that our previous interaction wasn’t a fluke and that she was going to be a problem. My response only seemed to further animate her because she started to shout after me, “It’s a man! It’s a man! I know you aren’t a woman! You can’t fool me, you’re a man!”

I just kept walking, willing myself away from her and away from a court date for getting into a physical altercation with some transphobic bitch on the street. She just kept shouting, “It’s a man! It’s a man!” as loud as she could, trying to get anyone’s attention that she could. Luckily there weren’t really any other pedestrians nearby to hear her cruel words, but the damage was done.

Up until now I have been lucky with the way people act towards me and how they treat me (in no small part because of the inherent privileges grated to Caucasians in the US). I’ve had some minor setbacks and some less-than-desirable interactions with people who’ve read me as trans, but I’ve never really been harassed before. I’ve never had anyone react in a violent way (and yes, this was a form of violence), but now I have joined the ranks of transwomen all around the world who’ve had to fear for their safety because they’ve been attacked or harassed because of their gender.

I’m fortunate that it wasn’t worse than it was. I’m fortunate that her male companion didn’t really join in. I’m fortunate that there weren’t other people with her that might have ganged up on me, harassed me, or attacked me. I was lucky, this time. There is no guarantee that won’t happen in the future though. At present my conflict with this woman has only escalated and I honestly don’t know how to fix it.

I do not want to avoid this person because I shouldn’t have to. I shouldn’t have to stop walking to my car the way I have for months on end because this person has made it her mission to out me to the world. Fuck her, and fuck her small minded hatred. I won’t let her win, I won’t let her think it’s fucking okay to do this to people. I’m quite convinced she spends a lot of time at the nearby homeless shelter and if I had to guess she’s had a hard life, but that’s no excuse for her actions. I am disinclined to be the passive victim of her ridicule, but I don’t know how to proceed with this.

I do not wish to get into a physical fight with her, because I don’t revel in the consequences of that situation, but I want to stand up to her. I want to show her that I will not be intimidated by her, even if I have felt a fear I’ve never known. Emma, transwoman extraordinaire, does not give in so easily and doesn’t back down from a challenge.

Being transgender does not mean I am weak and it absolutely does not mean that I can be bullied or harassed on the street. I am no man, and she has no right to allege anything of the sort, let alone shout it at the top of her lungs to the whole world.

I am so pissed off about this. I’m sure that’s clear, but I am really really angry about this. Little Emma is afraid and big Emma is inclined to fucking protect her. That little girl inside of me doesn’t deserve this kind of treatment. She doesn’t deserve to have someone try to make her feel like she has no worth, that she isn’t real or doesn’t matter. We didn’t overcome all of our biggest fears only to have some crazy bitch on the streets try to tear that down.

No, fuck that. I hope I do run into her again because this time I’m not just going to walk away and allow her to think it’s okay to do this to people. What I’ll do exactly, I’m not sure, but I’m not going to avoid this. I’ve avoided conflict all my life, but I’m a new person now, and I will not be a doormat for abuse.

I am strong. I am smart. I am worthy of love and happiness. I am a good person who does good things. I am not weak and I am not a victim. I refuse to let this go on the way it has up to now. I will show her the meaning of confidence and the power of living a true life.