Thursday, December 30, 2010

How I Don't Understand Words...

When I wrote this I didn't intend on it being so, gloomy...and I hate it. But instead of completely deleting it, I just made it annoyingly small so you won't read it unless you really really want to.

What I said is true, it's just not as depressing in reality as it came out in writing. I guess that's just how it goes sometimes. Basically, all I was trying to say is - 
  • Because I've always had a hard time using words, I'm shocked at how many people can actually understand what I'm saying. I'm even more shocked that I've somehow managed to help a few people, just by writing down my experiences for anyone to see.
  • Just because someone doesn't think the same way as you, doesn't mean you can't find a way to translate your thoughts in a way they can understand (as frustrating as it can be in the beginning). And just because someone seems like a lost cause, doesn't mean they actually are. Sometimes you just have to be patient and maybe try to understand what they are going through to be able to bring out their potential.
In the original post I tell you "I'm actually a high school drop-out" Which is true. But I left out the part about going back to school a month after I dropped out. I didn't go back to a "normal" school though. That wasn't a place I wanted to be. So, I enrolled into a "fast track" programme. Basically I did all the same work, just faster.

I know I've said this about a gazillion times by now...but, it really does surprise me that people actually read this blog. Even though it was really exciting when I got my first couple of "followers", I knew they were probably only being nice. Then all of a sudden I started to get comments and e-mails that weren't just saying "hi, welcome to blogger...". Not that many, but they were there. Real readers!

Then something weird happened. Someone told me that they actually liked my writing. That I had somehow managed to put together an inexplicably coherent string of words that fully expressed what they were feeling. Words they have been trying to find their whole life, Which in my mind is absurd! How could I express something that so many others can't. To me, this was obviously an isolated incident...but then I got more e-mails. And a lot of them said similar things.

The reason I find it so hard to understand is...

I'm actually a high school drop-out, and words confuse the shyte out of me!

Obviously, by high school, I could speak, spell and write. When I read a story or a poem, I could understand what was being said. But putting those same words into a sentence of my own design was like trying to milk a diamond. No matter how simple the scenario was or how well I understood the subject. It didn't matter what I tried, my mind would go almost completely blank. And it frustrated everyone around me. My friends, my teachers, my parents. No one could understand why I wouldn't just let out any old nonsense. But it frustrated and confused me even more.

Eventually I just got tired of caring and just about gave up. I'd still talk to people and attend classes. But I would be very vague or short with everything I said. Mostly I relied on socially acceptable responses to any, even slightly, complex questions. And instead of writing essays, short stories or whatever else you use words for in school, I'd just scribble all over my pages. Which is apparently really insulting. The problem was, I completely understood what was being asked and what I wanted to express. I just didn't know how to express it. There were things I would want to say, and I tried. Words would flow from my mouth, but no one could really understand what I was trying to say. They thought they could, and sometimes they would eventually get it. But mostly I was misunderstood.

Not being able to express yourself can be frustrating. So I did what I always did...I scribbled! One day I left a drawing I did on the dining table and my mum found it. She asked me if everything was okay, did anything happen, did I need to talk. She asked me about the drawing and as we were looking at the scribbled down picture she asked questions. Then a beautiful thing happened...I was able to answer. I understood how to tell my mum about my picture

It took a long time, but I slowly learned how to express myself with words. At first I had to think anything complicated through by drawing it down first. The barrier between how my mind worked with images and how people communicated with words started to break down. I eventually learned to use words to express more complex scenarios and emotions without first releasing the information into an image. It was much like an epiphany, an extremely slow epiphany, but somehow my mind started to understand how to use words. My struggle with words is still there. But it's nowhere near as bad as it used to be.

There are a few habits I've kept from my earlier struggle with words. Like the way I reiterate even the smallest ideas to the point of everyone else's frustration. And, even to me, there are obvious signs I still don't understand the first thing about good writing.

Maybe I'm wrong, maybe I actually do have a descent understanding of words. But I still feel like I did when I was a kid, struggling so hard with every word that passes through my mind. Grasping at any and every sentence that seems like it might eventually make sense...

Maybe it doesn't matter if it's "good writing" or not. When I started writing I didn't think anyone would even realize it existed. What I do know is; there are people that have read what I've had to say, and they have taken something from it. I've even helped people with the words I've written. And that's more than I ever dreamed of doing. So I guess I'll just keep on doing what I do. I'll type out words as they come to me and just hope they make sense as I press publish...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

After...The Day I told My Daughter

Not long after I posted the story of how my daughter reacted to me being Transsexual, she kinda changed her mind.

When I posted it I felt it was more than safe to share that story with the world, because it had been a while since it happened and everything seemed to be going fine. One day she seemed perfectly happy that I was girlie and the next...not so much. I'm not sure of what made her change her mind, but all of a sudden, it did. It wasn't a complete 180, but she wasn't as comfortable as she had been. All she said was
"you have to dress like a boy around me now, because boys can't be girls"
Obviously someone had said something to her.

At first it seemed she was just against it all together but she understood I am who I am and loved me anyway. So, I made sure I only wore men's clothes and I didn't wear any makeup whenever I was going to see her. But she still seemed disappointed. I thought it might be because my hair is long, so I reminded her I was going to be cutting it all off soon, but I couldn't do it yet. That just seemed to upset her even more
"but it's so pretty, don't cut off your hair. You look more prettier when your hair is long. You don't want to look like a boy all the time do you?"
And then she made me let her make up my face and paint my nails. Now I was completely confused

Call me an idiot if you like, I guess it was obvious, but it took me a while to figured out she didn't want me to try to be a guy again, she just didn't want to be teased about it


My daughter had her birthday party the other day. When she gave me the invite she told me "You can wear a dress if you's okay"
I asked her if any of her friends knew about me and if they were okay with it. That if they didn't I should probably come dressed in men's clothes because it probably wouldn't be the best time for them to find out.
"okay, well you have to wear boy clothes, but we are going to dress you up at my party...can you bring your makeup?"
The plan didn't really work though. Even though I was dressed in my manliest man clothes
- big jeans, an oversized flannelette shirt and some old skate shoes -
no one was convinced I was a guy. They all asked who the lesbian was...I told her she could tell them anything she wanted, that I was her dad, her aunt, whatever...but before she could say anything, her mum told them all I was her dad
"that's okay dad, you're a boy but you're not really a boy. That's who you are! Can I decorate you now?"

It's not the first time I was, unconvincingly, dressed as a man while with my daughter. She thinks it's funny that people can't tell. Because to her, even though her uncles and grandfathers are extremely manly, I still look quite masculine. Even though she's never seen anyone 'clock' me, she thinks everyone can tell I was born a boy and everyone laughs at me when I'm out in a dress. After her party though, I think she realizes that even when I try really hard to look and act like a man, most people see me as a woman.


There was no doubt that this would be hard for my daughter. The problem is, I know it's my fault, but I can't not be me. I'm not sure what to do.

There's no way I'm going to leave her, but I wonder if leaving a larger distance between me and her as father and daughter will help her life be more normal. Should I take on more of a role of an aunty or just the title. Or do I just help her through it all as best I can with the way it is...

After the short period of doubt and confusion, I know she doesn't have a problem with it personally. She even prefers me as I am now. I'm just worried how everyone else will treat her...for something that isn't her fault...for something she has no control over.