Grrl on Grrl Podcast interviewed me!

Today my interview with Grrl on Grrl Podcast came out!  We discuss, among other things,

  • The science of gender identity
  • The music of Axis Evil
  • “Ladylike” behavior as a source of personal empowerment
  • Cultural appropriation
  • Psychosexuality
  • Model minorities

Big thanks to June Owatari of Grrl on Grrl Podcast for working so hard to put this together! The music presented during the interviews may be downloaded here.

 

radical forgiveness

(A text version of this video is available here).

Forgiveness is radical in and of itself, and I encourage each of you to promote the revolution that it demands. Moreover, I encourage each of you to take forgiveness to radical levels, in other words, to practice a doctrine of “radical forgiveness”.

The following video introduces the concept, and then discusses the rationale, the joys, and the challenges of radical forgiveness’ practice:

Aside

This video also demonstrates my significant progress to date toward developing a feminine voice and feminine body language. Much work remains on these fronts, but I’m proud of what this video portrays!

Closing Remarks

I sincerely hope you find the concept and practice of radical forgiveness useful in your own life! Please let me know how it goes, or send comments and questions, by commenting on this post or through Twitter or Facebook. I look forward to hearing from you!

See Also

how to validate someone who won’t talk with you

on love

the currency of love

the pedagogy of love

radical forgiveness (text version)

(A video version of this post may be found here).

Forgiveness proves radical in and of itself, and I encourage each of you to promote the revolution that it demands. Moreover, I encourage each of you to take forgiveness to radical levels, in other words, to practice a doctrine of “radical forgiveness”.

We all get hurt. Doesn’t matter if an offense is personal, such as someone berating you for a mistake, or institutional, such as experiencing a subtle, unconscious bias from a coworker that hinders you in the workforce due to your gender or sex.

Radical forgiveness combines several key actions: You must understand why forgiveness proves valuable, make the choice to forgive a person or institution, understand the process and pitfalls of forgiveness, continually repeat your choice to forgive that person or institution as necessary, and if possible communicate your forgiveness to the person or institution that harmed you. Moreover, you must treat forgiveness as a skill that requires practice and commitment to excel at. Finally, you must remember that humility must stand at the core of all these actions to succeed.

One might casually call one or two of these items alone “forgiveness”, but by employing the term “radical forgiveness” I assert a more comprehensive and effective mode of dealing with offenses than the mere casualty of the word “forgiveness” implies. We speak here of something more substantial than a flippant “I forgive you” or “I can’t stay mad at you”. Rather, we refer to a context of forgiving significant pain, like divorce pain or business-partner-screws-you pain.



So why forgive in the first place? Primarily, the process heals you, and enhances the chances of healing the other party and a relationship. Forgiving helps you “let go”, to use a colloquial phrase. You surrender, sort of. Basically you acknowledge the pain, and declare that it will no longer impact your relationship with the other party. You declare that it will no longer weigh you down. The act of forgiving claims power over emotional angst. Not complete power, but it provides significant relief. Note that by forgiving you still recognize guilt, and you still must take steps to remedy the problem. Forgiving merely leaps far beyond forcing the other party to remain mired in that guilt.

Moreover, your particular deity might demand that you practice forgiveness. We won’t name names.

One must make an actual “choice” to forgive, as forgiveness starts with a choice. And one must often continually repeat that choice for a given hurt, since anger and pain well up so easily. In Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, clinicians talk about “turning the mind”. That is, injecting your presence into a runaway thought to turn your think toward more productive thoughts. Similarly, when a hurt wells up inside you that you have already delivered forgiveness for, “turn the mind” away back toward a spirit of forgiveness. Again and again and again. I guarantee you that this process heals.

And that’s just it, remember that radical forgiveness serves as a process, not just a destination. You wrestle with it along the way. You start out unhappy and end with greater peace, but don’t expect an easy ride. For instance, you might have to objectively face your role in a situation, to determine how actions you took that may have put fuel on the fire. Unpleasant, I know. For encouragement, just remember that this process enriches your spirit.

One can liken the process of committing and recommitting to forgiveness to the experience of the mythical Sisyphus as described by the post-war philosopher Camus. The gods condemned Sisyphus to an eternity of pushing a large boulder up a hill by day, only to watch it crash back down the hill every night. Sounds meaningless, right? But Camus declared that Sisyphus found existential meaning in the task itself. Similarly, I claim that you will find meaning in the radical forgiveness process despite its often two steps forward, one step back nature.

The sweetest spot in the process of forgiveness is letting the other party know about your decision, because it generates the most opportunity for reconciliation. But understand that sometimes one cannot do this due to safety or other considerations—use your brain here before you act! And know that the other party may simply not be able to receive your words, may not even find themselves in a place to comprehend them. This hurts, but don’t let it derail your journey to peace over a matter.

Basically, don’t think of this action as “offering” forgiveness. Think of it as “transmitting” forgiveness. Offers feel incomplete if not received, but a transmission projects whether anyone proves receptive or not. In other words, you will have done all you can, so don’t sweat over it.

Humility drives the process. Forgiveness serves as recognition that you yourself exhibit flaws, that you could easily make the same mistakes. It recognizes that you will perform actions in the future that will require forgiveness from others. To forgive effectively you must empathize with and love the imperfect humanity in the one you choose to forgive, which can only emit from empathizing with and loving the imperfect humanity in yourself.

The last point I want to make is that radical forgiveness is a skill, like tennis or playing a musical instrument. It takes practice and sometimes years to develop competency. But if you make a habit out of choosing to forgive, and nurture the habit as you go, I assure you the skill will blossom inside you! I recommend initiating the forgiveness process the instant someone hurts you, rather than wait until you are “ready” to forgive. This strengthens the habit and prepares you for rapid closure once you achieve that readiness. And this practice increases the chance of salvaging relationships due to its proactive nature.

I sincerely hope you find the concept and practice of radical forgiveness useful in your own life! Please let me know how it goes, or send comments and questions, by commenting on this post or through Twitter or Facebook. I look forward to hearing from you!

See Also

how to validate someone who won’t talk with you

on love

the currency of love

the pedagogy of love

on this blog’s new name: “gender punk 360”

I recently changed this blog’s name from “gender punk” to “gender punk 360”. Why? For ethical and branding reasons:

Primarily, I owned “genderpunk.net” but not “genderpunk.com”. However, I do own “genderpunk360.com” and think a “.com” makes a better impression on potential readers.

More abstractly, “gender punk” is a general term used widely in our community [1], which I felt I had no right to co-opt directly. While I’m casting a wide net in describing my experiences with gender, the problem lies in the word “my”.

But “gender punk 360” sounds like a magazine title or website, i.e., a brand. In this way I feel I can “own” it.

I take inspiration from George Orwell’s description of the difference between the words “Communist International” and “Comintern”:

Communist International, for instance, call up a composite picture of universal human brotherhood, red flags, barricades, Karl Marx, and the Paris Commune. The word Comintern, on the other hand, suggests merely a tightly knit organization and a well-defined body of doctrine. It refers to something almost as easily recognized, and as limited in purpose, as a chair or table. Comintern is a word that can be uttered almost without taking thought, whereas Communist International is a phrase over which one is obliged to linger at least momentarily.

Here, like “gender punk”, the community owns “Communist International”. However, Lenin and his comrades owned “Comintern”. It served as a Soviet brand. Likewise, my brand is now “gender punk 360”, referring to something “easily recognized and limited in purpose” as per the Orwell quote. “Gender punk” is an abstract, ill-defined concept. “Gender punk 360” is a specific realization of my experiences.

I don’t even identify as “gender punk”. I’m simply a punk who lives transgender. These two identities, “punk” and “transgender”, inform every facet of my life.

The number “360”, as in 360 degrees, implies a holistic, circular, and comprehensive view. I’ve always been a systems-thinker and this writing proceeds accordingly.

References

  1. https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=genderpunk
  2. George Orwell. The Orwell Reader: Fiction, Essays, and Reportage. 1945.

feedback from my mentor

My primary mentor offered the following advice by e-mail to help me on my quest to deliver a more feminine presentation. I publish it here without explanation:

Walk slowly, speak slowly, listen ‘what is stated’, being open to others as you enter… ‘open hand represent Open Heart’…

delivering sex appeal to a job interview

About a week ago I attended my first job interview as a woman. There was so much more to think about than before:

  • Fear of discrimination as a woman interviewing for a technical and scientific position
  • Fear of discrimination as a transgender person
  • Keeping my voice in a feminine pitch range for the duration of the interview
  • What to wear

I dealt with the first two concerns by just giving my best absolute possible performance. Nothing else I can do. Similarly, I held the voice up as best I could—really can’t sustain a feminine voice beyond an hour. In other words, nothing much I could do about that than the constant practicing I’ve been doing.

The only real leverage I felt was in choosing what to wear. I originally was going to wear a suit. However, I bluntly decided to favor showing sex appeal instead, choosing an outfit that shows legs and curves (but still wholly appropriate). The company is made solely of men at this point, and I wanted to get into their heads in more ways than just intellectually.

We’ll see how this worked shortly. Here is what I wore:

enjoying a man’s patronization

Today at the bar a man I’d never seen before glanced at my highly scarred arm and said:

“Oh sweetie, looks like you got an owie.”

He appeared roughly ten years older than me and quite attractive. Nice voice. Nice pheromones. I liked him immediately.

Yes the words patronized me—treated me like a child. (He would never have said it this way to a man–to an equal). But I chose to enjoy the patronization as evidence of my successful transition. Figuring this will be the norm from now on, I responded by telling him, in my sultriest feminine voice, how I got the scar.

I’m a badass.

But get really turned on when a man “puts me in my place” through (kindly expressed) sexism.

working out my concept of “lady” (part 2: my revolutionary demand)

I’m developing a vision of what “being a lady” means to me (and only me!), with the full intent to live it out boldly and dramatically for the rest of my life.

Notice I said “lady” here, not “woman”. I feel I have to constantly remind people that these are different concepts. As I’ve stated before, I’ve achieved womanhood, but not my personal ambition of becoming a “lady”.

The first challenge is one of defining what it means to be a “lady” for myself. The second is the mechanics of adopting the habits, mannerisms, and skills for external presentation of the identity; and the mindfulness and psychology for internal ownership of my ideal.

On this blog I have wrestled with these concepts. Will continue to. Broken it down so far into two (there are more to come) major themes: accepting and embracing sexism, and “stagecraft”.

Accepting and Embracing Sexism

From my post “corset training”:

…and it involves taking on many of the classic social constrictions women have faced through the ages. I’ve made a significant personal commitment to this process…

While I fight the patriarchy ideologically, and believe that no woman should be subjugated to it against their will, I’ve accepted that the patriarchy isn’t going away in my lifetime, and that being a woman means dealing with it. I suspect that one yardstick for evaluating how much of a “lady” a woman is measures how well they conform to the patriarchy’s social expectations of women.

So I’m allowing myself to be subjugated. Going to enjoy every moment of it! And that last statement is where my feminist revolution continues—I’m claiming the oppression and re-spinning it for my own ends. For my own liberation.

Plan to live demure while simultaneously expressive. Quiet while loving at full volume. Poised while punk.

One of my favorite things to do is tell men off for not treating me properly. Men frequently send me unsolicited photos of their hardware, and I take extreme joy in responding:

“I am a lady and expect to be treated like one.”

This is my revolutionary demand: I am a lady and expect to be treated like one.

Stagecraft

Here I’m referring to behaviors such as posture, how I walk, how I talk, etc. I see a clear role for the adage “fake it ’til you make it” here: I’ll work on feminine presentation consciously until it becomes habit, and then I’ll keep working on it. For example, while typing this post I stopped myself from “manspreading” multiple times—frequently put my knees and calves back together where they belong.

See Also

My post “double agent for the patriarchy” explores the concept of embracing sexism (and liking it) while holding feminist ideals.

The post “working out my concept of lady (part 1)” begins this series by exploring ancient Hindu evaluations of ladylike behavior and social expectation.

“evaluation” and response

A mentor and absolutely wonderful friend of mine provided the following unsolicited, and difficult, “evaluation” of my transition.

It is extremely welcome. I respond below.

Evaluation

METHOD ACTING…

“Wearing your heart on your sleeve”

Smiling when greeting people with the body language representing comfort and happiness represent a ‘warm and healthy attitude’…

“What ever others think of you is Not of your concern…”

Creating your persona is a long difficult steep road of ideal goals. You must first establish the: Goal

I learned public speaking watching videos of the great speakers: Nixon,
Kennedy, Reagan.

Select a character of who you believe has warm personal introductions by their actions!

Then practice their technique.

Who wants to be greeted by a stern face, stoic behavior, stiff body language, as in dancing a certain routine is established.

Learn to make others feel comfortable when they view you, as they will welcome you more quickly.

This is important …

You walk with a stride which is evaluated a threatening to some people. Relax walking… Develop a routine in how you reach for anything, ‘walk slowly, speak slowly, reach slowly, drink slowly, EAT slowly as not one is forcing you.’

Learn to be comfortable:

WITH YOUR SELF…

Swagger if you must, sway in walking movement, learn to saunter, you are not a Drill Sergeant!

Move with Grace as a cultured woman, be again slow in movement, measured movement, force yourself with discipline as you walk, stand, sit and rise.

Be aware of the moment:

MINDFULNESS

First observation of Method Acting is being aware, of the behavior of others and the environment.

Next is a mirror of the behavior of others and match this with yours. While being relaxed and Mindful. Relax.

Move slowly, walk slowly, eat slowly, as you do not force yourself impressing others. “Impress yourself with your accomplishments at the ‘moment.’

You create the character in which you wish to become… very important.

In your mind set, you live this ‘Character’…

This ‘interpersonal character’ will eventually amalgamate to any situation, being consistent.

“Believe in the Part,
Act the Part,
Develop whom you wish to be,
Program this if you wish,
Achieve this Goal,
Once Identified,
As you are playing two characters,
One Female and the other Male,
Male cannot be erased easily
You will forever fight the Male,
Create the: FEMALE!

Ain’t easy yet: GO FOR FEMALE!

You lack the empathy of a Female, being distant in the social situation as you do not gracefully contribute, nor are you supportive of others.

Females are contributors, supportive of others without regard to their self, as Females …

ACID TEST

I purchased the ‘Female Doll’ to measure how you would react. You glanced at the Doll and placed it aside.

As “Alpha Male” I saw the beauty of the creation, the detail in clothing, the balance in creation as I appreciate: ‘Art.’

I question why you saw no significance in the Feminine relationship of ‘The Doll’ with the person you wish to develop.

Perhaps you need to again evaluate:
‘Emily’.

In the conversation of your goals, you did not mention ‘sex reconstruction’, no mention until I breached the topic.

“Are you guranteed you are on the correct path in your journey?”

Just thoughts, EMILY…

Response

Let’s first enumerate my transition successes:

  1. Have lived fulltime as a woman for two years
  2. Have worked fulltime as a woman for two years
  3. Grown breasts
  4. Undergone facial-feminization surgery
  5. Taken hormones for over 2.5 years
  6. Can manage a feminine voice when I need to for short periods
  7. “Pass” well
  8. People call me “ma’am” and “miss”
  9. Been fucked as a woman
  10. Men give me attention
  11. Traveled alone to three foreign countries as a woman
  12. Received full professional recommendations for sex-affirmation surgery
  13. Write openly about my transition

This is all a really fucking big deal. Serious accomplishments!

Make no mistake, getting to where I am today took every ounce of courage and energy I possessed. I can therefore be forgiven for not achieving more yet.

But I do plan to achieve more; have a clear feminization agenda. Your “evaluation” points to many of the traits I plan to include.

And I am relying extensively on your help!

So lets explicitly state the “goal”: Complete and culturally submissive femininity.

Here is what that means to me:

  1. Completing sex-affirmation surgery
  2. Developing a warm, soft, friendly, and sultry voice
  3. Cultivating extremely feminine mannerisms
    1. Mindfulness
    2. Method acting
    3. Class
  4. Establishing solid appearance
  5. Fully expressing my inner feminine warmth and friendliness
  6. Being “put in my place”
    1. I’m happy to let masculinity run the world
    2. Love and support a strong woman or an “alpha” male
  7. Living out my fashion whims

So the goal stands clear. VERY CLEAR.

Lets discuss specifics:

I’m distracted by sudden job loss. My mind currently runs every direction thinking about how to make best use of the time. But the answer is to focus primarily on my feminization agenda. (Job hunting, etc., will take place too of course). Therefore I’m resisting the urge to travel abroad or go on tour. Need to focus on my goal.

The first thing you can do to help relates to your suggestion that I listen to speeches/films/performances that represent who I’d like to present myself as. You know better than I do which female media figures represent the mannerisms and class I want to portray. So I ask you to please make suggestions on whom to study.

You correctly state that the “male cannot be erased easily”. While one would expect the reason is habit, the real reason is male privilege. Having masculine traits aided business success in the corporation I worked for until just recently. Masculine traits help in business culture overall. The other challenge is that I subconsciously cling to masculine traits in hopes to win a date with a woman.

But the thing is: I do not want the masculine traits, so I’m going to have to go through the process of letting them go. It will be a process. It will take time. Might even experience grief.

You stated “females are contributors, supportive of others without regard to their self.” I easily meet this description. But the problem is the risk of codependent behavior, which destroys relationships. My take on the Golden Rule is that it needs to be a recipe for mutually beneficial outcomes, not mere altruism.

The “acid test” regarding the doll is an n=1 test that you cannot make inferences about. I appreciate beauty and refinement as much as you do. Consider my very advanced music sophistication. Read my blog post “sissy fashion”.

Yes, I need to again evaluate “Emily”. I developed a habit of constantly reinventing myself decades before becoming Emily. This served me well during the last two years.

You ask if I’m guaranteed I’m on the correct path in my journey. With the goals spelled out as stated above, the answer is overwhelmingly yes!

And for God’s sake, put me in my “place” from time to time! You are the only “alpha” male in my life and I need it.

two years and tremendous gratitude

Mini, Lauren, Liz, Aryan, Natasha, Veronica, Namritha, Marie, Stacie, and Susan,

Exactly two years ago tomorrow I became “Emily”. Your support during that critical period in my life made success possible. As you know, the journey proved extremely rough, but I’ve never once held second thoughts. And it is an ongoing journey; one is never “done” with such a transition.

So I wanted to express my tremendous gratitude to you on this two-year anniversary. Thank you for all your support!

All my absolute best,

Emily

breast growth: need to wear a bra from here on out

As of today, I’ve decided that I have to wear a bra from here on out whenever out in public. I’ve reached a point in my breast growth where a blouse over my bare chest just won’t cut it socially anymore.

Stupid society.

But kind of cool, huh?

on the ethics of loving someone when you are about to transition publicly

So in my last post and in “martyr”, I mentioned “Carol”, who I hold deep feelings for. I fell in love with her approximately two years ago, about three months before my public transition.

When I love somebody romantically, I usually tell them straight away. With Carol, I waited until several months after my transition.

The ethics-based reason was that if I told her I loved her before I told her I was transitioning, and we started dating, it would be unfair to spring my transition on her a few months later. Carol is an open-minded woman, but that is a large pill to swallow.

The other reason I waited is that if she liked me, I might have chickened-out on my public transition, which needed to happen. I wanted to ensure the transition occurred.

learning to curtsy

I made the decision that every proper lady needs to know how to curtsy. So I learned from [1] and started practicing. Then I filmed myself to critique:

Results: Some of these filmed practice cases turned out quite elegant, while a few need work on timing of the various components of a curtsy, or on maintaining balance while performing one. I’ll keep practicing!

Next I’ll develop a curtsy I can do with a guitar in hand, since I plan to add a curtsy to the finale of my punk shows!

Reference

1.