Monday, October 31, 2005

That still small voice

At times I wish I could give out fashion tips or advice on passing, but there are plenty of other sites out there that serve those needs for transgendered individuals. Partly this is because I have no fashion sense to begin with and partly because that's not what I want to write about.

I know this site appeals to a somewhat limited audience and if I wanted more readers I'd probably be better off discussing straight politics, but with talk radio and the blogosphere I feel enough people are already filling that role that I do not need to add my voice to it, since attention in that forum often goes to who can scream the loudest. Rarely is the small voice of common sense heard in such an arena and even if it was, the voice of common sense simply wouldn't belong to me to begin with.

Even so there is a parallel in our own lives. How often do we not listen to that quieter voice inside of us that needs to be heard? I'm not talking about paranoid delusions here, but rather the voice that is sometimes called our conscience. That little part of our brain that tells us right from wrong. At times it is so easy to ignore, but it is nothing if not persistent when it feels it needs to be heard.

The funny thing the voice must go into part of our subconscious as well as it seems to be able to work out things well before we do, or at least it seems to be able to admit things the mind that controls our daily life does not, nor does it let us forget. At many times it is the quiet, nagging partner in our lives that we simply wish would go away.

I don't know if it was the same voice that told me all along I needed in someway to work out these issues. I think it may very well have been and it would have been the one time when my conscience bothered me on something that related to me directly. Perhaps because I felt keeping my feelings of gender confusion a secret would eventually destroy me. If that's the case, for once, I'm grateful that it was there, rather than bringing about the nagging guilt of letting me know I've screwed up once again.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Keeping Journals

I've had many false starts on writing this article. I was going to do something on the use of time, but found I have nothing productive or useful to say on the subject of time management, and therefore probably should not even attempt to give advice.

I've kept a journal since about the third grade roughly, since one of the teachers noted I had a hard time expressing my feelings. However, I only have the ones from 5th grade onward, which right now comprise about three books. Much to my surprise, I'm nearly to the end of the third one.

Mormons are encouraged to keep journals, but they're often told the wrong reasons for doing so. I think the church encourages them so you can see where you are on your journey toward godhood, but what they encourage you to write is supposed to be uplifting and encouraging for future generations. Journals are good for goal tracking, but the church does a disservice by encouraging its members to think that anyone will really be interested in your journal except you. In any case, my handwriting even now is so bad that no one will be likely to read whatever I've had to say anyway.

But on the other hand, although my journals tend to be a bit repetitive (like this site sometimes), they do actually track how I've changed as a person well. Leafing through the first journal I found an article written when I was in 7th Grade about an argument two of my teachers had about me between a teacher I hated and a teacher I like. (And it wasn't an out loud argument, the one teacher was trying to insinuate I was a bad student. My grades in his life science class, however, told a different story. My attitude in band left a lot to be desired, so it's perhaps understandable.) The older me finds such a thing trivial and not worth a waste of paper, was this what was important to me back then?

Even back then I would have served myself far better by actually letting my emotions come out onto the page which is the point of keeping a personal journal in the first place. The first journal of mine is filled with many childish things, moronic advice I thought was good at the time, a few dreams, and my pathetic attempts to write something uplifting back then. The second journal revolves mostly around my employment trials, and the third has a significant portion dedicated to my search for truth, resolving issues from my past, and a great deal to say about episodes leading up to my mother's final days of life.

Once or twice in the first two journals I touch on gender issues, mentioning it at the end of the first journal, and saying that I feel keeping it a secret will eventually destroy me in the second. It's amazing how things concerning that issue have turned around in the third journal and I can finally face them in some small way.

I actually do recommend keeping a journal or diary. It's a great way to keep track of your personal growth, but your failures as well as your successes have every place in it to show you what you've learned. Don't let someone tell you that only edifying things should be contained within its pages.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Sweet Lauretta Marvin thought she was a woman

You know I was just waiting to use that line from the classic Beetles song on this website, don't you?

While surfing the Internet I actually took the time to look at one of those “Warning: Your Computer May Be Affected With Spyware” advertisements that occasionally crop up while you're surfing the net.. What galls me about these ads is that they usually remove all the spyware from your system that isn't the publishers, thus lulling you into a false sense of security.

Many plays, shows, and stories have revolved around the idea that things are not always as they seem, the most famous in my mind being Shakespeare's Macbeth, but why does the theme remain popular?

Perhaps it's because the easiest deceptions are carried out when we think we're doing something that would be beneficial for us and then there are those always ready to take advantage of the most trusting and the gullible.

A very similar duplicity lies at the heart of gender identity as well, but transgendered people are usually not out to harm or mislead anyone because of it. Outward appearances simply do not always tell the whole truth. We are not simply what our bodies say we are. We are also a mixture of our experiences, upbringing, spirit, and environment all of which shape us to be a certain way.

Unfortunately, for those who suffer through this, somehow our spirit and boy are in conflict and that is why emotional pain becomes a hallmark of our experience. Until somehow we can set this right, we'll wonder through life confused and afraid. Some of us, like myself, trying to fight the feelings and not being wholly honest with herself. (Yes, I can use herself now.) Self-deception has been my enemy all my life and I hope it's not one of yours.

What I have to say will not make much sense, but letting cold hard logic do the reasoning on my gender did not work well for me. Letting the emotions rather than reason guide me on this does somehow. It seems that I let myself be deceived by logic. It's a rather easy thing to do. Sometimes we just have to listen to what our heart tells us, and not our brain. Cutting through deception is sometimes hard, and when we're deceiving ourselves, it's not always easy to know which way to know which way the truth lies.

P.S. I don't know why but my site keeps showing up in searches for the lyrics to the song "Oh Lord, It's Hard to Be Humble" so here they are.

O Lord, it's hard to be humble
When you're perfect in everyway
I can't wait to look in the mirror
I find I get better looking each day

To know me is to love me
I must be one heck of a man
O Lord, it's hard to be humble
But I'm doing the best that I can.

Please note: This is not a lyrics site. I guess I'll have to stop using song lyrics to title some posts.

Obligatory Rosa Parks article

The death of Rosa Parks has been in the news lately. In fact I think I'm the only person in the blogosphere whose blog might occasionally touch on political issues that did not cover it. I did not do this because I felt it fell outside of the scope of my blog.

However, what Rosa Parks did shows us a good example of the nature of courage. Our actions sometimes have far broader implications than we intended. I doubt Rosa Parks set out to start the modern civil rights movement that day she refused to give up her seat on the bus. In fact, I think she was tired and cranky and rightfully did not think it was just since she paid the same amount as other passengers. It was also a move that had been coming a long time after a lifetime of dealing with such frustrations..

Isn't it amazing how sometimes seemingly minor things can lead to big changes? I doubt when she refused to give up the seat it was the first time something like this had happened in the United States, but at the time national attention was focused on it and then much needed civil rights legislation came because of it..

Rarely does a hero set out and think to himself or herself: “I'm going to be a hero.” The motivations are almost always entirely different. Sometimes they are born of noble ideals, other just simple frustration, and occasionally just sheer accident may put someone in the right time at the right place to do something.

I know I'll never be a hero or celebrity of her caliber, and I don't feel that I owe a debt to her in any particular way. On the other hand, I cannot deny that her courage really did change the world, or at least our country. May we all have the courage to do what is right regardless of our motivations.

Friday, October 28, 2005

On Beauty

For now I am still here. I don't know how long that will be the case. Perhaps I was worried over nothing. I sincerely hope so, but I'll still proceed as though I have plenty to worry about. Now the rest of this, thankfully will not be about my personal problems.

Many of us desire some connection with God, but do not know how to achieve it. The problem is we are told that there's a certain way in order to do it, but I think it's not as simple as conforming to prescribed rituals. When I was younger, I felt the deepest spiritual connections when on hikes in the forest or camping out of doors.

I don't think it's something special about being out of doors, I think it's more that forests are beautiful places. Something about beauty itself refreshes the human spirit and makes us more prepared to face our daily challenges.

How do you connect? Do you feel a church is necessary? I'm not saying this is wrong. Churches provide a sense of community and a support network through times of trouble, but they should not dictate our relationship – if we have one – with a higher power.

The truth is that how we connect is not dependent upon a single building or place for all of us. It varies with the individual. Some seek it through meditation, some through prayer, and others by trying to understand the natural world.

A poet said once that “What the eye perceives as beauty must be truth.” I think it's more than that. When w see beauty what we are seeing as God's creation which we often forget that we ourselves are part of. it.

Perhaps those of us in the depths of depression need beauty more. In many ways our spirits are weary with what we perceives as the care of our world. Getting out and seeing the wonders of the world once a while can have an amazing effect on renewing our spirits. Going for a walk is also a great way to take time for yourself to think and get some exercise.

Personal Angst. It's okay if you don't want to read

It seems I lost whatever article I wrote due to an overzealous cleaning of the “My documents” folder on my hard drive. Well, I can't recapture what I actually wrote since I removed it from my recycle bin so I'll have to suffer through this as best I can. (Truthfully, it wasn't that good anyway.) I could go and download some complicated undelete software, but I don't want to put that much effort into it. It'll take less time to write a new article.

Getting a huge stack of paperwork in the mail that I need to fill out has not improved my mood for writing anything remotely related to this blog. In fact, it frustrates me because it's not what I wanted to do in the first place. The doctor when I filled out forms to apply for medical assistance put me down as disabled. Now I have to apply for disability. I'm not overly thrilled about this. All I wanted was a little help to go back to work and get back on my feet but found myself frustrated by government rules. On top of that the housing situation is still not resolved and you can see I have many things to worry about that may take my mind off of contributing anything meaningful to this blog.

I know many of you probably don't care about the garbage going on in my personal life, but right now I don't quite feel the muse to write anything thoughtful or inspirational. About the only thing I can say that might be interpreted as remotely positive is I finally told my therapist how I felt regarding gender identity. I don't know what will come of this, despite the office having the pink circle and triangle hanging from the wall. Of course, this still does not quite explain my issues with depression and anxiety. I have said many times before that discussing such issues with actual people still terrifies me and I do not expect it to change anytime soon. Nor am I sure what to expect because the place is in fact run by Lutherans. (Despite the fact that I was referred to there by the county and see a psychiatrist to check on my medication once every three months or so.)

Right now, I'm just frustrated and ticked off and may really pop in some Three Doors Down or pop in Mechassault. (I keep the game because it's a great stress reliever.)

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Why is it so hard for me to forgive? Well, of course, I mistook a teaching from a Sunday School teacher many, many years ago for being actual church doctrine, and I was young and impressionable enough to believe whatever adults told me. They would not lie to a child, right?

All this was before I discovered that not everything written in books is true, and before I could more clearly separate opinions from facts. You see, I used to think that in order to forgive someone you had to forget what they had done. I don't know how much problems this caused, and I used to worry about God forgiving my sins because I couldn't forgive others. Having a good memory in this case did not turn out to be a blessing. And of course, a symptom of avoidant personality disorder is having a good memory particularly for unpleasant events. (Fortunately, due to a genetic quirk I have a near photographic memory for almost everything.)

In some small ways this might have contributed to bitterness, but it's hard to forgive the same people everyday when they keep committing the same transgressions against you day after day. I wanted vengeance in High School. I still do, but I realize that the sort of thing may not end well for me.

I harbored the bitterness and anger for many years, and had mood swings and outbursts of anger long after they changes of puberty should have stopped. I became quite good at ranting anything that annoyed me and working customer service for any length of time did not help this attitude.

All this is leading up to how I got over it. When I finally confronted my own anxiety and depression problems, I went through a vocational rehab program that included several “counseling” sessions that were off the clock. Forgiveness came up several times as a way to get past things that may have been in your history. That wasn't the final thing that clicked though. Out of curiosity to see what they believe, I took RCIA courses and one of them just happened to be on forgiveness. It seems you don't have to forget what others did to you, you just have to no longer let it be a problem for you.

Can you imagine how great a relief it was for someone with a near-photographic memory and what she perceived as a bitter life experience to have heard that? If I had been told that in CTR so many years ago (and I know my Mormon reader remembers those rings), it would have been so much easier.

I don't know what you were told, but I hope you were not told the same thing I was. Truthfully, being able to forgive people gives you the power to move on. Chances are you have things in the future that are far more important than what someone else did to you in the past.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

State of the Porpoise

Aha! Melanie finally let me out to wreak havoic on the world. She may even actually be funny next week, but I don't expect her to be. Her sense of humor is sad and she doesn't get it unless she's being sarcastic.

I, The Sinister Porpoise, have come once again to update you on my plans to take over the world. It's hard to make progress in two weeks to be honest, but the confusing spam I sent out actually drains peoples wills in a sublte way and I put subliminal messages in each subject line you read that not only makes you more amenable to aquatic mammals, but enables you to better understand them when we -- that is I -- finally take over.

Unbeknownst to all of you, I actually made sure Al Gore lost the 2000 election, but it really was a hard pick to determine which of the two was more easily malleable since both candidates did not show a great deal of intelligence. Fortunately, Dick Cheney was easily bought off and as long as you keep President Bush away from pretzels, there should be no hindrance to my overall plans caused by an inconvenient and unplanned "regime change" in the US.


(Note: I really doubt The Porpoise is telling the truth here, but his megalomania is so cute I think I'll give him a herring. -- Melanie.)

*sings* My geneology I am doing it, my geneology

Normally I'd break tradition a bit and do something less serious today, but I read something yesterday that makes me angry. Click on the linked article to find out.

I realize that when I die, someone in the Mormon church will probably do the same thing to me, thus not respecting my choice not be a Mormon. I know they mean well. The thing is I did not make any great sacrifice to leave the Church, nor was I ever greatly persecuted for my religious choice.

Baptizing dead Catholic martyrs or holocaust victims takes away the meaning of the sacrifices these people made, and according to Mormon doctrine, if a Mormon is not one of their descendants it shouldn't happen.

I realize that temple workers are mostly volunteers and don't check all that closely for names that should not go through their work. Honestly, the system should be reworked entirely so that you only baptize the names you submit when doing your genealogy.

Now, like the good Mormon that I was, I did my genealogy around 12 or so when you're first expected to make the trip to the Mormon temple. I never went. Truthfully, I typically find these buildings ugly and not the beautiful places people say they are. (The Washington, D.C. Temple being the exception.) Most people with my surname in my family like to claim descent from a man named Hans Landis in The Martyr's Mirror. (Heresy, it seems, actually is a family tradition.) I can't help but think how would he feel in the afterlife if he looked down and saw me or anyone else claiming to be his descendant doing this? It could be that he would be mildly amused by it, but considering he got hung for joining up with the Anabaptist movement, he might just be a little ticked – assuming the dead watch the living that closely.

This is the third time since I've followed this particular story starting in 2003 that they have been accused of this. I cannot say the leadership of the church is responsible for this current issue. It seems to me that this is more likely the overzealous work of an administrator who feels the Church shouldn't have to live up to this promise.

I realize that since I left I have no chance of changing the church and their policies. They won't be likely to listen to an evil apostate. The truth (make that The Truth) is that this is not making the church any friends and their actions do not help if they want to get over being perceived as a weird, controlling, cult. I just hope it's someone lower in the church hierarchy who overstepped his bounds and not an order from the top.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A bad peace

And another rainy, cool October day passes for me. It's been like this for the last week or so and I've been finding it harder to get out of bed as the days progress. Cloudy, drizzly days make you want to sleep longer. Nothing new here, it's simply basic biology as far as I know.

If you know anything about me personally, which I can only assume most of you don't, you'll know that one of my interests apart from what I mention here is in fact Roman History. It was my favorite Roman historian, Tacitus, who said “A bad peace is not better than war.”

As quotes go, this one does not require a lot of interpretation or deep thought It's obvious. How do we apply it to our own lives, though? For someone serving in the military it's fairly obvious. I'd rather have freedom than succumb to certain other cultures in the globe, but I want to talk about it on a more personal level.

I could have accepted a bad peace and never started this blog or even admit to myself what existed inside of me. It was my spirit crying out about the pain it felt being in this body. I could have and still can have accepted it quietly and lived out the rest of my life as a fairly unhappy and somewhat miserable person. I'd have peace, but not a good peace.

Instead, I am choosing to confront in for the first time in my life. I've accepted what amounts to a sort of internal war hoping that it leads to a better, more comfortable peace for myself. In another way, I guess you could say it's merely facing down a personal demon.

Either way, whether it's a personal war we fight or facing down a demon, we're accepting something other than the bad peace we've lived with. Why accept a bad peace when you do not have to?

Finding the Truth

I've always had sympathy for Pontius Pilate in the New Testament. This is somewhat unusual, but hear me out for a second. He's given the blame along with the Jewish leaders for the execution of Christ, but let us look at it from his perspective for a second. He warned the crowd three times that it was probably not a good idea to let a known murderer out on the streets and letting the street preacher out might be a more beneficial choice to the welfare of society. Even with those warnings they still chose the murderer. His duty done, I'm sure Pontius just checked off some paperwork and went back to whatever his job required. During this process, Pointius poses perhaps one of the most important questions ever asked, “What is truth?” (And this is also one of the few scenes in Latin in The Passion of the Christ that I understood. Blasted Catholic Latin pronunciations.)

This is probably one of the hardest things for us as humans to determine, and a question that goes to the core of my soul in many ways. Certainly, for facts there are easy tests. Logical/mathematical thinkers like myself tend to reduce everything to Boolean statements where possible. (If you knew me, you'd know the irony of the “mathematical” thinker part.) Even so, some things simply can't be reduced to an either/or scenario. That's why God invented case statements. (Okay, okay, I'll stop with the lame computer programming jokes.) What about deciding the big things in life that simply can't be put through an if/then/else process?

I cannot tell you there is an easy way to determine this. This is where thought and quiet meditation comes in and why our teenage years can be so confusing until we finally work out for ourselves what is crap and what is wisdom. Quiet meditation and prayer are extremely useful to this process, as are talking it out with someone else from time to time. I've for what should be an obvious reason had to deal with this almost every day for the past few months. This all came down to me making a necessary conclusion about a confusing and conflicting aspect of my own personality.

I just wish I could flip a coin or run it through some easy logical test without another part of my mind rebelling against the decision.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Getting over a strange sore throat bug, folks

I've been a little under the weather lately. There's some sort of weird sore throat bug going around that doesn't make you very sick, but just makes you ill and miserable for a couple of days. It seems I'm finally getting over it but I could have done without it.

The search for a new place to live could be going better, but I at least managed to get it out into the open with someone I met face to face today. I still don't know how things are going to turn out but at least I feel better about it. I also finally managed to let my therapist know about my feelings of gender confusion.

Well, for good or ill that particular secret is out to the one person who might be able to do something about it at all. I cannot say I'm not apprehensive, but I guess I'll find out where it goes from here.

If my thoughts seem somewhat more confused than usual, please forgive me. I'm not inspired to make an actual point just yet. I've had so much to worry about for the last few days that I've been putting off. I guess in some ways I just don't want to face it. I think somehow yet that if you ignore problems or avoid them they'll simply go away.

In many ways, I just it's just part of having an avoidant personality, but you'd think by now I'd learn it does not work. In so many ways my life has just been avoidance of problems rather than the also problematic but sometimes much more effective method of confronting them directly. I guess this is one of the things I need to change in my life. I think I've known I've needed to change it for a long time, I just refused to do anything about it.

I've been under a lot of stress of late and I think it's affected my life. Unlike when my mother went through her episodes a year ago, I have not been able to find the grim focus and determination I need to cope with something when I'm involved myself. A 'do what needs to be done' sort of thing would help with all the issues I'm facing, but why is it harder to do this when we find ourselves and not someone else in the middle of things?

Well, tomorrow I'll be back with something more coherent and impressive. I promise. Or at least I hope I'll be able to keep that promise.

An Apology

After looking through the handwritten mess of writings that started this whole blog off I found something I called Pride and Prejudice. Now, Jane Austen I most certainly am not, and I'm probably wrong for attributing this work to her in the first place. Reading back through it, I decided I was wrong to have written it.

My attitude seems to come from my own self-loathing from a while ago and I was condemning people who would participate in gay pride celebrations. I have always been suspicious of people who would say that those who most vehemently condemn any sort of sex or gender behavior they consider abhorrent is a sign that those who condmen at themselves suffering from some deep insecurities. I just realized that in my case, it happened to be the truth.

We don't like to be confronted with truths that are unpleasant about us. Nor do we like it when we realize that we may have been wrong all along. I find it even less pleasant when I realize that I thought I had left most of the baggage from my past behind me, and now I realize there's a bunch of religious stuff left that kept me feeling guilty about who I was.

The original little essay was not written that long ago either. It's a good sign of progress I think, but I also know I could just be deluding myself, which it is all too easy for a human being to do. Personal growth and self-discovery often is a painful area of life, but should we avoid it? Not at all! Even though it's hard to admit you were wrong, it is often worth it.

I started this blog initially as a bunch of stories I never intended to share with others. Eventually they took on an essay format similar to what you read now. Long ago, a high school journalism teacher told me, “You can write well, but only about things that interest you.” This is an extremely bad quality in a journalist and one of the many reasons I think why I've never gotten my fiction published. I can't sustain interest in it long enough to write a good story. Whether my writing here is good or not, I'll leave up to you. Still, if I had not realized it, this would be far worse than it is. Admitting one truth in myself did result in a better end product for readers of this blog! It may have been an unpleasant truth, but someday I wille expose you to some of my fiction.

I'd like to apologize to any gays and lesbians I offended with this behavior. Fortunately, I don't think there are that many. I should not have been afraid in anyway to identify with you, even though our problems are seperate. I hope I remember not to subcionsciously upset such people in the future.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


Neurotheology is an emerging field. The basis of it is to discover what areas of the brain fire in religious experience. Although I don't agree with the Meridian article I linked, it was one of the few I could find describing simply and clearly what this new science is. (The parts I disagree with are in the second half about their being other types of religious experience. Obedience and several other items do not belong there in my mind.)

I don't doubt that mystical experiences cause certain parts of the brain to fire, but the bit that puzzles me are the arguments surrounding it about whether it's merely a natural process and not supernatural or put there deliberately to experience the divine. Of course, I have my own beliefs, but why suggest that spiritual experiences are merely something inside the brain?

From a purely evolutionary standpoint, I cannot see the point of allowing such things to happen as it does not to me convey any obvious survival advantage that would cause it to be passed on to the next generation. I realize some people may dislike me using Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection in an argument of this sort, but such people need to realize that Evolution and Natural Selection are two different things and even creation scientists typically don't have a problem with Natural Selection as long as you aren't describing how other species evolved with it. I'd go into a brief discussion about it, but that is not the point of this site.

The more interesting part of neurotheology is that we seem to be hardwired for it. It's encoded into our very brains. Is it possible that God or whatever higher power is responsible for us put it there deliberately? I most certainly think it is, although I also freely admit that I am not a scientist.

It suggests to me there are certain things in our minds that do not necessarily have any relevance to our survival as our species. Perhaps the gender centers of the mind are not one of them. (Okay, I do see the logic flaw in this argument. Don't e-mail me about it, please. If homosexuality is a genetic trait, it is likely to be selected against if no children are produced.)

So, if we're hardwired for spirituality, why run away from it? Science is starting to suggest it actually is in your DNA and part of your being. Not only does God want you to connect with him, but it seems your own brain does as well and is conveniently set up for it.

The danger of pride

I just got back for a walk through my hometown. I hoped this little jaunt would provide some inspiration, but there's truly nothing in my hometown I have not seen before. In fact, most people have somewhat fond memories of their hometown, on the other hand, I still live there because I cannot afford to live anywhere else. About the only good thing about the personal Rubicons I've had to cross lately is that I might get out of my hometown.

I suppose if you had my experiences with it, you would not exactly be enamored of the place either. All those insults hurled at me years ago were not forgotten, nor do I find it easy to look around me and see what in my mind is such stupidity. I guess it's because one of the little survival mechanisms I developed was a superiority complex. A persecution complex went along with this, but I guess that's somewhat understandable. It helped me to think I was better and somehow smarter than those around me. An attitude which my Mormon background unintentionally helped, I feel. (Cultures do not always realize some of the negative byproducts they create.)

Strangely enough, it was my experiences in Everquest that helped me get over this mindset. It was seeing this behavior from the other side that helped me develop an extreme distaste for it. Why should those "elite" morons think they're better than anyone just because they dedicated more time to a game? Their talk about having skills galled me. Online games are not about skill, they're about the amount of time you put into them which is a major factor in their addictive component. The more time you put in, the greater your reward.

Yet because they deliberately blocked other people from enjoying the same content they did, they somehow felt superior. A tactic which eventually ended after I left because they started to instanced raid zones. A lot of the “top” guilds fell apart then.

The truth is if we perceive ourselves as better than others, chances are we're deluding ourselves in someway. It's easy to do, but it may be necessary to take a step back and realize that we're doing it. Let me correct that a bit. Not only is it easy to do, but thinking you're better than others is in hard not to do sometimes.

I'm not saying we don't have different talents or different skills, but we have to realize that in other areas we have weaknesses and be careful not to succumb to too much pride.

Reveling with the Winds

I remember awhile back discussing the topic of humor. This morning I'm going to address a related topic, but it's not quite the same. My screen name is derived from one of the most playful creatures on Earth. In fact, it's a species known to save drowning swimmers as well. I looked this up once. It is not because dolphins have any great love of humanity, but because they like to play with objects in the water!

When we grow older as humans, we are expected to engage in fun activities less and less. We leave behind our toys for more serious activities. At least, that's the way we like to pretend it is. The truth is in many ways our toys just change as we get older. (I know there are people at there who will turn this into something perverted. I am not talking about those kind of toys.)

Nor do we ever stop having fun. It's just likely to be more passive when as we grow older. Instead of pretending to be Barbie or Transformers (whatever is appropriate for you), will turn on the television or open a book and escape. I guess the purpose of play changes. We play as we are younger to learn. When we're older we play to escape the pressures of everyday life just for a little while. It's a needed thing. Sometimes it helps just to shout out the world for a bit and let our mind recover.

Militaries talk about morale. Often they encourage morale by promoting fun activities. With the pressures of military life I can see how it would be more important to soldiers and sailors than it would be to every other walk of life. Still, what is a low morale but a tiredness of the spirit? Play helps us avoid this.

I'm probably guilty of using escape too much to avoid real life, which is why I've tried to cut back on such activities and get out just a little bit more. I've not been terribly successful as old habits die hard and many online games can be addictive, which is why I've probably quit more than I'd care to mention. It's striking a balance that can be difficult for people like me, but a balance must be found.

There's a Mormon scripture that warns against excessive laughter and light mindedness. Knowing what I know now about Mormon history, I suspect this is because Joseph Smith and later Brigham Young didn't want people laughing at them. (The latter is more likely the culprit for this remaining in writing. There's a good reason why the Mormons don't quote him very often.) This is dead wrong. We need laughter and light mindedness from time to time to maintain our sanity.

Score one for the Catholics

Odd, for some reason Blogspot does not want to publish this post.

Now this came as a shock, but a rather pleasant surprise. Why can't our own protestant denominations here in the US realize that when it comes to scientiffic accuracy they're fighting a losing battle by sticking to the Bible. In fact, if they got rid of the Infallibility of the Pope and that whole rigid hierarchy I might seriously consider converting to Catholicism. Finally, a religion that's getting the necessary change. Of course, the Catholics have a bad track record when it comes to challenging scientiffic theories with its stance against Copernicus and Gallileo. I think they've learned their lesson.

Of course, I probably shouldn't rejoice in something like this or even put it on my website, but when I see something like this I am overjoyed. In fact, the last pope even said “Faith should not contradict reason.” Don't know how close Pope John Paul II is to becoming a saint, but he was one of the great world leaders regardless. This is the sort of thing that makes me happy when I see it and I just can't wait until the Southern Baptist Convention receives such enlightenment.

Sorry, I know I should not make fun of religion when it does not deserve it, but on the other hand, I have personal prejudices against Baptists which occasionally let themselves through from time to time.
Now in so many ways I'm racing against time in my personal life and have no real desire to do so. I plan on finally telling my therapist about my gender confusion this week. I don't know exactly what to expect and online research can only do so much. I will not let my own fears hold me back this time, nor will I lie about it any more (at least not to her.)

At times I wish time was not our enemy at our life, but lately I find myself angry that the previous time to explore myself was robbed from me by otherwise well-meaning people. It's one of those dangerous angers that has no obvious outlet and I may have problems with if I let it fester inside of me. Perhaps it's time to get my dartboard out again and work out some aggression. Then there's the additional time of which I robbed myself by not confronting it sooner.

I hope you don't mind if I ask for your prayers or whatever metaphysical aid you wish to send me as I face some rather trying times right now. As long as you're genuinely praying for help and not some sort of “cure” or “conversion” of me, you have my permission.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

How to work miracles

Yet again my heart is not quite in doing this. The search for another place to live has been draining and being unemployed has not helped my prospects. I don't know what I'm going to do. I need help and I'm not sure where to get it. I know I've been harping on about it but it's a terrifying thing to me. I've never faced anything quite like this before and being evicted to me means likely being out on the streets.

The reckoning for me is coming and I find despite my natural tendencies to want to avoid it, I simply can't. I just hope I can sort things out before I get kicked out. Although I've tried to remain upbeat and positive for the reader I have, this is becoming more and more difficult right now. It is an emotional as well as rational crisis for me. Normally I'd turn to prayer in situations like this, but prayer only goes so far.

It was Benjamin Franklin, one of my favorite forefather, who said “God Helps Those Who Help Themselves.” Prayer is fine up to a point, but it does not replace action. I'll go into my theories of how prayer works.
Now, I hope you'll forgive me for saying that prayer is a magical act. If you want to replace it with a more acceptable word to you, I will not stop you. The fact is we are asking what is in essence a supernatural entity for aid. We may not be engaging in Merlin type stuff of working our will on the universe, but we asking for His will to be exerted on our behalf.

Look at it this way. If you have transgendered feelings and are of a religious bent of any sort, I'm willing to bet you prayed to be turned into the opposite gender hoping for some sort of overnight transformation or maybe even a horrible accident that would remove the offending parts. Did this ever happen? More than likely it did not. I've learned that God does not work that way, nor can I expect him to work on a time schedule that is convenient to us. Nor can we expect him to work obvious miracles.

I'm not saying miracles don't happen, because they do, but we should not expect God to come down and solve our problems for us. Having the support and aid of others can be a great comfort and makes me wish I had found a church of any sort to attend regularly, at least I'd have the social support to fall back on. Miracles often happen through the work of other people and when given the opportunity, we should work what “miracles” we can for others. I suppose the best example of what I am talking about is a movie that came out a few years ago called Dear God.

I don't know if you've seen the movie, but high comedy is not. The whole premise of the movie is that a con artist is forced to find a real job and manages to land one at the post office's dead letter office. He accidentally males money for his loan shark to an apartment after answering a letter to God. After going to the building where the tenants are striking and desperately trying to get his money back he decides he doesn't have the heart to go through with it after all.

Now the movie could have ended there, but his coworkers decide that his motives actually were to try to help people and they set up a whole scheme designed to answer God's mail. Eventually, he does get in trouble for it, but by that time he actually is doing it because helping people makes him feel better. Well, I won't give away the ending for you, because the movie isn't a classic and some people might want to go rent it after reading this, but it's worth picking up. Although I have not described it as high comedy (which for me would be things like MASH, The Life of Brian, The Quest For the Holy Grail, and The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy), it is funny.

On Doubt

I was going to write a different article today, but it was long and self-serving so I decided to scrap it. )

So with that out of the way, it's onto whatever ramblings I intend to write about today. Don't ask me why, but I was looking up the Mormon position on trans gendered individuals the other day. The only thing I know for certain is that if you're a trans gendered female to male you cannot hold the priesthood. (I don't know if this applies to male to female transsexuals. I only assume it does. As I left the church, to the best of my knowledge, I no longer hold the priesthood anyway, and according to the pamphlet they sent, all blessings of baptism were canceled.) And, as I still look male and have male parts, I can probably climb back through the ranks if that's what I choose to do. (Thankfully, I don't want to.)

But I find myself thinking what if I was wrong all along? I don't mean about the doctored history or the Book of Abraham being little more than the Egyptian Book of Breathings and not what Joseph Smith translated it as, but chances are you don't know about these things unless you're a Mormon with some form of doubt already. Even things that aren't literally true, can be true in other ways, and some parts of the Book of Mormon are true, whether Lamanites and Nephites existed or not. Of course the same thing can be true of any myth, provided the myth wasn't written for entertainment. (Many things presented as mythology to students are actually from Ovid's Metamorphoses.)

Now, I know as an evil apostate, I'm already bound according to some people for Outer Darkness. Thankfully, this is a small portion of people who have been described by the columnist Robert Kirby as “Nazi Mormons” 90% of whom live within pot lucking distance of BYU (Also a direct quote for him, lest I engage in crass plagiarism.)

Doubt is a natural part of our lives. I was told initially that doubt (about the Mormon church specifically) was from Satan, but is doubt really always a bad thing? The doubts I had about the church were a good thing. I often believe there's a presence in my life that watches over me and occasionally keeps me from making severely bad decisions. (I wish he/she was around when I bought that Neon, but I'm not bitter or anything...) There may even be good reasons for your doubt. Unfortunately, it's up to you to determine whether the reasons for the doubt are valid or not. Nobody else can do it for you.

Don't dismiss your doubt just because someone tells you to. If I merely dismissed it as the promptings of Satan, I would not know as much as I do now about other religions, and of course, at the root of this whole blog is one big doubt that remains unresolved. Doubt is uncomfortable and sometimes all we want out of life is a sense of inner peace – which religion can provide. We must understand, however, that religion does not provide cures, which is why many denominations make their clergy take courses in psychology and counseling.

I've said before I don't know where my doubts will lead me. Just merely taking a look inside myself can be scary yet liberating at the same time. I don't know where you are reader, but perhaps you may want to give into the journeys of doubt from time to time. They don't always lead to bad ends.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Not so Random Rambling

It's amazing what a good night's sleep will do. Had a bit of difficulty getting a fully restful sleep in for the last night or two. Now, I'm fully rested and ready to do what I need to do, I hope. No strange dreams plagued me last night although I am used to such things by now. (I've had strange dreams for a long time.)

Today I'll continue the series of responses I intended to, even though in so many other ways, I'm ready to cross some personal Rubicons. The same person asked about body issues. I can't say these are a major fours for me. I cannot say whether I'd really want to experience PMS or not. Certainly, I can act like it even without the biological processes necessary. Nor do I focus too much on absence of things I do not currently have. (Sometimes I focus on the presence of something I do have, but not too often.) It's more like I wish that particular presence was gone. I could spell this out more explicitly, but as I want to keep this site PG-13 at least, I feel no real reason to do so.

In all honesty, I sort of expected this response. Unless you've suffered from these feelings, you don't know nor is it something I'd expect people to understand. Things felt on a deeply emotional level sometimes cannot be truly understood unless you've experienced it yourself. I don't know how the future goes. I've not crossed any points of no return yet, although if I wish to resolve the issue I fully intend to.

I suppose in some ways this will continue if I ever actually do tell anyone how I feel. (I plan on letting my therapist know this Monday.) I must admit I thought I'd have a more coherent post when I started this today, but it does not seem to have turned out that way. Well, see you tomorrow. Same Porpoise Time. Same Porpoise Channel.

What it is like

Yesterday, I addressed answering questions. Believe it or not, this came from an e-mail. Every sort of transgendered site I've seen asks the questions the writer asked me and I answered them as best as I could, although honestly I'm still quite confused on the whole thing myself.

When I was in the process of leaving the Mormons, I learned of a phrase called cognitive dissonance. In fact, if you look up any site about people leaving religions you'll often find this phrase used. Cognitive dissonance merely means you're having trouble reconciling two contradictory ideas. As a psychological theory it is not totally accepted, but is useful in understanding the process.

Unless you've had feelings of gender confusion, you might not understand the discomfort or pain that comes with it. Most of us suffer from cognitive dissonance related to it, too. I don't know how many of us are religious, but I've heard it said that spirituality is higher among transgendered people. Whether this is bragging to make people feel better or legitimate I cannot say. I've only ever seen it on a web site once.

So, we're faced with the issue of how to reconcile two pieces of contradictory facts, similar to the process I went through when leaving the Mormon church. That came down to a black-and-white decision of logic, but when it comes to male or female I cannot separate emotion out of it at all. My mind won't accept the idea that my body is male, and therefore, my mind should be as well. So, I'm left with cognitive dissonance that will remain for some time as they are to me, two irreconcilable ideas.

Normally, rational thinking and logic helps me resolve these issues, but this is one that stubbornly refuses to let itself be submitted to any sort of logic process. At times it's annoying and I wish I could tame it, but this conflict is part of who I am and likely will not be resolved for some time.

I hope that gives you some insight into what this whole thing is like for me. The mold my spirit fit into was simply the wrong shape – or that's how I feel about it most of the time now.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Answering questions

One of the most disturbing trends that the computer industry does not quite get the implications of is moving technical support facilities overseas to people who do not speak English as their first language. I've spent the last half-hour trying to connect so I could update the blog and check settings and have gotten nowhere. All I'm getting is some Arabic or Hindustan speaking guy who can't get the idea that English as a language is not spoken quickly.

Just one more frustration among others going on in my life lately. Not much knew here, but I wish the computer industry would find a better, more customer service friendly approach to reducing costs rather than hiring people who do not speak English as their first language. It's almost making me want to start doing this sight in the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect of German. Don't know anyone who'd read it though. The Amish don't have computers.

I hope you'll forgive that little rant. I can understand companies want to cut costs but this is one thing where the customers lost due to the frustrations of communicating with such people was not considered. Please don't think I'm faulting him for his inability to speak English. I'm faulting the moron who hired him without considering the possibility communications with him may be limited.

Now, on to whatever I intended to discuss today. I believe it was on questions. Do you ever want to go off on someone for a legitimately asked question just because you think it was stupid or offensive? If your one of the poor saps stuck in customer service, I know you face this particular issue everyday.

I am not by nature a patient person. I'm easily irritated and occasionally face the desire to just reach out and backhand someone I think is being particularly stupid. The irony of this is that I should be the target of this backhand as often as not. Instead, ask first, why was the question asked?

It's the spirit of the question that matters, not its actual intelligence. If someone actually doesn't know any better, they're asking for information in the attempt to expand their knowledge base just a little. By all means, answer them. If someone's being a smart-Alec feel free to give them a witty response back. Chances are they're not interested in what you actually have to say anyway. Our judgment is not always what it should be so you may occasionally make mistakes, but if that happens it will be pointed out to you. More often than not, you will be right.

There are other issues related to this which I'll address over the next couple of days. (If I can get back online [grumble].)

As it turns out PeoplePC was having technical issues, and all I needed to do after they came back up is change my settings so I wasn't using a proxy server.

Gay? Fine by me campaign

Time is not on my side right now and I'm not sure how things will go over the next several days. So, if my posts seem overly bitter or angry right now there is a reason for it and it will pass. It's a little too late to resolve the issue but I can hope I find a boarding house or cheap apartment because I don't want to move in with any of my relatives. I've found I like living alone. (Or rather, I like not living with my family.)

I found the article I linked to in today's post in yesterday's issue of The Daily Item, a local newspaper. Strangely I find I have rather ambivalent feelings towards the whole thing. Not that I'm terribly surprised, Bucknell and Lewisburg tend to be more liberal than the surrounding area. Yet, I still have reluctance in attaching myself to the gay, lesbian, and bisexual part of glbt. Yes, I have this site listed as gay & lesbian when there is no other choice, but it's merely because there's not an option for transgender.

I don't know why it would bother me. Perhaps because of the social stigmas involved, or perhaps because everyone already thinks I'm gay. (Not dating can do that to you. Guess people have a hard time accepting that some people have no interest in sex. Whether this is due to years of depression and to a certain degree upbringing, I don't know. I suspect it may be a little bit of both.)

On the other hand, this is probably the best way that's not in your face way to go to promote tolerance and understanding. Certainly someone's made up story on the Jerry Springer show certainly doesn't help our case. Too often, I think it only serves to reinforce negative stereotypes and set back relations between minority and majority groups. This is the case for all such groups who go on the show, not just us. Even well-intentioned talk show hosts frequently don't help our cause. Gentle reminders will push tolerance if not acceptance. Outright confrontation generally only causes people to become defensive and sets up walls between people. (Note: Although I find Jerry Springer occasionally entertaining, and love how he brings on KKK members merely to insult them, I don't pretend his show is intended to do anything other than get ratings by shocking people.)

The whole idea of siding myself with that group as a whole still makes me uneasy. I'm not sure I'd wear such a shirt. Then again, as I've already admitted, I'm a coward when it comes to such things and it may not be that bad after all.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

No State of the Porpoise Today

As much as I would like to be funny, it's just not in me right now. I've got too much to worry about and not enough time to come up with a solution. I've gotten over the anger and frustration and have started trying to find solutions but I do not expect them to be easy nor am I sure I'll be able to get things working on time. Too many things have gone wrong in the process of trying to recover from being cheated. Had I been smarter in the first place none of this would have happened. At times I wonder if I can control my finances as well as I thought I could.
Nor am I going to try to wax this into a point. I'm still annoyed and have not got enough grim determination to do what I need to do to face the reality.

Sorry Folks

I know I promised, but there will be no frivolity today. It looks like I'm going to have to move after all. I don't quite know where I'm going to go nor am I all that excited about the prospect. Things seemed going well a few months ago. I had a new vehicle, a job that while not great did pay well but then I started having car problems.

The dealer I bought the car from sold it with a known faulty clutch. I guess used car dealers have a deserved reputation. If you're in the Central Pennsylvania area the name is Bucher's Used Cars and I urge you not to deal with them. If they want to come after me for this they can, but I remind them that a defense for libel is truth, and that's what they don't have on their side. I let rent slip and I can't get it caught up. Despite my best efforts, I cannot resolve this issue.

I just hope I can sort things out. It is not a pleasant thing and it seems unfair to me that I pay the price for someone else cheating me, but that's simply the way things go sometimes. I'll e spending the day trying to find another place to live if I can. It won't be great, but where I'm living now isn't that great anyway.

I'd rather not be going through this, but I simply don't have a choice at this point. The universe is cold, uncaring, and merciless at times and those who should get punished too often end up rewarded. I must react to what has happened and hope there really is a deep, dark Hell for those who would knowingly take advantage of others and then claim they're “helping people.”

Strange Things are Happening

Three posts today, unforutanately the final one will relate to a real life drama so you may want to avoid it.

Okay so I lied, there will be lighter posts today, although they may not be as light as I intend with the problems hanging over my head at the moment. One of the ways I stay connected with the world without TV is through radio and of course the Internet. Right now I use PeoplePC there actually a great service if you want to use dial-up. Anyway, when you log on there's a section of the news called 'strange.' Sometimes when you see something you can't help but laugh, regardless of how funny it may not be.

I didn't read the article and linking to a news service is usually somewhat problematic if it's connected to an ISP you don't personally subscribe to, but one of the headlines that greeted me is “Man reports missing car, not missing child.”

I'm glad I wasn't drinking soda at the time. That is the example of a man who obviously has his prorities straight. After all, it's less expensive initially to replace a child than a car. I mean a car takes a downpayment, financing, and going to a dealership. To produce a child only requires a free act with a fertile partner of the appropriate gender. Perhaps if we gave him a cost-benefit analysis of replacing a child over a car, he might have remembered to include the child, too. We really are a strange species sometimes.

Not to mention to show how much attention I've paying paying to the photographic evidence, I was surprised to see that Harriet Miers was in fact white. (For some reason I thought she was black. Don't ask me why.) Leaving my amazing powers of observation aside, it seems I'm not the only one who doesn't know all that much about her. The fact that the President appointed a former director of an Arabian Horse association to head FEMA makes me wonder about some of his choices. Loyal Republican or not, that was just a bad decision there, George.

Sometimes I have a hard time not thinking Kurt Vonnegut had the right idea about exactly why life is the way it is. If you haven't read it, go pick up Cat's Cradle. It's a short but good read and surprisngly, for an end-of-the-world fantasy not terribly depressing.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Making quick decisions

I'm suffering from the October blahs. True, it's been sunny for the last few days but I just feel like all I want to do is sleep or hibernate until the next spring. Those few who know how I sleep would probably not be surprised if I actually did manage to hibernate for several months.

Believe it or not, there are ways around this, but I'm not sure if that's what is needed. I've made efforts to cut down on what I eat, and of course, with the reduction of calories comes a reduction of energy until your body adjusts. On the other hand, it may indeed just be a reduction in the amount of sunlight I'm getting. I may need to change my tactics a bit because I find I've been excessively cranky without any really good reason to be so.

I don't know, I guess like anything else we need to experiment a bit before we find out what's really going on. Now, if you've been following this blog at all, you usually know that about midway through my preamble I somehow manage to make a point and connect it to whatever issue I wished to discuss.

Too often we want to rush into things without any reservation when it comes to religion, a new job, or any form of sexuality. I'm not sure it's entirely human nature. In this case, I think it's a matter of a lifestyle centered around getting things now. I know I'm especially guilty of this.

Taking things slowly and cautiously when you're facing big decisions as a good thing. Any change that can affect your life longterm should not be considered incautiously. Too often we barge into thing without considering the effects to ourselves. We especially often forget that our actions have consequences for others as well. I don't know why the second part of that should be the case, but it's the most important aspect of any major action and the most easily forgotten. I think it's because our thinking patterns are naturally self-centered.

I don't know how things are going to go. I hid it for so long and I'm afraid when I do find the courage to come out I'll proceed far too quickly rather than give people time to adjust to the idea. In some ways, I wish I had not told my mother what I found out about the Mormons. I don't know if that caused her to go into her manic phase that time, but if she bought the line the church fed her, she might have felt it was her fault that her son (who she never knew wanted to be her daughter) fell into apostasy. (On the other hand, I do not blame myself for this because I'm not sure that's what happened. Even if it was, it is too late to change anything about it now.)

If you're making a decision that will be needed save someone's life, by all means do it quickly. If you're in the process of making a decision that will affect your life and the others long term take the time to think it out and be absolutely sure and you can e-mail me for being a hypocrite for the times I haven't done this if you wish.

By the way, tomorrow is Wednesday. That means not only is it "Say What You Really Feel at Work" Day, it means the posts will not be as serious and we can look forward to The Sinister Porpoise chiming in with his wisdom again.

Underneath it all, you really care

This posts title comes to words a person I met in Everquest said to me as he was leaving the game...

I've noticed some sloppy and easily corrected errors. I'll make more of a commitment to proofread what I write. In some ways I wish I did have an editor because the editor is separated from me and can point out flaws I miss. In any case, too many errors have been slipping through and it reflects poorly on me. Sometimes I wish I had a video editor for our life with all the equipment so we could retake things we did wrong. Sadly, life is live and I only get one shot at each take.

In the past few weeks I feel like something long dead inside me has been reemerging. I guess that's not quite true. The resurrection of the part of me that I thought was long dead has been going on for a long time.
It appears there was still a caring individual that longed to come out for such a long time, either that or I'm just praising myself without merit. I suppose the part of me that did care was there all along, just severely repressed. Strangely, it seems to be coming out back as I explore myself in depth. I wish I knew why this happened. It seems strange that if I accept my feelings of gender confusion that a compassionate caring person should suddenly find more expression, although still behind that person with the sarcastic sense of humor. (Sometimes they fight for dominance I think. Better be careful before I get diagnosed with multiple personality disorder.)

It seems to be part of the process of rediscovery. I wonder what other traits are there. I know I'll rediscover them and I still have a long way to go when it comes to becoming a better person. Still, I think this part of me was buried by my younger self as a survival instinct. Caring and love more than any other emotions can be used to hurt you deeply.

I guess when my father said spiritual he meant that I possessed a sense of empathy somewhat better than my siblings, although I think he misread this. My sister and brother are quite able to read the emotions of others, and have better people skills than I do. It'll just get added to one of the things I wish I didn't do when I was younger.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Delaware School District case

I don't intend to make a thoughtful post today. Instead, I intend to make a post about lack of thought on the part of some people. I've mentioned before that when it comes to how many types of life evolved, I'm in the Evolutionist camp. What I don't get is people who insist that a book last written 2000 years ago contains valid scientific theories on how the earth was created and why there is a variety of species.

In Pennsylvania, my home state and indeed a beautiful place – if you don't visit the coal regions – I don't quite get why a school board would even pass this. Actually, I do. Although the story I link to happens in the southeastern corner in a small town. Pennsylvania's small towns tend to be highly religious and conservative. Where I live iin the North Central part of the state it is also an extremely conservative and religious place. You can tell this because the bars in my hometown nearly outnumber the churches.

Folks, creationism and intelligent design are not scientific theories and should not be taught as part of your child's biology curriculum. If you want to add a High school course that exposes people to the beliefs of others, which I'm all for, you can include a unit on various creation stories in a theology class. What makes you so sure your view of how the world came to be is the correct one? (If you feel the need to take me up on this do not quote the Bible. I want to know why you're absolutely sure bronze age tribesmen know more about biological theory than current biologists. God tells me so is not an acceptable answer. He was working through human agents who despite their best efforts are never unbiased.)

Nor do I understand as people who insist evolution is godless. Anyone who has actually studied the theory knows it stops short of mentioning God and it does so for a reason. If you study how neatly DNA fits together and how simple it actually is. (If like me, you have a programming background, it's a lot like Assembly language.) In fact my feeble study of evolutionary DNA theory convinces me that a creator was indeed behind it.

Follow my argument for a bit. An omnipotent god could choose to develop the universe in anyway He wished. Now, I assume God is a busy person with a universe to run. He may be omnipotent, but I assume he wants to make his work as easy as possible, so He set up a system that allows species to evolve with little or no intervention from Him. At least I think that's how I'd do it, if I were charged with creating a universe. Thankfully I'm not, because I can't quite imagine what a universe I ran would be like.

The overall point is that Intelligent Design and Creationism have no place in a science classroom. They are simply not scientific theories as there is no way to disprove them. People like the Delaware school district board are doing their students a great disservice by suggesting there are 'gaps' in Evolutionary theory and saying it's not a fact. It merely means the school board is trying to impose their religious views on their students. It would be better, Delaware School district, if you taught your students to think rather than force your commendable but blind faith in this issue on your students. God gave everyone a brain. I pray our schools will teach our children to learn to use it.

Fact and Belief

Sorry for being a little late with the updates yesterday, but I suppose it won't matter. At least I'm not an online cartoonist who has to put up with people e-mailing me every time I don't put up a comic when they expect it. In any case, for as long as this blog has been up, my writings have been somewhat prolific.

In any case if during the next few days I delay them any, it's not because I'm being lazy but rather because I'm upgrading this computer's hard drive and switching over from Windows ME to the more secure and stable Windows XP. (Of course, as a true computer guru, if I was really all that concerned about security and didn't care about compatibility I'd switch over to some flavor of Unix.)

I guess it should not take me so long to get to a point, but I have not decided what today's point should be yet. I thought about addressing loyalty, but I didn't really have anything to say on it that related to the overall topic of this blog.

I suppose I'm still suffering in any early morning fog even though it's about 11:00 a.m. where I live as I'm writing this. (Okay, so I don't keep a morning schedule and I've seen far more sunsets than sunrises.) And as of yet, I have not made a coherent or consistent point. In fact, I don't think I actually have one. Of course, I'm not sure that I ever actually do have one, but at least I hope I do.

The funny thing is life is like that though. We stumble around in the dark until something finally clicks in us – if it ever does. For some of this, it may never come. Life, I've been told, is a test. Unfortunately, it's the kind of test you can't really study for because if we have existed before now, we don't remember it. It makes me wonder how we'll be graded at the end sometimes since the rules seem to be ridiculously stacked. Maybe it's a pre-test like you take the PSAT's before you take the SATs. (If you're out West, I don't know what they use in place of the PSAT for the ACT.)

Even though something has clicked for me, I can never be truly sure if I'm right. That's the problem with spiritual issues. There's no real “empirical” data for us to make decision on. We all have to use anecdotal evidence and faith to either believe or not believe as we have chosen.

At times I have to ask myself, "Why bother if this is the case?" Wouldn't it be easier to just say there is no point and it's all in my imagination? Well, of course it would be.I understand there's a difference between belief and fact. Facts are dull, cold, lifeless things and in most cases they don't make life worth living. Beliefs may or may not be true, but they provide a navigation system on your life and help you strive for something greater. I don't care which belief system it is. Even some I personally disagree with – like Thelema – have good points.

Honesty to Self

I'm writing this as I realize I've screwed up. I didn't intend to, in fact, the problem could have been solved had I read the simple agreement. In fact you could say the problem centers around two of the seven deadly sins – greed and despair.

Admittedly, I know of only one regular reader I have for certain, but that's not the issue. I thought it didn't matter if I clicked the ads you see above. I don't know why I'm bothering to tell you this. It'd probably be better if I kept my mouth shut and was not so greedy or desperate in the first place. You see, money is still a major worry of mine right now. I haven't quite recovered from the car repairs or caught up on my back rent. Not to mention I'll have to pay my phone bill soon to keep from losing service.

I'm not doing this out of any desire for you to feel sorry for me. I created these problems, unfortunately my attempt to solve them violated the rules of Google's adsense program. Now, while I think permanent removal may be a little harsh, it doesn't change the fact that I was stupid.

And improvement in any area of life always requires as much honesty as possible with yourself. In all honesty, personal or spiritual growth is impossible without being completely honest about where you've screwed up and life, and sometimes admitting your mistakes after you make them. It's not human nature to do this, and it's more normal to want to blame someone else when things go wrong in your life.

When things go wrong, take a good look to make sure whether something you did could have prevented, someone else caused it, or it was a mere whim of fate. All three of these things happen, but I think you'll find the first and second category are far more common in our lives. Perhaps this resonants with me because of self-denial for so long, trying to conform as best I could. It could just be that I'm a long-winded blow hard who thinks too highly of her motives for this site and who isn't really helping anyone. (Open-mindedness means that both possibilities must be considered.)

Don't forget to be honest with others (at least when it's prudent to do so. Telling someone you don't like their cooking is probably a bad idea) but don't forget to be honest with yourself either.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Our bodies as temples

We are often told our bodies are temples. I admit that I rarely if ever take this view, but I find myself changing it slightly as I come to accept what I am. I actually want to improve my appearance now and at least have been making the efforts to keep my clothes clean, hair groomed, and teeth brushed. Of course, this may be too much information for many people to know but somethings slip when you go into depression.(I can't help but think that this in many cases is way too much information.)

I also think, subconsciously, these behaviors were to keep people from getting to close to me. I'll eventually extend this to my house even. It may not be a big house, but it's my house and I want to take pride in it.
The thing is, I think I have made a sort of peace with my body. I used to take Thomas Edison's viewpoint that it was merely a device for carrying my brain around in. In all honesty, I think it was because I thought that deep down it didn't matter. And now, I find with letting Melanie out a bit, rather than having to remain forever Shawn in all places, that I do want to look better.

Odd. Now I see this flesh rather than as a nuisance and something that doesn't fit as something that might be able to molded into something that does fit. I want to take care of what God has given me rather than trying to stuff food into it out of boredom or just because I don't particularly feel all that happy. I have a feeling he wants me to treat myself as if I were something sacred. A special and unique – although highly confused – creation of his.
As it is already a crisp fall Sunday morning as I write this, I hope if you are Christian and a churchgoer you use this day to commune with God in your own way. I'm not going to tell you which one is right. I have the feeling it's the connection that's important, not the actual rituals. And if you have ever felt the same way I do remember to ask for His help in rediscovering the sacred space that is you.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Word verification is back on

Just letting everyone else know. Those free private road construction people were starting to get on my nerves.

Oh Lord, it's hard to be humble when you're perfect in every way...

I may have to ramble a bit to get into this post, so don't quit reading. I've realized that maintaining this site has become – gasp – work! At least I'll be able to stay in my house now and will not need to seek a new home. (Thank heavens. I was really worried about that, especially with the Northeast's winter coming up.) Now, I hope I don't ever let myself be so stupid again. It also reinforced the lesson that my actions have consequences for other people and animals as well.

At times when I look back at my life, I wonder how good am I really? I used to think I was always on the right side simply because I was brought up young. That is not only youthful arrogance, but it is stupid arrogance as well. I needed to be smacked around hard before I got the message, but the wake-up call was not necessarily a bad thing.

I learned to be more accepting of other people's faults. Nor to hold others up to the impossibly high standards I set for myself and could not live up to. Demanding perfection in our own lives can be one of the most destructive influences of taking the command supposedly given by God in the Bible to be perfect to seriously. (I do not know if other Christian denominations emphasize this. It may be just a Mormon thing as you're on the road to eternal progression.)

I realized that perfection was an impossible goal and gave up. Instead, I merely try to make myself a better person as much as possible now. I try not to preach at people (although I think this site does sort of violate that rule), I try not to act like I know everything (but old habits die hard), and sometime I'll be able to overcome my rabid hatred of people who can't type out the words “you”, “your”, “you're”, “to”, “too” or “please” on the Internet.

The truth is we're all flawed. We should try to correct them but obsessing over them is detrimental especially if you try to correct the flaws you most despise in yourself in others. I still think I'm a good person overall, but that doesn't mean there still isn't room for a lot of improvement.

When forgiving others, don't forget to include to forgive yourself as well. In fact, if you're like me at all, you'll find forgiving yourself easier. Then, as part of the process try not to do it again.

Oh, by the way, I'm not upset that the site has become work. I'm just still suffering from the after-affects of a too late night last night.

I fought the law and the Law won

I hope that the two or three readers that I currently have will forgive me for being late wtih the morning update today. I didn't get home until around 4 a.m. last night. The following post refers to an article in the Tribune which you can read by clicking on the title.

I must admit I'm not sure what to think on this one. It makes me ashamed that am a Pennsylvanian. I believe Great Britain had the sense several years ago to say no to this sort of thing while people are in prison. Her crime was horrible and I'm not sure she deserves to be rewarded in this way.

On the other hand, I know someone accused and eventually convicted of such a crime. I admit it came as a shock to me. In truth, they were much more religious and indeed better at following it than I was. Guess religiosity isn't an indication of good or evil in people. It just means that they're religious. I still find the story hard to believe, but as it turns out my aunt happened to be their caseworker and said it probably was true.

If I were the judge in this case, my initial reaction would be to deny it to him entirely and force him into the sex offender therapy programs the prison offers first. After all, his first problem is not with his gender identity, but the fact that he'd contemplate such an act in the first place. I'm also surprised it's only nine to fifteen years she received unless I misread the story.

I am not opposed to showing her compassion, but I think we should take care of the more dangerous threat to society first if we can. If people can be rehabilitated, they deserve the chance. What the article shows me from his actions that she is not interested in generally not becoming a blight on society.

It seems to me that he's trying to she was trying to say that she was that way because she has gender confusion. That, I must say, is complete garbage. (Note: This is my impression as the story gives no indication of this, it is important to remember that this is Melanie's mere speculation.)

Reading stories like this bring out my more violent feelings and make me want to tear his heart out because I cannot contemplate committing that severe of the crime. At the same time, I must remember that we're all human and have failings. In this case, the man seems to be selfish and evil and in my opinion has shown no remorse for what he has done.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Look Around Leaves are brown...

Fall is a beautiful time of year, but in many ways it is one of my least favorites.

The skies have been dark and overcast and it's been drizzling for the last few days. The weather has been cool and it reminds me that Winter is not far behind. (And Winter is my absolute least favorite season.) Yet despite my dislike of what Fall means, I cannot help but be moved as I go past a forest in October and see the many colors of the leaves.

It is not quite a time for reflection. That will come for many of us on the week following Christmas. New Year's Eve is a night I traditionally spend alone, making an entry in my journal. However, Fall can be nature's gentle reminder that change is not only inevitable but sometimes beneficial.

The cool days and less crisp air give me greater clarity of thought as I go on daily walks, which I do as much for exercise as to think The Buddhists talk about the impermanence of all things and that we should not get attached. Now I do not wholly agree with this philosophy, for it is useful to keep some things from the past – but why hold on to things that don't work in our lives?

I am deciding what in my life needs to be shed like the leaves on the trees in the fall. They'll fall away, go through their own winter, and will be replaced by green leaves as I arrive in a new spring, so to speak.

Perhaps if you're ready to change, you could also benefit from this process. Rest assured though, that if you go through a long and bitter winter, things will improve.

I am a Rock. I am an Island.

Some classic songs are never played on oldie stations. Two of the most well known are “Eleanor Rigby” by the Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel's “I am a Rock.” I'm not going to address Eleanor Rigby today, but instead go straight to the other anthem of a lonely person.

How you may ask, does this in anyway apply to spiritual or transgender issues? Bare with me, I'm getting there. If you are anything like me you have long withdrawn into a shell that is a comfort zone for you. (I'm not saying all of my readers are avoidant/social anxiety types.) We retreat into ourselves.

I read and took up role playing as a means of escape from what was to me a horrible situation. In those worlds of fantasy, the other people that made my life a living Hell simply were not there. I did not need them nor did I want them around. In fact, what I thought I wanted was to be left alone by people all together.

Life is a funny thing and when you achieve what you thought you wanted, it may not have been your wish after. Sitting at home alone with only my cats to keep me company (although I do wish a home would be found for the second already.) I think I took a wrong turn.

Like the protagonist of “I am a Rock,” I've pushed others away. I have not buried my emotions completely or pretended I didn't have them. I tried that long in the past. Emotions let people hurt you, I figured, so it was best not to show them. What a mess that was. When they came out, they just came out stronger and in much greater force had I not tried to hold them inside in the first place.

I tried to stand alone, completely alone and it didn't work. All through that time I was dependent on others afraid to strike out into the real world, hiding within my safety zone. Although far better than what I had encountered in my childhood, I find that there was no growth as a person in this pattern.

I still do this. It's not easy to change lifelong patterns, but I think I may want to share my life with someone eventually. I know one of the reasons I put it off was because of the unresolved gender issues, and getting close terrified me! (I am not enough of a psychologist to know if the fact that my parents never seemed to love each other had anything to do with this or not.)

I can't speak for anyone, nor can I tell if every story I've read is true, but I've seen many parallels to this. You're uncomfortable with who you are, so you're uncomfortable with everyone else is what it boils down to. So you build walls to keep other people away from you. You may not have your books and your poetry to protect you, but you're in a world of your own making just the same.

I hope you find the courage to break out of your fortress deep and mighty, if you find yourself in one. You may stand alone, but by re-entering the social side of humanity, perhaps you can stand alone together with someone else. May you and I enter into the real world. It's a cold, bitter, uncaring place at times, but there are many wonders out there awaiting us.

Note: I still continue to game as it is a social activity, but I try to limit myself to no more than two games a week.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I'll find a place and time I want to be and spend a storyline

I'm taking a break from my cleaning to write this. Not that I'm eager to take this cause back up, but I do know that it needs to be done. (The floors, despite my best efforts, are still a mess.)

We encounter many storms on the sea of life. At times I have to wonder what the particular captain of my soul may be thinking. (I'm told others wonder thisabout me much more often than I do. As many of my friends are gamers, they insist that I have the 25 point played by Melanie disadvantage, but they can't figure out where I put the points.) I find myself weathering a storm type I've weathered many times before.

I find myself wanting to cry more often of late. Falling into the trap of “what if” can be fascinating or can lead to great depression and anxiety.

If you suffer from any sort of anxiety, you know it is easy to blow things out of proportion. It does not, however, make those concerns any less real to you. Depression leads to the same sort of effect with a different downward spiral.

I've mentioned the cause before. I have not told any of my family about my transgendered feelings. Last night I worked myself up into a near panic. Good thing those anti-depressants and anti-anxiotics keep it from going into a near panic attack. I know I may be overreacting, but I still wonder what will happen when “Shawn” suddenly reveals that she wants to be addressed as “Melanie” from now on. Like many people with social anxiety disorder, I do not have an extensive social network. I maintain contracts with family as much as possible. (At least the family members who I can personally stand.) I worry about going through the rejection and ostracism I suffered as a youth.

I also worry about what my friends think, although my personal clique has included gay men and no one really cared. (My theory on this is because most gamers are men who are unlikely to be married and in some cases have no interest in sex.) One of the things I'm cursed with is a near photographic memory. I remember comments people make long after they've forgotten them. My sister, who I am closest to, has said derogatory comments about transsexualism and what would my father think if I suddenly told him that his second oldest son wants to be his second oldest daughter? Not only that, I'm not sure my friends would be accepting. Even though a part of me knows that such a revelation would not come as much of a shock.

You'd think it'd be easy to overcome what others think of us, but we are social creatures. I can accept myself as Melanie and find that I'm more confident and feel better about myself when I do. When I think of the consequences that not being Shawn could have, I start to worry and see my world crumbling down around me. It's not the first time it's happened to me, and perhaps, like the Phoenix, I shall rise from the ashes again this time.

The truth is that such things in the past have not turned so bad. No one cares that I'm no longer in the church, really. No one cares that I've had an occasional drink. (I'm sorry to those who do drink, but why would you want to do this that often? Most alcoholic beverages aren't that good.)

I can't think of good song lyrics to relate to this one

If I seem to be adding someone what nonsensical links to blog search engines over the next few days, please forgive me. I'm in the process of submitting this site to the blog search engines I can find and one of the requirements for many of them is that I link to the site. Unfortunately, this can add a lot of graphical garbage, which I will try to avoid. Now, on to this morning's post.

I've been spending the last day or so cleaning to get ready for an inspection of my house. I cannot say I've enjoyed this process, but I can say if I had not procrastinating on the mopping of the floors, I would not be now taking a scouring pad to them. Such is life for the lazy procrastinator. No need to feel sorry for me on this. (I think I'll go back to the to-do list. At least it kept me slightly up to date on any cleaning I need to do.)

If I may draw a parallel (and you know I'm going to anyway so asking for permission is irrelevant), our lives are often like this. Sometimes we just need to clear the garbage away from our life to look at what is really there to move on. For me, this came first two years ago when I admitted I needed help and had doubts about my birth religion. This site in many ways is but another step in the process of clearing away the mental rubbish for me.

We tend to fear this process, but if we are not honest with ourselves progress cannot be made in any aspect of our lives. If you still have issues from your past, perhaps now is the time to work them out. You can't make up for lost time but you can begin the process to make the changes you want to make in your life. Take a good and honest look at where you are and where you want to go.

Introspection is good, but do not rely on your self-judgments alone. It was Alexander Pope who said “Trust not thyself thy own faults to know, make use of every friend and every foe.” Pope's advice is most useful because no matter how honest we think we are, our self-perception is always skewed. Your enemies will let you know your flaws without mercy, but there might be merit in what they say – particularly if it comes from one source. Your friends will offer praise in the areas you're good at, but pay particular attention to the praise you haven't solicited.

It won't be an easy process and it can be quite painful. Like many other journeys of this type it's one you find that does not quite ever stop. I know when I think I'm at my end, something comes along to remind me that I still have room for improvement.

By the way, if anyone is familiar with an oven cleaner that works and doesn't have a ph of 14, please e-mail me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

First State of the Porpoise

Welcome to the first state of the Porpoise report. That hoser Melanie has decided to finally let me do my own updates to the site rather than keep up with her mindful posts about her problems and issues facing a group nobody cares about. I mean come on. All this crap about not speaking “English” is bunk. I happen to be versed in Dolphin, English, and Spanish. I'm working on Chinese as well, simply to further my power base. (Note, Melanie is unaware of this and you'll laugh at the one language she is familiar with other than English – Latin. Great, she's okay for theology and history, but if she ever needs to speak to a foreigner, she's out of luck unless said foreigner has been dead for 2000 years.

So, I suppose you want to know where I am in my acquiring global domination. Well, I'm all for a new form of world government. I propose that there should be two castes – the workers and myself. Such a state will stop any perceived class envy and then everyone else will be in the same class. I, of course, will live a life of luxury, and if you are lucky enough I shall take you into my Inner circle so that you may see how the other half lives. (I do not have any intention of improving your life in this case however. You will be able to feed me tasty fish, so consider yourself lucky.)

Now my plans largely form around consolidating my power in the ocean. Some silly humans have gotten the idea of dolphin safe tuna. It's natural selection people, if you can't see the net entangling you and avoid it, you need to be removed from the gene pool. (Melanie's note: These are not my views. I like dolphins.) So, if you see some annoying tuna company advertising a dolphin-safe product, avoid it like a plague and go for the companies I have infiltrated – er, I mean have not caved in to pressure from environmentalists.

Next week I shall inform you of how my plot to spam the Internet and weaken the minds of people goes. And if you see any lab mice bent on world domination, squash them on site.

As a side note, Melanie would like to thank the fine people at Sun Microsystems who provide the Open Office software – for free – that she uses to write the rough drafts. Go check it out. It's free and helps break Microsoft's monopoly. (Okay so I own an Xbox – at least that's a good product that they're actually forced to compete with, unlike Windows.) Oh yeah, I've gotten Firefox, too. Too bad I feel it's too much of a pain to switch over to Linux or FreeBSD Unix completely. Tomorrow we'll return to the normal fare for this site. Thank you.