Saturday, March 14, 2020

Roll With It, Baby

I just got the text from my boss after dropping my daughter off on her last day of high school before schools close for two weeks: Work from home until further notice. This was yesterday morning. Turns out school was only until noon, and they basically just were instructed on how they could continue some classwork from home on laptops.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

I'd Rather Drive A Truck

If you read the Wikipedia entry on Rick Nelson (I'll call him Rick here, not Ricky), in the introductory section, it mentions many of his early pop hits. It does not mention his later country-rock career, or the song "Garden Party", which I think is a great song that I can relate to. There is a whole section related to Garden Party and this era of his life, but my point is that it doesn't seem to necessarily be one of his career "highlights" if you go by the introduction.

It turns out, the garden in the song is not an actual garden like I'd pictured with famous celebrities hanging out and performing for each other. It's said to be about Madison Square Garden and a performance where Nelson got frustrated when he wanted to play newer, country-rock songs instead of his old pop hits. This would have been somewhere around 1970, and he had begun as a child actor over 20 years before. He was 30 years old in 1970, no longer a child, no longer a teen idol. He was Rick Nelson, not Ricky. And he wanted to do his own thing, making music he enjoyed.

As it relates to my own life, when I heard the song again last week, I got to drawing parallels in my own life. I wondered how I will be perceived by my extended family once I'm out, attending a reunion of sorts this coming summer. As the song says, I won't "look the same" and so, even if I act pretty much in an expected way, will the fact I have much longer hair now, feel very different inside and changed quite a bit (and maybe more by the time of the  gathering), will they hear my "music" or just concentrate on how I look different?

Nelson actually perceived, rightly or wrongly, that not only did he play songs the audience didn't want to hear, but his long-haired look wasn't wanted either. Even though I guarantee half the audience had as long or longer hair than  he did and dressed much the same (as it is for any era), people have this dread of change, and want to remember how great it "used to be". There is comfort for them, but we so often fail to recognize that we all change because we want to, or we MUST.

I love the way the whole experience is summed up in his attitude and feelings towards what had transpired:

"If you gotta play at garden parties, I wish you a lotta luck
But if memories were all I sang, I rather drive a truck"

Maybe he dreamed of a simpler life, driving a truck, away from any fame and expectations. Or maybe it was just a metaphor for the idea of doing what he wanted and needed, and not what others expected of him. Either way, he had the COURAGE to even attempt his newer songs, he had the COURAGE to look and dress as he wanted, and he had COURAGE to record a song where he laid bare his feelings.

Nelson's career, after that smash hit song in 1971, was pretty much on the downside. Sadly, he only lived another 14 years, dying in a 1985 plane crash. You never know when your world will stop turning. Living in a way that is authentic, I am realizing, is so important to our feeling of worthiness, which leads to things like joy, increased compassion, and connection. It also leads us away from shame and guilt. It's living wholeheartedly. I like that idea a lot.

And so, I am trying my best to go forth boldly and face these fears head-on. I have a burning desire to have my family see me for who I REALLY am. No matter what the consequence is. They will see a happier me, and if they can get past their own need for similarity and comfort, I like to think it will make them proud. That's the hope, anyway.

I'm also hoping that by writing this post, tomorrow I wake up with a different song stuck in my head. It's been this one four days in a row! My brain was like, write the damn post already!

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Walk A Mile In Her Heels - Leanne from Oz

For this latest edition of the "Walk A Mile In Her Heels" series, I've decided to try something new. I'm presenting my conversation with Leanne in article format, instead of straight-up Q &A. Hope you like it. Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts on the format.

For some of you who know me, I added "from Oz" to the title, so as to not confuse with another Leanne in my life. It's a special name, and "Leanne from Oz" is a great lady I didn't know much about but wanted to get to know. Without further ado, let's take a walk in Leanne's heels. Or at least a kilometer in her heels. Metric rocks!

Walk A Mile In Her Heels - Erica

Hello again, everybody. It's your intrepid reporter who will send emails to the ends of the Earth to bring you stories of wonderful people. Here's the latest. Erica is a great gal from the St. Louis area who as you'll see, has been active in the trans community and has a wealth of insights and experience to share. Big thanks to her for letting us have this little chat.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

One Year HRT Anniversary: Still So Much To Be Done

"I ate the last mango in Paris,
I took the last flight out of Saigon.
I took the first fast boat to China,
And there's still so much to be done."
- Jimmy Buffett, "Last Mango In Paris", 1985

Wow. A year. Milestones are funny. We like to celebrate them, but are they all that important? I think we should celebrate our accomplishments, but not rest on our laurels. So, a quick recap and update on the latest.