Exploring the world of transgender

This was read yesterday at the Erotic Literary Salon (http://theeroticsalon.com/) in Philadelphia.

The safe quiet hell

Back story:  After coming out as transgender in April, I’ve gone through a flurry of changes.  Outwardly my fashion choices have become much more feminine, even to work.  To my surprise, the world has not ended as a result.  Of course I work around a bunch of geeks, so I’m guessing half of them haven’t even noticed the difference.

I have become a cliché overnight.  My walk in closet is already packed to the rafters, and yet I still walk in, look around, and realize … I have NOTHING to wear.

But the deeper changes are slow in coming.  I’m trying to find my people, and I can’t quite tell who they are yet.

I spend most days in predominantly female clothing, yet I also don’t see myself living as fully female in the future.  As I look around in the trans community, I noticed that a huge amount of it is focused on crossing the gender binary.  As in: I look like a man, but I want to be a woman.  Or the other way around.  But even in the trans community there is a relatively small minority that either enjoys being both male and female, or sees themselves as neither male nor female.  The gender fluid or gender queer, to use current labels.

And so just like the lost bird in “Are you my mommy?” I find myself exploring, looking for the world that feels like home.  Or seeing if I need to create my own world that doesn’t exist yet.

The greatest challenge for me now is emerging from my social hibernation.  I never understood traditional male roles for dating, so I did it as little as possible until I found women assertive enough to pursue me.  This, for the record, is not a very effective strategy in our culture.

My problem boils down to a severe fear of rejection.  I never could connect with the attitude that you should take a statistical approach to dating, namely if you ask enough women out, some of them will say ‘Yes.’  And likewise, if you ask enough of them to fuck, some will say yes.  Bingo, problem solved.  Got laid.  That always struck me as cold and heartless and to use feminist lingo, objectifying.

In recent months I’ve gotten better at asking women out and basic dating, but making the leap to intimacy is my goal now.  The life I’ve lived has kept me in a safe, quiet hell.  Like the vision of hell as a frozen wasteland, where nothing moves but also nothing ever dies.  It is a land I have to leave, but the familiar hell often seems safer than an unknown.

I’m told that a relationship with true intimacy allows you to experience higher highs than you imagined possible.  And it also requires complete vulnerability, to put your heart and soul and true self on the line.  You don’t get the highs without risking the lows.

A couple of days ago I was reminded that I have an ally on this journey.  Her name is Jennifer, my feminine aspect.  For so many years I felt like I had to apologize for my feminine side, to hide her, to pretend to be the Perfect Man in order to find True Love.  I have discovered that I’m not James Bond.  Or Brad Pitt or even Johnny Depp.  Love and intimacy can’t be based on a mask, can’t be based on an illusion, can’t be based on presenting what I think you want me to pretend to be.

So I need to love and accept all parts of myself, and present them honestly, not just to find someone who thinks that’s exciting and hot, but more fundamentally to be true to myself.  Whoever that turns out to be.

Letter to Jennifer

Letter to Jennifer

Glenn  4/16/13

Backstory:  This is a love letter that was inspired after working with Monica Day and Michele Younger over the last two months.  Most of the pronouns in this piece are wrong.  English is quite inadequate sometimes.

Dear Jennifer,

Thank you for being patient with me.  It’s taken a long time to acknowledge you.  Welcome.  In perfect hindsight, the clues were building for a long time.  Finding girls’ hair accessories on the ground as a boy, and examining them like an archeologist trying to decipher a long lost civilization.  Mom always hid in the bathroom to do her hair and makeup, so those female mysteries remained … just that.  The home ec class I really wanted to take in junior high as my very first elective, but couldn’t because boys don’t take things like that.  My pickup truck had your name, and I hopped in and greeted her out loud so many times.  Was that the seed of recognizing you?  The curiosity to buy a pair of pantyhose by mail order shortly after leaving home, but soon gave in to the forbidden nature of such a thing and threw them away.  Shopping in recent years for ‘unisex’ clothes from American Apparel, and yet not knowing why.  These were hints that I was missing something.

I was missing you.

As someone wise said, it doesn’t have to be difficult now, it doesn’t have to be painful.  That’s over.  Gone.  Let those memories be a movie you can watch safely and calmly.  They can’t hurt you now.  Now is the time for joy!  Now is the time for celebration of life and your body and all dimensions of your Self.  You have earned this gift, this rebirth, so take it and run.

You can’t have a pussy or give birth, and I suspect a fake pussy is about as satisfying as a fake orgasm.  But that won’t stop us from exploring other ways to be receptive and savor all aspects of us.  We can make a time and place to explore being receptive in enthusiastic and loving ways.  Ok, how about many times and places?!

It’s okay to be truly masculine too, as we discovered driving home last week.  We can be strong and confident, assertive, and peacefully in control.  Power without oppression.  We claim that aspect too.

I feel like you’re both very grown up and an innocent little girl.  I delight in getting to know each other, and celebrate this new connection.  A new awakening.

Your clothes feel so much more expressive and alive and downright SEXY!  Delicate fabric fluttering against my calves is so delicious I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t enjoy it.  A suit feels like a cage to me, but an Eileen Fisher skirt is simply delicious!  I know we often have to conform to society’s bullshit, but at least we can find more ways to let you come out and play.

For now we can be whole, and that will ease stress, produce calm, and confidence, and open doors for new friendships and new intimacies.  Only when we embody our genuine authentic selves can be connect with others who appreciate and love us for exactly who we are, not who we pretend to be.  Put aside the masks, lower the shields, be ready to accept more possibilities and more love than you ever imagined.

And no more ‘me’ and ‘you’ crap.  We are one.

Hello!  I am Glenn, and I am Jennifer.

Gay Marriage

Gay Marriage



There has been a huge amount of focus this week on gay marriage, thanks to the Supreme Court reviewing two key cases related to the matter.  I won’t discuss those.  The reason this issue is so hot is that it blends marriage, sex, and sexual preference into one huge legal mess.  I propose a very simple but radical solution.

About Marriage

As JD from the Facebook group Being Feminist[i] has pointed out, marriage is an outdated relic needed to support a patriarchal society.  Yes, that makes sense; the only biological reason to have marriage in our culture is to (hopefully) identify the paternity of children, since there is generally no question about the maternity!

However under United States’ law, marriage is a lot more than presumptive paternity.  Marriage is a special form of corporation; and we know how much the Supreme Court loves corporations!  And with that special form of corporation called marriage we assign some 1138 documented rights under Federal law, ranging from health care, to probate, to taxes, to a zillion others someone else has described in detail.[ii]  The uproar over the Citizens United Supreme Court case has led to a women trying to marry a corporation, and a corporation running for Congress.[iii]

As a result, the battle over marriage is far more significant than a token-but-nearly-meaningless piece of paper to certify a ‘civil union,’ because a civil union not only lacks the aforementioned 1138 rights, but isn’t even recognized by most other states.[iv]

About Sex

Sex is defined usually as whether someone is male or female, hence traditional heteronormative marriage is defined by California’s Proposition 8 as being between a man and a woman; “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”[v]

The problem is, Mother Nature is not binary, especially when it comes to sex.  There are dozens of intersex conditions that span the continuum between male and female[vi], with origins typically related to genes (chromosomes) and/or the timing, production quantity or usability of hormones in a person’s body.[vii]

About Sexual Preference

The issue of gay marriage has been presented solely in terms of monogamous couples who are either completely heterosexual or homosexual; Kinsey levels 0 or 6, if you will.[viii]  This introduces three major assumptions for the scope of the issue that are misleading or inaccurate or incomplete.

  • Monogamous – Many people have significant long term relationships but are not monogamous.  Do we continue to pretend they legally do not exist?
  • Couples – How do we deal with polygamous relationships?  Bigamy laws exist in the United States because of a Supreme Court ruling in 1878,[ix] and it’s a felony in most states.  And yet marriage triads (three people) and larger groups still exist.  Is it right to legislate how many people one can marry, if marriage is nothing more legally than a corporation?
  • Completely heterosexual or homosexual – The current framing of gay and straight marriage ignores the possibility of people being bisexual.  What happens if I marry a woman this year, and later marry a man?  Does it make sense that my rights and obligations under the law are wildly different between those two actions?  And if so, under what justification?

The Goal 

Our legal decisions regarding gay marriage should reflect the overall goal of such laws.

  • Religion – If the goal is to institutionalize a particular religious point of view, then we are wasting our time and should abolish marriage entirely.  The first amendment to the Constitution states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”[x]  Abolishing marriage is not likely to happen, since a major part of our society revolves around the institution of marriage.  More to the point, marriage is not a concept unique to any religion, so the existence of marriage is not an endorsement of any religion.
  • Paternity – If our goal is to enforce paternity, then we are wasting our time and should abolish marriage entirely.  Simple DNA testing could easily replace the pomp and circumstance of marriage, and would provide a lot of interesting information for many “fathers” about whose children are really theirs.
    In addition, if this were our goal for marriage, then it would imply that elderly women should not be allowed to marry since they are past menopause, and any other infertile men or women would logically be banned from marriage.  I’m guessing we don’t want to go down that road.
  • Social order – I think the only plausible reason for requiring the concept of marriage to exist is to promote social order and encourage long term relationships.  There must be some significant benefit to society for our Federal government to create 1138 reasons to marry.

My Choices

Therefore in order to promote social order and fulfill my sense of equality and fairness, my laws for marriage would be simple and wildly radical compared to the current code of law.

  • People of any sex may marry.
  • Monogamy is not a legal requirement.  It could be part of one’s marriage vows.
  • Polygamy is legal.  If a corporation is a person, then there is no reason to limit marriage to two people.
  • Since a person’s sex was made irrelevant, so is the sexual preference of people in a marriage.


Follow the rules, dammit!

Follow the rules, dammit!


One of the themes I’ve identified was my penchant (I’m being kind) for following rules at my own expense.  I’ve always gotten along well with rules.  Maybe it’s my German heritage.  If I have a clear goal, I can move mountains to make it happen.  Earn a college degree or three?  No problem, just tell me what I have to do.  I’ve been generally well rewarded for following rules, doing what is expected of me.  If you play the game according to the rules, you will win, at least on some level.

It was literally unthinkable to simply say “I want to do this” and let that be all the justification needed for me or anyone else.  Instead I have hidden behind some pretty flimsy excuses to validate or justify my actions.

What happens if this world order isn’t best for me?  What if I try a different view?  What if I put myself first, my needs, my wants?  I cringe at that thought, it sounds very selfish, and hence BAD.  I’ve always been GOOD.  Like Sarah and I exchanged on Facebook last December:  I want to be naughty, but can only seem to be nice.  I patterned my life after Popeye and Superman and that Canadian Mountie from cartoons, Dudley Do-Right.  Save the damsel in distress on the railroad tracks.  Fight the BAD guy and always win.  Save the earth.  Uphold justice and honor.

So maybe I’ve been living their lives instead of mine.  I tried to save the fucking damsel, plus Hansel and Gretel, and they just shat on me.  I only ran from my marriage when my impersonation of Atlas led me to the brink of complete emotional collapse, and that’s no exaggeration.  Clearly this approach sucks rotten goose eggs.  It almost got me killed.  Time for a paradigm shift.  (Marcia is my clutch, I think.)

So what does the new world order look like?  I don’t know.  There are so many things I enjoy, so many things I want to do and experience.

  • Dance, both doing and creating
  • Massage (those two entries were really easy)
  • Piano & music
  • EMT, counseling (save a tiny bit of the world)
  • Dance research?
  • Soccer & tennis
  • Crap, I can’t add my job to this list…how sad

What world do I want to invent?  How do I decide which things I want in my world?  Is it based on how they make my body feel?  My mind?  My heart?  My genitals?  Some combination of those?  See, I’m looking for rules again!

I have this insanely logical mind, and something of a gift for science and engineering.  It seems rude to Mother Nature to throw that away, and instead focus on something I’m mediocre at.  Does that make sense?  I have worked on awakening my creative side, with composing dance and music, but I’m at such a primitive level in those areas compared to other parts of my life.  I guess I don’t want to feel I’m wasting the gifts I’ve been given and have developed for so long.

Part of me still wants to save the world, or at least a little of it.  Is that contrary to my new world, or an integral part of it?  Do I need to get out of the business of saving the world, and save myself first?  Only then maybe see if there’s energy for others.  Again, sounds horribly selfish.  The man box doesn’t shut up easily.

This is a scary prospect.  What if I show my true self and no one likes it?  I don’t have much self-esteem at this point, am I strong enough to be me in the real world, and handle the (strong) possibility of rejection?  There are good places to play with this new world, but it seems like a huge leap from those cozy bubbles to any part of the real world.  Ok, “real world” sounds horribly judgmental and inaccurate.  The goal is to be authentic most of the time, and only put on camouflage when needed.

Why do I care so much if I disappoint my family?  How do I learn not to give a damn what others think?

I just shut off the music I had playing in the background.  I usually have something playing to keep me company, but I realized it was keeping me from paying attention to my body.  My shoulders are fairly relaxed, my heart feels open and scared.  I’m breathing slowly.  My heart is pounding a little bit.  This is the same kind of open I’ve felt on stage, ready to overshare myself.  I’ve gotten up to tell people about my cock, and read letters to myself, and I’ve shared the stage with amazing sensual ALIVE people, and I feel like a complete fraud.

So what gives me the right to stand in front of 50 or 60 people and talk about sensuality?  I must have huge cajones.  I can be open, I can talk about the past, I can talk about my dreams for the future, but my present is non-existent.  I feel like I’m a 15 year old virgin, because interacting with women intimately is so foreign and so exciting and so terrifying.  It’s like I’m the anthropologist again, watching an exotic new species I just discovered, and I’m trying to understand their language and culture and rituals, and how to approach them without scaring them back into the woods.

Grounding is the first step, that makes sense.  Breathe.  Open up.  Be your Self.  Crap, that sounds hard!  I’ve been so good at following the rules, so good at putting on masks to hide behind.  “Oh look at Glenn, he’s so smart.  He has a great sense of humor.  Look at all the cool things he’s doing!  He’s such a Respectable Citizen.”  Half of it is pure distraction to keep from feeling how lonely I am.

Before getting involved with my ex, I spent night after night alone in my apartment.  I’d watch TV, and go to bed.  I was so profoundly lonely I screamed into my pillow sometimes.  Didn’t want to scare the neighbors.  Fear of that place got me into, and kept me in my marriage, because I knew I didn’t have the social skills to find a partner very easily. Or even a date, for that matter.

Sometimes when in a bar surrounded by people I don’t know, I’ve been tempted to try the dumbest pickup lines I can think of, using the sales approach.  Namely if you try enough lines, someone will eventually say Yes.  This supposedly worked for Richard Feynman, a famous and completely amoral physicist.  I think of lines like “Excuse me ma’am, you have lovely legs.  Would you like to wrap them around my ears for a while?”  Or ask if they shaved their legs recently, and when they respond in the affirmative say “good, I hate razor burn on my ears.”  Feynman would proposition women before even buying them a drink, so he wouldn’t waste money on a losing cause.  Clearly I need better role models!  And no, I never actually tried this strategy (you knew that), but it amuses me to ponder it.

Back to the present.  In order to ground I have to be able to catch myself hiding.  Disassociating.  Spacing out.  Putting up endless shields of laughter.  The start of this has been promising.  In this week’s therapy session, I switched up from the previous week, and stayed focused and present with her, and we had a very productive session as a result.  I made a point of keeping eye contact, shutting down the false laughter, and keeping myself open.  And yes that was scary, even in the safe space of therapy; and so it is in other safe spaces to open up, be completely present, and experiment with this “new” way of sharing and interacting with others.

It’s really scary to be me.  I had to say that.  It feels open and vulnerable and I get huge butterflies in my chest, and I’m convinced the world is about to end.  Maybe it is.  Maybe that’s a Very Good Thing, if it means the end of the world I knew.

[this was edited to keep from oversharing]


Melancholy.  I’m listening to a lot of Adele and Heart and Pat Benatar, all sappy stuff.  I feel off lately, and I can’t figure out what it’s from.  Maybe a little SAD (seasonal affective disorder), that shows up every winter.  Maybe a side effect from a long boring cold for the last two weeks.  Maybe loneliness; I was going to have a cool roomie, and she flaked out on me.

But I think there’s something more fundamental happening.  I have a nagging feeling that something is wrong in my world.  I should be doing something, and I’m not.  I’m doing lots of cool stuff – my job is really good, I’m playing a bunch of soccer, dancing some, making some progress on fixing up my new home.  But my body feels depressed, and that makes me eat a lot of junk.  Which, of course, doesn’t help.

I feel like I’m going through the motions, but my heart isn’t in it.  And if you’ve read the rest of this blog, you know how important that is to me.  Twenty years ago I was around California pagan hippies, and they spoke of right livelihood (Buddhism) and self-actualization (Maslow’s hierarchy).  I was starting the process of finding my body through massage therapy and other forms of bodywork.  I came to the East coast to chase the possibility of a long term relationship.  And over the next few years, my world started slowly collapsing in on itself.  I finally got out of a relationship that had become abusive in every way except physical.

The last five years plus have been devoted to completing school and reinventing myself.  Exploring new possibilities.  Figure skating.  Swimming.  Many forms of dance.  Tennis.  A little acting.  Dabble in piano.  All good and wonderful activities.  But it isn’t enough.  Or the right one.  Do I know the right answer, and I’m just afraid of admitting it?  Or haven’t I found it yet?

I’m truly fortunate to have options to choose from, and not just be scrounging for raw survival.  And yet I can’t help but expect much bigger things from myself.  Is that just thinly veiled ego?  Hubris?

12 Minutes


Copyright  c  1988

R. Glenn Booker

All rights reserved

The following is an attempt to describe a special encounter with the Great Lady that I experienced on October 30, 1986.  I realize that much of what I experienced cannot be described adequately in words, but I hope the images I saw and felt may be helpful to others; either by way of recognizing similar events you have seen, or to inspire you to seek Her out.

I had started studying with a San Diego-based pseudo-Gardnerian coven six weeks before this event.  My studies had already included learning a technique to open one’s aura (which I am afraid I can’t share – you know Gardnerians…), and the daily use of morning and evening “prayers,” dedicated to the Lord and Lady, respectively, to help build a close relationship with them.  I also had used the evening prayer time occasionally to work on memorizing some of the blessings used for the Full Moon and Great Rite rituals.

I was living in a run-down 28-year-old, 40-foot-long travel trailer, which I had recently moved with a great deal of tribulation, since the pickup I was using could barely move such a beast.  I was an aerospace engineer in the Mojave Desert, single, and age 23.  My religious upbringing was generic Protestant (Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, whatever’s handy).  Before this event, I was intrigued by, but still unsure of, the existence of a Goddess.

The day of October 30 was a good one for me.  I had accomplished a lot of little tasks that I had been meaning to get out of the way; tidying up my home, getting letters written, and so on.  And just for the record, I was under the influence of no drugs stronger than caffeine.  Though it was slightly after midnight before I started getting ready for bed, I felt good and my mind was free from immediate concern.  I sat nude on my bed, facing West, my left leg folded under the right.  I paused for a moment to gather my thoughts and center myself.  I opened my aura slowly, making sure I felt each part of me respond to the ritual before moving on.  Then I started the evening prayer, which goes like this:

Glory be to Thee, Goddess of Light

Let Thy Light shine forth

To Illuminate my Darkness

(already I started to feel a wave of presence flow down my body.  I knew something unusual was happening, and recognized the wave as being similar to that I had felt second-hand when someone nearby was doing an Invocation.  I decided to flow with it and keep going uninterrupted.)

Grant unto me the Aid of my Higher Self,

That I may Realize the Throne of Thy glory

The Center of the Universe

Of Light, and Life

I paused, noting that my breathing had slowed to a deep, methodical pace.  My heart pounded in a slow rhythm, reverently staying out of the way of what was going on so my attention could be elsewhere.  I was clearly in a light trance.

I was drawn, almost forced, by the Presence into reciting the Great Rite blessing for the wine.  With a shift of emphasis on “this cup,” the relevance of the blessing becomes obvious.  It goes like this:

Isis, Isis, Holiest of the Holy

Perpetual Comfort of Mankind

Isis Athene, Isis Hathor, Isis Nut

Isis Sothis, Isis Sati

Natural Mother of all things

Mistress of all the Elements

Great Lady, God Mother

Accept this Self I offer thee

Fill this Cup with thy manifested Love !

My trance state had intensified all through the wine blessing; I breathed partially through my mouth to keep enough oxygen supply coming in.  I felt my degree of concentration increasing to levels I had never experienced before.  My body seemed rigid because any voluntary movement would have required far more energy than I could spare.  I was briefly terrified to realize that I had completely lost control of the situation, and utterly vulnerable to Someone I never (?) met before.  I was focused on the Presence, waiting to see what She would do.  (I deduced it must be Her, in light of the blessing prayer as well as the tone of the whole evening.)

I looked upward a little bit and saw an intense white light flooding around me.  As I got accustomed to its strength, I first realized that the amount of energy I was being mentally exposed to was just as much as I could handle.  Any more would have been painful or simply overwhelming.  I saw eventually that the light seemed to come from a point source, not very far away.  Then the purpose of this demonstration hit me:  what better way to demonstrate extraordinary power than to show someone exactly as much as they can comprehend, then point out that it only required a tiny fraction of what you can do!

I pondered this a few seconds, then the demonstration continued.

My eyes wandered around the room, with me still in the trance state as before.  I focused on a small section of wall, which I knew to consist of a thin layer of plywood covered by many old layers of wallpaper.  My eyes (point of view) started to dispassionately look through the wallpaper to the plywood, which I pictured to be full of decade-old dust.  Not a pretty sight by most standards.  Then it was as if a nonverbal voice was starting to argue with me; she was insisting that the wall was a delightful and dear object.  I looked through her eyes and saw the same wall but felt child-like joy at the pretty patterns in the wood grain.  She was proud of the wall for the humble task it had done so well.  I returned to my engineer self and argued that it was just a musty piece of of plywood, with certain mechanical properties and so on.  She returned and repeated her points, looking on the wall with pride and affection.  I felt silly trying to argue with her, since much of her argument came from her heart; mine came from Mechanics of Composite Materials.  I soon concluded that it was pointless to continue, but thanked her for her perspective.

After a brief rest, my point of view shifted to as if I were sitting in the living room, facing West and a little South, out of the trailer.  Outside it looked like daytime, and I looked around the trailer park.  A small bird (a sparrow, perhaps) flew by slowly, almost in slow motion.  I suddenly felt boundaries between things start dissolving; that is to say, everything still had its own distinct physical boundaries but they seemed to become less important, more receptive to interaction between them.  My heartbeat became more intense, and the air around me seemed to become more in tune with my pulse; I could feel the air respond to my heart.  And the walls of the trailer started beating in tune with my heart, too.  The flapping of the bird’s wings left ripples that flowed through the air, through the walls, to my heart.  And my pulsing heart responded with its own rhythm being transmitted through the air and wall to the bird, a tiny movement of the bird could be seen with each beat of my heart.  A young tree, not too far away, seemed now to have its own very slow but brave beat; and its beat added to the chorus.  The air, the walls, the bird, the tree, and me formed a continuous symphony as we all communicated to each other though the patterns of our respective lives. Then I realized that we really are All One, even if we don’t recognize it all the time.  This interaction goes on all the time, and this was the first time I could experience it in a meaningful way.

And within this symphony I saw through Her eyes.  I felt Her quietly savoring the interaction before Her.  She looked in turn at the cast of this play with genuine Love and affection.  I felt Her own rhythm quietly supporting each of them, without bias or preference.  I felt Her Love expressed as tension, for She saw each going its own way, choosing its own path; She did not want harm to come to any of them, yet realized the importance of allowing each its own path.  The Love She felt had to be tempered by allowing free will, and this produced the tension.  A knot formed in my stomach as I felt the interplay between these forces.  I realized that the intensity of the experience was because each of us in the cast of the play is Her child.  She and the One are the same.  All fear of death melted away as I realized that I am always in the arms of the Mother.

I “returned” to my body again for a brief respite.  Soon I noticed the temp-erature in the room seemed to rise a fair bit (10 or 20 degrees).  The air around me started to become thicker and almost sticky in consistency, like I was trying to breath a fluid.  Surprisingly, I felt no panic at all, as though this were normal.  The warm air started to press against my body evenly and lightly from all sides.  I looked down a my left arm, half expecting to be covered in warm goo.  There was none.  I felt a new pulsing sensation in the background, slower than my pulse, deep and very comforting.  My mind raced, trying to put together the pieces of this experience, when my head lowered and it finally hit me.  I was in a womb !!!  Soon, sadly, the sensations left me.

This seemed to be becoming a tour of the Goddess!  I wondered briefly if what I was experiencing was related to an Aspect.  (An Aspect in the sense I am using it is the ritual invocation of a Deity, generally for oracular purposes in the case of a Full Moon ritual.)  Accordingly, I tried to move my lips to see if She had anything to say verbally.  I could barely nudge any movement at all, not to mention speak.  I dismissed this as a futile effort, especially since there was noone around to hear me if I spoke, anyway.

I thought over my 15-year involvement with Christianity, and felt profusely apologetic for not acknowledging Her before!  I kept waiting for Her to chastize me or curse at me for ignoring Her for so long.  She never did.  As far as I could tell, She was just extremely glad that I had called Her again, and was having a great time giving me this “tour.”  Her main message seemed to be “Welcome Back!”

I wondered briefly why She was doing this for me.  I soon realized that She was just answering my prayer !  (Be careful what you ask for…)

My perspective shifted to as if I were suspended in the middle of the air, several feet off the ground and a hundred feet or so from the trailer, looking at it.  Soon my trailer and pickup (parked in front of the trailer) and a huge hemisphere of earth under both of them – at least 50 feet across – seemed to be marked off with a thin line of white light.  Then the hemisphere of earth and my home underwent a subtle change.  It seemed that they were lifted up a tiny bit to mark them off, and then were left teetering on the head of a pin.  A shiver went very slowly down my back as I realized that they were on the brink of being spun around like a top.  Or of being tossed in the air.  Or of being flipped over like a pancake.  Or disappearing entirely.  I saw everything I had worked for and taken to be so hard to handle being treated like it could be a toy.  At first I was rather surprized by this attitude in light of the previous experience.  Then I realized that this was to show a shift in perspective.  The message was that there is immense power available to transform things – even things that we may consider insurmountable by our modest standards.  Anything is possible.

I returned to my body again.  My body started feeling stuffed in the sense of another being taking up part of every cell of my being.  It was as if someone slowy “beamed” into the same space as my body.  My arms felt full and heavy as this sensation finished filling me up.  Oddly enough, when the process was complete, I started feeling very light.  As though I were made of air.  I looked around me in the bedroom, and felt the boundaries between me and the air become less important again.   I thought about this in contrast to my schooling in engineering, which broke things down into distinct catagories so it can be analyzed properly.  This beam is loaded elastically.  This air flow is inviscid, subsonic, and 2-dimensional.  This computer is digital – absence or presence of a signal is all that matters to it.  Again I felt the Oneness from before; me and the air and the trailer and the earth are one, breathing together.

And with that thought, She slowly left.

I realized that She had gone.  My mind was still racing to try making sense of what had happened and to remember it all.  I slowly laid back on the bed.  I summoned the strength to lift my head and look at the clock on my nightstand.  The entire experience had taken twelve minutes.

A letter to yourself 20 years ago

A letter to yourself 20 years ago



Thank gods we finally got time travel to work! You’re … I mean we’re … whatever … you’re on a great track, I want to help steer you to even better possibilities.

You’re turning 30, and you think that means you need to start being responsible and settle down.  That’s a great idea, IF you wait for the right lady to do it with.  Set your standards higher than you think you deserve!  Yes, you might have to wait longer to find the right partner, but it will be far better than settling for ‘good enough.’  Trust me!

Your mind has been a great tool to get you where you are.  And yes, it will continue to be a wonderful asset, and make it possible for you to be superficially successful and not starve to death in a gutter somewhere.  That’s great, that’s awesome, and you should be rightfully be proud of developing that gift.

I want you to focus more attention on areas you’ve ignored – your body and other people.

I know it’s hard to focus on your body.  Thirty inches of scars have left their mark in many ways.  You did what you had to in the moment to survive that, and that’s a critical first step.  Now, as you discover massage therapy and other kinds of bodywork, keep exploring ways to wake up your body.  It’s okay.  It’s safe now, you don’t have to hold onto the ideas of the past.

Try to imagine:  if you didn’t see yourself as a cripple, what worlds would that open up?  What would you do?  Be patient, and don’t give up.  You’ve had three decades to set up patterns of movement, they won’t change overnight.  But they can change in ways you literally never imagined possible.

But don’t leave it at that level.  Explore your body.  Literally!  Play with every inch of you, stay in the moment, and see how it feels.  What does it like?  Soft or sharp?  Gentle or firm?  Is it happy or grumpy or horny or just starved for attention?  Honor the parts that are still scared, they are trapped in the past.  They will come around when they’re ready.  Meanwhile, make a private orgy if you can’t find a better offer.  Throw down some old sheets and use way too much massage oil!  And yes, explore all the naughty bits too.  It’s your body, you have every right to enjoy every aspect of it.  You know in your head it’s all good and sacred, it’s just hard to override all those years of programming.

Challenge yourself to play with new possibilities.  Sports?  You really liked tennis and swimming, maybe those can become public ways to explore how your newly rediscovered body responds and what it can do.

Armed with this new knowledge of your Self, take the next step and brave going out into the world.  Yes, I want you to be social.  No, I’m not crazy!  I know you’re a hermit by habit, but you crave more connection to others, even if you aren’t really sure how to get there.  Ok, maybe you spent too much time in books instead of going to prom or flirting with the cute flute player down the street.  So your greatest challenge might be overcoming your own fears and getting out of the house.  Sure, you don’t understand people and social interaction.  Physics and math are a heck of a lot more straightforward. Yes, you’ll get shot down a lot.  It’s ok, you’re not the Red Baron.  But remember after the awkward initial stages, the sheer joy of a simple happy fuck.  Feeling her pulse pound from inside her.  Savoring the blend of pheromones under the bottom edge of her breasts.  Watching her back arch as the wave overtakes her.  Kissing her sweaty brow while you’re both still out of breath.

I dare you to keep pushing for more than you think you’re allowed to ask for.  Keep working your mind, explore your body, and venture out into the world.  All you have to lose is your limitations.

Power Animal Dance

2/16/12 – Power Animal Dance at PSG

It was the late 80’s, at a Pagan gathering in Wisconsin in June.  Three hundred leftover hippies, Dead Heads, and rebellious or curious young adults, in a gently rolling campground normally occupied by other extreme radicals such as … Boy Scout troops.  Pagans learn from any tradition too slow to run away fast enough, and we were blessed with some genuine Native American souls at this particular gathering.  They organized a power animal dance for one evening.  The idea is to let your power animal (or kindred spirit) take over your body for a little while, to learn from each other and exchange perspectives.

That night was a little cold, with more than hints of rain possible.  I really wanted to participate in the dance, but the weather was icky and I didn’t want to be very active physically.  So I got a bright idea! I decided my power animal for the evening … was a tree.  Ok, I have to admit I had never heard of a plant being a power animal before, but everything’s part of nature, therefore is part of the divine, so why not?  I had a brown poncho, so that would double as rain protection and vaguely look like a tree trunk.  This could work!

So I put on the poncho and started walking to the ritual space.  But being a tree, I walked slower than I Ever. Have. Before.  Each step became a new investigation of my feet, slowly shifting my weight from one part of each foot to the next until it could take my full weight.  This took forever, so naturally I was one of the last people to get in line for the dance.  As I approached the ritual space, the ground shook gently, rhythmically from powerful drumming, and for quite a while I couldn’t tell what was up ahead.  When I got close enough, I saw that people were being squeezed one at a time between two of the drummers.  Birth.  A human birth canal had been created, between the driving heartbeat of the drums.  And so I was delivered into the sacred space.

I walked slowly to one side of the space, and planted myself (ahem) with a good view.  Around me people were jumping and growling and leaping and interacting with each other in their animal forms.  But as a tree, I couldn’t make a sound.  Or move.  Some approached me, sniffed about, then went on their way.  I was surprised to realize that, as a tree, I had become supremely vulnerable. No defenses, no running away.  Exposed to anything that could walk up to me and do anything they wished. And as interesting as my neighbors were, there were none of my kind present in the dance.  A twinge of loneliness pulsed through me.

I observed the dance for a while longer, and then heard a strange and unfamiliar sound from the middle of the space.  It repeated, or maybe continued, and only then I realized it was English.  I had drifted into the dance so far I couldn’t understand language for a while.  And as our common bond of language was reinstated, I realized and felt a connection to all the critters dancing around me.  We. Are. One.  The enormousness of that utterly simple statement came crashing in around me.  I slowly eased myself to the ground, waves of sobbing, my body convulsing with the relief of no longer being alone.

After a while, a couple of people came to check on me.  One asked, “Are you alright?”  I nodded slowly and thought ‘Oh yes, like never before.’

Sex and Gender Studies

Sex and Gender Studies


What am I?  [this is the audience participation section]

Some find the world a lot more black and white than I do.  Take sex, for instance.  [now I have your attention!]  Over here (far stage R) we have Male.  So with our XY chromosomes we get a host of gender identity expectations.  Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails.  Republican politicians feel very comfortable here.  They join clubs that exclude cooty-filled women, smoke big phallic cigars, pass laws to tell women what medical procedures they must have, and generally pretend to be masters of the universe.  Here we find most male athletes, full of testosterone and bulging muscles, ready to rip each others’ heads off for … no apparent reason.

And over here (far stage L) we have Female.  Sugar and spice and all things nice, that’s what the XX chromosomes produce.  Well, as long as they aren’t the ‘Real Housewives’ of anyplace.  Otherwise to be feminine is to be soft, loving, nurturing, barefoot, pregnant.  Look at every traditionally female job, and it’s an exercise in being professionally subservient – school teacher, librarian, secretary, nun, nurse.

So this world pretended to work well for the June Cleaver era of families.  Everybody has their assigned role.  Everyone follows along, or they’re quickly ostracized and sent to live with distant relatives.

And who is in between the two sexes?  Nobody!  There’s no such thing.  Look at our forms to this day.  Check off Male or Female radio buttons.  No other options.  Period.  We love our black and white world.  Good and Evil.  Male and Female.  Believer versus heathen.

I grew up in the shadow of this world.  Got to junior high, and finally had my very first choice for an elective class in school.  Wood shop (run R), or home ec (run L).  I was with my dad, there was clearly no choice here.  Shop is for boys, home ec is for girls.   Duh, that’s a no brainer.  Don’t get me wrong, shop was a lot of fun.  I just also wanted to take home ec, because sewing and cooking seemed really interesting, but that wasn’t really an option, was it?

As I continued to grow up, I was confused by ‘normal male behavior.’  My high school classmates claimed to get an erection upon just seeing a beautiful girl.  I found girls lovely and wanted to enjoy their bodies too, but my body didn’t respond that … rudely.  Were my friends lying, or was I just weird?

I heard gym coaches talking about the virtues of extreme exercise, like how admirable it was to run until you puked.  I wondered to myself “am I weird for thinking that’s just staggeringly stupid?”  I saw wrestlers and football players and boxers and found myself unable to imagine having the drive to behave as those sports require.

As I started dating (at the tender age of 18) I discovered that my lack of macho was a real serious issue.  Women seem to want a macho asshole to treat them like garbage, in spite of fervent protests to the contrary.  I can’t pretend to do that.  I especially don’t do ‘macho.’  Women see that as a massive unforgivable character flaw.  As I became sexually active, I quickly realized that I can’t just fuck.  No matter how much my mind wants to, my body won’t cooperate, with all the painful embarrassing episodes that produces.  “No honey, it’s not you.”  I have to make love.  I have to have some kind of emotional connection to my partner.  That has to be the foundation, at least until I get comfortable enough with someone to eventually be able to fuck their brains out.  Lovingly.

Years later, while married, our relationship started to deteriorate, so naturally I was blamed for it.  I went off to a doctor to see if there was something medically wrong, or if I was just getting sick of my wife.  One test result said I had low testosterone levels, and the doc said they were typical of a 15-year-old, not a grown adult.  They gave it a fancy name of course, ‘primary hypogonadism.’

As I started to research this strange affliction, I discovered there was a whole world of people between Male and Female.  Intersexed, they call it.  Compared to many, my situation was easy to manage.  When many intersexed people are born, the doctor doesn’t announce “It’s a boy” or “It’s a girl”, instead they whisk the baby off and discuss it in hushed tones as they figure out what to call it, and how to “fix” it.  This was however precious little consolation to me in my immediate situation, which continued downhill.

So I tried every medical solution under the sun.  Viagra, Cialis, yup, tried them.  BTW, they work by opening your blood vessels, so don’t take extra in the hopes it’ll work better.  Because they open ALL your blood vessels, and you get a massive headache and low blood pressure.  Sexy.  Tried testosterone creams, those are fun.  Let’s crank up your hormone levels like you’ve literally never seen before.  What is this, second puberty??  I even tried one weird drug that gives you an erection, but the catch is you have to inject it directly in the shaft of your penis.  Now doesn’t that sound romantic?

I knew the problem was mostly psychological, not medical, but I went along with trying the host of treatments to pretend the answer lay among them somewhere.  It didn’t.

As I went to other doctors, some disagreed with the initial diagnosis.  Apparently the ‘normal’ level of testosterone in a man is a huge range, so whether someone is ‘low’ or not is largely a matter of conjecture.  Great, thanks guys.  So helpful.

So am I intersexed?  Maybe.  Does it really matter?  I am me.

Mr. D

Mr. D

I was a quiet kid.  Too afraid of my ex-Special Forces father to risk getting in ANY kind of trouble.  Would have been voted ‘most likely to be invisible,’ if there were such a category. So naturally my circle of friends had a very small radius.

A Sunday school teacher took kindly to me. His name was John Dickinsheets.  Funny name, huh?  We called him ‘Mr. D’ for short.  He was really old, probably in his 60’s or so, and I knew he had children in their late 20’s, plus grandkids, the whole nine yards.  Not sure what happened to his wife, she was never part of the picture.

He invited me over to his home near our church, and introduced me to coin collecting.  He gave me a bunch of coins over time, and taught me how to look them up in the big book of world coins.  I put them in little slide protectors, the same size as 35 mm slides from ancient cameras like my dad had.  I soon got a metal slide case for my increasingly valuable collection.  Many a weekend afternoon was spent with Mr. D poring over coins.  We took breaks from the coins once in a while, and I found our breaks really confusing.

Sometimes we’d go into the bedroom and he’d pull down my pants and underwear, and have me lie back on the bed.  He’d kiss me all over my hips, which seemed very grateful for the attention, but also equally confused.  After he kissed me like that for a while, I’d get dressed again and we’d go back to the coins like nothing had happened.

Sometimes he’d kiss me, and it wasn’t like a kiss from Mom or Dad.  He used his tongue a lot, and it was really thick and bumpy, like he was part frog.  He tasted like old people smell, I thought.  It took a while for me to get used to the whole tongue kissing concept, I never heard of such a thing much less did it.  It seemed to make him happy though, so I figured I had better get good at it.  My first girlfriend was very grateful for my having received this bit of instruction.

Sometimes we’d be sitting at the kitchen table with the coins, and he’d put my hand down the front of his pants.  It felt hot and humid in there, and his penis was really big and very hard.  I didn’t really have any idea what to do, but just holding it seemed to make him really happy.

So Mr. D had some unusual hobbies in addition to coin collecting.  I had no idea what was going on.  It seemed odd, but no one warned little boys about Sunday school teachers in those days.  Maybe girls got warned about a ‘funny Uncle’ – but boys?  Nope.  My slightly older brother had also been coin collecting with Mr. D, and while we never really discussed what happened, we both knew something was fishy.  Eventually we went over together, in a guess to keep the weirdness down, but I still recall getting pulled aside in the bedroom for some awkward tongue kissing even when my brother was in the other room.

We finally stopped going to Mr. D’s altogether, and later moved away.  As a test, many years later, I referred to a new friend whose name started with D as ‘Mr. D’ in front of my brother, and he shot me a look that could kill at twenty paces.  He had been there too.  And he’ll probably never forget either.

I was 11.