is killing me. . .

when i can’t write, i’m sick. too much tension & compartmentalization held in the body.

snippets only:


It was late at night, and I was with a group of people that I knew a long tome ago. They were having a party, stopping at a house ann talking about what they had done with their lives. I was trying to explain my life and the more I did, the more lost and frustrated and tongue-tied I got, realizing that I couldn’t keep up with these people. It made me sad and isolated, hopeless.

It was a bad dream.

I haven’t written because I have read my old stuff and know that I have said it all.

Oh, there have been flimsy topics — Ms. Ruby realizing that she has moved from weird to eccentric, from crusty to loved; TBB understanding that unless you want to be the entertainment, you don’t want to be the entertainment; Lezlie sending an audio hug; thoughts about words and challenges and all, from Pagan Kennedy writing about how Roberta Cowell’s wrists had become slim from hormone treatment – impossible, since bones don’t lie, or I would have hips — to the identity politics of consolidating power by attacking and slaying an old man. I had to be up to clean this house for a pastor in a diocese that not only believes it is Biblical to deny queers positions in the church but has halso lost two past bishops, one to the Nigerian church in America and the other to the Roman Catholic, a pastor I left to avoid but who rescheduled and my parents didn’t tell me.

But none of that means much, and so I didn’t write about it. After all, it would just be the vain attempt to be heard, seen and recognized, when what counts is making the kind of success that is understood and valued at parties, the type you can explain, the type my own differences have denied me. You know, I really miss having big problems to work on, the kind that have “the power to stir men’s blood,” as Burnham said.

Yesterday I talked with Diane about the challenges of magical thinking. So many people believe the world is at will, that belief is all, like those who buy The Secret or those who still don’t believe in evolution.

It’s easy to see the problems with magical thinking. Beliefs of separation, that some are more holy than others, and the people who promulgate them have created much evil doing in the world, have forced the people they chose to demonize and marginalize into bad places, and still create waves of fear nearly impossible to overcome.

But without some belief in the power of transformation outside logical extension, humans will have no magic in their hearts. I will have no magic in my heart.


On 30 Rock, Tina Fey can make fun of Liz’s singleness because Ms. Fey is married. It is one thing to exaggerate a part of ourselves that we have moved beyond, another to make fun of a place we are stuck and hurting.

Too many trannys define their lives by trying to redefine the challenges they face everyday as someone else’s fault, but those challenges often are the result of others who can’t get past their own assumptions, and who make us feel the same challenges day after day no matter how we change. Confronting stigma defines us, and that definition isn’t really ours to change on any one person’s time scale. Both observers and others like us need to change their view, and without any sort of critical mass, that change feels geological in scale.


Cho Seung-Hui, the man who murdered 32 people at Virginia Tech, gave what he could to explain him actions.

“You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option. The decision was yours. Now you have blood on your hands that will never wash off.”

“I didn’t have to do this. I could have left, I could have fled, but no, I will no longer run. If not for me, for my children, for my brothers and sisters . . . I did it for them.”

“Do you know what it feels like to be spit on your face and have trash shoved down your throat? Do you know what it feels like to dig your own grave?”

“You just loved crucifying me. You loved inducing cancer in my head, terrorizing my heart and ripping my soul all the time.”

You have vandalized my heart, raped my soul and torched my conscience. You thought it was one pathetic, bored life you were extinguishing.”

“Do you know what it feels like to be humiliated and impaled upon a cross and left to bleed to death for your amusement? You have never felt a single ounce of pain your whole life.”

“Did you want to inject as much misery in our lives as you can, just because you can? You had everything you wanted. Your Mercedes wasn’t enough, you brats, your golden necklaces weren’t enough, you snobs, your trust fund wasn’t enough …”

“When the time came I did it, I had to.”

Problem is, of course, that to most people, that’s not enough. They want a rational explanation from someone who did irrational acts, when the best he could do was tell us the tapes that were playing in his alienated — and probably differently functioning — brain. And those tapes, a mix of training and biology, well, they led him to destruction, of others and of himself.

Worse, many want this rational explanation from a position of their own irrationality, immersed in they are in grief and sorrow.

I have been, for the past weeks, in a position of emotional vapor lock. The pressure builds and when I don’t do the bits in steps, the pressure builds more.


TBB really believes she was born to be engineer. When she and her galpal arrived within a minute of each other, she didn’t attribute that to synchronicity, to being well paired, or to having a deep connection. No, she attributed it to them both being engineers.

I was told that being an engineer was something I was born to be. And while I never really enjoyed it, I could do it, from looking at the cooling system in my sister’s car to repairing the boot loader in Vista within a few hours of opening my new computer.

This week I haven’t been writing, and that means my heart & head are all blocked up, stuffed into that place of obligation, that tech head thinking like the machine.

Most people tell me that if I can do what others find hard, I should do it. I have the body, the training, the skills, so just be the boy and do it. God, that hurts. It was like the physics profs who were boggled that I could proficiency out of Physics 111 when I was only trying to proficiency out of Physics 101 as a component in Education. They couldn’t imagine that I didn’t want to take real physics classes. No thanks, guys.

It’s Easter, and I didn’t end up going to dinner with my parents and sister, invited by her friend from high school. I didn’t think that I was invited, and besides, if I went it would only be work. I already had to shop, to pull my mother to get dressed, to put on her stockings and shoes, all that.

After all, it’s not like I can put on my nice Easter outfit and celebrate spring & rebirth. Nope, just bang me harder. That hurts, but I have my head stuck so far up my ass that I can’t even think about it, even if the feelings roil enough to get me hitting my head in private.

A hard day of beating the computers into submission and I just want to take a bath in something that smells pretty, cream myself up, put on cute jammies and go to bed. Not an option.


Mark Hayes’ obituary was in the paper yesterday. He was a good guy, a person with AIDS who worked as a lobbyist for Housing Works in Albany, doing excellent work for them and for transgender rights.

My mother had seen it. I noted that I would have liked to go to the event but couldn’t. She said nothing.

Death, well, it comes. When I knew Mark he had stopped his anti-virals, but the cancer came and he couldn’t fight it.

Carpe Diem. We only have today, and if we put ourselves in the small place, the mediocre track, well, that’s where we end up.


he mediums, the sensitives, the shamans, they all have one thing in common — they see, hear and feel more. That more is different for everyone of us, but somewhere, where others see barriers and walls, we see through.

Like many other women who are sensitive to feelings, a useful talent to understand and help others express themselves, often I get swept into the feelings of others around me.

The participants at the Oprah Book Club dinner over Harry Belafonte’s autobiography — sponsored by Mont Blanc & Cadillac Escalade — talked about how they handle people looking at them with judgments. They decided that it was the other person’s issue, the other person’s limits and unhealed space.

That’s true, of course. It is about them, not about you, but that doesn’t mean that their acting out doesn’t affect you.

Success, though, demands that we hold our center, as Lezlie reminds me. It amused me to hear how Mr. Belafonte deliberately constructed his voice by copying a gentleman on the radio. Yes, all this celebration of comfort and naturalness and the voice that compels is one that was built from stolen parts. Now, I know that’s the way all expression works — we collage, assembling from parts we find in culture, and being unique in our selections and connections — but that’s not what’s celebrated in pop culture. Mr. Belafonte, though, had the advantage of growing up in a more British culture.

How do femmes let people in, absorb and channel them, and still retain our own center? It’s an age old question.


ere, in this space between the ability to function on will and the ability to function on exuberance, I think back on my triumphs and failures over the years.

As I have noted, first I wasn’t concerned about my trans nature. I was more concerned about my Jonathan Winters nature, all those personae running around in my head.

I soon learned, though, that trans was bad, was what I would get snapped for revealing. The counselors in third and fifth grade I don’t remember, but the one in eighth I do. She asked me “If you could be anyone in the world, who would it be?” and even at thirteen years old, I knew it was a trick question. I answered that I wanted to be myself, and wouldn’t budge from that answer no matter how much it frustrated her attempts at diagnosis.

My teen years were full of lesbian angst, though I didn’t know that at the time. You see, I didn’t have any lesbians to share with, to understand our shared context.

Beyond that, it was the




2 thoughts on “is killing me. . .”

  1. Beautifully said Callan. I was a bit worried when, it was so long between posts. I trust you are feeling better now that you are writing again.




    Yahoo IM: vickiecd

    Website Director of

    I find it is the best kind of therapy is talking
    to someone who has been there, done that.
    Dr. Laura Schlessinger
    (God help me, I am quoting her, of
    all people, but I love that quote.)

    If you are not working to integrate your life
    you are working to disintegrate it.
    Callan Williams


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