Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Ch 12: Married Life, and how my pets have come to save my life every day of the year
So, after talking about a couple topics in friendship and ongoing concerns for how others adjust to us as we grow I will now return to my story. The kiss had just happened in the hallway of our apartment, I had a feeling that it wasn't a very good kiss, but I didn't have much practice so I guess I couldn't expect much of my skills. Either way the next day, I played hooky from school and took my wife to be out to breakfast, we hung out and just talked for a long while eating our bagels. And then went down and walked along the shore of Lake Champlain from the Vermont side, sitting there on some rocks watching the water with the sun shining down on us looking at each other with eyes of wonder that we both seemed to actually like each other.
I believe we ended up spending most of the day together, and that evening my wife to be moved into my room. While I wasn't aware she was moving into my room and thought we were just sleeping in the same bed it soon became apparent that more and more of her belongings were making their way over to my room. After a while dating we ended up getting a cat together, our first baby as we say, she was a black cat who had quite the personality. When we got her to the apartment she ran into another one of our roomates room and climbed up into her box spring, refusing to get out I had to get her out myself. After a day or two in the house we could tell the cat had a cold or something and wasn't eating her food or anything, so I made her some chicken noodle soup which she finally drank a little of. I was thinking she was all stuffed up and maybe couldn't smell the food, so perhaps the warm scent of the chicken broth helped break up some of the congestion. But then it had been almost a week and she seemed to be getting worse, so we were saying if she doesn't get better soon we are going to have to take her back. Of course as soon as we said that she was bouncing around and very playful the next day as if she had never been sick.
I have to say I never thought I would be a pet person as I didn't have any growing up, well we had fish for a while but it's not the same. I think perhaps I grew up being afraid of dogs as they barked at me all the time etc. But then having that connection with this creature yourself, and just having something there that loves you truly unconditionally is a reward all of it's own. Not to mention studies have shown that having a pet helps with depression and owners of pets generally live longer and happier lives. So there has to be something to it.
We now have three cats and two dogs. Having bought a house three years ago we have grown our 'family' as we have the space to do it and are able to set our own rules for our house not being held to a lease agreement. Either way, in a lot of ways I think having something that depends on you like a pet can stave off the bad thoughts, because in a lot of instances if something happens to you what happens to your baby?
Unfortunately, Depression and suicidal thoughts along with the attempts themselves as we learned in previous chapters come with the gender dysphoria. Largely though these 'symptoms' are caused by suppressing the true self and acting out of fear. Then when we do 'come out' to the world and represent as ourselves, the anxiety and fears surround us as we are afraid of the harassment and discrimination we may face from the rest of the world. Largely these judgments and the Jerry Springer era set up a bad precedent and created harsh stereo types to the point of which to some transgendered individual, even referring to them as 'trans,' 'tranny,' etc. is considered highly offensive. A log of times we don't know what terms to use, so it's important to listen to the gender dysphoric individual and how they refer to themselves for clues, and if confused or unsure just ask what they want to be referred to as.
Again this leads us back to the male to female discussion. And the term trans-gender in it's root is meant to be the transition of gender and I feel it's important to reiterate that trans-gender has nothing to do with sexual orientation. However and again the large reason why the term 'trans' can be considered offensive is because of the stereotypes now associated with the term because the only images the general public have largely seen of these types of individuals shows them as 'freaks' or 'weirdo's' or sexual deviants. When in reality we are just as normal as everyone else, and don't respond well to judgement largely because we are so used to having to try to fight for simple rights that even the smallest things can sometimes make us defensive.
We have to realize in ourselves too when those defensive responses happen and if they are based on past experience the defensive 'stance' may not be appropriate for the situation we find ourselves in. Either way, we can accidentally reinforce stereotypes by getting upset easily, and may appear 'crazy' to others when all we really want is to be accepted for who we are. As we learned in Chapter 11, being a friend to a transgendered individual can be relatively easy as most of the validation we want, crave and look for are actually very simple gestures most of society forget about because they are second nature when dealing with biologically male or female individuals.
to be continued ...