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Trans Writer’s Block… Like That’s a Real Thing

Writers-blockSome of you may have noticed that my frequency of posting has gotten, well, a little lackadaisical of late. All right, fine, it doesn’t appear that anyone really noticed at all, or worse, was relieved not to have my little thoughts show up every fricking time they opened their email. Yes, I know it was you and believe you me, I will remember. Silly little half-assed threat aside, I thought I’d talk about that for a minute because, why not?

More specifically, it’s becoming more and more of a bitch to think up new things to write about every couple of days or so. For a while I felt like I hit the mother lode of material; a rich vein that ran so deep I was bound to go through several gross of canaries before the whole thing petered out and I repurposed the site to focus on schmaltzy ‘Good Morning America’ fan fiction. Now here I am writing about having nothing to write about with at least a gross and a half of Sam’s Club canaries in my garage all alive and happy as shit. That’s OK, great writers push through these blocks, good writers take a hiatus and kick around backwater Slovenia for a while, and writers like me sit here and write about the fucking writers block and hope that it ignites something.

I used to think that I could take any idea and spin it into a trans issue and crank out a page or two of reasonably priced claptrap. Now, as it sit here waiting for my tea to cool enough to swallow my morning hormones, I look around the room just waiting to be inspired. Presently the most interesting thing is the cat, who is in process of devouring a decorative ribbon that will eventually be yorked up on my bedspread or dangle out her anus until one of us has the gumption to hold her down and yank it out as she screams in rage (or, yech, elation). Surely something there can be repurposed into an analogy of the transition process, right? Dammit. Nothing.

Don’t get too excited now; this is not a “hanging things up” post. I hate to take the wind out of your sails, but I’m not going to let you get all full of hope that you will finally get to submit your kinky little story about George Stephanopoulos and Ginger Zee in some ’50 Shades of Grey’ scenario. What it does mean is that I need to get out a lot more and have some shitty awkward experiences so I can put them up here and let you have some vicarious fun. When I start my downstairs electrolysis, it should be good for a real corker.

Here’s the deal. When I started doing this, I did absolutely no research on who was doing what in the blog world when it came to trans stuff. I learned of some excellent projects when other bloggers found me, and I was satisfied that we were plowing some new fields here with our scribbling. Now that I’m way more plugged into the trans writing world and get updates, I’m seeing that whatever subject I tackle has usually been done before, and to death at that. New items in the news are also well devoured and digested long before I get around to putting my little spin on things. This of course leaves me with 20 or so half completed posts in my in-work queue of which I have nothing new or clever to add. The taste in my mouth for this is way too similar to the time my German host (I was an exchange student back in the rockin’ 80’s) gave me bread with schmear on it I assumed was butter, but turned out to be lard. Horrible, horrible crap.

Give up though? Oh, hell no! I’m going to learn to eat that fat shit and love it. So, that’s kind of it for today. Looking back across the barren wasteland of this ill conceived post, I pretty much stated that I have nothing to write about, am bereft of ideas, don’t think I’m really adding anything, but going to keep doing what I was doing to begin with. At the very least I’ll get to add to my super-size collection of down votes on Reddit, where I seem to be a real fly in some people’s ointment and inspire personal messages to please, please, please go away and die already. You can expect no less from someone who kept an untrainable, house crapping dog purely out of spite. Yeah, I’m not going anywhere.


About michellelianna

I'm a transgender woman now in the maintenance stages of transition having all the electrolysis and surgery one can reasonably be expected to undertake. While busy exploring my new world, I took to blogging about it with dubiously popular results. I don't have quite as much to say as I used to, but I'm not quite done yet either.

9 responses »

  1. I truly sympathize with you in this matter. As a writer who’s tried to get a trans-blog going twice in the last three years I truly understand how difficult it is to come up with something to write on even a weekly basis. In truth I keep ultimately forgetting it’s even there or linked to my facebook (as I was reminded by someone who actually read it quite recently) and I’m hesitant to even reread what I wrote myself as the amount of personal growth in two plus years since I’ve posted on it scares me.

    I used to follow the trans-everything threads on Gaia online but considering I’m pushing closer to 28 than 18 now I’m finding a gross disconnect between what I feel and know and what these younger kids are feeling and knowing. One of your replies to NYK truly hit home for me with the cis- bullshit. It drives me absolutely insane and for the longest time I wasn’t even sure what anyone was talking about.

    I truly do think that the DSM 5 which should be out now is a step in the right direction though. I think it’s stepping in the direction of separating transgender from transsexual. I don’t think typically transgender people that aren’t losing their minds being in the wrong body should have any extra protections at all. In all reality, if you’re (and I’m not saying transgender is simply anything) simply transgender you have relatively low stress levels compared to those of us who are transsexual who stand in front of the mirror with a razor saying it really would just be easier to end this now. If you haven’t posted your ideas on the DSM 5 change, by the way, maybe you’ll find some inspiration there.

    I also, ultimately, think a lot of us trans women are completely retarded. We’re getting caught in women’s restrooms because we’re doing stupid shit like standing to pee. There’s an obvious difference between the sound when one sits and one stands. Maybe I’ve never been spotted because I started at 23 rather than 40. Maybe because I do fairly well fitting into the androginosphere because I’m 5’7″. Maybe I pass a lot better than I think I do. Maybe I’m unusual for pining over every little detail and thing that I was never taught growing up.

    At this point my mind has discombobulated. Until next time.

    • I know exactly what you mean by rereading. Its hard not to go back a year or more ago and not think, Ugh… so stupid. So, so stupid. At the same time, its also wonderful to see personal growth occurring at a rate that you havent achieved since your age was still counted in single digits, so there is that.

      It took me a while as well to become aware of the war and how little it actually means. Im enjoying my tte--tte with NYK simply because its nice to have a debate with someone intelligent who clearly has a very different point of view. I have lost the ability to fill myself with piss and vinegar and do battle. If the young trans want to, fine; I think most of them think of me as Uncle Tom anyway, or more accurately, Aunt Tom (like that sounds better).

      The DSM 5 change is an excellent topic and thank you for suggesting it! I have mixed feelings, but mainly happy about it, so good call on it being post worthy. Im also having some ambivalent feeling about the whole transgender umbrella that need more explanation. Its a tough topic because the lines are not so clear. There was a time when I was firmly in the CD camp, unable to really admit who I was, and instead spent years sidling up against it as close as I dared. Ugh… so stupid. So, so stupid.

      Be glad you started young! If there was one think I could wish for every transsexual is that they figure it out and act as soon as possible. So much less to un-learn and so less T damage to undo as well. Im very happy for you Kirie!

      Thanks so much for commenting!

  2. Jessica McIntosh

    Personally I love reading everything you write. Different people have different perspectives and it gives food for thought.

  3. I refer to it as my mostly unfabulous transgender life. It’s just not that exciting to hear about my life in suburbia. I try, but I’m just as lazy as you sometimes. 🙂

  4. nobody you know

    You wrote “I used to think that I could take any idea and spin it into a trans issue and crank out a page or two of reasonably priced claptrap. ”

    Might it just be that *GASP* you actually have come to the realization that trying to frame everything in terms of a “trans” issue is doing little more than clinging to a victim modality? As a result, you might actually be focusing on just living life?

    Let’s face it…look at how quickly someone tried to jump on earlier comments I have made on your blog to try and claim I was “phobic”- they want to play the victim role (whether they admit/claim it or not) and attack the messenger instead of looking at the content of the message itself. And then when they were called on it, here came more content that was little more than ad hominem.

    Life in general is pretty boring for most people. Not that boring is bad and not that everyone shares the same notions of boring (and yes, I consider parts of my life boring despite doing a lot of things many never have or will- they were often things that occurred because I was in the right place at the right time). But playing a victim and framing everything around a demographic title is NEVER a good thing.

    • Well, the intent of my post evidently succeeded, because now I have a good topic, but I’ll cover the basics in my response.

      A couple points…

      I do frame everything here in terms of trans* simply for the reason that the whole purpose of the blog is talk about transgender issues, or more specifically, my take on them. It’s right up there under the mast head. I do this because I enjoy writing about a topic as I learn more in my own transition. Granted I picked up a readership for some reason, but I really just do this for myself, and will probably continue as long as I get something out of it.

      As for the ‘victim modality’. Ugh, where to begin? I’m not a victim of anything, nor have I ever claimed to be. Nobody made me this way, or did anything to me. Granted, my status is, for lack of a better term, “sucky” at times, it just simply is. I don’t see this as any different from someone being born gay, or ginger (when did that become a thing anyway?) and exploring what that means and the peculiarities associated with it. Anyway, it makes a good topic for exploration, so thanks in spite of the erroneous assumption. It’s OK to make these – I’m already an ass – so I have nothing to lose in it.

      The phobic thing… well, another topic for exploration. In short, that is simple zeitgeist speaking. Anyone who is against anything is currently labeled “phobic”, even when no one is really afraid. Just the times, and times will change and then it will be something else. Since we are on the subject of living our lives and all, you seem to be spending more time reading trans writing then say someone with no interest in the subject, or even many trans people for that matter. So, why?

      I’m not making any allegation that you are secretly trans. If anything, I find it highly unlikely as in-denial trans generally stay as far away as possible from this sort of site, much less make commentary. Something about the situation seems to get your goat, and after several rounds of commentary, I’m not at all clear why. Ultimately it doesn’t matter, but usually people don’t take the time you have on a subject that really pertains to very few. You are always welcome, as are all readers, to contact me directly using the ‘Contact Michelle’ “feature” that really just points you to the private mailbox of this blog:

      As for the “jumping on”… You probably realize your choice of phrasing often comes across a bit on the abrasive side. You may not be intending to be making personal attacks or broad, sweeping negative generalizations about the demographic (and by nature, all within it), but people are definitely reading you this way. I don’t really like to do this myself, being more of a ‘dialog or ignore’ kind of person, but in my experience, that really isn’t most people. If you take someone who has already been poked with a stick 100 times, the defenses fly up fast when you come toward them with a bit of hickory.

      Oh come now, “despite doing a lot of things many never have or will”? You know everyone thinks that, right?  I know you can do better than that NYK.

      In closing, definitely not a victim here, nor claiming anyone else trans is unless of course they actually are the victim of a crime, discrimination, or unreasonably harsh credit score. As for writing about issues endemic to a demographic that has historically been marginalized? Impossible to say, but it’s hard to argue that providing information or allowing someone to laugh at themselves is really a bad thing.

      You never seem to reply to my replies anymore. What’s up? I know I’m not that good to close an issue with just one volley.

      • nobody you know

        Definitely not trans-anything…but as with many areas of life in which one may have some measure of involvement, it is always wise to keep an ear to the ground to what all sides of an equation might be saying. In my case, that involves paying attention to those who essentially tend towards doing away with spaces for women-born-women. That being said, your point of view, at least from much of what I have seen tends to actually be a little more middle of the road rather than some of the stuff I see coming from the ‘activist’ crowd that believes they have an inherent right to redefine what male and female entail from a biological standpoint and that want to insist on creating the legal fiction of penised-women and vagina’ed-men. While some of your readers/commenters get worked up over some of the comments, you have previously shown some signs of perhaps actually “getting it” as it relates to viewing things as something other than a black and white polar-opposite issue between trans* and those such as me who automatically get the derisive label of TERF from some sites.

        I’ve had clients who were trans* in both directions. The ones who were most grounded in reality did not think of their daily activities in terms of trans-anything. Similarly, they never claimed that their lot in life was because of anything trans-related nor did that want to think of themselves as trans-anything. They never subscribed to the whole “cis” bullshit that trans* wants to use and they did not consider themselves to be under a “transgender” umbrella. For their efforts, they tended to be labeled as some sort of separatist (or worse if those like Roberts or Cooke are ever to be believed).

        The “-phobe” label is used far too frequently by trans*. The reality is that people in the real world are going to disagree on issues. However, trans* wants to routinely demand that they be given what amounts to special rights and try to do so through legislating sex roles/stereotypes into statute under the guise of “gender identity” and that any opposition must therefore be the product of “transphobic” persons. This creates a pushback, just as does any effort to remove discussions of reproductive rights (a very real issue that impacts females) or, as was seen with a recent college platform, where efforts are made to no-platform a speaker simply because they have voiced opinions that trans-INC did not like (nevermind that they had been asked to speak on a topic that had nothing to do with trans-related issues). We saw on your very blog where a commenter wants to quickly place me in the ‘phobic’ category simply because I have a difference of opinion, nevermind that they didn’t want to address the issue of message- instead it is SOOOO much easier for them to attack the messenger because the message actually might have forced some measure of introspection (I elected not to respond again there because it was not going to be productive since the individual appeared to have no interest in trying to discuss the actual message). And no, I also do not believe that sexual orientation needs to be included in legislated protections either…ENDA is a waste of legislative resources, and I say that as a lesbian who has been out in the workforce for the better part of the past 30 years. “Hate crime” legislation is another waste of resources because it creates too many prosecutorial hurdles when the underlying criminal conduct stands on its own accord for conviction purposes, but I digress…

        As to doing a lot of things others haven’t…let me be the first to tell you that being paid for a movie really isn’t all that. It was lots of standing around doing nothing for a long period of time. Flying? Again, yeah it can be fun at first, but flight planning can actually be pretty boring since, well, it isn’t real wise to take multiple-hour flights even on a VFR basis without charting things out and filing a flight plan. Being interviewed by the media in an area of expertise gets old after a while. Even competition in athletic endeavors has a great degree of boredom when viewed in the grand scheme of things. I also don’t get the whole fascination that some have with celebrities…we aren’t all media whores. Yet many people do find it surprising that I am very blase about all of those things.

        Just as my life does not revolve around being a lesbian (although my social life is indeed very lesbian-centric), I dare say that those who were transsexual would do far better to stop viewing life in terms of everything being about trans*. And yes, those who are legitimately transsexual would do themselves a great deal of good to unhitch the wagon from ‘transgender’ and the baggage that umbrella carries.

        • I do appreciate you taking the time to elaborate. I hate it when
          people walk just as the discussion starts getting into the real meat
          of things, even though it could have been a good comedy bit. “I miss
          NYK commenting… Who’s NYK?… Not ‘Nick’, nobody you know… Wait.
          What? Who do you mean? … I don’t even know, Nobody You Know, you
          know, NYK.” Sorry, I really can’t help myself.

          I think we are coming closer on the issues, but unsure yet if there is
          a common place we can meet and exchange Christmas cookies. I hope so,
          but my career as a prognosticator took a turn for the worse with the
          whole gender change thingie. Even so, let’s see.

          First point, you have to know that there is no easier way of making a
          trans woman go from zero to ten than by calling her a man. The problem
          I have with that is not so much in the semantics, but that it
          immediately turns any logical discussion into an emotional one for at
          least one of the parties. I think this is hopelessly
          counterproductive. I have to put this in the category of name calling,
          which I personally decided to disregard because I don’t like to give
          anyone an easy button. Words are just words. Even so, people take this
          very personally and they are then most likely to discount or flat out
          oppose anything you have to say. I’m not saying it’s right, but it is

          The heart of the discussion, if I’m reading you right, is the
          emotionally charged bathroom issue. I think this is the impasse and
          the reason both sides get very worked up. I’m not going to lie here,
          I’ve gotten worked up myself over this even though I try to see both
          sides. On one side, some women feel very strongly that certain spaces
          should be for, and only for, women with XX chromosomes. On the other
          side, some trans* feel very strongly that female gender expression is
          sufficient grounds for entry into any and all female designated
          spaces. At the almost center, where few people are, there are
          compromised positions on both sides. Some women acknowledge
          transitioned or transitioning transsexuals are not threats to the
          safety female only spaces are intended to provide. Some trans
          acknowledge the importance of that safety, agree with it, but don’t
          know how to separate from an alliance that without, active support
          dwindles to nothing. Then there is the vast majority of the overall
          population that doesn’t really care.

          What to do? Aside from ratcheting up fiery rhetoric and lots of name
          calling. We can start where we agree. Women need segregated spaces,
          free of male intrusion, that are as risk free as humanly possible from
          assault, rape, voyeurism, and triggers to sexual abuse survivors, of
          which there are far, far too many. Now it get’s sticky as trans are
          added who fear the same things and also want the benefit of
          protection. Most transsexuals simply use these spaces, most often with
          none the wiser, because we are simply going to go somewhere when
          nature calls and fear of assault steers us there. That is unlikely to
          change, even if harsh legal penalties are legislated, because
          alternative options are rare, plus most who are passable or at least
          think they are, are unlikely to out themselves by heading to the
          little trans room. Also, (and forgive me for spending more time on my
          side than yours – I simply understand it better) we understand
          ourselves as women no matter what laws, opinions or name calling is
          brought to bear to dissuade us of this knowledge, and therefore feel
          use of safe space is entirely within our rights.

          OK, I can feel you disagreeing from here, but give me just a moment to
          clarify this. The honest and true sticking point is that some, perhaps
          yourself included, do not consider us women no matter what evidence is
          presented, or hold fast to the raw genetic definition of gender. At
          the same time, we, even before public opinion, medical, psychiatric,
          and psychological opinion, and societal opinion were even willing to
          consider even an inkling of a notion that gender could be
          transitioned, were still unshakable in this. At present, however,
          those opinions have shifted dramatically in support of our
          understanding. It simply can’t be budged. All the “no, you aren’t” and
          “yes, I am” back and forth changes nothing.

          Wrapping up this really long point (I was never accused of wit, or the
          brevity that comes with it), where do we take this to achieve the
          common goal of all people who understand themselves as women having
          safety in segregated spaces? What we are doing right now won’t do
          that. If trans women continue to make progress in activist
          campaigning, some cisgender women will feel compromised and unsafe.
          This is not a great solution. If cisgender women turn the greater tide
          and manage to forcibly exclude trans women from safe spaces, we will
          likely continue anyway or be pushed into a guaranteed unsafe
          situation. This isn’t good either.

          Then you have the trans umbrella, which can be a real conundrum
          however you look at it. I believe you are making the case that the
          existence of the umbrella is one of the issues that is preventing any
          forward movement toward compromise and one of the root causes of there
          being such a strong opposition. Looking at it on the other side, the
          umbrella exists because there was strong opposition on the other side.
          If the umbrella were lowered would the opposition be removed? That’s
          not a question either of us can answer, nor, I believe can anyone
          because neither side has empowered leadership and a majority backing
          by their camp. At times like these that I miss my youthful idealism
          where I would just suggest a big conference where both sides met up,
          presented their topics and got to know each other as people while
          brainstorming some common ground solutions.

          Legislation is sticky. I agree with you that a whole lot of it causes
          much legal entanglement that comes to little good. At the time most of
          it is fought for, however, there is a clear and pressing need. Either
          way though, employers and landlords can very easily produce bona fide
          or entirely manufactured evidence for decisions that are entirely
          independent of gender, race, creed, physical ability, or age, so
          legislated paper tigers are of limited value.

          It sounds like you have lived a full life thus far! I get jaded as
          well. The majority of my life doesn’t find its way into this blog
          mainly because it’s irrelevant to the topics. I don’t get the whole
          celebrity thing either to be honest. Allowing the fact that people
          know your name or personal details to change who you are or what you
          do doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

          Finally, the transsexuals being all about being transsexual is just
          the crest of the wave you are seeing. Building up the impetus to
          finally act after years or decades takes a lot of energy. We tend to
          gather steam and break the surface in a loud crescendo, do a little
          dance, make a little love, then get down, disappearing into the great
          sea of humanity. By and large, the number of old ladies still
          advertising they are trans, who transitioned a few years or more
          before, are very few. Transition is a big, hard, weird, frightening,
          empowering, and energizing thing, but at the end of it all, we simply
          look to live our lives, pursue our real, non-trans related, interests
          and grow old with loved ones, whomever they may be.

          Again, thanks for engaging. I’ll always listen with respect even when
          we are far apart. Maybe my idealism isn’t completely gone, because I
          still think that reasonable dialog does go far to at least achieving
          an understanding of where the other person is at and why they hold the
          opinions they do. I don’t think anyone holds a strong set of beliefs
          just to be mean, or stupid, or contrary. By acknowledging that each
          side has good reasoning for thinking what they do, we can look at our
          own points of view and see where we are the same, and what we have to
          work on. Peace NYK.

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