Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fears From the Outside

Now that everyone who needs to know about Natasha knows, and now that Natasha is getting some help to deal with her blue days, I have been able to return my attention more to the other things that I worry about in terms of the kind of world my children will inherit. These worries don't all stem far from transsexualism. In fact, TS is the epicenter of at least one. This is the big one at the moment.

Who is going to kill my spouse and children?

NPR reported today that the number of hate groups is on the rise. While this might be because of the economy and the blame-game of who's taking all the jobs and who's squatting in abandoned homes and such, the fact that we are Jewish and that my spouse is transsexual doesn't make me feel any safer... especially here in Phoenix, where you can't have a dog without paying for a license, but you can have a semi-automatic dangling in the breeze from your hip holster. In my time here, I have met only a small handful of people with whom I might leave my children for a short time (besides my parents and brother). Only two people, who are a couple with two kids, share perhaps 90% of our values (even though she likes the weather here!). They know about Natasha and accept her without reservation. They, by the way, are NOT native to Phoenix.

With everything that is happening in the Middle East (civil wars) and what's going on in Wisconsin (union abolition) and what happened in Tuscon (the shooting), I find myself wondering when the uprising is going to start in America. If we're still in Phoenix, we're screwed! Natasha is starting to look for work outside of teaching. In spite of certain protections in certain states against discrimination about transitioning folks, the person who isn't transitioning is still more likely to get the teaching job. We're thinking of ways to get ourselves moved into more liberal areas... California or Washington maybe (sorry, Vermont. You'll have to wait a little longer)... and into a more liberal line of work. It's a hard road, but for our and our children's sakes, it's safer for us to be somewhere else. Even then, there are people who still hate you for who you are or who your parent is.

I also have issues with the environment. I ask: What kind of air will my children breathe in the future? Will there be a livable environment on the planet in ten years? Will there be wild animals in a few years? Will America dissolve into smaller nation-states? When will the middle-class disappear entirely? Will they ever invent an anti-aging drug?... I could go on.

Every once in a while, I do still have those pangs of worry about having a lesbian spouse. As I drove around today, I noticed that my fingernails were getting a little long and I thought about what it would be like to see Natasha's hands with longer fingernails. It was kind of weird. On the other hand, I also looked at the Pyramid catalog email today and saw a really nice blouse that she would LOVE! So clearly, my worries of the physicality of the transition are not significant. I do, however, continue to worry about the "other." We were planning to write a book after Natasha's transition. We thought it would be beneficial to share our experiences... especially since I'm staying. But recently some woman came out into the public eye as a transsexual and her life is in tatters because of it (ask Natasha. I can't remember her name). As much as we want to help educate people about transsexualism, as much as we would like to help make this a condition that is defended 100% by the ACLU, we have our children, family and friends to think about.

In today's climate of growing intolerance and blame, I fear and distrust the "other" more and more. I feel like our house is a secret hiding place in the middle of a forest that belongs to the enemy.

Last October, there was a terrible hail storm here that spawned several tornadoes outside of Flagstaff. My parents, the kids, Natasha and I were in our minivan when the storm hit. My mother and I looked out into the sky and saw a green, rotating cloud. We didn't say anything aloud because the kids were already terrified of the hailstones pounding against the roof and windows, but we were waiting to see a twister drop down on us. Although it didn't happen, I had a feeling that we would see this kind of weather again next year. I still feel that we might just see a tornado here. Those of you reading this who have known me for a long time know how I feel about the weather and what will and will not kill me. I am afraid that if we are still here, the weather will punish me for not having gotten us out sooner: for not having tried hard enough to change our lives for the better. This is a true fear... and there is very little in this world that scares me. Notice that almost everything else I've written about here was a "worry"? This "fear" may seem pretty out-there, but the weather and I have a strange relationship. Since we moved here, we've noticed that our area of Phoenix is like a weather vortex. Most of the time, the rain and clouds skirt AROUND our area. You can see it happening. On the day of the hail, I had been talking about how much I disliked being in Phoenix and how much I wanted to figure a way out of it. That's when the vortex was breached in a BIG way. I'm putting two and two together here in a spiritual way. I might be wrong scientifically. It may have had NOTHING to do with me. The Northridge, California earthquake in 1994 may have had nothing to do with me, either, but I still think it was interesting that it happened after months of complaining that my career was stagnant while also not doing too much about it myself. Talk about a kick in the butt!!

Anyway, my point is that the vortex... my secret hiding place... is being threatened. I have this urge to take my family and run, but there is nowhere to go. We're stuck for now, until we open the right door. We're searching for that door, and we hope that it safely leads us to a better place (not just physical, you know). :-)


Ariel said...

The weather isn't about you. Neither are earthquakes. I'm very confident about that, both scientifically and spiritually (as though I'm qualified to talk about anything spiritual).

Getting out of Phoenix, though, or really out of Arizona entirely, now that makes sense to me. Keep in mind that the more liberal parts of the west coast are the large cities.

While reading your post, I realized that I think about the future of the world in general terms but not the way you do. I have no offspring. When I'm gone, that's it. You have progeny. No wonder your concern is different!

I hope you can all make a good move before too long. And stay safe in the meantime.

LeAnne said...

I can truely appreciate your fears and your worries.

There is not a day that goes by in my life that is not filled with the constant fear and anxiety of being attacked. Either myself, my honey, or my daughters. As we live in a very family oriented community locked in a conservative, religous based beliefs. (nothing wrong with that) Great place for a 'normal' family and not so much for a nontraditional one. We are also surrounded by people whom are very phobic in understanding the complexities of the lives of those of us whom choose to be different from them.

They are all stronger than I. My family. They don't possess the inner fears I have of the possibility that some maniac may bring them harm simply because of the person whom I choose to be. Which is the very reason that shortly after I have my name changed and living a life that I have to live. We are moving to a state that has discrimination rights for people like myself, and your Natasha.

Also, like yourself. I want to pack up and run some times. In the past I did not listen to my feelings and became wiser in understanding what those feelings meant. This time, I'm listening to them and paying attention to the people in my life whom are the most important.


Yes, I worry. I worry about what will happen to these people that I love simply because of the way that I am.

I could not forgive myself if something happened to them just because of me. However, I also can't continue living the way I am now. So, It's a double edged sword.

Running.... sounds good to me!

Anne said...

Casey. It's called a woman's intuition. Trust it. I posted on that a few months ago. Here is the Link...

I have lived in the Phoenix area, more accurately, Scottsdale, and I never really liked it. I moved there to take advantage of the rising R.E. "bubble" and managed to "get out" in reasonaby good order about 5 years ago. Just in time as it turned out.

My point is that it sounds like you have a reasonably well thought out plan and at this point it seems to me that your best option is to "stay the course".

I think that looking for an alternative location is a good idea, although I am not sure that I would consider the larger West Coast Cities, particularly safe and they are pretty darn expensive.

My email is available via my blog's profile if you would care to contact me directly. I maybe somewhat "outspoken" at times, but then, what can I say? I am, who I am. :-)

Halle said...

Intuition is an interesting phenomenon. I believe in my case that my brain is capable of putting ideas and facts together in ways that words cannot convey.

While I will never know whether following that instinctive inner instruction has saved me, I do know the regret when those feelings were not heeded and bad things did happen.

Your description of haters in a climate of fear toting semi-automatics on their belt just gives me shivers.

If it was me, and the means existed, I would be following my 'gut' and 'getting out of Dodge'.


Casey said...

@Anne, thanks for the link. I will read it shortly.
I know I don't REALLY have anything to do with the behavior of the weather, but if you follow the idea of Jung and the collective unconscious, you could possibly make the leap that the weather/earth events happened when I most needed a sign (the power of the human will is prominent in Jung's theories). It's like religion: if you pray hard enough, you'll see signs everywhere... even if they aren't meant for you in particular. :-D

Anyway, I do use my intuition for most things, including what I feel is happening here. We're trudging forward into the future and we're doing what we can to stay out of the mud.

Ah well... on to the next blog post!

Kathryn Martin said...

I have always considered that events that seemingly happen to you are often a reflection of your inner state. I totally understand what you are saying. There is no causal connection that scientifically can be made, but it is more curious to be coincidence.

And listening to yourself is so very important.

Anonymous said...

I live in New York City, I know that big city life is not for everyone, and bad things do still happen here, although rarely. What I'm trying to get to is that NYC is a very good place for transfolk to live. I moved here in 1994 and it was the best decision I've ever made.