Monday, 2 January 2017

2016 Goals Review and 2017 Goals

Writing this year's goals, or getting the motivation to write them, is more difficult this time around. I have a lot of trepidation about the future from this point onward (not uniquely, I'm sure). I'm posting them a day later than normal. I spent this afternoon vacuuming, finishing laundry and, most importantly, moving books around. The last one is the most important because, like my intellectual mind, my suite has been filled with piles of books and putting them in order felt like doing the same mentally; I first realized this years ago. I dusted off my shrine after years and moved my Buddhist books back into its shelves. Likewise I rearranged books in all of the other topics, music and pop culture, gardening, food and permaculture, literature, social justice and black history. My mind is clearer and my priorities have come into focus.

Here is what I posted last year:

"Health will continue to be a top priority: overwhelm, sleep, mood, nutrition and diet, and fitness will remain important. This year, I have three goals:

1. Finishing my recovery period
2. Improving my overall health and fitness
3. Focusing only on my writing (outside of work) as a creative activity

To elaborate:

1. I will continue to follow my aftercare (dilation) schedule which is currently once daily and will change to once weekly starting March 21 and continue that way for the rest of my life. Also, I will get regular check-ups, lab tests and any other health care service I require as soon as required.

2. I will (other than this blog) avoid social media involvement after 11:00 pm nightly and will get to sleep promptly, doing anything I need to do to facilitate the proper amount of night time sleep. I will eat a more balanced diet (I have a sweet tooth which I am sure has deep emotional roots) and take up a fitness routine, likely something t'ai chi related along with some light cardio.

3. For years, I have tried to do as much as possible: I can no longer sustain this. I choose to focus on writing this year as I would to further develop some ideas I have had in mind."

I succeeded and completed number 1. No complications to date and my weekly schedule continues. I struggled with the second goal throughout 2016 thanks to the many curve balls thrown on various levels, but I persist. I will renew, with slight modifications, my commitment to it in 2017 (more later on in this post). Regarding number 3, my (paid for) writing and other creative activities saw fruition with the completion of a radio documentary and the screening of a TV sitcom which I contributed to a few years earlier. I nurtured a few other ideas, but they are to date still at the concept stage.

For 2017, my goals (outside of my career) are split. There are my personal (health) goals and there are my activist goals. My personal goals are as follows:

1. I will (other than this blog) avoid social media involvement after 11:00 pm nightly and will get to sleep promptly, doing anything I need to do to facilitate the proper amount of night time sleep.

2. I will eat a more balanced diet and continue t'ai chi classes and related fitness activities along with some light cardio (walking).

3. I will also get some bodywork (massage, chiropractic or shiatsu) done to relieve and release stress in my body.

4. I will reintroduce meditation into my schedule and consult with a psychotherapist (as I did in 2016) whenever required.

5. I will continue to write and blog.

6. I will finish up any last ID changes (provincial and passport) that need to be done.

7. I will, with help, set up a financial plan.

These seem like more then enough for one year and will likely continue past that.
Because of the oppressive trends (none of them new) that became more visible in 2016, my activist goal is:
1. Participate in a local social justice organization.

2. Get involved in a local permaculture organization.

3. Continue to educate myself about intersectional (race, gender, class) and environmental issues through books and other media.

These are my 2017 goals. Best of luck with whatever goals you may set for yourself!

Saturday, 31 December 2016

(Happy?) New Year 2017!

There is a film studies book on Weimar era cinema subtitled "Daydreams and Nightmares": what more fitting subtitle for the year that is, as I write this, almost history. That hesitant, leery way that Liza Minnelli sings "life is a ... ca-ba-ret old chum" in the final, chilling scene in Cabaret is exactly the tone guiding us out into the fog that lies beyond 2016.

For me the daydreams were personal. Creative projects, one of which had been years in the making, finally came to fruition. The Switch, the world's first transgender sitcom debuted on OutTV on July 25. Being a part of the writers' room in 2012-13 was one of the highlights of my life. The red carpet event in late July (Pride week) was a deep affirmation of our team's work, and for me, in a traumatic year, a rare moment of levity and balm for the soul. The same week saw a more recent solo project, a radio documentary on the medical aspect of my transition, air for the second time this year (it had debuted two months earlier on my alma mater CiTR FM where I had once hosted a music show for seven years). Inspired by these two events, my daydreams were about a life in creative harmony, making sharp, poignant social commentary and reaching many people through writing.

My other daydreams were of the good life, not in the monetary sense, but the sustainable life. Me on an organic farm, living in an earthship, getting back in touch with health and spiritual practice. The daydreams were always sunny and bright. When I arrived in Vancouver, over 21 years ago, they were what I was aiming for. The reality of this year seemed light years away from it.

No area of life in 2016, from the clinic in my hometown where I was nurtured through rebirth to friends, colleagues, family, neighbours, and others in any of my intersecting communities was untouched by shock, chaos, fear of death, gaslighting and abuse and dread about the world and the future. And violence and destruction (Nice, Orlando, Minnesota, Oakland, Aleppo, Istanbul). And the deaths of our modern heros and heroines at the exact point where we seemed to need their guidance the most. And the ascendancy of the evil and the psychopathic into positions of power, or at least, escaping justice and accountability.

By the end of this year, my trauma and that of my friends and others has made us tired and weary. Only fitting that Vancouver is having one of its rare snowy, cold winters this year. In years past, this was my cue to hibernate. Once, long ago, when I was thirteen and my biological mother was hospitalized, I retreated into a world of cartoons, old films and Christmas lights. Years later, after she passed when I was a young adult, I turned inward once again, this time taking refuge in the music I heard as a child. Still years later, during another snowy Vancouver winter, as a newly single person I once again turned inward, this time trying to plot a way forward in life. This winter, other than for thin respite provided by holiday music, I shut off the radio and computer in disgust.

At the end of this year, the way forward is foggy, the steps forward are shaky, the music has, sadly, lost its old magic. But, soon this rest period too will end and looking at the very numbers 2017 will take unparalleled courage. On that, I wish all of us godspeed.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Happy Christmas, et al! ... If the Fates Allow ...

At the end of a traumatic year on almost every level, this holiday season feels much like other time in my life when hibernation seemed the right thing to do ... for now. There will be plenty of time to get active next year and beyond. My next posts will be the usual, annual New Year's Eve/Day posts in a week's time.

In the meantime, Happy Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Candlemas, Shab-i-Jaldá’, Festival of Lights, Festivus and Secular Holidays to all!

Monday, 5 September 2016

Long Time Woman: Happy Birthday to Me!!!

In another hour, I'll be forty-six years on Earth. After a tumultuous year with much to process, I'm taking it ultra low key tomorrow and this week. I hope to get some reading done as well as leisurely late-summer walks with a little socializing thrown in.

Happy Birthday to Me!!!

Monday, 1 August 2016

UBC 100 Radio Documentary: Obstacles and Outcomes

Also for Pride season, currently airing on CiTR FM (where I hosted a program for seven years), is my radio documentary "Obstacles and Outcomes", about my journey through the health care system in British Columbia and Canada set against some of the landmark struggles for better trans health care over the past twenty years.

The documentary was made as part of the UBC 100 Radio Documentary series in which each piece features archival radio clips. My documentary features segments from the long-running LGBTQ issues program Queer FM, hosted from 1993-2010 by Heather Kitching. Enjoy the documentary (completed this past April) and follow-up interview (recorded over the phone in May).

The Switch Airs on OutTV!!!

Finally, the day (the month, the summer) has arrived! The Switch, the world's first transgender TV sitcom, broadcast its first episode on OUTtv last Monday evening, July 25. Over three years ago I was part of the writers' room that crafted the story arc and developed the characters and their hopes, fears and motivations. The Switch, the brain child of film maker and Executive Producer Amy Fox (who also stars as Chris in the series), features transgender characters portrayed by transgender performers; in addition many trans folks were writers and on the production crew. The show was recast three times and the writing has also been through many changes. In May, the Switch won two Leo Awards for Best Comedy Series and for Best Actor (Amy Fox).

It's been a long time coming! I saw the first three episodes at the red carpet gala a week ago. Tune in tonight at 9:00 pm for episode 2, story by yours truly. There are six episodes in total. Most importantly tell OUTtv that you like what you see and help The Switch get a second season produced and on the air.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Help Is Available For Those Who Are Struggling With Trauma

Many, many of us in the LGBTQ/ally community have been impacted severely by learning of last weekend's shooting in Orlando, Florida. This can include anxiety and PTSD symptoms. This is currently the case with me. The numbers below can provide assistance anytime. If you need help from a doctor or a psychotherapist, please seek help immediately,

We are in this together.

Love, Vanessa