Tag Archive | breaking bad

If Your Uncle Jack was Stuck on a Horse, Would You Help Your Uncle Jack Off?

My uncle visited my mother’s house the other week on his way to LAX. His goal was to bring some vitamins and clothes back to China for my dad, but he didn’t expect to see me there.

uncle jack

Uncle Jack

Although he knew about my transition since 2011 when I had informed the entire family about my fulltime status of living as a woman, he had never seen me in person……and I knew it was going to be very difficult for him, to say the least.

From the moment he walked in, he kept looking down or away, never making eye contact. He briefly waved at me and said hi, and quickly resumed packing and rustling through all his baggage. He was flustered and had “ADD” the whole time, and kept shifting conversation topics towards Taiwan politics or other issues my mom felt passionate about so that she would chime in and help him avoid being stuck talking only to me.

I was a bit disappointed that he never really acknowledged me or listened to what I had to say the entire time he was there. I wanted to pout, and politely and firmly finish what I was saying before I was interrupted in mid-sentence each time, but I let it go. I recalled my newfound receptivity and feminine tactics and social graces, and I further reminded myself that I could learn from the experience and do better next time. The goal, I realized, wasn’t to fix the situation and penetrate further with insistent conversation, but rather, to let him take it all in, the new me, the regendering of me of which he needed time to process.

I was proud of my response, as I could see the recent growth I was owning.

But after he left, my mom said with a smile: “He found you attractive, and didn’t know how to react!”

I agreed with my mom and we both shared a laugh.

My uncle certainly had his way with attractive, tall, well-dressed and sexy Chinese women in the past, and the thought had crossed my mind while he was there that my looks played a big part in his discomfort.

But I didn’t fully believe in it. Part of me resisted acknowledging to myself that I could possibly be in the same category as his ex-girlfriends. After all, they were all cisgender women, ready to settle down and start a family with him, and the only thing that stopped that from happening was my uncle not being ready at the time, still womanizing and playing the field.

So was it possible? Could I have really measured up to those other women? Did I dare compare myself to other attractive cisgender women? Could I transcend all the shit and stigma and shame from being trans, and just see myself for who I was, just another woman who was worthy of being seen as beautiful, inside and out?

It was troubling to me that I had so much difficulty accepting that I was seen as attractive. I just didn’t have what it took that day to fully believe in myself, and my shortchanging of self was very disconcerting.

As a woman, feeling attractive oscillates: some days come easy, some days are just brutal. I have had countless days where I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum: going to work where I felt like a million dollars, and my energy radiated out to compel other coworkers to compliment me, contrasted with the days where I felt hideous and my nervous energy drew negative attention towards me before I even gave myself a chance to breathe and start the day. But what bothered me this time was that I chalked it all to being a transgender woman, and my internalized transphobia got the better of me before I even started my interaction with my uncle.

It was one of those moments where I didn’t trust in my feminine heart, and paid the price of missing what was right in front of me: the beauty and awesome feeling of being seen as a pretty woman and being appreciated for it. And nothing more.

My initial reaction after he left, was that I wanted to power through the uneasy feelings with my old outdated methods with brute force and avoidance, being more adamant, fighting my way through without even considering surrender and serenity.

How quickly was it that I completely forgot about all the times I’ve turned heads and gotten compliments from all sorts of women in public, and the amazing question of “are you a model from the USA?” asked of me when I was in Shanghai just last December.

It was these types of scenarios that clearly reminded me that I had the power to choose what aspect of each scenario I wanted to focus on, and how I could let the lessons and blessings from my Mother In The Sky increase the size of my vault of wisdom.

It reminded me of the fact that surrendering to the situation was where my true power was; that I couldn’t speed up the regendering process he was going through; that my uncle needed time to examine the new me, and that he had to relinquish the old image he had of me that was associated with all the precious times he shared with me during my childhood; that it was a great moment for me to show him compassion and patience as he regendered me in his head; that he needed the time to see me flow and interact as a woman to provide him new context in which to see me.

And most fun of all amongst all the craziness, was that he was flustered because he found me attractive.

That was definitely worth the price of admission!

Breaking Bad: What Would I Do to Feel Alive?

It’s been a few weeks now since the final and epic episode of Breaking Bad aired, and I’m still thinking about the whole TV series and how it ended.  What an amazing show.
But there was one line that stood out more than any other line, for me at least…breaking-bad-logo

And that was when Walt said he didn’t feel alive until he knew he was terminally ill with cancer.

What is it, that makes us finally appreciate the time we do have left, and the choices we can still make with the time remaining, once we are intensely reminded that the time we have left is critically limited?

I think the line in Fight Club stands out, when the narrator, played by Ed Norton, said: “Let all that which does not truly matter slide.”

It’s like weeding out the fat, and keeping all the healthy nutrients and good parts of the meat.

And although Walt didn’t make the most noble of decisions throughout his two years of rising to power, he did feel alive due to staying incredibly determined to keep his empire growing, even while repeatedly risking his family’s safety and Jesse’s life.  He was truly committed and believed in his choice.

I often wonder how I’d conduct my own life if I only had 6 months to live.  Would I still dress the way I do?  Would I still spend time doing what I currently do (shopping would take up a huge percentage of the pie chart if I put how I spent my time up on the blackboard)?  Who would I spend time with, and what remaining activities would I pursue?  How would I invest the remainder of my time wisely?  What choices would I make?

And the other fun thought exercise inevitably pops up when I think about a shortened life.  How about if I had all the time in the world because everyone died and I had the entire world to myself, like Will Smith did in I am Legend….what would I choose to do then?

Would I still dress relatively high end and sophisticated like I do now, or would I drastically shift to a more relaxed style due to the threat of feeling insecure being completely removed?  Would I start wearing sweats with combat boots for practicality?  Would I still want a nice car, or would I drive a truck or a vehicle much more adaptable for multi-purpose usage?  Would I still conduct myself the same, and have the same inner dialogue and critiques about myself?

With societal scrutiny and pressure removed, would I still beat myself up for transitioning later than I would have liked?  Would I still want to doll up to feel pretty from time to time because of the age old notion that a woman “has to feel pretty every now and then?”  Or would I truly not have the urge anymore?

What would I do with my free time to feel alive, like Walt did?  I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t cook crystal meth, but you never know with these things.  People change…and with such dire circumstances and living alone (which I don’t currently deal with too well, but I’m working on it), lord knows I would be apt to snap and try new things to keep my mind occupied.  Those meditation tapes I’ve been diligently using each night haven’t really made as big of a difference in my mind wandering and intruding in my daily life as much as I would have liked.

I think I would simplify my life.  I really would, just out of sheer practicality and necessity.

And that thought, that notion, bothers me.  And I think I know why.

In my mind, I would like to consider myself someone hip, cool, and exciting.  And the thought of becoming extremely boring as a result of humanity on the borderline of being extinct, bothers me.

I don’t like the idea of being boring and predictable, even if I can simultaneously be original along with boring and predictable.

I suppose there is still something missing inside me, and until I find what is causing that void, I will be unhappy regardless if I’m in good health or dying of cancer, like Walt.