Tune in, Drop Out

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The key to sanity in crazy times, is detachment. This detachment can either be based on animal instinct (when your brain is faced with traumatic circumstances, it will dissociate) or trained. The difference is that in a situation of (perceived) danger, your brain will run the ship for you – and in the other situation, you choose to drop out.

Although I don´t think that it is possible for regular human beings to meditate themselves through a dangerous situation (and thus dissociation will always take place in that event), you can meditate yourself through some mental and emotional hardship. Including dysphoria. It will not disappear, but it enables you to manage it better.

In tune with the analogy I made in my previous post between PMS and the use of drugs, I chose the name of the post. The reason why I chose this title is in the strategy of mindfulness. First, tune in with your deepest, most truest sense of Self: the “I”. The “I” consists of your presence – not more. It is the core from which thoughts arise.

“Drop out” simply refers to the choice to distantiate yourself from the turbulence that arises from thought. In the case of PMS, this might be a feeling of insecurity. In the case of dypshoria, it might be the feeling that you are not masculine or feminine “enough”. In any case feelings about ourselves are often based on thought.

Most likely, most people will not immediately recognize the link between our feelings and our thoughts, because our thoughts often roam just below our awareness, and we are not conscious of even thinking them. “I think, therefore I am”, becomes an expression that you can wonder about. Are you conscious of your thoughts?

One of the fundamentals of meditation and yoga, which I think you know, is seeing the thoughts that are in your mind. Perception, rather than trying to ignore all that chatter – which is what most people try when they first meditate – is the first step to tuning in to intuition and dropping out of the things created by the mind.

I´m aware of the fact that I probably sound very hippie, new-age or zen right now. I have no problem with that. In my experience, the practices of mindfulness is one of the most down-to-earth activities you will ever engage in. It is far more connected to reality than say, being on Facebook or watching the news on TV.

More about being Zen in Part II.

How to Blog

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A while ago one of my readers asked how to succesfully operate a blog. Or something in that style. I remember deleting the comment because it had a link to an advertising page in it – something about promotions. And though I won´t allow advertising on my site that isn´t hosted by WordPress, today I´ll take a look at what makes great content and how to run it.

Starting a blog on WordPress or similar blogging platform (like Blogger) is fairly easy. Unlike people who build their own website and host it on their own server, WordPress gives you a blank slate on which you can begin to write right away. You make a profile, pick a theme, and if you have some cash to spare, you can buy your own domain name and get rid of ads.

The theme you pick really depends on the image you want your blog to have. Most of them are customizable, which means that you can edit the font, edit the banner, and maybe the background. What is important for me is that the site be easily readable, devoid of any annoying pop-ups or distractions, basically read like an e-book. I usually insert just one picture.

Everyone is different though. How I write is based on what I want as a reader. I loathe enormous chunks of text and things bouncing in my face telling me to subscribe – those things are red flags for me. Think about what people want and about the presentation of the topics you write about. If you blog about traveling, there might be less text but more pictures and media.

Make sure any text you insert has good spelling and is easy to read. Personally, I like to write the words in their entirety (no abbreviations), running a spell-checker and making use of an online thesaurus while I write. This way, I can look up synonyms (and sometimes antonyms) to convey exactly what I want, and in the process learn some new things. I proof read before I publish.

That´s the basics. If you have that covered, I think you are good to go. Come back regularly and try writing even when you think you have nothing to say – you´ll find that once you jump-start that creativity, it will be easier to keep coming up with ideas and interesting things to write about. If you have any tips for me or for other bloggers, leave your thoughts below!

“How To” Intro

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My blog now has a couple of sections, among which looser categories (like Biographic and Opinion) and more specific ones like A Closer Look (in which I attempt to explain aspects of transition) and Transgender Care (dedicated to the nature of transgender healthcare as it is and possible improvements that could be made). There´s a section I´ve been wanting to add for a while, but did not get to yet.

Obviously, guides on “how to” already abound on the web (like for example, the wonderful Hudson´s Guide), and for many specific questions you can just log into Susan´s Place and ask away. Still, I find that there´s many people around me who are wondering how to connect with a transgender community in their region, how to pass as male, how to relate to cisgender guys or girls, or how to approach dating.

For the sake of my writing outline I will start with some of the issues that people encounter first (how do I know I´m really transgender, how do I come out to my family, how do I pass as male), then move on towards more practical concerns (how do I choose where to transition, what approach to transition is best for me), and later on questions that relate to the gender clinics and medical transition itself.

Since it has been important for me, I will also address how to transition safely if you are deciding to deviate from the official paths (not recommended, but I want people to be able to make an informed decision). As I write, I will be adding the links to new posts below this one, so you´ll have an overview of all the “How To” posts and pick the one you want to read (rather than having to scroll through Archives).