Sitting With Sadness, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Sitting with Sadness

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Time slows like it does on long summer afternoons,

You smell the scent of rain even though there is a cloudless sky,

You get up to go about your day and sadness follows you like a moveable river,

You resist impulses to drown out her sobbing with food, sex, spending—

You feel her rocking back and forth in your heart causing you to do the same in your chair,

Trees whisper windy syllables through the curtains and gently tousles your hair,

Bees hover around your house making sure you understand sadness brings gifts of honey,

Cicada song drones through the sky in waves and settles into the hollow places deep in your bones,

A terrible longing–timeless and holy, lives in her tears and touches yours,

And when she decides to leave, she assures you she will return,

And if you are able, you will sit with her again as she weeps around the roots of your being.

 

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However, It Is, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

However, It Is

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

However it is trees really come about, however it is

The moon inhales and exhales, however it is

Raven feathers hold rainbows in their barbs, however it is

We have school yards full of children inside us,

However it is we grow, pouring cells into the world of form

Rising and falling, however it is, the soul is ever thirsty

With oceans living there, however it is birdsong

Follows us wherever we go, however it is we love,

Rising and falling, however it is we dream, however

It is we remember our dreams, however

It is we are immersed in sky, like fish in water, however

It is flowers are so wonderfully geometric, however

It is the earth spins like a whirling dervish, however

It is we search for ourselves in one another, however

It is we kill in God’s name, however

It is we still pray, however

It is, however, it is; however,

It is.

 

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Some Thoughts on the Gender Binary and Everything Else in Between, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Some Thoughts on The Gender Binary

And Everything Else

In Between

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

What I am about to share is going to piss somebody off.  Seems that way about most everything I say nowadays.  However, if you truly have faith in your God, or you truly have faith in who you are as human being, then what you are about to read should not be threatening to anything you believe or experience.  This is not to say that what I have written here is perfect.  Far from it.  Language barriers, prejudices, and fears—yours and my own– make that impossible.  Let’s get on with it.  I am ready for the mean, hateful, harmful, and trolling comments from “both” sides (and “both” is in quotations because well, you’ll see). I am also ready for nice comments.  I am inviting them too. I hope.

I will give you that the idea of the binary exists.  I know, many scientists today say the gender binary doesn’t exist in the ways we’ve traditionally thought, and I totally support their findings.  That said, the idea of polarities exists. It is seemingly everywhere—day and night, cold and hot, light and dark, rainy days and clear days, fire and water, sky and earth.  Having given you that, you will inevitably need to give me, that there isn’t, and never will be, a truly individuated or separate representation or living form that will ever exist on the opposite ends of the binary.  For the opposite ends of the binary are only ideas, even if they are created by God. If this scares you, then so must the idea of the morning, or of the evening, or rainbows, or singing.

The opposite ends of the binary only exist to overtake the other—swallow it up, merge within in it, into and unto, itself—not in battle, never forced—but in dance and song, and flavor.  That is the miracle, that is the beginning of all things.  The purpose of the binary is not to separate, but to join, merge, and hence, create.

No one can imagine the idea of the opposites without seeing, feeling, experiencing, knowing, or witnessing that they are all in some relationship with the other.

Go ahead, stand on the earth without forever being also in the sky.  Be in the middle of a perfectly sunny day and not know that evening is already on its way.  Step into a pool that you want not too hot and not to cold.  You get what I’m saying.

Having given you that the binary exists as theoretical reference points (I know, I know, the Bible says God created male and female and it also says: Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones,” or, “God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.”   I know, I know, you can take a verse of the Bible and use it to back up even the most outlandish ideas.  Like this one: “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.”  I know you can take the fact that God killed about 25 million people in the Bible to represent the killing of our unbelief or to justify the slaughter of unbelievers, but then again, so do some Muslims).  It is high time and low time, to grasp and let go, once and for all, and forever anew, the idea that the front of a coin can be separated from the back.  They exist because of one another and because of what they manifest—and in the case of human existence—they manifest all that is wonderful (not the coins themselves, but what they represent, well, not what they represent, but what they demonstrate).

Cold is nothing unless heat exists.  Up means nothing without down.  Music is only heard in silence. Purple only arises between shades of blue and shades of red. Death prowls and life blooms.  It is the space between them that brings forth all things; where all things wondrous, flavorful, truthful (yes, truthful), and just plain living—exist.  It is in the mingling where the fun begins.

Two people do not have sex in order to annihilate the other.  They have sex to blend together, breathe and gasp together, come together.  It is this joining of bodies, souls, hearts, and minds that brings forth life.

I know, I just got done saying the opposite ends of the binary only exist to overtake the other.  Remember what I also said—the true opposite ends of the binary do not exist except in theory.  You will never find them in life—no man is ever just a man—he has his “feminine” side.  No woman is ever just a woman.  She will have her “masculine” side.  God becomes the mother hen to keep us safe under his wings.  No night is ever not slipping into day.

And that is my point.  Living is in the union.  Fun is in the merging.  Wonder is in the rainbow.  Beauty is in the evening sky.

So please, just as you cannot deny the idea of the binary, you cannot deny the existence of infinite variety, or of the intricate, heavenly, ever-expanding spectrum between the opposite ends of that binary.

I know, there are flaws in what I say.  Language makes things messy and muddles meaning up. You can easily take my words and use them to prove the exact opposite of what I am saying.  That being what it is—you cannot lose sight (well, you can out of your own shadowy, shame-based fears—and we all have them) that all the good stuff lives within and on and with and along a spectrum.  And nothing in between threatens the existence of the binary. The binary will always be the idealized ideas of opposites in the same way day and night will be always be idealized ideas of opposites.  I do not use the word “idealized” to mean better.  I mean it to say, the ultimate opposite ends of the spectrum only exist as ideas.  They never truly manifest, one without the other.

Go ahead, flip a coin.  Not only does it rise, tumbling upwards into the air, it also tumbles down landing on either heads or tails—and these will never exist one without the other—front and back. But I said that already, and I will say it again, at risk of being repetitive (the crusty idea of the idealized binary has been repeated for eons, but so has the idea that God creates souls to burn them in hell, or that the earth is flat, or that slavery is ever a human thing to do). So, I repeat:

It is the stuff that exists along the spectrum that is most intensely alive.  It is the dance between stillness and movement, music and silence, light and darkness, male and female, death and life that makes existence wonderful.  We are born, we die, and it is the living in between that gives either of these meaning (and please don’t think I am associating masculinity with light and darkness with femininity. Remember, however, that language is goofy.  Then again, feel free to associate anything with anything—you’ll get a good idea of how you live your life).

The spectrum is undeniable, and completely, and utterly, wondrously, beautiful, vibrant, and living.

So please do not tell me I do not exist as a transgender person.  I am a living arc–a living rainbow “across” genders. Please do not tell my queer friends, non-binary friends, asexual friends, and so on—that they do not exist.  We are the beauty and meaning of the ideas of so-called, male and female.  We are what is meant to be celebrated because the true opposites will never exist in form.  Murder is not always bad or the Christian religion would mean nothing.  Rebellion is not always bad or else freedom would not exist.  This is not relativism. This is reality.  No one loves without a hint of hate.   No one prays without a hint of doubt.

People like me are the rainbows, we are the mornings and evenings, we are that place where stars and darkness dance.  We are the perfect temperature for swimming.  We are the space between inhaling and exhaling.  We are the glorious existence of form.  And we include all gender identities, all gender expressions, every gender preferences, every rainbow, every song, and every breath.  And so then, we include you.

Do not fear the rainbow.  Go find it, and take out your phones and snap pictures of it.  Give thanks to Goddess for it. Take a selfie with it in the background.  It is a sign that God will never again destroy the earth with a flood—a flood of ignorance, fear, bigotry, or hatred.  The rainbow is the spectrum that blooms from the skies of our souls.

 

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When Mother’s Day Doesn’t Quite Fit, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

When Mother’s Day Doesn’t Quite Fit

 

By

 

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

As I was reminded at church today, Mother’s Day may be hard for some people. Some, like me, have lost their mother’s–in my case, six years ago. And while I can still celebrate her life she isn’t physically present to go out to lunch with or something like that. Others never had a mother–in the sense of one being present in their lives. Others couldn’t have children and desperately wanted to. Others have lost their children to miscarriages or other tragedies. Still others have had mothers who were abusive or negligent. And still others have a strained relationship with their mothers, and some mothers have a strained relationship with their children.

There are also people like me–people who lived most of their parenting lives as “Dad.” I will always be Dad to my kids–I know I was a father to them and I am glad for that. I am also their mother. So, for me, Mother’s Day is very special. I get to parent in a whole new way and in the same ways I did before coming out. Luckily for me my kids are amazingly supportive and I have already received Mother’s Day greetings from them. However, I am also one of those people who has always (even before coming out as trans) ached to be able to have children—I was always deeply envious of pregnant mothers. I have always ached to be able to nurse a child. I have come to accept neither of these things will ever happen–and I am no less a mother. So, to all the non-binary “Moms” or people who act as mothers to others–regardless of their gender. Happy Parent’s Day to you.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the people out there who mother other people’s children—teachers, nurses, doctors, librarians.  Blessings to all the foster moms and moms who have adopted children from around the world or their own communities.

And to all the grandmothers and aunts who have taken on the role of mother again because of special circumstances.  Blessings to all the grandmothers who simply get to grandmother grandchildren, and do so with wisdom.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the single Dads who serve as mothers all day, everyday.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the people who have consciously chosen to not bear or raise children.  I am willing to bet there is someone or something in your life that you mother, and do so with grace, dignity, and love–be that a pet, a plant, a poem, or a person.

And of course, Happy Mother’s Day to ourselves–no matter who we are–for we all, one day, must begin, and never stop, mothering ourselves. It is just the way that it is–we all become our own mother’s one day–giving birth over and over again to ourselves.

To wrap up I would like to lift up all those for whom Mother’s Day is a hard day. Your soul and spirits are Mothers. You have been mothered by the world. You are Mothers of the world.

And also grieve, or be angry. Seek safe support to be with you today as you move through any difficult or challenging feelings and memories.

You are loved. You are special. And you are held in the hands of Mother Gaia.

 

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Child of Sadness, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Child of Sadness

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

She came to me in silence,

Stepping from a shroud of light,

I saw her coming from a long distance away,

And stood as still as I could.

When she reached me

And looked at me with tear-filled eyes,

I offered her my hand and she took it,

And we sat in the field

For long summer hours as she wept without ceasing,

Dragonflies and bees and dandelion seeds

Floated around us like dreams.

We sat there in the field—

Her sobbing from a river of sadness,

Me bearing witness to her pain.

And this time, never once trying

To take away her suffering.  This time,

Surrounded by the gentle hum of angel wings,

This time honoring who she was,

I listened, wide eyed, and heart open,

As she filled my soul with tears.

 

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Where Are You Going?, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Where Are You Going?

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Sometimes, while driving,

I’m thinking:  All those other drivers–

Where did they get into their cars?

Was it at a grocery store?

Was it in their driveway?

Was it at a rest stop?

Was it at a church, mosque, synagogue, temple?

Was it at a twelve-step meeting?

Was it at a restaurant?

Was it at a hospital?

Was it at a funeral?

Was it at home after a huge fight with a loved-one?

Was it at a hike?

Was it at a corporate brass meeting?

Was it at the side of the road after changing a tire?

Was it at a pet store?

Was it at the midwife’s?

Was it at a meeting of the KKK?

Was it at a book club?

Was it at a bookstore?

Was it after a surprise birthday party?

Was it at school?

Was it at a soccer game?

Was it at the laundry mat?

Was it at a blind date?

Was it at a wedding?

Was it after having an affair?

Was it at the police station?

Or after a doctor’s appointment?

Or after going to a food-bank?

Or after visiting a relative with Alzheimer’s?

Or after going to a porn shop?

You get the idea.

My mind asks these types of questions,

And somehow I am still able to concentrate on driving.

Of course, these questions beg another:

Where are they all going?

Where will they step out of their car

And shut the door?

Will it be at a grocery store?

Will it be in their driveway?

Will it be at a rest stop?

Will it be at a church, mosque, synagogue, temple?

Will it be at a twelve-step meeting?

Will it be at a restaurant?

Will it be at a hospital?

Will it be at a funeral?

Will it be at home after a huge fight with a loved-one?

Will it be at a hike?

Will it be at a corporate brass meeting?

Will it be at the side of the road to change a tire?

Will it be at a pet store?

Will it be at the midwife’s?

Will it be at a meeting of the KKK?

Will it be at a book club?

Will it be at a bookstore?

Will it be a surprise birthday party?

Will it be at school?

Will it be at a soccer game?

Will it be at the laundry mat?

Will it be at a blind date?

Will it be at a wedding?

Will it be to have an affair?

Will it be at the police station?

Or to a doctor’s appointment?

Or a food-bank?

Or to visit a relative with Alzheimer’s?

Or to a porn shop?

OK. You get the idea.

Everyone starts wherever they are.

Everyone goes on a journey.

Everyone shares the road.

Everyone ends up someplace.

Everyone has the ability to get lost,

To change directions,

To turn around,

To speed,

To use the slow lane.

Everyone is moving towards a destination.

Everyone is risking a crash.

Everyone looks in their rearview mirror

And the road ahead.

Most everyone sings.

My parents used to have a medallion

Of Saint Christopher stuck to their dashboard.

May the angels and saints guide us all.

 

 

 

 

 



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On Notice, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

On Notice

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

At a moment’s notice

You’re on notice.

Did you notice that?

It may come person to person,

Or deer to person, or hawk to person,

You might receive notice in the mail–

It might be short notice,

Advanced notice,

Official notice,

It might be public notice,

Or you might be noticed in secret by a shadow, or the moon.

However it comes, whatever its nature,

Take it as best you can, for rest assured

One day you will be put on notice,

Or you will put notice on yourself—whichever it is—

There may not be further notice.

Keep in mind there are notes in every notice–

Musical notes that just want to be seen and heard and played.

For all noticings are musical by nature, every time

You notice another, the soul dances.

The thing to remember is this:

 

Nothing goes without notice forever.

When death comes with her eviction notice,

You will have no choice but to sit up and take it.

 

I notice your eyes,

The slight tilt of your face,

I notice you breathing on these words

Giving them life.

 

 

 


 

 

 




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Transitioning, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Transitioning

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

In the first place,

To begin with,

The first thing to remember,

By all means,

In light of,

In any event,

Moreover,

Then again,

To clarify,

As a matter of fact,

Until now,

As you can see,

When,

Surprisingly,

To put it differently,

Sooner or later,

Suddenly,

Altogether,

Coupled with,

Beyond,

Similarly,

Of course,

Next,

Now,

In detail,

Accordingly,

In the final analysis,

Together with,

For this intention,

For this in mind,

Here and there,

Alongside,

Be that as it may,

Again,

And again,

Nevertheless,

In reality,

To be sure,

I am,

Uniquely,

Granted, that,

In the same fashion,

That is to say,

I am whole,

For one thing,

I am here,

In like manner,

Owing to,

Being that,

As well as anyone,

I am,

Equally important,

At the same time,

Furthermore,

Above all,

I am here,

In essence,

All in all,

Here,

Regardless,

No matter,

I am here,

In the long run,

All in all,

Surprisingly,

Transitioning,

Here.

 

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Turning In, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Turning In

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

 

At night, when our bodies

Begin to slow down, and our eyelids

Become heavy, we turn in,

And our attention

Recedes from the senses,

And we move into ourselves and dream.

And we all know dreaming

Is just the soul saying what it wanted

During the day but couldn’t,

And as we are drawn inwards,

And our breathing drifts like it was meant to,

And we rescind control over our bodies,

And our lips part and our palms open,

And our arms go this way and that,

We begin catching z’s—the buzz

Of fluorescent lights becomes the buzz of bees

Making honey out of our disappointments,

The hum of the fan of our laptops

Becomes the hush of owl’s wings,

And we yield like this every day–

Every day we relinquish the tenuous hold

We have on our lives and surrender

To the darkness living within us—

The selfsame darkness that holds the voice of desire–

Speaking like a lighthouse to approaching ships,

Speaking like the hummingbird daring us

To try and follow where it goes,

Speaking like moonlight on the river,

Speaking like our soul bowing down before us

Aching for us to listen.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 




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A Light Hearted and Heavy Hearted Incomplete List of Common Traits Shared by TransPeople Like Myself, Based Mostly on Empirical Data, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

A Light-Hearted and Heavy-Hearted

Short and Incomplete List of Common Traits

Shared by TransPeople

Like Myself

Based Mostly on Empirical Data

By Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

These are not in any particular order, and yes, of course, cisfolks can have some of these traits too, but who cares. This list is not meant to separate us or further stereotype us.  It is meant as affirmation, celebration, and interesting information.

 

 

We like sci-fi.

We like video games—playing them, creating them.

We like memes and GIFS—creating them, posting them, reading them.

Many of us are often on the spectrum—the autism spectrum.

We are incredibly creative—artistically, musically…

We are often gifted writers.

We are kind, generous, and fiercely loyal.

We are activists, both by birth and by choice.

We have amazingly fabulous fashion sense.

We are survivors.

We are resilient.

We have fantastic taste in music.

Many of us are highly empathic to the point of being empaths.

Many of us like animation—anime, manga. Stephen Universe, etc.

We are extremely intelligent.

We can hold and cherish and protect the truth better than almost anyone.

We are often musicians.

Many of us love animals—cats, dogs, rats, hedgehogs, reptiles, etc.

Many of us know how to experience fear and keep going anyway.  And those that don’t someday will.

Some of us belong to pagan, wiccan, or some other more “earthy” type of spiritual tradition.

Many of us have youtube channels intended to help, inspire, support, and educate trans and non-trans.

Many of us are asked invasive or inappropriate questions.

Many of us are made to feel like we need to prove and/or justify that we exist.

Many of us get stared at when we are out in public.

Some of us carry mace when going out alone.

Many of us have been threatened, harassed, assaulted, demonized, and rejected, and yet we still hold true to the truth of who we are.

Many of us experience severe anxiety and fear when out in public and have to use the bathroom.

Too many of us have been murdered for who we are, and by too many, I mean one is too many.

Too many of us take our own lives because of bullying, nonacceptance, stress, and fear, and by too many I mean one is too many.

Some of us struggle with deep dysphoria; some of us do not.

Some of us exist in hiding for years, decades, or even our entire lives.

Some of us struggle with loving our bodies, our voices, certain body parts., etc; some of us do not.

Some of us hate our lives and names before coming out; some of us do not.

Some of us LOVE wearing makeup, binders, etc.; some of us do not.

Many of us have at least one ally (and often more than one) in our corner.

Many of us have different hair colors than the common brown, black, or blond.

Many of us do not have access to healthcare.

Many of us have family members who reject us.

Many of us have at least one or two family members who accept us.

Many of us are unemployed and/or find it extremely difficult finding a job.

Many of us are living in poverty.

Some of us are forced to live on the streets.

Some of us choose to be sex workers for survival and to save money for surgeries (and yes, some choose to be sex workers because we like it).

Many of us seek various forms of surgeries or procedures to help make ourselves more comfortable in our true gender.   Many do not.  Most cannot due to finances and/or lack of healthcare.

Some of us have passing as one of our goals; some of us do not.

Most of us are utterly hilarious and have a great sense of humor (albeit sometimes, wry, dark, or jaded).

Many of us are “TransWhoVians”—transpeople who like Dr. Who.

All of us fucking rock.

All of us are amazing.

All of us are living lights.

All of us matter.

All of us are just plain human (except those from other planets).

All of us are brave even when we’re afraid.

All of us need to stick together.

All of us need to know there is no one way, or right way, or wrong way to be trans.

What traits can you add to this list?

 

 

 


 

 

 




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