Interdependence Day, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Interdependence Day

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

vigil photo 1

 

I love this country.  I really do.  I will never forget, however, that it was, and is, being born from violence—genocide, slavery, and corruption.  It was also born from a deep thirst of religious freedom and the ideal where anyone could come to live out their lives the way they chose.

Yes, we have a terrorist imbecile in the white house.  Yes, it has a barbaric administration.  We also have you.  We also have many who will resist and fight, and care—maybe not in the ways you think they should, but they are do, and in their own ways are living out their lives the way they choose—a life of generosity, compassion, kindness, love, and humor.

And yes, there are those who have no choice in how they live—those who have no independence.  There are the oppressed, the marginalized, the hated, feared, the hungry, the homeless, the people without healthcare, or enough money to live on no matter how many hours they work at a minimum wage job.  And of course, this must change.  The dangers of capitalism, the patriarchy, white supremacy, the attacks on the environment, racism—these all must change and be dismantled.  And it is hard.  Most days it seems impossible.  I truly believe we can do it though.  I truly believe we can, and are, rising up as never before.  The powers of good are getting stronger every day, and you and I are a part of that energy.

Yes, this country is deeply flawed, and we can look around and see those flaws, and rightly so, everywhere we look. And we should.  We need to be awake to what we can do to help make positive, lasting changes in our country.  We need to bear witness to each other’s pain.  We need to listen to each other’s stories of sorrow and victory.

Yes, there are people living kind, compassionate, good lives—I  daresay the vast majority in this country are trying to do so.  They love their kids.  They do good in their communities.  They offer you a hand when you’re down.  They do amazingly inventive, hilarious, useful things.  They do their best to live in such a way as to promote basic, human decency.

Yes, this country is a mess.  It is also a tapestry of wonder and of good people creating peace and a safe place for all.  There are many people who do not let hate live in their homes.

And no, I am not going to say we are the greatest country in the world.  There is no greatest country.  There is only a world of souls woven together by threads of hope in the face of great, unholy darkness.

I am a trans woman….I have tasted oppression and marginalization.  I have received death threats, and been the target of hate.  I fear going out of my apartment every day.  And yet I go.  I go with the faith that the good people will always outnumber the ignorant, misguided, brainwashed, hateful, hurtful people.  And it has never failed to be so in my experience.  For every act of hatred aimed at me, there have been a hundred acts of kindness aimed at me also.  The vast majority of my days I go out into the world, and while afraid, realize I am OK.

And no, I am not free.  I am not truly independent.  I am held back by my gender, by my mental illness, by my not being able to pass.  I also can share many gifts and strengths by being trans.  My mental illness may prevent me somedays from getting out of bed, but it also helps me see the world in magical ways, and it heightens my desire to be more and more compassionate to myself and others.

Yes, I am free to fight, and I do.  I am an activist by my very existence.  I am free to let you help me, and I do, and you do.  I am free to help you. I am free to troll the world with beauty, courage, compassion, and humor.  I am free to be me even as, in the same moment, I am not.

Today, I am going to change the name of this day to Interdependence Day.  We all need each other.  We all need one another.  And if today the best you can do is post a meme about justice, then you have helped the world.  Today I might need to be carried.  Today I might be able to carry.  We are all inextricably connected.  We even share the same air as trump.

I believe in us.  I believe in you.

I believe in our capacity to help one another, to see the good, to assume the good in one another.  I believe in our desire for justice, equality, and the genuine acceptance of one another.  I believe in our power to fight, to speak out however loudly or softly we can. I believe in the good people doing acts of kindness every day. I believe in love.  I believe in the collective power of our vision and that it will one day prevail.  It is already spreading.  A fire is burning in our hearts.  A light is shining from our eyes.  We can rise up, lifting one another, and learn how to help change the things that so desperately need changing.

I am going to celebrate Interdependence Day by bringing a meal to a family in need.  I am not bragging, but if I was, who fucking cares?  Announce your goodness for all to see.

Happy Interdependence Day.

I love you all.  Thank you for all you have done, and will do to help me survive the illnesses I carry.  I would not be here today were in not for good people like you.

 


 

 

 


Donations go to medical expenses, groceries, and medicine.

Thank you. <3

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.

 

IMG_20161101_170759

 

 


 

 


Thank you for your support.  All donations go to medical expenses and groceries. <3


Some Thoughts on Seeing, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Some Thoughts on Seeing

by

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

Vision depends on the amount of light the eye bends to its uses. The retina sees things upside down and needs the brain to flip the images right side up. As evening comes, the eyes tire and rebel against the light, and sleep passes over, closing them for the night.  And we dream, creating light inside ourselves, until dawn comes, awakening light within light, and we are flooded with things to touch and see, taste and smell, in short, to celebrate with our whole being.

Today, as the amount of light coming in from the world appears to be thinning, lessoning, I will make it my work to seek out more light and keep the aperture of the soul open. I will make it my work to create more light with sparks of humor or song, kindnesses and attention, calm words and softness of speech. And if I begin seeing things upside down, I will depend on the ideas of others to correct the image.

And if a time comes when the soul constricts–from fear or pain, closing off the light, then I will make it my work to seek out ways to ease the soul into opening, to coax it to look for, and to see, oceans of light in the hearts and minds of everyday people on everyday streets in everyday homes and towns across America.

Of course, sometimes the soul requires sleep and a time to dream its own dreams, some of which we never see.  And in those times of holy darkness, when I must become the moon to my soul, then I will sing in whispers and move quietly about the house so that my soul may rest.  And I will do the same for yours.  If your soul wearies and needs time to replenish its rivers and suns, then I will sing softly to you until you sleep without fear.

I am awake, and it is not too late.  In the soul’s time it is early, always early, and I open the pupils of my mind to new opportunities for vision and possibilities for drawing in more light through service and singing.  I allow the world to see the iris of my heart, risking everything to stand on the solid ground of peace—eyes wide open, looking for you.

 

15032859_221945371569853_2289645996231899216_n

 

 

 


 



 

 


Our Only Hope, A Solution No One Wants to Hear, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Our Only Hope

A Solution No one Wants to Hear

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Have you ever been so afraid that you went against your core values and morals?  Have you ever been so scared you stopped thinking clearly, gave into fear, and just reacted?  Let’s take a very minor scenario:  Have you ever been late to something—your kid’s soccer game or work, and you drove recklessly, disobeying speed signs, traffic signals, and disregarded your own safety and the safety of those around you, and so on?

When we are desperately afraid of losing something or someone we hold dear we can become frantic, mean, thoughtless, and so rigidly determined to do everything we can not to lose what we love that we stop listening to our hearts or consciences.

What would make a thoughtful, intelligent, perhaps even religiously minded person, vote for Donald Trump?

Fear.  And nearly half the country voted for him.

Not every Trump supporter is a racist.  Many however come from rural America where a kind of poverty exists that is rarely talked about.  Jobs are hard to find in the city.  Jobs are hard to find around farmlands and old coalmining towns.

Imagine along comes a wretched human being who claims to have a solution, who feeds your fears to such a degree that you look past his immorality so desperate you are to save your family, your town, your farm, your family business, your values.

Imagine fear seeping into your heart so much that it effects your reasoning.  You might become afraid of everything that moves, everything that’s different from what you have always known.  And as more fear is poured into you the more desperate you become for some thread of security even if it is presented in ways that make little sense or by someone abhorrent.

Are the poor living in rural areas victims?  Are the poor living in the inner cities victims?  People do desperate things in the inner city for money.  People do desperate things in the country for money.  And not just for money, but for opportunities they feel aren’t there for them—opportunities for jobs, college, healthcare.  The overriding issue of desperation is the same.

If you have never allowed your morals and values to be set aside for even something seemingly minor, then you are a better person than me.  Thing is, if Trump gets impeached or assassinated (and Pence chokes to death on a piece of beef) we would still have half the country that believed their wretched ideology.  To me, voting for Trump was a horribly desperate call for help and change.  And maybe an inner change so fundamental that some people don’t even realize how unconsciously they acted.

If you ask Trump supporters why they voted for him they might say something like this:

“We want change.  We are tired of the average politician.  We are afraid of this group or that group.  We are afraid of terrorists.  We are afraid we will lose our farms, our businesses, we are afraid of not having work—jobs, opportunities, access to healthcare and education—we live in rural areas where the poverty we experience often goes unnoticed.  We are afraid our values are being taken from us. And some of us are scared enough to overlook our candidate’s racism, bullying, and misogyny because we believe he offers the best chance of getting us out of this mess. Anything but politics as usual.  That scares me.”

If you ask someone who voted for Hillary they might say something like this:

“We want change (i.e. a woman president).  We are tired of the average politician.  We are afraid of this group or that group.  We are afraid of domestic terrorists.  We are afraid we will lose our homes, our businesses, we are afraid of not having work—jobs, opportunities, access to healthcare and education—we live in urban areas where the poverty we experience gets noticed but little done to solve it.  We are afraid our values are being taken from us. And some of us are scared enough to overlook our candidate’s record on war and big business, and cronyism, because we believe she offers the best chance of getting us out of this mess, and besides, she isn’t him.  He scares me.”

Both sides are based in fear.  And the more the fear grows the more frightening our actions become.  We might sacrifice our family time because we have to pay the bills.  We might sacrifice family traditions for the same reason.  We might sacrifice our values and morals for the same reasons also.  We might manifest a call-out culture to distract ourselves from ourselves and the perhaps directionless state our lives may be in.  We might manifest hideous ideas about Muslims and people of the LGBTQIA spectrum.  We might become willing to fight for beliefs that stem from fear and a gut-wrenching desperation.

And there is little hope.  It feels as if the nation is on the brink of civil war or, at very least, massive civil unrest, and both sides operating from fear, and both sides believing they are in the right.  And like every good kindergarten brawl, both sides will wreck everything in their path to get what they want.

We must find a way to bring together—at risk of over simplifying the image–the country mouse and the city mouse.  We must find a way to ease one another’s fears.  Somehow, someway conversations need to happen between the alt-right and the alt-left.  Somehow dialogs must begin so we can personalize and humanize one another instead of viewing one another through the narrow lenses of stereotypes.  Both sides stereotype, that cannot be denied.

How to get these conversations started is another story.  We need brave, strong moderators.  We need people who can listen and set aside their own fears and prejudices long enough to hear someone out (or in).  Both sides must look past the deeds and ideologies of one another and see the fear in each other’s eyes and the soul of light wanting to be safe.

These conversations need to happen on all levels, but first and foremost Hillary (or Bernie) supporters must reach out to Trump supporters and vice-a-versa.  Difficult conversations need to happen around dinner tables or in living rooms.  These need to then spread to places of worship, and then perhaps schools and town halls, but it starts with us trying to make bridges with one another instead of unfriending and cutting each other out of our lives.

“I hate you!” the kindergartener shouts when scared and angry that they don’t get what they want.

And then the building blocks get thrown.  And people get hurt.

We must be better than this.  And it starts with difficult conversations.

And let’s be clear, the conversations wouldn’t be about trying to convince one another about who is right or wrong.  The conversations should focus around certain fundamental questions such as:

 

1). What is your biggest fear?

2). Do you have enough money to eat?

3). What are you afraid of losing?

4). Do you need anything by way of healthcare or visits to a doctor?

5). How can I help?

6). Does anyone in your family need a tutor or a babysitter?

7). What do you value most in this world?

8). What are your spiritual beliefs?  Tell me about them.  Let’s find common ground.

9). What causes you the most pain—emotionally, physically, spiritually?

10). Are you willing to pray with me?  Share a meal with me?  Be seen in public with me?

11). Who is your favorite music star?  Play me something by them.  Tell me why you like them.

12).  What are your favorite family traditions?

13).  What is one of your most cherished memories?

14). What were your dreams growing up?  What are your dreams now?

15). Where did your ancestors come from?

16). What talents do you have?  Hobbies?  Interests?  Weird habits?

17). What things do we have in common?

18). What is your favorite joke?

 

And, of course, the list could go on, or be simplified.  The point is to ask questions that help draw us together, that help us see the soul in one another, the spirit, the basic humanity, the pain, the joy.

As I see it these conversations are our only hope.  The alternative to coming together is living in a consciously divided country that may or may not end well, and, we all know, likely not well–is, well, the more likely scenario (how’s that for a sentence?).

It’ll never happen! I hear you cry!  As a transperson I am never sitting with an alt-right “Christian.”  As an alt-right Christian I am never sitting with a Muslim!”

Yes, these conversations would be risky and painful, and both sides might sit before one another feeling unsafe or even threatened.  But does either side feel safe now sitting in front of their computers posting angry, fear-based things to rationalize and justify more fear and separation?  Does either side feel safe on the streets?  After all, terrorists of one kind or another are everywhere, guns drawn, bombs at the ready, aren’t they?  I believe we are greater than this—greater than our fears and differences—real or imagined.

I also believe the more we say these conversations will never help or never happen the more we expose ourselves to be just as stridently rigid as those we fear.

I also believe it must be the young people of this country to first take up the challenge of bringing one another together in conversation.  The less hardened, the less frightened, perhaps.  The less indoctrinated.  Then, once young people get the ball rolling, I believe the rest of us can follow their lead.  And speaking of leading:

Some may say we need strong leadership to make these conversations happen, but I disagree.  The people must lead in this instance.  The top is not to be trusted.  It needs to begin with the people. We must take charge of bringing each other together, of trying to heal the painful divisions that exist between us, of trying to see one another as human beings—frightened, desperate human beings frantic to not lose what they so hold dear, even if what they hold dear seems foreign to us, or threatening, or even repugnant.  We must learn to listen in such a way as to allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to recognize ourselves in the eyes of another.

Maybe it’s too late for hope, or for peace.  Maybe both sides are so deeply and fundamentally afraid that they are creating the very world they fear.  Maybe we all have a deep-seeded death-wish based on massive hopelessness and fear.  Maybe we don’t want a solution.  Maybe we believe it all needs to get torn down in order to get rebuilt the way we like it.  Maybe we all want out because we see no way out and are tired and afraid, and war seems, at least unconsciously, the best alternative.

I am trying hard not to think that way.  I believe in America.  I believe we are a great nation with people full of passion, ideas, creativity, boundless generosity, humor, warmth, kindness.  We must begin believing in one another and to do so we must see each other’s humanity.  We can do this.  We have done hard things before.  I believe in us.  I believe in you.

May our nation be blessed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Prophetess of Heaven-Fire, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

There are so many dire predictions after this election, and perhaps rightfully so. Many people feel everything is lost and that there is no hope–so many feel their oppression will only worsen, and that everything we have fought so hard for is gone. I get it. I am an unemployed transwoman who struggles with mental illness, and I am terrified, and god-fucking dammit, I am not giving in to the fear.

 

The fear is real, and so is love.

 

Everyone is making their predictions. I join them here. Here I turn into a prophetess of fire:

 

On this day, November 9th, 2016, love will rise up and fight for all we have accomplished so that nothing is taken away. Love will rise up to meet the hatred with all the angels of heaven and transform it back into love. Love will rise up and take to the streets and outshine the sun with its power. Love will rise up and protect the minorities, the people of color and other religions, the LGBTQIA people–teens, children—-Love will surround them and make a safe space for them. Love will do these things. YOU will do these things. How? We will be love. We will be the love. We ARE the love. Together. You and I with hearts full of love burning like a holy fire–we will rise up and meet any hate that comes our way, any violence, any oppression, and we will stand together, fight together, love together, live together.

 

I predict these next four years will be hard. And, I predict more love and more power and more strength and more solidarity and more wisdom and more courage will come because of it—-Love will come like a mighty song and fill the nations with wonder, scattering the hate into oblivion.

 

Hold your fear. Share it. Express it. Write, talk, sing, dance, draw, sculpt—it is real….I feel it…my stomach is churning, my heart is aching, and dammit to hell I am taking that fear and forging it into a shield of compassion.

 

Hold your rage. Share it. Express it. Write, talk, sing, dance, draw, sculpt—it is real….I feel it…my stomach is churning, my heart is aching, and dammit to hell I am taking that rage and forging it into a sword of truth.

 

I predict the world will end. Everything does. But not now. Not today. Not tomorrow. It will end when it is time, and that time will be far, far into the future, and when it does it will end a world full of love warriors and peacemakers, freedom fighters and freedom winners.

 

Be ye transformed o nation of disillusionment and fear, be ye transformed into courage and strength—and a vision to see things as they are————ready for love-action, love-dancing, love-creating, love-protecting, love-warriors—love-bearers one and all.

 

I see a future of more freedom than ever before because the evils are now openly exposed and the world will see them for what they are—wrong—sick–and the world will stand with us as we fight on the side of love. Let love lance the wounds of hate and let love heal and give us strength.

 

Love will rise up stronger than ever. We will rise up stronger than ever. We will make our own prophecies. Make prophecies of love and let love rise up making those prophecies true by our own hands.

 

I call upon the Source of all love to rise up within us so that we may never give up.

 

May it be done. Blessed be. We are one.

 


 

 

 


Nursing the Dark, Eating the Light, a Fable, by Radiance Angelina Petro

Nursing the Dark, Eating the Light

A Fable

by

Radiance Angelina Petro

 

 

One day, an acorn and a cicada nymph were talking underground, when a beam of light suddenly appeared shining down on the acorn.

“What is that?” asked the acorn.

“It’s light,” said the cicada.

“Why is it tugging at me?”

“That’s what light does.”

“What if I don’t want to move?”

“Dunno,” said the cicada, “I’ve been under here for 17 years. I like the dark.”

“I haven’t been under here for nearly as long,” said the acorn, “but it sure is comfortable.”

“And cool,” said the cicada, “and snug, and yeah, so cool—wonderfully cool.”

“What do I do?” asked the acorn.

“About what?”

“The pull.  I mean, my heart feels like it’s breaking, and something inside wants out.”

“Go with it,” said the cicada. “So part of you moves into the light? Your roots will always be in darkness.”

“And what about you?”

“Me?” Said the cicada, “Well, when the light draws me out, and I climb a tree and wait for my wings to spill out, then my roots will be in the sky.”

“Should I try to fight the light?” asked the acorn.

“Good luck,” said the cicada. “Funny thing is, once during late summer, you fell to the ground and the darkness pulled you under and you loved it. You didn’t resist. You couldn’t resist. I heard you sinking down. You were weeping and laughing all at the same time because it was so nourishing and safe-feeling to be under here. Now you want to fight the light. Try this, just try breathing in the light, and see what happens.”

The acorn did as the cicada suggested and she suddenly felt the light breathing her and she found herself unfurling into the bright, blue sky, and the light–she was eating the light.

“There ya go,” said the cicada.

“Aren’t you coming?” asked the acorn as she turned away.

“When I have suckled the roots of the mother tree long enough,” said the cicada, “then I will come. For now I am still nursing the dark.”

 

 

 


 

 

 


As of the posting of this story, I am still unemployed and without an income.  Please help if you can.  All my love, Radiance

Untelling the Lies, by Radiance Angelina Petro

Untelling the Lies

By

Radiance Angelina Petro

 

 

All poetry

Fesses up

To something.

No matter

If you, the composer,

Sing of witches,

City streets,

Serbian atrocities,

Mountains, or rivers.

You reveal something

Of yourself

That cannot be easily hidden

To the naked eye

And ear.

You can try

To compose

Anonymously,

But that is like

Your breath

Being anonymously breathed

From your own lungs.

I write of aliens, fireflies,

Roots, little epiphanies,

And sometimes

Poems funnel

Through about being

Intersex and trans,

But in each and every word,

Each coma, line-spacing,

And pause, you see

Me, and know a little bit more

About me.

Let go of whether

Or not your songs

Are confessional—merely

Confessional.

You cannot prevent your poems

From showing

Your hand

Any more than you can

Stop pain

From reflecting itself

In your eyes.

So go ahead,

Speak to us.

Admit things

About yourself

That can be cleverly

Couched in syllables

And roots.  Tell us

Who you are—

It is important,

And in doing so

You are helping vulnerability

Become as common place

As shame, and, with any luck,

Even more so.

For in the same way

You cannot conceal

Yourself between the lines

Or the words,

You cannot shirk

From the responsibilities

Writing them brings either.

You see, you and I,

Each has their own sets

Of responsibilities and reasons

As to why and when and how

We write, and, over time,

We must discover what those are

Because no matter what

They are—they are ultimately moral

And in need of fulfilling,

Just as water fulfills the ocean.

Every poem ever written

Fesses up to something.

So proclaim.

Expel demons.

Revolutionize.

Attest to resiliency.

Steel entire nations

Against storms of dryness.

And as you breathe life

Into lines and symbols,

Resuscitating the word–

You

Are shedding

Light,

As a snake sheds skin.

Only the light you shed sonars

Into the atmosphere

Revealing obstacles here

Or there for others to avoid,

Keeping in mind

Some obstacles

Are as necessary

As kisses.

In other words:

People are watching, waiting, listening,

For you to speak—

To speak some truth

They always needed to hear,

But only now, from you, can.

With every poem

You write, you are helping

Each of us unlearn

What we should have

Never learned.

You are helping

Destroy the world

Of a loneliness that is pandemic,

And helping create

Soul-expanding

Congruencies between people

Of all shapes, sizes, genders,

Races, ethnic backgrounds, ages,

Economic statuses, and political leanings.

Look around.

See how much beauty

There is,

How much light

Comes to you

Or that you believe you

Draw down, or through,

Or up-from

Yourself—

It doesn’t matter

What you believe

About the origins of the revelation,

What matters is

You shine yourself to yourself,

And, more importantly,

You shine to others.

That is how we expose the lies

That need untelling.

That is how we exercise shame

Into its rightful place

Of gone.

That is how we become

Who we always secretly wanted

To be.

 

 

 


 

 


Thank you for supporting my continued transition.  Yours, Radiance <3

Reflections on Feminine Spirituality and My First Christmas Conscious of Being a Woman, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Reflections on Feminine Spirituality

and My First Christmas Conscious of Being a Woman
By
Jennifer Angelina Petro

divine mother kirtan pix

Dear Friends,
I wish you all the happiest of holidays–safe, warm, and love-filled.
I am have edited this piece with a new title and a paragraph at the end that should have been in there from the beginning.

I want to also add a trigger warning for some brief, erotic content. It seems I have turned a few people off with my teenage visions of Mary and my adult visions of bliss with my Beloved. It’s interesting that erotic images for the Beloved have been around since before the Song of Solomon–but most of them between either a male beloved and a female lover or vice a versa. There are not many lesbian spiritual images for union and oneness so perhaps that is why my descriptions seem so strange to some. They are my truth however and not shared with the intent to offend. So read on if you dare, and I hope your day is filled with light. The story of the birth of divinity is as old as the earth. And yet for me the real story of Christmas is Mary. She is the anointed one. She was the one strong enough to say yes to the Divine within her and then bravely share the fruits of her womb with the world.

 
Mary Chistmas! Love, Jennifer

 

 

Reflections on Feminine Spirituality

and My First Christmas Conscious of Being a Woman
By
Jennifer Angelina Petro

For years I loved the story of the little baby king of the universe being born in a manger in a city whose name means, “House of Bread.” I loved the idea of this king of all being manifested as holy innocence—the greatest power of all. I loved how the animals—the wisest of all—gathered around to seek him with their marble-brown eyes. I loved how time stopped and the whirling of the earth paused when he was born. I loved how shepherds came to visit him with lambs draped across their shoulders. I loved how the entire story was steeped in light and yet I could not escape the foreboding and foreshadowing of what was to happen to this king of light some short thirty year later. And over time I began to hate the story.

 

The idea that a supreme being would sacrifice his only child to atone for his own mistakes is profoundly disturbing, whether that child chose freely to accept this mission or not. The idea that the actions of people were so depraved that they demanded the brutal killing of “god’s only son,” is barbaric. The story is perverted to me. It is an example of masculine energy gone awry.

 

Interestingly the past several years leading up to my discovery that I am transgender, I found myself drawn closer and closer to Mary in the nativity narrative. The more I read books about her and wrote songs to her the more I remembered how I loved her more than her son when I was growing up. I would stare at her in the many pictures and statues around my house and in the Catholic churches I went to. She fascinated me with her fiat—with her yes, with her beauty, her grace, her oceanic blue robes, her womb full of spirit-seed. I felt horrible guilt imagining her nursing her child. I felt like the worst of sinners the more I could not move my gaze from her beautiful face and chest during mass. I felt unredeemable when I imagined bathing her with kisses, and bound for hell for wanting to touch her there. All these years later I finally know why.

 

My soul has given birth to my true self—I am a lesbian woman–a revelation born from the womb of myself–and even though I am wrapped in the sweetest innocence and sense of discovery and wonder at being a woman—the circumstances around the revelation—the medical symptoms surrounding my womanhood leave me with a deep sense of loss—time lost, opportunities to live and love as a woman—to love a woman as a woman myself lost. No sooner was I born when the knowledge that the body that swaddles this woman is not traditionally feminine—it is a man’s body—came rushing in. This knowledge grieves me to the core of my being (my three sons not withstanding). It is my fiat to the holy mother. It is her will that this is so, and now I must release my womanhood into the hands of a transition that will take years of sacrifice.

 

Yet there is cause for rejoicing. Innocence has been reborn in me. I am approaching fifty with the soul of a young woman in her twenties, and the heart of a teenage woman, and the spirit of a little girl all of ten. And I have never been so happy. And as I bloom (a word and image I have been using in my writing for decades) more and more into myself as a woman the more the idea of a masculine deity becomes foreign—alien—tiresome.

 

I know about yin and yang and the thought that the divine encompasses the opposites—that the world we live in is a world of duality—and yet I no longer accept this sphere of opposites as the ground of being for the divine. It is true of nature—seed and ground, sperm and egg, but the force behind it all is mother—is Creatrix—is the goddess. All things are born from her womb; all things arise from her and suckle at her breasts.

 

Mary—mater—matter—mother–she is the goddess I love–the earth as mother, the soul as feminine—my soul as feminine—my soul as woman. The more I journey into myself as a woman the more I recognize the goddess as the prime force behind and within all things.

 
Who provides her with seeds? In the story of advent, the shadow of the holy-spirit sought Mary out for she was pure—without sin—desirable—she was woman. And I see this shadowed spirit to be of her own being covering herself with herself, and a short time later she is found to be with child. To me this is the image that she is self-generating—she is the goddess of parthenogenesis. She is the goddess of the virgin birth because she can generate her own offspring in her own womb. This is not to invalidate the masculine, the wonderfulness that is a man of wisdom, grace, power, beauty, talents, and magic. Nature needs the masculine, and the masculine is, in itself, holy. The divine Creatrix however has no need of this force to exist. She doesn’t encompass the opposites—she transcends them—she bleeds together darkness and light creating something altogether beyond these things—she gives birth to the flow of time and imagination. She is the source of all and reveals the fruit of her womb in everything we see, touch, taste, hear, smell, intuit.

 
Like a good mother she raises her children to be free and o how she must weep at what so many of her children have chosen to call living. She sings with joy too at the children who choose consciousness and peace, and she is constantly providing mercy and ways out to living with kindness and compassion, bliss and holiness every moment of every day.

 
And so this Christmas–this mass for the anointed one–I am deeply grateful to know what I believe as my truth. I no longer need to believe in a story I despise. I have been baptized with chrism scented with amber and myrrh, with magnolia and geranium, with vanilla and honey, coconut and sandalwood. And as the oil pours over my spirit and seeps, soaking my soul, I am alive as a woman of the moon and the earth. I am daughter of the Mother, the goddess, the Womb of All. I am the daughter of the Muse, the lover of the Wild Woman, the beloved of the Lover of All, and I am full with the fruit of my womb—children born from the shadow of my spirit—poems, songs, innocence, adventure, passion, wonder, and self-acceptance that I am honored to mother into the world. They are my gifts to myself and as long as you are willing to accept them, they are my gifts to you.

 

And speaking of gifts—thank you to all of the powerful women in my life who have befriended me over the years—especially recently. You are my guides, my stars, my shepherdesses leading this lamb home to her moon-lit fields and her moon-lit flock, and the moon-lit arms of her Beloved.

 
Blessed Be, Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 


 

 

All donations go to my transition.  Thank you for your much-needed support.



Questions for You

Questions For You
By
Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

My wise friend, Mika and I were talking recently and she observed that if we can allow negative actions, words, and energy from some negative people to drain us, then the implication is that we can allow positive actions, words, and energy of positive people to fill us. I am working on ways to do this, for while I have received TONS and TONS of loving, kind, encouraging, compassionate, and just plain AMAZING support as I have come out as trans, there have been a few people who have said some very cruel things, mean things, reprehensible things, and acted in heartbreaking ways towards me. And my silly mind starts to focus on those few instead of the many, many, MANY who support me. And then I begin to fade, nudge closer to a depression that seems suddenly so far away, and I become afraid, feel guilty, begin to believe I am doing something wrong, when in fact I am not DOING anything. I did not choose to be trans. I am not BECOMING a woman. I AM a woman who is finally conscious of this beautiful and affirming truth and am simply moving closer and closer to fully living and presenting as the person I am. I was born the right gender, wrong body parts. And so my loving supporters, what things do you do to help increase the positive, to draw that loving energy in? This is without a doubt the most intense time of my life—and the most wonder-filled, and beautiful, and yet, it is hard to know there are people who a few days ago were my friends that now literally hate me, and that’s hard. Really hard. And thank Goddess there is YOU. If you’re reading this I believe you’re one of the ones who love my heart. Who looks past what I may wear or what I may call myself, who doesn’t worry about losing anything, but instead is happy they are gaining the best me ever. What suggestions do you have for increasing the positive, for helping a negative-focuser like me to focus on the good–the good that is everywhere. Truly the outpouring of love I am receiving is incredible, and I feel guilty the haters affect me so much, like I am insulting you. I do not mean to, my dear friends. This is all new to me—this complete acceptance of who I am, and I am so happy, really, giddy-magically happy, and need and want your continued support, but I am working with a mind that is trained in negativity and self-hatred. I would be honored to hear how you gather in the positive and release the negative, how you focus on the positive and ignore the negative. You totally rock my friends. I love you. Yours with grace and love, Jennifer

 

 

 


 

 

 

 


Donations go to a fund for my transition.  Thank you for supporting me and this journey.  <3


On the Love of Showers, Soap, Rubber Duckies, and Thirst Relief International

On the Love of Showers, Soap, Rubber Duckies,

And Thirst Relief International

By

Joseph Anthony

 

So I was
reading some P.G. Wodehouse (“Right Ho, Jeeves”) by candlelight a
couple days ago during one of the recent power outages here in Philly, and
there is a scene where Bertie Wooster (one of the goofball main characters) is
really down in the dumps.  He decides to
take a bath (“splash in the porcelain”) in order to lift his spirits, and it
works!  While doing so he even discovers
there is a rubber ducky in the tub, and his delight really takes off.  Here is how that scene reads:

“After
splashing about in the porcelain for a bit, composure began to return…I have
always found that in moments of heart-bowed-downness there is nothing that
calms the bruised spirit like a good go at the soap and water….The discovery
of a toy duck in the soap dish contributed not a little to this new and happier
frame of mind. What with one thing and another, I hadn’t played with toy ducks
in my bath for years, and I found the novel experience most invigorating. For
the benefits of those interested, I may mention that if you shove the thing
under the surface with the sponge and then let go, it shoots out of the water
in a manner calculated to divert the careworn.”

As in the
above snippet suggests, taking a bath or a shower is completely therapeutic in
the truest sense of the word.  Water is a
great healer, whether one is drinking a nice cool, glass of it or taking a
dip in the tub.  Water heals, refreshes,
invigorates, and cleanses.  And when you
add fragrant soap to the tub and shower, the whole effect is even more wonderful
and enjoyable.

Here’s a
secret that is now no longer a secret:  I
love soap.  Soap and water. And showers. 
Baths are good too.  Any kind of
water contact involving fragrant soap is a miracle.  Really. 
Now that the secret is out, allow me to further elucidate on the
subject.

When I was
growing up the only soap we had in the house was Ivory, which, back then,
smelled like well, a dull, yet somehow biting-block of lard.  Sometimes my mom ordered a bar from Avon
scented with musk or something, but in general, the soap fragrances back then
were limited.  Liquid soap for showers
became popular when I was about 10, but even then, the fragrances were nothing
too exotic—it was like showering with liquid dish-soap.

Today we can
shower with any fruit we want—pear, pineapple, strawberry, watermelon, pomegranate,
grapefruit, peach, blueberry, mango, citrus, cucumber, and more.  We can lather in vegetables, like carrots and
celery.  We can foam up with soaps
scented with almonds, pumpkins, honey, sandalwood, amber, vanilla, peppermint; and
flower essences like patchouli, lilac, clover, honeysuckle, and rose.  We can delight in spreading the rich lather
of cinnamon scented soap, or even chocolate scented soap. Soap making today is
an art form of the highest order (Check out my friend Vanessa’s website: she is one of those artists making [among other many wonderful things] soap): Nirvanaland Essentials).  Her soaps are amazing!

I tell
you the truth that taking a shower in the morning (or anytime) is one the
absolute best parts of my day. I always (and you know I don’t use the word “always”
very often, but in this case, it’s true) step out of a shower feeling like I’ve
been blessed, baptized by holy water—so ready to get on with the day.

The French poet, Francis Ponge, knew about the loveliness of water, and especially of soap.  He wrote a whole book-length prose-poem-meditation
about soap (one of my all-time favorite books for its sheer enthusiasm and adventurous
spirit) in the 1940’s.  Here is a little excerpt from
his book:

“There is something adorable in the
personality of soap.  Why adorable?  Because its behavior is at once the highest
degree appealing and completely inimitable. 
Here is a sort of mediocre pebble, flatly reposing in the plainest
saucer in the house.  A man comes in with
dirty hands.  Then the forgotten soap
gives itself up to him.  Not without some
coquetry.  It swathes itself in
glistening, iridescent veils and, at the same time, tends to vanish…no more
fugitive stone in nature. But then, the game exactly consists of holding it in
the fingers and chafing it, by the addition of a dose of water sufficient to
obtain a voluminous, pearly slobber, wheras if one left it to remain in the
water, it would perish in confusion.  For
soap has its particular dignity…it is a magic stone…the more it foams, with air
and water, clusters of scented grapes, it is explosive…water, air and soap
overlap, playing leapfrog…Yet it is necessary to return it to its saucer, to
its austere oval, its dry patience, and its power to serve again.”

For me
there is nothing like showering and lathering with soap that smells like
heaven.  It is a sensual and truly
self-affirming experience that I can’t recommend enough.  And it is an experience comprised of the
simplest ingredients: soap and water.

And speaking
of water, my friend Lefty has once again started a fundraising campaign with
Thirst Relief International and so any and all donations that come to the
Wonder Child Blog from this post (see the donation button below after the Ernie video) will be given directly to his campaign.  And for every $10 you donate he will donate
$5 until he’s reached the goal of $2,500. So for as long as this post in
online, any donations will go to Thirst
Relief International (TRI).  TRI is a
wonderful organization that helps provide clean, safe drinking water to the
nearly one billion people on our planet who have no access to any.  Of course, you can go directly to Lefty’s campaign
page and donate there too.  Click this sentence for the link.

Now please
don’t think this post was a big set up to try and make you feel guilty for
loving soap and water or for taking long, leisurely showers.  That was not my intention at all.  I love long, leisurely showers and have no
guilt for taking them whatsoever.  I
decided to add the fundraising piece to this post in hopes your love of water
and soap will be shared with others in a real and tangible way.  So have a splash in the porcelain and then donate
to Thirst Relief International.

Thank you
again for reading my friends.  You are
the bee’s knees. 

100% of all donations for this post will go to Thirst Relief International.  Thank you.




Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog