Moral Relativity

I think I’m a professional student.

No, seriously, I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t involved in learning something.

Some might consider this a good thing, but I’m seriously starting to think it is a bit of an addiction. Because I always feel the need to learn more about something. For example, lately, I’m truly trying to gain a better understanding of my Higher Power. I’m trying to relate to the ideas of my catholic upbringing and understand how I can accept myself, in spite of the perception of sexuality and gender. It seems like an unending battle, since I see myself as a bisexual male or a possible transgendered woman but I also ascribe to many of the precepts of my catholic upbringing and Christianity.

I’ve mentioned numerous times that I struggle with my sexuality and with my gender. Many times I have convinced myself that I am something other than I feel; but I have also wondered if I run from responsibility on many things. Today, I mentioned to my wife (I have not mentioned it, but she called me and we have been talking again) that the one major thing I struggle with in coming to God is that I believe it involves instant responsibility – something I don’t know I am capable of meeting – or I am unwilling. We were discussing the ideas that there are definitive rights and wrongs, and that these definitive rights and wrongs stare the ideas of Moral Relativity in the face.

I have always understood the catholic understanding of any sexuality besides heterosexual is a state of disorder. Disorder requires compassion, but not conviction. For Catholics, hating a homosexual is as much of a sin as the act involved in homosexuality. The catechism explains that homosexuals have a special cross to carry and, as a result, must abstain from sexual relationships – i.e. remain chaste. In other words, being a homosexual is not wrong, but engaging in sexually homosexual acts are sinful – because they are not done within the domain of a marriage. This is where catholic doctrine denies a relative morality.

Although my wife has loved me, regardless of my sexual inclinations (she is unaware I see myself as non-gender specific), I am unsure about my ability to fulfill the requirements of any romantic relationship right now. Granted, a married couple that discovers that one of the people is not heterosexual will open the marriage to being annulled, it is still a complex matter for either person. The heterosexual person will be “allowed” to remarry as a catholic, whereas the non-heterosexual will be required to commit to a chaste life and carry a “special cross” and receive compassion from others.

Truthfully, I struggle with this for a number of reasons. I don’t care to go into them in much detail today, but the ideas they present in my mind are interesting matters and something I feel I will spend time trying to understand. But I am quite aware that the ideas of Moral Relativity are directly related to this topic.  Moral Relativity is the idea that what is right for me is right for me and what is right for you is right for you.  I find the idea to have some major problems and when I have engaged in friendly debate with people about the flaws of Moral Relativity, they find my arguments to be repulsive – I’m sure Hitler felt the eradication of Jews to be completely moral. To me, this idea has some problems because there must be some absolute rights and absolute wrongs or else all of humanity devolves into destructive chaos, arbitrarily chosen by whomever is in charge – typically oneself.

But I can’t find any ability to see the love shared between two consenting adults as disordered. To me, the idea of two adults loving each other is a beautiful thing and an example of love for humanity. I understand the counter arguments to the idea, but I struggle with the concept that it is somehow evil and I can’t find a way to convince myself otherwise. I know some would wonder why I am even bothering to convince myself of the alternatives, because it seems to hurt my mind in some ways. But here is the thing I truly have always believed – and it is a quote from the book of Alcoholics Anonymous – “Either God is everything or He is nothing”.

But I always try to keep my mind open to arguments, but I would be lying if I said it would bother me to have to give up on some things.

But is it a sacrifice, I should make?

Second thoughts and doubts…

You might have noticed, but I question everything about myself…

I have been on a mission to find greater peace in myself, and a week ago I made the decision that it might be time to let this blog go.  Truthfully, I don’t think I can do that. And I am not so sure I can change who I am – mostly because I really, really, really love dresses!  I like wearing them and I like feeling like my inner girl can escape and not feel so trapped. I really do feel like a woman trapped in a man’s body and as much as I don’t like it, I also love it.

Does any of that even begin to make sense?

Today, I read Psalm 25, which is a prayer asking God for forgiveness and freedom of sins.  I know religion is a controversial topic for a lot of people and the concept of sin and sinful behavior even more so.  I find myself enjoying praying more and more and I find that I can appreciate God loves me, but I question so much about my sexuality and gender identity. Growing up catholic, there is distinct “rules”, for lack of a better term, that defines sins and sinful behavior and I used to accept all of these in stride and assume that any of the desires and temptations of such things are simple human nature.

Now, of course, I’m curious about the nature of sin and what it truly does to a person. I can recite all of the text book answers, of course, and I love the encouragement I receive from so many people here on WordPress. But I can’t find anyway to not feel like a damaged and disturbed person. Even in my feelings of serenity when I accept what I have come to believe is my true nature, I also feel conflicted in realizing that I don’t meet any normal standards of acceptance. Even being a scientist, I conceptualize things like gender and sexuality in almost concrete terms – the idea of categorizing as a means to explain.

Last week, I “accepted” that I am a man and that it is not up to me how I live my life, but it is up to God. I felt like I made that realization freely and felt comfortable with it, but yesterday as I saw all kinds of women wearing all kinds of different outfits and dresses, I couldn’t help but experiencing the desire to be a woman. I wanted to feel girly and feminine again. I always take some sort of twisted fun when someone assumes I’m a girl, because it makes me feel like it’s natural instead of me forcing something untrue about myself.

Anyways, I’m rambling and I just wanted to say I’m sticking around…even if it’s only sporadic appearances.

I have not given up exploring myself and I am happy admitting that I love God and that I hope he loves me – even if I am unorthodox…

Hugs & kisses! ❤

~Stephanie (Tar)

 

“Your life is not your own…”

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This past weekend, I participated in some things as if I am truly catholic. I went to confession on Saturday morning; then I spent Saturday afternoon running the steps up and down and the Mother Cabrini Shrine just outside of Denver, CO. And Sunday morning, I did something I have not done in a long time – I attended mass at my local parish.  During the homily, the priest said something that stood out to me and sort of hit me upside my head. He said, “Often times we forget that we do not own our lives. That’s correct; your life is not your own, it belongs to God.”  He was speaking, in reference to a new law passed in Colorado: a physician assisted suicide law.  But based on my confessions, the time I spent at the Mother Cabrini Shrine and attending mass on Sunday, I am now feeling like I have been rather self-centered in how I have been approaching life. I can’t help but feel compelled to pursue something greater than myself.

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I’m not going to lie, I’m not satisfied with the feeling, but I am looking around myself and I am seeing something a little more clearly. The advice I received from the confessor, is to not try and tackle all of the problems of my life and he said to focus on one thing: Make room for God, a little, every day. And I am feeling like I need to do that.  When I was sitting in front of the gigantic statue of Jesus, I felt like he was looking me right in the eyes and telling me, “You are not being who my father made you to be.” I am confused, certainly, because it doesn’t align with anything that makes sense to me right now, but I felt at so much peace sitting there – a peace I have not felt in a long time and I am feeling compelled to make some changes that are long overdue. I simply felt like I am not being the man I was born to be.

Unfortunately, I am feeling like I need to pull myself away from some things that are making me feel obstructed. This blog is one of those things. But I know I struggle with commitment on anything and I know that I feel like I can’t just walk away.  But I feel like that I need to do just that – walk away, clean, without worry and focus on something – like God – other than myself. I follow a few blogs on here, that have always accepted me the way I am. Granted, I feel like there is some opinions, deep down, that the way I live my life is not an acceptable way to live, but those authors have never said anything – I just know this is the case from the many years I have spent pursuing my own understanding of my catholic upbringing.

I have come to believe that my number one biggest problem is that I care about everyone’s feeling, thoughts and opinions and I spend so much time worrying if I am pleasing to others. But I believe I have lost my focus on what should truly be important and central in my life.

I’m feeling like a radical and sudden change is needed in my life…

I might abandon this blog.

“Be Not Afraid…”

I read another blogger’s post today and the first thing that struck me is the phrase, “Be Not Afraid…”. It reminded me of when I first paid attention to it – it was when I read the biography of St. John Paul II – The Great (Of course, at the time I read it, he was still alive and not a Saint). It was a phrase he adopted, almost as a legacy to his papacy, but it is biblically referenced.

Today, I wanted to find out where it is referenced in the bible – apparently the authors of the bible felt it would be ignored.

Today, I am teetering on an edge, because I am quite aware I can’t find happiness from my own doing.  I’m tired, unmotivated, lost, and feeling desperate again. Maybe it is time to let go…

Funeral…

This past few days have been an emotional roller coaster, for sure.  As I mentioned, previously, my grandmother passed away and we had a funeral.  Of course, coming from a catholic background it wasn’t JUST a funeral – it was a large mass of people gathering together to see my grandmother in a viewing (commonly referred to as a ‘wake’) and recitation of the Rosary.  I took my rosary beads today and recited it along with the deacon from my grandmother’s church – I was shocked I even remembered it after all of these years.  Then, of course was the funeral mass, followed by the internment at the gravesite.

I felt I was holding it all together. But, right after the Rosary, the people from the funeral home had begun to fold the white cloth draped across my grandmother’s casket and place it inside with her and then lowered the lid to cover her for the mass. My eyes filled with tears and as the lid closed, I thought to myself, “That’s the last I’m ever going to see her.” It was a difficult emotion.  One of my aunt’s had also read a eulogy and something struck me as I watched my mom and each of her siblings take a role in the mass – they all avoided emotion today.  This is something I have adopted over my life – although, I am learning to embrace the softer sides of myself and appreciating that it is okay to cry once in a while. I let it go at the time, but it struck me as odd.  It was a beautiful service and ceremony.

I saw so many emotions today – some laughter, some sorrow, some remorse, some gratitude, some relief, some pain and even some joy.  I heard stories about my grandmother – many, of course, I already knew. But I also heard some amazing stories about her character and she was a fighter and a warrior for her children – and us grandchildren.  Her family is her testament to the world.  I couldn’t help but focus some things inwardly and contemplate how I might be a better person to better exemplify values that my grandmother instilled in my mom and my mother’s siblings. I didn’t like how it was making me feel, because I was beginning to feel regret and ponder if I am living my life appropriately.

But I also had the chance to see many people I had not seen in many years. I even saw who I had shared my very first kiss (Relax, relax, weirdoes – it was a daughter of one my grandmother’s friends), saw family members from different parts of the country, saw family friends and family neighbors and people I never knew existed. It made me reminisce about so much. I visited with people, shared stories with people and it was exhausting for sure. All of the emotions that goes into all of the events of a single day can be overwhelming.

These were sad, but joyful interactions…

And now, I will spend a couple of days in the mountains – for me.

SARD: Part 17 – Why Have I Never Come Out?

I received an email the other day from a follower inquiring as to why I have never come out as bisexual or someone with a gender identity disorder.  This is a complex question to answer, as you might imagine.  The reality is that there are a multitude of issues I deal with and my sexuality and gender are certainly some of the more complex matters I handle on an ongoing basis.  I discussed in my last post for my Sexual and Relationship Development, the times I have come out to someone – and they are pretty rare; but, there are many reasons I have not come out on any grand scale and I don’t plan on it.

One of the main reasons I don’t share my sexuality or gender identity issues is because of safety.  Any Google search of hate crimes against LGBT will give you an article like this one, that states about 20% of the hate crimes reported in the U.S. are directed towards those in the LGBT community.  Even in my home state of Colorado, hate against the LGBT community exists (Granted, this article is a little dated, so the statistics might be different now). The intention of my post isn’t to divulge all of the horrible crimes that hit the LGBT community, because there have been oodles and oodles of articles, news stories, outcries, policies made and so many other things to address the matter.  No my main point is to stress that it is not something people like me can face without worry. And I truly admire those that stand up, regardless.

And, although there are laws that protect LGBT people in the workforce, there are still repercussions that occur when people come out.  We live in an imperfect world and there are always imperfect consequences to these matters.  I’ve mentioned before, that I work in an industry that is stereotypically masculine and if I were to out myself, I worry about how it would impact my career in the long run.  Especially after returning from a two year lay-off, I now have a sense of needing to protect my job and my career. I realize there are always legal avenues I could pursue, if I were to come out and there was any kind of backlash in that action, but I don’t want the headache of it all right now in my life.  The reality is that I am trying to recover my financial state and protect myself from another slide.  At this point in my life, I feel old and I feel like there is not much time left for me to achieve the success I desire (Of course, this is an entirely different topic…).

Another thing I don’t discuss too often online is the fact that I do have children.  My role as a parent is to protect them and protect any sense of a stable life for them.  Granted, the mere fact that I’m currently preparing for divorce is going to unsettle them a bit (a couple of my kids are already adults, so maybe a little easier for them), but to have to deal with one of their parents struggling with their own sense of self, is not something I want to burden them.  Granted, I have had this discussion with others – even therapists – that express that my demonstration of courage would be a strong trait to instill in my children; I would not want them to have to deal with the negative consequences that could come along with it.  I understand this is a sensitive topic on its own, but I believe my goal is to love them the best I know how.

My family is traditionally very conservative in their beliefs and traditions, so my coming out would come as a complete surprise, I believe.  My dad’s side of the family is probably a little more conservative than my mom’s side of the family.  Although, I have a couple of aunts on my mom’s side of the family that are very pro-LGBT, I think they are also very judgmental and tend to have the attitudes that if you don’t live life the way the see fit, then you are wrong (I don’t get along so well, with these aunts…lol). I’ve always wondered how people in my family would react, if they were to know and sometimes I’ve toyed with the idea that maybe a few might actually realize I am bisexual and/or trans (I’m still working through this issue).  I also have grandparents that are still alive, but they are getting older and one of them is truly struggling with health right now; but I wouldn’t want them to deal with the latter days of their lives thinking something horrible about themselves that I’m not what they had envisioned for life.  I know there are a multitude of different “what ifs” that can’t be defined, simply because they are “what ifs”, but I have decided that this is easier for me to handle this way.

Religion and God?  Obviously, for those of you that have followed my blog for a while, religion is tight issue with me.  I struggle with being raised Catholic and coming to the understanding that I am bisexual.  I understand the catholic theological point of view on the matter and it ultimately boils down to the fact that sexual relationships within Catholicism are completely okay, when they are kept to the confines of a marriage between one man and one woman.  The historical and theological references that can be made do not need to be discussed, other than to point out that they will lead to the same conclusion: regardless of your sexuality, a human being is called to be sexually chaste; or in the case of marriage, sexual fidelity within the marriage.  This is a topic that has been debated for centuries, but not the purpose of my post, so I’m not going to make an argument other than to point out it’s relevance to me not coming out: I have not decided how I want to live my life, with this particular aspect of my life. I can’t give up my concept of God, I can’t give up that idea that God wants me to live a certain way.  And because of that, I do have a bit of fear about how I should live my life.  Intellectually, I understand a lot of the arguments for and against; but spiritually, I just haven’t figured it out yet.  And I’m not ready to completely reject it, although, I am totally and utterly apprehensive about embracing it.

Although, there are many other reasons I have not come out, the ones I listed above are the most critical ones. They are the ones that are on my mind when I consider the impacts or purpose of doing just that.  However, the one reason I have felt the most comfortable is the one reason I am able to function on a day to day basis without it overbearing me with the worries:

My sexuality is on a need to know basis.  It’s truly my business.