Sunday, 28 October 2012

An Honest Ramble

This week I had the privilege of being able to see a speech by Lana Wachowski in which she talks about the reasons why she's come out as trans and her battle to reach that decision.
If you don't know who Lana Wachowski is, she is one of the directors of The Matrix trilogy and also V For Vendetta (two films that I never really 'got' btw). However, whatever her failings are as a director she more than makes up for them in this video of her acceptance of The Human Rights Campaign's Visibility Award.
It is a very moving speech with which I identified on a number of points - the sense of not belonging, the feeling of being a "freak" and others.
Like Lana, I also have stood in front of people and talked about these feelings. I wasn't accepting an award but, like Lana, I felt being silent about it was wrong.
I also, like Lana I think, believe if you feel something to be wrong you should try to do something to put it right. That is one of the reasons why I'm now learning how to be an Equality & Diversity Trainer.
I could've chosen to teach many things - I have a HND in Graphic Design for a start - but felt that, if I'm to make an impact in this world, I'd far rather try to improve something I feel strongly about than something I just happen to be good at.
I'm not either a natural teacher (I'm inclined to be introverted, for example, which is not a helpful quality for a teacher!) nor a natural educator in Equality & Diversity (I have far too many prejudices!) but that is part of the attraction for me - it's challenging and that challenge motivates me.
A recent attempt at Equality & Diversity training was just yesterday when I tried to educate people that they should "be true to yourselves" (which I think Lana covers quite well in her speech also).
Being true to yourself is something I've struggled with all my life and I still don't quite achieve it. I still have a tendancy to "act straight" if I feel being my true self will land me in trouble.
I know it's wrong... I know it causes pain and grief to myself... but I still do it. It's a survival technique I've learned and I can't quite seem to break the habit of a lifetime.
So one thing I hope I'm learning is to have compassion to my failings and also to have compassion to others who don't quite live up to my expectations as well (which in itself is wrong - who am I too judge?? - and, yet, another habit I don't seem to be able to break).
So, anyway, back to yesterday - I flopped. Or did I? Certain people say they enjoyed it and thought it was successful but I, with all my newly acquired learning about teaching, feel I should've done so much better than I did.
But am I being too harsh on myself? It was, after all, the first time I'd done that presentation and nothing ever works out the way you expected or wanted at the first attempt! That is what I'm learning as a student teacher - that teaching is as much a learning process as being a student is.
So, anyway, enough of my ramblings for now. I don't know if there's any point/message to this?? But thanks for reading through to the end anyway.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

The Magical Mystery Tour

One in a very occasional series of film reviews...

This morning, after being a fan of The Beatles for the last 25 years or more, I finally got to see The Magical Mystery Tour and, far from being the travesty that I was always lead to believe it was, I reckon it's the best Beatles movie of the lot! The only fault I can see with the movie is that it was a movie too ahead of it's time.
For a start it was originally seen by the nation in black & white on poor quality televisions - not like I just watched it on my colour 42" HD telly!
It also has next to no production values and was made 40+ years before reality television and video blogs made us all acquainted with that idea!
It is also a psychedelic/surrealist movie with strippers and very little plot so pretty avant garde (especially considering how straight laced Britain was at the time!) - but broadcast by "Aunty Beeb" on Boxing Day and featuring the world's most commercial band!
It also followed two Beatles films that focussed on the band's likability/cuteness - A Hard Days Night and Help! - where this film has very little of that and instead is a pretty random experiment in film making.
The production the film most reminded me of was Monty Python's Flying Circus but this was broadcast 2 years before Monty Python! And Monty Python caused a hell of a stir even then! the shock The Magical Mystery Tour must've caused to mainstream Britain on Boxing Day in 1967 is still palpable 45 years later!
For me, though, the film has two great pleasures: The Beatles and the anarchy of the film.
Seeing The Beatles perform, even all this time later, is a joy. Their character and talent put the popular bands of today firmly in the shade! (Yes, Coldplay, I am looking at you!)
And the anarchy of the film - it's lack of production values, it's lack of plot, it's lack of commercial considerations, it's silliness, even the fact that the final two songs are plastered on the end with no rhyme or reason - made the film highly enjoyable and I'm pretty sure I will never see another film quite like it!
Highly recommended.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Choose Happiness

It's a glib thing to say "Choose happiness".
If depression was that easy to overcome a lot of psychiatrists would be out of work and the drug (and vice) industry would take a massive hit in it's earnings.
But what is easy is to push aside negative thoughts and replace them with more positive ones. I say "easy" but it does take a bit of effort - not a whole lot of effort - but a bit. The key is finding the determination to make that effort.
In my experience it's all too easy - and comforting - to think "Life has been so horrible to me". Thinking that way gives me an excuse to avoid taking responsibility for my life - a life that has in many ways been incredibly disappointing. But I am not a passenger in my life. I am the driver. Every decision I make - even if it is to delay making a decision - has a consequence and I thus have a responsibility for that consequence. That is incredibly difficult for me to accept - hence shirking the responsibility.
I am speaking from considerable experience of this. But I am finding a bit of reflection helps me through the darker moments. It's not so much as "choosing happiness" as "ignoring the sadness".
I hope for a miracle cure for my husband that may never come. I hope that this unfulfilling job is only the stop gap to finding a much more rewarding career than I've ever experienced before. I am hoping that this depression will lift and I will know happiness like never before. I am hoping that I am now slowly coming to terms with my gender identity and that, instead of fighting it, I will come to accept it's swings and roundabouts. And I am hoping I will put that year of bullying 25 years ago behind me and finally find the strength to be myself even in the face of adversity (as well as amongst friends).
But, in my dark moments, the above also gives me much ammunition to hate myself and my life. That is what I need to move beyond.