Sunday, January 30, 2011

Head in a Cloud Business explosion (Alex)

My head is swimming. I have been doing research on my business. I've been on a marathon for the past 10 days, finishing nearly 10 books and I'm in the middle of a half a dozen more. I've got a 2" binder stuffed full of notes and research. Its been my dream since I was a child to get involved in healthcare and specifically alternative medicine. Over the years I have waxed and wanned on my enthusiasm for different aspects of health, from public health to a mainstream medical degree to naturopathy to herbalism to massage therapy. But if I have learned one thing over the past few years, it is that I am an entrepreneur. I love learning but hate school. I love running a business and figuring out how to make it work, but I hate working for others. I get a thrill off of training others to succeed. Over the past year I have been rolling around an idea for a holistic health "hospital". I want to start my own business. So, I've been diving head first into a concentrated research effort the past few weeks. I've been collecting info and resources for 6 months already in a random effort. But I'm full steam ahead now.

My head honestly hurts. One of the books I'm working my way through is a 700 page small print publication for health care administrators on the integration of complementary medicine in health care systems. It has been making my head explode because practically each chapter has been paradigm shifting. It takes me hours to get through something that would take me less than an hour. Its been great. But overwhelming. My goal is to understand the basics of what I need to know to design a large group medical facility that is insurance reimbursed. Obviously I don't have the experience or knowhow to start a facility like that, so I'm putting together a timeline that will start me out small working on one small part of the grand scheme and have me grow it over the next 10-40 years. This is what I want to devote my life to. I'm applying for my Massage License in 2 months. I am going to start volunteering in integrative health centers around San Diego.

What hurts my head so much is designing a system or at least an idea that can be grown in a direction that becomes a final vision. And the final vision is hard to wrap my head around! How do you design an entire "bricks-and-mortar" hospital based, primary care integrative CAM facility that is different than anything ever done yet? There are some outstanding models around the USA. And lots of little clinics too. But it is still a new field and requires reinventing the wheel each time.

Bring it on!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rammstein Zwitter (Alex)

I am not a huge fan of Rammstein. In fact, I don't really like Rammstein at all. I think there are much better German bands. That being said, there is an interesting song they did that is a retelling of the Greek myth of Hermaphroditus (found in Book IV of Metamorphoses by Ovid). It is from the perspective of Hermaphroditus (who was born a bio-male!!!!) reflecting back upon the moment when the water nymph, Salmacis, was overcome by lust for the boy and tried to seduce him, but was rejected, so she pleaded with the gods to let her become "one" with him. The gods granted this wish, and Salmacis and Hermaphroditus became two souls in one body, with a mixed male/female body.

Hermaphroditus recounts in this retelling how he has grown to accept himself and love who he is. He also reflects on how being of "two genders" has changed how he interacts with the world. Unfortunately, english translations of the song badly butchers the meaning behind the words and totally do not take in account the story that inspired the song, so therefore they interpret many of the lines wrong. It results in an incredibly crude and disgusting translation. The song, instead, is meant to be one part a celebration of self-acceptance and one part "fuck you world! for seeing me as a disgusting (derogatory) "hermaphrodite!". He describes the subtle meaning of what it means to be of two souls that are now one person and how that changes who he is.

Although I do not see myself as two distinct people in one body, like Hermaphroditus did (and the way many who have multiple personalities), because I am only one soul, I still connect with the situation of moving through the world as two genders because I have to pretend I am two distinct people that are of two different genders (at least on the surface. My surface identity does not change who i am underneath). I feel strongly that if culture and society did not insist on me choosing one or the other gender, I wouldn't feel so pressured to adopt two identities and presentations. I could just be me, without judgement! There have been many cultures throughout time that have recognized this type of person. In some cultures, such as the native american "two spirit", these people often become powerful leaders and shamans. Obviously, the greeks felt a similar way. Hermaphroditus is a God.

Word of note: The literal translation of Zwitter by Rammstein hides the complexity of the double meanings in the german language. Rammstein specifically uses words that have double meaning and are inflammatory interpretations and is being extremely abstract. This is part of the premise and reason to fame of the band. This song is written to be intentionally interpreted as jarring and disgusting. What amazes me (and the reason I am posting it here and talking about it) it that the song is also written in a way that exposes the subtle perspective of someone who understands the plight of Hermaphroditus and can see it from a somewhat neutral and/or good place. Rarely is the story of Hermaphroditus told from that perspective. It is always told from the perspective of a "normal" person, which is like an alien trying to describe what it is like to be a human or vice versa.

Ich hab ihr einen Kuss gestohlen ...............(I had stolen a kiss from her [the nymph])
Sie wollte sich ihn wiederholen ..................(She had wanted to keep him [She was overcome by lust for the boy, and tried to seduce him, but was rejected. So the nymph she called out to the gods that they should never part.])
Ich hab sie nicht mehr losgelassen .............(I did not let her go)
Verschmolzen so zu einer Masse ................(Melted together into one)
So ist es mir nur allzurecht .......................(I am now at peace/it is ok)
Ich bin ein schönes Zweigeschlecht ............(I am a beautiful "Two Spirit“)
Zwei Seelen unter meiner Brust ..................(Two souls in my breast)
Zwei Geschlechter eine Lust ......................(Two sexes/genders but one desire [as in one want, one mindset, or life goal and direction in life, not sexual desire]

Zwitter, Zwitter .....................................(hybrid/two soul/double embodied)
Zwitter, Zwitter

Ich gehe anders durch den Tag ..................(I go through each day differently)
Ich bin der schönste Mensch von allen .........(I am the most beautiful person in the world!)
Ich sehe wunderbare Dinge ........................(I see amazing things)
Die sind mir vorher gar nicht aufgefallen .......(that [each day] I did not/could not see before)
Ich kann mich jeden Tag beglücken .............(I can make myself happy every day [referring to the inner relationship he has with himself, and perhaps a more physical double meaning too])
Ich kann mir selber Rosen schicken ..............(I can send myself roses! [this is a subtle play on words referring to the rigid gender roles in german society and is meant facetiously and sarcastically])
Da ist kein zweiter und kein dritter ..............(there is no second or third [body; but left open to be interpreted as person to play out the dual story line for the rest of the song])
Eins und eins das ist gleich ........................(both souls are the same me; literally one and one is the same)

Zwitter ...................................................(hybrid/two soul/double embodied)
Ich bin so verliebt .....................................(I feel so loved)
Ich bin in mich verliebt ...............................(I love myself! [again, another sarcastic play on words that has a double meaning… I can make love to myself, and figuratively, I love who I am. It means both.])

Eins für mich .............................................(There is only one for me [refering to the original himself and now the one body and one mindset/direction in life)
Eins für dich ..............................................(There is only one for you [referring to the original you of the nymph and now the one body, and one mindset/direction in life)
Gibt es nicht .............................................(there is nothing [other])
Für mich ...................................................(for me [me as in the wholistic person, the both of them now being “the same”])

Eins für mich
Eins für dich
Eins und eins .............................................(both of “us”)
Das bin ich ................................................(that is me!)

Ich bin alleine doch nicht allein ......................(I am alone, but I am also not alone)
Ich kann mit mir zusammen sein .....................(I can just be here with myself [also a play on words which can be doubly interpreted as being able to sleep with himself)
Ich küsse früh mein Spiegelbild .......................(In the morning I kiss my reflection in the mirror [a subtle reference to the rigid gender roles in german society and the expectation of men to be romantic with women and how looking in the mirror in the morning is self affirming when he sees both "souls" in the reflection in the mirror)
Und schlafe abends mit mir ein ......................(At night I sleep alone/with just myself [the grammer refers to an acknowledgment of a second person])
Wenn die anderen Mädchen suchten ...............(when other [men] are chasing women)
Konnt ich mich schon selbst befruchten ...........(I [don’t need to because] I can have a relationship with myself [this is another play on words and is meant facetiously both as an entire phrase and with the use of the word befruchten, meaning both literally being able to “fertilize” himself but referring also to the more abstract reality of having an intimate relationship with a someone else which is inside of himself])
So bin ich dann auch nicht verzagt ..................(so therefore, I am honestly not bothered)
Wenn einer zu mir "Fick dich" sagt ....................(when others tell me to “fuck myself” [again, said in irony. The germans have a very subtle, dry humor])

Ich bin so verliebt
Ich bin in mich verliebt

Eins für mich
Eins für dich
Gibt es nicht
Für mich

Eins für mich
Eins für dich
Eins und eins
Das bin ich

*** I use the male pronouns because Hermaphroditus is bio-male and although some versions of the myth/story refers to an eventual change in gender identity, I don't know the myth well enough to feel like I can wade through society and time's (often derogatory) interpretation of which gender pronoun is the "right one". Therefore, I don't feel at liberty to change it to a gender neutral pronoun or to a female pronoun. I intend to use the male pronoun in the same way one would use "mankind" to mean people****

Note of some of the gender terminology: Zwitter translates literally to hermaphrodite and it is often used to refer to those who are "hermaphrodites", but it's actual meaning translates more closely to "double embodied", "two souls" or "hybrid". It can also be applied to situations where twins in the womb, for example, share a hybrid set of genes from one egg being fertilized by two sperm, producing "zwitter" twins. It is typically interpreted as something relating to the physical/material world, but also could be used metaphorically to describe something more abstract if care was taken to emphasize the more abstract interpretation (like rammstein has managed to do in their song lyrics!)

German also does not differentiate "gender" from "sex" and often use the same word. "Geschlecht" is usually interpreted to mean sex, more than gender. Furthermore, there is less of a distinction between gender identity and sexual identity and sexual orientation than there is in English! There is often one word that can be used for all three depending on context. German has been importing english words in an attempt by the LGBT community to make a distinction between definitions. (For example, Bisexuell for bisexual)

"zweigeschlecht" likewise translates to "two sexed" or "having two genders" (remembering that gender actually means sex, not the gender in your head), "Zweigeschlecht" orignially means something akin to bisexual, but the meaning is shifting to a narrower definition because of the importation of english words.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Museum of Man (alex)

I've been pretty miserable. I feel like I am putting out fires, one day devoting all my energy to starting my business, then the next day throwing myself into feeding myself, then the next refusing to get up from the couch to try and pretend I have nothing important. Today, I've been making an effort to read the ENTIRE nearly 4 year history of a Salicylate Forum ( After 3 hours, I only made a dent in the first half of the intro post! So, this might take me a while. But I'm learning a lot!

In an attempt to give my eyes a rest, I went to Balboa Park and ended up at the Museum of Man. There was a tiny little exhibit called Strange Bones, documenting how our bones are living tissues and how they grow and change over the course of a lifetime when confronted with fractures, disease, binding (corsets, foot binding, head shaping, etc), wounds, environmental factors, nutrition, etc. I took pictures of two things that scared me. First, syphilis is the 1st cousin of Lyme Disease. Seeing that Lyme can be even more destructive than syphilis, I was a bit disturbed by the fact that my bones could be doing that! The other is a bone when exposed to excess fluoride (which we get from our drinking water, toothpaste, etc). Although I haven't ruled out that I am having fluoride problems, one of the members on the Salicylate Forum that has helped me a lot DOES have fluoride issues and I wanted to share this particular bone with him/her.

All that being said, I have a whole new appreciation of health and human skeleton. I also spent some time examining the skeletons of other hominid species too. With my new anatomy and kinesiology knowledge from school, I was fascinated by how much I could learn about the different human species by looking at their bones. The human body will never cease to amaze me!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Moving forward in a New Year (vickie)

Life has been pretty hectic the past 2 weeks. I have been spending a lot of time thinking about who I am and where I am going. I have to say, giving up has certainly been on my mind. Going home for Christmas, back to Ohio, was stressful. I got really really sick and am struggling (still) to get back on my feet. I feel like I am just emerging from a fog. I'm reacting to so much in my environment, I wonder if it will ever come to an end. What has kept me going is my Rotaract group and In Rotaract, I am taking on responsibilities to bring a public showing of Under Our Skin, a documentary on Lyme Disease. I bought a few copies of the film last week. While watching them, I cried through the entire second half. It gives me so much strength and hope to see others go through this, but at the same time, so much dispair. It seems such an impossible task to get better. There are so many challenges to overcome, I honestly wonder if I have it within me. I am a fighter. I wouldn't be alive if it weren't so. I wouldn't have gotten through the past year if it weren't so either. But the film really hit home with me that there is so much more ahead, so much more pain. And I am only at the BEGINNING of the journey.

Looking back at this year, what has amazed me the most and made the biggest impact on me is the the forum I spend a lot of time on. It has provided a safe place where we can all "evolve" in our own ways as gender queer indviduals. has changed my life and literally saved my life several times this year.

It has really been a journey for me this past year. I am just past my one year anniversary of coming out to myself! I have seen my identity as a multigendered individual evolve and mature. I have seen my different modes become their own thing and be what makes ME happy and not what others want to see me as. I have also grown as a person. As an independent, NON-codependent person. Being alone this year and recovering from a relationship has been hard, but it has been one of the greatest things that has happened to me. A true blessing in disguise.

I finally got my new Social Security card with my new name this week. Now I need to go to the DMV and change my name there. I am waiting for a day where I am in male mode, because I need to get my picture taken. It feels like male gender is kind of a innocent until proven guilty kind of thing. It is a lot easier to disprove being male than prove you are male, so I want to get my ID to look as masculine as possible. The point of changing my name to my initials is so that I don't "out" myself with my name. It would be pointless to change my name if my picture wasn't "neutral".

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about my identity as a woman. I recently finished a book on communication between men and women ("You Just Don't Understand" It has really changed the way I view the world and where I fit into it. I came out of the closet to my grandmother while in Ohio and she took it really well. In fact, I couldn't have asked for anything better! She recognized that I was still the same me and that in the end, gender doesn't matter. It wasn't something that she was negative about or something that she would tolerate; it was simply love and acceptance. It made me very happy. It was such a powerful experience.

What was much more difficult, however, was "coming out" about my illness. I have come to understand recently what that means to me and have finally been able to get to a level of acceptance and faith in journeying forward these past 2 weeks. I discovered when visiting home that my family here in San Diego (that I have been relying on to communicate with the rest of the family as to what I have been going through while I was too sick to communicate on my own for the past 3 years) has been covering everything up, and in some cases lying and saying I was ok, when I am not. In many ways, I think (subconsciously), I wanted to perpetuate that.

I wanted to perpetuate that because it has been critical to my identity as a woman. I have been ashamed to be a female because I feel like I am always "loosing". Being sick is just one of many ways of "being weak". As a bio-female, I have struggled to live in the "female world" because I act in a more male and competitive way much of my life. This book helped me recognize in my heart that the female world is much more egalitarian, rather than just intellectually recognizing that; that that type of world organization is not in competition to the "male world" but simply a different way at looking at the world and a different and just as valid place to be. I have been trying to prove that I am who I am (multigendered) and prove what I am going through, instead of relating and sharing what I am going through and who I am. In addition, I have struggled with the concept of being beautiful and also with feminine power coexisting with what I have often viewed as female subservience and victim-hood. That has manifested in a way that I have always struggled to be "better" or "more" than my partners, family, and friends; everything is a competition, even when that is not what I intended.

However, I have learned an extraordinarily humbleness and inner strength this past 2 weeks that comes from a femininity that I never understood before. That overcoming the challenges I have gone through can be expressed and be a part of who I am as a female and be something to be proud of. It can be a part of how I present and not something to hide. I can be PROUD of my "weaknesses" because my greatest weaknesses are my strengths! This has allowed me the past few days to go out presenting as a female the way that makes ME feel beautiful and strong, not the way society says beauty is. My female side has evolved to a place where I can peacefully live in my own skin and the rules that I judged myself on don't apply anymore. Despite living in the world as a bio-female, for the first time I have actually been able to access the feminine world.

As a male, however, I have learned to stand my ground and stand up for myself. To be direct and how to take the floor. I have learned that some of my feminine ways of talking and relating put me in a one-down position and I inadvertently demasculinate myself when I am trying to prove that I am just the opposite. I discovered what the heck is the big deal about sports teams and found a way to make me feel like I have control and comradery without being needy. This has been just as empowering too.

I am amazed at how lucky I am to live in both the male and female worlds and that I am learning how to gracefully glide between them instead of living in a mish-mash of both worlds, and hence my own little world.

I started classes at Mueller again this week and for the first time, I openly talked about how lucky I feel and how truly blessed and gifted I feel to be bigender. I feel that in many ways, being bigender is a special place that is an honor. I hope that I can cultivate that. I am taking Thai massage, Reiki, and a lab class. Thai totally freaked me out. This is the first bodywork class I have taken since the Trauma Touch Therapy. I still dissociated during class and had a hard time working through it when I got home, but it wasn't as bad as it normally is. So, I guess there is progress! But I am NOT going to give up on this! I will NOT let my body shackle me in chains for the rest of my life! I am going to keep doing what I am afraid of and ashamed of over and over and over again until I get through this!

I had my Reiki class this morning. I think that this class is going to be very difficult, emotionally, for me. But I think it will also be hugely positive too. Lab is on Saturday. I am looking forward towards that, because I want to start building clientle. I want to get my business running and I need to pay for my massage room space too, asap.

So, that all being said, Happy belated New Year! May the upcoming year be full of challenges and tears and love. :-)