Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Summer of 1609

With apologies to Galileo Galilei and Bryan Adams. This is what comes of me reading up on the history of astronomy, and having a job that leaves a lot of room for creative thinking.

I took my two curved lenses
And placed them in a hollow tube
I saw the moons of Jupiter
It was the summer of 1609

I was the one to discover
The mountains on the moon
And when I saw the Sun had dark spots
I knew that things would change real soon

Together with Copernicus'
And Kepler's clever calculations
We built on Tycho Brahe's work
Now at last we had the observations
To tear the geocentric world-view down

I got in trouble with the Catholic church
They made me swear to God I had been wrong
I had to claim the Earth was at the centre
Although the proof against was strong

For all the things I could have achieved
They locked me in my house forever
But secretly I still believed
That the Earth revolved around the Sun

Together with Copernicus'
And Kepler's clever calculations
We built on Tycho Brahe's work
Now at last we had the observations
To tear the geocentric world-view down

Oh, yeah
Back in the summer of 1609

Scientific footnote: 1609 was the year when Galilei first used a telescope for astronomical observations. The change into a common acceptance of the heliocentric world-view took several decades.

I'd be delighted to no end if someone with a guitar and a singing voice would care to record this masterpiece!

Love and bursts of creativity,
Winterdragon

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Hello world. This is a post which is Actually Important, so please read it. Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance. A day when we remember and honour all the transgender folks who have died because of anti-transgender violence or suicide.

I'm not dead yet, and I'm planning to keep it that way for a good long while. But like the majority of trans people, I often have to struggle for my existence. Both because of inner demons and because I'm an openly transgender activist. So I'm going to steal this opportunity to talk about me.

As most of you know, I'm transgender. I identify as neither man nor woman (genderqueer, non-binary and agender are words which accurately describe my identity). Yes, it's a real thing, and there are many of us. My preferred pronoun is they ("hen" in Swedish).

I suffer from gender dysphoria. This means that there are parts of my body and/or gender identity assigned at birth that I don't identify with. It's not simply an issue of being unhappy about them, as one might be about e.g. the shape of one's nose or the colour of one's hair. It's rather a case of not being able to relate, on a fundamental level, to the fact that they are part of me.

It's like looking in the mirror and seeing someone else. It's like hearing someone else's voice when speaking. It's like when people are using the wrong words about me, I feel like they are talking about someone else.

It hurts. On both an emotional and physical level. Even if it is done by mistake, with no bad intentions, I experience actual pain when somebody uses the wrong pronouns about me.

I don't know why I have gender dysphoria. Even medical science knows very little about its possible causes. I am a test subject in a study carried out about it right now, so maybe in five or ten years or so we'll know a little more. As of now, the possible causes aren't very relevant, however.

What is relevant is that I'm going through a pretty rough time right now. I'm not comfortable sharing the details with everyone, so if I haven't already told you, please don't ask me about it. Suffice it to say that the coming year will hold a lot of pain, uncertainty and stress for me.

If you want to help me through, here's what I'm asking of you:
  •  Do your best at USING MY PREFERRED PRONOUNS, both when talking to and about me. Call me a person rather than a guy/girl etc.

  • If you accidentally use the wrong words, just CORRECT YOURSELF AND MOVE ON. Don't make a big deal out of apologising; just to know that you're trying is enough for me.

  • If you hear someone else use the wrong words about me, please CORRECT THEM. It makes such a huge difference not having to do it for myself every time (which I in many situations lack the energy for, anyway).

  • If you feel you are bad at using the right words, please DO NOT AVOID ME because you are afraid of hurting me. It's okay to fuck up. Let me be the judge of what spaces are safe enough for me.

  • If you want to know more about transgender issues/terminology/healthcare, please EDUCATE YOURSELF. I can understand your curiosity, and I appreciate that you want to learn more, but I'm not in a good space to talk about these things more than I have to right now. Wikipedia is a great place to start.

  • Be aware that it is IMPOSSIBLE TO TELL just by looking at someone whether they are transgender or not. We are not under any obligation to look masculine/feminine/androgynous enough in order to deserve being treated with respect (i.e. having our preferred pronouns used about us).

  • DO NOT QUESTION me (or anybody else) about my identity, my body, my name, my gender expression or my transition process. “What pronouns do you prefer?” is a good and legitimate question. “What reproductive organs do you have?” is incredibly rude.

  • Be aware that not all trans people have the opportunity to be open in all contexts. If you're uncertain, better ask before outing someone. In my case, you don't need to ask. I'm fortunate/brave/stupid enough to be THEY and GENDERQUEER in all situations.

  • Please BEAR WITH ME if I become less responsive or sociable. It doesn't mean that I don't care about you any more, it just means that when under a lot of emotional stress, I don't have as much energy as I would like for social interaction (even across a distance). I still appreciate invitations to things, and you letting me know that you care about me. Just keep your expectations of my ability to participate lower than usual.

Thanks for reading this, and thanks for looking out for me. There are many of us transgender folks who literally wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for allied friends. Thanks for doing your best to prevent more names being added to the list of people to be remembered, mine included.

Love and hope,
Winterdragon

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Asexuality: it’s a thing!

Hi folks! Are you aware that this week is Asexuality awareness week? Well, it totally is! So today, for the first time ever, I’m happy to have a guest writer here on Scribo, ergo sum. A friend of mine, who wishes to remain anonymous, is here to tell you about asexuality. Without further ado, over to her:

This week is Asexuality Awareness Week – a week to ask attention for a sexual orientation that often remains invisible: asexuality. An asexual is somebody who experiences no sexual attraction. It is estimated that about 1 in the 100 people are asexual. For some people it is may be weird to realize that not everybody is a sexual being. Others aren’t at all surprised, and simply view the lack of sexual interest as one of the many possibilities on the spectrum of human sexuality.

But still, the statement “I am asexual” often evokes many reactions. I don’t feel resent towards the people who make them, but I do think it tells something about our society. Often those reactions come as questions in the first place: Are you sure about it? How do you know? Wanting to understand: Why don’t you experience lust? Don’t you masturbate either? But also concern: Have you had bad experiences? Are you afraid? And if it turns out that there is no reason, the “reassuring” hope: Perhaps it will come.

Yes, perhaps “it” will come – I don’t have a crystal ball. Maybe, tomorrow, or in five or ten or twenty years, I will be overwhelmed by a sudden gulf of butterflies and sexual lust. If it happens, I will embrace it. But I don’t want to hang around waiting for it. Why do people feel the need to reassure me (or themselves?) with the idea that my asexuality is a phase that will pass by? Do they wish me that ultimate enjoyment that they experience, but which I don’t crave? Do they think I am “incomplete”, in my asexual state, or unhappy? Do they think I will feel relieved by the promise of once becoming “normal”?

I am normal already, insofar that even exists. For me, asexuality doesn’t have to be a loaded word; it feels like a natural part of who I am. It also feels like a rather small part of who I am. Because actually, it is quite strange to define oneself based on what one’s not, and what one doesn’t experience.

So why then, do I still write this text? Partly for myself, and partly for all other asexual people you might already know, or you might come across in the future. Because I believe some more visibility wouldn’t hurt. Because I want to get rid of those inappropriate concerns and hopes. Because an option other than hetero-/homo-/bisexual would be handy in surveys. Because I don’t want to be asked to defend myself for “still” not having found a boyfriend. Because I want people to know that cuddling doesn’t have to equal foreplay. And if I am allowed to do a wish: Can we stop valuing sexual relations so much higher than non-sexual relations? Love comes in different forms, and one form shouldn’t be superior to all others.

So, what can YOU do?

The Basics

· Show respect if someone tells your they are asexual
· Be aware that not all people desire sex
· Be aware that one doesn’t need sex to be human, or to live a fulfilled life
· When you include a question about sexual orientation in a survey, include an option “asexual” and “other”
Advanced

· Educate yourself about asexuality
· Support asexual friends/acquaintances, by letting them know there is a place for them in the world.
· Recognize that there is a wide array of relationships, which can be romantic or platonic, sexual or non-sexual, etc.
· Refrain from automatically valuing sexual relations as more important than non-sexual relations
· Avoid framing sex, attraction and being in love as experiences that “everybody knows”
· Help spread the message! Share this with your friends and bring asexuality up in conversations whenever relevant.



Thank you, dear!
Winterdragon

Friday, 19 October 2018

The things I used to love

If ever I declare my life is done
If I grow sick of what the world’s made of
Remind me of the things I used to love
If ever I give up on having fun
Remind me that I used to be the one
To always take the time to laugh and play
To run or dance until my legs gave way
Or stay up all night talking with someone
Remind me that I used to travel far
Please, take me to a place I’ve never been
Show me the stars, the rain and things that grow
And sing to me the songs I used to know
Please, hold me tight, and help me see again
That what we love will make us what we are


Love and so many reasons to live,
Winterdragon

Monday, 3 September 2018

Varför jag tänker rösta på F!

Jag tänker rösta på F! i valet. Nej, jag håller inte med om allt de står för. Men jag tänker göra det ändå. Varför?

Främst av normaliseringsskäl: Overtonfönstret (det vill säga det spektrum av åsikter som anses rimliga, vettiga, eller över huvud taget diskuterbara, se https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overton_window) behöver förskjutas åt såväl ett vänster- som ett feministiskt håll. I och med Sverigedemokraternas framgångar har gränsen för vad som anses vara extremt på t.ex. rasism-fronten förskjutits åt just ett rasistiskt håll. Jag tror att F! kan tjäna som en välbehövlig motvikt till det.


Plus några specifika idéer jag verkligen håller med F! om:
  • Sex timmars arbetsdag
  • Gratis kollektivtrafik
  • Standardiserad transvård samt kortare köer
  • Att Sverige borde skriva under ILO:169 om urfolks rättigheter
  • Köttskatt i stället för subventioner
  • Bostad åt alla samt nybygg många billiga bostäder

Och jo, de har goda chanser att passera 4-procentspärren (det är vad som brukar hända partier efter att de valet innan fått nog med röster för att få sina valsedlar upptryckta, vilket är fallet).


Med det sagt: håll med eller inte, men gå och rösta för fan. Politik är ett jävla skådespel, men lite roll spelar det faktiskt.

Det är ju ändå valår...

Kärlek och val,
Winterdragon

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Undisguised and naked


[The atmosphere] is for my mouth forever, I am in love with it,
I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised
     and naked,
I am mad for it to be in contact with me.

— Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)

The leaves on the tree outside my window are turning yellow, one by one. Frost has crept in during the night. Darkness has returned, bringing back familiar constellations like old friends. A pale ghost of an aurora is dancing in front of the stars, and the yellow reflection of the moon is smeared across the lake. The dark silhouette of the mountains frames the brightening sky. A cloud of mist is hanging just above the surface of the lake, and distant peaks are set ablaze before the sun crawls over the horizon. 

The river's water in the morning is icy cold. My heart beats wildly, my lungs draw greedy breaths, every hair on my body stands on end. My entire being is shivering, in joy and awe. This closeness of being, this triumph of letting myself out into the world, and the world into me. To encompass and to be encompassed. A truth that suffers too often to be forgotten screams itself into existence with my voice:

I AM ALIVE!

Love and autumn,
Winterdragon

Monday, 13 August 2018

Review: Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams

Last Chance to SeeLast Chance to See by Douglas Adams

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I was a big fan of Douglas Adams already, still I have to say that upon reading this book my respect and admiration for him, as an author but even more still as a human being, has greatly increased. In this book he gives a touching account of travels in which he and his zoologist friend travelled the world in search of some of its rarest animal species. An at times entertaining, at times heartbreaking, account of the impact of human society on the fast dwindling wildlife diversity of planet Earth.

If you've ever wondered why you should bother caring about whether or not some obscure species of lemur in the rainforest of Madagascar lives or dies, or what the consequences of the destruction of its and many other species' habitats might be, then read this book. Read it, and weep.

“We are not an endangered species ourselves yet, but this is not for lack of trying.”
― Douglas Adams, Last Chance to See


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Sunday, 5 August 2018

In my dream I was lost in the woods



I had a dream, and in my dream I was lost in the woods. I came upon a gathering of trolls, and I was scared, 'cause who knows what creatures with such tails might do to me? But I came upon their washbasin, and it couldn't have been cleaned in years, it was all overgrown with moss. So I cleaned it, I cleaned till it shone, because even though lost in the woods, I wanted so badly still do do a good job. And I hissed at the trolls, and threatened to piss on the trolls, and they left me alone. And although my hair had turned grey, I found my way home in the end.

I had a dream, and in my dream I could fly. My wings were green and beautiful and I soared over mountains and trees. I came upon a buzzard, and we played for a good long while. Chasing each other in that circling way, diving headlong but never hitting the ground. And I wanted to stay, I wanted so badly to stay, but I knew that I had to come home. So I said, come with me, and in the end maybe he did.

I had a dream, and in my dream I met my own death. It was silent and fast, and truer than experience. And I was just the same and the world was just the same, except I was no longer a part of it. My touch wasn't felt, my voice wasn't heard, and my feet left no tracks on the ground. And I screamed and I screamed, and I groped and I reached, but remained a ghost and I wished so hard for the warmth of a body again. But in my heart I knew that I might never come home again.

I had a dream, and I woke from my dream, and I found that I was alive.

Love and dreams,
Winterdragon

Sunday, 15 July 2018

The lovely air

Go out, my friend, and breathe the lovely air
Recall that you are free, awake! Awake
Your senses to the world, let pleasure shake
Your body as the wind blows through your hair

Indulge in your desires, and be aware:
To live in shame would be a huge mistake
If you make sure to give more than you take
There’ll be enough for all of us to share

Don’t let yourself believe the world is fair
Yet stand behind the choices that you make
You have to act as if your soul’s at stake
Or else become a slave to your despair

Seek to create much more than you destroy
Your flesh is not a trap; it’s there for joy!


Time for yet another sonnet, evidently. I blame the mountains this time, shoving words into my head. Sure, there's quite a bit of conscious crafting involved, but at least part of it is external inspiration. Divine or mundane; to me it's complex enough to qualify as a mystery.

Love and creation,
Winterdragon

Saturday, 14 July 2018

A fond return

His Dark Materials (His Dark Materials, #1-3)His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I first read these books at the very formative age of 14. I read them for the 3rd time at 28 years of age, and yes! They still qualify as my favourite books, by far. It was a joy to realise, in the half a lifetime which has passed since I first read them, just how profoundly this story has affected my very way of being. And again I found myself just as sucked into its characters, its cosmos, and above all its ideas.

Let this quote stand for the compelling ideal it conveys: "[H]elp everyone [...] to learn, and understand about themselves and each other, and the way everything works, and by showing them how to be kind instead of cruel, and patient instead of hasty, and cheerful instead of surly, and above all: how to keep their minds open and free and curious."

This is a story which goes way beyond fantasy escapism. It conveys deep and important truths about growing up; not merely in the transition from child to adult, but in how to become and remain human. I'd recommend everyone to read these books, or have them read aloud for them. It really is that good.


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