D is for Divorce













































© Sally Paradise, 2011, All Rights Reserved

Embracing the Dark Shade of Gender

I don’t worship at the temple of psychology. Rather, I do believe that simple common sense dictates that this type of action (pictured in the j-crew ad) by the mother is moronic and hurtful. Gender identity is rooted in a sexed body and becomes mentally, emotionally and socially defined within healthy relationships and communities. The ad relationship, as depicted, is not a healthy one. The child is not ambivalent to what is happening to him. What symbol is the mother painting on her son?

I have a very clear fifty-three year old memory from kindergarten: I am standing outside the elementary school stage with other classmates. We are preparing to go out on stage to recite some memorized piece for a spring play. Each of us, boys and girls, waits for our turn to speak. As we waited for our cue, a teacher’s aide walked down the line, stood in front of each child and cupped their face in her hand. She then applied red lipstick on each child’s lips. The aide did the same to me and I started crying. I did not want to be a boy looking like a woman. I walked away and I didn’t go out on stage. That wasn’t for me.

Born with gender-dysphoria, I was never encouraged to behave feminine in any way by my parents. I was never given a gender option. Yet, as an adult I decided to reconcile my mind and body to live as woman. I did this not out of hate for my body nor out of an anger towards my father nor out of a need for attachment nor out of separation anxiety. I did not make the change to be with a man. I simply understood that I was female and not a feminine actor from the very beginning of my life.

I believe that while I was in the womb my brain was dealt an overdose of estrogen, thereby increasing a need/awareness of being entirely female despite having a body that was sexed male. Common sense would say be a male and that is what I did for most of my life. I lived this role until I realized, after much reflection, that I could make the change as a way of healing and reconciling my whole person. Now, you should know that the hormone-on-the-brain theory is not proven and neither are any of the psychological diagnoses proffered about gender-dysphoria. What is known, by all accounts that I’ve ever heard or read, is that the need to make the change is fundamental and pervasive for the dysphoric individual, so much so, that some people would even attribute the dysphoria to birth trauma. I have written many posts about these issues.

No one should be promoting gender-dysphoria or gender confusion within children. No one. This is serious business. A person may come to realize later in life that they can make the change and do it with help. It should be done only after much serious consideration and not because it is the fashionable thing to do in a post-modern age.

The j-crew ad is a blatant attack on gender. It implies that gender is fashion – a fashion accessory to take on or off. And, the fact that a parent is involved in this ad as presenting her son as a false-feminine person is truly disturbing. Gender isn’t fashion and parenting is not for fools.

In fun, children will swap gender roles in role play but they shed those roles when they leave the playground of their imagination. Pink nail polish doesn’t come off as easily… from your body or your psyche.


Just a note: If you read Dr. Ablow’s post highlighted above you will note the many comments from the LGBT community. Many of the comments are angry words directed at Dr. Ablow. He is called homophobic.

You should know that homosexuals are very, very touchy about protecting thier homosexual lifestyle and the malignant narcissism that is behind it. Ablow’s article doesn’t mention homosexuality but the LGBT community is on high alert anyway.

The List (The Legacy of Denny)

What he asked her for, what he wanted more than anything was to have a cup of coffee in the morning with his wife before the day’s work. There was nothing more.

She: wanted things handled, intangible things, things of the heart. She said, my needs are not met and these are things you should have thought of and you’re a man you should know these things and I don’t feel loved. For the record, there was more: “You didn’t feed the dog.”; “Your son needs changing.”; “The dishes need washing.”; “When are you going to cut the grass?”; “Did you leave the toilet seat down?”; “Did you put seed in the bird feeder?”; “Your son needs a bath.”; “Get your daughter ready for church, I am leaving soon.”; “Take me away for the weekend, I need to relax.”

What he asked for
And nothing more
Mattered little
Because he snored.

© Sally Paradise, 2011, All Rights Reserved

I Miss My Children (Life in an Old Shoebox)

I miss my children –
The very life of them –
The up and down of seesaw,
And, the back and forth again.

I miss my children –
The laughter and the tear,
The playful and the pouting,
How I wish they all were here.

I miss my children –
The reason and the rhyme,
The rattled day’s disharmony
That never falls in line.

I miss my children:
“She had so many memories she did not know what to do.”
I miss my children and
I wish they missed me, too.

© Sally Paradise, 2010, All Rights Reserved

The True Myth of Friendship

The True Myth of Friendship Part One: Lena

Friends come and ago. At least in my life they have. I moved away from my first friend and then later another friend moved away from me. Some friends were friends in my mind only: these three ‘friends’ had other plans for me. One friend left me when I decided to make a life change and another close friend died. Friendship has always meant more to me than any romantic relationship. Friendship meant people liked to be together and do things together, sharing their imaginations. And, friendship wasn’t loneliness.

1957. Lena is the first friend that I can recall. She lived downstairs just below my family’s apartment. Lena’s parent’s, both of them immigrant Swedes, were the landlords. The three story apartment/house was situated in the middle of a quiet block on Long Ave. in Chicago. Beside the house was a stretch of grass, a garage and a food garden. Lena’s parents tended the garden daily. I can still taste the tart garden fresh strawberry-rhubarb pies my mother made from scratch.

Lena, a couple of years older than me, was in second grade. I had just started kindergarten. We attended the same school, Lowe Elementary, not far from our home. We would walk together. Lena, as I recall, looked as if she had walked out of a Carl Larrson painting: golden-blond hair, rosy cheeks, blue eyes and a snow white complexion. It was usual at any given moment, apart from school and sleep, for me to head out the back door of our apartment onto the open porch. I would run down the noisy wooden stairs to the first landing and from there jump down to Lena’s porch floor. The impact was enough to let Lena know that I was ready to play. Through their screen door I could hear Lena tell her mom that she’d be on the back porch playing with me. Her mother would respond in Swedish. The smell of cardamom bread often followed Lena to the porch.

Being best friends meant that Lena and I spent a lot of time together playing house, playing doctor/patient or playing doctor/nurse. We also played baseball and kick ball along side the house. When we did, Lena’s mother would anxiously look out the kitchen window. Her mother was very concerned about the ball coming near her garden or a window. When we hit the ball too close to the dining room picture window, we were scolded in Swedish. In English, we were told to go find something to do, but “not here.”

Finding something to do in the neighborhood was easy. It wasn’t long before we found out that a group of us kids could unscrew the nearby fire hydrant cap. On very hot summer days we would open the hydrant and let the gushing yellow water cool our feet. The splashing and laughing would go on until fire trucks came whirring around the corner. Heavily dressed men with big open eyes and mouths would jump out of their trucks. They would chase after the rapidly scattering crowd of waders hoping to give each one of us a disciplinary talk. Escaping their clutches, Lena and I would run and hide on her back porch. Once there, we would play firemen and fire. It was a Curious George time in our lives.

Friendship with Lena was an easy give and take. Each of us could easily imagine characters we wanted to be when we grew up. We would often role play a mother and father situation. When we did, Lena would always choose to be the father. I was to be the mother. As designated mother, I was relegated to making supper and having things ready when “father” came home from work. I would stand on the back porch stirring imaginary stews on an imaginary stove (the porch bench). At some point, “father” would come home, walking through the screen door out onto the porch. “Father” would give me a hug and say “How was your day, honey?” In return, I would say, “The kids were terrible.” The days of our parent’s lives were enacted again and again until the time had come for my family to move.

Besides Lena, there were other friends, too, whose names I can’t recall. I do remember that I would often walk down Long Avenue to the busy West Chicago Avenue. I would go with a friend or by myself (I was six years old. In those days, parents were not afraid of letting their kids wander through the neighborhood. I don’t think, though, my mother would have approved of this if she knew.) On the Avenue, I would sometimes visit and sit in on the service at the Salvation Army Center for the homeless and the drunks. The Captain knew me as a regular. To him, I must have looked like a lowly street urchin from a Charles Dickens’ story.

I would also visit a deli just next door. The sights and smells (and conversations) would delight my senses. There, I could buy a huge kosher pickle for only 5 cents. After paying the owner of the deli, I would reach into the pickle barrel and pull out a pickle that had been floating at the top of the briny vinegar water. I would eat the whole pickle, puckering my lips from the sourness. This is a memory that is as sweet and sometimes as acerbic as the friendships I’ve had.

Recalling the day we left our Long Avenue apartment, I was a terribly sad when our car slowly pulled away. We waved goodbye to our many friends who were gathered on the side walk. There were moms and dads, tree house friends, kids on bikes, the ice cream truck guy and, of course, Lena. That night, I couldn’t hold back the tears as I lay in my new bedroom in the new house on a new block in a new unfinished subdivision. I thought of the gushing fire hydrant, of Lena, and of the back porch where we staged our make-believe lives. I wondered, too, as I lay in my bed: Would there be fire hydrants and friends on this new street? The next day I would meet Billy and Blackie dog.


Part Two: Billy the Kid, Bill the Buddy…continued here.

Divorce and PAS

Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)

One Sided Conversation

“Well, what did you think?” When I hear this response from someone I want to choke the person saying it.

I am a gender-dysphoric woman. In more precise terms, I decided to live as a woman after many years of trying to do the ‘other’. I made the change after a long separation and divorce, when I knew that there would be no chance for marriage reconciliation. I have two younger children ages 13 and 18 who have since witnessed my change.

I used to tell people about my relationship with my two kids. There have been ups and downs. I don’t tell people anymore because I get the same inane, snide question every time: “Well, what did you think?” This response tells me that people readily think that I should, of course, not be alarmed by my children’s response to my change, that I should be treated at arm’s length, with disrespect, with anger and with contempt. According to them and their presumptive empathy with the children, the children’s response is only natural. This question also implies that they think my change should be regarded as so unusual, so unthinkable and, therefore, so un-normal, as to not be worthy of their consideration or my children’s consideration. In other words, you deserve their response. The question itself is actually insidious bigotry hidden inside a haughty comeback. It is right up there with, “How could you do this to your children,” another shaming tactic.

Beyond all of this, there is the other parent who continually derides me before my children, feeding their fears and offering nothing positive about me to my children. This parent gets away with this by saying that “this is what they think. It doesn’t come from me.” This behavior is parental alienation based on a “Well, what did you think,” philosophy. Now, when someone calls you a “freak”, a “weirdo”, “demon-possessed” and a “mealy-mouthed pea brain” in front of your children, you have to wonder what else is being said in private. God only knows. He knows.

I didn’t look for sympathy from others when I told them about my relationship with my kids. I told them because I needed to talk about it. It was heavy on my heart. But, I talk about it no more.

Maybe some day, when I find an adult, I will talk about it again.

(BTW: This change has been a reconciliation between my mind and my body. The change has been redemptive. God has blessed my ‘change’ over and over again. My change should be viewed in that light and not from the viewpoint of a perverse sexual fantasy. Most people fear and dislike what they don’t understand. I am at the receiving end of my ex’s anger and my children are learning to become bigoted as they watch and learn from adults around them – those one or two people who say hurtful things about me and the rest who say nothing in my defense. They are one and the same.

God’s purpose for my life is being worked out. God’s purpose for my children’s life will be worked out as well, without anyone’s ‘help’.)

A Clean Home Is A Happy Home!

I can’t wait to get home from work. I want to start cleaning and drinking my V8! I feel pretty, already!

(I love it when roles are so…Spic and Span!)

The Big Shebang Theory

In a marriage relationship, men want to be honored and women want to be loved. We all know how to do the opposite. But, when love and honor are fused, then all is well in the nuclear family.

In Joy So High, So Very High

When two of my children were much younger they were home schooled.  In the evenings after dinner I would read to my son and my daughter from Hans Christian Andersen: The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories

Here’s what we read…

The Little Mermaid

The Princess and the Pea

The Little Match Girl

The Emperor’s New Clothes

The Steadfast Tin Soldier

The Ugly Duckling


The Snow Queen

And so many more…

…I remember reading the Snow Queen while snow was falling quietly one winter evening.

From Hans Christian Andersen’s diary, a prayer:

 “Almighty God, thee only have I; thou steerest my fate, I must give myself up to thee! Give me a livelihood! Give me a bride! My blood wants love, as my heart does!”

I recommend reading this book to your children:

Hans Christian Andersen: The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories, translated from the Danish by Erik Christian Haugaard,

Here are some excerpts:

“And the matches gave such a brilliant light that it was brighter than at noon-day: never formerly had the grandmother been so beautiful and so tall. She took the little maiden, on her arm, and both flew in brightness and in joy so high, so very high, and then above was neither cold, nor hunger, nor anxiety–they were with God.” The Little Match Girl

“”I cannot bear it!” said the pewter soldier.” I have shed pewter
tears! It is too melancholy! Rather let me go to the wars and
lose arms and legs! It would at least be a change. I cannot
bear it longer! Now, I know what it is to have a visit from
one’s old thoughts, with what they may bring with them! I have
had a visit from mine, and you may be sure it is no pleasant
thing in the end; I was at last about to jump down from the
drawers.”” The Old House

The Old House