Aug 20, 2014
Aug 4, 2014
"Faith begins as an experiment and ends as an experience"
One day I was feeling particularly contrary and I decided to challenge my beliefs, my 'faith' in science and technology which was based on a 'reasonable belief' that what people told me was true. I can't even do long division so if a scientist told me XYZ I would believe it. I realised that in my case, this was the kind of blind faith I criticised in religious people. I decided to nosey around this religion thing and test myself.
I was so anti-religion that I never expected to convince myself of anything other than religion was a bunch of hocus pocus for people that needed comfort and that I am just terrible at maths.
In the end I had earth shatteringly spiritual experiences that shredded my atheistic beliefs, of course I didn't reject 'rational thought' and modern science (I still can't do maths) but I realised that there was so much more to the world, so much more connecting us to each other and to the earth and that went beyond numbers.
I used to scorn those door knocking Christians when they said 'it can't be explained, its just faith' as the stupidest thing you could ever say but actually, when I feel it, when i touch that spiritual experience, it cannot be explained, it just is, and that's HOW I can believe in God (not the bearded guy in the clouds mind you).
So that's HOW I do it. I was stupid enough to pull the rug from under my own feet. I suppose what I was trying to say with the maths metaphor was, if someone does something crazy with Maths that is just way beyond your comprehension, you don't immediately think 'oh they must've made that shit up because I don't understand it and I have no point of reference to know if its true' which is what I did with religion. Once I started learning about the reference points, I started to get it.
A question I always like to discuss with groups I'm teaching and studying with is the classic Jewish question: Does faith inspire (religious) practice, or does (religious) practice inspire faith? In my case I went though the practice as a non believer and came out the other side unexpectedly changed.
Anyway, here's a brief answer to a question you probably weren't really asking but its the truth as I know it and as I feel it.
Aug 3, 2014
After several months of back and forth with the case worker and continually being humiliated I lost my temper, started crying and the manager came. The manager told me that there was a 'blocking system' that would make my name and gender change invisible. At the time it seemed like the perfect solution.
Jun 22, 2014
Jun 21, 2014
Feb 20, 2014
Feb 10, 2014
Dec 8, 2013
Nov 24, 2013
Nov 23, 2013
Nov 20, 2013
Oct 24, 2013
Amazon Mp3: http://tinyurl.com/oe3hzg8
An Interview with Zachs & Krieg.
Why do we need a special song just for TDoR?
Josephine: There are so many reasons that I wanted to be a part of a song for TDoR. There are some experiences that are so difficult to express through language, that sometimes art, music and song, are the only ways to really get across what we mean. I am at a loss for words sometimes when I think of why TDoR is needed and what it stands for. I don't know how to express the feeling of fear and isolation one can experience from a culture that can be so hostile to trans people. Sometimes it is hard to reach out with the sense of hope that I really do have for our communities.
I want to express that, and I think this song does that. And more than that I think a song can sometimes reach out in ways that other mediums and media can't. My hope is that this song will be heard outside of our communities. Perhaps express our stories, our fears and our hopes to the rest of the world and help people understand what we are trying to do with TDoR.
Max: What better way for us to reach out to people all over the world? Music transcends borders and cultural barriers. It travels on the air, it can be hummed and passed between people, it can be played quietly on headphones or blasted from the roof.
One of the things you will notice when you attend a TDoR event is that when the victim's names are read aloud they represent every language, every continent. We want our message of survival and hope to be shared by every Trans* person wherever they may be and a good song can go anywhere!
For me it was also about Trans*people creating their own culture, if we're going to have a song played at a TDoR event then that song might as well be by a Trans* person.
What inspired you to write this song?
Josephine: Well my friend Max wrote the song. What inspired me to sing and play it with Max was that this story rings so true to me. It is a sadly all too common experience that is given form here. Event though this is Max's personal story, it could just as easily be mine. And I think it could be many trans people's stories. Something I share with Max's story is also a sense of hope, and care, and a desperate wish to help ourselves and other people understand and survive. If this song does anything, I hope it speaks to that.
Max: You have heard the saying 'Take it one day at a time.' It's a nice idea but when you are convinced you'd be better off dead and thats its only a matter of time before someone kills you or you kill yourself a day feels like a really long time. I got to a point where instead of one day at a time I was surviving minute by minute, I would say to myself "That's it I can't take anymore, even one more second is too much" and then I would fight back, I would count to sixty, I would survive another minute in spite of myself. Then I realised that if I put on a song I could get through several minutes. Your average song is around three minutes and that's where the idea came from "I'm going to keep you alive for the next three minutes" was my way of reaching out to people I had never met, people who I knew where out there somewhere, staring at their hands thinking "I can't take anymore." It was my way of saying me and you, were going to have this song and we're going to get through the next three minutes and if we can do that then perhaps we can do even more.
Oct 15, 2013
Sep 22, 2013
Sep 4, 2013
Aug 29, 2013
So I haven't written a decent blog post in a while- a sure indication that my life is really boring or really busy or perhaps both, I haven't decided which one yet! I have been doing lots of things lately, interspersed with intense periods of lying in bed watching movies.
After I got back from camping in Nynashamn I dashed off to Norway for Oslo Queer Fest which was one heck of an adventure. They booked me to come and sing and I wasn't really sure what to expect but because my friend Naomi was supposed to be there I decided I would stay for the whole festival. I assumed it was some kind of Pride event- how wrong was I! When I arrived it turned out to be an awesome anarchist/queer festival held in Oslo's iconic and infamous anarchist stronghold called Blitz. It was great, the food was all vegan and totally amazing so I could eat the same as everyone else and not have to worry about sneaky bacon bits getting in my food, I made heaps of super queer-tastic friends, and my singing wasn't bad either! I also happened to meet some rather dreamy boys there but thats another story!
Then I got back and reality smacked me in the face. Norway is really really expensive and I managed to somehow blow almost an entire months money in less than a week despite not drinking any alcohol the whole time I was there, not eating out, and not buying anything. A packet of cigarettes cost me £11.25 compared to £5.60 here in Stockholm- totally heart breaking, I ended up refusing to buy another pack and not smoking once that pack ran out- the upside is that I haven't had a cigarette at all since I came back- thats 13 days smokefree. As I started to panic about money and realise I was going to start actually starving again some time in the next two weeks- I got a job interview at a local cafe. Now the truth of the matter is I already have a job- I am a writer, I write books, plays, poetry and music. Sadly this job doesn't pay me, well technically it does, this month I made 68pence in royalties... Anyway, since my savings disappeared long ago and my debts are mounting up higher and higher the decision was kinda made for me and now I am going back to work. The interview went fine and I start tomorrow. I am happy to have a cool job but what I really want is to win the lottery. I deserve that, don't ya think?
I also have a gazillion student enrolled in my Ukulele course right now which is totally awesome and incredibly time consuming- still I love teaching and am totally proud of my student and how well they pick things up!
So today is my last day of freedom and I am spending it writing to you, as well as working on my current writing projects because as of tomorrow- who knows when I will get to finish my next novel?
You can buy one or all of my books here- they are very good and not very expensive! OR you can donate to this blog using the payPal donate button to the side of your screen!
Aug 12, 2013
I just came back from an amazing weekend mini-break in Nynäshamn and I feel all kinds of wonderful. Nynäshamn is a smallish town about an hours train ride from Stockholm city centre, its very easy to get to since the trains are new, modern and run on time. Even better is that you can use your regular SL Access metro card to get there and get about once you get there, so if like me you try and save money by buying a weekly or monthly metro pass then you can get all your travel at no extra cost!
Nynäshamn is really quite beautiful, its a port town with a little harbour and lots of sailing boats moored up in its many many marinas. It also has some quite spectacular spas and hotels which exude an old worldly charm. Fortunately you don't need to be a millionaire yacht owner spa-goer to enjoy the beauty, in fact, for a town with a particularly high marina and spa to local resident ratio it is gloriously unpretentious. Probably this has something to do with the fact that most of the people who go to Nynäshamn are Swedish, the bossy German and screaming Spanish tourists are yet to find this jewel of a place.
Nynäshamn, like most of Greater Stockholm, has an excellent public transport network so if you're not sailing then you can easily rely on the buses to get you around. You can check bus timetables here or simply pop along to the tourist information located so close to the train station that even a blind fool like me couldn't miss it. Nynäshamn has retained its small town charm and you can expect a jolly conversation from the staff at the tourist office as well as excellent directions and recommendations. Of particular interest to the curious traveller are some of Nynäshamn's Rune Stones which sit very casually on the sides of roads and pathways as if they aren't 2000 year old artefacts of great importance.
My companions and I opted for a little adventure and decided to take our bikes with us. You can take bikes on the Pendletag (commuter trains) as long as its not during rush hour and as long as you get on at a station other than T-centralen.
In Nynäshamn you can camp for up to three nights pretty much anywhere you like that isn't a public road or a private back garden so we loaded ourselves up with tents, sleeping bags, a camp stove and as many bars of chocolate as we could fit in our backpacks and set off into the great unknown... Well it would've been the great unknown if we didn't all have GPS maps and smart phones. What I liked best about our travel plans was that we didn't really have any, we opted to cycle south down the coast until we found a spot we liked and after about half an hour we decided we were thirsty (and I really needed a cigarette) so we stopped on a little jetty for a rest. While the others has a swim, I ventured off into the woods and found the secret spot. The secret spot is a private secluded stone beach protected on two sides by some small cliffs and surrounded by beautiful green forest and wild heather. Right now it is my favourite place in the whole world. Every now and then a person with a dog would pass by in the trees and at one point a fisherman came and stood on one of our cliffs for awhile but for the most part we were completely alone.
Swedish water is a little on the cold side for me, I'm used to the warmer waters of the pacific but I still managed to get a few good swims in, that is when I wasn't soaking up the incredible sun shine and afternoon heat in the late 20's (Celsius of course!). I even looked in the mirror this morning to observe some sun burn across the top of my head, I guess it will take me a while to get used to being a bald man.
So that was my weekend, sun, sea, and stones instead of sand. Its a little sad to be back inside but I cannot wait to get back to our secret beach and pick up where we left off!
I fully recommend this free brochure to anyone looking for a cheap/free holiday in Greater Stockholm