Bo Ingeborg’s perspective on the philosophy of life-long learning is a, “cradle to grave” progression of human potential through a constantly supportive process which encourages and inspires individuals to obtain all the comprehension, morals, abilities and understanding they will need throughout their lifetime. This knowledge helps people to relate within themselves self-confidence, motivation and satisfaction in all roles, experiences and environments. It is the ongoing development of maintaining the mind in active pursuit of new experiences and knowledge. This philosophy portrays a never ending journey. As eachhigh pointis passed on the highway to knowledge, another objective comes into view on the horizon. Life is a continuous learning cycle. There is no comparison to the amount of knowledge we take in through formal education compared to informal knowledge.
It is the attitude that it’s never too early or too late to incorporate new knowledge into your life. This belief describes the opportunities for intellectual development, cultural stimulation and personal growth which can open the door to a world of information. The viewpoint is based on individuals in society becoming better rounded citizens by furnishing them with learning opportunities at any age whether it is instilled in the home, through formal education, work or in religious environments. Formal and informal lifelong learning experiences can enlighten each other through the implementation of constructive approaches to learning. The curriculum in formal learning facilities can support the development of acquiring deep learning and critical thinking.
From the past, present and future we are seeing that formal education facilities are significantly changing along with the learners. Presently, more than ever before, one can find numerous students of diverse races and ages with differences in their national and heritage backgrounds/beliefs. Since there is such a range of learners, it is essential for knowledge to be colorful as well. The obtaining of knowledge always follows the constructs set by those who attain it. “Every student, regardless of their background is entitled to the building blocks of greater knowledge.”
To accomplish this, knowledge must incorporate critical-thinking and problem-solving capabilities as well as the competence for reflective learning. Critical thinking is described as “Reasonable, reflective thinking that is focused on what to believe or do” (Marshall and Rowland 1998:33). This is important for a student’s development since it helps them to become open to a diversity of perspectives, which is necessary beyond formal education and into the workplace. R. Paul described the phases of learning as, “The three stages of learning which form the basis for lifelong learning are: experiencing information literacy (learning), reflecting on the experience (being aware of learning) and applying the experience to a new context (transfer of learning)”. Individuals learn not only in formal settings, but also through non-formal situations. The key elements are neither school nor university taught, but are acquired in social groups or in the family. These life-long learning competencies guide an individual’s development through the years; they are personal, analytical and communicative. It is the capability of utilizing logic, the ability of writing, speaking, listening and the ability to display emotional balances which are all characteristics of the progression of knowledge within a student. Through the process of life-long learning an individual follows the path into life-long education.
The idea of lifelong education was first fully expressed in this century by Basil Yeaxlee (1929). He along with Eduard Lindeman (1926) provided an intellectual basis for a comprehensive understanding of education as a continuing aspect of everyday life.
It is seen as a development of citizens to achieve additional comprehension and aptitude which can be advantageous to them and contributory to the society. Life-long learning enriches one’s intelligence to grasp the basics of learning and enhances one’s soul to advance goodwill towards the society. This view point suggests that a critical practice of lifelong learning is steered by the concept of helping individuals become more open, responsible, citizen learners and workers who are capable of thinking, speaking and expand their knowledge in life, learning and work situations.
These individuals have a great impact to the lives of others. Although these people are different in nature and character they symbolize a prevalent purpose intended for the common good. Life-long learners view this process of attaining knowledge through further education as a responsibility to society withstanding all of its burden and difficulties.
Life-long learning is by now a reality for numerous adults. Some engage in learning to keep up with the rapid societal changes, others to improve their knowledge and capabilities. However, we know from work carried out in diverse places that a significant amount of adults do not contribute in the lifelong learning process. Some face hurtles that arise from a variety of reasons such as: financial set backs or family/home issues as well as the available learning opportunities which are poorly adapted to their learning needs or the situations in which they find themselves.
In the 21st century, employees need to be life-long learners, adapting continuously to changed opportunities and labor market demands of the knowledge economy. Life-long learning therefore, is not a luxury for any nation. Today, the educational systems in most countries will have to advance in that direction. More programs are needed to advance the lifelong learning philosophy which includes not only investigating ways of increasing the quality of secondary education, but also improving the guidelines to support different universities, programs, and procedures that permit all individuals to access education, whether to advance their skills for employments purposes or to satisfy their thirst for knowledge.
Whether we teaching our children (pedagogy) or examining how adults learn (andragogy), learning is fundamental to growing…growing is fundamental to life. Lifelong learning throws the axiom “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” out the door.”
We commit to continue learning because “the trouble with the future is that it usually arrives before we’re ready for it” ~ Arnold H. Glasow
In today’s society and throughout the world instant identity-transformation has become all the rage. This is the era of the surgical culture. Procedures from head to toe enhancement such as Botox, collagen fillers, micro-dermabrasion, mini-facelifts, liposuction, eye lifts, breast implants, and tummy tucks, Rhinoplasty (nose reshaping), Otoplasty (ear surgery), breast reduction, breast augmentation, and liposuction are all the rage. This describes not only the very structure of a global economy that has brought profound changes in the contemporary institutional structure, but also has set the emergence of obsessions and fears that people increasingly experience in trying to alter their identities, personalities and bodies. Julie McCrossin (2000) wrote in her article,”Cosmetic surgery has become so unexceptional a part of self-enhancement that its use in ensuring job security is now commonplace.”
According to investigations regarding these types of procedures there is one main conclusion suggesting that this could be considered a cure for both a sagging face and sagging careers. Margaret Littman (2000) reports that, “From 2000 to 2004, the number of facial plastic surgery procedures and injections increased 34%. In 2004, the academy found that 22% of men and 15% of women who had plastic surgery did so for business purposes.” There is an increase of individuals throughout the years who believe that cosmetic surgery will help them to achieve getting ahead in the workplace. Littman also states, “Previous studies in the US have indicated that attractive and younger-looking people are more successful and earn more.”
Presently, images of beauty are universal and everywhere an individual turns. Images of well-developed macho males and slender attractive females fill magazines, television and the music business. Women go through diets, fads and work out regimes while men are at the gym, striving for that toned body they think is the answer to all their problems. How did so many people become obsessed with this ultimate image? Everyday people go by their assumptions by what they can see physically. Even in the supermarket, society distinguishes good products from bad products based on appearance. Individuals in general are apt to choose good products because they do not have flaws. These assumptions and ways of thinking reflect on the way we judge ourselves.
Ever since civilizations were around there were different ideas of beauty. Historical research has uncovered ancient Egyptian formulas for things such as the removal of stretch marks, reduction of wrinkling, and the diminishing of scarring. Art in Ancient Egypt illustrated young men as broad shouldered and muscular while women were portrayed as having round busts and small waists.
In China, a beautiful woman would have what was called a three-inch golden lotus. From around 950-1912 A.D., women in China practiced something called foot binding. At age three Chinese girls feet were wrapped with long strips of cloth beginning at the foot. By age five all the toes on the foot would be broken except the big toe, and the two first years of the binding were filled with agonizing pain. The bones in the feet never healed… all in the name of beauty.
The workplace out there is a lot more competitive. An individual may have talents in their industry but must an attractive appearance no matter what anyone says. The reason being with the economy changing, workforces are being replaced with younger people for a lesser cost. The baby boomers for one, both women and men are opting for cosmetic procedures to compete in and out of the office to maintain their status. Aging is not a bad thing. As individuals live fuller and longer lives, they are becoming increasingly aware of this natural occurrence. The external signs of aging are all obvious in the physical and mental state. From the simplest fine wrinkles on a face, to low self-esteem, to the awareness of aging comes from all around us, in the media, medical breakthroughs and In fact the concept has been introduced to the Miss America contests. Miss America contestants include artistic and gifted women who have changed their outer appearance through working out, controlling their intake of food, cosmetics, and occasionally even surgery to generate the “perfect doll-like image.”
The Miss USA/Miss Universe association diminished padding ban due to feminist demands. As anti-pageant supporters like Ann Simonton stated,” Under endowed participants felt they had to undergo dangerous cosmetic surgery in order to be competitive.” Women have had their ears pinned, their upper lids enlarged, buttocks tucked, cheeks and chins implanted, and eyes widened.” With parts of a woman’s body going through a cosmetic surgical procedure of being, tugged, pressed, and surgically stitched into place, they can turn their concentration to verbally saying and doing the right thing. With talent and interviews comprising more than fifty percent of the points granted by a panel of judges, saying and doing the right thing is what lets one surgical processed woman win out over another.
In this quest for perfection, women are now turning to extremely drastic measures; they are physically changing their bodies through cosmetic surgery. These surgeries range from breast augmentation, to face lifts and liposuction Women see these surgeries as a way of improving their image, and thereby increasing their success, happiness, and desirability. They believe that breast augmentation will make them more attractive to men and that face lifts will make them look younger, and that liposuction will make their body look more appealing.
The older generations who are more knowledgeable individuals feel that in order to contend with the younger invasion of applicants that they need to look younger. Toracco (2000) stated, “That although knowledge is now recognized as one of an organization’s most valuable assets most organizations lack the supportive systems required to retain and leverage the value of knowledge.” (p.52) Dr. Stephen Greenberg, a plastic surgeon, has dealt with patients who consider cosmetic surgery due to the desire to appear more attractive and to look youthful in their position. Greenberg stated, “By having a younger appearance, patients believe they can net that hard-to-get job or earn promotions that would otherwise elude them.”
The primary reason in history for cosmetic surgery was proposed to support injured and distorted soldiers in war. Soldiers that would come back from combat with absent legs and cut faces entrusted their appearance to the hands of experienced surgeons. The development of cosmetic surgery received a push from the need to restore gross deformities to the need to change normal physical appearances.
More and more men are considering and even going through with cosmetic surgery to fit the trim and youthful appearance desired by so many. Male pectoral implants, calf implants, nose jobs, face lifts, eye lifts and tummy tucks are just a few of the popular procedures in which males are recently partaking. Barbara Biela, director of marketing for the Liposuction and Cosmetic Surgery Institute stated, “From the man’s standpoint, there are no more golden parachutes. We get men who are 45 to 55 years old and they are worried … because there are all these 35-year-olds on their backs.” Dr. Jay Pensler discusses his opinion by talking about this issue, “It used to be, in our parents generation, that you stayed with one company, being promoted until you retired. Now, there is a lot more competition. I see a large number of middle managers, a large number of them in information technology, where often anyone in their 30s is considered old. I have one client who came in and said some of my customers see me as a dinosaur because I’m not in my 20s. If the perception among my clients is that I’m old, my ideas are old, too.” If you’re not young Dr. Pensler concludes, “You are out of the loop.” According to a survey, an estimated 4,400 people taking it through the Monster.com website, nearly half said they definitely believed plastic surgery or cosmetic dental work would help advance their career.
Although cosmetic surgery in the past was only for the elite, the rich and famous, now everyone is doing it. From school teachers, to trial lawyers, to real estate agents, all kinds of people are opting for cosmetic surgery. If an individual’s position in a company places them before the public, it is possible that they may be particularly interested in cosmetic surgery.
Clearly, both men and women want to look good at any age. Today, even many older people who are competent, in shape and often still working don’t want to look their age. In Kreitner-Kinicki’s (2006) “Organizational Behavior” it was stated that, “In addition to vanity, these executives are driven by job insecurity. They believe that looking older in business now means looking vulnerable, not wise and experienced, as might have been the case in the past.” (p. 229) Individuals know that contemporary society and the business world are often discriminatory against them. A young looking appearance can often be the key to maintaining a position in the work force through and cosmetic surgery could be the means to achieve that look. Brian Amble (2005) stated, “Good-looking, slim, tall people earn around five per cent more per hour than their less attractive colleagues, it found, while those with below-average looks tend to earn nine per cent less an hour.
Research from executive training specialists, the Aziz Corporation, shows one in four career women would have cosmetic surgery if there was a potential of improving their professional success within an organization. Amble reported (2005), “…More than a quarter of female executives saying they would be prepared to undergo a face lift, plastic surgery or Botox treatments if they thought it would boost their career prospects”. Meanwhile, almost one in five male directors said they would consider facelifts if it would enhance their career.
I agree plastic surgery has its place for some individuals but as for myself, I would not choose to go down that path for a career opportunity. A good candidate for this type of procedure in my opinion would be someone with a disfigured nose, droopy eyelids that disrupts their vision, scarring from an auto accident and work-related accidents. However, superficial plastic surgery is not a wise idea to enhance employment. In my opinion these people on some level have an inferiority complex connecting individual mental health with their physical appearance and therefore went in search of cosmetic surgery. People suffering from an inferiority complex because their breasts are small, their chins droop or they have age lines feel they require medical intervention to alleviate their psychological suffering. These individuals believe that they needed help in gaining their self confidence and reclaiming self-esteem.
Most people don’t comprehend that once they have plastic surgery on their face that’s not the end of it…but the beginning of more to come. You can’t smoke, drink, or be out all night since these actions will begin to show on the face. When a person has too many plastic surgeries they end up with a very waxy look to their face.
There are, however, costs to such modification, and these costs extend well beyond the financial. L.A. Brinton (2005) discusses one study of women, “Research indicating that breast augmentation patients are 4 times as likely to commit suicide compared to other plastic surgery patients improving their self-confidence.” With any type of surgical procedure there are certain risks one should consider. Infection such as Connective Tissue Disease is one of the diseases that are caused by cosmetic surgery. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases defined Connective Tissue as, “Material between the cells of the body that gives tissues form and strength. This disease is one simple example of diseases that is highly probable to take place as a result of doing cosmetic surgery.”
Dry eye problems/decreased tear production, bleeding, blindness, damage to nerves, blood vessels and muscles within the eye are other complications that can occur when one opts for surgery to be performed. Less serious risks can include allergic reactions, asymmetry (a notable difference in appearance of the eyes), chronic pain, delayed or prolonged healing of the affected area, permanent or temporary nerve damage, scarring, and dissatisfaction with the end result, among others. Not to mention, additional risks involved with local and general anesthesia administered to patients receiving surgical treatment.
With so many risks personally and in society, why do so many people continue to go through with cosmetic surgery? Satisfaction of one’s appearance is intrinsically linked to one’s happiness and overall mood and performance within a workplace. Will enhanced or reduced breasts really make someone a different person? I believe that it is all a state of mind. It is their willingness to gamble with their health in order to achieve a sense of physical accomplishment.
Though risks such as blindness, blood clots, and serious lung problems are rare, it is critical that an individual be aware of these possible outcomes. If someone cannot live with the potential consequences, it is best to think twice and weigh out their options before plunging into a procedure that could change your life forever all in the name of employment.
There are numerous negative stereotypes fueling the use of cosmetic surgery to change one appearance. Stereotypes still abound in the mainstream media of the unkempt, homely man or woman with the belief that changing their body equates with happiness personally and professionally. The key motivation for these people is the desire to be attractive, with the intention and hopes of resulting in higher self-acceptance, mental comfort and better self-esteem. This pursuit of perfection may stem from their own disappointment that they do not fit the ideal stereotypical attractive individual working within the workforce and able to climb the ladder of success. There was a time when men with wrinkles was considered distinguished and masculine with respect to their years of experience, but in today’s society this same individual is looked upon as just being old and useless. For a woman, the belief that success, confidence and happiness comes as a result of being physically attractive is imbedded into their minds. Every day the media portrays young, thin, big busted woman as the epitome of the perfect, businesswoman who can have it all…a career, family and the home with the white picket fence.
The Pygmalion effect is a self-fulfilling prophecy in which an employer’s expectations regarding an individual’s job performance can influence that performance. It is the concept of high expectations equaling high performance. The concept portrays that an employer’s high expectation influences and positive attitude toward the employees affects the self-expectancy of the individual. The individual’s self-expectancy then improves their performance. What managers expect of employees and the way they are treated determines their performance and career progress. The extent that the Pygmalion effect plays in the case study is that our perception of what we believe other people think of us becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It is the increased achievement that’s due to the high expectations and beliefs of others. In many cases individuals accept certain labels as reality when in fact they are unfounded. While labels are usually difficult to overcome, it is possible to develop unconditional worth and high personal regard. Forming an accurate sense of who we are is important to high self- esteem. When an individual perceives that employers view them as unattractive or old, their self esteem decreases and feels the employer has lowered their expectations. This is when cosmetic surgery comes into play. After the surgery, the individual changes their self-fulfilling prophecy, people around them see a younger, more vibrant individual which in turn portrays a more positive feeling, a higher self confidence level, greater competency and worthiness within the organization. An employer’s expectation should be expressed to an individual regarding job performance therefore, employers need to express progression, discuss their untapped potential and offer new tasks to continue the striving confidence level within the individual.
The Galatea effect suggests that if an individual thinks they will succeed, then more than likely they will succeed. It is a persuasive aspect in employee performance. An employer, who aids employees by taking into account their worth, will begin the process of allowing them to harness their performance potential within the organization. This occurs when high self-expectations result in greater personal achievement. It reflects the individual actions upon the Pygmalion and fulfilling their own prophecy about themselves. This entails the transferring of their high expectations, beliefs, and confidence to employees who then fulfill that positive prophecy. By giving employees new tasks and providing them with new opportunities to expand their knowledge this will follow by an increase in their experience and confidence level within their position without the need for cosmetic surgery. Communication is also a key factor that increases self-confidence as an employee must believe in the honest efforts of a manager who is providing new opportunities to learn. This enhances an individual’s motivation, performance level and perception of self esteem instead of looking to physically change their appearances by surgery, as in the case study.
The Golem effect occurs when a low expectation from others has a demoralizing and adverse impact on a person’s performance. It is the result of less than desirable performance that results from expressed negative expectations. This concept is the reverse of the Pygmalion effect when low expectations equal low performance. As in the case study, it appears to be a domino effect as the employer views the individual as old and out of touch then the employee begins to feel the repercussions and it begins to show it in their workplace behavior. These consequences result in a negative relationship that is fuelled by negative expectations and leads the individual to consider cosmetic surgery to change their outlook into a more positive viewpoint about themselves.
After reflecting on this case study, I have learned that many individuals in the work force are more concerned about their physical appearance and “fitting in” then about their years of experience in a field. It is my belief that age and experience is crucial for long term successful performance within a company. Based on this case, one thing that is apparent is the contrast effect and its tendency to assess individuals by comparing them with characteristics of others.
According to Kelley, people make fundamental assumptions after assembling facts about the three dimensions of behavior: consensus, distinctiveness, and consistency. There is a fundamental preconceived notion that represents an individual’s inclination to attribute another person’s behavior to their personal characteristics, as opposed to situational factors. The central tendency perceptual error symbolizes the tendency to shape an overall impression about an individual and then use that notion to judge the person.
The self-serving judgment reflects one’s tendency to take more personal responsibility for success than for failure. This view of their personal achievements and performance should out way the age factor and the contemplation of cosmetic surgery.
Littman, Margaret (2000 January 10). Execs under the gun go under the knife. Crain’sChicago Business, 01496956.Vol. 23, Issue 2.
Maginnis, Tara (2007 March 15). Fashion Shows, Strip Shows and Beauty Pageants: The Theatre of The Feminine Ideal. Career Development: Health & Wellbeing. Retrieved July 5, 2007, from Web site: www.costumes.org/Tara
Paton, N. (2007 March 15). Canadians happy to go under knife for their career. Retrieved July 7, 2007, from Web site: http://www.management- issues.com/2007/3/14/research/canadians-happy-to-go-under-knife-for-their-career.asp
This transition is precisely the transition of rebirth from non-existing to existing. Johnannes Climacus~
The main character feels her way out of the darkness of the non-existent and into the light of the existing.
My ex-husband, Charles, is born a biological female named Charlee, a boy’s name. The name is carried down for generations in this small town of Shawnee, Oklahoma. There are Charlie seniors and juniors throughout the large extended family. Eighteen young boys and old men carry this name with pride.
“Why do they call me this, it’s for a boy?” she thought.
Fate begins to lay the foundation of her life before her first breath. Her destiny begins as a girl.
She remembers differences between herself and the other little girls growing up. Little girls, who want to play with dolls, dress up, hate to get dirty and love to play house in their own sweet way.
“No, I don’t want to play house, let’s play cowboys and Indians or cops and robbers or go climb that big ole tree by that fence,” she whines as the little girls give her a look of apprehension. She picks up a stick, holds it like a riffle and says, “Bang, bang.”
“Isn’t there a poem that goes something like that?” she asks.
This young girl is a tomboy, always dirty and always plays with boy toys, trucks and GI Joes. Charlee fights with her mom because she wants to dress like a boy and will not comply with her wishes.
“I won’t wear that yucky dress, you can’t make me!” she screams while lying on the floor kicking her legs frantically. Tears stream down to her pouty petite lips as she tastes her own bitter salt.
What she wanted most she could not have.
“I want my mother to treat me like a boy” she sadly whispers.
At the age of three years old, she tries to urinate as a boy’s normal function, but is instantly perplexed because she does not perform as other male children.
She recalls at age four being in a brightly lit mirrored bathroom with her father on an early, lazy Sunday. He is tall and brawny with a soft blonde strokeable beard. He is only wearing a towel. The sun is beaming through a small window and glides across the porcelain sink creating abstract shapes that reminded her of clouds that hover effortlessly in the blue sky.
She asks, “Daddy, what can’t I pee like my friends?”
He laughs and pats her on the head.
“Because you’re a girl, girls sit down when they go potty,” he says.
“I don’t understand why I’m different,” she whimpered.
She didn’t like it, but accepted it. At that age, what choice did she have? Is Charlee a girl in turmoil over an inner boy?
A child is created in the womb by a single cell and through time becomes altered miraculously into an independent organism by contributions of hormones and chromosomes. The development is identical for both male and female up until three months of pregnancy. But, what happened in the embryo stage for Charlee? Once in the developmental stage, the “Y” chromosome increased in her genetic makeup. All of those occurrences take place before her first cry, first smile, first word, the fundamental core of who she is imbedded in her mind and body.
She is eleven and her world changes forever as she remembers the female gender side taking a back seat while the male takes control. Charlee hates who she is because her brain tells her she is a boy and the world sees her as a girl.
“My mind is filled with a bunch of battles that are mirrored in my blue eyes turning them gray” she says as one tear gently rolls down her cheek.
Mother Nature hits hard as the red river of life rushes furiously out of her small frame. She awakened one morning in a pool of blood, the sheets are saturated and the fumes of a gross smell linger above her.
“Mom, make it go away,” she sobs quietly because Charlee didn’t want to grow up to be female. “Once puberty hit, I thought this is it, no more” she says.
Her breasts begin to grow, too. One day she is as flat chested as her vintage children’s desktop that sits in the living room next to a bay window. And then the next day she finds raised bumps that mock her.
“But mom, I don’t want these” she shrieks uncontrollably.
“Honey, you’re a woman now and all women have breasts,” her mom consoles her as she brushes her long flaming red hair.
“Let’s talk about the new blouse and skirt I bought you today.” Her mother tries to change the subject.
“All I want is to wear jeans and a t-shirt. I hate my long hair,” she thought as she imagined a giant pair of scissors creeping into her room while she slept and in one foul swoop chops off every single hair. Her mind wonders off in her own little world as she pondered, “That would be so cool.”
Charlee is twelve and her voice begins to sound like a sick moose that squeaks. It goes from extremely high pitched cracks to a deep baritone just like a male child. At seventeen Charlee begins to start shaving her face as a daily man’s routine.
“I am doing what comes naturally following my innate characteristics,” she explains.
While Charlee dreams about her sexuality one thing is clear, she is not fond of boys for dating purposes. She is attracted to girls. One day she tries to find a word in the dictionary that describes her emotions.
“I went through the encyclopedia searching for a word that fit how I felt because I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. At that point and time all I could find in the dictionaries and encyclopedia’s was homosexual. I knew I liked girls and so I stuck with that” she says.
Then declares, “I self-identified myself and accepted my feelings and mannerisms as being a lesbian and wanted to tell people.”
The strong desire to communicate this newly found realization with her parents is more than she can handle. She struggles to find the right answer, to find the right words.
“I told mom my new label and I guess it turned into a mistake. I am asked to leave and never come back,” her voice cracks as she stares blankly at the brown and white stripped carpet below her feet.
These words will ring forever in Charlee’s mind, “If you ever step one foot in my house I’ll pull out the shot gun and shoot you for trespassing. Get the hell out of here!” The vibrations of her voice seemed to rock the ceiling.
The house is no longer a home as her mother shoots looks that can kill. It is a war zone. Bombs are going off in every direction, then a direct hit. Charlee did not realize she was in the line of fire. Tension permeates the air as she walks into her bedroom and packs all of her belongings.
“I guess I wanted guidance and support and instead, got the boot.” she says with a distressful tone.
She immediately moves into her grandmother’s house, Miss Maggie, a woman who stood five foot, graying short hair with a heart of Mother Theresa. She is the only one who gives Charlee unconditional love at the time when she needed it most.
Once becoming comfortable in her new environment Charlee explains, “I chopped all of my hair off and from that point forward let it grow maybe to my shoulder. My mom had always hated it. It’s been hard but, it’s me.”
She is now dressing more masculine in jeans and polo shirts just like other juvenile boys. She feels comfortable with herself, but there is still something missing. Charlee questions life.
“There must be more to life, isn’t there?”
It is a slow process for her to realize that wearing boy’s clothing is not enough. She is still not comfortable in her own skin. Her mind did not match her gender, her biological sex. She is born with the wrong body parts. Her gender identity is questioned. Somehow there had been a mix up in the genetically determined gender of this child.
Charlee hates her life, her body and feels nonexistent. As an adult she recognizes what needs to be done.
“I am a man trapped in a woman’s body” she confesses.
Her dreams are of the perfect masculine physique because she knows deep down she was born in the wrong body. Her dreams are of being with a woman, as a legal man. The downside is her family and their reactions. It is her mom in particular that she feared most. She rewrote the history of her life as these visions led to two surgeries, top and bottom plus the need for testosterone shots. Charlee begins to transition at the age of thirty into a proud man named, Charles.
She enters the hospital for two separate surgeries. The first is for a hysterectomy on March 12, 2007 in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Two weeks later, a hate crime occurs. It’s Easter, a family get together. The holiday tables are full of colored eggs, chocolate bunnies and pastel baskets. She entered the festivities about an hour before it happened. Her mother and sister beat her physical body in front of the entire family.
“You’re killing my daughter” her mother shouts as she pounds Charlee’s limp body that lays on the ground mixed with gravel and miniscule pieces of glass, while her daughter’s blood covers her hands.
Twenty minutes later, it is all over, Charlee’s body resembles a mangled animal just hit by a car lying alone on the side of the rode at midnight. They try to crush her spirit consequently, blood is split and bones are broken. The family is ripped to shreds as she files police charges against her mother and sister. Charlee’s aunt, Paula, who is a short, skinny woman with jet black hair happens to be very powerful in the community. Not only is she an attorney, a General in the United States Army, but she is the Commissioner of the city, Shawnee. She carries an air of a rattlesnake, ready to pounce and kill her prey at any time, at any cost. Paula uses her influence to destroy all the hospital and police reports regarding the incident. We believe she squashes them as soon as they hit the DA’s office. Why would she do such a horrible thing? To protect her family.
In Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Charlee gets her second surgery called, top surgery to remove her breasts. The big day came on April 7, 2007. After driver license changes from F to M, birth certificate changes with a new gender and name, she is now a he and is considered a transman.
He remembers the first time he spoke to his mother on the phone once he completed the transition and she describes “her” first room.
“The nursery we made you has walls of a pale yellow, fluffy pastel animals, a giant sun and a rainbow that went around the room, filled with pink blankets, miniature stuffed animals and filled with little girl clothing. “Perfect for our tiny miracle,” my mother cooed.
“Now, my baby girl is dead,” she snarls.
For the rest of his life Charles will administer weekly testosterone shots into his body. He passes 100% within our society. He looks like the average guy who walks down the street. He finally feels comfortable in his own skin as a man and has found his inner peace. It is only now that the inner child, the young boy is free.
Life means living to the fullest of one’s ability, no matter what the costs, isn’t that right?