I just don’t understanding living in your body.
I mean, it’s not that I don’t understand that other people do that, that they lead from their body, their Eros and passion rooted in physicality. I get that this is almost common enough to be the rule, and I also affirm that truth. Hell, I loved “Sex And The City” and Samantha, who lead from the body, Charlotte, who lead from the heart and even Carrie who lead with spirit all were body centric. Heck, even my girl Miranda, who lead from the head, well, she had all those other bits too.
But me? Embodied? Nope.
I saw Jennifer Grey comment on the line “Nobody puts Baby in the corner,” from “Dirty Dancing.” She said something to the effect of “Here is this person who comes up and says that no one can keep you in the shadows, and pulls you out into the light to show the whole world who you really are. That’s always gonna be sexy.”
I have a Sounds True tape, David Derida on “Enlightened Sex.” He says that the masculine is to need to be valued for what you do, and the feminine is to need to be valued for who you are. What’s the old saw, that men like to see themselves reflected as they see themselves in their partners eyes, and women like to see themselves through the eyes of someone who sees and values them? Same thing.
In the dumped note I wrote a lot about embracing and valuing all genders. It’s so easy to see them as black and white, with one as the opposite, duality in reality. Manhood has value. If, however the only value one can see for manhood is that it provides a shadow for womanhood, in the same way that womanhood is a shadow for manhood — “Men are what women are not, and women are what men are not” — then it has no value whatsoever.
Long ago and far away I wrote of gender not being prose, but rather poetry. In being a human, the value lies in the objective meaning of what we do, be that caring for a child or building a building or making a meal or cutting firewood. None of those objective bits are gendered, they are just human. In being gendered, however, the value lies in the subjective meaning of how we do what we do, the sway or stoicism, the presentation or seasoning, the proficiency or functionality of how we approach things. It’s in that subjective meaning, the approach and the tension that gender plays. A femme friend used to fix cars, but she did it in the same long denim skirt, now covered with grease marks where she wiped tools.
I spent years obsessed with truth versus deceit around gender. So much of that boiled around a fervent desire to tell the truth because I saw so many transpeople who lied all the time just to live. Heck, the first year The Big Bitch & I did SCC, we did a list of the 10 Biggest Lies CDs Tell Their Wives. The next year, we did the 10 Biggest Lies CDs Tell Themselves. Number One both years was the same lie: “I swear: I will never do it again.”
The truth is, I think, that our truth is in our performance, and our performance is in our choices. For most people those choices are not concious, they are habitual, and we barely even know where we got those habits. But the habits, I suggest, are usually not for things but rather against them. “I am not like _______, so I won’t do _______ like they do.” Beyond that, the habits are just judged on effectiveness, if they get us what we want, never seeing the price we pay for holding them.
You may not believe it, but my essential habit was manipulation. All that shaman empathy, femme intution, and too smarts and I knew which button to push to make people dance. A few years ago I met someone from my past, and her entire defense was to protect herself against my manipulations. Now, I know I have stopped doing that, but she didn’t. It’s so odd when people feel the need to sheild themselves before seeing what’s new, as Holly has done in both of her notes to me, kick me about what she considered bad about me in the past saying it won’t be tolerated. OK, sure — that’s why our relationship broke because you needed the walls. But come back in with the same walls and I realize I may as well be the same person.
I gave up manipulation for acceptance, but losing my old defenses, my old power means that I am just mostly naked, and mostly covered with bloody welts.
And that’s why, when you talk about sessions on flirting with transpeople, my mind goes to no where. The girl who would want to be there is so deeply hidden that I can’t imagine anyone finding her, let alone finding her attractive. Then again, ask Bear how we first met, and how I thought my femme (BF) friend should dance. Was I ever able to believe there would be a Patrick Swayze who could actually see and show me? Prolly not. In fact Bear recently suggested that my problem was I didn’t ask for what I needed, but let people off the hook before they even knew they were on it. True. If you never learned how to get what you need, to trust that would be there, how can you believe you will get anything but heartache with enough asking?
What’s so hard for me is that I have never found anyone who can say things for me, to share the driving. So I can’t just write, I have to try to speak, and what I know about my writing is that people tend to see their challenges in it, not mine. I squick people easy. I know this because my mother is the crumbling narccistic daughter of a strong narccistsic mother and my father is a crackpot engineer on the verge of autistic, having challenges with feelings, with the ability to see through the eyes of others. I became a caretaker early, and those of us who never trusted we could simply get the care we needed have issue later. Hell, today, I came back here during Halloween, which was stolen from me last year, because I felt the urge to help and ended up tearing muscles in my bicep helping my father move plants. He just wanted to tell me it was my fault and if I had done it the way he told me — a way I was trying to understand, asking questions, and he was getting frustrated I was so stupid ( a pattern my mother agrees is typical) — I would have been fine. (Did you know that until I went to a shrink in 8th grade, my offical family nickname was “Stupid?”) I wrapped my upper arm in an elastic compression bandage in front of my mother, but she never offered to help hold it or anything. I know that I could have asked, but I have tried that it the past, and I am used to doing it alone. I had a GF in college, going for childhood education, who asked “Did you use to play alone a lot?” Oh, yeah. Alone.
I don’t know how to trust that someone will buy me a drink or be nice if I have had a few too many. I have to be the boy protector and the girl dancer, and that only comes out twisted.
Now my arm burns and when I twist or use it the sharp pains tear, and Halloween is mine to take. I think my mother in the sky wants me to remember that helping with the wrong thing only brings me pain, that I need to do my own work, but who knows if that reading is true or just defense. It’s all about readings, and when you have your own, it’s tough. _____ is bashing The Prince for being a hypocrite and sexdog, the worst thing in _____’s book because _____ sacrifices all to stay with the extraspecial _____, so anyone who doesn’t should be denied standing. But I understand the complaints. The Prince lived/lives in a rationalization bubble, and that is the sickness that comes with trans, the sickness I fear more than anything.
You ended your note with life affirmations, sort of extending the affirmations you get from friends. Me, without friends, well, those affirmations don’t come.
In fact, I often just want to go home.