Stretching Thanks

It was a tough Thanksgiving.

I had shared a conversation, a messenger log, with someone I have known for a long time. I shared it to let them see where I was, what I talk about with other people.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when they took the post to be about them, and had to explain how the ideas and feelings expressed were odd and anethmetic. You see, they don’t identify at all with other trannies, rather they identify as a normie and find trannies queer & broken, scary & sick. Especially the ones who engage their sexuality.
Of course, this person’s real life is as a man & a husband, and their trans expression is limited to very clear boundaries — church, bookclub, and a screened crossdresser group, mostly. By simply not engaging any part of their trans expression that might be messy — like work & sex — they still feel entitled to claim womanhood and dream of being a grand dame in society while staying firmly in man camp.

I knew this stuf and it’s not what bothers me. What bothers me is what almost always bothers me. It is the obligation for queers to be able to enter normie space while normies feel no obligation to enter queer space. I spend a lot of time understanding and mirroring people around me, but very few people I meet spend any time understanding and mirroring me. I am expected to understand them, but their understanding of me, well not so much.

My mother gave her thanks before dinner. She used the standard trope, being grateful for not being as bad off as others. Does the man being devoueredby flesh eating bacteria give thanks that he is not being eaten by a shark?

When she got to us, she was greatful for all I do to take care of her and my father, but for my sister, she was thankful for her being wonderful. In other words, my sister was valued as a human being, but I am valued as human doing. I am valued for what I do, and not for who I am, because who I am is too damn messy.

People’s choices are about them, I get that, and most often they don’t even consider others. And even if they do, how can they consider what they do not understand, what they choose not to engage, consider worlds that they choose not to enter?

Hell, Jack Welch is sure that he was as broken up as anyone by 9/11, because that is the limit of what being broken up can be, his limit. I wondered, of course, if people who lost a spouse or parent might disagree, might know that they actually were broken up in a different and more profound way.

Give thanks for what you get. But when what you get often seems to be the demand to be normative, to change to do what others expect, well, it often feels that thanks can be stretched past the breaking point.

5 thoughts on “Stretching Thanks”

  1. What you write about norms not entering queer space is so true, and for many minorities. The smugness of the majority is always one of the distressing qualities of being an outsider–that, and the assumption that nons make that you are eagerly waiting for them to judge whether or not you are acceptable, that in fact it is their duty to make such a judgement. At least there is some comfort in knowing that minority people end up smarter and wiser, from having more than one viewpoint.

    Your mother’s grace about people who have it worse reminded me of a joke. I may have made it up. It goes–I felt sorry for myself because I had no shoes, and then I met a man with no feet. And then I realized, that still doesn’t get me any shoes.

    The saddest thing about your mother’s attitude is that what you needed from her was so simple, just to say that you are wonderful. On the other hand, there is a value in having our actions and sacrifices recognized.

  2. The disctinction between living/being valued as a human being v. as a human doing hit hard. I wonder how many of us outlaws only live as human doings, because we have no more faith in the worth or beauty of ourselves than anyone else does.

  3. Pingback: Aloner | Callan

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