Mottled Skin

The point of life is to be delighted by its surprises. I know this because it was on an episode of Fraiser. Fraiser was at a funeral and had to explain the meaning of life to a grieving widow, and that’s what he explained. Then he got hit on by one of those actress pretty smart women that always seemed to be there when the plot needed them, but who never stayed around long.

Surprises can be great, no doubt. It’s always the things you never could have imagined before you got them that are the best things in life, the people & events that take you out of your expectations and to a whole new world. That’s one reason it’s so great to watch kids at Christmas, when everything is shiny and new to them and joy is unrestrained.

To be ready for the surprises, though, you have to be pretty healthy. As we I get older, I find there is more and more chaff to be processed to find a grain of nourishment. The vast majority of surprises are the kinds you can expect — the ones where things break, events go badly or people go wrong.

At this point in my life, though, my emotional skin is so tender that it’s easy to feel bruised when I am only brushed against. And I suspect that a big part of that rawness comes from the fact that my real skin is almost never touched. As a tranny moving beyond desire, I have had to learn to shrink from my own skin, the one that constrains and limits me with the expectations of others.

This is what people want to tell us, that if the empowerment and joy that comes from our choices doesn’t overcome the challenges of standing out as an individual, well then that’s our problem Joan Roughgarden notes that the first year of being out as a tranny is joyous, but after that, you have to face the grind, and that’s a killer.

And where that kills is on the skin, the interface between me and the world, the boundary between inner possibility and outer expectations, the liminal membrane between spirit and flesh.

The hardest part of becoming new is molting.  And as hard as it may seem to shed your old skin, growing a new one in the pressures of an adult life is even harder, expecially if you don’t want your new skin to pinch and constrain you like the old one.

Skin is where we meet the world.  And while having a thin one opens you to the world, and feels better than living behind a tough old one grown to protect a tender self, a thick skin is often required in a fast-fast, bing-bang world.

My skin hurts. And if your skin hurts, it becomes hard to be ready for those surprises that Fraser says make life worth living. When you aren’t ready for the kiss because you have had to squeeze between too many thorns, well. . . .