You know, I think this is obvious, so I don't mention it, but sometimes I get reminded that I need to get this out there.

Yes, I am brilliant.

Yes, I am broken.

Yes, I am both, both brilliant and broken. 

There is a term for that state, a myth I have understood since I was very small.  It's called being the "wounded healer," and every human culture has that archetype somewhere in their mythology. 

I am brilliant because I am broken.  Being broken keeps me open, aware of my own feelings and the feelings of others.  That awareness of pain and joy, of where the sharp edges are keeps me brilliant, because I have the instinct, intution and insight that comes from shared pain.

I am broken because I am brilliant.  Being brilliant keeps my way illuminated, and that means I tend to see things, see connections and disconnections that can easily be missed when they are left in the shadows.  Anyone brilliant enough to see between, see though, and see below will always see where things are not right, wher suffering occurs, where people act out of pain & rage, out of stuffing & greed.

I drive down the road and see all the shiny new cars and while I can tell them apart, I have real trouble seeing where they are different.  It's just not something I see.

But I look at the faces of people and I see such a range of hearts, such a river of connections that it moves me, moves me deeply.

I know that many people are the other way.  They understand the symbolism of cars while the faces of the crowd around them blur together.  Cars don't need, don't bleed and don't feel pain.

I have a gift and that gift has a price.  I can't imagine how you can be exquisitely attuned and sensitive and also be compartmentalized and defended, easily sloughing off the routine slights & insults of everyday modern & mechanical society.  I try to strike a balance, but that balance is always off, always tearing, always wrong, because right is hard.

Am I sick?  Sure.  Am I a healer?  Sure.  It's what I do, but more than that, it is who I am.  I am a wounded healer.  And being a wounded healer means that you are never simply one thing or the other, but rather that you are liminal, on the limina, in the doorway, both and neither, all and nothing, at the same damn time.

I am deeply connected to what is important at the same time I have fallen off the grid. 

I am strong minded at the same time my weakness opens me to pain. 

I am lucid & lyrical at the same time I feel no one understands me.

I am out & naked at the same time I stay hidden.

I am the queerest person Kate knows because I am not just wildly indvidualistic, I am also conservatively tame at the same time, which makes me queer in the doorway, double queer.

I am terrfied and fearless, desiring and cleansing, intelligent and emotional, female and male, potent and impotent, grounded and flying, here and beyond, all at the same damn time.

This is the myth of the wounded healer, one who rises above by going below, one who bleeds from the heart while touching the godhead.   This is the mythical creature who can help others with their healing because they know the path of pain — the path of transformation — so well.

I remember a pyschologist who recently transitioned, and a client was somewhat surprised when a husky woman answered the door.   She offered to give the woman another refferal, but the woman looked at her for a bit and then finally said "No, no.  I think there are things I can learn from you."

That's what makes us so compelling, and that's what makes us so scary, because it is obvious that there is so much to learn from those who are in the doorway, and it is also obvious that once we go though that door, we will have to see our life (and our rationalizations about that life) in a new way forever more, both brand new and exactly who we always were at the same time.  

I know how I play small and sabotage my own power.  I also know how I fly free and walk with giants at the same time.  That's what I do.  I'm a wounded healer, one of the very many who have always existed and who only sometimes have been valued as seers, teachers and catalysts.

It's always obvious to me that I am one of those minor wounded healer types, so I assume it is obvious to others.  But unless you have come to understand those types, maybe by being one yourself — like Ms. Rachelle — I guess it's hard to understand those types.

I am living in eternity; I am living in a hovel; I am beautiful beyond measure; I am a bloody human mess.

I am me.

12 thoughts on “WH”

  1. What a strong essay. It, well, heartens me to see your awareness of your power as well as your pain.

    There is a book called Shamanic Voices, edited by Joan Halifax, a collection of first person accounts of shamans, for the most part taken down by European explorers. Like you, they are eloquent and suffering in their understanding of the heart and of the spirit world. Many of them have been dismembered by the spirits, many commanded to change their gender. All of them understand the power of their wounds. My favorite line (if you can use such a term as "favorite" for insights derived from pain) comes from Igjugarjuk, an Eskimo shaman interviewed by Knud Rasmussen some 100 years ago. "Solitude and suffering open the human mind."

    You are not simply brilliant because you are broken. You are brilliant because you are brilliant.

    But the suffering, the solitude of your brilliance–and by that, I mean not just your intelligence but your understanding of the heart–gives you a depth that brilliance alone would not have allowed.

    How sad that the opening of the mind, the soul. exacts such a price.

  2. I am always amazed that I can sit a keyboard and type and good moving stuff comes out. It seems clear to me that something is typing through me, that I am both more than what I do and less than what I feel.

    And I am always amazed when someone reads what I write, hears what I say, sees what I present and reflects part of what I know to be true, the poetry that lies within.

    Thanks Rachel.

  3. That something moving through you feeling is universal.

    I once read an interview with a man who wrote sleazy action series books, "Extinguisher 23" that sort of thing. He said that when the writing was going well, it was as if something was moving through him.

    Our concept of intellectual property is clearly a distortion of the reality. Because we do not acknowledge that reality we are stunted in exploring it. For example, if there is indeed a creative spirit moving through Callan, what is its relationship, not just to Callan as an entity, but to the pains and joys and generally the experiences of Callan's life?


  4. I think the most interesting bit about this is something I have written about.

    Barry Humphries says that he could probably write everything Dame Edna Everage says — after all, they all come out of him — but it would take him much longer than simply letting her say them out loud. They often surprise him, and sometimes he has to take back a bit of control and work the audience back from one of her more outrageous outbursts.

    Writing is like any choice, it lets us make ourselves visible in the world. We can no more see our true selves than we can see the back of our head. We need either mirrors or models, and when we make art, we expose ourselves.

    Most people only understand this as dreams, because they know that their dreams are so much bigger than their experience. How can that be inside of them?

    Is my connection to something other than me or is it to something that is in me? Or is it to something that is both?

    The voice that comes out of me is recognizable as my voice. Hell, the voices that come out of me are recognizable are me. (The first fight I had in person with The Prince Of Crossdressers, before I even was sure who he was, was about if there were just two personna inside or many. An evesdropper agreed with me.) And yes, it's opening up those voices that I
    would advise other people to do.

    It's my voice, but it's also my connection. And it took a long time to get loose and clear enough to just have the habit of letting it out. 

    You said it yourself, today:

    We all think we want to "trust our poetry" as you put it, but more often it scares us.

    So we pretend it's not there, we've outgrown it, or we don't know what it's telling us.

    The fact is, we do know.

    We always know.

    We just have to admit it.

    I know.  But I also know that I have to pull back so I don't look egomanical, disconnected and nuts.

    I am a piece of her, a facet of God, connected & separate, unique & the same.

    And that's what we feel when we tap into those inner voices.

    Thanks again, gorgeous.

  5. Pingback: Hole « Callan

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