When I look back on my “years of longing,” what hits me most strongly is how dillegently I worked at staying stupid.
Of course, that’s what longing does. It gives us tunnel vision, and tells us that if we focus more tightly, if we become even more blind, things will get better.
Longing is the tool that society offers to keep you doing what they want you to do. Longing is a promise that if you do what they tell you, you will find your happiness.
Most often, of course, what we long for is what A Course In Miracles calls the “special relationship,” the one that is different from all other relationships because it is the relationship that will heal us and make us complete. It is the relationship that connects with our soul-mate and in which “the two shall become as one,” as it said on the napkin’s at my brother’s wedding. ACIM reminds us that the belief in “special relationships” is one that keeps us crippled, but then again, so does Oprah, at least when she remembers.
This promise, that if we deny ourselves just right, we get issued a perfect partner and a gorgeous life, well, it’s real easy to see that it doesn’t really work, but it’s only easy to see if we stop being stupid.
I have said many times that my best understanding of transvestite behavior came from Clarissa Pinkola-Estes “The Red Shoes: On Torment And The Recovery Of Soul Life.” In looking at how society seeks to take away what we love and replace it with the manufactured, I see how children who love dolls and dresses eventually become controlled by fetish gear and closets, and how that control theatens to lose us our soul.
But all of this, well, it’s nice to know but it doesn’t get me back the stupid years, those years when I kept denying my heart because I could find someone to make it all better. Society had very little interest in telling me that I had to make myself better before I could attract, because they didn’t want me powerful, they wanted me normative, and longing is the tool that keeps us in line.
A friend was recently out at a bar with a group of young women, and was surprised how they used the longing of men to get what they wanted. Women learn to surf desire, but men are taught to be the surf, the pushing force that simply moves for others to use. Complicated and nuanced aren’t expected or desired. Personally, I was never very good at being the surf. I wiggled too much, but then again, I never learned to use that wiggle to surf, either.
I keep seeing this today, expecially with crossdressers, a dedication and devotion to staying stupid. It’s part of who they have to be to stay in place, because if they open their eyes, open their mind and their heart, they will see their dream of staying small to find the perfect woman is just a pipe dream, bound for failure. It takes decades of failure until they can move past being who they think women want them to be and into trying to be themselves, and by that time, the energy and exuberence, well, it’s a bit flat.
Too many years staying stupid, that’s my regret today.
Maybe if stupid had worked I wouldn’t feel this way.
But does stupid ever really work? Is it what we should be teaching our kids?