A police officer is shot, the bullet dances in her body and ends with a complete severing of the spinal cord, leaving her parapalegic. She just wants to be normal again.
The team from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition come in and offer her the best of everything, from a recovery room with the workout machines, to a track system that will move her around her new house in a standing position, to a specialized sufboard and jet watercraft.
She loves it all, because it helps her feel normal, able to tend to her young daughter.
The show hosts remind us that anything is possible, and we must never, ever give up hope.
So, what are they saying is possible here, really?
They are saying that we can make a new normal. That if our normal is shattered, we can get back to normal, back to normative of some shape or form.
Acceptable dreams are dreams of becoming normative once more, and if we work, we can obtain the normative. That’s the message, loud and clear.
But other dreams, dreams that are not normative, dreams that are queer?
Well, they don’t get affirmed.
So many transsexuals cast their dreams in the context of being broken, sick, defective, and just trying to achieve normativity. They can’t imagine the day when their dreams feel like a trap.
One of my biggest evolutions came when I realized that life, the universe and all that were not only bigger than I imagined, but bigger than I could imagine.
It’s that breakthough that opened me up to possibility rather than being limited by my expectations, what I imagined could happen.
For me, that’s the key message of transcending, that to be limited by anything we hold inside is to hold walls against what we don’t hold, hold barriers against possibilities beyond our own imagination. It is only by opening my heart, my brain, and my spirit that I can be open to possibilities that touch the divine.
Now, I don’t live in the answers, I live in the questions, in that liminal space where God blows though. It’s much less certain, and much harder to explain to others who cling to their own limitiations, their own imaginations, but it is the only place I have found where I can feel the winds of the universe.
The question “Why am I this way?” has stopped being a search for facts and has become a search for meaning. I look to the three powerful questions of creation: Where did I come from? Where do I go after this? Why am I here?
In eight grade, a teacher told me that the sound of one hand clapping was the clicking of the fingers. She was delighted, she found an an answer that satisfied her westerness. I may not have been a Buddhist monk, but even then I knew she was wrong, that the point wasn’t the search for an answer, but rather the openings the questions tore in my assumptions, in my imagination, in my possibilities.
Welcome to the space where the old answers don’t seem to work, don’t feel right anymore.
Welcome to the space where the power is in the questions that lead us beyond what we could have imagined
It’s that space to dream beyond the normative that isn’t affirmed because it is full of the danger that takes us into our own “music.”
This is so important, and so hard to find language for in this culture.
For me, I was watching a video from Brian McNaught ( http://www.brian-mcnaught.com/ ), and he said that we have to “sing the song that God put in our heart.”
That seemed a potent way to talk about calling, singing the song our creator placed in our heart, especially about a calling that so many have worked to silence, even others who want respect for singing their song.
You use “music in my heart.” Joseph Campbell says “follow your bliss.”
To me, these are both calls to trust Eros, the love in your heart.
The problem, of course, is that Eros is uncontrollable by society. That’s why the tradition is to frustrate natural desire and replace it with the desire for the manufactured, a desire that can be manipulated and used by manufacturers.
Clarissa Pinkola-Estes speaks powerfuly about this idea in “The Red Shoes: On Torment And The Recovery Of Soul Life.”
I found this to be one of the most vital teachings about how submurged Eros — and certainly society teaches us to submurge our transgender desire — can turn sick, to be replaced by manufactured desire which is unhealthy and takes us over, often requiring us to cut off part of ourself to regain health.
Too often we dismiss Eros because the desire of so many trannys looks shallow, twisted and sick, and people like Amy Bloom in “Normal” suggest that the Eros in the eyes of heterosexual crossdressers is just not safe in society.
Learning to find and trust our own music, our own bliss, our own Eros is hard enough, but getting others to trust our desires is such a hard challenge, because the stunted and broken Eros seen in society provides a self-fulfilling story, that Eros is sick.
Thanks for sharing the way you talk about your Eros, your bliss, your music.
It’s so important for us to talk about and affirm the power of that music in the world.
Is anything possible? Or is the only thing that people want to be possible is returning to the nice, to the norm?
Is there a reason people like me don’t feel affirmed by the promise of the normative, a promise that doesn’t include us?