I get the premise of vesting for ceremonies, for events, for services. That makes sense to me. It’s work, and they are work clothes
But the idea that we should walk in the world vested, that it counts when we vest up and do errands, well, that just feels a bit, well, terrifying. There is work to be done every moment, they say.
The premise behind this seems to be immersion, the idea that when we dive in & committ, crossing the threshold, being in touch with our calling in every moment, or at least in most waking moments, we gain power, authority, and imprematur, creating synergy and integrity, leading to integration and actualization, beecoming more than the sum of our parts.
It’s like that quote attributed to Göethe quote passed ’round the net:
Until one is committed
there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back,
Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation),
there is on elementary truth,
the ignorance of which kills countless ideas
and splendid plans:
that the moment one definitely commits oneself,
then Providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one
that would never otherwise have occurred.
A whole stream of events issues from the decision,
raising in one’s favour all manner
of unforeseen incidents and meetings
and material assistance,
which no man could have dreamt
would come his way.
I have learned a deep respect
for one of Goethe’s couplets:
‘Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.’
Begin it now.
WH Murray, of the Scottish Himalayan Expedition
Gothe quote is from a “very free translation” of Faust by John Anster in 1835.
Thats the argument anyway.
But boy, what a pain in the ass, eh?
One key question is if transpeople want to lie about their birth, or if we want to tell the truth about who we know ourselves to be. My answer is truth, but the truth is that to walk in the world I have to create myself in an asthetic that fits into that world. That asthetic doesn’t include transwomen who don’t make an attempt to pass as being born female, or assigns them as odd men.
This means that when I walk into the world, if I want my woman-centered truth to show, I need to be concerned about concealing my birth sex, and the minute I do that, I end up worrying more about how I am working the look past the world than about how I am open, free and truthful. It’s not easy to be big and be visible.
I look here, look for places to go and people to see, and they are scarce. There is a workshop on how to make big bucks as a life coach, one at the Unitarian church on the power of doubt, and a salon tomorrow night at a theatre group, followed by a disco costume party, with free drinks if you show up early and in costume. Yet the performance coaach, a local actress, hasn’t returned my call in 24 hours now, and I just don’t want to assume she heard trans and passed, but I do know that it happens.
But just dressing right and going to the mall? What’s the point of that?
I know how to blend in. It’s to appear powerless, lower class and abject, normative, run-of-the-mill.
But that’s not what I need to do, not the calling that echoes in my deep dark heart of desire.
My desire is to speak, to be heard, to be potent in the world. We each have our role to play in the world, our song to sing, our questions to ask, and I have known about mine since I was very young, just before I learned that playing that role, singing that song and asking those questions would end up with other people pouring shit on my head.
To appear both powerful and vulnerable is very tough in a world of people taught to reject their own power. It often reads as a call to social pressure, a call for people to show how they can maintain the norm with their own rejection.
It can also, however, appear as a beacon of hope, a walking encouragement to the best in us. I remember a workshop at the Unitarian where two participants, including the leader, couldn’t make head nor tail of me, but one young gal wanted to talk, and hoped I would come back, because I clearly had something to share that she felt was valuable. My blown ankle stopped that, but it is true, there are people out there who know they need to hear what I have to say.
That’s the reason, of course, to walk in immersion. It may feel socially uncomfortable, but it feels much more spiritually comfortable, walking in harmony with my own heart, my own passion, my own Eros, my own bliss. And it does make me more potent in the world, ready to be there when required, rather than trying to squeeze connection into some shattered schedule.
But being out there? The lessons of my life, and worse, the continuing lessons of stigma, marginalization & projected fear, teach me how hard it is. But the lessons of my heart, the continuing lessons in truth, beauty & power also work to teach me how important it is.