Maybe, when the bounds of our world were the bounds of our tribe, village or band, we felt safer being human.
But now, our bounds are so big that the world feels out of control all the time.
The answer to that, of course, is to act locally, to take control of what you can, let go of what you can’t control, and work to be wise enough to understand the difference. (And yes, I know I phrased that differently than Niebuhr.)
In New York State, a governor who promised to be absolutely pure and good, living far above the mess, has turned out to be (surprise!) human and frail, with needs. Now the natterbobs are feasting on his carcass, wondering why he had to portray himself as pristine and feasting on evil. Why indeed?
It’s so very American, this attempt at hyperbole in the cause of separating one’s self from human needs, desire, and mess.
TBB was feeling down after a neighbor felt the need to explain how America is losing in the global economy, going down the tubes, and that means we all have to suffer more.
For someone who is already suffering, working a construction job at base pay, seeing her dream of flying being challenged by as human a frailty as a history of kidney stones, and feeling the challenge of not being able to simply integrate into groups, well, there was sadness and tears to get through.
Restarting your life is never easy, but as someone on the edge of understanding & acceptance, well, harder, harder.
We can’t simply approach the world as a woman, because we don’t have the history and our bones are telling. To assert simple womanhood is to ask for challenge and failure.
We can’t simply approach the world as a transperson, because there is no valued social role for transpeople. To assert queerness is to set ourselves apart from the mainstream support we want and need.
To be a woman leaves us with the disadvantage of not having the grounding and not having our unique voice. To be a tranny leaves us with the disadvantage of not having the respect & status and always having to be defended & pigeonholed.
We are messy humanity made visible, the expression of continuous common humanity that so many want to deny, even if they need that humanity so much they retreat to paying to expose it in hotel rooms while decrying it in public.
We either compartmentalize our desire, trying to hide our queer history or queer expression, or we show that Eros on our skin where people feel entitled to tell us how we let down society.
And when we look to society for caring, understanding and protection, we get posturing instead.
We need to be serene enough to accept our nature, strong enough to change our denial, yes, but we also need to be wise enough to know that what we can’t directly change, a huge and twisted society, based on denial of humanity and human needs in the cause of progress and profit, will affect us everyday.
As long as we demand that our leaders be less than human by being more than compartmentalized we will always miss the essence of human connection, that understanding and compassion for individual passions.
And that leaves those of us who need our humanity out in the cold, unable to subsume ourselves into some neat group identity.
Which, in the end, leaves me and my sisters down.