So Barbara Walters is making the rounds to sell her book Audition — she feels she has always been auditioning.
Her “reason” for writing the book, she says, is that young women tell her that they want to be her, and she wants them to know not only the benefits but the cost of her life. She wants to reveal the 90% of iceberg that is hidden under the sea, the massive women’s drama that comes with a massive woman’s life.
When asked what she learned, she offers a few lessons.
One is that we need to be kind to one another. To her that means she can’t be as aggressive now as she was back in the day; her compassion has grown.
And another lesson is that we need to love. We need to love someone.
I’m a femme, dammit. And those lessons aren’t new to me.
I almost killed dear Christine with my compulsive and controlling love, a love I learned didn’t fit and was too intense. I had enough love to make a family, but that wasn’t working out since partnering was too tough when who I was was buried so deep under fears.
I love the fact that Gwyneth & Sarah care enough to quickly speak up. They are correct; for me to live, I need to find a way to give on other levels. The divide between the potent, exposed Callan who only lives in the context of my writing, and the tip of my iceberg who serves my aging parents in a way that is comfortable and empowering to them, well that divide is the cleft I slip between.
I’m a femme, dammit. And that means I need to love. I love in ways that are real and practical. I caught a glimpse of Amy Roloff with her kids last night, and she made so much sense to me. Problem is that my charges aren’t growing up and out; they go the other way.
Gwyneth suggests I clear the room, find a new audience. That’s clearly vital to me. But it’s not easy. I listen to many narratives to find space I might fit in and am lost. I was kind of excited about Femme 2008 in Chicago, at least until I read the mission statement; I don’t find women’s studies jargon often empowers intense creativity and beauty. My resources are limited, in many ways. I need to be judicious with my seed, and not just try it willy-nilly again on areas I have not found to be fertile in the past.
Sarah, femme that she is, gets the price, the limp we have from wrestling to find the new edges. The idea that I am both the public face, fighting the demons, and the private face, making sure my charges are well fed and well cared for makes sense to her. You can’t be all raw edges; you would never survive. You need to love.
I need to love.
I’m not saying I don’t need change. I do. But I’m not some butchtype who can be out there doing battle and coming home everyday. It’s not me, never has been. If that was me, I wouldn’t have a mother’s quest for language, a need to find words to unlock and empower the best in those she cares so deeply for. That may be baffling to many, but it is.
Thank you Sarah & Gwyneth for caring. I continue to try to find the balance, cleaning and caring upstairs while coming down to the basement to wrestle the dragons.
I once had a psychologist who worked at an HMO. I was listing some of my pains in session, so he said to me, “Look, this is a full service medical organization. We can get you what you need, even today and for the same visit fee. So, if you want a lobotomy, I can just check this box and we can get it taken care of today. Is that what you want?”
He knew two things about me. The first was that I respond well to wit, and the second was that the wrestling defines me, that I could no more voluntarily stop thinking than I could stop breathing. I chose the name Callan as gender neutral, after piles of paper with names scratched on them, and it was only years later that I found it was the feminine for “powerful in battle.” Oy. I am a transgender warrior, but less one like Les and more one like Minnie Bruce, femme to the core.
It’s another morning, and I’m here, thinking. I do the work. And I know that something about the September time frame is important; back to school has always been the start of the year for so many, you can pull out the black tights again, my parents seem to be going away then, and it is my birthday. But I need to be positioned for that break, and now is the time to get clear.
Thanks again to those who love me.
Thanks again to those who I love. It’s love that drives intensity, Eros incarnate.
And I need that.