Omnivore, Preferences

I get confused by human preferences.

When I feed people, I try to remember and honor their preferences. This is a rich country, and in such luxury, it is easy to assert that preferences are sacrosanct; we only have to eat what we prefer.

The truth is that humans are omnivores, and can eat a wide range of food. Our preferences are part of our history and culture, but they don’t define what we can or will eat. When we need food, some beans or barley, some soup or stew, some rice or noodles will be what we need and we will be grateful for it, even if we would prefer something else.

We are omnivores, and most humans will eat what is put in front of them, out of need, out of courtesy, out of interest. Anthony Bourdain is clear; he wants to be a good guest. If someone offers him food they would serve to their family, he will open his mind and his mouth to try it.

I am so attuned to people being stuck in their preferences that I often forget that people have a much wider range of taste and satisfaction than they use everyday. People can learn to consume new things, learn to actually enjoy the new.

I can actually be something new & different and not be bad & rejected. That idea often confuses and baffles me, even if I know that most humans are actually graceful and open to possibilities that satisfy other humans.

I suspect that my confusion comes from not trusting that my own instincts are human. I had to learn that most humans are very comfortable with binaries that baffle me, and with that I had to learn to respect those walls that are pretty well invisible to me. My attempt to work within those binaries meant I had to set limits and expectations, and those lead me to trying to satisfy preferences rather than trust in the omnivorous nature of humans.

I once told TBB that I had to remember to smile, and she was shocked. “Remember?” she asked, as someone who trusted their nature and inclusion in community life, not understanding my work to emulate what came “naturally” to her.

There is only one human nature and we all share it.   I know that.   Transpeople touch the same atavistic sense in all humans, even if in this society that response is twisted into fear.

But it’s hard for me to believe that, since, as Rachel has pointed out, I am a product of my own inwardly focused family.

And that leaves me confused.