Less Self

Saw a 2002 BBC documentary called Century Of The Self, which threads a story about how Freud’s idea of the power of the unconscious self has been used by marketers over the past century.   The last program tells how this change to a very self-centered focus has affected the political system, starting with the “Reagan Revolution,” where the feelings of voters became dominant over the needs of the country.  Keeping people immersed in unconscious desires makes them ideal consumers, with plenty of buttons marketers can use to sell products constructed to fill those emotional desires.

For me, this discussion illuminates my own struggle.   Transpeople need to claim the self over social expectations, but we also need a society where we can’t be cut down by people who claim that their own desire for comfort is sufficent to erase people who challenge them.

I do the whole service thing, taking care of others with discipline.   And I work very hard to make my own self conscious, clear and considered.

But people more immersed in the notion of their own unconscious and unexamined self find me baffling and challenging.   How can I both claim my own truth and be committed to service?   Shouldn’t it be one or the other?

Gwyneth listened to my collection of voicemail messages from my bad night after reading my post about it.  She was interested in a glimpse into my process, how the raw pain she heard in my voice wasn’t as present when I write about it here with a contextual understanding.

My emotions are real, raw and compelling, but there has never really been anyplace I can just let them fly, so I have learned to understand and express them in a broader context, rational and compassionate.  The emotions are still real, but they power the work of understanding rather than being a roller-coaster of drama by themselves.  I really believe that pain shows where we need healing, and I want to talk about hurt and healing more than I want to talk about pain.   That is my drive for growth and self-actualization.

How do we focus on needs and desires without being a puppet to anyone who wants to pull those strings or push those buttons?

I believe we can only do that with the power of the mind to understand and contextualize, seeing our own feelings and fears through more than just our own eyes.

But that is the move from dependence to independence to interdependence.

And so many still find that baffling, challenging and offputting, so much so that they have problems being there for someone who is working for that self.

Insufficent Dancing

Tomorrow is Halloween.

And I am hidden in service.

Yesterday was for my sister, from having to help with the car she took back from me, from finding it only has eight weeks to live (won’t pass inspection) to driving down to pick her up at 10 PM to find that she didn’t now need a ride but hadn’t called to tell anyone.   You would think she would be trying to regain my trust rather than just asking me for help after knifing me, but she assures me that the forgetfulness of menopause makes that impossible; she just can’t be reliable at this stage.

Today is for my mother, like every other day, still rolling her to the can and taking her around.

I paid my fine last Friday, even though I had the sense that blood was going to pour out my ears; the pressure, the pressure.

But in literally five minutes before my mother had to go, I found $10 RSVP shoes at 6PM.com.  I was sure I had bought wrong — wanted to second guess myself since the buy —  but they came yesterday, and the three pairs were pretty good.  The all-leather Italian men’s boots are odd, a costume piece, the black “shearling” booties could have been a size smaller, but the $190 heeled leather boots (well, $90 at Zappos) fit very nice.   In the 80s I lived with a woman born female who was 3″ taller than I and wore size 13 shoes when she could find them, and I remember the first time I tried on some size 12 boots she had from Lane Bryant; the same kind of lift.

I’m sure that I have mentioned this before, but it is my sense that there is insufficient exuberance, insufficient joy and insufficient dancing in my life.

Here we are, coming up to a big public festival, and I have no sense of fun.   I have boots I can’t wear and a sister I cannot trust.

But somewhere, in my body, I know where the power is.

Just gotta put on my boots and dance.