Kiki likes to shout it out in her own disquieting way:
“DON”T! GET! TOO! COMFORTABLE!”
It is her message to the world, part of what she feels she was born to shout out, a trumpet blast to break through entrenched assumptions & expectations.
To Kiki’s fans, those of us who have never felt too comfortable in this world, we immediately connect, wishing we had her power to scream out this soul opening call at our next family gathering, shattering the walls of normalcy that most keep around them, the walls that keep queer at arms length.
To me, not being too comfortable is waiting for the “third gotcha.” I know how to stay off balance and scared.
But, I have to ask myself, does not being too comfortable mean not being comfortable at all?
I remember zipping across Mirror Lake at sunset in a zippy little in-board, singing “I Am What I Am” from La Cage Aux Folles at full volume. “It’s my world, and it’s not a place I need to hide in, my world, that I want to have a little pride in.”
My life has been a struggle against comfort. To me, comfort was something for the straights, something I couldn’t afford, much like I believed I couldn’t afford drugs. I needed to be smart, alert and irritated just to keep control. No methadone for me; I need the pain to remain aware, vigilant and open.
But yesterday the question did come to mind: what if “not being too comfortable” isn’t the same as “being uncomfortable?” What if some comfort is a good thing in a life, giving standing and power?
Being comfortable scares me. But yesterday, I just sort of went with it.
It was a trans meet and greet at the local center.
I wrote before I left; funny to me, but too strong for the crowd. Ms. Rachelle reminded me that Shakespeare said “Audience is all;” sounds like the theme of my life.
But when I got there I made sure to help make connections, between young and old, black and white, transsxual and crossdresser, all the boundaries that really are not important. Kim, a black hairdresser who has moved beyond her drag show days, said she saw me across the room and knew she wanted to talk to me.
I stopped for a taco with Marcie, a police officer who transitioned on the job, retired and is now with a university public safety team.
The kid at the counter called me sir. I just gave that mommy look, a bit of a squint with a raised eyebrow that says “Really?”, and he immediately corrected himself. Ah, passing as transsexual.
I had the power because I was comfortable. I was with Marcie, my backup, and I felt safe, like a leader, and well, comfortable.
I know there is power in being uncomfortable. Being open, aware and attentive, always looking for that beyond expectation, well, there is power there, the power of doubt and sensitivity.
But there is also power in being comfortable. Being relaxed, assured and grounded, always trusting your own capabilities & your connection to the universe, well, there is power there, the power of confidence and grace.
I know how to not be too comfortable.
But do I trust being comfortable enough to believe that this is my world?