I faced a lot of crazy growing up. My mother’s narcissistic crazy, my father’s asperger crazy, my family’s dysfunctional crazy, and of course my own transgender crazy.
It’s a crazy world out there.
And so my go to, my tent pole, my stability had to come from somewhere.
That somewhere was the whole notion of reasonable and rational.
I knew that the feminine wasn’t going to work for me. Showing that side only brought grief.
So I clung to the only stable thing I could find. The ways of science and engineering.
My father was always distressed that I never became an engineer. He always believed that if I could just learn to go slower and be more deliberate, I could make a better life for myself. I knew that Christopher Robin needed to go Hoppity, Hoppity and so did I.
For me, an examined life seemed to be the only choice. My emotions were sabotage, so I needed to manage them. My mother’s emotions got her out of control and self-centred, my father’s emotions were incredibly constrained, and my own emotions were just wrong and sick, or so everyone told me.
Reasonable and rational.
It turns out that the transwomen I tend to connect with the most seem to be the ones who also saw science as saviour. Like me, they did things like playing at the science museum, spending their adolescence at MIT, and learning to love computers. Nerds, in other words.
You don’t have to be a man to do science, but then again, science has never been a domain that values the feminine. It is, in the end, a pretty gender neutral place, as located in the head as it is.
I never became a full engineer, writing code or anything else. Instead, I lived in the liminal space between. I made my own degree in technology communications, and claimed the space of product manager, between the technical and marketing, between product and user. This is the way of the shaman, of course, building bridges/erasing barriers, and that connection I needed to build in my heart was the source of the connection I built in organizations.
Slow cold thought and fast hot performance, I did both in a mix the experts said shouldn’t exist in humans. Oh, well.
Clinging to reasonable and rational was always a touchstone for me, something to hold onto in a crazy world. There is no place for the pretentious in the world of science, where the facts are supposed to tell the story, so I trained myself to drive the pretend out and hold onto the facts.
The problem is that not everything in life can be reduced to facts. Our flights of fancy and imagination can move us past the mundane and conventional. We can leap beyond the expected, creating the breathtaking and awesome.
I will never lose all those decades of holding on to reasonable and rational. I’m old, and my mind is pretty well wired up.
But to claim my own magic, to become new and create a new life, I can’t let myself be constrained by the reasonable and rational anymore. There is no logical extension of where I am that makes things new and better. A leap is required.
And that leap has to trust my own raging and outrageous possibilities, beyond the mundane and known.
I fear the pretentious because my comfort has always been the reasonable and rational. It’s just that the reasonable thing seems to be to curl up and die. And while that solution is reasonable, it’s not very life affirming or spiritual.
It isn’t being reasonable and rational that makes a human. Being human is much more about the heart, about who and what we love. Follow your bliss, indeed.
At some point, one has to let go of the mast that kept you stable and just dive into the crazy. We need the eggs, don’cha know?
It might have been better to do it when I had more life left, when I wasn’t carrying around so much accumulated wisdom that helps me see the crazy coming from miles away. But this is the hand I have been dealt.
Thank you, God, for showing me reasonable and rational behaviour.
And thank you too, for helping me learn how to let go of it a bit and live.
A little bit, anyway.