You know, blah, blah, blah, blah.
That’s right, really blah, blah blah!
When I am talking to someone face to face, I can see when they stop understanding what I am saying to them. Sometimes their focus wanders off, or their eyes look quizzical, or sometimes they even get angry at me, like I am somehow wasting their time.
When I tried to lead the workshop for the students at Pride Camp this summer, that happened when I stated my premise.
“I just went off at thirty miles an hour and I have completely lost you, haven’t I?” I asked, and the young person just showed doe eyes and shook her head yes.
In writing, though, there is no way to adjust on the fly to the compression of the reader.
And, in reading, most readers don’t really feel an obligation to understand the way that they would in face-to-face conversation. Instead, they want to skim for bits that interest them, that catch their attention and address their immediate concerns.
That is particularly true for material readers get in their in-box or in web searches. I have had people on mailing lists tell me that they might appreciate my work in a book, but in their e-mail, my stuff is just too much for them. Our mail is personal, our internet time limited and focused, so entering another person’s mind and heart is a way big ask.
“Nobody Reads Your Fucking Blog” goes one Ephemera button, and I know it to be true. Even the people who do see it don’t actually read it, they just skim it for their own reasons.
What does all this mean?
It means that when I, as a transperson, walk into a situation, my only assumption can be that people aren’t going to get what the fuck I am talking about when I talk about my life.
I can go to the sweetest support group, the most loving church, the kindest counsellor and all they will hear when I share my story is incomprehensible shit. My experience and my thoughts are not normative, so trying to fit them into a normative context is like slicing off my tongue to be better understood.
This is another degree of the shit stigma makes us swim in, the shit of our own internalized policing, the shit of other people’s fears, and the shit of our own stories that accumulates around us because no one can actually pick them up and engage them.
The thing that makes you exceptional, if you are at all,
is inevitably that which must also make you lonely.
The loneliness that comes from having others find your stories so incomprehensible that they have to oversimplify beyond meaning to fit their own comprehension is wearing and destructive.
But, as I have said before, blah blah blah blah blah blah. That’s why I am so blah blah blah blah blah blah.
Wouldn’t you agree?