“You were a rock star in there tonight,” the performance coach told me after the improvisation class.
I added value when I spoke, built respect with my contributions, owned my own voice and wisdom and had the capability to own the floor when I took it. I was smart and funny, showing my own power to the crowd.
I was awesome, in other words.
The doctor who was on the panel at the movie saw me in much the same way when I made points from the floor, including the only point to get applause. She saw my skill and effectiveness in communicating what I wanted to say, saw how I could command the room and focus the audience with my contributions.
I was awesome, in other words.
ShamanGal calls me often. When she does come to me with her spiral thinking, I point out her unhealed areas and the twists in her thinking, usually making her laugh when I do that. There are even quotes from me pinned up on her cubicle wall at work. She regularly tells me how I seem to cut through the conventions of transgender to something deeper, even as she struggle to move forward rather than get bound up in circles.
I am awesome, in other words.
Now, I know that the reason I am awesome is that I am also awful. My mastery comes out of my own struggles.
“How did you become so good at making love?” a woman asks Woody Allen’s character in “Love And Death.” “Well,” he answers, “I practice a lot on my own.”
I practice, I have a deep practice because I need it, needed to process and understand the world and my own experience of it. I didn’t learn the world by getting big, I learned the world by getting small, looking intensely at the details and finding patterns that helped me make sense of it.
I was telling the performance coach about my two sides. They aren’t masculine and feminine, no. Those bits are well integrated in me.
No, the two sides of me are the slow analyst, who is very happy being introverted in the basement, taking bits of what I hear from my listening post to clarify understanding and stories — theology — and the fast performer, who is very happy to take the floor and blow the minds of an audience.
Both of these sides have the same mission, based on making connection. “In a world where gender is rigidly bi-polar, rituals of gender crossing remind us of our continuous common humanity,” Anne Bolin said and I knew I found my mission statement.
If I can’t create powerful performance in the world, well then I see no reason I shouldn’t stay in the basement being an introverted androgynous analyst until the game is over.
TBB and I have been tussling over the concept of performance in the world. She has seen performance as being the opposite of authentic, putting on a false front.
As a femme, I don’t see that binary. I imagine a woman who feeds her kids breakfast and takes them to school, performing mommy. She changes into workout gear and goes to yoga, stopping after for coffee, performing friend. That afternoon, she puts on a skirt suit and goes to a meeting, performing businesswoman. That night, she puts on a heels, a cocktail dress and lashes to go to a party with her husband, performing party girl, wife and lover.
Which of those performances, all somewhat different, is inauthentic? Every performance brings different attitude, revealing some aspects of who we are and concealing others. It’s only when the concealing comes first that we are inauthentic.
My craving right now is for connection. My dream is someone coming up to me and saying “Wow, you said some really interesting things. Do you want to go for coffee?” (Just for the record, I don’t drink coffee, but tea or cocoa would be fine.) This is my “girl gap,” coming up, that essential loneliness that defines my life, the source of my own fragility.
My power, though, seems to come from performance, from that side of me that I have put in cold storage for so long while I played concierge to my dying parents for a decade, and for years before that, too.
It’s that power that people see in me. that power that they have trouble seeing past.
In their eyes, I am, somehow “a rock star.”
There is a big do just south of here this week where Joe Netherworld wants to put up a life size statue of Ed Wood, the creator and star of that crossdressing classic “Glen Or Glenda”in his hometown. The kickoff party stars Bailey Jay, a transsexual rock star in the world of porn.
On her latest podcast, she talks about all the crazy people she loves to see in the world, all the rock stars who just transcend the mundane and the everyday to achieve a certain kind of unique beauty.
And so, we come again to Joseph Campbell, and to a quote I just rediscovered last night.
And I have the firm belief in this now,
not only in terms of my own experience
but in knowing about the experience of others,
that when you follow your bliss,
doors will open where you would not have thought there were going to be doors
and where there wouldn’t be a door for anybody else.
— Joseph Campbell
Oh, Jem, where are you now? Couldn’t you have stayed Jerrica toiling away? (For the younger generation, maybe that’s “Hannah couldn’t you have stayed Miley?” but for me, the great over the top 80s fashion and hologram projecting earrings make the difference. I had a pair of earrings I imagined projected holograms.)
You know, maybe the jump from Papa Joe to an 80s commercial chick myth wasn’t such a leap after all.
Or maybe, it’s leaps that are required. Oy, that’s a very rock star idea, isn’t it?
If you keep trying to change or control things that can’t be changed or controlled, well, you just wear yourself out.
Maybe, just maybe, those people are right. I am and have always been an awesome rock star. After all, isn’t androgyny part of that deal?
And that’s the part of me I need to trust now for doors to open where I wouldn’t expect them and where they wouldn’t open for anyone else.
Hoyeee. Didja ever try to be a rock star? Hoyeee.