Charred Phoenix

Performance guy is enthralled by the Phoenix metaphor I threw out to dismiss, loving the idea that I will walk into the flames, burn away the old and habitual, emerging from the ashes new and stronger, released from the past and transcendent.

It’s a great image of course, one used in 1986 by Holly and Jessica in Asheville, a well accepted tale story of loss and rebirth.

Mind you, he’s not enthralled about it for himself.   He’s enthralled about it for me.   He had no real interest in throwing himself onto a pyre and seeing what emerges.  You’d have to be crazy to want that, but wanting to watch someone lose their human frailty and emerge beyond it, well, that’s one hell of a good show, eh?

ShamanGal had a nice chat with TBB last night about her Saturday night at the bar.  To her, the night sounds exciting, full of mastery and power that she doesn’t yet own.

The part of the story where TBB felt dehumanized and left as a cartoon, only to finally be touched by the empathy and sharing of a bisexual guy who made coffee and spoke deeply, well, that part wasn’t as clear to Performance Guy or ShamanGal.    It’s in the story, of course, but it’s small, messy and difficult, the hurting human part of a wounded healer, who is often seen just for the power of moving beyond human convention.

No human is a Goddess of Eros, even though she may own her desire in a way that transcends the conventional fears of many humans.   Humans may channel the divine, but in the end, they do that in an aging body of flesh and frailty, do it with a human heart than needs love and connection just as much as any other human.

We may have learned to rise above the fray, learned to let go and become enlightened, but we can never learn to let go of our human heart, no matter how awesome we may seem.

To be present in the moment is to surrender to the moment.   We learn to take things as they come.  There was no way for TBB to schedule, plan or create last Saturday night, to control all those elements coming together, rather she just had to take it when it comes.

More than that, she has to hold onto that energy to get her through the other struggles of her life, the ones that she uses her trans armor for, that learned behaviour that keeps her upright everyday and not sobbing about the love and connection she doesn’t find most days.

It is an amazing power to learn to transcend emotions and claim your own choices in the world beyond convention and fear.   I understand why people respond to those they see who can do this.    The healed can become healers, potent and compelling.

Getting some of that power, though, doesn’t mean you also transcend basic human needs.  The loss that convert to lessons is still experienced as loss, the hungers of the heart still flow through us.

I stopped into Sephora last night after my chat.   I know that they are a place for charms, for potions, for unguents, for paints and tools, for surfaces. That didn’t stop me, though, from being entranced by the magic, from wanting to shovel up an armful of brushes & colours & scents & treatments and drop them on the counter, take them home and luxuriate in them praying that their magic would bring me solace and charm.

Yet, as the cashier at the market who was surprised I was only buying pretzels and potatoes — “is that all you need tonight?” — didn’t understand, my bare pocketbook wouldn’t tolerate any more, my choices had to be tightly constrained.  I have no room or resource for indulgence.   I work with spare bits, scraping whatever I can find and making the most of every scrap.

I do pray that I can rise above the ashes once again, and I have some indications from my mother in the sky that it is what she has in mind for me.

Still, when I look around and see everything that has to burn in order to release me, I am terrified and humbled.  Walking into the fire doesn’t mean that you don’t feel pain, only that you know that the only way out of hell is through, know that loss is required for rebirth.   We feel everything, for if we didn’t, we would never be able to find the divine inside, instead being a sociopath disconnected from our continuous common humanity.

I understand why the image of the phoenix is compelling and thrilling.

I just also know why the charred bird bleeds.