If you read my stuff and believe that it is all about thought, treatises of conceptual purity, you miss the point.
If you read my stuff and believe that it is intellectually lazy, not academic enough, and more of indulgence of emotion, you miss the point.
In cultures where gender is rigidly bi-polar, rituals of gender crossing remind us of our continuous common humanity.
For me, connection, integration, is where I live, walking through walls others see as solid. And the wall between thinking and feeling isn’t a wall to me, rather it is where I live.
This is a difficult path.
I go to the Freethinking Community and people want to use the rigours of the brain to avoid the excesses of the heart, ending up creating intellectual structures that often seem like mental masturbation.
I go to women’s space and people want to fall into soft new age metaphor to justify emotion, reading destiny in DNA and following rules of prosperity consciousness.
Neither of these are useful to me because both seem to miss the point that human nature has both head and heart for a reason. Body, heart, head, creativity/crown, the chakras that each of us balances alone and in culture.
Man’s conclusions are reached by toil.
Woman arrives at the same by sympathy.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson.
It has been called to my attention that the summary line of many of my posts is marked with resignation that the thesis I offer is beyond me.
The suggestion was that this is a sign of a block in my brain, is a sign of my tautological thinking, where I set set up a straw man and then knock it down, creating self-fulfilling prophecies with stinkin’ judgmental thinkin’.
To me, this assertion misses one of the key points of my work, that it is powerfully and potently emotional. The basis of my resignation isn’t in my head but rather in my heart.
There are lots of roots of this belief system. I grew up in a house where my parents were unable to engage my emotions, my experience growing up was that of an iconoclast, people often found my analytical brain habits — my x-ray vision that made the meta explicit — challenging, and most of all, from a very young age, I was told that my trans nature, as expressed by my desires was sick, depraved and needed to be denied at all costs.
The force of stigma is abuse, the attempt to silence and “correct” someone to be compliant with the enforced status quo. The result of stigma is to create a self-policing mechanism, an internal censor that enforces the strategies of safety in the world.
Stigma leaves people feeling powerless, without agency, without the power to create their own lives against the prevailing belief systems which create oppression in the world.
In the end, it doesn’t matter how smart and transcendent you are if nobody gets the joke. if you keep running into the expectations and conventions of the status quo placed into others, if you appear too challenging and disquieting, you are going to keep running into barriers to understanding and affirmation, going to keep having to negotiate the fears of others and have your gifts ignored or trashed.
The result of this experience isn’t tautological thinking, rather it is the real and continuing emotional experience of scarcity and separation.
I have learned that I am almost always expected to be the one who does the work of negotiating queerness in the room. I have to understand and manage myself for the feelings and thoughts of others while they have no obligation or capacity to understand and adapt to my feelings. This isn’t just true of people who have no experience of trans, it is also true of people in the LGBT sectors who haven’t yet come past identity politics and the policing that entails to affirmation of bold, individual queerness.
This work has a cost and very little reward. I have come to always expect the “third gotcha” to be waiting, just beyond where I am now.
When I come across what I sense as resistance, I modulate. Actually, what I do is modulate even more than that; my first strategy, trained into me early, is to modulate. I have been taught that I have the responsibility to modulate myself, been taught that if I don’t, people will have the right to attack and stigmatize me and if I complain, I will just prove that I don’t understand or respect “what good people do.”
One of the fundamental moments of my life was when I told a partner that I had been learning to trust my heart, but that I needed to learn to trust other people and she replied “Can’t you do that on your own?” No, actually, you can’t.
While I can continue to press the strictures and boundaries that stigma has placed in my heart, I will always tend to over modulate, primarily because I am doing it alone. Without an external observer to check and affirm my choices, to affirm my choices when I hit resistance, I can’t see what others just get, can’t polish my choices, can’t feel like I have a wing-woman. I can’t do it alone; that’s why stigma works so powerfully.
It’s not my brain that is scarred and battered from the experience of being a transperson in a binary, heterosexist world, it is my heart. It’s not my brain that stops me from understanding possibility, it is my heart that has paid the price of the systemic, institutionalized scarcity designed to inhibit trans expression in the world, writing it down as sick, freaky, perverted, unreal, delusional, twisted, scary, and so on.
Do I hit a block at the end of my posts where I end up resigned to failure and isolation, to loneliness and scarcity? Yes, I do. But I don’t do this because I don’t understand the concept, I do this because I understand the feelings, get the price of going out to push barriers and the limited resources left in my very, very malnourished heart.
Do I think that there are people out there who can understand, who can connect with me, who can get me on an emotional level and be nurturing and nourishing to me? Hell, there are 355 million people in the USA & Canada, of course there are.
Do I believe that I have the wherewithal, the energy, the endurance, the bottle to thrash through the haystacks to find that needle? No, she said, that’s where the idea comes a cropper, where scarcity consciousness reminds me that all I can do is all I can do. I just don’t feel like I have the agency to engage all the entrenched beliefs that offer me resistane in the world for so many reasons.
My challenge has never been to unkink my thinking, rather it has always been to trust that if I spend my limited resource in the world that I will get the emotional connection which pierces my loneliness and makes me feel seen, understood, embraced and valued, that lets me not have to always be the one doing the work of over modulating my heart just to stay safe.
My challenge has been to move past a scarcity mindset to trust that opening myself more in the world, following my bliss, will get me what I need and not just leave me more battered. It is to move past the gaps and scars of my history to find respect, connection and nourishment in the world.
In the end, chicks just want to feel safe being chicks, as Amy Schumer hilariously points out in her hilarious “ad” for SandraGel.
But feeling safe and supported in the world, moving past a scarcity belief system, especially one hammered so deeply into my heart through a lifetime of abuse, well, that’s tough. When the world shows you again and again that people get lost in opposites, not understanding the idea of emotion AND thought, when they end up erasing parts of you hat force you to have to be the one who does the work, well, that hurts as it affirms a lifetime of experience.
My thinking is my blessing and my curse. But my heart is where I live, scared and scarred.
For people who see those two things as opposites, well, they don’t see me, either.