I understand that one reason my work is so hard to read is that it deals withe the plutonium of a trans — of a human — life.

I just go places that most people choose not to go, into experiences and emotions that are easier to avoid, to pass over, to ignore.

This doesn’t just affect the content of my writing, it also affects the form of it.  Like women who have had to learn to work with feelings, I need to use techniques that keeps it non-explosive while still being explicit.

A rant, a screed or a tantrum may convey emotional content, but it doesn’t allow us to explore, understand and own that content.  It’s just a blow up that usually is designed to share the pain we feel by spraying it all over other people, acting out our drama without parsing it.

My process uses a blend of thought and poetry to convey emotion, lacing it with humour.  i know that makes my work seem dry and intellectual on the surface, even as you get a whiff of brimstone from the seething emotional lava underneath.

I work with the plutonium of the heart and that takes some care and precision.   I remember a 2008 post I wrote about a very difficult incident in the family, and I shared the audio recordings I made while I was going through the pain, the screams and wails of pain and process, with Gwyneth.

“I never understood your process before,” she told me, “because I all see is the product, the result of your process and not the raw emotion that goes into it.”

I know why my work is inaccessible to most people.   They either see it as cerebral and dismiss it as mental masturbation or they see it as rousing too much pain and emotion to take in a blog post, too much to engage day after day.  They have their own challenges, you know.

Some people do get it when they can — like Ms. Rachelle — but most people find my stuff weird and twisted,  stuck between too much thought and too much emotion.

But hey, that’s where I live.   And that experience always helps me to be a safe and useful person to help throw light on other people’s choices, which is great if you want healing and horrible if you just want to get on with it.

Emotions are the plutonium of human life, the stuff that fuels the good and the bad behind our rationality and our rationalizations.

And I have spent lots of time in their toxic glow.

Belief Politics

I love politics.   Politics is the art of the possible, the wrangling we do to find the best possible solution, the way we compromise to find workable answers that keep our shared interests and needs on track.

I love belief.   We need a context for understanding the world in a bigger way, beyond the daily  shocks that humans are heir to.   A vision of how the universe is connected, how forces beyond our control act everyday, how doing the right and righteous thing can make us a better, more integrated person is so valuable that it is almost required.

When we think that politics and belief are interchangeable, though, trouble starts.  Sure they will always be related, our beliefs underlying our political choices, but they are not the same thing.

If we decide that the very human political process is a place to demand holiness, which means that other people have to adhere to your belief system, then we become bullies and oppressors.   We believe that our essential rightness, our holiness, makes our political choices sacred, so our ends always justify our means, because correctness — God — is on our side.

It doesn’t matter what belief system you think is correct.    Maybe you are a devout southern baptist who really believes that deviant sexual behaviour is a sin and should be outlawed, or maybe you are a devout atheist who really believes that having a god in your cosmology is the sign of a weak and flawed mind. In the end the result is the same.

You feel entitled to bully people to come around to your belief system and you are ready to impede the political process — the coalition building process — to demand that correctness, that holiness, that compliance with your belief system be the only criteria for having standing.

For feminists, woman is this kind of a belief politics identity.   Unless you comply with their belief system, you are denied standing.   The belief system of opposition — good vs evil, us vs them — justifies their own political actions in working to silence and defeat others who do not agree with their beliefs.

When doctrinal correctness is at the heart of your daily, political choices, in how to work with others to get shared goals achieved, your beliefs dominate your politics.

I don’t belief that conflation, that unholy alloy of belief and politics, serves either our communities or our sacred beliefs well at all.  Using our beliefs to justify punishing other people who don’t believe in us, and sabotaging community building unless we get our own way seems to destroy the sanctity of faith and the power of collaboration.

I love politics, the pragmatic connection of humans to achieve shared goals and address communal needs.

I love belief, the understanding of a spiritual context for our choices, the quest to become better and more in harmony with creation.

But when belief and politics are alloyed, the result scares the hell out of me,