I like explicit.
I like explicit probably a bit too much. Well, maybe more than a bit. I write pretty much everyday, working to be explicit about what I think and what I feel, explicit about what I understand and my experience.
Explicit is good. Communicating in detail is a very useful skill, allowing people to find ways to come to shared language and intentions. It is a very theologian thing, being explicit.
Explicit, though, can also be a problem. Explicit puts a huge burden on other people to understand what you are communicating. They want to get out of your communication just what they need to get out of it, not too much. If your explicit contradicts their expectations and assumptions, you set up barriers to communication that might be circumvented if you just let understanding progress.
People like to understand the world by exploring it, by sensing it in their own way, rather than by having a manual or manifesto handed to them. Kids always learn more when they work to understand rather than just hearing a lecture that lays things out in a nice, organized and explicit way.
As a transperson, a lack of explicit scares me. I’m a manager, wanting to get people on the same page to create safe and shared space. I have experienced what happens when people’s understanding slips and they feel unfooted, comfortable assumptions shattered in a way that demands they assert their own worldview.
I may love the moving language of poetry, but the notion that an author means whatever the hell you think they mean scares me. My words may resonate with you emotionally, but it is my view I am trying to share, not just trying to give you an emotional ride through your own experience.
Walking in the world, though, it’s just impossible to have an explicit and clear understanding with everyone you meet. In an information economy, attention is our most scarce resource and most people just don’t have the attention to engage what I offer. They have other needs for their own focus.
Beyond that, most haven’t done the groundwork to get to a place where they can build an understanding. Most probably don’t even know what they think or feel, not having to have done the work of building an explicit and deep understanding of who they are.
I really like explicit. I bet that even people who have tried to read one post on this blog and found it overly detailed and dry have figured that much out, as I am way too explicit for them. They want the simple version if they want what I have to say at all,
There are joys in being less than explicit. People can surprise you with what they see in you that isn’t already covered in your own explicit and biased understanding. You can find connections and solutions in the give and take that wouldn’t have come if you started by being too explicit. Playfulness doesn’t come out of explicit, it comes out of open interaction.
I don’t know what I am communicating when I am less than explicit. What the hell are people seeing in me, getting from me? Is it good and clean, or is it unpleasant projection?
Appearing as a transwoman, I don’t have a good understanding of how people read me, what they get from my general, non-explicit presence. I just don’t have the years of experience in knowing how people respond. More than that, their response is so variable, based on their own unprocessed expectations and beliefs that it is hard to get a picture.
My way in the world has been the way of explicit. I can do that when I am only seen by the symbols that I share.
To move forward, though, I have to trust something other than explicit expression of what I know. I have to trust subjective, emotional, messy and real responses to the contradictions and crossings that are me.
That is one of the key things I crave hearing someone say “yes” to, that I can be seen as real, true, feminine, potent, authentic, attractive and charming.
I do know that I can be seen as explicit. I do know that I can be seen as way too damn explicit, that my habit of being explicit can be seen as boring, pedantic, intellectual, demanding and just stupid.
I love explicit. Being explicit is a real gift, something special that I offer.
Like any gift, though, it is also a curse.
And it is not easy to find balance on your own.