They were putting me through the standard mental health screening, asking about eating, sleeping, staying in, all that. I was clearly in the at risk side on these questions, as a alone as I am in the world.
“Do you feel like you have let down your friends and family? Do you feel like you haven’t done your part?” they asked.
I laughed, big and loud.
Nope. No, my problem isn’t that I haven’t done enough, that I have been a disappointment to those who I cared about.
Far from it, I have gone above and beyond to be there for everyone else.
It’s they who let me down, who haven’t done their part. That’s very clear to me and always has been.
My job has always been to be the transcendent one, the one who overcomes their own feelings and pain to offer context and grace to the situation.
I’m the smart, queer one, you see, having had to learn to process my own noise and turmoil just to be able to stand in the world, so others who don’t want to have to do that work leave it to me, dumping the obligation to be above the human fray onto me.
The cost of having to be the one who negotiates other people’s pain, frustration, weak amateur thinking, unhealed places, and so on, though, well, it consumes my own power to be free and loose in the world. (2002)
Other people feel entitled to project their fear and distress onto me, make me their scapegoat, their phobogenic object (2006) because they are normative and I am queer. I am mature and they are flailing, so others feel free to try and dump their own healing work onto me.
Being in the world as a visible transperson demands a kind of political presence that is wearing and costly. Doing that alone, with no real support system, well, the cost is dear. Even people who should be my allies, helping me find and concentrate my strength become my obligations, taking advantage of what I have to offer without returning the gift.
All that leaves me worn down enough that the obligation to be robust, resilient and ready to take on the ignorance and fear of people in a new space seems like much more cost that can possibly be gained.
Living in the infinite, the liminal and the transcendent is a wonderful thing, but as long as we also live in the flesh, we also live in the present, the limited and the finite. We are both observer and participant, holding divine context and embodied life at the same time.
I love being transcendent, I do, but some days, some times, transcendent in the midst of a human life isn’t just hard work but it is also not bloody enough. I am proud of being the connection between, one who is a bridge, of doing the work, but, yeah, it is possible to be too damn transcendent.
My will, my effort, my mastery, my hard graft lets me put my own stuff aside and be the vessel. I enter into situations and help find healing in them, healing that others can take or leave in their own time and their own way.
Do I feel pushed to the side, marginalized, unsupported, fried? Sure.
But do I feel like I am somehow a failure, letting down the people I love?
No. No, I do not. I am not worthless, even if I am seen as valueless.
Sometimes, though, I feel like I am a bit over transcendent, just too theological to get the most out of this human life.
I know, though, that lots of people like it that way, no matter how hard it is for me. It keeps me small, less challenging and taking care of them.
It’s just that, well, it’s a bit costly for me, you know?