Having Relations

It makes me crazy when people act from faith, act from belief, rather than from being centred in rationality and doubt.   When they do that, they are usually wrong, closed, dilettante, defended, resisting the mystery rather than entering into it.

Rationality saved me.  It was using my sharp mind that let me sort out the attacks I felt all the time, let me understand and contextualize the way other people acted out their own fear and pain against me.   It was my smarts, inside my inner world that saved me from the Aspergers based unprocessed emotion of my mother.

Understanding became the goal, the only goal.   Being trapped inside the reactionary responses of others was my idea of hell, made small and damaged by having to live in the fears and unprocessed assumptions of others.

The core separation in my life, the line along which I am rent, is between the smart, gracious, service concierge who knows how to take care of people by being sharp enough to understand them and the emotional, performance feminine spirit who feels the calling to act from her inner knowledge & understanding, expressing beauty & energy in the world.

Concierge is how I learned to be my attenuated self,  being who other people need, smart and rational, entering the worlds of others to help clean things up with a kind of honed professionalism.

But calling, well, calling is much more dramatic, much bigger, and much less rational.   She is located in that space where other people told me I could never go because it violated the fixtures of gender, revealing my own broken sickness, showing a kind of perversion that others would have to work to destroy.

How could I possibly trust my own emotions if they called me to be pretty, feminine and a woman in the world when rationality so clearly revealed that was a lie, that I went though puberty as a male and that was truth?

It took me decades in my own space to find some kind of integration, letting my smarts lead me through the minefield of other people, while keeping my emotional energy in the background where it could only inform my rational self.

My trans expression became my work expression, brought out to show the flag, to allow me controlled performance in the space of expressing parts of me that are now integrated into enlightenment.

Rather than being in people’s faces, asking for their engagement, acceptance and love while chancing inflaming their own unhealed spaces, maybe stimulating them to act out against me, I am always ready to be the smart one, the grown up one, the one who has to do the work of processing and defusing fear.

The third gotcha shaped my life, seeming to demand that I stay in the rationality, in the armour, inside of my own trans-natural boundaries.

These constraints, this tension between sharp smarts and emotional performance, the forces that lead me to a concierge role, have shaped my work and not in a bad way.   Sure, many people find it just too, well, too something — too wordy, too intellectual, too emotional, too queer, too intense, too whatever — but I know it carries the real questions, the real sweat and challenge of being a trans shaman in a society where we have been denied and defiled.

I resist calling to the point of self destruction (2003).  It makes me crazy when people act from faith, act from belief, rather than from being centred in rationality and doubt, so I committed to the smart side.

And while it has made me wise and spiritual, well, it hasn’t really made me happy.   The doubter is wise, the believer is happy, goes an old Hungarian proverb I have quoted many times in the past two decades.

To assemble community we have to act from belief rather than from doubt.   That doesn’t mean, of course, that we need to purge doubt, to deny it, but it does mean that we need a kind of open vulnerability, a kind of trust, a kind of faith that people can gather around, finding comfort and connection.

To be a pastor we have to gather the flock, not drive them apart, as Rev. Aaron Miller reminded me.  It is this clerical role that I so resist, creating shared space rich with both thought and emotion where people can come together to take care of each other, supporting growth and healing.

Most people have fear about believers.   We have seen too many people too stuck in belief, people who feel that their own doctrine allows them to act in judgmental ways.   They preach and hector, slamming any who challenge them with the raw emotion of simplistic belief.

While this may be an unfair and unreasonable belief, much like the judge who proclaimed that he “never heard a quiet motorcycle,” it leads us to try and pour cold water on anyone who says they want and need to act from their beliefs in the world.

Like all the quiet motorcycles the judge never noticed, there are huge numbers of believers in the world quietly using their own faith to drive their actions to make the world a better, more compassionate and more reverent place.   Their faith is the basis for their morality, their service, their openness, their vulnerability.

It is possible to be a believer, grounded in faith, and not be a reactionary idiot.   As long as you follow teachy preachers, those who help you go within yourself to get more clear, rather than preachy preachers, those who tell you that the problem is other people who embody evil by not following the rules of his church, you can grow wise and happy.

I have lived in doubt, my enormous smarts and my concierge ability to walk into other people’s lives to serve them being valued by others.

Can I live in faith, though, asserting my own beliefs in the world in a way that attracts and compels other people in a way that doesn’t just demand I live within their fears, assumptions and limits?

Can I be the catalyst that brings together a congregation which values doubt, values belief and values each other, including valuing me?

Can I engage that damn calling by opening myself to relations with other people, or am I doomed to be too hip for the room, being prickly rather than pretty, and not having others being ready to meet me where I am, not being willing to come on a journey with me?

If I stand up and shine in the faith that my creator has made me for love, trusting those feelings and instincts I learned to clamp down on so very many years ago, will I attract the people and energy I want and need to make me happy?

Can I walk in faith, or will that just freak everybody out?  Will they be like my parents, demanding service which fits their comfort zone, service which I can only give as a concierge?

Learning to trust your own spark when so many forcibly worked to extinguish it is hard juju.

It makes me crazy when people act from faith, act from belief, rather than from being centred in rationality and doubt.   When they do that, they are usually wrong, closed, dilettante, defended, resisting the mystery rather than entering into it.

But sometimes, faith is the only thing that can let you claim satisfaction, connection and happiness.