A friend of mine compared [transgender emergence] to jumping out of a plane without a parachute, only to discover that you have wings. Because, you really don’t know until you take that leap, and then, you know what? You’ve got to learn to fly.
— Amanda Simpson, Refinery 29, March 2015
A bit of advice given to a young Native American at the time of his initiation: As you go the way of life, you will see a great chasm. Jump. It is not as wide as you think.
― Joseph Campbell, “Reflections on the Art of Living: A Joseph Campbell Companion“
The fuckin’ hardest thing about being a goddamn prophet is that you have to be self ordained. John the Baptist blessed Jesus, but who ordained John the Baptist? An angel, sure, but that is not of the flesh.
I have had, in my life, the goal of not being seen as nuts, as some crazy whack job who just spouts off whatever the hell they want.
This goal, though, stands between me and flight. As long as I keep my head down, stay in the shadows, be appropriate, comforting and of service that people already understand, I swallow my own energy, my own mission, my own divinity.
No one, and I mean no one, is going to stand up and tell you to speak a truth that makes them uncomfortable, that feels like it challenges their beliefs and goes against their expectations of society. They want others to affirm them and their beliefs rather than to bless wild voices of unchecked revelation, even if they know that it is the outliers who move the boundaries.
I recently added a comment here to someone who felt like a freak and wanted to die, though, they felt incapable of suicide.
I just want you to know that being a freak isn’t the worst thing in the world. In fact, some of the most beautiful, potent and kindest people in the world were written off as freaks. When someone uses the word freak to try and label you as worthless, broken or worse, they are just projecting their own need to appear normal. That’s true even when you do that. If you believe that you can only be worthy of life if you are not a freak then you denigrate the millions and millions of people who have been both freaks and amazing, beautiful people. You have a trans heart. You want to kill it off, want someone else to kill your body because you believe that nothing good, nothing happy, nothing positive, nothing beautiful can ever come to a freak. Millions of people who were written off as freaks by their family, their church, their community, their friends and who then went on to show themselves, to find a place where people could not only see past their freakness to a human heart but also understood that in our freak we claim beauty would disagree. Running from your freak factor, trying to destroy it, trying to destroy the heart which you fear is too freaky for the world is a waste of this human life that you have been given. Your creator made you as you are. Ask any little person, Siamese twin, gay or transperson: we know that this is just the way we are, no matter how much others fear our differences, how much they castigate us as freaks. There is possibility for you in the world, but not until you trust your heart rather than try to destroy it. Take the leap, trust your creation, and, as they say in Austin TX, “Let your freak flag fly!” Your sadness and desire to be destroyed, to declare “game over” is completely understandable. All of us who have felt the stigma of being trans in the world have felt it. So very many of us, though, have pushed into that pain and found the light within us, found people who can see, mirror and value us. Hitting rock bottom is hard. Sometimes you just need to do something bold, crazy and insane. Getting on a bus to go someplace queerer, though, is a good fuck-it-all move, and if that doesn’t work, well, your options are still open. I just want you to know that being a freak isn’t the worst thing in the world. In fact, some of the most beautiful, potent and kindest people in the world were written off as freaks. And I believe there is beauty and brilliance in that heart you feel like you have to destroy. Before you throw away your life, terminating your body, throw away your life in this world and start over, taking a rip at trusting that freak heart of yours. You are love, and I know that you can be loved, if you start by loving yourself for the beautiful freak that you are. This is hard to hear if you just want the pain to end, if you have your mind set, but you know that your heart really isn’t in it. Your heart, well, it’s ready to fly. Blessings.
Always listen close to the advice you give others, because it probably contains something that you need to hear, I have found.
It is possible to argue that the biggest failure I had as a transsexual was not the limits of my body but rather my resistance to leap. Just doing it would teach me more about how to fly than wisely resisting.
Instead of leaping, I have explored the chasm, going deep. Valuable work, maybe, but it has limits.
People find a few valuable tidbits in what I have to offer, but what they don’t do is get very engaged in my work.
Campbell might say that a reason for this is because I don’t put all my life force behind that work, don’t use everything my creator gave me, from my breath & voice to my energetic physical presence. I only offer some text, not my entire being. I don’t leap, and that means people don’t see my humanity and feel my heart before engaging the text which holds my dried voice.
Leaping to crazy, though, feels crazy to someone who found her safety and divinity in rational thought. It was my head that kept me stable in the face of a torrent of unprocessed emotion, energy that I just didn’t have the latent inhibition, the power to slough off.
I cry for mirroring, but my mirror has always been cerebral, a virtual reflection processed out of millions of shards I picked up along the way.
Can I be present in the world? It is clear that I cannot exist on the terms of others. Instead, my only chance is to be boldly myself, to claim my own knowledge, to self-ordain my role in the world.
Does the very act of self-ordination put me too far out there, too queer and too big, so that others will want to destroy me? That is certainly my fear.
That fear, though, has blocked me from leaping and understanding what my full presence, my insight, my wit, my kindness, my sinuous voice and even maybe, just maybe my beauty can do to open hearts and minds.
Hello, I’m Callan, and I am here to help. Terrifying words, especially to those who are not yet ready for help, for those who need to cling to their beliefs structure so hard that they feel entitled to destroy anyone who challenges it.
In my experience it is a solitary and lonely life, this transgender journey, so it is no wonder we so often twist ourselves into pretzels trying to stay in relationship, diminishing our queerness to gain embrace. (2006) We stay who our family needs us to be or we end up lost in our own ego, self-pity & rationalizations.
My message is not one of doctrine or dogma, rather it is one of shimmering liminality, of transcendence, of living in the question. The divine surprise doesn’t offer the comfort of clear demarcations and promises kept of you follow the rules, rather it offers the kind of growth & healing which leads to living in the light of righteousness. This may well be at odds with social comfort, because being right with creation doesn’t always mean being right with the people you want to like you.
So much content, so little form.
The life of a prophet is always full of denial and alienation. We stand aside of our time, not in it, a bridge to something bigger, more profound and more lasting. None of us speaks the entire truth, whole and perfect, because we are only human, only playing our part in the tapestry of voices which models and surrounds the broader, ineffable and transcendent truth which threads beyond mortal dissection.
Leaping, well, leaping, ah, leaping, does seem to be required.