“Save Me! Save Me!”
I have heard that cry from many over the decades as they desperately wanted someone or something to ease their pain, assuage their loss, focus their energy, unlock their possibilities and heal their tortured soul.
Like any healer, though, the best I could do is offer some comfort, clear away some junk, encourage their own leaps.
In the end, they have to heal themselves.
No matter how much they dreamed of a special relationship that would take away all their problems, or imagined that there was some next thing, like surgery or winning the lottery which would make further growth, healing and transformation necessary, nothing outside of them would ever fill that gaping hole deep inside, ever shift their perceptions and their choices to a more healthy place.
“If someone would just do this for me, then everything would fall into place, be perfect and lovely.”
Salvation, I have found, doesn’t work that way. You can’t accept the what you need until you believe it exists, believe that you deserve it, believe in yourself.
For example, does getting breast implants change your life, or does it mostly change the way that you feel about yourself, giving you the confidence to be seen and admired?
When you complain that others aren’t giving you what you need, is the problem their limits or the gaping maw of your own unhealed neediness?
Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to have to die. The death of your illusions, though, of your ego and your dogma, though, seems vital to finding a new level of awareness, understanding, connection and bliss.
Personally, I find that when I can open my mind and heart in a manner full of truth and vulnerability. I reveal myself, sharing what I have in a way that I believe honours my creator and my creation.
While this practice has offered me salvation of the soul, it hasn’t saved my body, my relationships or my emotions.
Do I believe that there is anything I can do to find earthly comfort and salvation? Can I imagine being seen, understood and valued in a way that feels like a blessing rather than like hard work to package, attenuate, and deny myself so that I can fit into normative expectations and everyday culture?
That kind of salvation seems very distant to me. The idea that there are people who can get the joke past my bristling theological mind, who can embrace and nurture me in an encouraging and validating way, well, that is an idea I have found is improbable.
Many can tell me the kind of discipline and work I need to do to be less challenging, playing smaller, but the idea that being bigger is the only way to respect my creation is not in their understanding.
My emotional state is just too frail to take the kind of knocks everyday life hands out. My salvation may have made me strong, but it has also made me aware, present, sensitive, raw and vulnerable. That may be good for a healer, but it makes it hard to take the blows.
Between being transgender at a certain time in history and being the child of parents on the autism spectrum, my path has been very, very queer, very individual. There is no community, no spiritual home, no safe zone that I can enter and claim.
I know that my own story is less than accessible to others, that it mostly makes them turn away and write me off. Too intense, too challenging, too queer.
Knowing how to be on-stage came early to me, having to modulate my performance to try and have agency. Finding a way to be off-stage, though, letting loose, relaxing, and feeling cared for wasn’t something I could master. Even after I learned to value & trust my own queer heart, finding other people who I could trust with it was something I found to be almost impossible.
Learning to live without social engagement & affirmation because the people around me were in their own world lead me to learn to live in my own world, without expectation that others could enter or even understand. My primary relationship was with my own mind & spirit, not with people around me.
Others were often scared of my vision and in turn, their fear scared me. I learned to accept the world as it is, even if that truth made me sad, feeling like it denied me the emotional embrace I felt that I needed.
Being grateful for whatever I could scrape up was much more important than being upset and bitter over what I felt I was denied. Making peace with the experience of scarcity was more useful than fighting it. My relationship with death and rebirth became much more important than my relationship to unconsidered life.
Hope lies in the possibility of salvation, of being saved from whatever we fear by action and intervention. I understand why so many work so hard to place hope in the external, in the special relationships and magical interventions that they dream will save them.
My personal salvation has been in my work, my practice, my calling, no matter how isolated and lonely that left me. I had to be there for other people, no matter if they were there for me.
That salvation, though, doesn’t protect or embrace me in this world of flesh, even if it affirms my connection with creation. I speak for what is easy to forget and diminish, for our continuous common humanity beyond comfort and ease.
I have struggled to save myself, even as I worked to help others save themselves.
That’s salvation, yes, but not a kind of dreamy salvation that feeds hope of earthly magic.