I feel most comfortable when people see my iridescent shimmer, the wide range of changing colours that come across my expression in every moment, like light through the wings of a dragonfly.
I feel least comfortable when people try to fix me in some role, like trying to put a pin in the thorax of that dragonfly and sticking it to a board.
That’s why I spend the vast majority of my time alone.
I watch people watch me and I know they see me as one of those optical illusions I used to see in school. Do they see see the vase or the pair of faces? How many legs do they think I have?
After decades of exploration, I have good self knowledge, becoming integrated and actualized. When I see the reaction of someone it almost always tells me more about their perception and mindset than it reveals some facet of me in a new way. I know who I am, in all my shimmering iridescence, but they only know what fits their assumptions & expectations.
When I engage, I work hard to mirror their shimmer, revealing the layers of connection underneath the everyday persona. This is, of course, both a gift and a challenge to others, bringing forth what they don’t usually reveal.
Shimmering, moving through the flavours and facets of who we are, is where our continuous common humanity is revealed. As a queer trans woman, I know that being receptive to iridescence is holding open the space for growth and transformation, the revelation which allows people to transcend history & biology to become new. I need that space, which means I have an obligation to give it to others, at least if I hold in the Golden Rule.
Today, though, we live in a culture which is primed to divide, setting up beliefs as either/or, and identifying enemies by how their beliefs seem to negate what we hold sacred. It is us or them, so if you don’t agree with me, you must be someone who is essentially evil.
Defence is attack, ACIM teaches us. When we battle, for good reason or bad, we feed the negative rather than seeking for the connections, the cooperation, the understanding, the coming together, the love. Battling forces us to live in the us or them paradigm, even if we are trying to come from a good, positive, transcendent place.
To battle, I need armour. To wear armour, I push others to wear armour. Armour doesn’t reveal our iridescent shimmering, that glowing, weaving humanity, rather it conceals it, both to the attacker and the wearer. You can’t see their human shimmer, the residue of a human life full of love & challenge, and they can’t see you shimmer. Bad magic.
It’s hard to transcend the dominant paradigm. If you feel they are battling you it seems obvious that you should battle them, deploying your own fundamentalist beliefs to try and destroy the beliefs which you feel are oppressing and hurting you.
An eye for an eye, though, often ends up leaving everyone blind.
To me, it’s vital to fight fair and fight fun rather than to battle.
Fighting fair means being willing to be open to challenge, being able to identify and agree with others when they offer something correct, even if it punctures my assertions or isn’t completely correct.
Fighting fun means respecting the humanity in the challenge, acknowledging pain and the need for solace & safety. Rather than trying to crush others, destroying their beliefs and identity as negative, we respect them with a sense of dignity and play.
For so many of us who hold negative identities, knowing what we are against but not what we are for, this kind of fight feels terrifying. It’s simpler to work to silence others, to discredit them and remove their standing to speak than it is to stand up, vulnerable and honest, and lay out what we believe, the solutions we have found to work for us.
When we do that, though, trying to silence & destroy others, we set up the pattern for ourselves to be silenced & destroyed. We identify shimmering as a weakness, as a place where the beliefs aren’t battle hardened, revealing locations that we can go in for the attack at the revelation of human vulnerability.
Trying to harden ourselves to avoid or resist challenge can give us the sense that the best thing we can do for others is to teach them to harden up, to grow a thick skin, to learn the tricks of knifing others with emotional weapons and illogical tropes. It continues the battle rather than transcending it, lets the battlers have the upper hand over humans who glow with beautiful shimmering iridescence.
I played that battle game for years, got pretty good at it. When I saw, though, what it did to people I loved, understood what it demanded of tender humans, and felt what it did to me, well, I knew that kind of big battle wasn’t going to help me heal & grow, wasn’t going to help the society around me heal & grow.
If I can’t reveal my shimmering, I can’t be present. Today, that often means that it is simpler and easier to just stay away from those who still need control, need the false comfort of walls, need to keep the battle going to keep hidden from their own shimmering iridescence.
Narratives, the stories we tell, are powerful to me because they always reveal our liminality, where we cross boundaries in a way that shows many colours at the same time. Even when we don’t want them to, our tales reveal our continuous common humanity, the shimmering iridescence that connects us to all things.
That’s why I listen, why I have struggle to communicate in a way that can be heard, that can reveal.
And it’s why, when people only try to figure out how to pin me, how to dismiss me, how to keep their own truths defended, I go to my own place, to celebrate my — and their — shimmering iridescence.