I wrote this tonight and since i haven't written anything in a while, I thought people on the outside of my head might be interested in what I'm up to these days.
After reading and thinking I left a comment that I'll share with you:
Actually I think this is mostly, crap. I mean blatant generalizations of trans folks aside (which is a challenge in and of itself), it seems that you’re asking the wrong question. Isn’t a more useful question, “Why does ANYONE have the right to tell me (for any value of me) what I can do with my body?” That makes the talk of medical anything completely irrelevant.
"It is the same argument as the abortion argument – either I have the right to do as I please with my body or not. Period. It’s not if or sometimes or on the second Tuesday. It’s my body, every day, all day long.
"That means I can be any kind of person I want – female or otherwise. And isn’t that amazing? I mean really, breathtakingly amazing. We’ve overcome reproductive needs and procreative cycles and now we are taking the next step of moving into and beyond gender.
"As far as I can tell, the more we find what we have in common the more we can actually work together to make positive change about shifting the bigger paradigm around gender".
I think I live in a world that I think others might call "post-feminist," gods helps us. I'm not a big fan of feminism for various reasons, much of it having to do with "us versus them" which is really kindergarten playground stuff. I think feminists and trans activists have a ton in common. And the things that they don't have in common seem to be about fear and pain and therefore change day to day. Radical feminists seem to see trans folks as freaks and don't want them as part of their community.
I actually think is fine and that people get to choose who they spend time with, but let's be straight about it. I think that's part, the part where people say, "you can't play with us" is harder than most people are willing to admit.
I realized years ago that the things that will transform our world are, connection. compassion and community. But that framing is difficult to get across because people seem to think I'm blowing smoke up their behinds.. The other side is: a wound causes estrangement, then entitlement, then exploitation. They become more and more disconnected. To reverse that people have to connect - with themselves, with other people, with nature and divinity (divinity is critical for me, but divinity and love are interchangable as are divinity and nature). If you don't drop back into your body and acknowledge the emotion, it stays.
It actually takes some work to come back into yourself once you're in pain. You have to allow yourself to feel the pain of the wound, to be present with it and let it wash over you and sometimes even let it consume youfor a moment. To lose control. To not run or hide or intellectualize. Doing just that act of coming fully present into this moment alone is terrifying - you are actually choosing to be in pain.
But the deeper truth is that if you're in pain presence is the only thing that helps because you are feeling the pain you try to avoid, you just don't move past it until it's felt. (That's how it works with physicalpain too - if you ignore pain and continue on, it gets louder and louder untildo listen.) Emotions can get locked in the physical pbody, into our muscles and tissue because emotions are a chemical cocktail, an actual, realy physical thing happening in our bodies.
Once you decide to be present, taking your vulnerability to people who love you can help you hold it and help you get the space you need to be with it (it's a tactic for helping ourselves when we can't do it alone, not always necessary but useful for many). In order for that to be useful the people on the other side need a tool like compassion and probably empathy to help understand. If we put people first in our interactions (not in the world, just in the human conversation and opposed to things like "getting stuff done" or "deadlines" or "have tos"), we find that we can come back to ourselves and be our best, brightest selves. But we must take care of us and consider emotions as real and having weight - you wouldn't tell someone they're don't have to pee or that their ankle wasn't broken after a seeing an x-ray to the contrary. So why ignore the chemical reactions we call emotions?
It's what kids do. Five year olds who nearly don't make it to the bathroom have been ignoring their bodies. It's childish.
It takes a commitment to look shit in the face, be honest and make a choice - choose our selves, our wholeness and our divinity over the adolescent society and its expectations of being in action and getting shit done. And just to be clear I don't want emotions to be an excuse for not taking out the trash, but sometimes the trash needs to wait.
I get it. Emotions are changeable. They do not last. They are not opinions or decisions. Which is a really good reason to keep them moving so that they don't get stuck in the body and become ways of doing things. Emotions try to give us information and they cannot change until we hear them.
Looking your shit in the face is adulthood. I get it why it doesn't happen, we don't encourage adulthood in most any sense that isn't material. (And how do things create adults or elders?)
Last year I was facilitaiting a meeting where one of the participantssaid that she hated the term "being at choice" and lots of people agreed vigorously. I fell prey to a bit of glamour and group think for a minute. Then I really deeply considered it because it's been really useful to me.
Even if we do not always perceive that we are at choice, doing the work of being at choice makes that idea more and more real. Acknowledging that I am making a choice even if it's one I don't want to make means that I have the power in that choice; the thing that we want, or say we want - in radical feminism or trans activism or whatever - is for people to have, or reclaim, their power. So why dismiss it? Why choose not to take on such a powerful concept? It didn't make sense to me.
It seemed to look opression in the face and then go to bed with it. WTF? I sat with this question for the last 6 months.
Recently I had a conversation that really struck me. Maybe people (and by people I mean we) don't take on being powerful because we don't want to win. I mean it's much more cozy to stay stuck in the same ideas and concepts than to face those fears and pain and move on. I thought that wass something that's actually well known but maybe not. And working together might mean people have to actually deal with their pain and move on.
That's what I did. I did (and do) my personal growth work and it's caused me to become disillusioned with the anger and thrust of many of the activists I know. I grieve and cry and go into my upset. I think it makes my life looks scary sometimes - I mean the last few weeks I've been terrified and sad and overwhelmed. But not in every moment and I know, for a fact, that it's not permanent. I know because I've done far more difficult things. But I think if you are someone who doesn't feel deeply or allow that, then it looks scary to see someone be emotional. It looks messy and difficult and painful. And it is, let's be fair. But it's also passing.
In fact I think that's a piece of why I stopped being so active in activism - I want to do something useful so I have worked and trying to be able to do something useful. But if people don't want to win, I don't want to play with them. I want to help people move into their pain and sadness and longing and anger and upset in order to move through it into their power and into effectiveness.
This probably comes across as long and rambly, but writing it just connected some thing that I've been doing. I'm in a transition with my work and writing this helped me see some interaction between pieces. Interesting.
Thank you for letting me ramble.
On Jun 13, 2011, at 8:25 PM, wrote:
This is more or less what I was trying to say:http://againstallevidence.wordpress.com/2011/04/11/cant-we-all-just-get-along-not-really/