Monday, November 30, 2009

The Ring Around Your Finger Is From My Sucker

I’ve been having these conversations with my new best friend Eva Hayward about the effects transgender is having on culture, now and tomorrow. Eva is super smart. Eva is even smarter than I think I am. After gnawing the bitter, hollow carapace of Transgender Remembrance Day and finding it indigestible (because violence against transpeople is so vicious and baffling...and I will mourn for our dead but I will not set aside a day for it, choosing instead to celebrate our variegated, nuance-sensical, challenging, tentacular deliciousness) these conversations are a sweet birdsong after a week of rain. 

Eva sees trans as the movement that will take us to interspecies communication. The minute she spoke that aloud, it was as if she had unlocked some cellular memory, the reason for my itchiness perhaps – that or the whole “I live with cats and I’m allergic to them” thing. A canal flooded, interlocking pieces dissolved entirely – I have always viewed trans as literal, as “across,” as the interstitial fluid connecting solidities to solidities, and its possibilities were present but blurred as if constant, ecstatic motion. My friend gave me a lens with which to view our movement, and we are the meaning of “activity."

No wonder people find transpeople so confronting! Our very presence invites the idea of flux, of impermanence, of possibility. The social need for order, the paper-shuffle, the hierarchies, race, gender, class, abilities, are all challenged by creatures who cannot be still, whose existence illustrates the body in continuous evolution. My personal preference is to not neglect the “T” in the FTM, after all. 

Looky here, transpeeps: you are MAGIC. Do not underestimate your godgiven powers, Tranny. Here’s the real deal, from your Uncle Sam and bring a spoon. Consider the octopus. S/he is spectacular and monstrous, full of biologic juxtapositions no mere artist could envision. S/he has a razor sharp beak in her soft soft maw, full of toxins that can paralyze. S/he is ancient, Grecian in creation - her tentacles reproduce themselves when broken, the skin of her mantle changes pigmentation to camouflage  – she could be a Barhamut or a Barbegazi in origin, but no, this strange and extravagant creature lives in our seas. The octopus inhabits a place in our psyche, too, once we had witnessed its horrible, mesmerizing arms, its hypnotic push through the ocean, once we have seen it squeeze its bulbous, water balloon body into dark crevices, bursting out with astonishing alacrity to seize its prey. Our gills go grey at this apparition, and yet we’re magnetized, strangely moved…

Transpeople inhabit that same, mutable space, we are harbored in the grotesque and set sail into a world of waving, suckered arms. Only Kali-ma understands us, only a Jesus who is at once an infant and dead in a cave can be our personal Savior. It is our job, with our queer, elderly, disabled, and colored friends, to start a new conversation, and the conversation must include EVERYTHING.

Clearly, our modes of communication are antiquated. We still talk with one another as if we were defending ourselves from invading Mongols. The Dalai Lama has a message, and it’s the message encoded in transgender: let’s think long term. So how do we communicate with one another, with an eye toward a future of luminosity and invertabraed dreams? Assuming you want a luminous, expansive world?

Kindness, ladles and gellyspoons, kindness is key. In this practice, my personal yoga, I drop my ideas about anything at anytime. It is more challenging, I am quicker to fail, than a new gym membership on January 2nd. But I believe in us, and I believe we are part of a spiritual zeitgeist that can shatter this frozen fascia of social construct and open us to movement and even grace.

The practice begins with me. How can I be kind, gentle even, with this awkward, aging, girlyboy, who often hold ridiculous opinions aloft for an audience who is just there to renew their library books, get a cup of coffee, buy a loaf of bread? How do I forgive this rowdy, loud, soul for having destroyed or at least avoided, a huge portion of his own life with alcohol and drugs and human hostages? 

Sometimes I look into your eyes and I find the love there. I find forgiveness, compassion, and humor in your generous, capacious heart. And then, and sometimes only then, can I find it for myself. 

So let’s give one another that gift, the gift of a softening human heart. Let’s bring one another to a sweet cove, our secret, octopuses garden of our message center, the seat of intuition and grace, and transmit (see, I said “trans”) our so-way-beyond-a-mere-gendered sonar, radar, love. People are dying, and their deaths are urging, “more love, more love, more love.” When I look into your sweet, black, shining eyes and see the light is dimming, that’s what I’ll whisper to you: more love, more love, more love. And I’ll use all eight arms to hold you.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Unbearable Rightness of Being

It is autumn outside but it’s Spring on my face. Only the fiery leaves speak to my hot, hot, man-core, the center of which is now the molten lava of the hormonally revved. It is Springtime on my face, ladles and gellyspoons, new growth shooting through the weak, fine, lady-mammal hairs, each like a sturdy thickening trunk around which grows trampling grass. “Niiiice,” admires Renee, stroking my scruffy chin. Few are bold enough to acknowledge the change in their pal Sam, but when they do they are sweet and generous enough to be excited with me.

Because it’s Spring in this body, all I want to do is revel. I want to bask in the sun of testosterone-induced magnificence, and yours as well. I’m hot for all things trans; I have found a new glory in the masculine, and a deeper sadness too.

“I think if I find myself telling a story more than three times I’m going to drop it…” I muse aloud at D. “I think I get wedded to a narrative, a good story and then I think it’s true well beyond its expiry date!” Like, for instance, I had told myself I liked the femmes. I liked “Girls.” I used this to explain my last two lovers, two heterosexual women whose presentation clearly fell on the feminine side, particularly when juxtaposed with me, who regarded myself as “transvestite.” I had this strong attraction to men’s clothing I JUST COULDN’T FATHOM.

Well, the mind likes order, it likes to stratify, structure; it’s inordinately fond of genus and specie, family and class. Even my mind, which is Aquarian in its untethered gambol – I cannot predict what tree it’s going to land in, all helium and hot air – ends up in definition, defining for eternity what are flavors in time.

I tasted femme and found it bright and crisp and exotic to my palate. Against its fruited plains I could flex and pop a bicep, I could fuck like a man while making love like a woman seamlessly, again and again and again. I found it easier to navigate my inherent chivalry, my almost fetishistic compulsion to tend the lawn, fix the sink, take out the trash, be a dude. I never could find comfort in this as a dyke; butch felt more aggressive an identity than I could handle and I never did find the consolation and ease I felt an identity should give me. But being with a “womanly” woman – that was a sweet opiate drop of oil in my stormy gay tub.

To transition from female to male is to allow myself to love, in all ways possible, the most forbidden fruit of all. Men, manly men, sweet men, ugly men, hairy men; men that are penile and erect with turgid, oily muscle, men with guts that push against their tee-shirts; men that smell of b.o. and cigarettes, men that have their babies in a wrap over their heart to keep their hands free; men who laugh loud and talk shit, men who can be stupid and heartless one minute, then gentle and paternal the next; men who wear pink and lipstick and eyeliner, whose every step is the twist of lamb’s tail, who sleep with men or women or nothing at all, who drive cars and make cars and flip bitches off with their suntanned middle-finger, and above all, above everything else human and inhumanly possible, men who are women.

Here’s the thing. I feel such new compassion for my benighted hetero sisters. I love the men but goddamn! They make it difficult. They are, in the main, really, truly, genuinely clueless. I can tell you firsthand, having passed for such creatures: they know not what they do. Sure, some of them do, some of them get, deeply, their participation in a very, very sick social structure, that grants them the privilege of invisibility, the privilege women, most non-white people, and many, many gender-nonconforming people do not have.

I for one am sick to death of being patronized, gagging in my mouth from the aftertaste of the cock-like supposition of authority from this man or that man, and I’m as sick of the women who take power where they can, and from whomever, screaming insensate at shop-keepers and valets and children; I’m vomiting as I listen to black men and women make fun of me as I walk past them, mocking my walk and my voice and even my friendliness, on my knees curled from an indefinable pain even my hierarchical mind can’t stratify, can’t wrap around, except to retch and retch and retch again.

And this is my imponderable, impenetrable sadness.

So I will set us all free. Me from my stories, me from my mind, me from the critique, the judgement; me from my deep, deep human hurt that pings around my heart’s hollow, hoping to land or hear a ping back. I will tell a great many stories, for ever and ever, because once upon a time I believed them.

But none of them are true.