“I finally understand what ‘the binary’ means,” I muse aloud on the way to Target, where we will break all our promises not to buy more shirts. My pardner and I are like magpies to tinfoil when it comes to a good sale, immodestly erasing all affirmations to “ignore the clang of the will,” as my Buddhist buddy mentors. But maybe a good, cheap linen stripe actually does help feed my soul – I mean, what do I know?
Louise, whose newborn is now nine-months and says “gulak gulak” like an adorable Hungarian frog, asserts that she can no longer watch Dexter. The creation and birth of her child have rendered her incapable of whatever pleasure or schadenfreude one receives from watching serial killers murder each other, however delicious. She insists that no-one could possibly bear a child and engage in war, and I tell her about the double-winners who survived both Nagasaki and Hiroshima. They all shared the terrible shame of the knowledge that they “were, in general, the people who ignored others crying out in extremis or who stayed away from the flames, even when patients and colleagues shrieked from within them.” One such two-time A-Bomb survivor, when asked how we might avert the use of warheads said, “the only people who should be allowed to govern countries with nuclear weapons are mothers, those who are still breast-feeding their babies.”
Louise has lost her taste for blood and only wants to watch and protect. Me, I’m full of testosterone sangfroid, and can evidently watch all manner of horrors, thinking, “I’m glad that’s not me.” I think that men are better poised for survival and I think that’s a damn shame. (I read too many endtimes novels, and sort of exist in this parallel state of post-apocalypse – I’m convinced I would survive for about two minutes before I got the shiv. I’m too civilized.)
For so long I lived in the outlier realms of gender, preferring to do my interpretation in some Outback, naked and with paint and shells, all breasts and cunt and defiance. Fine, you gave me this body so now we’re all going to have to live with it. Fuck you, I’ve got tits and an attitude.
For the first time on this journey, I feel slingshot into some other field. I also see how I was a woman, the way I was a woman. I worked really hard to be whatever that meant to me at the time. Some transguys, you know, you never see them as chicks. They were really never women. But I’m not that guy – I lived there best I could, and I found some real warmth and beauty too.
I fear the language, the technology I’ve been given is limited, and I’m afraid to share some things, lest they seem too Twentieth Century Man, too pat, too Men are from Mars. I haaaaaaaaaate that shit, you know. But in truth I am watching my energetic connection to others shift, one microgram at a time one molecule at a time. Who has always chosen mercy can now see justice. And note I do not say “feel.”
My old spiritual teacher used to say something ridiculous like, “women are seventeen times more enlightened than men,” but now I understand how this might be true. Nonetheless, this world at this time does not seem particularly hospitable to the enlightened of any gender.
My experiences are mine. I know I don’t speak for the hordes, hordes I tell you, of empathetic, receptive men and Justice herself, while supposedly blind to your race or economic status, is also deaf to your entreaties, your pleas for mercy. She’s a mother, all right. I’m nervous about committing a stereotype. But you, hear MY plea. The endtimes could come at any minute, while you’re eye-groping that fantastic plaid in Urban Outfitters (and why are you there again!? Did I not tell you they give their money to support your extinction!?) and what will you grab? Will you cradle that child next to you, tucking it beneath your curled torso, or will you clamber over mannequins and children alike, fashioning spears from sales racks and claws from hangers? What kind of man are you?!
As I watch my blood freeze and my veins harden, I reach for your hand. As always, it’s warm and dry and a little rough. Like my brain now, furling into itself, no longer snail nor oyster, but cruciform and coral. I can still feed millions this way. It’s just going to be different. But you and I are forever the same, whether man or woman or any conflagration or variegation. You and I, cold or warm heart, are love.