Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Aisle At The End, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

“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.

And yet.

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.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Vision Softly Creeping

So what are we doing this year, this bright decade of biomechanical promise, of merging disciplines, of factory dismantle, of capacious conversations and learning how to really listen, really hone in, on what our cats, our dogs, our groundhogs and dolphins, are saying to us?

I guess I just answered my own question.

Oh ye of little faith, for whom transition feels like an awake but cooking lobster bursting from its exo-skeletal seams: listen to your sisterbrother Sam. There is absolute joy in the chaos, bliss in the interstitial. We who fuck with gender have the capacity to be way more than the sum of our sexes, and we taste better with lemon and butter.

The transitioning, the genderfuckers, queers, nears, and furbelows: listen. Listen to the whispering. I was so afraid, I heard it and I was so scared…I was afraid once I paid attention, the whisper would become a roar and carry me away in a violent sandstorm, eroding everything I knew or wanted to believe in.

This is precisely what happened, but littler. And, in fact, it was the most beautiful thing ever. Your whisper to me, you didn’t even know you were doing it. You don’t even know how you’re whispering to me now. But I heard your dreams, your prayers as they stirred up in my head – your prayers were mine too.

I held your sleeping face in my hands and I lay full length against you. All of your sex pressed on me – your skin and your tiny mammal hairs tangled with mine. Our cells split to merge in a wonderful new reality cooking show, “The Bottomless Sex Pot,” and we featured a stew, savory, rich, complex and nourishing, full of carrots and cocks and lentils and vaginas. I don’t even know how it happened, but I know you were so delicious, so pungent, I can roll the memory of your taste in my mind’s mouth now.

Thank you for speaking to me, even if you didn’t know you were. You sent me an S.O.S., a message in a bottle and I got it, because I was meant to, and because after all, I may be the shore but you are the ocean.

Since this is an absolute fact, we can proceed. This means we have the capacity to alter the landscape. Never forget, in those moments of fear and doubt and terrifying loneliness, that this is your power. But unless we link with one another we’re lost to it.

And unless I stay linked to my former mind, even as memory, I may be lost to me, too. I was watching the etiolated queerness of Jake Gyllenhaal, mesmerized by his strange, personal masculinity, as his character in Rendition watched a man be tortured. As the narrative diverted me from my Jake scan I watched myself watch the torture. A shift has taken place.

I’m convinced women receive – because I did – vast amounts of information from a variety of dimensions. It was wonderful and overwhelming and hideous, to be moving through the gelatinous psychic residue of others, all the time. Women can be suspended like carrots in bad church jello, trapped by their own accumulating information, the reception of which is autonomic for most. I’m also thoroughly convinced that the world is not run by men because of greater upper-body strength – I’m confident as a man can be that men rule this roost by their capacity to focus, to hone in. If they’re lucky, sensitive men they may receive a tenth of the psychic and emotional effluvia that women must ford every waking day.

As a hormonally-different being, I see myself stripped of an empathy – my dendrites follow the alpha sun, the job at hand – that was nearly crippling for me as a “woman.” I may feel moral horror, and I certainly have empathy, but gone are the chills, the cellular identification with the pain of another. I watch torture and I think “this must happen all the time,” which is distinctly different from the “fuck oh my god oh my god how can this be happening” which used to cycle as a soothing mantra during my lady time. Other people’s pain barely touches me, it seems.

I tell this to Jessica who relates that men don’t wake up to sounds that wake women up, like babies crying. I can feel how I have hormonally become That Guy.

These subtle shifts are important. They teach me about The Other. I want 2010 to be about communication, about hearing people and being heard. I need to understand the language you move to, and by shooting hormones every week I am beginning to learn some new tongue. It is sparer, has more clarity, is even visually less diffuse than my old language, my old vision. I understand alpha in new ways – it’s deep and compulsive; I watch the neurochemistry of transguys be pulled like iron to the magnetic and repulsive Top Dog, we’re at its mercy if we’re snoozing or not paying attention. I watch my transmale friends be assholes around women, with utter sincerity.

Let’s keep one another from the narcotic trap, the hormonal lure attached to the forehead of an angry social construct. Let’s watch like hunters, follow our own spoor, chart our changes. We can nudge this thing, turn it off-course, shift the shore and sail into a sweet, sweet sunset if we link, wake each other up from the dream of gendered superiority, honor the mother/father/sister/brother/other in us all.

Hush now and listen. Our brains are calling.