Friday, April 8, 2011

On the turning away

A wise person once said that we have friends for reasons, and for seasons, and for lifetimes. It seems that, with the new warm summer weather, my heart is entering a new season as well.

I have spent the last couple years on the periphery of a community of trans sisters, looking in. I have never been the life of the party, and have never enjoyed the spotlight, so lurking on the edge has been perfectly fine for me. I have added my two cents when I had something to add, and have enjoyed some sense of belonging - the first such feeling I have ever had in my life. And yet now, I find myself stepping away from that community, and turning in a different direction. I can't relate; I have nothing in common with most of them any longer.

Transition is a very different sort of experience from any other. As difficult as it is to understand while it's happening to oneself, looking in from the outside, I would guess that it is almost impossible to grasp. So, as the old saying goes, birds of a feather flock together. Transitioning people seek one another to try to make sense of what is going on. For better or worse, a community forms around this crazy moth-into-butterfly activity which we have undertaken.

And then once it is done, when the changes are complete, what then? The people with whom we have associated and bonded and confided and laughed and cried for those many months, many of them have very different desires and likes and lives. And if we take a closer look, we find that there isn't anything we have to talk about - we're different people, who have been thrown together by happenstance. The circumstances have changed, so there is nothing holding us together.

I've seen several trans people who have basically disappeared after they finished with all their surgeries and big changes. They are done, and they just want to get on with their lives. Blog entries and video blogs become more and more infrequent. Their interaction with their transitioning community slows and eventually stops. The thing that has driven them for so long, to undertake this dramatic life change, is gone. They just don't have much more to say.

This is where I now find myself. I have driven over the precipice and lived to tell about it, and yet I haven't the slightest desire to tell the story. I've already told it; it's here, for all to read. I don't need to think about it any longer. There is no more danger. My heart can rest, and I can breathe, and live, and just be.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The religion post

Over the time that I've gotten to know other trans people over the interwebs, I've seen more than a few instances of my sisters being the recipients of some lashing by religious people in their lives. The typical argument has been that our heroine would reject God's plan for her life, and go down this other road. That got me to thinking, what if this is God's plan for her?

Before I go further, I feel I must set out the disclaimer that I am not a religious person in any way. I am only a long-time IT person, who has a lot of experience with working through logical systems and sets of rules. I went to church and Sunday school when I was younger, but some of more, shall we say, mythical aspects of the experience didn't really resonate with me. The morality and love and support parts, I'm all for those.

So anyway, we have this idea that God sets out a purpose for each of us. He's got a plan for you, for me, for all of us. And since he's all-powerful and all-knowing, he can come up with some pretty inscrutable plans. The way I always interpreted God from my church experiences, he seems to want to teach us. What he wants to teach, well, that almost surely varies from person to person. Maybe each one of us has one big challenge to overcome in our lives. Who knows? We just go about our lives, and do our thing, and handle the stuff that comes as best we can. And if we're lucky, we can have moments of insight, or maybe even, dare I say, enlightenment, as to what our lives are all about. Or we may never understand quite what it is that we are to do, but perhaps some are destined to improve the collective conscious in some way.

But is it too much of a stretch to think that maybe he makes some people trans, so that they can, perhaps, learn to love themselves? It's generally accepted that if one is to love others, one must first love oneself, and as I recall, there's a commandment or something exhorting us to love our neighbor. Spreading love throughout the world by offering a monumental personal challenge? That's a pretty darned clever way to go about it.

Then I started thinking out from there. What if my friends have been in some plan of God's to teach others? Like, God says, "ok, I know she's strong enough, and willing enough to handle this, so we're going to use her example to teach others." God's all about love - I think at one point Jesus declares the most important commandments to be love God and love your neighbor. That seems pretty straightforward to me; if we love everyone, then the world would be a pretty groovy place to be. So, ok, our heroine is a trans girl, and because of that, is unappreciated and unaccepted, if not hated, by a large number of people, simply because of who she is. Would God have made her a trans girl, made that the plan for this girl's life, simply to teach others how to love each other? Have her work as an instrument of his plan? Does God do things like that? Would he put narrow-minded and bigoted people around her, to try to teach them tolerance and love?

And that's not even mentioning the fact that none of us really know what God's plan might be. Those who would tell us that we're rejecting his plan... do they presume to know everything that's in God's mind? Seems like mostly a combination of narrow-mindedness and arrogance, and of not making of man in God's image, but rather remaking God in man's image.

I think there are more directions I can use to think about this. And, as I said, this isn't really my thing, but I know there are more than a few of you out there who think about these kinds of things a lot. I'm more than happy to have some discussion about this, and hear others' comments.