Monday, September 15, 2008

Written in answer to a comment made by Abby, whom I never have met but whose soul is great.

Dear Abby,

I have to admit that I sometimes do feel a "pecking order." I was out to dinner the other night with a transitioned friend Alana who is doing very well - professionally at least. And we were watching Jennifer Leitham perform. I was struck by the presence of these two women - the respected bassist on the stage and the respected systems analyst sitting across from me. I was humbled, as I am by you (especially after having taken a good look at your website and blogs) and any other transwoman who lives the life. I've been told many times that it is not a matter of courage but one of survival - and yet it is to me a matter of strength. Of necessity I have taken a different path, and I feel it is a a precious gift when my feminine spirit is acknowledged and accepted. But I stand in awe of my transitioned sisters who, by the act of pursuing their lives and crafts serve as our most effective representatives.

You mention sadness in your comment that we all can't seem to get along. It's like herding cats, isn't it? Given your advocacy work, I'm not at all surprised at your feeling, but I don't ever expect all members of any group to come to a consensus - even if it's for their mutual good. Yet if I laugh, 'tis that I may not weep. I think that what we all are most in need of is something I mentioned in the last sentences of my posting: a sense of our own absurdity. Like Harold Crick, the main character in the film "Stranger Than Fiction," we must each discover whether our story is a comedy or a tragedy. And since a classic comedy is distinguished most by a happy ending, I think I would like my story to be a comedy. I would rather laugh than be saddened. My masculine side has enough angst for the both of us, and he's welcome to it.

Whether we want to or not, we who are transgendered take a major part of accepted societal reality and twist it into a pretzel. Our heartstrings are twisted in the process, but otherwise it really is a hoot. And I think we need to be the first ones to see the absurdity both of the "rules" we are breaking and of our selves. In doing so we break the ice and set ourselves and others at ease. At the very least I am pleading that we keep a sense of humor - that we not take ourselves too seriously. A person I loved very much, an angel in training, who got her wings in 2001, used to love to quote G.K. Chesterton: "Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly." I've said it in other places: we are magic and mystical creatures, and we can be angels in training. I believe that starts with loving and laughing.

I'd been meaning to write a blog like this for some time, but I got my final impetus when I happened to wander through Helen Boyd's "En/Gender" to our dear, sweet, vulnerable, and wonderful friend Leith's page. I found a loving community there as I spent time reading comments and tracing them back. I've truly met very few. I was honored to exchange comments here with Christianne (otherwise known as Dr. Morbius), and having seen you on Lori D's page, I am equally honored now. (I have to admit that there's something about this process that makes me feel a bit voyeuristic.) Now mind you, I've never met you, and all I know of you is based upon what amounts to little more than a cursory glance at your blog and a couple of others, but I sense in you a great soul. I see it in your face. I sense another woman in whose presence I am awed. (And you have every right to make protest to this if it sounds overstated, but come on, accept it just for now.)

I noticed that you are contemplating a move to Tucson. I was born there and still have relatives there. It would be nice to have yet another reason to go back there.

All love,


Abby said...

Wow, Gillian! I hardly know what to say. I am truly honored and touched by your praise. Your post has triggered too many thoughts to be able to express them all now. (Unfortunately, I do sometimes have to work, much as I would prefer to do other things.) It may be that it will take a separate post on my own blog to contain them all, but, rest assured, I do plan to continue our dialogue. Until then,

Sonora Sage said...

You got at least two things right, Gillian - Abby has a great soul, and Tucson is a great place to be. :-)

Gillian said...

This is a friendship that I want to cultivate. I look forward to continuing the dialogue.

Sonora Sage,
I hope I got a few other things right, too. Some of my earliest recollections are sitting with my grandmother in the evening, watching the bats fly into the tower at (I believe) Madison Jr.High across the street. I remember waking up in the back seat of a1 954 Chervrolet, after my father had driven all night, and seeing, in the dark of the morning, Seinfeld's neon oxen as we drove through downtown Tucson. It was my Mom's town and my aunts' town. Much of what is me comes from there.

No I'm misty-eyed.