Being on the outside and looking in

This is an unhelpful metaphor for my life, and yet I find myself circling back to it. Is there a universal truth to it? Aren’t we all on the outside of something and looking in? Isn’t the essence of looking one of trying to unify ourselves with the all? We “look in” to unite with what we lack? To belong?

This is a deep need. One that is fundamental to human existence. Social pressure exploits this. To want that which we don’t have is the fire in the belly of commerce and consumerism. And yet, if there is one need that we need to let go of, it is this.

Even the prettiest and coolest teenagers experienced pangs of jealousy, feelings of exclusion, have feelings, got hurt.  Nobody is immune.  The idea that there is balance, however, is a falsehood perpetrated by those who have more to mollify those who have less.

I’ve always had this disease quite badly.  I don’t know if it is the nature of ADD, to be flitting like a butterfly, intensely interested in one topic after the next.  Never lingering long enough to develop expertise, connections.  Forever like the stylus needle skimming across the grooves of a spinning LP, only giving a blurry taste of the music underneath.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with that.  It is a life of glitter and glamour, and one which has brought me tremendous joy.  It is how most of us live.  Few of us develop the deep and lifetime expertise that engenders respect.  It is nice, too, to simply feel the respect for those who choose that path.

And are any of you afflicted by the parallel feeling of wanting something only to lose interest in it once you have it?  After all, there is always something shinier in the basket.  It is a rather forlorn and empty pursuit.  I do not say this in judgement, as it is very much a part of myself, and I am trying to see these traits with soft eyes.

But it is also time to learn to let go.  And I mean really let go.  

I sit surrounded by things.  Objects of joy and pleasure that have attached themselves to me over a life well-lived.  Should I say, acquired?  Those objects, however, which have value and meaning beyond me, I am merely their caretaker.  My children are finding the joys of this letting go, as it is always a highlight of one of their visits.  I get to let go of things to people I care about; I also enjoy the giving; but it is also comforting that the stories that came with them will live on for at least a little while.

Have you ever been to a yard sale and wondered about the stories that objects used to carry?  We wish that walls could talk, that shoes could tell their stories, but this is only a human desire to not be irrelevant.  After all, if the objects had memory, then we would be etched into them.  But it isn’t so, and our stories pass and vanish as soon as the energetic thread is cut or simply fades.

My car is filled with things for the town dump. My car is filled with clothes for the Italian equivalent of the Salvation Army. Progress.

I don’t like doing things alone.  To think, I used to be an introvert!  This is especially true of events.  But choosing who to go with is just as important and difficult as finding the right dress.  I went to something which felt vaguely like a kink party the other day, and the outfit choice was a doddle compared to figuring out who I could take.

On the one hand, I was worried that a vanilla person would be turned off by the kink.  Also, there was a fear of how my intentions might be interpreted.  Plus, not all of my friends know that on top of being trans, I am also very kink-friendly.  For these reasons as well as non-availability of my first two choices, I struggled for months to choose.  And then, suddenly, it hit me.  Why hadn’t I thought of so-and-so?  Thank goodness she was able to join at relatively last minute.

And you know what.  She was the perfect date.  In every way.  I don’t want to say that the universe opened a seam and brought this person into my life for this reason but knowing that everyone that is in our lives is there for a reason.  In truth, we shall never know the reason, nor should we.  But being open to the connections results in total alignment. I couldn’t have had a more perfect evening.

Separately, another event was taking place.  I learned about it from someone I am dying to meet.  I have contemplated reaching out to her on many occasions, but the timing has not worked, and the various aspects of my divorce is getting in the way.  On this occasion, my children’s travel plans interfered with my attendance.  I spent hours and hours agonizing over how to make it all work, but couldn’t do it.

As above, I was also struggling with who to bring as a date.  And the person that I intended to bring, coincidentally was going to be in the city where this party would be with friends anyway.  Perfect.  These happy coincidences only served to intensify my wish to be there.  I have a deep feeling that the original hostess is somehow coming into my life to teach me something.

And boy, did I have the outfit.  It looks grand.  Only, I worry about just how grand it is, and the potential for being accused of cultural and sexual appropriation.  I will have to access some authoritative figures on this topic.

Shortly after resigning myself to not going and cancelling my plans, I learned from a dear magical human that she would be there.  It was like a twist in the rope—smearing my face ever harder to the glass.  But I also began to wonder, maybe I am really meant to not be there.  There is something I don’t understand.  It may have also been a way of managing my own disappointment at missing such a beautiful occasion with people I care about and love to see.

I received a steady stream of pictures from friends about the before, during, and after.  And not only were those two people there, but there were others I am acquainted with, and one other person I have been interested in collaborating with on an art project, and thinking, ‘how the heck am I going to introduce myself?’  Well, that evening was the perfect chance.

But even when all these people are lined up energetically, and it feels that the universe is laying itself at your feet, and yes, it quite possibly could have been, we will never know.  I will never know if the magic that was happening was meant to be shared with me or not…and whether it served a purpose of creating this feeling of being on the outside looking in, or instead was an object lesson on this journey.

What is that object lesson?  To let go.  To recognise that true mastery is to carry and embody the how of life.  We are how we act.  Energy is action.  Our bodies are simply transmitters of this energy.  There is no purpose in the sense of a goal.  There is only now.  Essential goodness.  

On a mechanical level, perhaps my date would have been fascinated and excited by the other people who were there, but she might also have been intimidated by them, because of their connection to me.  And were that the case, I would have lost far more than I would have gained by being there.  The joy of an evening is nothing compared to losing a guru, teacher, and fragile love interest.  In that sense, circumstance chose for me.  

And I am offered this lesson.

What motivates you?  How do you take life’s vagaries and turn them to energetic good?  What will you do today?  I will clean house.

I am about to receive one of the dearest people in my entire universe.  A travel partner, a dear and close friend, a partner in crime, a bestie, the bestie.  Bliss.

Postscript. In a way, the essence of being transgender is to desire something one can never have. To be a part of something that one can never be a part of. At least not fully. We can mitigate dysphoria, but we cannot truly banish it.

A depressing thought? Perhaps for some, and on bad days, perhaps for me. But I choose to experience that feeling in a different way. My own brand of dysphoria was unlike that of what many others describe as being in the “wrong body”. I have never felt that. I have wished for a different body, but don’t think what I have been given is wrong.

Instead, it felt like a punishment. Anyone who doesn’t like something about their bodies will have a taste of it, only rejecting one’s own natal sex creates a kind of pain that is hard to describe. Thank goodness it is possible to take hormones, to have surgery, to “self-mutilate” in a way that eases the pain [these were the words of my TERF luncheon companion of the other week].

Why bring this up? Being AMAB (Assigned Male at Birth) had a purpose for me–punishment was incidental. There is a lesson to be learned from the punishment. I have always wondered what. And what I might have done or failed to do as a spirit that brought me to earth this time around. What is my lesson?

The answer to that question lies in this post. To experience oneself as “other”. To desire the “otherness” of the self, knowing that one can never have it. Such a feeling can either destroy you, or it can set you free. When confronted with the impossible, what do you do? Crumple and cry, sitting at its feet? Hopeless and helpless?

That which I seek can never be found because finding is a form of taking. Instead, it can only be given. Given by the “other”. Meaning it can only be received. The medicine, the lesson, the salve, all lie in this purpose…to embody the kind of how which bathes in the other, where the universe showers you with it, not because you desire it, not because you earn it, but because you are it, you become it, you embody it. How?

There is only one way. To feed, cultivate, and support that energy wherever you find it, however, with whomever, and whenever. That is also what makes me a slave. Because, only as a slave will I ever serve this purpose.

Post-postscript. Is it ironic that through being a slave, one might achieve self-mastery? is it ironic to know that self-mastery can only come from the motivating power of an outside force? The Ouroborous is a symbol of infinity which is particularly apt–the snake which devours its own tail. The mouth, yin energy, devours the tail, yang energy. It is a symbol of transformation. The snake sloughing its skin: symbol of rebirth and renewal.

The Ourobouros

Changing sex is a conscious physical rebirth. I don’t ever want a man between my legs, so why do I want a vagina? Because I want the feeling of vulnerability that comes with it. Another choice comment of my TERF luncheon partner is that “a vagina is an open wound. Why on earth would you do that to yourself?”

She answered her own question.

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