I read a trans woman the other day saying we should not refer to “transition”, because it fuels the idea that we change from female to male, or vice versa. It prompted me to decide we transition from pretence to authenticity. There goes my rational mind, again, working out arguments why I was right to do what I did, by expressing them in words. Some call that “rationalisation”.
This is the human way. Transition was what I desired, more than anything else. It still makes no sense to me, is arguably harmful, yet I would do the same again- even though I desperately want to make sense of everything.
I am more myself than before.
People want ridiculous things. I am reading The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen, and a hundred pages in, finding it almost unreadable. Chip built a solid academic career, but then had sex with a student and wrote one of her essays for her, contrary to explicit college rules. He feels hard done by: she led him on! He writes a screen-play, but it is deeply flawed. He sees flaws, and fiddles with it without correcting it. He borrows $20,000 from his sister and fritters it. Maybe it was something in the air, around 2000: S is reading an English novel from about the same time, about a barrister’s life imploding.
His real problems are too great to tackle, so he footers about with irrelevancies. (“Footer” is Scots– surely it is linked to the French foutre.)
At the weekend, I was away with the Quakers, where Jan Arriens wrestled with our divided selves- head and heart, reason and intuition, and quoted Karen Armstrong on myth. When we act on myth, we test their value, and unlock our heroic potential. Jesus’ story is told that we might imitate him. We cannot know we are right through ratiocination, merely feel we are right- or deny our feeling that we are wrong. Chip is wholly concerned with appearances. He sells books which cost him $3000 for $65, to not look a fool on a date with his girlfriend. He wants things to be alright, for one more day.
Feeling, and feeling, and things go right, or not-
Jan Arriens values the feelings. Quakers do. We talk of the promptings of love and truth in our hearts as the leadings of God, and acting on right leadings is the heart of our faith. Others may test our leadings: it is always easier to see the insanity of another’s desire than ones own. We dismiss as “reductionist” the attempt to make sense of the world separate from feelings. The rational mind has value insofar as it helps the person put their desires into practice.
Jan links heart and head, respectively, with love and compassion, in which people give to each other who they really are, recognise their differences and share their vulnerabilities, and with ego, competing, manipulating, and seeking to control. Yet selfish and selfless in me are both emotional. I love being loving. I fear starving and freezing alone.