Odd people

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d2/Byron%27s_Dream.jpg/745px-Byron%27s_Dream.jpgJust as you cannot shout “fire” in a crowded theatre, or incite people to murder, so no-one should incite listeners against a minority group, as that is hate speech. What is the boundary of that principle? There are clear examples of it in Nazi propaganda against Jews, and Hutu calling Tutsis “Cockroaches”, saying we must fight against the oppressors and defend ourselves.

There is hate-speech like that about trans women. Saying we oppress anyone simply by being ourselves is such hate-speech. It declares us as enemies. Derision and disgust reduces our humanity and makes us an acceptable target.

How might we answer hate speech? We have some latitude, because it hurts and triggers us, though it helps to name it hate speech, so we can state why it is objectionable rather than just angrily object. The angry objection without the articulate justification loses sympathy.

Consider the radfem critique- “Trans women” are self-castrated men. This is not hate in itself, though it often goes with hate, but it has no real understanding. It is a hostile understanding from outside, like an Apartheid policeman’s understanding of black people, or an Israeli settler’s understanding of Palestinians.

Why would we castrate ourselves? Try to enter into this empathetically. Not because I am mentally ill, because my depression arises after the desire, not before, unless the desire is followed; nor even because I am a woman, because that is a matter of definition- I am a “woman” if your definition of woman includes gender identity, and not otherwise. I have no idea where that http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/55/Romeo_and_juliet_brown.jpgdesire comes from, though it goes with “feminine” aspects of my personality. Because I want to. Because I wanted that more than anything else in the world.

It is kind to treat me as any other woman. It makes me happy.

Mmmm. I accept the utility of the scientific method. It is possible to make objective observations, then theorise, then predict, then check the prediction. I am fed, warm and dry right now because of the scientific method. And- this rational objectivity does not work in human relations, or at least I cannot make it work. I have tried.

How may we relate to each other?

People try to live by rational objectivity. Helen who commented here has a fixed and settled view on homosexuality. She needs that even though she may have no lesbian inclinations: in her church it is important that everyone believe the same things. They have one view of what it means to be human, and what is permissible. Enough of them must want that: if enough of them wanted greater diversity of opinion, they would have it, and the others would learn to live with it or leave.

Or, perhaps, the worship creates such a feeling of togetherness that the people are bound together in fellowship. Mmmm. Understand from inside. They are wrong about queers, and about Adam, but they have something valuable. What is it? And, where may we agree, what do I share with them?

Scanning

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e4/St._Andrew_Stratelates_%26_St.Theophanes_of_Naousa_Orthodox_Icon.jpgIn Tate Britain, my coat is over my arm, and my right hand is out scanning the Qi in the art works, especially the sculptures. I love that Paolozzi. On the Frank Auerbach, the paint is smeared on and piled up, crevices then piles an inch thick. I had not seen paint on canvas like it. Opposite is a Francis Bacon, study of a dog: I recognised it was his by the shape of the creature, and the peculiar shade of red round the bottom edge. Large parts of the canvas have no paint at all.

I was scanning at the 5Rhythms dancing last night. I scan with my right hand, give energy with my left, so if blessing I would raise my left hand. Both hand chakras do both, but the left is stronger at giving and the right is stronger at scanning. I had scanned before, but I got the idea here that one hand would be stronger at scanning.

I have a sceptic-rationalist explanation for this practice. I am applying my intuition to the art works, and I am using the sensation of heat or cold in my hand to make a non-verbal channel for my intuition to reach my consciousness. It is another way to respond to the art work.

Over coffee, Helen and I discussed whether intention is necessary to make something “art”. I do not think technical skill is necessary, that is craft, only, but “Fountain” was art because of Duchamp. I spotted two labels hanging from a tree, each with a word on, and wondered if that was accidental or whether it was “art”. Perhaps both: machine-made art has a human intention and human creator behind it, but if an object found by Duchamp is art, why not an object I notice myself? If it raises a response in me, similar to a response I might have to a found object in a gallery, does that make it art, or something else, just as valuable in that moment?

Back at Helen’s flat, after salmon and wine I gave my rationalist explanation of the scanning, and she asked why? I have noticed that I do not know what I like, only what I ought to like, or what it is permissible to like- permissible by me, of course, I have internalised my own bonds. Or, what I have learned that it is possible to like, I prefer to learn that from others, it is easier than noticing myself. So here am I noticing something which I love and value- scanning for Qi- and I need to create a rationalist explanation. Why? Why can I not just like it because I like it?

Because I am so terrified of insanity. I delayed transition for years because I imagined that it was not real, it was a fantasy, I was sliding down the slippery slope to a sexual fantasy. And- the female self is me in a way the male self never was. And- my intuitive self is me in a way the rationalist self is not, a deeper, realer me. I am still terrified, still craving the reassurance the rationalist explanation gives me, but trusting my instincts might fulfil me more.

Saying I am “scanning for Qi” is a verbal formulation applied to a spontaneous act, an act I find valuable. Perhaps I do not need that verbal formulation either. St Theophanes has his right hand up- what is he doing with it?

There was an Edwardian sculpture of children playing on a beach. The marble is beautiful, and the girl’s hand is so perfect. The artist has even caught a slight depression in the skin of the boy where the girl’s hand touches it, an effect which astounds and delights me. I can see why Pygmalion might fall in love with such a creation.

Sensing/ Intuition

I took the bus to the Quaker meeting. I was scared, because I was dressed female: I felt vulnerable with the people. I did not notice my colleague J until she said Hello, getting off. I put this down to the fear. Well, I had only just started living full time- ie., expressing myself female full time, and I was nervous in public.

And- cycling the other day, Lucrezia had to wave and shout from the pavement before I even noticed her. I could put this down to being more focused on hearing than seeing. There was no intentional snub: I have a well-developed mind’s ear, so I can hear a full orchestra, all the different tones, if I concentrate, but no mind’s eye at all. I cannot visualise something, but, oddly, I can think in pictures to decide what route to take- it is as if I am aware of a sense of a sketch of the place without visualising it. So I could not be a painter, but am a musician. Sometimes, listening to a person, I will close my eyes in order to hear them better.

And- when images do impinge on me, it can give me a moment of intense delight, such as a bird flying in front of my bicycle.

As I understand introversion/extraversion, it appears to include judging/ perceiving: so, as an introvert, I would necessarily prefer judging: thinking/ feeling over perceiving: sensing/ intuiting. Myers and Briggs would divide them. But what would intuiting even mean, when addressed outside?

Well, I love painting and sculpture, and sometimes adopt the posture of the subject, the better to understand the work, firing off my mirror neurons to relate to the outside through my own experience. So I have some empathy, some ability to see another person and imagine what it is like to be them.

Going back to that walking meditation: when we entered the field, we were enraptured by our senses: see the world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wild flower. I was moving very slowly, paying attention to one small thing and seeing its beauty and moving on to another. And- I called that “Presence”, and wanted to do everything in that state: make decisions, talk to people, be in the supermarket. Rather than connecting to the Outside, Extraversion, it could be connecting to the Sensation function, which has been so secondary for me.

Perhaps I want to make decisions more deeply in the unconscious rather than from a position of Sensing. Decision making is a Judging, not Perceiving, function.

And- Sophia’s 5rhythms dance in the woods, at Midsummer Camp- don’t hug the tree, stand near it and feel its energy, dance with its energy. That meant so much to me, looking up at the tree, or the concrete post, feeling that part of me which related to it. More introverted, but intuitive. I have done it since, with a steel fence. I could do it with a person.

Lovely blogs

I have been given the One Lovely Blog award, by Sugar-Coated Angel. She is 17, and shares valuable wisdom, self-knowledge, and jokes, well-written. I am fair pleased. I am supposed to praise my nominator then to write seven things about myself, but given that most of this blog is about me, it is all here. Let me tell you of some lovely blogs found recently. In no particular order:

Large Self– thoughts on energy and healing in the 21st century by Cathy Ulrich. I came across Cathy with her post on “Bumper-sticker philosophy, saying “Disrespect reality! It is just the outpicturing of your beliefs up to now.” Practically, I function like a naive realist, and these are the reminders I need, in a clear and humorous style. The photograph is hers.

I have just found Julie Hansen Intuitive, who writes on psychic phenomena, reading and perception of people and situations. Her word “Clairvoyant” disturbed me a little, but it simply means clear-seeing. These are skills I wish to develop. Part of the current spiritual revolution is the increasing recognition and valuing of such skills.

I found Mindy through a comment, and have posted on that. I find her blog beautifully expressed, wise, varied, and on interesting subjects.

Letting go takes a lot of work!

Or, maybe, it’s the holding on I’ve done till now that has taken so much energy.

Small Letters is full of good stuff like that.

Her comment was on Fairy Bear Confessions, which teaches me and stimulates my thought about God, from a Christian perspective.

Beth Zwecher is 57, and writes very movingly about caring for her mother at the end of life, in Middlescapes, “A blog about caregiving a frail elder, life in the middle years, the search for one’s inner athlete, and baking as a path to enlightenment”.

Novia Olam is Kenyan, still living with her parents. Her web address, Sapphiqueer, is bold, Out there, when gay lovemaking is illegal, so that gay people have little protection against violent bigots. Her coming out story is moving.

Also beautifully bold is Evelyn Ortiz. “Evelyn Ortiz has spoken”- I love that. If I say I love reading teenagers expressing how to get on in the world, that could seem frightfully condescending or sardonic, but I mean it literally and genuinely.

I value Tsena’s poetry, but it is this line that I love- “I used to shake my head at the people who would claim that major tragedy turned out to be a gift in their lives; I thought they were nuts. Now I join the ranks of those whom I called Nuts.” Such an about-face is a powerful move towards wisdom.

Fear no Weebles! Madame Weebles is a middle-aged Reiki master doing wisdom-stuff- all my kind of thing- with a lot more humour than I manage to cram in here.

All so far are women! Robert Moores writes on Basic Humanity from a rationalist perspective. He is currently reading and commenting on the Bible.

Duncan Aldridge, whom I met at the Field of Love, a 5Rhythms camp in East Anglia, is exploring masculinity. He says, “I only hope that the vulnerability is a channel through which we can come closer together relationally and emotionally as men and women.” Personally, I find my “vulnerability” my only source of strength.

That is eleven. Perhaps I can keep back four nominations for later.

Acceptance?

On this search for self-acceptance, I have still sought who I am innately. This is a hangover from the long quest to find if I were “really” transsexual, and if so, what should I do about it.

But then, ten years ago, I was 35, and now I am 45. Young people equate happiness with excitement, old people equate happiness with contentment, in the middle I equate it with both. I was actually noticing signs of ageing then, it seems I have more to notice now, they may or may not be more noticeable. I notice more changes in the world around me, and remember more how it was different at another time.

And in 2001 I started taking testosterone suppressants, and oestradiol. That changes me. I cried three times in 1996, sometimes I cry daily for a week or more.

The religious path is one of growth and change.

If I am really intuitive, feelings-based, rather than rational, why should that be life-long?

Underneath it all, the Unconscious influences so much of what I do, and my thinking on motivation is so often a post-hoc rationalisation, as accurate as a hurried journalist, not understanding and missing the point.

I am an organism within a permeable skin, always changing, taking in and excreting. How could I, really, get a handle on any of what I am? How could I have self-acceptance, if that depended on any sort of understanding, anything I could categorise or name or define?

I- just- am.