(or “What I like, dread, is when people who know you in completely different ways end up in the same area. And you have to develop, this like, combination you, on the spot.”)

this is what i keep envisioning will happen, if my membership clearness committee happens at my house:

3 quakers show up at my house, in traditional plain dress.

my housemate answers the door, in full bondage gear.

hilarity ensues.

i’ve never seen any of these people in these exact clothes. and i really don’t expect anything very dramatic. and i don’t actually feel like my life is as divided as, say, angela chase in “my so-called life” (who is quoted in my subtitle up there). and it’s san francisco and everyone is used to everyone being quirky and different… but this vision is still stuck in my head.

Published in: on 16 October, 2007 at 5:33 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. 1.

    Yeah, but what are you going to do when one of the Quakers shows up in bondage gear? It won’t be me, just for the record, but there are a few out there who could, y’know.

    Comment by Robin M. — October 16, 2007 @ 7:56 pm

    oh, i know. i’m actually more concerned about my housemate’s response to quakers than the other way around. which just means that i need to actually talk to him about quakers. which keeps making me ask myself the question, “why haven’t i done it yet?”

    Comment by cublet — October 16, 2007 @ 8:44 pm

    The issue you’re raising here is, of course, the issue of integrity — of having the same face, the same self-presentation, for everyone with whom you deal. Integrity has been a major concern for Friends since the very beginning of the Quaker movement, so I’m not surprised to see it emerging as a concern in your own life.

    Frankly, I went through something comparable when I myself first became involved with Friends, although my own conflict did not involve a housemate in bondage gear —

    I hope you’ll tell us how you work through this question. (And I’ll be cheering you on as you do so.)

    Comment by Marshall Massey (Iowa YM [C]) — October 20, 2007 @ 3:58 am

    Cublet… I am so glad your blog is active again! You have a knack for putting your finger on the real center of your subject.

    That tension you speak of is one I’m so well aware of. To some extent, the whole motivation for creating my blog was to force myself to integrate my public personas of Quaker, Pagan, and teacher. I try very hard not pretty myself up or to sweep things under the rug. The open and public nature of blogging is a pretty good goad to finding ways to be integrated and honest when I’m offline, too… at least for me.

    But, of course, the deep end of the pool, where I cannot swim, is in the area of sexuality. Though the world has become a more accepting place since my grandmother’s school district fired her for getting married (married women, having carnal knowledge, were clearly not fit to teach young children–it really was her district’s policy, odd though it sounds today) schools are still places which demand that sexuality simply not exist. Any references whatsoever to my having a sexual identity or to thinking through my own boundaries or ethics on that subject is just off limits.

    It frustrates me. I’m not saying I want to become explicit on my blog… but I do wish the world at large had more room in it for the fact that we are all, each and every one of us, whole beings, with large, messy, complicated lives to sort through.

    Certainly a spiritual life lived with integrity will lead each of us to find the scary places where we fear to be seen fully. I know that, for me, it’s not that I fear being seen clearly, but that I’m afraid I’ll be seen or heard only through a screen of another’s prejudices. It has been a hard Quaker discipline for me to develop, to trust that a truth spoken simply will be heard clearly, at least when I speak to Quakers who know how to listen through their relationship with God…

    Comment by Cat Chapin-Bishop — October 20, 2007 @ 3:42 pm

    marshall, yes, integrity. i think what got all tricky here is that i’d only been living in this house for a month and still hardly know the people i’m living with in a lot of ways… and so… it “never came up”– which of course brought up the question of, “why?” if i’m in the process of becoming an official part of this spiritual community, why not tell the people i live with. and then i did, and it went over really well, and a lot of the other tensions in the house have dissipated. hurray!

    and cat, thanks! it’s so nice to be so welcomed! i’ve not been able to read many blogs at all in the recent past, which is part of why i’ve felt reluctant to post.

    um, i think i’ve posted about how i actually have another blog, which is on livejournal. a few years ago, i started to get a bunch of abusive anonymous comments, and i wound up “friends-locking” everything after that, so that pretty much you can only read what i write if you have a livejournal and i have you listed as a friend. and that was a really hard decision to make, but i think a sort of good one. i’m not super good at privacy or guarding myself, and so, doing that has felt important. making this blog, and making it public, was pretty scary, but i felt ready for putting more of myself out there. and sometimes i consider making my other blog more public, but at this point i’m still not ready. um… not totally sure my point, except that i’m still learning how to balance openness and boundaries…

    and yeah… working with kids is a scary thing when it comes to putting yourself out there. at least in san francisco, queerness is so much almost assumed that i don’t feel like i need to be closeted about that specifically… but the transness is still a little nervewracking– “hi, i’ll be working with your kids… and they might start questioning the very essence of gender from being around me. um… sorry…?” i recently changed my myspace profile, because i had something sort of explicit in there. for me, there has been a lot of importance in the eroticism of everyday experience and i was a little more blatant about that than might have been completely wise, since i work with kids…

    thank you again for commenting and for the openness in the comment itself.

    Comment by cublet — October 21, 2007 @ 5:46 pm

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