our goal should be to figure out our role within the context of the whole

my therapist said, “you were unpopular growing up, of course you like having such an accepting spiritual community.”

this was in february or something. it sticks with me in the paranoid moments. she didn’t exactly phrase it that way, like, “i know this fact about you that i’m going to bring up as you are telling me a joy,” which is what it looks like. we were just talking about this or that, and then she brought up that or this.

if god is love is community, and i want community because i was lonely once, where does that leave god?

but not always. because it’s not always that simple.

i finished the rob bell book, and in fact it did get all “marriage is between one man and one woman.” it never got “and so not two men or two women or 5 people of various genders and definitely no intersex people or trannies.” but it seemed strongly implied.

and sometimes his descriptions of love and holiness were so Good and right on and just right, and so i want to scream at his smug way of sliding past me and slamming the door.

because no matter who i become, what i look like, how much i pass, who i’m with, i’m still queer, and i think of that as a blessing. i like that part of me. in the same way that i like the weird ways my middle fingers bend away from each other and the color of my eyes and my musical taste. it’s how i fit here. and i’m not about who i sleep with or how i identify, but it’s still there.

dear rob bell, how is it that the way that i love less holy because i can’t make babies?

dear god, and why is it that i can’t make babies?

i saw juno on christmas night. i went to the swedenborgian church and st. gregory’s episcopalian on christmas eve night, and then i went to the quaker meeting and the potluck after that and then i went home and i sat down on my bed, and then i remembered i’d wanted to see juno at some point and so why not now. the secret is that as i was sitting at meeting, i was getting some mean menstrual cramps because i’ve been taking progesterone this week to get some stuff out of my system that’s been building up for the past year. so going to a movie about a pregnant teenager on christmas while i was bleeding was surreal on a whole lot of levels. i’ve got a bad case of baby fever, and the film didn’t help.

there was a point to this other than some sort of weird “this is what a tranny’s life is like sometimes” moment, but it’s true. sometimes, you feel weird and unnatural because you are putting the hormones that your body would naturally be producing in your body instead of the ones that feel much more right. and you ask yourself a lot of questions about that, especially if you’re me. but i’ve had this minor crazy feeling this past week. all unsettled and off and crazy. and it’s reaffirmed my trans identity, even though there’s a part of me that is viewing it as ridiculous. how is it that i only feel at home here (here=in my body) when it’s got this stuff in it that my body does not make (or makes in lower doses?). i don’t know. but that is the state of things right now.

charles gave me a photocopying task this week. he knew that i wasn’t working at the school and so he offered to pay me for photocopying this beautiful old book of edward burroughs’ works. it was published in 1660something (i think 1662) and has all those beautiful elements– multi-sized fonts, the long s that looks like an f, the slight indentations from the printing. and misnumbering like crazy. 346, 347, 843, 349…. 561, 572, 573, 564, 565… etc. but it always eventually sorted itself out and the numbering was correct again. is there a metaphor in this?

i did not do the photocopying in quaker silence. i broke out my ipod (someone abandoned a charger cord at my house just before i moved in and we’ve officially declared it unclaimed, so when i have access to a computer, i can charge mine!), and listened to some of my favorite things that i haven’t heard in ages. kimya dawson, the mountain goats, christina aguilera’s back to basics, the idlewild soundtrack, le tigre’s “keep on livin'”! and i danced! and i turned the pages, gently pressing them down against the glass as i bobbed my head and kicked my feet, and i thought about joy and life and love and how much i like liking myself. how much i like “keep on living” because it reminds you that you are worth something, even when you don’t need to be reminded. how much i like the mountain goats because they are always so sad and yet there is something hopeful there. how much i like kimya, because her music and her life are these giant inspirations because she’s been through shit and she’s still here and she wants to give people what she’s learned because it’s important. because the world is beautiful and we have to remember that.

and then i got home and i looked at my livejournal, and there was an entry from kimya about hitting 9 years of sobriety. and i thought about how hard it is to live, to not self-destruct sometimes, and how grateful i am to not be there right now. and if god is love is community and that is how we survive and how we thrive, what more is there? what more can there be but the things that make us remember why we are alive? except then it got so so so sad because someone she knew died and and and… that is part of life too. part of living and loving life and getting through it and pushing past the self-destruction is learning and relearning and relearning that there are people that will stay there and eventually they will leave and it’s not your fault and it hurts.

and where does self-help end and religion start? of course it is god, but when god is love is community BUT also those moments of deep deep aloneness that is not aloneness that is indescribable but is part of yourself… what is it? what is it what is it what is it?

this past week’s on faith question is about hr 847, the house resolution about christmas. i read starhawk’s response today and found it to be a very loving but challenging answer, going into what christmas is and what it means and how our current politics reflect that meaning… or don’t. the comments were also interesting, too.

that’s all. good night.

Published in: on 30 December, 2007 at 12:35 am  Comments (4)  

okay… i’m going to be lazy and just cut and paste what i wrote for my livejournal, and some day i’ll add more about this whole thing. but at least SOMETHING will be here about it.

Friday, December 7th, 2007 7:59 pm

honestly? honestly.

“profound disappointment” and “let down” got stuck in my head.

i couldn’t sleep. i mean, i could. i always can, eventually. but i could not sleep for a very long time. i tossed and turned and mulled and stewed.

in the morning, it felt the same. all day all day all day, i held that disappointment. along with fear. fear and disappointment. and disappointment and fear.

i got to the meetinghouse early for study group, which is nice now that i have a key. as i got to the door, steve was leaving, and he asked me about the night before.

“i think i’m a little disappointed.”

“you know, cubbie, we should talk. i’ve heard that from other people before.”

and at that, something inside me rested and calmed down.

i let myself into the building, set water to boil, and unlocked the library. as i settled in with my tea, i found a pendle hill pamphlet to read: “An Attender At The Altar. A Sacramental Christian Responds To Silence.”

i recently read a book. sarah miles’ take this bread, about her conversion to episcopalianism. and ever since then, there have been these questions about why quakerism, exactly. and it’s gone all crazy. because san francisco is so gay that it almost doesn’t matter what faith i might want to practice, they will all be queer friendly. and so why why why. and i think there is something, but as the time got close, i started to panic about the way that i hadn’t explored all world faiths. how is it that suddenly i’m taking some form of christianity as a given part of my faith? so many questions.

and i LOVE them. and i feel slow and deliberative and patient and excited and sad and scared and disappointed all at once.

i read until exactly 7. and then i went to the study group, surprising people coming in the back way. and i sat with them and just felt so heavy and light at the same time.

it’s a time when everything either slips past or sinks in deep.

i got a ride home afterwards, and as soon as i sat in the car, i said, “charles, i’ve felt really weird since my clearness committee.”

“weird how?”

“i don’t know…”

and i fumbled around words (and i’m still fumbling around words. and i’ve found some good ones, and i’ve lost some others.). and somehow we realized that i just wanted “something deeper.” he made that sound really possible and suggested that i bring it up with someone in my committee.

and more lifted.

and i’ve thought more and listened more within. and this morning i called robin about something else, and then mentioned it, and suddenly i was on the bus and tears were running down my face. not as disconnected as that sounds. just that our conversation flowed and they weren’t sad tears or choking tears, they were just the tears that happen to me sometimes because of speaking from my depths and i hardly notice them and then suddenly i am aware that i am on the bus and crying.

she asked me what question i was afraid or wanted to be asked. and i didn’t know.

and then i got off the phone and the bus and as i was crossing the street to have lunch with stephen, i realized that question is, “why this and not something else?”

and so at lunch, i told him all of this, and then asked him that question.

and at some point my own answer came out. “i think for me, god and, i guess christianity, and quakerism, are all about community. and this community feeds me. and i wonder if another place would feed me the same and i’m afraid that might be true.”

and we talked about the shopping approach to religion and “what are we called to do.” and our own issues around what makes any choice any different than any other, in faith and in relationships. and just all sorts of things. in that way that we are different and yet we get each other in this really amazing way that i value so much.

and i feel okay now. and excited. and it feels right now.

… and so that’s how my clearness committee went. i have another one in january. i’m looking forward to it.

something that didn’t make it into that post that i’m saying now, at work, after the store has been closed for 2 and a half hours and i stopped cleaning half an hour ago, is how 2 days after that post, i spoke at meeting for worship.

i told that whole story, in different words, plus the new thing i found that morning, which was that the community was the way it was, our friendship was the way it was, because of our friendship with god.

it was a very powerful morning. someone else had been contemplating the same message for two weeks. and i even told myself a little joke that i shared with people later, which was just asking myself, “cubbie, were you honestly so afraid that these people would be upset that you wanted to join their community because you loved them so much?”

and so… that. since then, those questions have come in different forms, and i get a little turned off and terrified by the smugness in the idea that we are the only friends of god. but then i remember that that’s not what was meant. what was meant that i appreciate our sincere attempt. that’s what brings me back each week. and maybe there’s something else “better for me” out there. but this is so good, i don’t feel like looking right now.

Published in: on 17 December, 2007 at 6:38 am  Comments (3)