I am sitting here, trembling and hardly able to see the screen, scrambling inside to find what my heart tells me is true, and Mama is telling me…but the titanic clash with self-loathing habits and rejection-reflexes is tossing me and turning me inside.
What I think the truth is: that Lady Grace, Holy Spirit, my Mama is proud of me and is honored by my actions tonight…what I fear the truth is: I am a freak and outcast and should just rid the planet of my blighting pimple on its butt. That is the realm of feelings and while I acknowledge they are real, I have chosen, do choose and will continue to choose to not believe their accusations.
So…in our town there are charity fundraisers, where it is a contest to raise money for several charities. We like to do charity fundraiser events. They are strong opportunities to serve, give, and also have fun with items that we would normally not buy…we actually spent some money on a wine country equestrian event, picnic, dinner, and overnight at the Inn at Red Hills…a fab fun thing we will be doing later in the summer.
So we were getting ready…and since it was not in the big city, but our small town, I was really conflicted about what to wear…all my tops are a lil too girl-side, and all my boy clothes are just…uuuggghhh! Grrr…I couldn’t find anything and had to settle for my jeans, and a boy pull over top. I wore my pink hat and pink vest (as they are wine oriented for outsiders, but me oriented for me).
We got there, and I did what I usually do in groups of strangers…be gentle and polite, smile a lot with soft eyes and stay off to the side. I used to do that even before transition, and even more so now. We were sitting off to the side, against the wall actually, just my baby and I, and the auctions began.
There were two local wags up there…young, facile vocally, glib, sorta dorky and full of themselves as any small town big fish is…and totally nice guys, just really asleep, ya know?
The epitome of white male privilege.
So even tho I sit off to the side, we bid pretty heavy, as it is Their money, and we feel very good about contributing it to things like that . So we were bidding, and an item got over our limit, which was substantial…and when one of the MCs looked over I gave a subtle head shake, and drew a finger across my throat, saying I am out. So he starts cajoling me…fair enough, that is the game.
But then he says…omfg…right in front of several hundred people!!!!…”Hey nice hat, I will give you $25 for your hat!”
I froze…I freaking literally froze. I mean, my mind wouldn’t work, my heart wouldn’t beat, I couldn’t breathe, and my face felt like it was frying off the bones…I felt like my skin had been shredded, and my heart was just clobbered, like blindsided by a car (which has happened to me on my bike several times, but this was worse, cus it was inside me and I couldn’t get away).
I was sitting there, and my darling figured it out but not right away, so she touches my leg and then the spell broke, and I was quietly ranting to her that I was gonna let that asshole have it, just rip him for what he did…total reactive thinking…and I started to tremble and tear up, and felt like when I was little and we would lose a game I would cry cus I was sooo upset.
Time passed, and as I sat there, I heard Mama talking to me, reminding me that She had made this man, and that he was a good person (She said this, not what I thought), and that he was just asleep, ignorant, tone deaf, a guy made from dirt, (not living flesh like us girls)…and that if I just took out my hurt as anger and vocal violence, I was demonstrating that I was a concubine to the patriarchy!!! Mama is a pretty radical political Holy Spirit!! Lol
Concubine to the Patriarchy??? REALLY??? Wow.
So I asked Her to please help me and She was soothing me and I was just bleeding, and then I thought “fine…I will just swallow hard, like women always have, wash his mess off my face and have done with it and be tough and move on…” and She was like “that is not what would bless Me either.” So I began to still myself and center down, and really open to Her will…and She reminded me of the 3rd way…She reminded me of the situation in the jet way in Philly…She reminded me of the destiny of being someone broken enough to speak for the broken, and whole enough to speak to the broken ones who know not how broken they are.
And I started understanding what Her preference was…I had choice to embrace it, or not, but I knew that is what She would want from Her daughter.
So during a break I walked up to him, and I said “Excuse me, sir?” He turns, acknowledges me in a friendly but distant way, and raised his eyebrows like Yes? I said “Do we know each other?” He said no, and got ready for some pleasant schmooze…and then I said “we really have never even met before tonight…so I am wondering, what is an appropriate way of interacting with someone you have never met, never been introduced to, and you are interacting with in a very public situation when you have a microphone and I am merely sitting?”
He just stood there, deer in the headlights…and then I said “Did you notice where I was sitting? Off to the side? Out of the way? Not drawing attention to myself? Every signal I was giving was that I was here to support, but was not in any way desiring the limelight. And yet you called me out publically, in front of hundreds of people and you did so because my appearance was distinct. But you didn’t do it to any of the other dozens of people here with hats.”
He took off his glasses, and was suddenly deadly serious, realizing he had stepped into a huge crap pile, and that he was on very thin ice.
So I said, “Sir, I am speaking to you as hopefully a person who loves you enough as a fellow human being to gently confront you now, with little harm done, to save you from potentially harming someone in the future very badly in complete ignorance.
“It is never ok to joke with a stranger that you have never met, especially in front of other strangers, and have the basis of that joke be their appearance, or their orientation, or their gender presentation, or their race…” (and I named off all the categories of the oppressed in our society).
I continued “tonight your words hurt me, but I am not here because of that…I think I am whole enough and supported enough that I will work thru it…but I am here for the one you might speak to who isn’t, who is on the verge, on the edge, and they leave and kill themselves or take drugs to forget…or just get even more broken…”
He says to me “My name is Nathan, and I am soo deeply sorry.” I said “I forgive you freely…I also wanted you to know that I am in no way seeking to hurt you or wound you, but you need to know this to save you and someone else from a great regret…and I do believe that my therapist would be proud of me for showing the courage to speak with you but not in a bad way”…I know I felt Her inside telling me I was ringing the bell.
So I shook his hand (yes, he did crush mine, sheesh!), and said “well Nathan, just put it behind you, after you really think about it, and learn.”
He asked me my name…omfg he had no idea what a veiled threat that was! I freaked out inside it felt so sinister and risky to me…Mama gave me words and I said “Oh, my name isn’t important, but rather the hearts of the little ones with no voice and no strength…THEIR name is what is important, and really, their name is like unto the name of everyone that these charities here tonight are all about.”
And I excused myself and walked off…my baby was there and I told her about it, and was shaking very badly (it was in a break).
Got it under control, and the event continued…and we won a great auction, and then it ended.
She went to get the van, as we had to load some things into it, so I sat in my place and just listened to the night, enjoying being there, but out of the way…and I see him coming over. I was thinking “Oh crap, here it comes” but he takes off his glasses about halfway over to me (his nonverbal indication that he was speaking openly and with no mask)…
…he sits down and wants to shake hands again, but this time, he was very gentle…and he said to me “I want to say thank you, thank you so much for loving a stranger enough to tell me what you did, and save me from potential horror in knowing that I had messed up.”
I told him, oh you are soo welcome, and I am so sorry that it hurt you, I really was seeking to avoid that. He said no, it was perfect, seriously…I was totally wrong, and just talking with no thought whatsoever, and you really blessed me.
At that I was crying hard inside, but I bit my lip bloody to stay together and not fall apart…so I said to him can I tell you a statistic? He indicates yes, so I said out of the population of people who are even willing to acknowledge they are transgender, 41% of them have attempted suicide, and even a higher percentage think about it constantly. This compares to 2-4% in the general population.
He was so still…and so I pressed in and said again that something like that could literally put someone over the edge…and then he said how wrong he was, on every level regardless of my status or identity.
It was a true apology! I think he really meant it? So I told him how just a couple of years ago his words would have shattered me, but now I was able to at least talk to him…and he said something about how in his church there was a m2f who was coming out in the community, and how ignorant he was, but that I had connected so many dots for him, and he was deeply grateful.
So Constance…it seems like it was all a success, right? Good fruit, wholeness exceeding brokenness, educated ruling class member…So why do I feel so bad right now? Why am I still crying, bleeding, and having all those tiresome hounding jackal voices yipping at me?
One Q, and he knows my name and who I work for…one comment and everyone knows…but part of me wants that, they have to deal with me as I am…and part of me wants to just disappear down a rabbit hole.
Constance,I beg you, on behalf of those whom you will talk to, interact with and relate to who are transgender or gay, or some other hidden brokenness and you have no idea, to take stock of your words…I am pretty whole, very loved by Them and I know it…but your words could literally kill someone, and I am not joking with wild hyperbole. If I wanted to do something after tonite, imagine…and the power of some kind word…again you have no idea how powerful your words are…my friends here, when they comment have at times given me courage to face my day, my life.
Silence can kill too…but it is better than saying the wrong thing, which can never be unsaid, unheard.
Oh…and one more thing: if you are of the opinion that being transgender or gay or transgender friendly or gay friendly is an inherent sin and that it is your duty as a member of christendom to “represent” and make sure that everyone you meet knows that you are so devoted to God that you will kill them in the process, Please…don’t bother speaking…you wear your own pride and your own opinions masquerading as the so-called heart of God like a butcher’s apron. Our eyes can see the blood stains of your victims, we can see the steel silver flash of your butcher knives in your eyes, we can smell the stench of death on you (and no it isn’t the savory aroma of the gospel which is the aroma of death to the perishing!) It is the decaying smell of horror become ho-hum and your own comfortable wallowing in your worship of yourself in God’s Precious Name.
We tremble at your approach…and at your fate, when the word “mercy” finally has meaning to you as you are judged by the children of your slaves that diligently work your gospel plantation!
That is my experience…and I still cannot sleep. But perhaps you would join me in a vigil…until all are cherished from the least on up.