A Quintessential Quandary

“Don’t take it personal”.

I get told this…believe it or not.  Hah.  As if you could read here for any number of posts and not figure out that I am passionate and sticky-hearted.  And I do.

Take it personal.  Everything.  Not just when someone says something cruel, but also when someone says something beautiful, or something funny, or something poignant.tumblr_nsmq0xJbLN1qat5pio1_500I once quipped that how can I take things any other way than personal, since I am a person.  How else can I take things?

But what I think, is that people are really saying to me:  “Charissa…when you show your emotions and reveal your heart in an unashamed and unabashed way, we get uncomfortable and we don’t want to be uncomfortable.  So please have some savoir faire and conceal your emotions behind a bemused and distant facade like the rest of us do.”

I think you would all be somewhat shocked if you knew how often I actually do this very thing…but the cost of this to me? Just everything that makes me uniquely me…such as sensing someone’s pain and sorrow…such as seeing who they are in a glance and processing years of history in one taste…such as having a timely word that is bloody and rich in healing…such as the funny saying and humorous word that releases and sets free…such as the honest and direct pledge of being present whenever called on…

nuffin’ real important…just the freaking bleeding bloody essence of me.tumblr_nsmxkyabc41qat5pio1_500It gets confusing really fast.  Because here is one thing that happens regularly:  Something happens that is painful, and I do my best Lady Gaga and work on my poker face…and the astute in the area will sense that I am not being genuine and will upbraid me as not having been forthright.

So I go ahead and honestly reveal what has hurt me…and then get told to not take it personally.

See what happened there?

Today is an equilibrium regaining day…events of yesterday were hurtful…no one’s fault, just the way it is in this world…and I wrestled with an admonition that I had said something was okay and sorta tried to pass it off when I was in fact hurt and very confused over why something had happened that happened…and regarding those same things another exhortation to not take things personally.  Be authentic and show the hurt…but don’t take it personally…

I confess that I do not know how to do this.  I really do not know, and am gonna have to learn what that all means.tumblr_mtqvyyw8oN1qe0lqqo1_1280But then again, there are a lot of things I don’t know…like why people who knew me for years now think I am totally insane, or possessed, or that I am involved in some sexual practice (HAH!  God knows the absurdity of that!)…like why people still misgender me regularly and not knowing if this is due to something I am doing or something I am failing to do…like what to do about a frame and a voice and all that stuff that has literally nothing to do with my true essence and self.

It’s a raw day…and Grace Notes is where I work thru things…writing my heart out…writing my pain out…clarifying to myself what it is I have experienced and what I think.  So far, hundreds of you have chosen to come along on the journey…thank you for that…and I give you permission to take the things I say to heart.

If you are an emotional person, that may look like taking it personally…and if you are a calm person it may look like thinking things thru and changing behavior.

Either way…I am pressing on, forgetting what lies behind and pressing on…tumblr_lwastw716F1qmtc74o1_500

Describing Our Reality

“Women have been driven mad, “gaslighted,” for centuries
by the refutation of our experience and our instincts
in a culture which validates only male experience.

“The truth of our bodies and our minds has been mystified to us.

“We therefore have a primary obligation to each other:
not to undermine each others’ sense of reality
for the sake of expediency;
not to gaslight each other.

Women have often felt insane when cleaving to the truth of our experience.
Our future depends on the sanity of each of us, and we have a profound stake,
beyond the personal, in the project of describing our reality as candidly and fully as we can to each other.”

Adrienne Rich

tumblr_nh3hebZlLQ1ts7x8eo1_1280I read this quote this morning, and instantly gravitated to it…because it is shocking to me just how fast my insides shatter and my heart just crumples, with just a word.  It scares me when this happens…because then the ripples start, and I begin to question the prior words, deeds, experiences…were they real?  Or were they careful camouflage and thus by their very existence invalidation of who I am because they were needed to provide cover?tumblr_nsr37bWK4G1qat5pio1_500The mind says they were real…but my unprotected heart recoiling in the shock and pain so unexpected begins to fly so frantic at the bars of its cage.  And like a small captive bird it beats itself bloody against those bars that suddenly are there…just like that…because now I know there is that “step of translation” between who people see me to be and who they then speak to me as…truthfully that shreds me inside when it happens, because I have been free in myself and flowing…until with a thunktumblr_nh1c03OrOL1qzif7oo1_1280this flying bird hits that static glass wall, invisible, unexpected, but no less devastating and seeming inevitable…and I do feel insane when I cleave to the truth of my own experience after I have hit that wall of misgendering.

Adrienne Rich speaks of the undermining of each other’s sense of reality…

…mine is suffering right now.tumblr_lu09df5BDy1qadujfo1_1280Oh…not who I know myself to be…but rather who others know me to be.  That feeling of insanity that she references above.  Because when people are around me for a length of time, they do indeed experience me as female in my brain, my heart, my emotions and expressions, my love and affection, my orientation towards co-operation and collaboration…tumblr_nkhj1rFi2Y1s8tx41o1_500…but then that male pronoun just flies out seemingly unbidden, and for the life of my I cannot understand how it can be…except that it must be that the gravity of my body and physical self is too powerful for the evidence of my heart and soul and spirit to overcome and I am chained to that outer shell diminishing…and thus diminished and reduced to mere outward appearance…and doomed to the dirt…yeah, it hurts.

I don’t know what to do about it, because it is beyond my control.

I guess just surrender to this reality but in the Name of Jesus…and let Mama work it to my good and bring me peace.tumblr_nlzzm3QWBV1sq9drqo1_1280

Just A Word

…and just like that
with just a quick word,
a pea-sized hard pebble
nudged over the edge
and tumbling down
the beckoning slope
and picking up steam
and skittering bouncing
off rocks and off hearttumblr_ngn4uaICOj1s6gw9vo1_1280the slide starts unstoppable
the whole slope is sliding
en masse, sorta slithering
and chunking and pouring
and ka-bunking til nothing

can be done but just try
to survive the earth leaving
disappearing ‘neath my feet
and keep my balance
and surfing the wave
of disbelief made of
stones rather than watertumblr_nsoybcYvjf1qat5pio1_540then i am that pebble
pea-sized on that mountain
and falling away from
my fellow climbers
as they watch me bounce
on the rocks down below
and tumble so quickly
my white skin scraped red
and my heart cut so raw
on the jagged scree falling
around me like raindrops
of stony and ancient
hot volcanic weeping.tumblr_nrp4dlCcno1r2zs3eo1_1280and the bottom is waiting
the same place i left it
and the summit is laughing
so high up the mountain
silhouetted against
the bright blue sky quiet
and gleaming in light
underneath my companions
looking down where I lay

so near, yet so far
untouchable always
and never crossed over
to join them on high