Just a bit of a ramble on a hot button, news on old views.
|Okay. Time to talk a little turkey, here. In this day and age of gender politics and identity politics. In this day and age of feminist theory and of me too. Wallowing around in that great patriarchal soup. Time to express myself about that.
It just occurred to me, thinking about all the great corpulent, broad-based issues we now feast upon. Looking back over my life, I realize that, even going back to the bare beginnings, even back as far as the last couple of years of pre-pubescent curiosity – I never did have a rape fantasy. Not one. And the why of it interests me now. Maybe I was just lucky, but I don’t think so. The more I think about this, the more I focus in on all the stubborn decisions I made in my sweet young life about handling the business of defining my own gender, to suit my own self.
Supposedly, we take our cues from that great big social zeitgeist rolling around out there. For me, my curiosity always had to balance with my disagreements. That these matters were not given over to surrendering to something that never could settle with my conscience. It was in fact, my mother who taught me that. And because she was a hero in my young life, I paid attention.
So when the hormones kicked in, every fantasy I ever had always involved consent. Desire. Balance. That is what came instantly, naturally. I found out early that a hell of a lot of people don’t happen to feel that way. But applying core values, and suspecting that emotion is one of the main ingredients in giving meaning to the matter, I staggered through those years sticking to the plan. There were ups and downs, joys and sorrows, heartbreaks and failures. And successes too, along the way. Learning the ropes.
That it just wasn’t in me to be someone’s ‘demon lover.’ To ride tall in that saddle and sling off into the morning sunset after life’s big adventure. To be casual, uncaring, removed and disconnected. Acting a part that never fit. My life never lived in a porn movie. In my late teens, my greatest fantasy was to be a family man. Just that. I didn’t even know at that time actually, how mature a response that is to life’s requirements.
But then there’s this trust thing. Learning that there are beautiful things you will never ever know in life, without knowing first, how much trust is the key to those things. What the hell is a human being who can’t be trusted? Everything we do in life is based on some kind of trust. Unless we live so far outside the concept of social cohesion that we decide that trust just doesn’t matter.
I am well aware that in my time, some men do hideous things. They get away with those things, or they don’t. I am also well aware that some men are accused of doing hideous things on a scale that is sliding ever downward, and that some of these men are barely, or not at all, guilty of doing even the smallest of these things, and that justice sometimes is removed from their needs. And I don’t check my privilege at all. I check my conscience instead, which is a very different sort of thing to check. And there I find much to mull over. This is not right, I tell myself. And the right and wrong of it needs to be as absolute and clear as it can possibly be. Because it needs to matter. Because if it doesn’t matter, if the edges get blurred, what then?
Does society fall into that pit of loose morals? Sloppy thinking? Dubious agendas, conflict, aggression, battle lines, warfare of words, meanings, symbols, theories. Casualties. I wonder about that, and I wonder about how human we can remain, if this thing gets away on us. Living in times of negotiated peace, truce, treaties, a perpetual armistice. I don’t believe in allies. Allies join forces politically, militarily, in times of great threat, and a continuous upwelling of hostility. I don’t believe this has much of anything valuable to offer human relations. In fact, I tend to believe it has the opposite effect. Maintaining an atmosphere of constant hostility, suspicion, judgement, and threat.
Which causes any thinking human being to wonder – well then, how do we get anything done? Especially when there is so much to do.
Defining myself in any way at all, on the basis of some idea of chategorization that makes it easier for me to understand myself, and be understood by other people, always started and finished with the same primary idea in mind: to be comfortable in the skin I’m in, and settled with my own natural responses, to anything, anywhere, at any time. That’s a long voyage of discovery, and a restless heart commands the outward-bound momentum, instead of remaining constantly landlocked and homebound.
But the operative thing in all of this, for me, is that whatever identity I established, settled the matter for my own solitude. The social aspect of it is always a byproduct of a gregarious nature, not the driving force. I don’t know that I ever even thought of it so much as an act of courage. Of course it’s a private and a personal thing, and I learned in life to recognize and acknowledge that many other people do this, too. That part of the voyage has been delightful, because it brought a lot of friendship and companionship along the way.
I don’t believe that it’s natural for most humans to choose solitude. Loneliness is a condition that we try to get over, like a common cold, or a bad dream, or a spell of unemployment. But one other most important thing. I learned in my life to define my own gender. I made sure that it never defined me. Why is that important? Well, If you’re going to wear a uniform for your entire adult life, it’s not a bad idea that this happens in such a way that other people can see you, and not just the uniform.