I took a few notes in the middle of the night, about personal pronouns and identity, and the way that the current generation more and more wishes to neutralize or change identification with, and at least conception of, gender.
I respect their plight and comprehend its meaning, but find my defaults so strong that even when alert and willing, classification norms assert themselves into conversation repeatedly. Still, I’m settled on doing my best to meet the challenge, starting with learning to use ‘they’ as a pronoun more often, and in the meantime asking for patience and affirming respect, which seems to be appreciated.
This dots connecting process took a little leap a few weeks ago, when I dreamed in another’s shoes. I dreamed that I was someone aware of appearing a certain way to those interacting with me. Yet “I” was submerged deep down. I knew the other couldn’t see/hear me through their apparent conceptions of what I and my life were supposed to mean in the world according to, in this case my gender, on the surface.
Who I actually was, was of value, but they would never know. It felt as though it wouldn’t matter at all to be soft and curious during the conversation, because there was a prepared script we were supposed to stay within for it to continue.
I’ve had dreams similar to this one before, but never so precise, so indisputable in conveyance as about gender. While recalling the feeling since then, life has brought many opportunities to put the understanding into practice, albeit with more errors than successes so far.
There is imperfect willingness, and a reaching toward a fully open heart.
One thing that makes it challenging is ‘my own’ gender identity. It has been somewhat invisible to me just how much I’ve tended to meet expectations of others in terms of gender. I’ve just always felt very “female”, and if anything, have wanted to be *more* so. I have mourned each seeming loss of femininity that has felt taken from me by age or illness, while still being drawn to and admiring of the fluid. I’m also more visually oriented than I realized, in that it is very easy for me to take in traditionally “female” appearance as “she”, whether the person projecting that appearance is male or female.
It would probably surprise some who know me to read of this struggle, because I’ve explored the loosening of gender-identity through virtual worlds and through the experiences of close friends who’ve shared deeply, and I’ve worked a lot with the subject of fluid identity generally. Still, you can’t learn what you think you already know. I believe you can make room for the ‘next’ shifts to happen, though.
I seem to be making the most lasting integrations in my sleep or on the edges. Last night, I woke at 1:30 AM and played (as I often do when woken in the middle of the night) an interview from Buddha at the Gas Pump. The host was questioning the guest on his hobby horse topic: a debate in the non duality movement about doing away with personal identification, with *I* and *you*, *he* and *she* – including in daily language and interactions.
And I wondered, might these questions be somewhat related, or at least, might one question open a pathway to the other?
Societies have always run on double identities and secret languages, because it has never been fully safe not to, but it isn’t just about society. We all signal and filter with insider language and outsider language, with law and mercy. It is how we cultivate intimacy in many cases.
Still, I admire and enjoy the aspiration to go beyond labels, and imagine that when we converse with aliens, gender, and probably independent personhood itself, won’t make much sense. AI will also have something to say.
Maybe it is more a transition we are destined to make.
As with my political post however, I am just not sure what is realistic to expect. If you want to understand the challenge and strangeness of transition more fully in the context of non-duality for instance, you can try to listen to Tony Parsons, whose teachings center around taking the no I/ no self/ no beings [idea, revelation, insight] to its logical conclusion, enacting life beyond conceptions of personhood entirely.
“For me ‘teaching’ is helping someone to have a better dream.”– Tony Parsons
Although it seems to me that to do what Parsons is doing means continually erasing, which instead of offering the central emptiness insight, may obscure it, since insisting upon this kind of treatment can feel intensely self-involved.
Another related idea/practice, is shape shifting, where transformation seems to require perception of self as not permanent or solid, but rather a conception that can be opened and explored, turned inside out, and can reflect other forms. What I had a few weeks ago, which acted like a vitamin to this ongoing endeavor, was indeed, a shape shifting dream.
Anyway these are beginning musings, an intention toward greater clarity in 2019.