Sunday, March 22, 2015

The World Seems Smaller

I'm in Arlington, TX chilling with mom.  It's a very pleasant early spring afternoon here and we're in the brief lull between doing afternoon stuff and making dinner.  Mom likes the salmon dish I cook and has invited her "man" over to have dinner with us.  It has been a pleasant visit so far.

I went down to Austin yesterday to get my hair done.  My dear, dear friend Teresa has done my hair since 2002 and we've qot quite a history together.  It was wonderful to see her, and I'm always reminded how much I enjoyed living here when I come back.  I think I'll be back the next time I need my hair done...it's as good an excuse as any.

I jumped on FB briefly and noticed that the Keystone Conference is happening in Harrisburg PA this weekend.  I remember attending the first few of them and commenting here how well run it was.  It was apparent to me, even then, that smaller regional conferences would eventually take the place of the large national ones.  That has proven to be true for a number of reasons.  The central PA community is a very supportive place and I couldn't help but smile at one of the photos showing snow falling outside.  One year there was a very chilly drizzle...

The thing I'll always remember, other than some of the great people there, is that the conference often coincided with the state high school wrestling championships.  Evenings at the bar or in the lobby were often pretty interesting places to be, where both worlds collided.  The good news is that I thinkm general amusement that many of the wrestling folks often showed at the beginning often turned into a more substantive respect by the time the weekend was over.  Anyway - for those who went - I hope it's still as healthy and as valuable as ever.

My most memorable time there was the third year (I think it was the third year) - in 2009.  I had just turned 50 and during the battery of tests that typically happen when you pass that milestone they identified what they said was a malignant melanoma on my back.  I had made the commitment to speak at the dinner, so I made arrangements to fly out of town on the trip that would eventually end up in the excision of the melanoma the next morning.  My niece came with me.  I'll never forget it.

Next topic.... I went to the movies this morning.  I saw the 2nd movie in the Divergent series.  Based on RottenTomatoes ratings the critics don't seem to like it.  But I liked it.  It was my kind of movie, and I found it to be a good follow-up to Part 1.

The reason I mention it here is that afterwards I couldn't help but be struck by some similarities between a main theme, and our unique "gift" of being trans.

It's about how people get divided into one of six factions based on their personalities and skills.  All people find one and only one faction and once that decision is made, that's where they stay.  The society in which they live is based upon that faction system for harmony, for peace, for stability, and are simply accepted as the general state of being.

Some people can't fit into the faction system.  Some people straddle more than one of the factions and really don't seem to find a way to fit in, no matter how hard they try.  These people are known as Divergent.  They are percieved as a threat to the stability of society, and get actively sought out and killed.

At the end of this movie (spoiler alert) there is a message that the faction system was simply an experiment, and that the future lies in the Divergents.

That's how I see gender.  I see our society as having not 6, but 2 factions.  People are assigned to them at birth and once assigned, cannot choose to leave.  Some of us can't fit into that structure, however, and are percieved as a threat.  We're Divergent.  And, we're simply part of the natural order, trying to fit into a system that just doesn't fit.

I'm under no illusion that outcomes in fiction necessarily predict outcomes in real life.  But in this case I'm confident that it's true. 

Anyways - I enjoyed the movie. 

And I enjoyed a couple of the trailers. 

I'm here in Texas for a couple more days.  Mom asked me to make salmon for dinner and her man-friend was here as well.   It's nice....comfortable, relaxed.  I needed this. 

I am also thrilled to see my little man - Cody.  Leaving him last month was the source of a significant amount of angst and sadness in my world over these past few weeks.  But seeing him again, and how well he is doing, has been good for me.
 
 
 
My mom, in her spring Iris garden.
 
There's things that still need some settling when I get back home. But for now....I'm here with mom and the world seems much smaller. And for that - I'm glad. 

1 comment:

Deanna Pearce said...

The story "The Ballad of Beta-2" by Samuel R Delaney is in a similar category, speaking of how people need to fit into the "Norm" to be accepted and persecutes (executes) those that fall outside the "Norm".