Moving Insanity

We’re having one of those times. You know, when we look at 20+ places to find a temporary living situation, and the paperwork to Canada keeps getting lost in the mail, and our jobs are the most stressful they’ve been, well, ever, and the people that say they want our furniture continually renege, and we’re throwing away so much stuff it’s like having our life histories stripped away.

Until there we are, looking at each other.

Each morning, we get up, she takes a shower while I either groan, sleep or play with social media. And then we meet in the living room, where we do 10 minutes of yoga stretching, followed by 10 minutes of meditation, followed by a brief share on where we are, and then we just stare into each other’s eyes for 3 solid minutes. I’m not kidding. We call it present time. We make each other the object of our waking meditation. If we zone out, we close our eyes until we can zone back in.

I am hanging onto these times in the morning, when I see my partner, when I feel her beside me, moving her body, groaning about the strains from shoveling, when I listen to her, when I focus only on me. when I say metta.

We keep catching our own insanity. This is what meditation does. And every time one of us catches ourselves taking shit out on the other person, or leaving the sense of teamwork, and comes back in, trust builds back from all the terrible moves culminating in this, the worst move of all, except for the us of us.

I told my partner the other day that I married her so I could watch that bowlegged walk she does for the rest of my life.

We are dropping out of the known into some other thing. We know not what.

I have thrown away so much stuff! So that I feel unburdened and untethered. I have thrown away copies of manuscripts, I have donated books I love, I have given away clothes…sometimes it physically hurt.

Then I look at this person. See her. 30 years, we’ll have on June 8. We watched our wedding video yesterday. We are truly not those people any more. She has a different gender identity. I have a different name. Those 30 year olds were gorgeous. And we are wise, and love with a knowledge of everything it take to love and break, and rebuild, over and over.

I am beginning to admit that I might not change anything, even though I’ve screwed up so badly at times that I myself find it hard to believe.

I let go. Of everything else. But me. And her.

With no idea what’s coming.

I wrote a short novel about love and grace in our times. You can read it for free on Amazon until March 11.

Saint John the Divine in Iowa, my screenplay that won the Meryl Streep-funded Writers Lab, told the story of an Episcopal Priest fighting to balance the needs of her congregation and her gay daughter. Priest Kid tells the daughter’s story…of having a mother who’s a saint, but who loves humanity as much as she loves her. It’s about good people, about hope and politics in families, about redemption. If you want a break from hate, as I do, this is the story.

Priest Kid

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The Gender Thing

As I watched the Oscars…and how could I not watch, wondering how many people would include the new administration in their speeches?…and as I listened to the creators of Moonlight talk about representation, about the need for queer youth of color to see themselves, to know they have a place, I started thinking about straight women, and this gathering in which straight women, all white, all at least middle class, spoke to their common pool of understanding about Hillary Clinton.

Of course, it’s not my common pool, even though I understand the basic liberal thinking.

And I thought, watching the Oscars, as I thought at that gathering, that the truth is that gender non-conforming is at the heart of being queer. That’s why trans people are so radical to the binary straight. That’s what a gathering of straight people often won’t get…I’m standing here, not just different in who I love, but different, essentially, in my stance in the world and my experience of my own gender.

And think, what the straight world needs most to learn IS this non-conformity. The binary leaves men stranded on the island of “I-can-never-be-weak.” It leaves women focused on the male gaze…in ways so deep we can’t even see it ourselves.

I love being queer so much. I love how it saved me, how it set me free, in my very young loneliness, to think my own different thoughts, to struggle through to my own identity, even though it was hard, and troubled….and, of course, hurtful to face prejudice time and again. I have three sisters, and I cannot explain how much deeper the track of our mother’s and father’s lives burrowed into them.

And maybe someone would say that’s not because they’re straight. But that someone would not be me.

To be in this world unencumbered by our own conditioning…or, as the Buddhists say, to witness it, and therefore to release ourselves from its power…

Queer is a way to get there. Gratefully. We don’t just need to represent. We need to teach.