Aside

The Existential Woman OR A theory of sex and everything from a transgender filmmaker

I’ve been getting back into screenwriting again, and the rush of adrenaline from listing all the short films I want to make and the ineffable tug of the Muse that comes with it sent my soul hurling into a space of… shall we say: inspiration. What follows is a stream-of-consciousness meditation that may become the narration script for an art film.

THE EXISTENTIAL WOMAN or A THEORY OF SEX FROM A TRANSGENDER FILMMAKER – I think there are two trinities. One with an uppercase T, another with a lowercase. There is only 1 Trinity, but 2 trinities. The first is Father, Son And Holy Spirit, the second is universe, mankind, and the human soul. The first is beautiful because it is the lover, the second is beautiful because it is loved. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This seems so intangible, so subjective. But when the beholder is Divine, the beheld becomes real. Gender is not just performance – it is relationship. There is something so horribly sexist about saying that woman exists primarily in the eye of man. Yet there could be a truth here that defies misogyny, usurps heteronormativity. It is this: that we aren’t just figments in another’s imagination, nor are others figments in ours, but that we become real when we are seen. The problem with our world is not that woman is seen, but that she is not. The problem with pornography isn’t that woman is under the scrutiny of a beholder, but that she isn’t. SHE doesn’t exist; only a simulacrum of another’s pet sexual peeve remains. We so desire to be seen, to BE. I desire so much to be. I want to incarnate, to solidify, to apparate into a space where other people exist alongside me. I want to end this long loneliness. People ask me why I went for transition. Why subject myself to the horrors of knife and pill? Aren’t I conforming to some narrow feminine ideal? Is my pleated skirt and brassiere now the sum of my existence? These things are strained sometimes, fought for too hard, admittedly. But the straining is toward something beyond, something needed, something realer than real. Gender identity: this is my relationship with myself. Gender expression: this is my relationship with others. And we are only real with others. | I hate to sound corny, but I’m already sounding pretentious, so allow me yet another sin of expression. I think it just might be all about love. How is sex love? It is relationship. There was this guy who once said that the greatest love is to lay down your life for another. Why is this love? It seems so far from the desire-driven panting of this world’s amour. To lay down your life for someone is relationship. By laying down your life, you tell someone that they are real. That they are more real than pain, than suffering, than sacrifice, than all the myriad of potential pleasures and anxieties that might come later. And in making someone else real: this is when you yourself become alive, become real, become incarnate in flesh and spirit and not just simulations of impulse or survival. Is this idealistic? Hardly. The point is that we cease to deal with ideas when we love: we deal with something that is for once real. For a moment a breeze comes in from higher country, and we smell sea salt and freshly cut grass and every other smell of a life more tangible. The long loneliness becomes short, temporary, a thing of the past, and we dwell in something eternal and present. Sigh Talking about it makes me want to crawl out of my skin. So… much… desire… sensual panting  and what to do with it. Homeless desires, shipwrecked agony and ecstasy. Groan We all need something more. We can’t deal with how much we need from this life, so we duck into any shop that will sell us a moment of distraction. We dare not face our desire head-on, for that would pull us toward an eternity, a reality, that might not exist, God forbid. We are cowards. | After reading some smug articles from a collection of what philosophy calls Existential writing, I began to call myself an existentialist. I’m not sure what it means – I’m not sure anyone who calls themselves an existentialist really knows what they mean by it. Because it’s not a syllogism or a path to the Good Life. It’s a gut feeling, an ongoing experience of displacement, no, of… of something we can’t slap a name onto. It tugs at your heartstrands while cutting them loose, with a sharp twang like a violin string being severed. There is a divine disconnect in the human heart, like an ever-frustrating green light or red sign that represents everything there is and isn’t, and everything in between, and all we desire from it. God, take me up in flaming wheels like Elijah, take me away like Enoch, take me to a place where we touch reality and it responds. | People ask me why I would transition. I don’t really have a good answer. My answer is shit, but at least it’s honest and true. I would transition not to escape, not to conform, not to medicate or anesthize, but to live. To get down in the muck with sleeves rolled up and learn what it means to give everything and make maybe just one person’s life real. And then maybe I can be real for a moment, and so can that other one, and then maybe there will be something real that’s more than this or us or here, a relationship that is harder than granite, that you can knock against like a fist against wood, like a God against the universe. With a gigantic Bang, something might expand and grow and hurl forth, and the universe might be born again.

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