Monday, June 18, 2012
Nobody Loves Me, It's True – Not Like You Do
When Chris first met me, I was in the closet, but obviously a dyke. I had short eggplant coloured hair, came to school dressed in a toga, and interacted with men as though I were a pugilistic brain-in-a-vat. I was not very much like the normal girls – and that's what's attracted him to me. I thought that gender was totally socially constructed, that complete autonomous independence was the ideal state for a fully realized human being, and that woman could be saved by reason alone. These were significant obstacles that lay in his way on the path to courting me, but he saw them more or less the way that a knight sees a dragon. From the earliest days of our friendship, he saw the person that I had the capacity to become. He draws an analogy to Michelangelo seeing the statue of David inside of a piece of marble: the statue was already there, complete and perfect, but there was an awful lot of chiseling that needed to be done in order to bring it into sharp relief. He got out his tools, and he got to work, chipping away at the hard exterior that I had built around my heart, slowly removing whatever would give until I started to resemble a woman more than an armoured tank.
During the early days of our courtship he wrote me a message reading “Shine on you crazy diamond,” and he has continued to use that phrase, and the song that it refers to, to exemplify the way that he sees me. A crazy diamond. A strange, multi-faceted, unique, rare and therefore valuable individual. A mad and wonderful one of a kind.
When I tried to conform myself to the standard of stereotypical traditional womanhood, I did not, in his eyes, become a better wife. I became a fake. It was as if I had taken myself to some existential jewelers, had turned myself in and replaced the real me with a piece of paste. The social capital that I gained in doing so wasn't worth it, not for me, and certainly not for the man who had fallen in love with the genuine article. When he married me, he expected to get a sincere gift of myself – not an inauthentic gift of some other woman whom I could only pretend to be.
Chris never wanted me to give up my “masculine” qualities and interests, because he never saw them as masculine. To him it was fascinating that I was able to be intellectual, rational and stoic in a way that was distinctly feminine. My bizarre emotional landscape made it possible for him to interact with me in ways that he could not with other women. Moreover, he really appreciated a lot of the deeper feminine virtues that I do possess, but which do not conform to any of the stereotypes of femininity discoverable on prime-time TV: my thrift and providence, my maternal patience and forgiveness. He perceived this deeper strata of profound femininity which lay beneath all of the queer, gender-atypical traits that made me doubt my womanhood, and that alienated me from other girls.
For him, then, my decision to accept my queerness is not a decision to move away from, or reject, my femininity, but rather a decision to move towards acceptance of my real femininity. He's seen me go through a lot of difficult personal development before, he's been there, my faithful companion and helper, for over 15 years. He's watched and assisted while I slowly submit myself to the difficult and wonderful process of becoming the imago dei which was imprinted in my soul at the beginning, and he's not afraid. My gender confusion does not alarm him. My same-sex attractions do not alarm him. My struggle with my sexuality does not alarm him. He always believed that I would come through it in the end, and that the person who emerged would be flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone.
(Part 9 of 12)