Sometimes being dapperQ is really fun. Those in the know think we are edgy, authentic, daring. I could go on. But sometimes it’s hard. Today is a day like that for me. This morning someone dearest to me told me this site was “vulgar.” She’s 80, so I don’t expect her to understand. But I want her to.
Next month Shannon and I are supposed to go to my 30th high school reunion in rural Southwest Texas. Yesterday, I made the mistake of trolling about Facebook for missing classmates who were part of my fundamentalist Christian years in high school. Their profile pages make clear they still are fundamentalists. Mine make clear I am an unrepentant homo who wants “pride” to be more than a parade.
Fact is, taboos hold because they are so deeply ingrained that to violate them is to overcome emotional aversions that keep society intact. Each day we press beyond those taboos, by the clothes we not only wear, but wear with confidence. And that is terrifying for a lot of folks.
Tomorrow I’m going to do a photo shoot to, among other things, respond to Go Magazine’s notice that your transgressor-in-chief has been nominated for the 2010 Class of 100 Women We Love. But these photos are also part of my broader conspiracy to enhance the visibility of dapperQs. The outfits will be slick, but the fashion will be incidental. It’s written all over this site. The power comes from within. And in saying that I am reminded of my favorite quote from Audre Lorde:
“The more powerful I become, the less important it is that I am afraid.”
After the phone this morning, I turned to poetry. I couldn’t extract a morsel to comfort myself, nor will I share a morsel with you. Here’s a big nugget from “Transcendental Etude” from The Dream of a Common Language by Adrienne Rich:
No one every told us we had to study our lives,
make of our lives a study, as if learning natural history
or music, that we should begin
with the simple exercises first
and slowly go on trying
the hard ones, practicing till strength
and accuracy become one with daring
to leap into transcendence, take the chance
of breaking down in wild arpeggio
or faulting full sentence in a fugue.
–And in fact we can’t live like that: we take on
everything at once before we’ve even begun
to read or mark time, we’re forced to begin
in the midst of the hardest movement,
the one already sounding as we are born.
At most we are allowed a few months
of simply listening to the simple line
of a woman’s voice singing a child
against her heart. Everything else is too soon,
too sudden, the wrenching-apart, that woman’s heartbeat
heard ever after from a distance,
the loss of the ground-note echoing
whenever we are happy, or in despair.
Everything else seems beyond us,
we aren’t ready for it, nothing that was said
is true for us, caught naked in the argument,
the counterpoint, trying to sightread
what our fingers can’t keep up with, learn by heart
what we can’t even read. And yet
it is this we were born to. We aren’t virtuosi
or child prodigies, there are no prodigies
in this realm, only a half-blind, stubborn
cleaving to the timber, the tones of what we are–
even when all the texts describe it differently.