24 February 2009

My Worst Fears Are Coming True And I'm Ecstatic. What Do I Do Now?

Maybe I'm not joking after all when I tell people about my "special tranny powers."

You know...I can put together an outfit. I can be witty and sarcastic. I can learn anything because I can read your mind and I can explain it all because I've got a good mouth on my shoulders. (Thank Chanel La Vie en Rose lipstick for the latter.)

Seriously...Today I said things and I'm still wondering where they came from. What's amazing is that I didn't get myself in trouble.

Here I was, thinking I was an utter fool because I had to read and re-read Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's essay about paranoia and her introduction to "The Epistemology of the Closet." And I had to read them again before they made any sense to me. And there were times I wanted to let my cats have at those pages. Damn, Sedgwick, what's with all the Latin words? Or sentences longer than the Verrazano Bridge?

Yet, I wanted to keep on reading her. Of course, the material's of interest to me. But that wasn't the only thing that kept me going. I guess you might say that I wanted to master difficult material to prove something to myself. But that's not the whole story, either. It was almost as if I couldn't help but to read those essays.

Oh my goddess! I'm reading a gender theorist--and enjoying it?! This is exactly what I always feared. What do I do now?

Well...I've had my worst fears come true before. Like the day I realized I was going to live my life without alcohol or drugs. Time was when I could more easily imagine myself buried alive. But of course it was what I needed to do so I could live long enough to face my biggest fear of all...

...Which, of course, is that I am Justine. That I would actually give up that cocoon of white male heterosexual privilege in which I lived. Where I didn't have to know anything about writers like Sedgwick. Where I could read Walt Whitman and John Milton as poets, and nothing more or less. And where no-one would bother me for advice.

Oh well. I'll just have to feign guilt over becoming a sober woman who can actually understand abstract texts, and now can't imagine how she got through life without them.

And what's more...I'm enjoying this. Forget it...I'm walking on clouds. I see worlds opening up already.

Do you want to hear the wildest part of all? Other people in the class said that I was helping them to understand what we were reading. They said things like, "That didn't make sense until you talked about it." One student said, "I wondered whether I was getting any of this. But then I thought, well, Justine will explain it." And another exclaimed, "You were really on fire today. I've never seen anybody do like what you did in class." The prof thanked me, too.

The best part is that I was smiling all through that class. Someone else mentioned that, but I knew it already. I couldn't help myself. As I talked, the texts started to open up to me. And the prof not only asks great questions; she may have the best timing I've ever seen. She knows when to let people ruminate or whether to prod them a bit. As she did with me: Early in the class, she could just see that my mind was like a ripe piece of Brie ready to burst out of its wrapper.

OK. So now I'm in the kind of class I swore I would never take. And enjoying it. Better yet: The prof ended the class only after realizing it ran past its allotted time. But I didn't want it to end.

Uh-oh. Does this mean I might actually pursue a PhD after all? Then how am I going to tell all those young trannies that none of it matters?

Now I have one less way of saying "fuck you," thumbing my nose or whatever you want to call it. Not that anybody's convinced when I do that.

I guess I have to find something else now that feigning misanthropy is no longer an option. Actually, it never was, but that didn't stop me.

Have I opened a can of worms? Or a new chapter? Well, either way, I guess it'll take up a lot of the next four months. Can you imagine me going into the operating room saying things like, "The great divide is not male/female; it's homo/hetero"? I guess that'll really give the anaesthesiologist incentive to do her work.

So I'll wake up from the surgery with a body that's a closer approximation of my spirit. And after I recover, I can...take another class? And be thankful to a prof who's teaching gender theory?

It sounds good to me. Really. Really?

What do I do now?

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