Don't let your schooling interfere with your education.
~ Pete Seeger

Friday, May 2, 2008

Jimi Hendrix as Moral Choice

"Authoritarian parents … not only offer minimal opportunities for children to choose, but tend to treat matters of taste or personal style as if they were moral issues with a single right answer – an answer that must, of course, be provided by the parent." Alfie Kohn, in Unconditional Parenting, p. 180.

When I read this, I felt a sudden hollow ache in my solar plexus. It went beyond emotional, to physical sensation. The pain that came up surprised me in its intensity. I hadn't realized how much hurt, how much resentment and anger and grief still remain, buried deep inside me.

When I first heard Jimi Hendrix's fantastical guitar licks, way back around 1971 or so, when I was 11, I was blown away. It touched my soul, and still resonates deep inside. (I'm listening to him now, as I have many times when emotional pain rears its ugly head.)

My dad viewed it as a personal affront, not just a difference in taste - a deeply immoral offense, perhaps akin to shoplifting, or giving drugs to children. He liked Hank Williams, Sr., and clearly expected me to do the same. The music that rocked my world was viewed as my choice to totally reject everything good and honest and pure.

I couldn't choose my clothes. My haircut. My glasses. If I resisted, it was not a matter of personal taste, but a moral decision akin to choosing evil.

He showed no sense of curiosity about who I was, no interest in me as my own person. I had the sense I was created to allow him to vicariously live the childhood he wished he'd had.

And my god, it hurt. It still hurts. It hurts with a deep dull ache that will not go away.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


u rock.

i think ur right about paul.

it's a tough thing for me. but i agree.

thanks for sharing.

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
~Helen Keller

Reading List for Information about Transpeople

  • Becoming a Visible Man, by Jamison Green
  • Conundrum, by Jan Morris
  • Gender Outlaw, by Kate Bornstein
  • My Husband Betty, by Helen Boyd
  • Right Side Out, by Annah Moore
  • She's Not There, by Jennifer Boylan
  • The Riddle of Gender, by Deborah Rudacille
  • Trans Liberation, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transgender Emergence, by Arlene Istar Lev
  • Transgender Warriors, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transition and Beyond, by Reid Vanderburgh
  • True Selves, by Mildred Brown
  • What Becomes You, by Aaron Link Raz and Hilda Raz
  • Whipping Girl, by Julia Serano
I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands even at the height
of their arc of anger
because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound
and it is His - the Christ's, our