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

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Aging and Death

This is the last post on original sin, following up on those before.

"This world is only a stage in some longer journey we do not understand. To fall in love with our physical beauty, wealth, health, or capacity for pleasure is to kid ourselves, because all that will be taken away. … The only thing that gives our choices any deep significance is the fact that none of this will last. Awareness of mortality gives relationships an urgency, makes our choices matter."

I don't think the importance of our choices imposed by mortality is disputable. For me, there's a special poignancy and urgency in those choices, imposed by a body that doesn't reflect my spirit and the hopelessness of attaining one that matches close enough to embrace the fullness of relationships without an operation that will cost nearly $20,000. My choices in the past have precluded the possibility of obtaining the funds necessary. Heading into the simultaneous transitions of adolescence and middle-age, the urgency of mortality imposes an impossible catch-22: how do I prepare for aging and death when I want so badly to live fully, and how do I live fully when I want so badly to die.

There is certainly a part of me that will welcome death, welcome death as a lover, embrace that oblivion and the release from this body that is a prison more cruel than concrete walls. That part is overwhelmed, however, by its twin, the love of life, the urgency – desperation! – to live each day fully, to embrace every moment of every possibility of every relationship I have as a woman. If I could change this body I would do so, I want release from it so badly. Yet I cling to it, precious as it allows me into the grace and beauty of this life in all its complexity, contradiction, and ambiguity. Yet the possibility of the lycanthropic transformation that will enable the greatest extent of my self's manifestation is precluded by a single line item exclusion in my employer's health plan – an exclusion specific to my diagnosis, specific to my personal demographic. Were I to suffer from a different ailment, this treatment would be available. This exclusion is reserved for transgendered people, because, obviously, our medical needs don't matter.

For most people, the urgency of adolescence is self-centered exploration of identity and sexuality and a passage into the responsibilities and privileges of adulthood. For me, the urgency is to delay the onset of old age long enough to explore any aspect of my sexuality at all, and to do it with the full burden of family and parenting. At the same time, that family, those children, are the center of the richness of my life.

And so I face the looming specter of old age and death with bitterness and gratitude, and a crowning conundrum: How do I enter gracefully into that good night?

Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.


anne said...

Hey girl,

I never thought I'd be this old. It's not the age thing so much (although I hate the wrinkles) as it is the health thing. I'd consider your issues health related, too. This society is also very cruel to the elderly.

Not a pleasant prospect. And we both have poverty issues. For me there is the work issue--will I be able to finish my projects?

I don't have the comfort of belief in an afterlife, so, for me, this is it. But I do consider extended consciousness. I still think that most of our HUMAN problems revolve around awareness of mortality. All religion, most philosophy, and about half of sociological issues are about death and aging.

But what gripes me is the Newage crone crap. I'm already whacky (according to Trin) so I think I'll just continue to get more whacky until I'm that little old lady puttering in the yard, talking to twenty cats.

But the health issues, well, I won't get started. I think bad health and old age don't have to go hand in hand.

But I'll always be old than you! Good reason to keep me around, hah!


The First Domino דומינו said...

"...the urgency of mortality imposes an impossible catch-22: how do I prepare for aging and death when I want so badly to live fully, and how do I live fully when I want so badly to die." Seda

Seda, my sweet one, I hear your dilemma without the experience to fully empathize: I can't know a sunset in Hawaii, unless I've been to Hawaii.

Yet, I've known pain, and disappointment, discouragement, and hopelessness.

I cannot talk directly to your plight, but can I offer you what I do know, things not based on books, or lectures, but from my own experiences, anecdotal evidence, if you will.

Still that doesn't mean that you will accept all that I say here as Gospel. And that's okay.

Still, I'd rather receive a description of a Hawaiian sunset from someone who's been there, than from someone who's merely read about it.

Here goes:

Most of my life I've been an Out-of-body traveler and explorer.

When I say out-of-body, it is just that--a part of me, a part that we don't obviously see, leaves this physical form and travels wherever it chooses, or I chooses--the past, the present, and the future.

That body is extraordinarily resilient, able to experience touch without pain, and able to see, hear, and taste using senses that dwarfs the physical senses in many ways.

What I've learned as a result of these experiences is that I'm not my physical body, and that the physical body we've come to know is not sentient at all.

When we touch someone, or ourselves, we're actually touching the only sentient body that we, or they, have, the body that some call the Astral body.

The physical body is an illusion, a grand deception designed to convince us of its reality.

I have lived many lives, as a woman, as a man, as a Jew (during the Holocaust), as an Asian, as a black (many times) and was a white officer in the Union Army, captured and held captive in a prison reserved for such officers.

The continuity of life is a certainty.

I have met with and have talked to those who have died, most from my own family.

Death is a myth.

I can control the weather, but hesitate to do so, because it upsets natural weather patterns, either causing it to rain too much, or too little. I can stop the wind in its tracks.

Our errant thoughts influence the world and its natural activities more than we know.

I have healed myself, as well as others, and, as a Sentinel, have been called on, almost daily, to pray for many.

There's nothing we cannot do, and there's nothing we need endure that cannot be resolved.

From time to time I get glimpses of the future, my own, and that of the world. I blog about some of it, but not all. Yet, the future is not fixed, as we keep changing it, either as we change, or as our thoughts change.

Nothing is hidden from us, unless we choose to live in the darkness.

I have talked with God on many occasions and He has talked with me. He has assured me that I can ask Him anything I wish, and He will answer me.

God talks to us, as well as listens.

We don't hear Him for a variety of reasons, some of them being, we either don't believe that He exists, or, if He does exist, He's not talking, and, if talking, we're not worthy enough to enter into a dialog with Him.

I'm not unique. Many are talking with Him at this most wonderful time in the history of the world.

I'm not the only one. And you could be one of them.

If all that I've said to you here sounds preposterous, I understand.

But, I challenge you to find the answers that you seek in your life by going within and asking, fully expecting an answer, and not taking 'No' for an answer.

You'll have to suspend what it is you've come to believe about your limitations, and be willing to hear the answers that will surely come, if you ask in earnest, and with total sincerity.

I've come to know you through your writings, and you have impressed me with your spiritual growth, and awareness.

You needn't live life not knowing when your soul is more than willing to shepherd you through life, giving you a full awareness of why you're here this time around, and your soul's purpose.

I know my soul's purpose. You can also know yours.

I've given you a list of improbable statements, all of which I based on my life and my experiences.

I pray that some of what I've said will resonate, and will allow you to begin your quest to know what it is you say you wish to know.

I'm sorry Anne, I guess I'm one of those "Newage crones".


Seda said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Anne and Domino. What can I say? Life is good, but that doesn't stop me from bitching.

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