Brooms, Closets, and Canyons: A Coming Out of Sorts

IMG_0803Life is startling in the amount of change that one encounters in the decades spent wandering across the surface of this little planet. Some change comes slowly. Some comes rapidly. Some change happens without even realizing what is taking place, until one stares into the mirror one morning, utterly transformed. This story has elements of all three.

I will say it outright, rather than meandering along, as I’m so apt to do: I am pagan. I am stepping out of the metaphorical broom closet into the light of day. I am not Wiccan, as the broom closet metaphor might imply. I am simply a generic pagan. I’m of no particular tradition nor do I have an associated group of people with whom I share these experiences. It’s just me, peeking through the door sheepishly, all on my own.

I have been standing at the edge of an emotional and spiritual cliff, staring over its edge for a while now. It would seem that it is time to find a path downward, down toward the verdant canyon floor below, where the specter of my other self wanders, a partially formed apparition now becoming visible in daylight. It is a relief to finally accept this destination, to stop wandering along the parched and cracked dirt of an abyss of shifting identity.

Until recent years, I had identified as an atheist. I rejected Christianity in my teens, having found its treatment of queer people to be frighteningly awful—at least in the 70s and 80s, the decades of my childhood and adolescence. I became an atheist in college, well over twenty years ago. I transitioned to agnosticism a couple years ago, finding atheism to be too absolute, too binding, and in general, a drag upon my experience of spirituality. The fact that internet atheism has the feeling of a boy’s locker room, mired in toxic masculinity, obnoxious verbal competitiveness, emotional constipation, transphobia, and misogyny helped accelerate the process considerably. It’s much easier to leave a community and a set of beliefs behind when you grow tired of the people you find in those environs embracing those perspectives. Ironically, I can also say the same of Christianity.

And so here I am, embracing the mushy-minded “woo” some atheists call out as a root of evil in the world. I have become monstrous, mentally defiled, and weak-minded, or so some might claim… and I shall encourage the worst in humanity, or at least, so some would fear. Thankfully, I’m used to embracing the monstrous for I am also a trans woman. I’ve always been dangerous. I’ve always been a threat. I have always been an abomination. In the end, I usually do whatever I want, regardless of what my peers think, whoever those peers might be in the moment. I have a habit of wandering to the edges of whatever group I’m a part of. I have done this my entire life. This is normal… for me.

But, I want to end this first essay positively. I’m excited about this transition. I’ve experienced tension between my spirituality and my atheism for so long, now. There had been some pain prior to this change but mostly there was a lot of confusion, a feeling of being emotionally imprisoned, and an accompanying sense of listlessness. It feels liberating to finally shed one form and move on to the next. It’s exciting to feel a sense of being more “whole”, of finding myself again, of meeting that apparition walking along the canyon floor, and staring into her eyes, eyes which I have secretly known in my heart for some time now, eyes I can now look into directly, in the light of day, and whisper questions I’ve longed to ask…

What land lies ahead, my love? What land lies ahead?


~ by timberwraith on August 6, 2015.

7 Responses to “Brooms, Closets, and Canyons: A Coming Out of Sorts”

  1. I’m a strait, white, 50-year-old Evangelical Christian, so there are quite a few obstacles that people conjure up when I start a conversation. You might be surprised to discover that I wrote about transgenderism. If it interests you, you’re welcome to read it. If you can get past what I am, I’d be happy to be a resource for you.

    Take care!

    • We’re pretty close in age: only four years apart, actually. I’m not straight, though. Far from it, LOL.

      Do you have a link to the particular post you’re talking about? I can’t promise I’ll comment on it but I’ll read it. No offense, but I’m pretty “gun-shy” around conservative Christianity and LGBT issues. I’d be a Marcus Borg/John Shelby Spong Christian if I were inclined toward Christianity… if you catch my drift. 😉

    • Here it is –

      Re-thinking Caitlyn Jenner: One Christian Answer for Transgender | Applied Faith

    • OK, I found two articles on your blog regarding being trans. I don’t think there’s much room for discourse between us on this. As best I can tell, the paradigm through which you view sex, gender, and divinity is highly incompatible with mine. Some cultural gaps are impossible to bridge and this is probably one of them.

      I will say this much: if you haven’t experienced being transgender, it’s highly unlikely that you will understand it. Having a sense of one’s body being so deeply at odds with one’s inner core of being is akin to being able to sense a spectrum of color no one else can see. How do you effectively describe the color green to a person who has never experienced sight? It’s difficult, if not impossible. There is no common basis of experience between us which would allow me to share the nature of this experience with you. So, moving past that state of ignorance is difficult and in the light of a theology which prescribes strict, highly binaristic, cisnormative, heteronormative gender roles, the task is impossible to accomplish.

      So, we exist at an impasse.

      The best I can do is encourage you to read many stories of trans people’s lives and do so with an openness to new experiences and understandings. Don’t stop at Caitlyn Jenner. We are as varied as any other populace of people. She is but one person and not representative of the wide range of diversity among us.

    • You’re commended for at least giving it a read.

    • I did think of something else to mention. A lot of stories out there are of trans people who have recently transitioned or are currently in the process of doing so. The media seems to be far less interested in relating the stories of those people who transitioned ages ago. Our stories are rarely told for they lack a sensationalistic angle. A settled, everyday life is boring, and mundane narratives tend not to generate as much viewer/reader interest.

      For what it’s worth, I transitioned 21 years ago this August. I have no regrets and I experience a sense of peace and wholeness as a woman that I never knew when I lived in a male guise. Socially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, there is a sense of wholeness and completion that simply would not be possible otherwise.

      The story you related of the individual who reverse-transitioned? For me, that would be a living death. My spirituality—my holistic sense of being—is intertwined with womanhood in a way that runs down to the depths of my soul. If you kill the woman within me, you kill me. We aren’t separate.

      But as I alluded to previously, deeply conservative theologies have little room for lives lived as I have. My life is rendered unintelligible within the context of these cosmological scripts.

    • I don’t really have much trouble relating once people get beyond the idea of me and actually get to know me. People are really a lot more alike than they are different. I hopefully can emulate Jesus, not judging, and just relate to folks where they are.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: