He She and It

Sometimes I’m in a setting where I get asked for my pronouns. I understand why, but it throws me into a tizzy. So far I’ve taken the easy route, and I just say she/her.

But that is far from the whole story. I may be old, but that doesn’t mean I truly know who I am. Gender, over the decades, usually feels like a costume to me. In fact, having a human body at all often feels that way. Too much Buddhism? I’m reminded of the koan where the goddess Tara attains enlightenment and a rude male Bodhisattva says: then why haven’t you changed into a man? I don’t remember her exact response, but it is something along the lines of a New Jersey retort.

I’m not an enlightened being, but I can feel gender slip away. If I ever identified completely with my physical body that ended when I got sick in 1976. To have stayed 100% identified with that level of pain would have caused me to crack. But I think I even felt that way before–masculine, feminine, and non-gendered selves mixed together in the soup I called me.

I could say “they” on forms, but that isn’t quite right for me either. I like the genderless pronoun “Co” from Twin Oaks commune, and my household will use it in conversation. But it ultimately isn’t a matter of grammar.

I also have trouble about what religion box to check. I’m certainly an eastern European Jew, but is that my religion, or my history? What about my Cossack DNA and my roots in the expulsion from Spain? Certainly in-take forms are not designed to set me into an existential spin. But they have that effect.

Essentially if you ask me who I am, get ready for a long–perhaps contradictory–answer.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized by Miriam Sagan. Bookmark the permalink.

About Miriam Sagan

I'm blogging about poetry, land art, haiku, women artists, road trips, and Baba Yaga at Miriam's Well (https://miriamswell.wordpress.com). The well is ALWAYS looking to publish poetry on our themes, sudden fiction, and guest bloggers and musers.

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