We live like stumbling drunks, always falling down again on the unforgiving concrete of our own self-judgment. We are walls to ourselves, barriers; we are the rock and we are the hard place. We refuse to forgive ourselves for our failings, no matter how small. Then fences proliferate, and with fences, separation, and with separation, misery, misery.
Have you failed? Is there something you cannot do or should have done? A memory that makes you wince? We berate ourselves constantly. Talk about intimate violence. We mistreat our bodies, our hearts and our souls.
I come up over and over again on the hard edge of transsexualism, that bizarre state of defiance and perpetual surprise. Shame, shame, shame, that endless well of pain rising up once more and once more still. Shame rears its head and I become like a trapped animal chewing off its own tail. But unlike that wild creature, I have escaped my cage, haven’t I? Why do I gnaw at the stump and prevent the wound from closing?
Perhaps I am still imprisoned after all. I escaped my external trap of body and role. But inside, I remain my own jailer, and I am cruel. Cowering in fear of others’ judgment and rejection, I am crueler to myself than anyone else has ever been.
Twisted fate, sweet absurdity, I am a testament to the failure of all language and the limits of all forms. I must become beautiful to myself, scabs, scars and all of it. I am tiny, flawed, and terrified. I drink from the cup of the Infinite, yet I am forgetful. I am broken, miniscule, crooked–and perfect.
To be is to be radically limited. From the Endless Endless we are hewed into minute fragments. We feel small, abandoned, and horribly alone. But our condition is no tragedy. The One is endless, complete, unchanging. We are finite, fragmented, in constant flux. The One in its deepest majesty is complete already beyond understanding, yet longs, mysteriously, to crackle into countless forms. If we were unlimited, we would be God.
Every form, because it is one thing, is not a trillion others. Of all possible creations, we are that we are. On this level of reality, limitation is the precursor of beauty.
Radical limitation: wood and fiber brutally cut out of the heart of the Earth and meticulously fastened together in an exact formation. It’s mostly not: not a ray of light nor a star nor stardust, not a hummingbird, not a submarine. And yet the violin, that profoundly constrained and specific form, is a thing of sweetness and purity, a gift to the world. There is no infinite violin, for it would be no violin at all. There is only the tiny, limited, finite instrument, one thing and not countless others. All that it is results from the most severe limitations.
We are not worthwhile despite our limitations. Insofar as we exist in the world, we are our limitations. And we are wonderful.