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Gender expression in Hawaii

March 15, 2015

I just realized that I am one of those persons who actively avoid as much as possible expressing my gender. I am secure in my own gender identity as a man, and it is congruent with my sex identity and secondary sexual characteristics, I even probably have the common defects of a man, for example short attention span, tendency to be predominantly visually stimulated to the expense of other senses, or constant need to problem solve instead of just offering empathic listening. Yet because I am predominantly inclined to be sexually attracted to males and have even embraced my own sexual orientation as being homosexual, in the context of specific social cultural factors and even practically lacking role models I could find to readily identify myself with, (due to enormous fear of ridicule should I have taken the caricatural route, which I totally understand and even applaud from time to time as a cultural and artistic expression, yet not being personally one who might be inclined to be artistic), I just practically have tended to be as gender neutral as possible in my expression…..which is of course also the safe route because it does not appear at all threatening plus offers the way out from the disadvantages of firm commitments. I am practically austere in my own social gender expression, I also feel more in control that way, non-threatening and non-threatened at the same time. Yet deep down in my own soul I long to have the freedom to wear a Hawaii-an silk flowered shirt from time to time, I long for the South Pacific, even if that in itself it’s become such a cliché. But I have my magenta rubber bathroom slippers made in Brazil, a gift from my own childhood BFF, I have Cloudia’s blog in my blogroll on my other site, I know who I am and I allow myself some freedoms, yet in a terribly controlled manner, I agree. It’s funny, even as I feel Mr Paul Theroux expressed himself for me in his Hotel Honolulu, in my own life experience it was practically there, in Hawaii that I experienced being so far away from home, truly disjointed and mostly unwelcome plus immensely incompetent, even while finding myself under the most gracious and privileged of possible circumstances, and although I could never feel entitled to assign blame to anyone or anything external to myself in particular, not even the truly troubled and often tragic or certainly traumatic history of Hawaii, I felt profound and immense weariness and sadness each and every time I was physically there. Maybe it was jet lag to a certain extent, although one reads it is easier when traveling West rather than East. Maybe it was my own conscience bothering me because I had been too hard on myself, too austere…I was almost too certain that from any perspective it all stemmed from me, while the environment had little or nothing to do with it. It was after all a skewed narcissistic perspective, but each and every time I was physically present in Hawaii, I felt so unbearably sad for most of the time. And no, alcohol had nothing to do with it. It all stemmed from me from the moment I set foot there.

There was only one time, just for a short fleeting brief moment that I felt I could really be myself in Hawaii, and felt also at peace with the world around me, on a small street near some totally non-descript and by now abandoned non-functional and not yet newly developed commercial docks, away from the beaches, away from the stores, away from the palace and seat of government, away from Pearl Harbor, away from the Polynesian Cultural Center, away from all the props that remind one of history. Just for that moment I felt truly at ease and at peace with myself while I was in Hawaii. I was alone, I had just seen a Japanese cartoon movie, a masterpiece according to the critics, which I enjoyed and even admired while watching it but totally forgot as soon as I got out of the theater, and which I now remember just by virtue that it immediately preceded my own moment of peace, not because of its universal fairy-tale thematic plot or brilliant technique. The colors surrounding me then in real life were mostly sienna and beige. (I have had a long time an affinity for ochre, sienna, and adobe, I have no idea why.) I couldn’t quite see the blue of the sky although I knew somehow it was there and was peaceful and this offered me safety and security, I couldn’t smell or hear the ocean, it was just me, some dust and wooden planks under my soles, some empty windows, that was all. I don’t even remember what shoes I had on, and this usually I am most attentive about and remember to detail if there is anything to remember about anything, but anyway I felt OK with them as tthey were, safe and protected as well. And totally unencumbered by whatsoever worries, neither anxious, nor depressed, not guilty about anything, totally probably zen I would say. I do not actively search for such moments, I just consider them gifts. Maybe this is a wrong attitude, maybe I should be more pro-activeabout this type of zen, make a disciplined exercise out of it…it’s true, it is not my strong suit to want to be disciplined and being indolent is probably my greatest vice, the secondary one is being profligate, but shouldn’t one allow oneself some indulgence towards oneself, should all be subject to constant duty ? I have no clue plus I have no inclination towards rhetorical pseudo-philosophical questions…and yet gender is one of the most talked about themas in philosophy right now.


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