Friday, 16 July 2010

Thought Picnic: Now if you were in my shoes


Woman to woman
Throughout today that song has been going on in my mind, it contains the Barbara Mandrell lyrics, Woman to woman, now if you were in my shoes, wouldn’t you have done the same thing too.
Like a broken vinyl record player this is replayed again and again, as the other part of the refrain, it says, Woman to woman, if you’ve ever been in love, then you know how I feel – with a greater sense of feeling about many who have never been in my shoes but seem to know exactly where the shoes are pinching my feet.
Their sympathy is patronising, their apathy is based on ignorance and their indifference is borne from the fact that they know no different from their own particular experiences and their assumptions about things they have never partaken of. It extends beyond woman to woman to include man to man and woman to man.
I know my own things
Before I had cancer, I could never fully relate to how people suffered the disease, after I had it and the treatment that followed, I need no new appreciation of the pain of cancer, the rottenness of chemotherapy, the deprivations that come with serious illness and the fight that rises up in you for every ounce of strength that is your life-force, I just know.
However, my knowledge and experience is hardly the embodiment of all occurrences of that kind of circumstance, people go through their battles with different approaches, strategies and outcomes but we can in many ways support each other a lot better than those who look in from the outside with the know-it-all hubris that accompanies their interaction.
Experience is not always needed for understanding, there are genuine people who have deep compassion and empathy, who are reasonable, friendly and wonderful to relate to, this is not about them.
From ancient to modern
In the same vein, there is sexuality and there is faith, there are struggles, conflicts, angst, anxiety and there are desires, if choices could have been made surely, other choices would have been considered and the outcomes might well be different.
I find that I now have to assess the issues of ancient views with modern understanding whilst I run the gauntlet of fundamentalists of different religious persuasions.
Even I, probably irrationally and unreasonably, am not fully persuaded of the whole theory of evolution, from the perspective of man’s creation, I do very well believe the amazing evolution of man’s creativity and the wealth of knowledge that has benefitted mankind to great ends.
The advances in science, medicine and technology which in biblical times would have passed for witchcraft and sorcery, the new understanding of man’s psychological makeup which had every negative connotation until psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists, anthropologists and economists unravelled the knotty issues.
Incontrovertible fact against fable
It is however convenient for people to suspend their intellect and reason for some norm of times past and use that as a template for modernity with ill-fitting consequences.
It makes one wonder how sexuality is no more codified in terms of mental illness or some psychological disorder, neither is it in professional circles considered a lifestyle choice but a personification of the subject, wholly integral to the identity of the person who might in turn demonstrate the requisite tendencies.
Has new knowledge and learning left the tomes of religious stricture behind or has it evolved into logical conclusions that are reasonable but are challenged by blinkered religiosity masquerading as right, just, moral and true?
The questions are there to challenge the “earth is flat” view of man’s existence, identity, personality and expression, so much has changed about the knowledge of man such that religion and interpretations have adapted, evolved or adjusted to serve the purpose of man because religion exists for the service of humanity and not the other way round.
Rectal fixation
The more contentious topic of sexuality is how many are fixated on the sex and not on the identity. If expressions of love are only seen in terms of the act of sex and the satisfaction it offers, the holders of that view diminish the wide spectrum of human emotions leaving them bereft and wanting in the knowledge of the essence of deep emotional involvement that comes with committed relationships regardless of gender pairing.
It is so amusing how religious heterosexuals are so anally-fixated on matters in which they have no experience and cannot begin to fathom how it affects people who have no qualms on the matter.
The reductionist view that sex is only just for procreation is interesting and it beggars the question whether heterosexuals in relationships with a finite number of children have only had sex a finite number of times just for that particular and primary purpose only, procreation – the truth?
Maybe it would interest the squeamish that anal sex between heterosexuals has existed for time immemorial partly as a contraceptive and partly as a variation to the sex-life, who would however admit to that is a different issue.
Does it affect you that much?
If there is any group of people who probably know about the experiences, it would be bisexuals, heterosexuals probably have no inkling about homosexuals just as homosexuals might not be persuaded of heterosexual affinities and so the matter of conscience comes to the fore in one simple question.
Does homosexuality affect the relationship between heterosexual partners? If it does, they have issues they need to deal with and sort out; if it doesn’t then why all that angst and emotional energy expended in condemning what you are not interested in? What you don’t do is what you cannot contemplate except if there is a latent desire for something you have not yet been brave enough to acquire.
If you’ve ever been in my shoes, then you will feel the same way too, until then, you know nothing, absolutely nothing about it.

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