Monday, April 13, 2015

Madonna / Whore

Part of what appeals to me so much about making TV is the opportunity to embody different people in vastly different scenarios from each other and from that which I live in the everyday. One week I'm corseted and covered jawline to toes in a 1900s era period piece. The next week I'm in a sequined bikini pole dancing in a strip club full of dude extras and crew members pretending not to be having the best day at work ever. It's all there within me: the prim and proper upper middle class lady and the badass, sexy stripper. They exist alongside each other without the slightest hint of tension. They are not a contradiction. They are both real and honest, and desirous of expression.

The tendency to create duality in places where it doesn't necessarily naturally exist seems to be an integral part of the human experience. We make war over the width of noses, condemn others for who they love, and kill in the name of our God who is the one and only true god, all the while honing in on one aspect of who people are and defining their human value on that single characteristic. We make hollow, single dimensioned beings out of one another, when we know ourselves to be more than that. It must have something to do with our primal impulse to immediately categorize what we encounter: is this safe, or is it unsafe?

It used to be very straightforward. When the earth appeared wilder than it is today, the wild, predatory animals would hurt you...all of them, with no distinction. It wasn't like some tigers were chill vegetarians. All the tigers would make a snack out of you. But humans are so much more complicated! Because some humans might make a snack out of you. Most middle aged white men with facial hair are perfectly lovely people, but others have human remains decomposing beneath their basement floorboards. It's so hard to tell who is a serial killer these days.

In order to protect ourselves, we create wide sweeping generalizations about groups of people. All these people are this way and that makes them safe/unsafe for me. We see this happen with race, religion, sexual orientation, and even gender. If a person has a string of traumatic or difficult experiences with members of a certain gender, one might be inclined to say something like, "Men/Women are assholes/crazy bitches! I'm never dating again!" #foreversingle

What of trust, though? What of the suspension of disbelief? What of knowing anything to be possible? What of remaining mentally flexible enough to allow everyone to play every part of themselves, even the parts your lizard brain finds to be incongruent with the stereotype you bought in to? Do you like the idea of being type cast because of one portion of your being? Wouldn't you like to be seen for the whole of who you are?

Of course you would! Even if you find parts of yourself to be "dark, harsh, shameful, maimed, ugly, irreparably damaged," those are the parts which ache the most to be brought to light and healed. The urge to connect is an entirely natural, totally vital human necessity. We can't get along without being in community, and not with just anyone, but with those who will love our whole selves without condition.

This kind of love, the only kind that is worth having, is a two way street, my friends. In order to be seen as the richly diverse, multidimensional creature that you are, you have to be willing to open your mind to the dynamism of others. No one thing defines our whole being- not who someone loves, not the color of their skin, nor what sort of god they worship.

Our insides are capable of a spaciousness that can contain what may appear to be stark duality. Expand. Get comfortable holding this. You are not locked into the roles others have cast you in, or even the roles you've chosen for yourself. We are free to play every part of who we are, responding authentically and intelligently to the moment at hand. Some days you're a virtuous lady and some days youze a ho. Other days you're both. All at once. You are large. You contain multitudes.

You decide what part to play.