Saw this over on a frequently read blog, Not shaking the grass. It usually is just random art finds and poetry he posts up from time to time. I seem to almost always enjoy the content he finds and shares. But from time to time he answers questions and the response to this question was so beautiful that I couldn't help but post it. I've included the question to put the answer in context but even without it, it is remarkable. The photo above was also found on his blog and has nothing to do with the post, I just thought this post needed something to look at besides the wall of text!
OK, SO I KIND OF COME FROM THE SAME CULTURE. I’M MALE, 15, CLOSET GAY. THE HARDEST THING I HAVE TO COME TO TERMS WITH AND HAVEN'T IS BEING A MAN WHILE ALSO NOT REALLY INTO MASCULINE STUFF THAT MEN ARE SUPPOSED TO BE INTO. MY PARENTS PRIZE THE GENDER AND GENDER ROLES. IT’S BEEN REALLY HARD BREAKING THE MINDSET AND THINK I CAN BE A MAN WHILE ALSO BEING UNMANLY. LIKE I REMEMBER MY DAD POINTING AND LAUGHING AT THIS BOY AT SCHOOL WHO DRESSES GAY. DON'T LAUGH BUT I'VE EVEN TAKEN TO WEIGHT TRAINING.
No. No, no, no and no, infinity.
What you are, in one line, is the mystery between the perpetual wrestling of your body and soul. You’re not your body, you have a body; you’re not your soul, you have a soul. What you are is the mystery between them, and what you are is naturally resistant to any definition or static description.
What you are, in one word, is a person.
You’re a person. Whether you’re a male person or a female person or both or neither or interchangeably either or exchangingly the other, all that’s constant in you as a person is the inconstancy of personhood.
Masculinity no more belongs to males nor femininity to females than you or I or anyone else belongs to a thesaurus. According to the synonyms of “masculine” in a thesaurus, the women in my family are the paragons of masculinity. My father? Hah! Sure, he’s “caveman” and “macho” and he shoots guns at the local range, good ol’ boy, however I doubt he’d stand up to piss on you if you were on fire.
Male persons aren’t from fucking Mars and female persons aren’t from fucking Venus. You’re on planet fucking Earth. Sexes aren’t opposites and there’s no “Natural Order”.
We’re all gasping for air in what we’re “supposed to be” and “not supposed to be” and as soon as one of us dares to be what he or she is we yank and beat him or her all the way back down into the dust and stink of “Supposed to Be”. You’re not a “Supposed to Be”, you’re a person. You’re an I Am as I Am and I’ll Be as I’ll Be.
Kafka wrote it beautifully: “Cages in search of birds.” Most folks are cages in search of birds, and they’ll try their damnedest to seize you.
Respect and celebrate and honor your body, not your gender. Chests are for breathing and heartbeats. Monkeys show their chests to intimidate other monkeys. You’re not a monkey, you’re a person. Bare your heart, not your chest.
Arms are for embraces and lifting a person up when he or she is down; arms are for tattoos and jotting down phone numbers and directions on and goosebumps when you’re cold or when you’re in awe or when you’re scared. Big muscles have no bearing on your value as a person, male or female. Feminine men are beautiful and masculine women are beautiful, too.
Be courageous, not to “be a man”; be courageous to be courageous, if you can.
Hands and fingers are for playing instruments and playing with mud or braiding a doll’s hair or your sister’s hair, drawing a picture, writing a story, climbing, struggling with, crying into. Lend your hands to an art or to a science, use them to mend someone who’s sick or injured, use them to disassemble and reassemble, graze the back of the neck of the one you’re in love with.
Point at stars, not persons.
Use your legs for adventures and more adventures, as many as they’ll hold you up along.
You’re all the notes in the chromatic scale and all the notes we can scarcely hear and all the ones we haven’t heard yet. Use them, use them all, and use all the instruments in the orchestra and all the instruments you can find anywhere else, and if they’re not sufficient, craft new ones and play them, bang them, break them.
There are no limits to being a person and never permit anyone near you who’d try to seize your personhood from you. Being a person is marvelous and, sadly, you have to be vigilant to the cages in search of birds, even if they’re your folks.