When she was born, the midwife said, “reach down and grab your baby.” I did as instructed. This was my fourth birth, I knew what to expect and was not put off by the clamming, wet, clump of flesh that was making it’s entrance. I reached for her, held her to the light, and brought her to my chest. “It’s a girl”, whispered the midwife. My mind went a little sideway. A girl? No, not possible. I was having a boy. I had only picked a boy name, Calvin. This baby was a boy I was sure of it, and in my mind I thought, “My boy has a vagina.”
Thirteen years later, my daughter comes to the same conclusion. She hangs a flag on her bedroom door to proclaiming her truth. It’s the transgender flag and on it she has written, he, him, his to inform us of how to address her.
This was not in the baby books and I am not sure how to proseed. At the edge of his bed in a room filled with pocka-dots and frogs he explain herself. I listen. Now he is my teacher and I want to hold the space for him to tell me all about it and at the same time, I struggle. There has been a groove created in my mind about a little girl named Rosemary, who is scrappy and artsy and loves frogs and baking and telling jokes and… she is both no longer here and yet not really gone. I am watching a caterpillar transform into a butterfly and I am sad to see the caterpillar go. I can’t express in words how very dearly I have loved this little caterpillar. Wait, I want to say… go slowly.
A funny thing happens to the caterpillar when she is ready to really live her most optimal life… she begins to kill herself. First she stops eating. She literally stops feeding the old version of herself. Then she climbs to a twig, hangs herself upside down and begins to weave a shell of silk. When she has completely wrapped up her old self, she begins to digest herself by releasing enzymes that take all her parts down to goo. Turning everything into a caterpillar soup except for the imaginal disc.
I am not a scientist, I just dig reading about nature. I have no idea why only the imaginal disc is left or what it does… I think it has something to do with transforming the caterpillar soup into the butterfly. From my poetic mind I imagine this little disc whispering “imaginings” to the caterpillar soup. “Imagine, imagine, imagine…Do not go make to your old ways, that is done. Do not conform to old definitions, they are broken. Step to the cusp of the unknown and I promise you great flight. Imagine, imagine, imagine flight.”
A Course in Miracles tells me, I am not a body, I am free I am still as God created me. We are spiritual beings having a physical experience for a temporary time. I am good with that. But to know that you are not your body, and he is not his body, and she is not her body… I can sometimes get hung up.
At the foot of my child’s bed I am hooked and hanging upside down. My world is turning to soup. He is weaving a new story made from silk. We hang on the cusp of this great mystery, this place that I did not know was. This uncharted territory.
My inner teacher whispers, “Everything must be boiled down, but nothing REAL will die.” So I turn inward and take a look at myself, and my places of special separation and smallness. I let my rules and regulations and restrictions get soft. I admit once again, I do not know what anything is for.
In my bones, in my heart, in my blood I know this child, I have always known them. The midwife whispers, “reach for your baby.” and I do. I reach once again and hold him to my chest. This sweet and scrappy soul is my teacher. A great lesson, a great healing is poking it’s head.
In order to grow, I have to let go, of all that I am, and all that I know.
I think of all my special segregations, this Spiritual Vixen group being one of them. “Spiritual Vixen’s are just for women”, I tell my oldest daughter. She shakes her head, not in judgement but in knowing. Her conviction and wisdom makes me lean in. She tells me that I am ridiculous and she continues to invite boys to the community. She makes me laugh and makes me proud. Of Course I know she is right. Our dicks, and virginas, breast and balls our elbows, nose, knees and toes… all of it a silly distraction, designed to hide a deeper truth.
You are magnificent my child and so much bigger than these limited limbs.
At the foot of my child’s bed I struggle for the next breath, the next right word. I struggle to listen to God’s direction. It’s time to heal and hold open the door to anyone, in any shape or any size in any color or gender. Of course that is what love would have me do.
Rosemary now calls himself Rhine, it was his middle name and one day he will be welcomed to warm his bones at our fire. To celebrate and struggle along with the rest of the tribe of Spiritual Vixen’s. May we do our best to hold the Light strong till that day. Until then I will follow trust the caterpillar, I will stop feeding the old, I will let my world be turn upside down and of course I will imagine flight.
What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.
Maureen Muldoon is a Spiritual Vixen, writer, speaker, storyteller and thought leader. She is the spiritual director of SpeakEasy Spiritual Community and creative director of Voice Box. She host conversation that support individuals and organizations get on the path to awesomeness. She blogs at ~ MaureenMuldoon.com and Vlogs on YOUTUBE