Friday Philosophy: Being authentic, on a Friday night

I’ll be truthful with you.  But then, I always am.  So maybe I should say I’ll be truthful again.

I’m exhausted.  I got up early enough this morning and did some of my usual Friday morning things, but around 11 I fell asleep on the couch with Paula Deen and Giada De Laurentiis cooking who knows what.  Certainly not me, because I passed right on out.  And I slept for two and a half hours.

So now I am fuzzy-headed in the extreme, my eyes will hardly focus, and I have much less time than I usually do to finish my Friday column.

But I know I have a topic here somewhere, a topic that concerned my earlier comments.  Or at least I had one.

Last week I was told somewhere that Friday evening on the Internet is not the time or place for anything resembling serious discussion.  Really?  Who made that rule?

But that was not the topic.  The topic had something to do with some comments and my current schedule, which is abominable.  I’m at school 8-8 (no, that is not a smiley face) Monday through Thursday.  I have 6 hours between classes, each day, often filled in part by meetings.  And this past week I have been able to add on hours for rehearsal…and next week I get to do a part of the Bloomfield College presentation of The Vagina Monologues, woman #1 in They beat the girl out of my boy…or so they tried.  They chose this version specifically with me in mind, it turned out, so I had very little opportunity to say, “No.”  Then Wednesday I received an email:

I was wondering, since the Vagina Monologues includes the part on transwomen, if you would want to do a lunch presentation to talk more about it? Maybe we could get Crystalrose or Aisha to offer it as a TRUE [Total Residential Undergraduate Education – Ed] program. What do you think?

I though maybe we could specially use it to reach out to our nursing majors and hopefully inform them sufficiently transfolk are people, too, and deserve to be interacted with respectfully.  You can take my word for it or not:  such respect…actually treating us like human beings…does not come naturally in this society.

And later that day I was reminded of a previous commitment I had made, being one of the

sanctimonious women’s studies set

to speak to the Women’s Studies class, Changing Women’s Lives.

Did you know?

60% of rapes/sexual assaults are not reported to the police. Those rapists, of course, never spend a day in prison according to a statistical average of the past 5 years. Factoring in unreported rapes, only about 6% of rapists ever serve a day in jail.

Sorry.  That was just my sanctimonious impulse spasming.

So I look at my morning comments, searching for a clue about what I was actually going to say.

I commented in a diary about free speech.

People who fetishize free speech…

…often are totally unwilling to grok the concept that not every thought that comes into the head needs to be vocalized and that the world can become a better place sometimes by simply modifying the language that we use.

The question is often whether or not people really want to contribute to the improvement of the world.

What always amazes me when I say something like that are the people who do not believe that I should have the freedom to say such a thing.  And that’s what I characterize as “fetishizing free speech:”  thinking that it means that others should not have the right to respond when speech shows no evidence of considering the consequences of thoughts being analyzed for the negative effects they have on others.

In Shall We Be Normal?, dirkster42 wrote about being queer and

a divide between those who want to assimilate and those who want to flaunt it

I was disturbed about what I believe was presented as a false dichotomy.

First of all, it was presented as a choice people make.  Maybe for some people there is a degree of choice, but I reject that the choice is between assimilation into the dominant culture or “flaunting” being different.  Rather I believe that some of us just are different.

If we choose, I believe it is a choice to be our authentic selves.  And I know that some people disagree with me, but I believe that the world, our culture, our society, should change to accommodate that.

If anyone thinks it is selfish of me to want you to be as free to be authentic, I can’t help that.  I’m still going to work for your freedom…even though I already have found mine.

Art Link

Assembling the Fragments


When you build yourself

out of fragments

assembling carefully

that which is good

shedding the bad

like a winter coat

deciding what fits

what is detritus

left suspended

in the wake

of growing up

why would there be

any desire

to conceal

the finished product?

Do I live my life

to minimize your


with the idea

of regeneration



or do I live my life

to improve

our common existence?

Is there really

a choice there?

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–February 13, 2009


Skip to comment form

    • Robyn on February 14, 2009 at 00:04

    Maybe I did.  It’s all in the point of view, I think.

    What are you loving tonight?

    • Temmoku on February 14, 2009 at 00:21

    just looking for a little something uplifting to get me out of a funk…and thanks…your art and optimism and thoughts are always an encouragement. Keep up the good fight!

    • Robyn on February 14, 2009 at 01:30

    …in Orange.

    • Alma on February 14, 2009 at 01:50

    take a two and a half hour nap?  You need a longer one than that!  😉

    I’ve worried about you getting enough sleep since this schedule started.  Hopefully you can sneak in a few naps here and there to get you through.

    • kj on February 14, 2009 at 02:40

    and Bobby Parker singin’ the blues.  🙂

    • kj on February 14, 2009 at 02:46

    now this one is/was a fighter (she has a new home)  and a survivor, hence her name.

    • kj on February 14, 2009 at 02:48

    • kj on February 14, 2009 at 03:45

  1. (& this was before the InterToobz; but the term still applies) in NYC over:

    a divide between those who want to assimilate and those who want to flaunt it

    & I’m with ya, Robyn, it’s two different ways of expressing the same impulse.

    But oh, what fun.  The assimilaters resented the flaunters b/c they just wanted to fit in & felt the flaunters were ruining their parade…the flaunters didn’t care much, they just wanted to be themselves, whether their self-expression was leather drag or feather boas and size 13 pumps.  And some of us just thought, well, everyone is welcome.  

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