My non-binary heart + a poem-in-progress for you
Hi! I’m excited to sit down and write to you this morning. Here comes a vulnerable personal exploration that I'm trying to find the right words for, a poem-in-progress, and an invitation for you.
But first, there is a sentence that has been tootling around and around my mind like a little toy train on tracks, which I really want to share with you. This is it: Our capacity to play is directly proportional to our capacity to transform.
We all know there’s some shit in this world that needs to transform, right? Our systems of government, economics, education, oh god I’m getting bored just writing these words. It’s time for something new. That patch of grass at the front of my house really needs to transform into a garden. The changes that are required can feel so overwhelming, impossible, and heavy.
When we invite the spirit of play into our lives, in small ways and in large ways, transformation becomes so much more possible, even probable. When we tell ourselves that something is ‘just for fun’ we give ourselves permission to actually try it.
Playing means pro-typing, experimenting, and temporarily trying something on. We give ourselves the chance to learn – does it work? How does it feel? Is this something that we want to take forward?
One of the ways I have been playing in my own life is with my pronouns. I’ve been trying on what it feels like to use ‘they/them’ pronouns for myself instead of ‘she/her’. I’ve gotta tell you, so far it feels spacious, comfortable, and fun. Like a pair of pants that make me start dancing when I put them on.
It feels like more of a reflection of the way I experience myself on the inside. My ‘me-ness’ is not gendered. I have a non-binary heart. When this occurred to me recently, I literally fell to my knees and cried with recognition and relief. And then I laughed because it was so fucking obvious.
I’ve been carrying ideas that I am too old to change my pronouns, or that I'm not 'queer enough' to qualify. If gender is constructed, does that mean it's possible to identify as a ‘woman’, a 'mother' and ‘non-binary’ at the same time? Well, I do. Now, I’m letting myself play.
What’s interesting to me, is that the more I open to myself as a non-binary being, the more I feel free to express all the parts of myself (masculine and feminine included). I always enjoyed wearing a moustache to a party (and a handmade velvet c*** for that matter). What else might be possible?
I’ve often resisted wearing make-up because when I did, it felt like I was letting the patriarchy win. And now? I want to play with lipstick and glitter eye shadow as well. Isn’t that fun??? I am privileged to have spaces in my life where I feel safe enough to explore expressing myself in these ways.
For the record, my pronouns are 'they/them'. I'm still OK with 'she/her' as well. And, I hope this is obvious, but I speak only for myself. There are many many different ways of experiencing and expressing non-binary genders.
Non-binary means lots of different things to different people. Generally speaking, non-binary is an umbrella term for gender identities that are not solely male or female—identities that are outside the gender binary.
Pronouns are the parts of speech we use when we are talking about someone in third person. They are one of the most obvious markers of gender. Example: instead of saying, "She is my favourite poet" you can say "They are my favourite poet". 😉
Want to learn more? This is a good place to start.
Now, to poetry. The past little while, I have had the joy of walking alongside a group of majestic humans who are taking part in my ‘Path of the Poetic Heart’ group programme. One of the things we explore in this course is the process of revision.
Revision doesn’t have to be about making your art ‘better’. It can be about play. (Are you sensing a theme here?) It can be about pulling things apart, putting them back together in new ways, adding a new ingredient and seeing if it explodes.
When we stop taking ourselves so seriously, we find that it is safe enough, even fun, to share creations that are ‘unfinished’ or ‘imperfect’. In the spirit of this, I want to share with you one of my poems-in-progress. Here it is:
When I say ‘let yourself play’, I mean
give yourself a gun
and shoot down everyone
who ever shamed you
I mean strip yourself naked
and shove fistfuls of
I mean stop working
to be likeable
let your teeth
down at the foot
of a surging tree
die there until
a loud mob
of small insects
at your imagination
and the many-winged
and go make
P.S. Next year I really want you to make your art and I am offering a new programme to support you to do it.
'Make It Tangible' is a 6-month mentorship programme for sensitive revolutionaries to bring their secret creative dreams from the world of imagination into the world of tangible reality.
You will learn essential tools to harness your creative power, so you can make the art and the impact you are here to make.
There are different levels to choose from, to suit you needs: whether you just want more creative play in your life, you want to start taking bigger creative risks, or you want deep support to birth something big.
We kick off in January 2023. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll make sure you are the first to know when bookings open.
(c) Rata Gordon 2022