What Does Your Space Look Like?
In 2001 some Japanese farmers came up with a new and innovative way to grow and market watermelons. They began selling small square watermelons for a much higher cost then the traditional round or oblong watermelons. The square shape was achieved by placing the young, small, growing watermelon into a square tempered glass box form that the watermelon would conform to as it grew larger. The box prevented the watermelon from getting too large and gave every watermelon a very similar shape, size and consistency. What was the reason for the square watermelon? The box it was forced to grow in matches the standard shelf height of a Japanese refrigerator meaning the watermelons fit quite nicely on these shelves and don’t take up too much space.
When we are born, we are pretty much, spiritually and personality speaking, a clear space. We have unlimited potential and an endless horizon to expand across up and down into. But right from the beginning, even before we make our debuts, tempered boxes are being prepared for us; by society, by family, by culture, by perceived gender, etc. These boxes, constraints, and forms continue to be placed around us as we grow. The endless expanse is not such a free range of possibilities. Limits, obstacles, boxes, walls, however you want to perceive it, are placed all around us. The societal expectation is that each of us will form and conform to these expectations so we will fit neatly within the space that society, culture and family has prepared for us – much as those square watermelons fit so neatly on a refrigerator shelf: but at what cost. A traditional watermelon costs about $15 US dollars in Japan and a square watermelon costs around $82 US dollars. We cannot measure all of the costs or perceived advantages to conformity within a societal box for an individual but, like the square watermelon, I think the costs are quite high.
I was the surprise kid. My parents had a modest, two bedroom home within walking distance from the middle school and high school. I have two older brothers (one is nine years older and the other is five years older) when along came me. The two bedroom house wasn’t going to work. My parents instead built a four bedroom home in the country on a dead-end street. We were the third of 19 homes built and the house, land and location gave a lot of room for my brothers and me to range and play. From the beginning, I’ve been told; while I was unexpected, my Mom was delighted to have a little girl. She had dreams of me being a perfect little lady who wore nice dresses, played the piano, and acted in an appropriate, lady-like manner. I remember being taught by my aunt how to make mud pies at the edge of the garden. I had a great time and made a huge mess which completely upset my Mom because I had gotten so dirty.
All around the world, people will observe a very special day on this Friday, November 20th. It is the eleventh annual observance of the Transgender Day of Remembrance.
The list of gifted and talented men and women who have surrendered their lives in a struggle to find their own God-given gender identity – even though outward appearances may have deceived them for years – continues to grow. To try to understand the magnitude of loss we have suffered, please visit the GLAAD Blog or Google the Transgender Day of Remembrance 2009.
But there is one such woman who will NOT be added to that list of sorrow and tragedy. During the annual Gospel Drag show held at St. John’s MCC as a part of our NC Pride Festival Celebration on Sunday, September 27, we crowned Jasmine Adams as our reigning Miss St. John’s.
I wanted to get to know Jasmine better, so she agreed to talk with our Senior Pastor and me a few weeks ago. Jasmine’s beautiful spirit continued to radiate from within her, just as it did at Gospel Drag.