Take me dancing tonight
I was at a gig yesterday at the Helsinki Music Centre. The band in question was Tsuumi Sound System, ” #1 etno cannon in Finland.” Everybody was there, so it felt – so many friends from different circles gathered there at the same time!
TSS’s music is hugely dancable. From the first note, I couldn’t resist first tapping my foot, then going to the dance floor when it began to fill with people. Between these two, there was a moment of unhappiness on my part.
I love dancing, I love to be aware of my whole body, co-existing, sharing the space with other bodies on the dance floor. But yesterday was my first time to go dancing after becoming aware of my “gender trouble”. So, while I was enjoying the music immensely, at the same time I was aware of other people, not knowing me, seeing me in a way I don’t see myself, and making assumptions based on what they see. This is a form of dysphoria I’m only too familiar with, and has to do with the social invisibility I wrote about a couple of posts back.
There is a certain built-in paradox in the way I feel about the relationship of a person’s mind and body – call it my philosophy of the body, if you like. Because, as I wrote earlier, for me mind and body are necessarily two quite different things – how else could there be a feeling of “gender dysphoria”? I really don’t like thinking like this, because it puts me in mind (heh) of Plato’s hierarchical dualism, where mind/spiritual world is the only thing that matters, and the body/material world is of no use, or even a bad thing. This is a view held by some people even today, and it makes me feel a bit uncomfortable, even seeing where they are coming from.
But at the same time, I see in myself and others the old proverb coming true, “mens sana in corpore sano”, that is, “a sound mind in a healthy body.” A human being functions as a whole, and if a part of a person is feeling low, it will show on their whole being. So I have a philosophy of the body that is essentially illogical and thus of no practical use.
Feeling slightly dysphoric, I decided to give this illogical set of beliefs an empiric try. I let the music suck me in, to the dance floor, lift me up and in the end leave me sweating and gasping for breath after an hour of very intense free style dancing. What a night!