I hope this is the worst analogy I ever use in this blog. In the US, the expression basically is offensive male-culture-speak for “I advocate more bravery and less timidity.”
I enjoyed reading the Hunger Games books by Suzanne Collins. I also enjoyed watching the movies. For those who haven’t yet: Run, don’t walk, to the bookstore and buy all three books, and after reading them (yes, after … not instead of) go watch all three movies.
Meanwhile, here’s a total plot spoiler for the first book: The heroine feeds her family by hunting in the wild (seriously bad-ass), using a bow and arrow (seriously bad-ass) that’s outlawed and whose possession carries a severe penalty (seriously bad-ass). She doesn’t hide that she’s a bow-and-arrow wildlife hunter but instead trades her kills (seriously bad-ass) on the black market that is itself also outlawed (seriously bad-ass). Then, when her little sister is about to essentially get executed by the evil totalitarian state she volunteers to take her little sister’s place (seriously bad-ass) and then scolds her mother into getting herself together and managing the family better than she did after the last crisis (another bad-ass thing to do). And all that was just a warm-up.
Next, she gets to deal with a cultural mess that’s seriously peculiar yet her life depends on it, and she does so well (in a bad-ass way) then gets annoyed at being disrespected and shoots an arrow right into a banquet being enjoyed by the complacent dolts who dissed her (which earns her a black belt in badassness) and then gets dumped into a sort of gladiator’s arena where it’s “kill or be killed.”
She doesn’t just end up cleverly offing several seriously bad-ass well-trained killers (black belt level of badassity) but does so in a way whereby she gives the middle finger to the evil totalitarian state that orchestrated the whole thing (super-badassedness) while keeping her integrity (the most badass thing of all) and also sparking an entire revolution (seriously badass too) for which she’s the personal symbol (need I even comment, yes folks, that’s badass) and in the process seriously pissing off the evilmost totalitarian dictator (b.a. yet again).
Next, she waxes her face and body, showers, does her hair and make-up, puts on a pretty skirt and goes to a Thanksgiving party at which at least 3/4 of the people there say mean things and three of four snicker yet she deals with it (kinda bad-ass). She goes shopping where some shoppers stare at her and the cashier calls her “sir” yet she deals with it (kinda bad-ass) and some teenage boys say rude things to her yet she deals with it (kinda bad-ass) and finally on the way to her car some shady characters inspire her to realize there’s a serious risk that they want to beat her up or worse, but she keeps her cool, gets into her car, locks it and quickly drives away, making sure she’s not being followed (kinda bad-ass).
You probably guessed it — that last paragraph wasn’t from the books. It’s from the life of many trans girls. And yes, such a life is hard, and it’s awkward. The bad parts can suck. Can such a situation feel overwhelming? Yes. But all in all, how bad is it really compared to how bad things could be, as dramatized in the movies that have prepared you mentally over many years? Maybe not that much, yes?
Let’s break it down analytically. The problem is basically that some people are mean, and hostile to a chick being trans. A subset is downright dangerous. Now, let’s mentally erase the jerks from the picture and replay these scenes, substituting the mean people with nice people. Downright nice, right?
Perhaps now it’s time to draw on the wisdom of Leon Nel, as explained to me by his daughter. She was feeling sorry for herself one day long ago, perhaps with good cause, perhaps not. Her dad suggested that if she saw a pile of dog poop and behind it a lovely sunset, then she was free to choose to focus on either or both, to any extent. I like the point he was trying to make.
As an “out” trans girl, it’s great to finally be yourself openly. It’s SO great. However, there are people who personify the dog poop in the story. If you can avoid them and de-emphasize them when you allocate your mental focus, you’ll probably find them to be an ever-more trivial part of your life to where they don’t represent hurdles, and are more like … a tiny pile of dog poop in front of a very lovely sunset.