Trapped in a Corner?

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I see more and more examples of girls (t-girls and cisgirls) who are doing really well by general standards but not her own, soul-deep values.

If you read between the lines of what each such girl writes, or you listen carefully to what she says, you learn that she took reasonable-seeming steps, one at a time — yet where she is now is SO not where she wants to be, nor ever really wanted to be. It just sort of happened, somehow. In her youth, life held so much excitement and promise but she was mired in everyday-life things, and her expectation was that as soon as she could rise above that, she’d thrive. However, everyday-life kept putting new hurdles down — big ones, small ones … always more.

That certainly described my life until not that long ago. I finally realized that I wasn’t getting any younger. I wasn’t happy with my life. I realized that I only had myself to hold accountable for that, and even though I was living a fairy-tale life it wasn’t a fairy-tale by MY standards, but instead by those of the culture around me.  Granted, it’s a culture that I like, value, chose and appreciate — but I can’t allow it to write my life story. That, I had to decide to do for myself.

I took drastic steps, rewrote the script for my life and (much as it might look totally random to uninformed outsiders) my life journey is now stable, wild, logical, joyous, adventurous and happy. I still learn more about the fundamentals of life every day, and I’m still making course corrections. I probably always will. However, this post isn’t about me but how I feel about other girls whom I care about, who ostensibly seem fine and yet … are feeling trapped by their social context.

For each such girl, the situation is complex enough that she can’t really ease out of it. She has to break some chains and violate the standards of the more-conservative people whom she loves. I’ve been the catalyst in the lives of several girls who have broken free, and although for each girl, her more-exciting life had (and has) its ups and downs (with my presence in her life contributing to both aspects) each girl is, as far as I can tell, stronger and happier for having pursued what she wants. It’s a wonderful thing to observe at close range.

However, before she breaks free, the girl might feel more trapped than she is. It reminds me of some grim stories told by a friend of mine who was a professional fire-fighter. His job included rescuing people out of burning buildings. He told me that many people in crisis can be found cowering in a corner, so when he scanned a burning building for people to rescue, he’d look in such places — even behind the stove.

This post was inspired by wise words from Brené Brown:

“I think midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear: I’m not screwing around. It’s time. All of this pretending and performing – these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt – has to go.

Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy of love and belonging, but you’re still searching and you’re more lost than ever. Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through you. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.”

 

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