There are few things in the world that are as inconvenient to one’s life and personal growth and the development of a strong sense of self as the rage that arises when something you are fighting the whole world on is shoved into a concentrated blast by one person.
That one person saying incredibly cruel and malicious things about you and about the entire class of people to which you belong is a lot like a laser in many ways — concentrated, focused, and extremely deadly, as opposed to the sunlight level of deadliness that slowly eats away at people but can be resisted for years.
The level of discrimination Trans people face is like that sunlight — it is everywhere, all the time, and it is hot and it is causing cancers and it makes tempers flare and the one thing this sunlight does not do is create life. It creates death. So perhaps it should be called an Unlight, a shadow, a darkening, that sucks the life-giving sun away from people and drowns them in the despair of darkness.
And if that is the case, then that laser precise kind of attack is not a laser, for it would not be concentrated and amplified via radiation, but instead would be a dark, blacker than black mark, a kind of escutcheon, that pierces like a spear and slays both directly and indirectly, a lance carried by those who imagine themselves to be white knights on horseback or modern-day Joan of Arcs leading their people into battle against the heathens.
It is important to note that is how they imagine themselves, for they must imagine it as such — for them to see the trail of harm and tears and bodies that lies behind them would horrify them if they have any shred of humanity left.
And I think of all of this when I see someone write and present to the world a statement that a class of people who they claim membership in is not responsible for harm to a class of people they dislike.
And they do it with pride and with willful exuberance and without even a shred of awareness at the hubris that accompanies such.
It annoys me even further when they cite a terms of service agreement to define what is abuse and what is harassment, sitting smug in their ivory tower of belief that separates them from a world where belief gets people killed, and their words give cover and their words give encouragement and their words give reason and rationale for the very thing they pretend to be horrified at while they keep doing it, thus indicating that their mock shock is little more than a ruse, a masquerade worn in order to cover the blackness within that they spread out from them like waves of pointed hurt.
And yet, I follow a path. It is a path that follows a course taken by others, but it is not a path trod by them. It is a path trod only by those of that groups of people to which I belong, even though within that group they argue about who is part of it and who should fall back and who should move ahead and who is really leading and who is just leading astray and all the rest.
It is a path that is not visible on the ground, but is clearly seen in the stars above and is marked in the distance by the goal it seeks. It is a path that must cross through massive hedgerows and that must scale great peaks along the way, but the peaks that it must scale and the hedgerows it must pass through are smaller and thinner and the thorns along the trail are less sharp with each step forward.
There are some who are only just beginning to join that fray. That ongoing struggle to move forward. They haven’t seen the past that lies behind them for they are joining it mid stride — not because they are lazy, but because this is when the path strays near enough to them that they can see it, and they scramble across brush and berm, bank and bridge to join it, and they are still back there a bit, still being cut by the sharper thorns and still be pursued by the roaming bandits with their black lances still dripping with the blood of those they are trying to force off the path.
And in following this path, I get to defend myself, for battle is not the province of men, sayeth Artemis and Athena. Archetypes that those involved in the banditry might seek to claim for themselves — and yet, try it, sweet ones, for those archetypes strike both ways.
And in following this path, I get to grin in anticipation of the bloodletting, as some harpish Valkyrie might striking down to collect the wounded and carry them home again.
For I know that I was raised and that I was birthed to celebrate such — even if such a role is one that the brigands on my sides might seek to hang my by.
And in following this path, I do not get to go out and strike at them on my own, I do not get to be as villanous as those whom I battle, and I have not always followed this path, because I could not see the track, and it made no sense, and there are days when it still makes no sense that the only way to carry on is to do so without raising up the terrible sword I have been cursed with and brandishing it before me, flaming as it breaks the darkness that comes with the lances and that I shall not let wash over me so long as I draw breath.
This path must be picked and chosen carefully, for tit is not merely the roving bands of marauders I must be wary of — they are easy to know when they come, they are easy to deal with, they are heard long before they are seen, and they themselves spend far too much time trying to bring their own fringes into the main road that this track will eventually rejoin, for that is the goal in the end.
Without becoming bandits ourselves. And that is the rub, perhaps. To stay this course without succumbing to the perils that travel around it, to survive the hazards that lay within this course.
I have mapped much of it. I have mapped it as far as anyone is able, I suppose, and I have seen it come parallel to the main track, wherein I left family and children, life and success. They did not belong to me, any more than I belong to them, but I did have them along the trip with me, and that made the burden less difficult.
But I love my children, and I shan’t make them take a path that isn’t theirs to take for the benefit of my Self. This is a path, a trip, an Adventure, that I must take myself, and I know that I do not take it alone.
And there are hazards along the way, the route filled with plants that can bring forgetfulness and pits that can swallow and old habits that can lead you into bad places where things reside awaiting a chance to devour you.
It is a challenging journey, one that forces me to marshal my personal will — a thing I have cause to use far to often just to move forward — to prevent myself rom allowing what I want to do right at that moment from getting in the way of what I want to achieve.
For those are two different things, without doubt.
What I want to achieve is a lasting change for others, to find some sense of return in my actions for those who aided me when I was back amongst the brambles and the thorns and the tangles. What I want to do, all too often, is to grab my metaphorical weapons and sling metaphorical violence at people who are not metaphorical.
I have to settle for battling them on a ground they think they have in their control, and wrest it away from them, and I am pleased that I am not alone in this effort.
One day the damned who haunt my people, these folks in all their strange and fascinating glory, will find themselves trapped in an ever smaller space as the world continues to move on past them, to flow around them, to ignore and forget them.
And so, rather than saying that these bandits should just go away, I must, instead, say let them be. Defend yourselves but do not pursue. Remind others of them, but do not give them that which they seek most of all, a reason to continue that is valid in what they think of as the minds of others. Tell these Marauders to bring it on, and laugh while you do so, and then get back to the business of beating the bushes as if they are as important as flies.
It is my goal to make a change, and it is their goal to stop that change from happening. It is simple and clear cut, and I know that I must follow the edicts I have so often quoted, so often suggested, for if I am not a Hero, then who shall be?
And I note, with a certain humor, that Hero was a Priestess of Aphrodite, a woman, and that these marauders pay no mind to such things, to such strange allusions, save as how they can be warped in the shadows they use to enfold and ensnare and enfeeble.
Save that I’ll not wait passively for any Leander, and rather than merely a candle in the window, I shall set forth and claim mine own, be it Leander or Sappho, for I have that right, and none shall take from me that which is part of my birth.
So let none then forget this: I am not a warrior.
I am not a poet.
I am not a leader of men, nor a beacon.
I am one woman, just one little girl, and what I do is walk forward and perhaps others will follow and perhaps none shall, for it is my purpose, my challenge, to walk in the wilds, and to see that which has not been seen, and to do that which is not doable, and to be that which does not exist in the minds of others.
And if, along the way, I needs become the monster of the nightmares of others, then so shall it be. I can no less change that which I am than I can change that whom I am.
That monster I become is their imaginings at work, and that threat they see is their fears, and that dismal shadow that haunts me is not my shadow, but theirs.
I shan’t be the night to their day, they shall be the night to my day.
For I am a star, burning bright, sparkling, warm with the heat of the changes inside me, bringing life to that on which I shine, and burning that which dares fly too close on waxen wings.
And, thusly, in coming full circle, I see now that I am that sunlight, and that my people are that sunlight, and that our force has only to be freed from the darkness that surrounds us, like the sparkling night sky, and that perhaps one day, as I once did, someone shall gaze upwards and think unto themselves that they would so like to wish I may, wish I might…
And so find it granted…