Flashback: One Little Girl
(Dyss Says: This post is originally from January of 2010, and recently rediscovered on a different site, but it belongs here, and so here it will return.)
So I get this email, see.
I get a lot of email. One of the benefits of being as open as I am that I am purposely so — my email address is fairly simple to get.
This email came from someone who does not comment on my blog, but reads it.
She reads my other writings as well — including some arcane stuff that predates my present life, much to my surprise.
And in it, this email, this soft and kind and pleasant missive that is really quite inspiring (for, like anyone else, I do like to hear — nay, need to hear — that what I write helps or inspires or creates positive effect, and it keeps me going), she asks me a question that comes from reading so much of what I’ve written.
Why do I always posit myself as a little girl?
It’s a good question. Really good, as it goes deeper than people might realize, although the source of it is still quite surface based, seemingly inconsequential, until you look at the way it resonates with me.
I would be surprised, of course, if most of you have not heard of the film the Matrix.
I mean, as a piece of cinematic art, it’s not exactly the greatest story ever told, but in terms of the behind the scenes effect and the way it changed the focus on how to make money with movies, it is, singularly, one rather important film.
It is not my favorite film. Indeed, I resisted seeing it for a great many days, as it was too popular, too strongly beloved, and the only reason, in the end, that I actually did see it is because I was fixing computers and it happened to be a hell of a good way to test out DVD drives and software at a time when the underlying changes in the architecture were being done.
So, over time, I got to see bits of it, and then, finally, I ended up watching it.
In the film, there is a line spoken early on. The heroine of the piece (later reduced to a sad pastiche of tough damsel that does little credit to either the actress or the series) is Trinity.
I am under no illusions, nor do I have fantasies of being akin to the woman in skin tight, shiny black leather.
She is in a room, and there are police outside, and the police are getting ready to raid the decrepit building she is in. Agents show up.
The lead cop and the lead Agent exchange words, as the Agent wants him to pull people back and get them out, and to this request the cop says some stuff and then ends with…
“I think we can handle one little girl.”
To which the Agent responds “No, Lieutenant, your men are already dead.”
One Little Girl.
The correct view, then, is that I do not see myself as just a little girl, but rather as One Little Girl.
When the line is spoken, the Lieutenant, an older man, who using the reference as a sort of shorthand for saying “she’s lesser, she’s weak, she’s unimportant and not a threat”, does not know what he is dealing with.
He is acting from a position of ignorance and unenlightenment, thinking through things on the basis of what he has been taught and has observed, a strange conglomeration of belief and illusion and reality.
It is so strong, that even when in the presence of someone who has authority, he laughs off their warning. He denies the possibility of his being wrong because she is what he thinks she is, not what she actually is.
His men die.
That one little girl is, herself, trapped between the world that is enforced on her, and the truth, the reality she knows. This conflict exists at the heart of the very film itself — the struggle between what the world around you sees and shows you, what your own senses and feelings and ways of knowing the world around tell you and what is, in fact the reality of it all.
The hero of the piece, of course, must find this. It’s spoken of later in the film, when a teacher asks a student “do you think that’s air you are breathing?”
The reality (in the film) is that it is not. And that by reaching beyond the *apparent* reality to the greater truth and reality, you gain great powers.
But the one little girl has trouble with this. She cannot, wholly, reject the world around her. And it is a weakness that places her in danger — for Agent’s are not bound by the same rule, having a privilege, an expectation that is outside that world.
And so, rather than fight, she runs. By the end of the whole series, of course, she has overcome this to an even greater degree, but nevertheless lacks the inner strength to step entirely out of it and gain the powers that her boyfriend has gained as a result.
But she comes pretty damn close.
Now, it’s possible that I see some of these deeper things in the development of the character of Trinity because I personally find Keanu to be about as worthwhile watching as a wooden stick in a grass field.
It’s good as a reference point that lets you actually see the grass growing, but outside of that not much real value.
Since I’m the horrible sort that completely deconstructs the entire story premise of a film or show usually within the first 30 minutes in my head (I’ve learned not to do it around others), the value of the character played by Keanu is pretty negligible, and that means I can enjoy the deeper subtext of the rest of the film.
Now, on the other hand, put someone I do like in the role, and things get challenging (I’m only lately able to watch Matt Damon and the delicious Daniel Craig films without being lost in the actors, lol).
Not that there’s a lot for most people in a film like the Matrix, but that one line, and the things surrounding it, meant a great deal for me.
This is all rather boring for most. Trans folk do this sort of thing all the time.
At the time of release, however, I was not in transition. Indeed, technically, I was still in denial.
And all of that meaning and depth was still there for me. Indeed, I like the films more for that than the incredibly cool visuals that accompany it and are responsible for its success.
The pressure was mounting, of course. About the same time as the film was in theaters, I had just had a rather ugly incident with my ex, where she presumed that “Elle” was another woman with whom I was having an affair, having found the first thing I’d written openly and expressed regarding my being trans in at least 10 years.
Yes, it’s true. I was my own Other Woman. Which, if you track my habits prior to my marriage, has a really cute irony to it that fits well with an exchange from a recent Bond film:
“You aren’t my type.” Bond says. “Oh, too smart?” He’s asked. “No, single.”
(yes, I was a bad person as a guy. I say that, but not sure people really get that. Given how I feel about bad people, well, now you know why I say “past life”. That person is dead, and I’m rather happy about it.)
So I managed to get through that with an interesting chunk of deceptive actions and using her own denial of what was actually fairly plain and allowing it to become a case where she thought I was cheating on her. It was better, at that time, than the alternative.
But it didn’t exactly do me much good in terms of the actual issue, and so, when I began really diving into the online escapism I used about that time, I became a woman online.
And I used that description then.
One of the quirks to me, that is somewhat different froj many, is that I had the privilege of losing my male privilege long before I actually lost it, because there was nothing I did online that wasn’t as a woman. Indeed, I had some great issues with it early on, and there will be some problems associated with it in the future, but that’s how it goes. That’s what happens sometimes.
We make mistakes.
In any case, I started using one little girl way, way back then, and still use it today, as it’s kinda a part of me. It has a strong resonance in me, as one little girl is always easier to underestimate, and one tough chick is always easier to overestimate, and that gives me a sort of power, a form of privilege over those who would, otherwise, have privilege over me, as it allows me to use their own weaknesses against them.
In this case, it the weakness of not knowing enough about me, and yet they decide they want to act based on what they think about me already.
I am aware of it, just as Trinity was when the men surrounded her. And I usually feign some sort of surrender or allow them to feel as if their idiocy is justified and valid before, like she did, I demonstrate that the power of one little girl is never something to fuck with.
One little girl can change the world. You don’t need to be an adult, you don’t need to have power or authority or be of importance or be heard; the act itself of being one little girl who stands up for herself is all that’s needed.
One little girl. Singular, unimportant, nonthreatening, invisible in the greater scheme of things, and yet…
One little girl is hard to beat.
After all, it was one little girl who pointed out the emperor’s new clothes.