Just A Hammer

Sometimes, “Fuck You!” is not the best answer.

ShamanGal is in a better place than she was six months ago.   She is valued at work — she was out of work two years after transitioning — has made girlfriends there, and has really rebuilt her relationship with her mother.

“Maybe all those quotes my father taught me about balance and harmony bringing happiness weren’t as stupid as I thought they were,” she laughs.  “Maybe discipline really does bring rewards, freedom and happiness.”

“So what was your mantra before, through most of your life?”

She doesn’t have to think very long.  “Fuck You!”  she offers.

“And if I had told you that ‘Fuck You!’ wasn’t always the best answer in life, what would you have told me?” I ask.

“Fuck You!” she chuckles.

Yup.   It’s so easy for transpeople — for anyone, really — to take a negative, counter argument to life.   We see all the crocks and flaws in everyday life, see how it demands discipline and assimilation, and see how all the bloody sheep just follow along without thinking.

We reject that conventional life and all that comes with it, boldly flashing our middle finger to demand that the world get off of it and do things our way.

The problem is, though, that we have no idea what our way actually is.   We haven’t done that work to construct a functional and positive notion of family and community, all we know is that it isn’t damn working for us, so “Fuck You.”

“I know a transwoman who is about 6′ 5″,”  I told ShamanGal.  “She had a big plan for transition, facial feminization surgery, genital reconstruction and all that, because she knew she had to pass.   But after she got all that, you know what happened?”

“She was still 6′ 5″?” SG says.

“Yup.” I agree.  “She felt like a failure, was so hurt and angry that she was just furious at the world.   She said “Fuck You!” and demanded that society change around her, rejecting assimilation and convention.

“Now what would she say if I suggested that “Fuck You!” wasn’t always the best answer?”

SG knew this answer.   After all, her classmates at university had decided that she knew how to keep her middle finger flying more than anyone else in the class.

“Fuck You!” SG replied.

“Right.  When the only answer you have is “Fuck You,” the only answer you have is “Fuck You!””   When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

The path of growth is always deconstruction then reconstruction, death then rebirth.  But if we never let go of the explosion, we never make it to the new world.   It always seems like the new world escapes us, even as we don’t understand how saying “Fuck You!” to everything just pushes everything away.

Even when people try to offer us their hard won knowledge that was created from reconstructing a life, “Fuck You!” keeps us down.

There will always be a “Fuck You!” component to transgender expression, a need to reject the unconscious assimilation and get out from under the expectations and assumptions that we carry.  We need to deconstruct our world, throw a few bombs, become the Shiva in our own lives and maybe in the world.

But we also need to respect and maybe be the Brahma and the Vishnu, the creator and the protector.   We need to build new, or at least respect those who do.

We need to understand that “Fuck You!” isn’t always the best answer.

And if “Fuck You!” is your only answer, or even just your go to answer, that truth is hard to embrace.