If no one is going to understand your story, is it worth all the bother to tell it?
As TBB feels more able to claim her own life after a decade and more of struggling to get it back, able to relax and follow her dreams of building and flying her own plane, she and I can recall the challenging twists and turns of her extraordinary life.
She’s been up and down and over and out and she knows one thing. Each time she found herself flat on her face, she picked herself up and got back in the race.
To TBB, that’s life. To me, that’s an amazing story, worthy of song. To her, though, she knows that people who haven’t been through what she has been through won’t understand the depths, the cost, and people who are facing the same things don’t want to hear her story unless she can give them a quick, easy shortcut.
Those blind spots are not just in straight people. Even transpeople don’t want to have to engage the idea that the only way out of hell is through, that you have to actually do the work rather than just whining about the world or looking for a shortcut.
The stories of the real price of the journey are not what they want to hear, not what they can engage. Anyone who is handicapped knows this process, where people just want to know that nothing is contagious and that we are OK now so they don’t have to engage our real struggle. We become nice symbols, not messy stories.
If no one is going to understand your story, then why bother trying to tell it?
If no one is going to understand your story, does it even really exist in the world?