They called me “Stupid” as a nickname in my family from around the age of 7 to the age of 13 when the shrink they sent me to over gender dysphoria suggested that always calling me that might be a bad idea.
I was stupid because I spoke up too much, was too challenging, pointing out too much truth.
Wouldn’t it have been smart to say what other people wanted to hear? Isn’t that the way we get what we want in the world, telling people what they want to hear?
This is the way of the player, this willingness to use whatever words work to get us what we want. A player’s expression isn’t about integrity and honesty, it is about finding and using the emotional buttons of other people to make them like you, make them do what you want.
There is only one reason those tricks work: most people crave hearing what they believe they want to hear. They want to be swept away into a place where we might get what we have have learned to desire, get the special relationship we believe will save us.
You can’t cheat an honest man. You can only play a player, someone who believes that they have the smarts and skills and whatever to change someone else to our version of perfection, to have them pay out the way we want them to. The first person any liar learns to lie to is themself, convincing themselves of stories that they really want to believe.
It is our neediness which exposes us to players, our willingness to believe that there is a short cut, a way to avoid pain & discomfort, a way to make our imaginary dreams come true. We deceive ourselves because we desperately want to believe in fairy tales, even after we have learned time and time again that we live in a real world where choices always have consequences.
I knew how to be manipulative. I didn’t know how to be deceitful. Buying into fantasies was not something I wanted to do, as doubting and questioning were the foundation of any strength I had.
They were, of course, also part of my weakness, creating corporate shills who needed to destroy my credibility and silence me so they could continue to spin their tales, angering transpeople who needed their bubbles as defence and more.
Was I stupid not to buy into the dreams and promises of others? Was I stupid to not go along to get along? Was I stupid to challenge rather than to flatter?
Was I stupid not to be a player? Somehow, I still don’t think so.