If you chase it, eventually you will catch it. Just keep going after what you want and in the end, you will be quick enough, skilled enough, good enough, assimilated enough to grab it.
That’s the lesson most want to sell in the world. You can get it if you really want it, but you must try, try and try, until you succeed at last.
The truth for the marginalized, though, is that just working harder doesn’t always work. Often we just can never become the person that others want, no matter how hard we try to squeeze into fitting their expectations.
Something about us just will always not be enough or will be too much to let them give us the chance to prove ourselves.
Once we have learned that, then we know that trying harder is all cost without payoff, all risk without any real chance of reward.
Instead, we learn to attenuate, to make our dreams and expectations smaller, to husband whatever we have to try and make it last. We live in the expectation of scarcity, which commands our mind.
Motivation gets hard once you believe that loss is inevitable, that success is impossible. What is worth fighting for? Why take a chance that seems to have less possibility of success than a PowerBall ticket?
“All you need is a dollar and a dream,” used to be the strapline for the state lottery. Of course, after the draw, the dollar will be gone and then you have to decide about the dream; how long do you hold onto it?
If you are putting that dollar down for the dream of a bit of luxury in your life, something that you would like, something that would be pleasurable, then the dream can stay a dream.
If you are putting that dollar down for the dream of something that you desperately need in your life, something that is missing and is hurting you by its loss, the next payment you need, medicine or caring, well, then not getting it makes the dream go sour quickly.
Desperation is never a good strategy to get what you need. Banks only lend money to people who don’t really need it, the old saw goes. Once you are in desperate straits, well, it is very hard to get what you need from that place.
People don’t want to be pushed from their beliefs and fears; pushing just makes them tighten up even more. They might be seduced, but they are seduced because they see power and grace, something attractive to them, something not marginalized, abject or desperate.
This is the struggle of the marginalized. Once you are pushed to the margins you no longer have the status and standing that can easily get you back into the mainstream. Your needs become desperate and that very desperation pushes what you need away from you rather than drawing it towards you.
Chasing harder for something that is always being pushed away from you is, in the end, a futile and wasting effort. This is the premise of so many “law of attraction” workshops; you have to become more attractive rather than becoming more controlling and driven.
Being the best you that you can be, comfortable in your own skin, is usually the best way to be attractive to others. Staying in that place, though, without the affirmation of those who see your power and with the everyday wearing irritations that the marginalized survive, well, that is a challenge. That daily grind, well, it can just make you desperate, struggling, and that just shows.
When I walk into a room, I know that the best thing I can have is an attitude of calm confidence, approaching every situation with assurance and equanimity.
That’s not the feeling I have inside, though, not after struggling through a minefield alone. I’m a damn sweaty mess. While I might be able put on a show, my journey has taught me the ultimate power of honesty, that trying to show people what they want just to seduce them is corrupting and destructive, leaving you believing that who you are on the inside is broken and unworthy. That’s a road to compartmentalization and stuffing your feelings, which comes with a very high cost.
Chasing too hard for what I think I want means that I have to disconnect myself from what I really feel in order to manipulate other people. I need to be present for both them and for myself, finding a kind of truth we can share. When we don’t have the same archetypes of what normative is, though, those bridges become hard to build.
Confidence is important, sure, trusting that if you show what you got people can’t help but be impressed, can’t help but be charmed, and will be happy to take a chance on you.
For transpeople, though, who have had to claim what they are beyond boundaries, had to learn to live without great mirrors and support systems, well, that is far from a given.
Inspired by Job Hunting While Trans by Dina Nina Martinez