Stop what you are doing for a moment. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and take yourself out of yourself. Imagine yourself as someone reading the story of your life. What makes a good story? Relatable characters who develop over the course of the narrative, interesting events that propel the plot of the story, and in the end we want a story that gives us hope for a happy ending.
Now, reading your own story, think about where you might be in the course of the epic story of you. It is an epic. It began with birth and childhood, took you to where you are today, and has set you on a course for the future. People read a story, in part, because they don’t know how it will end. They don’t generally like a predictable story. What is the point of reading a story if you already know how it ends? The best stories bring us back to read them again because the characters are so relatable and interesting and because the story itself is exciting and stirs emotions within the reader.
Is your life story the kind of story people would read over and over? Most people would say it isn’t. Many would say it isn’t worth reading at all. Who would read the shit story of my rotten life? Someone who has hope for a happy ending, that is who is reading your story.
Although we don’t usually like stories where we can easily predict everything that happens, we do tend to get upset when characters in a story we are reading, or a movie we are watching, do things that make us cringe or get otherwise upset. The most obvious example is watching a horror movie where people in a house are getting killed off one by one. We shout out for them to get out of the house because staying in a house where people are being killed off one by one is, to us, a stupid thing to do.
Now, transfer this to someone reading the story, or watching the movie of your life. Say you are in an unhappy marriage, you have not fully revealed to your spouse your gender identity, and you are miserable every day. We have members in this situation, and when reading their stories, some of us might be inclined to shout out, “Get out of the house!” In this case, the reader might have faced a similar crisis, “Do I come out to my spouse and risk rejection, divorce, and being shunned by people I consider my family?” Maybe they were able to resolve it, and it was a struggle, but for them, watching this movie where the protagonist struggles every day with depression because they are keeping a big secret from the people closest to them is a painful experience.
They want the protagonist to find a resolution that will bring some measure of peace because they identity with the struggle. They have been there, or somewhere similar, and so the character is very relatable and therefore they become more emotionally invested in the outcome of this character’s story.
Stories where someone faces a crisis and then presses a button and it all works out are really boring to read. Whenever you really face harsh times, consider that your story just got more interesting to read. Maybe you are about to come face to face with the big season ending cliffhanger on the television series about your life.
Practice thinking in these terms. It can be useful at times to look at yourself from the outside and looking at the story and imagining resolution to the conflicts in the story. We read mysteries and watch detective shows because we like to try to figure things out before they do. So, watch the current episode of your television show and see if you can figure out how to resolve the current conflict.
Next week we hope to bring you a somewhat different perspective from a different member from the Crossdresser Heaven and Transgender Heaven. Until then, keeping taking it one step at a time on the road you’ve had to travel as it hopefully takes you closer to the road you’d like to travel.
Your Weekly Reset is a collaborative effort of members of the editorial staff. It is not a substitute for professional counseling. If you believe you are in a crisis situation, please call our friends at Trans Lifeline, 877-565-8860 in the US and 877-330-6366.
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