Much of my life’s work for the past two decades has been devoted to the study of mythologies, archetypes, and the hero’s journey. While it is impossible for me to summarize all that means here, I will say that the heroic path requires that we heed the call to adventure.
What does that mean? The call to adventure is that which asks us to deviate from what is easy. What is easy is doing what you are told, what is expected of you, and not questioning it as you muddle along through life. This sort of thing was never fulfilling to me, and after a major turning point in my life in 1994, I began to not only question but to reject the idea completely. As such, your heroism can come from many places. There is no doubt in my mind that our members are part of a heroic group of people who challenge gender norms and stereotypes.
One of the reasons why mythologies endure is because they provide archetypes, which are examples from which you can draw inspiration and strength. Be it someone who faced similar challenges, who shared traits with us, or who we identified with for whatever reason.
Often it can be difficult, or too abstract, to turn to mythological figures and heroes of the distant past and relate to them as archetypes in a modern context. While these archetypes have evolved over time, taking into account the evolution of civilization, they remain much the same. It becomes easier to find more modern, more relatable figures from modern mythology. What is modern mythology? You can find it in pop culture, in the entertainment media, as well as in books and stories.
Some heroes are extremely obvious. Their abilities and near invincibility recall the heroes of ancient mythology. Others may be less obvious, their heroic deeds overlooked by many as something less that heroic. Does a hero have to kill the enemies, save the city, or rescue people from burning buildings? Those are the obvious heroes. But a character who faces agoraphobia, living in terror, but eventually takes the step of going outside, that is a heroic journey. The value of the journey is not decided by external forces, it is determined internally.
There are some people for whom going out dressed in their female clothing is absolutely terrifying. For others, it may seem absurd for someone to be so petrified of how they would be perceived that they would experience that kind of terror. The journey from one’s living room to the curb in the fabulous outfit you just got can be incredibly heroic.
Transgender heroes and heroines are somewhat limited, but they are out there. One I’m fond of is Nomi from the Netflix show “Sense 8.” A heroic trans character, where her gender identity is not the central issue is rare, but Nomi is one such example. The heroine that inspires you does not have to be transgender, or to have any gender issues whatsoever. The nature of the struggle is what is important. Who is a strong female character you draw inspiration from?
Years ago, strong women were rare in television and film, and if they were strong it usually meant they had wicked intentions. Even those that were strong would maintain female gender stereotypes. These days there is a plethora of strong female characters who struggle with rejection, because they don’t conform to someone’s idea of what a woman is supposed to be.
A character like Brienne of Tarth from Game of Thrones, who rejects gender norms and deals with a great deal of mockery, can be an inspirational figure. It is something in which you can identify with as a member of this site. Combined with her strength and sense of honor, you can see an archetype emerge that can have power within our community.
It is all about what and who you identify with. Which characters face and overcome odds that feel familiar to you? Which deal with things in a way in which you can relate? Whose struggle in a fictional story evokes strong emotions in you? In movies and on TV, they are not real people, even if they are portraying a historical or modern day figure, they are still actors.
Those strong emotions we feel when immersed in a story in a book or on the screen come as a result of identification. You may identify with the character, with the situation, or both. The struggle might not be the same as ours, but we can identify with it.
So many here on Crossdresser Heaven struggle. Whether it is with acceptance, confidence, or any of the many things we struggle with, the archetypes we identify with are both inspirations and models. Not because we want to be exactly like them, but because we identify with their struggle, and when they overcome the odds it reminds us that we can as well. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not today, but that inspiration settles into our subconscious and stays with us.
And it reminds us that our most self-defeating thought, the one that tells us ‘we are the only one who feels what we feel,’ is never really true.
You are the heroine of your story. The road you take is defined by you. Inspiration is what fuels the journey.