Friday, 9 October 2009

Happy Girl

While I was driving back from York yesterday I was listening to one of the three 'happy songs' CDs that I have in the car - these are mixes of cheerful music that I made to keep me up-beat while on journeys that are long because of distance or delay (I have an equivalent play-list I use on my phone's mp3 player for cycling up big hills).

One of the tracks is Happy Girl by Martina McBride which is fantastic to sing along to and just make yourself feel happier and cheerier. The lyrics do actually apply well to me and it got me thinking that, with everything I have been through over the past few years, I am still very much a happy girl and in fact always have been. I think I've mentioned this on the blog before but it's worth pointing out again.

There are times when I do feel low and there are certainly posts on the blog which sound like I may be upset, angry, bitter, and depressed. My inarticulate writings may not be able to convey my feelings properly and it's quite possible that I come across as more negative, insecure or down-right insane than I actually am. The reality is that I am a positive person. I'm also approachable, open, friendly, and not in the least bit scary or indimidating. In short, I'm just a nice, happy, normal person.

This line of thinking brought me to the idea of stereotypes: I'm constantly surprised and intrigued recently by people who don't conform to my built-in set of expected behaviours from certain groups. I started to come to the conclusion that I shouldn't be basing my amazement at contradications to stereotypes but instead should approach everyone who is interesting from an individual perspective. This seemed akin to the view of "Wen the Eternally Surprised" who is a character in the Terry Pratchett book Thief of Time.

For example, I passed a large, elegant car (something from maybe the 70s that gently suggested 'classic automobile' and hinted that the owner had this from new and had looked after it well) on the motorway driven by an aged, white-haired Indian gentleman, wearing I suit or similar smart attire, and also occupied by several elderly ladies who appeared to be knitting and gossiping. Obviously the contrasts in terms of culture and skin colour, all based on stereotypes, were striking but I think just as individuals all the occupants of that car, and the vehicle itself would be amazingly interesting in their own right.

It also made me consider that the stereotypes concerning transgendered people may also be the background against which those who have not personally encountered anyone of this nature before view my comments. I'm not sure what the general view may be, I'm obviously biased, but certainly for the available documentaries and news stories of 'ordinary' transexuals we could certainly be perceived as complex, pushy, emotional, sensitive, obsessive, glamourous (I wish!), unstable even. I think almost any group portrayed on TV actually comes across like this, which says more about that medium than about the people being viewed through it!

Being trans myself I take a different perspective which I think is the one that, after the initial coverage of the gender stuff, is more amazing: it's everything else about someone that makes them truly interesting. I certainly use to enjoy the friendly curiosity of others concerning my trans nature, it made me feel special in some way, but now I realise that that attention is fleeting and also there are things about me just as there are about others that are much more worthy of discussion.

There are many examples of the other interesting aspects in peoples lives I have friends who, as well as being trans also; have a model railway shop, can sing and play guitar (and publish videos of themselves doing this - they would say they aren't that good, I just think they are brave and that alone is amazing), work as escorts (this may tend to a bad stereotype of trans people but it's nevertheless interesting), have a job as a welder, are financial experts, run restaurants, work in IT ... actually that last one is generally accepted as quite common lol!

The point is, we are all normal human beings, not extreme in any real sense, friendly, approachable, and fascinating ... just like almost everyone else you are likely to meet in the world. So, lets all try and throw away our stereotypes and see that we are all individuals ("Yes, we are all individuals!" ... "I'm not"), and all amazing, intriguing, and fascinating in our own right. There is so much to learn and experience out there, lets concentrate on that.


GirlWhoShould said...

It has surprised me the number of cool trans and gender varient people I have encountered in person and online over the past year. There are assumptions made in the trans communities and outside which people should take time to see not all are true. Like the Springer esc transsexual as a sexual deceiver for a extreme example.
Btw you're never inarticulate.
Lucy x

Jess H said...

I love that Happy Girl track. I think it was actually a Beth Nielson Chapman creation originally.

Nice to hear a cover.