On fairness

I’m probably on the autistic spectrum. My social skills have always been awkward, and I’ve had to take classes and put conscious effort into bringing them up to snuff. And even after all that, I’m still not quite right. It’s not fair.

I’m transgender. My teen years were horribly confusing as I tried to hold down my desires lest I be discovered and ostracized even more than I was for my inept, probably-Aspie social skills. It wasn’t fair.

I enjoy BDSM and playing in a variety of off-beat fetishes, which are often looked down on and misunderstood by both vanilla and kinky folks. It’s not fair that I’m prejudged and discriminated against.

I’m an introvert. Even when I’m not struggling with my weird interests, it’s draining meeting new people and being in social situations. It’s not fair that it doesn’t come easy like it does for extraverts.

I’m afflicted with mental illness. I have to monitor my stimulation levels (including music, noises like dogs barking) and take testosterone every day (a drug that conflicts with my sense of gender) to stay on an even keel. It’s not fair.

Some people aren’t as good at math as me. They struggle to balance checkbooks, and get raked over financially by banks and businesses that take advantage of them. It’s not fair.

Many have less strength and endurance than I, and are unable to do the athletic things I do. They will have to work harder to gain those if they want to do the things I do, and it’s not fair to them.

There are those who are born with damaged bodies, or who are injured along the way. They either can’t do certain things, or must do them differently, or are limited in what they can do. How unfair!

Some were born poor, and didn’t have the middle-class luxuries my family had. It’s not fair they didn’t always have full bellies, and had to make due with a few worn-out hand-me-down clothes and improvised toys.

Those with diabetes have to avoid sugary snacks, and prick their fingers frequently to check blood sugar levels. That has to be followed up with insulin shots when necessary. It’s not fair.

Those with gluten allergies miss out on lots of tasty wheat-based foods, and those with lactose intolerance lose on dairy. How cruel is that?

There are those who are perfectly ordinary, vanilla, cisgender hetero individuals who found it easy to conform and never had to think about their identity. They’re a perfect mark for corporate America’s advertising, and they don’t even know it—how unfair.

There are those who were neglected or abused, had overly strict parents, were indoctrinated with nutty religious beliefs, went to crappy schools or had teachers that didn’t care, were molested, had allergies, got infections easily, were intersex of some variation, had more chores as a kid, or had tougher jobs as an adult. And none of it was fair.

If we stop looking at ourselves and feeling sorry that we’ve had it sucky, and instead look at the bigger picture… almost everyone had something that happened to them that wasn’t fair. Perhaps some had more, some had less; some had lots of little slights, others had a few big ones. Individually, it was unfair that we were afflicted with problems that the others didn’t have to confront. But when considering that everyone had some kind of cross to bear, I find the idea that anyone was personally saddled with some kind of unfairness dissolves.

Yes, it sucks that that thing happened to you. But something bad or unfair happened to everyone. And trying to make a score out of it isn’t helpful either, as trying to rank our injuries keeps us mired in experiencing them.

The difference I see is how we react to it.

Some try to pretend things never happened, and avoid thinking about what happened to them. Others overcompensate. Some accept that shit happened, and move on. A few wear their damage like a badge of pride, symbols of the things they’ve survived. Two sad outcomes stand out: first, those who are angry and end up stuck for years trying to pin the blame on society or some individual. Second, those who give in to the unfairness, give up, declare they are unable to function. They stop trying, and look for someone to whom they can hand their reins.

Though there may have been pain and frustration involved, adversity and challenge isn’t all bad. I have knowledge of gender that cisgender people don’t. Introversion meant I spent a lot of time with computers growing up, and I have awesome tech skills now. Continuous improvement (and overcompensation) in communication skills means that’s now a positive for me. Because I’ve learned social skills “by the book,” I can sometimes be a good mediator. All of that, along with some other skills I’ve learned, combine to allow me to manage my emotional well-being. Not perfectly, and perhaps it’s not fair that I have to. But fair or not, I need to deal with it, or it creates troubles.

The things we have to overcome make us develop strength and abilities we would not otherwise have.

Whatever shit happened to you… I’m saddened it occurred. Maybe it shouldn’t have happened… but it did. Just like shit that happened to me, stuff that will happen to me. Most of this stuff we need to deal with personally, but if I need a hand, I’ll ask; ask, and I’ll provide what help I can.

But I can’t do it for you and I can’t take it away. There is no quick cure. It’s all stuff we have to slog through, ill-equipped and unprepared as we are. And annoying as it is, in the long run it makes you stronger, wiser.

I think it’s the thing often called “life.”