With An Imperfect Life Comes Perfect Timing

With An Imperfect Life Comes Perfect Timing

Trust life's process.
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In no way, shape, or form is life perfect. In fact, it kind of sucks sometimes. We mess up, we take the wrong paths, we end up with the wrong people. As much as we would like to avoid the chaos, there is no denying that life doesn't always play out in our favor.

Or does it?

Think about it. Even on our worst days, things often come together in the most unrecognizable ways. Our minds may be flooded with pessimism and confusion, but there is almost always some positive outcome that we eventually come to realization with. It takes some time, though. It can be so difficult to overlook the negative aspects of our lives to appreciate what is going right; it's human nature. I give a lot of credit to the people who are always 'staying positive' and seemingly embracing the little misfortunes in their day-to-day lives. Though I have never been one of those, I admire their grit and optimism, because they must be doing something right that I am not. What exactly could that be? Why are these people always ahead of the game, in the sense that they just seem to know where, when, and how everything will miraculously come into place?

Personally, I think it is because they trust their instincts and know that in the big picture, it will all work out.

This is where the 'perfect timing' I speak of comes in. Life works itself out in the littlest of ways, whether we realize it or not. An example I always think back to is a time in which my schedule got cleared so that I could have more time to chip away at all the work piling up on my agenda. Although I was momentarily dealing with stress and anxiety, the cancellations and delays in due dates played out in my favor. I could think of several more examples, but you get the point.

I do not believe in the notion that we are always in the right place at the right time. If that were the case, then awful things wouldn't happen to people who don't deserve it in the least bit. I do, however, think that everything that has ever happened to us can be made into a lesson. Think about it; that time you found yourself in a time crunch with all of that homework and studying? Perhaps the stress you were under served as a warning to be more on top of your game. That time you let someone screw you over for the third time? Don't let it happen again. Instead, move on with your life (for the sake of your own sanity) and take all of the commotion for what it was. Focus on what life is trying to tell you with its timing, because there are very few 'coincidences'.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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No, I Don't Have To Tell You I'm Trans Before Dating You

Demanding trans people come out to potential partners is transphobic.
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In 2014, Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old Filipina woman, was brutally murdered after having sex with a U.S. marine. The marine in question, Joseph Scott Pemberton, strangled her until she was unconscious and then proceeded to drown her in a toilet bowl.

Understandably, this crime triggered a lot of outrage. But while some were outraged over the horrific nature of the crime, many others were outraged by a different detail in the story. That was because Jennifer Laude had done the unspeakable. She was a trans woman and had not disclosed that information before having sex with Pemberton. So in the minds of many cis people, her death was the price she paid for not disclosing her trans status. Here are some of the comments on CNN's Facebook page when the story broke.

As a trans person, I run into this attitude all the time. I constantly hear cis people raging about how a trans person is "lying" if they don't come out to a potential partner before dating them. Pemberton himself claimed that he felt like he was "raped" because Laude did not come out to him. Even cis people that fashion themselves as "allies" tend to feel similar.

Their argument is that they aren't not attracted to trans people, so they should have a right to know if a potential partner is trans before dating them. These people view transness as a mere physical quality that they just aren't attracted to.

The issue with this logic is that the person in question is obviously attracted to trans people, or else they wouldn't be worried about accidentally going out with one. So these people aren't attracted to trans people because of some physical quality, they aren't attracted to trans people because they are disgusted by the very idea of transness.

Disgust towards trans people is ingrained in all of us from a very early age. The gender binary forms the basis of European societies. It establishes that there are men and there are women, and each has a specific role. For the gender binary to have power, it has to be rigid and inflexible. Thus, from the day we are born, we are taught to believe in a very static and strict form of gender. We learn that if you have a penis, you are a man, and if you have a vagina, you are a woman. Trans people are walking refutations of this concept of gender. Our very existence threatens to undermine the gender binary itself. And for that, we are constantly demonized. For example, trans people, mainly women of color, continue to be slaughtered in droves for being trans.

The justification of transphobic oppression is often that transness is inherently disgusting. For example, the "trans panic" defense still exists to this day. This defense involves the defendant asking for a lesser sentence after killing a trans person because they contend that when they found out the victim was trans, they freaked out and couldn't control themselves. This defense is still legal in every state but California.

And our culture constantly reinforces the notion that transness is undesirable. For example, there is the common trope in fictional media in which a male protagonist is "tricked" into sleeping with a trans woman. The character's disgust after finding out is often used as a punchline.

Thus, not being attracted to trans people is deeply transphobic. The entire notion that someone isn't attracted to a group of very physically diverse group of people because they are trans is built on fear and disgust of trans people. None of this means it is transphobic to not be attracted to individual trans people. Nor is it transphobic to not be attracted to specific genitals. But it is transphobic to claim to not be attracted to all trans, people. For example, there is a difference between saying you won't go out with someone for having a penis and saying you won't go out with someone because they're trans.

So when a cis person argues that a trans person has an obligation to come out to someone before dating them, they are saying trans people have an obligation to accommodate their transphobia. Plus, claiming that trans people are obligated to come out reinforces the idea that not being attracted to trans people is reasonable. But as I've pointed out, not being attracted to trans people supports the idea that transness is disgusting which is the basis for transphobic oppression.

The one scenario in which I would say a trans person should disclose their trans status is if they are going to have sex with someone and are unsure if their partner is attracted to whatever genitals they may have. In that case, I think it's courteous for a trans person to come out to avoid any awkwardness during sex. But even then, a trans person isn't "lying" if they don't come out and their partner is certainly not being "raped."

It is easy to look at the story of Jennifer Laude and claim that her death was due to the actions of one bigot. But it's more complicated than that. Pemberton was the product of a society that told him that disgust towards trans people was reasonable and natural. So when he found out that he accidentally slept with a trans woman, he killed her.

Every single cis person that says that trans people have to come out because they aren't attracted to trans people feeds into the system that caused Jennifer Laude's death. And until those cis people acknowledge their complicity in that system, there will only be more like Jennifer Laude.

SEE ALSO: Yes, You Absolutely Need To Tell Someone You're Trans Before Dating

Cover Image Credit: Nats Getty / Instagram

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A Truly Special Election

How I learned to care again.

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As I am writing this, it is August 7th, 2018. I live in Lewis Center, Ohio, where a special election is occurring to replace the seat of Republican Pat Tiberi, who decided to leave his elected position as a form of protest against Trump, Congress, and the failure of the federal government, in his opinion, to accomplish anything. According to the New Yorker, "The 12th District covers all of Delaware, Licking, and Morrow counties, along with parts of Franklin, Marion, Muskingum, and Richland counties."

I have seen people around me grow angry at this election. Angry at the evil other party, angry at their inability to choose or even care about who to vote for. Because of this, I sat down today to write a scathing piece about all of the problems with politics today. From the media that refers to the place I live like its a foreign nation to the people reeking havoc on social media, spreading lies and hateful speech, villanizing their neighbors, or threatening to damage a high school in my district. However, I no longer want to write about all that is wrong in this situation.

Lately, I have been disinterested in politics. I have grown tired after months of news that promises that every day is the end of the world. As someone who used to be so interested in politics and this country in general, there were so many reasons to grow apathetic. However, watching this story unfold as both a resident and in some ways an objective observer, I found that the disinterest came from the way politics in portrayed. Politics and the government is something that is yelled about in the media. It occurs on a hill very far away from you.

It took this national news story in my town to even realize that this is the beauty of our country. Even in the midst of government officials literally quitting their jobs, it highlights the fact that small places in flyover states can make a difference and have an impact on the nation.

It truly has been interesting, to say the least, to live in the center of national news. As what I would term a Kasich county, or a Republican county that had many write-ins and libertarian and other third party votes in the election, it will be very interesting to see how the vote turns out.

And I'm finally learning to care again about the result.

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