Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.
Criticism, unfortunately, is a massive part of this world. I don’t mean to brag but I’ve received an awful lot of criticism during my time. Everyone undergoes scrutiny and judgement, even if they don’t know it. This scrutiny can be from family, friends, acquaintances, enemies and strangers. This is a fact that I have really struggled and continue to struggle to come to terms with. I think the hardest part about knowing yourself as well as I do is that other people don’t know you. People love to tell you what you are, what you were and what you’re going to be. How do we keep sane? We don’t listen. Honestly, I’m not good at this. Nothing annoys me more than people jumping to conclusions about things that they know nothing about. I’ve always resented it. Humans are assholes. We all are. We assume that we understand and know things better than other people when the truth is, and I sense you won’t be appeased by this, the only things that you can truly understand are what’s in your own head. Even if you know every detail of a situation you don’t understand people’s perspectives. You don’t understand people’s emotions and reactions to things. You don’t understand the different boundaries and limits that another person has even if that person is your own child.
At times I want to run from this criticism. I want to lock my apartment door and build a brick wall behind it. Knowing my luck, I would probably brick myself in with my roommates who would be annoyed at me for sentencing them to both starvation and my company in their final days. Actually, who am I fooling, I would get tired and bored after the first brick and abandon the project. It is difficult to process the fact that people draw conclusions about us. Often, we find ourselves (or at least I do) trying to explain our perspective or justify our choices. My advice is this: Save your breath darling. They won’t listen if they don’t want to and you can’t force them to. Ignore them. Or give out about them to yourself until you can ignore them. Keep going. Make your own decisions. Tell them to fuck off. Stick to your original intentions. Don’t listen to them. Don’t give them the time of day. Or if you can learn to pretend to be listening while actually blocking them out, then people will probably leave you alone a lot quicker (I’m still mastering this art). While they’re studying your life, you’ll be quietly succeeding and proving them wrong. I’ve just realised that this chapter very closely resembles the one entitled doubt. This is not good. My ramblings have gotten to the point where I have begun to repeat myself. But who cares? I cannot stress the above points enough.
We need to leave one another alone. We need to back off out of other people’s business. That’s going to be difficult in a world where tabloid magazines will buy unflattering stories and pictures of celebrities. But I have hope for a better world where we understand one another. A world where people like each others’ social media posts when they see them just because it’s a nice thing to do. A world where we don’t expect anything in return for being a nice person. A world where people share their stories and their situations and instead of scrutinising them, we say “okay” and go back to our own lives. In the last year I have been slowly learning to do this. To not study other people’s decisions or find faults in their logic. It is difficult. You are probably wondering what I have been doing with all of my extra time. I’ve been reading an awful lot. I’ve been improving myself and I’ve been dying my hair; a time-consuming, endless, extremely rewarding process. Try it. Not dying your hair. Try to focus on your own situation rather than other people’s. Try to listen to other people’s perspective in a non-judgemental manner. Stop drawing conclusions, even if you’re certain that they’re true. Just be a nice person, please. That’s all I ask.
Read more Who Cares? here.
Buy Who Cares? here.
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