I bought a t-shirt in Las Vegas because I thought it was amusing. It said "Bad Bitch" on the front of it. I smiled when I saw it and for whatever reason I decided to buy it.
I have plenty of courage, more than most I think. You don't live a transgender existence in a society that wants to erase you, torment you, or kill you without a significant amount of courage.
Why did I buy this shirt? It doesn't fit me. Not only is it two sizes too large but it also doesn't fit my personality. Anybody who knows me knows how quiet and shy I am. I'm probably the last person in the world who should be wearing this shirt. For me this is a wish more than a statement of fact. I wish I was a bad bitch. I wish I had the confidence to be bold and daring. Not courageous; I have plenty of courage, more than most I think. You don't live a transgender existence in a society that wants to erase you, torment you, or kill you without a significant amount of courage. But confidence? Not a drop.
As I walked through the casino wearing the shirt some people smiled at it as though they didn't believe it either. Was it all over my face, the clash of personalities, or was it just my imagination? Perhaps it was just my own paranoia.
I've struggled with self esteem and other mental health issues for as long as I can remember. I don't know what it stems from, its seeds and roots, childhood trauma I suppose. I'm not a psychologist. But I hate it, the lack of confidence, the shyness, the anxiety. It's not cute nor fun to live with, especially as an advocate, but live with it I do and have for most of my life. It's a burden with great consequence, believe me.
Before I walked out of the hotel I ran into Michelle Lopez. Believe me when I say that she should be wearing this shirt. She came up to me and hugged me and said to my companion and me, "This is a badass woman!!" I felt shocked, I almost couldn't believe that someone would say that about me, but it felt so good to hear. It really struck me how you never know who's watching you, who you're impacting, whose life you touch. Her words also struck me because she made me realize that my view of myself is in my head alone, perhaps other people don't see me as I see myself. This realization felt very comforting and empowering for me.
But a Bad Bitch? I'll admit that I've done a few things and have had some accomplishments: I started a state chapter of The Positive Women's Network USA and I blog for organizations like The Well Project and WebMD; I battle fear and anxiety, depression and suicidal ideations every day; I've survived an abusive relationship and a divorce. But I still don't feel like a Bad Bitch.
Now politicians are trying to erase me and my community from existence so we can't live freely in our truth without breaking the law. My mere existence is becoming criminalized. I don't know about a Bad Bitch but I'm sure as hell one Mad Bitch. I damn sure better become a Bad Bitch fast. I need to draw inspiration from all the badass women I know - I'm blessed to know so man and be a quick student. I won't be erased without a fight!! It's not easy to change your lifelong mindset but sometimes survival necessitates a fast evolution or perish with the past. I don't have much choice.
So after today, I'm going to start wearing that shirt with pride, and it's going to be my mantra, my reminder of who I'm called to be in this moment of my life. They thought they made me a sad bitch, but they made a mad bitch, and now, here comes the Fucking Bad Bitch!!
Let em have it Katie. You are right, sometimes we don't know our own impact until it's reflected back at us. I think you're dope and fierce!
You are an inspiration, Katie. I love you