If you’re afraid of everything out there, you quit going out there
~ Jesse Eisenberg
There we were… my new friend Lex and me—both brand new to the South Carolina Upstate—meeting at a Target parking lot a couple miles from a night club venue that Lex had attempted to check out a couple weekends previously. He never made it that first night. The area looked an automotive industrial park. There was a high fence with a small gate to traverse. The place looked abandoned… and foreboding. It was no wonder that Lex had decided not to explore the venue on his own. With strength in numbers, we returned to the same industrial park, the same gravel road, the same high fence with the tiny pass-thru gate, an expansive and dark gravel lot, and a dark door with no lights or people.
Either of us would have been too timid to venture out on our own. We are both transplants from the north. We are both people of TG pride. We are both worried about what could, and has, happened to people of ‘our kind’. But, together, we were stronger. Not because we were now a pack of TG people (a gaggle? A flock? A pride… like lions!), but because we could rely on each other to fan the bravery that each of us has inside. And that’s all we needed to protect each other from the unknown.
Once we were inside, all fear fell away with the realization that we had not stumbled into a Klan meeting or an ex-con biker rally. It was a club. A quiet, empty club… because we arrived way earlier than most club rats (10pm… yes, we are old-er…). But, by 11:30, the place was hopping and thrumming with the reckless abandon that good house music and flowing spirits provides. People of all ages, orientations, races, beliefs, and backgrounds joined together because they all have the same carefree love for having a good time. I was probably the only crossdresser there that night, but that didn’t stop me from sliding out to the dance floor (pulling Lex along with me) when it was still empty and waiting for sashaying heels to keep time with the music. I had gone to the club dance—and by the ghost of Jean Luc Picard, I intended to ‘make it so’. So, there we were—young and old(er), men and women, straight and gay and fluid—just out having an awesome time in the same space listening to the same house beats spinning from the DJ.
So, what have we learned? First, it’s always more fun to go to the club with other like-minded friends. Next, never fear that you’re not brave enough to do something new. Friends don’t make you any braver, they just make sure than you are brave enough to show it. We learned a lot about each other’s lives, reveled in the conquering of our irrational and silly fears of this scary gravel-surfaced industrial park-turned-night club, and I learned that my fear of what ‘could’ happen out in the big world to a person like me (although a real concern) is a parasitic feeling that burrows in like a tick and festers until it rears its ugly head in the most unglamorous and pathetic ways.
Fear is an instinctive thing, designed to keep us safe from bodily harm. The problem is that are “evolved” brains are great at manufacturing and processing so much data and computing through so many permutations of scenarios that could put us in harm’s way, that my brains sometimes causes the fear to rise to the top and keep up from doing anything at all. It only took me a few weeks in a new location to succumb to the worry and trepidation of the fearful “what ifs”. It only took two trips to the post office, a stop for gas at an Exxon station, and a friend named Lex and our trip to an awesome and accepting night club to stamp down that fearful fire to embers again. The problem with embers is that they are still hot and could flare up again. Be sure to get out into the world—be calm, be smart, be confident—so that the fear that paralyzes you is not insurmountable. The only thing to fear is fear itself!