What do those words mean to you?
As a part of your Hero’s Journey, you are going to have to access attributes and skills you’re not comfortable using. Those attributes may be what you think of as a masculine trait or a feminine trait (M/F). The more you resist those parts of yourself, the more likely you will have to use them to reach the reward of your Hero’s Journey. It’s not easy and it’ll probably hurt. That’s what makes it a Hero’s Journey and not a walk around the block.
Gender change as an adult is an obvious confrontation of the M/F attributes you’ve adopted throughout life. While that can be a Hero’s Journey for some, they are a tiny part of the population. All of us bring our own ideas of what it’s ok for a man to do and what it’s ok for a woman to do in nearly everything.
The easiest way to find these biases is to list your own “I can’t do —-” then look to see if you can’t do it because it’s not appropriate or even possible for your gender. Is it a man or a woman when you picture someone other then yourself?
I can’t be an elementary school teacher. You’ve been saying it’s because the pay is so poor (#REDFORED) but flip a few more pages, and you find you are afraid to do it because you think of it as a woman’s job. And not just a woman’s job, but a soft, sweet, patient woman. What would your buddies think?
I’ll never be able to be start a landscaping company. You’ve been telling yourself it’s because you don’t have the startup money for equipment, but dig down one more shovelful and you find the big rock that is it’s not ok for girls to get so dirty and sweaty every day. And can you boss around a bunch of men?
I can’t move to Costa Rica even though I’d love to. It’s so far away. It’s not my own country. It will cost a lot to come back to Ohio for holidays. Who will take care of Mom now that she’s getting so old? Not my brothers! They just turn and look at me: the daughter. Why is it always the daughter who has to be the nurse?
How are your beliefs of M/F stumbling you on your Hero’s Journey?
When I wrote Exploring the Magic of Your Hero’s Journey, I considered carefully my word choice. My goal is to have everyone think of a Hero’s Journey as a person’s journey, a human experience journey. My goal is to get the word hero to be gender neutral.
Breaking through gender roles has never been easy for either gender. It can be scary for the hero and for all of her allies: If you do that, how do I fit in? What does your change say about me?
Remember the fractal nature of the Hero’s Journey all along the many stages of the Journey. Your ultimate Ordeal may be someone else’s starting point, mentorship, or trial. Be kind to each other and really learn from the Journey.