I recently finished reading “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson, and I have to say, if you can get past the excessive expletives in the first chapter, it is actually a darn good book.

One of my biggest take aways was what he has to say about personal responsibility, which I think is highly relevant to anyone living with gender dysphoria. Though really, it’s just as relevant to any challenging aspects of one’s life.

Let me explain. First, it is important to clarify that taking responsibility does not equate to saying “it’s my fault”. Basically, the “in a nut shell” version is this; It may not be your fault that (insert crappy thing that you have to live with, whatever it may be) but it IS your responsibility as to how you live with that.

It is not my fault that I was born with gender dysphoria, but it is up to me as to what I do with that and how I live with it. For the majority of my life, I wasn’t doing that very well. I basically just tried to ignore it as best I could and would find myself quietly seething with rage when people dropped comments like “It’s so important to be yourself”.

These days, six years post transition, I feel like I’ve karate rolled this negative into quite the positive. These days it does feel like what I perceived to be my greatest weakness ended up becoming one of my greatest sources of strength and I really do love bringing people ha-penis and other awesome penis puns.

I also find it incredibly inspirational when I see others do their own version of the karate roll. Be it Hugh Herr, who lost both his legs to frost bite and has since pioneered the field of bionic limbs, Malala Yousafzai who was shot in the face for speaking out against the Taliban and is now an amazing advocate for education for girls or Zac Anner who lives with cerebral palsy and whose hilarious YouTube channel really is a fabulous and refreshing form of advocacy.

That’s just off the top of my head. There’s a plethora of amazing humans out there who are karate rolling their biggest challenges into a positive force. This can be in big and little ways.

Every day we get to choose how we are going to live this life and deal with its challenges. By taking responsibility for that, we have a much better chance of living it well.