There’s a scene in the very first Star Wars, where Obi-wan Kenobi and Darth Vader are in a stand off. Obi-wan is clearly the weaker of the two in this light saber battle. Really, he has no hope of winning, and he knows it. He faces Vader and in a calm voice says “If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” And this is exactly what happens. Darth Vader strikes him down, Obi-wan’s clothes fall to the floor in an empty heap. His body is gone but his power has just been unleashed to a whole new level.

This left quite an impression on me as a kid. And it very much feels like it has applied to my life many times over. It’s always those moment that have kicked me in the teeth the hardest that have ended up making me stronger, more resilient and ultimately a much better person for it.

I very much believe that it is actually what we ourselves perceive as our biggest weakness, that often ends up becoming the source of our greatest strength.

For me, that’s being trans.

If I had one wish, I’d wish that I was a cis male, but then I do often pause and think, who would I be? I very much doubt I would be the resilient, empathetic, thoughtful and nuanced human being I am today, had I been born a privileged, heteronormative, white dude.

It’s true that I would not wish gender dysphoria or being trans on anyone, as it certainly doesn’t make for an easy life. But it does make for an interesting one and can certainly be a very happy one.

It has also allowed me to create a business that’s more satisfying than I ever could have imagined. Being a dick maker was not exactly how I envisaged my future when asked as a kid “what do you want to be when you grow up?” But having always had a designer’s mind and being able to channel that into something that is very important to me, and being able to help many others live happier and more complete lives in the process, really is just awesome.

Life is certainly far from perfect and I still get kicked in the teeth from time to time. I still wish I wasn’t trans, but I do feel so much gratitude for how far I’ve come in my life.

So when you’re having bad days because maybe you just got rejected by a potential partner because you are trans, or because your gender dysphoria feels like it’s eating you alive, don’t despair. You can karate roll those negatives into positives. Allow the shitty moments to make you a better you. Yes, sometimes gender dysphoria can feel like a huge looming monster, overshadowing everything in your life, but there is so much truth in the saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” For me personally, whatever is happening in my life now, seems insignificant to the all encompassing shadow gender dysphoria used to cast over my life, and it makes everything else feel manageable by comparison.

You are more powerful than you think. You have more strength than you think, and as you go through life, allow it to make you a more powerful, resilient and better version of you.

And may the force be with you, always…