A time to listen and a time to talk. 

In my studies I learned that in any good conversation there is a time to listen, a time to talk, a time to think, and a time to act.  Complications can come into play when one is emotionally charged in the situation.  Yesterday was one of those days for me that moved into an emotionally fueled rant on Facebook.   Was I right in my thinking… I think I was but in the process of such a post, fairness may seem irrelevant to the bigger picture and with it the possibility that another may think I’m judging.   Today, I’m going to talk about this post and I’m going to set straight some of the comments I made.   I’ll save you the hassle of looking for it as I’ll post it here before I begin.  

“There is this idea in my head and I wish I had a way to express it but alas I’m with few words at this point. This feeling is not for any other reason than a post I seen on my friend Carla’s wall.  

41% of transgender people attempt suicide…. 41% and as she stated, this number is skewed by the fact that it was taken by the ones of us who survived. How high would this number be if we could ask the rest? I’ll bet much higher yet when the topic of transgender people come up, this number is minimized as some magical number that was pulled from the sky.    

Everyday I’m on social media and I see all the comments. Some mundane yet mean to the down right ruthless. I hear from others about comments they have seen. It’s disturbing and down right crazy that people actually say these things. They look at the computer monitor or screen of their smart phone and can remove themselves from the fact that these are people.   

This disconnect has given way to brazen keyboard warriors who have nothing better to do then “have fun” harassing others. Well I’m here to tell you that there is more to this. There is more than some trolling comments to rouse the others. There are people behind the other screen. They see your hate and find themselves feeling hopeless…. Lost…. Depressed. This is more than a number. This is lives in the balance and somehow we all need to find the love and come together as a country.   

41% people. And as you think of that number, look at the argument being passed to our wonderful bathroomgate… If it saves one person it is worth it… So why is it not acceptable to save us? Why is this acceptable in 2016? It should not be.   

Transgender people wanting to kill themselves to prove a point. To be martyrs in the fight to be equal… No person should ever have to feel this way ever. While some of society thinks we should change for the sake of few people with an axe to grind, I’m going to stand here and say that they need to change. If we are less than 1% of the population…. Why is so difficult to accept and move on?   

41%+ is an atrocity to “society”. It’s time to start this conversation. It’s time for us to talk about the reality of this and considering I’m part of that “41%” with 4 failed suicides I’m going to speak. I failed die when i had no voice and now that I’m finally living…. Your damn sure going to listen what I and every other transgender person has to say…. even if you don’t like the sound.”

So obviously I went off the rails here a bit on the rate of suicide for people like me and to be honest, I tried my best to not pull punches on any one person.   I also will not explain my reasons for what triggered me for the fact that it’s my own situation to deal with.  Don’t worry, I’m safe… but not all of us are.   Before I posted this rant I was talking with a friend Alli and we spoke about how lucky we were about our acceptance level in our lives.  

Alli and I have a few things in common.  We methodically planned what was happening.   We carefully played card after card to get where we are.   We also have made great strides to be accepted as we are by most all family, friends, and co workers yet are we really lucky… Or just smart?

When I finally came to terms with myself, it was years before I made any large changes.    I plotted who would be told, when, and how.    Fist it was a few close friends (Tim and Eric).  I surprised them and even with shock, they didn’t care.   This built me up a bit to come out to a class eventually leading me to family. 

I know who my family works.   So on the dark, rainy night I spoke to my mom, then my sister and brother (in law).   I had so many fears of my dad and how I would be a disappointment to him.   I mean how do you tell a man who’s pride in his son and grandkids that he didn’t actually have a son.   My mom and sister handled that.   I’m glad to, because I don’t know where I would be if I did.   

From there, I went on to continuing a slow exposure with coworkers at Kmart, and Lowes.   I found acceptance this way as no one had a sudden jolt of “here I am!”    I didn’t even post a lot of picture because of my parents to somehow shelter them from my progression.   I asked my mom if I could wear my nail polish to their house because I was sick of taking it off every day.      Eventually, I changed my name on Facebook to its current (and final) place.   No big post, just change and wait.   People noticed…. Quickly.   I will always remember sending a message to my friend Jen and her response was an epic… “YOU CHANGED YOUR NAME!!!”    This was the start of my support.   Eventually things moved on and became easier as the days moved on.   I learned makeup from Kellie and took it to my own style.    I made steady progress only because I knew when to listen, and knew when to talk.     

It was 5 years in the making and the only thing that pulled me out of my funk and depression was the people around me.   I was no longer ashamed of being a transgender girl and realized with out thinking… I was just a girl.   Now this acceptance hasn’t just been from certain people, but a mass of people spanning backgrounds from my shooting friends to religious friends.   They have all come to me and shown a support in my journey that I think only a few can match.   Maybe it was my approach, but whatever it was worked.  

So as you read my rant and think about what I said, remember this: 

I am supported by devoutly religious people, atheists, friends, family, coworkers, kids, and everyone in between.   So as my rant went online I could have boiled it down to a few sentences.   

Having the right people in our lives is what saves us and those people are not from the same place.   They are around this country and world with backgrounds from welding to education.  Big bearded men to soft feminine women.   Gay or  trans to cisstraight people.   It’s about love of another, even if you don’t understand why.   It’s sometimes about listening instead of talking.  Its about living, and having the support to do so.   Hate is a 4 letter word that is bad for us all and will become the dagger that stabs the heart of all American people.  

Live life, laugh often, and be true to yourself.  Society may be a few steps behind but they are trying.   

Image above is a screen shot of my friend Erin from high school days, complimenting me (and my attempts at learning how to take them) and my friend Nick… Who managed to win the Internet with his reply.  Both based off of a before and after I posted and will post below.  Showing that love and laughs are saving lives.  
Spread the love and spread the laughs.  It’s makes life so much better for us all.  

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