Fall is here at last and it’s late to say the least. Leaves are changing colors and falling to the ground post haste in an effort to catch up with all the weather confusion. From 70’s to snow in 2 weeks or so. With this change of season we all can also find a change in ourselves.

I have always had a fear of change and a want to avoid anything that could change the status quo. I became what I was always told I should be. I couldn’t change even the smallest details. Everything had to stay exactly the same.

In the middle of the year I had a job change and for the first time ever I wasn’t scared. I embraced that I had a degree to show and a willingness to learn. While earning my degree however I knew there was one demographic I never imagined working with… Children. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to as much as it was my not thinking I had an ability to connect or help. Dealing in this arena there is a host of challenges that I never expected to face.

Sure, runny noses and reminding them to cough into their arm are just a fraction of their lives. In my position I don’t just act an adult to follow them but I have to become a part of the whole dynamic. I have to integrate into their lives to continue helping them without disruption.

This is all change that I endured along with the obvious but a larger change I didn’t see coming was no longer having my past. I’m no longer that trans girl at Lowes and I am now viewed as Ms. Ali the TSS (aside from a few people who found out at least). I certainly have not forgot the past but it’s nice to not have that everyday. Being trans isn’t all of me… it was just a small part and I take solace in the fact that my clients may never know that I am a transgender woman helping them navigate a portion of their life, but I will. I can hold on to the fact that I’m doing my best to help a child enjoy a better tomorrow. I’m working for them to no longer need me.

Another interesting change recently is I accepted an invitation to speak at a church for the Transgender Day of remembrance. Yes… a church. It been years since I have cross the sill of those doors and I’ll admit I’m a bit nervous but I will be writing a short speech and working on my best strong face to make it through.

This day and age I just keep reminding myself with Michael Jackson singing “man in the mirror”.

“If you want to make the world a better place just look at yourself and make that change. “


Dear me….

I think today requires me to take you all on a journey.  A trip that started from a video my friend Erin posted a year ago to my Timeline.   I’ve found myself more than once pondering about what would life be if this or that.  I’ve wondered if transition the way I did it was right and I’ve pondered where I would be if I started 5…. 10….. even 15 years ago.  As much as I ponder this I’m always pulled back to the reality that I am who I am not just for what I’ve done, but everything that has ever affected my life.  From the loss of some friends to the gaining of others everyone had a roll to play.  Giving the due credit to where I’m at I decided today I’m going to write letters to the younger me.   Not just one letter, but many that address different points in my life.  

Dear 5 year old me:

I know you’re confused, conflicted, and stressed.  I know you don’t understand those thoughts in your head but believe me, one day everything will make sense.  Don’t give up on being you… even if you don’t know who the real you is yet.  Keep playing dress up and hope you don’t get caught….. again.

Dear 10 year old me:

Tomorrow is another day.  Sure you know that there is something that isn’t right but you have no idea how to describe it.  Playing football and releasing the stress will work for a bit but believe me the future holds something much bigger.  Just keep your eyes forward.  For Petes sake…. be nice to your sister….   you will thank me someday.  

Dear 15 year old me:

You have survived….  suicide is a constant feeling and depression is your only friend.  You have started to see Jerry springer and those girls on there….   you’re like them yet nothing like them.   You still don’t have a name for that fleeting feeling but trust me…   soon enough you will understand.   In a few more years you will start dating that girl you’ve admired since 7th grade and that girl is the one thing that will pull you through it all… even when you don’t want to.  One other thing…. be nice you your sister.   

Dear 20 year old me:

You will be married to that amazing girl and in less than a year your first beautiful daughter will be born.  Yes… I know you keep saying you don’t want kids but believe me, you most certainly do.  The internet will give you a truthful name for who you are and you will find an amazing girl to start you on your way.   Life isn’t going to be easy and you will have 2 more failed suicide attempts.   One day you will realize that those failures are a good thing.  One other thing….   be nice you your sister… she will always be your biggest fan and your greatest supporter.   

Dear 25 year old me:

Look how far you have come.  Married for 5 year and a father to your precious girl and you will have 2 more soon here… life should feel complete yet it doesn’t.   All that happiness seems for not.  You’re 2-3 years away from some of the most amazing years of your life but first you will need a wake up call.   It will come.  You will know when it’s time.  No matter what… don’t give up.   Soon you will be starting back to school, you will meet amazing friends, you will find strength and support.   You will find your voice but not before that one last wake up call.    You will be coming out soon and believe me it’s no where near as bad as you think it is.  When you find that voice, your sister will be your first call.   She will be there for you and  your family.  She will be the rock in all these troubled times.  

Dear 30 year old me:

Your journey is just beginning.   You’re looking back and having regrets.  You are now dreaming about what if I transitioned 5 or 10 years ago and believe me…. one day you will understand that it’s better this way.  As your starting this journey you’re fearing loss.  Loss of family, friends, spouse, kids….   you’re fearing that it will all be gone.  It will be a long road filled with many challenges but don’t look back.   One day it will all make sense.  

Dear 35 year old me:

I am now a bit under 3 months and I’ll be 36 so let’s talk about how far you have come.   Your name is done… gender is fixed… you have your degree…. made some amazing friends… but there is something so much more.  You have the love of your family.  Mom, Dad, Chrissy, Aaron, Gram, Cindy, and all your daughters.   They love you for you.  All of those fears you carried….   they haven’t come true…. but everything you have done has made you… you.  

Dear future me:

Be the real you.  Everyone deserves that including yourself.  The love will be there when your ready and the people who are important will be there for the journey.  Love everyone everyday and never forget… love wins!  No one will ever be left behind.  Don’t stop until every last person feels safe being themselves.  

Image credits to my friend Jess who made my amazing cover photo.  

Words and how they hurt.  

I have come to find that there are some words that can cause major emotions in many people in different ways.  Ignorance, bigot, extremist, fear, and hate.   Now the words have meaning in today’s society and especially in the arguments of the current days.  Now to me, I can understand the ignorance of transpeople because we have been in the shadows.   We were trying to live our lives without conflicts.  It seems though that many bigots have come to the front out of fear from campaign ideals thrust by the AFA.  This group will pull me to the next round of ideas.   

Extremists are not just Islamic people.   They aren’t just terrorists out in some foreign land.   They are everywhere, even American citizens on America soil.  These men and women are in the front lines of our most current civil rights battle and its discerning that this battle is over bathrooms.   Now these extremist Christians hold no bearing of acceptance. They hold their beliefs dear to them and feel it is their power to control others.   They use their religion as a weapon.   This is not the face of most Christians I meet, but it is sadly the face we are seeing today.  They are spreading the word I despise the most and that is hate.  All being pushed along with fear. 

Fear is a way to push something in a timid public.   Just by laying that fear out one can control the movement of a topic. “Men is women’s spaces”, “protecting women and children”, and “protecting privacy” are all key words used in the plight of the argument.  So how does one instill that there is a problem when one truly doesn’t exist?  By creating fear and panic.  Putting out commercials showing a man following a girl into the restroom.  Putting out fear that the children are in danger.  Throwing Ted Cruz into the spotlight to say how not only is the law “common sense” but how it’s against what they believe is right.  With no way around it this fear leads to the worst of any word I know, hate.  

To me, hate is a word that should never be and in this I have taught my children that sometimes people disagree and sometimes they may not get along, but no one deserves to be hated.   I dislike religion, I don’t hate it.  So for me to see these extreme groups calling out action in discrimination all based off of hate, it concerns me.   What also concerns me is the similaritues between current and past equal rights fights in this country.   The arguments against black people sharing spaces.  The arguments during the marriage equality fights.  On to today with the transgender bathroom issues. 

There is hate being spread in the name of God.   There are preachers standing on the piles of bodies laid to rest from suicide and murder.   There are people who are more interested in speaking out about how they feel wronged in society because they feel uncomfortable.   They hate the fact that trans people exists.   They hate that their comfortable life is being stirred by others wanting equality in society.  Not special rights, just equal ones.  

Hate is the thing that will destroy our country but there is a cure.   Education is the cure to the ailments of today’s society.   Leaving our comfort zone and understanding both sides, not just the side we want to know.    We need to come together in this time of growth.   We need to become a nation banded together again and maybe Eddie Izzard is right:

“We need to talk about this, we need to talk about this issue until it gets boring.  Once it’s boring, no one will care”  

Try some love.  Believe me it’s a much better stance. From an atheist transgender girl in Western PA: Stop hating transgender people and stop hating religious people.  Just stop hating. I know many amazing transgender people in this world and many amazing religious people and neither on if them deserves anything less than full respect for their needs, belief, and a whole lot of love.  

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