All of yesterday’s promises.  

I like to write about life.  Sometimes this life can be boring…. but it still exists and as we near the next holiday season it brings me pause to this year end.   This year has been full of ups and downs, fights and happiness but the one thing we seem to have forgot is the yesterdays. Promises that seem unfulfilled or feelings expressed.  See we all have to battle the chaos of life but sometimes life adds that little extra kick.   One more kick in the pants.  

Everyday I live with the hope and promise of tomorrow.  No regrets and nothing left on the table yet I continually have a tinge that somthing is missing somewhere.  I question what it is and I move on.  I always question and rarely find the answer I don’t really know the actual question. I think I lays in society and the determination of who “belongs”.  What label are we to carry and  how is it to affect us?

One that I see frequently tossed is “mentally ill”.  Fromparents of transgender children to those of us who had to wait until later in life to be freed we are accosted with the label of being ill.   Now I’ve mostly been able to ignore the more vulgar people in our society by having great people in my life.  That shielding doesn’t make the issue any less of a problem.  

The problem as I see ur is those who are more apt to call out such speech when they don’t have an education on the subject nor the interest to learn.   It’s just easier to hate what you don’t know I guess.  More over I find myself concerned about a society that creates a mood where people would rather die then be free.   Makes me wonder all the more how many people like me have died without making a sound.   

With all of this how do any one of us survive?  How can some of us thrive and some of us get buried?   To me, it’s the company we keep and our ability to be free.   So for me… society has been quite kind but I can’t forget my sisters who aren’t so lucky.  From those who can’t find employment to that mom who is being accosted for her child being transgender… we all need to wake up.  

We all need to wake up.  We need to look at our society and find a solution that involves less suicide and more love.  It is time to realize that words can hurt and unlike cuts we can see, the hidden cuts are deeper and harder to patch.   Maybe it’s true for ones to say “the pen is mightier then the sword.” especially when that pen is used in malice.   

Love each other, learn about each other, and help each other.  We can’t continue life with everyone being separate or holding a side.   It’s time we come together and love each other but if no one wants to stand together then surely we will all stand in solitude.  

“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.” ~ Benjamin Franklin 

Meaning of friendship

Each friendship in our lives can mean something much different and with the advent of social media we tend to expand our horizons.   Now personally I am friends with many people on social media.  Some famous (or almost famous) and others being everyday people. I know people from Canada, Australia, Germany, and the U.K. just to name a few.   Will I meet most or even some of them… I hope one day but in the greater context of life I know many will stay online as that’s how life goes.   Rarely do we make friends that become close enough to us over such a distance but when it does happen… we can feel lost as we wish they were closer.  A wish to hug that person who became so important in our lives.  

This leads me to last weekend and one of the best weekend trips a girl could take.  For the past year and a half I have become very close to my friend CJ.  She is someone I confided in and someone who is always there on the good days and bad.  She is one of the few girls I strived to meet and I hoped that one day I could.   Well thanks to my close friend Keira that happened.  Keira lives locally and has become one amazing friend in a very short period of time.   Like CJ she has become an integral part of my life and I introduced them to each other… obviously online.   Those two have also become friends and it seemed that we all needed to meet one day and that one day finally came last weekend.  Friday I came home from work, handled the homely duties I had to do and was able to spend a small amount of time with Cindy for our 16th anniversary.   After that we jumped into Keira’s Ranger and headed off into the great unknown traveling 9-10 hours to Virginia from western PA to meet someone who has been one of the most amazing friends.  Two girls riding off into the darkness heading to uncertainty while one of them tried to stay awake past 10:00 (that would be me).   We rolled into CJ’s around 2:00 am and for the first time I was able to hug one of my best friends after riding down with another.   

After arriving we settled in for a short round of sleep followed by an amazing day filled with visiting that didn’t involve Facebook… followed by a day on the beach.  Lucky to catch a 75 degree day in mid November.  It was peaceful that the only time I had to use my phone was for my kids and pictures.  We could actually converse.   It was nice to walk along the beach and see the vast expanse of the ocean and to realize the world is so much bigger then we realize.   Walking along the beach and later down the boardwalk we basked in the sun and I for one was able to lose myself in the moment.    Keira, CJ, Steph, and I out on the town lobingbthe day… followed by some amazing Jumbalia…

As we roll through life we play it safe.   We hope for acceptance, worry for safety, fear the old friendships, and question what tomorrow will bring.  We spend years coming out and many more trying to keep friends or making new ones.  We worry about the future of ourselves and the semblance our lives can have.  In all this worry we lose site of the small things that  are in our lives.   Online friends who help you cope or the local friends you love to spend time with.  

Life isn’t all about the mundane and we need to keep site on who we are and why we are alive.    We must work to live not live to work.   Sure we may love our jobs but we all need an escape.  We must live for the good times.   From the road trip to the visit I felt alive.   Feeling the warm air kiss my skin and the cold water touching my toes.  Life became so much more then a passing glance…. I glanced at what was passing me by.  Don’t lose site like I did… thankfully I had some amazing friends pointing me back on my course due north and now thinking of my next adventure… where I go I don’t know, but I know who to thank for living again.   For brightening the candle flame.  
Another friend once quoted:

“I keep waiting in the dark for someone to come and save me, I’ve been holding on to something I could never change, We all search for higher ground, When the world comes crashing down, But I know, Nobody will come into the dark and save me”

~Crown the Empire, Initiation~
I can only say…. when we bring all our candle lights together we become a bright beacon.   We must shine our light for everyone so no mater how dark it is where they stand…. they will see the light of us all.  

All Hallows’ night

Halloween…. a time to live and revel in imagination and creativity.   A day that you are not limited by who you are or how you look.  Costumes to masquerade in for fun and looks.  Funny how it seems like life has reverted for me in this regard.   For 34 years my costume was worn everyday and on this one day I was free to be me.   Now it seems those tables have turned.  

Now I live everyday without a costume.  I’m real and open with the inability to hide behind the mask I wore. For the last 2 years I’ve been exposed and to be honest if feels amazing!!!   No more acting, no more hiding, no more lies.   Now when I dress up for Halloween it’s for something totally different.  It’s for the party I’m invited to.  It’s for the friends I’m surrounded by.  I am finally living the life I dreamed of that 1 day a year.   

It’s amazing how life can change.   A few years ago I was visiting universities.  I went to a local campus and was open and forthcoming about being a transgender female.  It was early in transition and though I was greeted with love and acceptance I was shy.   I was very quiet, reserved, and kept to myself.    That day I realized there was life out there and I wanted to live it.    It took a long time, but I returned there not as a student, but as part of an education panel.  

Great kids, great questions and an amazing time but something hit me more than any other point that day.   One of the original professors I was greeted with so many years ago spoke to me after.   Here she had me in her thoughts even after all these years.   She remembered that shy person back then and was amazed at the girl who stood before her that day.  Confidence that wasn’t present those years ago.  

My how life can change.   Confidence, commitment, and freedom all hinged off a small dream lived once a year.   So on this day as we celebrate the ability to be anything, some people may be celebrating their freedom for a day.  Yes, it’s more than just a silly holiday to some when others are hoping for that forever moment.  All Hallows’…. the dream that became a reality that started me on a journey to become the best version of me I could have ever been.   The real version of me.    No more masks, regret, or pain just a beautiful reality.  

Broken families

I’m very much someone who likes to stay humble.   I don’t talk more than to a few people about what I do in the larger context of the community.  I’m hitting on this not for praise or thanks because truly…. I don’t want nor do I deserve it. To be honest what I type today my own parents don’t know in detail.   Today however something changed, something happened that bothered me immensely and it is high time I put some of this out here for everyone.  For those who wonder about true love, true acceptance, and actually caring for someone outside the small circle you call friends.   

Have you ever read into someone’s life?   Have you cared about their pain even if you have never seen them in the flesh?  Do you have the empathy to love someone not because you have to but because you want to?   Unconditional love with no strings.   I know this whole heartedly.   I know and remember which friends have anxiety, depression, Dysphoria, or even just past pains they have struggled with.   I’ve gone way back to see that girl who talked nothing but darkness and I have seen the cuts in her arm and it gave me pain.   I felt her pain.    

Let me tell you a typical day.   I wake up at 5:00 ish most everyday and it starts with what inspirational quote or meme would I like to post.   What can I put out there that may help someone who is down.  That is my first though everyday.   Before work I message some of the girls I’m  close too.   It’s always to say good morning to them.   Maybe I know they’re waking up alone or maybe I now they have had a bad couple days.    It doesn’t matter why I do it… I just do.    I love them because I want to…. not because I have to.    My lunch is filled with catching up with my wife and catching up on messages from the day.   After work I am either talking to someone or I’m helping to moderate one of the few groups I help with all while keeping my social life intact.    I do this because I WANT to.   

I care about that girl I visited because she is amazing.   I care about her for all that she is.   I care about her for her.   I care about the girl I stopped to try and talk to but couldn’t.   I worried about her for 32 hours hoping she was ok….  a girl I’ve never seen.   Why you may ask… because I wanted her to know people care.  I wanted her to be safe and to feel loved….  no one in my life deserves to feel alone. 

Now that you all know what I never talk about…   let me tell you a story I specificily asked  to tell.   Let me give you a glimpse into what some girls deal with. A story that plays out much more often then we would like to admit and something I myself have not had to handle… yet still feel her pain.  I was raised to learn that a parents love is unconditional and I’ve lived in a false reality that that is actually true across the board.   Let’s let reality hit us for a second and realize that many girls like me lose family.  

Imagine a moment when you have to tell your family you’re different.   You’re transgender and you have to come out to your family, a family that has loved you no matter what for 20, 30 or 40+ years.   Now let imagine that you told your mom and she is super supportive, you tell your brother and he comes back with anger, then you tell your dad.   He needs “time to think” and after a few weeks that father who most would think would still love their child.  He can’t even respond again.  You don’t get a call or text but instead you get a message sent trough your mom that your father just can’t handle it.   He said he’s “just not that liberal”.  He can’t handle loving his child anymore.   

How can any parent not love their child?!   How can you honestly no longer talk to or associate with your child because they are transgender?!   How can a parent place religion or politics.   How can you turn love off?   How is it possible to not feel pain telling your child you no longer want them in your life?   I am a parent to three amazing daugters and love them for who they are, how they are and without condition.  I can’t fathom that a parent can abaondon their child but I will say if you are one of those people….   I’m sorry for you.  Shame on you. Shame on you for not being there when they need you. Shame on you for tossing away the daughter you never knew.  Shame on you for not having unconditional love for your child.  Shame on you.

I can promise one thing though.   I promise you that for every parent who does this there is someone willing to be there.    There are many girls like me out there who want nothing more than to give a hug and say it will all be ok.   We will be the family that truly loves your child unconditionally.   We will step up and be the person you aren’t big enough to be.   We will be their family, their support, and their structure of family.   

This is the last time I will talk about this so take note.    This love for others isn’t some cry for applause.   This is to open your mind and for you to realize that love doesn’t have to come with a fee.  No one should be required to be anything other than who they are for it and no one should make another be who they aren’t. Love your child, love your friends, be their support.  Don’t do it for a thank you nor for praise…. do it because you care.   Be selfless.   

Image via google images. 

All is fair in horses and bunnies. 

Camping, animals, and the pride of showing ones skills with them, along with the stressful realization that kids are a joy even when they are crazy.  Moving from that 2100 sq ft home into a 26′ travel trailer for a week tends to up the stress levels to epic proportions all in the hopes that tomorrow brings the next blue ribbon.  Awards to show success in the great big world of show and sporting animals.  

Like life, we strive for the win.  That big blue ribbon to prove our abilities.  From the starting line through the twist and turns of the polls and barrels, we weave our way through life trying to find the finish line learning love and compassion along the way.   No one ever knew how much a horse would actually mean to them.   

Then there are the bunnies, soft and fuzzy with nothing but love and cuddles… Along with a few scratches.   We learn to love and bond with those fuzzy little things.   Thousands of kids and adults parading past trying to get a glimpse of the inevitable beauty. 

Beauty that we all find in different facets of our lives.  From appreciating the camping here or the friendships made with other parents.  Late night cookouts and bonfire fun lead us into something more than friendship and into a family.   I’ve grown close to the parents and their kids all while watching them grow.  The 4-H maybe low priority to some, but if you see the amazing people produced from it, you will see why it is so much more than just an animal or just a show.  

As we come to the inevitable close of the 2016 fair week and I can look forward to sleeping in my own home and bed I will look back at this week.   Watching the kids open for an amazing group called the Steel Town Gunslingers (and being ask to do it again).  The days of having 6-7 kids camping in one trailer.  The kids making new friends.  The times shared and planning for the next show and the next year.  

Sure, some days we will fall off, sometimes we are just short of that ribbon yet we carry on into the next compition learning from our mistakes and taking note of what to fix.   Never giving up on the final goals.   

Seems a lot like life in that grand scheme.  Sometimes we hit the blue ribbon and sometimes the red second.   Other times you walk away with the learning experiences that came with it.   So as we wind down and the girls are celebrating and partying at the 4-H dance I can sit here and reflect on what I learned…

It’s not about that final goal or how the end comes.  It’s not about ribbons or glory.  It’s not about watching life pass by or defining who you are.   Life is about living, memories, and the people who make it worth while.   Kids riding rides and families coming together.  Life isn’t about being transgender or being the best at something.   It’s all about living.   

Dream as if you’ll live forever.  Live like you’ll die tomorrow. ~ James Dean

How I do trans

I recieved a message a little while back from someone I have talked to and she said something that made me think for a minute.   She said…. “Dearest Ali… I have been thinking pretty hard about how u, do trans…. I like it. I like it a lot. You managed to blend who you are, with who you used to be.. Im watching you girl. Real hard. 💋 \m/” This was recieved from a FB friend who has been dealing with many of the same situations a lot of us deal with in regards to finding our true selves.   How to find ourselves is a whole other set of issues because we all have our journeys, but how we travel the road is what matters.  

How I “do trans” is much different than others.  Not one is right and it’s all about your personal situation and needs to find your due course north.   I have children and value the fact that I fathered them and that will not change for any reason.   I pride myself on raising my children to be honest, respectful, and polite.  They also know that when things need discussed, the door is always open.  This is parenting, trans or not.  

I “do trans” by not hiding who I was.   I do outreach and support.  I live an open life where people know my history from my kids friends to my new friends and everyone in between.   I wear my heart on my sleeve and hold my transition as a testament to finally living.   I didn’t come this far and survive 4 attempts just to disappear.  I’m here as I am, like me or not.  

I’ll continue to love my motorcycle and cars.  I’ll still be running the back hoe and helping with Jessica’s horse.  I’ll still be screaming at Macks hockey games.   I’m not changing what I love, just who I was.   My personality hasn’t changed, only my body has to match who I really was.  

I “do trans” the same way I do the rest of my life.  Brutally honest to a fault and flying by the seat of my pants.   I’m spontaneous yet indecisive, I’m an introvert with an extroverted side yet the most important detail is I am me.   I am a face for transgender people in my area who have no one and a voice for those who can’t cry out.  I also care, but just about my family and friends, but for everyone.   I care if people around me understand who I am and I want to be that friendly face that helps release the stigma transgender women have.

I am not a “man in a dress” or some pedophilic criminal.   I’m a college graduate with a. 3.75 GPA in Psychology, I’m a parent to 3 amazing children, and  I’m a person.    I am a female that just took a few more years to mature and no matter what hate any internet badass might want to spew, I will continue to live.  I’m not going to lay down nor am I going to go quietly into that good night.   I will be here for everyone who cares about me, and to everyone out there who wants to hate me for it…  I’ll be here just to piss you off because I will continue to live on and not yield to anyone.   I will not live a life of misery for anyone.  

That my friends is how I do trans. 

Is this where we are as a nation?

So as I stroll the media sites that I am on, I see numerous arguing points on this Bathroom debate. Now, in these debates there are some decent points on both sides that should be considered. In my case I know what side of the fence I am standing on and I know its not always safe. I pee in the Ladies room because that’s where I look and feel like I belong but I also have the luxury of blending. Sure I may see a man in the mirror, but others on a daily basis show me otherwise with the way I am treated. As I traverse the madness of the current affairs I had to sit back and ponder the situations to determine what is the heart of the issue. I always try to see both sides while expressing my opinion and I try to educate others if the possibility is there. Now this current situation requires much more than a few conversations but I will say my peace and you all can be the judge. I may pull a few punches, but I think my friends will understand.

Bathrooms are a freaky place for most everyone. I do not know to many people who will get excited to go in the public restrooms. I personally was not in any sort of euphoria moving from one side to the other. It is a place to do your business and get out. Now what I am trying to figure out is how this basic bodily function has become such a cluster screw in our nation. Sure some friends have posted jokes, some have said amazingly supportive things, and some… well we will say they were very frustrated by the argument and said something that I was shocked by. I did message him and we worked it out, but it still hits home.

Now I have no idea what bathrooms some of these people have gone into but all the ones I have been in (on both sides of the fence) had stalls with doors. So I am missing the boat of someone ,making the comment “I don’t think its right my daughter could have a penis hanging 3″ from her face…” yes, this was a response to a Facebook post and I was aghast to figure out how this even was possible. Thankfully I have many amazing friends and family who redeem my faith in humanity. Now about an hour ago my friend Nick posted a Video on his Facebook and it was covering the topic of bathrooms. Brutally honest and dead on accurate. I listened intently as he mentioned my transition, and how he was impressed and loved watching the changes. He spoke from the heart while managing to address the concerns. This is the kind of friends we all need in our lives but something equally as important is family.

As my mother was getting her hair done, she was pulled into a conversation about transgender people and she may not be completely comfortable yet telling all her friends that she has a transgender daughter. but this conversation was that of transgender bathroom issues. Yes, this conversation is that wide spread. Now as they discussed, my mom was afraid of getting backlash for saying that “they used the bathrooms for how many years and now it becomes an issue?” Every woman from the age of 25-70 agreed and didn’t see the issue here. nothing however will top my amazing sister who posted something today that brought tears to my eyes:

“I am tiring of people believing that the transgender population are a sexual predation problem. A predator could enter a bathroom regardless of permission or gender association and would be charged of the same crimes whether they were in Target or not. This is NOT an LGBT issue. As a proud sister of a transgendered sibling, I completely support these companies and any company supporting LGBT rights. Your choice is your own, however bigotry in this day and age is unacceptable. Black, white, gay, straight, trans, or not – we all deserve to be treated the same.”

I was in tears of joy. See while so many have worried about predators and those “transgenders”, real people are noticing the hate.

So let talk about fear for a minute. While Ted Cruz and self identified “pastor” Greg Locke try and strike fear into the hearts of mothers about predators with fear based commercials and candid videos outside the local Target blasting about how this country is going to hell because people need to pee. They are pissed at Target for obeying the federal law and OSHA regulations of transgender people. I hate to break it to these men, but life didn’t end for the 20 or so years that people have been using the bathroom they identify with. So as people are blasting Target for restating the policy they have had for years I wonder if those men are truly thinking. Are they really concerned about safety, or are they fighting against something they don’t believe in?

Fear is being open and public. I along with other out transgender advocates have a fear of assault or murder, not because of what we say but who we are. We put ourselves out there with little regard to the dangers in hopes of helping others find peace and solace around the hatred shown by society. So as we recap fears, sure the fear of a predator can be rational, but they will do what they want either way so is it worth discrimination against people like me just for the sake of a feel good law? I personally don’t think so.

While on the topic of Greg Locke. It seems this man has quite the experience and knowledge with child molesters. He seems to ignore the fact that he actually employed a child molester in his own church. He brought someone who has a history of the stuff Locke is arguing against in his video. So lets ask this, is it truly about protecting the children? If this was the priority I don’t think he would be so trusting of a sex offender in his own church. What about convicted sex offenders in the men’s room? Are we not worrying about the boys? Pastor Locke, please note that hypocrisy is not a good look for anyone and if you are going to try and be the talking head for Christians, please, find a better place. fanning the fires of a debate that can actually cause depression, suicide or murder of transgender people, will you be standing on the bodies of these people to preach higher on the mountain?