TDOR 2017

Today is November 20th and for those who don’t know it’s also the TDOR (transgender day of remembrance).

I wrote something to help Present a challis lighting to a local church and was able to experience some amazing people in the process but many others have not had that second chance. I was welcomed with open arms as a transgender female and welcomes to speak to those who wanted to hear.

As transgender individuals we are criticized, chastised, ostracized and otherwise degraded in our own lives. We run the risk of being murdered for just being us to becoming part of the 41% who attempted to stop the pain on our own.

As many of you know I survived 4 attempts to take my own life and now I try to stand as a beacon to those who are scared. I tel others it will be ok and I stand to help everyone to see that love can win. It takes love to shed the darkness we all live in.

This goes out to those who didn’t get that second chance. This is to remember those lost to violence and those lost to society. We must say their names. We must not forget.

We are all in this together and I for one have better things to do than hate.

Image found through google search

Advertisements

Change

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. “

Explanation and a happy dance.  

It’s been a while since I posted a blog so I’ll explain.  I changed jobs, started a YouTube channel (Ms. Autolali if you want to look), and I’ve been concentrating on life.  
With my job change a lot of what I had to deal with has vanished.  I’m Just Ms. Ali to my clients and just Ali to my coworkers.  No more strings of being “that trans one”.   My clients don’t know and those adults that do just don’t care.   It is like life has slowed to “normal”.  
I do plan to continue writing and hope that it won’t be too boring with the limited amount of things happening but I’ll do my best.    Now on to the congratulations…
Congratulations to my girls for their placing in a figure skating completion in Orlando!  Other congratulations goes to Danica Roem who managed to pull a victory in VA for the house.  
We will talk soon!  
Ali

She was there. 

“It’s a phase”, “Think of your family”, “are you sure this is right”?   Questions ever reoccurring on a soundtrack set on repeat for everyone to hear.  The sounds of family trying to come to grips with a new reality that has been laid before them.  The thought that one day someone woke up and thought “Gee, this sounds like fun”.  There is a lot more to it and to best describe it I will use a 2 sided role of the mind.  The struggle in ones own head, well my own head at least.  

In elementary school we start our socialization.   The entire purpose in truth is to educate, but there is an underlying education of who we are to be.   “Be a man” or “Act like a lady” become staples of daily life as if being a Tom boy or feminine guy is not an option.  Buck the trends and you get your labels…. the Tom boys are “butch” or “jocks” while the boys are deamed “sissy” and “gay”.   A pre conceived ideal of the perfection we are chosen to be.   There is something more though… something deeper.  We don’t all deal with it but for the ones that do it becomes a fear that will haunt and tournent for the next 5 to 50 years.  For me this torment became years of viewing life through borrowed eyes.  

She was there in elementary school when  we learned that it’s not ok to be different.   We were born a certain way and it’s not ok to go against that.   We were separated into genders and I was told this is where I stand.   It doesn’t feel right but how could they be wrong.  I was different yet who would have believed me?   They could never understand could they?

She was there playing football.  The fact that she had to stay hidden drove me to be more then I was.   I had anger, hatred, and no sense of self.  The days of band I wasn’t one of the girls nor was I one of the guys.  I remember staying back and not dancing.  Wanting nothing more then to wear the dresses they dreaded to wear.  I remember being jelous of the girls in school with their Mary Janes, cute outfits and freedoms.    No one saw it… or saw her…  what else was I to do but hide. 

Graduation day.   The boys wore red and the girls wore white cloaks and hats.  It was only a color and they were identical in every other way yet here we were.  She was weeping as I doned the red veil that I was told to wear over my dress shirt, tie and dress shoes.   I longed for the ability to wear a dress and heels.  I longed to look how I felt.  I continued to hide… maybe I just needed to grow up an “be a man” like they taught us all those years ago. 

She was there when it came to the time of marriage.   Truthfully one of the most amazing, prolific, and happiest days in my life.   You would never this know by the pictures though as  I looked miserable or distant depending on the image.  That hidden girl was crying.  She wanted to wear a dress and she wanted to look even half as beautiful as the one she was marrying.   Strange to think back now and think about the fact that Cindy had no interest in wearing a dress and heels and that’s all I wanted.   

She was there when I thought having kids would make me a man.  To be daddy, father, parent.  To become half the man my father was.  This surely had to stop that feeling deep within.  My kids can never know what I’ve been through.   Has every boy gone through this?  Is this what the coming of age really is?  

She was there in 2010.   She sat quiet as I wanted to end this life.   She watched as I trembled.  As I tried.  As I failed.    I couldn’t believe after all those attempts that that I was still here… and so was she.  It was her turn, her time.   I needed to stop pretending that this was some split or disconnect and finally admit that she… was the real me.  This brought me to many feelings of failure as I realized that 29 years of my life had been an act.   I was playing a part to fit into the play of life.   

It’s been almost 7 years since that day.  7 years I’ve lived on time I tried to give away.   Depression, fear, angst all played a part in the reality that was him.  Now…
She is there for every play her kids are in, she never misses a game or horse event, she never hides in the shadows.   Social anxiety that goes down every week and the ability to press on when all seems like to much.  She is there for her friends, family, and holiday.  Every kiss, trip, hug, and drive has more meaning.    All this has relevance now when before it felt fake and manufactured.    We always fear tomorrow when it’s the same old thing and I enjoy the fact that I now embrace tomorrow.   It has a meaning and purpose.  She was there when he wasn’t.  

She will not be silenced anymore.   
 

The waterworks

I spent many years of my life hiding.  I sat  in high school and college classes letting my life pass me by knowing there was something deeper I needed to deal with.  I continued to hide and left that secrete with one person to carry with me.   One day in college I just came out to a group of strangers and I expected to be chastised, criticized, and outcast.   I threw myself in the fire after 29 years of my life knowing that if it didn’t work I could still fall back to my original plan.  Death…. it just seemed right when all felt wrong.  Well what I expected was in no way what I received.  I received love.  

From the start I was accepted, included, and supported.   I found some amazing friends and a new found love for my family.   I also found new meaning to my life as the mountainous climbs felt became more like a speed bump.  With this I felt different in some amazing ways.   I was no longer that mouthy country boy with the long hair in the back of the class.  I actually had an identity.  

After many years and many struggles I kept trying to get to a point where I could “finish” my transition (it’s never truly done) and be able to concentrate on other things.  This required a lot of steps and if it wasn’t for my amazing wife, I would still be stuck.   

We rented a house from my aunt and her parents lived right next door.   We always felt like we were watched.  Like some parent was keeping tabs on when we worked, slept, etc.  Everything felt like a production and I allowed this to hold me back for years until Cindy and I decided we were moving.     I found a house that I liked and being the socially inept (I despise being on a phone) and prepping for my 4th of July foreworks trip Cindy said she would call.   

She called and she did more then talk….   she negotiated and settled the deal on our home.  She is fully credited for the entire deal and when I came back from that weekend we were set on course to move on up.   After the move life became cosumed by home remodeling, kids, and everything else a parent and partner should be.   Life put my transition on hold and I didn’t mind so much anymore.  Things were feeling pretty good.  

Life was on course and after managing our lives Cindy and I finally came together to handle my name change.  I was excited to say the least and what followed was 6 months of stress, anxiety, worry, and fear.   Thoughts of if it was right (it was) and where it would lead.  Through it all and through all this Cindy held me and consoled me.   She even posted both of my notification submissions one due to my anxiety and one because I was out of town.  The only time she couldn’t be by my side was. The day of the hearing but she was still my first call when it was done.   She has gone through hell with me and how she has managed to not kill me…. I have no idea… but here she stands.  

As of January 24th, 2017 my name has been legally changed and many of you have seen this posted on my page.   I’ve followed every emotion from fear to joy but as all the dust settled and I begins the process of changing every document ever attached to me I find a calming feeling.   The stress has withered away and I no longer feel like I’m acting.   I feel complete but now I always feel fearful. 

This entire journey has taken its toll and even with the hugs, high 5’s and cheers I need to take stock.   I realized that through this entire journey my biggest supporter was the person who took the hardest part of journey. She was the one who took the brunt of rough times and she took blame when it was mostly my fault.  More than anything she gave herself and everything she had to support me in this journey.   Now the question is….  is it to late?   Did I take to much and give to little?

Funny… for so long I said one can not pour from an empty cup.   I became a bit selfish and a bit consumed in this journey yet she is still there.   She poured from an empty cup for more years then I could have ever imagined.   She is sure someone special and if there is one piece of advice I will give anyone…  Don’t lose grip of those who love you while chasing that dream.   Don’t lose the ones you love.  We are family and in the end, family is what we all have.  

I love you Cindy!!!   Thank you for everything!!! Now it’s my turn to treat you as you should have been treated all the while.  

Identity and why it matters.  

Behold… The age of the Internet, social media and all the wonderful comments that come with it.  Everyday I’m bombarded by digital spitballs of wonderful “opinions” in the comments sections from articles all the way down to pages that you would think are friendly.   From the memes to condescending judgements about my living situation (or others like me).   Then some pastors with their recent ploy to call on men to prove their faith by shooting transgender women in the bathroom.   With all the hoopla… I figured I would touch on something that has become some sort of smart ass rebuttal to people like me.  

To identify:
Full Definition of identity

plural identities

1

a : sameness of essential or generic character in different instances

b : sameness in all that constitutes the objective reality of a thing : oneness

2

a : the distinguishing character or personality of an individual : individuality

b : the relation established by psychological identification

3

: the condition of being the same with something described or asserted <establish the identity of stolen goods>

4

: an equation that is satisfied for all values of the symbols
(Pulled from Merriam Webster)
So when a transgender person identifies as a female, they are doing it to the letter of the definition.  More over the idea that when someone is identified as transgender it isn’t a decision made day by day.   It is something that has taken years to process, handle, and deal with.  It comes with many bouts of self doubt, self evaluation, and self shameing.  We totally destroy ourselves and pull through depression, loss, and suicidal thoughts.  We have to weigh the though of losing everyone and everything we have ever had and have just to be free of ourselves.  

Yes, I identify as a transgender woman but I also identify as so much more:

Penguins fan 

Gun collector

Compassionate friend

Loving friend 

Automobile enthusiast

Home improvement gal

Lowes employee 

Activist

Writer

Student 

Parent

Wife

Photographer

And so much more.  

So yes, our identity is who we are as a person.   It’s not some made up falacy we pull out of our rears one day.  It doesn’t change for access to a restroom every so often.    It’s has come with sacrifice, tears, and pain.   We have done our time in our prisons and others have paid the ultimate price to just be free.   We have shown our true identity to the world not for them, but for ourselves and if you think it’s a choice… Maybe you need to research what it takes to transition.   Look up and see not only the struggles, but look at hose before and after pictures and see the happiness in someone’s eyes when they are finally free. B

So the next time you see someone say “I identify as a millionaire, should the bank give me the money?” Remember that transgender people have put everything on the line.  We have struggled, funded, and lived lives of hell to be free. If you want to identify as a millionaire… Put in the work, time and commitment.  Place yourself into the struggle to make it happen.  It’s a choice for you to do such.  A choice to better your life, sadly, our choice is life or death. 

Not all of us are here to comfort, educate, and answer every question.   Some of us are there to help.   Just remember as you’re learning and questioning.  Remember that if you wouldn’t ask your friend the same question… It’s not a good question.    For example, I don’t go to work and ask one of the girls there what’s in their pants…   Not my business.  So don’t think it’s ok to ask a transgender person the same question.  It’s just none of your business.  

What does life mean?

This past week I have had to deal with the worst feelings I have had in a long time.  We had to bury an amazing man who has been in our lives for over 10 years and made my wife’s side of the family more whole.   I couldn’t hold the tears, nor could I hold the emotions I was feeling at the time.  We as a whole were better off having him in our lives.  Cindy, the girls and I are devistated.   As I overcame my extreme anxiety if caskets I paid my respects as best I could and sadly had to retreat to a corner of the funeral home… Piano music playing from speakers that just encouraged the emotions to come forth.   I sat there for hours in disbelief and denial not wanting to believe it was him.   

The funeral was the hardest part.  They spoke about his life and legacy.  All he had in his life from work friends to family.  His accomplishments, demeanor, cook out food, drones and fireworks.   There are so many things that will never be the same.   It’s a pain that will manifest many times over the next few years all because of a heart attack.   One foul swoop and he was taken from us.  

This has helped to put life in perspective for me.   Who we touch with our hearts, minds, and souls.   Every day we go through life with an idea of what we are doing tomorrow, next week, or even next year but what if tomorrow never comes?  What will your legacy be?  

One thing that keeps falling back into my mind as the days go past and we have to find that new reality without someone special in it.   What if I succeeded in my attempts at taking my life?   What if, instead of me sitting here grieving the loss of someone truly amazing but instead laying in the same place 5 years prior?  Why am I even here?   It just doesn’t seem right but that is the reality of the situation.   

He loved life!   He lived it to the fullest everyday and I hope that I can do the same.   I can not allow myself to continue without keeping that with me.   To be that amazing person in others lives.   Life is precious and way to damn short.   We will never know when we must leave this place behind but when we do, we must leave a legacy.   

When I wanted to die my legacy would have had more questions than answers.   Friends would have been devistated, a spouse and children destroyed.    Sure, life will continue on but is it worth stopping before it’s truly over?   Just as he did we must live our lives to the fullest everyday and work to achieve what we want.    

“Life is to short to not be happy” is what my mom says.   He said “don’t ever settle for less than what you want.”    I’m here today to tell you this:

Don’t ever take for granted the people in your life.  Don’t forget to tell them you love them.  Don’t forget to be there.  Don’t forget…. Them!   Live your life to your best potential and hold those you love near.   There is a lot more to life than the issues you face.   Leave a legacy that others will cherish.   

Fire in the hole Dale… Fire in the hole
Photo credit to wikimedia