The Journey

It has been awhile since I have posted. The last time I posted I wrote of My Truth. I have been trying to decide how much truth is too much, I am a pretty private person but in this case I want to be as transparent as possible. I have nothing to hide, and maybe it will help someone else. This is my life, and my journey. I am proud of it, and I will continue to share it openly. Since my last blog post I have started another phase of my medical transition. I started taking hormones in order for my outside appearance to match who I feel on the inside. On December 11th 2014 I received my first shot of testosterone.

I wasn’t sure that I would ever medically transition, or that I would even have the means to do so… but  having been on testosterone for a little over 3 months now, I know that medically transitioning was the best decision I’ve ever made.

If you have heard my voice lately, you may have thought I was sick. Nope, that is just me going through my second puberty. Although testosterone will help me match more of who I feel on the inside, it also brings along with it the awesomeness that is puberty. Voice squeaks, body hair, acne… moodiness. Oh to be 16 again. Despite the not so pleasant second puberty, I am finally starting to see myself. Someone asked me if the extra body hair was weird for me. Surprisingly no. I feel pretty comfortable with all of the changes that are happening to my body. This is how it always should have been. This is how everything should have happened in the first place.

I have been asked if I am mad at God for being transgender. I have definitely gone through my stages of anger and sadness, but I can firmly say that I am not mad. Every person has their own unique journey on this earth. Maybe God meant to make being transgender a part of mine. I don’t know why I wasn’t born male and didn’t get the chance to always be in the right body, but I am thankful for the things that I have learned from it and how much stronger it has made me. Being transgender has taught me acceptance, kindness, resilience, and gratefulness. I can get angry for how hard this journey has been, how much shame I have had to overcome, or how much it has cost me (money-wise)  so far just to feel more comfortable in my own skin… but the perspective I have gained is priceless.

My beliefs are something that had me toggling with the idea of medically transitioning for awhile. To change your body so drastically is a pretty big no no. I was created in God’s image. I didn’t forget this. Nor did I forget that God does not have a gender. The God I was taught to believe in valued our souls over anything else. My soul was created in his image… and it remains unchanged

My transition has not only  been a transition for me, but those around me as well.  I know that name and pronoun changes are no easy task and I am so thankful for those around me that have been so supportive. I couldn’t do it without you. ( Special shout out to my Crossfit community ). I am excited to see where else this journey takes me, and continue to live as my authentic self.

 

Note: If you ever have any questions, I am an open book. Don’t hesitate to ask. I like questions 🙂

My Truth

It is transgender awareness month, and today specifically marks the 16th annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance. It is a day to memorialize and honor transgender persons who have lost their lives to murder, or suicide.

226 transgender people were murdered this year. All because of their gender identity. It is hard to believe the hatred that exists in this world. Many have fought long and hard in an effort to beat homophobia. While we are making great strides in ending homophobia and working towards equality, people are failing to realize that transphobia is real, and strides to overcome it are much shorter.

There are many transgender people that live among you. Although they are not as visible of a community… they are there. Transgender people often struggle just to make it through a day. Maybe they are fearing that someone will find out their secret, perhaps they may be unsafe, or fear that they may face ridicule. In some cases they face so much hardship that they opt out of life all together.

Being transgender is not easy. I feel so sad for those that have lost their lives. It is unfair that their lives were ended prematurely. Life is short..and because of this I am choosing to live mine more honest, open, and true. I feel the only way we can bring change and progress is to be proud, tell our stories, and share with people in order to help educate them.

To my co-workers, I am Amber. I am a quiet twenty-something lesbian. To my close friends, I am Codi. A twenty-something female to male transgender. I have always been a boy, but somewhere along the lines nature betrayed me.

photo 3 (1)

I’m the boy on the right…

photo 2 (1)

The boy on the right of the soccer ball.

photo 1 (1)

Bottem left. I don’t know what I am looking at…

 

I thought I was a boy most of my life. I passed as a boy… and no one knew any different unless my parents told them. I hated the usual girly things like wearing a dress.( I hated going to church on Sunday because of this! )  I played with G.I. Joe’s and wanted to do everything my brother did. Puberty was an incredibly hard and confusing time.

Long story short, because of my religious beliefs somewhere around my second year of college I tried fitting into what I thought I had to be. I started to try and dress a little more feminine… and dated a guy who I ended up marrying and then divorcing three years later. I soon came out as gay but shortly after started realizing that there was something else going on. I wasn’t gay… I was transgender. I was born in the wrong body. This is only a very short version of my story, but the most important part is that this is my truth. 226 people lost their lives this year for living their truth. I am grateful to still be living a life on this earth, and I am going to live it proudly as my authentic self. I am Codi. And I am transgender.

photo (4)

 

The Pursuit of Happiness

The key to happiness is an unachievable pursuit. This is something that has been playing out in my mind for a few weeks now. My life has changed a lot within the past few years, and lately I have been getting a little frustrated with myself. I always seem to be reaching for something. Whether it is something that has to do with me, my job, relationships, or etc… ultimately I am just reaching for happiness. But when will I be happy? Will I ever be happy?

Happiness has no finish line. It is not a race, nor is there a path to it. Happiness is more like the pretty flowers along a path. You have to stop and smell the roses. I am not saying that I am not happy right now. I feel pretty fortunate and blessed for where I am at in my life, but I may always have that need for pursuit. I always have this sense of urgency that tells me that I need to push myself to the next step, or the next path in life. Feeling stagnant makes me a little crazy.

Architectural Signage, Way finding Systems, stamped out of metal with lettering embossed or printed,

When I think about what it would be like if happiness did have an end… I think of how boring life would be. It is all about the pursuit, and your state of mind. The end of anything is rarely a happy occasion, ( unless it is after a massage, but hey…those are illegal. ) Lets face it, happy endings in movies are not realistic. Life does not just end after you win over the person you love, after you get the dream job you always wanted, or after surviving the apocalypse. We write our own story but we don’t get to decide when to roll the credits. ( let’s not weigh suicide as an option here. )

I am realizing that happiness relies a lot on your state of mind. There is a lot that we can do to help our state of mind, ( like therapy, exercise, relationships, reaching life goals.. etc ) this is to the extent that we can control the feeling of being happy. I feel more at peace letting go of the fact that there is not ONE simple thing that is going to lead me to my permanent state of happiness. Being happy is a lot like exercise. You have to keep up with it and continue to do the work. You can’t just reach your fitness goal and then stop working out. You have to work to maintain it. Nothing good in life comes without work, not even happiness. People who claim to be happy without trying are not truly happy…they are just truly great at lying, or perhaps did too may damn drugs. ( or are currently on drugs ).

I still have a sense of urgency to find my next path in life, but I am feeling more at peace acknowledging the fact that I am not searching for a finish line to happiness. Life is all about the journey, and you only get one. Enjoy.

Finding Strength in Pain

Life can certainly be a roller coaster. I feel like I have been riding one hell of a ride since I moved into my new place. I’ve had some ups, and some downs…and then some more downs. It has brought on a pretty good amount of pain. More pain than I thought I could handle. The past few months has led me to develop a bad habit of anticipating pain with fear, and sometimes I let that fear defeat me. I have always been a dare devil when it comes to physical pain. In skateboarding, I would only let it intimidate me for a short time until I remembered that pain was temporary or until I got too pissed off to care. When it comes to emotional pain however, I am a complete pussy. It terrifies me. Fear is something that has nearly crippled me in the past. Lets face it, pain sucks. As humans our natural instinct is to avoid pain. It hurts, it could be damaging, and it will certainly never be forgotten. You may still remember the first time you fell off your bike as a kid, or the first time you experienced someone at school saying something hurtful to you. Pain can scar you, but you also learn from it, and it can make you stronger. No pain no gain right?

I am starting to realize that some of the most painful times in my life have also brought on some of the greatest periods of personal growth. Pain has forced me to step outside my comfort zone, it has taught me how to be vulnerable, and that showing emotions is okay. ( Alright, still working on this one ). It has also shown me that pain is temporary, and with time you begin to heal. Your scars will fade…they may never completely go away, but it is a good reminder of how much deeper your wound used to be, how far you have come, and how much you have learned from it.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that not only do the lows allow you to feel the highs, but that feeling anything at all is a blessing. Back when I was married I felt so numb. I didn’t know what love was, what heartbreak felt like, and I had completely numbed myself from feeling anything but the physical pain I brought on myself from running mile, after mile…after mile. I ran away from reality, emotions, and pain. Looking back now, I feel very lucky to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all. Can you imagine a life without knowing what love feels like?

photo-168

Tattoos wouldn’t exist if scars were not meant to be reminders. They are merely a fancy scar that we can mold into what we want it to remind us. This is my most recent tattoo. The lyrics of a Lumineers song. “It’s better to feel pain, than nothing at all, the opposite of love’s indifference.” These lyrics have gotten me through a lot, and it now reminds me everyday that pain is just part of living that you should allow yourself to feel, and embrace. Shit happens, you learn from it, you grow stronger, and you move on.

 

 

 

 

Never Stop Dreaming

Here I am, looking out the window of my new apartment while drinking my morning coffee. It feels a bit surreal. I know… moving out into a small apartment in downtown Auburn hardly seems like a dream come true but to me, this small 70’s style apartment feels like a mansion. Okay, maybe not a mansion… but it feels like the coolest tree house on the block. Complete with tire swing and a secret entrance. ( and you are so not getting in without the secret password ). I have waited a long time for this moment, and it feels just as good as I imagined.

Unpacking things is never a fun venture, but as I started to unpack I felt like I was rummaging through remnants of a past life.  I hadn’t touched any of my belongings since I left Germany. As I pulled things out of their boxes I was transported back to some dark times in my life. There were so many memories being unlocked as I continued to go through the boxes filled with previous belongings. My chest felt heavy.  The feeling of being trapped became real again. What would life be like if I would have stayed in my marriage? Where would I be? Who would I be? Life would certainly be different. I have come a long way. Living life honestly is a very powerful thing.

Unpacking the kitchen was probably the strangest room to unpack. I was unpacking the very items that kept me dreaming. My chef knife, my cutting board, pots and pans, etc. I created both meals and dreams with these items.

Same pots and pans, new reflection.

Same pots and pans, new reflection.

I dreamt about going to culinary school, being independent, having a job I enjoyed, living life honestly, and being free.  It is amazing to look back and see how these dreams have come true. It just shows that all you really need to make a dream happen is a little action and a little patience. I still have much more to accomplish within these dreams, but dreams are a journey. They don’t just happen all at once.  Dreams are not wishes. There is a difference between wishful thinking and dreaming. Wishes are things you don’t want to work for. Dreams are thoughts you can put action and effort into making come true.

I know it is important to “be present and live in the moment” but it is okay to dream too. I have been a dreamer for as long as I can remember and have always had high expectations of life. There were times when I started to feel impatient and wondered if my dreams were just childish, unrealistic, and a waste of energy.  I realize now that life is so much more meaningful as long as you allow yourself to dream. I feel lost without them. If you want something go get it. Make it happen. Never settle for anything less than what you deserve. Chase your dreams, and don’t let anyone, or anything stop you.

This Is Me

photo-165

I shaved my head the other day. Well mostly, except a one-half inch long strip that runs down the center. My head has a happy trail. Don’t be jealous.

I hit a low point. It seems that whenever I hit a low point in life, or a point where I crave a need for change, I cut my hair. It has become my way of starting fresh when I need a reminder that without lows there are no highs and that I can be brave and move on.

At first, I felt a lot like this…

britney-spears-shaved-head-400a061907

But then after awhile, I started feeling more like this…

gijane

It is kind of strange the way shaving your head brings out insecurities. Seeing the surface of my head for the first time, it’s exact shape, and every odd bump I had never seen before was interesting. I felt liberated, but a little vulnerable and exposed. Feeling vulnerable is not my strong point. Showing emotions is one thing, but I feel vulnerable every time I open my mouth. I see each word that comes out of my mouth as something that can be used against me. I am realizing I have a lot less issues with being shy, and a lot more issues with feeling vulnerable. I can be a perfectionist so I don’t like to reveal my flaws. It is as if I would rather say nothing than reveal something that someone may not like about me. The more I learn to love myself, the less I tend to care about whether someone else likes me or not. It is my life. This is who I am, and that is not going to change. As my friend Molly says… “I’m ready to let my freak flag fly”.

There are a few things you will learn about me once I open my mouth.

I’m not shy, I’m vulgar, I have a personality and an opinion, shit talking is like foreplay to me, I can’t sing sing to save my life, but I am also kind, caring, empathetic, and compassionate. I’m a good person and strangely enough shaving my head has given me a better sense of this. I recommend everyone shave their head at least once in your life. You will feel easy breezy beautiful. ( I do however, recommend waiting until summer ).

Hello world, this is me. Shaved head, tattoos, and gayer than Ellen Degeneres and Jane Lynch combined. I hope you will still like me, but if you don’t… well then, you don’t. Life goes on, and I can shave my head again next week.

 

 

 

Fear and Failure

I had the privilege of leaving work early yesterday. Well, I guess you could say it was less of a privilege and more of a “you are a bad lesbian” reality check. It started snowing around 5pm… only 3 hours into my shift and I chose to leave because I have never driven in the snow before. When it comes to driving and cars… I did not inherit the ability to fix them, or park them. ( I am probably the worst parker you will ever meet ). The only thing I inherited was the ability to look super gay driving my dads truck while wearing my token piece of flannel. The flannel enhances the facade that I could bust out my tool box or jumper cables at any moment and perform my butch fix-it magic. Nope. Unfortunately, I am a fraud. I think my 3 years of being a domestic goddess are to blame.

Truth is, I have run many more miles in the snow than I have driven.

Miles run in the snow = 100+

Miles driven in the snow = 0

I lived in Germany for nine months. Most of those months being winter months. It’s not like I have never seen snow before.

photo-161

I used to love to run in the snow. There was something about it that was so peaceful. I could step out my front door, off of the military base, and into the German Forest. It was like entering my own Narnia.

photo-162

photo-163

When it snowed, the forest was completely silent. All I could hear was my breathing, footsteps, and the loudest of all–my thoughts. It was one of these snowy days that I broke down in the middle of the forest. Leave it to me to save my tears for a time when they would nearly freeze my eyes shut. I fell to my knees and asked God why I was here. Why couldn’t I just be happy, and how was I going to get myself out of Germany let alone a marriage. I was so scared. Thinking about it still gives me goosebumps.

Sometimes when I feel fear creeping up on me, I think back to this day and see how different my life is now and how everything has worked out. I had never been so scared in my life but somehow I made it through. God took care of me, and I survived. I made it home and followed my dreams into culinary school. I forget sometimes that there have been so many things that I have been fearful of but I haven’t yet experienced a time where tackling the fear has brought out more negatives in a situation than good. Where would I be now if I had let my fear stop me? Failure is probably one of my biggest fears, but when I think about it…failure doesn’t really exist as long as you learn from it and pick yourself back up. Like a good friend once told me. “Failure is the best teacher.”

That One Time, When I Thought I Wanted to Be a Personal Trainer.

Some of you may or may not know that I went to school to be a personal trainer/nutritionist. I’m athletic, I like sports, nutrition, and being active so it seems fitting right? Wrong. There are a few things I am good at in life– like taking off my socks in my sleep, drinking large amounts of kombucha, procrastination, and flushing toilets with my foot no matter what type of handle they have. However, there is one skill that I do not possess. Social skills.

I don’t know what happened to me in life where I felt like every opportunity was a great time for self sabotage.  I always seem to dive into whatever it is that creates the most fear in me. I have a tendency to want to do things that are not even remotely fitting to my personality. I am not sure whether to see it as stupidity or determination.

If you know me well, you will know that I am not quiet or shy in the least bit. However, you will also know that when it comes to certain social situations I can be very shy and awkward. Personal training was always a shy and awkward experience for me. Considering I am also immature, being in a career where farting is an occupational hazard… is probably not the best. If you fart. I will laugh at you. I don’t care how many crunches you did, or what you ate before you came into your session. That is some funny shit, and I will laugh or giggle awkwardly.

Before I was certified as a personal trainer I was required to take a class called group exercise instruction. What comes to mind when you think group exercise instruction? Zumba? Jazzercise? Step? Yes, and yes. Picture this. Me, in front of a whole class, with a microphone teaching jazzercise.

I was a little less glamourous than Brittney spears..

Britney Spears

and a little more manly than richard simmons.

richard-simmons-083011-rev-07__oPt

Pretty funny right? This is not my worst nightmare you are laughing at. This was my reality for a good semester of college. I will say though that I was a pretty damn good step instructor. I’ve got a little bit of rhythm for a white girl. Just don’t ask me to dance.  I will step on you.

Thinking about getting up in front of that class every week made me feel like I was going to vomit. Somehow I not only made it through that class, but I made it through with perfect attendance. I awkwardly stepped, danced, and nearly vomited my way through the class. It was my hell on earth but getting through it helped me realize that I am capable of so much more than I thought.

I quickly learned that personal training wasn’t for me, but I think that this time in my life made me way more capable of pushing through the hard times I had ahead. I still struggle with wanting to run away or throw in the towel when I am discouraged or when a situation becomes uncomfortable. But I am learning now that I am strong enough to not run away. I am still the same awkward, immature, person but I have realized that I am not the only one that doesn’t have all of life figured out. My eye contact may be lacking, but I have a strong handshake. I may not know when to say hi, and when I can just pass by with a smile or a nod.. but I am learning to not care and realize– no one knows exactly what they are doing 100% of the time.

Legally Single

As of Oct. 17, 2013 I am officially single. I know, I have been single for awhile, but legally I am now divorced. Yep, this whole time I have been married. Don’t get divorced kids, it can get messy.

I got Married May 17th 2008 in Meadow Vista CA. Some of you may have even been there. It is all such a blur to me. Sometimes I look back and wonder how anyone even let me get married. I was 21 years old, an anxious mess, and hadn’t really even experienced life yet. I had my first sip of alcohol at my wedding. The year before I was too busy skateboarding to be concerned about anything else, and then suddenly, the next year I hung up my board, started dressing “like a girl” and somehow decided that getting married was the next step to my life. It was like forcing a puzzle piece in the wrong space. I wanted it to fit, it may have even looked like it did… but I knew it didn’t.

photo-159

2007

l

2008 the last time I wore a dress… True story.

Getting married wasn’t the best decision I ever made, but I can’t say I regret it. I am a stronger person because of it, and it has made me appreciate life so much more. Even though I was gay, I felt like it was my only option at the time. I didn’t know what God had in store for me, or what the future held, but I just did what I thought was the right thing in the moment. Now I know better than to live for other people’s approval. I am realizing that other people’s approval of me is not going to improve my life. I have to live for my own happiness and I feel like God has given me a second chance at life to do just that. There are plenty of people out there who I can never please or earn approval from, but those who still love me for who I truly am are all that matter, and I am forever grateful for them.

photo-160

2013 legally single, and ready to mingle.

It feels pretty good to finally close this chapter in my life. Although my married status wasn’t exactly holding me back, I feel like I can finally move on and start the next chapter. It is strange to look back and see how much life has changed for me in only a few years. The biggest changes began when I started to create my own path. Instead of continuing to run from everything, I finally took a hold of life and decided that I would start being a participant rather than an observer. Life is like a video game and I finally figured out how to hit the right buttons. It is still a work in progress, sometimes I hit all the buttons and pretend I know what I am doing…but I am slowly figuring things out and becoming less afraid of going after what I want in life. Failure isn’t the worst case scenario, doing nothing is.

Cheers to the single life.

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

I had my first Facebook unfriending as a result of this blog. Although I expected the possibility of losing friends, I guess I wasn’t really prepared for it, nor could I have been. I have no regrets about anything I have posted, but it still hurts, and it frustrates me. No one likes to be rejected, no matter what the circumstances. I think the most frustrating part of all is the fact that this person is a “Christian”. I have had them in my home, I have cooked them dinner. Yet now, they want nothing to do with me. How does that even fit into the Christian principles they have been taught? If Jesus had Facebook he would definitely still be my friend…along with his 12 disciples.

It is Christians like this that make it so hard for the gay community to trust them. So many have been hurt that they want nothing to do with God or the church. I have learned to separate people from God and know that he still loves me, and is always there for me, even when his people are not. I also want to point out that I am incredibly grateful for those who have remained my friend, who have read my blog, who have listened, and although may not understand…have tried. It means more to me than you could imagine.

I can’t deny that I am still frustrated. I am frustrated with the Christian community, and even with the gay community. There is ignorance on both sides. The Christian community is overly focused on the idea of love the sinner hate the sin… or that being gay is an abomination that they fail to see that we are human beings just like them that pray to the same God. The gay community has been so hurt by the Christian community that they automatically assume that all Christians hate them and don’t give them a second chance. Not all Christians are against gay people. Not all Christians think it is a sin. There are plenty of them out there that are the most empathetic, understanding, loving, and Christ like people. There are churches out there that are accepting of Gay people… but why are there only certain churches? We are creating a sense of segregation and it is pathetic. We are all people. We are all sinners, and no matter what, in the end– love wins. There shouldn’t be gay churches and regular churches. If there is only one God, then why are we creating such a spiritual battle which in the end only leads to people being hurt?

There are so many different sins out there.. and lets say being gay was in fact a sin… why is the church so focused on this one issue? There are liars, thieves, murderers, adulterers…etc. all of these labels/sins have a negative affect on other people around them, however, being gay does not. We still contribute positively to the people around us. We are good people. We are not out to recruit, or corrupt your children. Nor are we contagious. We are simply just different, but not that different. We want to be accepted, acknowledged, and loved, just like everyone else.