Just Another Human

Two years ago I wrote this post when I came out publicly as transgender. Hard to believe that was two years ago. I thought of that post as my first and last coming out. I did it. My heart was pounding as I hit that post button but it was done and I felt a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders. Everyone knew my business so it was no longer something people would question. But… as time goes on you meet new people. People at work or etc that don’t know your past.. and therefore the process starts all over again.

One of my biggest fears is that when other people find out I’m trans is that they will see me differently. As something other than just another guy. People seem to look at you differently once they find out. It is almost as if they look at you longer, trying to think of what you used to look like, or what is in your pants… or maybe it is genuine curiosity. I get that, humans are curious beings.

I’m just another guy, just another human who has a different than average past. I’ve seen two different worlds without having to travel a mile but, just like you I go to work, I live, breathe, and bleed the same. I can be fun, hard working, loving, and let’s be real…I can be an asshole, but don’t make that judgement just based on me being transgender.

I struggle daily thinking about attending church or just meeting random people that if they knew of my transition perhaps they would not accept me or want me to be there.  Which also leads me to wonder… for those of which transitioning is against their beliefs what would be your hope for me today? If you were to pray for my soul and salvation, what would that prayer look like?

I can’t help but wonder.

All in all, what matters most is that I accept myself and I am finally in a place where I can say that I do. It is transgender awareness month, but ironically I found myself doing something I never thought that I would. I started deleting old photos of myself from Facebook so that new people from my life wouldn’t find out I was trans. The truth is that my past has made me who I am today and I will continue to be proud of that. Being trans has made me a more accepting and compassionate person. It has taught me that you cannot judge someone based on their past or ever know what someone is truly going through on the inside.

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I knew who I was when I was little, but somewhere down the road I let fear of what others thought of me get in the way.

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This is a pretty drastic comparison photo… but it just shows that you really can not ever know what someone is going through just by looking at them.

On the left: My wedding day. The day I completely lost myself.

The right: My first bodybuilding competition. The day I stepped on stage completely exposed in order to heal from all those days of hiding.

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Throwback Thursday

Thanksgiving 2015. I never thought I would get here, nor did I ever expect to feel so thankful to be in the place I am at today. I am finally reaching a point in my life where I am able to remove myself from the past,  process it all, and begin to heal. I have thought a lot about my past, but I never truly processed everything from start to finish or picked apart my mindset at the time. I spent a lot of time feeling numb, or just not wanting to sort out my feelings at all. The funny thing about transition is that the more I match physically with who I have felt I always was on the inside, the more it seems that my brain finds the missing puzzle pieces to my past.

I have always been one to write down my thoughts.. whether it was journaling or blogging. Yesterday Time- Hop ( The phone application that shows you all of your social media activity from the past ) reminded me that I had a blog before this one that I wrote on pretty regularly. I blogged on it all throughout my marriage. I hadn’t revisited that blog for years. There were numerous posts that brought back some pain for me. Pain that I had been avoiding for a long time.Today as I was skimming my posts there was one in particular that stuck out to me:

29 Days

There are 29 days left until I return back to the good old U.S.A. Which seems like a lot considering I mis-calculated (or mis-Googled because I am way too lazy to actually calculate anything ) the other day and thought I had only 26 days left to go…making today only 24. Nope. 29. Thanks a million Google for making me actually do math. I barely have enough energy to write this blog after having to figure out that equation.

Anyways… you might be wondering why I am returning to the States. Perhaps just for a visit? Well yes, if you consider a year a visit. Truth is I am not really sure how everything is going to pan out in the end because a lot of things tend to happen in a year but the plan so far is that I will be attending Culinary school and then return to Germany upon completion. Of course there are a few things that could weigh in on future plans. Those things would be the time frame in which I complete culinary school, jobs, money, etc. etc. you get the point.

So now to the big question that I get asked every time I discuss my newest life endeavor. What about your husband? Great question. He will be here, doing what he does now…except without me moping around
with nothing to do. I get it folks, a year is a long time, and yes I get that you probably think that I am being a selfish bitch for leaving…the weird thing is I am actually okay with that. Okay, so I am not 100% okay with that thought- considering through out this whole experience one of my biggest lessons learned is never to judge anyone without knowing what it is like to be in their shoes. I could go off on a huge tangent right now but I will spare you before this becomes a rant.

It seems like a rather bold and unnecessary move to make…leaving Germany and going to culinary school and all..but I guess you could describe it as an Eat Pray Love moment. You know…the moment where Elizabeth Gilbert gets up in the middle of the night and cries on the bathroom floor thinking how much she doesn’t want to be living the life she is living? Alright, so it wasn’t quite that dramatic. If I woke up in the middle of the night and laid on the bathroom floor crying I would find myself face first in a pair of dirty boxer briefs.. The concept of finding myself is along the same lines. I need to find myself, and I don’t want to let my dreams just be dreams. Going to culinary school has been a dream of mine for a long time and I don’t think I could live with myself if I never sought it out. Better now than when I am in my 30’s barefoot and pregnant right? At least I am not abandoning any children.

Just so there is no confusion- I love Germany. It is beautiful here and I in no way, shape, or form, have any problems with the country or the people. In fact, I made more German friends than I did with other American military spouses. All through the internet of course. They were a great help in trying to get me acquainted with their country, and get me signed up for the marathon here that I have been training for..yet am leaving 3 days before. My real problem lies in the fact that I suck at being outgoing enough to really fit into this military community. I applied to jobs with no luck, and it doesn’t help that a lot of the spouses have been here together for a few years now. I am the new kid in class. The weird one that no one wants to play with unless they are given some sort of incentive or forced by the teacher.

Although it is not in the best of circumstances I am really looking forward to finally getting to go to culinary school. I feel selfish for making such a huge decision as this, but at the same time I feel brave.

Reading this was a huge reminder of how far I have come. This was the first step I took toward this journey that I am still on. It is the first time I did what was best for me. I put fear aside and stopped caring so much about what other people thought of me. I remember thinking that surely God was going to smite me. I was lost, and didn’t know how things were going to happen or if I would ever find my way but I knew that I needed to take a leap and make a change. Not only did God not smite me…but looking back I can see that he was there along side me the whole time.

It has been a year since I came out publicly. I am incredibly thankful that I took this first step to becoming my authentic self, and I am eternally grateful for the people that have supported me along the way and stuck by me even in the darkest of times. I can’t wait to see what else the future holds.

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Left: Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Mannheim Germany 2011 Right: Thanksgiving 2015

 

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This is how it always should have been.

 

 

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.

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.