Realize

IMG_6907Today marks seven years since my wedding day. Although it seems like a blur there are specific moments that continue to flash through my mind. I remember coming through the doors to walk down the aisle and not knowing what emotions I was supposed to be feeling. Was I supposed to cry? What did I feel? Physically I felt naked and hungry, but emotionally I felt numb. It was the kind of life I had watched unfold in movies, but it was not the life I had imagined for myself. I never imagined myself as a wife. It all makes a little more sense now.

I don’t remember much of the reception afterwards, but I remember dancing to the song “Realize”. by Colbie Caillat for our first dance. That song will forever remind me of this day, the first dance, and the moment I realized the man I was dancing with had no idea who I was.

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I have realized a few things since this day seven years ago….

1. Life is short. Live it for yourself. No one is going to live your life for you, so don’t live like that is even a possibility. Don’t let other people’s opinions hijack your life.

2. Shame can kill. The less secrets you have, the less it allows for room for shame in your life. Being vulnerable is hard, but secrecy, silence, and judgement are breeding grounds for shame. Everyone always says “I’m only human.” Show people just how human you are. Empathy is key.

3. If it scares you, do it. Doing the very thing you are afraid of, can set you free. Fuck fear.

4. Failure is your greatest teacher. We learn some of our biggest life lessons from mistakes or failure. As long as you learn from it, failure doesn’t exist. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger….

5. Follow your passion, dream big, and never give up. Persevere.

6. Never follow blindly. Ignorance is not bliss. Ask questions, do your research, keep your mind open and never stop learning.

7. Surround yourself with good people who support you, encourage you, have your back, and always push you to better yourself and call you on your shit.

8. It’s okay to say no. Know your limits. If you don’t want to do something. Don’t do it. There is a difference between being selfish, and self preservation.

9. Patience. You can’t always get what you want WHEN you want it. Things you want to achieve may seem impossible… but it may just take some time. I feel like transitioning has been a huge test of patience. Life is such a weird balance between being patient and taking action.

10. Love yourself. It sounds cliche but I didn’t realize how important this one was until now. Not loving yourself first is a sure way to find your way into a bad relationship of any sorts. Relationships are not meant to feed an emotional hunger. It is like feeding your body empty calories. It may satisfy you for a short time, but in the long run it doesn’t nourish you, and is bad for your health. If you are not okay alone, you can’t be okay in a relationship.

All of these realizations are an everyday work in progress for me. I am definitely not patient, I am still driven by fear, but I am learning how to use it as a motivator, instead of letting it debilitate me. I still hate being vulnerable and let feelings of shame creep up on me, but I am taking back my life and living it for myself. I am slowly learning to love myself, and will not allow for my life to be hijacked ever again.

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Life looks a little different than it did 7 years ago.

 

 

 

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.”

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.

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2007

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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.

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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.