Reflecting on inspiration

Sometimes that ‘On this Date’ app on facebook can wake you up a bit to your own progress and growth in some areas. I found this post below from 5 years ago about Jason Collins, who was the first NBA player – and first active player in the 4 main sports – to come out, and reflect back on the impact that had on me as someone who has been more of a jock their whole lives. I’ve always struggled to meet people who I felt like I could relate to and who had a similar journey to mine but this one was very similar. This one was inspiring and this was something that I could take something from.

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On this day I saw someone who I could relate to finding a lot of love and support. Some people were shocked at the news but ultimately just wanted him to be happy. I found myself in a state of regret and wish that I had done something sooner and lived things on my own terms – unfortunately, I still find the same to be true today. I was excited and hoped this may start a bit of a new normal but things have kind of died down and there hasn’t been much progress in professional sports. However, while we haven’t seen more athletes come out I would tend to think that people have continued to become more open and accepting. People are champions for equality and there is a lot of optimism that people can be accepted. Can I find my way?

I’d think that Ashlee from 5 years ago would be so impressed by where we are at today? She asked the question “Is it possible for me to be supported as Ashlee?” and I have found that to absolutely be true. People who have known me for 10-15 years have expressed that they no longer look at me as a guy and only think of me as Ashlee. Others have said they barely recognize me as a guy now because they are so used to seeing the pictures of Ashlee. They’re so used to that because I’m finally finding a way to prioritize myself. Finding a way to make Ashlee important and to not allow myself to get bogged up in all of the reasons why I shouldn’t do it and to embrace the reasons I should.

The jock role will always be a part of me. I will always have that history in me. This post has reminded me what is possible. What can be done and the way that we can inspire. There is a lot of good ahead.

❤ Ashlee



Playing our role


This quote! THIS! The message I have needed for so long is the one that I’m finally using to make my best life. For years I worried about Ashlee stuff and the impact it would have on others. What would others think? How could I ever be accepted as a woman?

I just kind of had to do it. I had to get out there and the more that I got out there, the more comfortable and at ease I felt. The more comfortable I felt, the easier it was to be confident in who I was – and people were noticing. Not only were they noticing but they were appreciating my willingness to follow my heart and do me – do what made me happy. The media can portray transgender people in such poor ways – as if we are something to be scared of. At this point, I’m someone that women want makeup tips from. Someone that they see how I can walk around confidently and that they want to do the same. That if I can live my best life that they can too.

As I have been able to commit to getting out as Ashlee more than ever before, I am so excited to find a whole different perspective – to have the ability to gain a little bit of a routine and always have something to look forward to. To not worry that it may be several months before I can be Ashlee again. I don’t need to wait – I can do what is best for me. I can find my path and I can make her a priority because she IS a priority. No matter what society says.

The idea of being an inspiration isn’t new to me. I do it in my work every day and get to work with amazing students at such a transformational time in their own lives. I have had many students praise me as a mentor and I have been honored to play such a role in their lives. As I have let Ashlee out more, it has been incredible to see that I can offer similar support and make a difference for people. We all deserve to live our best lives. As we go through time, it’s baffling to me to see how many different times in history people have fought against equality. How we repeat the same history to have a problem with one thing – we find that equality and realize that yes, we all need to be treated equally. Then the next social issue comes up and we have an issue with that too. But then we realize that people are people and that we are all worthy of equality and living our best life.

As a transwoman, I am valid. I matter. I have a place in this world. I have a lot to bring to this world and I have a lot of lessons I can teach people. I can love myself. I can appreciate the person that I am and the perspective I can have in this world. We all have such a great responsibility in this world to make it a better place. To leave our legacy, no matter what that looks like. I’m finding my way and right now it is all about making a difference in the community. It’s about changing the image of transpeople and helping people see that we ALL matter. So excited to have that opportunity and knowing that I’m starting to make a difference.

❤ Ashlee

The Meaning of Affirmations

“Hey Ashlee! Thinking of you! Have a wonderful day!!”

Those words came from a friend that I have know for 10 years. Just a few months ago if you asked her about me she would have thought about my connection with football or my work in the gym. She would have thought of me as a jock – the typical guy’s guy. Recently, I came out to her and told her about Ashlee. She was shocked and became even more shocked when she saw pictures of me for the first time and saw a beautiful woman. She could see my truest self in those pictures. She was touched that I felt comfortable to talk with her about this and as I allowed my guard to let down a little she was able to see how tortured I had been but now that I was letting my true self shine just how beautiful i really was. Recently, she shared that she realized that she just thinks of me as Ashlee – and when we talk that is who she pictures. We may communicate mostly through my male accounts which can show my guy side but she sees the person I am in my heart. When she thinks of me she thinks of my as Ashlee – the woman that she has known for a few weeks and not the guy that she has know for 10 years. It’s all about the heart.

When I’ve thought about transition this was always one of my biggest hang ups. I live such a ‘guy’s guy’ life that I often wonder how people are supposed to take me seriously as a woman. It’s been a place of shame and feelings that I could never be accepted. I’ve been very lucky to meet friends as Ashlee and it always felt that is where it needed to stay. Those that met me as Ashlee would know me as Ashlee and those that would know me as a guy would know me that way. They couldn’t see otherwise. But now, perhaps they can.

One of the beautiful things about where our society is headed is that many people can appreciate diversity and inclusion. We can open our mind to other people’s experiences and work to validate them. It may be coming slow but it’s coming and we see it in our young people better than ever. I am lucky to have friends that have always viewed me in a positive light but may have felt like something was missing as if they weren’t getting the true story. Now many of them are. They are seeing the truest piece of me and they are seeing my thrive. They are seeing me comfortable and genuinely happy. What is better than that?

We all need more kindness and love in the world and I am so proud to find my path to put this out there. My role is important. I have been able to start conversations with people about gender that never would have considered those issues and never understood the struggle. They are the people that are looking to learn more and become better allies and supports. That kind of work helps others and makes it easier for other people to come out. I am so proud when people share that they are learning more about gender and that their perceptions have changed after talking more with me about it. It’s a great way to contribute to the cause.

At the end of the day, I think we all crave to know we matter. That we are valid. That we count. It’s amazing to finally get that recognition and know that the opportunity is out there. No matter what path I go, I have options to be great. It’s an exciting thing.

❤ Ashlee

Prompt 9 – What are my priorities right now?

This prompt is appropriate as April often becomes one of the busier months of my year. This is a tremendous opportunity to settle down and re-examine my own priorities as I look at supporting my own self care during this chaotic time of year.

Life as Ashlee and finding my own acceptance is a strong priority for me right now. It’s been incredible to look around and find the many different ways that I’ve been accepted and encouraged to succeed. To be affirmed is one of the best feelings that I have some hope to find my path. I’ve set a goal to find a way to celebrate Ashlee at least once per week so that I’m able to allow my truest self to come out and that has been so good for my soul.

The easiest way has been to take the time to do something as Ashlee. To get completely made up and dressed up for the occasion. Even just a simple dinner can go a long way to helping me feel good for my soul. This commitment has made taking it all off so much easier and stronger because I am focused on knowing that I will make time again soon and there is no fear that weeks may go by before I am able to be here again.

For so long, the presentation was important. Feeling everything needed to be in place for me to be truly Ashlee but as I have come out more and have the opportunity to connect with others as Ashlee, it has taken it to a whole different level.

At the end of the day, this is a priority about my own self love. We all deserve the opportunity to have that self love and to practice it daily – to do what we need to feel comfortable in my own skin. I am Ashlee. I am transgender. I am valid. I matter.

Making that a priority has been the best decision I’ve made. I’m so proud of myself because I can finally say those things. We all deserve that.

❤ Ashlee


Prompt 8 – Letting go of the blame

This week’s prompt covers What’s bothering me? Why?

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A breakup’s aftermath can be hard – especially in this day of social media where your business can be plastered everywhere. People can watch your life unfold over someone’s social media pages and make their own assumptions about how what’s happening for you. A matter that should be private and shared at your own pace becomes everyone’s news.

Last month I wrote about a recent breakup and how our paths no longer intertwined. My partner is an incredible person and someone I truly admire. I wish nothing but the best of things for them but I know that our timing was just not right and our particulars just weren’t good fit. We both fought long and hard to do our best but in the end we weren’t good for each other and it was just causing more stress and sadness than good. Ever since our firm and final break, I have felt more at peace and I’ve felt lighter. The different stress is gone and I can be happy and at ease. It affirms the decision was for the best.

When prompted to think about what bothers me right now, my ex-partner’s attitude and attempts to victimize themselves is at the top of the list. Social media continues to be a negative platform to let this attitude fester. It is full of so many quotes aimed at taking shots at the other person and allowing the poster to remove their own accountability. There are opportunities to victimize oneself instead of looking inside to figure out where things went wrong. Certainly, there are awful relationships out there and situations where people are done severely wrong but in many relationships it’s about not being the right match – and that has to be ok. But we cannot blame other people for our life and we cannot let other people define it. I still struggle with missing my old partner – I miss what we had and what we are capable of. It’s a shame that our live particulars couldn’t blend but that’s part of life. It’s an opportunity to learn.

Now a days people are so quick to victimize themselves or look out to get back at someone. I think we need to look deeper in the situation and try to learn from each one. We are all responsible for our own happiness and if your partner isn’t making you happy, no matter how hard you BOTH try it’s ok to walk away from that. There is someone better out there for you and there is someone better out there for your partner. Getting to that point of acceptance is the best thing for anyone going through a breakup. Appreciate the good from the relationship, the lessons learned, and hopeful the good memories along the way but also understand why you are no longer together – which includes your own contributions to the relationship as well. Acceptance finally gives you that welcome sense of exhalation. You come to realize what the past meant and what the future can hold. Everything is alright again. You feel like yourself again and you have so much good ahead.

Unfortunately, my ex-partner isn’t there yet and I still have to deal with the jabs and the self pity. Getting scrubbed from social media – guess I should have saved some of those great pictures they got of me. But that’s where they are and that doesn’t define me. I can look in the mirror and know I gave it my best. I miss my ex-partner but I will never regret making the right decision for me. Maybe our paths cross again but if they don’t I will forever appreciate our time. Hopefully they get to that point of acceptance too. We all deserve that.

❤ Ashlee

Feeling like a fraud

Yesterday was the Transgender Day of Visibility and I felt like a fraud. I had a typical cisgender male day – I went to the gym, fixed up some things around the house, grabbed food with friends, and cooked up a steak. It felt so incomplete. I thought about all of the things I could be doing and how different things could be if I had the courage to be my truest self. So many people were celebrating their journey and being proud to be trans and I just sat on the sidelines trying to convince others that I was who society expects me to be instead of who I know I truly am in my heart. A constant struggle that I play with in my head that is always magnified in moments like these when so many are owning their truths and I continue to hide out of fear. Then reality set in that the encouragement truly is there.

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A friend of mine that I work with posted this on his facebook page. Another transman that looks at me as this great straight white ally hit on some of the things that I hold my biggest insecurities over. My biggest worries. The parts of me that make me question my validity and make me feel like a fraud. I’ve struggled in the trans community of being judged for my journey – in fact, people within that community have made me feel more invalidated or unworthy than anyone else – and some of my biggest concerns in coming out fully surround other transpeople that I have felt would judge me for not acting sooner. This friend has really looked up to me as the “straight white ally” and has felt that if a “guy’s guy” like me can be open and supportive than anyone can. I worry about tarnishing that for him.

Two years ago, he sent me a throw away email wanting to learn more about our policies around transpeople as he was doing for the whole school. He had several meetings with clueless people who were severely uneducated about the topic and awkward in their response. In his mind, I had to be yet another waste of time that would further speak for how woefully under prepared we were. Usually guarded on these topics, something got into me. I responded with tremendous enthusiasm and told him how great it was that he was looking at this and how excited I was to talk with him about it. I didn’t know him well at the time but I could still tell he was skeptical about me when he came in – but then I blew him away.

I could speak his language. I could understand his concerns. I already had made policies and practices to support transpeople and make my area more gender inclusive. He was amazed at how well I spoke on it. I told him that people might not understand it from me, but it hits a lot closer to home than some people might expect. He left that meeting so thrilled that someone at the school got it. That he wasn’t alone in this. That there was opportunity to make a difference and to have someone in his corner not because they had to be but because they had educated themselves to think smarter – he just didn’t understand the scope and just how close it did hit me. I’ve felt that if I came out that it would let him down – that he would be disappointed that I wasn’t who he thought I was. When I read this though, I do feel like there is hope. Perhaps he could understand why I’ve chosen to live this way and why for me it just hasn’t been the right at this time and that I’m just not ready.

This is where the growth continues to come into place. I am so excited to be challenged to see where things may come and how I can keep working at finding my truths. I’ve been so fortunate to have had so much luck coming out to people but I have avoided him because I worried that it would upset him. Knowing that he can understand may change things and may ope up an incredible door. So excited to see where this takes me. The affirmation remains the same – I am valid, I am worthy, and I do matter.

❤ Ashlee


Pulled Over As Ashlee


As we sit on the eve of the Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV), I reflect on my journey over the last year and am so proud of my successes, growth, and progress. 2018 is turning into The Year of Ashlee and there is so much good ahead! I work very hard to be a positive example of the trans community. I always try to dress classy and appropriately for what I am doing and I blend very well into the community. I’ve been complimented by strangers who have told me how awesome it is to live my truth and to walk so proudly and just own it. My hope is that people can see that I’m not as different and they may think. They see someone who is happy with themselves – at least in that moment when I can be most authentic – and just living their best lives. I’m not the monster that the media may try to portray but just another girl looking to find her way in this world. Living in a mostly progressive area, I am fortunate that many people are open minded and can appreciate people’s difference. Overall my treatment has been amazing. When I’m not treated well, it’s a surprise and I ran into a situation last night that gave me pause.

I was looking at the GPS on my phone trying to figure out how to get home as the lights started flashing behind me – using your cellphone while driving is illegal. I pulled over and began collecting my things not really thinking about the fact that I was Ashlee. As the officer approached, it hit me that this could be interesting for the officer. He walked with a bit of a strut and actually had a bit of a grin on his face. As he approached and “smoothly” asked me for my license, I told him that I wanted to share that I was transgender and he immediately jumped back and got super uncomfortable. I told him I was looking at my phone because I was trying to pull up the GPS and could admit that I was in the wrong. He couldn’t have run away fast enough – and didn’t even ask for my registration. Shortly after he came back with a ticket and told me that they were really cracking down on it here. Yes, I was in the wrong. But I owned it. I explained that I knew what I did and why I was being pulled over. I was polite and courteous and I had my information ready to go. I am generally a safe driver and don’t get pulled over often but when I do, I usually know what I did wrong and I usually get off with a warning. I hadn’t gotten a ticket since my teens and this was the time that I got one? Over something small when I owned it? If I were presenting as a male and got the ticket then I wouldn’t think much of it but it’s very curious that it happened to me here. I wonder how much of me presenting as a woman impacted his decision to ticket me.

I can deal with a ticket and the consequences that come with it but the possibility that I was ticketed because I was trans really didn’t sit well with me. Perhaps how I looked had nothing to do with why I was pulled over but it breaks my heart that it could have been. That I could have been targeted or mistreated because I was different. But this is small stuff – and the situation could have been much worse. I never felt unsafe. I never felt that things could escalate. This was minor. But for many transpeople, these situations are all too common.

Discrimination for people that are transgender is rampant. This is the reason that we need to have a Transgender Day of Visability. We need to make this world a kinder, more empathetic place. Our young people deserve a better opportunity than what I had and what others before me did. We need to be better. The statistics are scary! Recent statistics have shown that 80% trans students feel unsafe at school because of their gender expression. 50% of trans people have been raped or sexually assaulted by a romantic partner. 49% of trans people have reported physical abuse. 1 in 5 transgender people have experienced homelessness in their lives. 41% of transpeople – myself included – have attempted suicide. Quite frankly, we need to be better.

This is why this conversation is important. This is why I walk into places with my head held high and that I work so hard to represent my community well. I’m proud to have been praised by my friends who are more open minded and understanding about trans issues – that they have taken the time to learn more about trans issues so that they can be as open and supportive as possible. Things are getting better and the future is bright. I will never know what that officer was thinking when he ticketed me. Perhaps I would have been ticketed no matter what. Maybe he did freeze and panic – and maybe it wasn’t intentional. My hope, however, is that he thought more about that interaction as well. In small town New England, I may have been the first trans person that he ever encountered. Hopefully he could see someone who was cooperative and respectful and that maybe I wasn’t as scary as he may have expected. Hopeful for that growth.

❤ Ashlee

Working Undercover


Working in Higher Education gives me an incredible opportunity to work with college students at such an important time in their lives. I find myself looking at ways to challenge their thinking and help them become the best versions of themselves. I appreciate opportunities to have difficult conversations with them and let them know that some of these sensitive topics are great to talk about while opening their eyes on new perspectives.

Tonight we ran a program on gender. A friend of mine who is a transman came and did a presentation on his life and his journey to find his path. His presentation was incredible. He spoke openly and frankly about his experiences and gave real life stories about the challenges that he has faced as he has worked to live his truths. He has no idea that I am transgender as well.

I was experiencing a pretty tough day gender wise and the presentation made it worse. It is always so exciting and inspiring to see others who are living their truths and finding their best lives but on this day, it was just hard. I heard his stories about the excitement of growing facial hair or how much he hated the clothes he was forced to wear and I thought about how I felt so much further the other way – I can’t stand how dark my facial hair comes in and the clothes that he shunned were the ones I felt so at home in. Every story of his successes made me question myself. It was inspiring to hear his stories – to hear that he came out as trans and the young people around him were all cool with it, the important people in his family embraced him and the ones that didn’t just didn’t matter. There are so many similarities in our stories but I’m too scared to find my own truths.

Today, I was the ally. I was the person reiterating that you could be a football loving white guy and still be supportive of trans issues. You could be the straight white guy who works out constantly and be an ally. In my community that is a valuable lesson to teach – to allow people to feel safe to come into my office and talk about these difficult things, to know that they have a safe space. We talked about statistics – about suicide, about homelessness, about discrimination – and I sat there and listened. He spoke about how the statistic about suicide speaks to him and how he was part of that statistic. The room was somber but the message was so powerful. I wanted to share that I was part of that statistic as well. But I was too scared. Instead I held back tears as we talked more openly about how difficult it is for transpeople and why programs like this are so important so that people can be more open and inclusive to people different from them and so people can understand a little more about the troubles we go through. I was commended for being willing to sponsor the program and help get the message out. Commended because I KNEW it mattered – but if people knew just how much I knew they would be truly shocked. Perhaps they would be just as supportive and encouraging as what my friend had experienced – I just don’t have that courage.

I have tried for so long to lead by example. As Ashlee, I want to change people’s perceptions and stigmas about a transperson and appreciate me for who I am and recognize that I don’t want any trouble – that we don’t want any trouble – but that we just want to be happy and be our truest self. As a male, I want to help the conversation continue – I want people to know it’s ok to talk about this and that we can use our privilege to better the world. I’ve been praised countless times for my support for the LGBT community but on days like today I feel like I’m living a lie. There is a real benefit in getting this information out there and for someone who looks the way I am currently presenting to be someone leading the charge but sometimes it feels rotten.

I caught myself hearing his stories – talking about all the little anxeities that creep up and the stresses that you feel jut knowing that things are right, that your body isnt right, that you hate who you see in the mirror. The way that it feels to be told that you are an attractive male. It’s not me. I think of myself answering some of those Q&As and how some of my answers would be similiar and how some might be so different but just how much I wanted that moment. Maybe some day.

❤ Ashlee

Prompt 7 – To Just Be

Returning to the prompt challenge to discuss Little Victories and Successes!

When I think about a little victory and success that I’ve had recently, it was most related to finding my way as Ashlee. To own my truths and be my best self. To be proud of who I am and know that I belong. To know that I can be truly accepted as my truest self and seen for my heart.

I’ve met a lot of tremendous people as Ashlee. I’ve met friends who knew me as a boy as Ashlee and have had them appreciate this more true version of myself and see that this truer side had been there the whole time. More recently, I’ve had the opportunity to meet two amazing women who I had originally met online in the last few years. I met both women in a facebook makeup group. They were both incredibly beautiful and so talented with their makeup. We got connected and began to develop that online friendship. I found that they were both even more beautiful as people and both so inspiring for who they were. They were encouraging and fantastic at building me up. The exact kinds of people I would love to be friends with but always doubted could really ever see me as Ashlee if they saw me in person. I could always show my best selfies online and show off my best angles to look as feminine as possible – they would never have to see my real linebacker shoulders and have it ruin their view of me.

The first friend I met was in Denver when I was there for business. I was so nervous in feeling like I wanted to do my makeup perfect. She was so beautiful and so good with her makeup and I started to worry if I could keep up. All the doubt crept up in me – will she not think I’m fun enough? Will I not be passable enough or feminine enough? Will I just stand out too much? The second friend I met at her home south of Boston. She was also so beautiful and such a talent with makeup. She wanted to DO my makeup and help transform me. I worried about her “meeting me” as a male and having that cloud her vision of me. I worried that I would come out looking like a typical jock and it would ruin her view of Ashlee. I couldn’t have been more off with my thinking. Both women were incredible and they were just as genuine and supportive in real life than they were online. They were still building me up and still celebrating my womanhood.

I never could have imagined these kinds of friendships. These strong, inspiring, and beautiful women wanting to be friends with me as Ashlee and appreciate me for the person that I am. For viewing me for my heart and appreciating the light I could have in their lives as well. In both instances, we went out and and just enjoyed drinks and dinner. I could sit back with no worries – to just enjoy the evening and a night with a friend who just appreciated me for my heart and knew that deep down that I was a woman. I was just like anyone else. That’s a pretty great victory in my eyes. To just be and be happy with good people. Best victory there is. 🙂

❤ Ashlee


Inspiration of Wonder


I had lunch with a friend on Friday and we got to talking about infusing more kindness into the world and she shared how she had just finished a book called WONDER by RJ Palacio and how inspiring it was. WONDER tells the story of August “Auggie” Pullman, a boy with facial differences from Treacher Collins Syndrome (TCS) who enters fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time. As we discussed the book and Auggie’s experience adapting along with those around him, I was hooked and began putting a note about it in my phone before my friend mentioned that she actually had the book in her car and would lend it to me. I don’t read as often as I should but am currently reading two other books right now: Fish in a Tree and Adult Children of Alcoholics – we’ll save that for another blog – but I was eager to add this to my list. My friend didn’t seem to need it back any time soon so I could take my time.

Walking back to the office, I thought about the book a lot. The social dynamics of the book intrigued me. How would Auggie fit into his school? My friend shared how Auggie struggled with his appearance, hated standing out, and felt like a freak – little did she know how relatable that was. Relating to his struggle broke my heart. People can be cruel and middle school can be the worst of it. I hoped for the happy ending where everyone stopped judging the book by his cover and started appreciating him for his heart. As difficult as these situations can be, I am a sucker for a good teachable moment and knowing that people are uplifted. In the LGBT community, I think of the It Gets Better Project and love the amazing stories that come through that and the many people who have fought through their struggles and have found that it does truly get better. That’s what I wanted from this book – another opportunity to believe in the good of humanity. I thought about the other two books I had at home and was determined to get through it.

I got home from work and had starred a blog that a friend of my had shared. The author wrote about her gender non-conforming son who had been bullied. Again, my heart broke for this child as their story was told in this blog and highlighted how former best friends were part of the bullying – one who had recently told them that they couldn’t be friends anymore because her family didn’t believe in homosexuality. I read more of her blog posts and came across a section where she also described her child as a wonder and went on to share about how she had gotten that from the book. I felt like it was an incredible sign – I needed to start reading it tonight.

Spoiler – the book was incredible. (There are some spoilers below for both the book and the movie) If you are looking for a good feel good story, you need to check it out. If movies are more your thing, they did a wonderful adaption starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson that is available at your local Red Box now! I read 200 pages in one sitting before I finally went to sleep around 12:30 last night. Woke up this morning, went to the gym, and came home and finished the last 100 pages – by far the quickest I have ever been through a book – ran some errands and stopped to Red Box the movie which I just finished before starting the blog. The book just spoke to me and though different, some of Auggie’s feeling were relatable. I cried multiple times at the passages – sometimes because my heart broke for Auggie, but others because they were just too real to me. I could not put the book down. I needed this book and then along came a sign that really struck.

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Just months ago I was in a dark spot. Driving home after an Ashlee night a few months back “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera came on the radio. It was such an empowering moment and almost a turning point of truly embracing and appreciating myself as Ashlee. I belong here and I am worth it. This song has become an anthem for me and a great way to build me back up when I am having gender identity issues – and now here it is in this book. I hope that Auggie – and others struggling – can find that same sense of peace in these lyrics. We are all beautiful for who we are. We are the best and most polished versions of ourselves. We all have our place on this earth and we can each make it a better place. Unfortunately, this world can be cruel and this is a powerful reminder to not let those words take you down. I got such a great feeling in seeing this quote. It was a strong reminder of my own battles, my own journey, the small wins that I’ve gotten along the way. I’m finally taking control. It DID get better.

Like Auggie, I can continue to work through my insecurities, battle my own self doubt, and move towards a happy ending. I often appreciate being a positive face for the transgender community and I hope that I can be a part of those teachable moments for people. I have been lucky to feel like I’ve had positive experiences while out in the “real world.” People are genuinely kind to me and seem to appreciate that I have the confidence to be my truest self. In many instances, I do blend right in when people aren’t paying attention but if they are, they see a polite and respectful woman and hopefully some negative perceptions can change. I may be different and that’s ok but it’s pretty cool to have the people who do identify me as different treat me no different from if they hadn’t.

One of the issues I did have with the book was the entitled attitude of the privileged child in the book and the mother’s response as well. At one point, the mother works to photoshop Auggie out of the class picture so that it is more appropriate for her people. She further pushes the school board to reexamine Auggie’s admission saying that the school is not an ‘Inclusion School’ and wondering if a child that was previously homeschooled earned their spot – but make no mistake, she was being a judgy jackass.

Unfortunately, this is where the crap starts and it is disgusting that we are still here. Hate is not in us – we learn that. Many times we learn it from our parents and those people that are supposed to love us the most and show us the way. We need to be better here and do a better job to educate our young people and teach love and acceptance. This mother was a bully and her son ended up being the biggest problem child in the book and was terrible just because Auggie was a little different. The book was fantastic and the movie was great. We got the feel good moment where the kids realized that Auggie was not as different as they thought he was and they could accept him for the smart, funny, and dynamic kid he was. Allowing that made him shine and know that he had found a home.

But as great as these feel good stories are, why does it take so long? Why does someone like Auggie have to go through such chaos to get to those points? For all the great happy endings there are so many sad stories of bullying that leave lasting scars for years. We cannot allow it to continue. We need to be better and we need to work with our young people to teach them to choose the love over kindness. We all have our battles but the more we lift each other up the happier and better off we’ll all be. If you’re looking for some inspiration or just want to check out a feel good story, this book/movie has it all.  Check it out. You’ll be glad you did.

❤ Ashlee