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.
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.