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.
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.