I opened facebook today to see they celebrated my Winter Memories. I saw a beautiful spread of pictures from the last few weeks and it was so exciting to see how much I have been able to be Ashlee lately. This last stretch has been some of the most consistent that I have had which has been so great for my soul to constantly have things to look forward to. When my night ends, I don’t worry about how long it will be and with that, it feels so much more true to my soul that this IS my truest self.
This picture above was one of the memories that facebook posted and it was from a very tough time that I was having even in the thick of this great stretch. Sometimes I still struggle and wonder if I am ever enough. That night, I wrote the following…
“Struggling mightily the last 24 hours with my gender identity and my path in life. Feeling as if my identity is not valid because of the choices I’ve had to make in life and struggling with the thought that I am not “trans enough” and how others can look at my struggle as fraudulent.
I saw saw this post this morning and it brought me to tears and gave me a feeling of hope and renewed my faith to see that i am truly not alone in what I feel. I have known for a long time that in a perfect world transition would be the best thing for me personally but the world is not perfect and circumstances have made me feel that I need to misgender myself. And at this point in life, that can be ok and I can look at my progresses and committing to find more time to be my most authentic self as a huge win and something to be proud of.
I know my struggles and I know deep in my heart who I am within my soul. The struggle will always be there but it’s little things like reading this post that are a great reminder that i am not alone and it’s ok to be where I am.
Most importantly, I am so thankful for the many good people who are affirming, loving, and supportive. That love and kindness has built me up so much and helped me get to points that were unimaginable. Quite frankly, without the love and support from people within my social media circle I would not be here right now. I am so grateful for you all. Please keep putting love and kindness into this world – we all need more of it. “
The struggle of not being trans enough has always been a struggle of mine. It can be incredible how some people can be so eager to police someone’s gender or their experience. Just because someone’s struggle doesn’t look the same as yours it doesn’t mean that it’s any less valid. We all have our battles and we all have to do what is best for us – whatever we think that may be. All we can do is our best. I have always struggled in the trans community with people getting angry – and some even mean and hurtful – because my struggle is not the same as theirs. One time, I was completely berated by someone who I counted on as a friend, and in many ways we started our journey together, all because I didn’t handle things the same way that she did. In her mind, because I wasn’t as desperate to transition as she was that I was a phony. My situation is different from hers – and that has to be ok. Another time, shortly after I started going out, another older woman got angry at me because I wouldn’t sign her petition with my ‘real name’ and address and phone number. She yelled at me and told me I shouldn’t come back to the club I was at because I was just some ‘faker freak.’ She told me I was young and had my whole life ahead of me so I had to transition – and when I told her I wasn’t considering that she was hateful and mean to the point that I left. I struggle going back to those clubs because of that experience.
Thankfully, I have found a great group to be a part of and have found tremendous love and support near and far. So much love and kindness is out there and people can appreciate me for me – not worry about my gender but appreciate my genuineness. When people see me as Ashlee, they see a different person and they see my truest and most authentic self. That’s what they judge me on. Talking to a friend recently who I have known for 10 years, she noted there following: i thought you were a very kind, caring, incredibly nice person before, but i didn’t know you very well. But now that i know you as Ashlee, i feel like i know you better and can see the light that you shine wherever you go!
What an observation! It speaks for the confidence and happiness coming out that I can just be truest to myself and the goodness that comes out. I can be more real and more authentic and that makes me the best person that I can be.
So many reminders are all over social media. Some can be challenging and difficult to take on but sometimes if you can appreciate just how far you’ve come, it can be a wonderful thing. Even just looking at where I was a month ago to now I have come so far and continue to embrace myself as Ashlee and appreciate the good people that will celebrate me too. Ultimately, this is my journey and I’m the one in charge of it. The negatives from others don’t matter and there is so much kindness in the world that there is so much better ahead. I don’t know where my journey is going to take me. I don’t know what I’m going to do but I do know I have good people that have my back and are in my corner. When you put out happiness and kindness it often comes back to you. Never feeling comfortable in my own skin as a guy held me back but my opportunity to explore life as Ashlee more has allowed my light to really shine and people are appreciative of it. Those are the people that matter. I may have to misgender myself more than I would want to right now but that can be ok. Because I am working at doing MY best so many people are seeing the true light in my heart. There is so much wonderful ahead.