What Freedom Looks Like

So much of my life has changed since I left my mother’s nest. As likely eluded to in past posts, my departure was not by choice, but rather out of my mother’s desperation to have her freedom. The same freedom I had strived for nine years of my post-college life to give to her. The same freedom that all of my well-laid plans failed to accomplish.

The strange thing is how in just three months, I feel as though I’ve experienced more than I had in those long nine years leading up to turning thirty in just the past three months. Most likely, that feeling can be attributed to the majority of my 20s being rife with gender dysphoria, financial and emotional struggles, my rise and fall from grace within corporate America, and a daily bath in self-loathing. My path to self-discovery began at age 26, self-acceptance at age 27, public admittance at age 28, and mental maturation into the self-confident, charismatic woman that once only existed as a transient existence within this blog. Regardless of the insanely arduous path that has led me to this point, accepting my mother’s [legal] ordinance to leave and becoming self-accountable in every possible way has radically broadened my personal ideologies & goal-setting standards.

In layman’s terms: I have rapidly cultivated a much sharper understanding of what I want and believe I deserve out of this life.

Now, a month and a half into this new chapter of my 30s, I walk taller, trust more, set smarter goals, and indulge in ways I would not have done before. My identity has virtually been carved in stone & no one dares to question the legitimacy of my womanhood. In the last few months, men have begun making passes at me when I’m only wearing basic problem area cover-up on my chin. Quite honestly, this truth continues to baffle me.

As I type this entry on my phone while washing clothes on my own in my local laundromat for the first time, more and more do I feel as though I am slowly grasping the life – what it’s really like to be “busy” – that my mother led for so many years. I was able to find a place to live with a male roommate who I discovered is a closet geek. I’ve taken the next step in transitioning from a 7-day work week split between two part-time jobs to taking the plunge with one relatively flexible, full-time position with a relatively new company franchise that welcomes my creativity & business acumen. This new position now opens up my schedule for putting more time into my voice-over work, exploring new skill sets, running needed errands, & being social with minimal sacrifice. All coming with a suitable paycheck and a healthier work-life balance.

My life as a 30-year old woman rapidly continues taking each decisive, difficult stride one goal at a time despite clawing my way up from practically nothing.  In the face of intense doubt & bloodied pride, I become accustomed to the painful crashing through each wall of uncertainty, defying any and all which dares to hold me back from reaching my destination. The legacy of my life shall echo through the ages. I will settle for nothing less.

Freedom is like a new, untrained pet given to a child. An immediately gratifying source of joy in the initial moments, the new owner holds it close only to be peed on without warning. The child quickly discovers it was all a farce as the pet requires so much more effort and attention to maintain than they could have imagined. However, if they remain diligent and train the pet well, moments of joy can still abound amidst their constant demands. Alas, the child’s perspective of pet ownership will never be the same and relies solely on their own will to either care for it or hate it.

I have chosen to care for this “pet” called freedom the best way I can, loving my self and life more than ever.

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A small window of opportunity

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pixiv @ hamakaze

Being transgender in a world surrounded by others who may or may not be the same position as I has gradually become a non-issue for me. In other words, I now find myself forgetting that I’m anything but a female trying to find her way. There are so many more relevant, pressing matters to deal with as simply a woman forced to take on the challenges of building up my own world. Especially now.

My life has drastically changed yet again. First, with my obedient action of leaving my mother’s roof two weeks ago. Then, the day to day grind of taking on a completely different kind of occupation is extremely taxing on me, physically, mentally, and emotionally. In a matter of days, I was given a chance in a world I believed I had no place in: Sales and Marketing. In the four weeks I’ve taken on this new world, in conjunction with all the challenges of relocating myself to a temporary residence in a mere 24 hours, I’ve become stronger, wiser, and more apt to take action while rapidly expanding my network of influence. I’m scared, yet consciously proactive of the reality before me while desperately ignoring the threat of failing.

I have been given a small window of a chance to reset my unfortunate mess of the past two years. To do this, I have closed off much of my emotions and am gradually adopting a more callous attitude toward the frivolous and irrelevant. I often find myself saying: “My heart has grown much colder. This is a necessary sacrifice.” My work requires me to be indifferent as I am rejected, ignored, and told “no” by hundred of people a week. If you’re looking for a quick way to build a thick skin and/or learn how to handle being romantically unattached, transgender or not, do Sales. Seriously.

Right now, bringing my goals into reality are everything to me. The universe doesn’t care that I’m trans. Neither do the people who hired me and brought me into their world. All that matters is persistence, productivity, and maintaining a positive, proactive attitude no matter what comes my way.

Becoming self-assured is not something everyone is born with, but if you are willing to put in the work, this surely can be learned. My guidance counselor in college said an important quote that has repeatedly ran true: “You must be willing to do the things you don’t want to do in order to achieve the things only a few can.” I have done a shit ton of things I didn’t want to do, but this is the first time my future actually depends on my action.

Will I be able to make my dreams my goals and attain all that I believe I deserve? The answer to that question is completely my responsibility. As a woman, I have many things working for me already, and it will be my own fault if I let anything or anyone get in my way. As a trans woman, not being able to find work for two years – likely having more to do with the economy than with my conflicting legal documents – was probably my most difficult struggle among so many past scars.

Regardless of my struggles still ongoing due to residual obligations to survive, I will be the first to always say how fucking lucky I am compared to others who have transitioned in adulthood. Still, I am proving every day that I am more than my trans identity. I shall not waste the goodwill given to me to earn the lifestyle I’ve always wanted, exploiting every bit of my womanhood to eventually have a relevant voice for the transgender community in society.

Oh, how far I have come…and this is only the beginning.

Because reasons…

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Art by Ori Kintahumi
“Everything happens for a reason…”

For a long time, I believed this. I think it became even more apparent to me once I began taking Christianity seriously during my late teen years as my life and emotions seemed to be crumbling around me. Now that I have gone through a number of various life changes and experienced a bit more, relying on this belief isn’t entirely beyond me. Yet, accepting my existence and path in life as completely in the hands of a higher power has no room in my current form.

To simply rest on my laurels and say things like, “Well God simply didn’t want that for me because there’s something better for me” is relinquishing one’s own free will and responsibility to actively do their part in shaping their future. Some may find comfort in the idea of blaming God for shit not going their way and find peace in that. However, those same people turn and blame God for misfortunate events that were actually out of their control. Why? Because it’s easier to blame a higher power than to simply say “This happened. I have to accept it and move on.”

This convenient double standard of conveniently having a source of blame is what I find most issue about regarding the kinds of Christians I was around for most of my life. That is not to say this is the reason I have gradually become more of an Agnostic than anything. Rather, I acknowledge that Christianity aided me in controlling my emotions – most notably, my anger and sense of abandonment regarding my father – and brought me to a place where I could put myself second to equip me to inspire & help my fellow man. Christianity even helped me recover from the most scarring betrayal of my existence. Though, as may be apparent in my blog entries years back, I became torn between believing in a fluffy, kind God that graced an ordained human with spiritual insight to guide other humans…or having enough faith to believe in my own ordinance of free will to guide and inspire myself and others if given the opportunity.

Things do, in fact, happen for a reason, but telling someone to “just have faith” or “trust God to work it out” is basically telling someone to look the other way and pray something good comes from what little they have or haven’t already done. Anyone can have faith, but having faith does not require a god or a religion. As I’ve admitted to my mother more than once, I now see Christianity as a moral compass for those who can recognize good from evil for themselves, but choose to rely on scripture written by the hands of man bestowed upon them by a being beyond their own understanding for wisdom.

Personally, I have no qualms with anyone who truly needs wisdom in this way, but I now trust in my own heart and knowledge. There are enough matters in this world to fear. A million ways to die that are out of our control. Submitting to being a follower of organized believers, fearing for my soul because of what a heavily edited tale of [oftentimes dated] life lessons is not how I wish to live out my atom-sized existence in this expansive universe.

To believe I can shape my legacy, influence my path, and learn from the negatives has freed me to live in a greater, more spiritual sense of valuing my own existence above all. Acknowledging the power I wield to influence all I can and to let go of that which I cannot. Life is too short to simply discard what doesn’t align with the rules of religion. I have more interest to amass knowledge about the different ways people believe than to ascribe to a singular belief system.

Perhaps I’ll share about how my artist friend of over ten years observed about how time has changed me. That, without a doubt, happened for a reason.