So, last week was Transgender Awareness Week. I wrote a few blog posts about it and attended an awesome fundraiser for MTPC where I got to meet the 1st (and best) stand-up transgender comedian Ian Harvie. I did my part.
But there was something in me that was afraid to really say what I wanted to say during that week, namely the pervasive culture or mindset of surviving instead of thriving, and how it isn't serving any of us. I have struggled with saying it more and louder, for fear of the haters. The ones who don't agree and will make sure I know they don't. I know not everyone agrees with me. In fact, a lot of people have a big problem with my message of thriving, in particular some people in the LGBTQ community. One person commented:
"it felt like a punch in the gut for me to read that someone with your identities celebrated TDOR by thriving."
When I saw this, it didn't feel good, but it really helped me get over this fear I'd had. I finally got the reprisal I'd been fearing and it didn't shake me from my truth.
People aren't always going to agree with you and they can and will be fundamentalist about anything so you shouldn't let it keep you silent.
I knew a comment like that was coming. I've been bracing for it ever since I began taking responsibility for my own health and happiness four years ago. The more I've done that, I see where people stand. The more I stick by it, the more I see who I'm meant to inspire and what I'm actually here for.
I didn't come up with that thriving thing on my own. I take my cues from folks older and wiser than me. People like Pema Chodron and Maya Angelou who said, "surviving is important. Thriving is elegant."
I don't want to just survive. I want to thrive. And I want to spread that message for anyone and everyone who is on board with it.
It's a bummer that the ones who don't subscribe need me to suffer to validate their point of view. I watch this happen within any group of people, no matter their identity. It happened to my friend a few weeks ago when she took a stand about sugar. People get attached to an idea, usually in opposition to something. They then surround themselves with people who agree and become fundamentalist in a way that often recreates the whole cycle of the thing they were in opposition to. It just doesn't work for creating positive, lasting transformation.
But, of course, you can't tell them that. I know, because I was there, too. I played into many ideologies for a long time. I did it with food, politics and with people. I noticed the more I did, the worse my life got and the more I became alienated from my family, my friends and my own self. It didn't make my life, and the lives of others, any better. It just kept me tired, sick and poor. WTF good was that doing for anyone?
It was only when I started allowing all things to be possible and deeply believing in that that I could allow others that opportunity, too.
When I became a health coach, I got a new perspective that shifted a lot of this for me. I learned HOW to thrive and WHY it works well for me and my work when I do. The healthier and stronger I am, the bigger impact I can make. The more lives I can touch. The more people I can reach. I have received countless message this past year from people who were NOT comfortable or familiar with transgender people before I came out and shared about it. They have told me how knowing me helped them get on board.
Hell, if that isn't reason enough to thrive and keep going, I don't know what is.
Last year, when I met Brene Brown in person she gave me this advice, "if you're pissing people off, you're on the right track".
Another mentor said, "when you stand for something, people will mess with you."
Love the haters. They help you see where and why your work is needed.
And thrive, anyway.