They Fear Queer People Will Take Photos of Women in Restrooms; We Fear Homophobic People Will Fire Bullets at Us in Our Safe Spaces

Governor Pat McCrory and other fear-mongering assholes have pushed their fearful agenda of little girls and women not feeling safe with a transgender person in the restroom for several months now, with the contention that women and little children will have to fear some pervert taking a photographic shot of their private parts.

Well Pat — and all you fear mongering assholes out there — us queer folks in the LGBTQI community have to fear bullets penetrating our bodies at the safest space we consider available for us to be ourselves: gay and queer nightclubs.

Let’s cut all the bullshit once and for all and call things for what they are for once, shall we?  Anyone who says they don’t agree, don’t condone, or don’t see gay marriage or gay people or transgender people as doing the right thing, or sees queers as sinners, or sees them as someone not conforming to what is “naturally correct” or whatever the fuck else is claimed by some entity in the sky, can go fuck themselves.  It is bigotry if you feel like someone is lesser than you or deserves less protections and civil rights because you disagree with them.  And by disagree, I don’t mean disliking someone or their harmful choices; I’m talking about disagreeing with someone being gay or queer or trans as the same as disagreeing with the way someone was born.

For instance, do we disagree with people if they don’t have the same eye color as us, or the same finger lengths or body weight?  Do we disagree with someone’s choices and cast them as sinners and abject and broken and mentally ill because they wear different sized shoes than us or have different hair colors?  Do we disagree with someone based on their skin color?  If so, that is bigoted, racist, and toxic, and believe me when I say queer people have always felt unsafe around bigots, because you assholes judge us for choosing a lifestyle that you see as unfit — despite no one giving you a gavel as judge and juror — when really we are born this way.

This is why our safe haven has always been at gay clubs.

These places are our sanctuaries, our safe spaces where we can be seen, mirrored, and be ourselves without fear of being judged.  These are places away from homophobic and transphobic society.  These are places where even straight people come visit on occasion to have a better time than going to a straight club because wherever there are uninhibited people channeling their energy from their hearts with unbridled joy, embracing their individual queerness, fun is usually the end result.

Instead, we now have to question if going out to our safe spaces to dance and be free is actually safe, all because the perpetual lies are still being touted and spread by people everywhere in all facets of society.  From playgrounds where children play to workplaces in corporate settings, “that’s so gay” and other derogatory terms are still thrown around like candy.  The fact that we couldn’t even get married was a hot topic until last year, and our second class citizenry is still fresh in so many people’s psyches that coming out is still a necessary part of a queer person’s life journey.

We are so terrified of losing the respect and acceptance of loved ones that we often hide our true selves away from family and friends.  We are ashamed of being ourselves because society has made a living and habit out of shaming us out of who we are, to the point where closeted Republicans are caught with gay escorts or in cheating scandals, to the point where someone of Muslim faith had so much shame and self-hatred towards the fact that he was gay that he decided to project all that hostility towards the gay community itself.

Think about that for a minute.  You, as a global culture, are generally so opposed to the LGBTQI community, condemning it as so wrong and shameful that you were able to manifest such large amounts of vitriolic hate within this Orlando shooter that his homophobia drove him mad enough to slaughter the biggest trigger he had towards himself: 50people at a gay club.

It may come as a surprise to you heteronormative straight people, but us LGBTQI people have accumulated pieces of verbal, emotional, and mental hate throughout our lives, from the moment we knew we were different in kindergarten and grade school, from the moment we were bullied for being different, from the moment we saw just how much homophobia is slung around in this pathetic and outdated culture we call a society.

LGBTQI people, prior to coming out of the closet, hold the most amount of homophobia themselves, because that dagger is turned inwards towards our own soul, towards fueling our own self torment.  It isn’t until we have the courage to accept ourselves — through self awareness and hard work, and sadly, often times through enormous amounts of growth accumulated through pain — that we can then address the homophobia source in society, caused by, you guessed it, people like you.

So let’s not sit here and pretend it’s about ISIS or terrorism, because let’s face it: our culture permeates terror towards anyone who is different, and, last I checked, the LGBTQI community is clearly different from the vanilla heteronormative standards you want.

So don’t pretend you want to pray with us or understand what we go through.  Enough with that shit.  Work on yourself first and fix the uneducated so that we can actually embrace each other with compassion and connect through our continuous common humanity without the need of a tragedy like the shooting in Orlando as a reason to bring us together.

Akai Swim School

akai_logo_smIn 1985, I attended Akai Swim School with my brother. It was that summer when I learned how to swim, learned how to change my breath and keep a sustained stroke, and also the same summer where I now wish, in retrospect, I could take some of my actions back.

The first one being that I made fun of my brother for beating him to the punch in learning how to swim first, despite being 2.5 years younger than him. He quickly followed suit and also learned how to swim.

So naturally, on weekends, we would beg our parents to take us to the pool.

On the last weekend of our summer membership, a kid named “Go” was there. All the kids made fun him, including my brother, and I felt the peer pressure as I joined in with the teasing. All the older boys picked him up and threw him in the pool repeatedly, and bullied him all under the premise of making fun of his name.

Although I secretly thought he was cute, I was almost “relieved” in a sense to see that some other poor little boy was being bullied for once instead of me. But during the rare moments when he was left alone, I approached him and we talked. He seemed very nice, and didn’t comprehend my two-faced behavior.

A sign of betrayal and confusion washed over his face as I would befriend him one minute and retreat back with the crowd of boys in the next, all in order to avoid being ostracized myself.

To this day, I still feel terrible about that, and I wonder if things would have been drastically different if I had already come out to my family and was living as a girl. I envision I would have defended him, and stood by him because I would have had firsthand knowledge of standing up for who I was and being authentic, and the whole social dynamic would have been different.

Perhaps, with the wisdom of transition having begun in my life, I would have more likely chosen to connect with my heart instead of connecting with the judgmental voice which didn’t think I was worthy of being present; the same voice that didn’t think I was worthy of befriending a boy; and instead of connecting with the bullying voice of fitting in, of fear, of harassing the boy, I would have instead embraced what I really wanted to do: make a friend and not care what others thought about my authentic intentions.

But I can’t do anything about it now. And I often wonder what happened to Go.


Fast forward to Summer of of 2014.

I signed up for a month long membership at Akai Swim School to rehab my hip. Very little has changed physically at the facility, but I’m drastically different as I enter the grounds. Not only has 29 years passed, but I’m also undeniably stepping foot at Akai physically presenting as a woman in a bathing suit. I’ve freed the real self inside me for the world to see. I freed Natalie, the same hidden girl and spirit that wanted to free Go from being bullied. The empathy I felt for Go was the same empathy I felt for myself, but I was too scared to help him, just as I was too scared to help free myself from living in the wrong gender.

As I was mulling over the parallels, my head was spinning from the fact that I was standing there at Akai as my true self. While lost in my pondering, the woman from the front desk who had let me in walked by me as I entered the pool.

The water was just as warm as I had remembered it from 30 years ago. But the next thing that happened warmed my heart.

“Nice swimsuit Natalie,” the lady said. “The skirt is adorable! Where did you get your swimsuit?”

“Thanks,” I said. “I got it online. I can give you the website if you want.”

“Sure,” she said.

I wandered deeper into the water, in a daze.

I wish I could have shared that moment with Go.

If Your Uncle Jack was Stuck on a Horse, Would You Help Your Uncle Jack Off?

My uncle visited my mother’s house the other week on his way to LAX. His goal was to bring some vitamins and clothes back to China for my dad, but he didn’t expect to see me there.

uncle jack

Uncle Jack

Although he knew about my transition since 2011 when I had informed the entire family about my fulltime status of living as a woman, he had never seen me in person……and I knew it was going to be very difficult for him, to say the least.

From the moment he walked in, he kept looking down or away, never making eye contact. He briefly waved at me and said hi, and quickly resumed packing and rustling through all his baggage. He was flustered and had “ADD” the whole time, and kept shifting conversation topics towards Taiwan politics or other issues my mom felt passionate about so that she would chime in and help him avoid being stuck talking only to me.

I was a bit disappointed that he never really acknowledged me or listened to what I had to say the entire time he was there. I wanted to pout, and politely and firmly finish what I was saying before I was interrupted in mid-sentence each time, but I let it go. I recalled my newfound receptivity and feminine tactics and social graces, and I further reminded myself that I could learn from the experience and do better next time. The goal, I realized, wasn’t to fix the situation and penetrate further with insistent conversation, but rather, to let him take it all in, the new me, the regendering of me of which he needed time to process.

I was proud of my response, as I could see the recent growth I was owning.

But after he left, my mom said with a smile: “He found you attractive, and didn’t know how to react!”

I agreed with my mom and we both shared a laugh.

My uncle certainly had his way with attractive, tall, well-dressed and sexy Chinese women in the past, and the thought had crossed my mind while he was there that my looks played a big part in his discomfort.

But I didn’t fully believe in it. Part of me resisted acknowledging to myself that I could possibly be in the same category as his ex-girlfriends. After all, they were all cisgender women, ready to settle down and start a family with him, and the only thing that stopped that from happening was my uncle not being ready at the time, still womanizing and playing the field.

So was it possible? Could I have really measured up to those other women? Did I dare compare myself to other attractive cisgender women? Could I transcend all the shit and stigma and shame from being trans, and just see myself for who I was, just another woman who was worthy of being seen as beautiful, inside and out?

It was troubling to me that I had so much difficulty accepting that I was seen as attractive. I just didn’t have what it took that day to fully believe in myself, and my shortchanging of self was very disconcerting.

As a woman, feeling attractive oscillates: some days come easy, some days are just brutal. I have had countless days where I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum: going to work where I felt like a million dollars, and my energy radiated out to compel other coworkers to compliment me, contrasted with the days where I felt hideous and my nervous energy drew negative attention towards me before I even gave myself a chance to breathe and start the day. But what bothered me this time was that I chalked it all to being a transgender woman, and my internalized transphobia got the better of me before I even started my interaction with my uncle.

It was one of those moments where I didn’t trust in my feminine heart, and paid the price of missing what was right in front of me: the beauty and awesome feeling of being seen as a pretty woman and being appreciated for it. And nothing more.

My initial reaction after he left, was that I wanted to power through the uneasy feelings with my old outdated methods with brute force and avoidance, being more adamant, fighting my way through without even considering surrender and serenity.

How quickly was it that I completely forgot about all the times I’ve turned heads and gotten compliments from all sorts of women in public, and the amazing question of “are you a model from the USA?” asked of me when I was in Shanghai just last December.

It was these types of scenarios that clearly reminded me that I had the power to choose what aspect of each scenario I wanted to focus on, and how I could let the lessons and blessings from my Mother In The Sky increase the size of my vault of wisdom.

It reminded me of the fact that surrendering to the situation was where my true power was; that I couldn’t speed up the regendering process he was going through; that my uncle needed time to examine the new me, and that he had to relinquish the old image he had of me that was associated with all the precious times he shared with me during my childhood; that it was a great moment for me to show him compassion and patience as he regendered me in his head; that he needed the time to see me flow and interact as a woman to provide him new context in which to see me.

And most fun of all amongst all the craziness, was that he was flustered because he found me attractive.

That was definitely worth the price of admission!

Stifled Life

stifledI had the privilege of receiving a call from Garrett last night, and working through a few things on the phone. Specifically, issues regarding my ability to “find my passion” and purpose in life.

I told him about an ESPN story with Penny Hardaway going to a middle school in Memphis to help out his childhood friend who got cancer and could no longer coach the boys basketball team. After Penny took over the coaching duties, his friend still pushed himself physically to the limit to be present courtside, when possible, despite doctors warning him to rest.

The interviewer asked him: “Why do you insist on being courtside, when doctors have ordered you to rest, when it takes so much out of you?” Penny’s friend answered: “Because it also gives so much to me too,” implying that being there was keeping him alive.

I then proceeded to tell Garrett that I needed to “find” my calling, something to devote myself to, something to serve. He told me I had it all backwards. That I didn’t “need” anything. That living my life was all I “needed” to do. To live my life with passion, to make everything in my life important, and the purpose or service would naturally reveal itself.

“You’ve lived stifled and subdued for so long,” he said. “Everything you approached was done with a lack of passion. You never fully committed to anything because you were always waiting for the next best thing, always having one foot already out the door, in case something “better” came along. That’s why you never “found your passion.” That’s why you struggled so much with deciphering if your activities were passions or addictions.”

He then explained how one does not “find their passion.” Rather, people live life with passion and the hobby or thing they enjoy doing naturally reveals itself.

“Start brushing your teeth with passion. Inject passion into everything you do. Live like a terminal cancer patient, with passion for going to the toilet or waiting for a daily afternoon visitor. Fill your life with passion and live it with passion and something naturally will reveal itself in due time.”

Just like Penny’s friend choosing to make the middle school basketball team a priority of importance, I need to value, cherish, and take care of what is already in my life and what comes into it. And to do it with passion.

I need to stop looking for activities and events that illicit blips in the radar for me, because those temporary emotional states where I feel passion are external. It’s time to start bringing passion into a once stifled life, and see what my passion from within brings forth to my future.

I need to light the pilot in my heater in order to heat the house. I need to light up my soul and spread this new enthusiasm and spark towards everything I do in my life, especially what I consider the mundane.

I must say though, it was depressing realizing I chose, by conscious or subconscious reasoning, to live a subdued and stifled life. Many of those causes were because I am transgender, and my transgender history was filled with denied opportunities and dismissal.

But the encouraging news is that now I can choose again.

And this time it’ll be different.

Second Set of Balls

I was talking with TBB a few weeks ago, and we were discussing tome transgender topics that took courage and thick skin to endure.balls_of_steel

“I had to grow a second set of balls,” she said.

I couldn’t stop laughing when she said that.

Although I don’t plan on having GRS in the foreseeable future, I couldn’t help but marvel at the strength and courage us transgender people go through (surgery or no surgery), in order to live our daily lives.

Some of us are clocked visually every day, and need to have enormous resilience and strength to endure the baggage of other people thrown upon us, due to our very presence triggering their own shit that they refuse to deal with and blame us for causing them to feel.

Some of us have families and spouses prior to our transition that come along inevitably for the educational and difficult ride.

Most of us have to face the hassle of legal document changes and coming out to work and old bosses for professional references.

And further yet, some of us are assaulted or killed when we are out shopping for food or on a date.

So yes, despite TBB “losing” her balls due to GRS, she absolutely hit home with the statement: “When I grew my second set of balls…”

Kudos to all the transgender people out there who have the courage and stamina to face the world as their true selves every day.

Yes, it does take balls of steel, sometimes even a second pair are needed.

Not Enough

sad-womenThis society thrives on taking advantage of our feelings of inadequacy. Billion dollar industries are based off of our insecurities, drawing consumerism predicated on our fragments of low self esteem.

Women are constantly subjected to scrutiny from peers and members of the opposite sex. A woman with low self esteem or features that society considers not classically beautiful have a much harder time talking themselves out of a speeding ticket and taking advantage of biased perks.

The feelings of being shunned compound this fictitious belief of feeling we are not good enough, that we are somehow deficient or broken.

I think the closest feeling cisgender women can experience with regards to understanding what almost all MtF transwoman experience when they don’t pass, is when cisgender women don’t feel pretty.

Each time a transgender person is clocked or harassed for not “passing,” the feelings generated are similar to what a cisgender woman feels when rejected by a date or some other social situation for not being “pretty” enough. Often times, a transgender individual who struggles fitting in to the current socially accepted construct of what a woman ought to look like suffers on a monumental scale and far more often than a cisgender woman who is cast out as unattractive.

Somehow, we have distorted our values throughout generations of cultural misgivings and wound up classifying what is considered attractive and what is socially considered as beautiful in very limiting ways.

Despite there being some biological underpinnings being hardwired in our genetic makeup to predispose us to find certain curves and body parts an attractive trait, nevertheless, predispositions are not predeterminations…meaning, our phenotype results from the way we classify our personal preferences as to what is considered pretty, and is very much influenced by our genes and the way they interact with our social environment.

It is clear overweight women were highly sought after in both ancient Greece and China due to body types being an indicator of family wealth and abundance of food. Foot binding in China was considered an attractive custom for women for centuries. Now airbrushed coat-hanger thin type girls on the cover of Victoria Secret catalogs are the standard of western beauty.

So when did women start not being good enough the way they are? When did big breasts, flawless fuchsia manicures, dangly jewelry and airbrushed looking skin become the standard for femininity and defining feminine beauty?

I was (shamefully) browsing Craigslist late at night in the M4T section. This 35 year old from Chino Hills put up a disturbing listing. In it, he made it very clear as to what made him stand out as a great catch in comparison to his counterparts:


“I am not ashamed to be seen with you in public. When people eventually see us together and recognize you are transgender, I will stand by your side. I’m not afraid to being seen with you in public. In fact (yes, there was more to his diatribe), I love taking my trans girlfriend out to restaurants and movies.


But my girl must have the following (bullet points ensued):

  • She must have manicured nails (both hands and feet)
  • She mus be pre-op TS and not want surgery at all…if there is any doubt at all about SRS it’s best we don’t start a relationship.
  • She must smell like a girl and act like one
  • She must have long hair”


I was just thinking how this would have gone over on a cisgender dating website. Would the men on there go as far to expect the women on the site to bend who they were to fit some fantasy in an outright straightforward manner right from the get-go? Specifically, with how they dress and primp themselves? All with a custom bullet point display, nonetheless?

Would a girl who liked to be casual in sweats and flip flops without perfectly pedicured nails be ruled out? If he were chasing after a cisgender woman, would he hold her to these requirements and standards?

And most importantly, would a guy, who bragged about “not being ashamed to be seen” with his girlfriend in very common venues such as movies and restaurants, come off as a strong, sexy, and considerate man in the relationship department? Would he even have thought about putting that on his profile for a cisgender dating site? Or would he have thought twice?

Far too often, transgender women aren’t seen as equal to cisgender women, often treated as not “good enough.” Often times we even lose our appeal the moment we have GRS. “Why would I date you now when I can date a real woman with a real pussy and not a man made one?” said a guy to a transgender friend of mine after she had her surgery. She had apparently lost all her appeal once she “lost” her penis.

We are marginalized, along with the men who chase after us. Many chasers are ashamed of the mere fact they are attracted to transgender women. And transgender women are often ridiculed as freaks, often wrongfully labeled as men who didn’t try hard enough to simply just be a gay man, as seducers with an evil and ulterior motive, transitioning to make “luring” men into our corner easier, supposedly.

In fact, I’ve often seen comments referring to us as delusional. “I want to be a dolphin, put a blowhole on my neck and give me a bottlenose and fins…..ridiculous right?!? Just because you feel like or want to be a woman doesn’t make you so,” are all very common responses towards transgender articles on news feeds.

An average gentleman on a cisgender dating website wouldn’t make his claim to fame by saying he wouldn’t be ashamed to be seen with his date in public. That wouldn’t get him very far. Although many women receive pictures of dicks and mirror shots of men in the bathroom, seldom do the women bend over backwards to accommodate those men who don’t put any effort or thought into being a gentleman. However, few men hold so much sway over women the way “tranny chasers” do. They seem to get away with very little respect and very little understanding of what they are chasing after. We are offered substandard behavior and often have very slim pickings with quality men out there.

So what should we do? I think we need to find a practice that works for us transgender women. A practice, a mantra, a way of dealing with moments when we are feeling lonely, up late at night feeling depressed; for when we are feeling insecure, less than our typical sense of attractiveness; for when we enter a judgmental headspace that erodes our self-esteem, where we try to categorize ourselves as worthy versus unworthy, as if that binary were all there was to choose from.

Upon working through our practice, we can own our own center, stay more balanced, trust in ourselves, and take power as our true selves were meant to do. In doing so, we won’t be seen as a group in society that is not worthy of equal treatment and respect, a group that will no longer be seen as not enough.

Dagger Mouth, Tofu Heart

dagger_mouthtofu_heartSome people come off as tough guys, but really, for those of us who can read people well, we can tell it’s just tough words. Deep down, they are just a soft, kind hearted individual who is frustrated, triggered by something and merely saying tough words without aggressive intentions.

One of my old band mates was like that. She always had a wisecrack, a sarcastic comment to make, especially in social situations where she had to admit fault, or where there was vulnerability, moments where she would need to share her emotions. She would over drink and insult people while drunk, or totally get close to someone while showing no self dignity.

An articulate sounding sentence would form under the guise of knowledge, but really, she was scared people would see through her insecurity or her erroneously self perceived moments of weakness, when in fact, she was one of the stronger trans women I had known, transitioning despite her personal struggles.

But often times, beneath the sarcasm and perceived wittiness, there was meanness or hurtfulness in the things said to those around us. Friends would get together after band practice and she would lash out, passive aggressively or even in argumentative ways at times.

So many transgender women, when they truly open their hearts and talk and bond heart to heart with other women, have glimpses of what I saw as a soft and warm heart. A heart made of tofu.

Yet all the meanwhile, beyond the heart of tofu, juxtaposed a strong mix of toxic and mean words spewing from a mouth full of daggers and a tongue as sharp as a razor. Especially when these transgender women were triggered by their own sense of insecurity, and self perceived illusions of being broken or sick.

Many transgender women elect to criticize through passive putdowns, play crabs in a barrel, and play small and come from their defensive armor, putting each other down to gain an upper hand on a race that no one is monitoring, to which a scorekeeper is not present. Drama is prevalent in the transgender scenes, and physical fights have broken out between many transgender women at clubs that I have attended.

I think one of the best ways, sadly, to sum up transgender women, is the phrase “Cattiness with Testosterone.” I actually swore that if I ever started a band I’d name it exactly that: Cattiness with Testosterone.

If all the energy used amongst transgender women for bickering were somehow harnessed and transmitted into a power plant, Obama would have his clean energy policy with enough amperage leftover to power Las Vegas with all the bright and shiny lights.

My friend Callan put it best when she said that transgender people essentially put on armor to go through the world, in order to survive the backlash of being marginalized, being misunderstood, having our hearts minimized, dismissed, and shunned.

It’s time to take that armor off if we are to have a chance at reaching other people’s hearts through spreading our authentic message by living as who we truly are, and not acting as we aren’t. Through sharing, compassion, and vulnerability, not judging, aggression, and fear.

As the Chinese say with their proverb, it’s time to let go of the dagger mouths and embrace our tofu hearts.

Shaving the Radish

shaved radishI find it ironic how we, as transgender folks, fight through all the shit, stigma, and strait-jackets of the gender binary, only to be bound by other aspects of binaries found in our culture, often times fueled by our ego as it doesn’t like uncertainty, fear, and shame.

Which is why, for me, transcending my ego is a top priority.  I am onto my ego now, and I’m trying to be more conscious and aware, to be more in the present moment to dissolve my ego.

I recently got a text message and phone call from an ex-girlfriend, Amy.  We met in graduate school and dated for over 2 years, and even after we broke up, we still saw each other intimately for a few more years.

Our relationship was incredibly intense, and I can say the duration of our relationship was one of the most painful yet educational segments of my life.

We occasional still keep in touch, but prior to this text I received on Christmas, we hadn’t talked in about 18 months.

We ended up talking on the phone for 30 minutes, and caught up with one another, and I realized there was still a spark there between the two of us.  The only caveat was I hadn’t told her about my gender transition, so for the entire time we were talking, she was still referring to me with my old name and what she thought was the correct gender pronoun.

She suggested we meet up for lunch, and hinted that she still loves me, and that I will always have a special place in her heart.  I told her I still thought of her quite fondly from time to time.

“Great,” she said.  “We should definitely meet up then!”

“You wouldn’t want to meet up with me now….I’ve changed a lot…” I said to her, hoping to dash her spirit.

“Change is good.  What could possibly have changed so much that you can’t even do a simple lunch with me?”

Despite the fact that she had expressed bigotry towards gays and lesbians, I knew with 100% certainty that my hesitancy to tell her I was now living as a woman had nothing to do with her views on GLBT people and everything to do with my shame gremlins.

“What if she never wants to talk to me again?  What if she thinks I’m sick?”  My ego began coughing up countless “what if” scenarios to dissuade me from telling Amy.

My ego went on: Or if I did want to meet up with her, perhaps cutting my hair and de-transitioning would be the only option?


So I just pulled a tranny move: I did nothing.

I was not clear about explaining my current life status with her, and I also stood my ground on justifying the reasons I didn’t need to tell her.  “I’m finally happy, and it’s none of her business anyway.  She doesn’t need to know,” I would say to myself, trying to avoid being vulnerable.

Yet, I still struggled with the fact that I felt stuck.  If I truly believed that she didn’t need to know, or if I was okay with losing touch with her, I would have felt okay and have been able to move on upon arriving at that decision.

The very fact that I still wanted to control what she thought about GLBT people and cared about her potential reaction clearly indicated that I wasn’t willing to cut my losses.  The very root of my behavior where I wasn’t letting go was being implemented by me holding off on making the one step forward that would have forced me to release control of the past.  The choice I had made to not tell Amy, in essence, was the very obstacle blocking me from letting go of our shared past.

I was too afraid to feel vulnerable.

So what made Amy so different than other friends and coworkers that I told about my transgender history?

She is also from a Chinese background.  She knew all of my buttons, and my history, inside and out.  She was much more of a threat than other candidates, given her baseline knowledge of me.

And I finally acknowledged to myself that if I couldn’t be calm about this decision, then moving forward was something I would have to do at some point.

I realized what was exhausting wasn’t the fact that I had work to do, and to do the work; it was anticipation of doing the work and procrastination.  It was beating myself up and trying to pull Houdini after Houdini in getting out of the necessary work, and exhaustion was running on the hamster wheel and not facing the necessary steps to grow.

Often times I would have knowledge or clarity about a certain issue or struggle, but my lack of practice would occasionally lead me to make poor choices, where I would watch my ego bully me into placing what I already knew weren’t binary aspects about myself into binary categories and boxes….or what I called shaving the radish endlessly.

So what can I do in the future to lessen the anxiety and tail chasing from my ego wanting to sort binaries?  Understand that self actualizing and integrating isn’t always comfortable, but that doesn’t mean I have to know the results beforehand and fear the unknown.  To acknowledge that most of my amazing experiences were all completely different than what I had planned or anticipated, and most importantly….to enjoy the journey rather than seek the destination.

And after all this tail chasing, Amy not only reacted in a nonchalant manner to my updated womanly pictures, but she also asked if we could get together for lunch this Saturday so she could see how beautiful I am in person now that I’m living as myself.

Smack my head.

Conventional vs Unconventional Shame

conventional_vs_unconventionalI’ve been presenting as myself now for almost 3 years.  I’ve come so far with my confidence and my ability to be comfortable in my own skin.  I’ve been able to thrive in many aspects of my life as of late, and the work I’ve put in since my gender transition is paying dividends.

Transitioning my gender has been a monumental task, and one that is still a work in progress.  Prior to transition, I always thought it was a pipe dream, and I tried to suffocate who I was, denying my feminine heart and calling due to fear and shame.

I’ve overcome so much of that fear and shame, as transition is obviously a big step and a clear indicator that I’ve taken the steps necessary to embrace myself.

Yet, I still struggle with shame in so many other areas of my life….areas which have nothing even remotely related to gender or my transgender history.  Upon first glance, I would have thought overcoming transition shame would clear the roadblocks in so many other areas of my life where I’ve struggled with shame.

But that simply wasn’t the case.

It’s clear now that my transgender shame, to me, was unconventional shame….and that the shame I felt as a result of my upbringing and life history, was actually my conventional shame.

And my conventional shame is much harder to deal with than my unconventional shame.


Because the source of my conventional shame comes from facets like my Chinese American background, being raised to value the family name, caring what the collective community thinks, and achieving ambitious goals through perfectionism.

My unconventional shame is rooted in my transgender history.

When I break conventional shame, I lose connection with those such as family and my immediate community, as all people do when breaking conventional bonds.

However, when I broke unconventional shame, I got to finally be myself and live as a woman, after waiting for over 3 decades.

It’s ironic how breaking unconventional shame can be so much easier than breaking conventional shame, despite the former being typically laced with enormous stigma.

So what can I do at this junction of my life to help me break conventional shame?  What are tools and techniques that will allow me to love myself in spite of feeling shame in everyday things that I do?

I think the first obvious step would be to take responsibility for the work I have left to do, and acknowledge where I’m at.  I now no longer have the scapegoat of blaming all of my shame and subsequent hurtful behavior and actions on being transgender, on being a victim in an unempathetic world towards gender non-conforming people such as myself.  Although transgender violence is still an unfortunate reality and a topic that still needs massive amounts of attention, it is not an everyday issue for me in terms of functioning in the world.  That, I must say, I am grateful for and thank my Mother in the Sky.

Therefore, I think the natural step would be to pay attention to my shame triggers, and to continue building up shame resilience through diligence, patience, vulnerability, and showing empathy towards myself and those around me.  To pay attention to the blockages that are still in place which hold me back from my bliss.  To be grateful, and to show gratitude whenever possible, and essentially, to strive to live a wholehearted life with authenticity and courage.

As I continue to do the work, I can reflect back on my milestones and continue to reaffirm I am worthy of love, belonging, and happiness.

Cesspool Swamp


It’s difficult being a transwoman in a gender normative heterosexist society.  I’ve been living fulltime, as myself, presenting as a woman, my proper gender identity, for a little over 2 years now.  And every day, it’s the same bullshit struggle:  Either trans is everything, or trans is nothing.

At work, several of the girls had no clue I am a transwoman until I told them.  And in a company of 600, every now and then I still get asked by other girl coworkers from building 2 if I want to get pregnant and have kids or not.  The topic of trans in those cases are clearly invisible.

But then I go to gay or transgender clubs, where being trans and queer is everything.  How queer is too queer, how queer is too much?

I recently went on a business trip in Shanghai.  There are millions of dollars invested in these contracts and meetings, and I was the engineer who was in charge of 2 subsystems and important portions of the conference workshop.

To the native Chinese in Shanghai, I was window dressing, sent on my company’s behalf to provide a gender ratio counterpunch: 3 men to that of 1 woman.  Most of the attendees in the past were much older and all men, and I clearly provided fresh insight as an early 30’s woman engineer who is fluent in Chinese Mandarin.

The bosses loved my contribution, professionally and socially at the meetings.

But to achieve those contributions?  I had to pass as a woman, be seen for who I am.

Except, not all of me could be seen.  I knew that the components everyone wanted to see were the stereotypical conformist parts that are traditionally accepted by mainstream society.  I fit the mold, I am a good representation of my company.

But what if I was a less passable, less attractive transwoman?  Would I still have gotten this chance despite being fluent in Mandarin and graduating from one of the best engineering universities in the nation?

I was invisible on this trip to Shanghai, just long enough for me to crave visibility.  Where I could be seen.  Being around 3 other coworkers who happened to be men and engineers was a bit overwhelming.  I needed some girl intimacy, some close conversation and bonding.  I needed someone to talk to and connect with….and being new with this gender identity didn’t help any.

As my good friend noted:

” You have spent a couple of weeks where trans is nothing, where that part of you is invisible.

It makes sense that you need to be able to have somewhere where trans is something, visible and real.

We all need to be seen, even the parts of us that mainstreamers don’t quite get.

But in being yourself, you are starting to deal with the ambiguity and tensions of a woman’s life without the drug of jock play to try and get the world back into nice black and white focus, like you used to.”


I had worked so hard to pass in the last 2 years.  Shopping, finding my image, working on myself to be presentable as a woman, to be seen as a woman.

And now I started my first job ever at an aerospace company as a girl, what happened?  I blended in so well that I felt invisible.  I actually found myself in a taxi at 11pm at night going to a gay club in the foreign city of Shanghai.  Because over there, I knew, trans would be everything.

Most mainstream people fail to understand just how complicated gender is…..they just take their assigned roles and gender identities for granted, and why not?  Most of those assigned genders are correctly done.

Us trans folks?  We face shit, stigma, labels, our whole lives.  We fight alongside mainstream society, sometimes against ourselves, contributing to the 401k and trust funds of shame.  We fill our vaults full of shame, guilt and denial.

We don’t want to be seen as sick, as freaks, as the smelly homeless tranny with vomit and feces on their clothes asking for acceptance.

So we fight ourselves.

At least until we face death square in the eyes, and can no longer run from ourselves anymore.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to transition and live out successful lives still face enormous struggle.  Despite visually and physically fitting in to society, simple triggers can easily peel back the thin crust of stability and unearth the petroleum crude running underneath our feet.

The stench of the cesspool of shame, of accumulated insults and stigma always triggers the ego to remind us of our inadequacies: you’re a fraud.  You’re a freak.  You’re better off living as a guy.  What’s the matter with you?”

I used to fight this swamp, this inner critic.  This hell from my past.  I used to want the benefits of being a woman while simultaneously desiring the good times of my past.  I now realize that is foolish and impossible to achieve.  To get something, to gain in life, we have to pay a price, there are inevitable losses to be incurred while we accrue in other areas.

Women want everything.  And we can.  But just not all at the same time.

I can’t have the advantages and benefits of being a woman without relinquishing those of being a man.

And surrendering that man privilege was hard.

But it was necessary.

For me to be comfortable in my new skin, my true skin, I had to surrender what I knew wasn’t true to my heart and embrace the path God, the universe, or what some call my Mother in the Sky chose for me.

And to overcome my triggers and shame, I had to explore the depths of my hell.  I had to search and become familiar with every corner of the cesspool swamp: the swamp filled with doubt, fear, shame, self-loathing, and stigma.

I had to claw my way through miles of shit before I could come out clean and beautiful on the other side.

I’m still crawling and exploring these days.  I reckon I’ll never be finished.

But now I have the wisdom to put on a scuba suit, I know where the showers are, and I know I don’t need to panic.

I’m learning to love myself, and who I am, and I’m loving what I’m becoming: a woman who is not only pretty on the outside, but the inside as well.

Walking through Doors of Possibility


Walking through doors has been really difficult for me lately.

I received a text message from an ex girlfriend, Amy, around Christmas.  She wanted to get together for lunch.

She wanted to reminisce about old times, about how we used to be such an awesome couple.  She still holds onto the fantasy that we can get back together, that she can get her prince and live happily ever after.  And I don’t fault her for that.

But she doesn’t know I live as myself now, a woman.

And I’ve had so many opportunities to tell her that I’m Natalie.  I’m me.  I’m happier now, I’m living my life as a woman, in the proper gender presentation.

Yet, I’ve hesitated each and every time.

What is it that I fear?  What is holding me back?  What’s so scary about walking through that door?

Will passing through that portal cause irreversible changes in the interaction between Amy and me?

Will she ignore me and dismiss me as a freak?  Will she want to meet me even more out of curiosity or her own possible latent bisexual urges?  Or would she want to meet and just remain friends?

I think those 3 possibilities pretty much sum up the possible variations of how she’d react.  I have a 66.7 percent chance that she would still want to keep in touch.  Those are decent odds.

Yet, I’m reluctant to tell her.

That 33.3 percent haunts me.  What if she dismisses me as sick, as a freak?

Would I let it trigger my own inner critic, fueling my transphobia and thus labeling myself as sick?  Labeling myself as a freak, as lesser than?

Or would that be more of a reflection on her, not me?  I’m just being myself.  I’m just telling her the truth, my truth.  What more could I do?

I can’t change her.

This clearly falls into the category of serenity, and not change.

God gave me the serenity to accept what I cannot change, the courage to change what I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Very powerful words and highly applicable in this scenario.

But I’ve been hesitating on all the doors lately that have been presented to me by my Mother in the Sky.

I wanted to attend a meetup this past Sunday, and on Saturday, I was already getting cold feet.

Walking through a door to attend a discussion with 35+ people appeared daunting.

What if people clock me?  What if they don’t like me?  What if I’m self conscious throughout the whole ordeal?  Can I endure being that nervous?  Can I endure the scrutiny?

I think all of these doors create anxiety for my ego.

My ego wants to control these situations.  It tries to convince me being myself, being happy, following my bliss, is a fallacy.  Why pursue the real me and my bliss through a method that is sick?  A method that society labels as freakish, incorrect, and faulty?

It had been easier in the past to resort to old patterns.  I hid behind my boy facade and ran away from feeling my emotions.

So what if people don’t like me?  Not everyone in the world can like me.  And I’m okay with that.

Not everyone will understand transgender people.  I’m okay with that.

And certainly, not everyone will make me the center of their universe or world.  I’m okay with that.

What’s the worst that can happen?  I grab my purse and leave.

What’s the worst that can happen if I tell Amy?  I have the same relationship I do with her right now.

So what’s the worry?

There is really nothing to fear.

Let’s walk through these doors.

Let’s empower me.

Because no one else is going to do it for me.

The Monster at Halloween


I attended a Halloween party last year with my friend Monica, who has only been living fulltime as herself for a little over 2 years.  The party was held by friends she had known for over 20 years.  All the attendees knew Monica before she transitioned, and were still coming to terms with her being out and living as a woman.  Although on the surface, everything was supposed to be normal and they were claiming they accepted her, I saw things differently.

For starters, while we were on our way there to the party, Monica complained about how she missed her friends, and that they didn’t really invite her to get-togethers anymore.

When we got to the party, everyone casually said hi to Monica, but immediately turned their attention back towards the people they were originally socializing with and pretty much ignored her.  We were isolated…alone.  We only had each other to talk to…

Monica still insisted that it would just take time for these friends to come around, but somehow I just wasn’t convinced.

The party was in the backyard, in a pretty affluent area near the beach cities, and there were a good 100 people there, all dressed in creative 80s costumes, as that was the theme for the night.

The DJ played a bunch of Madonna songs, of course, and Monica, being a huge Madonna fan, danced and lip synced a bunch of songs in front of her former friends.  I thought she was adorable, charming, and brave to do such a thing.  I was proud of her.

But while I watched her dance, the guests standing next to me, the very same people Monica had pointed out were her “friends,” mocked her.  Some of the things they uttered were unbelievable.

They said derogatory things about her repeatedly, and it was clear they just didn’t understand what it meant to be trans.  There was a lot of discomfort, and adjectives like “weird,” or “freak” were tossed around with malicious intent but carefully dressed with sarcasm.  One woman even said “Can you believe she used to be a guy we wanted to hang out with?”

Just when I didn’t think the backstabbing ridicule towards Monica could get any worse, the universe decided to present another facet of what the group’s true thoughts were towards queerness, towards topics that they just didn’t understand, nor wanted to make the effort in order to understand, for that matter.

By around 10 P.M., the cops showed up to tell the hosts to turn down the music.  Tom, the owner of the house and host of the party, immediately ran out to the street to smooth things over.

A big crowd of people gathered in front of the driveway to see what the cops had to say to Tom.  He spent a few minutes out there persuading the cops everything was okay, and that we were going to turn down the music.  By that point, Monica and I had also joined the crowd to see what the cops had to say.  At least 7 or 8 people in addition to Monica and I were clearly visible on the driveway.

The two police officers insisted on coming over and checking out the party. Everyone who was crowding the driveway quickly stepped to the side as the officers walked the length of the driveway and peered into the crowd, with the beam of their flashlights leading the way.

One of the guests was dressed as Freddy Kruger, and he went up to one of the officers.

“I’m a former Torrance Police Officer,” “Freddy” said.  “We’ll turn down the music, sorry to bring you guys out for something so silly.”

“No big deal, just doing our jobs.  We have to respond to all calls, even if they are minor issues.  Just keep the noise level down,” said one of the officers.

“You guys got quite the party going on,” said the officer’s partner.

“If you guys weren’t working we’d offer you some beers!” said Freddy.

Everyone eased up and laughed, and then the officers were on their way.

Once the police left, Tom came back from the driveway.

By then, Monica had was no longer standing next to me, and she was nowhere to be found.

Tom looked around his shoulders to make sure Monica wasn’t there, and then said to Freddy and a bunch of his friends something that was really demeaning and insulting to Monica and transgender people in general:

“Did you see what the cops did?  They were about to leave, because I convinced them that we’d turn down the music.  But then as soon as they saw Monica, they just had to come inside to the backyard to see what type of party this was.”

“You’re right Tom!  Seeing Monica made them wonder what we were doing back here!!!” said one of the guests.  It’s as if he was almost relieved he wasn’t the only one uncomfortable with Monica’s new self, and that Tom, and possibly others, shared their sentiments.  He didn’t feel so alone.  He no longer had to deal with “Monica the tranny monster,” or “the queer with no fear,” on his own.

“I wonder if the cops thought this was a gay party because they saw her,” said one of the women.

“They probably wanted to see if there was an orgy going on here,” chided Tom and the other men.

Never had it crossed their minds that perhaps the officers were just doing their job, and scanning the backyard because a neighbor made a call.

It had to be the queers!  It must be the queers, gays, faggots, and trannies!

Their discomfort had to be pinned onto something.  Someone was to blame for all the mess.  Why not blame the trannies?

If only the monster had stayed inside, out of sight of the cops.  Then the cops wouldn’t have ventured over to the backyard to take a look.

If only the weirdos had stayed out of sight, the cops wouldn’t have suspected something unusual was going on….they wouldn’t suspect it was a gay party.

Then the floodgates really opened, and the insulting and stereotyping jokes really started pouring out.

I left and moved to another area in the backyard, away from the crowd of people and just sat down by myself.

Monica eventually found me, and saw me texting on my phone, just withdrawn and alone.

When we finally left the party that night, I told her gently that her friends didn’t really respect her.

She didn’t want to hear it, but she knew.

I didn’t want to push it, and we left it at that.

It’s hard being seen as a monster sometimes, as a scapegoat, when we don’t deserve that type of portrayal or treatment.

That’s why it’s so important to love ourselves, and be proud of who we are.  Because until people begin to understand what it really means to be trans, we will often be seen as the monster, the scapegoat, the person who was the reason why the cops came in to break up the party.

And we, as the transgender community, all know that’s not who we are.

Youth and Beauty Wasted on the Indoctrinated

I went to physical therapy back in February this year for a hip injury.  One of the assistants was named Chris.indoctrination

I immediately noticed him, as he was around 6’2″, with an athletic chiseled body and a devilishly delicious baby face with blue eyes.  But what drew even more attention than his physical looks was the tattoo on his bicep, which was partially covered by his polo shirt.

I tried to glance at it and every time his shirt would get in the way, preventing me from reading what it said.  I finally mustered up the courage to ask him, and he showed me.

It had a Maslow quote on there, pointing to the fact that we are all one and should peacefully coexist on this planet and share it amongst each other wisely.  I immediately took a liking to him, and we talked about him majoring in psychology, his views on spirituality, and his methodology towards self actualization.

I so desperately wanted to ask him for his Facebook or phone number.

But I was scared to do so.

What if he wouldn’t be okay with interacting with a penis?  What if telling him would somehow out me to the physical therapy clinic I was going to, and alter the dynamic of how my physical trainer treated me?  What if he, like many others in society, labels and categorizes people’s genders based on their assigned birth and genitalia rather than their core gender identity?  Just because he is spiritual and has a tattoo that reflects self awareness doesn’t mean he is aware about gender and sexuality, does it?

I didn’t want to do this old song and dance again with all these precautionary thoughts, but being a trans woman is difficult in the world of dating.

I worry about dating people who have been indoctrinated by the social system we have, believing that there are only 2 genders out there with strict binary rules.  And although there are individuals who are exceptions to this preconception, it just wasn’t something I wanted to deal with that day…..and sadly, on many other days as well.

I wanted to get Chris’ contact info, but hesitated and didn’t proceed.

It was possibly a perfect case of youth and beauty wasted on the indoctrinated.

Facing the Pain We All Carry

Pain comes in all forms.facing_pain

For transgender people, I don’t know if anything hurts more than being clocked.

And for good measure, occasionally, the wrong pronoun will be used on top of being clocked just for added measure.

Why not add the final insulting cherry to the icing of the demeaning cake?

If someone is going to be an asshole, go all out.  There’s no such thing as a part time asshole anyway.  Go all out, let it unfurl.

My friend Alexis was out recently and got clocked.

It pains me to hear her story.  Lord knows I’ve been there numerous times, and I anticipate I will be there in the future from time to time as well.

The theory goes: no transwoman passes 100% of the time.  It’s best to embrace who we are than try to hold up the illusion that we can “fool” people all the time.

And trying to pass as cisgendered just isn’t who we are.  We know that.  But we try to pass due to so many reason.

Until the gender binary becomes even less rigid and starts to fully embrace gender diversity , the only two categories deemed socially acceptable and readily available for us to choose from are presentations as a man or woman.

We wait so long to finally embrace who we are as late transitioners.  It takes so much energy, courage, self discovery, awareness, and help from so many sources, to finally find ourselves and take the leap to do what is necessary for us to look at ourselves truthfully, much less be ourselves.

It takes enormous perseverance and willingness to face the truth to finally overcome the stigma and embrace who we are told not to embrace.

And upon finally doing so, the words “that’s a dude” or a masculine pronoun used to refer to us MtF transsexuals can really set us back.

When we hear incongruent pronouns used to refer to us, we can get knocked down emotionally.  The wind is immediately taken out of our sails, and we are immediately immersed in the cesspool that we thought we abandoned long ago.

The cesspool that contains every bit of criticism, transphobia, and justification and rationalization not to transition.  All of those reasons we used on ourselves, to delay and avoid transitioning, are still floating around in a pool of disease filled murky water.  The same pool of shame we worked so hard to escape from and forget about, but can never truly disengage from completely.

And what seems like a simple (or sometimes malicious) slip of the tongue by someone who sees us as our labeled gender at birth instead of the real gender we identify as, can dunk us back in our shame.

So how do we get past that shame?  We have to do the work.

Work on accepting who we are, and being who we can be.  Work on being authentic, and embracing that authenticity.  Instead of chiseling our bodies with surgeries to fit the current mold of what a woman ought to look like, embrace our current status and show the world that we are indeed women, just women who are different.  By doing so, let’s expand the definition of a woman to include transgender people.

When someone clocks us, we need to take back our power.  Instead of cowering in shame and brushing the fact that we were outed under the rug, let’s embrace the fact that we are out.  Let’s embrace the fact that the masculine features that gave us away are also the same features that make us beautiful.  That being proud of our transgender history is a great way to inform others that we are not ashamed of who we are, which also helps set others who are unknowledgeable about this topic at more ease.

Frustrating as it may be, it will take time.

But we have to do the work.  For ourselves, and future generations of transgender people.

By doing the work, it will lessen the pain of future instances of being clocked.

And it will also help remind us we don’t have to abide by the rigid binary set in place by an outdated culture we are trying to help update just by being ourselves.

The Lonely Journey of a Transsexual Woman

It truly is a lonely path as a transsexual.solitary_tree_under_rainbow

Each person’s transition is truly unique from the next.  But it’s lonely because we are truly one of the last minority groups in society that have few role models, no blueprints to abide by or follow when we feel lost.

Guidance is hard to come by, and one has to be vigilant and determined to seek out those who truly can help us.

Many transgender people are incredibly desperate, and feel an incredible urge to be seen by others and anyone else who is willing to lend a complimentary stare or comment.  And often times we are exploited by those who deceitfully portray themselves as helpers, when they are truly here to take and exploit.

Moreover, in those rare instances when we do find someone who has done the work and is functional in society, they are usually stealth, or invisible.  Or they live all the way on the other side of the country.

Transition is a long and arduous process.  It’s as if our old shell is shattered due to self realization, and we are vulnerable to all the elements out there until our new shell arrives.  It’s not like we can just order a new identity on and expect it to arrive within said 5-8 business days.

There is no expedited shipping.  Money can’t hire us the workers to provide shortcuts of doing our own spiritual, psychological and emotional work.  The work that is so vital for our ability to truly transition must be done by ourselves.

Contained in our old shell are some of the ways we used to look at the world, our own lives, and how we fit into that world with the life we had.  The habits, friends, family, jobs, and security.  Despite projecting a false façade for so many years, many transgender people feel extremely lost and inadequate in the beginning of their transition, despite finally being authentic for the first time in their entire life.

There is so much to learn, so much invested in the old shell that is now irrelevant.  We have to find new leads, new people to interact with, and do it all while presenting as someone we are sometimes quite unfamiliar with and awkward as, particularly in the beginning stages.

And the role models that would come in handy at this stage of transition?

They are nowhere to be found.

The closest thing we can find are individuals who share remnants of our story, and share in support groups or transgender clubs or through networking at transgender or GLBT events.

And despite the similarities in our stories, our paths truly are individual and unique on their own.

“Maybe I’ll just live out a simple, solitary life…it’s not so bad, many people do it,” I’ve been finding myself muttering as of late.

“No, don’t give up!  There’s someone out there for you,” a coworker recently said.  She’s been my biggest cheerleader as of late.  I’m grateful she’s in my corner.

Still, it’s lonely sometimes.

Don’t get me wrong.  I still go out and do things, and have fun.  The night before Halloween, I was at the Danny Elfman concert for Tim Burton Movie Themes at the Nokia Plaza.  It was so much fun, an amazing show.  I still go out dancing at Hamburger Mary’s, and I do still have a social life.

But I wonder: is it easier to just live a sedentary, low key invisible life, without having to explain my transgender history to others?  Or does staying invisible, and not telling my transgender story, inhibit and limit me?

Are my reasons for being alone really rational?  Is being tired of explaining myself and coming out over and over again to people a powerful enough reason to seclude myself?  Is it worth giving up on dating and meeting new people?

A good friend of mine, who I refer to as Shapeshifter, said so eloquently:

” it’s amazing how effective in the world we can be when we forget about the fact that we are trans…

…Sadly, it’s empty when we forget about being trans also…..”

I’m trying real hard not to get caught up in the matrix, where things are so neatly packaged.  I am reminding myself not everything needs to be all or nothing, black or white.  That passion is a great thing, but when overdone, can destroy someone.  I’m trying to strike a balance.

I try to remind myself that it’s going to take time to smooth out the kinks in my new life.  I’ve waited my entire life to live this way, as myself.  The three key ingredients of patience, compassion, and simplicity are critical for where I’m at right now.

Although those three ingredients are good spiritual companions, it would be nice to have someone in the flesh to cuddle with when I turn off the light at night.