This is my dad on my 21st birthday. It has taken him 21 years to call me his son. It’s taken 21 years for him to tell me that he’s proud of me. It’s taken him 21 years to tell me that he loves me. It’s taken us 21 years to love each other.
When I first came out as transgender my dad didn’t understand and so he reacted with hatred, anger and disappointment. He shamed me for my gender expression and we had to cut off communication.
But after my chest surgery in December of 2016 he finally opened his eyes to how happy I finally was. He made the decision to attend rehab and therapy to better himself and focus on his own mental health issues in order to restore our relationship.
Since my surgery he’s been nothing but loving and supportive. He always calls me Liam and uses the correct pronouns. He calls me his son and we’re more connected now then ever.
In these photos I’m opening a birthday present from my dad. His present was a black ball cap that read “The Jet-Lag Club”. He explained that it was a bar in Japan only for international flight crews. A bar that his father had gone to and he had frequently gone to as well. He got the hat from being such a frequent customer, but it has closed since and now there is no possible was to get one of these hats. He told me it’s his most prized possession. And then he handed it to me and said…
“It’s yours now. It’s tradition, from father to son.”
Remember that people can grow and change. They can accept and love even after hatred emerged. Remember that people can see who you are. Don’t give up just yet, things can change and they can get better.
I guess what I’m trying to say is,
If I never see you again,
I hope you at least think of me from time to time
When that song comes on in the car,
Or the sun breaks through the windows a certain way
I hope it makes you smile,
I hope you are grateful too
I’m reading the comments on an article about a young Mormon girl coming out to her congregation (link) and the top comments underneath it are just beyond ridiculous, people are so ignorant, water is wet, I don’t know why I’ve expected better but I did.
1. Be yourself. Live authentically. To quote Dr. Suess, “There is no one alive that is you’er than you.” Don’t try to be someone you’re not to impress people. You will always be happiest when you are being your true self.
2. Contribute to the world in any way that you can. Maybe for you that’s picking up garbage on your way home from work, or giving money to a homeless person on the street, but you will become a more positive person if you are giving back.
3. Be grateful. Acknowledge how fortunate you are and be thankful that you have simple things like heating, food, and shelter. If you are grateful you will always be able to think more positively.
4. Be optimistic. So maybe you missed your 10:30 showing of Beauty And The Beast, are there later showings? Can you plan a rain check? Wouldn’t coffee be nice instead?
5. Surround yourself with positive people. Odds are, if you spend your time with negative people you’ll become more negative. When we are around positive people we become more positive ourselves.
6. Don’t be discouraged. You will never fail until you stop trying!
7. Be a realist. Everyone has their bad days, everyone. Lest, I remind you that Walt Disney, J.K. Rowling, and Steven Spielberg, were all rejected before they ever succeeded.
8. Be like Elsa and let it go. Okay so Elsa may not have been the most positive person at first, but by the end of the movie she learned to make a positive out of what was once a negative situation! Don’t hold on to anger, fear, or hurt. Keep moving forward and forgive others and yourself.
9. Help someone else. It’s so easy to make someone’s entire day. Compliment someone’s new clothes or hair cut, hold doors open for people, smile at strangers and share inspirational quotes with friends. You will feel so much happier and positive if you make someone else feel that way.
10. Kick fear to the curb. Stop letting “what if’s” control your life. Be brave and trying something new, or do something that might scare you. Doing something is always better than doing nothing; you might just surprise yourself!
11. Stop and smell the roses. Appreciate everything around you: sights, smells, music. When we don’t take time to breathe we become stressed.
12. Put down those chips. Junk food might make you feel good for a moment but it will only make you feel unhappy down the road. Swap a milkshake for a smoothie, Soda for a glass of water or a cup of green tea, ice cream for a fruit bowl and so on. We can actually eat a lot more raw foods than processed foods without gaining weight or feeling bloated.
13. Get out there. Make plans! Stop scrolling through instagram and snap stories feeling bad about yourself because it’s a Friday night and you’re at home. It’s always nice to stay in every now and then but it’s also enjoyable to get out into the world and socialize.
14. Get your beauty sleep. 7 hours minimum to function and 8 ideally. It’s impossible to be positive when you’re cranky from not getting enough z’s.
15. Exercise. Find the exercise for you. Maybe it’s swimming, hiking, cycling, yoga, dance, or basketball. Working out will make you feel powerful, happy, and accomplished.
16. Don’t compare yourself to others. Other people’s beauty does not take away from your own. Yes, Sarah from math class has a really nice smile…but have you seen yours? Wow.
17. Accept yourself. Change what you can change and love what you can’t.
18. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Take yourself out of the situation. Is this really a big deal? Will it affect you tomorrow? What about next week? Next month?
19. Be empathetic. Your friend just cancelled your plans for the evening because he is feeling too anxious. What can you say to show him that you’re accepting of his situation? Can you offer up an alternative plan? People want to spend time with people who are kind and accepting of them.
20. Accept that life isn’t linear. There are always going to be ups and downs and that is absolutely normal! You just have to ride the wave instead of letting yourself drown.
The need to be right, to diminish another person in order to gain a greater sense of self, is a subtle kind of violence. If we gain our sense of identity from this process, we will perpetually be looking for conflict and enemies, subconsciously surrounding ourselves with negativity, compulsively bringing pain to ourselves and those around us. We’ll always be looking for the next problem, the next argument. To define ourselves through conflict in this way is to forever deny ourselves peace.