All posts by Mac Scotty McGregor

Dance of the Souls – Creating the love you want

My soul is dancing – I have had this crazy idea my entire life that I could have a love that is committed, stable, supportive, a SAFE space to come home to and to grow in together, set and work on goals together, real open communication, be able to be true to self, and have respect and yet have adventure, abandon, spontaneity, wild passion, freedom, playfulness, and the freedom of exploration.  Most people seem to feel you get one or the other of the sides of this coin in relationships and it is certainly RARE to find a model of this that is successful in the world.

Those of us who are on the fringe of society because we are different, face even more challenges then the average person to find fulfilling healthy relationships.  In fact, when I officially announced that I was going to medically transition I had a dear friend who is very open minded say to me, ” Now that is going to make it difficult for you to date.”  As a person who had ridden a roller coaster in the dating world partly due to figuring out who I am inside and how to navigate that in this society safely and communicate it, this statement from my friend stopped me in my tracks and made me think.  My motivation to transition of course had nothing to do with dating or thinking about dating, it only had to do with being true to myself.  But my friends statement did make me wonder how would people view me?  Would they view me as even more of a freak?  Would there be anyone who understood and or got me?  I did not have the answers to any of these questions and went forward anyway because I was at a point where I could no longer live my life as if I was playing the part in a movie, or wearing a Halloween costume year around to make others feel more comfortable.  I could no longer live a lie.  I am happy to say that since transition the opposite has been true, I have had even more people want to date me, which surprised me.  I asked my partner why she thought this was so, and her response was ” that when a person is authentic and true to themselves, that is attractive and rare.”

I have struggled with traditional models of things from an early age from gender roles to relationship models.  I always questioned what society feeds us as the way or the right way to be or have a relationship, although I did try to make parts of their way work for much of my life and failed miserably.  The models of monogamy and marriage we grow up with in society are usually accompanied with shame and guilt. If it is not done in the way the majority do it in our society even though that way has not been very successful for most we shame people as a society.  I have always said as a business person if marriage is my product and it is brought back to me because it did not work more then fifty percent of the time, I would be out of business!  Why do we keep using this model?  It makes me think of the Einstein quote “The true definition of insanity is, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results,”  Yet I have to recognize that there are defiantly some things about the concept of marriage that are attractive to me.

  • Having a strong home base
  • Knowing you have a safe space
  • Taking care of one another
  • Knowing someone that well
  • Creating a healthy sense of family
  • Someone you can count on

The parts that I want nothing to do with are

  • Feeling boxed in – lack of freedom
  • Jealousy
  • Guilt if it does not work out – or if you are attracted to anyone else
  • Expectations to fit a societal mold
  • Gender role expectations within traditional relationships
  • Weight of the concept that I had to be that persons everything and they had to be mine, FOREVER
  • The things above created the feeling for me and does for many that I have talked with about this feeling that I could not be honest about my feelings and desires (coming from the south did not help with this, where few talk about anything REAL)

I have examined this and been able to look at the fact that there are some things I would like to take from that concept and create in a relationship.  Part of the freeing beauty I have discovered now is that I and my partner or partners have the liberating ability to CREATE how our relationship works best for us.  WOW! Why don’t they tell you this as a young person.  I don’t have to do it the way mom and dad or my grandparents did, or the way the majority does it.  I can breathe, create, experiment, and explore what works with my partner/partners.  There is no wrong or right way, there is the way that works for us.  I discovered that a polyamorous style of relationships works best for me and there are even different models of poly. Some people seem to think being poly means free sex with many, these are the same folks who think that all that gay men do is have sex.  If that were only true, laughing.  Poly to most in the poly community, is having more then one committed relationship with open communication with all involved.  This is not easy, this requires great communication skills and communication times two or three or whatever.  Then in the poly world there are primary and secondary relationships, triads and sometimes just now and then play partners. This maybe something that works for you or not, that is not the point.

The point of all of this is to examine how what we are doing is serving us.  I ask many people when it comes to tradition or rituals, “why do you do that.”  Most reply, “because my family did it that way or my church, I don’t know.”  My next question is, “how is that serving you now?”  The same can be asked in the style of relationships we have or the way we negotiate or navigate our relationships.  Is using the model you are using serving you or could you create something more fitting for you and your partner or partners.  I have questioned myself this way about everything I thought I knew about relationships and sex to come to this place of discovery of what works for me.  My life’s work now is to create safe space for all to be true to self and this is another area that many are not living true to themselves in for a variety of reasons and the reasons really don’t matter.  What matters is finding a way to get to a place that we can be true to self.

The beauty, fun and freedom to start from scratch and create what actually works for you is amazing and enlightening.  Most of us have never felt that we have the right to create our own, few people are told they can or it is ok to create your own.  I am here to tell you it is OK, you have the right.  Here are the guidelines that my partner and I have developed for our relationship that work for us.

  • Always consider one another in all we do
  • Be respectful of one another and of all involved
  • Remember real authentic love fosters growth – (change is not threatening)
  • Always give one another a safe space to be and grow and come back to
  • Communicate/communicate/communicate with love and compassion

My desire as I said is for all to have the safe space to be true to self and to live in love and happiness.  I believe I had to walk the road of learning to be true to myself personally before I could have a healthy relationship with anyone else.  Then and only then have I been able to examine what is being true to myself in a relationship and am now able to come from a place of authenticity that changes everything.   I am so sorry for past relationships that I failed in because I was not at a place of authenticity within, because no matter how hard I tried to make those relationships work or my partners did there is no way to have open communication with someone else when one is not authentic with themselves or is living a lie.  If you and I are authentic and real with ourselves then we navigate the entire world including relationships in an entirely different way.  It is liberating and allows us to walk through the world with an new openness and willingness to be vulnerable.  Being authentic with oneself is constant work, but choosing that path is ultimately releasing.

Now go Create what serves you! Find a way to “BE TRUE TO SELF”

The Struggle for Equality

Warning:this blog talks about both taboo subjects of religion and politics.

Why should anyone have to fight for the right to be true to who they are?   As we face a big election that includes alienating people for being who they are, LGBTQI, women, people of color, immigrants or the poor are all being discriminated against openly.  The argument that I hear the most, from those who want to take our rights away, is religious based.  This floors me.   I have a degree in theology and have studied the Bible and Jesus’s life in great depth.   Making people feel “less than” is not what Jesus was about, not what his teachings are about and not what most forms of theology are about.   Anyone who twists the Bible or other religious texts to discriminate against people and alienate people is totally missing the point.  Jesus was the guy for the other guy.  The guy who stopped people from stoning the prostitute to death.  The guy who would rather hang out with the kind of people most churches discriminate against today then the religious leaders of his day.   To quote one of my favorite religious authors Dr Peter J. Gomes from “The Good Book”, “In reading and interpreting the Bible, the great temptation is to use it as the moral sanction for our own culture.”  The Bible has been used to discriminate against groups of people since its inception.  People used the Bible to justify slavery as what God intended.  Many believed slavery and segregation were supported by scripture.  “When the missionaries came, they had the Bible and we had the land, now we have the Bible and they have the land.” An early twentieth-century African proverb says.   I have always found it interesting that a theology that teaches that our body is just a shell that houses our spirit that will live on makes so many judgments about people according to our shell.   Does one’s spirit have a vagina or penis?  Does one’s spirit have skin color?  The hypocrisy to say that God created us all in his image and then out of the other side of their  mouth say, but if your skin is dark, if you have a vagina, or if you love someone I don’t approve of then you don’t have the right to serve that same God as I, is appalling.

Folks, the summary of Jesus’s message are LOVE, ACCEPTANCE, GRACE, KINDNESS and I don’t see how discrimination fits into any of that.  I went to a Southern Baptist high school and college and then worked in the ministry for a while as a youth and children’s pastor.  I was raised in Christianity of the south.  I have a heart to help people and where I grew up was the avenue most available to do the kind of work I wanted to do.  I knew there was a strong calling on my life to help others.  When I was a youth pastor at a large church in Florida our church had a food bank where I volunteered.   One day two men came in who had lost their jobs and were living in their car.  These men politely asked for food.   The head pastor thought they were gay and informed them they could not have food unless they agreed to change their lifestyle.  This was a huge turning point for me with organized religion.  I struggled with this and still do. Even if a person says they believe the Bible literally, Jesus said “Feed my sheep.”  He did not say feed them if you like them, or if they do everything right, or if they live according to the way you interpret the Bible, he simply FEED THEM.   What still to this day boggles my mind is that the pastor thought he had every right, according to God’s word, to say what he said to those hungry men.  I walked out and never went back to that church. 

No one should have to fight to be who they are, not because of the color of their skin, their gender, their sexuality or sexual orientation.   All people deserve the freedom to be who they are and NOT be ashamed of it or feel like they have to hide it to be safe or to be able to live a productive life.   We are far more alike than different and science has now proven this.  Our DNA and genetics are so similar that the differences between a white person, a person of color and Asian person, a gay, a straight and so are so minuet that it is only 1 out of every 1,000 in our nuclear DNA sequence that are slightly varied.  

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

This means for ALL.  But it has not always meant for all, and it still does not today because all humans do not have the same rights and opportunities.  How long can we stand for this?   Yes, we have come a long way from slavery, segregation, women having access to more opportunities, gays in the military; we have a great deal to celebrate.  We are also not there.   Women still do not make the same for doing the same job as a man on average.  People of color still do not make the same as a white person on average. Immigrants are constantly told they don’t belong and yet we are all immigrants.  Native Americans are still fighting for their land and respect.   Transgender unemployment is at 39% due to gender variant discrimination.  Same sex couples still do not have the same rights as heterosexual couples to protect their families. We cannot be complacent in our quest for EQUALITY for ALL. 

Things we can all do to make a help make positive change toward equality:

·       Vote for candidates that believe in equality

·       Help campaign for those candidates

·       Talk to those in your life about the importance of Equality for ALL

·       Speak up when someone says something discriminatory

·       Support organizations that are doing work for Equal Rights

·       Be kind to ALL

Finally, what can you do today? We are standing at the edge of making history for marriage equality another big step toward equality. If you live in one of the four states (Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington) that are voting this month for marriage equality, then please vote for marriage equality. If you have friends and loved ones in those states, encourage them to vote for marriage equality. Taking this step, will make it easier for us, as a country to take the next steps.

The Re-Claiming of the Word Queer

Define Queer:  Queer is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities [1] that are not heterosexual, heteronormative, or gender-binary. In the context of Western identity politicsthe term also acts as a label setting queer-identifying people apart from discourse, ideologies, and lifestylesthat typify mainstreamLGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual) communities as being oppressive or assimilationist.  Since its emergence in the English language in the 16th century (related to the German quer, meaning “across, at right angle, diagonally or transverse”), queer has generally meant “strange”, “unusual”, or “out of alignment”.

 

Working as an out activist in our world today is very different, terminology is constantly changing and it is important that we all do our best to keep up on this state of growth.  It is irrelevant whether we agree with it or not,  the fact is that if we want to be able to reach and communicate with various generations we have to be open to change while being respectful where others come from.  This movement to take back the word Queer is like women taking back the word Slut.  The word Queer for many was used in the past in a very derogatory fashion as a slam and to oppress.  Why should we keep giving people that much power over us as a community?   I like the idea of taking the word back and defining it and making it our own.  It gives us the power.  As Harvey Fierstein   said, “Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.”  Now the word Queer is very trendy, especially with younger generations and I personally like the reasons that it is so popular.   People are tired of being boxed into binary sexuality, sexual orientation and gender roles.  Queer openly states that one does not buy into this binary system.  Both sexual orientation and gender spectrums are on a vast scale.  

Let’s talk about sexual orientation first.  The word queer in the context of sexual orientation covers, gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, pomosexual, asexual, autosexual, heteroflexable and heterosexual people who’s sexual activity is considered out of the “norm”, like polyamory, BDSM and S&M.  Now that the book “50 Shades of Gray” is such a hit, there may be many more people joining in the group of those of us who identify outside of  what society considers the “norm.”  Those of us who would not be considered “vanilla” or even “beige” in most groups just because we are considered different from “mainstream.”  

Now to tackle the Queer part about gender identity, gender expression and gender roles.  This goes even deeper in our society then sexual orientation.  We are so brainwashed from the minute we come out of the womb that there are only two sides to who we are.   And we have to choose between the “Pink” team and the “Blue” team.  The term Queer says I do not buy this binary gender theology our society tries to force feed us.  It says there is a scale to gender and I will not pick a side.  It also challenges the gender roles that are ingrained in our culture in a way that is scary to many. 

Basically the word Queer tears down boundaries.  Boundaries that make some people feel safe and comfortable.  Boundaries that identify everyone, puts them (and many hope keeps them) in their neat little boxes. Reclaiming the word Queer is a political statement and it is liberating.  It is also more inclusive of our entire community.  So I challenge those over 40 to try and let go of the old stigma that the word Queer brings up and take the power back.  For the younger “Queers”, I challenge you help tear down these boundaries and I request that you be compassionate and patient with your predecessors as this may take some time to get used to.  Anytime we can re-claim something that anyone used against us or to hurt us with we regain our power and confidence.  The world is changing in a positive way for civil rights.  Let’s be open to ways we can step forward with an openness to learn from one another and educate in a compassionate way.

There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~Anaïs Nin

The Fear of the “Other”

I recently had an interesting experience. One of my girlfriends mother’s friend saw her and I post a few things on Facebook and then she looked at my profile and found out I am Transgendered. I have never met this woman and she rarely sees my girlfriend and yet she called my girlfriend’s mother and told her she could not be friends on Facebook with her anymore because her daughter was dating a transgendered person and she didn’t want her grandchildren to be exposed to such things. Wow, of course I felt bad for my girlfriend’s mother, this was a long time friend.   Her mom and dad’s response was “well he is good man and my daughter is happy so if you feel that way then ‘fuck you'”. They were very supportive, yet it made me think a lot about where does this kind of discrimination come from? What makes people be that judgmental toward a person they have never even met. The only conclusion I could come to is the fear of the other. The fear of things we don’t understand and that are different then us. That fear is so great in many people that they are willing to give up a long friendship. Some people even believe this is what “God” would want them to do. 

The fear of the other, or something different then us,  causes separation and hurt in our world.  It amazes me how afraid people can be of something that they don’t understand.  Things that are different then us are not a threat;  they can color our world and make it much more interesting if we can only get over the fear.  Those of us that live out on the fringe or the edge, while being true to our inner selves, run the risk of causing said fear because we don’t fit into the “Norm”.   This fear sometimes manifests itself in discrimination.  Discrimination comes in many forms; the blatant in your face discrimination,  the more subtle discrimination, and the discrimination that is an undercurrent in our environment, our society and region, tribe and so on.  The undercurrent runs deep in our world. 

Here are some examples of those undercurrent messages our society and those who have power exhibit and which we all have to live with or overcome;

  • Heterosexual relationships are what’s expected and natural
  • White skinned people are smarter and safer and better
  • There are two distinct gender roles and you better fit into one
  • Women are second-class to men
  • If you don’t have or want to have children something is wrong with you
  • People who are overweight are lazy
  • If a woman is assertive she is a bitch
  • People of color are lazy and feel entitled
  • Women are fragile, men are tough
  • If women are sexual they are sluts; if men are sexual they are studs
  • All gay men have sex all the time with many different people
  • If you are not Christian you are not a real American
  • Girls cannot be physically strong (girl push ups & so on)
  • Lighter skinned people of color are better then the darker skinned ones
  • If you are a smart woman you are not desirable
  • Immigrants are ruining America, stealing our jobs and they should all come here speaking English
  • Academics and having a mainstream job, or buying into capitalism is more important then following ones heart
  • Men who cry or show emotion are either weak or gay

These messages affect us all even if we are not consciously aware of it.  When we realize that these messages are fed to us by society as a form of control through shame we can then choose to keep them or let go of them.  We can ask ourselves, do they serve us?  If so, how? If not, what affect has this message had on my life?  Do I want to be apart of passing this message on?  These messages are so ingrained in our society that people make judgements about people they don’t even know and never give people a chance to prove otherwise.  Every person is a beautiful soul with strengths and weaknesses and what their strengths and weaknesses are varies with each person”s perspective.  Regardless, we all have both strengths and weaknesses, this is why I think the great teacher Jesus said “you who is without fault cast the first stone.”  Therefore, even if you really believe who someone is or what they are doing in their life is morally wrong, as fellow humans our job is only to love them and be kind — not to judge.  ” All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness the important thing is that they should be a part of our daily lives.” Dalai Lama  

 I always say there are only five things in life that I know for sure and those are;

  •  Life, the universe and we as people are all in a constant state of flux and change
  • Anyone who says they have it all figured out – makes my bullshit meter go off
  • There is always more then one path
  • It is never my place to judge another’s path
  • Loving each other, forgiving and being kind are the most important things we can do

I have learned that the old statement “the older you get the more you realize you don’t know” is so true.   Most things I thought I knew when I was younger I laugh at now. 

I believe it is our responsibility as adults to examine what we have been fed by our families, our churches or synagogues, society, school, and friends and decide for ourselves if these are the best messages to serve us now.  Are those messages what we want to aid us in living the way we choose, not the way someone else thinks we should, or said we should.  Our path is our own and the path of our parents, families, church, or society may not be suited for our own journey.  I am certainly not saying that we cannot learn good things from all of those people and places, my point is that I don’t find it’s best to just blindly follow. I examine what message I as an individual want to put out to others?  How do I want to treat others and be treated?  When I feel a judgement come forward I ask myself, where does this come from and does it serve me or my life?

“Be Kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” Dalai Lama

It is our responsiblity to create a more loving, accepting world.  One way we can start doing that is simply to be kind to people even when we don’t understand them or they are different from us.  What an amazing change there would be in the world if everyone just did this one thing.  My wish is that one day having an open mind and open heart will be a societal norm.

I am curious what your thoughts are on these two questions;

Do I think the world needs more judgement or less?  Is there any love represented in judgement?

 Buddha said “Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.”

Lonely Champion

Lonely Champion 

“When did you start transition?”  The most commonly asked question and misunderstanding

When people find out I am trans they usually ask “when did you start transition?”  The answer to that question is much more complicated than people realize.  If society never told those of us who are transgendered that anything was wrong with who we are, I don’t believe anyone would need to go through surgeries, hormones or other treatments to change our bodies and appearance.  I was fine with my body and who I was until society started putting me in their categories.  Such as, I should not want to play with certain toys because I had a vagina and I should want to play with baby dolls because I had a vagina.  That I had to get in this group or that group because of my genitalia even if that is not the group I related to at all.  Transition, to me, starts when society shows us where we are supposed to neatly fit and some of us realize we just don’t fit there; when we feel that society is telling us there is something wrong with us and then we begin the struggle to figure out how and where we can fit.  I began my transition when I was four or five. While playing with other kids, I changed my name and told them I was Matt Dillon.  I dressed like the good sheriff and told them that was who I was.  This was not a phase, I constantly used boy’s names whenever I could as a kid in any play situation I could, and was always the guy who would rescue the girl.  I was desperately trying to tell others who I was in a way that a four or five year old can communicate.  Asking when you started transition is like asking someone “when did you decide that you were gay?”  People do not just decide these things one day;  we go through a process of figuring out how to be who we are in a society that in many ways does not allow room for our diversity.  Then we have to figure out how to communicate who we are.    

Transition does not begin when we start medical treatment.  Transition begins when we are struggling to find a way to fit in a society that does not make room for those of us who are not at one end or the other of the gender spectrum.  If we don’t fit on the ends of that scale it makes people uncomfortable, therefore they do all they can to pressure us to conform and fit into what is more comfortable for them. This causes many transgendered people to sink into depression and withdraw.  Tragically, 47%  of transgendered individuals have attempted suicide due to this pressure.  No other minority in the world has as high percentage of a depression and attempted suicide rate.   To hold ones head up and walk through this world when everywhere we turn people and society are telling us “you do not fit” is very challenging.  I believe this societal pressure also slows down the process we go through of totally discovering who we are.  Most young people go through life discovering themselves without constantly being told they are wrong and don’t fit.  Of course all young people go through times of not fitting in, but it isn’t the day to day experiences of not fitting in that transgendered people experience.   

Things are changing, but it is slow.  Even though science has proven that gender is a spectrum or a continuum, it takes a time for that knowledge to change the hearts and minds of people who have been brainwashed for so many years that there are only two types of gender and all of the proper behavior that comes with each of those.

 Here are just a few places where you can learn more about the gender spectrum: 

·        http://www.gender.org/

One of my partners said to me “it was probably easier for you because you were an athlete, a jock.”   In some ways yes, I had a place, I could be tough and it was sometimes celebrated.  It was also the most constant reminder that people put me in a box that I did not feel was mine nor where I fit.  In competition they had gender categories and I had to be in a female category because of what they perceived was in my pants even though they had not seen what was in or not in my pants.  They did not test my chromosomes or my hormones levels.  These people thought I could only compete in a category with other people who they thought had vulvas.  I guarantee that the vulva’s did not all look alike, nor were our hormone levels all the same and now that we know there are over 60 variations of chromosomes I am sure those were not all alike either.    I did not fit well into the group they put me with.  When I was put in women’s groups in sports I was constantly told back off, you are too much,   too aggressive.  I was also told consistently “Wow you are so strong for a girl.”  I hated that!  I could not seem to get away from the reminders in the world of athletics, especially in competition, that I was different and I was never what they understood me to be.  When I announced that I was officially transitioning one friend and a fellow high ranking martial arts instructor who is female, said “you should not transition because you will not be as special and as big of a fish as you are as a male martial artist.”

Yes, much of my fame as a martial artist has been due to the fact that I was born with a vulva. 

 My own instructor would feature me in demonstrations and shows because it was so phenomenal what I could do as a “girl.”  This got me on the “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” show, the Discovery Channel and more.  Most people never knew how hard that was for me inside.  Why couldn’t they just understand that I was good?  Why did they need to constantly say I was amazing for a “girl?”  Even though it was very difficult and I did not like being put in a category, I always chose to look at the positive and I am glad that I could walk that journey and hopefully help show the world that one’s athletic performance, strength, persistence and drive is not a due to one’s genitalia.  All of this attention was due to the fact that I was not just what they called a “girl” but an exception to all of what they knew as “girl” made it harder for me to say what I really felt inside.   How could I explain to them that, no, I am really not a girl?  I didn’t feel like a girl and never had.  I felt like I was playing a part in a movie and that almost no one really got who I was.  It was a very lonely place to be because people were so SET in their perceptions. 

I am proud that I feel I have walked a journey in the world of sports and martial arts that has hopefully paved a better way for women.  I am proud I have shown that people born with a vulva can do more than those born with penises ever realized  or understood and, and even more than many born with vulvas thought.  I have had many women walk up to me and tell me I have inspired them that they can do more than they had previously believed and that is a positive that I can keep.  I do have a unique understanding for what many women face all the time.  Perceptions they face because of the load of crap our society feeds us about gender and gender roles.  Because of this experience, I will always be a guy who lives and works to help empower women and break those archaic perceptions of gender and gender roles.   I also have to be myself and gender is about how we are in our hearts and minds.  Science has also proven through mapping the minds of transgendered people that our minds are wired and work the way of the gender we feel we are inside.  Which is no surprise to me; because I have always known that my mind is wired on the male side of the gender spectrum. 

My experience has taught me so much.  I feel at times that I played a part in a movie and in order to do what I loved, I could not fully and openly be myself.  I also know that walking that journey has made me, in the long run, a better man with much more understanding for all who face discrimination, societal pressure and who are struggling for the right and freedom to be openly and fully who they are.  I don’t show emotion easily and as I am writing this there are tears streaming down my face because I have never really talked about what was going on inside of me while being the famous martial arts champion, expert and master teacher.  It was bitter sweet.  Many thought I was great; I had it all.  I was talented and yet I was struggling for the strength to be fully true to who I am.  I was always concerned what would they think if they knew?  Would knowing take away my career, friends, and support?    Where would I fit?  Here is one of the ironic things about my relationship with my soul mate, the martial arts, on one hand I believe it saved my life.  Coming from the totally fucked up childhood as I did, I found the martial arts at six years old and it gave me something healthy to put the boundless energy I had into and it gave me an alternative and more healthy family to be a part of.   I also used it as an escape and a way out from my fucked up family life.  In doing that I put all of my identity into it and into what I accomplished and therefore became a crazy overachiever, while at the same time not feeling understood or that I could be who I truly was.  Finally, I decided I could not hide any longer and I feel more at peace inside then I ever have before.  I also was finally secure enough to realize that those who really cared about me would want me to be happy even if they did not fully understand and I was willing to risk losing some people that I cared about to be true to who I am. 

The best gift we can give those we care about, those who we call friends is the freedom to walk whatever their journey is and even if we don’t fully understand it be supportive.  Give them the freedom to be true to their hearts and do not expect people to live a lie or hide a part of themselves just to make yourself more comfortable. 

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