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uniting masculine + feminine

Please Choose Love

I’ll never forget the night I learned what it meant to be gay…

I was in the third grade, and we were living in a small, rural town in East Texas.  That particular night I was laying on the floor watching The Love Boat. I’m pretty sure my Dad wouldn’t have let me watch it if he’d realized what it was… Growing up I regularly heard, “WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING?!” (“The New Mickey Mouse Club”) as the TV was turned off before I could even get out a reply. 

Being raised in a Southern, conservative, Christian home, we never missed church—every Sunday AM, PM, and Wednesday PM, we were there, and it didn’t take long for me to learn to fear the wrath of God, my creator and “heavenly father” (and often, my “earthly father”, as well).

My earth-Dad was sitting in a recliner behind me reading his newspaper, and being the inquisitive 8 year old that I was—after hearing a new vocabulary word on TV, I asked him, “Daddy, what’s ‘homosexual’ mean?”

His response has been seared into my mind and memory ever since…

He dropped his newspaper to his lap, peered at me over his glasses, and went on to (vehemently) preach about how ‘homosexuals’ were sinners against God. He said they were evil, immoral, and doing the devil's work. Then, he told me how the world would be a better place if we could line-up all the homosexuals in the street and shoot them.

I don't know if my Dad even knew a gay person back then. I honestly don't think he had a clue what he was saying.. I think it was a reaction based on his environment and ingrained beliefs and unanswerable questions.

That night, I think he must've eventually provided enough of a technical definition amidst that fear-fueled rant for me to finally understand what ‘homosexual’ *actually* meant (in addition, of course, to learning every(limited)thing my dad believed—or rather, that he was taught to believe—about the evils of homosexuality).

In that very, key moment of my very, young life, I learned four very, critical things, simultaneously:

1. What a 'homosexual' was,  

2. That *I* was, in fact, a homosexual (it was the only word/definition that I’d ever heard, in my eight short years, that came close to describing how I’d always felt about myself—aside from the “evil” part, of course),

3. That my Dad (and my God?) would hate me (and maybe even want to kill me?!) if he (they?) ever learned the REAL truth about me.

4. That I was unworthy of life (and love?)

And so began my long, arduous journey into (and out from) the proverbial closet.

Night after night, year after year, I tried to "pray away the gay"—I begged and pleaded with God to let me wake up tomorrow and be just like everyone else...

I desperately wanted to be "normal".

Ha.

Since that pivotal night, sooo long ago, I’ve worn every letter in the LGBTQ acronym—mostly self-pro/claimed, but some of those labels were placed upon me by outside judgements of others and presumptions of society. Mostly, I’ve been out and proud, but other times—many times, I’ve been that terrified 8 year old, feeling both unworthy of life/love AND scared shitless of burning in hell for eternity (after being shot in the street, of course)—just for being ME—for being, at all.

Like many of us, I’ve had MANY thoughts and feelings weighing heavily on my heart and mind this week.  And also, like so many of us, I haven’t quite known what (or when) to speak about those thoughts and feelings, but I also know that I must not be silent.

Silence moves no one to shift their beliefs, and inaction creates nothing but more of the same old shit.

It’s easy to get lost in anger, grief, frustration, helplessness, blame, shame, and fear. It’s easy to point fingers at the actions and beliefs of others that are misaligned with our own.  It’s much more difficult, I think, to look THROUGH our hurt and pain and suffering towards the actual *change* that we want to see (and be) in this world and then, to take one tiny step in that direction… and another… and another…

Sometimes we can see the change—other times, we have no idea what "change" will look like. 

Sometimes we know which tiny, brave step we might take next—other times, we’re just wandering, suffering, and saturated in that same old pain and fear.

I’ve already seen SO many who are bravely speaking up and choosing to be seen and heard, and it’s amazing to witness SO many beautiful stories of compassion and love that have been inspired and catalyzed by such a devastating act of hate. In that way, I think this undeniably heinous act has also gifted a vitally important service to this country and to the world... It’s helping us to open our hearts and our minds, and to understand a way of being in the world that we do NOT want to embody. It's also helping us know and see, very clearly, that love is a far better place from which to be and to act, than hate.

I don’t know much about politics or about gun laws or even about the motivations of this particular human being—who, I think, must have been hurting and suffering and afraid, WELL beyond the realms of my own comprehension.

I DO know that beneath all the hate, hurt, and suffering is a swirling, swarming energy of love, and slowly, the shadows of hate are fading into the light because our collective choice of LOVE is shining brighter than ever before… 

I don’t know how long it will take, ultimately, for the light to dissolve the lingering darkness of hate and fear.

I DO know that we can’t stop loving each other—especially loving those of us who are the most hurt and lost and suffering. Because, though it may seem simple and trite, those who are the most difficult to love DO, certainly, need it the most.

I don’t always know how to do it, consistently—or even at all, sometimes.

I DO know that there are people/organizations that (seemingly) want to keep us in the dark, afraid, and only reacting from a place of fear.

I don’t know much about those agendas that are (seemingly) designed to keep us, as a species, divided and separated from each other, but I DO know that somehow we must learn to unite in LOVE and resist reacting from our fear and somehow release the urge or thought or idea that “we” must defeat “them”...  When there’s only “we” or “them” it leaves no space for *US*.

I don’t know which step towards love to take next, but I DO know that right now, I must share this much…

Fear divides us and love unite us, and somehow we must stay the course towards love.

Personally, I love that, now, whenever we see the hate in our world, instead of dwelling and focusing on it, becoming lost in it and suffering from it, we can learn to use it to propel us forward, towards something new.

** I’d be remiss if I didn't address any impressions of my father as he was, then (and as he thought and believed, at that time)… It took me 26 more years to come out to him, and by then—he was a much different version of himself with a kinder, gentler, and more expanded perspective. Ultimately, he was one of my biggest supporters in transition—because he chose Love.

God and Me and What I Believe About Us Both (Right Now)

After decades of struggle and suffering around my spiritual identity, I've made my peace with God**. 

So, now, God and me? We’re good

Better than good, actually—better than ever.

I sketched a picture because it’s still a little hard for me to find words to describe, exactly, how my relationship with God has changed and evolved over the years… My understanding goes beyond words—into feeling and experience—and as most of us know, I think, it can be hard to contain the entirety of life's experiences in mere language.

This is the mose accurate (visual) description I’ve been able to approximate, so far (and for now):

This is how I used to understand God and see my relationship with God:

"before"

"before"

One-dimensional, incomplete, and lacking perspective.

This is how I understand God, now and see my relationship with God, now:

"after"

"after"

More complex, integrated, and infinitely more multi-dimensional.

Now, as for religion and me? 

Well, after that same lifetime of not quite seeing eye-to-eye re:  who I am or who God is or what God is—I’m not sure how I’ll ever have a place in organized religion…

Does NOT utilizing religion invalidate my spiritual existence? 

Does it mean I can’t have a relationship with God? 

Is it even possible to NOT have a relationship with the source of me—the source of all that is, was, or ever will be?

If religion is the gate by which I'm meant to access God, how do I use it while it’s locked against me because of my very existence?

It took me many years to reconcile my broken beliefs with my inner knowing, and once I discovered God (and my relationship with God) for myself and within myself, I didn’t know how to reintegrate back into religion. Now, I can only see it as a belief system that exists between me and God and that (I feel) keeps me a step removed from God. Within religion, I experience separation from that eternal and unconditional love because it's often blocked by fear and other, conditional and isolating beliefs that are so different from my personal experiences of life and God... and love.

It’s taken me this long (40 f’n years!) to find some semblance of peace around my existence on this planet, and here’s THE most validating thing I’ve discovered (for myself), so far:

God is Love, and I exist.

Although, as finite and limited human beings, I think it’s impossible for us to grasp the infinite enormity of what that sort of “love” actually means…

God’s "love" is much more than that warm and fuzzy, heart-shaped feeling we have for our families and friends and baby animal videos on the interwebs… It’s the energetic source of our very life—of ALL life—and God loved me—created me (“in His image/likeness”). Friggin’-ME, man! I’m here because a much (MUCH!) larger, energetic entity, "created" me by an intention that I'll be alive as a loving/creative/energetic entity, too.

So! I exist, and I am also a creator, and I am also love—whenever I allow myself to be, but often, perhaps, maybe, like Mr. Trump and certain legislators (and most-likely, like you, too), sometimes, I also get lost in fear. 

And fear, I believe, is the exact opposite of love, and I also believe it’s a collective condition of most Earth-bound, human beings, AND I truly, sincerely, believe that we’re all navigating our way through fear as best we can… 

Love (creation) can light (inform) the way for those of us who are still blindly feeling our way around in the darkness of fear, but for that to happen, I feel we must all do what we're here to do—to create and to inform, as best we know how...

So, that’s what I’m doing. Slowly and steadily; I will keep creating and informing as best I know how. 

I think, as we all change, sometimes we rise in love and we teach/reach, and sometimes we fall in fear and we learn/grow… Push and pull. Yin and Yang. I think it's the contrast—that tension between who we are, when we're lost in fear and who we become, when we reach for the full potential of our greater, more evolved and expansive version of ourselves—THAT, I believe, is what makes creation possible at all. 

So, hopefully we learn. Hopefully we teach, but to do either, I think, we must be courageous, and we must (continually) take action despite the fear. We must speak our truths and share our unique perspectives, and most of all, we must be willing to open our hearts and our minds and connect with the reality of other truths and other experiences and other lives, beyond our own.

I was born in a female body, and I always felt I had a male mind. I grew-up feeling sexual and physical and emotional attraction for other female-bodied people, and I grew-up feeling fearful and envious of male-bodied people.

For years—decades—I didn’t understand my gender or my sexuality or why I even existed, at all. 

I couldn’t understand why God made me to be so different from everyone around me, and growing-up saturated in the fearful rhetoric of the church, I couldn’t help but think that maybe I was God's first mistake.

I struggled with intense shame, guilt, depression, anxiety, and many times, I didn’t want to exist, at all.

Eventually, I turned away from religion (and from God), and for a very long time, I thought maybe there was no God, at all.

I leaned into my own fear in a HUGE way for a VERY long time.

I was so, extremely lost, but now, I’m gradually finding my way back to where God’s been all along... Love.

I was blind, but now, I can see that we’re all in this together, and we can never actually be separated from each other or from God or from the energy of Love that gives us life... We’re all scared, and we’re all learning to move through the (seemingly) inevitable fear that comes along with this (seemingly) physical existence. I believe we're all learning to open ourselves to receiving and giving and creating and living from that source of love—in our homes, our governments, our consumption, our work, and especially within ourselves.

** I use the word, "God" because it's the label (for that larger, creative/source energy) that I know, and this language/framework has been part of my personal lexicon since birth. Despite its many, varied connotations, I use it, mainly, because it's familiar, and I think it speaks to others like me, who're coming from a similar place and/or are on a similar path.

GENDERFUL TALKS Ep.4: Xavier

I found a few of Xavier's videos on YouTube, and I knew immediately that I wanted to talk with him. 

My intuition was spot on. We had a great conversation, and I can't wait for you to hear more from Xay's incredible perspective on transition, expression, fighting/finding femininity, connecting with/caring for our bodies, asking for what you need, and moving beyond what we've been taught believe about ourselves.

Connect with Xavier on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.