Almost all of us have heard – at some point in our lives – the famous Lao Tzu quote: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” We’ve heard it so often because, in almost every way, it is true. And for me personally, ‘journey’ is a word with deep and resonant meaning. For nearly my entire life, I have been guided on – or guided others on – journeys.
From my own journey as a young person growing up in the Middle East and, then, coming to America to the journeys I have been honored to take so many of you on through my music or ‘Remix Your World’ classes, I have learned that life is, both literally and metaphorically, a trip.
Today, I want to let you know about a very personal, and personally meaningful, journey that I am beginning. As someone who has traveled the roads, the miles and the experiences with me before – either on the dancefloor or in the classroom – it was important to me to tell you first about this new journey I have found myself on. It is, I feel, the first step towards the next thousand miles of self-discovery and authenticity that many of you have helped me explore and understand as I’ve traveled through life.
Traveling that road – even when traveled together with like-minded souls – also requires, I’ve learned, courage you can tap into, an inner voice you trust and brave fellow travelers to inspire you. And at the start of this particular decade, it also requires 20/20 vision to see deep inside ourselves.
I’ve played at shows all over the world, produced some pretty cool remixes, had original music placed on major TV shows and networks, and worked with inspiring artists and musicians. Always pushing the boundaries of my sound, I tried new things. I experimented as a way of continually evolving and growing beyond my musical comfort zone.
In 2011, I moved to Colorado because my intuition told me so. I had no idea why, but I knew I needed to trust and follow the GPS of my soul, which was calling me to dive deep into my healing and personal growth. Over the past decade, I’ve gone from overcoming suicide to thriving, living, and loving my life. My transformation was a catalyst for me to create Remix Your World and to be of service for others going through their own difficult transitions.
Yet, there is still another major transition that needs to happen.
I simply can’t go another decade identifying as female. I have never embraced being female; I’ve felt like a boy inside for as long as I can remember and I have many memories as a child filled with such anger, sadness, and confusion. No wonder I battled with depression for the majority of my life. Thankfully, through years of deep healing, I’ve finally come to a place of full acceptance of who I truly am.
When I left South Florida and moved to Boulder, I introduced myself to people as Bodhi. The name came to me through a future-self meditation in a class I took called the Creative Insight Journey, which is the class I now teach as a part of Remix Your World. Many of my closest friends and tribe here in Colorado only refer to me as Bodhi.
For years I also cringed whenever I saw “Alyson Calagna” on a DJ flyer.
That’s because “Alyson” has always seemed a constant reminder of who I am not. I’ve made so many decisions based on my musical career, and I’ve sacrificed a lot of personal freedom and happiness because of it. Moving to Colorado was the first decision I made without it being about the music. Thankfully, I followed my intuition, because it has allowed me to make peace with this next transition.
I’ll be the first to admit that I struggled with the concept of a singular person being a “They.” I found myself triggered and frustrated with people who used that term. But I now know that judging them was a lot easier than facing my own shadows.
Now that I am comfortable accepting myself, however, it makes perfect sense.
“She” doesn’t feel right to me. It never has. And as much as I wanted to be a “He” as a kid, as an adult, I am fully grounded in my “they-ness.” In a recent retreat and deep dive in the mountains, an elder referred to me as “Two-Spirit,” and I know this to be true because I have never felt more solid in both my masculine and feminine energies. It’s finally time for my external to match my internal.
I will be undergoing top surgery soon and stepping fully into my identity as Bodhi. I know it will be hard to get used to because I am so known as Alyson. I also know there will be plenty of pronoun and name slip-ups, and that is ok. I promise not to get salty with anyone along the way, as I know this will be a transition for us all.
Musically, it feels most natural to only go by “Calagna” from now on. I’ve always been proud of, and loved, my last name. I’m excited to feel the same way about my first now, too.
This transition isn’t going to be easy, and I will need lots of support and love – especially after surgery, which I will let you know about as soon as I have a date scheduled.
If this is challenging for you to understand, then I’m happy to have a conversation with you about it. If you are a friend from childhood or a relative learning this news through this post, please understand this isn’t about you. Whether you agree or disagree with me, this is who I am, and this is what I’m doing. The greatest gift you could offer right now is your happiness and support.
As this first step on my new journey begins, I want to thank my parents, closest friends, therapists, and healers. You’ve held many tears, for so many years. This hasn’t been an easy decision, and your unwavering support means the world to me.
And to my beloved, Sway: I can’t begin to thank you enough. You are the first lover who has truly seen me. You have understood me from the moment we met, and you have held the sweetest space for me to show up as my whole self every day. Thank you for pushing me to grow beyond my limits in life and love.
To my musical tribe, fans, and loyal dance floor enthusiasts, thank you for your continued support. I have always pushed the boundaries with you, and you have been there through it all. I’m not going anywhere, and I’ll always be your mama bear, but perhaps it’s time for a “domma” bear remix. I am excited to be shirtless on the dancefloor in a harness with you all someday soon.
Lastly, to my Remix Your World students and clients: You have been a source of inspiration for me. Becoming a coach and a leader challenges me to keep growing on my own. I know that If I’m going to push people to follow their visions, then I have to keep following mine, no matter how scary they are. Your growth inspires me.
At the dawn of this new decade – this 2020, with its implied promises of clarity, vision and insight – let us all take the first step in our own personal journeys toward affirmation, actualization and authenticity. The next thousand miles might include bumps, roadblocks and difficult terrain but, as with any journey begun with love and guided by spirit, the road will always lead us where we’re supposed to be. Because in this brave new world, we are all in this together.
I am them. They are us. We are one.
My hope for each of you is that, as we begin another turn around the sun together, you will join me in embracing that other Tzu truism: “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
With love, bravery, and gratitude,
Gender – Non-Binary
PS. For those of you who have my contact in your phones, updating my name is one small sweet step you can take to “let reality be reality” too.