“A human being must be born twice: Once from his mother and again from his own body and his own existence.” – Sultan Valad, son of Rumi
Today is my re-birthday. One year ago, in the midst of a time of inner retreat for so many around the world, I began my transition. Like all new beginnings, it, too, was a journey. Slowly, the physical pain of recovering from my top surgery gave way to new beginnings. The emotional wounds gave way and a new, authentic layer of myself was released.
Today, as the world begins to emerge from the pandemic cocoon, and I begin my travels to San Diego to once again celebrate pride – and all that word means, contains and represents – I relish all that has moved me here, to this new place, this new me. Friends, family, community. The release of losing myself on the dancefloor and helping build the space for others to do the same. Everything seems to be returning, but in a new ray of light that sheds sun on what it all means and and how we can all begin again.
All journeys involve some level of negotiation. Negotiating the new hormones in my body has given me a deeper understanding of how they affect our minds, bodies and our mental and physical health. They have also given me new appreciation for meditation and mindfulness and a new awareness that, let’s face it, getting pissy for no good reason doesn’t do anyone any good.
And no journeys are truly made alone. Sway deserves a medal for her patience, acceptance and presence. And the tools that helped get me (and so many of us) here over the past year have proven how remarkable our technology, with all its faults and quirks, can be too: Like many, the connections offered by Zoom, Facetime and pop-up streams have helped fuel a sense of connection with others journeying on their own travels – and remixing their own worlds – on the way to wherever their destiny is leading them.
We’ve also learned, especially this past year, that every journey is more than just roses and fairy dust. Reaching our destination often requires traversing rocky roads. My own has been downright petrifying at times: Awkward and uncomfortable bathroom moments, peach fuzz overload and singing in a different register than I once could. It also involved dismantling beliefs of identity and gender, learning how to remix old conditional programs I was taught as a child and turning them all into affirmations of self-love and care. As I reflect on the unconscionable assault on the very being and bodies of transgender people all over our country, though, I take heart in their extraordinary courage and resolve in knowing that the strength required in our world to simply live as we are born to be is both unimaginable and, at the same time, worth it. Nothing is more precious or valuable than living your life as it was meant to be lived, and as the person you always understood that you are.
And so this weekend, and every July 16th, I will celebrate pride, and my re-birthday, differently than before. And I’ll begin this weekend with another first in this year of so many: My first Bodhi hug with my father who I haven’t seen in a few years but always feel so close and connected to. I know it will come with its own remix of sadness and grief – both for him and for me. But I also know, as we set sail on a Sunset cruise, that we’ll both be charting a new course in our relationship with each other and a new beginning we can both build on and fashion out of love.
As the world re-emerges, let us all take a new pledge as we individually re-emerge, too: Live a life born anew from our own body and our own existence, filled with courage and fueled by pride.