A little while back, on June 2nd, 2017, I read the following text underneath one of Brandon Stanton’s photographs for Humans of New York (thanks for your inspiring work Brandon. I hope you don’t mind if I share this here):
“I don’t think I’m going to miss eighth grade. It’s been a tough year. A lot of my friends are struggling with depression and self-harm, and it’s hard for me to watch. I just care about them so much. Growing up is so hard for some people. It’s such a big thing. It’s your foundation, I guess. You’re becoming you. It’s such a big thing and we’re going through it right now. Some of my friends are struggling with loving themselves and loving life. I think they forget that we’re still learning. They think that they’re already who they’re going to be. They think they know the future. And it’s going to be horrible. And they’ll never be able to fix it. But that’s not true because we’re still changing. And we’ll always be changing. Even when we’re old, we’ll be changing.”
As I read the musings of this insightful teenager, what she said struck me as such a profound truth. She talked about herself and her teenage friends, most likely never realizing that, by doing so, she described the human condition in general. Most, if not all of us, face similar existential questions and troubles no matter our background or age. Many of us are struggling with loving ourselves and loving life. And yes, we’re all continuously changing. Life and change are one. Irrevocably. We spend our entire lives becoming who we really are… learning, un-learning, growing, evolving with each experience we make throughout our turbulent life journey. There is nothing to do but to face those waves as they crash over our heads. Some breakers will pummel the crap out of us. They’ll push us down like a bully in a kid’s swimming pool until we can barely catch our breath. Other rollers will lift us up and carry us further than we ever imagined.
Yesterday, I was invited by the Zurich Insurance Group to give a presentation on diversity, inclusion, and transgender, combined with reading from my book Paralian. There are no quick fixes, no recipes, no instruction manuals. But I do believe there is nothing more valuable than personal experience. So that’s what I gave, as always striving to be straightforward and honest… and simply sharing my journey whilst leaving space for people to come to their own conclusions.
It was a great evening!
The organization was superb.The audience was delightful and the questions I was asked during the Q&A session were thought provoking. Thank you so much to my awesome audience, to Zurich Insurance Group, and to the PrideZ team in particular, for welcoming me with such warmth and enthusiasm. This was definitely a highlight for me as a public speaker and an event to be fondly remembered!
My intensity has always been my greatest strength. But it has also always been my greatest weakness. The line between passion and obsession is razor-thin…
Like recently, I finally woke up and realized I was making myself miserable by pushing way too hard to get my book out there.
I forgot to remember the most important part of this journey:
Writing Paralian had been a dream ever since I was a kid. I worked hard and made my dream come true. Writing this book was an awesome journey in and of itself. In the end, it really doesn’t matter how many people read it. It doesn’t have to become a bestseller. Many people I care deeply about have already read it – and even better – enjoyed it.
I gave it all I had. Now I’ll let nature take its course before I lose myself and become someone I am not.
I’ll keep on writing… at a slower pace. Stories about life, what it means to be human… tales that will make you laugh out loud and touch your heart when you read in the train, tears rolling down your cheeks, catching your breath, making everyone in the carriage wonder who the loony is who is riding into town with them. Or maybe you’ll never see my next books. And that’s ok, too.
I’m finding the joy in writing again. For myself. Then there is the joy of being myself. No labels. No constraints. Just the wide open sky and a whole planet – offering dreams, destinations, and a myriad of possibilities. Life is good. And art is not an emergency 🙂
Please take a minute to go there, SHARE on your social media pages, and click the “UP-VOTE” arrow!
We’re only a couple thousand k views and a few dozen up-votes away from landing this important post on the front page! Then millions will see it and we can make a real difference.
I already received so many emails from people sharing their own stories after they visited the Bored Panda story. Beautiful comments coming in, but also calls for help and advice. I am doing my very best to answer them all. And I’m ready to receive even more! So let’s go for it. We’ve come so far already. Thanks in advance!!!
At the moment I am sharing this story on Bored Panda to reach as many people as possible – with your help. Can you please share this link, and also go on the page and give it an “up” vote?
We got about 3’000k views so far and many good responses. I’ve received emails from people with all kinds of backgrounds, including trans people and parents of trans kids. I was touched to hear their personal stories and they told me my post helped them during a difficult time and gave them hope. So I hope we’ll be able to reach out even further.
Thanks so much for all of your support already! Truly couldn’t do it without all of you xxx