Fortunate to Be Alive

7840357006_329d61d848…So, I’ve been silent on Facebook and the various groups I’m a member of.  Partly, because I do actually have a job, and had a deadline to meet by noon.  More importantly, I wanted to take my time to think about what just happened in the election, and how I really felt about it.  I’m not sure if I’m where I want to be mentally yet, but I think I’m getting close to it.  I am trying to see the positive in today, and so I strip away the election, and I look at my life.

I am more  Buddhist than anything.  I was raised Lutheran, I’ve been Born Again, and consider myself Gone Again.  I checked off a bucket list item a couple years back when I got to see the Dalai Lama speak in person, and so I borrow a quote from the Buddha above…

Take a moment to think about it:  “What we think we become.”

In many of my groups people are terrified, living in fear, children are crying, and sadly some people have taken their lives.  I don’t differentiate cisgender or transgender…a life is a life, and all are precious.  It makes me sad to think that the election of Trump drove them to such a dark place that they felt there was nothing left to live for.  It also makes me wonder about the conversations that take place in households across our country that create such fear.

I shared a little bit yesterday about something Fab said when I explained to her about the GOP platform and what it means for her.  Her response was short, and without any concern at all.  She regarded me for a moment and then said, “so they think because I have a penis I have to stay a boy?”  I nodded, and then she shook her head, “that’s stupid,” and then she skipped up the stairs to go play with her brother…carefree.

I used to worry about the future, and all the bad things that could happen, but stopped doing so after a really negative, life-changing event in my life.  Don’t get me wrong, there are moments I can start to get sucked in, I am only human, but for the most part I don’t live with fear in my life.  It isn’t something I just say, but something I can say is really true.  I started to get sucked in last night, and then again early this morning, but after I think on it some, I’m with Fab…That’s Stupid!

“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.” – Dalai Lama

I try to do this everyday, sometimes I’m successful, and other times, not so much, but the point is…I Try.  I also ask myself to view my life not compared to others, but compared only to myself…am I happy?  Are my kids happy?  Is my marriage strong?  Can I pay my bills?  Feed my family?  I think you get the point.  If the answer is yes, then who cares about the rest, or what others are doing, or who is president?

I know, “but Trump might do this, or he might do that”.  Yeah, possibly, but I still believe there are enough decent people out there who would stand up, and if not, then I would stand up.  I don’t dwell on the “what might happens.”  We don’t know if Trump will do anything to mess with our children.  While Trump did select Pence as VP, if there is anything we’ve learned, Trump does what Trump wants.  In my mind the two worst things he might do is to throw the LGBTQ issues back to the states, and appoint conservative judges if given the chance.  These are things that will not affect me or Fab on a daily basis, and even if they do…the question we should be asking is, what can we do about it?  The answer is…nothing…so stop worrying.

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.” – Dalai Lama

Parents I hope you can find a way to get past what is making you hurt right now.  I hope you can can continue to show strength to your kids, exemplify your love for them and the lives you share together.  Our kids feed off our emotions, and they will need the best of us, not the scared, fearful, and angry side of us.

Some might say, “but Fab is happy, and has it good.  She hasn’t had to deal with any of the ugliness”.  You’re right, that is her reality, partly because of luck, and partly because her mother and I work really hard to give her that.  We worry, stress, and cry where she can never see.  We plan, and then hope for the best.  We take it a day at a time, with an awareness of what might happen, but not a worry for it.

We also don’t talk about our worries or fears around her…we don’t talk politics around her.  She already knows people can be mean for no reason.  She has been bullied (verbally and physically), but she is also strong and for the most part fearless, because we let her live with the thought that mom and dad can take care of everything.   We let her believe this because she is seven, a little girl who still believes in Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny.  In short, she is still a little kid, and she doesn’t need to worry about the ugly of the world.  It’s not her job, it’s ours.  We know it isn’t true, that there will be some things we cannot protect her from, but she will learn this soon enough, just as she will stop believing in Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny.  There’s time enough for adulting later on, for now she gets to be little and as innocent as we can allow her to be.

Some may also say to me,  “your family hasn’t had to deal with the problems we have, and you simply haven’t been around enough to really get why we’re scared”.  Problems are what you make of them, and how you perceive them.    People are entitled to feel however they wish, I am merely suggesting that families might focus on what they do have that is beautiful and good.

We can share with happiness and a smile about our kids (I am not suggesting complete strangers, unless you are feeling really bold, but rather people you know).  Make other parents put themselves in your shoes.  What would they do if they’re child was transgender?  The thing I’ve learned in my short ride is that decent people can only nod in approval that regardless of who your child is…you love the shit out of them.

I shared with a co-worker today, an older gentleman who didn’t know about Fab.  I shared that Fab was a girl now, and we talked a couple minutes.  I could tell he was a little uncomfortable, but that he also agreed the picture I showed him was clearly a girl staring back at him, and then he admitted I was the first parent of  a transgender child he had ever talked to.  He then said, “all you can do is love your kids and want them to have happy lives.”  He’s raised his own kids, but for a moment he put himself in my shoes, and he’ll remember Fab the next time the topic comes up elsewhere, and maybe he’ll inform another, paying it forward towards changing attitudes.  I don’t know this for a fact, but I have hope.

Hope is Huge…Trump won yesterday, and a mom from one of my groups shared about an awesome meeting she had with her child’s school system…in Texas of all places.  She happily shared how they will work with her to support her child’s needs.  It was a beautiful moment in the heart of what many will consider to be a dark day.  If she sees it the right way, yesterday was a good day for her and her child, regardless of who the next president is.

It’s a simple Buddhist idea to live in the now…Learn from the past, Live in the now, with an eye but not a focus on what tomorrow might bring.

No matter what else happens I got to meet my daughter last week, she now gets to be herself all the time, and for me that makes right now pretty great.  For me, there’s enough shit out there in the world to beat you down without adding imaginary weight or fears to it.  I’ll deal with it as it comes, hoping that my experiences have prepared me.

I’ll face the world with love and compassion when I can, and I’ll fight if left no other choice, always remembering how I conduct myself is being watched by two children who think I can protect them from anything.  They’re learning from me all the time, and I can teach them to scared, afraid, angry; or I can teach them how to be strong, compassionate, and fearless when it comes to living life with chin held high, refusing to bend knee

I don’t know if I’m always successful but I try.  For me, for any of us, just as I tell my kids…if you do your best then there is nothing to be ashamed of.

I’ll close with this:

“There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’
No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.” – Dalai Lama




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