In the past I’ve held a quiet, personal vigil at home on November 20th for the Transgender Day of Remembrance instead of attending any of the memorial events hosted in my city & around the world. The very thought was too soul-crushing really.
When friends asked me to an event last November I couldn’t even vocalize what torment the thought of attending brought me. I felt like every name spoken could be my child, and I simply could not endure that thought. Not with others.
Ever since my father’s sudden and tragic death in 1981, I kept Loss under lock and key like a prisoner fearing it’s strength would consume me. There was a persistent, yet completely hidden darkness in me. Something I couldn’t shake after standing in the doorway watching him die. I never wanted to name it, or own it, like the various self-help books I consumed like snacks instructed me. I couldn’t possibly go near the dungeon where I held Loss in solitary confinement so why go searching for opportunities to allow it’s escape?
Only until my Reiki Master and I started to peel away the layers of understanding did I accept that these are my greatest life lessons, my biggest obstacles to growth, and I had to decide whether I would turn my back yet again or stand in the face of fear with arms wide open. I was done running, I knew it, so I let go.
I let go of the tape forever running in my head that said that everything and everyone will leave me. I let go of my father’s untimely passing. I let go of the abuse that prevented me from feeling. I let go of my programmed personal narrative telling me I could never be enough. I let go of pain, and said my goodbyes. And with all that newfound space I focused on one simple thing – love. Love for me, for you, for all of us.
Love. It’s my mantra. It’s my compass. It’s my fuel. It’s the reason I agreed to run a booth for PFLAG this year for the Transgender Day of Remembrance because I will no longer hide locked behind closed doors. I will go and celebrate every life lived. I’ll honor families and friends who supported their loved ones quest toward truth. I will be present, with my heart and arms open wide.