A weakness is a hell of a lot easier for me to point out in myself than a strength because of how intensely I’ve hated myself my whole life. There was a time not too long ago I think it may have been the last year I was apart of Ywam where day in and day out I would beat myself up over the smallest things. I would cast the harshest judgment on myself and at the end of every day while showering I’d put the razor on my arm and couldn’t do it. That made me more upset, I felt weaker because I couldn’t even cut a vein. I was too weak.
Most days at Ywam my weakness was pointed out much more than my strengths and the leadership constantly made me feel like I was worthless. But, for some reason, they still wanted me around since I could do a good job around the campus and knew how to mow proficiently well enough to be allowed to stay. My wife and I struggled with finances the entire time we were there and I am shocked they didn’t just kick us out for being as far in debt as we still are. I’m not going to lie, the only good thing about Ywam was four relationships that came out of it and everything else was just one giant waste of time.
My weaknesses are:
I tend to over excerpt myself
I can’t shut my brain off of work after I get home
I always take care of others before my self
My health is last priority
I have a hard time saying no
I tend to stay locked up in my own head
I allow negative vibes from so-called friends
I let passive aggressiveness happen
I tend to look at myself like I’m a loser
All these things are a work in process, like anything in life it takes time to understand ones self and once you learn something new, are able to grasp that, and run with it something brand new comes out and you have to learn again. Life is funny that way even though it can get really irritating it gives you a meaning to life. Finally understanding the importance of strengths and weaknesses has brought me even further away from depression. 2017 was the most depressed I have ever been and the thoughts I had all year where “what’s so good about life? We eat, we have sex, we crap, we have to work in order to continue living, why the fuck do we have to live like this?” I was in my head the majority of the year and I am so fucking happy I am out of my head and living in freedom!
It is vital to value yourself, your strengths and weaknesses no matter how big or small they may seem they make you who YOU are, no one else. Being able to see who you are as a person is one of the most loving things you could ever do for yourself. I am slowly starting to get to a point of bing able to love myself because honestly my whole life I hated who I was and loathed the the idea of possibly never being able to fully express who I really am.
I’am fun to be around
I’am a good parent
I’am a faithful friend
I’am hard working
I’am soft spoken
I’am quick to learn
I’am easy to be around
I’am caring of others
I’am quick to listen and slow to speak
I’am a woman
Being able to write those strengths down and say them all out loud has given me a confidence I never had and opened my world up to endless possibilities, it has changed my life. Being “out” has brought me to a sureness that I have never had and so why would anyone want to try and take that away? Why would someone try and condemn me for pointing out my strengths and my true identity? My whole life I was told I could do better, I should die to myself, and Jesus would turn me into something beautiful. Except the thing is, being a human is beautiful. I look at my strengths and become emotional because those are pretty awesome, those make me who I am, a human being. So, be a human, be gay, be a lesbian, be transgender, be bi, be straight, be asexual, be queer, just be yourself because if we all could tap into our true identity can you imagine how much more beautiful this world would be?
Sasha: Defender or helper of human kind.
Where did that name come from?
How did I come up with it?
These are three questions I get from people when I either come out to a friend or random people that ask on social media. I try my hardest to articulate the short version but there is so much more to the name and why I picked it. Being a transgender women I have held onto this name for dear life promising to never let it go! Being stuck in the closet you only have a few things that can give you comfort and Sasha gave me hope that someday I would be called by such a beautiful name.
Sasha, the name comes from Russia and was used as a gender neutral name that later turned into Alexandra and now days Alexandra is used more-so then Sasha. It gives such a pretty flowery warmness inside of me that I’m awestruck I get to use it out in the open now and people are calling me by Sasha. It brings tears to my eyes because a name is what you are given at birth weather you like it of not and is a powerful form of identity, my birth name has always bothered me. Looking at its meaning and looking at who I am it fits way too well because I’m a social justice warrior who wants human kind to succeed abundantly.
I picked it up randomly one of the days I was home “sick” from school and wearing my moms clothes along with the most elegant pair of red heels. I still remember the dress I wore when I picked Sasha, it was a white maxi dress with an absolutely stunning floral pattern with pinks, reds, oranges, and purples. I would always wear that dress because my mom never wore it and it was stored away which made it easier to put on and put away. Along with the floral maxi and red heels I’d wear the most lush lipstick my mom had, it became one of my main activities while alone to get my lipstick just perfect because I would fantasize about kissing boys as a girl and feel so warm and cozy inside. The day Sasha came out was a truly magical day, wearing the dress, the heels, my lips where perfect and as I walked over to the mirror Sasha came spilling out of my mouth like a calm soothing waterfall. I looked in the mirror with a sureness I had never seen in myself before and continued saying Sasha over and over again till I wept. I wept most of that day because I was so confused and so happy at the same time. I didn’t know how to express because every time my dad would see me tear up he would say, “boys don’t cry, now man up boy no tears.” So, I kept Sasha and that day inside hoping one day I would be able to release her fully.
Sasha would scream so loud inside of me that it would hurt and caused the most intense depression. She needed to be set free, she needed validation, and she escaped in probably the most beautiful way possible. My dead name, the name I really started to loathe last year (2017) is going to be nothing but a memory some day and I could not be happier about that!
Growing up in the Evangelical Christen contexts (ECC) my entire life was straining, painful, and honestly bull shit. Several times during high school I thought I heard god tell me something and so I would start dreaming to see if it would happen. It wouldn’t it was just bull shit. One dream I remember having was to be alive for a revival and then I saw a revival starting in Portland, Or and engulfing the entire nation which never happened it just ended in more confusion. Dreams come in all sorts of shapes and sizes but the dreaming with the (EC) god causes more pain then good, in my personal experience.
My time at Ywam was a big pile of stinky horse shit with a few flowers around it that made it bearable. I had a dream to go to India and start an orphanage to give every part of the family dynamic in India hope to survive and get on their feet. I was told daily, “Make sure the barn is clean,’ or “you aren’t going to make it to India with the barn looking like that,” and just more bull shit excuses as to why they wanted me to work in the most intense department and under the most abusive leader on the campus. The grounds department, where we had 560 acres to take care of along with all the emergencies that would arise daily. I did that shit for six years hoping maybe the next week, month, or year my family and I would make it to India and start blessing those people over there, but that never happened. We where stuck because I was good at what I did and the leaders didn’t want to lose me. So, as I got older and time in Ywam carried on, my dream to be a woman became stronger but I decided just to say, ”Fuck it that is never going to happen.” It just seemed like a waste of time so what if I was angry all the time, so what if I was on the verge of suicide almost every day, so what if my life was just one giant disaster. No one in (ECC) was there to help because their god tells them as an LGBTQ individual I’am condemned to hell and then will work on me till I “change” or just leave because they are can’t “fix me.” So, since I was 8 that dream of being the woman I have always seen myself as was greatly damaged and I was holding on by a tiny sliver.
A few years ago I went down to where I worked and I dressed up completely and hung out in my office, it was dirty, it was covered in oil, and the clothes I had where some of my wife old clothes she had just thrown out. While I was down there I was freaked out because my identity was screaming to be set free, Sasha needed to be let out as soon as possible! That was exciting realizing that but also very stressful because I have a family, who I love dearly. I didn’t want to screw them over so I told myself, “Just stick to the plan, take Sasha to your grave no one has to know just you.” Just that alone caused livid anger because I just wanted people to be for me and people to be supportive of me. Having a wife I wondered if I ever had the guts too tell her what she would say? How would she react? After that night for the next two years there where so many times where I tried to speak up about it in front of her but I couldn’t, I was crushed.
The dream took its first official step on February 14th 2018, when I came out to my wife and that was the first time in my entire life I saw a dream actually coming true. The dream I have held onto since I was eight and didn’t know if it was going to happen was actually taking an authentic first step and that felt amazing! The main push I had that gave me the guts to come out was an Exvangelical community whose main goal is to love humans for who they are and to help those who where in evangelical contexts work through the issues and hopefully come out the other side able to breath. Im grateful for that group of people because without them I would still be stuck dreaming my dream behind closed doors and angry.
“The moment you stop dreaming is the same moment you start to die. Dream even if the dream seems small it will give you hope for a new day.”