Reflections after time spent with the earth….

I recently decided to pursue a journey with farming.

I’ve been fortunate to connect with some folks who are helping me to get started. It’s exciting.

Every second spent with the land leaves me yearning for more.

Food systems are important and I think food systems planning is how I’m going to end up putting my degree to work.

The land feels like home. It reminds me of the things I miss most about my childhood. It inspires me to honor my roots.

When I’m with the land, time flies by. In the stillness, I feel closer to my ancestors. I feel closer to the divine. I feel the liberty to just be me. All of me.

Ministry

As a trans man who is called to ministry, I’ve been slacking.

I’ve been afraid.

I’m not afraid anymore.

Now I’m hustling and building. Challenging systems and cistems. I’m grinding.

It’s not about me.

It’s not about the money.

It’s all about the message.

God is love.

God is in all of us.

We should be love.

In My Feelings…

I’ve heard it said over the years that it’s okay not to be okay.

I have often wondered if that was true.

Like, is it really okay to not be okay? Is all the mess that comes with not being okay allowed? If we’re honest, in the larger society, it is NOT. We live in a world where there is so much pressure to have these picture perfect lives. Lives that, while they may be a little messy, should not be too messy for a good selfie, filter, and obligatory social media post.

This bleeds into our personal lives as well. Statements concerning legitimate concerns are often met with, well intentioned, toxic positivity. You know the type where our friends and neighbors tell us to smile through it or that “the Lord” won’t put more on us than we can bear. Honey…… Let’s just be real. Being not okay will often get you written off as negative, lacking faith, or weak. The kicker is, the negative messaging about these totally valid feelings/states of being are so ingrained in our minds that when it really gets rough, the criticizing comes from within.

What are we to do about this? How can we take a breath and actually acknowledge that we are not okay?

It’s tough but over the past month I have learned how to do just that. It came at a moment in which I was overwhelmed by what seemed to be stressors coming at me from every angle. Typically, I paste a smile on my face and keep it moving but this time……. this time I couldn’t. This time, I could not even find the will to get out of bed in the mornings, let alone do anything productive. I had pushed myself and pushed myself until I had nothing left.

Finding myself in this state sparked a lot of negative feelings toward me from myself. I felt worthless. I felt like a failure. I started to remember every negative thing that anyone had said to me in the past few years and play it over and over in my mind. The more I had these thoughts, the deeper into the darkness and self-condemnation I went until I had a moment of clarity as a result of speaking with my wife. The words she said to me were simple. “It’s okay.” I paused…. cried a little….. and thought about that statement. Now, I’d be lying if I said that I instantly felt better about being a mess in that moment because…. I didn’t. I did, however, change my internal narrative and gave myself permission to not be okay. I gave myself permission to feel every bit of what I was feeling and to process it.

It was hard ya’ll. There were days when all I did was sit on the couch and cry. There were days when I had to wrestle with myself and with God over some things. I had to get to the root of what was sending me into this seemingly endless cycle of not being okay. I had to face some ugly truths about my past, about some of the relationships in my life, and about aspects of my personality that I developed as a result of years of trauma. It was, and continues to be a humbling experience. It is one that is necessary if I am to become the kind of man I need to be.

You see, in giving myself permission to not be okay, I made space for ME. I made space for myself to show up exactly as I was in that moment with no apology and just be present with myself. Though healing has come from this, healing was not the original goal. The goal was just to take a moment to acknowledge that I was not okay and just sit with myself in that state without judging myself for being in that state. Make sense?

Now, I’ll get into the healing journey in future posts but, for now, I just want to encourage anyone who may feel that the weight of the world is on your shoulders and you’re tired of pretending to have it all together. Take a moment to make space for that. Take a moment to be gentle with yourself for a few moments and acknowledge where you are. Love on yourself in that moment and reassure yourself that struggle is a part of being human.

In case you didn’t know before reading this. It really is okay not to be okay. Learning to be gentle with yourself when the world is beating up on you with pressure from all sides can be the beginning of a renewed relationship with YOU.

Until next time.

I love you.

~ Bash

Day 18: Knowing Your Value

For this coming week, I’m going to reassess my worth. Presently, even while working a job that’s paying me the most money I’ve made in my adult life I’m still making far less annually than I should for a person with my education and experience. This is something I’ve accepted for far too long.

I owe it to myself to not accept less than what I should be making. I owe it to myself to stop letting “bonus potential” convince me to take jobs making far less than I should be. I should be able to afford to live in a great neighborhood. I should be able to pay all of my household bills on my income alone. Moving forward, I’m holding myself to that standard. I’ll be dedicating the next 5 calendar days to solidifying what that should look like and my plan for getting there.

I’ve had enough. I deserve better from myself. My wife deserves better from me. I will realize my potential.

Day 9: I Quit My Job

Today I quit my job to do something important. It was terrifying. It was exhilarating. It was necessary. I still have one shift to go but I did it. I seized an unexpected opportunity and decided to say yes to an adventure.

I’m happy to be leaving the world of B2B sales behind. I won’t miss this job. I have to be honest with myself about that one. I have given it a shot and am okay with admitting that it’s just not a good fit for me. There’s no shame in that.

As a recovering codependent, I’m happy that I chose to do this. It’s the first time since I started this journey of recovery that I’m making a major shift. I aim for it to not be my last.

I’m grateful to the source of all for this opportunity to grow. My faith increases with each passing day. I’m not a mistake. My trans experience is a gift from on high. I choose alignment with purpose. I choose to bet on the god in me.

I love you.

~Bash

Day 8: No More Excuses

Today’s thought is simple. STOP MAKING EXCUSES FOR NOT LIVING THE LIFE YOU DESIRE.

It’s a hard truth but sometimes we come up with an abundance of excuses for remaining in a rut. Having excuses gets us off the hook for any responsibility we have for changing our lives. We sell ourselves short when we do this. Let’s stop it TODAY.

I love you.

~Bash

Love on YOU.

I’ve mastered many things in my life but self love ain’t among them. For most of my life I learned to be a chameleon for my own safety and the real me got lost in the process.

Now that I’m at a place in my life where I can live out loud, I sometimes struggle with being kind to ME. Working on my manuscript has brought me face to face with my need for some good loving from myself. That can be tough but I’ve decided to be intentional about it.

To start, I’ve dusted off my dreams and interests. I’ve made some needed investments in those things that bring me joy like dystopian novels, strong coffee, time alone, motivational lectures, etc. It’s necessary.

Why?

Those of us who are called to bring light into darkness and speak truth to power must first learn to heal ourselves. We must learn to accept ourselves. We must be comfortable with loving on ourselves. We must do this in the face of the many years of programming which told us that who we are is evil and disgusting in the eyes of the creator. We must do this even when relatives and friends walk away. We must do this so that those whose lives we are called to touch can be impacted positively because our service will come from a place of healing and not a place of bitterness.

Love on yourself. It’s okay.

Love on yourself. It’s necessary.

Love on yourself until you understand that you are worthy of unconditional love just because you exist.

I love you.

-Bash