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

Dealing with bigotry….

Confession time!!

As bold and out and proud as I appear to be….. I sometimes struggle with confronting bigotry head on. It is particularly difficult when it is coming from the people who raised me. Yep… you heard it here first…. my parents are my biggest struggle when it comes to facing bigotry.

My name is Sebastian, my pronouns are he/him and they/them…. that’s the reality. The reality is that I have not answered to any other name or pronouns for quite some time. That is, with the exception of my parents. Now….I put the boundary and the expectation out there. They refuse to acknowledge it.

I am now on the fence about what to do moving forward because I get why they are behaving this way. They are behaving this way because they have accepted a God-view, rooted in many years of indoctrination, that makes it okay for them to disrespect me. I held that view for a long time, until I was liberated from the echo chamber of my upbringing and introduced to a means by which to deconstruct much of the dogma I had blindly accepted. This liberation led to me learning to love and accept myself for who I truly am and embrace communion with God and all of their magnificence. It pains me that I may have to walk away from a relationship with my parents but, in reality, if they insist on me pretending to be someone that I am not when I communicate with them….. what kind of relationship do we have at this point?

I suppose there is a kid inside me that still wants my parents to see me and love me for the man that I am. I want to be able to travel home and not be afraid of having my own flesh and blood misgender me in public, an action that could put my life in danger. My heart aches even as I write this because I know that my story is not unique. Anti-LGBTQ bias that is taught in sacred spaces around the world has done this to more families than just mine. It has torn many families apart and cost many people their lives. It needs to stop.

It needs to end. The blood of those whose lives have ended as a result of Anti-LGBTQ religious bigotry cries out from the earth, urging us to put a stop to this violence for the sake of those who could meet a similar fate.

Let us heed their call lest the blood of another generation be on our hands.

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 15: I Love Bamboo

One of my challenges to myself has been to eat healthier. Working from home has made this a bit more challenging because of the temptation to snack while working. I’m a big guy and I love snacks….. Just being honest.

Yesterday I decided to make some tuna salad to have lunch for the next few days. The recipe was as follows:

3 4oz cans tuna in water (drained) , 6 hard boiled eggs chopped, 2 tsp. olive oil, 3 tablespoons mayo, 2 tablespoons pickled yellow peppers, dash of pink Himalayan salt, a dash of black pepper, 1 10.5 oz can of bamboo shoot strips.

I absolutely love how it turned out because the bamboo added a nice crunch while taking on the flavor of the rest of the dish. I’ll be able to eat off of this at least until lunch tomorrow which is exciting. There are not a lot of calories in this so I’m not worried about gaining weight and the bamboo made my food a lot more filling so I’m not hungry after a meal.

This new relationship with bamboo is off to a good start. I’ll let y’all know what’s next.

I love you.

~Bash

Day 13: Healing

Healing can be painful. This weekend I’ve taken time to revisit old wounds with the intent of healing them.

There are things I wish I could undo. There are events I wish never happened. There are things that were beat into me that I now have to unlearn.

One day at a time family. One day at a time.

I love you.

~Bash

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

Day 7: Investing In Myself

Back in 2016, I became a certified life coach under my dead-name. That certification has since expired so I’ve decided to spend the money necessary to get re-certified. Like getting baptized after coming out, this is a necessary step for me to move forward in my life. I finalized my enrollment in an accredited course this morning before clocking in at my day job. I feel excited.

It’s like going back to school, only this time I’m going as my full self. That’s important.

I’ve also started a travel agency. This is HUGE because my wife and I both love to travel and this will allow us to increase our bottom line. If I do this correctly, I’ll have the freedom to work from wherever I am. This will be hard work but it will also be work that I can be proud of.

It feels good to be on my way toward a career instead of just rotting away at a job. Thank you for letting me share my journey with you.

I love you.

~Bash

Day 6: Setting The Atmosphere

Yesterday I took some “me time”. I called my parents. They’re not affirming so I was dead-named and misgendered. My therapist thinks I should severe ties with them. I’m still battling that. It’s likely because of learned behavior. I’m a recovering codependent and I wonder how this will change as I work the steps.

Today, I’m purging some of my belongings and reorganizing. This journey toward minimalism is a bit tougher than I expected but it’s beautiful nonetheless. Having more open space just helps. I’m able to think more clearly and it’s easier to find everything.

I’m a few minutes, I’m going to get up, shower, and get dressed for a day of cleaning and purging. Hopefully a lot of calories will be burned. Hopefully I’ll learn a few more things about myself.

Wish me luck.

I love you.

~Bash