I had no idea. No idea at all!
Honestly, I just published my book and was searching for a way to get the word out. There were rumors everywhere about Bruce Jenner possible coming out as transgender. (Well, we know what happened when this actually occurred, eh?)
I wrote an article titled "My Transgender Life: Transitioning at Age 64." Somehow, someway, it found it's way right here into Huffington Post. Apparently I became a storyteller. I had no plan, no idea, no next step and no next path.
The first blog was published on February 6, 2015, so this week is an anniversary of sorts for me. I still did not fully know what my voice was like or what I had to say. I received some great feedback. Some people found me and thanked me. I was humbled in so many ways.
I had hired a publicist to help me, and her advice was to join in the "conflict" and get my name out there. She kept saying that the media thirsts for conflict, and that is the only path. It did not feel right to me, and there was an inner battle going on. I wanted my name out there, I really did. However, my truth kept saying to choose the path of love over the path of fear. She kept telling me the media would never, ever pay attention to this. She probably was correct, and I think that I frustrated her by refusing to follow her advice. I was still trying to find my voice.
I wrote another blog a week later. I was flying so high after the first week, and struggled as I was brought back to earth as this second blog was so much less seen. By week three, the "brand" My Transgender Life was cemented into my writings -- and has been there since then.
I have no idea how I write and create these blogs, or from where they are channeled. Inspirations happen randomly out of my day-to-day life, my interaction with others -- from something I hear or see on the radio or TV or in a book or a magazine. Sometimes, the idea flies by me and I grab it by the collar. Sometimes it is a seed that is planted deeply within me and I awake with a fully formed sentence that I need to capture on my computer before it escapes from my consciousness.
I often sit in front of my computer with an idea and the words that flow from my fingers come from somewhere unknown, but as I watch, from somewhere clearly magical.
I have learned to love the ride, and thank my "guides" for all they have done and do for me. (Take this as you may, of course.)
I have a few parts that struggle with the word "activist." My sense is it is usually used to describe those who are leading a "fight" for rights for specific groups. Their focus is to right the wrongs, to teach the masses the truth in a visible and "active" manner. There are many of these voices out there "fighting" for transgender rights and equality, in many different ways. There are also the storytellers who teach in other ways. They all count.
We know and see their names right here quite often. We see and hear from Jenny, Janet, Laverne, Brynn and Dana as they lead with truth, experience and honestly as they teach what is possible. Each makes a difference to so many people. There are so many more voices out there, and each one is important and valuable.
I think of my own journey and mission to be a little different. Sure, I am trans. I am open and honest about it. I never planned on writing -- hell, I am an engineer by training (and 40 years of working) and never took an English class in college (partial differential calculus was so much more interesting back then... but, as we know, things and people do change.)
It struck me that when I transitioned to live my truth it had such a positive impact on my own adult children. It seemed to allow them to consider that they too could live and follow their own dreams, their own truths and it changed their lives too. I realized that my story and journey to authenticity was not just a transgender story, but also a universal story -- in fact, just another version of the hero's journey.
A young woman told me I was not talking about trans rights, but rather of human rights. That feels right to me. Be true! Be who you are! Accept others for being who they are. It is really just that simple.
It is an anniversary of sorts for my writings and me. One year ago, I had no idea, no idea at all. Now, one year later, with many words behind me, I have a clearer view of my voice and what I have to say and what I have to share.
I often end these little stories with a question for you.
No matter what it may be, are you ready to live your very own true life?
Only you can answer this.
Grace Stevens is a transgender woman who transitioned at the age of 64 and holds a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology. She is a father of three, grandparent of two, athlete, advocate and author of No! Maybe? Yes! Living My Truth, an intimate memoir of her personal struggle to transition and live her true life authentically as a woman. Grace is available for speaking about authentic living with Living on-TRACK, and Gender Variance Education and Training. Visit her website at: http://www.graceannestevens.com/. Follow Grace on Twitter: www.twitter.com/graceonboard .