It’s never too late…


So, I’m not sure which quote is the proper one and since I love both versions I thought I’d share them together. 

The idea of it never being too late to become who or what you were destined to be is the best way to sum up my journey as a person in this adventure called life. 

I should have grown up to be an addict or a convict like my kin but I am not. I was assumed female at birth but I am not.

I have been really bad about keeping up with this blog due to the craziness and busyness of life so I’m going to share what’s been happening for me since my last post. 

I SURVIVED THE BOOBY BASHER!

St. Marks was trans* AND chocolate friendly
I thought Operation Squish was going to hurt like a MFer but it turns out it really doesn’t hurt much at all. Yes, it is still awkward and it can be uncomfortable for sure. I mean, the tech just grabs one of theGirls and throws her into the Squisher without really even talking much or giving you a heads up. That was a bit new for me. The Side Squish is extra awkward with your body in some unique poses and a quick command to hold your breath for a few seconds. All in all, it was not scary or painful. At the end, I even landed some chocolate love. 

I think most of my anxiety and fear was related to my gender dysphoria and the fear of the unknown. I always get extra nervous the first time I see any new doctor and especially when you know they will get all up in your biz. 

I was worried the staff here would start calling me by my birth name but they knew to ask my preferred name. It probably helped us all get on the right page that I went donning some trans* gear. 

I highly recommend getting your girls squished at St. Mark’s Hospital in SLC if you have to and if you’re trans*. They are extremely professional and trans* aware. Somebody somewhere (and I think her name starts with Dr. L;)) trained them right. THANK YOU, Dr. Luikenaar! I wonder if I could get a tee that says,”I got my Girls squished at St. Mark’s.” I’m sure that would be taken the wrong way, though.

APRIL 5, 2016: THE Day

This is when my whole life changed. I had a special date with Dr. Cori Agarwal that morning. Seriously, it was the best first date ever. Shhhhhh, don’t tell my spouse. πŸ˜‰

First Day Post Op:

Bosom Buddies:

FIRST WEEK:

NO showering for one week was gross but then  someone  finally discovered dry shampoo!

During this time I was on some hydro for pain and that stuff wreaks havoc on your body. I learned to love prune juice. Well, as much as anyone under 85 could truly love it.

Since I couldn’t really do much myself this week, I had an adult-toddler tantrum mid week and demanded some sort of independence. Shira made me this Self-drinking Hydration System.

FIRST POST OP APPT:

Meet Franken Chest! 

NO more drains! πŸ™‚


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Real men have bellies. πŸ˜‰

In all honesty, though, I didn’t realize just how prominent my belly was until after the 4-pounds-worth of Girls were removed. I’m going to own my belly because I love me some pizza and beer. Hey, I’m working on that. 

SECOND POST OP APPT:

NO medical binder anymore! πŸ™‚

It’s never too late…

You can be the one!

(image source: CDC.gov)

After learning about the ACEs Study of the late ’90’s, filmmakers Jamie Redford and Karen Pritzker decided to help share this incredible research in the form of a two-part documentary project. Right now their two films are helping ignite a firestorm of conversations on how we, as a country, need to overhaul our school, healthcare, and legal systems. Their films are highlighting the ACEs research and cadre of experts to promote trauma-informed care and remind us all that we can be the one to make a difference.

Part 1: Paper Tigers film

“Paper Tigers captures the pain, the danger, the beauty, and the hopes of struggling teensβ€”and the teachers armed with new science and fresh approaches that are changing their lives for the better.”

(image and quote source: http://www.papertigersmovie.com)

Click for Paper Tigers Film Trailer 

Our Heartfelt Connection:

Dearest Friends, 

As you may know, Shira and Aitch adopted Aitch’s niece, Shakia, from foster care in Walla Walla, WA at age 15. 

Paper Tigers is a documentary about how we can effectively help teens in this country deal with childhood trauma and heal; it showcases a school in Walla Walla that Aitch attended as a small child. It’s also the same school that Shakia’s brother, Robby, graduated from last year. This was an enormous feat in our family. 

Cycles of violence and trauma are very hard to break. They have ripped through Aitch’s family for decades and likely done the same for families just like Aitch’s. Families you will soon meet in this documentary.  

Thank you so much for supporting us and this important film!

This documentary can only be seen at special screenings. So we need your help to get the word out and fill the theater! Thank you, again, for making this happen. Your support means the world to us (and we know you will LOVE the movie too).
–Team Paper Tigers (Aitch, Shira, and Joel)

Paper Tigers in SLC on Jan. 7th, 2016!

Thanks to our family, friends, community, and fellow Utahns, this grassroots initiative was a success! We sold 115 tickets for this special screening, and were able to share a film we all were really passionate about. (And you can too with Tugg.) πŸ™‚ 

#traumainformed (students and parents)

    
#betheone (who helps end ACEs)  

#traumainformed (communities)

  

#SLC (wants to learn more)  
  

#betheone (who helps heal ACEs)  

  #papertiger (is a film you NEED to see)

  

 

Part 2: Resilence film 

Lucky for us it debuted at Sundance in Jan 2016 and we were able to go! πŸ™‚

 

 
  
Toxic stress and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) resources:

You can be the one!

No More Meanies: the beginning


 

In 2008, this amazing kid, Aiden Rivera Schaeff, was my best man at my first wedding.  


In April 2010, we lost our beloved Aiden to suicide. He was 17 and transgender.  

 (Below photo from allthingsaiden Tumblr)


That first year after his death, I created bracelets for his family’s initiative, L’il Dude, Big Heart, to raise money for his endowment fund at American University. I failed miserably as a fundraiser. Instead, I ended up just giving them away.  It brightened my melancholy heart. 
ο»Ώ

His family also created a place for loved ones to visit and remember Aiden. Please take a moment to get to know him a little better by stopping by his memorial page using the link at the top of this post or by going to the address below:

http://aidenriveraschaeff.com

 (Photo of original No More Meanies logo in 2011 and revised logo in 2013)


 

In 2011, the second year without Aiden, I started the anti-bullying “kindness campaign” called No More Meanies.

In the beginning it was a just a simple heart sticker with a kindness slogan.

But I wanted to always have a trans* friendly message too. I wanted it to honor Aiden and his brave journey.

This same year,  I also set up a Twitter and Facebook account to help spread the good word.

(Below from Wikipedia)     In 2013, I created a new logo with trans* flair that incorporated the kindness message and the trans* flag as a tribute to Aiden and other trans* kids like him.

 

I later turned a memorable photo of Aiden into a message of kindness and love.

 (Photo of ARS, courtesy of Aiden Rivera Schaeff Estate)

(No More Meanies logo below)


 

Also in 2013, my partner and I helped my niece and her high school teacher plan the first gay pride event at a school in D.C. (The same school, Wilson High School, where an amazing and brave principal would come out at the following year. Pete Cahall is my personal hero!).

 


 

We also donated No More Meanies bracelets to the Wilson HS Gay Straight Alliance club.

 


 

In 2014, I decided to raise money to take No More Meanies to Capital Pride in D.C. It was amazing!

 


 

We shared Aiden’s story and  handed out free anti-bullying stickers and bracelets to students and teachers. 

 

I couldn’t have done it without the support of my friends and family. ❀️


 

In 2015, I finally came out as trans*. The spirit of Aiden helped me find the courage to create a more authentic me. 

I am now rallying everyone to join this kindness campaign to help spread kindness and love to all people. I also hope LGBTQ youth embrace this message and Aiden’s story.

Please spread the good word and join us on Facebook and Twitter. 

Post photos of you with kindness messages and tag us. 

Email me at aitchawesome@icloud.com if you want to get involved or if you would like to bring No More Meanies to your school or community.


Don’t forget to check out our Trans* Kindness Gear! If you decide to make a purchase, wait for a Zazzle sale. Items are often significantly discounted. πŸ™‚ 

Post photos of you with your stickers or Trans* Kindness Gear and tag us.

http://www.zazzle.com/allthingsaiden

Most importantly:

Be kind. Be brave. Be you.

No More Meanies: the beginning

Timeline of Future Aitch: The Younger Years

I think they had it right putting me in blue. Way back when in the ’80s colors designated gender. Good thing we don’t do that sorta thing today.

I have always loved ties. This was my first.

I always hated having long hair. It was a silent but joyful moment the day my mom waved her white flag and surrendered at the Battle of Hair (circa 1984-1987). She cut it all off. πŸ™‚

Hey, look! It’s my teddy tee again! I loved that tee. Oh, and I’m the slob to the left. πŸ˜‰

Can we get an amen?!

The obligatory mullet photo from the 1980s. This year or the one before, I went by the name Heath for a few weeks and prayed to God that he must have made a mistake. A few weeks later, I begged for forgiveness after I heard a fiery sermon that God doesn’t make mistakes.

I consider this my prison photo. Look how vacant our eyes are. This is the year our mom was on the run from the police and we were living with our aunt (she saved my life!). We also met our amazing older sister, Nicki (she gave me a future!).

Obligatory Nintendo photo (circa 1988-89).

I used to have a reoccurring nightmare that I had this hideous glow-in-the-dark Barbie with a frilly pink dress covered in stars.

When I was 18, my aunt gave me the news clipping above. Two things: 1) I look like I’m thinking, “WTF!” 2) I’ve NEVER used the word dolly to describe a toy. EVER.

This is me in drag. Middle school was an awful time. Everyone wanted to dress me up like their own personal doll (or dolly?). I was awkward and hating the changes in my body. I remember crying outwardly and inwardly about that hideous dress, that awful hair, and that caked-on makeup.

Fitting in in high school. Oh, and this is my BFF and her sister. I heart them both big time!

No longer fitting in. πŸ™‚ My senior year of high school I decided to shave all my hair off one evening Γ  la Demi Moore. I asked my BFF earlier in the day if she would still talk to me if I did that. That night, I left a cryptic message on her family’s answering machine simply saying, “I did what we talked about.” Click. We’ve been BFFs for almost 20 years now.

Me at 18 when my BFF was preoccupied in the other room with her boyfriend (and now husband). Lesson: never leave an Aitch alone with a marker!

My sailor ‘stache at 19. Don’t be jealous!

Pure happiness just being me. I miss those eyebrows.

How did I get off track later in my 20s? Why did I start to care what others thought? 😦

Timeline of Future Aitch: The Younger Years