A Sneak Peek Into My Transgender Life, by: DJ Scheibe

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Guest Blogger: DJ, Scheibe.

I was creating a life in a town that I regarded as my hometown––even though it was a 45- minute drive from where I slept. I even knew where to park for free. That morning when I woke, I hoped to have more events to attend where I could wear a formal dress. Lucky for me, that wish was granted. I had a dance at the Community College where I currently work. This event was hosted by their LGBT alliance. I always got a warm feeling when I attended in the past, and also, everyone there could be themselves. This time around, I wanted my hair to have a formal look to match my dress.

Without wasting more time––I drove off to a salon. This was the first time going to this privately own salon recommended by my local friends, they said this was a friendly welcoming place. As soon as I arrived, the owner began styling my hair, I felt a bit nervous, but the salon’s staff was very welcoming. My last haircut was done four-years-ago. Therefore, I was worried my hair would have to be cut shorter due to damage. Luckily, she said my hair wasn’t as bad as I feared, and this time, I only needed a trim. She asked if I had any style in mind, I said, I wanted something different. Glancing over the wall size mirror in front of me––we decided on a look. Minutes later, my hair had curls and volume perfectly held up by hairspray and pins. I then put on my dress and the rest of my outfit in the back room. The dress was black with pink flower patterns. I left the salon with a boost of confidence loving my hair and dress; it made me feel beautiful.

I arrived at the dance party earlier to help with decorations and see if they needed a hand to set up. As I entered the dance hall; my friends saw me in my new dress and hairstyle–––they started clapping. I was overwhelmed and flattered. I thanked them for their kindness and love. That night, I too, could be myself. I was surrounded by a wonderful, loving, and welcoming group of people. I didn’t have to worry about my safety or being judged. That night was beautiful––filled with friends, music, and food.

The dance was fun. I loved being able to dance with my friends in my 5-inch heels. Not to brag, well maybe, a little––I looked stunning.

The only thorn that night for me was being single, especially, during slow songs; however that night was different. My other single friends found out that an astronomy night, open for the public, was also happening that night.  About six of us went. As we waited for our turn we found others from the dance party waiting too. I did not have any bad vibes from the astronomers running the event or from the general public also in line. We finally got our turn to use the telescope, and we looked at the moon’s cratered surface and a twin-star system. That was a fabulous way to end the night.

This amazing fairy-tale was interrupted by a cruel reality. I needed to take off my dress and wash my hair. I removed the hairpins, and then, I had my old look back. I wished more of my hairstyle could have made it through the shampoo. The following Monday I went back to work; dressing simply, dressing in my birth gender.

I am glad I was able to make such happy memories.

Learn more about the Transgender terms.

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About DJ Scheibe:

DJ Scheibe: works as a professional math and physics tutor. They live in the NY, NJ borderlands. They officially volunteer their free time at different LGBT events; from participating in education outreach programs to just lending a hand.

Copyright © 2016 Embracing Your Differences, All rights reserved. 

It’s Really Not An Everyday Conversation Starter… by: Laurel King

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Guest Blogger: Laurel King

It’s really not an everyday conversation starter. I can still even count the times it’s been mentioned and where. First, in a hallway at work. Next, at a summer pool party. Lastly, on the last day of Abnormal Psychology class. These three conversations wound up being about my Fanconi’s Anemia (F.A.).

I possess a genetic disease in which both parents need to have the recessive gene for in order for this disease to exist. Out of four siblings, I won the Punnett Square roulette when I was born. Since it affects everything in the bone marrow (white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets, etc.), I had sleep marathons due to exhaustion, neighbors who were concerned with child abuse because of how I bruised easily and healed slowly, and I had chicken pox twice (which isn’t supposed to happen if you have a functioning immune system). I was not a normal, energetic, healthy kid in any sense.

I got lucky again, though. By ten years old, my parents and hometown raised enough money and found out that a man from Texas was a perfect match for me for a bone marrow transplant (that in and of itself is it’s own story). Having my own hospital room in Minneapolis, Minnesota made my childish world so isolated. I had no one to talk to about chemotherapy, radiation, the tube that led to the needle attached to an artery in my chest, the vomiting, the chronic nerve pain in my legs from being in bed for six months, the hair loss, and other “kid stuff.” Instead, I watched the sun rise every morning. I wanted to enjoy the moment, even if it stemmed from the development of insomnia. I may no longer wake up at dawn, but I still wake up, and that’s special.

There’s one symptom I never thought about with a life-threatening disease. One day, my younger sister decided to write a research paper on F.A. She wanted me to proofread it because her heart is big and her writing is atrocious. The first symptom she wrote was: failure to live. That brought me back to the mailing list my parents subscribed to, the one that listed the people who died from F.A. I knew the faces to some of those names (may they all always rest in peace).

I never thought of myself as a survivor until then. Just a small, feisty tomboy who is quiet, (sometimes) observant, dark-haired, dark-eyed, and was born close to the edge of something I cannot control. At the same time, I truly want to get over trauma, social and personal anxiety, and continue to live life.

Now, I am working harder to be a healthy, helpful, and hopeful person. I am still around, alive, and holding on to myself and others, regardless of any other “family dynamics.” For that, I want to be grateful.

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About: Laurel King

Laurel King: Licensed massage therapist by day and professional humanities tutor by night, living in New Jersey’s Bergen County, and who is also planning on a bachelors in education and masters degree in occupational therapy.

Copyright © 2016 Embracing Your Differences, All rights reserved.

Resolutions for Better Communication, By: Gary C. Woodward

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Guest Blogger: Gary C. Woodward

It’s time for the annual ritual of making promises to ourselves about what we will change in the coming year.  In that spirit, consider six resolutions that would make us better partners in a wide range of communication settings. 

  • Resolve to be a better listener.

Becoming an engaged listener is like losing weight: it’s harder than it sounds.  It requires momentarily giving ourselves over to what another is saying.  That must include minimizing other distractions, turning off the far too loquacious chatterbox camped out in our brains, and accepting the challenge of bringing our full attention to another. We can’t do this with everyone all the time.  Listening for nuance is work.  Start with the people that matter most.

  • Protect your soul by deciding to be a more thoughtful gatekeeper.

We allow a lot of worthless messages into our lives:  junk journalism, junk advertising, aimless web-browsing, mean-spirited trolls and the self-obsessed. As tech writer Farhad Manjoo recently noted in the New York Times, the Internet is “loud, shrill, reflexive and ugly.”  It “now seems to be on constant boil.”   So it takes far more personal discipline to keep this stuff at bay and to hold on to our social equilibrium.

  • Work to put a reasonable limit on the time your children spend with all kinds of screens.

Virtual reality is a desert compared to the natural world.  Rediscover local parks or just the simple pleasures of a walk around the block.  Remember that even young children are naturally weatherized.  Most love to be out and active in the cold.

  • Resolve to save important feelings and information for face to face discussion.

Proximity with others usually brings out the best in us.  Media that act as surrogates for ourselves (even “social” media) offer only selected approximations of the real deal.

  • Listen to more music.

Because it’s almost exclusively the language of feeling, music unites us in ways that ordinary rhetoric can’t.

  • With the possible exception of those strange relatives up in Duluth, resist dividing the world into “us” and “them.”

Human complexities always trump simple binaries.  We just need the intellectual honesty to acknowledge that simple fact.

      Happy Holidays.

Comments: Woodward@tcnj.edu

About: Gary C. Woodward

A Coloradan by birth and a resident of Stockton, New Jersey, Woodward is a Professor, rhetorician, and former Chairperson of the Department of Communication Studies at The College of New Jersey.

He has degrees in communication and rhetorical theory from California State University at Sacramento and the University of Pittsburgh (Ph.D. 1972). A native of Colorado, he has taught in England as well as in the United States, and has undertaken research supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and The College of New Jersey at the LBJ Library, the JFK Library, Britain’s House of Commons, CBS News and C-SPAN. His comments on political topics have appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, the Dallas Morning News, CNN.com, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and other news outlets.

Read more: http://theperfectresponse.pages.tcnj.edu/gary-woodward/

Copyright © 2015 Embracing Your Differences, All rights reserved.