What do the words "only human" mean to you?
The words “only human” to me mean that we are all equals, functioning on the same playing field. That we are all treated the same, with equal rights and responsibilities, but that because we are “only human”, we make mistakes, and more importantly, we learn from these mistakes. In my opinion “only human” is the only label anyone ever needs. I know personally that labels can be a struggle, you want to feel like you belong, yet you struggle to find one that fits all of you…. well everyone is human, so go with that!
What are you passionate about?
I am most passionate about creating global environmental change! I am a volunteer with World YMCA working as a Solutions Team Lead– running a group of other youth towards a common goal of creating a long-lasting global impact on the current climate crisis. Knowing we can start small, we have put into action an environmental plan in which we aim to educate youth regarding sustainable gardening by creating community gardens which youth will be responsible for maintaining, as well as donating half of our products to the local food bank, and the other half to children’s YMCA cooking classes.
What makes you the happiest?
I am happiest with a cozy bed, a rainy day, a cup of hot cocoa, and a thought-provoking movie or TV series (Queens Gambit anyone?). I also love working on brain teasers and complex problems. I find joy in using my superpowers of spotting patterns others may never see and who doesn’t enjoy days with their dog where you can be in each other’s company and just exist? She is my best friend.
In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?
In the last five years, a new belief/ habit/behavior that has most improved my life is that I am who I am. “Come as you are”. For me, it took a long time. I was first convinced I was bisexual because I didn’t want to let down my family and crush their idea of what life for their daughter would be like, then I was a lesbian, but that still wasn’t right. Dating women was right but I still didn’t belong and that is when I realized I am transgender, a trans man that needed to break out of the feminine mold and live as my true self. I am convinced transitioning saved my life, and though days are unbearable they are worth it. For the days I see myself for who I am and for the progress I have made physically, have helped me make great gains mentally. So, my new belief is that I am where I am exactly supposed to be in life and that things happen for a reason. My new behavior is to love myself a little more each day for the man I am so that I can continue to become the man I want to be. And my newest habit is practicing what I preach and actually trying to love myself, for I was lost for so long.
How do you keep yourself positively inspired during overwhelming times?
I find the best ways to stay positively inspired during overwhelming times is to start with friends and family, reach out to people you trust, and who bring out the best in you. Surround yourself with goodness and let it bleed into your hard times. Let it hold you and pick you back up. Go through your socials and pick out people/ influencers/ friends that really resonate with you and look more in-depth at their work. You may feel inspired in other ways.
If you could spend a day in someone else’s shoes, whose would they be? Why?
If I could spend a day in someone else’s shoes it would be a biological man. I chose this because though I am a man from the brain to my skin, I do not have all physical aspects and just for one day I would love to experience life without any dysphoria, no more binding my chest or wearing a packer. Just a guy, with a flat chest throwing on a shirt and heading out for the day, not thinking about what types of clothing I NEED TO WEAR to hide my curves or breasts.
What book (or books) have greatly influenced your life?
There is one book that stands out for me which was gifted to me by my older brother Mo. For my 22nd birthday, my brother gave me the book “The Alchemist” written by Paulo Coelho, which fun fact is the most translated book in the world! The constant theme throughout the novel is to pursue your dreams by following your heart, specifically this story was about a boy finding himself; and though I am a man, I find myself slipping back into boyhood not knowing where I belong and looking for myself. Throughout the novel, the protagonist faces obstacle after obstacle, and with every hurdle conquered, a lesson is learned which can be applied to one’s daily life.
What’s your favorite quote?
“Your lives matter, Your voices matter, Your stories matter.” – Lavern Cox
This was the first introduction to transgender individuals I ever experienced. She is beautiful, with grace and poise and she gave me the strength and confidence that I could do this!
What is your most-used emoji?
My most used emoji is the guy on iOS who is shrugging with his hands up! I use it instead of a question mark.
What would be your advice to a human who just graduated from high school and was about to enter the "real world"?
Never settle. Know your worth and go with it. You are priceless, smart, and strong. You will meet people that do not belong in your life and you will learn that the hard way, but eventually the water will clear and you will find your people, you will find your strengths and weaknesses and you will find your label because everyone has one. Everyone has a story #onlyhuman.