Dancing in the rain (#347)

Another community post from my best friend, Riley! Check it out!

My name is Riley McGrath. I’m a 21-year-old FTM transgender guy from East Bridgewater Massachusetts. I’m creative, wise, a little bit crazy, really hard-working, honest, and pretty shy until you get to know me (then I won’t shut up) but most importantly, someone who’s who still here and trying.

Here is a personal story about learning to dance in the rain

We wish for a lot of things as human beings. Sometimes we wish for obtainable things. Like a new car, or a family of our own in the future. But when we wish for unobtainable things like a better mom or for things from our past to change, that’s when we become miserable. We focus on the things we don’t have or wish we have too much. Why can’t we focus on the things we are lucky to have, or the amazing people in our lives?

That’s where I get lost sometimes. I get so miserable thinking about the mom I don’t have to realize that I have my own amazing family. I have two amazing places that I have the privilege of calling home. Yet I’m focused on the pain of not really having a mom or any sort of mother figure in my life.

I remember one day when I was in high school. I was a few months into my journey of ending my addiction to self-harm. That day, no one was home and I danced in the rain. Dancing in the rain is always in movies, people talk about it all the time. If you think of dancing in the rain metaphorically, it could be interpreted as taking something bad and learning to accept it as it is and enjoy it. Learning to dance in the rain is one of the many things that worked on my journey to end a terrible, unhealthy habit.

Dancing in the rain that day, though I felt slightly crazy, changed my life. For once, my heart wasn’t so heavy and there wasn’t a pain in my chest. I felt happy and free. Doing things like dancing in the rain, singing in the car, drawing trees, and listening to music are the things that fuel my creativity, inspire me, and keep me going, especially through hard times. Throughout my first year of recovery, finding things like dancing in the rain was what kept me from going back to old habits. I was able to start college with that past mostly behind me. It was an amazing thing for me.

My advice is this:

Dance in the rain, but also let it rain without dancing sometimes.

Every bad thing is a good thing. But every good thing is a bad thing too. Despite that, every good thing, every bad thing teaches you something new about yourself. That’s a beautiful thing.Today I’m Grateful For…
1. Heated blankets
2. The ability to create my own space for the first time in my life
3. Pine scented candles
4. Every challenge and obstacle I’ve ever had to face.
5. My cat, Ginger
6. No bullshit in 2019
7. Being back at BSU
8. Everyone that thought I couldn’t get this far
9. The complexities of human beings
10. Both my jobs, my bosses and my coworker
11. Nearly being 3 years free from self-harm
12. SUITS!!!
13. Anyone that works in the service industry, our janitors, food workers, nurses, EMT’s or is rarely thanked for the work they do
14. Wisdom
15. Making Dean’s list despite how hard last semester was
16. My sister
17. Stories of the past
18. Ben Rector and Vance Joys music
19. My mentors, who always give me a voice
20. All the places I’ve been, all the people I have met
21. My car
22. My amazing, amazing friends that are always there for me
23. Sunsets and sunrises
24. My family. For being both the good and bad in my life
25. The amazing, yet crazy journey towards manhood

As always, check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

If you’re interested in Guest Blogging for the Gratitude Journal, click (here)!

A picture taken by Riley

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Chosen Family (#313)

This post comes from my friend and a returning guest blogger, Riley McGrath.

My name is Riley McGrath, I am a 20 year old FTM transgender guy from Scituate Massachusetts, though home to me is really Bridgewater State University. I am studying psychology and am taking on a double minor in LGBT studies and women and gender studies. I hope to become a gender therapist where I will be helping trans folks like myself every day of my life.

Something that I’ve carried with me throughout my coming out and transitioning process is this idea of a chosen family. I grew in a big Irish Catholic family. These values have been ingrained in me, my whole life. Now that I’ve started my transition and have come out, the importance of family has changed for me.

To me, family is the people that accept and support you without any conditions. I don’t see my biological family being in my life forever unless they accept who I am and start to call me Riley. My true family is the people have been with me since I have come out and support me without exceptions. One of the beautiful things about being LGBT is being able to choose your family. Sometimes it’s after your biological family kicks you out. But you find the most amazing people to “replace” what you’ve lost. My chosen family is something I am grateful for every day of my life.

One of my favorite quotes about family is from the TV show, The Fosters. It is something I carry with me through the ups and downs of being queer and a trans male. “DNA doesn’t make a family. Love does” I really love that quote and it always reminds me of my chosen family.

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. My chosen family, even if some people aren’t in my life much anymore
  2. Drywall and painting
  3. My sister, who is one of my favorite people on the planet
  4. The trans community on social media (Laverne Cox, Aydian Dowling, Chella man, Chase Ross and too many more to mention)
  5. Question 3 in Massachusetts
  6. Bridgewater State University (as always)
  7. My friends Catherine and Sean, for letting me stay when I have to work early/ late… And their dogs too
  8. The crazy journey of manhood
  9. My car
  10. Both my jobs, my bosses, and my coworkers
  11. Music (for keeping me sane through the ups and downs of life)
  12. Being able to learn how to cook on my own
  13. Stories
  14. Church (for showing me that LGBT folks can be religious)
  15. My best friend and brother (for our hour-long conversations where I always end up crying)
  16. Rain
  17. Anyone that has ever doubted me
  18. Everything I’ve gone through and struggled with
  19. The crazy journey of manhood
  20. Having the right and privilege of voting
  21. Sunrises and sunsets
  22. My research group
  23. My dad (for giving everything up for me)
  24. How much I’ve grown since September
  25. The month of November (November 20th specifically)

As always, check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

If you’re interested in Guest Blogging for the Gratitude Journal, click (here)!