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…
My chosen family, even if some people aren’t in my life much anymore
Drywall and painting
My sister, who is one of my favorite people on the planet
The trans community on social media (Laverne Cox, Aydian Dowling, Chella man, Chase Ross and too many more to mention)
Question 3 in Massachusetts
Bridgewater State University (as always)
My friends Catherine and Sean, for letting me stay when I have to work early/ late… And their dogs too
The crazy journey of manhood
Both my jobs, my bosses, and my coworkers
Music (for keeping me sane through the ups and downs of life)
Being able to learn how to cook on my own
Church (for showing me that LGBT folks can be religious)
My best friend and brother (for our hour-long conversations where I always end up crying)
Anyone that has ever doubted me
Everything I’ve gone through and struggled with
The crazy journey of manhood
Having the right and privilege of voting
Sunrises and sunsets
My research group
My dad (for giving everything up for me)
How much I’ve grown since September
The month of November (November 20th specifically)
With my fall semester coming to an end, I feel like I finally have time to breathe. I’m grateful to watch summer to fall, fall turn to winter. Each day brings something different. I remind myself change is GOOD with each breath I take.
I haven’t been perfect. I’ve certainly made mistakes but I work hard to recognize and learn from them. I’m looking forward to the new year. A year full of the unexpected.
I have to keep reminding myself of this as the fall semester comes to an end and I still have so much to take care of.
The work will get done, I keep saying.
Each breath acts as an anchor, knowing I have goals I am working towards. Planning only gets us so far – and similarly – so does writing lists. I want to live out loud when it comes to gratitude and positivity. I want to take those next steps and live each moment and use each action to demonstrate gratitude. This looks like patience. This looks like empathy and encouragement.
Ultimately reminding myself, I need to take life one day at a time. The best is yet to come. The work will get done but saying it isn’t enough. Taking action brings life to another level.
Happy Thanksgiving! The day designed for gratitude – it’s like gratitude’s national holiday.
Whether your day is steeped in tradition or you are doing something totally unrelated…we can find reasons to be grateful for today. Every year I try to recognize my own privilege when it comes to Thanksgiving. I’m grateful for food, family, and friends but that might not be true for everyone. I’m fortunate to return to a warm house, surrounded by people who love me. Be sure to support your local food bank or homeless shelter anyway you can.
Here is where we get to work together. I will be selecting 5 people at random who like this post and comment their blog link to win my giveaway prize.
Winners will receive:
– a $20 Amazon Gift Card
– a $20 donation to the charity of your choice
– and my gratitude 🙂
Share this post! Tell your friends, tell your pets. The contest runs until December 1st, so act fast! There is only so much we can do as individuals. What I’m truly grateful for is when we find ways to come together. Happy Thanksgiving, Internet.
This life isn’t meant to be a checklist of accomplishments. We only get so much time on this earth, please don’t spend it in anger or hatred. Let go of past transgressions. Let go of past mistakes. You’re in this moment only.
Spend your time with intent. Do meaningful work that makes you happy. Time to take care of yourself doesn’t hurt either.