My Transgender Life - Commencement Dreams

When I was young, perhaps it was the method I used to escape from each present moment in which I knew I just did not fully fit in to. However, even today, when I have been on such an incredible journey where so many of my dreams have come true, I am still a dreamer.
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I have always been a dreamer.

When I was young, perhaps it was the method I used to escape from each present moment in which I knew I just did not fully fit in to.

However, even today, when I have been on such an incredible journey where so many of my dreams have come true, I am still a dreamer.

The other day I had a dream, which I suspect was inspired by watching all the news reports about graduations and the various graduation speakers. After all, it is the middle of May and each day provides a new report of some politician or celebrity sharing their wisdom of life with freshly minted graduates. This dream had me draped in the obligatory robes, and walking up on stage and giving a commencement speech. Some people say that dreams are the way we practice for some future event, and to be honest, this has been an item on my own bucket list. But, that is just one of my "conscious" dreams.

I know that although dreams seem to take a long, long time, the actual dreaming event occurs in a relatively short time. Our REM sleep, in addition to actually paralyzing our body provides us a sense of time and space that takes us to many places. The speech I gave was short, and inspired by what I believe was the experience and learning of my life. After all, isn't that what the wisdom of these speeches are all about? It really was about the future of every moment and I paraphrased the title from something that Bill Belichick said after the Patriots game 4 this past year when things looked darkest for the team, and he refused to talk about the past. Here is my Bill Belichick speech ---

"On to Tomorrow"

I once had a boss who I thought was pretty arrogant. It ticked me off when he said, "I thought I made a mistake once, but I was wrong!" I was having my own internal battle of wanting to be right all the time, but there were so many examples in my life when the facts did not support this. Oh, so many examples. When I made a mistake, I found it hard to learn from it and move on. I often dwelled in it for what seemed to be immeasurable moments and could not concentrate on anything else. There was a critical part of me that would not stop berating me and used so many epithets I really don't ever want to hear again - either from inside of me or out! . It was hard to smile or converse with any other people, as the self-inflicted punishment seemed endless. In fact, it was! Even when the voices quieted down, I knew the critic was still there, stored deep down and was eager to appear at the next mistake I made and start all over again.

It took me decades to understand why I always wanted to be "right!" I knew, that deep inside of me I was "different" from everyone else, and that if anyone found out how different I was, they would want nothing to do with me. I had many parts that feared that potential loss more than anything. The strongest of these voices thought that if I was always right, people would look up to me, listen to me and I would be involved and part of their lives. I would never have to reveal the real me, and everything would be fine. It had no idea that this never quite worked the way it planned.
There came the day that I spoke up to those internal voices that were beating me up, and just told them that nothing seemed to be working. I was stuck in not being me, and that all the hiding and protecting still did not bring me close to anyone and all my dreams that were piling up in the corner of my mind started to stink from an internal rot! I was tired of hiding and protecting and being berated.

I wanted tomorrow to be different. I no longer wanted to live in the past. I no longer needed to be right all the time. I would be OK with making a mistake and be willing to learn from it and move on to just be who I really am. I would be OK in being different than others because after all, this is the real me - the only me I have.

I learned from my mistakes. I really did. I learned to not dwell in the past, or beat myself up. I learned to learn from every experience I have, and look forward to the next adventure. Most of all, I have learned to move "on to tomorrow!"


Truth be told, this is the speech that I tell my own internal audience to commence every day. It has taken most of my sixty something years to reach the point where my parts and voices are willing to listen and are confortable with the message, and trust that we can all together handle the adventures that appear for us each day. We have learned to trust each other on this adventure and look forward to the amazement of each tomorrow.

Every morning I still wake up with the remnants of a fresh dream floating from my mind. Some days it is a battle to hold on to them before they dissolve right in front of me. Some days, they stick like glue and I cannot let them go.

Yes, I have always been a dreamer.

I hope this never stops.


Grace Stevens is a transgender woman who transitioned at the age of 64 and holds a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology. She is a father of three, grandparent of two, athlete, advocate and author of No! Maybe? Yes! Living My Truth, an intimate memoir of her personal struggle to transition and live her true life authentically as a woman. For more information about Grace, her work and how Gender Variance Education and Training can help you, visit her website at: Follow Grace on Twitter: .

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