I make no apologies! I have already talked about the fact that I seem to time travel a bit. My brain will wander to other lands and times -- some people call it daydreaming, but whatever it is, it is wonderful!
When I go walking at the town track each morning I plug into my music library and before I know it I am taking another trip. The other morning as I scrolled though my choices and made my album selection, I had a different kind of experience. Have you ever realized that in a song that you have known for years, you may never have really listened, I mean deeply listen, to the words and the meaning in it. The other morning I was listening to Donovan....
Everybody who read the Jungle Book
Knows that Riki Tiki Tavi's a mongoose who kills snakes
When I was a young man I was led to believe
There were organizations to kill my snakes for me
IE, the church, IE, the government, IE, the school
But when I got a little older I learned how to kill them myself
-Donovan, RIki Tiki Tavi
Oh my, I thought. It sure has taken me a long time to realize I am the only one who can kill my snakes. Then he went on...
People walking around, they don't know what they're doing
They been lost so long, they don't know what they're looking for
Well, I know what I'm looking for but I just can't find it
I guess I gotta look inside of myself some more
-Donovan, RIki Tiki Tavi
It also has taken me decades to look inside myself and accept I am transgender. When I truly started to look inside myself I also found something else that was hidden and covered in a very hard shell for so long. This was my heart. I have found over the past six years or so, as I have worked on my own self acceptance I have been able to chip away at that shell that was covering my heart for so many decades. This has been and still is hard work! As Donovan sung, I was lost for so long, and was looking in all the wrong places for what I was looking for...and only I could kill my snakes.
In 2011 when I transitioned I really did not know who Grace was, and how she/I would present in the world on a daily basis. I knew I needed help and was lucky enough to find an image consultant to help me discover so much more about me. She helped me with my makeup and my colors, and a new affirmation and took me on a shopping spree where she taught me one of the most important lessons I have learned in my life. As she brought outfit after outfit for me to try on, if I had even the smallest frown of questioning she demanded I take it off immediately and move on. She said, "Each thing you wear MUST make your heart sing!" For 2 hours I was trying on clothes and listening for the music inside of me. When I heard no music that outfit was rejected. There were different songs that I could hear with different ones too.
I learned so much from that experience, and it was not limited to just picking out clothes.
There is an old saying, home is where the heart is. When my heart was covered in a hard shell I never really felt at home in my own body. The music I heard outside of me never really resonated inside of me, and the music inside of me was so muffled and faint it could not get out. As I chipped away the hard shell, and looked inside, accepted myself and found my heart, I could start to hear the songs in my heart, and I learned that the songs are there for much more than just picking out clothes. They are available if we live from out heart. I now have this plaque on my wall.
It took me a long time to learn to operate from this place. Sometimes there is a lot I learn from time traveling.
I love it when I hear the songs that are coming from inside me now. It does not matter if they are old songs or new ones. I love them all the same. I know that each day can be a new adventure. When I go shopping for new clothes or chose a new adventure I am learning not only to look inside but also to listen inside for the music that is there. When I hear a song I know I am home, as I have learned that:
Home is where the heart sings!
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. Grace is available for speaking about authentic living with Living on-TRACK, and Gender Variance Education and Training. Visit her website at: http://www.graceannestevens.com/. Follow Grace on Twitter: www.twitter.com/graceonboard .