My Transgender Daughter’s Real Name

Most of you know the story of our amazing daughter and how bravely she walks through the world being true to herself. You know how she uses her voice (and taught us about using ours) to make it safer for everyone to be their authentic selves. She has taught us about what is real and what actually matters.

She’s been telling us for about 9 months now that she wished she had a prettier name, and that grew into some anxiety this month with having a boy in her class named Lincoln.

This weekend she asked us to remind her about the other names we had chosen for her when she was in my belly. We had chosen Savannah as a girl name six years ago, but after that first ultrasound, we thought we wouldn’t need it. This is the kid that keeps us on our toes, though.

She spent the rest of this past weekend asking us to call her Savannah, making a tally sheet to give us gold checks for using the name and blue X’s for forgetting. She practiced writing her new name over and over and asked us to explain it to her teachers and friends. She told me when she went to bed that she couldn’t wait to see her “real name,” on her locker and mailbox at school.

There will probably be haters who think Savannah is too young to make choice about who she is. They’ll say she may change her mind (she might, but I don’t see that as a big deal. I think we all change our minds in learning who we are.) The truth is anyone who chooses to get hateful or indignant about honoring trans kids have clearly never done any real research on the staggeringly high self-harm and suicide rates in transgender children. If they had, they would understand that making sure our child is supported is not just kind and respectful, it’s a matter of life and death.

I hope you’ll all help us welcome our little girl with her new name of Savannah Madison. She will light up like a Christmas tree if you use her name. And as always, thanks for honoring our child by respecting who she is and how she likes to be referred to.

If It Costs More Than I Have

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We live in divisive and trying times. We all know it and we all feel it, no matter how much we try to “stay out of it” or avoid confrontation. The toxicity of these days has seeped into the air, the water, every pore of our skin and our relationships. We can’t escape it because it’s everywhere.

This can make it feel impossible to decide what battles to pick, which fights to take on and which to let go of. What incident needs defending and what situation needs cooling off. Who we can help and when we need to step back for our own self-preservation.

It’s a tightrope that very few of us were taught to walk on, even when the world was friendlier and less outright hateful.

We were not taught to calmly talk out difficult conversations with people we don’t agree with. We were taught to ignore and avoid conversations and people we disagree with.

This means that if we’re trying to break this cycle and talk about the hard things, we are going to have some trial and error. Because the human animal, by default, looks for the easy route.

What we can handle and how much we can shoulder is going to be different for all of us, and different every day or time in our lives. It’s a personal choice that rotates like the sun.

For me, it comes down to what I can afford.

Some situations, people, and even friends and family, are energy suckers. They will hog your emotional couch so you can’t relax, keep you up all night with their drama and drain your battery. You have to decide how much to give them. Because some people will literally take all you have.

If it costs more than you have, it’s not worth it. Regardless of how cute they are, what they say, or how long you’ve known them.  No matter what their title or category in your life. If they leave you feeling beat up, blinking red at four percent battery life after every encounter, they cost too much!

We have limited time. Limited energy. Limited waking hours to invest in other humans.

Choose the ones who do not suck you dry. Choose the ones who help fill you up.

The Septum Piercing Litmus Test

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