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I have no idea how to encapsulate all the things I’ve learned in the past decade into a post, a caption, 10 slides. Nothing feels quite right. But here is my best effort.

I have accomplished many things in the past decade that I am proud of. But I am most proud of ~how~ I got here. And the fact that I am still here, despite so many odds.

Because, the reality is that the swimming records or awards weren’t the success; the 20+ hours of grueling training a week for a decade plus were. High school graduation wasn’t the success; the 5 months I spent in residential treatment for my eating disorder afterwards were – the fact that I haven’t engaged in ED behaviors since is. And my first job wasn’t the success; quitting it to do advocacy work full-time was. Getting my first apartment wasn’t the success; building the personal stability and mental grounding needed to move across the country from my family was.

Even becoming the first trans man to compete for a D1 men’s team wasn’t the success. The success was NOT leaving the first day, the first month, the first year. The success was showing up every single day at practice as myself, naked in my speedo.

Success isn’t always winning. Sometimes – a lot of the time – it’s just not quitting. It’s not stopping. It’s not giving up. It’s showing up, over and over again.

Additionally, as I keep growing older, I want to be constantly and consistently re-evaluating my priorities. I think it’s easy to get stuck thinking “this is how I am,” or “this is what I want.” In doing so, I I might trick myself into believing “these are just my values forever and they don’t need to be questioned.” And maybe they are still my values. But maybe they’re not. Either way, I want to encourage kind curiosity towards myself about what continues to feel truly authentic to me as the years pass. I think questioning is vastly different form self-doubt. Questioning allows me to stand in stronger conviction in what I know to be true for myself.

When crafting your own New Years resolutions, visit this post for some thoughts!

And don’t forget to leave a few things behind in 2019…

Things to leave in 2019 –

  1. Phrases like “Man up,” “Grow a pair,” or, “Don’t be a pu*sy.” Try instead: “Your feelings are valid,” or: “Boys are allowed to cry, too,” and generally not using femininity or womanhood to insult men.
  2. Diet culture/talk. Fatphobia. Try instead: Intuitive Eating via intuitiveeating.org and affirming that no one’s worth is based on how their body looks or how much it weighs. Check out this page for some more thoughts on fighting fatphobia
  3. Words that attack a specific (societally oppressed) group of people like retard, b*tch, or f*ggot. Try instead: Generally just not using them, but if you want a curse word, finding one that does not attack a specific group of people such as “asshole” or, getting creative!
  4. Commenting on someone’s weight (loss or gain!) Try instead: “How are you doing today?” and thinking about how your views on their weight are probably a good reflection of your views about yourself. Remind yourself that your body is worthy, regardless of size.
  5. The Trump Administration. Try instead: Voting for human rights.
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