A dear friend, Allison Woolbert wrote the following meditation for Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is coming up on November, 20. I wanted to share the meditation here, and got permission from Allison to do so.
I Am the Phoenix
In the beginning there was the flicker of my flame.
A flame well-shielded from view, kept hidden deep inside of my being where others could not see.
Eventually, I came to realize the flame did not burn me, it felt kind, warm, gentle, and strong. My fear of the flame began to dwindle, and my acceptance began to grow.
I protected it from the wind and the ones who would extinguish it out of their own fears, as though my flame is a threat.
Panic, fear, unease, anguish, “Why me!” my inner voice cried.
Those around me screamed in fear “You’re evil!, you’re bad!, you’re crazy!, you’re selfish!”
And deep inside, my flame shouted with a roar – NO! I will not believe your lies – “I am! I am wondrous! I am beautiful! I should be free!”
And so I began my journey to truth and freedom.
The cage was harsh: bars made of the fears and disbelief of others,
laws of the unjust, oppression by the strong.
I was mocked, teased, bullied and despised –
In truth, they feared not me, but their own dark selves.
Painfully, I pressed through the bars of their falsehoods.
Upward I climbed, out of the cage and into truth –
my flame growing ever brighter.
Brighter than the sun, more radiant than the moon.
As my true magnificence emerged from the dark caverns, out into the sweetness of truth, I breathed in deeply and marveled at the realization that I was free, finally free.
And just when I took that deep breath, just when the lie was shed, just when peace within had begun, vile creatures driven by fear and hatred ended it. Cruelly, heartlessly, brutally, ……without mercy….. they screamed and bullied me, they beat me, shot me, stabbed me, and in their dark rage they tortured me.
Satisfied at their deeds, they cut me up and burned me, burying me where none might find me, attempting to extinguish all knowledge of my flame.
And if my murder was not horrific enough, those who were sworn to seek my murderers, refused, erasing my very existence and relegating my identity to “Unsolved”. Those entrusted to report such vile acts refused to print my name, tell my story, tell the world of the horror that I experienced. And even more dismaying, those who proclaimed their kinship with me, were silent and did not appear at my vigil, abandoning me.
But, truth be told, those who thought they could extinguish my flame and erase me failed. I was free, free to be me. Free to fly and soar to the heights of my being. Free of the lies, free of the fears.
As I once was a single flame, I am now a legion of flames. Today, my flame is passed to the hundreds, the thousands, the ten thousands that will carry it in their hearts and offer the truth to all. You, who do not fear, you who do not hate to YOU I pass my flame so that it may grow brighter and stronger.
May it be so.