Little kids are amazing little beings. Most of the time, we as adults don’t give them a chance. A chance to talk, a chance to participate, a chance to experience or a chance to experiment. Often we think that because they are so little, they are not able to, in a sense, put in their two cents. I was that kind of adult for a while. I don’t think I was always that way. With everyone around, I always tried to be a good listener. But, one day it was as if a switch flipped and I just stopped listening to the kids around me. Peyton made me realize that this was not the way that a good parent should be. I listened to other adults around me, so why not listen to the kids as well?
It’s now been a year since Peyton began talking about wanting to be Peyton. In one hand it’s kind of hard to believe that it has been a year since that started. And in the other hand, it’s as if Peyton has always been Peyton and no one else. Seeing my four year old being so open about making such a huge change in his life to be true to himself made me realize that I wasn’t being true to myself. Nope, I’m not going to become the dad in the house or a transgender person. However, I realized that my surroundings where not exactly what I wanted them to be. Did you know that the average American household has 300,000 items within it? I look around my home and see all the things we have, Lego bricks, Squinkies, Hot Wheels cars, beads, paints, hair pretties… the list is endless. I actually think that we have upwards of 700,000 items in our house, or we had that amount. Seeing Peyton change into who he really is made me realize that I wanted to do the same. As a parent I want to give my kids the world. I don’t ever want them to feel like they want something and they can’t have it. But when does that stop? When do we decide that we are doing more harm then good on so many levels? I’ve slowly realized that this is not the correct way to be. All this time I’ve been so afraid of being who I want to be because of what others will think. I’ve always hated chemicals and medication, processed foods and all of these things that we buy at stores that cause more harm then good. For a while I even convinced myself that all the natural stuff was a bunch of crap that helped nothing, and I began enjoying all these “fake” things. I fell into the consumerism trap and the wanting to keep up with the Jones’s. Where’s the correlation to Peyton or the gay/lesbian transgender community? We try so hard to fit into these molds that society creates and puts out there, and we are so afraid to be who we really are that we forget who we really are. Kind of confusing isn’t it? I grew up thinking that the only way to be was straight, one man, one woman, the end. In high school I “dated” guys. In college I again “dated” guys. Deep down inside I knew I didn’t want to “date” guys, but that was what I thought everyone wanted me to do so I did it. I thought that I was supposed to like boys/men. So that is what I did. It took six months of living in Mexico for me to realize that I liked women and not men. Or not realize, but actually admit it to myself and then come to terms with it. And still I did not fully learn about being true to myself. We as people are condition to take into account what others think. So when it comes to living our lives, most of us go the route that everyone else takes. I hate saying that because I don’t feel like I fit into any mold but it is the truth. In my quest to be like everyone else around me, I accumulated hundreds of thousands of items in my house that I thought were making myself and my kids happy. Then Peyton made his change and I began to realize that we were not happy as a family with all of these things that we kept around us. Not only that but the chemicals and processed things were negatively impacting Peyton and his siblings. Now thanks to Peyton we are becoming more of a “natural” household. We’ve began the process of decluttering and Peyton and the other kids can use their imagination more. We use oils and make soaps and lip balms in an effort to decrease our chemical consumption. My extended family and some friends think I’m a little crazy. I knew that they would think this way and that is why I resisted being myself for so long. In the end, I realized that to be happy I needed to be me. There is a little bit of hippie in this Bronx girl. Now I am much happier and like Peyton I am learning to not see or hear what others think or say. He honestly has no idea about people think about his change and therefore doesn’t care, and I so wish I could be like him in so many aspects of my life. For now I’m gonna become a more natural parent that learns and teaches her kids from the natural elements around us. Who knows what other changes tomorrow will bring. Peyton teaches me to be more carefree with every day that passes. Is there any better way to be?