All the Feels

Sat down with my coffee and opened Twitter to find a mom of a trans kid in the UK who is scared and concerned they have to flee their country soon. Why? Because the UK has elected a conservative leader. Then the fear gripped me too. The safe states won’t be safe if the country isn’t safe. If this country isn’t safe and neighboring countries aren’t safe… what happens to transgender people, especially the children.

Here is the twitter post: https://twitter.com/emmsyemma/status/1566766098061660160?s=21&t=u7C8Ih39hd-NJXUMFQk8Wg

As for my family, we are feeling relieved to be in a safe state but always revisiting our escape plan to get out of America if the conservative party comes back in power. The 7 years of trauma we endured is beginning to surface in new ways now that we can process it. I’m randomly bursting into tears but having to buy eggs at the grocery store nearly broke me… if you don’t know my family we had a flock of chickens who were our pets that we had to rehome to get Kai to safety. I’ll share with you one of the gifts I have given myself since we left everything behind is this beautiful stained glass feather I got from Italian Freckles – It’s a Glass Thing! on Etsy. It reminds me of my Butters, a beautiful, funny, and smart buff Orpington who was one of my favorites. Maybe I’ll buy another for my birthday to remind me of Phil and another for Christmas…

https://www.etsy.com/listing/671586268/

Being in a place where we feel safe enough to process the trauma and grief of all we lost is a good thing and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of every single donation to our GoFundMe and we will forever be thankful for all the kindness we’ve been given and those tears mix with all the others. https://gofund.me/c3773e43 Tears of relief, gratefulness, and grief all mixed together and it’s a good thing.

We are being responsible with our spending but moving and starting from scratch is expensive. Living in a safe state for trans kids is expensive. Living in the city is expensive. Knowing we will need to move again in spring is a bit discouraging. Also, super frustrating when you just know you have something and start looking for it and realize it didn’t make the move with us.

I still believe in the goodness of people. I still have hope. I do not still have Hefty Leaf Bags because I left those back in Texas.

Chicken update

And this is the text that made the tears finally flow again. It was like a pressure release valve just got turned alllll the way to the left.
As most of y’all know, we had to rehome our little flock. I cannot tell y’all how I have worried about them.
It was a such a relief to see photos of my happy healthy flock and get updates on their new life. They have 5 acres and grandkids to carry them around.
I’m so thankful for good people.

Rehoming the flock

Thank you to everyone who shared my post and begged your friends to rehome my little flock. 

Today a family came and took all of the chickens… even my 5 very good boys. They kept assuring the kids they have a beautiful place with 5 acres they can roam and stay together and that they will be well loved by their grandkids. Actually, maybe they were saying that to comfort me.

It took about 4 hours in the Texas heat for 4 adults to take down the runs, coops, toys, and all the other things my flock had collected to keep them happy and entertained. I was thankful for the heat because the sweat maybe helped camouflage the tears. I did ok until they put Phil in the kennel… the very best good boy. I’m thankful they found a home where they can stay together but damn, this really sucks. 

I’ll be ok. We’ll be ok. One more step closer to getting Kai out of Texas. On to the next step… it’ll definitely be easier than this one.

Very good boys

I’m out of ideas to save the lives of these handsome good boys. These three are brothers and live together in “The Cockpit”. All they need is a place they can eat bugs and chase away snakes.
I’ve called a number of sanctuaries and offered donations and ongoing donations for their care with no luck. It’s extremely difficult to rehome roosters. Even when they are very good boys.

Eduard
Joe
Lacy

Downsizing

Getting our things ready for a garage sale and have a promising offer on the MiniPearl (our tiny house in Austin). This photo is what we are working toward downsizing to as we set off on our new adventurous chapter. Class C seems like something I can drive AND tow my little Kia. Just think of the places we can go to and weird things we can discover on our way to our destination… wherever that may be.

Big Adventures

I’ve told the kids we are headed for a big adventure as we continue to pack a little each day. Which things do we keep and which do we sell? The choice is even more difficult because we aren’t sure where we are going or what kind of place we will live in. We don’t know how much it will cost to move nor store our belongings because we don’t know where they are going. The only thing we know is we will have three cats and a 50 pound dog in tow and we need to get out of Texas… months ago actually. I cannot wrap my mind around how dangerous it’s become for transgender Americans and the people who love them.

Connecticut is on our shortlist and I have already applied for my nursing license there.

Another big adventure for the Shappley’s.

Forever thankful for our Chosen Family

A Facebook post from June 2021

Ahhh… when you walk into the comment section after your family has been there.
I remember this aunt. I remember when she lost her daughter in a tragic accident. My cousin was my age. I remember the days and nights younger me prayed for her. I remember the empathy I felt for her. I remember the fun times too. I just don’t remember my family being this mean, horrible, and uneducated.
I wonder when I’ll get used to this and it won’t feel so disappointing.
Oh, this isn’t the worst by far. I think seeing my cousin post my address and phone number in the comment section of a Fox News story when we lived in Pearland was probably one of the worst… or maybe some of the posts from my sister…or maybe when a cousin threatened to send my kid out in a body bag… Good times y’all. Good times.
I’m just rambling now.
Happy Pride y’all. Hugs to everyone that is OUT & PROUD despite awful family members. Forever thankful for our Chosen Family.

“Some people find fault like there is a reward for it”

When I began speaking publicly about our story it was because we were already “outed” in our school district after enrolling Kai in kindergarten. The superintendent was talking to the media about trans kids and taking bible scriptures out of context and hurling them like they are a weapon. He also received accolades from Tx leaders including Lt Gov Dan Patrick and later testified in favor of bathroom bills. Kai was miserable at school being purposefully misgendered and segregated from the restrooms her peers were using.

This was on the heels of the children and I escaping an abusive home and going through the legal system of protective orders and relocation as well as attending college after having been a high school dropout. All of this happening simultaneously to multiple family members attacking us and those bonds being forever severed. Close friends giving unsolicited, hurtful advice that ended some long-time relationships. Many close personal relationships ended a little more quietly by way of no longer answering my calls or pretending they didn’t see me when we walked past each other at church or the grocery store. I was also being verbally assaulted in community chat groups and embarrassed by harassment at local shopping centers. 

Life was a whirlwind of negativity and pain for me for a few years. I was literally at the lowest point of my life and questioning everything about myself as a person. 

I will always remember the way I felt when one particular interview came out. It had kind and encouraging things written about me and my family. I felt just a little better about myself for a moment and then it happened. A respected activist in the community sent me a long message about how I needed media training and that other moms in the community who had been doing this a long time were offended by the way I present my story. I was told that I needed to pull back on sounding like I am the only Christian parent of a trans kid. 

Something in me finally broke that day. It was the only time in my life I ever had the thought that the world would be a better place without me in it. I had decided I would stop taking interviews and I began believing what this respected community leader wrote to me that day. Other articles came out shortly after. These were from earlier interviews but with each one this person wrote me notes criticizing the way I presented my journey of being the mom of a trans kid to the point of furthering my questioning of whether I was capable of being a good mom. I wondered how long I could withstand being attacked from the inside of the only community I had left. This person’s relentless unsolicited criticism almost killed me, literally. 

At this moment writing this, I am not totally sure how I made it through. I know that the God that I serve and the scriptures I have read so many times for comfort in my life would come to me and keep me holding on just one more day, and another day, and another… I know that I am here because of my faith. I kept going because I believe it is the right thing to do. I believe my family has a calling. Noone else needs to believe it. Only me.

I decided to write this now because I want to encourage you to give grace to people and remind each of us that the world has enough critics already. Zig Ziglar’s famous quote, “some people find fault like there is a reward for it” is exactly right. I may not know your calling in life, but I know being responsible for a person reaching breaking point is not it. 

I hope that you never let the critics stop you. I hope you tell your story your way. I believe every movement needs unique perspectives and storytellers. I believe our diversity is our strongest asset.