First Degree

This is me. 2015. 7 years ago I was preparing to deliver the commencement speech to my graduating class. Before this day I had a 9th grade education, 7 children, and a lifetime of abuse and trauma.
When I started college I was the least likely to succeed. My kids and I had been hiding in a homeless shelter for Domestic Violence survivors. I had 4 young children. Two were toddlers. One was still nursing.
I know most of y’all had no idea. Well, there’s so much more to my journey. I’ll share more with y’all when I’m ready.

Tectonic Shift

I journaled this in April of 2013. I’d say that prophecy came to pass in my life.

“Pastor Joel Osteen prophesied a “SHIFT” for 2013. I have received a “TECTONIC SHIFT”!

Tec•ton•ic adjective \tek-ˈtä-nik\

: of or relating to changes in the structure

: having a large and important effect

: having a strong and widespread impact

Where a Tectonic Shift has occurred, things will never go back to the way they were.”

Can’t be edited

This picture of 3 yr old Kai hangs on my bulletin board. As with most photos of Kai before I understood and my heart changed, I couldn’t share it on social media with the rest of the photos from our family photo session. No matter how many filter apps or how much cropping… No matter the masculine clothes or the haircut… as I always say, Kai has always been Kai. I am the one in this photo who transitioned.


Kai was 2 years and 9 months old when I posted this.

So many things make sense now…

*Children know their gender between ages 2 to 4. You’ll find this well documented in psychology.

Kai knew that her gender and my gender were the same… since everyone used “boy” in reference to her she assumed we were both boys.

Humble teacher

This is a photo a friend had shared of Kai at Lakewood Church (Joel Osteen Ministries) at 21 months old.

I was still using her first name, JosephPaul, which means “humble teacher”. I believe the calling on her life is far more than I had ever imagined… and sure looks different too.

Note to self: Never put God in a box, Kimberly.

Learning to navigate

Three years old. The boots were her “heels”, the pirates hat had her long hair, and she nearly always had on a hanger which she pretended was the sides of her dress (think princess ball gown).

This was “boy enough” to not get punished for “acting girly”.

So much she had to learn to avoid and navigate just to feel like herself at such a young age. What a smart, beautiful baby.

From the inside out

Our 2014 family photo shoot: Kai was still being punished for “acting girly”. There were SO MANY photos I didn’t keep or share because I just couldn’t edit the “femininity” out. I am thankful some of the photos were just too cute to delete.

Her outward appearance is a clear reflection of the person she is within the core of her being.

There is a snippet of Christian a song that I often think of when I look through photos of Kai before we understood who she is,

“From the inside out Lord my soul cries out…”

I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again, Kai has always been Kai. I’m the one who needed to transition.