Proud2Bme | My Trans Brother Taught Me What Love Is

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My Trans Brother Taught Me What Love Is

By Annie Stewart--He is six years older than I am. Growing up, we both played sports, and today we share a passion for peace and justice in all its beautiful forms. He has taught me what it means to be an advocate, especially for those who are marginalized. He has taught me what love is—love for myself and love for others, and that love takes on many forms and nuances.

But most of all, he has played a crucial role in my journey of recovery. So during this month of October when we celebrate LGBTQ History Month, I cannot think of a better person to reflect on than my oldest sibling Cb, who is transgender.

When I think of Cb, I think of how he exemplifies unconditional love and the ability to sit and listen and validate someone with absolutely zero judgment. The person who immediately flew to Boston from NYC when he heard I had been hospitalized. I think of how he flew to Arizona for Family Week at the rehab center where I was receiving treatment for anorexia.

And I will never forget this one particular moment during the course of family therapy. I had just admitted secrets I had withheld from family members for years. Cb got up from his seat and put his arms around me as I wept, neither of us uttering a word, just letting my tears fall from my eyes onto his shirt, holding me still, holding me close. That moment exemplifies who Cb is to the core.

I have never encountered a person who is a better listener than Cb. I always feel completely at peace sharing my struggles and weaknesses. It is absolutely imperative for a person to have someone like Cb throughout their recovery. You need someone who will listen, who will let you scream or cry, who will be there for you no matter what, unwavering, unconditional.

When I think of Cb, I think of what e.e. Cummings said in one of his poems: “It takes a lot of courage to grow up and be who you really are.” Cb lives with such deep faith and conviction, and that has inspired me in my own recovery. Cb’s own journey has inspired and encouraged me to recover from my disease and to love and accept everything that I am, unashamedly.

I sometimes get asked what helped me in my recovery, what eased the transition from the hospital, to rehab, to trying to live a normal life again after years of struggle. Although my answer is often a combination of several factors, one of the biggest reasons is that I had (and have) people who expressed unconditional commitment and love to me and my recovery.

I hope every person in recovery has someone like Cb in his/her life. Everyone needs someone who inspires them, someone who leads by example and someone who shows them what it means to love and accept everything that you are.

About the blogger: Annie Stewart graduated from university with a degree in sociology and gender studies. She is especially passionate about seeing individuals develop a healthy relationship with food, exercise and the body. Beyond that, she is also passionate about social justice, good strong coffee (usually accompanied by a book), traveling and telling her own story of recovery in the hopes that it can be a beacon of light on someone else's road to healing, health and wholeness. She is currently interning with a human rights organization in England and hopes to eventually go on to graduate school and pursue a degree in clinical social work.

Also by Annie:

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Colleges Need More Eating Disorder Resources

Recovering from an Eating Disorder in College: A Survival Guide

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