“Clearly recognizing what is happening inside us, and regarding what we see with an open, kind and loving heart, is what I call Radical Acceptance.
If we are holding back from any part of our experience, if our heart shuts out any part of who we are and what we feel, we are fueling the fears and feelings of separation that sustain the trance of unworthiness.”
~ Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha
Sometimes, I hate myself.
Sometimes, I hate my husband. Sometimes, I hate my daughter. Sometimes, I hate my mother. Or, perhaps better said—sometimes I get so frustrated/irritated/angry/upset and judgmental with myself and/or others that a strong feeling of aversion, disgust, dislike or even “hate” arises in my mind.
I am in my mid-thirties, a yogini, a teacher, a supposedly mindful meditator, a peacemaker… And yet this despicable phenomenon still occurs.
It happens less and less, the more mindful and aware and compassionate I am, but it still happens.
This self-denigrating cycle is more frequent and vicious for adolescents and teens.
Especially those in oppressed minority groups. Because when we are are young and inexperienced, we don’t realize that things will change, that we can love ourselves—our minds and hearts and bodies—just as we are in this moment. That we are already, always, enough. That “it gets better.”
Eri Hayward was born as a Japanese-American boy named Eddie and raised in a conservative Mormon community in Utah, attending the Church of Latter-Day Saints and a Mormon private school. From a young age, he knew he wanted to be a girl. Or, perhaps better stated, she knew she was really meant to be a woman.
Because of her family’s chosen religion and lifestyle, Eri was sheltered from the existence of homosexuality throughout childhood and unaware that she is actually transgender until reaching young adulthood. Documentary filmmaker Torben Bernhard met Eri and her family and filmed this footage and these candid interviews with her and her parents a few days before she traveled to Thailand for sexual reassignment surgery.