1 Year in LA
Today, January 23rd, is my one year anniversary of moving from New York to Los Angeles. Within two weeks of my grandparents gifting me my one way ticket to LA, I packed up the room that had been my Queen-dom, where all of my childhood and young adolescent memories were formed, the room where I found myself and got to play out all of my female fantasies. With four suitcases stuffed to the brim, practically no money, and no job or apartment, I embarked on the journey towards making one of my dreams come true; living back in LA in my 20s. Most of my family still lives in California (I moved to New Jersey when I was 7 with my mom, brother, and now ex-step dad,) and I felt excited to again become part of everyone's lives here.
I was picked up from the airport by my mom’s best friend, Debbie, and her two high-school aged daughters. Auntie Doodles, as we call her, was the person who came up with my name, because, “Can’t you see all the girls in high school saying ‘look at that hot babe Corey’?!” Ironic, I know. Our families have been friends since 1962, when our grandparents became friends here in LA. Growing up I had always wanted to build a cousin-like relationship with her girls, and our bonds have exceeded my expectations. I quickly felt more welcomed by my mom’s best friends and their families than my own Aunt and first cousins. I have however formed a wonderful relationship with my mom’s brother, Uncle Dudi (another nickname), and my love for him and my grandparents have deepened even further.
It hasn’t been all rainbows and sunshine this past year though, even with the perfect weather. Moving is hard, settling yourself is hard, and finding yourself is even harder. I still am on a path of growing into myself. Even though I completed my physical transition from male to female five years ago, I feel I am forever in transition alongside this crazy thing we call life. After a short stint as a hostess in Brentwood, I found a job with a hospitality company in Hollywood that has opened doors for me, helped me grow as a human being, and has introduced me to lifelong friends that I cherish so deeply. Through meeting new people, exploring a new city, dating in a new city, and being alone, I have grown immensely. I have learned to appreciate my alone time and preach the importance of feeling comfortable in that state, before being able to be in a truly successful romantic relationship.
As I reflect on this year, and I truly cannot believe an entire 365 days have passed. I cannot help but to feel insanely proud of myself. I chose to strive for a life that I could only imagine in my wildest fantasies, and in many ways they have become my reality. Between random celebrity encounters, finding a beautiful apartment with an amazing roommate, making memories with both old and new friends that will last a lifetime, and building my career outside of the hospitality world is humbling. In many ways, I have made it, but I personally feel I have a very long road ahead of me. I feel happy almost everyday, which is new for me. I wake up to sunshine, birds chirping instead of sirens (although I definitely still hear sirens), and each day I feel inspired to do something, anything, and that is exactly why I moved here.
I’ll admit to neglecting my personal blog the past few months as I’ve been growing my readership on Stylecaster.com, where I contribute a monthly advice column on transgender transitions, dating, fashion, and sex. I get down on myself often when I go to write on my personal blog, I feel like no one is out there reading what I have to say, everyone just wants to see it in a video (which will be happening very soon!) My mom urged me to be persistent and I will see a broader success with my writing. Just because my generation lives for instant gratification, doesn't mean everyone else isn't reading my work, and I needed that reminder. Her generation is constantly reading and sharing my story. I’ve received countless emails, messages, and DMs on how my story has affected or helped someone in transition or their loved ones and that helps motivate me. I will devote more time to writing on my personal blog, as well as for Stylecaster, while growing my website into a resource for everyone to learn more about transgenderism (not sure how I feel about this word yet either.)
I have many exciting projects that will come to fruition this year, and I cannot wait to share those with all of my supporters. My success is not just to get out of my current monetary troubles, or to help the transgender movement progress, but it's also for the people who have loved and supported me no matter what from the beginning, and for those who have joined this journey along the way. I will succeed for you, for transgender people of all ages, and for my mom, the woman who gave her all for me to have a life filled with nothing but love and joy.
I hadn’t been home to New York in almost 11 months when I visited in early December. In the weeks leading up to my trip I needed to recharge and I had a feeling the east coast was going to give it to me. I had multiple meetings and photoshoots during my week home. I saw my mom's new house, and as beautiful as it was, it just didn't feel like home, but neither did New York City itself. I even received some unexpected closure when I ran into my ex’s father, but that’s a story for an entirely different post. Being in NYC for the season's first snowfall was magical, but there is nowhere else I’d rather be calling home right now than LA. My time in New York lit a fire under my ass and gave me the inspiration I needed in order to return back to Los Angeles and never stop working towards all the goals I have made for myself.
I decided my three key words to live by going into the new year are as follows: Persistence, Confidence, Thoughtfulness. These are words that I can look to in times where I’m feeling defeated, and they lift me back up. I have a positive inclination about this new year; I think it’s going to be a progressive one. 2017 was the year of Fire and 2018 is the year of Earth; symbolizing our cycle of burning down before rebuilding, and this is our society’s year to do just that. It’s important to focus on the issues that matter to you, and having a resolution you can keep is crucial. If you enjoy reading and learning about my story, if you support me, if you want this world to truly be a better, kinder, and accepting world to live in; I have a resolution you can definitely keep in this new year, and for the rest of your lives. You can support the transgender liberation movement, and do so by the following:
Donate to the closest LGBT center - donate money, clothes, makeup, and/or other useful products.
Research transgender people. Watch a film or documentary, read some articles, research terms you may not be clear on, or how the entire transition process works (i.e. hormone therapy, rules and regulations, and pre/post surgery process)
If someone you know is going through a transition, support them as you love them, and learn with them on their journey through transitioning, they need you
The more my story, my website, and my social media are shared, the more people can learn and grow themselves; this is how we change lives and make an impact. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who has read, supported, and followed me on this journey of mine. I am ecstatic for what is to come during this second year of mine in LA, and I can’t wait to share it all with you. Keep reading, keep sharing, keep loving, and remember to keep being kind.
Written by Corey Rae --- Edited by Emily Turner