“What did you want to be growing up? ... A Girl!"

Forty years ago, Maggie was born a boy. She grew up within a dysfunctional family in Irvine, CA. Her parents eventually divorced when she was a small child, around the time she started feeling she should have been born a girl. As it pertains to her transition, Maggie explains that she kept it within herself for about 30 years. She finally came out and told her family when she was 35, and was soon exiled and left with no support system. "Coming out was the most emotional moment in my life", she explained. As Maggie became her new person, she lost everything. "Imagine a life where you have zero support." Today, Maggie has regained a support system  and community at the LGBT Center on 4th in Downtown Santa Ana. Every Tuesday she spends time with Ray, a volunteer at the community center. He is considered a dear friend to Maggie. Despite her past, Maggie finds joy and laughter in the little things. She vows to "Let the past be the past" so that she's free to find happiness in things like the word "fart" and time spent with domesticated possums she's raised on the streets.  

Maggie's two rules in life are, "Be nice to people", and "Get up just one more time when you fall." She hopes to have her transitional surgery this year and aims to become an advocate for the LGBT community. When I met Maggie, I knew she was going to stretch my creativity. She asked me to "barf colors", so that her painting was the most colorful piece I've ever done. As I began her piece, a strong connection starting building between me and her story. I found myself second-guessing many of my color choices and brush strokes as I aimed to capture her beauty. I quickly became frustrated, but breakthrough was around the corner. My heart then began to build empathy as I meditated on these feelings. I reasoned, Maggie must have felt this same frustration for the 30 years spent alone in her thoughts before coming out. It made my painting irritations seem minuscule at best. But I used it to connect with Maggie's emotions. The piece stretched me as an artist. Forever grateful for Maggie's heart and friendship.