Mary has a passion for reading and writing. When she's not running the blog and social media accounts here at HooplaHa, you can find her playing, coaching, or watching softball, spending time with her family and close friends, watching movies, or (shocker) reading and writing.
Born and raised in Long Island, New York, Aydian Dowling always felt out of place. He grew up attending Catholic school and eventually asked his parents to transfer him to public school where he could dress and act more naturally. He came out as a lesbian soon after. "I felt in line with being a lesbian. It was A + B = C." he remembers "I was a girl who liked other girls and that made me a lesbian."
When he was 20, Aydian still felt different and disconnected, even with other lesbians. Soon afterward he realized that he identified as a Trans man after a girl he was dating asked him if he'd ever wanted to be a boy. He searched for answers using Google and found a clip from the Maury daytime talk show where a man held up a photo of himself as a little girl and talked about how he transitioned. "That little three-minute clip was life-changing," Dowling says."My issue my whole life was not about my sexuality, it was about my gender."
With his course set, Aydian faced a pragmatic hurdle, how to pay for the expensive surgery, which was not covered by insurance. Ever resourceful, Aydian invested the $250 he had in the creation of his clothing company, Point5cc, to fund the operation. "I'm not a magician" he says "but I was able to raise the $5,900 in about 6 months."
Aydian documented his own transition on YouTube as a way to voice his thoughts, fears, and successes; as well as offer a support mechanism for others looking to transition. His YouTube channel, A Lions Fears, quickly became popular and to date, has nearly 200 videos, reaches over 71k followers, and close to 7 million views. In 2011, Aydian was chosen as one of three LGBT persons to have their stories showcased on the Emmy Nominated It Gets Better Project on MTV. Aydian was also nominated to be on the cover of Men's Health magazine and had around 40,000 votes to win the mag's annual Ultimate Guy Search, 30,000 more than that of his closest rival, according to the contest leader board. He has also appeared twice on the Ellen show to share his ongoing story.
Aydian continues his mission to help others by answering hundreds of emails a month and documenting his ongoing transition. He also travels with his wife, Jenilee Dowling, discussing "The Transitioning Relationship" which goes over tips and techniques on how to keep relationships of all kinds blossoming during the hard times of transition. Now living in Oregon, their ongoing story will be chronicled in an original OnlyGood TV series, The Creation of Us.
After being on the verge of death and surviving, terror attack survivor and Children's Book Author and Illustrator, Linda Ragsdale now dedicates her life to helping children and adults find peace through art and expression. On this episode of Beyond Courage, Karen Shayne travels to one of Linda Ragsdale's Peace Dragon talks at a local Nashville school to help spread Linda's message of peace and hope in this unsettled world. Watch the full story now on http://www.onlygood.tv/.
Coca-Cola is one of the world's most popular brands. Whether you like soda or not, this commercial will have you smiling! In it's Happiness Machine video, one lucky university got surprised with a lot more than just soda. A happiness rigged vending machine was giving out multiple sodas, flowers, pizza and foot long subs! The surprise factor had the students overjoyed and instantly happier.
Art classes allow young people to express themselves in important ways. Unfortunately, arts education is disappearing from schools in America; since 2008, 80% of school districts have cut funding for art programs. Simultaneously, student creativity scores have dropped. Fortunately, there are people and groups out there fighting to keep arts education present and vibrant in schools across the country.
Jim Curtis is an award-winning health industry pioneer. But reaching the pinnacle of success, as he has today, was no cake-walk. Only after accepting the curveballs and challenges that life threw his way could Jim find happiness and thrive in his career.
In this new uplifting series, breast cancer survivor Judy Vig and her twin sister Joy Paoletti decide they want to spread kindness and love by using their gift of cooking to deliver home-cooked meals to people going through hard times. Grab your tissues and watch it now on www.onlygood.tv!