Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.
– Janis Joplin
Have you ever felt that you are living someone else’s life? That there is another “you” deep within? Someone who would choose to look and feel and live this life in a totally different way?
Often, we live the way someone else has told us to, believing that the wants and yearnings and excitements bouncing around inside of us are only fantasies, meant to be kept quiet in order to be a responsible person, and do what we “should”.
Sometimes – if we are lucky – we will reach a breaking point, at which the contrast between the external self we have fabricated and the true, authentic self within us becomes intolerable, and the truth explodes out of us, cracking our double life wide open, beyond repair.
From childhood, Stan Hartmann lived with a nagging feeling that something about him wasn’t quite right. He never liked the activities other boys did, and when he grew up, he took on his father’s business with great reluctance. He married, had a family, and became a Christian. Later, he remarried, but was never able to enjoy a sexual relationship with a woman.
His thirst for God was deep, and even when he quit working to focus only on his spiritual search, and reached the apex of that search – experiencing full realization of the Absolute One – there remained an underlying tension, pain and lack in his human existence. He didn’t like living.
Then, one day, Stan reached the breaking point.
His partner lovingly called out the elephant in the room of their two-year relationship. She asked why – despite their deep friendship, emotional and spiritual connection – he could not make love to her.
The truth exploded out of him: “because I’m not a fucking male.”
In that instant, years of lies and pretending revealed themselves, and shed themselves from his body like layers of unshackled bondage. Stan experienced for the first time the truth of his authentic self, the reason he had never felt comfortable in his body or truly joyous in his life. He saw that he had created a persona for others that was not his own. Becoming one with his authentic self, Stan became Annie, and with the veil lifted, embodied life took on new glory, joy, and meaning.
Today, Annie lives in wild wonder at the experience of being human – the flowers shine brilliant colors, human beings radiate aliveness, and life is an adventure of unlimited joy and potential, with no bounds. Becoming her fully embodied, authentic self, as she describes it, she now understands the experience of life as the Creator intended in knowing itself in this way – the full experience of “God in a bod.”
Most important, she says, this is an experience all of us can have – in fact, we are meant to have it. This is why we came here: to understand and come to know, through the power of contrast and with infinitely joyous (re)union, who we really, truly are – our divine selves.
It’s not about gender, ultimately – it’s about the burning truth inside of each of us that we are holding back, pushing down, disallowing – a truth that is perfectly unique to each human being, and their authentic self.
Majestic in the beauty, emotion and magnitude of its transformation, Annie’s story is really about the journey of every human life – about finding out who we really are, and embodying it, experiencing it… and becoming One with it.
On the other side is pure technicolor: the wild joy, light, love and radiance of this creation. You know, only that.