I went for a run today. I’m hitting the workouts consistently. I’m not gonna slim up sitting around snacking on Pringles and Pop-Tarts.

(OMG, how good are Pop-Tarts?!)

Anyway, back to the story. My run.

I drove to a park for a change of scenery. I made my way along this nice, paved trail until it ended. Then I took to the streets, weaving my way into a neighborhood. My plan was to run 25 minutes out, and then back.

Not far into the neighborhood, I came across the intersection of two streets. As soon as I saw the street signs, I felt like there was a message in them for me. One street was called ‘Paladin’. The other was called ‘Knight’.

I don’t know how geeky you are. I’m pretty damn geeky. In case you’re not, lemme break down the concept of a paladin knight for you.

According to Wikipedia, in Dungeons & Dragons, “The paladin is a holy knight, crusading in the name of good and order, and is a divine spell caster.” In World of Warcraft, where one of my characters actually was a Paladin, they’re a hybrid class, one part damage dealer, one part tank, and one part healer.

In other words, paladins fucking rock.

They’re warriors who can also sling magic. They can heal. They can protect others. They can kick ass. And they tend to seek out and fight for good causes.

In the last few days, I’ve been intentionally morphing my image of myself. I’ve never been the type to play the victim, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t seen myself as one in some ways.

I have. I don’t wanna any more.

So I’ve been recasting myself in my own mind as a kick-ass warrior princess who can slay whatever dragons cross my path and look good while doing it. Image is everything, right?

When I saw those signs, 20 minutes into my run, my mind already focused on improving myself, losing weight, BECOMING ME, it just clicked.

Yeah, I thought. Paladin knight. Fucking yes.

I kept running, smiling to myself. I ran to the end of Knight, took a left, and continued. RunKeeper let me know I was at 25 minutes, but I wanted to go a bit further.

I kept reading all the street signs I passed, curious about the other names in this particular neighborhood. They all sounded like the folks who’d designed the subdivision were into RPGs.

Which, yeah. Cool.

After my left turn, I came upon Crossover. The street’s name didn’t conjure any incredible image, but it did stick with me. I was trying to figure out why that name would mean something when I looked a little further down the sidewalk to the next street name.

The sign for Crossover was still in view. Just past it was the next sign, like they were meant to be read together. At least that’s how it felt to me. Here’s the simple sentence you get when you combine the two street names:

“Crossover, princess.” THAT meant something.

Stop stalling. Stop making excuses. Stop finding reasons to stay in the closest. Crossover, princess.*

I have one or two practical hurdles to overcome, but I WILL overcome them. Soon. And then I’ll do what those signs said. I’ll crossover.

Point of fact, I’m already taking on what I can right now. I’m fighting the mental battle, pushing against dysmorphia with all my might. I’m reclaiming my true identity within myself.

Fuck the glossy magazine covers and our culture’s obsession with a very narrow acceptable idea of female beauty. I want to be me. I want to be the woman I am and be proud.

I’m on my way. I’m crossing over, even now. Life’s just too fucking short to live a lie.

So today, on a Sunday afternoon run, the universe spoke to me. It reminded me that I’m magic. A paladin knight, capable of crusading for good, and more than up to the challenge of kicking ass if needed.

And then the universe extended an invitation. Crossover, princess.

Why, thank you, universe. So kind of you to ask. I cordially accept.

I’m on my way.

* All trans women are not the same, but I suspect many are like me. I’ve been seen as, treated as, a guy for so long that the thought of someone sincerely calling me something sweet, like ‘princess’, very nearly makes me want to cry. Call that corny if you want. Fine. I don’t care. It still tugs at my heart, and made this particular message feel so much more personal.