100%

funded

Total loan: $5,000

Eli

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Pittsburgh, PA, United States / Services

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A loan helped grow our inclusive massage therapy business so we can help members of the transgender and LGB community to love their bodies.


Eli's story

Looking back, my life seemed to be a random sequence of struggles and successes. In the past year, I’ve been able to understand these things as steps along my journey preparing me for this exact space and purpose. What seemed like struggles were actually opportunities for growth and understanding; the trauma of having my transgender identity forced into repression, the pain and discomfort of feeling out of place in my own body, experiences of homelessness, and career instability. I learned to accept my weaknesses and even see how they could be leveraged into strengths instead. I found I could forgive and let go of anger, hurt, and resentment. I left my short lived career in education in the late aughts, and had no idea what path I would go towards. I worked low wage jobs in the interim; food service, retail, maintenance, and others. I needed something more. I had to have my purpose. I just didn’t know yet what that purpose was. In 2012 I moved to Pittsburgh. In 2013 I took a leap of faith and began Massage School while continuing to work full time. More than career training, massage school was a healing experience. I began my gender transition in 2015. In 2016 choices and circumstances led me to homelessness. I knew that if I made it out of living in that van, that I wouldn’t stop until I had my purpose in hand and it was supporting me as I supported it. I worked every chance I could taking as many massages as I could, driving for Uber, and working as a handyman. I got out of the van in 2017 and realized my purpose: to help the transgender and LGB community feel at peace with and in their bodies.