YOP026: Shaan Dasani- Born To Transform

Bio: Shaan Dasani is a Los Angeles based Actor, Producer and Host. He began his career in entertainment working behind-the-scenes, spending the last 10 years working in film production – creating short films, commercials, music videos, web series and videos for mobile apps. A member of the Director’s Guild of America, Shaan has created award winning content with his production company Karma Theory Films, focusing on character and emotion to tell stories that engage.

Several years ago, Shaan’s life took a major turn as he embarked on a game-changing transformation – transitioning gender. The process lead to some major soul searching, spiritual questioning and honest conversations with loved ones. Since transitioning, Shaan has become more active in seeking on-camera and on-stage roles. He is currently creating an adventure reality docu-series called ‘Born 2 Trans4m’ – a show where he takes the idea of learning something new and turns it into an ambitious 24-hour challenge.

For more information, please visit: ShaanDasani.com

Follow @ShaanDasani

Show Notes:

Born 2 Trans4m

Karma Theory Films

Shaan Dasani on IMDB

Dandeleon Juice

Float Tank

Transcript:

Show +

Zephan: What’s up, everybody? Zephan Blaxberg here, from the Year of Purpose podcast, and if you don’t know me by now, you probably want to go back and watch the previous, like, twenty-some episodes cause we talked to some really cool people. So welcome back if you’ve heard our podcast before, and welcome in you are a new person!

I want to introduce you to someone today that I actually was fortunate enough to meet through going out to a conference in Las Vegas about a week or two ago. And through a mutual friend, we met and connected. Really cool guy. His name is Shaan Dasani, and he’s located in Los Angeles. And basically he’s an actor, a producer, and host. He began his career in entertainment working behind the scenes, spending the last ten years working in film production, creating short films, commercials, music videos, web series, and videos for mobile apps. He’s also a member of the Director’s Guild of America. Shaan has created aware winning content with his production company, Karma Theory Films, focusing on character and emotion to tell stories that engage.

Now, several years ago, Shaan’s life took a major turn as he embarked on a game changing transformation, transition gender. The process led to some major soul searching, spiritual questioning, and honest conversations with loved ones. Since transitioning, Shaan has become more active in seeking on-camera and on-stage roles. He’s currently creating an adventure reality docu series called Born to Transform, a show where he takes the idea of learning something new and turns it into an ambitious twenty-four hour challenge.

Now, Shaan, I watched your trailer for this, and one of the funniest things that kind of popped out to me is you were like in front of this venue for a concert, and you’re like “I’m gonna learn how to play an instrument, and in twenty-four hours, I’m playing it at this place! Only problem is I’ve never played this instrument before.” So that’s pretty cool, I’m really excited to see what happens with Born to Transform and where this goes. But, how about, let’s just talk about where that idea came from.

Shaan: Sure. First of all, Zephan, thank you. That was such a cool intro. I appreciate that. It’s good to be here today talking to you.

Uhm, Born to Transform. I don’t—I don’t know where it came from. Sometimes these things manifest from these other world sources, like from the higher powers, but, uhm—so last year, like you were saying, I started pursuing more on-camera opportunities. And I was taking this hosting class with a woman named Marki Costello, she’s based here in LA. She’s really good and she’s really… She’s really good at helping you figure out what your brand is gonna be, and I told her—I said “Look, I don’t know how to find my brand, so to speak, because so much of who I am is intertwined with this personal transformation” that I was actually going through right then. I was kind of in the thick of things.

And, you know, we kind of—we talked about it, and she kept encouraging me “Think about it. Think about what you want to do,” because I didn’t want to do like red carpet interviews or Entertainment News. It just wasn’t my thing. I might watch it, but it’s not what I wanted to be known for. And I started thinking about transformation, and transitioning, and how much of my life I didn’t think was possible because I didn’t feel like I identified with my body, and things I’d always held myself back from.

And I thought “Well, look, it’s not just you. A lot of people do this.” I thought about people that I knew, and why we sometimes live a life that we think we’re supposed to live because that’s what—that’s the image we’ve been presented with, and we don’t do these crazy adventurous things. There are people that do it, but by and large, we live in this…way, you know what I mean? Like this regimented, you’re this and this age, you’re supposed to go to college, you’re supposed to get married, you’re supposed to have kids and do all this stuff. And where’s the room to really explore adventurous things and have fun?

And I started thinking about this. And then I made a list of all the things I didn’t know how to do. And I looked at it, and I thought “That’s a really long list.” And we have this finite amount of time in our life. And I thought, “What if I learn how to do all of these things? How to do these things,” and at the same time, I was thinking about the show, and thought “Well, what if I learn how to do it in twenty-four hours?” Not in a given day, like one set day, like twenty-four hours, but an hour a day for, say, a month. And worked one on one with an expert, somebody that has already mastered that skill, and they teach me what they know, and whatever happens at that twenty-fourth hour, I preform it somewhere.

And that’s where the idea came from, and I started telling people about it, and people really resonated with this—the fun of it, and the adventure of it. And then people started asking “Why? Why did you get this idea?” and I had to go into my personal transformation. So it took a little while to get comfortable talking to people about transitioning, especially when they were people I was just meeting for the first time.

Zephan: Yeah, so, there’s this script, right, of what we think we’re supposed to live our life at. This is a really cool topic I’ve been getting more and more into lately and figuring out. Like, everybody’s under this impression of like, there’s this pre-written script for you. You go to high school, you go to college, you get your degree, you get a job—and it’s like…where’s the part where we do what we actually want to do, right? Like there’s a balance. You can’t just say “I’m gonna go and spend money frivolously that I don’t even have,” but I mean that’s where our religion and our upbringing has given us those right and wrong things to decide for ourselves.

And it’s really cool that you brought up this topic because—actually just this morning—I wrote an email out to our list for our Year of Purpose podcast, and I talked about how being alone—like we have this idea that we should never be alone, we should always be talking to people and always be connected with everyone. I mean, Facebook, I can send a message to a friend in Israel in two seconds. We’re so interconnected and it’s like there’s this script of we have to be this way.

And the coolest thing was, last night, I actually went to a concert alone. And being alone, you really start to learn a lot about yourself and about what you want and you start to follow that. because for like the first ten or fifteen minutes, I kept looking at the door, trying to like hope that a friend would come in the door, waiting for them, that way I wouldn’t be alone, and I totally missed the whole time that the person running the front door, the person who was kind of at the box office area was an old friend of mine that I haven’t seen in about ten years.

And so we’re so worried about worried about following the script of how we think things should play out that we kind of miss these little gifts that are given to us. So that was just a really cool experience I wanted to share with your because it really kinda lines up with that idea of, you know, is there a story for us that we’re already supposed to play out? And so you’re clearly going against the grain there and saying “No. I can rewrite my story exactly how I want it to be. Here’s all the things I don’t know how to do, so let’s go and do it,” is that right?

Shaan: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I’ve been going against the grain for a long time, so this is just kind of the natural “well, what else are you gonna do?” So, yeah.

Zephan: That’s awesome. So you—so you want to learn—do you have a set idea like how many different skills? Like, obviously the list could be increasing each and every single day, but are there a first, like, ten or fifty or even a hundred that you want to do? Or maybe is there one or two that you’re totally scared to even learn how to do?

Shaan: There’s probably a lot that, uh—well, I was thinking about this. What would be the first thing? Because we shot—it’s called a sizzle trailer. We shot that about a month ago, and just came up with a bunch of ideas there, but I was really thinking “Well, when you start filming, what would be the first thing you want to learn how to do?” and…a couple of things came to mind. So I haven’t yet decided. But one is hip hop dance.

Because I do dance, like I enjoy dancing and freestyling, but have a real hard time with choreography. And the way hip hop dancers—you know, I’ve been watching all the videos. The way that the moves are so precise and so like on point with certain parts of the music, it’s just—it’s a beautiful thing to watch. And, uhm, I think it’s a whole lot of confidence that comes out too when you know how to move your body in rhythmic way. There’s a whole comfort that happens with it and your sense of self. And not to mention it’s really fun.

So I think that’s top—that’s one of the top ones on my list. And another one would be martial arts. Some sort of self-defense. The reason for that is—you know, Zephan, when I started transitioning…and I don’t even know how to define that because I don’t know when I really started or what the starting for was. It was kind of—been happening my entire life.

So I always presented very masculine, and somewhere in my mind when I knew I was gonna start this process where I was just sitting with the process of “Okay, you are transgender, what are you gonna do about it?” I felt this sense of anxiety in how I was carrying myself. Because I would go to, like say, a restaurant or the grocery store and, in my head, I knew I wanted to be referred to as “sir” and the person would always say “Okay, ma’am, wouldn’t you like paper or plastic?” and it felt so uncomfortable to me. And, uhm—and I started kind of walking in the world and moving in the world with this “Oh no, what are people gonna think and who’s gonna say what to me today?” and just kind of like carrying this heaviness and not feeling comfortable.

And I had a good friend at the time—I made a good friend at the time, who ended up being a guy that I would work out with. Now he was a, uh—he was actually a bodybuilder and he was Mr. Australia a few years ago, so he was huge. And randomly, I ran into this guy at the coffee machine one day. And he’s like this big, bulging two hundred and twenty pound muscular guy, and I’m just kind of like “Hey, man, you look like you work out.”

Zephan: Just a little bit!

Shaan: Yeah, and we started talking and he said that he trains people in boxing and I said “Man, I really want to learn.” So I hadn’t yet started coming out to people as identifying male, like I would tell people I was close to, but here was this—an Australian big body builder and I was gonna start training with him and I thought “I don’t know, we’ll see what happens” and we started training the first few sessions. And he, just in his own way and his own charisma, he would just say “Alright, sweetie, I need you to duck a little and”—you know, he would call me “sweetie” all the time, and I’m like “Man, I’m so not a ‘sweetie!’”

And third or fourth workout, I was like “Look, I got to tell you something. Can you not call me sweetie?” He was like “Alright, what do you want me to call you?” I’m like “What would you call the men that you work out with?” and he said “Well, I guess I say ‘mate.’” And I said “Okay, call me mate.” And he’s like “Alright, mate, you got it.” And he was just so onboard and on cool, and through the process of just like working out with him, we had some great conversations about what it was to be a man and what masculinity was. And so he was kind of like the person that I would talk to when things came up, as far as like guy stuff.

And I’m like “you know, something’s happening.” So like a few months later, something was happening, it’s really bizarre. I’m walking on the sidewalk, just walking with another friend, and another guy’s coming from the opposite direction and they would like bump my shoulder. Like just—when clearly there’s room for us to walk around each other. And for some reason, it’s not like in my mind it occurred to move, and it felt like a very deliberate thing in that persons mind to like bump my shoulder. And I’m like “what is this?” So I asked him “What is that—what is that?”

He’s like “Well they’re challenging you.” It’s a—kind of like a respect thing, but it’s also an “I’m gonna test you and see what you’re made of” thing. And I’m like, “I have never experienced this before,” but it started to get me to think, if you were ever in a situation where someone did want to be aggressive towards you—I’m not an aggressive person. Like, I’m just not. But I would want to hold my own, you know what I mean. I would want to defend myself and take care of myself. And I think most—I would think most people would want to be able to take care of themselves in that way. Like against any kind of bully, you know what I mean?

And so all the training that we did, as far as boxing, like that—that kind of just got me—that made me feel more empowered, just as I was coming into my sense of being who I was. It doesn’t matter, like, male/female, man/woman, like just be only who you are and being able to stand up for yourself.

So martial arts, coming back to your question, like that’s a long answer. But martial arts is kind of a big thing for me, like, if I ever wanted to handle myself or had to defend myself, I’d want to make sure I knew how to do that. So I think that’s probably—those are my top two.

Zephan: So, I mean, dance and martial arts, that really requires being comfortable in your own skin, right, and like learning where your body is in space, learning how your body works and functions, teaching your muscle memory new things and movements. So it’s really cool that you’re taking yourself kind of out of your comfort zone to build a new comfort zone, so to speak, in learning those things.

I have so many questions here right now that I want to ask, but I guess let’s just talk about like being comfortable, because I feel like that’s a pretty big thing. You know, what is it like to grow up and be a certain way that you feel uncomfortable with, and then to have to go and tell your family and your loved ones? I mean, you had a great example there of your bodybuilder friend.

How do you—because this could apply to numerous scenarios. For example, I had to tell me very Jewish mother that I was going to quit my job and start a business, and as you might know, that can cause a lot of freaking out. So, you know, how do you go about approaching both these people and these conversations and trying to come into your own skin, whether that’s, in your case and example, genders, my case and example, changing jobs or starting a business—you know, how can we learn to be more comfortable? What sort of skills or things could we take advantage of?

Shaan: Man, that’s a great question. Learning how to be comfortable… I don’t know—I don’t know that it can be—that it’s something to teach, but I can just speak from my process.

Zephan: Yeah.

Shaan: Uh, so…from the time I was three years old—that was about the time that I started to understand there’s a thing called boys and there’s a thing call girls. And I just thought “I’m a boy.” And I just thought that. I don’t know if I ever verbalized it. I’m not sure I ever said it out loud, I just was just kind of like “Oh yeah,” there was nothing to say or establish.

And then, as I got a little older, I thought “Okay, so…puberty, right…Like I’m sure my body will change and I’ll be just like my cousin.” I had like two role models when I was a kid. My male cousin, who was just three years older, and then my older sister. And so I thought “Oh, I’ll just be like him. I’ll hit that age and everything will just fall into place, it’ll be fine.”

And then twelve years old, thirteen years old, that’s not what happened at all. And I had—I was scared. I was really, really scared and things started to—my body started to feminize, and—my family is Indian, South Asian, and certain things happen in our culture, like—they say arranged marriage, but the way that my family does it, it’s not like—it’s not like you’re meeting your future spouse the day of your wedding, it’s not like that at all, but like they put the search out here for you. Like “Oh, you’re of age. We’re gonna put the word out there into the South Asian world and we’ll find a husband for you.” You know, like, it’s this crazy network.

Zephan: Is there like this website like JDate, where they just go on and say “Hey! Here’s a picture, who wants it?”

Shaan: Kind of, except there’s no internet involved. They all like—based on where you’re from in India—like my family is Sindhi, like our particular state, and they would put the word out there, like to all the Sindhis, “Hey, we got this child who’s of age and we’re looking for a husband” and da-da-duh. And so I was like “Oh my god, they’re gonna do that for me!” when I get to this age, and I would like—I felt like “You have to now fit into that box. You’ve been a tomboy. That all was fine when you were ten. You’re thirteen/fourteen and things are not getting—things are not working in your favor so you better try to be a girl and be a straight girl.”

And I would do these things, I would say to my sister “Okay, uhm, how do you”—like I would ask her questions like “Okay, you like boys. You find boys attractive. How? What is it that you like?” I would analyze, because I didn’t see it. I didn’t understand it. I was attracted to women. Girls. And she’d encourage me to curl my hair and do—like wear skirts and all that stuff, and I was just like “Yeah…how does this feel—do you do this because you feel like you have to do it, or do you do this cause you really like wearing makeup? Why are you doing this?” and she’s like “No, I like wearing makeup.” And I was like “Oh my god”—I just really hated all of that stuff.

Zephan: I hate wearing makeup too, if it makes you feel better.

Shaan: [laughs] We’re on the same page! But like, every night, I would go through this process of like just analyzing and trying to figure out why I didn’t fit. And every night for like three or four years, between like ages thirteen to sixteen/seventeen, I would pray, and I would say to God, like, “I know that you can make miracles happen. So I don’t know how you’re gonna do it, but when I wake up in the morning, I want you to turn me into a boy, because all of this stuff I’m doing, it just doesn’t feel right.” And I’d wake up in the morning and just like probe, and it didn’t happen. And eventually, I kind of gave up and I thought “Okay, that’s not gonna happen, so you have to—there’s no choice. You have to really figure this out.”

So I told my parents. “Okay, look, this is how I’m feeling.” And my mom would say “It’s okay, I was a tomboy too, it’s fine. It’s a phase, you’ll grow out of it.” And I think she would say stuff like that to make herself feel better and to give me a sense of comfort, and—and I didn’t know how to talk to my dad about it. He worked a lot. He was the—he supported our family, and we have a big extended family. And he was an entrepreneur. And he was—he was around—every week, he’d be out of town for about two days of the week. So to open up in this way, I didn’t yet feel comfortable to share all this with him. Because I was with my mom most of the time. Like she was the parent who are always there.

So I told her and she’d relay it to him, and he talked to me. He was like “You know, I have a good friend in the community who is a therapist. Would you like to talk to talk to him?” and I said “Yeah, I do. I want to talk to him.” So I was eighteen, and I saw this therapist. And it was a small town in North Carolina, and I didn’t know what to expect. And the first day, I was in tears and I was crying, and I said “I want you to help me be more like my sister” and “I don’t care what it takes, but you have to do this, because, at some point, my family’s gonna try and arrange my marriage. I’m gonna have to marry a guy. I don’t know how to do that.”

And he looked at me with the most, like, gentle eyes, and he said—and he actually had tears in his eyes, I still remember. He said “I’m happy to work with you. But I want you to be open to the fact that that might not happen. At the end of all the therapy, you might not be how you think you’re supposed to be, and that’s okay.” And I was so scared. Zephan, I was like “No, I can’t. I can’t do that. We have to figure this out.”

So I had about two sessions with him, two to three sessions, and I think on the second or third one, he brought a TIME magazine with him and he put it in this brown paper bag as if he was, you know, giving me a dirty magazine or something. He gave it to me, he’s like “I want you to read this.” And it was an issue of TIME—I want to go back and find out what issue that was, but it was one of the first issues where they talked about how our—it was more focused on sexuality at that time, because I didn’t understand what transgender was at that point, but it was more about how our preferences could be coded into our DNA. And I was like “Oh my god, don’t give me this! I’m trying to be a straight-edge person right now! I don’t know what to do with this!”

And I saw him three times, and at the time I was moving, I was transferring colleges so I was moving away, so I just didn’t get a chance to work with him anymore, but he recommended a different therapist to me in the town that I was gonna be in college. And that therapist was—he was kind of like “Okay, alight, you want to be straight. I get that, okay, I’m gonna help you. I’m gonna help you with that.” and he would—you know, I’d come into these sessions with him and he was really asking me these questions about trying to fit into this box that every time I talked to him I was like “Yeah, I don’t. I know that’s why I came here, but I can’t, man. It doesn’t feel natural to me.” And, uhm—and going through that whole process was this feeling of getting comfortable.

So I was a sophomore in college when all this was going down. By senior year, I had not yet come out to anybody. And I had a friend who came up to me at a party, and he goes—he put his hand on my shoulder, and he goes “You know, we know.” And I was like “What? What do you know?” and he was like “Come on. We know.” And he was like “All of your friends know and it’s okay. And we all love you.” And [inaudible] “What?! How do you know?!” Like, “Why didn’t you tell me you knew?!” and I was just like going through this whole process.

And, uh—and yeah, I think that was the most beautiful thing, [cutting out] just started getting these hints of I’m around people that are supportive, wonderful people. And when I’m really, they will still be wonderful, supportive people. And that’s so much a part of the process of getting comfortable with who you are. That was for me. Like, I don’t think—if I had people that were constantly knocking me down, or pushing at me in this way, I don’t think I could have stayed in that space and become comfortable with who I am.

Zephan: That’s really great. So the fact that your friends were about to accept it even before you had made it clear to them—I’d imagine that probably really helps you in the process to understand who you are. Because that’s probably a big fear, right. Like having people accept you, isn’t it?

Shaan: Yeah, absolutely. And it’s kind of crazy, because when you say it, part of me is like “Why do we care so much about what other people think?” I mean, you have your life, I have my life. You have a right to live yours, I have a right to live mine. But this feeling of wanting to be loved, and wanting to be accepted, it’s like ingrained in us. It’s like a human need at the end of the day, so it’s not a bad [cut out]. It’s just important to surround ourselves with people that will give us that feeling of comfort so that we can ultimately find ourselves. I think that’s why we’re here, you know.

Zephan: That’s awesome. So there’s a relatively long process when you decide to do this, right. There’s hormone therapy among other things you have to do, right? So—

Shaan: Yeah—

Zephan: Yeah, go head.

Shaan: So I’m in North Carolina—I was born and raised in North Carolina, but I’m actually based in California, which makes it easier. The first thing, for me, was understanding, like, what it was to be transgender and whether or not I was going to actually go through a physical transition, because not everybody who identifies as transgender or gender non-conforming goes through a physical transition. It’s—aside from other things, it’s also—it’s not cheap. So sometimes access is an issue, and sometimes it’s enough to say “Hey, this is how I feel, I identify as this gender. Please use this pronoun for me.” And that should be enough, for someone to be able to affirm who they are in the world, just accept it. And sometimes our communities do and sometimes our communities don’t.

So for me, it was like “Okay…do you—do you want to go through a physical transition? Or is it enough for you to just tell your community to start referring to you as Shaan, as male, use male pronouns?”

Zephan: As mate.

Shaan: Mate, yeah, instead of sweetie, exactly. And I just—honestly, Zephan, I was thinking about—look, we have this finite amount of time. And one day, we’re all gonna die. It’s all gonna be over, and we find out what the reason for all of this stuff happening was. And I thought “What is my body?” What is my body? My body is like an outfit that I’m wearing. And it’s like “Would you rather wear an outfit that you feel comfortable in, or would you rather be in an outfit that you don’t feel comfortable?” Because inside, who you are is not changing. It’s not like you’re smarter, it’s not like you’re funnier—although, I am funnier. [Both laugh] I’m kidding.

But really, it’s just a sense of, like, am I wearing an outfit that I feel comfortable and safe in and that I feel good in? And I wanted to know what that felt like, because I never knew what that felt like. And I thought, you know, God knows how long this life is gonna be. Just spend it in a way that you’re gonna feel comfortable.

So, physically, the first thing that had to happen was just mentally saying “Okay, I’m ready for this.” Then there’s this whole process of changing my name, because my birth name, I didn’t at all identify with.

Zephan: What was your birth name, by the way?

Shaan: Uh—I’ll tell you. I usually don’t answer the question, but now that I think about it, it’s actually—it’s online, it’s everywhere. So my birth name was Sabina. And Sabina actually means “princess.”

Zephan: Interesting.

Shaan: It’s just when I was born, what my parents thought they were getting. And, yeah, they had the shock of their lives when I told them “Nope, that’s not at all what’s gonna happen.”

Zephan: I was gonna say, if it translated to “sweetie” that would be ironic.

Shaan: Yeah, that would be. That would be. I actually never got nicknamed princess, ever, by anyone. So…people kinda knew, somewhere along the way. But when I—the reason I had to change my name at the time—so I had my thesis film. I went to film school, you know, starting to hit he festival circuit with my thesis film, and I was in the suite with my editor and putting the titles on the film, the credit comes up “Directed by…” and I thought “Oh my god, what name do I put?” because, legally, I hadn’t changed my name yet.

And I hadn’t even told my family I want to change my name. But I was like, I’m not gonna tour the festival circuit with the old name, because at some point, I’m gonna change it. And I already knew what I wanted the new name to be, so I just told the editor “I want you to put my new name, Shaan Dasani.” And I told her. And I don’t—I talked to her like so much through this process, you know what I mean. Because you’re going through this—putting your art out there and creating this vision, it opens you up in other ways, too.

So we started hitting the festival circuit with the new name…and I told—I sent a letter to my family—an email to like my huge extended family. “Oh, these are the updates that are happening with the movie, da-da-dah. We’re going to this festival, blah-blah-blah. And, by the way, I am changing my name because….you know, everyone in Hollywood changes their name.” Like…yeah. But some family members kind of knew what was up, you know.

So for me, the first process was me changing my name unofficially, and then months later, it was—I went through the legal process here in California. You can do your name and gender marker change legally at the same time, but I wasn’t yet ready to do the gender marker change, because I didn’t know what would be involved. When to the courthouse, filed the paperwork, changed the name, and then started researching doctors. People have different processes. Some people chose to go through hormone therapy first, verses surgery. Some people do surgery first, and some people might do just one or the other.

So there was still a lot of figuring out in terms of what was right for me, but whichever order people do it in, hormone therapy, if people decide to do it, it necessary for the rest of your life. So that’s not some—I’m not big into western medicines. I don’t believe in Tylenol, you know what I mean. I’d rather just wait it out or drink a lot of water, or anything else. But this would mean, for me, taking testosterone injections for the rest of my life.

And I had to kind of even sit with that. “What’s your comfort level with that? Is that something you want to commit to?” and I thought “Well…ultimately, if I want to be the person I am…” Like it’s not always gonna be—you’re not always gonna get everything in this—you know, everything’s always in this…good favor—you know what I mean. Like it’s not always gonna be—work out in this rosy way. So it’s like, there’s gonna be some things to deal with, some things to manage. And I thought “Yeah, I’m up for that. That’s fine. I’ll handle that. It’s gonna empower me to be more in control of my health. And more mindful of what other affects that might have on my body.”

So nothing is proven. Like all the research I did, there is nothing proven that they’ve—how testosterone would affect somebody who’s transitioning from female to male. There are rumors of things, like how it can affect your internal organs, but I guess, scientifically, they haven’t proven anything yet. But just kind of being mindful of what some of the affects might be, I thought, “Everything else you’re doing in your life, you have to make sure supports that.” so I wasn’t—I wasn’t—I was never big in drinking at all, but I cut out alcohol completely, I don’t smoke.

And everything in terms of diet became more holistic. Just more greens, more vegetables. I’m vegetarian anyway, but just making sure I’m not eating junk, because it’s really easy to do that to reach for junky foods when you’re a vegetarian because it’s so easy to do. But just—just trying to stay on top of drinking water and paying attention to even other things I’m doing, like—I don’t know, it seems like really involved but hair gel. Chemicals in hair gel. I don’t use hair gel anymore, I’ll use something more natural like an oil or something like that to give my hair a little bit of shine. You know what I mean?

Zephan: Yeah, it’s a whole new lifestyle.

Shaan: Yeah. It’s a whole new lifestyle. And just wanted to take care of myself and be around for the long-haul as much as possible.

Zephan: Yeah. A huge lesson in once you figure out what you are comfortable with, or where you are going to be comfortable ,that chasing it pretty much a t all costs is really what you should do because this is the rest of your life that we’re talking about here. You know, not just “I’m gonna feel terrible for a week,” I mean, why should you feel uncomfortable the rest of your life when you have the choice to follow what your body is naturally telling you to feel?

Shaan: Absolute. Absolutely.

Zephan: So, you brought up water there, which I have to ask you now, because I know we were chatting about this before we jumped on the call for this, but you told me about an interesting drink that you are trying. So I think this would be a cool way to round out the episode here. So we jumped on the call, we started chatting, you’re like “Hey, I just tried this new drink with”—it’s dandelions, is that right? So tell me—because I know that you take a holistic approach on things with your nutrition, maybe some people listening might want to try this. Because I told you I just had my coffee and it was probably my third one for this week, and you had a much more interesting and potentially better solution for it. So what was that?

Shaan: Oh, man, I’m gonna sound like a crazy, hippie Californian right now, but like—like I embrace that part of my personality too, because I kind of am. But this is just like—a friend of mine told me about this. So she’s—she does—she’s an [36:04?] practitioner. So she was recommending for me and certain things happening with my body right now to have this—a dandelion drink.

So you take—you go to the grocery store, you can get it at the grocery store. It’s like a big bunch—kind of like kale but it’s not as, uhm, hard. You know how kale’s like a really hard leaf? It’s not as hard. But it comes in like this big bunch, and I took half of the bunch, put it in the blender, put it in some water, blended it, and that’s it. And you can—I think with half a bunch—again, Zephan, I’m new at this so don’t necessarily go by my quote-unquote “expertise,” but like, I took half the bunch, put it in water, blended it, and then that made about two days’ worth of the green juice. Just drink it straight, like that.

And, uhm, I had it right before the interview. I thought “Might be nice to have a little bit of a glow during this podcast,” I don’t know if it’s happening or not. But I feel good! I feel energetic [inaudible].

Zephan: That’s really cool. The—so I’m all about trying knew and weird stuff, whether it’s food or experiences. I don’t know if I told you, but I tried a float tank. It’s an isolation chamber, sound proof and light proof, has a thousand pounds of Epsom salt in it, and water that’s only about six or seven inches deep, and you float in it for about an hour, two hours, and after about ten or fifteen minutes without the stimuli and sound, you actually start to hallucinate—in a good way. It’s kind of like daydreaming, and I actually got to approach my inner child, my like five, six, or seven year old self and ask all these amazing questions, and this happened right before I came up with the idea for the podcast.

So, for everybody listening, like don’t throw away these ideas because you never know what could come out of it. And unless someone’s instructing you to go jump off of a cliff, in which case you should probably say no, stuff like this—it’s not hazardous, it can’t hurt your health. It’s something cool to try just to see what happens with it. So just a unique thing to check out, guys.

Shaan, before we wrap this up, I want to have you back here. Because I feel like there’s eighteen more things we can talk about and I want to make sure that this podcast stays a reasonable length for everybody listening in here. But, you know, thank you everyone for listening, first of all. Shaan is doing great things with Born to Transform. Things—I guess the ball is rolling with that, we’re not totally launched yet, is that what’s happening right now?

Shaan: The ball is rolling. Like I said, I just shot the sizzle trailer about a month ago. And we are starting to pitch. We are looking for production companies and also the right home for the project. We want to make sure that we have the right distribution outlet for it. So if folks go to my website, shaandasani.com, the sizzle trailer is there, anyone can watch it. And we got a contact form over there. I check that personally, so whoever wants to get in touch, if they’re interested in jumping onboard with the project or helping out, that’s the stage we’re in. so we really do appreciate—would really appreciate that.

Zephan: Yeah, so if you guys are an expert in a certain topic or thing and you want to maybe teach Shaan or help Shaan our, or you know, help out just with Born to Transform. Even if you want to send him an email and say “Hey, I really love what you’re doing” or “I resonate with your message,” I encourage everybody listening or watching to do that.

For all of you guys listening in, just so you know. It helps us immensely if you leave a review on our iTunes and Stitcher Radio streams for this podcast. If you’re on YouTube, here, hit that subscribe button. You can like us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/yearofpurpose. And www.yearofpurpose.com, we actually put the show note, where we’ll link to Born to Transform’s trailer and how you guys can get in touch with Shaan.

So thank you guys so much for watching, or listening. And Shaan, thanks for spending some time with me. I definitely want to have you back again in the near future so we can continue this talk.

Shaan: Awesome. We’ll both have some green juice siting on the side.

Zephan: I’m down! Let’s do it. Alright I’ll talk to you soon.

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