For most of my life, I’ve been known as outgoing. Always surrounded by friends or family and almost always talking. But under the surface, I’ve been hiding major parts of me because they didn’t fit with what I was seeing around me. Most of middle school I spent writing in class because it was an escape. I could be anyone on the page and I could create an environment of people in there that loved and supported me despite my oddities. My characters always greeted me with open arms of love and acceptance. It didn’t matter that I had created them and they weren’t in the “real world” as so many people reminded me. These characters were very real to me and their support got me through many difficult times.
I am here today though because I have found people outside of my own head that love and support me. It has taken quite some time to voice what I’ve been hiding and it was terrifying to say it out loud. But I have been greeted with love that I could never have imagined. To be so completely free around these people has been the most amazing feeling in the world.
But it wasn’t around everyone that I could feel this way. Around some people, I was still afraid that they would disapprove or ridicule me so I stayed quiet. I bit my tongue as much as I could. But little by little, I started speaking up a bit more. Little by little, I grew more brave. I found the courage to talk to more people. I found love in some cases and unfortunately others decided they needed to leave. It’s been a hard journey so far and it won’t be over anytime soon.
I present myself to you today as myself. I do not fit into the socially constructed gender roles. I am not a lady, proper and clean with intentions of starting a family because my birth certificate says female. I am not a tomboy wishing to play sports or be active and full of testosterone. I am not confused and I do not need to make a decision of one or the other to fit the society gender binary. Some days I wake up and wear hand me down boys clothing in order to hide a frame that is built small and feminine. Other days I wake up and put on a dress that fits that form. But my favorite days are when I wake up and pull on whatever feels comfortable without worrying how people will perceive me.
Because of this in myself, I disregard gender ideas and normal perceptions when looking at everyone else. Instead of boys and girls, I see kids playing on swing sets and running around. At college, I don’t understand the check boxes that sort people into male and female. I see everyone as a person with completely unique ways that will differ from every other person on the planet because no one else is like them. I strive to always see people like this because it allows me the most open and accepting place to start getting to know a new person from.
I completely love who I am when I’m being free and honest with myself. I love being able to share that with other people. Hiding myself has never been in my nature. It makes me literally sick to my stomach when I feel like I cannot be myself around a person or group of people. I’ve had many dark days struggling with this issue. Not because I am unsure of myself but because of how I expect people to act when I say things or just present myself to them.
So here I am. I will be as honest with myself as I can be and I will do my best to always present that to others. I love myself and nothing can take that away from me. I hope you will continue in my journey with me. They say it gets better from here and I believe them. Life is beautiful and full of wonder and I never want to stop exploring it all.