Now I know we have known this forever, and you’re gonna hear and use lots of words to describe this whilst you work it out, but you’ll settle on queer. It feels so heavy now I know, but just know that love and acceptance is just around the corner. Right now you think you like boys and girls – and that’s okay, but you also love people just like yourself, that are both and neither. How beautiful is that? You don’t quite realise how special it is to love with no boundaries, but when you’re big like me, you’ll know it’s a gift.
You’re growing up in a place where people don’t understand you, and I know you’re trying your hardest to blend in, but I wish you knew this will come at a cost. After a while, it gets harder and harder to distinguish the real you versus the one you show everyone else. Later on, you’ll harness this skill for your safety, but I know it hurts right now. There will be lots of kids at school that don’t get you, in fact, even your friends will let you down. There isn’t really anyone to talk to right now, and it’s totally fine that you just want to sit in the library at lunch. But there are so many people like you, and no matter what anyone tells you, we’ve always existed.
Now, you still won’t see people like us for a while, and even now, I don’t see enough, but you will find your people – know that. In that daunting future, there are people waiting, ready to love you, and they get it. When that time comes, welcome them with open arms and support them. You will find self-love through loving people like you.
Your body is going to change soon. You didn’t really see it coming, you think it might somehow miss you out, but it doesn’t. No one tells you this back then, but none of those things makes you a girl. You’re going to have a couple of dark times in the changing room of New Look, and some questionable style choices, but keep exploring, you’re just finding your feet. I know what you see in the mirror doesn’t match what’s in your heart right now, and I know all these thoughts seem unnatural – and people will tell you it is.
You will pray for lines where your skin curves and tension where there is softness, but we are shapeshifters. I know you think you have to decide – boy or girl, but I’m writing to tell you you never, ever have to choose. You can be everything and nothing at the same time. You can traverse all the space in between, and you will never stop discovering. You’re going to suppress a lot of this, somewhere deep at the back of your mind. The burden of learning to love your body is heavy, but I promise that for you the load gets lighter.
This time is so hard on you though, I know. You see the boys in the playground, and you’re jealous of how their uniforms fit their bodies, how they talk to the girls. I know you look to men as the epitome of masculinity. You’ll try hard to emulate their demeanour, the way they carry themselves, but my love, this will hurt you. Later down the line, it will hurt the people you love. Find strength in your softness and harmony in your difference. You are so wonderfully complex and you do not ever have to justify your existence. You will define your own version of masculinity, and it’ll be every bit as valid.
It breaks me to write this now, but you will lose someone very close to you; you’ll spend the rest of your life wondering what they think of you. Just try and remember how much she loves you right now, how you and our family are her world. When you get to where I am, hopefully, it’ll be a little easier to believe she would still love everything you’ve become. In fact, maybe she already knows you’re a bit different – she brought you into the world after all.
You will find yourself through grief. You love music, but you have no idea yet that you’ll find solace in making music. This will become the most reliable form of therapy and self-care you ever have, make time for it and stick with it – you actually end up very good. It’s so important that you put these feelings somewhere, even when you feel most lost, your songs will tether you to a place of understanding.
There is no one person or thing that will fix you, for that would require you to be somewhat broken. People will treat you as if you need fixing, as though there is something to correct, and you will believe them. But if there is one thing I wish you could know, it’s that you are already complete – everything that you will ever be exists right now within you. For everything I am now, you are to thank.