how self reflection shows change

i sat in my us history class 4 years ago watching my spirit slowly split from my body

and i wondered if everyone saw what i saw

watching from the outside in, a spectator to my own body.

the worst thing was not telling anyone, but worse was telling someone and not having anyone to relate to

when you experience gender dysphoria for the first time, your only safe space is in the notebooks you carried in your little mermaid backpack that you took to school, in hopes that no one would read your secrets and shove you out of the closet when you weren’t fully dressed yet.


i cut my hair and changed my clothes. with that, i felt a little less like maria and a little more like alex for once.

living everyday confused is no easy task when your insides feel like oil and water

together but not mixing, afraid of each other.

you were afraid of the unknown.

afraid of yourself.

do you know what its like to feel sick in your own skin? to have to operate your body like a puppet, to be the gepetto to your own pinocchio? wearing fitted caps and old navy cargo shorts were the closest you could get to convince yourself that you were a real boy!

but that was never the case, you were neither boy nor girl.

you existed beyond the binary

beyond ones and zeroes

you were something greater, and i wish i could’ve been the queer role model you so desperately needed.


for every time you were hesitant to shop in the boys department, i wish i could’ve walked in with you so you would feel less alone.

for every time someone tried to undermine your identity, i wanted to remind you that you are here, fully present and valid. to not let no straight person tell you how to live

i wanted to tell you, don’t look for straight validation

shave your head, dye your hair, wear sneakers with a dress, pin a goddamn rainbow to your chest to let them know you are not straight, not binary. that you are an experience.

when you overhear that your identity is thought of to be a phase, i want you to remember that the moon goes through phases every month and it is still beautiful

i want you to remember that every butterfly was once a caterpillar embedded into its own chrysalis.


i want you to know that your body is beautiful. i want you to love your physical being

every curve, scar, stretch mark, dimple and divot

love your body

love your body

love your body

say it every time you thought of hiding your chest with an ace bandage

love your body

even when your clothes didn't feel right

even when you didn't feel right

even when your belly becomes distended

from all the food you ate

or didn't

on the days where it was hard to look in the mirror

remember... that this moment, that these feelings will pass

they may pass like a kidney stone, but the relief after will never measure up to the pain you felt

for you, i would time travel

to be the hand that guides you when you are lost

to have someone who would understand your body, your emotions and not feel judged

i wish you weren’t alone. i wish i wasn’t either.

to my fourteen year old self, my freshman in high school self, i hope you are proud of me now.

of us. and who we became.

our very best self.


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