This is a project in which I write at least one page a day. This entry in the project is directed specifically towards people who are questioning their gender identity or are experiencing dysphoria, although I feel like if it provides you with some validation and you don’t fall into those categories, that you should feel welcome to the affirmations here, too.
You don’t have to know what you are.
In a world with many unexplored places it is foolish to think that anyone could know exactly the full range of things that can exist. What if you are simply a new thing that has yet to be indexed yet?
Your life will be worth living whether the people in it now find your body appealing to them or not. It doesn’t matter if someone else finds you palatable. What matters is being able to enjoy how you move through life and how you look to yourself. I want you to look at yourself in the mirror one day and feel at home. Not attractive. Not consumable.
I wish you the same sort of happiness a mockingbird has,
to speak with whatever voice you want,
and to trust your body to do what it’s designed to do.
A mockingbird does not think about the breadth of its wings when it flies.
You don’t have to commit to a final image of what you want to look like. Some people find it comforting to have a body goal, but you can simply do what makes you feel comfortable. You can always feel free to go back to how you were and to start again as many times as you need to feel whole. The people who are worth keeping in your life won’t be bothered by these changes. Change over the passage of time is natural for everyone. Aging changes us in a way that irrevocably affects how people view many aspects of ourselves, including our gender.
You don’t have to look specifically like anything. This is the only time in which someone like you will exist. Perhaps it’s time to try something a little different.
I don’t believe transitioning is a journey. When cis people put on makeup, receive supplemental hormone treatments, or go in for surgery, we don’t consider that a journey. It is simply part of the mundane background of everyday life, the things we need to do to maintain our bodies and keep us alive. The journey comes from deciding what we want, which is same one that everyone else has to go through, cis or not. It’s just that our end goals are a little different.
There is no carriage you can take that will make that journey shorter for you.
Many people may leave you in response to changing yourself. They might do worse. Those people are not the people you want in your life to begin with, and you don’t have to take my judgement for it. You’ll see it in their actions, who they choose to spend their time with, and what they think about their future. You are trying to build a future in which you can walk through life and love yourself. Are they making those same choices? Are they also sacrificing things in order to self-actualize? Are they leeching from their bones to carve their feathers, or are they simply covering themselves with pretty paper to distract themselves from the fear they can never fly? Will you be able to carry them with just your wings?
There are many decisions we have to make in life to accommodate or be considerate to other people. Changing your body doesn’t deny someone else’s autonomy. Choosing not to make changes that you want to make to yourself because of someone else is denying yourself your autonomy. It is denying yourself the chance to become the best possible version of yourself.
The egg is a safe place. It is a shelter that you have built up against the harshness the world has thrown at you for daring to be soft and sensitive. But the cost of the walls that you have built up around you is the very foundation of your bones. The walls were fine when you still had space to grow but now who you are have become too vast to be contained by the sanctuary you have built up around you.
You must break down those walls and eat them. Take back the parts of you that you have built up to protect yourself and use their resources to build your wings. The process will be ugly, and you will not recognize yourself at the end of it, but at the end you will have the tools you need to escape your cage. You may not turn out exactly as you hoped, you may be unclassifiable, but the thing you will become will take you farther than you could ever imagine.
The mockingbird does not question the breadth of its wings, it simply flies,
and nobody on the ground remembers what it looked like when it first came out of the egg.