I think today requires me to take you all on a journey. A trip that started from a video my friend Erin posted a year ago to my Timeline. I’ve found myself more than once pondering about what would life be if this or that. I’ve wondered if transition the way I did it was right and I’ve pondered where I would be if I started 5…. 10….. even 15 years ago. As much as I ponder this I’m always pulled back to the reality that I am who I am not just for what I’ve done, but everything that has ever affected my life. From the loss of some friends to the gaining of others everyone had a roll to play. Giving the due credit to where I’m at I decided today I’m going to write letters to the younger me. Not just one letter, but many that address different points in my life.
Dear 5 year old me:
I know you’re confused, conflicted, and stressed. I know you don’t understand those thoughts in your head but believe me, one day everything will make sense. Don’t give up on being you… even if you don’t know who the real you is yet. Keep playing dress up and hope you don’t get caught….. again.
Dear 10 year old me:
Tomorrow is another day. Sure you know that there is something that isn’t right but you have no idea how to describe it. Playing football and releasing the stress will work for a bit but believe me the future holds something much bigger. Just keep your eyes forward. For Petes sake…. be nice to your sister…. you will thank me someday.
Dear 15 year old me:
You have survived…. suicide is a constant feeling and depression is your only friend. You have started to see Jerry springer and those girls on there…. you’re like them yet nothing like them. You still don’t have a name for that fleeting feeling but trust me… soon enough you will understand. In a few more years you will start dating that girl you’ve admired since 7th grade and that girl is the one thing that will pull you through it all… even when you don’t want to. One other thing…. be nice you your sister.
Dear 20 year old me:
You will be married to that amazing girl and in less than a year your first beautiful daughter will be born. Yes… I know you keep saying you don’t want kids but believe me, you most certainly do. The internet will give you a truthful name for who you are and you will find an amazing girl to start you on your way. Life isn’t going to be easy and you will have 2 more failed suicide attempts. One day you will realize that those failures are a good thing. One other thing…. be nice you your sister… she will always be your biggest fan and your greatest supporter.
Dear 25 year old me:
Look how far you have come. Married for 5 year and a father to your precious girl and you will have 2 more soon here… life should feel complete yet it doesn’t. All that happiness seems for not. You’re 2-3 years away from some of the most amazing years of your life but first you will need a wake up call. It will come. You will know when it’s time. No matter what… don’t give up. Soon you will be starting back to school, you will meet amazing friends, you will find strength and support. You will find your voice but not before that one last wake up call. You will be coming out soon and believe me it’s no where near as bad as you think it is. When you find that voice, your sister will be your first call. She will be there for you and your family. She will be the rock in all these troubled times.
Dear 30 year old me:
Your journey is just beginning. You’re looking back and having regrets. You are now dreaming about what if I transitioned 5 or 10 years ago and believe me…. one day you will understand that it’s better this way. As your starting this journey you’re fearing loss. Loss of family, friends, spouse, kids…. you’re fearing that it will all be gone. It will be a long road filled with many challenges but don’t look back. One day it will all make sense.
Dear 35 year old me:
I am now a bit under 3 months and I’ll be 36 so let’s talk about how far you have come. Your name is done… gender is fixed… you have your degree…. made some amazing friends… but there is something so much more. You have the love of your family. Mom, Dad, Chrissy, Aaron, Gram, Cindy, and all your daughters. They love you for you. All of those fears you carried…. they haven’t come true…. but everything you have done has made you… you.
Dear future me:
Be the real you. Everyone deserves that including yourself. The love will be there when your ready and the people who are important will be there for the journey. Love everyone everyday and never forget… love wins! No one will ever be left behind. Don’t stop until every last person feels safe being themselves.
Image credits to my friend Jess who made my amazing cover photo.