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Letters

Just Pieces of a Whole (Katia)

Posted by Alyssa.fenix on July 8, 2014 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Dear Katia,

You are beautiful just the way you are, Katia, and you are not alone. These feelings you are feeling are not unique.

There are so many others like you who are seeking, who are looking to find our purpose, and who are looking for acceptance. There is an energy force out there, taking care of us, giving us what we need, even as we feel alone. The best part is that this force is within you too. If you open your heart, you will feel it, and you will know the peace and Love that is absolutely yours. Gay, lesbian, straight, etc., will be just labels.

We will discover that Love manifests in so many ways, and no way is the right or wrong way. Many will awaken and discover that the energy force that is God does not label us and separate us into categories. We will discover that we are all just pieces of a Whole. I could keep going, really, but isn't this enough?

Love,

Yourself

There is Always Room For Gratitude (Till)

Posted by Alyssa.fenix on July 8, 2014 at 9:50 AM Comments comments (0)

If I knew then what I knew now, I can’t say that I would have the privilege of having the same journey. I can say that there might have been fewer struggles and a lot less depression. I can say that I see the way the world has been changing and it’s beautiful to watch but at the same time so disheartening that only a few short years ago, we were still denied such basic rights. And so it begins, my letter of reflection to myself

 

To Whom It May Concern (yes, I am talking to you, the one hidden in the corner staring at their shoes),

 

I know you don’t know me or even probably have any clue whom I am… as we are pretty much on the opposite ends of the spectrum. Right now the world seems so troublesome and so depressing, you feel hidden, abused and completely lost without any idea of why. Your self-confidence is lacking and you are completely wrapped up in trying to define your path in the world. However, I am here to tell you that you never truly will find that one path; yes, I know that’s completely opposite of everything you are told and, well, so are most of life’s lessons. Life is fluid, soon enough you will realize so is your sexuality and not too far from that, you will realize so is your gender. All those times when you preferred the gender neutral nickname you had since you were a small child, all those times you wish you could grow chops and all those times you felt like a fabulous gay man locked in the body of a scrawny white girl, you were being who you are. I know you tried to suppress it for multiple years, to pretend that you could be one of the flock and blend in, but truth be told you were never meant to. You will realize as you grow up, the prouder you are of yourself, the more that people will love you and accept you. Prior to this, people just find you a bit awkward and a bit shady since you constantly are hiding behind a façade that everyone knows isn’t truly you. One day you will realize that you are a completely compassionate, intelligent, loving and handsome human being and when you start treating yourself that way, you will see others begin to follow suit. This will lead to an absolute snowball that will encompass your life in so much love and feelings of absolute gratitude.

 

You will find employment as an IT professional, the career you always wanted but didn’t feel like you fit into. You will not only have this as a career path, but you will have an amazing employer that will allow you keep your self-identity and express it through your piercings, tattoos, crazy haircuts/colors and eventually will even stand behind you as you transition.

 

For all those years you felt alone, you will realize that you weren’t, but that the technology just wasn’t capable of linking like-minded individuals in the same manner it is now. You will dedicate your extra hours and extra love to making sure that others like you never falter on their paths or consider their own demise in a manner similar to your own. You will find some version of inner peace in understanding that life isn’t dichotomous, but a series of greys. You will paint your life a beautiful monochrome to match suit.

 

One of your best life lessons will be in learning that family isn’t one that is just assigned at birth, but rather a series of supportive individuals that know when to hug you for joy or hug you to block the pain. You will find chosen family throughout the world and will travel frequently to see them. This family will create a great support network to get you through your troubled periods and to lend kind words during your transition. Friends as well as family members that might have struggled at some point will end up being people you speak with weekly, if not daily.

 

The best lesson you will learn in life is one I reference above about loving yourself. Prior to this you will have a tough stint with friendships, relationships and work balance. When you finally learn to love yourself, you’ll find that you become more tolerant of others as we all belong to a minority somewhere in our lives. This acceptance of others will lead you to explore new facets of life, to learn new information, to love others without pretenses and to accept things about others that you might not have ever thought about previously. This inner love will bring you the greatest love of your life… a small 5’2” Canadian lady that accepts you unconditionally and supports every interest you ever express. You both will fall crazy for each other as she truly is the other half of you. She even understands that her current fiancé is a flaming fag and encourages it by taking you to your favorite Broadway shows, buying you fabulous outfits and having late night giggle sessions with you.

 

This brings me to the final point in what I wish you knew back then, quit taking yourself so seriously. As you become more in tune with who you are and the multitude of ways you can express what you feel inside, never hesitate to step away from work and to spend quality time with those you love. Travel frequently, explore the world, only then will you realize the gifts you have at home and only then will you start to understand how to begin the acceptance of others. Laugh hard at stupid jokes, tell ridiculous stories that have no true meaning and dance your butt off even if you are lanky and kind of awkward …that same small Canadian referenced earlier will find it adorable. Life is far too short to be concerned for long periods of time (yes, you will always care to some extend) about what others are thinking. Encourage the others that you puzzle to ask questions and be a source of knowledge to promote education about the communities you identify within.

All in all, you are a pretty awesome guy and even on the most down of days, find solace that you will be ok and there is always room for gratitude.

Respect Yourself (Dean)

Posted by Alyssa.fenix on July 8, 2014 at 9:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Dean Kole Robbins

 

I grew up in a small town, where everyone knows everyone in mid-Michigan. Never wanted for anything and if there was something I wanted, Mom usually got it for me. My mom told me even when I was very little I was fussy about being put in girl clothes that I preferred a white t shirt and diaper or no shirt and diaper than wearing the outfits she picked out.

 

In the Oct of 1979, two things changed for me; I had chicken pox so bad the doctors recommend Mom cut my hair all off and my younger sister was born. Mom was very busy dressing my sister in all the frilly things I hated wearing and I started to become my father’s shadow. All those years of fighting with me to wear a dress or even a girly top and pants were contradicted when Dad dressed me in overalls or jeans and a corduroy blazer. Looking back at these early signs my mother told me not long ago that it all makes sense to her now.

 

All my friends were boys and to them, I was just one of the guys. Everywhere I looked the “in thing” was to have a boyfriend or a girlfriend. Where I grew up we were all sheltered from what really happens in the real world. We learned about AIDS in the 80’s from the TV and most kids joked that if you swapped spit with someone you could get HIV. So to say we knew what it really meant to be gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender would be impossible. I grew up in an era where all gays were “faggots” and all “fags” had AIDS or would end up with it.

 

I was already different because I was the chubby kid in school. I never much liked my name because it rhymed with banana, so everyone just called me D and that too should have been a sign. All these signs appear throughout my younger years but there wasn’t the internet or home computers yet. So you heard things from TV shows, in school or from your parents. I tried hard to please my parents and fit in like my sister did but boys never really interested me. I did have a bf in 8th grade and I tried hard to like him.

 

By now most CIS girls were getting their periods and going through puberty. Not me, and I was A okay with it but not Mom! Mom took me to a specialist who said my testosterone levels were very high for a CIS female. The doctor wanted to put me on birth control pills. I refused because I thought that would lead to me having sex and I wasn't interested in boys like that.

 

In high school, I participated in basketball and softball and swimming. I excelled at all of them. I would work twice as hard as the other kids and not lose much weight but became very muscular and toned. Another sign looking back that some higher power out there was trying to tell me. I met a girl in band my junior year who was probably my first crush although as I saw it then we were best friends and nothing more. She liked to hang out watching movies and liked to snuggle up to me while watching them. I had no idea what that meant but I just remember the first time she did that my heart raced I thought it was going to jump out of my chest.

 

I became obsessed with this girl and when she started dating a guy I knew. I had such a meltdown from it. I was angry at him, at her, at the world. Perfectly normal, right? NO! Another sign and I ignored it or chose not to think about it or flat out didn’t know what any of it meant. My counselor in high school was also my Varsity Softball coach so it wasn’t like I could ask him anything (plus he was already middle aged and tough as nails).

 

One common theme in high school is I always remained friends with the guys but my friendship with girls seemed to be short lived. We would spend a lot of time together at first and then it “got weird” was what I was told later in life. I never understood what that meant until many years later – it was yet another sign.

 

Fast forward several years and another failed relationship with a guy; this being the worst one yet as I almost married this one (literally two months away). I was miserable, depressed and living back at home with my parents. By this time internet chats were popping up through AOL and the younger generation was talking with others all over the country.

 

Around this time my feelings for women were increasing and I was more confused than ever with no one to talk to about it. My family believed in putting on your best smile in public so people didn't know what was going on in your life. We swept everything under a rug. So I did the same for now.

 

I now have my own apartment, working and spending time with new friends and still talking in chats to try figure out what I wanted and what it all meant. I met Stacy who was living in Ohio at the time about two hours from me. Instead of a romantic relationship I made a friend for life. Stacy had “come out” as a lesbian many years before we met. Through her friendship I was given an outlet to talk through all the things in my head what everything meant at that time.

 

Over the next several years I went through phases, from being outed by my sister’s bf which in retrospect wasn't as horrible as I had imagined in my head. I had already told my Aunt I thought I was gay and she was so supportive. She even offered me a place to stay if my parents disowned me which neither of us thought would happen, but it was a relief to know I would not be alone.

 

The next phase was the “butch lesbian” years and learning about what it meant to be butch and what the term femme meant for lesbians. As far as my physical appearance it was much the same, dressing in polo shirts and shorts or men’s jeans or khakis. I kept my hair short and wore baseball caps. I looked masculine. I never really liked the term lesbian and rather considered myself gay at the time.

 

Through all this there was still something missing. I was still unhappy with myself. I had a great job traveling, met a girl in Michigan who was intelligent, taught me a lot about sex, intimacy, boi vs boy, strapping and loving yourself. We only dated for about six months about what I learned in that time could have saved me so much pain had I known earlier in my life.

 

The next phase of my journey brought me to Maryland and I learned about Drag Kings, gay men, queers, transgendered men & women and the freedom to be neither. For the first time, I felt alive when I started performing and passing as male. I still remember telling my mom about it and how fun it was but not to worry as I had no intention of becoming a man. Boy I was still in denial even then!

 

When I moved in with two gay men and rented a room from them my life changed. I learned what it meant to have family accept you for who you are and how to truly work through what I wanted in life. One of my roommates and dear friend fought a courageous battle with Cancer but ultimately lost the fight January 2008. My friend was 40 when he passed away. Watching as it unfolded from first diagnosis to his partner deciding to turn off the machines changed my life forever.

 

In 2008, I came out to my friends as Transgender (still not knowing what it all meant for me), met the woman who is now my wife (we will celebrate our 3rd Anniversary October 1st), changed careers and came out to my parents and sister as Transgender.

 

I still had no clue what this journey would bring but my mother asked one thing of me and that was not to reveal this information to my grandparents.

My grandfather was 92 and grandmother was 90, my Mom’s mom was 89 with early dementia. It was an extremely difficult time and trying to respect my mother’s wishes felt like I was living two lives; one here on the East Coast and the other when visiting family in Michigan.

 

I know now that it caused mental anguish and depression; serious ups and downs that interfered with friendships, my relationship with my wife, my family and a strain on my work. In February of 2011, I lost my grandmother on my fathers’ side, she was 91. Twenty-six days later, my grandfather, her husband passed away. He said he didn't want to live without her, he was 93.

 

After their passing, I shut everyone out; I fell into a dark depression all the while finalizing plans to be married. My friends tried to be there for me but I was numb and not really there. A month or so after our wedding my wife and I got into an argument and she left. By this point my friends had walked away already so when she left (it was only for one night but) it was a wake-up call.

 

I found a therapist and was in the next week. The next 8 months were a struggle to find myself and repair my marriage. The first step was that summer; I met with the Employee Relations Manager at work and came out as Transgender. We discussed what it meant and how to explain to my boss and team, then how we would notify the rest of the company moving forward. All through this I was seeing my therapist once a week. She was a tremendous help and I’m eternally grateful.

 

No longer was I living separate lives anywhere. My family knew, my friends knew and now I was free to be myself even at work. As terrifying as it was, I found out that I was supported by co-workers, friends, family, my therapist, my doctor and even high school classmates.

 

My journey is far from done but come this August I will have been on testosterone for two years, my driver’s license says male and I’m saving towards top surgery. Last fall I started a new position at my company where most of the people only know me as male and the others have been very respectful. I use the men’s room all the time in public and at work. Also, it never gets old hearing “sir” when out in public.

 

I still face surgery in order to change my birth certificate, working to change my name and yes there are days where the wait of these changes can bring you down. These are the days I step back and look how far I’ve come and celebrate the steps knowing I will get there when the time is right for me.

 

I know now that each person’s journey is their own and no one has a right to say otherwise. It is okay to take your time to figure out who you are and what is best for you. I know I am loved. I know now that my family will support me wherever my life takes me.

 

There is a wealth of information out there available to you, now take advantage of it, learn all you can and make informed decisions. Respect yourself, remember Stonewall, remember Matthew Shepard and learn what Harvey Milk did for San Francisco and this country.

 

Most of all, remember to be yourself!

Love who you want to Love (Heather)

Posted by Alyssa.fenix on July 8, 2014 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Dear 19 year old Heather,

August 2003 will introduce you to someone who will change your life forever, you will meet one of your dearest friends this year; someone you will still know and love in ten years. Your best friend from college will be a gay man who has known for years that he loved other men and while you know what the term homosexual means, you don’t know how much it will mean to you. Through your best friend you’ll be introduced to the LGBTQQIA community at Towson University and for the first time in your life you will actually start to think about and vocalize feelings that you had previously pushed aside. You will revel in a new kind of freedom, one that allows you to not only be honest with yourself but to be honest with others. You won’t feel pressured into not liking or loving someone just because of their genitalia. You will come out as bisexual and be LOUD and PROUD to anyone and everyone who will listen. You’ll love men, you’ll love women and you will thrive in this new found identity. You’ll hear the jokes about bisexuals not being able to make up their minds, or that you’ll be gay one day it’s just a matter of time and they will roll off your back without much of a second thought. Your time in college will be wonderful and you’ll be secure and unapologetic for who you are.

After college you will be in a long term relationship with a woman while navigating a new world of responsibilities and expectations. You’ll get a job and you will wonder if you should come out to your co-workers but quickly realize that quiet and hidden just isn’t your style and you’ll talk about your girlfriend openly. You’ll work in a school environment with open minded co-workers who don’t really care who you go home with as long as you have your work done at the end of the day. It will be a relief because you will have heard any horror stories about people being discriminated against because of who they are, you’ll be a lucky one who can be themselves wherever they are.

Once you’re settled at work and happy at home you’ll begin to think about who you are now and while no one will ever pressure you about your label you will begin to question yourself… “if I’m with a woman for the rest of my life am I still bisexual or would I be a lesbian”, “bisexuals get a lot of flak for their identity maybe it would be easier to just pick one side or another”, “why do you need a label at all why can’t you just be”. These questions will roll around your mind from time to time and cause you some anxiety because you will want to fit in somewhere and you’ll want the security you feel from a label but you won’t really have those answers so you’ll just try to avoid a label.

After almost 2 years together your relationship will end and you will very quickly be blindsided by someone new. You’ve seen this person through mutual friends for a few years but you aren’t formally introduced until then and you will quickly begin something with someone who is transgendered. You will fall in love with him as he is not because he was born female, not because he is a man but because he is an amazing person who makes you feel happy and special and complete. In your time together you two will discuss labels and identity, and realize that the pressure you put yourself to pick a label was unnecessary. You’ll realize that love is what matters for you, some people only love men or women but you just love. You’re not really straight, gay or bisexual and that’s ok. As time goes on you realize that “queer” fits, it doesn’t’ feel restrictive, you don’t feel locked into anything it just seems right. Through that acceptance you found and married the love of your life and found more important things to worry about like: rent or own, kids or pets (or both) and what to make for dinner 

If I knew then… that picking a label would cause me so much stress I would have tell myself just to go with my heart, don’t get caught up in straight, gay or anywhere in between. Love who you want to love and enjoy the journey, you will wind up exactly where you need to be when you are supposed to get there.

 

Love,

Almost 30 year old Heather

Calm Down (Shannon)

Posted by Alyssa.fenix on July 8, 2014 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Dear Spastic Past Me,

Hey there! This is the part of the letter where I'm not really sure what to say, getting started is the most uncomfortable part. I am here to talk to you about your current state and what you are going through. To be honest I often find myself thinking about you. Most of those thoughts end in me face palming myself and thinking ""what was I thinking"", but right now I want to talk to you about what you just went through.

So, you just came out, eh? Boy that was a big step, and look at you! You're still here to talk about it. Yeah it was hard, filled with the ever plaguing ""what if's"" that will haunt you for the rest of your life. But more importantly, you made it out okay. You got lucky, nobody chastised you or stopped talking to you. For the most part, people just went ""well that's a thing, meh...neat!"" and you went about your business of staying anxious and worrying about what was next. What I'm here to tell you is this..If I knew then what I know now...then I would have calmed down.

Yes, it's horrific to come out. It's something that not only do you have to admit to yourself, you have to admit to everyone. This thing that you've been toying with for your entire life stops being a thought, and starts being a thing. That's the hardest part. It's an instant change. Within seconds you become someone totally different, not only to yourself, but to the rest of your world. Now I say your world because let's face it. Nobody on the other side of the planet is too concerned with what you are going through as you cry to your mom about the girl you are in love with who barely knows you exist. But man, that girl was a heartbreaker, you'll get over it, you always do.

Calming down is probably the only advice that I can actually give you. Thinking too hard and getting lost in your own head will be the one area that you will have to overcome when becoming an adult. Yes, you will still have that problem of worrying too much, over analyzing every situation until you've exhausted every resource in your mind will still be your biggest hurdle, but you won't do it every time you meet a nice girl, or come into contact with that family member that you haven't seen in years. Or your English teacher. Being afraid that people will discriminate against you, or hate you for who you are isn't going to be an issue in your life. Let's face it, everyone you've met up to now has liked you okay, that's probably because you're doing something right. Keep that up, stop stressing the little things, respect your friends and family and be kind to people. That will go a longer way that trying to be something that you're not. Oh and by the way...don't have short hair... it doesn't look good on you. And in 2014 thank the higher powers above that Hipsterism became a thing.

Speaking of 2014, you're not doing so bad for yourself. You have an amazing girlfriend who keeps you in your place, and at the same time teaches you the one thing you've always needed to learn, patience. Life comes at it's own pace and you've tried to speed it up but it didn't work. Yes, I'm trying to tell you that sadly, you have not developed the formula for time travel, but you have figured out true happiness. Taking everyday at a time and appreciating the little things is what you've always needed. You have a great job where you've had the pleasure of never having to grow up. You get to talk to people everyday about things that matter to them and at the same time allowing them to see that what they care about matters to you as well! It might not be the ideal job for most people, but you are good at it and that's all that you care about. When you were a few years younger you decided to live by the philosophy of ""do what makes you happy"", and you did. You've lived in some amazing places, downtown Chicago, Baltimore, and the classiest of all York Pennsylvania. Really, who can contest your life? You got here on your own and you're happier than you've ever been, all that came from realizing that the world moves at it's own pace, and letting the little things going and not worrying about the things you can't change have eased the extra baggage that you used to carry around. Breathe mini me, coming out is hard, but it will get better, and you'll be okay. 


Kiss More Girls (Erin)

Posted by Alyssa.fenix on July 8, 2014 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)

dear erin,

 

remember when you were 11 and your mom asked you if you were a lesbian and you said "i m not sure." you should have said "welp, kind of!" I know you were never super stressed about "not being straight" and never closeted for a variety of reasons, but if i were to give you a piece of advice it would be this, you dont need to be shy about sex or love with anyone. in the future, a lot of your relationships with people will be fluid, and it's awesome. plus, right now you are super hot, who wouldn't want to hold your hand/kiss your face/do it with you. and not to boss you around, but dont bind your chest with ace bandages anymore, that shit is not good for you. i know you won't be into being femme for almost 10 years, so embrace your masculinity in ways that won't constrict your breathing and cause you muscle aches. also, i know you dont feel like you are a girl now, and you never really will, but i know you will feel way okay with it in a couple of years. no one who loves you will care if you refer to yourself as a boy, or a dude. plus you will get really good at putting on make up, and you can wear shorts under all your dresses, and you will feel happy because you will know that you are having fun fooling people. mostly i want you to know you will grow up to be someone you are proud of. you work to help women (and men and folks in general) who have been sexually assaulted or experienced intimate partner violence, you will retain your sense of humor, you will continue to be young at heart and love people freely. you love, have loved and will love some amazing women/men/people and i am so proud that you gave yourself the opportunity to do so.

 

xoxo

future erin

 

ps. seriously, try kissing more girls in senior year, i promise positive results.

Remember Who You Are (Nadia)

Posted by Alyssa.fenix on July 8, 2014 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Dear Nadia,

You definitely made some idiotic choices along the way. Don't take forever to follow your dreams because of what other people may think. Currently you are a sergeant in the Marine Corps getting ready to endeavor marriage with the most beautiful woman in the world. Living it up in Hawaii at that, I wouldn't believe it if i was you too. You took forever to join the military because of don't ask don't tell. The government will eventually let you have the freedom to love who you want to love. You missed out on a great opportunity to have a successful career at a young age because you just wanted to be rebel and not give a damn about anything or anyone. It also worked out in a way because you eventually found out who you were, with that you found your fiance too. Just because one girl broke your heart doesn't mean they all will. Straight girls will always be straight girls, you can't change them. So stop trying!! Be careful with your experimenting because you tend to lose friends when they want to become serious and you don't. It might be just exploring to you, but it means something deeper to them. Cherish the friends that you have because a lot of them will be there for you. Especially when you go through it with your mother. She is going to be your worst enemy, don't let her bring you down or get in your way of your dreams. You were always right about her. She will show her true colors when you have finally succeeded. If I knew then what I know now I would've focused on school and not girlfriends. There is more to life than Myspace and AOL. You don't have to be the token gay girl at school. Life definitely moved on and you need to be prepared for that. Stay away from the parties because it is taking its toll on your body now. It really isn't that cool to do drugs and you would be a lot farther in life. I kinda wish I would've joined the Marine Corps when I was 18. Your pint up aggression would've taken you far. It's doing wonders for me right now. Just remember who you are deep down inside. Nobody can change that, not even you.

The Older Wiser You (Anonymous)

Posted by Alyssa.fenix on July 8, 2014 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Dear Me,

 

You don't have to have sex with all those dudes. Make sure you always use protection. You'll feel a lot better about yourself, though I'm not sure you'll ever lose the fear that you might be carrying a child to a man you've only know for one night. Stop doing that shit. It's too stressful and you don't really like it. Do you?

 

You will never worry about that with a woman. She cannot get your pregnant, so have fun. Just remember . . . You will learn how to be an asshole from many, many men. They are not all bad. Some of you best friends are men. Gender roles don't have to be confusing when you do what comes naturally. Further, you will learn how to be a gentlewoman. When you fall in love, treat her like you'd want to be treated. For your lady, do the most. Buy flowers. Open doors. And if she loves you back, she will do the same for you, making you feel beautiful and loved. There's no imbalance in requited love.

 

I'd love to tell you to turn down the gay. It might help with your future job search, but deep down inside, that doesn't feel right. There has to be room for all of us. That's why coming out is so important. As long as we are invisible, no one ever has to act like we exist. They don't have to worry about our interests, our “lifestyle” or the way we love, if we choose to be invisible. You are worthy of love, a successful career, and the patience from yourself and your partner, and a world where you matter.

 

That job you'll have after grad school . . . Stay there for no more than three years. Get out and never look back. You know what you want to do and what makes you feel good. It won't be easy, but maybe I'll write you again and give you some advice about your 30s. Until then, keep it movin and #keepitgangsta. This pound sign will make a lot more sense in 2013. Love,

Older Wiser You


Things Will Be Okay (Sara)

Posted by Alyssa.fenix on July 8, 2014 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

 

Dear 18-year-old Sarah,

 

Hi. This is 28-year-old Sarah. I know you're super busy right now moving to Ohio and starting college, but I need to give you a heads up about a few things that may make the next couple of years go much smoother for you. Although you haven't quite put two and two together yet about your sexuality, things are going to start hitting the fan here real soon. So before they do, keep the following in mind:

 

• No, I don't care what you read in that Cosmo magazine in high school, straight girls DO NOT have crushes on other girls like you have crushes. A straight girl girl-crush is different than a head-over-heels-can't-stop-thinking-about-her crush. Forget that article now; it's just going to continue to confuse you.

•Go to your college’s LGBT group. You go once freshman year, and get discouraged by the lack of cute girls and never go back. FAIL. GO AGAIN. You’re going to need the support and it was not easy realizing after college you need a LGBT group. It’s harder to find support like that in the real world. You know in your gut it would help you to be there… JUST GO AND KEEP GOING. You’ll thank me when you don’t spend years thinking you’re weird.

• There is such a thing as a femme. I know labels are stupid, but at this time in your life your head is full of stereotypes you’re assuming are facts. Let me save you the confusion and tell you now they’re all wrong. You can keep wearing dresses, keep your hair long, and wear high heels. Doing these things does not make you straight, and you don’t have to stop doing these things if you’re gay.

• You can have a family and be a mom if you’re gay. This is important to know now 18-year-old Sarah, but I’m going need you to remind 22-year-old Sarah of this too. Realizing you’re gay does not mean you have to kiss your future goodbye. You CAN get married, have a kid, and have the life you dream of having.

• Today, year 2014 this is, Mom and Dad are fine with having a gay daughter. But you have to remember, it’s a process for them too: be patient and go easy on them.

 

So I think that’s it in a nutshell, Sarah. Just realize that I’m writing to you now as a happily engaged, out-of-the-closet lesbian. I have that cute apartment you always wanted, and a cute fiancé who lives there too. Enjoy college, and when you start figuring things out, just CALM DOWN. It’s going to be ok!

 

 

In conclusion…

If I only knew then that the feelings I was having was not just a “girl-crush”. Most confusing phrase ever to a not-yet-figured-it-out lesbian.

 

If I only knew then the importance of having access to and going to a LGBT group. It would have been life changing to talk to people who have gone through what I was going through and have their support. Geez, the internal turmoil that might have saved!

 

If I only knew then that what I thought I “knew” about lesbians were stereotypes. I had absolutely no idea that a lesbian could be girly. It took me years, and I mean YEARS to realize that just because I was feminine doesn’t mean I’m straight. I was so sure that lesbians feel uncomfortable in dresses, etc., which meant there was no way I would be gay. Oh man, breaking down that stereotype for myself was a long and confusing experience.

 

If I only knew then that I could be gay and have a future. Maybe I should merge the last statement together with this one: If I only knew of any lesbian role models. I genuinely had no idea that I could have a family, wear a pretty wedding dress, be successful, have kids and continue to be who I am if I was gay. If I had only KNOWN of any lesbians who were my age and/or 10, 20, 30 years older, I can’t even imagine the impact that would have had on my life. Seeing feminine, successful lesbians with families when I had been 18 or so would have totally changed the following five years of my life.

 

If I only knew then that things would be ok. My parents, my sister and my life would all be ok. Having reassurance that that process wasn’t going to last forever, and I just needed to be patient and calm down, would have been invaluable!


Round the Corner and Live Your Life (Nikki)

Posted by Alyssa.fenix on July 8, 2014 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)

 

Nikki,

 

As I now approach deadlines of all shapes and sizes I have a better idea of what really matters. I wish I could've told you all of these things sooner, but I honestly didn't know. If I knew then what I know now, I would've told you not to hide under the stairwell during lunch throughout your junior and senior years of high school. I would've told you to stay on the basketball team - because you loved it and it loved you back - and to ignore the words and cruelties of people that never knew you, and never will. They didn't matter then, and they certainly don't matter now. I would've told you to let yourself have fun, and to let yourself sing and dance like Maude in what is still your favorite movie all of these years later. If I knew then what I know now I would've told you it's okay to be shy, but that sometimes it makes it harder; but never impossible. I would've give you a bit of heads up in terms of what type of strength you would need, and for this I am terribly sorry, because I know how much of a toll that all took on you. I am not here to say that it gets better or it does this or that, but it does become different; and that difference is the change that is vital to your survival. I would've told you that everyone doubts themselves, some more than others, but life is for living not dying. I know things didn't change quickly. Leaving high school and the nightmare that encompassed didn't translate into freedom for you. If I knew then what I know now I would tell you there are so many other queer people thinking, living, and experiencing similar things. The struggle is not yours alone entirely, but it is one that will make you a lot better off in the long run. Sure your hair has been graying since you were 16 - but some women find it hot so just roll with it! As I continue to move forward and develop personally, professionally, and emotionally I can tell you with confidence that you are doing damn good. The ebb and flow of self hatred has been a very, very real ocean for you; but with that comes self-knowing on a level some people will never experience. As I move to complete my doctorate and put myself out there for competitive jobs I have to remember that I am worthy of the same things everyone else is, despite how I identify. That this is just one piece of who I am, it does not define all that I am irrespective of everything else.

 

If I knew then what I know now I would tell you to try as hard as you possibly can to recognize your sadness for what it is, and learn from it.

 

If I knew then what I know now I would tell you life is so very short and the time I spent questioning myself could've been spent enjoying myself; round the corner, and live your life.