A Letter to My 25-Year-Old Self
This was written for a (now apparently defunct) site call Letters to my 25 year-old self, in late 2014, a couple of years after my transition.
You don't know me, but I know you. We are separated by over 30 years, we have different names, and you are living (or trying to live) as a man, while I am a woman. But all that you have seen and done, all you will see and do are a part of me. In spite of our differences, we are the same person.
I know you well, better than you know yourself. You are not quite as smart as you think you are - many things you think you understand about the world, other people, and particularly yourself will turn out not to be true.
You are also far more gentle, kind, and loving than you feel you can admit, even to yourself. In time you will come to value these traits far more than being smart. In fact, they are your strength and will serve you well one day.
Right now you are rejecting who you are. You also know that if the people around ever learn your secret they will laugh at you and despise you. You know that you can never tell anyone. You think you can handle it, that if you keep it secret you will be fine. But that secret you are guarding and have guarded so closely for so long will one day be known to everyone, because you will tell them. And to your relief and joy that will be much more a good thing than bad.
Don't get me wrong - you're doing the best that you can now, and I love and admire you for doing what you can to hold on for so long. You are keeping me alive, protecting me until I'm ready and able to take over. I thank you for that.
In the years to come you have much ahead of you, both joyous and painful. You will find love and it will endure, and you will find friendship where you least expect it, but where you most need it. You will also have sleepless nights filled with uncertainty and regret. There will be losses and they will wound you deeply. You will be lonely and isolated even among people you know and you will question your will to endure.
But you will endure and one day you will come to peace with who you are. This will come at a price, a price you now feel you will never be able to pay. But when the time comes it will be well worth the cost, and you will be richer for it.
In a way I wish you didn't have to go through all of the things that lie ahead of you. But those experiences will eventually make you slower to judge, quicker to forgive, and more willing to open your heart to others. In other words they will make you, and make me, a better person.
So thank you for not giving up, for carrying on without becoming bitter and hateful, and most of all thank you for helping me come into the world to take your place, making us both whole.