Imagine you were born in my shoes.
The day you’re born, you come late. Everyone’s overjoyed at your arrival, and the doctor announces to proud parents that they have a healthy baby girl. Everyone’s happy. You’re crying. Little does anyone know you’ll do that a lot in the future.
You’re five years old and your best friend is a boy. You’re obsessed with boy things like trucks and cars and racing and wrestling. The only girls you like are either quiet or like you. Your school makes you wear dresses and you fight and scream and cry every time your parents dress you. You don’t know why but it’s embarrassing to go outside in dresses and skirts. You fight everything feminine from dresses to socks. You envy boys that get to wear pants and ties.
You’re eleven when puberty hits. You’ve learned to stop crying in front of people, so no one knows you’re dying inside. Your mom says you’re becoming a woman. You don’t want to be a woman. You don’t know why this hurts so much or why it feels so wrong, but you hear it’s normal to not like puberty so you try to believe them even though everything inside you says it’s wrong.
You’re thirteen and everything you say and do screams “boy” if it weren’t for the boobs on your chest. No one knows your a girl until they look at your chest and correct themselves. You secretly hate every person who lets your chest define who you are, but you still don’t know why being called a girl hurts so much.
You’re fifteen and you put on a new pair of shoes. They don’t fit and they’re uncomfortable to wear, but you don’t take them off even though you hate them. This defines the next five years of your life as you put on feminine clothes for the first time in your teen years. You cry in the dressing room at the mall because the girly clothes you’ve torn off and the girly clothes you’re about to put on are equally horrible but you feel like you have no other choice. You think you’re gay. You think that’s why you hate yourself so much.
You’re twenty years old when everything changes. You’ve been playing the part for five years and everyone’s believed it. You come out as gay and things change, but it still doesn’t feel right. You don’t feel right. You wake up in the middle of the night and all the pieces click into place like a vision from God. You’re a boy. You were a boy. You are a boy. You’re transgender.
You’re twenty years old and it took twenty years to figure out why nothing ever felt right. It took twenty years of tears and pain and regret but now everything makes sense and you feel free for the first time in your life. You start living authentically right away.
You’re twenty when you buy men’s clothes and for once you don’t hate your reflection in the dressing room.
You’re twenty when you come out as a transgender young man.
You’re twenty when you legally change your name with your mother’s help.
You’re twenty when you come out at work and your co-workers immediately smile and say, “Hello Kason” like they had a feeling all along.
You’re twenty when the messages start.
You’re twenty when all your old friends start to criticize you and passively remind you you’re going to hell.
You’re twenty and someone asks you if you actually know what hell is.
You’re twenty and you cut your hair. Someone you idolize won’t look at you or speak to you for a week.
You’re twenty and people ask you why you’re so defensive all the time.
You’re twenty and the people you thought loved you refuse to say your name.
You’re twenty and people won’t stop reminding you, “You’re a girl, actually.”
You’re twenty and it’s taken twenty years to be yourself and it feels like no one wants you to be yourself. It feels like people would rather have you lie or disappear than be honest and authentic.
You’re twenty and eventually you realize you don’t have to keep explaining yourself. You eventually realize it’s okay if people don’t like you for who you are. It’s okay if some people think you’re going to hell.
You’re twenty and you realize that only you can decide what you’re going to believe in. You realize whatever you do is between you and God, not between you and one hundred people who want to play God in your life.
You realize that God loves you.
You realize not everything has an answer.
You learn to be okay with that.
You’re twenty years old and you have the rest of your life to look forward to. Your life doesn’t end here. You keep going. You keep smiling.
You learn to be okay.