To myself from the past,
Hey, I know exactly how much you are hurting right now. You feel so alone, I know, buried up to your chest in the shame that stopped you from speaking about what you went through to the people closest to you. You came home alone that day and faced the painful realization that you had this entire life secreted away, hidden from your family.
You didn’t know when – if ever – you’d be ready to let them in on this side of you, so you just never talked about your sexuality or gender or about what you experienced. You made some bad decisions, I already know it too, and that’s fine. You had to then, to protect yourself while you figured this shit out. You shut everything you were deep away inside of you and rejected your own gender identity, for fear of being judged and ostracized.
I know how difficult it was and how much you hated yourself then, and no one can blame you for wanting to feel like you were accepted somewhere at least.
But everything you feel now, it’s not always going to be like that. I can’t tell you that you get things figured out completely eventually but I can tell you for sure that it gets so, so, so much better and you are so much stronger than you know. That’s something that you are always going to need to keep telling yourself too, because this is a lifelong deal you’ve got on your hands here.
But you need to know, that with time and experience, every struggle gets a little easier. You may feel so lost right now but that just means you have a whole adventure ahead of you to find yourself, as cliché as that might be! Despite all the trials and tribulations that that journey will entail, it will also gift you with so damn much to cherish and be grateful for.
You get to learn to embrace your queerness, I swear, and it becomes such an important and necessary part of who you are. The days when you feel comfortable claiming your non-binary identity will start to outnumber the days when you don’t. The pangs of dysphoria get a little quieter too as you learn to navigate this gender shit and you will find that you are so lucky because you get to meet all these amazing people who just accept you for who you are.
Yeah, there are always going to be those who don’t want to understand, who think your pronouns are a joke, who are convinced “it’s just a phase” for you. That’s fine, y’know, because they don’t outweigh the love you feel for your friends who openly welcome you for who you are. They won’t ever get to understand how much more important and special the love and acceptance you receive from your friends is. You find these lifelong friends who always reaffirm who you are and you come to learn you’re not alone at all.
It’s wonderful, seriously, when you finally see how beautiful and immensely powerful this community you belong to is. You’ll find all kinds of weird niche indie queer thingamajigs that make you so happy to be who you are, because you see your peers putting themselves out there and making amazing things happen. You’ll learn how powerful collective action can be and how incredibly brilliant, loving, and resourceful our community is. You’ll get to see your queer friends thriving and supporting one another and you’ll learn to lean on them as well.
You will find your voice and your strength in this solidarity and you will never look back again. In fact, you can’t just shut up ever, because you find the courage to never relinquish your voice and identity ever again. It becomes liberating, when you realize that you can be as outspoken as you want about it. Because you’re not alone anymore and you will always have the support of those who love you for everything that you are, with none of that “regardless of who you are” bullshit. You don’t have to feel ashamed of who you are any longer.
It will take you some time to get there and there are still bumps ahead on this road but it is 200% worth every difficult conversation you’ve had to have with someone to explain your gender identity. It doesn’t always work out either but when it does? It is all the more worth it.
You will hold those who understand closer to your heart and you will come to realize you are more than worthy of being loved. So, hang in there. You are absolutely going to make it.
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