Jean Illyria – Letter To My Closet

Jean Illyria pens a heartfelt letter to her closeted self, sharing the personal struggles she has had to overcome to become who she truly is.

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Closeted FB Cover Jean

Dear you,

Have you ever seen yourself in another person? Not the you that’s reading this; no, the you of your dreams. Not in the sense of longing to be with them, but of yearning to be them? I did, and so will you; one day two years from now. You’ll realise then how painful it is, to see beauty and yet be so thoroughly broken by it. It will haunt your waking days and sleepless nights, like a beast within who’s been awakened: the you that could have been yet always were.

“Be a man,” they say. “Cut your hair, go out, have a drink. Don’t cry. Don’t wear pink. You’re a virgin!? Find someone! Go get married. What sport will you teach your children? Have another drink. Have sex. Have more sex. You’re a man, it’s what men do. Let yourself live! Come on, man… “


Except by now you’d have realized that you’re anything but a man. Your life has been a never-ending play, and you were just trying to keep up the act. But if all the world’s a stage, what’s stopping you from putting on another mask? Perhaps you’ll find solace away from the light – as a wanderer in the night; here today gone tomorrow, like two lives on a blade too narrow.

You know and believe that it defies all sense – you can’t possibly be trans! You’ll tell yourself that it’s impossible to fight the world and change who you are. That it’s all in your head. That there’s too much to lose for some uncertain gain, if you can even call it that. You’ll lose friends, faith and at times, hope. You’ll feel like this is all too much – that you wouldn’t wish it upon your worst enemy to feel as you do. And still you’ll try, and you’ll cry, and still try again. There are times you’ll feel like giving up, and there are times you will give up because that’s what the world tells you to, and that’s the way the world works. It abhors change.

But in the end, you’ll walk back into the blaze with your head held high, and in the flames you’ll find family and forge bonds stronger than blood. You’ll discover a community from all walks of life across the globe, united in their fight against stigma and discrimination. You’ll change minds and hearts, and find within you, in the middle of all the rubble and ashes, a new perspective. A new freedom. A new you.

I once read that “the most interesting, amazing people I’ve ever met, the ones who influenced and shaped the universe itself, are the ones that felt too much but lived through it.” And you’ll live through it, because I’m here, as you are here – we are here for the world to see. Unleashed, unbound, free.

Will you walk with me?

DSP Author Jean
Written by Jean Illyria: @jean.illyria

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