I recently read a book (“Letters For My Sisters, Transitional Wisdom in Retrospect. Published by Transgress Press”) compiled with stories that trans* people wrote to their younger selves. They were asked “what would you say to your former self” and “to what age”?
I think this is brilliant and thought I would give it a go. But I had a hard time determining the age that I would sent it too. The best I could do was come up with was three different times of my life that I would have sent a letter to. This is the first of those three. I’m sending this to myself when I was in early grade school – about 8 or 9 years of age.
Hi Steven, it’s ok. I know I must look ancient to you but please don’t be afraid. I’m not one of those adults that tell you what to do or believe a child should be seen and not heard. I know how tired you are of always being second tier: adults, older kids, bullies.
Your parents don’t give you credit for what you accomplish. I know all you want is some recognition for your hard work. You just want to have some say in your life and some control over yourself, your life and your future. I know…
And yet – look at yourself – one can see in your eyes how proud you are of yourself and of your determination. Remember this, these are powerful tools that you have and that will get your through life. And I’m sorry to say: you will need to remember this.
I have some great news and perhaps some scary and unbelievable news – about you and your future!
You know how every body in school picks on Billy, calls him names, thinks he’s slow and stupid and retarded? You hate that. You’ve seen how smart he is. He just has a problem in front of people he does not know well. But no one gives him credit, they just ridicule him and call him names. Worse yet, you saw how his other friends attempted to stick up for him and then they got ridiculed and shunned. I know this has kept you quite and that you held back from supporting him in public. I know you feel bad about that too.
I’m not going to tell you that you should have stood up for him. I know that you have something you are hiding that would make it even worse for you if anyone knew. Surprised? Yes, I knew you would be. I’m sorry to say, that even at your very young age, trauma has forced your secret so deep that it will take many many years to reconnect to it.
I know you are scared, you saw how people treat Joey, calling him names like sissy and queer just because everyone thinks he acts like a girl and likes the other boys. And I know you have some things in common with him. And yes, I know you like girls not boys. In fact you can’t understand boys and why they are the way they are. They are so different than you – right? And I know you are having problems understanding why you are so different.
You have spent a lot of time thinking about this, right? A part of you knows you are more like all the girls around you then the boys. Yes, I know, you ‘know’ you are a boy and just have these ‘extra’ abilities and sensitivities. And that’s ok. It really is ok.
I can see how all the kids at school would treat you and the very difficult time you would have if they knew. And you have already seen what would happen from watching how they treat Billy and Joey and others. You need to be protected and that is what your unconsciousness has done for you – buried this deeply. And that is ok too.
You believe fitting in and doing what everyone tells you to do and achieving will make you successful. And you know from watching others that doing this puts you ahead and in front of everyone else. You have seen how competitive grade school is and know that success is not on the play ground or being the most popular with the kids. You see the larger picture – it’s the adults and later life you are getting ready for.
Well, you are right! But everything has a price. Your price is burying something so deep that it will take 50 years before you find it and solve it.
This is ok too. Everything has a give and take. This will haunt you, you will not fully understand why or what it is. There will be many times when life will give you huge clues, but you will simply ‘file them away’ only later to look back and finally put the pieces together. Such is life I’m afraid.
Yes, it’s going to be hard. There will be times you wish you could just skip forward 5 years – get past the awful times. At least you will never think of calling it quits. You are tough that way.
Please, take time to look back at your accomplishments and awards. You need to know that you are accomplishing some really big and cool things. I know they seem like nothing, like everyone else and that you feel you are not at all special – you are constantly being told this by your teachers, your parents and family and even the other kids. But really, as you grow up, remember this: take time to look back and assess your spectacular achievements – they really are wonderful accomplishments you know. And you need to know that.
You have a wonderful enjoyment of life. Your nature is to be happy. This is going to serve you very well. You love nature and many times you will go to her to help sooth yourself and solve the issues life throws at you. Believe me, you have all the ‘tools’ you need and then some…
Let me give you a small peek at the rest of your life. There are many hard times – much harder then what you are experiencing right now. But you accomplish so much. You will find and experience some of the most beautiful and joyous moments anyone could wish for. The last job you have before retiring will be a dream come true for you.
You will have a family, grand-kids too. They will be an awesome part of your life. But, when you solve your deep secret, you will cause them great pain and will have to leave them. The jury is still out if they will ever reconcile. Like I said, everything has a price. I’m sorry to tell you this.
I’m not going to comment on good or bad. Life just is. Things that seem bad usually turn out much much better – although it takes time before that happens. You will always be happy and content with life. You will continue to achieve and to enjoy life.
Solving your deep secret will free you – in ways you just can not imagine. Yes, I know I have not told you what that is. I’m sorry, but if I did, so much of your life would be different. I really do wish you could figure it out now, at your age. Yes, your life would be easier in some ways, but you would miss so many of life’s struggles and these struggles are what will shape you into a wonderful person that you will become. Unfortunately, these hard times really are necessary.
With so much love and admiration,
… your future self