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A Letter to my Younger Self Series: Dubbs

Dear Laura,

I’m checking in because I know high school is hard (trust me, I’ve been there). I know high school is even harder when you’re living it in the closet, hiding the real you.

Right now, you are feigning happiness and are longing to be accepted. All you’re feeling is scared and alone. You think that you will never be able to live a happy, comfortable life as yourself, a queer person. You fear losing your family and friends if you simply live your truth.  You don’t even have a clue about the gender identity crisis bubbling beneath the surface; you think all the pain plaguing you is simply about your sexuality.

But you push forward.

You go to your BBYO Beau Sweetheart dance with a boy because that’s what you’re “supposed to do.” You attend meetings and travel to conventions but you feel uncomfortable when the room divides into boys and girls; you start distancing yourself  from your peers, Judaism, and the community you love.

You admit to crushes you don’t really have, on boys you don’t really like, because you want to fit in. You buy the clothes you think you’re supposed to wear and think that all of this will be your norm forever. But it never stops feeling “off.” You lie awake every night wishing things could be different but feeling pretty sure they never will be.

But you push forward.

Your struggles are going to get harder before they get easier. You will be faced with challenges you’ve never expected, but you’ll charge at them, head on, no matter how hard they seem.

Though it may not feel like it right now, I need you to know how strong you are. Every time you fall down, you’ll get up more motivated to do better, to be better. You are brave even when it’s scary, and you are strong even when it’s hard. You are a warrior. You’ll do anything and everything you can to figure out how you can be your most authentic self. But it’s going to hurt. You’re going to get angry. You’re going to feel sad.

But you push forward.

At times you’re going to feel lost more than you feel found. You continue to distance yourself from your family and Judaism because you think there isn’t space for someone like you among your people.

But you push forward.

Eventually, you’re going to come out of the closet and fall in love and have your heart broken (by women, yay!). You’ll cut your hair short and wear a tie for the first time. It’s going to take you years to uncover your genderqueerness (yes, you’re genderqueer – SURPRISE!) but you’ll do it. You’re going to change your name to something that fits YOU. You’re going to have top surgery so your body feels more in line with your gender identity — you’ll finally feel at home in your body. You’ll find your way back to your family and Judaism. You’ll fight for what’s right and work hard each and every day to live truthfully and authentically. You’re going to finally look in the mirror and see yourself. You’ll finally feel at ease just being. And you’ll know, deep inside, that it’s okay to finally be the real you. And that’s something to be proud of.

I know it seems impossible to believe any of what I’ve just told you, but know this: Everything is possible, and you don’t have to wait until you’re older to be brave or strong. You ARE brave and strong. Hiding in the closet and always feeling alone is HARD. But you’ll make it through. YOU will persevere.

Stay brave, kiddo, and keep pushing forward because it does get better.

-Dubbs (the name you go by now – cool, huh?)


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