Dear Me: Letters To Our Younger Selves On National Coming Out Day

1. You WILL get a girlfriend. Eventually. So be patient.
2. Keep up hope. When you do start dating, it will make up for all the loneliness.
3. Ignore the people who say you’re too pretty to be gay.
4. Dress like a tomboy. Girls will respond to this.
5. Keep your hair long, but add layers. Wear less makeup. Don’t pluck your eyebrows.
6. Pretend you’re not as shy as you are.
7. Don’t let your friends slip away.
8. Play hard-to-get.
9. Don’t tell anyone you’re a kid unless you want to be treated like one.
10. Read books about how to be more outgoing.
11. Write. And write. And write.
12. Stay the same. You’re doing everything right, you just don’t know it yet.

Tucky Williams

Hi Kid,

Wow, look at all the energy you are putting into hiding who you are. You grew out that short haircut in time to start a new school where no one had ever set eyes on you before. You’re sarcastic, sometimes funny, and sometimes rude in an attempt to keep everyone at arm’s length. You worry that if they get too close they are going to see it.

You already know you’re gay. You’re old friends with that ache in your chest and the devastating longing whenever you talk to those girls, the girls you can’t help but love. Those girls aren’t going to love you back, and that is going to hurt so much and for a long time. You won’t want to admit to it but you do know why you cry when you hear those songs, the ones that remind you of those girls. You know why but you refuse to name it.

Don’t worry. Someday, not too long from now, you are going to meet the girl who loves you back. You won’t guess who it is right away because you’ll think she’s like the others who are wonderful friends but never more. But she’s different, even if she doesn’t know it yet. She’s going to love you the way you never allowed yourself to dream was possible.

I know you’re still terrified that someone is going to see you for who you are and that they are going to give a name to that difference in you. It’s why you feel awkward around your softball coach and why you barely talk to the lesbian dorm parent even if you think she’s the coolest thing in the world. You fear they will see through the sarcasm and that they already know. They do know, everyone knows. Your best friend who you “secretly” love knows, and yes, she also knows you love her. They love you anyway. So whenever you do decide to stop this hiding they will be here to embrace you.

Here’s the last thing I have to tell you. You are spending so much time, so much effort trying to fit in, trying to bend yourself to match the other kids in school. You see how they talk, walk, act, what they say and what they would never say. You can try to contort yourself all you want. But there is going to come a time when you stop hiding from anyone. You’ll come out to the people at the grocery store, or the bank, to anyone who mistakenly thinks you are married to a man. You will no longer be scared when people think you are gay because the only thing that bothers you now is when people don’t know you’re gay. “What are you talking about, that is insane. Why in the name of heaven would I ever think that,” you ask? Kids.

That’s right, girl who thought she would never, ever get married, not in a million years, never ever. You are married to that girl who loved you back and the two of you have kids. If that doesn’t blow your little teenage mind, I don’t know what else I can tell you. Isn’t the world a motherf-cker?

You’ll be all right, I promise. Just keep your chin up, punk.

Lucy Hallowell

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