Self-invention is something everyone goes through at some point. For most, it’s the adolescent experiment of puberty that usually plays host to such an intimate action. But for some – for me – it can happen much later.
“Who am I?” is a powerful question that begs an answer. In fact, such a question is not typically asked unless an answer is not readily available. And without an answer, the question becomes terrifying. So much so that one becomes desperate. In my case, I tried to plug that hole with anything that would fit.
When I was a teenager, I was very depressed. And that depression began to answer the question.
“Who am I? I’m depressed.”
But while I was miserable, I was no longer asking the question; no longer terrified.
However, eventually I received help with my depression. I started the process of gender transition and received antidepressants and therapy. My depression was under control. I was no longer depressed.
“Then, who am I?”
The question was back, and with it, so was the fear. Once again, I tried to silence it quickly by defining myself by what I was doing.
“Who am I? I’m the girl starting a longboarding company and trying to get into film.”
But the company failex, and I ended up dropping out of film school. Once again, a fleeting solution. And without those activities defining me…
“Who am I?”
This time, I knew I had to look inward; dig deeper. I needed an answer to the question that was more concrete. I had to invent myself like so many others during puberty.
Finally, full circle. Now, at 27 years old, I am once again experiencing puberty. A second chance. And this time, I’ve been spending a lot of time on self-reflection. A lot of experimentation. And at last I have an answer.
Who am I?
I am a girl who loves passionately and feels deeply. I am a girl who is proud of her family and her heritage. A girl who is fiercely loyal and incredibly stubborn. A girl who is very confident and intensely determined. I am a girl who is unapologetically transgender and a lesbian, willing to fight for her community so that queer kids after her may never suffer as she did. A girl that chooses life on her own terms. A girl whose style is half hipster, half punk, with a healthy dose of tomboyish femme for flair. A girl who colors her hair and gets piercings and tattoos to celebrate herself (I promise nothing distasteful, mom). A girl who loves science and science-fiction alike. A girl who thinks analytically, questions philosophically, and lives spiritually. Most importantly, I am a girl who knows who she is.
“That’s who I am.”