I can hear my heart beating, thumping rapidly against my chest as I sit awkwardly across from this person I’ve known for less than a day.
My stomach churns and I begin to feel queasy. “I don’t think I can go through with this,” I say to myself, unable to look her in the eyes.
My eyes dart towards her shoes.
She has nice shoes. I think they’re pumps.
Why do I keep looking at her shoes? She might look back, and then I’ll feel more nauseous.
My body feels numb. I try to speak, but I can’t form the words.
“Just go for it,” I say, trying to encourage myself. “What’s the worst that could happen?”
I should really stop saying that.
“How long have you felt this way,” she asks me. At least, that’s what I think she’s asking me.
It’s been five years since the day I first came out to someone.
I felt awkward and helpless, worried about whether someone I knew would find out.
While my external coming out process is relatively new, I, like many like me, have struggled with accepting and coming out to myself for much longer.
I’ve experienced gender dysphoria since I was 6-years-old.
For most of my life I felt alone, afraid of telling others about what I was going through.
I knew my family wouldn’t understand what I was going through, and my friends would have laughed at me.
For years, I sat back, holding everything in. Depression and anxiety ate away at me.
It wasn’t until I left for college that I saw a way for me to let my feelings out.
By speaking with counselors and letting them help me, I could finally let go of the hurt I had kept inside.
After 18 years of hiding, I finally felt free. I finally felt like I was growing.
And now, at 24, I feel more alive than ever.
I hardly recognize the person I was before coming out.
The person I once was, was scared and worried. They had little drive or passion.
I used to look over my shoulder, afraid of what would come next. Afraid of being outed and made fun of.
But now, after accepting my true self, I feel liberated and revised.
While the last decade was filled with heartache and despair, I can confidently say this new decade will be filled with hope and change.
This is me. I am Sadie.