"Dysphoria Distillation" a Letter of Change

Hey buddy,


Damn, it’s been a long time since we’ve done one of these, hasn’t it? The past two months have been a flurry of work, writing, and trying to get that bread (graduate). The good news is that we haven’t been wholly ignoring the issue. Senior Seminar allowed you to explore trans theory in the context of comics; (which, hell yeah, always!), but it also allowed you to express your identity, beliefs, and passions in a very personal and involved way.

That being said, how exhausting was that? We feel that fatigue in such a visceral way.  I am proud of you, though. It wasn’t easy to out yourself to the class and then continue to dig deep into your psyche and wounds to unearth truth and experience as a way to connect, yet again, to Julia Kaye’s incredible book. That took guts and a lot of trust and empathy on your part. Well done.

I know what you’re thinking now, though. What comes next? Nothing has gone away. In fact, if anything, it’s gotten worse and you’re doing that thing again where you close yourself up to the world and lash out at those you love most. I know that you’re hurting and you don’t know how to vocalize it—or even who to vocalize it to—but we cannot give up all the hard work we’ve done over the past few years. You’re beyond suffering in silence at this point. You have friends who love you and want to support you; you have to let them in.

The fear is always there, I know. You’re afraid to tell your dad and Emily because there’s so much uncertainty, which makes it feel debilitating, but they have to know. You can’t be free until your family is aware and can work toward supporting you. You’re afraid to go public because you don’t know what this means in terms of your safety, your relationships, etc. Well guess what, that’s the fear that many people face every single day. Those are voices that you seek to fight for every day. You know you have the strength to face bigots. You’re ready for it.

Your fear is justified. Everything is about to change and the concept of that is staggering. It’s ok to feel dizzy and unsure and positively weak in the knees. It’s going to be hard, but you know what’s harder? Continuing to hide yourself—your authentic self—from the world who wants to meet you. Sure, those who have loved and stayed by you for decades know the real you, but the rest of the world doesn’t. You have a fire that is raging inside of you, telling you to work your ass off and claim a position of activism, or any sort of help for the people you love, support, and believe in. Look at all those books that keep stacking in your room and filling up your wish lists. You want to study all of it; you want to understand what it all means and how you can help fight the structures.

You’re not stagnating. You stop that nonsense right now. If anything, you’re powering up. You’re getting ready for the next journey that is going to further shape and change you as a person. If you were stagnating, people wouldn’t be cheering for you to succeed. You wouldn’t have a crowded room of people sitting and staring at you while you riot about comics for an hour. Those smiling faces—your second family—they believe in you when you can’t find it in yourself to stand back up. Those people care for you so much, and they know you’re going to be great in whatever way you so choose. They see the strong woman and the staunch accomplice. They know that you’re in this for the long haul and are ready to pick you up and shove you right back into the ring. Failure was never an option for you because you would never allow that. Even when you fall behind, or somewhat underperform in a class, you find your way back and kick butt. You call it proving something to someone, I call it showing the world what you have to offer. Believe it or not, you have quite a bit, my love.

Dysphoria is making things hard. Some days you struggle to find the energy to combat it. Most days you have trouble looking yourself in the eyes when facing the mirror. It’s beyond challenging to rid yourself of the bodily and facial hair you used to hide yourself away for so long. It haunts you in a way you thought you conquered years ago. I feel it. It’s almost a near-constant tremor that courses through your body like a fever, and it scares you. I’m scared too. I’ve been sitting in here, biding my own time, waiting to face the world. Now that the reveal is closer than ever before, I face my own set of fears. What if they don’t like me? Do we care that we won’t be able to see the real us for quite some time? How are people going to react to you, or even me? It is relentlessly terrifying, but come on, we’ve watched horror movies for decades at this point. I don’t think this will be any scarier. We’ve got this. They’re gonna love us and if they don’t? Well, you don’t really need that mess in your life to begin with.

Besides, how could they not love what’s coming?