Four years old.

I looked down at my 3 month old brother through emerald colored glasses as I held my breath and pulled up this flow-y green dress, given up pleading my mom to wear pants or ANYTHING aside from this fabric that I soon realized would always make me uncomfortable.

Nine years old.

“You’re just a lesbian. That’s why you’re so weird.” They laughed and I started to ask for an explanation but decided it was a question better answered by someone who didn’t hate me for existing. A question that would later be answered with four extra words that remained burned into the back of my mind and shaped every thought I would have about myself. “But that’s not you.”

Fourteen years old.

I lay my eyes on this girl with pink hair in the back of my trigonometry class and a billion butterflies break out of their cocoons for the first time in my life. Wrote it off as social anxiety.

Eighteen years old.

A bottle of gas station knock-off vodka later and I kissed a girl. Awkward and awful and on the floor of a trashed hotel room surrounded by people who weren’t nearly as drunk as I was. Next morning and questions I’ve been avoiding screamed making the hangover seem nonexistent, drowned in the nausea of putting the pieces together.

Eighteen and a half.

Hey mom, I’m not straight. Everyone else knows it, thought it was time you heard too. And now she avoids any conversation about relationships.

Nineteen years old.

A creative writing exercise left me shaking in the bathroom for twenty minutes. How was I supposed to write from the perspective of the “opposite gender” when I didn’t even know my own? My cisgender professor didn’t quite understand that.

Twenty-one years old.

This is me. Whatever this is. Given up trying to find a single word or phrase to define this, but I am here. I do exist. I will continue to exist.

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