There is a multitude of fractions that seem to never add up. In a world run by humans and not by humanity, I am overwhelmed and yet I find times to be exhilarated by it all. I’m not sure if this realization is normal or if I’m just missing a few crucial screws. Either way I will remain a human trying to find and define all of the ways to be just that – human. Sometimes I will get it all wrong. Sometimes I will be the only one from here to the horizon who has noticed anything at all. You know something? That’s okay! For, if I’ve learned anything in my intellectually cognitive life it is that in order for the pathway to truth to clear and blossom a journey of trial and error must ensue.
So, without further distraction here is my question to you:
“Is there a way in this world, how we now live, to just be?” Friend, I may be
young but I know very well that the human mind is easily distracted and only on the surface can it be manipulated. If this weren’t so our hearts would persuade our actions into far more charitable ones, I am certain. I ask you this not because I am too lazy to endeavour the ways. I ask you because I have, indeed, tried on masks and goggles of an array of shades my entire life. Some people burn bridges, I burn masks. I simply wish to know in which direction do you look when in need of saving. It is no secret that life is difficult. And that understanding might just be the greatest common denominator between us. Yet, It can not guide us. You and all who work in support of the Trevor project are people worthy of a grandeur kind of love for that is the least you’ve given to
me and so very many like me. If I say nothing else I’d at least wish for that to be known.
Maybe a belated preface is in order. In all introductions I hesitate but on paper and behind a screen I practically look for new ways to shout who I now know that I am – thus one reason why I am writing to you now. For years I attempted one art form after another until I’d dug myself out of sunlight. I couldn’t spark myself alive. It wasn’t until I was out of school – and out of masks – that I began this grand adventure. I began with a name. My name. Vannathan Hugh. Now I know all that is the natural me. What I’m to do next is to build on to it. And this is why I seek enlightenment. Because becoming truly self-acquainted comes by way of the observation of the hidden wisdom in others.
One year and nine months ago I spun together words, in haste, that boldly said, “I am not a little girl any more. I am the makings of a man.” Oh yes, I spilled the cat from the bag and dear god has life been advanced since! For every moment forward begins to make its ancestors look weak. And that is how I comprehend survival. Speaking of, living in a closet is one way to say what
I’ve been but I prefer to spell it out. That closet so commonly referenced is my skin and it is never going away. Skin, as it is meant to, heals as equally as it can leave harsh remembrances for anyone to see. Those scar-like remnants are there to remind you of your feats but they can also label you in the eyes of the world’s strangers. That is my eternal obstacle. Waking every day to shed
the dead cells of yesterday and prepare my armour for another round of straight shots to this constantly recuperating composure. This is the American world.
I have analysed myself, the girl I’ve been and every possible man I could paint on that mirror. So far, what I can create is a person. With a nose, lips to speak, eyes, and ears to hear as best as they’ve been taught, I am human. And I continue to learn. One day I hope to teach the ways to live and love without a hitch. Now though, it is hard to envision such a peace when the society enveloping you is so relentlessly ruthless.
Somehow… I am here to share. All of those emotions that cause the doubt and self-destructive thinking should only be seen as strength! Loved ones, refrain from seeing yourself as a condition with side effects. You are not ill. You are human. I had to render light into dark corners to fully grasp this myself. Believe me. And I still need someone to hear me say this so I know I’m not alone. Our emotions are a language that can be used in trade and for internal use. For example, in those months when I feared disappointing my family with what they would consider naivete I was artfully speaking to myself. I was
aiming to show my conscious mind that I feared only because I love. I love them and I love my self. What I didn’t see was that I’d forgotten to include in my hurried, non-vocal reasoning that their love for me would be the muscle that would lift us over that hurtle. And in the days I spent bursting with confusion I was really being sat in a corner by anxiety and told that I only shook because I value myself, my future and all who might be in it. We deserve nothing less than to all be a part of this happy future I’ve dreamed of! Once my being was washed in the truth of the love around me and the beauty that is me I was able to find the light and grow skyward toward it.
Fellow questioners, we may all live in a fairytale world. The permission to create such a place must come from yourself. From there your support – your soil on which to build your castle – is made up of the ones who love you. Whether they own faces you’ve never seen, faces you’ve been told are unequal, or faces that raised you with sweet cheek kisses know that you are something they cherish. You are something that we require in order for us to love ourself. We are all a part of the massive energy that is love. So, relish in it. Know that you are strong, take the hand of your future, find your own way and just let it be!
with the whole of my love,
Vannathan Hugh S.
Dear Vannathan Hugh S.,
Thank you for writing such a poetic, inspiring letter of your journey to love and self-acceptance. It takes a courageous person to tell their story without filters and to be honest about the setbacks and steps forward.
You ask how is it to be able to just live, to be a member of society without pressure or censure from the world. It’s true that we all wear masks. Some may be more easily removed – we may dress and act differently at work or in other areas of daily responsibility and relax when we get home. Other masks are more deeply ingrained, helping us hide from others who we are, who we love, how we want to present our self to the world.
Many people find like you did that after they finish school they feel more independent and able to present themselves to the world. The Trevor Project created the Coming Out as You guide to help youth and adults find answers and support about the coming out process. You can find it here: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/section/YOU
It’s important to know that sex, gender and sexual orientation exist on a broad spectrum, meaning that there are many ways for a person to express their self and how they present to the world. This spectrum allows people who don’t necessarily identify with cultural norms about sex and gender to feel freer in society.
There are other resources for you to explore as you continue your journey. WPath is the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (www.wpath.org). They promote education, research, advocacy and public policy in transgender health. In addition to Ask Trevor there are other resources on the Trevor Project website that may be useful. TrevorSpace, is a social networking website for youth. There you can find other people that share similar experiences and meet a supportive network of peers. You can also talk to a trained counselor on TrevorChat or get live help by using TrevorText (hours of operation are listed on the Trevor Project website). You are not alone and there are people here to help.
It’s clear you have a story to share and it’s a powerful one. Keep sharing your light with others.
With all my best wishes,