Dear Liv at 18,
You are about to begin an unbelievable journey. I say unbelievable because you may not trust all of what I have to say. But, I’ve been there. I’m the only voice you need right now.
When you come out to your friends, you will find joy. The ones that don’t meet you with joy are not your friends. You will fight this much longer than you need to. Give them time, and if they don’t come back with an apology and open arms, let them go.
When you come out to your family, it will be much different. You’ll come out to your mom when you’re watching Les Mis and humming along, and she’ll put her hand on your knee. Don’t forget that simple act. There is love under it all.
Some will struggle more than others. Remember, that struggle will belong to them and not you. You’ll try to carry this, too, and it’ll be too heavy. You will break. You will hurt yourself. You’ll go to counseling. You’ll take prescriptions. You’ll feel the heaviness of it all.
You need to give yourself grace.
One person will make it bearable. She will give you endless hope. She’s your person. You haven’t met her yet, but when you have that moment backstage when she’s buttoning your tutu, you’ll know.
You will meet so young in life. You only need to wait a little longer.
I want you to know these things because once you get through the first four years, there is so much joy headed your way.
You’ll hurt and heal, over and over again. It does get better, like they say, and then it doesn’t. It does hurt, and then you heal.
Liv, you are becoming the most resilient, relentlessly hope-seeking, boldest woman you may ever know.
You’ll forget this. Keep people around you that remind you.
With love, grace, and courage,
Liv at 28
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