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Dear younger me,

You’re transgender. Nobody told you it was possible to transition – you didn’t know your pain could end. And I’m so sorry you faced that pain alone. But there are so many people like us – kind and gentle people who truly understand what we’re going through. They’ll make you feel safe and embrace you for your true self. Not just the ‘normal’ or ‘acceptable’ parts – for everything that makes you unique. They’ll support you through your transition. And once you blossom into yourself, the pain that once consumed your life will become a distant memory.

It’s worth staying alive for. I promise.

Until then, don’t blame yourself for struggling. You’re not weak or fragile for being exhausted each day. You’re working harder than anyone else and winning just as many battles – you’re just fighting a different war. You’re developing emotional resilience: it’s your superpower. Once you transition, all that energy you spend surviving can go towards living. You’ll become strong enough and resilient enough to conquer any hardship.

You’re becoming a superhero – this is your origin story.

One day, you’ll change people’s lives. You’ll find people just like us – young trans people struggling to survive – and take them under your wing. Because you’ll understand how to help them better than anyone. Every drop of pain you’ve ever felt will be transformed into power – the motivation and first-hand experience needed to help people just like you. And the pain fades away, but the power lasts forever. With all your superpowers, you’ll teach people resilience and give them hope.

You’ll become the type of hero you needed when you were younger.

So be kind to yourself. Find coping strategies to help you survive your origin story – music, writing, dance or anything else. Don’t feel bad if your hobbies are ‘unproductive.’ You’re working harder than anyone else to survive – of course you need more time to relax. Rather than replacing those coping strategies, add to them. I recommend meditation, journaling and daily exercise – but that’s me. Experiment and discover what suits you, then combine those strategies with your personal comforts. Always make time for what you love.

Save yourself first, then save the world.

Lastly, it’s OK to cry. Your feelings are justified. Knowing things get better doesn’t make it hurt less now, but it helps us survive the hurt. Because we know there’s a future worth fighting for.

Stay strong, darling.