Letters For a Lifetime

Narrative Essay by Angelo De Klerk

Dear infant

Were you affected by “it’s a girl” too? 

Especially with your parents thinking you were a boy all along.

Or were you simply existing? Breathing, sleeping, and crying.

Did you cry because you knew about life’s terrors?

I wish life came with a blueprint and your life was a bit more explained.

Love,

You. 

***

Dear toddler

I envy your naïve sense of everything. 

How can someone so young experience such trauma and exist like everything was fine?

Looking back, dysphoria bothered you before you even knew what it was – 

Hating pink, hating girl clothing, and cutting the hair off your barbie dolls to make them boys.

I wish things get better for other kids like us. 

Love, 

You.

***

Dear child

Thoughts of these days give me stomach aches because of the empath I am.

Yet you’ve always surprised me with your discipline and maturity that I try to recover today

Still, people ignored this greatness because of your “otherness”.

At least your immediate family has always been supportive. 

I wish you knew then – your “weirdness” is okay and the thing that you’re loved for today.

Love,

You. 

***

Dear adolescent 

By now you’ve realized how this world is far from kind to a soul like yours…

I’m just glad you’re far from fragile, even when things feel unbearable.

You could have been broken by the bullying, by the peeping toms, 

or by the time you were thrown out of church for existing. 

All this while your own problem brewed inside you without permission

and things became weird with the peers you played soccer with.

I wish I could hug you and tell you that the changes to your body don’t define you.

Love, 

You.

***

Dear (young) adult

Look at how far we’ve made it… and by now you’ve probably realized that you are me.

With all the flaws and strengths, I can stand here and see the trail of growth behind me. 

There are many years ahead of me 

and who is to say what’s next?

Time will be the only judge.

So, wishing you all the best

Love, 

Me.