Living as an AFAB non-binary person in a male/female normative world is very interesting to say the least. Society paints life in a two toned way and if you find yourself wanting to choose another colour, you will probably find it difficult to navigate at some point or another.
If I have learned anything from myself in the past decade (ew) it is that we often give ourselves clues to who we are at an early age. When I was a kid, I’m really exposing myself with this one, I was always the dad when my neighbours and I played house. I would constantly wish I were a male lead character in movies or TV that had a female love interest, looking at you Troy Bolton. And then there was the biggest clue of all. The one I don’t think I have ever told more than 2 people. I used to put socks in my underwear to give the appearance of a bulge. I loved it. I would get so giddy seeing myself in jeans with a bulge in them. I was probably no younger than 10 when I started doing this but I don’t think I ever really knew what I was doing. Eventually I got to the age that I realized why I was doing this but it was the thought that I was trans that made me stop. For years I was terrified that I might be trans. Scared because of things that had been said throughout my childhood which in turn made me hide any parts of me that might indicate I’m not cisgender afterall.
When you’re growing up no one tells you what anything means or why you’re doing what you are. There’s no one waiting in your closet to tell you why you feel euphoric when you shove socks down your pants or why you like pretending to be someone’s boyfriend. Anytime I noticed myself doing something other girls didn’t do I would immediately hide it and not tell anyone. That was just how it was. For years I hid things to try and fit in as best I could but the older I got the more draining it was to try and be someone I definitely wasn’t. After years of pretending to be someone else I decided enough was enough and decided to take that huge, scary leap and started living as me. I came out to my girlfriend in 2020 after dropping hints and clues not as subtly as I thought I was. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done but I am so glad I did it.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to be authentic and live your life for you, however I understand how difficult this can be at first, and for those in situations that do not easily accept identities outside the binary. It’s a phrase we have all heard at one time or another: It gets better. As corny and cliché as it sounds this holds very true. If you would’ve asked 10 year old me if they thought I would be the person I am today, they would give you a very confused “What is that?” and maybe even a “I didn’t know that’s an option”. Young me would be very happy to know that I now know myself a lot better and recognize that it still takes work to be yourself, even after you’ve gotten a better picture of what that might be. I think it is a common thing to want what advantages youth has now for ourselves when we were younger. I have only been out of public school for 4 years and I already wish this. Social media has changed a lot since I was a kid and it looks a lot different for LGBTQ+ kids. We still have a long way to go but don’t think for a second that progress hasn’t been made.
If you or someone you know needs help, please don’t hesitate to ask. There are people around you that care about you and love you so much.