That night, I climbed onto my monogrammed step-stool and took a good, hard, long look at myself. I tilted my head back and forth, stuck out my tongue, shrugged my shoulders up and down. I patted my hair, a tiny mass of ebony corkscrews atop my head. I didn’t look much different than the other girls in my class, except for the fact that my mother insisted that I keep my hair short. Then, I realized that there was another layer that I had not yet taken into account.
I loved to learn. I learned how to read when I was 3 or 4, but I am convinced that I was born with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. I pored over the colorful picture books in my classroom and during choice time, I wrote stories of my own. By the end of the year, I had written a series of adventure stories involving myself and my brother, Pablo.
I was pretty quiet as a kid because I don’t remember ever having the words to describe exactly how I felt at a given moment. When I finally figured out how to share my stories, I told them to anyone and everyone who would listen. I still do, and I think I always will.
Eventually, the adults in my life read my stories and encouraged me to write more. My grandmother and I play a game where she sets the kitchen timer for thirty minutes and I have that long to write a piece based on the prompt she gives me. The pieces always turn out better than either of us expect they will.
People always ask me how I write and what my thought process is like. I feel like it is not my actual brain that comes up with the words on the paper, but a deep part of my subconscious. My fingers flutter across the keyboard without my exactly knowing how a sentence or paragraph is going to end. Before I know it, I have a piece. Sometimes, I read over my work, not knowing quite how I came up with the wording for certain bits of it, but having this mysterious feeling that what my fingers typed was exactly the right thing that needed to be said at that point.
Back to the main point of this article. I have a lot of friends who are just starting to come into their own, and I have recently found myself wondering, “Why is it that I already have such a burning sense in my heart of the girl I am and the woman I will become?” My main theory is that because I knew I was different so early on in my life, I was forced to figure out--and come to terms with--my identity as early as 5 or 6 years old. Society didn’t have a cut-and-dry place for me, so I had to make my own place.
I guess my main point is that everyone discovers their true identity in their own time frame and in their own unique way. I may have discovered who I am at an extremely young age, but some people discover it later. Jazz Jennings, who was born male, knew that she was a girly-girl at 2 years old! (If you don’t know who Jazz is, look her up. She’s seriously awesome). Don’t try too hard to rush your identity revelation, it will come to you in its own time. When it comes, you’ll know. It will hit you over the head like a ton of bricks, and you will be so much happier and more confident in yourself afterwards.