Today is the 6th of February, 2018.
This means that 6 months have passed since I wrapped up what little I owned in trash bags and ran away from home, never looking back.
This means that 6 months have passed since I nearly ended my life as it was in that moment.
This means that, for 6 months, I have been living somewhere far, far away from you.
I’m writing to you because I want you to know why I did it: why I handed you my pills, why you locked up the knives, why I was so bitter and hopeless as a frightened 16-year-old that I nearly decided to throw the rest of my life away, and why I finally decided that living, just not with you, was worth it.
It wasn’t for social reasons. I was not bullied.
There is something I want you to know, but first, let’s recall a few things:
Three months before I moved out, I cut my hair short.
You remember this. You told me I looked like a boy.
You asked me over and over, “Do you really want to look like that?”
To you, it was just hair.
To me, it was a silent first step on a painful journey.
Six months before I cut my hair short, my closest friends learned something new about me.
My friends saw I was reluctant when I had to refer to myself as a woman.
They noticed I cringed when they called me “she”.
They noticed that something was wrong.
They started calling me by a new name.
Nine years ago, I was playing with my friends in the dirt.
Wearing basketball shorts and my brother’s shirt, I wielded a BB gun with precision and pride.
I scraped my knees. I laughed. I smeared mud on my face.
“You’re not a girl. You’re not like the others,” my all-male friend group would say.
For a few innocent years, this was enough for me. They made me feel welcome.
They say that the middle school years are equally awkward for everyone.
I disagree. Some experiences are far more awkward than others.
Not many are as awkward as getting your period, and instead of feeling thrilled, you cry at home.
This isn’t what you wanted. This doesn’t make any sense.
You convince your friends it never happened; you must be a late bloomer.
There’s a few reasons why you didn’t get this letter sooner.
When I came out to you as bisexual in 7th grade, you laughed. You thought I was joking.
You told me, “You can’t tell me you’re gay until you make out with a woman.”
You told me, “Until then, stick with dating guys.”
Afterwards, you left my room. I felt unwelcome.
When Caitlin Jenner was in the news, you were apathetic at best.
When I left the room, you made jokes about her to my brothers.
You commented on her surgery. You laughed about her voice.
You made fun of her identity.
I felt unwelcome.
I spent many nights awake, staring into the mirror for hours.
The longer I stared, the less I recognized myself.
I began to feel uncomfortable.
I began to obsess over changing certain areas of my body.
I had no one to confide in.
July nights felt lonelier the more dysphoria I had.
As I was packing my bags to move out, I made the decision to wait before telling you about who I am.
Now that you hold nothing over me, right now is as safe as it’s going to get.
I know that you tend to let your anger get the best of you. It’s not something you’re proud of.
I know that you tend to speak before thinking.
I’ve spent many years thinking about this.
I’ve spent many more convincing myself that I’m wrong.
I want you to know that no matter how you react, I still love you.
I’ll always be your first born, but I’m not your daughter.
I am your son.
Aleksandr Kruchinin Farwell