I often think about the life that was taken from me and the many things I missed out on because the world I was born into had no notion of how to nurture me. When I was born, gender nonconformity was seen as a mental illness, and nonconforming behavior was beaten out of countless queer and trans kids like me. I wasn’t literally beaten for behaving like a girl, but the shame that was heaped onto me felt just as painful. More painful, really.
It saddens me when I think about losing out on the life I should have had. It’s not a sadness I carry every day, or something I think about it every day. But it’s heavier than black hole gravity when it comes up, and just as impossible to escape.
Today Ayin found this old children’s tea set in a box in the garage.
It belonged to my grandmother. When Grandma died, it was one of the things my mother saved. She gave it to me when I was an adult. “You used to love this,” she said, “whenever you’d go to grandma’s house, you’d insist on playing with it.”
Ridiculous children’s gender stereotypes aside, oh my god.
I’ve carried the tea set around with me for over 40 years. I never thought about it, or displayed it. But I didn’t get rid of it either. Ayin finding it today surfaced overpowering emotion. I can’t believe I can hold something in my hand that the three or four-year-old me loved in a way only my genuine self could. It represents the last time in my life I was allowed to express myself honestly.
My grandmother shared the tea set with me without judgment. In a time and place where I’d learned not to hope for miracles, that is a miracle that I can’t find words to express.