June 16, 2020

Dear My 17-yo Self, Love Yourself and Hang in There!

A love letter to a younger self, when life as a queer teen was turbulent, confusing and often lonely.

by Bloom
English
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To celebrate Pride Month, I wrote this letter to heal myself and to learn to love myself better. I hope this letter would inspire other people who are still questioning or struggling with who they are, whether it is their sexual orientation or gender identity. I hope this letter would help you overcome your fear.

Dear my 17-year-old self,

You might be feeling so confused, lonely and angry with who you are now  because you feel so different from others. You are afraid of having “that feeling” for girls. This is because your Thai society tells you that queer love is “unfaithful” and “just a phase.” I know how frustrating it is for you to try to force yourself to dress girly and avoid masculine clothing, despite yourself feeling more comfortable with guys’ clothes. You are feeling ashamed of your masculine soul as if it is trapped in the wrong body. You feel conflicted. While you are being aware that you are “different,” you are trying to suppress this “part” of you by bullying your then-best friend who is a gay guy.

I truly feel how upsetting it is that your family shames you for being who you are – especially you, the oldest one of the family with diverse ability. I know how traumatizing it is when you are wanting to leave your religion because the mainstream Buddhism in your country is shunning queer people like us. There are times when you want to turn yourself to drugs or cigarettes for a solution. I feel you, Bloom.

However, trust me, my 17-year-old self, your life will be so promising like the light at the end of tunnel in the next 10 years! You will be more awesome than you ever imagine, as long as you love yourself and be true to yourself. Loving yourself means not forgetting to cherish how awesome you are. Being true to yourself does not just literally mean being brave and bold, it is about embracing and listening to your true colors  and inner callings.

It will take courage, prayer and meditation to embrace these, to be where you are now. It will be a rollercoaster of a journey. But trust me, you will be a warrior within yourself at the end of the day.

Ok, let me tell you what will happen in the next 10 years. You will be doing great community work and activism work serving for queer, indigenous, and other marginalized communities while studying overseas. You will receive the recognitions and awards for serving queer communities. You will be the inspiration for many queers and questioning youths not just in your home country, but overseas too. You will help people realize their goals, potentials and dreams to become their “better” selves.

Also read: Alterland, A Safe Haven for Lesbians like Me

Because of your contribution for queer and marginalized communities, you will have job opportunities waiting for you. They are the jobs that will help people which is something that you are passionate for. You will learn that you will be able to reconcile your queerness and your Buddhism, thanks to your supportive Buddhist monk uncle. At the end of the day, the real teaching of Buddhism is about being free from suffering within our soul, instead of condemning queer people like most mainstream Buddhists in Thailand and elsewhere are doing.

Because of your contribution to queer communities, you will meet and make many wonderful friends personally and professionally from across the world! Some of these friends are in New Zealand, Canada, the Philippines, the USA, the UK, Indonesia, China, and so on! They will be people who love you for who you are.

You will learn that queer love is as valid and faithful, just like any other love. That misunderstanding that queer love is unfaithful comes from heteronormativity in our society, as a way to shun our love. Finally, you will learn to embrace your masculine soul and your body. You will learn to embrace your life that lives beyond the binary gender together with your sexuality.

All it takes to reach this point is self-love and being true to yourself. Don’t forget to hug yourself and listen to yourself. You will be alright, Bloom.

I love you, my 17-year-old self,
From Bloom written in 18/5/2020 Toronto, ON, Canada

Bloom (they/he) is a trans non-binary helper from Thailand who is now based in Toronto. They are pursuing their master’s degree in community work and working as a research assistant for their university. They love photographing, coffee appreciation and watching foreign films.