My darling Young Poppets, please, live.
Live to see your late 20s. When you finally, sort of, kind of start to figure things out. See, I’m not supposed to tell you this, but the truth is that there is nothing more horrible than your teens and early 20s. Even if you have the love and support of your family, friends and community, those years are still awful. If you don’t have that support, if you feel isolated, alone, judged – if you have been kicked out or disowned – if you are having to hide and hate who you are – it’s even worse.
But somewhere around your late 20s, things start to make a little more sense. You start really being able to make your own decisions. You start learning from your mistakes – including recognizing that not every mistake was so bad after all. You start realizing that maybe, just maybe, you have some self-worth – because of, or even in spite of, the people around you.
Live to see your mid-30s. When your confidence starts to set in. Because in your mid-30s, your shoulders go a little further back. You come to understand whose opinions matter – and whose really don’t. It’s easier to care about what’s important, and say fuck it to the things, people, and attitudes that aren’t.
All those things that you feel like you should know, understand, be able to do right now, they start to become reality somewhere in your mid-30s. You look around one day and it hits you: you’re the grown up you’ve been waiting to be. If things are good, you’ve created that. If things aren’t good, you’re more capable of taking charge and changing that than ever before.
Live to see your 40s. When you finally realize just how little you know – and just how okay that really is. At some point in your 40s, it will dawn on you that everyone is making it up as they go along. That no one has it as together as you think they do. That you aren’t alone – or a freak – or missing some memo that the rest of us got.
It’s easier to finally stop fighting, stop raging, in your 40s. Self-loathing can give way to self-acceptance – true self-acceptance – and with it, peace. What is worth fighting for becomes clear, and your motivation gets a laser target. But what isn’t worth your time and energy becomes clear, too, and shrugging it off and letting go becomes easier in a way you never, ever expected.
Young Poppets, I know – I know – that you feel a lot of “never” and “always” right now:
• It will never get better than this.
• I will always be tormented.
• If I don’t transition now, I will never be able to…will never look right…will always feel this wrong, ugly way.
• I will never be truly loved for who I truly am.
But never and always are lies. I’m not going to blow smoke up your ass and say it’s easy. Or that it just gets better miraculously. Life is hard work, Young Poppets. For everyone – but especially for those of us who live outside of mainstream privilege.
And yet - never and always are still lies. It can get better. You do have time. You will be able to make different choices, different decisions, take different paths. You will get to live your own life, on your own terms.
But you must live in order to make those choices, those decisions, to find your path. To live your life.
So, please, Young Poppets, live. Live into your 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond. Live to feel the difference in your life. Live to create the difference in your corner of the world. Because you are cherished. You are loved. You have value. And life is longer than it feels right now – in all the best ways.
And to my fellow Poppets of a Certain Age, be kind to the next generation. Reach out. Love. Mentor. Model. You never know when you might be the grownup who makes the difference.
Until next month, Poppets, take care of you – and each other.