Maz – “Dear Younger Queer Self” Contest Finalist Story

Dear Younger Queer Self,

By the time you hit 30, you still won’t have everything figured out, but that’s OK.

It turns out nobody else has it figured out either.

By the time you’re 30, you’re a well seasoned adult who is still none the wiser. Sexuality still isn’t black and white and, unfortunately, labels still aren’t just for jam jars.

You’ll clarify to acquaintances that you’re actually bisexual, and yes, you are married to a man, but hell no, that doesn’t make you straight.

By the time you’re 30, your skin is thickened by the term ‘fake gay’, you laugh excruciatingly at ‘it’s just a phase’ and you zone out when people ask ‘does your husband mind that you’re bi?’

But, by the time you turn 30, you realise that your real friends don’t bat an eyelid when you tell them you’re queer.

By the time you’re 30, pop culture offers so many more role models for you to look up to, with fictional characters who convey the reality you need.

They’ll show you all the different iterations of love that are possible so you don’t have to make it up in your head anymore.

By the time you’re 30, you’ll come across so many unique love stories, but all will show you that love is just the same. In this, you will find profound comfort in understanding that the common experience of falling in love binds everyone together.

By the time you’re 30, you’ve accepted your own skin and feel comfortable in it. You’ll find safety and empowerment in your friendships and you won’t wear heels just because you feel like you should.

I wish that this knowledge could’ve made you braver than you were, and more accepting of yourself so you didn’t spend most of your life imagining it rather than living it.

I wish you could’ve known how little it mattered to your parents when you finally came out to them at 28.

I wish you could’ve known how much the world would change – and is still changing  – so that hope and opportunity for someone who doesn’t fit the mold isn’t just a fantasy.

I wish I could tell you that you are not the only one. Your feelings and instincts are valid. You will find love and acceptance.

I wish you could’ve known all this when you were 5 and first knew that you were different.

But hey, no one at 30 has it all figured out, and that’s OK.