When I was 16, I liked a boy.

I’m just sitting here deeply reflecting on how different I am as a 41-year old man versus when I was a 16-year old *girl*. That was an interesting sentence to type.

I don’t often think back about my childhood or teenage years. I just don’t unless it’s about basketball or a very specific story we might be talking about as a family or to reference my upbringing. I think some of that comes from blocking things out, or avoiding things in the past that might have hurt or been traumatic or downright cringey for me when I think back on them. Top of that list is the whole born in the wrong body thing. It’s also just because I kind of have a bad memory but mostly, it’s hard to reconcile that time in the past with now and what I hope for the future.

Every now and then though, something happens that reminds me how much things have changed – how much I’ve changed, and really, how much people change over the course of their lifetimes. I think about how just as a human being living here, there’s so much I didn’t know in general or that I wasn’t exposed to as a kid, and especially growing up in the 80’s and 90’s when technology was not what it is today. If I had had the world’s information at my fingertips; if cell phones had been out like they are now when I was a kid or I had high-speed internet instead of dial-up for my last two years of high school, things might have turned out a little differently. Maybe, maybe not.

Who can really know? Back to the boy tho. I’m not really, really super sure on the rules of using people’s names so we’ll just call him D. So I’m 16 years old, a junior in high school and actually on my way to my first player of the year honor, (just threw that in there for fun), and I liked D a lot – like A LOT for a 16-year old person. He was really my first real, real crush. He was funny and cute – actually I thought he was super cute, (I’m very secure in myself and have no issue with saying who I think are attractive people, I’m a grown up), and not to take anything away from him but he was one of very few real candidates that could be considered to even be on the dating card because he was a church boy. Anyway, we hung out at church (HAHAHAHAHA), and we wrote letters. Every Sunday and Wednesday for months I’d have my letter ready to give him, it would be folded how we used to fold notes back in the day. Like where you have to unfold a flap to open it. I couldn’t wait to give him mine and get his from him. It was cute – all of it was. I am pretty sure we went on a date to the movies – that was like a big deal and over the top with the family and attention to it. Real cliche 90’s stuff. We held hands, it was innocent and ridiculous. But I was 16 and in love. (I guess).

When you’re growing up in the church I grew up in, there’s lots of talk about sin and hell and fire and burning for eternity; talk about negative effects of being promiscuous and how gay people are the devil and premarital sex is the worst and let’s look down on and control people yada yada… so one time D decided to write me a letter straight out of the Songs of Solomon… if you don’t know what that is, Google it and laugh with me. But he did, it was like love central and I was over the moon. How absurd but I was 16. So our parents saw these two kids starting to really like each other and they were like oh no no no, we have to stop this before something “bad” happens. And so we had to break-up. His parents made him – it was actually pretty awful and sad. But look where we are now – I’m feeling confident that I’m not his type and he’s also not my type.

That’s what I’m saying about sitting here deeply reflecting on who I was and who I am. Thinking about that time in my life, there’s a couple of things going on there. 1. that is what I had at my disposal, that’s what I knew and that’s who I was supposed to like and what I was supposed to do and then 2. that’s how much things can and will change. I think we can all agree that even outside of being a Transgender person who has transitioned, our entire life is a continual transition. You are going to change, what you like is going to change, what you need is going to change, who you are is based on all of the experiences you have and preferences you acquire over the course of your life and they are going to change you. And then in my case, and in the case of many, many others who are Trans and don’t know it, that’s another change.

It’s been 26 years since that time. I kind of can’t believe it. I was an entirely different person who didn’t know anything about anything. At 16, being Trans wasn’t even a concept I knew about.

Anyway, I really liked a boy when I was 16 years old and now I’m a straight Trans guy. It’s like go figure and also don’t worry about things so much – they can and will change. Who you are, where you are, and what you’re doing now are probably not who, where and what you’re going to be in 26 years. Try to enjoy the ride, be patient, let things come as they do but always protect your peace.

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