I wrote just over a month ago about my anxieties about going away. It’s now less than a week until I actually go which is really exciting. I’m pumped to see my friends.
I got a message a few weeks ago from one of the friends I’m going with asking what name and pronouns I’d like to use on the trip, and saying that they’re going to ask to go by a different name and they or he pronouns. I replied with the fact that I’ve also been thinking about it a lot but still had no idea.
A week later they sent a message to the group chat saying that they’ve been going by their new name and pronouns at work and would like us to use them as well. I retreated into myself and spent the morning curled up under my duvet staring at the wall. It wasn’t that I was scared of my friends’ reactions, they responded great, it was that now I felt like I’d be the copycat, and felt pressured to make a decision on whether I actually wanted to go by a different name. I’d had a mental deadline of the end of February to decide and ask, to allow some time for people to adjust before I actually saw them in person, but the message prompted me to do some intense thinking.
I thought about how in my head I’ve been referring to myself as Jasper for a few months. How I feel so good when I look masculine. How my family using my name in public places makes me want to disappear. But how being seen as anything other than female feels like an AU version of me. How the thought of people calling me Jasper, or he, would make me feel like I’m faking.
It was a weird situation.
I voiced some of my doubts to my friend who said that just knowing who I’m not is a great start. That some AUs are better than the original. That its fine to not know.
3 days of deliberation later I decided to go ahead. To ask for them to try out this new name and pronouns, but just in our little group to see how I feel about them. I typed the message, changed it slightly, read through it, and hovered over the send button. But I couldn’t bring myself to press send, to say this seemingly irreversible thing. I had so much anxiety. In the end I hit send and turned my phone off until the next morning when I felt able to deal with the situation.
It’s been a couple of weeks. I’m feeling good. And knowing that there’s someone else in our group in a similar position in gendered situations makes me feel so much better.