One week ago, I came out to the world as a transgender woman in my piece, Life on the Other Side. One week ago, the one secret I kept close to heart was published for all to read in a web of poetry and prose, putting my life on stage for all to read, in my own personal Reynolds Pamphlet (“Congratulations, Alyssa”). One week ago, I came to terms with my notions of privacy, explaining my positions on mass surveillance shaped by a life asking, “what if they know?” One week ago, I lost it all.

One week ago, I discovered a new part of my self, a better part ready to go help the world. One week ago, I discovered the joys of activism, realising I was better off fighting the front lines of the battlefield than sticking to where it’s safe back home. One week ago, I knew I had nothing to hide, because I have nothing to fear in a world surrounded by the people I hold dearest – my parents, siblings, teachers, and more friends than I ever thought possible. One week ago, at the press of a key, I gained everything.

It was with a moment of clarity that I published what I did, a moment of insanity, perhaps. But looking back, in the mere seven days, I’ve come to terms with my love for writing, forging new friendships, strengthening old ones, and losing a few along the way. In the time past, I began to learn Inkscape, a libre vector art tool, drawing a new icon for myself featuring transgender symbolism, and I’ve published additional poems I’ve kept closeted from a life of fears. In the time past, I have grown in ways I cannot begin to predict. I’ve fought with people, yes. But I know that if I vaccinate myself to hatred and irrational bigotry today, while I am young and my problems are contained, I will be secure to handle the real threats that are looming – at the airport, in the public space, in the shadows of my mind. In the time past, I have discovered something truly amazing, a new chapter in a book of life which, for the first time in years, I am writing for myself. No longer do I blindly follow the script of corrupt puppet-master bent on confining me to a corner where only the hatred of millions is company, where I rely on others for everything, because I’m afraid of what will happen to me if I don’t.

The road ahead is long and arduous. I am not so naive as to think otherwise. But I know that; inevitably, it can’t be worse than the private hell I crafted for myself, the space in which I lived for the better part of my life. It’s a brave new world out there, and for the first moment in years, I’ve come prepared. I have life on my side this time.

I’m ready.


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