Meadow Comes Out 🏳️‍⚧️: Month One | Meadow Heckman
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Meadow Comes Out 🏳️‍⚧️: Month One

May 22nd, 2024

== - ==

A hush rolls over the theater. The room of one hundred people - some friends, some strangers - stares at the lone performer. She has a mask over the bottom half of her face, but her cyan eyes display vulnerability. Slowly, yet calmly, she steps forward and gestures wide.

== - ==

A bee will buzz, a rose will have thorns, and an egg will crack.

These are universal constants. Tried and true processes that occur naturally in our world. And, for what it's worth, a great deal of effort goes into cracking that egg, often working from the shadows, or as an afterthought years later.

Of course, we're not talking about an actual egg here, but you probably already knew that. We're talking about recognizing and coming into your trans identity, something I only did a little over a month ago. Ever since, things have changed - a little for the worse, but mostly positively. For my sake (and maybe yours), I want to share my story of how I got here, and the things I've found out in the month since.

There were plenty of signs leading up to the moment I discovered I'm trans, and they all built on each other. One of the first and more common in the community is "choosing the opposite gender" in role-playing games, like Pokémon or Stardew Valley. When not playing socially, I would choose the girl option, often gender-swapping myself - or the dream-version of myself - in order to connect more with my character in the game. It was a small bit of gender euphoria, but a precursor to bigger things to come.

I had also had thoughts and dreams that entertained the thought of being a woman. For years, actually. When I was still Christian, I would even pray to God that I would wake up the next morning and be a woman. For most of that time, I didn't have a label for that sort of thing, other than "sinful." When you grow up in a conservative Christian household, there's a lot that you don't get exposed to until much later in life.

Like the people I associated with in college. Out of the handful of friends I'd made, only one of them was a cis, straight person-and even then, he was an ally.

This was also my first true exposure to both a trans person, E, and a non-binary person, J. The two were and are in a relationship, and while I never really got to know E, J was and still is a close friend (who, looking back, absolutely gives me gender envy). They helped me to become much more comfortable with my identity and who I am, something I told them almost three years ago. Whether they knew what was budding is up for debate, but I owe a lot to my college friend group in helping me understand who I am.

They're far from the only influences, though, which also includes someone else close to me, who I will not out publically because said person isn't ready for that step in their life yet.

And sure, there were other, smaller things, like being called pretty and liking how it sounded, or putting a crop-top on as part of a joke and secretly liking it. I even pre-emptively bought a trans flag one day, in case I was sure that's what was happening.

Things weren't all positive, either. Many times throughout high school, and a little in college, I would be called feminine, or accused of being gay, two things that are certainly true (well, lesbian, but semantics). I took it personally. Those were things to be ashamed of, in my head. Paired with the other thoughts I was having, as well as my depression, it made for a very hard high school career.

== - ==

The catalyst. The "Break Into 2." Will the cat be saved?

Many in the audience already know this story. Many had lived this story. Was she going to be entertaining enough? Would her story have something new to add to the conversation, or would she lose herself to the critics? Would she be enough?

She bogged herself down with these thoughts. She had all her life. All she wanted was a place to belong.

== - ==

His name was Michael. He was a little goofy, a little spastic, and probably a little lovable in his own way. But he was never quite right.

He had a brother, too. Well, actually, a few brothers, and one sister, but only his younger brother was he close with. They played games together at least once a week, and had been attached at the hip for two decades.

There was just one problem: his brother was incredibly phobic.

Transphobic, homophobic - you name it, he was that. Despite his efforts, Michael couldn't change that, even when some Internet friends had come out.

But one day in mid-April, Michael was gone, and I, Meadow, was in his place. It was a natural feeling, one day flipping the switch to make that change, that transition, although I tried to hide this change at first, because I knew how his brother would feel. How his whole family would feel.

And, for what it's worth, I did for a while. Almost two weeks, in fact. But when a friend of Michael's found out, he brought it up to his brother, and it was downhill from there.

It was the most attention I'd gotten online ever, and I knew there was no turning back from this point. Being trans was formally part of my identity, at least to a group of Internet strangers, a few close friends, and Michael's transphobic brother. The clock was ticking on the rest of his family finding out, too.

So far, the other shoe hasn't dropped. Or, if it has, everything is business as usual. But the day he called me "sick in the head" was the day the community came out in droves to show their support. Threads was my platform (because we all know it ain't gonna be Twitter), and my people were there. Even with some pointed things said about Michael's brother, there was more positivity than negativity, and I knew I was right for coming out.

Michael is more or less gone. It's not a name I look at with any malice, or longing, or sorrowful memories, more than a name with two decades of meaning behind it. But I'm someone else, now, and those memories are mine to hold - those breadcrumbs, those stories, those cracks in that egg.

Maybe one day, his brother will be mine, too, and that relationship will heal. And maybe someday his whole family will be mine.

But I'm me now. I'm Meadow, and I'm staying.

Goodbye, Michael.

== - ==

The crowd stands up, and the applause roars. A smile forms across her face, hidden by the mask she promises to take off someday. For all her worrying and feeling about not being enough, about not fitting in, and about adding something new to the conversation, she neglected to remember that this crowd of one hundred people has gone through the same thing. The same thoughts, the same anxieties, the same identity crisis.

She is enough. They are enough. We are all enough. And thus, the egg has cracked.

== - ==

My profile picture.