“How old are you Tilly?”
“21,” I said, as I danced in a repetitive circle on the rug.
“Oh my god,” he said. “You are so beautiful.”
His words made my cheeks flutter. It was the beginning of a process. A learning process. And I was so happy to hear him say it.
With him saying it, I knew I didn’t have to tell anyone else for hours on end that I was loved.
It was the beginning of a process in learning how to be open about being loved.
As someone who was raised to be empathic and kind, I’m not usually one to approach others and make plans to just “get to know them.” I find that to be overly introspective, and I don’t feel right doing it.
I decide who goes on my vacations and dinners. I choose who my babysit. I pay the bills. I’m the one who gets gifts like everyone else.
I do not like opening up my life for other people to see, I feel open up my life because I know the deepest parts of me are hidden there.
I don’t want to share those parts with anyone, and I don’t want to spend time trying to make someone else share them with me.
That’s why I’m terrified of deep cut parts, I don’t want to share them, and I don’t want people to feel lost without my help.
That’s why I’m hesitant to ask people out on a date, I want to make sure that person is cool with it, I want to make sure they my heart is in the right place.
But when it comes to people, I flip the script.
With people, I want to be clear where my boundaries lie. I want to be clear about who I am and how I act and talk.
I want to choose who I share parts of my life with.
It’s easy for me to date women, I have a lot of dating experience, and I enjoy getting to know women who are a better match for me than my current partner.
I don’t have any deep feelings or beliefs about women or gender. I’m just looking for someone to have fun with and grow together.
When it comes to men, well, they’ve been less than stellar. My gender non-conforming son is still a boy, and I still feel like a boy. I have no interest in changing what I’m doing or who I am.
I am just looking for someone to grow beside. I have no interest in cultivating a relationship with someone for his or her gender.
I have had advisors tell me that men are more likely to feel something for a gender non-conforming person, because they view that as a positive thing. I don’t see it that way at all.
If I want to spend my life with someone, I will find someone to grow old with. I don’t need to waste my time with a man who won’t grow up fast enough.
What I need (as I said, I’m a non-conforming person) is for people to accept me for who I am. I want to spend my life with people who accept me as I am. That’s why I’m here to tell the truth: I’m exactly that. I like being different and I believe that we should all be able to live our lives in a way that we want to.
I don’t believe in locking people up in boxes or thinking they are unworthy. I have my own container, my own life, my own boundaries.
I’m going to keep doing what I want and I’m going to keep showing up for the people I want to be served.