dear: immune system


I’m sorry.

I kept trying to help you heal over the years but my efforts have fallen short. Either I didn’t persist for long enough, or I didn’t do the simple things that would mean the most.

Movement, water, rest, nourishment. Support.

have tried, though. I have done the best that I could do. I kept trying to show up for you.

That’s what I’m doing, right now. This time with carrot-orange juice, gentle walks, calling in sick to work (day two now, with dwindling sick time that I was going to use for post-top surgery; it’s okay though, it will be okay), nutrient-dense foods. Time with my love. Letting myself be taken care of.

I know you’ve felt it over the years – trauma and dysphoria – settled in deep, emerging as stomach aches and headaches, anxiety, lack of motivation, allergies, eczema, frequent colds and sinus infections. I know you’re scared. I know you think that something bigger, something unbearable could happen.

But I need you to know

that I’m here now.

Walk through the forest with me. Breathe in the cedar and arbutus and usnea. Let these waters heal you. Make peace with the parts of you that rage and attack yourself, inflame and congest. Let go of what holds you in that sick space. Be gentle.

Breathe. Move. Rest. Nourish.


dear: 26 years old

Dear tenderqueer,

I know you said you wouldn’t go there.

“I don’t need T. I don’t want a lower voice. I don’t want my fat redistributed, hair all over my face and body. I don’t need to pass as a man.”

I know you said that testosterone isn’t something you would want, or need.

I know you said you thought about it, and in the context of your nonbinary identity, it wasn’t needed to change and validate your gender.

I know, I know.

And I know that you pleaded with yourself, convinced yourself, and then convinced your partner that “no, this is not what I need; I’m not going to go there.”

And things change.

It’s terrifying, isn’t it? The nature of life, of change. How something seemingly so sure can be altered, transformed.

May I walk you through this? Your consent is important to me.


You may not decide to go on testosterone. You may come to a decision that shifting your body into more of a masculine physical presentation is not necessary. Right now that’s unknown – and that is so okay. And you might decide that venturing into the realms of testosterone is the next step in your adventure – and that is also totally okay. Your reasons for beginning to ponder something so life altering as Hormone Replacement Therapy are valid. So are your reasons for not wanting to think about and process this.

The last time you remember feeling entirely free in your body and your being was when you were 6 years old.

Six years old.

20 years ago. Twenty.

A couple decades of entanglement can be – must be – messy to untwine.

Go slow, breathe easy, cry deeply (I know, that’s hard).

When you were 6, you were flat-chested, rosy-cheeked, gremlin-like. Mischievous. Clever. Kind. Confident. A bit of an elf, perhaps.

What even was gender at that age?

I suppose the quest is to figure out what a different 20 year (and beyond) trajectory would look like, could look like, step-by-step. One that is freeing, one that feels rooted in who you are, one that is a becoming of who you are meant to be.

It’s okay to not know, and it’s okay to think about all of the possibilities. Transgender shame is real, and it’s okay to feel that sometimes, but remember to let that go. Remember that you are beautiful, and courageous, and that living & breathing into the unknown right now is more than fine.

Remember that I’m still here. It’s you and I on this journey, and it’s been a fucking incredible one so far.

We can move through it all, today and tomorrow.