Aug 302017
 

Last week I finished my time working at Side by Side, and next week will officially be on staff with More Light Presbyterians. Wahoo! While I’m soooo excited about this new move, and am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that my job will soon be to communicate with faith community leaders on how to better serve LGBTQ+ people, leaving the youth at Side by Side was really tough. My life has changed so much in my time working there, and I am so grateful for having had the opportunity.

On my last night there, I wrote something for the youth that felt like all the stuff I want them to remember.

Some words for the youth on my last night at Group

There’s no right or wrong way to be you.

There is no right or wrong way to be you.

You are beautiful.

You are smart and courageous and stronger than you know.

Keep asking questions.

Keep challenging those who tell you your identity should fit into a box that was created by someone else. Keep breaking those boxes open – they could never hold you, anyway.

Next time someone tells you your identity is made up, remember that all identities are made up. It’s part of the creative genius of humanity.

Remember that words have power and claiming who you are will give you power nobody can take from you.

Your identity is something nobody can take from you.

Claim where you are. Own it. Your willingness to be honest about your process and to embrace the messiness of life will serve you well. People who are uncomfortable with your feelings are too small for you.

As best you can, surround yourself with people who affirm your identity. If you need someone to remind of your awesomeness, ask. Seriously.

Be proud of who you are. No matter what your pastor or your parents or your principal has said, your identity is nothing to be ashamed of.

Your identity is nothing to be ashamed of.

Your parents love you. Really, they do. They won’t move as quickly as you’d like them to, and they won’t understand stuff when you first tell them. But they love you.

Be gentle with yourself, as best you can.

Know that you are a complete person, just as you are – even if your body is still in process.

Be proud of who you are.

Most people go their whole lives afraid to ask questions about their gender or their sexuality. You have already torn down those barriers and challenged those assumptions. Own that. Be proud of that.

You may not know it yet, but you are exactly what the world needs and exactly where you need to be.

You are a beloved child of God, of the universe, of this world.

Be humble. Life always offers more to teach.

Speak your truth. And know when to shut up and listen.

Remember that you are never alone.

Trust your gut.

Own it when you mess up. Ask forgiveness.

And know that your identity is something you never have to apologize for, and anyone who even implies differently is too basic for you.

Stand up for those who need it.

Ask for help when you need it.

Remember to breathe.

Remember to laugh.

Your body is your own and nobody else’s.

Wear clothes that make you feel like you.

You are beautiful.

You are not a mistake.

Remember that it’s ok to be in process – you don’t have to have this stuff figured out yet. Keep asking questions.

When challenges come up that seem insurmountable, remember that you’ve already claimed who you are despite a world that tells you you’re supposed to be something different.

You are courageous.

You are strong.

You are beautiful.

You are not alone. Ever.

No matter how bad things feel or how much worse they may get, remember there is someone within reach who has experienced it, too.

You are not alone.

You are strong.

You are beautiful.

Your life is worth living.

Your life is worth living.

Your life is worth living.