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Dear Self,

You are just starting high school.

You are not going to enjoy high school.

You are not going to make it through the year with the group of girls you entered high school with; you'll regret leaving them without saying anything, but the group you fall into is a good group. Although you fit well into the group, none of the friends you get close to will be close to you in seven years. You're a shitty friend. It's the ones you kinda make friends with, that wait in the wings, are going to be the ones that you're close with. (The guy in the Vash costume, the girl in the pink fleece, the girl in your LA class. And years later, when you go to NDK, and are alone in the room with that girl from your 9th grade LA class? Yeah, show her "I Don't Dance." It brings you joy, it will still bring you joy, and you will start a friendship that you wouldn't be able to live without two years out of high school.)

You are not going to be happy, though. Sorry. You don't believe you deserve to be happy, you think you deserve the misery, but you don't. Why you think you do will make sense, halfway into your senior year.

Because for Thanksgiving (break), you are going to fly out to visit your best friend. You will call her, say where you are, ask where she is, she is going to hang up, you're going to turn around, you're going to see her, and you will be happy. The next few days you will be the happiest you've ever been. Then you will have a Disney marathon, you will watch Mulan, you will watch "Reflection," and you will try your very hardest to keep from breaking down sobbing.

You will realize you're trans.

You identify as a guy.

You're trans.

Things will click into place, small moments will make sense, long periods of depression will make sense, you will understand why you were miserable and why you hated yourself, and you will still be miserable and hate yourself.

Senior year, you will not know what to do. You won't know what to do about college, about yourself, about anything. You will flounder. You have good friends, but you are not a good friend. It's okay. You need to take care of yourself first. You'll regret it, losing contact with most of them after graduation.

You will graduate, May 2010, as "Al," spend the next few months sorting yourself out, coming out to yourself and others, and in March 2011, you'll start hormone replacement therapy, as "Allen."

Sometime in the next nineteen months you will look yourself in the mirror, and you will think, "I like this person." You will think "This is really who I am."

"Reflection" will change into "Go The Distance."

You will never think of yourself as such, never think yourself of even being capable of such, but somehow you will be strong.

You will come to terms with yourself, you will take one day at a time, one step at a time, and you'll be on your way.

You can go the distance.