I was in an emotionally abusive relationship in 2015. My boyfriend at one point decided that he was no longer ok with calling our relationship a gay one, and put in a lot of work trying to hide my transness from himself and from the people in his life. He pressured me to make decisions that were unlike me--down to the clothes that I wore and the ways in which I presented myself. I wanted so much to be loved and desired, and went along with it. I started dropping out of friendships. I was in this relationship when I received news of John's death one day in November while I was on break during class. It was a month before my nineteenth birthday. I was absolutely a mess, and my boyfriend told me that I was overreacting. It was easy for him to convince me to take a week long trip out of the country without my family's knowledge a couple months later. He bought me my two piece swimsuit. We broke up maybe a week after returning home. I somehow managed to stay in school. I acknowledge that my boyfriend was going through it himself. I also acknowledge that my experiences in that relationship really fucked with my self perception over the next few years. I hope he's found some peace.
The one time that I came close to coming out to John as trans was through a text message. I wrote to him that I didn't quite feel like a guy or a girl. This must have been during the summer of 2015 when I was living with my grandparents on their farm and working at the local car parts factory. On one distinct day, I walked an hour back to my grandparents' house down country roads after having a panic attack on the factory floor. I remember telling my grandmother that I didn't recognize myself, and she pulled me into an embrace. I do feel deeply that John is proud of me.
I've begun the work and have moved on to a second colour. I won't need the pencil crayons, as it turns out. I'm also realizing that perhaps my grid is a little too elaborate--it gets in the way. Finding squares will be easy but I could have gone for a simpler start. I have a headache from focusing my eyes. The sun is setting and it's time to move upstairs to work in my bedroom. Maybe make some dinner. I had the most lovely experience of reconnection early today, in the sun. I want to stay a little longer in this moment.