she/they: this letter is for us.

To those who use (or are thinking about using) she/they,

I write to express my infinite gratitude, one which cannot be captured by words, but rather several essences. May this be one thanks of many. Thank you for teaching me our irreducibility: our existence is diverse and multiple. I share with you my affirmations because you deserve the joy and pleasure that they brought me. 

I see myself in you who delete she/her from your Instagram bio and replace it with she/they or use she/they for yourself in your head: you are angelic and awe-inspiring. You remind me that we are more than bureaucratic boxes that we have invalidated for decades and sometimes still tick off, for safety, for survival. You remind me that it is ok if there aren’t words for it. If there are, those are yours to keep and share if that’s what feels right. My gratitude for your flexibility, resilience, and fluidity engulf me in the warmth of community. 

Nat’s room post- Tarot reading about themselves with a picture of Kehlani, who recently put she/they in their Instagram bio.

Here’s the thing about using she/they pronouns, or any pronouns for that matter. This could be a stopping place for you, you could try she/they out for a second or a few days, certainly a lifetime if that’s your thing. You are welcome here. Anyone who is gatekeeping identity or pronouns is not someone you need to share energy with. Maybe you find solitude in identifying as non-binary, maybe you don’t. That is ok. Just know that you are not replaceable, you are not an asterisk: you and me, we are whole. 

Nat, the author, photographing themselves in the space she feels affirmed.

We’re actually more than that, we are fucking fantastic, everywhere, everything, glowing, growing. Whether this is new or old, unexpected or expected, you are valid. Your existence is resistance. Your strength is so adaptable that you could be propagated and your ground roots would intermesh with aerial roots to make new growth, weaving through whatever ecosystems you make for yourself. Your ability to transcend offers rejuvenation for the world ten times over. Your beauty is uncontainable, a type of sweet smoke. When you experience gender euphoria, take another inhale at the top of your breath, that little extra sip is pure joy. 

Look at the abundant life I have shared! Complex! Gorgeous!

Did you know that you can use she/they pronouns and be a mother, a father, neither, both, everything in between? Did you know that you can use she/they pronouns for the first time at 30, if  you’re retired, if your hair is shaved, dyed, or tied, if you look androgynous, butch or high femme? What about  a showstopper? A best-selling poet

Being you can be exhausting and energizing all at once. Give yourself credit for living in the intention that you have materialized. What matters is that you see yourself as you are. Like Arrows says in the video above, nobody has the authority to change you, “I am the authority on me!” We don’t owe anyone an explanation. 

It might feel like the earth is shifting under you, like vertigo has pulled your soul from your head or even like the world is always exactly as it was, as it is, as it should be, or both. Beware of internalizing other peoples’ beliefs about who you should be: stay grounded in who you are. Wherever you go, you’ve carried a can of paint with you, and sometimes it has felt rather heavy. If you turn around, there is a thin trail of paint that leaks while you walk, and you can resurface to any point in your path to see your journey, resisting time in the queerest of ways. You deserve to love the universe you’ve created in yourself. 

We are the only ones in our head in our beds at night, so make sure you are proud of you. When it feels like you’ve lost a part of you, the pieces are there. They might be stuck behind a stack of dusty volumes, in archives. We’re there. We’re everywhere. We are whole. 

Love, 

One of us.

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