I was raised in a small town in southeast Alabama.
It’s a whole topic for another day—that’ll be a long post—but before I continue, I challenge you to gently set aside your judgment and preconceived notions.
I share that information to provide context. Un-learning so much that had been engrained in my mind since birth has taken a long time, and let’s be real—that sh*t takes a LIFETIME to un-learn.
I always knew I wasn’t “female,” even when I was a kid. I remember one time, when I was first starting to learn about the LGBTQ+ community, I was sitting on a friend’s rooftop pondering my identity. (I lived in Hong Kong at the time, where rooftops are like patios, so I wasn’t casually perched atop the roof of a friend’s house like a crow.)
I don’t feel like ‘she’ really fits me, I texted a friend. Maybe I should try going by ‘he.’ I don’t know if there’s a word that fits who I am because I just feel like…Syd. That’s all.
Well, replied my friend, if you want me to call you ‘he,’ I totally will. They’re just little words, anyway.
I didn’t end up going by ‘he.’ It definitely didn’t roll off my tongue. For a words person, those little ones are just as important as the big ones.
Shortly afterward I discovered that some people went by they/them pronouns, and I got chills up my spine. I was enthralled. I looked up articles and videos where people used these pronouns, referred to other people by them, and talked about what it meant to them.
After over a year, I finally navigated the tumultuous waters of my identity and landed on the glorious golden shores of being nonbinary. They/them pronouns were sitting right on the beach, eagerly awaiting my arrival.
I was so excited that I’d finally, after what felt like eternities of Pondering and research, found the little word that nestled into me like it belonged there.
Naturally, I wrote a whole poem about it. No one knew at the time I posted it on my Instagram that pronouns were what this was about.
This poem could really be about a lot of things, and I love that everyone has a different interpretation of it.
Wanted to share it with you.
Have a great week, friend.
The new word,
its family of shapes and sounds —
they nestle into their place beside my name.
I soak in the new patterns,
feeling their texture on my tongue,
the way they form on my warm breath;
I reach out my hands, molding them
with my hands like the clay
I have been searching for my whole life
They are a story in their essence;
They have been inside my name
since the nightmoon I was conceived,
waiting for my soul to gather the courage
to take up the knife and begin my craft.
Many rotations around the sun
have been made; time kindly allowed
me to chisel away at the rough block of identity
until now, when the last particles of dust
have been blown away, meeting the earthen floor.
“I have been waiting for you,” says the air
to the sculpture, kissing their mouth.
“Wait no longer,” says the form.
“I am here at last.”