Dear Baby Maybe #1: Letter to my 12 Year-Old Self

Maybe Burke
Jul 9, 2018 · 4 min read

Dear Baby Maybe,

I know you probably won’t like being called that yet. First of all, you’re twelve and no twelve-year-old wants to be called a baby. But also, you don’t even go by Maybe yet, so none of that makes sense for you right now. But it will. Allow me to introduce myself. I’m you, but in the future. If you saw me now, you would probably have a lot of questions. I know that you don’t think much of your future, but that’s because you don’t even know that who I am today is an option for you. Hell, you still think you’re a straight boy. I won’t give you too many spoilers, but there’s a whole world out there for you. Right now, all you need to know is that I’m you. We are the same person, though we may use different words to describe ourselves at different times.

My name is Maybe. I know that was probably never a thought for you, if you were to pick a name right now it would probably be Nicole. You always play make-believe as Nicole. (When it’s safe to do so.) Otherwise you’ll use Nick, ’cause that’s close enough. But when you’re a teenager you’ll try a whole bunch of different names, and Nicole won’t sound right anymore. But Maybe sounds right. Some people will be hesitant to call you that at first, because they’re not used to it being a name. But that’s how you weed out the people you can’t trust. That’s how you know who is willing to roll with whatever you have to offer.

I wanted to write you to let you know what’s going on in your future. I sit in bed sometimes reflecting on how happy I am to be where I am in life, but I know you can’t do that. I remember what it felt like trying to go to sleep in that bed, wishing you were somebody else. I remember planning to stop making friends and live a life of solitude so that no one would figure out who you really are. I remember wondering what kind of job you could have where you could make a lot of money but never have to talk to another person. I remember staying up watching TV and doing pushups every commercial break so that you could get big and no one could call you names. I remember being scared of getting too big and not liking the way it felt. I remember how lonely those nights were.

“One day you will be celebrated for the same things people are currently using to make fun of you.”

But one day you will lay in bed completely grounded in your body and in your self. One day the things that people think about you will stop controlling your decisions. One day you will be celebrated for the same things people are currently using to make fun of you. No, it’s not easy. No, it’s not constant. I still get hateful comments and I am still scared like you. But I’m myself, and no one’s going to stop that. School will be rough. It’s hard to find yourself at all, let alone finding out you’re someone most people don’t think exists. But we are real. We are resilient. And one day, you’re going to be able to lay in our bed at night and look up at a picture of yourself and love what you see. You’ll be able to put on makeup in the morning and leave it on, instead of doing it late at night and crying it off before you go to sleep. You’ll be able to be yourself in your fullest capacity, and that will be enough. Sure, it will ruin friendships. It will cause people to look at you differently. But if they don’t offer you love without conditions, they’re not worth holding on to.

I know that you probably won’t get this letter because this is a fictional thing that I’m pretending to do. But I’m going to stay in touch and keep you updated with what’s going on so you can start understanding what a future looks like. You never thought things that didn’t exist could be so scary until you thought about your future. But I now laugh in the face of that fear, and I invite you to try to do the same. After all, people love our laugh.

Your future,

Maybz

Maybe Burke

Written by

Theatre artist and trans advocate telling the stories that haven't been told. Founder of The Trans Literacy Project. @believeinmaybe maybeburke.com

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