Closing the chapter on the girl I was, to be the man I am.
To my audience,
For those of you who’ve watched “Super-Awesome” Sylvia grow up through YouTube, for those who met me and talked with me at conferences, Maker Faires, or other events. For those of you who supported me, loved me, and gave me the confidence to create and make the things I wanted to, I want to thank you from the deepest part of my being.
You, my audience, gave me the chance to meet President Barack Obama, to create and promote a watercolor painting robot, to become friends with my idol and mythbuster Adam Savage, and even speak at a panel at the United Nations in Switzerland about getting girls into tech. You sent me to multiple states, other countries. With your support I was able to help so many young girls (and boys) embrace their creations and make something, for themselves and the world. I have been able to learn and experience so many things because of your love and support, for that I am forever grateful. These things made me as a person, and have shaped me into my authentic self.
I’ve now officially decided that “Super-Awesome” Sylvia, as a character and as a person, will no longer be used publicly from now on. Since discovering that I am transgender, I want portray my work through my most authentic self. Converting Sylvia into a character seemed like a good idea immediately after my transition, and worked for a little while, but writing as my past self through this character and trying to make that work was incredibly difficult.
I am Zephyrus, a budding artist, animator, graphic designer, and maker. A brother, a son, a more real version of myself. My passion lies deeply within art and I want my outward social media appearance to reflect that, and not my past works and past self.
Living as and existing as “Super-Awesome” Sylvia has been very painful for me to attempt. It takes a toll on my mental health since the amount of gender dysphoria I feel reaches unbearable levels when even just attempting to put my mind in her place. I cannot be known as, or work as a girl, character or person, especially when it’s meant to embody who I was. It does not match up with who I actually am. It feels like being trapped. When the actual version of you is stuck behind this shell of something that is not you, it doesn’t feel good. You feel like you are a lie to yourself to the very core. I can’t do that anymore. I can’t keep lying to myself and betraying my true identity.
I do grieve for that life that I lived through that girl. I was given so much for who I was. Now opportunities have slipped away, people have stopped talking to me, others still have even created entire forums just to shame me and the fact that I am transgender. In some circles I have dealt with an ongoing stream of hate every single day of the nearly four years since I came out.
It’s clear to me now that without a public transition, my female self would have found a vastly more positive and forgiving world, and none of my audience’s accepted truth would have to be questioned. If only Sylvia had continued to be Sylvia, everything else would be better, but I simply wouldn’t be me. In truly finding myself, I walk the hardest path forward.
I was seen as this “child genius” who knew so much about electronics, science, and crafting. I was raised on this pedestal in the maker community, and at a young age, that was both exciting and so scary. I saw how much this thing I was doing benefited my family, how I was able to take my young parents to places and events that they never believed that they could attend. I told myself I had to keep going for them. Even when some of my interests diverged, I forced myself to continue making content, going to events, and giving talks. It gave me so much anxiety, made me so stressed out. I was having anxiety attacks when I was 11. I still chose to speak in front of hundreds, sometimes thousands of people just to keep those benefits.
The work I did as a kid, as Sylvia, did make a positive impact. I see that.
I see the kids who watched my videos going on and continuing the legacy. I see the adults who implemented my videos in their curriculum. I see the people who bought my book and learned something new. I see it all, and I am still convincing myself that it’s OK to be proud of it.
I often find myself fighting the pride away, telling myself I didn’t do it. That it was all a facade, all some huge lie that I put up to keep my parents happy. Some of that is true. I did push myself further than I wanted to, and did feign interest sometimes. But the original drive, creativity and love I had for making is and has always been there. It still remains every day, motivating and inspiring me. Even with all the things I’ve gone through, all the changes I’ve experienced (both mental and physical), I still have that drive. That creativity. A true love of making.
I am very grateful for the stuff I have been able to do, and I’ve enjoyed it all so much. My old work and accounts will stay up, but will not be active or interact with anyone/anything. It will be like an archive, something that you can visit and reference. If you’d like to look at my current content and projects I’m working on, you can check out my personal twitter, @makerzeph and my shop/brand twitter @honeyferns_zeph, or here on Medium when I get the time.
From the deepest parts of me, I thank you all for the support and love you have given me all my life so far.