A Promise & 23rd Celebration

I did it. I made it to my 23rd birthday. This is a celebration because I promised myself it would be.

“But today is different. From now on, my birthdays will be different. Today, I plan to celebrate this day to celebrate myself.

Because turning 22 is an achievement.” – Today is My 22nd Birthday

I almost forgot that promise, but re-reading the blog post reminded me, and I almost cried.

I have been emotionally unstable for the past two weeks, and my impending birthday exacerbated it. I have not quite shaken the fear of living. For I am always worried about leaving this world.

I try to avoid reading statistics or reports on life expectancies of Indigenous non-binary folx, but they always somehow end up right in my face.

I am reminded that more than half of Native trans, non-binary, gender non-conforming, agender, and/two-spirit folx attempt suicide between the ages of 18-24.

I am reminded that there have already been 7 confirmed deaths of trans people in 2018.

I am reminded that in spite of being a fighter and a survivor of trauma, I must be strategic every moment of my life, for one wrong glance, one wrong moment, and I am gone from this world.

My mother tells me not to worry about it. She tells me that I should not be speaking of death, but how can I not?

I am often read as a feminine person of color. My skin has already been racially profiled. My body has already been gendered. 

I cannot stop talking about the violence that I may or may not encounter. This is my lived reality in a society that hated me before I was even born.

It is such a daily toll that it takes immense effort to remind myself and to claim these words;

“I am sacred.”

And just like I wrote last year, “claiming my narrative means accepting the responsibility that was given to me”.

Claiming myself for myself takes a lot of work, and it is work that I sometimes forget. But when I remembered, I am always in awe of my own strength and beauty, but also the willingness to grow and learn from my mistakes.

I yearn for a time and space where I would not have to worry about such violence. A time and space, where I would not be struggling to claim myself for myself, rather it is something I already did.

But until then, I need to remember the promises I made to myself. A promise to celebrate, and a celebration it will be – for me.

photo credit: A. Scott

*I did not realize that my birthday is also ‘Trans Day of Visibility. Today has become extra special* 

 

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