This post is inspired by Hannah Witton’s #DearJune challenge, which I fully intended to take part in on Instagram but ended up abandoning after just one day. This was partly because of my mental health, and partly because of the Black Live Matter protests – as a white person I needed to shut up and use my platform to raise up the voices of Black folks rather than promoting my own shit. I don’t feel guilty about abandoning Dear June, but it’s still something I’ve been thinking about. Here is a love letter, of sorts, to the month that reminded me that I am enough.
Content note for mental illness, depression, suicidal ideation.
Dear June, you reminded me that I am enough – I am queer enough and I am trans enough. I don’t need to prove that to the world. Yes, flagging to society that I am queer and people not seeing me as a woman is important to me, but it’s not my responsibility to perform my gender in a way that meets anyone’s expectations of what a queergender, trans masc person looks like. I am trans enough, even when I’m wearing a skirt, and my experiences as a trans person are valid.
Dear June, you forced me to breathe. Burnout is awful, but it meant I didn’t have a choice except slowing down. I’ve read books this month, and remembered how calm and in control it makes me feel. I’ve walked because exercise feels good and the way my body aches when I collapse onto my sofa feels even better. I’ve taken naps when I’m tired, I’ve had late night dance parties, and I’ve actually listened to my body.
Dear June, you gave me friendship. I’ve grown closer to awesome people through conversations on gender and transphobia. I’ve realised exactly how big network of people I have around me who care about me really is. I’ve spent time with people I love, remembering how good it feels to be part of a group. It feels great to be included and to laugh along with everyone else.
Dear June, you helped me have fun. There are a lot of awful things happening in the world, but it’s important to be able to step away from it all – while acknowledging my privilege in being able to do that at all. I can still sing along loudly to my Breaking Up playlist, and I can dance in public like the street is my private stage. I’m making a fool of myself, yes, but I’m also having fun – and after all, self-care is an act of political resistance.
Dear June, you reminded me how powerful I am. I have a voice that I can use, to speak up and make meaningful change. I might be constantly doubt that I have anything of value to say or that I’m actually doing anything worthwhile, but I am and my work is important. I need to keep going, because I have shit to say and I’m going to change the world – even if it’s just in small ways. I am a mother-fucking force of nature and I am incredibly powerful.
Dear June, thank you for the high-waisted denim shorts that fit me perfectly.
Dear June, you taught me that I have work to do. Obviously I knew that, but it’s something that the last month has made it impossible to ignore. I have a fuck-tonne of privilege, and it’s my responsibility to educate myself on issues that don’t effect me but are incredibly important. I know I’m going to make mistakes, but I am no longer going to let my fear of fucking up stop me from speaking up when I need to.
Dear June, you made me have difficult conversations. I’ve cried and thrown up because talking about some of this stuff is hard – especially when I’m trying to be rational rather than emotional about the fact I deserve basic human rights. I’ve debated and justified my existence, and I’ve had to understand how someone can hear the pain in my voice and still make the choices that are hurting me. I’ve tried to be honest and vulnerable, and I hope that those things will get easier one day.
Dear June, you let me have ridiculous dreams. I’m not going to share any of my absurd plans here, but sometimes they don’t feel all that absurd after all. I’ve played with the tantalising pull of possibility, mapping out potential futures for myself in a way that makes me so excited that it scares me. I’ve allowed myself to imagine that I could really do these things. I want to change the world, and maybe I can do that even though there are days when I feel like I’m barely surviving.
Dear June, I survived you. You threw so much at me that I am still so behind on everything I wanted to achieve, but I’m still standing. You made me want to kill myself and you made me think I was worthless, but I survived you. I don’t believe that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but I fucking survived you and I get to be proud of that.
Dear June, you reminded me that I am enough. I am enough even on the days when I am so tired that I can’t get out of bed in the morning and all I can do is lie there crying. I am enough even when the words won’t come and I can’t write even though I have a hundred ideas. I am enough even if my only achievement is showering and taking my meds and cleaning. I don’t have to be productive to be enough: I am enough, full stop.
Dear June, I am enough.
Y’all should check out Hannah’s actual prompts for the #DearJune challenge – I’m definitely going to try and actually take part next year, but I kinda like what it ended up inspiring.
If you liked this too, please consider buying me a coffee! Ok, yes, I’ll probably get a hot chocolate, but your support helps me keep being vulnerable on the internet.