When I took these photos a few weeks ago while I was playing dressup, I remember feeling excited for you to see me with long hair because I knew that you would love it and probably encourage me to try a hair bow again or tell me where I could get the best clip in extensions. I didn’t post the photos right away because they felt too vulnerable, but vulnerability seems like a moot point in the wake of such an immense loss. You gave me so much more than you ever knew you did. I keep re-reading the letters we exchanged, especially the one where you talked about loneliness and how complicated shit feels sometimes and you said, “you make me feel much less alone”. Although I can’t be angry at you for wanting to leave, I feel really distraught that I have to undertake this journey without your constant stream of wisdom, rage, ugliness and beauty. When Jessica and I found out, we cried bitterly until there was nothing to do but rest. We slept closely and sombrely, stuck together by salty tears and grief. I kept feeling like I couldn’t breathe and sometime before dawn I found myself wide awake, watching the moon as it shone brightly over the suffocating sorrow that filled the room.
Grieving you is as complicated as loving you and appreciating your beauty has been.
I can’t control the way people are consuming you now that you are gone. I want certain people to interrogate the ways they are talking about you and consuming your images but I don’t have the fucking answers, energy or desire to speak for you right now. I want to focus on survival and healing and remembering the things that you gave me and the things I learned from you. I will always be learning from you. I want to honor you in the best ways that I can and I know that part of that means rejecting the shame I am made to feel for the ways that my body and gender is strange and threatening to people. I know that living harder, better, fatter and stronger (with more hair flips) is the best revenge, but this journey I am on takes a lot of false courage. I solemnly swear to remember that I am here to learn. I solemnly swear that I will continue to pursue and understand my whiteness and whiteness as a larger system relentlessly as a lifestyle choice. I solemnly swear that I will continuously delegitimize, defile and undermine the fucked up ways that this world tries to erase and destroy people whose bodies and gender and beauty highlight the fake and deeply troubling origins of a social reality that hurts us and kills us and doesn’t work for so many of us and never has. I solemnly swear to keep thinking about misogyny and destroying masculinity. Maybe I’ll even try a hair bow one day. I don’t need to swear never to forget you, beauty dragon, because that would be impossible. My survival and perseverance are greatly enriched by your beauty and your teachings and I will cherish them and you, always.
Long Live The Queen,