I wish I had a pull-over hoodie so I could look like them. Because they seem to be “further along” in their transition process. “Further along” doesn’t make much sense in the context of wandering lost, but their eyes keep telling me they know something that I don’t. Their gentle smile that runs along their closed mouth suggests their internal world is long and dark and vivid and they found something there.
If I could find one at a thrift store then it may only cost an hours worth of work. But it will probably be several hours worth of searching the extra small mens, womens, and large children’s sections to find one thing that both, (1) I like and (2) fits me. But that is still better than the day’s worth of work to exchange for one therapy session, or the week’s worth of work for my name change, or the 4.5 months of work that I’ll exchange for surgery, not counting my other living expenses, of course.
If I could find the right one, it would both hug my body like the soft blanket I long for in the morning chill, but hide my chest from myself to ease me into the day. It wouldn’t break like all my zip-up hoodies have. I wouldn’t have to hide the part of the zipper that falls off every time I unzip my jacket, shoving it deep into my pocket, until I’m ready to zip it up again, risking being witnessed by that confused gauze I see in the eyes of anyone who grew up replacing broken things, or even fixing them. Maybe then I wouldn’t feel so broken when seen.
I would get dark blue, but probably just to match them. Maybe black, because then I could match it with everything else I wear, which is almost always white or brown or grey or black because nobody ever showed me how to match. Because the dresses mother made me wear matched only the empty sound of my limited vocabulary and defeated temper tantrums. Because looking good was much further down my priority list, given that surviving took up so much space. Because hand-me-down umbro soccer shorts and t-shirts that fell to my knees and my hair pulled back in a low ponytail was the closest I could get to looking like my brother, who I really wanted to be, and that was the closest thing I could imagine to freedom at that time.
Until he died. Then I imagined that freedom could stretch beyond our flesh and maybe even our clothes.
But I still want a pull-over hoodie so I could look like them. I still search for freedom in the corners of a world that consistently reminds us all that it will bless us with anything but that. That it will taunt us with smells of freedom but has no intention of giving grace. But I don’t know myself as anybody but a fighter. Or a searcher. And a child trying to find myself again, longing for a cotton dream that I pray will set me free.