I am (*insert suitable label*)

A Letter to My Younger Self:

Hey Cutie,

You may not know this yet, but you are very very special. Your mother will not fail to remind you of this every day, and though you may not believe her at times, she is not wrong.

From very early on, you will be very very confused.

You will feel lost and alone and even unworthy sometimes.

In the first grade, your bowl-cut hair ridden classmate will call you gay while you walk back from PE class, this will make you question:

What does he mean?

You will be found lost in mumma’s closet, wearing her shirts as dresses and her scarves as sarees.

You will fall in love (or whatever that means to a second grader) with the boy that sits next to you in class. But that won’t stop you from also being in love with the girl next door.

All this will feel normal till middle school.

You will start to think that if you like boys, you must be a girl — because only girls can like boys.

In a world full of labels and judgement, you will constantly feel uncomfortable.

You will consider the possibility that you may have been born in the wrong body. This question will haunt you.

All the questions about your identity, whether it be sexuality or gender will haunt you — they still do.

I do not want to lie to you, this is going to be very hard for a very long time.

You will realize that you may not be straight,

and that will scare you.

You will also realize that you may not be gay either,

and that will confuse you.

But all of this is okay.

What you will need to realize is that discovering your sexual identity is a lifelong journey and may not always give you an answer.

I want you to understand that you are not alone and that it will be alright.

When you will be introduced to the word tomboy you will try to find the male counterpart because that is what you will think you are. You will continue your quest to find the most suitable label for a long long time.

Until one day, you will realize that you do not need to follow these unsaid rules.

You will realize that you can be a boy and like boys. You will realize that it is okay to be a boy and like typically feminine things.

You will realize that you can like boys AND girls,

and you will finally realize that none of this really matters.

But be careful, even though you may find a new sense of confidence and assurance, you will not be bulletproof.

When the other boys do not understand what you mean when you say you like boys and girls you will feel frustrated.

When Nani asks about your new girlfriend but you secretly like a boy, you will feel gross.

Slowly you will try to change yourself. When you think you only like girls, you try to be more of a man. And when you think you only like boys you will try to be the perfect gay.

But Veer, you need to understand that these concepts of people do not exist, they are not real. You will never be the perfect man you see in the movies and you will never be the perfect gay that you hear about all the time — but you will be perfect nonetheless damn it. You will be perfectly confused, you will be perfectly lost, and you will be perfectly you.

I love you.

You may not always love you.

But,

it is okay to be confused, it is okay to be lost and it is okay to like whoever you like. Others will try to tell you the opposite, but they. don’t. matter.

Trying to find a label is not what your priority should be — EVER.

You will grow up and realize that the world is hard for people like you,

Free spirits, nonconformists, sexually diverse and Indian people.

You will slowly move from being confused to also confusing those around you, and across the world wide web.

When you will start a Youtube channel where you will whine about issues that you care about and share with the world your passion for singing, you will love the attention you get. But I am here to warn you that the comment section will have its fair share of “R u girl or boys?” and “ew gay”s.

Which will continue from just social media into the real world and your surroundings.

You will hate it at all your schools and will move to a school in the mountains to escape the horrible exposure that was forced down your throat in Mumbai.

You think it will be better there. You are not wrong. But you will still not understand the echoes of fag and other hurtful things down the hallways.

All your struggles will eventually get to you and you will start to bottle up your emotions and reel away from the people you love. PLEASE do not do this.

It is not healthy.

But,

you will think that maybe this is the best it will ever get for you — you still have no answer to this question. But you will come to realize that there is a world out there, waiting for us.

You will speak up for the things that matter to you, you will clear people’s horrible misconceptions of the LGBTQ+ community, but you will also be subject to the casual gay jokes. You will develop thick skin, you will find your people. Do not worry. And most importantly, you will learn how to stand up for what you believe in.

You will come to discover that the world may have been set up against you.

You will find out about Section 377, a law that criminalized gay sex, a setback for the gay community at a legal level. But you will fight, protest in the form of an opinion piece. And your efforts will not be in vain. The very next day, the world will hear your screams and that law will be overturned.

Veer, your voice is and will always be important, so do not stop using it.

You will find comfort on stage, in front of an audience.

All the applause will feed your cravings. One day, you will muster enough courage and audition for the role you associate with the most–this role will happen to be that of a female character. Disregarding all the second thoughts, you will gladly accept the role when it is offered to you. It will only be four days before your production that you will start to doubt yourself and the voices in your head will turn negative. But you will suck it up and put your all for the production. And Veer, they will all love you, all those who matter will love you. All the voices in the hallway will slowly turn to good jobs, the snickers will continue–as they do–but you will be proud, proud of killing it.

Oh, I just can’t wait till you realize that it is okay to be confused. You will be in a dark, dark, lonely hole for a long time. But you will find your way out,

Veer, and when you do, I will be waiting for you, fierce as ever.

Love always,
Veer.

Edited by Daeun Lee and Priyansha Agarwal

14 thoughts on “I am (*insert suitable label*)

  1. Natasha Pal

    Wow. Blown away by your honesty and maturity. I’m blown away by how well you’ve put your feelings into words… if only we all were that brave and i’m Just blown away by… you! Bravo Veer… I was a fan before but now even more so. Shine on star… the world is waiting for you.

    Like

  2. Samaira

    So deep & deeply touching! Really inspiring veer! I could emphasize reading every column. It couldn’t have been beautifully colaborated non other than veer! 🙂

    Like

  3. Ishaan Menon

    I’m in tears; the hair on my arms, is on edge. I can try and try again; but words, what words fit an emotion so different yet so familiar, far away but at my fingertips.

    Like

  4. Anand

    Wow, the amount of courage it takes to write something so personal.
    Keep being fierce man.
    And this will always be with me “Even though you may find a new sense of confidence and assurance, you will not be bulletproof.”

    Like

  5. Shaurya

    Hey veer , i don’t know you personally neither you know me personally . We are complete strangers . It was so heartwarming and relatable to see how you really talk about everyday griefs and confusions of kids like me or even you when we were younger . It made me feel a sudden attachment to you and so much respect for you .

    Like

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