A Boy Was Born | Teen Ink

A Boy Was Born

October 5, 2021
By BradleyHanlon02 BRONZE, Mason, Ohio
BradleyHanlon02 BRONZE, Mason, Ohio
1 article 0 photos 1 comment

“Do you want us to start calling you Bradley?” She paused. “It will be hard at first, but we're willing to do it if it will truly make a difference.” 

I had known I was transgender since the fifth grade, but it was another two years before I was admitted to the hospital. I remember crying when my chest started growing. I had wished it would magically shrink back into my body. I don't think a lot of people know what it feels like to want to cut off your own skin in order to feel complete. I felt like I was living a lie: like my life was an illness. 

Back in my current reality, I leaned against the off-white wall, the dim fluorescent lights blinding back my tears. I had thought about this for a very long time, and to hear my mom saying the name that I truly felt comfortable with was like a weight being lifted off of my shoulders. Even in a place as bleak as a hospital room, it felt as if the whole world was shining. If only that moment lasted a little longer.

I was only in the hospital for five days, a shorter duration than most of my mentally ill roommates. I still remember walking out onto the dull, cracked pavement, the grips of my socks picking up lonesome pebbles. I felt the stabbing sensation for the entire duration it took to walk to our car. As I hopped into the passenger side of our beat-up, rusty-gray Versa, I felt the sensation of dread and anxiety, almost as if my body was warning me about some unknown entity, it telling me to get ready to run for the hills as soon as I was out of eye line.

I used to be so scared to come out, I knew people in my school who would get rocks thrown at them for being gay; so what would happen to me? I wondered what would happen to the adored little girl, what would happen to the prodigy of a child everyone knew? I wished I was dead at 10 years old. I knew who I was, but the fear of getting attacked or even killed was holding me back to the point where all I wanted was death. 

“Your brother missed you.” The voice that spoke sounded old and withered, not the breezy, youthful tone in which my mother usually uses. “He couldn't wait for you to come back home; none of us could, really.” 

I sucked in the warm, March air that was blowing through the open car window. Seventh grade was rough for me, and being transgender made it even harder. I planned on ignoring the woman beside me for as long as I could; if I could pretend I did not care about what she was saying, I could win. I needed to hold her out as long as possible: I needed her to feel like a helpless child, I needed her to feel like I did. But I could not. 

“Do you still love me?” I felt the tears streaming down my cheeks. They felt like the sting of the pavement when you fall off your bike. At that moment, I felt better off dead; I had been convinced that my mom's comforting words would not be turned into actions, and that I would be alone with my struggles once again. I thought that no one could ever love me if I transitioned; that if I was to be happy, I would be letting my family down. I don't really know what happened after that - like when your brain shuts off in fight or flight moments. I like to imagine that she said something inspiring, something that sweeps you off of your feet and leaves you gasping for air. But in that moment, everything was lost to me.

Two years later, I know my story is not yet over. My family was as supportive as they could be. My brother was overjoyed to finally have a brother, and my relationship with him has never been stronger. I can now say with complete confidence that I am Bradley. I could have never imagined how much better my life would be after transitioning, and I know that without the loving support of my parents, I never would have made it this far. If I could go back and say anything to my younger self, I would say that it gets better; good things take time, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't wait for them. My life has never been better, and I know that it will keep improving with every passing day.

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