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And What They Mean to Me

Labels don't define us but sometimes pronouns can help guide us. The first step to happiness is to love yourself, so take time to figure out who you are. 

Pronouns are an interesting thing, especially when it comes to gender. Every one of us is given a set of pronouns from the minute we are conceived. From she/her to he/him, the problem with these is that sometimes people feel they are put in this bubble/box with a label of the societal rules or expectations they need to follow to be included in the group of "normals." However, some of us don't even fit in either of these two boxes. I mean who could blame us? After all there are just about 7 billion people living on Earth right now and that is way too many people to try to shove into two empty containers labeled boy (he/him), and girl (she/her). Now for some of us, fitting in could be hard but more importantly, feeling comfortable is even harder, comfortable with ourselves that is. In order to start somewhere, we first have to rediscover ourselves and that means figuring our what brings us joy and comfort and what doesn't. This includes things like: fashion style, preferred name/nickname, and of course pronouns. These are all the things that lead to us being able to define ourselves, but these are also the things that allow us to test the respect and effort of others as well. 

From my personal experience, I discovered that by allowing others to know your preferred name/nickname, you are also letting them know what would make you feel more comfortable, and thus based on what they do with this knowledge you could figure out their level of comfort as well. I for instance have a preferred name, a gender neutral nickname, and obviously my birth name, which I try to hold in unless it's inevitable. I also prefer she/her pronouns as I am a trans woman and those make me feel good, but I don't mind they/them. Now, I have some friends who don't use either when referring to or talking to me. I feel like this could mean that they're not fully comfortable with the information handed to them and they're attempting to pretend it never happened, as well as maybe they are awaiting to adapt once they see my physicality change first. There are occasions, however, where I would find it more acceptable like not being out to others so the person uses your old pronouns and name to not out you. Also, I find it okay to occasionally slip up just as long as you either correct yourself when it happens or at least later on. 

I have other friends who use the they/them pronouns and my gender neutral nickname, and this at least shows some kind of effort being made and could also mean that they aren't fully comfortable with your exterior yet to use the other pronouns but at least shows they are trying their best to avoid using your old name and pronouns. Finally, I have my small group of friends who actually use my preferred pronouns of she/her and sometimes or mostly use my preferred name. These are the best type of friends in regards to pronouns and name changes as they adapt easily to what you prefer and go the extra mile to make sure you are comfortable. This doesn't mean that everyone else is a bad friend, but might just mean as I mentioned earlier that everyone else might just find it harder to adapt as they could be old friends who find it hard to see a different version of you or maybe they just need to see your exterior change first. It might be easier for my other friends to adapt as I either met them or started becoming closer to them recently. Regardless of the reason of circumstances, it's never too late to ask them to either change how they refer to you or call you or even ask what it would take for them to do so. It's also important to remember that not everyone adapts as quickly as others, in fact sometimes people need time to adapt as this is as much of a transition for them as it is for you so don't ever forget to give patience to others especially those that have known you for years. Remember to love everyone, especially yourself, as once said by one of my favorite people and celebrity crush. <3

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