“When I found out about being non-binary, and when I met other queer people – my lighthouses, as we like to talk about them – for the first time, it felt like I was coming home to myself.” – Alok Vaid-Menon, 4D with Demi Lovato
Inside my childhood closet, you’d find a shimmering array of pink sparkly dresses, glittering plastic heels, blonde wigs (because how else could my brunette-haired self take on the role of Princess Aurora?), and more stuffed animals than one would ever know what to do with. Their lack of flesh and bone didn’t stop me from giving each and everyone of them a name, personality, and story. Because of this, I grew a deep affection for each of these toys – which caused my room to transform into an Avalanche of Animals. But I didn’t care. Who did I have to impress besides myself?
I was deeply in love with the idea of magic, and sought it out in every corner. If I looked into the sky long enough, I’d paint scenes of cloud kingdoms teeming with life that might just be within my reach one day. If I stood high enough on my tiptoes, perhaps one day I’d possess the power of flight. I even went through a phase believing my destiny would be to aid Santa Claus in his daring adventures one day, after a particularly vocal Mall Elf had told me, “you know, one day, you’d sure make a great assistant to Father Christmas.”
Although my fairytale dreams would eventually fade, my love of magic remains proudly by my side.
Music has played the vital role of my personal photographer throughout my life, capturing moments that are somehow reincarnated in the lyrics and verses. Like a gentle wave caressing the sand, she is there for me in loneliness. Like a sweet serenading violinist, she has been the ambiance behind scenes of love, lust, and memorable messy human experiences.
Music is the voice that whispers, magic is still real, my dear – and you’re allowed to believe.
Discovering my love and affection towards girls ignited a new type of enchantment within me. I was mesmerized by their strength and courage in sports teams and gym classes. Their wisdom, charm, and charisma was breathtaking. I couldn’t wrap my head around how strikingly beautiful they were. Though I might not have one set label for myself yet, I am certain of one thing; I love everyone. I fall hopelessly in love with exchanges of energy. As David Rose says in Schitt’s Creek, “I do drink red wine. But I also drink white wine. And I’ve been known to sample the occasional rosé. And a couple summers back I tried a merlot, that used to be a chardonnay. Which got a bit complicated. I like the wine, and not the label. Does that make sense?”
Embracing my sexuality set off fireworks in an explosion of self-discovery that uncovered more magic than I could possibly have asked for. I have fallen madly in love with my queer community and its constant, expressive love towards embracing magic, color, and authentic sparkles within love. Here, my sparkly-adorned outfits are welcome; as are my Hawaiian dad shirts. My decision to add “they/them” to my pronoun series in addition to “she/her” is encouraged and celebrated.
Despite my childhood being behind me, the inner child still stands as a guiding light in my present. Occasionally, she’ll nudge me and say, “Let’s make this life as beautiful as possible. How shall we start today?”
Embracing all that I am means coming home.