One week before my 26th birthday, I published "CURTAIN CALL: Or, How I Stopped Performing and Embraced my Queer, Autistic, and Nonbinary Authentic Self." I officially came out and stepped off stage, vowing that I was going to stop performing for others and start living a life that was my own.
It was terrifying, being reborn and not knowing what that new life would look like.
I'm figuring it out, one day at a time: how to process and grieve the trauma of holding myself back for so long, how to unlearn the toxic lessons our culture teaches us about what life can and should be, how to have healthy and fulfilling relationships with myself and others, and how to safely navigate a world that continuously tries to place us in either one box or another.
Because, as I wrote in “Curtain Call”:
“Our culture is built upon a concrete foundation of dualisms: either you’re a boy or a girl, a man or a woman, straight or gay, normal or weird, accepted or rejected. Our entire way of engaging with others and the world around us is through categorizing what we see into one or the other of these dualisms. And from our first moment of life — and even before that now, with gender reveal displays and gendered nurseries and clothing and toys, blue for boys and pink for girls, G.I. Joe for boys, Barbies for girls — we’re categorized and assigned specific expectations for what and who we should be. Girls should be passive, nurturing, sensitive, and subservient, while boys should be aggressive, competitive, unemotional, strong, and dominating.”
We’re not comfortable in the gray area, where the unique and authentic and pure flow.
Well, I’ve stepped out of those boxes and into the In-Between, that messy and beautiful terrain where lives are lived, truly lived.
And I want to share that journey with you, hoping that it might be a mirror for you to get in touch with your own authentic self and help you chart your own course through this overwhelming, tragic, beautiful life we share.
Once a week, I'll be posting radically honest and transparent letters about my journey and what's helped me along the way—and what might help you.
I'm Brady Hummel (they/them), a queer, autistic, non-binary written and audio storyteller. Join me in The In-Between.