Dear Otter

Otter, darling, I’m so proud of you.30743500_712379972485891_5822547593929949184_n
In a few days you’re embarking on the biggest of adventures and you’re doing really well. There are no words for how important and intimidating this is for you, but you’ll be okay. You’ve got this.

Although you’re about to start a world book tour – you, this invisible trans girl from the countryside – you still don’t believe in yourself. Not really. But this is happening one way or the other.

[image shows: Otter in a mirror selfie wearing a cute green top. The wall behind her is purple with stars]

Stay true to yourself, babe. You believe that you’re way too poor – too precarious outside and inside – to really become a star but we also know how cunning capitalism is. How celebrity culture is always looking for new edges. Any day now, poor, non cis-passing, balding trans women might become the new thing. I don’t know if I wish that for you. I wish you success, someone once told me, but never fame. I get it. If that happens, honey, stay grounded. Please remember what you’re doing here. I at least wish you a stable income for once in your life.
I trust you. You’ve seen generations of acquaintances sell out their politics, moving on and assimilating when privilege came calling. But you’ve stayed true. Struggle has never been a hobby for you, never a fetish. You’ve made mistakes, you’ve taken the wrong turn many times. But fighting oppression has been with you for as long as you could feel. Since you first smelt that toxic stench in your favourite spot in the trees and realized it was being poisoned by the military. From the first time you understood that everything is so wrong and so far from how it should be. So I trust you. You won’t sell out. You’ll never be less political or driven than you are right now.
Be careful, my love. Be cautious with other people. This year has brought you into contact with more humans than ever before. You’re overwhelmed, I feel that. You don’t quite know what to do with it. But you’re integrating all this novelty fast. I felt it that first time you stepped out onto the stage in Marseilles. When you cried in London. And the first time someone you didn’t know in Berlin came to tell you that your work was important for them. You’re ready for this.
A powerful part of you wants to hide, to go back to your previous life of invisibility. You know that wasn’t good for you. You know you deserved better even if it was comfortable. But right now, your work is sharing yourself and your stories with others. And turning up to help others write their own. So, do it, like you do everything, with all of your heart.
Keep something for yourself too. Give thanks to everyone that has brought you to this moment and to yourself. Remember to eat. Breathe. Now go pack, sweetie. You’re ready.

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