Hannah Thornton, Grade 8, Maryborough Education Centre - Balaclava Road Campus
Julian’s finger had hovered over the send button for at least five minutes now. He had been nervous so many times before, before a race, before presenting a project, before starting at a new school, but nothing had ever compared to this. He’d also sent many long texts before, but this was by far the longest. Probably too long. He decided to go back and edit it. Too many lines about why he’d chosen his name. He didn’t need to specifically ask for acceptance, they either would or wouldn’t. It still wasn’t great. Julian started again, from scratch.
There’s something you should know about me. No, that wasn’t right.
You’re my parents, and there’s something big I need to tell you. Better. He couldn’t stop now though, or he’d never get this written. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, and I don’t want you to call me Jessica anymore. That name, that gender, they’ve stopped making sense to me. I feel suffocated in that identity, it isn’t me. I want you to call me Julian. My friends know, and they’re really supportive, and I really hope that you will be as well. Love, your only child.
Perfect. That was much better. Now Julian just had to work up the courage to send the message. It was amazing how difficult just pressing a button could be sometimes. But he had to. School was about to start, then he’d have to wait another day and he just couldn’t do that. He was sick of hiding, sick of pretending to be someone he wasn’t. He just had to do it. Right now. He couldn’t hesitate any longer.
3. 2. 1. Send! He pressed the button right as the bell started ringing. Julian smiled. His parents might react badly, but at least the timing was perfect. There was no going back now.
The whole day passed in a blur. Julian could barely think, let alone concentrate on his work. He really wanted to go home and find out how his Mum and Dad had reacted, but he was dreading the moment heavily as well. What if they hated him for it? What if they kicked him out of the house?
The reality of what might happen when he got home only really hit Julian when he was on the bus, and twenty minutes away from home. There was another first for today, a panic attack. Yikes. At least it passed quickly enough, and he was calm by the time he arrived at his house. He took a deep breath, opened the door, and stepped inside.
The talk had gone better than he’d hoped. Sure, his parents didn’t understand it at all, but they didn’t hate him, and Julian saw that as a win. Maybe it’d be a while until they used his proper name, but in the meantime, at least he could be himself. They’d come around eventually, and that gave him hope. For now, though, it was time to reinvent himself.