High Heels, Blond Highlights, and Eighteenth Birthdays

By the time I was ten, I wanted to dye my hair blond. At 12, I wrote in a journal that I was going to run away. Around the age of 14 I fought for people – but most importantly, myself – to accept me irrespective of my sexuality. 16 marks the period in which I discovered my purpose, to make a change. In one way or another I’ve done all of these things, through various proxies like bleach on a best friend’s toothbrush or a personal blog I’ve come to call home. Now the question remains: what is 18?

Brown/blond highlights! Gotta love snapping selfies in public.

Brown/blond highlights! Never too old to snap some selfies in public.

Maybe 18 means freedom. It’s always funny to me when my friends talk about purchasing cigarettes or buying lottery tickets. When I think of my rights as an adult, I imagine staying at my friend’s house for the night to escape my mom – now, no note necessary. My mind conjures a collage of all the times I’ve been abused, and the thought of 18 sends that collection flying out the window. It’s bittersweet, the breaking of toxic bonds and the inheritance of individual responsibility.  A significant part of me screams: this is what you’ve wanted all your life!

Not going to lie, high heels do wonders for my height. No wonder girls wear them...

Not going to lie, high heels do wonders for my height. And my leg muscles. No wonder girls wear them…

There’s a chance 18 epitomizes a new self. This represents a different type of freedom, a revitalization of who I am. Yesterday, I donned my friend’s fabulous high heels, and next week, I’m wearing a dress to school. Yes, I identify as a guy, but no, I don’t care if people think I look like a girl. High school has helped me find my center, my confidence, my security. Now, I need to take risks and try new tasks. Without the worries of who will judge me or what my family will think, I can finally proclaim my love for fictional characters in public and scare away all potential real life suitors set out in this whole wide world as an open spirit. I won’t abandon my morals – after all, they’re what’s gotten me this far – but I’ll adventure more, meet fresh faces. Wearing a dress will most likely be a one time thing; the heels, on the other hand, might be a different matter.

Sometimes my friends and I write mean things about each other. We never mean it, of course. I hope...

Sometimes my friends and I write hurtful statements about each other. We never mean it, of course. I hope…

Perhaps 18 represents a milestone. All my life, I’ve had a goal. Be a better reader, get into college, improve my writing, make a difference. It’s one step after the next, a steady input of effort and a comforting output of results. Getting to 18 without giving in to the family drama, the disappointments like every time I got less than an A, and the difficulties has proven tough, yet pulchritudinous. I dislike rewarding myself, but if there’s one time I deserve to, maybe it’s now. Maybe it’s here. Maybe it’s this passage from childhood to adulthood, this transition from naive youth to new age.

I’ve decided that 18 exemplifies possibility. It isn’t anything special, really – just another day, another year, a set amount of hours, minutes, and seconds to spend on whatever I choose. And that’s the key: in many ways, I can do anything. No, unfortunately I can’t f0rce everyone on earth to read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe or somehow persuade Joseph Gordon-Levitt to go on a date with me. But the future is rife with opportunity, chances to expand my mind, to improve my craft, to find new friends and to deepen the relationships with the ones I already have.

18. 18. 18.

It means whatever the heck I want it to mean.

35 Comments

Filed under Personal

35 responses to “High Heels, Blond Highlights, and Eighteenth Birthdays

  1. Happy Birthday! I’d love to see you in a dress. Almost inspires me to give trousers a go. Seriously, I hope 18 brings you everything you dream it can.

    • I almost feel like a woman wearing trousers would inspire a lesser amount of strange looks than a man in a dress. Thank you for your birthday wish!

  2. Happy Birthday Thomas! I wish you nothing but good health and happiness! 18 definitely does mean what you want it to mean. I enjoyed being 18 because it meant getting out of High School and starting a new chapter in University. You should be very proud of yourself and you’re an inspiring person :).

  3. Happy B’day Thomas!
    Also this is creepy. I totally wanted to dye my hair blonde when I was 8 because blonde hair seemed cool. I realized a couple years ago how weird I’d look with blonde hair.
    I didn’t write in my diary about running away but it’s ridiculous how many times I’d thought of doing that when I was 12-13. I used to calculate how long I’d survive with the amount of money I had and I’d tell my mom and she’d just look at me like I was crazy. :P
    18 is a very interesting age. There was a time I was shit scared of growing old but sometime last year I got over that fear. There are times when you want to stay young forever but I realized that I probably grew up ages ago and with that realization I look forward to turning 18. It represents freedom in a way I guess because you can do whatever the hell you want. Not that I have any ideas but you know having that choice makes you feel a lot better about things.
    I hope things turn out great for you in your new college :D and if you publish your work someday. I’d read it.

    • Thanks so much Rashika! While I feel that running away may be a common wish for preteens and teens everywhere, it’s cool that we share the blond hair ideal. I always thought going all out blond would look strange on me too (especially because of my tan skin) so I settled for highlights.

      But, yes, turning 18 is inevitable when it comes to aging though it should be viewed as a privilege! With choice comes responsibility and the age of 18 is a great point for earning that freedom.

      Thank you again for supporting me all the way! I’ll do my best to hold you to that promise. (:

  4. Happy Birthday Thomas! Another year full of insight, learning and experiencing life. And well on your way to making great change. :)

  5. It feels like life is opening up. It’s a bit overwhelming. The little things that you once could pass onto your parents, you can do yourself now. It’s weird. I don’t have your experience with parents – mine are too involved in their careers to have bothered much about me beyond the necessities. I wonder if the feeling that everything is open and possible will fade?

    Happy birthday. :)

    • I empathize with you – both of my parents are rather distant but for different reasons. Hopefully we’ll both adapt and learn how to deal with all of our adult responsibilities; I do think the feeling is a temporal one that will fade with time and strength.

      Thank you Colin!

  6. Elaine

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, THOMAS! :)

    I’ve felt so privileged to witness even a small part of your journey into this awesome milestone, and I can’t wait to watch you surpass many, many more. This post is just further evidence of your beautiful confidence, your inspiring way with words, and everything that is really just so magnificent about you!

    Wishing you, as always, the very, very best.

    • Thank you so much Elaine! You know that the feels are mutual in our friendship and that I cannot wait to continue our journey together for the next four years. Let’s do this.

  7. Happy Birthday! I really hope you have a great day. :)

  8. Jenny

    Just because you can’t force everyone to read Ari and Dante doesn’t mean you can’t try! xD Happy birthday!

  9. Happy birthday homie!

    You’re so strong, and you’ve worked so hard to make it to this day and I’m so proud and happy for you <3

    You can always borrow one of my dresses bro, we're probably the same size ;) (like literally, we're practically the same height and width this can be a thing). <3

    • Thanks so much! And yes, cross-dressing for the win. Though I find that funny because I also fit the clothing of one of our mutual friends who is female… hm.

  10. You are wonderful. Rock that dress!

  11. I encourage you to wear what ever you like. I can say it is not easy to do such things as I have been working on it for some time. High heels are the most fun to wear. If you have supportive friends and hopefully family, it helps a great deal. Hope you enjoy the experiences! ;)

  12. Congrats on the birthday! Enjoy the high heels….but I am curious how long it will take you to decide the pain’s not worth it. ;) Aristotle and Dante is already on my reading list, so I’m excited to hear that you like it!

    • I wonder if I’ll ever wear them enough to experience the pain that comes along with them – I hope you love Aristotle and Dante as much as I do!

  13. Happy Birthday! You are such of a inspiring person :) Now go rock those high heels* and dress!

    *how do you not fall from the pain?

  14. Eileen Chen

    1) Your highlights look really good!
    2) It’s amazing you feel secure enough to have the courage to wear heels/dress to school. (I’m so, so committed to dressing in drag sometime this year..)
    3) Please, pretty much the only reason girls wear heels are to make their legs look longer.
    4) Congrats on being 18. I’m glad you feel freer/full of opportunity. :)

    • Thanks Eileen! I’m sure you’ll rock the drag, one of my friends pulled it off splendidly at my school. And, yes, woo for 18! Hope you’re doing well. (:

  15. Probably a bit late as I’m just catching up on my blog reading, but happy eighteenth. Hope it’s everything you want it to be. Look forward to reading the blogs of your new adult self.

  16. yay for wearing a dress! how did the masses react? =D even as a female, I still have terrible time deciding whether to wear dresses.. pants are actually more comfortable to me..

    Michelle

    • Well I was surrounded by my friends so of course they gave me compliments (even if they didn’t mean them, ha). And that’s intriguing, though I know many girls who agree with you on that. Maybe it’s just the dress I wore that day that was comfortable – I guess all dresses aren’t made equally. Thank you for reading and commenting Michelle!

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