A Year Later

To me, New Year’s resolutions were always somebody claiming the infamous “I’m going to lose weight!” for impersonal reasons based on societal expectations. This, of course, is forgotten by the second or third week of January. Because of this familiar trope, I never took New Year’s resolutions too seriously, because I never considered the fact that there are millions of people who actually try to succeed. 

This was the first year I have ever had a real New Year’s resolution in my almost 17 years of life, and I’d like to formally apologize for ever claiming it was easy. 

Coming out felt like I could finally exhale. After years of just going along with people’s preconceptions, I put my foot down and told the world “I’m Ryan, not ___.” But now, as I think about it, that moment was more like the biggest inhale I’ve ever taken. I still feel like I’m holding my breath and waiting for the day people will come around, tell me they love me, tell me it’s okay, and tell me they’ll try. I mean, I’m lucky because I have a support system; the love of my life is someone who, from the day we met, has never made me think twice about my identity, never made me feel different, and has always been caring and comforting and there—even if she doesn’t completely get it or understand, she knows how to make me feel better. I hope she knows how endlessly appreciative I am for that. My mom has never doubted me or trialed me, and she promises me that she’s here and that she’ll help, no matter the cost. My sisters, despite being so young, never mess up my name or pronouns and never fail to stand up for me in front of people that do. 

My New Year’s resolution was one seemingly simple thing: stand up for myself. My major goal with this was to correct people who misgender me, which happens far too often and is growing exhausting. I know if I keep letting it happen, I’ll one day grow angry and lash out at someone who really means no harm, which isn’t productive or kind. So, I told myself that if I started being assertive, I could avoid that situation entirely. Just a simple “Actually, I’m a he”, right? I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t know that by January 26th I would have only worked up the nerve to do it once at the McDonald’s drive-through. (They didn’t even hear me. Or care. Or both.)

Coming out has been the biggest battle for me. I don’t regret any of it because I’m so close to getting to be the person I am, but I didn’t realize what I had awaiting me when I said those two words. Every day is a personal revolution for me; every day is proving myself and fighting for myself and learning to love myself despite the fact I have no means of medical transition for fourteen months. This New Year’s, I planned to apply my war paint and finally stand up for myself. It was my revolution. 

It’s been 26 days and I’m not there yet. But I’m learning, and that’s okay. One day, I will feel comfortable informing those around me who maybe just don’t know. My revolution will come with time. You don’t wake up January 2nd a new person.

Maybe New Year’s resolutions aren’t about succeeding or giving up, but about caring enough to declare that with time you will change. It may be 26 days later, but I have eleven months left. 

And who knows—maybe by the end of those eleven months, I’ll have started going to the gym three times a week and cutting out food with any processed sugars. 

By Ryan Vortisch

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