Letter to My Younger Self

Mar 1, 2024 | 2024 Spring - Letters to Myself

By Meghan Hansen

My dear 17-year-old Meghan:

I know you are confused. I know that you think you have a secret. I know that you think you must not burden others with it, and that you must figure it out on your own. But this secret does not belong to just you. 

It is the year 2000 and you do not know what “bi” is. You have never heard of anyone who is bi; you have never seen a movie nor read a book with a single bi character. No wonder you are confused. But you won’t always be. Twenty years from now, a therapist will ask you: “Do you consider yourself bisexual?” You will be caught off guard, flush red, meet her eyes nervously, and stammer through something about a spectrum of sexuality and not being quite on the straight edge. This is true, but that is not all of it. 

You have always been bi, since you have been idolizing beautiful strong girls and chasing cute funny boys. You are not simply off the straight edge of something; you are something unique and whole and beautiful. 

Being bi means that you can connect with humans, regardless of their gender, in deep and profound ways. You will be drawn to people and their hearts for who they are, for what they do, for how they make you feel. Something in you sees that it is another person’s soul, their spark, their energy—not their body parts—that light you up in that deepest and most profound way. 

As I engage in the fantasy of alerting you to all of this, I am tempted to say that I wish things would be different for you. That I wish we were born now instead of then, when marriage equality is a given and grade schools have gay-straight-alliance clubs, like the one your future son will join in third grade (which he will tell you is not because you are bi, but because “third grade is all about joining clubs”). That I wish you did not grow up in a time where “liberal” parents said they would accept it if their child was gay but that, given the choice, they would choose straight, because “life is hard enough.” 

What I most long for you to know is this: the part of you that likes boys is not worthier, more acceptable, or more valuable than the part of you that likes girls, or the whole of you that likes both. 

I know you want everyone to think well of you. You do not want to cause a scene or be a problem. But you are not the problem. Your parents will still love you. You will still go to law school and have the career you want. You will still get married. You will still be a mom. You will be you, and you will be all the things that you are. 

Some day you will realize all of this, and you will mourn and grieve the queer youth that you did not have. You will be angry thinking back about the high school counselor who rebuffed you when you tried to find these words. Sitting on the couch in her office, missing class to meet with her, bravely squeaking out that you are confused about your sexuality, nervously laughing as you stare at your sweaty hands and feel like you are floating. When she tells you that you’ll need your parents’ permission to keep talking to her, your stomach turns inside out. This must be a really serious problem, you think, I better be sure before I cause a big fuss. You are not the problem. You are not a fuss. You are perfect just as you are. 

Your 40-year-old future self

Meghan Hansen is a mom, a yogi, and a lawyer. She lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her family. 

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