A Letter to my Future Self.

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

Dear Laylah,

I am not going to open this letter by hoping that you’ve achieved everything that I wish you will, because that would be an insult to you. There’s no question as to whether you’ve reached for your dreams or not. But I do hope that you’ve found satisfaction through these achievements. I hope that you don’t have any empty voids or sources of shame that are unresolved.

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My Reading List

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

I know. I’m talking about books again. You’re probably asking yourself whether I ever shut up about them. The answer is no, but I believe that I told you how entitled and annoying I can be in the opening of this book. I have a collection of books that I adore. I only started this collection about a year ago but it has grown a good bit since then. I’ve read a lot more books than the ones on this list but these are my favourites. I keep hard copies on a specific shelf in my room in my Mam’s house. I may have read these books in eBook form or borrowed them from a friend but they had such an impact on me that I would then buy my own hard copy to keep with me. I am including this list because I believe that I learned many things from each of these books and because they have impacted my own experiences and my own writing.

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Dear Parents

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

Hello parents. How are you? Tired? Angry? Too busy to talk? Who can blame you. Your job is difficult. Kids are horrible. Teenagers are worse. And then they just leave at the end of it all. Why does anyone do it? This chapter is about trying to give you an insight into the mind of your child and maybe giving you some tips on dealing with them. What’s that you ask? Why should you listen to me? Oh don’t worry, I have no doubt that you’ll completely ignore any of the things that you disagree with and that’s completely your right as a parent. But I am going to speak about some things that may relate to your teenager. They probably won’t because god knows, I was never your average teenager. But nevertheless, let me begin.

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A Modern World

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

There’s no denying that the world has changed an awful lot over time. Sometimes it’s unclear whether we should be grateful for all of this change or not. But as much as the world changes, it’s very apparent that there are sections of society that continue to not make sense and that refuse to change.

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The Wild Life

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

I think that it’s so important to embrace and recognise your wild side as a part of you. I love the idea of a spontaneous life and try to put it into practice as much as I can. I genuinely think that I’ve managed pretty well so far. Wildness really only became important to me in the Winter of 2014, the time that I seem to have referred to many times throughout the course of this book. Up until this time I think I had been pretty wild. I’ve spoken about the numerous parties that I used to attend and the times that my friends and I would drink in fields, on the beach and in our local pub but after my heart was broken, I had a sudden desire to go completely wild. Thankfully I kept this desire somewhat under control because it had the potential to become really dangerous. Using alcohol to mask pain is no laughing matter and I understand that a lot more now than I did then.

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Rules of a Teenager

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

Recently, while sorting through my bedroom in my Mam’s house I found a tiny blue notebook that I had forgotten about. I suddenly remembered sitting down at my desk and writing it. I think I was about 15 when I did this. It was my “rule book.” It contained all of the lessons that I had learned over time and wished to put into practice. I was surprised to find that I still follow most of these rules as best I can. I only wrote 24 because I had very little discipline at the time. Or perhaps it was because I was only 15 and I didn’t know much about life or the way the world works. They are as follows:

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A Higher Power

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

I don’t mean to make you all cringe here but I do honestly believe that there is a higher power in this world. I don’t believe in a God that sits stroking his white beard and deciding how our days will unfold but I do think that we can manipulate this life to go our own way. I’m not religious at all but I don’t resent people who practice religion. As long as their religion isn’t criticising people’s lives, choices and natures. Unfortunately, the majority of religions seem to do this in some form or another. I would love it if we could all exist peacefully side by side doing our own thing and believing our own beliefs but that’s probably much too idealistic of me. A book that I believe everyone should study in school is The Secret. I know that people love to scoff at this book and disregard it as ridiculous but it actually makes some amazing points. We do control our lives with our thoughts and feelings and I’ve seen the law of attraction in effect on many occasions during my life. Some people can’t grasp it and maybe that will always be the way but you owe it to yourself to at least try to get everything that you could ever want.

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My Journals

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

Do I sound like a child mentioning my journals? Perhaps it is childish to keep one but I really, really couldn’t care less. I had originally intended to populate this chapter with phrases and sayings from my journals that are funny, inspirational, terrifying and devastating. But sitting here now with the open notebooks around me, I’m not ready to share them. They are my pride and joy. My soul and my charm. My biggest achievement and my delicious secret. I will not yet betray the fifteen-year-old me by laughing at his naivety or his bitchiness. I won’t share my sources of inspiration any more than I already have for fear that this book will turn you all into perfect human beings that I couldn’t possibly live up to. I won’t share my darkest, scariest thoughts because they are a part of me that I cannot discuss in a blasé fashion. I am not going to give heartbroken David a voice right now because I am finally in a good place and don’t wish to delve back into my past. I hope that my readers can respect that.

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Cruelty

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

One of the hardest things for me to accept is that there are bad people in this world. It disgusts me, terrifies me and shocks me to know that I, or the people that I love could come into contact with any one of these people at any time. A part of me is intrigued. How do these people become this way? Are they in any way redeemable? Can we solve these people’s problems? Were they born like this? I ask myself these questions every time I hear that someone’s been murdered. Or when I see online videos of people abusing animals. Or when I watch in horror as unspeakable acts of terrorism occur. Hearing these kind of things weighs on my soul. I wish I didn’t get so affected but at the same time, I don’t. I’m glad I feel so strongly about these things because that’s reality and although it’s important to lose touch with reality at times, it’s also important to pay close attention when reality becomes as horrific as this. The most recent example I can think of is the Paris attacks on the 13th of November 2015. I was alone in my apartment when I heard. I began to read article after article on what was happening. I couldn’t believe how horrific it was. I got extremely upset that night and went to make myself a hot chocolate. But nothing could remove the attacks from my soul. I sat in my dark room trying to fall asleep but unfortunately I couldn’t for a long time. I finally had a very disturbed sleep full of nightmares and worries for a few hours.

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Being Transgender.

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

I’ve mentioned it many times prior to this and now I’m going to discuss it fully. It’s rare that you will hear me go into such detail about this topic. However, it is a part of me and thus should be included in this book. I want to clarify that I am in no way ashamed or annoyed by the fact that I am trans. The reason that I do not talk about it a lot is because (believe it or not) it doesn’t actually come up in conversation that much and I don’t feel compelled to discuss it. I am transgender, but I’m also a writer, a feminist, a coffee-drinker, a dancer, a bookworm and many other things. Conversations with me aren’t ruled by the fact that I am transgender and it certainly doesn’t define who I am. Saying that, I have no problem discussing this fact with people and answering any questions that they may have. If you are talking to me and you have questions about my transition, then that’s fine. If you’re talking to me and you don’t have questions, that’s fine too. I won’t be offended that you’d rather discuss my career, my state of being or my skincare routine than my gender.

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Appreciating Yourself

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

We learn to appreciate ourselves by acting in a way that makes us proud. I believe that the best way of doing this is by learning through other people’s experiences. Throughout my entire life, if there was a character in a movie or a book that I admired, I would pick my favourite aspects of their personality and adopt it into mine. If I looked up to traits that my friends or family possessed, I tried to also possess these traits. I don’t think that this is being fake, quite the opposite in fact. I think it’s being true to yourself to want to develop into a person that you admire. It takes courage to do things that you look up to in other people. To me, it’s quite noble to desire to be your best self.

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Dark Times

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

Every now and again, I suffer from something that I like to refer to as a dark time. I believe that it may be a form of depression. However, I do not refer to it as such because it never lasts very long. These dark times began when I fell in love and lost my friends. This was a horrible time for me. I suffered greatly with these losses and the result was a new, darker mind. However, I never ran from this pain, I confronted it head on. When I couldn’t sleep because I was overthinking, I read my books. When I wanted to lock myself in my room, I listened to sad music. When I spent the day in bed I would watch movies that I loved. I would do what I needed to get through a day, telling myself that it was temporary. I would call my friends if I needed to talk. Turn my phone off if I needed to be alone.  I would write in my journals as much as possible. I would look at old pictures and think about what I had lost. Watch YouTube videos of my idols. Go out and get coffee alone. Spend all of my money on sweets, diet coke and magazines. Take long, hot showers and baths. Read articles online about pain and loss.

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My Teenage Group

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

Being a teenager is shitty isn’t it? It’s enough to drive anyone crazy and I am starting to believe that it does in many cases. There are all sorts of pressures and complex environments to manoeuvre that I feel many of us forget about when we grow up. That’s not to say that I’ve grown up. I am still a teenager, I’ve just moved on to the next phase of my life i.e. college. I don’t know if everyone has a significant group of friends as a teenager but I certainly did. Being in this group was like being thrown into a fascinating, complex, hilarious, insecure world that I could not grasp. To this day I still don’t really understand that world that I spent a few years living in but I’m going to try to explain it as best as I can.

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Primary School Romances

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

I’m not certain of the time-line regarding all this, but I think that it was at about age 10 that it began. We were growing older. And two students in my class had begun a relationship. The news spread like wild fire. They were spotted holding hands. He had given her a piggy back. They even hugged once. We were intrigued. How did it work? What was the appeal? Their relationship was fascinating to all of us. We knew that the older classes had relationships but it was surprising to discover that we were now old enough to have our own. We watched with amazement at all that occurred. They sat beside each other on buses to trips. They even kissed once or twice. Then, one day, they broke up. That news spread just as quickly. People split off into sides. You were either on the side of the girl or of the boy. This lasted about three days until everyone forgot about it and we all became friends again.

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Selfishness

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

I believe that people have the wrong idea about selfishness. They think that it’s a sin to be selfish when it’s exactly how you should be. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advising that you don’t consider everyone around you because you care about yourself more, or to put your priorities ahead of everyone else’s. All I suggest is that you put your priorities on a par with those of other people. You are important. You are worth your own time. So you should treat yourself as such. Don’t let people convince you that it’s wrong to want the best for yourself. Don’t let them tell you that you shouldn’t prevent yourself from getting hurt. That you shouldn’t follow your dreams or treat yourself with the utmost respect. That you shouldn’t occasionally make decisions that no one in your life agrees with or that you shouldn’t be slightly vain. For some reason society likes to teach us that these things are wrong and we usually listen.

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The Bathroom

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

Something that I don’t admit very often is that bathrooms are an issue for me. It seems obvious but I still don’t talk about it that much. I don’t feel anxious very often but the bathroom is one rare moment when I do. Walking through the door I have no idea who’s going to be on the other side. Will they just keep going about their business? Will they stare at me? Will they laugh? Will they say something rude? I’ve had all of these things happen to me. Most of the time I can laugh about it. I laugh when an old man tells me that “this is the boy’s bathroom.” I laugh when I’m standing at the sink and a man comes in only to see me, apologise and walk out. I laugh when someone looks me up and down or when they ask whether I’m a boy or a girl. I especially laugh when someone sees me while they are standing at a urinal and immediately shields their penis as if I get my kicks entering the bathroom purely to catch a glimpse of their penis urinating. I laugh because it’s useless to get annoyed or upset about it. Most of the time, I tell my friends about it later and we all laugh together. I have to say, the embarrassing experiences have reduced since I moved to the city because people there are more used to diversity.

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Criticism

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

Criticism, unfortunately, is a massive part of this world. I don’t mean to brag but I’ve received an awful lot of criticism during my time. Everyone undergoes scrutiny and judgement, even if they don’t know it. This scrutiny can be from family, friends, acquaintances, enemies and strangers. This is a fact that I have really struggled and continue to struggle to come to terms with. I think the hardest part about knowing yourself as well as I do is that other people don’t know you. People love to tell you what you are, what you were and what you’re going to be. How do we keep sane? We don’t listen. Honestly, I’m not good at this. Nothing annoys me more than people jumping to conclusions about things that they know nothing about. I’ve always resented it. Humans are assholes. We all are. We assume that we understand and know things better than other people when the truth is, and I sense you won’t be appeased by this, the only things that you can truly understand are what’s in your own head. Even if you know every detail of a situation you don’t understand people’s perspectives. You don’t understand people’s emotions and reactions to things. You don’t understand the different boundaries and limits that another person has even if that person is your own child.

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Idols

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

I believe that it is important to pick idols. To choose people who represent what you want to be. Over time I’ve had many idols. They were mostly good people and mostly blonde. I am unsure whether that last fact was merely a coincidence. You can see quotes from some of my various idols at the top of each chapter. These are quotes that I constantly think about and attempt to live by. My first ever idol was Shakira. I loved everything about Shakira when I was about 5 or 6. I listened to her albums constantly and danced along with her video to “Whenever, Wherever.” I still enjoy Shakira’s music to this day and think she is a beautiful person. Although I would not count her as my idol because I no longer know enough about her.

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Crushes

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

I thought it was only natural to follow up a chapter about love with a chapter about crushes. I am no more an expert about crushes than I am about love, however, I have had a crush or two in my time. I have also watched many of my friends develop crushes with fascination as they have played out in a positive or negative (mostly negative) fashion. I feel like an American 14-year-old using the word crush but I don’t know what else to call it. Infatuation? Obsession? Stupidity? Torture?

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Love

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

I’ve been putting off writing this chapter. This is unlike me. The topic of love has fascinated me for a long time. If I have a few glasses of wine I’ll suddenly start talking about it for hours. I’ll bore you to death asking questions and sharing my experiences. I think this fascination first arose when I fell in love. Before this I was a naïve person. I used to think of everything as black and white. I didn’t truly understand pain or devotion. I didn’t truly understand why people couldn’t get over relationships. It was all a mystery to me. This chapter may sound clichéd and tacky and I’m sorry for that. I don’t have an idealistic viewpoint of love because the only association I’ve had with it up until now has been heartbreak. I can’t change this. I can’t talk about it in an experienced fashion. I can only reflect on what I know.

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