I can tell you now, even with everything men have put you through, you will still try to see the best in people. Sometimes this will be your downfall. They will gaslight you so much that you will start gaslighting yourself – I wish there was a way to warn you to always trust your intuition. If it feels off, that’s probably because it is…
Content warning: toxic masculinity, emotional abuse and sexual violence
Dear Past Me,
I can tell you now, even with everything men have put you through, you will still try to see the best in people. Sometimes this will be your downfall. They will gaslight you so much that you will start gaslighting yourself – I wish there was a way to warn you to always trust your intuition. If it feels off, that’s probably because it is. You can be intelligent and still be a victim of manipulation and emotional abuse. Men will lie to themselves so much that the lies become real. And you will feel stupid. And it’s okay.
Sometimes it won’t stop at being patronised, or followed, or harassed, or lied to. Sometimes the things you fear the most might happen. They also won’t happen because of strangers, and you will not realise they happened until months after they happened. Men will mostly be nice to you when they are seeking things from you. There will be one that really stands out, know that circumstance removing him from your life probably saved you. You should never believe a man over a person you have solidarity with. Never. Please watch I May Destroy you as soon as it comes out, and watch closely.
Dear past me, the men closest to you have different faces that can and will disappoint you. You will not be harmed by toxic masculinity just by men. Masc lesbians are also to be cautious of. You will know when you see it. You will use your femininity to empower yourself in those situations and in sex, and it won’t be worth it because in the end they will still feel entitled to enclose you in boxes. Take red flags as they are (yes, the pink ones too). When people tell you about toxic traits to get compliments out of you, believe them: it is a warning, not an invitation to fix them. Your relationships won’t last. They’ll also ruin some songs for you, which kind of sucks. You will stop giving a fuck and stop taking people very seriously. But it’s not the wisest and it’s also not who you are. Don’t get too messy.
You will realise that toxic masculinity doesn’t always have a specific face; you will grow out of it. Queerer. A friend will make you realise that being queer is not about an identity but an ideology: you will be unphased. If a man doesn’t like your outfit, it probably means you’re doing something right. Sometimes, staying quiet will be the most powerful thing you can do. You will mostly surround yourself with other queer people and will be the happiest version of yourself. What you seek in dating will change vastly and it’s going to feel like a huge milestone in your self-growth. Don’t let the anger eat you away, but also don’t let it go – it’s one of your strongest weapons.
Dear pre-trauma me, be thankful you met them, and even more thankful they are out of your life. You will heal from trauma, in time, and a lot will be waiting for you.