Hindsight 20/Something: Girl to Galaxy (McKenna, 23)

by austin beaton

Girl to Galaxy

Buy Hindsight 20/Something on Amazon here.

I assumed that asking for a pronoun change would build a home around me that I could take everywhere.

I’m learning that it’s more like a never ending group project than a turtle shell of comfort or a one time out-of-the-closet tattoo. Permanent and effortless are not words I would use to describe this transition.

A few weeks after I came out, my identity came up at a friend’s little sister’s high school graduation party (you end up at events like this by default when you move back to your hometown). Early on in the evening, a friend of their family caught wind of my vocabulary. We had what I thought was a productive conversation about pronouns until we coincidentally rendezvoused in the kitchen towards the end of the evening and he slowly told me how good it was to meet “you guys.” “You all are wonderful,” he said, pronouncing the plural with confidence. “I would love to spend more time with everyone!”

I nodded my way through his pedantic tone and was left standing by the fridge with the realization that he thought I thought I was multiple people.

Using they/them/theirs pronouns is a time consuming way to move through the world, and it’s easy for me to forget on more public days that it is tied to a truth of myself, and isn’t just a grammatical gymnastics I demand others perform for my entertainment.

This is an excerpt from an essay by McKenna O’Dougherty in Hindsight 20/Something, a collection of perspectives on the quarter-life crisis. Read the full version and learn more about the collection here.