WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Julian Sun, ’17, College of Arts and Science
One night last semester, I went to Kissam’s Munchie Mart to get my routine midnight swipe: blue Powerade, a bag of chips (barbeque flavor), and the best red apple I could dig out of the remaining bruised ones. This was so automatic for me that I didn’t notice there was a new employee behind the cash register. I absent-mindedly gave her my ID, already holding up the Powerade at the right angle to be scanned.
“You can’t use this card,” she said. I snapped to attention. Oh no. Did I run out of meals? “Why?” I asked in a panic. I can’t function without my usual midnight snack. “This isn’t you,” she said. “You aren’t Julie.” I relaxed. “Oh…yeah, no, that’s me.” I took the card, held it next to my face, and matched the smile in the picture. “I just got a haircut.” The worker next to her, who has rung me up many a time, reassured her that yes, it was me.
After resolving the misunderstanding, I walked happily back up to my room munching on my unhealthily timed snack. I love it when my appearance confuses people. I do it a lot, because even though I present really masculinely, I have a feminine body and voice so sometimes people can’t decipher my gender as quickly as they are used to.
I think about my ID again and chuckle. Julie in the picture was from about a year ago, when I still identified as female. She had long wavy hair (which she hated to take care of), tight-fitting clothes (which she liked looking at but didn’t particularly enjoy wearing), and a huge collection of heels that she never wore (which probably accumulated from trying really hard to overcompensate for a lack of femininity).
Julie was always just an idea—a façade designed to convince myself and everyone else that I was a girl, destined to do girl things. I’m proud to say that I don’t need Julie anymore. In her place is a stronger, truer me, who is more a boy than a girl, who actually likes my clothes, who is more confident, and who doesn’t feel so out of place anymore.
The cashier at Munchie was right. I’m not Julie. I am Julian, looking forward to becoming the best me that I can be.