defender of the weak

i like to believe that things are finally evening out now. i’ve got a rhythm and routine with my roommates. i have a temporary job that exhausts and fulfills me and another job waiting for me when this camp job ends in two weeks. i’m used to the pains of a long distance relationship. i can feed myself now. i’m more active and tanner and more hydrated.

but i still have hard days, they’re just different from before.

today was rough. i shared my story with the campers, a story marred with mental illness and grief and forgiveness. i needed to be vulnerable with them. i needed to tell them that i’d felt broken before, like my anxiety took away my humanity. i realized that a lot of the kids i was talking to haven’t had any kind of authority figure look them in the eyes and fully accept their hearts, as broken and dented and walled up as they are.

two of my campers are transgender, and i find myself fighting to defend these delicate teenagers. they are told that they are not valid, that they are “going through a phase.” adults tell them that their identities and sexualities are choices they’re making for attention. after our talk tonight, the two campers came into my room, and one of them sobbed into my chest for ten minutes. she told me that she felt broken. my heart broke right there in the middle of this freezing little dorm room that has been my halfway refuge for the last two weeks. i never thought i’d be in this situation, the defender of these kids whose hearts have been smashed by adults right in front of my eyes. it’s entirely possible that i am the first adult to ever validate them. it’s an honor and a privilege, but i’m scared.

i still have hard days, they’re just different from before. they’re marked with loving as hard as i can and finding my heart stretched further than i ever thought it could go.


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