A change is happening. I can see it in the mirror and feel it in my gut. I am evolving—a chapter of my life has closed, and a new one seems to be opening.

Less than a month ago I never wore pants. I wore skirts with form-fitting tops and lots of jewelry. Today I’m wearing baggy cargo pants, a boxy men’s Nirvana T-shirt, a leather blazer, and chunky boots. I’ve been doing my makeup in a way that makes me look more masculine, focusing on my eyebrows more than my eyes. I colored them purple today. I’ve been experimenting with looking more gender-fluid. People who flirt with androgyny, like Sebastian Columbine, really inspire me to not feel confined to looking/acting conventionally feminine.

I’m making new friends, too. I reconnected with a boy I met on vacation last winter. We talk for hours on the phone every night about our lives, miles and miles away from each other. Another friend of mine hangs out with this really cool girl in my English class, and I asked her to bring me the next time they’re together. She has short red hair and a denim jacket with spikes on it and a patch on the back that says “feminine is not anti-feminist” with a painting of a unicorn.

A guy who would have been a senior if he hadn’t dropped out asked me to hang out, so we spent the day walking around together, stopping twice for a cup of tea. We spent hours being silent, and more hours talking. We explored an abandoned recycling plant. We listened to Iggy Pop and Pink Floyd in his car.

There’s a girl who always sneaks up on me in the hallway and hugs me, and I freak out and walk away as quickly as I can because that shit freaks me out. Today, however, I hugged her back. I can’t even begin to describe the look of shock on her face.

Right now I feel less vulnerable than ever, as if someone would break their hand trying to punch me. I’m untouchable. It’s a weird feeling, and surely fleeting. ♦