You’re the only one who can say who you are with authority.
I love this. It is so succinct in conveying the idea that it is up to each of us as individuals to decide who we are and in which way(s) we will present our identity(ies) to others. It also reminds us that we do not have to take on the words other people assign to us, especially those which are harmful misrepresentations of our characters or even contradictory to the ways we view ourselves.
It takes a lot of courage to tell the world who you are and I believe everyone deserves the right to be seen and celebrated as well as have the opportunity to see others like them celebrated. Simply stated, representation matters. As a bookseller, I love those moments when young queer people clock me as a “sibling in the struggle” and look to me for resources for people like them.
When you’re fourteen or fifteen years old, and you’re any kind of Other, reading about an adult who looks the way you do, loves the way you do, worships the same way you do, or speaks the same language(s) you do, and is happy and healthy, is incredibly life-affirming. It says to them that it is possible to be authentic. To not compromise. To be radically yourself and still succeed. That feeling of being able to help someone else feel seen is like oxygen to me. I rely on it. I use it as a compass when the ugliness of the world threatens to make me lose my way.
Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please follow, like, comment, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or catch me on Twitter @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.