‘You do you, girl!’ is the constant voice I hear every time I have made a decision in my life. The funny thing is, it’s not people around me saying that, it’s in fact my heart. Now if you’re wondering where that voice comes from, let me explain. It is deep rooted in the soil of self-love, respect and dignity. It’s the sweet ripe fruit of sticking it through all the hard times as a femme queer transgender/non-binary person of colour. It’s the voice that lights up in my eyes every time you try looking in them, its fire and its fury.
This article is about my journey on being authentic and staying true to myself. I grew up in a small town in northern India in a working middle class family. My childhood was filled with tales, poems and folk music that my maternal grandparents bestowed on me and it all had one commonality, a prince and a princess. They would call me the prince and describe the princess that was waiting for me. I would be thrilled thinking there is a princess inside me, waiting to come out, she is waiting to grow into a beautiful, strong (and independent) woman. I was disappointed when adolescence hit and the world did not see me as I wanted to be seen. That’s when my journey on the road of self-discovery, love and patience began.
Early on I learnt to be unapologetic about being who I was and being put down for it. When the world grinned at me with disgust, I gave my best smile, my hair flip and kept my focus onto my future. Then I moved to Toronto when I turned 18, only to find that there was legal protection here, however, femininity was still put down in a male dominant world. I got into makeup and modelling and worked as a non-binary person in the industry. I now work full time as a makeup artist. Things are better, I am stronger but the world is still harsh. I wake up every morning and I look in the mirror only to see my best reflection that I have made so far. I paint my face for self-expression and it has become my therapy. I curl my hair, tuck them behind my ears, put on heels and I walk out in broad day light to conquer, to progress and to win.
Let me tell you, I would be rich if I got a dime for every hair flip that I did in this city for all the hatred but it’s nothing. It’s nothing in front of my respect for myself, my craft and my goals. I promised my-self when I uprooted my life from that part of the world to come here that I will never settle for anything less than I deserve. I am me, I am all of us that hustle and work to achieve what we want. No one can put us down. Now when you look in the mirror, you know who to look for; your true self.