When you’re five, you’re going to dress like a boy – and it’s totally going to be fine. No one is going to make fun of you. The boys in your class will ask you to play sports with them, and you’ll kick their butts at just about everything. Just keep wearing your Iverson jerseys and rockin’ those sweatbands.
When you’re 11, things are going to start to change. Every woman in your family is going to tell you that you have to start wearing bras and stop acting like a boy because you’re “becoming a woman,” (whatever that means). Other girls are going to bully you for your style, but can you blame them? You’ve worn basketball jerseys and shorts all your life up until this point, so don’t expect your fashion sense to be on point just yet.
When you’re 12, you’re going to watch the movie Dodgeball and realize that bisexuality is a thing. Hold on to that.
When you’re 14, you’re going to identify two lesbians couples in your life. Now, you don’t know they’re lesbians, but something inside of you tells you that there’s something different about them. Whenever you’re around these couples, you’re going to look for ANY sign that they’re in some type of romantic relationship. Hold on to this, too.
When you’re 15, you’re going start feeling a little different. There’s this girl at school who will openly identify as gay and you’re going to start wondering about her. You start watching her from across class and eventually gain the courage to ask her about her sexuality. She’s going to ask you if you’re bisexual, and you’re going to say, for the first time, to anyone, “I’m not sure.” This is the first step you’re going to take towards accepting who you are.
When you’re 16, you’re going to slowly start telling your friends that you’re bisexual. By the end of junior year, almost everyone in your close friend group knows – and they all accept you, which is great, but you’re going to have a tough time accepting yourself. You’re going to spend many nights scrolling through Tumblr, looking for answers to why you were feeling this way. You’re going to wonder why God did this to you, why he made you like this. You’re going to hate yourself for who you are, and let the feelings you have for yourself infiltrate into your friendships and other aspects of life.
When you’re 18, hopes comes back when you accept the admission offer to NYU. People at school that you thought were cool with you are going to now say that you only got into NYU because you’re Spanish and poor. Keep your head up, because neither of those two things are true. Regarding accepting your LGBTQ identity, you’ve embraced it a lot more than last year; everyone around you has already proved themselves as problematic, so you might as well be “Spanish,” “poor,” and gay and not care. You’re going to move to New York City anyways, so you might as well just be yourself.
You’re going to go to Pride in NYC for the first time in June with your cousin – and you’re going to make her promise to not tell anyone. At NYC Pride, you’re going to realize that you’re not alone and that it’s okay to be LGBTQ. When you get to NYU, you’re going to identify other LGBTQ people in your summer program and start forming your queer family.
When you’re 19, you’re going to come out to your mom, brother, sister, step-father, and the rest of your family. It’s going to take some time, but they’re all going to be really accepting, despite the thoughts that have been haunting you all these years.
When you’re 20, you’re going to get the call from Point Foundation congratulating you on joining the Point Class of 2015. Both you and Mom will start crying in the middle of 34th Street, which is a memory you’ll never forget; for the first time, you feel a sense of pride in your identity as an LGBTQ person.
When you’re 22, things are going well. You’re going to spend a lot of this year thinking about grad school, forming relationships with professors, and attending conferences (literally, you’re going to become a Conference Queen). By now, you have lead more groups at NYU than you have fingers to count. You’re going to become a mentor for many young students at NYU, including folks from the Opportunity Programs, LGBTQ students in STEM, and high school students. You’re going to have your first internship at NASA and your second internship experience away from home, which is going to be life-changing.
In November, you’re going to get your first full-time job offer, and amongst competing offers and the idea of grad school, you’re going to decide to take the offer – which, by the way, is going to land us in the middle of the desert next August working on some project at a company that you’ve dreamed about working at for quite some time… I hope we made a good decision!
And that brings us to today – March 2018. You’re 23 years old, have a job lined up for after graduation, and you’re living your best life. The thought of graduation brings tears to your eyes every time you think about it, because after five long years at NYU, you’ve made it! Well, almost.
All of the rough memories are going to fade and you’re going to start to realize that you’ve given your best, and that’s all you could really do. You’ll still feel a little bit of imposter syndrome, but there are so many people around you uplifting you and reminding you of all that you’ve achieved thus far, though it is ultimately important that you work towards believing that your competencies and abilities are valid and on-par, if not exceptional. The voices in your head that say, “you’re not good enough,” are going to start to die out, because you’re finally going to believe that you deserve everything you’ve worked for.
Be brave. Be strong. Be bold. And most importantly, be yourself. I can’t wait to see what is coming up for us in the future.
Your Future Self
This post was written by HSBC Point Scholar Angie Gonzalez.
Angie is a student at NYU pursuing a dual-degree in Physics and Electrical Engineering. Following graduation, Angie will work as a GLOS Engineer at Northrop Grumman. Learn more about Angie here.