I don’t know how you feel pain. Or joy.

I don’t know if you experience the colour blue the same way I do, or if an orgasm shudders you the way it does me.

I don’t know what words hurt you nor how they hurt. I don’t know how you experience loss. I don’t know what impatience or intolerance feel like to you.

These aren’t things I can know. These aren’t things any of us can know. The experiences within our own heads and own bodies are not ones that can be transmitted nor captured nor shared. We can use language—be it words or touch or what have you—to attempt to describe, to lend a glimpse.

In other words, I don’t know what any other biological men experience. I don’t know what women experience. I don’t know what others who describe themselves as non-binary feel. All I can do is borrow the language they use—as they can from me—and go yeah, that sounds like what I feel.

This is important to understand in an age when identity is a messy thing, when confusion needs to meet compassion. It’s also important when others want to ask me questions: that’s fine, but understand I don’t feel safe sharing my language with you most of the time. At the same time, I don’t expect to be accepted or like or anything. But I also ask that, with some compassion for that swirling mass inside of me I can’t share, that you not react by othering me. Ostracizing me. I’m trying to figure this out too.

That doesn’t negate my humanity. Nor yours.

I don’t know how you feel joy. But I certainly don’t want you to feel pain because of me. I hope you feel the same way. Share your language with me so I know for sure.