It’s that moment when your finger hovers over the send button. I can’t say, before I identified first as non-binary and now as trans, that I really understood this kind of feeling outside of clicking send on a job application for a position I really wanted.

This time was different. In July, I’ll be spending some time with a bunch of my friends from college as one of us (not me, not yet) celebrates a 40th birthday. Some of them I haven’t seen in nearly 20 years. I’m going to look different to them. I couldn’t just walk in that room cold with none of them knowing. This is doubly true since we’ll be there for four days. Some of them might be uncomfortable sharing a bedroom with me.

So I picked out two couples, two friends from college and their wives, with whom I’m relatively close. One is the person whose birthday it is, was my roommate, and also my best friend from high school. The other is one I met in college and stayed close with afterwards (and his wife as well).

I had made a reference to the latter about getting some medical appointments squared away. That alarmed him because he recently lost a grandparents and his wife is about to lose an aunt. I reassured him that there was no danger to me, that it was something else. I owed him an explanation.

I put it all out there. What I’m thinking of doing. How long I’ve felt this way. How long I’ve known there was something different about me (aside from not wanting a gender applied to my Blankie, I remember very clearly being about 10 or so and knowing I was different, terrified that I was gay; I wish someone would have explained that you have to be interested in men to be gay, and I’ve never been). What this means. How they don’t need to fear me. That I’m still me.

There’s a little bit of a thrill in coming out, in getting to be yourself, and clicking send puts a small shock through that finger, one of possibility. One of hope. One of imagined positive responses. It’s a smaller button, too, than the one my mind holds for when I talk to my parents. That one feels like something that needs a sledgehammer rather than a click. That’s how much weight is over me on that.

So I’ve just outed myself to four of my friends. We’ll see how that goes. I would expect them to be okay with me. Because I’d always be okay with them, too.

That’s what friends do. And what they hope for when they click send.

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