Can I have a minute of your time? Just a minute, because I know you’re busy doing so many other amazing things, and I want to respect the choices you have made [as a strong independent womyn] about how to spend your own time and not impose my own will upon you [as the strong independent womyn you are].
When I first met you, I was torn between two worlds. You made me feel like I was a part of an open and consensus-driven two-sided dialogue, and I didn’t know if maybe it was meant to be or not… after years attending San Francisco Day School together, I was already an admirer of your fan fiction and your intersectional feminism, but I think it was really that night at the Chainsmokers that did it, that forced me to choose between the truth and the lie, that allowed me to see in you in a new light.
It’s the same light that I think, with respect to their own unique experiences and identities, Doug and Daphne have been seeing for years––the same light of a million stars in the sky––the same light that is sparked between two lovers when they share secrets or hold hands for the first time––the same light in the upstairs bathroom at 1410 35th Street––the same light that you so beautifully sparked inside Kamaya’s heart as you taught them all year so that them, too, can one day find their soul, clear their mind, empower themself with strength that lasts beyond the studio walls, and not just change bodies, but change lives.
And what I appreciate most about our friendship is that we’re not like other teens. If you’re like most teens, a ton of your communication is done through texting and social media. But when you spend so much time looking at a screen, it’s easy to forget how to engage in real-life, face-to-face communication––a critical skill for your future success! As you become more dependent on your phone and the Internet, your ability to connect in person may diminish. Fortunately, there are solutions out there to our generation’s problems, and although Edward Cullen can’t figure it out, I think, when you really consider the context, with your support as an equal and perhaps even more important partner in this open two-sided conversation based upon mutual respect and a series of agreed-upon community norms, we can.
At the end of the day, what I’m really trying to say is that I’m proud you beat Jessica to become Copley’s GUSA Senator, and that unlike Mary Todd Lincoln, whose historical legacy was sadly tarnished by nineteenth century historians because they didn’t want to acknowledge her innovative redefinition of the role of First Lady and thus could not neatly fit her into the metaphorical boxes they had constructed for women at the time, and also unlike Tallulah Tadlock, who has problems, you will be remembered forever in the history books as someone who did not have problems and also someone who was powerful and respectable in her own right––as a paragon of virtue, if you will, as someone who opposed slavery from the start and also as a genuine and loyal friend to those around you.
Remember that this birthday is not the final chapter of your youth, thus marking the beginning of your slow and inevitable decline into eventual senility and the dark depths of a slow dementia-ridden death, but rather is the first chapter of your 20th year––a “day of birth,” per se––and a time to celebrate the radiance and dynamism that you so wonderfully bring into this godforsaken world.
All my love,Ari