Monday, January 30, 2017

Why I write: A letter from a reader.

I wanted to share with you a special letter I received. I am honored and humbled that my story Jack, a coming of age story about a transgender boy, helped someone realize they are not alone and there is hope...

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Dear Adrienne Wilder,

The girl in the red dress stared at the mirror. Her eyes roamed up and down, noting the curves of her chest and hips, her soft face and flowing hair.

But this wasn’t the real person who stood in the front of the mirror. That person had a flat chest, strong jawline, and didn’t have translucent black lines running down his face.

He never hated his body, but the universe was determined to change that. They made him think he was the only one in the world who felt like this, and that he’d never be happy.

Your book, Adrienne Wilder, was the best thing he could have asked for.

Almost four years ago, I came out as transgender. I haven’t always known, but part of me felt that something “was off” from the start. Through the years, I have gotten lots of support, but no one has been able to fully understand it. Until you. Until Jack. Jack was the first time I finally saw my emotions on paper, and not written by me.

Relating to Jack was instantaneous. For many years I have dealt with family members refusing to accept or acknowledge how I present myself, and more than once have I attempted suicide. In chapter two, when he says, “Falling wasn’t half as frightening as being trapped with Emma. Being forced into a shape I did not fit,” I was scared of how much I understood that feeling.

One thing I truly learned from this book, though, is to never stop looking for a brighter future. Life may beat you down, and bad days may turn into bad weeks or months. But that doesn’t mean you won’t get your happy ending.

Before I read this book, I was a month out of the hospital for suicidal thoughts and quickly sinking into yet another depression. Not only did this book make me feel like I wasn’t truly alone, it gave me hope. As the book progressed, Jack’s situation kept getting worse and worse, and I had a feeling from the start that it wouldn’t have a happy ending. But in the final chapters, when Jack and Noah finally got out of the hospital and created a new life together, I couldn’t believe it. There have been so many times where I’ve felt completely hopeless about my future, and that I’ll never be satisfied. This ending made me realize that right now is not my happy ending, but I’ll get there. Everything can’t happen at once, but one day I will be where I want to be and who I want to be. This simple lesson has motivated me to be as happy as I can in the moment and to never stop believing.

So in the end, Adrienne Wilder, I’d like to say thank you. Thank you for the emotions, the lessons, and most of all, for Jack.

CJ Medley

by Adrienne Wilder
October 5, 2012
210 pages
Union, Georgia. 1971. Born in the wrong body Jack finds himself lost and trapped in a town where he feels out of place. Acceptance – or even tolerance – doesn’t exist in Union, or within his family. When Jack attempts suicide following his mother’s death, Jack’s sister Emma has him committed to Meadow Field Psychiatric Hospital, where they continue to try and change him, convince him that how he feels and who he is, is wrong. 
But in this most unlikely place, among the most unlikely friends and unspeakable fear, Jack learns that all acts have consequences, some things cannot be changed, and love isn’t defined by the body it comes in.