To be alive yet not living — just existing.
That’s my predicament right now, and it’s exhausting. I had thought after graduating from high school and leaving for college, that my life would be a lot easier — smoother — and I wouldn’t have to explain how I was no longer Olivia but Oliver.
Those last few months of high school when I had come out had been the worst, physically, and emotionally draining period of my life, but none the less I had been happy. Happy that I could finally not feel like I was trapped in my own body. I was free to be me, no longer having to play pretend.
Things had been smooth for the first few months. I had made some friends and a close one. Well, I didn’t think of Advik as a friend. I had a crush on him, and I had ruined our friendship by being stupid and generally saying some stupid things. I should have just kept my feelings to myself. It was like I was just destined to ruin anything that was going well for me.
Since then I’ve basically been a shell of myself. I drifted away from the few friends I had made, and Xander seemed like he was walking on eggshells throughout the rest of our stay as roommates. He didn’t know how to get me to talk — I didn’t want to talk, and eventually, he left me to my own devices.
He was living off campus with his boyfriend now, and I was now back to being a loner with no friends. I wasn’t bitter about it. I was happy for him. Xander deserved to be happy, and I knew he was with Maxwell. I had been the one to push him away with my general moodiness. It just hurt to know that everyone seemed to get their happily ever after besides me.
My lips quivered at the thought of seeing Advik today on my way back from the dance hall. He was surrounded by new people, and he hadn’t noticed when I had walked by. Maybe he did but pretended he hadn’t. I don’t know. I was trying to forget about him but he kept popping up about the campus, and it made me sort of nauseous.
A groan left my lips as my bag fell in the hallway. I threw my head back, running my hands through my hair as I took a deep breath. I’m not going to break down. I’m not going to break down. I repeated to myself before squatting and picking up my backpack. I had already had a horrible day at the dance studio, and I felt like I was coming off as a burden asking if I could have time off to visit my doctor. She had been nice about it, but I still felt like shit. I always felt like shit.
Advik hadn’t spoken to me since the winter term of our first year. We were in our second year now, and he no longer lived in the residence, so I didn’t see him often. Sometimes I thought I had forgotten about him, and then there would be those sudden moments when I saw him walking by or saw him hanging around at a corner with some people. Most times he didn’t notice me, and when he did he just frowned and turned away.
“I’m fine,” I said to myself as I got into the elevator that just opened before pressing the button for my floor. I wasn’t fine, lying to myself just calmed me down for a bit. The elevator doors opened on the fifth floor and I walked out before heading to the room shared with my roommate, Austin. Austin was quiet, and he minded his business. Apart from practicing om his small keyboard piano during the weekends I barely knew he existed. Which was great since I got to cry all night out of frustration and stress without anyone bothering me the next day.
After opening the door, I walked in and tossed my bag to the side before I looked over at Austin’s corner of the room. He was sitting at his study desk and was looking through some notes. He didn’t pay me any attention as usual, so I headed for my bed, laying down on my stomach and closing my eyes.
After some time, I turned around so that I was on my back before pulling out my phone from my pocket. I let my hand feel my chest, and I smiled. I had my top surgery last year, and it felt nice not to feel like something was wrong with that area of my body. No more binders, no more staring at my chest in the mirror and looking for a way to flatten it out.
Yes, I had tried doing that, but I really don’t want to remember about thirteen-year-old me. I was almost twenty now, and a good example of the broke college student stereotype. I had a job working at a fitness store in the mall, and I liked it. My coworkers were nice, and it at least had good pay.
I had been scrolling through my phone now, checking my blog asks and messages. A lot of people didn’t know it, but I was a big fandom nerd that was into a handful of anime series. So yes, I used the toxic wasteland that was Tumblr. I used to have a blog with over ten thousand followers, but when I started transitioning I wanted a clean slate — a new start. Now I had roughly two thousand, but it was nicer, less toxic and people didn’t know me from before. I would be easy to say people had been ill-mannered towards me in my former account, but for the brief period I had used my former account after coming out I had been a piece of shit to everyone and everything. Starting afresh had been a way to get out of my own toxicity and that of others.
I rose a brow at the sight of a question. It made me sit up on my bed, and I started panicking.
So, this is your account now, Olivia?
You didn’t even say goodbye to us. Fuck you, honestly.
You’re not any better than us.
I stared down at the ask, not knowing what to do. I clicked off it, hoping that ignoring the person would help, but the wheels in my mind started spinning. I couldn’t help obsessing over who it could be.
How did they know?
I’ve never posted a picture on my new account, and my regular social media accounts were private. I hadn’t even announced that I was abandoning my old account I just deleted it without notice. I bit my bottom lip as I started to get nervous.
How? I tried my best not to break down in panic. I put my phone away covering my face with my hands as I whispered to myself, “It’s okay Oliver. It’s okay. It’s just the internet.” I couldn’t even believe my own lies at the moment. I was shaking. It wasn’t just the internet. I knew that. These sorts of things could get out of hand quickly.
I knew that from my first-hand experience.