Trans Athlete Schuyler Bailar Offers Words Of Strength To Aspiring Young Swimmers

"The waves are kind and will always deliver you back to the shore."

This letter is part of our inaugural editorial series, “Letter to Myself,” in which we asked 40 remarkable queer people to write a note to their younger selves.

Dear Little Schuyler,

I want to go back and tell you everything will be okay.That you’ll grow up to be exactly who you know you want to be. You’ll grow up to be exactly who you are. That the terror and the pain you feel will fade.

But you were never afraid of the waves. You must have known things would get better because here we still stand, alive. And better.

So now, I hear you shouting to me from the depths of my insides, my history, my soul: Run to the waves, Schuyler. The big ones, the little ones, the scary ones, the tiny ones. They’re all different and fun in their own ways. Dive in. You’re a strong swimmer.

And yeah, sometimes you’ll wind up with sand up your butt and it’ll really itch. And sometimes, you’ll get a mouth full of the ocean—but didn’t Mom always say gargling salt water was good for you?

The waves are kind and will always deliver you back to the shore. Be patient, be flexible, and smile.

Dear anyone who doesn’t think it can get better: Listen to the little kid you once were.

Schuyler Bailar is a student at Harvard and the first openly trans D1 swimmer in NCAA history.

Read more letters here.

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