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 10-Year-Old Tobin,
You have, no doubt, just finished mastering the choreography to “All That Jazz,” the number performed by Bebe Neuwirth and the Broadway company of Chicago at the Tony Awards. Your parents taped a VHS of the broadcast so you could watch it on repeat, not realizing they also accidentally recorded a very dark episode of Touched by an Angel that will make you cry. But that is neither here nor there. What matters is that your Fosse arms are fantastic, and you can roll your neck just like Bebe. And my god, your voice.
You will perform this number for your sister in the backyard countless times. You will not be embarrassed to dance and sing. And then at school, when everyone’s bodies and voices begin to change, you will be made fun of for speaking at a high pitch. And then you will spend a lot of years trying to talk at the bottom of your register as much as possible.
What I want you to know is that you will do damage — mostly emotional — in feeling weird about how you sound and trying to change it. And you will spend years trying to fight the temptation to sound more masculine, whatever the hell that means. I don’t know if you’ll ever get back to that unfettered joy you had before. But one day, you’ll get a job where they pay you to talk into a microphone. And people will like you almost purely based on how you sound. And that will be pretty cool.
Read more letters here.