Once upon a time in a faraway land, there lived a young man who didn’t fit. He didn’t know why he didn’t fit. Like everyone else in his village he had brown hair brown eyes, homespun breeches and tunic dyed a sturdy brown, and pale brown skin tanned a darker brown by the sun. All in all he was a brown young man living a brown life, in a brown village. But somehow, for some reason, he didn’t fit. It was as if his life were a too tight shirt, that scratched each time he moved.
As a boy, he thought perhaps his life and his village were the wrong color. He tried dressing in red and visited a red village, but red didn’t fit any better. He knew sometimes it worked that way. In his village was a man with green hair and green eyes and pale green skin tanned to dark green in the sun, who moved to the Brown’s town and warm brown tunic and breeches because he said the brown life suited him. He tried other colors, but this young man did not find another color that suited. In fact he was most comfortable living his brown life, in his brown village. It wasn’t the color of his life that didn’t fit.
He didn’t know what was wrong. He just knew he didn’t fit, and everyone expected him to fit.
A friend of his suggested the journey. “Maybe,” the friend said, “maybe you don’t fit because you don’t know who you are.”
“But I do know who I am, I’m a brown person.” the young man replied.
“Well, yeah, but you aren’t just a brown person.”
“Well, what else can I be?”
“You’re lots of things. Your a brown person, and a man, and a farmer. You’re your parent’s child. You’re my friend. Maybe there is something you are that you don’t know. Maybe that’s why you don’t fit. You’re trying to be something you aren’t.”
“But I’m myself!” insisted the young man.
Yet his friend’s thought nagged at him, and nagged at him. Finally he decided, he had to find the answer. He needed to find out who he was that made him not fit. He already knew he wouldn’t find out in the brown village, so he packed a bag and kissed his parents good bye, and set off into the wide world.
Once again he visited the villages of the other colors, but no one could tell him why he didn’t fit. Many insisted that he did fit, he just thought too much. Others said he would fit if he tried harder.
Trying harder wasn’t the answer — he had tried his whole life long.
In the green village, where the green people fished the green waters of the green swamp, he met a strange woman who didn’t fit either. But not fitting made this woman happy. She worn a green tunic and blue breeches. She hair was red and her eyes brown and her skin a deep black. They talked for a while, the man and the strange, multicolored woman. The multicolored woman told the young man that she hadn’t fit either, but that was okay. She preferred being all the colors, being a part of all the villages, rather than having to pick just one.
The young man didn’t understand this, and said so. The woman laughed. “That is because your color fits you. Something else in your life doesn’t fit. You can’t decide if you want to fit or not until you know why you don’t fit.”
“Of course I want to fit!” the young man exclaimed.
The woman laughed, “I said that once. If you want my advice…”
“There is more to the world than the land of colors. Perhaps there you will find your answers.”
The young man thanked her, and after much thought decided she was right. So he joined a boat crew that traded with the Lands Beyond and prepared to continue his journey.
Long months later, the man was forced to admit he might never have his answer. He had traveled to lands the likes of which he never imagined. The tales he could tell of his adventures would fill an entire book and not be finished. Through it all, no matter where he went, he always felt the same: somehow, he didn’t fit.
One thing kept him from giving up: he had heard whispers, throughout his travels, of a mountain peak where a goddes would come to rest. For each visitor the goddes would answer one single question. The young man was determined to find this mountain, and ask this goddes why, no matter where he went, he didn’t fit.
Further wanderings followed, and further stories which would fill further books. Finally, after walking many roads and confronting many challenges, he found the mountain of legend.
It reached into the sky past the clouds. So high he could not see its peak. He had no idea how he would get to the top, but he refused to give up now. Prepared for anything, he set off up the mountain.
To his surprise, he faced no challenges upon the mountain. But perhaps the mountain itself was a challenge. He nearly turned back uncountable times, and twice he nearly died, but he forced himself onward.
Finally, he reached the top.
The wind swept peak held nothing but ice and snow. No goddes, no sign of any goddes. Yet somehow, as the last of his strength gave out, strong arms caught him and held him up. A wall of ice grew before him, as tall as a house and shiny as a mirror. When he turned to look behind him, he saw nothing, but in the ice mirror he saw reflected a great dragon. Which flickered and became a man, holding him upright. Then flickered and was a dragon again.
“What is it you seek, lost one?”
The sibilant voice voice echoed off the ice, some how clear even over the wind.
“I want to know why I don’t fit.”
“You don’t fit,” the voice replied, “because you keep trying to be what you are not.”
The young man was terrified, but a need for answers held the fear in check. “I don’t understand.”
In the mirror of ice, he saw the dragon lean forward and breath upon the reflection. The mirror fogged, and when it cleared, the young man’s reflection stood alone. Except, the reflection wasn’t his — it was a reflection of a woman.
But. But it was him. His face, his ears, when he held them up the reflection shared his hands, his scars, everything of his. It was him… as a woman. Long brown hair spilled down his — her — back. A bodice and skirt hugged his woman’s body, but the eyes… His — her — eyes captured him. They held joy and confidence. A satisfied certainty of herself and her place in the world.
Tears froze on the young man’s face as he confronted the truth. He had fit in his village. Had fit in his life. Had fit with his family. He had never fit as a man.
Reaching out, the young one rested a hand against the reflection’s face. And made a silent vow that he — no, SHE — would not rest until the reflection became reality.
Looking around the man — woman — (who found thinking of him/herself suddenly very confusing) could find no sign of the dragon.
Without looking back, she turned and started down the mountain.
A voice whispered in her mind, “You’re questing is only beginning. And the hardest part is yet to come.”
“I know.” After seeing the truth of herself in the ice, her man’s voice fell oddly on her ears. “But at least this time, I know what I’m seeking.”
This story is not mine. It is the story of a friend who was frustrated with never seeing themselves in what they called the standard transgender narrative. Their journey, re-written as a transgender fairytale, and shared for others with similar journeys who wish for stories that reflect their lives.
Where ever life has taken you, my friend, I wish you the best.
This story is released under CC Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 license. That means you do whatever you want with this story as long as you credit me and don’t make money off of it. (Share widely, do as you will, I just don’t want people making money off my friend’s story.)