Cocooned and Covered

Spread the love

Author’s Note: Though I am not a member of the trans community, my niece and I co-created this piece about her journey of transition. We offer this story with the hopes it can help others and show the importance of having care and support along this journey. I’m proud not only of her but to be her aunt and safe cocoon who helped her become the beautiful butterfly she is today. 

I am 3, playing with my cousins at a birthday party building tents out of blankets.

“Why he got a Barbie blanket? That for girls,” one of the partygoers said. I knew I was different, even then. My momma called it being sensitive or in touch with my feminine side, and how all the ladies would love me. When I heard what the girl said, I just wrapped up in that blanket, cocooned and covered.

In school, I got bullied and beat up, called a f—ot; a s–sy, and I took it cuz I thought I was and that it was wrong. I’d ball up, wrapping my coat tighter around my slim frame, slipping into another world as the kicks landed, cocooned and covered.  

At 15, I was beaten so badly I couldn’t attend class for two weeks; I stayed at home in bed, cocooned and covered. What I never told anyone but my aunt was that one of those guys also sexually assaulted me since he thought I was gay. But I wasn’t… I was something else. 

And when I told my aunt that I was a girl inside, she said she understood what I had been through, wrapped me in her arms, and we cried together, cocooned and covered.

A year later when I decided I wanted to transition, to live as a young woman, my dad was heated and put me out. My mom, who was supportive when she thought I was gay, went along with my dad. She wouldn’t look me in the eye as I walked out not knowing where to go. I called my aunt, and when she picked me up, she looked at me and said, “Guess you’re with us now, lucky girl.” As she gave me a big ole hug, I felt cocooned and covered.

I am now 32, fully transitioned, proud, and living in my truth. The beautiful butterfly you see before you. Thank you Aunty for giving me the support to blossom into who I knew I truly was, giving me the power to uncover from my cocoon.

Nicole Hill is a directly impacted resident of Detroit, a member of the People’s Water Board, co-host of the “Water Wednesdays Live Webcast,” an organizer with Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, and a former tri-chair for the Poor People’s Campaign. She is a mother of seven children and is devoted to combating poverty and prejudice on all levels through her work on water affordability and social change.