Congratulations to our YANovCon 2022 Teen Short Story Contest winners! The theme for the 2022 contest was Identity. Thank you to all our amazing teen authors who shared their stories of self-discovery and courage!
- 1st Place: Simon C. with the story, Mirror-Warped
- 2nd Place: Cassandra L. with the story, Sick of Love
- 3rd Place: Clara C. with the story, Longing For Savory
We look forward to reading everyone’s stories for YANovCon 2023! Keep an eye on smcl.org/yanovcon for updates on next year's event.
Enjoy the 1st Place Short Story
Mirror-Warped by Simon C.
There is a girl in the mirror. She won’t stop looking at me. She smiles at me, mouth sneering, eyes sharp and piercing. I clench my fists on the cool concrete of my counter.
She tilts her head, mocking me. I grit my teeth.
“No,” I growl. The events of today trickle through my head like tiny drops of acid, burning me from the inside out as I desperately try to make the girl in the mirror stop staring at me.
Put the dress on; take off that hat, don’t hide your hair like that; stop sitting like a man, you aren’t a boy. I shake my head, pleading that the sharp prick of tears in my eyes won’t fall. But I can’t keep them in when I look in the mirror, and this person I don’t even recognize stares back at me.
My stomach lurches and twists and rolls. My vision sweeps and ducks and blurs. My heart is drowning me in my ears. She won’t stop staring.
She is the constant reminder of the fear I feel. She is the constant reminder that I couldn’t be the perfect daughter. She is the constant reminder that I’m not her.
But he - the one standing on the other side of the mirror - he knows this isn’t right. He knows that he is a boy. He knows that the person in the mirror isn’t him. And yet no one will listen to him. Why won’t they listen to him?
The girl in the mirror clenches her fists.
“Stop it,” she snarls. “You are a girl, so just accept it.”
“I. Am. A. Boy,” I exclaim, fury burning through me. “Just because I wasn’t born in the right body doesn’t invalidate who I am. Just because my parents wanted a daughter doesn’t mean they can’t love me as their son. Just because the world sees me as one thing does not mean it can’t accept me as another.”
The girl sat frozen, her eyes wide, figure shrunken back into the mirror. Slowly, ever so slowly, she melted away into the panting image of me. My short hair ruffled in every way, and my bound chest reflected at me. I took a deep breath in. I exhale slowly. The boy who stared back at me reflected the pain, the ache, the hope, and the sorrow of someone who was weary and who wanted love.
It’s hard, having dysphoria, and having parents or friends who don’t support you. I won’t lie. But the amazing thing is that you can find people who will love you and will support you no matter what. Identity is complex, and you don’t have to know or understand it, but as long as you find people who try their best and make sure that you do your best…
“Everything will be ok,” I whisper to the mirror, placing my hand on it, mimicking the boy in the mirror.