Sunday, August 15, 2010

More family stuff

I feel like I've been a bit of a broken record here, going on and on about the same thing. But, as a friend once said, it's hard to just talk about whatever, when there's something specific and important on your mind. Since most of my physical and social transition stuff is done, the only things that are left are sort of cleaning up around the edges. And my family stuff has been pretty messy, so that's what I've got to work on.

I had a long and productive conversation with my mom on Wednesday night. I originally went over because I just needed some comfort; my unemployment, which is continuing, is becoming way too much stress for me to handle by myself. Money, ever the evil that it has always been, is showing me a bad image of my future, unless I'm able to do something. What that something is, well, I'm not entirely sure. So I thought my mom might have some ideas, since she's really practical about things like this. I had some really basic ideas of things I might do, and she helped me sort of work out a rough plan.

Once that was all done, we sort of segued into other stuff; I asked about her recent vacation to her high school reunion, and her visits with the family who still lives there. After that ran down a bit, I told her that I had been corresponding with one of my cousins recently.

I had wished my cousin a happy birthday on facebook a month or two ago, and at the time he said that we should catch up soon. This week seemed to be the time. We traded several messages, and he relayed his complete support, which was such a wonderful change from what I've heard from many of the other family members. He also asked about who else on his side of the family knew about me; I guessed probably nobody. He suggested that all of them should be fine with my transition, and that I should just call them. I thought it might be a little weird for some random girl to call them and claim to be their former male cousin/nephew, so asked if he'd be willing to out me to them, which he was more than happy to do. He got back to me a day or so later, and said that everybody was accepting and glad that I was able to do what I needed to do. He also suggested that I follow up with a call to each, which I haven't done yet.

After relating this to my mother, she mentioned that my father had shown her the email I sent him last week, discussing my name change. This seemed to be a pretty big deal to me, that he would reach out to my mom with something like that, since my dad is usually pretty self-contained about such things. At that point, it seemed like a good opportunity to tell her about what was really in my heart. I told her that when she used my old name, and used 'he' and 'him', it hurt me every time. I went on a bit about the semi-rant I wrote a couple blog posts ago, and asked how she was unable to see the changes that I had made. She said that the changes were very clear to her. I told her that I didn't go through all this time and effort and expense, for nothing to happen. I'm her daughter now, and that carries some necessary changes with it. And through all the effort and expense, even though it has been the hardest thing I have ever done, the benefits so greatly outweigh any price I've had to pay, I would willingly and gladly pay that price again.

This past week, I've had a few moments which really made clear to me the purpose of my transition and the goals which I had hoped to accomplish. Before, I was in such a state of detachment, that I was rarely ever able to have even a moment when I felt comfortable. I can remember one fleeting time, ever. But since my transition has been done, I've had those moments pretty often. This past week, a friend was visiting from out of town, and one day we were planning to just spend time together at my house. I had gotten out of bed, put on clothes, brushed my hair and teeth, and gotten in the car to go get her from the hotel. I'm sure I looked exactly like somebody who had just woken up (since, y'know, I had), but at that moment, I had such a feeling of peace and contentment... It was so powerful. All I could do was smile. That feeling is worth any price.

I related that feeling to my mom, and I think that made a real impression. As I was sort of running out of steam, I said that it was probably impossible for any cis person to really understand what being transgender means, and that I didn't really need her to understand what I've been through, but that I just needed her to accept me as I am now - that's who I really am, and who I've always wanted to be.

We finished our talk well past midnight, which we haven't done ever. She seems more willing to let those new ideas take root; perhaps my passion helped convey just what all this means to me.

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