“What if I was truly alone?” This thought hit me on the way to work this morning, and it terrified me. “What if my wife told me to leave?” I haven’t told my parents or my brother that I’m transgender yet. My wife and kids know, a cousin knows, friends at work, but not the people I grew up with in the same house. Why haven’t I told them yet?
I keep telling myself that I’m waiting for more changes to happen first, but is that really going to make the shock easier to bear for them? Is it going to make it somehow easier for them to wrap their minds around, or to dispel forty years of the person they thought/believed they knew? I don’t think there is anything that makes it easier, but it is something they have to accept if they want to be in my life, and I really would like that. I really would like them to know the real me. I really want my parents to get to know their daughter, and my brother to get to know his sister. I hope they can get to a place where they want that as well, and I hope that it will come sooner rather than later.
Yesterday, I spoke with my mother, and every time she asks me what is going on with me, I want to tell her. Heck, I’ve been calling her less than I usually do, because it is so hard to not tell her, and then I feel like I’m lying because I don’t. I have this huge thing going on and I’m not sharing it with the biggest cheerleader I’ve ever had. It’s hard, and even now I fight back tears as I think about my relationship with her. I grew up closer to my mom than my dad. I was more bookish, like her, and more open with my feelings. I also wanted to be like her, but never shared that with her. My mom has become far more liberal and open as she has gotten older, and so I think she will be the first to get past it and accept me, but she may also have it even harder as I’m her first, her baby, and sometimes that makes it really hard for mothers to let go. I can only hope that when I write her letter, it will express in such a way that when she calls me to talk, the first words out of her mouth will be that she loves me and she is there for me.
As for my father? I grew up striving to be like him, seeing him as image of what I was supposed to be as a man, and I fashioned my adult male persona after him, at least as much as I could. I always wanted his love, and even more his respect and admiration. If he ever reads this, I don’t say the next part to hurt, it’s how I felt/feel. I love him so much, so I don’t want him to ever think I thought he loved me any less, but I did feel often while growing up that my brother was his favorite. I know as an adult that he related to my brother better, and duh, that should be obvious why, especially now. However, growing up I often wondered what I could do to change that, but never could figure it out. As an adult I figured it out to a point. Work hard, be a good parent, make good decisions and I earned his respect. By forty I finally felt like I had earned what I always sought. At least that’s what I thought/how I felt. I will say that I know he has always loved me to death, and would do anything for me. He doesn’t always say it, more as he’s gotten older, but his biggest concern in life is that we are safe. I want to believe this will be his biggest concern when he finds out. One of the safest places I’ve ever been in life, at least in my mind, along with some of my warmest memories are when he’d wrap me up in a hug, the smell of his cologne, and the feeling of absolute security that would envelope me. Dad would make sure everything was OK. He’d always keep me safe. Part of me still believes that, even while my adult self says that’s my job. His love and support just might do what part of me still believes it can…make everything OK, and keep me safe. I think he will come around. It may be weird at first, but my hope is that my slow transition will make it easier. I can’t know for sure, but I want to believe like that little kid so many years ago…My daddy loves me, and would never do anything to ever hurt me.
And then there is my brother. Three years younger, he has always been somewhat easy going and accepting. I think it may be easiest for him, but I could also be wrong the opposite way as I was his “big brother” and all that went with it. I’d look out for him, be protective of him, bail him out when he’d get in trouble, and we’ve had some great adventures together in our younger adult years. I love him to death, and would drop anything if he needed me. I love his kids to death as well. I have to think his worries will about how his kids and wife take it. He will think of his family and how they will explain it to the kids. Both are still young, and so I think the handling of it won’t be bad, but one can never know for sure. If I know my brother, I think I will get a call one day telling me that he may not get it, but that he loves me and if that is who I am then it may take a little time but he accepts me and will have to get used to it.
Now, if all this goes south, and they go in a direction I can’t imagine, I’m not sure what I will do. I know my wife will be protective of me on this matter, and that she will be there for me, but to be rejected by those you love is never an easy thing. In this case could be earth shattering on some level. I have to be ready that this could happen, and so it is another reason I choose to send letters. It gives them a chance to process and reach out when they are in good places, and if they’re not…well, I can always hang up the phone. My father taught me to only put on paper that which you are willing for the world to see, and so I will put to paper my authentic self, and my love of my family. I am happy to share those things with the world.
If the letters I will eventually post can help one other trans person navigate their own coming out in a positive way, then the sharing will be worth it. This is no easy thing, and I anticipate the writing of the letters to be a major cry-fest. This has, by far, been the most emotional post I have written to date, and I get why. It’s the most emotional thing I have grappled with since freeing my emotions, and I’ve been in tears throughout the writing of it, having to stop several times as I wrestle with my feelings. That’s how it should be, isn’t it? We should feel emotional about those we love, and hope they feel the same about us.
In the end, I believe this is just a reboot to the relationship with my family. They will get a better me, a more engaged me, and a me that no longer feels she needs to hide her real self. The positive me can’t help but think, “How can they not want to know the real me?” I’m so much a better person than “he” ever was. I am actually happy with who I am for the first time ever, and what’s not to love about that?