Folks

Sorry, Mom

Sorry, Mom

My folks are coming down for a couple of days. That means depression era coffee (one scoop per pot), and a few stressful moments.

H. really loves my parents, and they really love her. They are the parents that she never had (that is her story to tell ). My father just turned 80, and I am fortunate to still have my parents on this Earth. We have lost 5 close friends this summer, and most of our friend’s parents are gone already.

I hate to be the ungrateful, self-centered, petulant, selfish child, but here goes.

You see, it has been decreed (by my mother) that my father is not to know the entire extent of my transition. In practice, that means that H. reverts to male pronouns for the weekend. She can’t stand the idea of hurting my parents.

My parents are very social, so we will probably do things with friends. So, when we meet friends, H. will blurt out a few big obvious “he’s” so that everyone gets the idea. My fear concerns the friends with whom I have worked very hard to establish that I am female. Some friends know how complicated that the whole situation is, and will play along with it for the day. I don’t worry about them. Other friends are newer to the fold, and have never really gotten a full explanation. Some of them, I like and respect as people. I worry that they will witness this, and never really accept me as a woman again. Still other friends are my stalwart supporters. They are the people who explain my situation to others, and defend me. I worry that if we ran into any of them, they would be surprised to hear anyone referring to me as male, and disappointed to see me putting up with it.

To further clarify how complicated the situation is I will tell you about the last time that my parents visited. We went out to eat twice when they were down. At one restaurant I was referred to as “Ma’am” and at the other “Missy”. This is all right with my parents, and completely within the realm of what they choose to ignore.

As the dirty secret of the family, nothing can be acknowledged.

My deep down point of view is that this is really my mother’s problem in accepting me that we are dealing with and not my father’s. She is reading her own negative feelings onto him. He is the one who puzzled out some understanding of this thing in me, years ago, and is more capable of handling it than she thinks he is.

For now, we will obey mother.

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15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. anexactinglife
    Oct 03, 2014 @ 10:29:02

    I bet you are right about your dad. As you say, I am sure your mom sees the situation, and just can’t bring herself to acknowledge it publicly. It’s all very well to say we should be our real selves, but when people we care about are old and touchy, I can see why you would think twice. Since they both “know” at some level, that’s a good start.

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    • The Final Rinse
      Oct 03, 2014 @ 10:54:13

      Thanks.
      The strangeness of the whole situation is that they have always, for most of the last 46 years, known at some level. Who I am now is not a whole lot different from who I have always been, and I have “presented” as female since high school, with only a few brief periods where I tried out being male.
      I have made myself content with the status quo, with the exception of the situations with friends.

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  2. Kat
    Oct 03, 2014 @ 13:51:35

    As a mother myself, I really try to keep decrees to a minimum, having to live under several of my own mother’s and knowing how heavily they weigh on a child- even a grown adult child.

    It is very difficult when a parent can’t face or accept the truth. When my son first came out I struggled greatly but deep down inside I saw the truth. I had to put my crap aside to be there for him.

    I wish you luck with this and I think it’s really amazing that you will go to these lengths for your parents.

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    • The Final Rinse
      Oct 03, 2014 @ 22:34:00

      Thanks for the comment.
      My parents live accross the state from us, so we don’t need to be part of each other’s daily lives. I have to think, would telling my father be for him, or for me? I know that he is proud of me, and my siblings (and that he brags about all of us), and that he is able to express great sentimentality towards us now that he is older. When he dies, or if I should die, I do not feel as if there is some giant thing unsaid, or some giant gulf unbridged. So I am content with things as they are.

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  3. Jamie Ray
    Oct 03, 2014 @ 18:25:22

    In my family, my mother claimed that my grandmother couldn’t handle my being gay or my being in a relationship with Donna (closer to my mother’s age than mine), therefore whenever my grandmother was around …. which was all the time …. I was not supposed to mention being gay or Donna. Of course my grandmother knew I was gay – you could tell from 100 feet away that I was not a straight girl – and they’d been trying to change me since I was three – but it was too difficult for my mother to have it out in the open.
    After about Donna and I had been together for about five years I refused to go to anything without Donna and my mother couldn’t back down – and no one expected my grandmother to live to 101 (and although her body gave way her mind was sharp and mean to the very end). Eventually I saw them as little as possible (but always with Donna) and we just didn’t discuss it at all. The cognitive dissonance was very stressful on everyone.

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    • The Final Rinse
      Oct 03, 2014 @ 22:46:11

      It is stressful.
      I live across the state from my parents, and I see them two or three times a year. The whole thing would require resolution if we lived closer, but I am willing to tolerate the current situation. We are at the point where we really want to see as much of my parents as we can, because my father is just now experiencing the beginning of some health problems. He is actually the potentially much warmer parent, but my mother’s cold German side dominated the family when we were young.
      But that is a whole other story.

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  4. George Davis
    Oct 03, 2014 @ 22:05:21

    Do you think it would help to warn some of your friends ahead of time that you will be using male pronouns for your elderly parents? I think most people should be able to understand that you are doing it for them.

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  5. Dace
    Oct 06, 2014 @ 17:08:11

    I have always lived with a thought that family is something that you choose. Life is so short to waste it on people who don’t deserve it.

    I am not saying that you need to turn your back especially if you have amazing parents and they just need time to come around. I am saying that just because somebody made you, it doesn’t make them your parents, it just makes them biological donors.

    If your parents choose your suffering over their discomfort, then they are not to be respected. No matter if they understand or agree, it is their job as parents to love you the way you are and fight for your happiness when everybody else turns their back.

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    • The Final Rinse
      Oct 07, 2014 @ 10:25:56

      Thanks for commenting.

      Your point of view does give me thought, especially after a weekend where some events occurred where I did suffer, and I just wanted to disappear.

      In my daily life, I do have a family of my own choosing. They are of incredibly diverse backgrounds. All of them accept me as female.

      So, I figure that I can do this thing for my mother, because she says it will be a disaster when my father finds out whole truth, and for my spouse, who so desperately does not want to alienate either one of my parents.

      Now, at the end of the weekend, I doubt, once again, that I made the right decision.

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  6. Ellen Hawley
    Oct 07, 2014 @ 10:59:16

    There are no easy answers. Whatever you choose, do it with love.

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  7. Dace
    Oct 07, 2014 @ 14:07:19

    doesn’t it hurt to know that your parents love you for something that you are not and not for who you are? Your own mother being selfish asking you to live a lie. Do you really want to pretend and lie and live with a thought that parents love is not as selfish as they claim?

    I think you need to stand up for yourself and ask your mother to tell you that she loves you, not an image or her own dreams of who you should be?

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  8. Dace
    Oct 07, 2014 @ 19:34:40

    small corrections instead of “… parents love is not as selfish as they claim..”, I meant – parents love is not as unconditional as they claim

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