Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Back then I didn't know why

This is a bit late, but I wasn't able to write much right before/on Mother's Day because I didn't have a place to stay for the summer until yesterday. I've kept quiet about it for various reasons... But if you look at my bio on the right, you'll see that I say I live with my boyfriend. Until he moved out of his dorm yesterday, I lived with him unofficially because in a fit of major depression last summer I dropped out of college (yeah, I'm trying to get back in--I don't need more lectures on this).
How does this relate to Mother's Day?

Well, I suppose this is better fit for LJ than a blog, but meh.

I have...a very complicated view of and relationship with my mom.
Growing up, Mom says I was close to her and told her everything; but that's not right according to my memories and she has a tendency to cast history to her advantage so I'm not sure how true this is.

I remember picking black raspberries (not to be confused with those nasty blackberries) and making pies and jam and shortcake with my mom, sister, and grandma.
I also remember feeling betrayed when Mom disproved of my few friends because they were a "bad influence" (they were poor and/or had parents that weren't very responsible).

I know Mom loves me, but I also know she treated my sister and me very differently and one of the reasons my sister and I had such a bad relationship growing up was because we both saw the other one as the Favorite.
Now, I realize that we were treated so differently because of how different we were/are and because there is a four year difference.
But at the time, all I saw was how Becky (name changed) was catered to; how I was punished far more drastically and frequently than she was. All Becky saw was that I had far more privileges; how she was seen as less intelligent.
We fought about everything all the time; more than one (one? try a dozen) family outings were ruined by our fights.
Looking back, I see how it must have hurt and frustrated my mom to be in the middle of this day in and day out.
She was the youngest of three and the only girl.
She so wanted a sister growing up; I was constantly told how I should cherish my sister because brothers are worse.
Her parent's obvious favorite, even now, is the middle child--the brother that picked on her the most.
I look very much like my dad while my sister is the spitting image of my mom.
I've always wondered if she saw her brother and her in me and my sister's fights.
After four years of being away at boarding school, my sister and I are on far better terms; she was the first family member I came out to and her response was basically "I don't get it, but you're still my sibling". Becky is the one that calls me her brother (yet still uses feminine pronouns which is interesting sounding).

So now I get to the part about me being transsexual and how this relates to my relationship with my parents.
Given that parents are often blamed for their kid "turning out" gay or trans*, this isn't a topic I can just ignore.
I am not gay or trans* because of anything my parents did or didn't do; my relationships with them has been complicated and informed by me being transsexual, but thats quite different.

I don't know all the reasons why, being transsexual is one reason why, but I was very distant from my family as a middle-schooler and later even now.

Middle school is when my depression first started to raise it's head.
Not only was puberty going in an unexpected way (yeah, I was one of those trans*kids in such denial that I hoped that I'd magically get the correct puberty), but I was being bullied for being so smart.
Yeah, not because I was smart for a girl or anything, no--because I was acing the advanced classes without breaking a sweat.
In history I vied for top spot with a girl who studied her ass off while I read the textbook, multiple times, cover to cover for fun. She payed attention and took notes while I, bored of the textbook, read Xanth or Valdemar; the teacher didn't care since he could ask me a question,and while he may need to repeat it after he finally got my attention, I could answer in detail without a problem.
For this, I was shunned, called names, talked about, etc.
In middle school I loved the environment, wolves especially, and had a lot of t-shirts and books about wolves and werewolves. I did want to be a wolf; their power and close pack structure awed me.
Yet, having the kids ask me, the shy trans*kid that grew up being laughed at for my speech impediment (now outgrown), embarrassing questions like "do you really think you're a wolf?" just to get a blush and a stammer out of me...it really made me hate school and humanity in general. The teasing never really turned physical, but I did face a lot of verbal teasing and was shunned a lot ("you have such good ideas, why don't you work alone").

My parents, Mom especially, did what they could for the bullying.
Of course it didn't help; of course it made things worse.
Telling me to just ignore it? Telling me to trust the girls that were nice to me even once when I was already used to their betrayal?
Was one reason I stopped believing in my mom and dad.

Looking back, I also realize that this was when I first started to resent my mom and dad; I resent(ed) them for not seeing I was a boy, I think I even blamed them for me not being cissexual.
Even now, a part of me still resents them for it.
And another part resents them for all the little words and actions that delayed my coming out.
And I still have the notion that they should have known--they should have seen that I wasn't a girl.
I was a introverted kid, but a not-so-rational part of me still feels like they should have guessed.

Of course, as a teen, my mom did guess--sort of. She outright asked me a few times if I thought I was a boy or if I didn't want to be a girl. But by then, I remembered her random lectures about how being gay was against God's plan and how witches went to hell for worshiping the devil (I talked about reincarnation even as a little kid and I asked for tarot cards the week of that lecture). I remembered reading about Zach and how his parents sent him to a torture camp; and he was only gay--what would they do to me for being both gay and trans*?
So I lied through omission. I told her I didn't want to be a boy (not that I already was one) and I told her there was nothing wrong with being a girl (and not that I wasn't one).
I tried femininity out, to placate her, and found I liked parts of it. I found that eyeliner is hott and skirts can be comfy (at least, the swishy ones that reach my ankles are).
We bonded over how hot Johnny Depp is.

And then I turned 18 my senior year and decided that I wouldn't tell them until I knew I wouldn't be trapped in MI.

So, during spring break at college I emailed them both my coming out letter and called them, saying there was something important that I had only felt comfortable expressing in text.
Neither disowned me, but both are in their own form of denial.
Dad's is outright, "you are my daughter and you can never be a boy."
Mom's is more subtle (she's done this for a lot of things, so I know the signs), "I'll play 'good cop', but you'll grow out of this phase after a bit."

Despite planning and expecting worse, this complete erasure of who I am and what I told them (so much that I'd have to explain every time I mentioned wanting to change my name or be called by my nickname), I slipped into a really deep depression and basically stopped going to classes and fell asleep in the ones I did attend.
I couldn't study for tests or exams.

After spending a summer, practically alone (the few friends in the same state are an hour+ drive away), yet still shoved back into the closet after a year of being free...when I got the news that I lost my scholarship...I withdrew.
I asked my boyfriend if I could live with him in the dorms and my friend R said I could stay at his house in the days between my flight and my Luv moving into the dorms.

A few days later, I told my parents and I came out to them regarding my depression and their part in causing/triggering it.

Yes, I do feel they share some of the blame for how I reacted and what I did; though I realize that those actions are still mainly my responsibility.

I barely got them to agree to me coming back to NY, but I knew I'd kill myself if I stayed trapped in MI.

This year, despite a promise to call every week, I've called maybe a dozen times.
I get shaky and panicky just thinking about calling.

Guess where the only place I could stay this summer is?
Now guess how I feel knowing this; especially since my Luv, for unrelated-to-me reasons, is dropping out too. I do have a plan, I'm applying to colleges near Philly and will move in with a couple of friends later this summer (July or August), but who knows if this will be enough. Who knows if I'll get too trapped and try to find a quicker way out.

I know I need to reconcile with my parents, but I don't think I can right now.
They're both from families that don't believe in not caring for their own, so rationally speaking, I shouldn't need to worry about getting thrown out.
I still have to worry about getting caged though.

But how can I live with or truly love people who don't see ME?
How can my mom say she loves me unconditionally when she can't even call me by an androgynous nickname?

I'll never be a parent--by choice--so I can't know what it's like, but saying I love you to her sounds lie a sham when I can't even expect a name that doesn't hurt.

I don't know how I will resolve this. I'll make a rough plan and improvise.
My friends know how I am when I'm there; I've told them not to let me isolate myself further while I'm there. Though its not their responsibility, I don't think they'll let me down.
Who knows, maybe I'll find a miracle and and reconcile with my parents, come out to the rest of my family, and win the megamillion lotto.



**The title is from the Spice Girl's Mama, which my mom loved and I hated when I was a SG fan way back when.

She used to be my only enemy and never let me be free
Catching me in places that I knew I shouldn't be
Every other day I crossed the line I didn't mean to be so bad
I never thought you would become the friend I never had
Back then I didn't know why
Why you were misunderstood
So now I see through your eyes
All that you did was love

7 comments:

Daisy said...

Oh my, what a post.

My daughter dedicated the song "Three Libras" to me when she was dealing with some of these issues--and now I hereby bequeath it to you.

Three Libras - A Perfect Circle

Someday, when you have your own children, you will learn how hard it is to deal with another human life after everyone reassured you it was gonna be second nature, just like playing with dolls. Children aren't dolls.

It's a hard lesson to learn.

Drakyn said...

Heh, I dunno...While I'll help my friends parent if they need me to, I really don't have any interest in having kids of my own. I have lots of reasons, but I'd rather not get into them on this post, ya'know?
One main reason is that I already know kids aren't like dolls (or cats/dogs and I know I couldn't deal with most dogs--we have two).

I like the song, it's pretty. ^.^

Ryan said...

Wow...

That sounded so much like my relationship with my mother, and my growing up...

*hugs* I hope things work out for you.

Drakyn said...

Thanks Ryan, and my mom's getting better about me being trans* at least...

queen emily said...

Yeah, kids for trans* people is a complicated issue Daisy, you can't really assume it'll happen.

Like, me n Suzan would, in a couple years if we're all solid, to think about kids. But we honestly don't know if it'll be possible.

See, hormones make trans women permanently sterile (so you gotta freeze sperm), and trans men can't get pregnant unless they stop taking hormones and if they haven't had a hysterectomy. So being a biological parent is tricky, even if (which is a *big* if) you're ok with being a biological parent using bits that are gendered wrong.

And if you want to adopt, well, that's tricky when you're a same-sex couple. I haven't talked to any straight couples with one or more trans partners, so I don't know easy it'd be. But from experience from, like, everything I suspect it'd be hard too.

So it's tough if you want kids--and of course, you may not them anyway.

queen emily said...

And yeah, a lot of what you're talking about's pretty familiar, Drakyn, if not exactly the details.

Lying through omission, and lots of reward/punishment dynamics - reward for acting "normal," punishment for exhibiting the wrong gendered behaviour.

>>>Given that parents are often blamed for their kid "turning out" gay or trans*, this isn't a topic I can just ignore. I am not gay or trans* because of anything my parents did or didn't do; my relationships with them has been complicated and informed by me being transsexual, but thats quite different.

I think it's actually the opposite of what homo/trans phobic people assume. Our issues generally seem to because our parents *tried* to make us fit genders we neither wanted nor could achieve without considerable distress. So actually what is generally considered *good* parenting is really, really, really bad in our cases.

Yep.

Drakyn said...

I mostly agree Emily.
But my parents weren't so bad about enforcing gender/sex roles, though they aren't great either.
For instance, I was always told that girls/I could grow up to be whatever boys could also be, that I was very smart and would go far in life, and that you shouldn't get married until you were 30.
But I got teased by my parents for not shaving my legs at 12. Until I got a boyfriend at the age of 15/16 there was this constant digging at me and my friendships to see if I was a lesbian. And even though that relationship lasted less than 3 months I was being told that I should try to marry him.

I'd actually say though, based on a lot of the 'little things' that are hard to put into words my parents tried harder to push me into "female" than they did femininity.
Mind you, they didn't really need to push me into femininity; I was happier with Barbies than sports equipment or jerseys. And even more happy with books or science kits than dolls.
It wasn't until post-puberty that they tried to push me into femininity. And that's because I have more a stereotypical gay male femininity than a stereotypical women's femininity.