Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Brothers and Sisters

I came out to my youngest brother last week. P was the youngest of three; we are each 3 years apart, with me being oldest. We were always very close, figuratively as well as literally. Brought up in a hostile household, with our father who worked nights and had an extremely short fuse, we stuck up for each other, even as we fought like cats and dogs. P was my tag-alonghe looks a bit like me and he followed me around like I was cool or something. 

 

Over time we grew very close and then very distant. Today we aren’t close, but we don’t avoid each other’s phone calls. So I think it was a shock for him when I told him that I was a woman. He did remember that I used to wear our stepmom’s clothes when I could get away with it. In my defense, they were Cato’s and pretty. He took things pretty well, though I don’t think he knew enough about transgender to understand the full ramifications of my confession. I believe he might be inclined to include it as a level of transvestite. I didn’t want to go into the full meaning and what it means for me in the phone call. He asked if I were getting surgery, and I said I was unsure at the moment. That is expensive and there are more factors than my happiness since I am a parent. 

 

He mentioned that he is the most open minded person in our family, which is probably right. It makes me apprehensive about telling my other brother, S, who is the middle child. He is much like our Dad was, this kind of “practical” attitude people adopt when they don’t know something but think it’s ridiculous. Like there being more than two genders and not knowing the differences between sex and gender. That will be the attitude I will have to deal with, I think. Who knows, perhaps I am not giving him a fair chance. I’ve always had this thing about not wanting to appear foolish, it stems from having to live in a male body and not coping well with it. I always felt foolish, until I had the house alone and could be me, those few times I didn’t feel foolish.

 

I have to tell S, then I can move on to my cousins. I’m not really sure at what point my responsibility to tell people who I am ends. I mean, do I really need to tell family I will likely never see? I have cousins I haven’t seen since I was a teenager, what is the likelihood I would need to tell them?

 

I have to say, when I told my friends, I was elated, happy that I was able to tell them. I felt a weight lift from my shoulders, and I was grateful that they accepted me with not one single hesitation. I didn’t feel that way telling my brother, I don’t know it was different, like I should be ashamed. He didn’t say anything to make me feel that way I don’t think. I wasn’t ashamed, I just felt like I should feel that way.

Afterwards, I was just kind of left with this anti-climactic end of the conversation. I’m not telling people to make myself feel good, it’s a result of getting a secret out, of being able to be myself around those people. So, I’m not sure what this feeling I was left with means.

4 comments:

  1. A few really good points here.

    " I’ve always had this thing about not wanting to appear foolish, it stems from having to live in a male body and not coping well with it. I always felt foolish, until I had the house alone and could be me, those few times I didn’t feel foolish." That sums up my early life so well.

    " I’m not really sure at what point my responsibility to tell people who I am ends. I mean, do I really need to tell family I will likely never see? I have cousins I haven’t seen since I was a teenager, what is the likelihood I would need to tell them?" Family is just a starter pack of friends and many just fall by the wayside as we grow and cease to be a full part of our lives. They do not all need to be told, if they are a real part of the family word will eventually get out that you have made a successful change.

    "I wasn’t ashamed, I just felt like I should feel that way." The world has made us feel that way, once we realise that we have no need to feel that way we are free to finally be ourselves."

    Good luck.

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    1. Thanks. I found it was easier to tell my friends, they really knew me better than my brothers. My brothers have all these memories of mostly me being "manly" or whatever my mask did to keep me hidden.
      You know how when you drive long distances you go into a kind of blackout but still completely in control? I let my mask drive for a long time, that is what my brothers remember. It's hard to get past that.

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  2. Well done for telling him. At least he knows now. I always wonder about who to tell and how. I have a very large tight knit family and am in regular contact with most of them (including cousins) and we are all on a whatsapp group. Just thinking that when the time come to posts a message and be done with it. As for non close friends or friendship groups I'm not sure although I am pretty sure that it will disseminate quite quickly once it is out there.

    Don't every feel you should feel ashamed but don't. Not being ashamed is a good thing.

    x

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    1. I still have to tell my other brother. I'm not looking forward to that, we were always distant and he is "manly man, riding dirtbikes and hanging with other macho guys." Sigh, has to be done.
      I know, it's hard to know where your obligation ends. I liked a lot of the advice I got on FB. Just tell those you are close to, let the others find out. Lucy has a wonderful support system with you and the children, so even if there are bumps, this too shall pass.

      I don't feel ashamed at all. I am actually kind of proud. It's the strangest feeling of "this is where I am expected to feel ashamed" that I got from talking with my brother. I don't think he intended to give me that feeling, it isn't his fault at all. But that is the thing about brothers and sisters, we can get under the skin.

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