This past Sunday was the first time my older brother got a clear look at me as Ren.
Not much occurred in those few moments. I was rushing around to gather up a few things from down stairs, passing through the dining room and kitchen, before heading out to meet my friends for birthday shenanigans. He was prepping food for himself in the dining room.
He said hi.
I said hi and waved.
He asked me if I was going to a [anime] convention, as he has equated glimpses of me in similar outfits with me leaving for a day or more.
I usually agree just to get him off my back. This time, however, I said the truth.
No, I’m going out with friends.
And that was that.
I wasn’t planning on going out that way – my friends didn’t even know – but something clicked with me after a late-night conversation with a close friend of mine. It wasn’t anything she said in particular, but her openness and willingness to accept me for me, not for my physical biology struck a chord in my soul.
In the moment of awakening, I had already made up my mind that this is my life. No one is going to live it but me. People will not understand and feel like they can judge because it’s not something they’re used to. Though I will not put myself in a dangerous situation of being overwhelmed, something as simple as wearing whatever the hell I want to wear should never be dictated by the feelings or standards of another.
I’ll admit I’ve had these priceless moments of explosive self-acceptance and FUCK-IT mindsets before. They served me well each time, but I was still creeping. Hiding. Calculating timing. Covering my appearance.
This time was different. 2 1/2 hours later, I looked damn beautiful, and I wasn’t about to let my brother’s presence keep me from walking confidently to do what I wanted to do.
Since then, nothing has quite been the same in his mind regarding me. I was hoping that wouldn’t happen. However, he is still going through his ADHD manic-type issue.
So he talks. A lot more than what is usual.
He has brought up my outfit, albeit in no one else’s presence but the two of us, and asked me generic questions. Like if my friends were “dressed up” too. Saying things like, “So they’re normal?” and then turning around saying surprisingly nice things like, “You’re an adult and you can do whatever you want to do.” Under my breath I was still offended, but I left it alone.
Today, while conversing with my mum’s b/f, he said the following:
Again, I was busy doing the whole self-employed thing and just left it alone…
…until he started saying some high-and-mighty shit after I picked him up later this evening. Long story short, he claimed he has been trying to give me encouraging words and say good things to me, and, having already pissed me off prior for another issue related to me still living at home, made me draw out what he said earlier. He then denied it, and, when he couldn’t deny it anymore, kept saying that “he didn’t mean it in a bad way.”
At this point, it didn’t matter what he said. I was pissed, offended, annoyed, and it was affecting my acceleration. Yah, I was still driving.
“…What I’m trying to say is that when I see you in those crazy outfits, it freaks me out-“
“YOU DON’T KNOW ME, ALRIGHT?! NONE OF YOU DO!”
At that point, I had pulled up to the house and went inside without another word.
Despite how angry I felt, I never allowed myself to succumb completely to it. Years of restraint & past mistakes taught me how to control myself and not snap. He came to my door later to apologize and all that. There were flashes of me wanting to try to explain to him what all this really was, but I knew that he was not the family member I wanted to reveal the truth to just yet.
My time on Sunday was full of great memories celebrating the birthdays of the couple who also are my friends. Nothing went wrong, and…
Like I said, I looked damn good.
I told them about my recent therapy session and how that motivated me to come out as Ren that day. Don’t think my artsy friend quite understood my needs and my heart until that day. Beyond simply feeling at ease on a physical level, the mental notes I took throughout the day was something I glad I did.
The level of happiness I felt…
The comfort of being in the clothes I liked…
The awareness of not being looked at by a male when purchasing lunch…
The way I no longer feel like I need to censor my actions and my feelings…
The multiple times I smiled…
And most of all, the wave of relief & openness that overcame my memories in that moment when my therapist asked me on Saturday:
“What do you feel when you’re out as [Ren]?”
One word for it all: Happy.
An emotion I seemingly rarely experience in my every day life. Even while writing this, one would describe my expression as intensely focused, apathetic, or stoic. Something I catch glimpses of and when it’s gone, I don’t remember. When I was with my former girlfriend, I recall waking up happy almost every day. Now, I just simply do what needs to be done and seek happiness in accomplishments to further my career.
My brother gave me a taste of what the world will be like towards me in the event I do transition. I have already known being ostracized as that is the kind of house I live in. When I express myself the way I want…when I reflect my innermost self outwardly to the world, I feel real. The question is how far can I go to be real to myself always.
I am not the freak for wanting to be honest with myself and the world. The freaks are the ones who deem me inhuman, ripe for ripping into, for yet another fucking struggle I did not ask for no matter how much I’ve fought against it.