On Sunday, I visited extended family. It’s kind of an awkward situation on how to define him – “friend” would work – since the person I visited was divorced by my sister as of this past summer. They have a child together who has magically become five years old. Though I’ve been interacting with my nephew a little bit since he’s begun making intelligible conversation, my visit to their house was the first time I was drawn into actively playing with him.
Needless to say, I hadn’t gone there to play with my sister’s son but to have a nice sit-down with her former husband, and laid-back guy I have always considered a friend. However, I’m glad I didn’t resist the impulse to deny my nephew’s request. This kind of opportunity when a child actually cares enough to ask you to play with them after having mere touch-and-go interactions prior is not something you ignore. Lest, you put irrefutable thoughts and assumptions into their heart that may damage the possibility for growing a friendship. Even someone like me who has very little experience with children knows this.
So, we played with stuffed animals, had a few games of tic-tac-toe using the most creatively imagined rules I’ve ever seen, drew and colored various shapes (mostly ice cream), and had a back-and-forth discussion about what “being nice” means. Most of all, we laughed and were having fun just going with whatever whim came about. Those two hours were very insightful, both emotionally and mentally. Not because of anything he did, but through realizing what it might be like to have a child…
…to be a mother-figure.
My friend and I did get around to talking about the divorce and how that affected him, as well as more positive things he was doing to keep his existence purposeful. He showed me quotes he had written down as possible candidates for another tattoo. As I read them, more and more I resonated with the place he was trying to reach.
I am attractive and worth being loved.
I LOVE MYSELF
I don’t think I have ever truly loved myself beyond my mental and emotional meddle. I was always trying to fit a mold that various people in my past have helped me shape, whether it was through clothes, way of speaking, or physical qualities. I sought individuality – being different from everyone in my family – though once I hit college, I realized something was not right.
My individuality was apparent but how the world branded me as was becoming harder to accept as I had simply adapted to get to the next day.
My situation is different than his, but we bonded over the painful truths we have come to accept and overcome with time. Believing that I am transgender, and sharing that with him seemed like it would be simple. But no, it hasn’t gotten any easier.
“So does this mean you’ll be walking around in a dress now?”
“That’s a pretty blunt way to put it…”
He was joking and actually was highly supportive in his own lackadaisical way – he told me later my sister had told him & his mother which threw me. In any case, his struggle made sense to me and I’m thankful I could make the trip despite the dreary weather. He convinced me to stay for dinner & I helped him prepare a piece of it. His mother came by also and her & I swapped smartphone stories for most of our conversation. This was the first I had ever been with all of them without my mum.
Spending quality time with my nephew, discussing with my friend the realities that have come & altered the very fabric of our individual lives, and exchanging lively banter with an older woman who not once let on that she knew my not-so-dark secret turned an otherwise depressing day around in a special way. Those moments allowed a few of my worries to be alleviated. One of them being the thought of never measuring as a proper mother – never mind the thought of never being respected as a female in general. Things that are every day for others continues to weigh on me…
…but not at all that day. My mind & heart truly clicked while interacting with my nephew, though I’m still far from being good with kids.
I felt a wave of joy as I got in my car as I thought on my future, feeling more alive and confident about who I am in order to take the steps needed to transition into the person and body that will fix what is missing. To help me feel beautiful for myself. To hopefully come to love who I am, and, if I’m lucky, be loved someday.
Wish I could experience such vivid clarity of self-actualization every day…