Monday, December 10, 2012

My Little Sister

My little sister is becoming a man.

I'm mostly excited, actually.  I feel like she's grown increasingly miserable over the past five years.  He.  He has grown increasingly miserable over the past five years.

For awhile every single solitary thing would set him off  - the tiniest little comments, the most harmless of jibes.  Things as simple as, "You would think those cookies would be sweeter" would unleash a tirade, and for the past year or so I would just avoid speaking to her.  Him.  Not completely, of course we talked when we were together, when we were at our parents, we Skyped when she spent the summer in Kenya.  When he spent the summer in Kenya.

We do not talk about things in my family.  We silently suffer.  My sisters - my siblings - and I have always been close in a different way.  We were never confidantes. In fact, the thought of me having an actual confidante in life is frightening. We've been honest with each other, honest always, but open?  That's different.

We do not ask prying questions in my family, we just wait until someone is ready to talk about things themselves.  The problem with that though is the fact that then for five years you have to be careful what you say, you have to avoid a topic or creep around it, there's constant subject-changing and constant stress because you don't know what is acceptable and what is not acceptable, and should you hint that you think your sister wants to be a man or should you just be as loving and supportive as you can until she (HE) is ready to tell you himself?

I chose option B.

And now I'm pissed.  Why the fuck did she wait so long to tell us?  She's 25, I feel like I've known this since she was four.

She sent my family a detailed email on Sunday, telling us about how she reached her decision.  Now, I understand wanting to do things that way.  She (FUCK) He was able to say everything that way, go into detail, leave nothing out.  He's not planning on getting surgery, he's been taking hormones for months and going to counseling for years, and he was thorough and honest and told me on SUNDAY.

I sent a reply.  "It's about fucking time.  I'm so proud of you." I kind of regret not mentioning that I love her, that I support her, that this is strange and scary and exciting, but I didn't.  I want to tell her that in person. 

I'm glad I was at my parents' house when they got the email, because my mom fucking lost it.

Mom wasn't upset about having a trangender child - she was upset that he never confided in her about it, that her baby did all of this alone and never once asked for help.  She wanted to know how my sister was paying for the hormones and the therapy, she wanted to know why my sister never trusted us enough to tell us.

And then I almost laughed at her, because my mom doesn't confide in anyone about anything, but I just looked at her and said, "Seriously?  Would YOU tell us?"

"I know," she said.  "I know it's my fault.  You girls never talk to me about anything."

I hugged her.  "It's not your fault.  I tell you almost everything."

"Not everything," she sniffed.  "Not everything.  What are you keeping from me?  Are you okay?  Are you safe?  Do you have secret children?"  For some reason my mom thinks I have like a list of all the abortions I get hidden in a diary somewhere.  

"No, I do not have any secret children, and I never have."  Although I have had a pregnancy scare, I think.  Which means she's right.  I do not tell her everything.

My heart broke hundreds of times in that ten seconds.  I haven't talked to my mom about sex or dating or anything related to sex or dating since I found out what sex was.

And I wanted to say, Just ask me.  What do you want to know?  Do you want to know that I was a virgin for longer than all of my friends by a few years?  Do you want to know that I'm terrified of being naked in front of a man, but I want to be naked in front of them, and still I do not know how to reconcile the two without shame because so few men have ever even suggested they want to see me naked at all? Does she know that I say things like, "we need to value women as people and not as holes for fucking" only because I still don't see any worth in myself because men see me as a person and not a hole for fucking?  How fucked up is that - men don't objectify me so I objectify myself, and I wonder why I've never experienced this thing that apparently all other women have experienced and I feel totally left out of the loop. but it's probably because I am unaware and unreceptive and completely naive.   

So whatever, back to the story, I hugged her and didn't say any of that, because that is not her fault.  It's mine. 

My dad started crying too.  One of the the first thing he said was, "She's taking my name as her middle name.  That's just so...cute."

And then he was pissed she didn't ask them to help her pay for these things, because she shouldn't be worried about money when she was paying for grad school WHILE was going through something so emotionally draining.

So now I am incredibly proud of these three people:  my sister, who will be my brother, and both of my parents, who I think are responding to this entire thing with so much love and support, and although they're nervous and worried that her life has just gotten harder, they aren't angry with her decision to change.  They're angry that she did it alone.  God, I love them for that.

...


Whatever, so I still have this terrible guilt thing inside me that is progressive in its own right but not in others, and I need to talk about it somewhere:

Man, do I really get bummed when rad women come out as gay or transgender.  In the back of my head all I can think of is, "Goddammit, there goes another one."  And then I yell at myself and think, "WE ARE NOT ON DIFFERENT SIDES, RASS."  And the next thought is always something along the lines of, "does my insecurity with guys [Ed. note: call them men, they are not guys, you are in your 30s] stem from a secret gayness?"  But in my heart I know that's not true since the insecurity stems from being called ugly and fat by my peers.  And the next thought is laughter, because OMG SUPER NO, bitches be crazy, and then I feel guilty again, and say something to myself like, "you should keep an open mind because maybe some woman will sweep you off your feet" and then I say to myself, "no, unless she was a definitely man and had a penis" and then I'm like "HOLY SHIT MY LITTLE SISTER IS BECOMING A MAN." 

You guys. I mean, "you ladies." My little sister is becoming a man.

...

2 comments:

  1. All in all, a great reaction by the respective participants.

    I work with a woman who became a woman after being a man for 40 years. She went all out - surgery everywhere (even breaking the jaw to make it softer). A hell of a lot of physical pain; but worth it for her.

    Good to hear from you!

    xx

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  2. How did I miss this for like a week? Oh Rassles this is so good, good for him, good for you guys for being present for him, good for him having the courage to trust that he knows who he is. I'm sure it's hard to feel like maybe you could have eased his burden a little same with your parents and maybe in asking you would have. But it is also possible that like any major personal growth, getting the courage to face it is part of the process. An your parents grief over him going it alone, god that tugs right at me. Love is love is love when you are a parent, a good parent, and the idea that your kids suffered alone, it hurts. God, my mother wouldn't accept me for being a democrat much less changing something as fundamental and meaning and memory bound as gender. When I told my family about being sexually abused, I did it in a letter too and part of it was, I wanted them to have time to deal with their own grief without me having to witness it and see their pain, I was overwhelmed with my own and just couldn't take on more than my share. Maybe your sister wanted to give you guys the space to feel the weight of it, and think about how you wanted to respond, I think with something like this, that's also kind of respectful. I have to say, I love that you shared this with us, I know it's mostly your sister's stuff but this is a big deal for you too.

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