I’ve been really angry and upset since yesterday. Like really, really, really wanting to scorch the earth angry. I’ve been needing to get it out but at the same time I’m hesitant because of reasons which may become more clear. I considered writing about it on my super secret blog of which only a handful of people are aware, and the object of my anger is not. But, then, I’d still feel like I’ve been gagged and stripped of my identity. I also figured maybe someone else will need to read what I have to say if they are going to make it out of the holiday season alive and not give into the thoughts to end it all.
And if the object of what has set this off reads this and continues to ignore my demands to not be contacted, then I’ll deal with those ramifications later.
Yesterday, Kid2 arrived home from school and informed me with a very hesitant voice, “Your mum came by school today and gave me a Christmas card to give to you.” I just looked at him, held petrified in my spot. He continued, “Yeah… I was going to open it first to make sure it’s safe and won’t be more upsetting to you than I know it already is, but I wasn’t sure if that would make you more upset or not. So, do you want it?” With a heavy sigh, I responded, “Sure. Hand it to me,” and my body started to shake and I wanted to vomit. (Ah, the wonderful physical things that continue to happen as a result of the type of abuse I had to endure at the hands of a mentally ill alcoholic, even years after you’ve done all you can to eliminate them from your life).
I looked at the envelope and it said, “Julia.” My brain yelled, “Dear God, woman! I haven’t been Julia in a very long time! My birth certificate doesn’t even say that name anymore! I am Jules! You need to get that through your head! “
I opened the envelope, to behold the most feminine, the most pink, with butterflies and roses, “For My Daughter” birthday card I’ve looked at in quite sometime. (This is the first birthday or Christmas anything I have received from her in seven, or so, years.)
I open it up to find another “Dear Julia.” Seriously, you need to start respecting who I am as a person! I am 37-years-old and, if you ever want me in your life, you need to start seeing me for me and not what you wish me to be!
Then, I looked at the cheque she enclosed. She made the cheque out to “Julie.” Okay, I have never ever gone by Julie in my life. Brain: I know you were heartbroken when you learned that I go my Jules and not Jewels like you wish, but even you hated when people would think it was okay to shorten my name to Julie! Can you be any more passive-aggressively disrespectful? Wait… I’m sure you can because I’m the monster.
This morning, I woke up nearly screaming thanks to a nightmare about my mother banging down my front door. (She’s tries this before. She used to spend days and hours knocking on my doors, while I was held prisoner inside my house. Or spend days after days calling my phone, redialing when it hit voicemail, for hours on end. Before the wedding, after someone else in the family decided to not respect my wishes and tell her I was getting married and she cornered me at Kid1’s graduation, I had three weeks of nightmares that she broke into my house and announce herself as I was walking to the kitchen, half-awake, to make morning coffee. That was horribly structured sentence, but my brain is horribly structured right now.)
I don’t know how long this bout of post traumatic stress crap is going to last. I don’t know how depressed I’ll get as a result.
All I know is that I really wanted to enjoy my first Christmas with my partner with us living in the same house, instead of in different countries on opposite sides of the continent. I wanted to end this end of the year without feeling invisible. And all it took was one unwelcome card with a name that isn’t even mine anymore, not even on my birth certificate, to ruin it all. When you spend your entire life having to fight to be heard, having to fight to have your boundaries respected, it really doesn’t take much to tear down everything you’ve work hard to accomplish.
The above is one small reason why it is a very good thing that I don’t spend Christmas with my blood “family.” I hate when people feel sad because I won’t be with family. Then my brain does this whole, “Yeah… it’s a good thing. You have to trust me. I don’t know you well enough to tell you why. You just have to trust me.”
I don’t know most of you well enough either but here’s the thing.
If you are trans* and your family refuses to accept it, I want you to know that you have permission to cut off those ties. You are not a monster for doing so. You need to do what is best for you and the rest can just bugger off. It’s difficult to do. I know it. Boy, do I know it. But, in the long run, you’ll be better off for it.
I don’t want to be all trite and say, “It’ll get better.” Because, honestly, sometimes it feels like it gets worse. But, I can tell you from a lifetime of experience (I’m 37), it does get easier. The more you stand up for who you are and demand that your boundaries be respected, it get’s easier. Please try to keep that in mind over this holiday season.