|"What if I told you|
you're going to get through this without too many stress lines?"
I saw The Matrix six times in theatres, although one of those times was at a drive-in and my husband was trying to feel me up, so maybe we won't count that one.
Anyway, I know the movie pretty well. If you've managed to see it without someone trying to grope your boob, then you know that one of the ways to realize you're in the matrix and not in real life is if you notice little glitches. Like one time, Neo was walking up a flight of stairs and saw a cat. Then he saw the same cat again in the same spot, and the Pleather Posse knew they had to get out of there.
While I was making tacos in the kitchen the other day, I looked outside and saw a cute little black cat walk across the end of our driveway.
I looked down again, stirred the meat on the stove, thought about how I need to make a hair appointment for Gutsy so she can get a more feminine look going on, glanced over at Dr. Phil telling someone off for being a bad parent, and looked outside again.
And I saw a black cat walk across the end of our driveway.
It occurred to me at that moment that I might be living in some kind of machine-induced coma, my marrow being sucked out for battery fuel, and that I am not actually a mother who's child recently told her she is transgendered, and that this overwhelmed feeling I've been having is just a part of the imperfect utopia set up by the evil robots that took over our planet.
So I ran to the window to prove my glitch theory - all the while wondering where I was going to get a flip phone and cool sunglasses on such short notice - and saw two identical cats walking down the road, one following the other.
You know, everyone is saying we're handling this really well. And I think we are, overall. Pat on the back for Geekster and I. We're not perfect, but we are rather attractive and pretty open-minded when it comes to letting our kids be who they are.
Honestly? I have no strong attachment to Gutsy being male or female. I have a strong attachment to Gutsy being happy, free, and comfortable in her own skin. I want her to be her, through and through. That's all I care about. That is my focus. That's why I'm taking a hiatus from school, scaling back on work, and making her transition the priority for the next little while.
But the world can really suck sometimes. She and I have talked about it, and she's well aware that not everyone will accept what she has to do to lead an authentic life. This has not dissuaded my brave child from going ahead with this transition. She's just amazing. Absolutely amazing.
Thankfully, she has a solid wall of love to lean against when times get tough. We are so fortunate that our families have been nothing but supportive. Everyone has changed the pronouns they use. Everyone is calling her by her new name. Everyone is reading books and articles and watching documentaries so that they can understand what she's going through.
She will never be alone, but the harshness of the world might make her feel that way sometimes anyway. That's what scares me. That's what makes me cry sometimes. It's what I know I can't entirely shield her from that has me lying awake at night.
I woke up on Thursday morning covered in a heavy blanket of sadness. It felt like a physical weight, pinning me down. I knew I had to get up, but the task seemed too great, too overwhelming. I was crying before I even lifted my head off the pillow.
Just a couple of days before, I had to deal with an adult in a position of authority who said and did all the wrong things. It was my first encounter with any kind of negativity surrounding Gutsy's transition, and it was like a slap in the face. This, I knew, was just the beginning of what we're going to have to deal with over the next few years.
I carried the pain and the stress of that encounter through the next few days, unable to shake it. It consumed me, sapped my energy, and stole my joy. My brain and my heart have had a very tough few days.
Today, I'm letting it go. I am not going to stay sad and angry. I'm going to learn from this and get better at dealing with these situations in the future. Like a boss.
I'm also letting go of the pain of not hearing from friends who I thought for sure would have reached out after hearing our news. We have had nothing but radio silence from some of them. But you know what? That's ok. I told people to walk if they weren't going to accept our new reality, and they can do that. Some of them might come around later on, and some might not. But there are others who have surprised us by demonstrating an immense amount of love and compassion; they have more than filled the hole left by those who can't or won't do the same.
Life, like transgenderism, is all about transition.
I feel a warrior emerging within me. An educator. An advocate. My daughter is already teaching me so much about me. She's showing me strength and assertiveness I didn't know was in there. And here I thought I was all fun and movie jokes.
Today I asked a group of parents of transgender kids if this will become our new normal soon. Will I stop obsessively thinking about everything that lies ahead? Will I be able to sit and read something that isn't transgender-related again? Will I feel less overwhelmed soon?
They said, "Yes, this gets easier."
Nobody said anything cryptic, like "There is no spoon" or "Follow the white rabbit," which I'm pretty sure means this is our real life. This is really happening. I will fully embrace it in my own time. I won't let other people's negativity drag me down. I will eventually stop running to the window to check for signs of science fiction conspiracy plots.
But I'm thinking I should probably invest in some pleather pants.
Just in case.
PS: I want to thank the hundreds of you who have emailed, tweeted, facebooked, commented on and shared last week's blog post. Your responses were nothing but supportive and empowering. My family is incredibly grateful. I haven't had a chance to reply to all of you yet, but I'm trying to. (And when the tentacle machines take over and try to stuff us into food pods, I promise not to sell you out.)