There is an old saying…”every village has an idiot, if it you can’t figure out who it is, then it’s probably you”. I postulate the same can be said for families. For those of us who are transgendered, everyone else in the family thinks it’s us. We are trans, so by definition, we are the problem. At least that is my experience with a certain part of my extended family. Now, before I go any further, let me state right now that my family has been nothing but supportive and loving of me. My sister and all of her family, my brother and all of his family, my two daughters, ROCK SOLID. No, the issue lies on the other side of the matrimonial aisle.
My ex and my ex in laws. Holy! I have come to the realization given recent events (see past few blog entries) that I am their version of the village idiot. Given my interactions in my community, I don’t think I am alone in this revelation regarding trans people. Not in the least, sad to say. So why is this. Why do we have to bare the brunt of this burden? I guess we are a convenient target. Easy for them to make us the lighting rod for all of their anger and confusion and pain.
But do we really have to put up with it? In many cases, yes we do. We suck it up to try to maintain some sort of civility in the hopes that they will come around in time and re-establish a relationship of some sort that is at least heading in a positive direction. And I know that for many trans people, that does happen. But alas, for a many more, it doesn’t. And that is devastatingly sad. For everyone involved.
The interesting thing (okay not the right word, but work with me…) is that it is all so unnecessary. We are not bad people. We are not mean people. We are not stupid people. But we are people. We are doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers, police, firefighters, administrators, tradespeople, who work hard and are good at what we do. We volunteer, contribute to our communities and help those who are less fortunate. We laugh, we love, we cry, we hope and we dream. Just like them.
Why are we cast in the roll of “the famjly problem”? Are we really the problem? Nope. We aren’t. But we somehow can’t shake it. We are the victims of type casting. “Oh you’re the trans person, so you’re the problem. Good to know.” Give me a f*ckin’ break. No, we are not the problem. Look in a friggin’ mirror buddy.
In 90% of my life, I am doing really well. In fact, I am doing great. My transition, for the most part has gone smoothly without a lot of disruption in my life. And I realize how fortunate I am. I have all of my immediate family, my job, and activities. I have more friends now than I have ever had before. For some reason, I am also being called on to tell my story and represent some aspects of my community, for which I am truly grateful and honoured. I am blessed. I know that, and so very very thankful.
I also know that this is not the norm and I am truly sorry for everyone that suffers and wish I could something about it. I try to help out in my city however I can. The issue for me is that I tend to focus on that 10%. The other side of the family. And for some reason, I let it define who I am. That is my problem. Well, not anymore. I came to the realization at some point around two in the morning after a good cry, that it isn’t me. It’s them. Now, everyone, settle down for a minute. I know many of you out there are going “well ya, duh!” but that is easy to say but hard to internalize. At least for me. Many people tell “oh, just give it time, they will come around, you keep reaching out, they will respond eventually” or words to that effect.
I know it is said with the best of intention, and with all sincerity. But at some point, I have to wonder, really? am I really the problem? For me, the answer is no. It’s is totally them. While it may have been convenient for them, out of guilt for wrecking a marriage, etc, I let it happen. That cannot continue. It is an emotional, energy sucking vortex that is not healthy and is dragging me down. Well no more. I am now starting to take steps to cut that anchor. It won’t happen over night, but I have to look after me right now.
I am not the problem. They are small minded individuals, with little tolerance or acceptance. They want to stew. Fine. I’m going to let the spotlight shine on them, to expose them as the “family problem”. Cuz it sure as hell ain’t me. But here’s the trick. I can rationalize that intellectually. Hell, that is what I am trained to do. Emotionally? That’s a different story. The difficulty for me will be to reconcile all of this in my heart. That’s where the pain is. My mind is clear. My heart, not so much. Sad to say, I’m no stranger to heart ache, just as many in my community. I can only hope that I am on the right track and that I can get out of this emotional quagmire. Time, and the help of my friends and health professionals will get me through it.
I’m not the village idiot. Call casting… that’s someone else’s role to play.