It´s ironic that I´m finally supporting my kid, but I feel on the brink of a nervous breakdown at the same time! I´m a very social person, and I have a good circle of friends who love me, but suddenly that wasn´t enough because no one can relate to what I´m going through. I haven´t told anyone yet, but my closest friends see through me, and they feel something´s off. How do I explain this to them? I´m not ready for that! Even surrounded by friends, I feel lonely.
Dr. Stewart is quickly becoming a favorite person of mine, Oh my gosh! His words were right on, assuring me that this is completely normal and that I´m not going crazy! What could I expect after all? This hasn’t been an easy process for me! I was approaching things the wrong way… again. I needed to join a group that is a safe space for me to learn more, including first-hand experiences from people walking this path who are more advanced in the process than I am. I ended up joining the organization that Dr. Stewart recommended.
At first I felt embarrassed and vulnerable being the new person in the group, especially once I understood that I was among knowledgeable, understanding, and caring people. Even though so many said they’d felt just like I was feeling, they seem so happy and accepting now, even feeling very proud of their kiddos. It made me wonder, how do I get to that place? Well, it didn’t happen overnight, but for the first time in months, I felt completely relieved after the meeting, and I slept like a baby that night.
One of the happy moms told her story, and then she addressed me: Sue, I was much more confused than you are now! I was a real mess! Believe me when I use a very common phrase in our community: It gets better… And it does!
If someone had told me in that meeting that this was an easy journey, I would have been truly disappointed, thinking they were delusional, but that didn´t happen. On the contrary, everyone agreed that this is hard stuff, and there´s no magical thinking there. I learned that I needed to take care of myself and process my feelings to make this sustainable, regardless of where the journey takes us. I was intrigued to learn that kids all take very different paths, since diversity is infinite, so what is true for one kid may not be so for another.
It´s actually fascinating! Some kids identify as non-binary or gender-fluid, and I’ve asked myself: Aren´t we all gender-fluid after all? Who said that you must be one extreme or the other? People exist across a gender continuum, and everyone has their own personal set of expressions or ways to experience their gender, even if they are cisgender.
It was great to attend the Q&A meeting last Friday where I could ask about my kid´s case and my own personal ghosts. Captain is trying out different looks that are girly, and that´s obvious to everyone. I think my closest friends are being polite by not asking, but that´s becoming inevitable I´m afraid. What I’ve learned is there´s a Gender Journey that the whole family goes through and that Coming Out is Phase 5 of 6, so how come I´ve been catapulted to Phase 5 so early?
Well, the doctor explained, the journey is non-linear, so it´s completely normal to revisit previous phases more than once. Moreover, you and your kid could be in different phases altogether; normally, they´re many steps ahead of you, so the intelligent thing to do is to follow their lead. Makes sense, but now I must come out at my kid´s school. “Learn the facts and come out unapologetically to them” the doctor instructed. The “happy” mom volunteered her phone number, and we spoke for hours. I´m getting there, still feeling anxious and sad at times, but I can assure you that I´m a different person now.
“Amelia?” asked my mom, trying to hide from me the negative feelings I had just caused in her mind. “It´s pretty…not a modern name, is it? It´s…how would you say?… classy, yes, classy…but how? When? Sorry, you took me all by surprise!”
I don´t know if it´ll stick, but it´ll be my social name from now on. Think about it mom, it´s not that hard to find out how I came to that name. What´s my passion?
“Airplanes? Oh my God! As in ‘Earhart’?”
That´s right! My name must mean something! This makes sense to me! And I get it; it feels weird to me too, believe me, but I´ve been thinking about names, and it seemed like an impossible task. Dr. Stewart recommended that I try to feel it more than rationalize it. “Usually, when trans people come up with the right name, they feel something different in their bodies, like hitting the jackpot.”
“What did you feel?”
Warmth in my heart. Peace of mind. I hated my ‘deadname’, even if it´s the third letter of the aeronautic alphabet that I won´t repeat here. I´m sorry if I´m getting rid of it; probably you and dad chose what felt best to you, but for me, it was a reminder that I wasn´t being myself. But you know what, mom? Nothing’s changed, I´m the same person, I like and dislike the same things; I´m just happier now, that´s not a bad deal, is it?
“No, it´s not. I guess I always had a daughter, and we got it all wrong. I know you prefer she and that you were being polite using they so I didn´t freak out.. how about we stop pretending? I have a daughter and HER name is Amelia. God help us all!”
My mom made me cry! Hearing her pronounce my name for the first time was music to my ears. I´m very lucky, I don´t know what I´d do if my mom wasn´t on board. I met a kid at Kate´s house the other day who´s trans, but he´s having a horrible time with his family because they´re not accepting, and they´re hurting him badly with their words and attitudes. That have put off any attempt of his transitioning, and I wish there was something we could do for him because he´s really suffering. He said that being there for him is already a big deal and I hugged him and we cried together.
My mom prepared herself with good information and is psyching up to go to my school and come out about my situation. That´s scaring us to death; there´s no easy way to go about it. There are some politicians creating anti-trans laws to block kids from playing sports, using the right bathrooms, and a bunch of nonsense. I have no answers, I just wish nothing like that affects me and that the school and the kids accept my situation. I´m harmless, my situation doesn´t affect anyone, but I know some people just don´t get it.
Finally, my mom went to my school, and everyone was taken by surprise. They called the school´s psychologist to participate in the meeting, but as it turns out, he had no idea how to handle the situation. They assured my mom that they were inclusive, but their actions spoke louder than their words because there was no procedure in place to deal with the situation.
“What bathrooms will he use?”
“It´s SHE”, my mom corrected.
“I don´t know, we can’t change his name because we don’t know if this is just a phase.”
“SHE, it´s SHE!” My mom was exasperated. This isn´t going to be easy. I freaked out, and I didn´t want to go to school. I just froze when the day arrived! “It won´t be easy, but this is where we walk our talk, sweetie. Amelia Earhart didn´t freak out, did she?” asked my mom.
No, she was definitely brave. Well, here I go, wish me luck!
Go to Part 5…