I’ve been away from the blog for months. Writing doesn’t come as easily as it used to. I don’t know what I can write safely. These days writing – and even talking – about the hurt my relatives keep causing me, makes me feel like a traitor.
I’m wary. On edge. Sad. I don’t want to hurt my relatives, but on the other hand, it gets increasingly hard for me to deal with the pain they are constantly inflicting upon me.
Recently I celebrated my birthday. There was a family get-together, I got nice presents, and it should have been great, which – in a way – it was. But my day was clouded. Overshadowed by the rejection I continue to feel from my relatives.
Mum wrote me a birthday card. Or actually, she wrote me two birthday cards. But instead of addressing them “Dear Liam”, she wrote,”Lieve jarige”, which would translate into “Dear Birthday Person”.
How hard would it have been to just write “dear Liam”? How hard would it have been to simply not send a card at all? I am not some distant acquaintance, I am her son.
For all her, “We love you the way you are” rubbish, these cards tell me the exact opposite. They say, we love the daughter you took from us and nothing is going to make us accept – leave alone – love you as our son. And how could they? They never wanted a son in the first place, and didn’t even have a name for a boy. I’d have gone through life nameless – which is exactly what’s happening here. They have reduced me to some nameless being and that’s an utterly painful and humiliating experience.
It’s come to the point where I find myself thinking, “I wish they’d just cut me off the day I told them I’m trans”. That would have hurt too, but not nearly as much as this. I don’t know how I can continue seeing them. Talking to them. Facing this rejection and humiliation again and again and again.
I dread phoning them. Dread visiting them. Dread having them over for a visit. But I feel obliged. They are my parents. She is my little sister. But the pain is getting too much and I don’t know for how much longer I can keep this up.
They still cling to their false belief that I am deluded. That I am going through some kind of identity crisis – or maybe even a psychosis – and everything will go back to “normal” when I get better and come to my senses.
They think (and I know this for a fact, because Mum told my daughter so) that Dick Swaab’s book “We are our brains” made me think I am transgender. Which only proves that they don’t think very highly of me.
I was a psychology student in uni before I fell ill. If a book had the power to do that to me, I’d not only be transgender, but I’d also be suffering from a host of imaginary mental illnesses and brain dysfunctions, including but not limited to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, aphasia, narcolepsy, autism, and conversion disorder. None of which I am suffering from. Neither in real life, nor in my imagination.
Come to think of it, I’d probably suffer from a whole host of imaginary physical conditions as well – apart from the ones I’ve actually been diagnosed with. I’d quite likely imagine I were lactose and gluten intolerant, allergic to dogs, cats and rabbits, suffering from ME and fibromyalgia, and heaven knows what else.
Funny thing is, none of my relatives seem to doubt that I really do suffer from migraines. None of them ever suggested I might not really have EDS. And they bloody well seem to take my major depressions more seriously than I do.
I can read up on migraines, on EDS, on major depressive disorder, and no one will ever suggest I got any of these conditions because I read about them. But when I read up on gender dysphoria, my reading suddenly caused the dysphoria? That’s ludicrous.
For years, no decades, I wanted nothing to do with anything transgender. Even people just talking about it would cause my mind to close off instantly. I’d go completely blank. It scared the living daylights out of me.
Why? Because deep down I knew. But being brought up in this religion of guilt and shame, how could I possibly admit that I never felt like I was a girl, a woman? The shame and guilt weighed me down so much that I tried to take my own life, convinced that I didn’t have the right to live. Not once, but twice. And there were many times when I struggled not to do myself in. Struggles that lasted for weeks, if not months.
And that same religion, I feel, is the very thing that’s keeping my parents and younger sister from really, truly accepting me as their son and brother. Because their God made me, and gave me female genitals. And this God doesn’t make mistakes. Not even when he made my daughter and somehow, in his infinite wisdom, decided it would be best if her brain stem were not fully developed, so her autonomous functions (you know, basic things like breathing and swallowing) were severely impaired and she died at age five. No mistakes there.
They say their God is love, but I’m not so sure. My God is nothing like theirs. My God is not omnipotent, because if he were, he wouldn’t be a loving God, and I’d have no other option but to turn my back on him. I need a loving God who’s there for me. Not one who inflicts pain and then tells me it is all for the best or some such bull.
“If that were God’s plan, it’s a bad bargain; I don’t want to have to deal with a God like that…My sense is God and I came to an accommodation with each other a couple of decades ago, where he’s gotten used to the things that I’m not capable of and I’ve come to terms with things he’s not capable of…and we care very much about each other.”
― Harold S. Kushner