...And the world didn’t end! Honestly, telling my parents and my brother about my transition wasn’t really on my radar - I’d been thinking at least another month or so before I came out to them - but the timing felt right and I just couldn’t hold it in any longer.
As some background, I live in a different city to the rest of my family, but as a quirk of fate my company is currently doing work with a client right by them, so for the past couple months I’ve been staying with my parents during the week and going home on weekends. Since starting coming out, it’s been really tough being there, because I felt like I had to force my true self back into her cage and play “boy” for four days a week knowing that at home I can wear my wig and do my makeup and not wear this costume.
So, last week, we were sat round the dinner table and somehow the topic of conversation turns to transgenderism and all that (I think it was something about the Ireland gay marriage vote combined with Conchita on Eurovision @_@), and I guess I just couldn’t stay silent. So I piped up and told them.
It was simultaneously a lot better than I’d imagined, and worse than I would like. Of course, my parents made sure to tell me they are 100% behind me if this is the right thing for me, but there were a lot of questions and worries, and I guess now there’s a aura of awkwardness around the house. They asked why I hadn’t said anything sooner - something I’ve asked myself every day since coming out. I still don’t have an answer for that, other than “I wasn’t ready.” There’s a part of me that desperately needs to know the answer, that isn’t satisfied by those four-contracted-into-three words.
I know they don’t mean anything malicious, but since last week they’ve struggled to use the right pronouns and my new name, and every time they say “he” or use my birth name it stings a little, and I know they could make more of an effort. However, I am my parents’ daughter, and I know exactly how they’re feeling - we’re all the kind of people who if we see someone crying will leave them well enough alone, so I guess by not broaching the subject they’re trying to avoid awkwardness and embarrassment. They still see their son when they look at me, and it’s gonna take time for them to feel comfortable with me, just as it will take me time to feel comfortable with them. Even though I understand it, it still hurts.
Tonight, hopefully, I’m going to do my makeup and put on my wig and a dress and introduce themselves to their daughter. My partner is staying with me this week, so I’ll have her to hold my hand, but I’m very nervous. I try to tell myself that what other people think of me doesn’t matter, that it isn’t any of my business, but that works much better for strangers than people I know. Of all the people in my life, only my partner and my parents’ judgements can really affect me, and my partner was 100% accepting and on-board with my transition from the get-go, so this is uncharted territory.
I know I should be more charitable towards my family - they’re far from awful people (they raised me, after all!), but I feel like...well out of me and my brother I was the “good” son (not always, and certainly not in my teen years, but now definitely so), and now in their eyes I’m not going to be that anymore. Not a “son” anyway. They have to get to know me again, and I have to get used to being myself at home when for 23 years I shut down a massive part of myself just to play the role I was given.
It’s that awkwardness that I’m afraid of more than anything. I put on my wig, paint the boy off my face, come downstairs and show them aaand....then what? Will they be excited? Enraptured by my glorious natural beauty? Disgusted? Confused? Distraught and inconsolable?
Or will it just be “Oh, you look nice” and then a deafening awkwardness and unease?
The not-knowing is the worst part. It’s where my fear comes from. But fear isn’t pain, it’s only pessimistic anticipation - fear by itself can’t hurt me, it can’t cause pain. Maybe my fears will be proven correct, and there will be pain and sadness, but much more likely is whatever I foresee in my head being ten times worse than reality.
Feel the fear and do it anyway, right?