Posts tagged: family

Therapissed off

By , June 21, 2010 5:03 pm

A phrenology chartLate last week, I had a session with the doctor who is prescribing my citalopram. It’s only the second time I’ve seen him, and he’s a nice guy. However, he’s (self-admittedly) ignorant of trans issues, so I’ve had to do more explaining and defining in sessions with him than with Laura, my primary therapist.

I was telling him about my frustrations with my dad, and explaining how his use of the wrong names and pronouns really hurts me. The doctor’s response was, basically, “So?”

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When are feelings not valid?

By , June 5, 2010 10:56 pm

A little early, I know

I had brunch with my dad this morning, following our recent issues. Going to brunch was definitely the right thing to do, but I don’t know that I’m happy I went. I certainly don’t feel any better.

We basically talked in circles for an hour. I attempted, once again, to explain why and how his behavior was hurtful for me. Even though I don’t doubt that he loves me, the way we interact still causes me a lot of pain.

And, over and over, he repeated his favorite refrains: “I can’t change what I feel. My feelings are just as valid as yours. You’re asking me to change over night. I had a son for 23 years. I’m trying.”

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An apology and an explanation

By , June 3, 2010 11:15 am

Just sent this email to my dad.


I owe you an apology. I’m sorry I hung up on you last week – it was immature and unfair to you. It’s impossible to have a conversation when one party is no longer on the line.

That said, I’m not sorry I brought up how I’ve been feeling, even though I expressed myself really poorly. I need you to know that it hurts to be called “kid” and “child,” when I know you’re doing so to avoid gendered pronouns. It’s hurts, a lot, to hear you slip up and refer to me as “he” or my old name. I have no doubt that you love me. But like I said, I think you love me as your child and I want – desperately, painfully – for you to love me as your daughter.

But my frustration over how we communicate goes deeper than names and pronouns, and I need you to know that, too. I love you. I see so much of you in myself: my humor, my attentiveness to detail, my love of knowledge and education (and gadgets). So it’s all the more painful when I feel like we’re talking past each other, something that seems to be happening more and more.

When we talk, I feel like we’re having different conversations. You’ll ask a question, and before I’m half-finished answering it you’ll have asked another. It makes me feel like a client (or, worse, an opposing witness) rather than someone you love and care about. Or I’ll ask about how you perceived Billy Elliot’s father – whether he resonated with you – and be absolutely baffled when you say, “No, that wasn’t my experience.”

Than what was your experience? What is your experience? Because, from where I’m sitting, I feel like you’re ashamed of me. Or embarrassed. Awkward and unsure how to interact, torn between loving me and wanting to be done with whatever conversation or interaction we’re in.

So that’s why I hung up on you. I shouldn’t have, and I’m sorry I did, but I become so flustered and so hurt when we talk, that I lashed out.

I love you, even when you frustrate the hell out of me

Hospital Stay performance video

By , June 2, 2010 9:14 pm

Here’s the video is the adaptation I ended up using of this post. Enjoy!

Oh father of mine

By , May 29, 2010 9:04 pm

I'm not convinced my father could carry me on his shoulders these days...

Earlier this week, I asked my mom to call my dad. I hate having her act as an intermediary between the two of us, but I wanted to figure out what – if anything – he’d be doing about my hospital bills and insurance since my telling him off. He’s been speaking with the “risk management” department at the first ER I visited, because when I finally got my gallbladder out they strongly implied the first ER should have caught the gallstones.

So my mom called my dad. She said she’d thought things out beforehand, and opened by asking him, “Rebecca asked me to talk to you about the insurance situation, and if you need to return any of the paperwork to her.” (My mom knew he didn’t, as I’d provided him with copies, but wasn’t sure how to say “So are you continuing to help your daughter while refusing to speak to her, or not?” without sound like she was judging him. Which she was, but didn’t want to sound like it.) He replied, “Nope. She’s fine to speak to the hospital herself,” and said goodbye.

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And yet…

By , May 27, 2010 2:57 am

I miss my daddy. I haven’t called him that in twenty years, but that’s who I miss: The man who lifted me on his shoulders, explored forests and streams with me, played shark in the lake. The man for whom I had no doubt of his love.

I think I just broke up with my dad

By , May 26, 2010 11:55 pm

Oh Daffy. He gets so close to understanding where he goes wrong. And then, inevitably, he ends up getting shot in the face.

Just about ten years ago, I came out to my parents. For a long time, that didn’t really mean anything: no changes, no transitioning, just them having the knowledge that I’m trans.

About three years ago, I started on hormones and mark that as the general beginning of my actual transition. While I spent about a year presenting as male some of the time and female some of the time, both of my parents knew I was transitioning and (at some point during that “in between” year)  I had a chat with both of them about wanting to be called Rebecca, and referred to with feminine pronouns.

Last night, my dad – who is attempting to help me with some insurance stuff from having my gallbladder removed – called to ask my about my social security number. “It’s still under [male name], right?”

I paused, surprised he would even ask such a question. “No, I went to the social security office and had it changed.”

“Oh. But do you have a new card?”

Frustrated, I told him, “Yes. A new card. With Rebecca on it. Sitting on my desk at home. Same social security number, different name.”

“Oh, OK.”

It wasn’t until reflecting on the conversation that I realized how upset it made me. After ten years of being out to him, does he not understand how important this is to me? It wasn’t that he wanted to double-check about the name associated social security number. I could understand if he said, “I just wanted to double check that your social security number is under Rebecca now.” Or even, “Hey, what name is on your social security card these days?” I might be a little annoyed, but not really upset or hurt. But the way he did phrase it, assuming it wasn’t important enough to have gotten changed, really made me feel like he still, after all these years, is just as clueless as he was when I came out to him.

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Call and Response

By , May 14, 2010 10:06 pm

As I mentioned, my stay at the hospital was gender-affirming. For the most part. One of the big problems, though, was my dad. I think it was because he was so nervous and worried about me (which is a good thing) but he just could not use the proper pronouns. It got to the point where I felt like we were involved in some sort of odd call and response activity:

“Well, his pain hasn’t been that bad…”


“He’s finally on solid food.”


“I was talking with him earlier, and he said…”

“Her. She.”

It was kind of infuriating. My dad said, with some legitimacy, that my mom has had more time with me than he has. But, in my frustration, I could only respond, “I’ve been out to you for ten years. I’ve been transitioning for three years. You’ve had time.”

Maybe not the most tactful response, but just as true.

Hospitals and Hair

By , May 6, 2010 7:48 pm

Tonight is my last night at the hospital. (Fingers crossed, knock on wood, etc.) The gallbladder was removed last night, along with the bazillion more gallstones it contained. My parents actually claim the doctor said my gallbladder had 100 more gallstones, which is disgusting if it’s true.

This morning, after lugging myself to the bathroom, I looked in the mirror to see something of a stranger. First, because one of my roommates had put my hair into two braided pigtails last night, before I went into surgery. I’ve been way to lazy to remove ’em, so they’ve stayed the last 24 hours. Second, because the IV fluids, coupled with little food, have given me a simultaneously gaunt and water-bloated look. On top of that, I haven’t really bathed all week, so my color is way off and I’m all blotchy.

Most obnoxious, though, was the little soul-patch beneath my lower lip, a  remnant of my facial hair that the laser removal hasn’t been able extinguish.

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Banging my head against a wall

By , April 29, 2010 12:37 am

Pretend you can see my dad!

My father marched at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. He went to Washington to see Dr. King speak. His work as a defense attorney has helped demonstrate the unjustness of the death penalty and his was one of the cases referenced by Gov. Ryan when he issued a moratorium against capital punishment. In my mind, I still sometimes imagine my dad like I did when I was ten: the Good Lawyer protecting the innocent from Evil Cops, fighting for Civil Rights and Other Important Issues Warranting Capitalization.

Life rarely that simple. Family certainly isn’t.

There was a slowly dawning sense of discomfort during my teenage years, as I started to notice the times my dad would talk about clients he knew were guilty but would receive reduced sentences based on police misconduct. Now, to be perfectly clear, I think police misconduct is almost always a greater societal problem than the guilty person getting a break. Better ten guilty men go free, and all that. I still believe my dad is one of the Good Guys, and that even the guiltiest among us deserves fair and competent counsel. But my dad is also a more nuanced and complicated individual than I as able to acknowledge as a child.

Still, I sometimes expect him to see all civil rights and justice issues the way I do. Which made speaking with him tonight something like banging my head against a wall. The discussion began, as so many do, with talk of breasts.

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