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