Things I have never been:
- a trendsetter
- an intellectual
- particularly brave
Things that I have become:
- less pessimistic
- the first of my peeps to attempt to parent a transgender kid
- getting smarter every day
It strikes me how the very traits that have, historically, not defined me suddenly do. It is strange how I, a glass half empty kind of gal, am suddenly perceived as a voice of optimism and strength. Never one to lead the charge, I take note that I’ve been more outspoken and public about just how okay it is to support ones’ “different path” child. I’ve noticed that my penchant for trashy magazines and easy-read contemporary novels has morphed into a desire to deepen my knowledge and understanding every day. (That is not to suggest that I have lost interest in those fine periodicals, quite to the contrary, actually.) And, just to make thing more interesting, my lifelong fear of change has been kicked in the ass but good. An added bonus of this new life? Methinks it just may be.
Being thrust into this adventure has shaken me to the core, but has also, somehow, managed to free me. My brother Robbie hit the nail on the head when he pointed out that I had been given the “gift of not caring what other people think”. While we all care what people think of choices we make with regard to our parenting, our clothing, our hobbies and, a personal favorite, our children, it is the degree to which it effects me that has shifted. I still (desperately) want to be perceived as a good person, a good parent and a good friend. I still care how I look and will not be seen (other than at the gym) without my beloved mascara (aside: when I first met my therapist, I told her that if I ever showed up in her office and was mascara-less, she should become very concerned, very quickly as it was surely a sign that I had given up all hope) but I am far less reliant upon (or driven by) others’ perception of me. I have let go of the joke that we all subscribe to suggesting that we have any sort of control over anything and have (almost) (okay, not almost, but getting closer) embraced the fluidity of not just Jessie’s adventure, but daily life.
It would be a lie to say that I don’t have sleepless nights (but you probably do, too) or moments of hysteria (you have those, too, right?!) over not just Jessie’s adventure, but Harrison’s, too. I go to the negative “what ifs” more than I should but less than I used to. Likewise, I knock around self-doubt more than I should, but less than I used to. There is a lot I don’t know about being a transgender kid (and her parent) than I did, but I know more than I did six months ago. And while I am still afraid of what the future holds, I’m not quite as terrified as I used to be. It is an uphill battle, and I’m still in a low gear, but at least my pedaling seems to be getting me somewhere…