Um, what?

Leaving the gym the other day, I bumped into a woman whom I have known for many years primarily through her role as being a ‘friend of a friend”.  We go long stretches without seeing one another but when we find ourselves in one another’s company, we always share a pleasant exchange and chatter.  During the course of our conversation talk turned to what our children were doing for the summer.  I bitched, er, told her about Jessie’s less than ideal schedule and she shared what her daughters (neither of which, by the way, has a penis) are doing.  It turns out both of her kids and Jessie (who vaguely know one another through the same friend) will be attending the same camp, but not at the same time.

So naturally talk turned to the camp and we bantered about how it attracts an artsy, quirky, beat-to-their-own-drum kind of kid which nicely describes both hers and mine.  Carefully choosing her words (we are not close enough for her to not worry about potentially offending me) she offered, in an empathetic tone, that one of her kids is “outside the box” in a manner which, I am sure, was meant to make me feel better about my “different” kid.   An oft heard description of children, I appreciated her extending an olive branch and attempting to allay any discomfort she thought I might have. (Note: I am way past discomfort…). Trying (sort of) not to appear competitive in describing my child’s off-beatness, I commented that I know all about being outside that box and that, in fact, one could argue that Jessie is so far outside the box that she is actually laughing at said box as she sees it as a distant sighting in her rearview mirror.  The other mom gave me a sort of quizzical look and, a beat later, realized it was okay to smile.  As quirky and different as she might consider her kid, it was pretty safe to say that mine had her beat.

Talk then turned to my blog which she proudly told me she does not read.  Her reason: “It’s TMI”.  Um, okay.  But here’s what I don’t understand…if she hasn’t read it, how does she know how much “I” there is…perhaps it is NEI (not enough) or WMTIWI (way more than I want) or JRI (just right).  And if she is so simpatico with me over the whole off-beat kid, thing, what’s with the sudden judgment? Apparently her concerns – of mere moments before –  over potentially offending me had vanished.

I honestly do not care at all that she has chosen not to read the blog.  (In the interest of complete honesty, there are a few people out there who are not reading which has me curious – and by curious I mean irritated – but she is not among them.)  I do, however, feel puzzled over why she has drawn this conclusion seemingly in a vacuum.  I don’t truthfully think it is the subject matter; in fact, one could (and many have) argue that this blog has morphed into one more about me than about my transgender child.  (Oh, and I have gotten crap for that, too.)  When I pressed her a little, she became all awkward and nervous and anxious and may even have developed a layer of perspiration on her upper lip.  I decided that it was time to leave well enough alone and artfully changed the subject.  But, as you can clearly see, it still has me wondering.

I have long ago given up the need to make my blog something that works for other people.  I have similarly stopped giving a shit what other people think of Rich’s and my decision to allow our child to follow this path which we both know could be a “phase”.  And I don’t care one wit that this woman is judging and commenting on something that she, by her own admission, hasn’t seen.  It is driving me crazy, though, trying to understand why she chose “it’s TMI” as her default reason.  As it happens, there is SO much information behind the scenes that I do not share that it is almost funny.  (It would be funnier if it weren’t my life, but someone else’s, which is precisely why I am so puzzled as to why she is afraid to read.)

So, file under: people are weird and keep their “friend of a friend” status for a reason.

Note: I made no attempts to either reveal or conceal this woman’s identity.  Watch — this will be the one time she decides to read my blog.  Right?!?

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56 thoughts on “Um, what?

  1. TMI is my middle name. I was ‘told’ yesterday by one of my dearest friends, as opposed to a “friend of a friend” that I need to be careful because I am so boundary-less on my personal FB page that my professional FB page could be less than professional. Eh, let them eat their f-ing caked! (note, no postings in the past two days, I guess I’m all talk?)

  2. Honestly, I think she may have described it inaccurately for herself. What she probably meant was that it was too much for her to handle and she could not imagine dealing with it. Considering she has girls it is so far out of her comfort zone that she cannot deal.

  3. TMI is a common way for people to avoid honest feelings. Safe to saynthere is a boundary/area of discomfort in this persons life she doesnt want to re experience. I grew up in a house where TMI was sometimes the easy way out. And it isn’t necessarily so that your Jessie is more out of the box than Mrs.TMI’s kid. What is this box? Is it the same box which defines the right amount of personal info (e.g. Including but not limited to feelings, experiences, facts) that is acceptable to share or be exposed to? Boundaries are all over the place. Keep walking thru EM.

  4. she obviously would like to base her opinions on gossip rather than reading your blog…I think it’s a good idea to keep her at a distance. 🙂

      • Yes very odd, but I think it is an indication that she is not interested in what is really going on.

      • And she is completely entitled – she (and everyone else on the planet) have their own crap to deal with so digging into someone else’s can be either a good thing or a bad thing. For her, I gather, it is a bad thing and that is fine!

  5. I always think that the people who say they don’t read my blog are actually the “über” readers. You know they’re watching you, right?

    • It kinda drives me a little crazy when people say they “don’t have time”. Really? What exactly are they so busy doing? Not that my blog is so important, but, again, not having time to read a page is the sign of a very busy person. LOL

  6. Well, I am a GJLB (george.jessie.love blog) devotee and like as much juice ‘n dirt as you care to share.

    Could this have been the SAME woman who didn’t find one of my recent crafty (crazy) emails that humorous??? If so, or even I not, don’t give her another minute of thought. Seriously.

    Your New FOaF (friend of a friend) who likes a lot of ‘i

  7. Oops, that just posted before I reviewed, or pressed SEND.

    …anyway, bring on the ‘i’…we like it. Or, at least I do – and that’s what matters, really.

    JL

  8. The woman who doesn’t read your blog is missing a core part of the transgender experience. As families of a transgender person, we give support in every way we possibly can, but there are problems both social and medical down the road that often haunt the people who love the trangender person deeply. The focus is on the transgender person, as it should be. But the families need some attention and support and understanding too. We learn all too quickly who we can talk to and who is just not up to it, and it often ends up being a lonely business. And so, Julie, I love your blog whether it is focusing on your serious questions or on your nails or any other damn frivolous thing that crosses your mind. It’s contagious fun when you talk about these distractions when your mind, like the rest of us, has always at its front and center the well being of your child. So keep on giving us both barrels – we have to leaven things with humor and distraction in the midst of ever present serious concerns.

    • So well said, Joan. If not for distractions, I would be totally screwed! And I apologize for not responding sooner – for some reason your comment had gone into spam!

  9. Yet another example of my mother’s wisdom. In this case: ‘If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all’

  10. You know, some people are better off just being left in your past. And she is one of them. Your family is your family and they are special to you and those who care. Not your loss if she is being dumb about things.

  11. There’s a difference between “doesn’t read it” (her statement, as related in your blog posting, which could mean that she did read it at some point, but no longer does) and “hasn’t read it” (which means that she has never looked at it). Maybe she did read it at some point in the past and drew a (too hasty, in my opinion) conclusion? I really enjoy your blog and am rooting for you and your family!

    • Good point. I am not sure which she said, but based upon my reaction I think she must have said “I haven’t read it”…that is why it struck me as it did. Get it?

  12. This resonates a lot with me, partly because my blog was linked to various social networks (which I actually can’t stand) just to keep my friends ‘n’ things informed while we’re apart for uni. I love the “people are weird” status – I use that one all too often!

    I’m also curious about those who haven’t read my blog when social protocol dictates that they should really be taking an interest (although I may be wrong there, I have an ASD to blame if necessary), because it’s not easy to miss… and I’ve had a lot of “don’t have time”s as well. One person memorably told me that she hadn’t acknowledged my Facebook status-y one-line posts about gender because she “didn’t have time” – and yet she had the time to BE on Facebook in the first place…

    But I digress. People are indeed weird, and it’s probably best to leave it at that… 😉

    -JC

    • Yeah, the whole “I have no time” is just silly. As I have said repeatedly, she owes me nothing and is more than entitled to not read, but her synapses did not fire very well when she began to babble about why. How can anyone accuse another of offering TMI when they have never looked at something? Again, odd more than anything else.

      • Indeed, “I don’t have time” really just means “this isn’t / you’re not a priority for me.” I guess it’s better to know where you stand when someone offers such a revealing statement as “you’re not a priority.” No judgment necessarily, just an honest clarification of where you stand. I don’t expect to be a priority for everyone, of course, and sometimes, even when it’s not so positive to hear someone bluntly say that they don’t have time, I try to take it as a clue to where I stand with that person and just move on. Sometimes I already know I’m in the “you’re not a priority” category, othertimes not until someone says the “dont’ have time.” In a way it’s better than being left scratching your head and wondering what’s up with someone else.

  13. I have the same kind of interactions about my teenage son Kyle. I don’t have a blog but I have decided that while I’m not going to go out with a sign on my neck saying I have a child who is transgender neither will I avoid the subject if it comes up naturally in conversation. This is how it is….this is WHO he is. Though I do try to be somewhat understanding that it could be TMI for them-this is certainly not the norm for most parents and I think most people are scared to death that it’s just something my kid is putting on to try to be “different” and if their kid hangs around him they might think it’s cool and try to be “different” too. Meanwhile they haven’t seen the struggle and the tears that we’ve all gone through privately. I can think of many ways to be different and I don’t think this is something someone would choose on their own accord. So basically I try to be understanding of where they are coming from but at the same time not being offended when they don’t handle it in the smoothest way they could. It’s really just a lonely place to be Julie and it’s great that we have your blog and other places that we can all commiserate and read of other’s experiences.

    • Thanks, Gina. Ironically, I don’t think she is standing in judgement as much as being silly. Perhaps I am being naive, but I am not sure that the subject of the blog is even what seems to be tripping her up…but, then again, it might be. Who knows? And I agree…this is a lonely place. Stay strong, Gina!

  14. Your “i” is inspiring, Julie. More folks (women especially) should express more “i”, it sure makes the rest of us feel like we aren’t alone in whatever ails us.

    And I must say, I have noticed that this blog has become more about and for you then Jessie…and I like that direction. I am sure it is a wonderful, creative outlet for you as a mom/woman/wife and it sure is inspiring/hilarious to me, not to mention full of “I FEEL THE EXACT SAME WAY!” moments. Keep on keepin’ on 🙂

    • I have to have something that is about and for me, so it seems that this is it. Parenting (whether your kid is transgender or just annoying) can be very isolating and I fully intend to continue with all the “i” I see fit to print. Thanks for the back-up!

  15. life can be a crazy ride…for many people..and i have found that people “get” different things from different people….even when my teens who are so open with me about what other teens whom i know are doing…i often have to remind them..sometimes i don’t want to know…not because it is a terrible thing they are telling me (it’s usually a teen thing)…but because i see a person a certain way..
    right or wrong…it’s because i like what i know about them…i want to still view them as i know…this foaf may so enjoy your wit and humor, in all your other ways…
    and when life is crazy…sometimes i want and need easy…..uncomplicated….
    because life for me…anyway can get very complicated..
    i actually had to let go of a close friend…because my life was at a very complicated place and she had ALOT of drama…that really in the big scheme was not even drama… she MADE her drama..while not even considering anything I was going through..(not to be self centered at all but not one but 2 family members going through the big c at the same time plus major other stuff…and she never ONCE asked..how are they or how are you?)..i needed easy…and a FRIEND!
    and Jules ..you are so damn funny and strong and handle alot with poise and grace…
    keep it up!!xoxox

  16. Hi Julie, my comment is not so much about this particular post but more general way to just reach out to you and tell you how inspiring I think you are. I first came across one of your blog posts on Better After 50 which I briefly wrote about here: http://idevgirl.com/raising-transgender-child/

    Jessie is fortunate to have a mother and father who are as understanding and respectful of her wishes as you both are. I’m now in my late 20’s and and have been transitioning for the last 2 years, I wish I had been able to do it much earlier and with the support of family I may well have been able to do so.

    I look forward to following Jessie’s journey via this blog and wish all of you all the best for the future.

    Jussie x

  17. Julie, Although I just haven’t had the time to reply or comment lately, I really have read every one of your blog posts, as they come to me in my email. Besides, my nails had gotten so long that it was difficult to type for awhile. Now that they are gone, like yours, and I’ve stopped crying about it, I can reply. 😉

    To some, TMI could be translated as “Transgender Means Icky”. They may be willing to tolerate, or even attempt to accept the notion on a superficial level, but they just don’t want to know the details. My oldest daughter is like that (I removed my acrylic nails for Fathers’ Day, just to make her happy). What I’ve found to be true is that no matter how far out of the box I may be, most people still would like to put me in one – one of their own design and choosing. Furthermore, many would just as soon close and seal the lid, label it “transgender”, and put it up in the attic. Just like the proverbial elephant in the room, however, TMI makes it too big to ignore, so the mind becomes closed and sealed instead. I can only go on and live by the credo, “fuck ’em, if they can’t take a joke.” 🙂

    • Connie!!! I have been thinking of you and am glad to hear you are still out there! Fair enough if they don’t want to know the details, but perhaps if they hadn’t admitted to not having looked at it I would not be so irked.

      I’ve missed you…welcome back!

      • Yes, Julie, I am still out there – Waaaaaaay out there! To me, her admitting to not even looking at your blog is the same as saying “I don’t want to hear about it; it doesn’t fit or belong in my box.” Her attitude does not have a place in your box, either. Know what I mean?

        And, Thank you! It’s nice to know I’m missed; even nicer to know I’m a ‘Miss’, if still often amiss. 🙂

      • My back door is always open, even if you tell me to shut the F…..ront door. I did leave the laptop at home while vacationing in Cabo San Lucas, however – a 40th anniversary/honeymoon!

      • Yeah, and who would have thought about it being a “same sex” marriage in 1972?!?! And blessed by the Catholic Church, no less. LOL

  18. Ironically, I think her comment was TMI. Way more information than you needed to know about her and her opinions. I’m already bored with her. Unless she is me. And then I might just find her annoying and a bit tragic and pudgy around the edges. Nice graphic, by the way.

  19. Hello there! *waves* found you by chance – a very interesting read. 33yo transwoman, living with another – see the website link and my diary for more. All the best – and while I might not know everything, any help I/we can offer is open to you.

    Kind regards,
    Suzy xxx

  20. I wonder whether the friend of friend fibbed and then got flustered when she realised that she got caught in her lie by you when you pressed her? She might have read some posts, felt that perhaps she wasn’t meant to read them so stopped so as not invade your privacy? The TMI comment would make sense and she did try to empathise earlier – so the proud to not have read your blog was perhaps supposed to say: proud to no longer stick her nose in your business?
    That’s what crossed my mind anyway. I could be totally off of course.
    We just don’t share a wavelength with many people and that makes communication just really, really hard? As if we talk in code and we don’t have the cipher for some people.

  21. I had to laugh at this one–your blog is anything but TMI. It’s just about your life and the things in it which you are able to describe in interesting, thoughtful, and perceptive ways, I love reading it when I have a chance. And I have to say I laughed at the response of people who were upset you were writing about your nails. Those are all details of our lives and make up part of the whole, so they are important (and seriously, it’s your blog, so you can write about whatever parts of your life you want!!). But clearly all those details are uncomfortable for this friend of friend. People who are so judgmental should just keep their mouths shut instead of looking like idiots with their phobias. Just sayin.

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