I hate ambiguity; it is making me crazy. I had never put much thought to how I felt about it, but ever since being told (repeatedly) that I need to be able to tolerate the ambiguity of Jessie’s transgender self I feel as though it (ambiguity, that is) is systematically eating away at my very fiber and forcing me to make announcements such as, “I hate ambiguity; it is making me crazy.”
Over the years I have professed my unwavering hatred for a few things. Some of the most dyed- in-the-wool include (but are by no means limited to):
- Black licorice. I believe it is actually thinly disguised poison. I have really tried to like it and have even gone as far as to pop a Good N’ Plenty thinking (hoping) that the candy coating would help mask the offending flavor of anise. Candy fail. Cannot do it.
- Vomit. This includes: mine, my husband’s, my children’s, yours, your children’s and strangers’ (hospital roommates are the worst – trust me). I am equally horrified by hearing about it, smelling it or even thinking or writing about it. I am a card-carrying, certified vomit-phobe.
- Chipped fingernails. Not a good look for anyone. Either maintain ‘em or leave ‘em naked.
- The final leg of laundry and supermarket shopping; I don’t mind doing it, I just hate putting it all away.
- Inconsistent assholes. If you are an asshole, I am fine with it. It is when you are only sometimes an asshole that I loathe. Too hard to deal with the, um, yep, ambiguity.
I am a straight shooter which is probably why I detest being a situation in which I do not know where I stand. So, you can only imagine how the ambiguity inherent in Jessie’s social transition is getting deep under my skin and festering. Everyone knows that I have been told by more than one therapist (okay, three…not including my friends who are therapists…that brings the number to closer to 12) that I must, must, must learn to “tolerate the ambiguity” but, the truth is, I don’t want to anymore. I want someone to tell me where we are going, how we are going to get there and where we are going to land. Is that too much to ask? Apparently it is.
Black licorice, vomit, chipped fingernails, the laundry and marketing piled on the kitchen counters and (most) assholes leave nothing to chance, pose no questions and simply are what they are. There is very little room for interpretation, speculation, self-doubt or anxiety. While I have an intense dislike of not just the licorices of the world but the resulting emotions they create, nothing drives me as utterly crazy as the ambiguity. (Well, the vomit does. I guess that makes me not only a vomit-phobe but an ambiguity-phobe, too.) Further, any interaction or exchange with any of the aforementioned horrors has a decided beginning, middle and end. Ambiguity – no matter what it is specifically referring to – is, almost by definition, endless. Oh, dear G-d…
To be clear, my support of Jessie has not changed, but does that necessarily mean that I have to like the process? Well, it better not, because if it does, then I am screwed. Truly. This is a complicated, loaded, lonely, scary, tiresome and overwhelming experience for everyone who lives in this house, Jessie included. Not surprisingly, some days (hours, actually) are easier than others and there are brief lapses of normalcy, but the (here it comes again) ambiguity is kicking everyone’s ass. There, I said it. It is hard to admit, but in fairness to myself and, frankly, anyone reading this, I need to keep things real.
While I don’t normally go in for the pity on these pages you have likely surmised by now that I am in the midst of a little pity party. I might even close out the afternoon with a cry. But we can all take comfort in knowing that Jessie, exhausted from the heat, the hours logged at the pool and, I suspect, the burden of her own ambiguity, is lazily killing off brain cells watching stupid television while luxuriating in the central air and is none the wiser to mom’s internal hysteria. As long as no one force feeds me black licorice or considers (or, worse, goes through with) vomiting, I’ll be fine in an hour or so. I hope, but who knows… g-ddamned ambiguity!
p.s. I have gone through trying to count the number of times I used the word ambiguity and keep coming up with different numbers. It is somewhere between ten and twelve. I am blaming my inability to count on my overwhelmed state but will say that I’m glad the total never came to thirteen because I am a little superstitious. And tomorrow is Friday the Thirteenth. One of you is now going to count it for me (thank you) and give me the number which may ten, eleven, twelve or (hopefully not) thirteen. If it is thirteen do me a favor and don’t tell me, okay? Oh, man…welcome to my world.