Thanks, Bruce

No, I have not seen the Bruce Jenner interview.  Yes, I have every intention of watching it…just not sure when. No, I don’t have a reason for avoiding, er, not tuning in.  Yes, I realize those are two hours of television I should most definitely have watched by now.

bruce

Okay, so in the three plus years since Jess has transitioned the public awareness of transgenderism (I think I made up that word) has exploded.  Way back in 2012 it was way weirder, way less common and certainly way less publicized than it is now.  Admittedly I am more tuned in, but I am quite certain that there was not a seemingly daily story on the subject like there is now.  My kind and well intentioned friends send me links to stories on television, the radio, online, in print and overheard at the local CVS nearly every day.  Many I have seen by the time they are forwarded to me, others I have not.  Some I read, some I do not.  Each time I skip reading the story I feel a pang of guilt; I should be well-versed on and interested in everything good, bad, thrilling, infuriating, scary, despicable and ground-breaking that happens in the transgender community, right?  I should be a loud and proud voice for my child, right?  I should know the what, where, why and how of the LGBT community so I can educate, explain and improve the world view, right? Only here’s the rub: sometimes I just want to be a regular mom with a regular kid with regular issues.  Sometimes I literally cannot bear the thought of hearing one more tale of transition or acceptance or rejection or triumph or catastrophe…so I do things like avoid, er, not find the time, to watch the Bruce Jenner interview.

To be clear: I am all for educating, explaining, protecting, supporting, and normalizing the transgender experience.  I applaud Bruce Jenner and Laverne Cox and Brad & Angelina and Cameron and Aiden and Connie and Rogina and Jill Soloway and Diane Sawyer and Jazz and Mimi Lemay and every other man, woman and child who puts themselves out there.  In fact, I have been one of those people.  With each new story I already know what the comments will be…they never change:

“A child is too young to make this decision.  If they said they wanted to be a pony would you let them?”

“G-d doesn’t make mistakes.”

“These are the most wonderful parents ever!”

“These are the worst parents ever!”

“Crazy mother didn’t get the girl she wanted, so she’s doing this!  For shame!”

“I wish I had had parents like this…it would have saved me years of pain.”

This cycle is, as I am sure you can appreciate, exhausting.  What’s more: at this point in the game, I sometimes forget that Jess was George.  I see her as my very cool, very complicated, very interesting, very unusual, very artistic, very independent thinking kid.  I think of her as my kid and not as my transgender kid.  I don’t bring it up in conversation, nor do I hide it.  It is what it is.  Maybe your kid has issues with anxiety or anger or learning or obesity or is so obnoxious that it is legendary…and you don’t need or, frankly, want every article, story and debate over your given malady because you are living it.  Yep.  It is the same thing here.

I know that each and every person who has ever sent me a text about or a link to an article or story is doing so with kind, loving and supportive intentions.  I really do.  I know that the media has latched onto the transgender story and that it is doing wonderful things for the community.  I really do.

From everything I have heard, seen and read since his interview it is clear that Bruce Jenner did a wonderful thing for himself, his family and the world by sharing his story.  I am grateful for that.  I hope it throws some tar down on the newly paved road for kids like mine.  I also hope it takes a little bit of pressure off of us parents who, despite enormous support and love, often feel like we are flying solo.  By not watching, and not weighing in with an opinion, I feel a sense of relief that someone else can talk the talk and walk the walk for me, if just for a few days.

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Fifty

50Today I am 50.

Yes, I was born on April Fool’s Day.  I double dog dare you to come up with one I haven’t heard.

Anyway, when I awoke this morning I received a text from a ridiculously dear friend that read: “Welcome to the “I’m good with myself and I don’t give a shit what you think” decade!”  I had two thoughts: “Amen, sista!” and “Wait, I can only feel that way for a decade?!”

I then got a call from my mother who asked how I felt on this “momentous day”.  The real question, I told her, was how did she feel?  I am, after all, the baby of the family (not to mention my father’s favorite) so it has to be weird for her that I am, by all accounts, a grown up.  Took me til 50 to feel that way, but now I am solidly in the “bring it on” phase of my life which, in my mind, gives me bragging rights on being an adult.

Anyone who has ever read anything I have ever written (ever) knows that my 40’s were a little shall we say, tumultuous?  I had cancer, deaths, divorce, gender transitions, surgeries, moves and the occasional bout of hysteria so intense that my eyes swelled shut from crying.  I was filled with fear, anxiety, a stunning lack of confidence and, thankfully, a posse of supporters holding my hand, kicking my ass and reminding me of my very own mantra; “I got this.”  Relationships, living situations and the world I had always known changed repeatedly.  The forties were tough.

And then I began the ascent to 50.  I worked hard to obtain a firm grasp on the next set of rules and regulations and, while I would never say I have it all together, I can honestly say that I am facing 50 feeling pretty damn fine.

I am good with myself and I don’t give a shit what others think.*  I am surrounded by people I love who think I am all that.  I am (working on) feeling more confident.  I crack myself up most days and even when I get annoyed, frustrated or disgusted I am not (usually) (or with anywhere near the regularity of days gone by) brought to my knees.

I’ve never been a planner (rather, I was more of a reactor…never a good thing to be) but I am starting to plan.  I’ve never been entirely comfortable in my own skin but I am starting to embrace my body, spirit and soul.  I’ve never been as confident as my parents (or brothers) (or friends) (or teachers) (or partners) thought I should be, but I am beginning to go easier on myself and am respecting others for however the crap that they have had to deal with has made them into the flawed people that we all are.

I am more about the sisterhood than ever before.  We women and moms need to stick together so that every one of us feels the way I am starting to feel now that I am 50.  We all deserve a sense of calm, happiness and joy in our lives and we can, as women, help make it happen for one another.  No need for competition, gossip or criticism.  That’s part of being 50.  You know, the “I’m good with myself and I don’t give a shit what you think” decade!

I plan on eating cake, singing loudly with the sunroof open, facing fears, making things happen, keeping my sense of humor, having compassion for every single person out there who, despite perhaps acting in a manner I deem assaholic, deserves acceptance, laughing loudly and often, loving desperately and reminding myself how far I have come.

Today I am 50.

p.s. I found this just the other day.  Miss and love my dad and so desperately wish he was here to celebrate that 78th…

notefrondad

 

* Well, if we are being totally honest, I don’t entirely give a shit what other people think.  What?  Rome wasn’t built in a day, after all.