One of the worst things about this process is being accepted for who you really are. Or, rather, the fear of rejection by people you care about. How many years have I spent with a certain person? That is a lot of investment in a relationship.
Of course when you traipse along this process, you open yourself up to new friends, similar folk and allies, so you can add new relationships. And naturally you shouldn’t keep people in your life if they aren’t adding to your life. Someone just taking up your mental and emotional energy and not giving back, well why are they there?
But I digress. Maybe I’m strange. And I don’t mean that my friends have to daily compliment me or help me out in some way, or be in constant contact. I have a group of wonderful friends I only see one month a year (you know who you are) but they’re there for me hardcore during that one month where we all try to write an insane amount together without going completely insane ourselves.
Have I digressed from my digression?
My point is, you never know who is going to support you and who isn’t. In anything, not just transitioning or coming out, but even little things like say, I want to take up pottery!
Okay, that’s a crazy example.
Today I discovered that there are other people like me, living right here in this town. That was amazing. Connecting with like people and sharing is something that is hard wired into us. We are social creatures, even the most introverted ones of us.
And, trust me, after this many years of playing the homebody introvert, I’m ready for some serious connecting.
So all boosted up from that wonderful little event, I gave my uncle a call.
Now, my parents are both dead, my father when I was 6 and my mother when I was 14. My grandparents who had a hand in raising me also died. So what I have left are two uncles, an aunt, and a lot of cousins. They don’t live near me, I don’t talk to them often. Why? Because last time I went to some family gathering and mentioned I was dating a woman, I got some serious flak for it. I basically left and swore never to talk to any of them again. Which was unfair, that one person didn’t speak for everyone.
And it wasn’t even a ‘real’ coming out, it was just a test. It was the best thing I had at the time to label who I was, lesbian. It was also fairly accepted, just not in the middle of small town Missouri so much, and not with my family.
So I haven’t spoken to most of them in a few years.
I came out to my twitter friends first and gathered quite a lot of additional amazing twitter friends. However, Facebook is full of real life friends and a few gaming friends, plus two family members. So that took just a little while longer. Still, nothing blew up. Okay, all good.
Then I was warned, the gamer community is awful about LGBTQ issues, but I love my gamer friends. So one by one I felt them out and every single one of them has been nothing but supportive. Do I know how to pick friends, or what?
But those are friends. Family you can’t pick. And what if they reject me? The pain would be so much.
And yet… why am I worrying?
The loss is THEIRS. If they reject me and I have to remove them from my life for my own mental well-being, then it is THEIR loss. They have lost the wonderful, beautiful, amazing creature that is me in their lives.
And it is. NOT. MY. FAULT.
This is who I am. Yes, I’ve had kids, yes I’ve lived 35 years fitting into typical female gender roles, but that was just pretending. This is the real me and I’m too TIRED to hide and pretend anymore.
Yes, it will hurt to be rejected, of course it will, and someone that you put so much love and time into not accepting you as you are can hurt so badly. But it’s better to go for it and find out instead of living the lie.
So I did. I called my uncle. I asked him how he was, made sure he was feeling okay first, and then I said it. “Happy Fourth of July, your niece is now a nephew, and I love you.”
And he said “Really? Well… okay then, yeah, OKAY. I love you, too.”
That’s all that matters. Just love each other. Don’t judge, don’t hate, just love.
I’m such a fucking hippie.