So here I was, thinking as we took that trip, “Wow. I can’t stay mad at mom. I just can’t — especially when she’s willing to actually drive out to the bank and back with me in my tight new jeans, full chest, and makeup…” I had even intended, when we walked back in the door, to stop and give her a very pointed “Thank you, Mom.” — hoping to be direct enough to show that I was thankful for more than simply the transportation.
But oh, how the world can come crashing down in an instant! as we pulled into the drive, she killed the engine, paused, took a deep breath, turned to me and said, “I have something to say to you before we go in.”
Uh-oh. You know when someone starts off with “I have something to tell you…” it’s bad news. She continued, “If you choose to dress… like that… anywhere but in private, you put yourself at risk of a couple things. The first is, you’re at risk of not living here anymore.. because…” she trailed off, then found words again — “Well, there are a number of reasons. I can explain better if you need me to. The second,” she quickly continued, “is that you’re putting yourself at risk in public. People get beat up all the time because they don’t happen to fit somebody else’s ideas of what’s ‘appropriate’ or ‘normal.’ So you’re putting yourself at risk there, too.”
All I could manage was a weak, tight “Okay.” and then we both got out of the car and walked inside.
What happened to “We won’t necessarily agree with your opinions, but we will treat you basically the same. However, it may take some time to ponder and proceed.”– huh? Did your love and tolerance fly out the door the moment that your son finally felt confident enough, free enough, fearless enough to be your daughter? Does “treating me the same” now mean throwing me out because you so vehemently disagree with my opinions and choices that you need to rid yourselves of me?
I really, truly had hoped that gradually exposing them to Sophia, little by little, rather than suddenly walking out one day, fully changed, fully ‘Phia — I had hoped that a slow, constant exposure would help prepare them for the more permanent change. Sadly, that no longer appears to be an option. So, back we go… back to hiding myself, shutting away the bright, sunny Sophia I truly am — and fronting the drab, egghead tech geek Scott that they know and love.
Maybe that’s the thing — they know Scott. They love Scott. I truly prayed that they might someday know Sophia, and if not truly love her… me… at least accept me for who I am. I know this can’t be easy for them, but don’t they have any idea how damned tough it has been to open myself this far? How much I’ve struggled with indecision and self-hatred and trying to understand who and what I am? How can they know anything about me if they won’t even try to learn?
I laid everything out for them as plainly as I could in my initial letter to them. I told them that I wore lingerie. I told them that I planned to shop for actual women’s clothes, for shoes, that I hadn’t yet dared to wear makeup but I truly longed to. Did they somehow think I didn’t mean it? That I would be content to hide myself, to keep Sophia locked away in my bedroom, never to show myself to anyone — that I would be happy with keeping my life and my beauty a secret?
sigh. Okay, so it’s a setback. A major one, even. Perhaps my previous strategy of “don’t rock the boat” may be the more effective one — for now. But I refuse to let this end my new life. I will not kill Sophia, or cage her up, lock her away forever. Perhaps my time to be a shining jewel is not yet this moment, but I will not lose my hope of the day when I might burn brightly, a gem lit by a fire within, a fire that no person or thing can extinguish.
As I said before… for now I wait. I hide. I lie. And it does hurt — this time not nearly so much deceiving my family as lying to myself, pretending to be someone, something I’m not. They know the truth now; they just seem unwilling — unable? — to accept that truth.
If any of my friends are willing to help me in doing so, I think I should like to make the effort to — in essence — pack Sophia along with me when the opportunity presents itself; I won’t be walking though this house as myself, or have them criticize me for who I am as I walk out the door, but I would very much like to be myself among those who would accept me.
I am quite well aware of the “risks” my mom mentioned regarding people’s hate, intolerance, and anger. I realize that there will always be those who choose not to understand, who choose to close their minds and lash out at anything that makes them insecure. How could I not know? I spent my whole life with them — the bastards at school who teased and bullied because I didn’t spend my time running around in the mud, throwing the football, scrambling over the playground equipment and shoving the smaller kids to the ground. The same idiots have grown up — physically at least — and there are many more of them, and they haven’t lost one bit of their hatred for anything they don’t fully understand. But you know what? As I told someone just earlier tonight, “Those who care — don’t matter. Those who matter? They don’t care.” I’m ready to take whatever comes my way, good, bad, ugly, painful, everything — I will be free. I will be Sophia.
Even if it means losing my family, it really is that important to me. For now, because I really don’t have any other options, I’ll play their game. I’ll be the dutiful, obedient, docile Scott. No bra, no girl’s jeans, no cute shoes, and… yeah, at leas around them, no makeup. It hurts me, it really does, to have to hold back like this. But — again, my own words, so fitting — “Patience is a key asset that I must nurture and develop… it will save me in the end, I think.” And I might add, today, that it will free me in the end.
Wow… an hour’s worth of blog. But worth it, and being posted now.