I don’t talk very often about my family, merely because there really isn’t a point. My dad died in 2001, and sometimes I feel like he’s the only one who ever truly accepted me. Sure, he was not without his faults, but he was a guy I could go out “babe watching” with and who enjoyed going to sports games with me even if we had to sit in the disability seating section. The majority of the rest of my family does not talk to me. I only really talk to my grandparents and the occasional cousin, and some of it is at my very own choosing. The reason for not talking to my family is a long, complex story that really doesn’t have much to do with why I’m posting this blog today. This blog is more about my grandmother.
I haven’t really spoken to my grandparents since last Christmas. After an interesting episode that occurred last year in which another family member interrupted a phone call with my grandfather, I’d been skittish about calling them anyway, but my reasoning for not calling them now is for their benefit. You see, my grandfather is 90. My grandmother is 86. They’re old fashioned and nothing I could say or do could ever get them to understand that I was born with a male brain in a female body. I accept the fact that they can and never will accept this, but I’m not the person they claim I am. I don’t want that vision of me deluded for them. They are way too old to handle living without the delusion that I’m not their little granddaughter and I haven’t the heart or the will to change their mind.
For starters, as I mentioned before, they are old. They don’t want to see me any other way. While my grandfather has said he’ll love me no matter what, and I truly believe he believes this and in his own mind he does love me, he is unable to see me as Dominick. He hasn’t seen me physically since 2002. I look like a totally different person. I don’t look like the person he remembers, but I know he’s living with that vision of the old me in his mind.
Secondly, my grandmother has some form of dementia and has for years. I don’t know about you but “coming out” to Grandma every few days is not fun. Every time I told her the truth about me, she would have a different reaction. One time, she was totally accepting. One time she was blasé (it’s my life right?), one time she ignored it. Another time, she started bawling her eyes out and yelling at me, “Why? This can’t be right!” It was physically draining and I’m imagining the emotional rollercoaster wasn’t good for her either, so I stopped trying to explain to her anything a few years ago.
I know deep down my grandfather thinks Ash had something to do with this (even though I knew I was transgender before we even started dating and had been out in other capacities since I was 16), and I think he’s happy living with the thought that I’m just confused and I’m still the person I used to be. He forgets that I’m too independent for anyone else to come up with any “ideas” in my head. Not even Ash could get me to do something I didn’t want to do (and this stubbornness drives her nuts!).
As I transition, I don’t want him to lose that because the truth would be hurtful and I truly believe he’s too old to handle it. So, I don’t call them. They don’t have to hear my changing voice or anything else that reminds him I’m no longer female. Of course, he doesn’t understand that’s why I don’t call, nor do most of those people in the family. I’m sure they think I’m selfish and just ignoring them, but it was a hard yet necessary decision to make…until now.
I recently received a phone call from my grandfather. He said my grandmother is very ill. She’s not doing well and he wanted to let me know. I spoke very reservedly with him and kept thinking about how I wanted to know she was okay, but how my transition and talking to him would affect him. My grandparents practically raised my brother and I when we were very little. They might not be the most understanding people when it comes to things not spoken of when they were growing up, but they obviously cared enough to take me to many doctors appointments, keep me overnight, take me to preschool, and care for me when I was sick. I am grateful for what they’ve done for me, and I don’t want them to think I’m not talking to them because I am ungrateful or don’t want to talk to them.
That being said, I’m an honest person. I can’t keep up the farce. I’m not the person they see me as. I’m Dominick and there is no denying that. I want to know about my grandmother and I don’t want her to suffer, but I don’t want to make the suffering worse, by calling and becoming a part of a farcical life of which I’ve worked so hard to move past. So, here I am. I’m conflicted. Do I call and pretend to be something I’m not or do I just leave them be and let them handle this in peace?
I’m not really looking for an answer. Just trying to get the jumbled thoughts out of my head.
Oh, and a belated Happy Coming Out Day to all my GLBTQQ friends! I know its not easy to come out, but living an honest and out life is far better than bottling it up inside and pretending you’re something you’re not.
[tags]conflict, family, transgender, grandparents, unaccepting, coming out, GLBT[/tags]