As of right now I have yet to even see the Bruce Jenner 20/20 interview or his other stuff on E, but I am thanking him anyways! Why you ask? The other day I received a text from my sister who told me that she watched the interview and she HAD to talk with me. It is not unusual for me to receive a text from her or for she and I to speak with each other; we have a very close relationship. But in terms of me being transgender we really don't talk about it.
Several years ago it occurred to me that I was tired of hiding myself from her and I told her that I am a cross dresser. At the time I didn't have the vocabulary to really explain myself. Actually I didn't have the knowledge at that point to be able to explain myself. What I did know was that I was cross dressing, and blogging about it, and I had never told my sister about any of it. I knew that was odd, and thus for only the second time in my life, I began to explain my gender variant behavior to someone. This was at least four to five years ago and at that point the only person that knew was my wife.
So it was. We still conversed a lot. We still had a very close relationship. I would still talk to her about things like clothes and fashion and such. But... I chose to not talk to her about me and my personal discoveries about who I am.
And that was an error in my judgement. Instead of me being secure in who I am, I unknowingly was looking to her for reassurance. I was waiting for her to bring it up. It was kind of my way of thinking that if she wanted to talk about it, she would, and since she did not bring it up, she didn't really want to talk about it. What I see now is that what was really going on was that I was the one who was not okay with it.
I discovered my own insecurities with myself about the same time I told her, maybe four to five years ago. I don't know how many of you remember, if anyone actually does, but I had a shocking epiphany moment about my gender variances. I was fully dressed, rushing out of the house, and I forgot something in the bathroom, I ran in there, grabbed what I had forgotten, saw my female reflection in the mirror and in my head I clearly heard me calling myself a freak.
That really messed with my head! It made me begin to realize how insecure I was about myself. And once I understood that, I knew that every judgement that I thought was being handed down by someone else was immediately suspect. And even though I found that out over four to five years ago, I continue to catch myself perpetrating the same crime to others.
Oh I fight it. I have plenty of instances where I can point to and say, see, see how much I have changed? I treat people differently now. Now that I understand the voices are only within my own head I give others the benefit of the doubt. But alas, simply because I can point to instances where I have been more open and not judging of others does not mean that I do that with everyone. Nor does it mean that I have become aware of my prior judgments of others that are still in place and are still affecting my relations with people like my sister.
Lucky for me Bruce Jenner decided to go public with his transition and my sister watched the 20/20 episode. When we finally connected on the phone, we chatted for a bit about life and then she brought up the interview. She told how impressed she was with the entire show. That she felt they approached it very well and that it would be well worth my time to watch it.
But what really struck me was when she began a dialogue about me and she apologized for not bringing it up sooner. She realized that I had opened the door for her many years ago, but she was waiting for me to step back through it. She thought the same thing I did; if I wanted to talk about it, I would bring it up. I thanked her for that but then apologized to her because I felt as though it was really my error in judging her as not wanting to talk about it when in reality it had nothing to do with her and instead with my own insecurities. If I really had no problems with what I was doing, then I wouldn't have any problems with talking about it.
It was then that I was suddenly aware of how much I had not communicated with my sister about who I am but being as my sister is so totally awesome she had questions! And the fabulous thing was that I finally had some answers! With her having watched this 20/20 episode it gave her an inside view, a vocabulary, and some actual scientific information about what it is to be transgender. And with me having worked on myself and having taken the time to learn about vast diversity of my own community, made it so that my sister and I just clicked and flowed through that conversation seamlessly.
Even when she had to put her daughters to bed it worked out perfectly. Her daughter and I have been communicating lately via Facetime and she has certainly seen my painted fingernails. This apparently has sparked much thought and I bit of conversation about gender non-conforming behavior on the part of my niece. She is an awesome person and I love the way he mind problem solves. Anyway.... my niece was supposed to be brushing her teeth but her super ears picked up my sister talking to her husband a bit about our phone conversation and Bruce Jenner. My niece then piped up and asked if they were talking about my fingernails. This sparked a great conversation with my niece about societal gender expectations. How awesome!
My sister ended up calling me back and we talked a bit longer. Probably what took the longest was explaining my personal version of my own label. Read the sidebar on this site if you haven't caught it already. But our conversation ran the gambit. And it was fabu! I loved it. I only wish I could have had it much earlier.
But thinking about it now, it was destined to be. The timing was right. It was meant to be.
One last thing that she said to me that really struck me - she thanked me for being so forthright with her. It was thrilling to me to have her give me such a complement that really showed me just how much I have grown with understanding who I am.
Thanks sis! I love you!
Do you know who you are?
Have you put in the time to yourself?
I truly believe that only by giving yourself the time to figure out you, can you be free enough to appreciate what the world has to offer.
I hope you know who you are.