Little Sister

Thursday, September 15, 2011


So, yesterday was the day my sister C finally came down to visit. She's a nurse, so we had to reschedule it several times because of her work schedule, but she finally managed to make it.

After some small talk, I told her I had something I wanted to tell her that I'd been trying to deal with and deny my entire life. She immediately said, "You're gay."  

I told her no, and that she wasn't the first one to say that to me. She started to apologize, but I told her it wasn't necessary, as there's nothing wrong with being gay, but that that wasn't it. She nodded and then sat quietly. 

I said, "There's no easy way to say what I need to tell you, so I'm just going to say it. I'm transgendered." 

She looked at me blankly, then shook her head. "I'm sorry. I don't know much about this. Is that the same thing as a crossdresser? You know, the other one? I can't remember the word."

"You're thinking of transvestism. And no, that's not it." I paused. "I'm a transsexual. I'm a girl, C."

She looked at me for a second, then nodded and said, "OK. Thank God that's all it is! I've been worried sick you had some terrible disease or something! 

"This doesn't change how I feel about you one bit. You're still my brother. Sorry, my sister." She smiled. "I still love you, and I always will. I'll do whatever I can do to help you. I'll rearrange my schedule if you need me to go to doctor's appointments with you, I can tell Mom and Dad if you want, or just be there when you tell them, I can help you if you need to take shots, or anything… just let me know. You've always helped me when I was in trouble, and you've never once asked for anything. So please, let me know what I can do to help."

She asked me how long I'd known, and I recounted my story. When I finished, she told me she couldn't imagine how painful it must've been to carry a secret like that my entire life, and how lonely it must have been. She had no idea about any of it - the depression, the struggles with trying to date, none of it. 

She said she's always sensed I was struggling with something, but, like my friend F, who I told first, she knew I was a private person and wanted to respect that. I told her I was learning to open up, and that she could ask me anything about transitioning, and what it involves. We talked about the process a bit, and she joked that she no longer had to worry about finding something new to read about for the foreseeable future. I gave her a few books to read (Wrapped In Blue, She's Not There, and Almost Perfect); I had ordered True Selves, but it hadn't arrived yet.

Interestingly, she thinks my parents and my brother and sister-in-law will be OK with the news once they get over the initial shock. My therapist, M, has said the same thing, so I'm going to have think about this a bit more.

***

One thing about C; she's not shy about expressing her opinion, as you're about to see. After I got up to grab us a cold drink, she asked if I'd decided on a name. I told her I've been using Kelly.

She wrinkled her nose. "Sorry - you're not a Kelly." 

I told her I was open to suggestions - which I am, provided it's Irish - and she said I might consider seeing what my folks think, depending on how things go. She thought they might appreciate being asked. In the meantime, she was going to dig out her baby name books to start her research. (So in the future, this may become The Blog Formerly Known As Kelly's Quest. You've been warned…)

She took a look at my makeup, deemed it "so-so, but not bad for a beginner," then promised to come down for a girl's night out to work on improving my look. "And those eyebrows have to go. A caterpillar could hide up there. What are you thinking? Also, your hair… Good Lord…" 

"I've been growing it for four months now. I know it's a little wild today, but you know how curly hair gets when it's humid."

"Well, I want to take a weed whacker to it right here and now. At least use your blow dryer." A pause. "Tell me you have a blow dryer."

I looked down. She sighed loudly.

"Unbelievable. I'll bring you one of mine," she said, reaching for a notebook in her pocketbook.

This wasn't quite how I'd envisioned the day going.

***

My wardrobe, alas, also failed to pass muster. 

"Here - try these on," she commanded, stripping off her shorts and handing them to me. Apparently the wide-open window and lunchtime traffic streaming by weren't as much of a deterrent as I imagined. 

C snapped her fingers.

"Hello? Are we waiting for anything in particular? I'm your sister - and an ER nurse, for crying out loud. Do you think you're going to surprise me?"

A bit fearful of further incurring her wrath, I pulled the shorts on. They were a bit tight, but not nearly as much as I expected. 

"Well, aren't *you* the skinny thing! I'm a 4, and those will fit if you lose another five or six pounds. So you're a 6, for now at least. And you were buying 8's and 10's?!?" She shook her head. "What, were you dressing for two?"

She did throw me a bone, conceding that I did have some idea of what styles worked for me. 

"But stop buying these drab colors. If you joined the National Guard you could use them to hide in a swamp and you'd blend right in." She looked me up and down. "You need some pink; that will look really cute. I'll see what I have in my closet."

She jotted another note down.

"OK. This will keep me busy 'til next week. Either I can come here and we can work on makeup and stuff, or you can come up and I can go clothes shopping with you. We'll figure it out."

She picked up her pocketbook, dropped the notebook in it, then fished out her car keys.

"Well, I have to run. Like I said, please let me know what I can do. And you can call me anytime, day or night. Now that C (her son) is in college, God knows I'll working every waking hour for the rest of my life to keep His Majesty in the lifestyle he's used to."

She gave me a kiss, hugged me tightly, then climbed in her car. She rolled down the window while waiting for the air conditioning to kick in.

"Thank you for trusting me with this. I'm really honored." She shifted into Drive, then smiled up at me as she rolled up her window. 

"Wow... I have a sister."

***

Reflecting the depth of my gratitude to my little sister takes the combined talents of Robert Plant, the mighty Rockpile, and, yes, The King himself.




3 comments:

Kelly on September 15, 2011 at 6:40 PM said...

Hi Cynthia!

Thank you! That's very kind. Yes, she's a keeper, for sure. :c)

I'm a bit more apprehensive about my folks and my brother than she is. We talked quite a bit about this, as you might imagine, and she made some excellent points. My therapist is saying the same thing, so I'm certainly hoping they're right!

I also like her idea of asking them about choosing a name. I actually plan to write about the whole name thing in an upcoming blog post, in fact.

Thank you again, Cynthia! I'm still amazed that anyone besides me is reading this, let alone taking the time to write so movingly. Hard to believe... :c)

== Kelly (for now, anyway) :c)

P.S. "Little Sister" has always been one of my favorite songs from The King, right after "Suspicious Minds" & "Good Rockin' Tonight." You can't go wrong with anything from the Sun Sessions or Elvis in Memphis, really. In fact, I'm going to throw them on the iPod tonight...

BTW, my dad says he's "chronologically challenged," rather than old. He's also follically challenged, but luckily I escaped that fate...

Teagan said...

The way you write about C sounds like something I would read in a David Sedaris story. So happy, as you're aware, that she's being supportive. And so supportive!

Keep it up, girl!

Kelly on September 15, 2011 at 7:29 PM said...

Thaks Teagan! I actually used tone control in relaying some of her spicier comments, lest they crash the Internet. We Northeasteners tend to be, um, forceful. This *is* the part of the country that boos Santa Claus, after all!

Thanks again!

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