Both Sides, Now

Monday, July 1, 2013

Hi all...

Apologies for being scarce recently.

I have been pinch-hitting for my sister in mischief, the newly-minted Mademoiselle April, over at her digs the past few days.

She had her surgery today (yea!) and is feeling very tired and very, very happy (double yea!!!). 

Congratulations again, sweetie!!!

***

In my little corner of the world, there is SO much going on, and at such a pace, that I can scarcely keep up, let along blog about it all.

I will try to do a brief summary of the key items. 

And I think I will start off with some of the more difficult goings-on up front. That is how I try to deal with them in life when possible.

And I will do so here as well.


After a brief lull, work is back to its usual state of chaos. 

Once again, I seems as though I am being held to different standards than everyone else, which has grown tiresome. 

The difference now? 

I am pushing back.

Hard.

I have done precisely what I said I was going to do: work on one specific "critical, top priority" task (one of three such projects, incidentally, all with similar deadlines). 

Accordingly, I have kept everyone apprised of my progress. 

Predictably, when I finished, I was then asked by the Powers That Be why the *other* projects on my plate were not done.

This time I decided I have had enough.

Every since I came out to my parents, I have surprised myself more than once with an outright refusal to back down in situations when I would have crumbled in the past. And by "past" I mean as recently as a few weeks before I told my parents.

No more.

I know who I am.

I *like* who I am.

And in this case, I know what my strengths are.

I know how good I am at my job.

Really, really good. 

Particularly in a chaotic situation like this.

And I am learning that I have every right to stand up to anyone - and I do mean ANYONE - who tries to say otherwise.

And I am not shy about telling those self-same people how good I am. And that they are fortunate to have me, whether they choose to recognize it or not.

BTW, this does *not* describe my manager, L. Yet again, she has been unflinching in her support, just as she has from the moment I took this job. 

Before the first run-in, I told her I intend to fight back. She told me that she would back me up every step of the way.

And when I did, for the first time, her instantaneous reply: "Damn! You *go* girl!!!" lol

(Have I mentioned lately how awesome my boss is?) 

I will write more about this, but this change alone is most welcome in my life.

The hard, hard work of digging deep to find out who I am, and finding out I *like* that person, is beginning to pay off.

And this is just the start.

***

On the family front... well, I am afraid that has proceeded just I predicted.

Unfortunately.

To make a long story short, my mother has been telling people about me.

This most certainly was NOT something I said she, or anyone, could do. The only person I told her she could tell was her twin sister, my Aunt M, and my Uncle A.

But that has not stopped her. I don't know whom she has told yet. 

But it is multiple people, clearly.

I am not surprised. 

Just disappointed.

I found out this was happening she asked me when I planned to tell my brother F and sister-in-law T, saying she and my father were "very upset" I haven't told them yet.

I put aside the fact that I had already told her my plans (tell them after Father's Day weekend). 

And I also put aside the fact that it me - and ONLY me - who gets to decide who I tell, when I tell them, and how I tell them.

Instead, I simply replied that we had made tentative plans to speak that weekend (which would have been the weekend after Father's Day).

Her reply?

"Well, I don't want them be the last to find out, or to hear it from someone outside the family. Because all of those people assume you told them already."

To say I was dumbfounded is an understatement. 

I could not believe what I was reading.

I was in the reception area of my stylist waiting to get my hair cut, so I had no time to reply properly. 

I wrote back and said, in essence, that I supposed I had no choice now, did I?

Rest assured: I will be having it out with my mother over this.

And just as I am doing at work, I am going to make it clear that this was unacceptable. And I am not going to back down.

And *I* will decide when we have this discussion.

But I digress. 

After my appointment, I sent my sister-in-law a text message. She and my brother both work at night, so I text rather than risk calling them at work when they cannot speak. 

I asked if I could come over that weekend, as I had something important, and time-sensitive, to share with them. And I asked if she could reply as soon as possible.

No reply.

Finally, five hours later, I called and left a phone message, reiterating the same points.

No reply.

I sent another text the following morning.

Nothing.

Finally, nearly 24 hours after my initial text message, I received a reply:

"We're really busy the next three or four weekends with [activities]. Afraid it will have to wait 'til after that."

Once again, I found my initial expectations confirmed. 

Unfortunately.

I decided, again, to give them every opportunity, and to leave the door open.

I wrote back that I understood they were busy, but that this was important, and I wanted to share some personal news with them.

A day later I received the same reply.

I asked if I could come over on a weeknight.

Same reply.

At that point, I came to the following conclusion regarding this entire affair.

Here is my take on where things stand. 

1. My mother started telling people other than my Aunt M. And then one of two things happened. 

a) One of those people asked why *I* wasn't the person telling them, and advised my mother to let me know I had to tell my brother as soon as possible. 

b) My father found out she was telling people and did the same thing.

My guess is a). 

Given my past experience, I am willing to bet my father has no idea she has been telling people. Or that she is telling me that "they" are both concerned.

2. My brother and his wife already know, and found out in one of two ways.

a) My mother told them.

b) Someone else told F &T, not realizing I had not told them yet. (And of course it would not be that person's fault.)

That is the only logical explanation for their reaction. They know, do not approve, and want to put off hearing it from me as long as possible. Either to try to "save" me, or simply avoid me until they no longer can.

The alternative, of course, is that they still don't know - but don't think I merit taking the time to share important personal news with them.

In either case, their behavior is inexcusable as far as I am concerned.

***

I hear from my mother again over the weekend, on Saturday. 

We had no spoken - well, texted - in over a week.

She asked if I had told F & T yet.

I replied truthfully: I asked multiple times and was told they are too busy.

She replied that she was sure they were telling the truth. (I never said I doubted them, you will note), and asked if I wanted her to talk to them, to let them know they need to speak with me.

I said yes, I would appreciate that. She said she would.

That was Saturday morning.

I heard from her again this afternoon, asking if it was raining as hard where I work as it was at home. 

I replied that it was, and made a few polite inquiries about several matters.

Finally - as an aside - she mentioned that she hadn't had a chance to talk with my brother yet.

Uh-huh.

Curious how it went from being so urgent to "oh by the way" in the span of a week, is it not? 

One could read quite a bit into that seemingly sudden shift of tone, and urgency, couldn't one?

She also asked that I keep her and my father informed about what is happening, saying they love me and want to know how I am doing, and want to be supportive.

I thanked her and said that I want the same thing. I suggested she and my father come over for dinner, or that I take them out to dinner. Just us.

She said that would be nice.

I have no doubt she means it when she says they want to be supportive.

But I have been to this rodeo enough times to know both what that means, and what is going to happen.

"Supportive" means that things go back to "normal" - I am the "other one," to paraphrase how they have long introduced me at family events (i.e. "This is my other son.")

They don't have to think much about me; I am just sort of there, and don't need much attention.

And it is that way because I decided, long ago, that I do not want, or need, anything from them.

While there was always a strain of a sense of independence and self-worth, there was also a sizable dose of "I'll show them," in retrospect, or a tit-for-tat. I am not perfect. Far from it.

But for the most part, I long ago came to the conclusion that I was on my own, and that I could not count on them.

Every time something similar happened in the past - and always, it was presented as *my* failure to reach out to them - the same thing would occur.

I would reach out to them.

I would ask them to come to a movie with me. 

Or to a concert

Or a ball game.

Or simply to dinner.

Just us.

And with one exception - we saw Harry Connick Jr. together - they ALWAYS found an excuse not to go.

Every. 

Single. 

Time.

I finally got the message, and stopped asking.

I used to attend multiple Red Sox games - as many as 20-30 a year. This was the pre-2004 era, when they were not the hottest ticket in town.

I asked my father countless times if he wanted to go to a game with me.

He always declined, citing the greedy ballplayers, the cost, the traffic, the crowds, etc. etc.

So, again, I stopped asking.

Years later, I stopped by their house after work to pick something up.

"Guess where I was today?" my father asked me. 

"Where?" I asked.

"The Red Sox game!"

I flashed a wry smile to myself internally.

"You don't say," I replied.

"One of the other cops got tickets from his son, who couldn't go, so he asked us instead." 

"And how was it?" I asked.

"Great! We had a lot of fun!"

"That doesn't surprise me, Dad," I said.

***

When I think about all of this, it makes me sad.

A small measure of that sadness is for me.

I would love to have supportive parents, and a supportive brother, who are excited and want to share my journey as I begin to finally live as who I was always supposed to be.

But mostly I feel sorry for them.

Because they are choosing not to join me on this journey. 

And that is going to be a great loss for them.

When I told my electrologist, M, about these events at my last session, she did something she rarely does, and only when she has an important point to make.

She stopped working on me, lifted up the high-powered lamp she uses, and said, "Cass, sit up and look at me."

I did.

"I'm a mother. And I have to tell you.. I cannot countenance what your mother has done to you."

"You had every right to share this news with the people in your family who really matter to you, and who you love. It's wonderful news: you're finally embracing who you are, after a terrible struggle, and you want to share that happiness with them."

"But your mother has stolen those moments from you. Forever. And regardless of whether it was to be vindictive, or out of lack of thought, it is inexcusable."

"As for you brother and his wife... to hell with them. Again, regardless of whether they know or not, what they are doing is inexcusable as well."

"You're right to simply move forward the way you are. And you're being exceptionally fair-minded in leaving the door open the way you are for them. All of them."

"I haven't told you this before, hon... but I've come to think of you like one of my own daughters. And my heart aches for you right now. Because you deserve so much better. And even though you've come to terms with it, that doesn't make it any less painful, or sad."

I was deeply moved by M's kind words.

And as I told her, the reason I *can* move forward is precisely *because* of those words. 

And because of her support.

And the support of all of my other wonderful friends and new-found family.

As Joni Mitchell sang: 

But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I've changed
Well something's lost, but something's gained
In living every day

I feel I have gained more than I lost by choosing to pursue the path I have chosen.

Far, far more.

And it is thanks to M, and all of my other friends and loved ones, near and far, that this is so.

Thank you one and all.

***

I apologize for the somber tone of this post. I try to be as honest as I can, even when it is painful or sad.

I promise that I *do* have much happier news to share in the next few posts. *Much* happier news. :c)

Please stay tuned...

***

Joni Mitchell, on the Johnny Cash show, in 1970:


5 comments:

Stace on July 2, 2013 at 4:55 AM said...

I think there are two things here, and something I had to go through when I told certain people about me transitioning.

1) At the point of you telling someone, your control over the information is pretty much shot. You can never be sure if the information will be passed on, either by people trying to help you, people not realising that the information had not been passed on, or just by people being less than sensitive

2) Point (1) may be true, but it doesn't excuse it happening ever.

At least that is my take on it.

It sucks, and shouldn't happen, but it does. Sorry that it happened to you in this way though, and that people are responding as they are.

As for work, constant and traceable communication are what I use for that type of difficulty. And then when someone asks why something wasn't done I forward them the information that they have already had. Not something I need to do often here, but it is something that can be useful when people start to get political. I hate office politics!

Stace

Becca on July 2, 2013 at 10:14 AM said...

Lovely pictures.

Hang in there Cass, difficult not to let life get to you but sometimes you just have to go with the flow

Cassidy on July 3, 2013 at 10:54 PM said...

@ Becca: Thank you, hon. I am trying to do just that. There is much good happening too - much more. I will be writing about it in the days ahead. Lots going on in Cass's corner of the world! :c)

@ Stace: Thank you. I am afraid you are correct. In terms of my mother and my brother & sister-in-law: actions speak louder than words.

After being told it was *critical* that I tell them immediately, suddenly it has changed to "well, your brother is very busy right now; you have to wait." Funny, that, eh? A more cynical soul would say that they already know and/or they don't care. Either way, it speaks volumes.

I also follow that method at work. It has served me in good stead more than once the past few weeks when I have been able to pull out copious documentation showing I have done precisely what we agreed to.

It certainly changes the tone of a meeting quickly when someone says they weren't informed of something and I can pull up an email trail that shows otherwise. It is unfortunate that it is necessary, but we do what we need to do.

I hate office politics too!!!!

Thank you for the sound advice, sweetie! You are the best!

Hugs,
Cass

Jessica Lyn on July 13, 2013 at 5:27 PM said...

Alright.. I know I've said this in the past, but this time I mean it.. your post as yet again led me to want to write my own post and that's what I'm going to do right now. So check it out in a few.

All I need to say is your mom sounds a lot like mine.

Cassidy on July 13, 2013 at 8:26 PM said...

@ Jess: So glad you will be putting pen to paper - er, painted fingernails to keyboard (?) - again! lol Always great to hear your latest exploits. Might there be some new music too (hint hint)?

As far as my Mom, all I can say is I am leaving the door open to both her, my father, and my brother & sister-in-law as to whether they want me in their lives or not. The choice is entirely up to them. I am moving forward regardless - with anticipation and joyfullness.

Can't wait to read your post!!!

Hugs,
Cass

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