Heaven Help Us All

Monday, December 23, 2013

I am emotionally drained at the moment, so I will apologize in advance if the tone of this post is somewhat skewed. But I need to write it before I can go to sleep.

I finally met with my parents today, about the events I've discussed in my recent posts. I may or may not go further into them at another time, but for now I will just cover the basics.

It was stormy, it was ugly, and it was raw.

It was, in short, everything I predicted would happen.

It finally ended with what must suffice for now as an "acceptable" outcome - and, most important, with my integrity and dignity intact.

More below the fold.

(Don't be afraid - it isn't *all* doom and gloom… just most of it. :-))




Here is how the discussion went:

They blamed everything on me.
  • I simply announced my decision and allowed them no input.
  • I made no attempt to offer any help for them to understand it.
  • I have not kept them informed about transition since telling them.
  • I have not allowed them to be part of my transition.

In short, they took everything they have and have not done for the past six months - and most of my life, in fact, which I also brought up - and told me I did that to them, and that I was responsible.

They accepted not one iota of responsibility for anything.

They denied that I offered them the opportunity to meet with my therapist in any configuration they wanted, as many times as they wanted.

They denied I offered them several books to read - books which remain in my sister's bedroom there to this day.

And they denied I offered to answer any questions I had at any time. In fact, my mother told me I was lying when I told her what she replied ("I've seen enough about this on TV.")

They repeatedly used my boy name, until I finally blew up. Then they told me "this is all new to us," and "we need time to get used to it," and that I haven't given any thought to how this impacts anyone other than myself.

I refused to back down. I knew they were not, and are not, ever going to admit they could possibly be wrong, or that they could have acted differently. But I was determined I was going to say my piece and call them each and every time they said something that simply was not true. I did that for my sake, not theirs.

Am I perfect? Far from it. In fact, I apologized several times as we spoke - because that is what people are supposed to do when they make a mistake.

They did not show me the same courtesy.

Nor did I expect they would.

In the end, oddly enough, it ended with the faintest glimmer of hope.

By mutual consent, we agreed it is best for everyone if I not come to my brother's Christmas Eve party or to Christmas dinner at their house.

Instead, I will spend both days with friends.

I do not want to ruin the day for my sister, nephew, nieces, and the handful of other relatives who spend the day at my parents' house.

Nor would I spend it walking on eggshells amongst people who do not understand, or, worse, who do not "approve" of my choice (as they have put it).

But much more more importantly, I deserve to spend my first Christmas as myself celebrating amongst people who accept me for me.

The loser in that equation, clearly, is not me.

Again by mutual consent, I am going to visit my parents on Thursday night, just the three of us, to exchange gifts.

(In fact, things had calmed down enough by the time I was leaving that I jokingly told my father I will give him his gift - "or as I call, it "Mom and Aunt M <her twin sister>'s Christmas gift.")

(He smiled and made a gesture saying, in essence, "touché," since for  the past three years running he has, indeed, given them the gifts my sister and I went in on together for him.)

(For the record, they were, in order: a)  a weekend at their favorite hotel in Maine; b) a gift certificate for dinner at a four-star restaurant they both love; and c) a limousine, dinner in the North End of Boston, and tickets to see Tony Bennett in Boston on Valentines Day last year.)

His reply: "Well, at least I got your aunt M out of  Uncle A's hair for one night" - a reference to the fact that he and my aunt have a longstanding faux-antagonistic relationship.)

Under the circumstances, that is the best that is possible. It isn't much, but for now, it will have to do.

***

One additional point, to end on a positive note.

I will give them credit for one thing. In fact, I did so as I spoke with them.

Not once have they ever attempted to tell me I am wrong, or that I am doing the wrong thing.

They both agreed that I am doing this because I have to, and that it is not simply a flight of fancy. They don't understand (because they haven't tried to, protests to the contrary), but they at least had the courtesy to acknowledge I am doing what I must.

It it also telling, in that it represents the only instance in which they showed me respect. And in the end, that is what this comes down to: respect.

I respected them enough to tell them what I was doing and why, even when they made it about themselves.

And I respected them today, by going to their home, by myself, to face them and explain how I feel and why.

And I was able to do so because now I respect myself. I spent the hardest two and a half years of my life learning to accept who I am.

I did so by looking at the very things about myself that most frightened me and left me filled with self-loathing and self-hatred. And I kept looking at them and talking about them until I understood them and made my peace with them.

I am enormously proud of what I have accomplished the past two-plus years, with the aid of my sister and nephew, my friends, my therapist, my doctor, my electrologist, and more. The respect and dignity with which they treat me has helped immeasurably. I am forever in their debt.

All of this is why I stood up for myself tonight, and have been for the past six-plus months.

I know who I am.

I like who I am.

I cannot wait to see how I continue to change and grow.

I know there will be challenges and heartache and tears.

But there will also be the opportunity for happiness and joy and laughter.

I earned that opportunity. And that is all I could ask for:

A change to live my life authentically, as me.

And now I am doing just that.

I cannot think of a better gift.

***

I want to end with a few upbeat Christmas and Christmas-related songs.

Christmas is one of my favorite times of year, and nothing that has happened this year will change that.

In fact, when I look back on this Christmas, I am willing to bet I will focus on those who made it a joyous occasion, not those who were unable to recognize that.

So in that spirit, have a listen. :c)

First, a *great* Stevie Wonder song that isn't really a Christmas song, but certainly has an appropriate message for the season.


The man is a force of nature. :c)

Next up, a beautiful Christmas song from The Pretenders, released in 1983:


Still give me goosebumps every time I hear it. :c)

Finally, the song that to me best captures the true meaning of Christmas, courtesy of those great Canadian philosophers Bob and Doug McKenzie:


"It's up there with Stairway to Heaven" indeed... :c)


6 comments:

Rhiannon on December 23, 2013 at 1:48 AM said...

Well done Cass, you've done all the right things, in the right way at the right times.

Its interesting because even before you said it, your regular readers will be thinking, 'hold on', 'that's not how it happened', 'but you've had loads of chance to' etc. I could feel myself getting frustrated on your behalf.

I can imagine its really tough, but so proud of you in the way you are handling this :o) x

Becca on December 23, 2013 at 5:10 AM said...

As hard as it must have been for you, you have done all you can. You are moving along with your life and know that this is their issue not yours.

Time will tell how they will be in the future but you will be living your life your way and no one has he right to hold you back from that. Good for you

Stace on December 23, 2013 at 2:33 PM said...

You have tried your hardest here, and not given up and gone back when others would have called it a day.

Be proud of yourself, get yourself some rest (physically and mentally) and enjoy your Christmas period!

Stace

Cassidy on December 23, 2013 at 8:26 PM said...

@ Rhiannon: Thank you, hon. There are a few things I wish I had done differently in the past few weeks, but overall I am very proud of how I handled myself, particularly in light of their absolute refusal to even countenance the possibility they could be wrong.

I did lose my temper at one point, which I had vowed I would not do. But as a friend told me today, "you wouldn't be human if you hadn't gotten angry after all that's gone on with them the past six months."

Particularly yesterday. I see now with absolute clarity that the gap between us is insurmountable, given their insistence that they are faultless and I am the villain.

I know I did everything I could possibly have done - and then some - and that I never once backed down. If I ever needed proof of how far I have come, that is it.

Thank you again, hon. Oh, and I *love* your new pics! You are absolutely adorable! :D

@ Becca: Thank you. I did not sleep a wink last night, not surprisingly. But when I got up, I did so knowing I offered them every possible chance to join me as I move forward. The loss is entirely theirs.

@ Stace: Thank you so much, hon. Several other friends told me much the same about going above and beyond. I am paying the price for it at the moment, but in the long run I suspect that will be a source of comfort.

You will be happy to know I am going to attempt to let myself relax over the next 7-10 days. (Hey! No snickering from the peanut gallery! ;D) It is high time I at least try. There are several TV shows (Justified's 4th season and Mad Men's 6th, if you are curious) I hope to plow through in that time, guilty conscience be damned!

Feel free to berate me as best you can (you are British, after all;-p) if you sense I am slipping off the straight and narrow. Alternately, I can put you in touch with my sister and manager to act as your surrogate scold. lol Just beware that doing so means you are now fair game too. They are tricky that way. :D

Thank you again, Stace, and if we don't speak before then, may you, Mrs. Stace, and little Kleintje have a very Merry Christmas! Love you, hon!

And the same wishes to you as well, Misses Becca and Rhiannon. Hope Santa leaves you just what you want under your Christmas tree!


Hugs & love,
Cass

Becca on December 24, 2013 at 3:30 AM said...

You know I am sure that this Christmas, my first Christmas will be my best ever. Dressed as I want and with gifts to match - no socks or novelty mail presents. Thank goodness they are things of the past. I have to say though I would love Santa to take something away rather than give me something - I guess its Christmas 2015 for that !

I am glad us Brits keep you on the short and narrow.

Have a lovely day tomorrow and wear something glam - no jeans for this girl surely ?

Calie on December 24, 2013 at 4:08 PM said...

Cass, so many I know have gone through this.with parents, friends, family, etc. In many cases, I've seen that time has healed the deep emotional scars left by those who just don't understand. I hope that will be the case with you. You haven't changed on the inside, except for the better, and they will realize that.

Calie xxx

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