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A Major Adjustment

April 26, 2011

I’ve found that when an issue is weighing on my mind and I don’t write about it, it’s hard to move past it to write about anything else.

My family received some major news a few months ago and I am struggling so hard with it.  A relative of mine told us he is transgender.  That was hard enough to take and I feared it wouldn’t be long before he asked us to call him by a woman’s name, which he did. 

I feel like I am grieving.  Sure, I can still talk to him, but I have thought repeatedly about the last time I saw him.  I had no idea then that it would be the last time I would get to say, “I love you, ______.”  It was the last time I got to see him as him.  The last time I would get to visit with him without thinking, “Wow.  This is really awkward and I’m no good at pretending you’re a woman.”  I have never known of anyone who truly looked or sounded like the gender they were trying to transform themselves into. 

I’m afraid of saying the wrong thing.  I don’t want him to cut off contact with me.  He wants to associate with supportive people, which I’m trying to be as much as I am 100% uncomfortable with this.  It will be a long time until I get to see him again and by then, I wonder if I’ll even recognize him.  Will he even want to talk about memories from when he was a boy or will those be off limits?

The night I saw pictures of him dressed like a woman, I cried for about an hour until I finally fell asleep.  Since then I had random, short crying episodes until last night.   I sobbed against my husband’s chest for a long time.  His siblings have had similar reactions, so I guess what I’m feeling is “normal”.  The other day, I was about to refer to him as his siblings’ brother when I suddenly realized he might want to be called their sister, so I just dropped the question I had in mind, not knowing how to word it.

I remember when life seemed relatively simple.

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