Saturday, 20 October 2012
Big milestones - the ultimate in ‘coming out’
Do you set resolutions at the start of the year? This year one of my pledges was that I would finally tell my mother that I was trans. Like most of us, these promises, set up in the celebratory glow of New Year’s optimism, are normally, to quote Mary Poppins, piecrust. Easily made and easily broken. Except this one. About two weeks ago, I kept the promise to myself and did it, I told her.
It started really when she was visiting for the weekend around my birthday. I turned 38 this year. Yes, I know I look much older. Its been a hard life. I guess for 10 months I’ve been looking for the right timing to get it over and done with and had not had the opportunity. Back in the Summer there was a window of time when we were alone together and I nearly did it. We were watching television and one of those terrible daytime programmes, had on a very effeminate man reviewing fashion items. He was dressed in a very feminine style and my mother remarked, with amusement, at what a weird bloke he was. Needless to say, that made me run for the hills rather than say anything.
But back to the plot. A few weeks ago, she had been at our house for the weekend and by the Sunday, I thought this was going to be another missed opportunity. Except then it happened. As you may predict, dutch courage can be very helpful sometimes. We both had been drinking wine steadily and were in a very frank mood. Which meant that the conversation started. Lightly, on a different topic at the beginning. My mum really really likes Mrs A. They get on incredibly well, friends almost. I made a comment about struggling somewhat in my relationship. My mum countered, dismissing my comment as a joke. I set my face a bit more sadly and made it clear that it was true.
And then something very weird happened.
Seeing a recognition on her face, that she knew, deep down that it was true, I said, “you know why I am so unhappy, don’t you?” The whole world stopped turning, every part of my body stopped moving as for a split second I waited. I urged once more, “You’ve always known haven’t you?” She looked me in the eyes and nodded. I have never felt such relief in my whole life. So the whole story tumbled out and I told her absolutely everything about who I am, how I feel and how I’ve felt my whole life.
In fairness to her, I don’t think she did know everything, but she’d guessed some. But her response was extraordinary. She is quite simply a champion woman. She took a lot of time to reassure me that she absolutely still loved me. In fact, she said that she loved me even more now that I’d told her because she had felt that for my whole life, I’d been holding something back from her. The ‘worst part’, that I won’t dwell on, was that she said that I should have told her years ago. In looking at my photos, she told me I looked beautiful. She said that wherever this leads me in life, she will stand by me and that she would be proud to go out alongside me however I was dressed. We hugged a lot.
At the time, a big part of me was in shock. In fact, one or two friends got texts and one a phone call because I needed to know if I should pinch myself. But the next day, I wasn’t quite sure how to respond. I did what felt like a ‘walk of shame’ into the kitchen where she was reading. I didn't really know what to say. We’d had wine and there had been a heat of the moment nature to the conversation. I wondered whether she really felt like that and if she was still the same today. I tentatively brought the subject up again and she reiterated word for word what she had already said. Phew.
I guess that’s one big hurdle jumped.