The past few days have been a rollercoaster.
We picked my sister up at the airport. My parents and me. We gave her a huge hug and chattered excitedly with her all the way home. Dad poured glasses of wine and gave my sister a beer. We had cocktails around the tree. The room was soft and rosy and we were all together.
Our parents left the room to go grab various items, go to the bathroom, etc. My sister leaned over to me.
“I think I’m going to tell them my thing in a few minutes.”
I took a deep breath. “Okay.”
“Yeah.” she said. “I want to get it out of the way.”
“It won’t be out of the way. But it will be let go.”
Our parents came back and I pretended I wasn’t about to anxiety-barf. I went into the bathroom and put my hands on the sink, stared into my own eyes, tried to breathe. I came out of the bathroom and it hadn’t happened yet.
“I’m really happy to see you guys.” she said. “I can’t believe it’s been 2 years. It’s been weighing on me.”
Bubbles of reassurance from our parents.
“There’s something I want to tell you. It has to do with me.”
She then went into the single most beautiful coming-out explanation I’ve ever heard. She talked about never having felt comfortable with masculinity. Always connecting more with women. Being so much happier now that she was living as her true self. How everyone close to her in California knows and calls her by her female name and pronouns. Including the company she works for.
She would eventually tell me that her biggest worry with this was that she would get disowned. She had actually made arrangements to stay with someone, just in case she ended up getting thrown out of the house.
During her speech our dad stood up. He said she would always be loved and accepted in this family. That he was so happy for her. He gave her a long bear hug. She started crying. So did I.
My mom asked if she was going to start wearing woman’s clothes.
“Well… yeah. That’s kind of the point.”
About an hour later, my mom was clinging to me and sobbing. She didn’t know what to do. She didn’t know what she was supposed to do.
“It’s okay.” I said. “You don’t have to know what to do right now.”
The next morning was… tense. My mom was quiet and she is never quiet. Her eyes looked like she had been crying. That never happens either. Seeing her sadness flips some ridiculous switch in my head where I say dumb things and try to make myself the butt of some stupid joke. I have no idea what to do here.
Our parents had planned a surprise visit to a cute hotel by Lake Erie. My sister and I shared a room. Mom and Dad used the wrong name and pronouns the entire time. They didn’t even act like they wanted to try and get them right.
“We’re doing ‘she’ now? Really?” Mom said to me in private. “I can’t do that.”
Yes. We are. That’s the point.
I feel like I am terrible at navigating this. I have no idea what to do. So I’m just going to keep using her name and her pronouns and hope some kind of fucking miracle happens and this tension can start to dissipate, even a little.
Well. Maybe I need to reframe that.
Maybe it’s okay that there is this tension. It’s necessary. Even though it’s horribly painful and I hate it.
Instead of waiting for tension to leave, I need to focus on taking care of myself. But how the hell do I do that when everyone else in this house seems like they’re so much more in need of some kind of care.
I don’t know. But I’m really tired and feeling blue. That’s all I’ve really got to say at the moment.