Transgender, is that all? Peanuts……I got this.
It has been a year since we began our journey of transition. A year ago I was thankful for the word transgender because for the first time our issue wasn’t suicide. I thought peanuts but the truth be told, for the first time……
I HAD NO FREAKING IDEA WHAT I WAS DOING!
I didn’t realize that Coming Out Day would also be the start of a year of firsts.
The first time we said the words our child is transgender out loud. The first time we told our family we had a son. The first time we told our friends. The first shopping trip for boys clothes. The first trip to the public washroom. The first medical appointment. The first haircut. The first birthday and the first day of school. The first school pictures, the first sports tryout and the first gym class. The first visit with our next door neighbour after a long winter. The first time we bump into a casual acquaintance. The first time saying the words Josh and he and my son.
Then of course, there was THE WORST FIRST EVER!
The first time I realized a stranger was staring at my child and making fun of him.
Ugh, there’s that knife again, but it’s in my heart this time.
The first time I took Josh shopping for men’s clothes was a tough one for me. I was trying hard but I was still in limbo. While we were brousing in the store, I overheard the sales lady approach him and direct him to the women’s section.
That was a first. Usually you can’t find help when you need it, but has anyone ever approached you and suggested that you were looking in the wrong department?
It was during this shopping trip when I had my first revelation brought on by rudeness.
I realized these firsts for our new son are as important for his development today, as those first baby steps were all those years ago.
I had to do more. I had to make a plan and this plan needs to be for me. For the first time I was experiencing anxiety.
What do I say to people? How do I react to questions? How do I book appointments and what name do I use? Do I start fresh or do I explain this transgender thing to every person in my life?
I needed to get control. Not a first.
I decided on a scale of priority to help me navigate our daily routine. For example a family member, all the profressionals and bestie’s of course, are Priority 1.
Priority 1: I keep it real and honest with these people. These people have value in our life and we are of value to them. These are my “go to” people.
A friend is Priority 2 and the P2’s are as important to us as the P1’s and we work to maintain those relationships.
Causal acquaintances are a P3 and they get information on a need to know basis as I see necessary.
Then there is Priority 4. You know the ones….those people who are cold, mean, gossipy and negative……the rude, the racists and the ignorant. A P4 is the person that makes you want to turn around and walk the other way when you see them coming.
I don’t like labels and I felt almost hypocritical…but this was working for me. For the first time I had seriously prioritized each one of my relationships.
LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. (I’m singing opera style again)
With my new priorities in mind and a few rehearsed answers to the questions I expected to get, I was now prepared. I could now embrace the firsts like we embraced those first baby steps all those years ago. For the first time I had my sense of confidence back.
But…..wait for it….
My plan was about to be put to the test. We were at a school function and a Priority 4 was headed our way with a deep determination. My instinct was screaming at me….P4 Alert….P4 Alert. It doesn’t matter how much I try to avoid the 4’s they always target me like a heat seeking missile. My defences are usually down, but for the first time I was prepared.
As she was making a B Line to her target I was silently rehearsing my prepared responses. No problem. Peanuts…..I got this.
But….wait for it….
The first words out of this womans mouth were not questions about Josh or the health or well being of our family. Her words were not about school or her daughter or her recent vacation. Her words were not even about the weather.
Hint to all P4’s: If you have nothing nice to say you can always talk about the weather.
This P4 made an effort to seek me out for one purpose only. That P4 hit my bullseye as she said the one sentence that left me speechless. She said.”Wow, you are really starting to show your age.”
PEANUTS MY A**. Wow, that was a first!
That one rude comment from a P4 made me realize I can’t be prepared for everything. I can’t predict all the necessary variables. I realized that each of our firsts will be filled with praises from our loved ones and criticisms from others.
It has been a year and I still use my system. I have added a prepared response for the P4’s in life. I have a comeback. For the first time I have a response that should apply to almost every negative situation. For the first time I will put on my biggest and brightest smile and reply…..
“I was just thinking the exact same thing about you, but I am too polite to say it.”
Who am I kidding, I’ll never say that because I am too polite!
But, I can think it!
I cherish the memory of every new first our family experienced together. Ironically, this time around our son is making leaps and bounds into his new world with confidence and strength and we are the ones taking baby steps with unsteady legs.
With this year of firsts coming to a close, I have outgrown my weakness and my doubt, just like our toddler did all those years ago. In a few weeks our family will be moving to the next stage of transition which I am sure will bring us a whole new set of firsts. I am a little more confident now so I say bring it on…
Peanuts…..I got this?
I have a son. His name is Josh.