With family, I always expect a lot from them, perhaps more than they have the capacity for. I had hoped that my brothers would be on board with who I really am, be relieved that all their suspicions were now realized and they could breathe a sigh of relief. I suppose I should be happy with the resounding silence I am getting now, rather than anger or resentment. I love my brothers, I want them to love me and that wasn’t easy even when they didn’t know I was female. I am ok with them not talking to me, I have to be ok with it. I can’t force them to talk to me, I can’t force them to accept me. I hope that they are taking the time to get their heads around it, but I know that enough time has passed that this isn’t the issue.
For them, I think I am an embarrassment, that my “choosing to be female” is something that will make them look weak to their friends or whatever. Or perhaps they are angry that I never confided in them, that they feel I should have been able to tell them when we were children. They are both younger than me, and when we were children it was more about avoiding my father and not giving ammo to my younger brothers if we got into an argument. I could drive myself crazy trying to figure out what other people are thinking, I am horrible at reading other people. But also, I want to believe in people. It’s the curse of a pessimist, secretly most of us are actually optimists who keep feeling let down.
I know my brothers are have every right to their feelings, and they aren’t required to approve of who I am. It won’t change anything, I can’t keep hiding forever and I won’t. So, I have to accept that they may never want to talk to me or be seen with me, they may be too embarrassed or uncomfortable or just plain out disapproving. Them not accepting me, means I must accept them for who they are.
I am grateful for the family I do still have. I have in-laws who, I admit, have surprised me in such a profound way that I don’t even truly understand it. They can be close-minded, we all can, but they have been so accepting and so loving that I just… I am grateful. My sister-in-laws as well, they have been wonderful, accepting, sweet and kind. I married into a great family, I’m lucky in many ways.
I’m still having issues, nothing is perfect and sometimes those closest have the most trouble. During Easter, my in-laws came over to eat a meal and see the new puppy we have. During the visit, my wife, though she is behind me and supports me, still has immense trouble calling me by my name, instead using my not-so-dead name and he/him pronouns. So, my wife is still working towards using my name and correct pronouns, it confuses my in-laws who have already started using correct pronouns and call me Beth now. I have tried to be easy on her, not to complain about her using my dead-name or incorrect pronouns. I would like her to want to call me Beth, to call me she/her without my prompting. I attribute the problem my wife has with our having known each other such a long time, and her not wanting “James” to go away. He, however was never really there, it was just Beth trying to pretend to be a “James”. The moment she lets the mask go, the moment she releases it into the ether, she will be able to see that.
I took my friend from work, Jeannie, out to eat lunch today. She is a Trump supporter and though I have known her for a few years, I never know where I stand with conservative people on coming out. I was surprised that when I told her who I was, that I was female, she got this huge smile on her face and said that it was so great! That she now had a sister instead of a brother and she could borrow clothes. So, she took it very well, indeed. On our way back to work, she stopped to get cigarettes and came out with cigarettes for her and a small silk rose for me! It was very sweet and it made me feel very feminine and delighted.
At work, it is profoundly, infinitely difficult for me, having to continue wearing this mask. It is just as hard to transition, because of cost and this thought that I shouldn’t have to do this. The unfairness that I have had to live most of my life as a male when I have only ever been a woman. I am reminded something said of a sculptor, looking at a block of material and seeing the art within. They don’t see a block of granite, rather they see the form that lies inside it and then remove the material until it is revealed. When we transition, we are chipping away everything that isn’t us, but most of those who knew us only knew the block of granite.
To further the pain of transition, I am going to be looking for a new employer. Though they don’t know about my transitioning, they have constantly manipulated situations to where they can keep me in a position where they can use my abilities and skills but avoid paying for it and keep me under an odious manager whom I despise. I warned HR that if this happened, I would find another job and resign immediately thereafter. Last week, we had a meeting which cemented this problem and now I will search for another job after doing this for 18 years, and resign. I’m giving them two weeks but I’m taking my two weeks’ vacation. They will never be able to replace me with someone who will work for that pay and they certainly won’t benefit from my training to do it. It’s unfortunate, and creates issues for my life, but it’s also freeing in a way. I’m hopeful that I can find a place that I can work as me, that will be my goal so it may take me a little time. Transgender hiring practices are horrible and unfair, so it will be a search and I will end up being paid less to do the same job I was already getting paid too little to do. But it will be worth it so that this company can see the problems, of which I plan on fully informing them of upper management issues in a letter to the CEO.