t minus 3 weeks until i finish coming out to the most important people in my life

May 24

Dear Les,

I finally caught up on my reading for all of the blogs I receive email updates from. For three weeks, I took a break from WordPress. It wasn’t premeditated; it just happened, and it was necessary. I had no desire at all to write anything for the ether-net (yourself included), and felt overwhelmed at the prospect of reading anyone else’s work, especially that of fellow queer and trans and/or nonbinary writers—whose blogs I follow most closely, but just couldn’t bring myself to read.

I think I needed some quiet and space for myself. During this period, although it was never a major source of my focus, I realized something: I’m ready to come out to my parents. I need to have the talk. After months/years of fretting what to say and how to do it, I think I’m just going to go for it. I can offer to share nonbinary/transgender informational materials and/or stories with them afterwards, including posts on Neutrois Nonsense, such as guest writer Libby’s “Loving My Agender Child.”

This isn’t as spontaneous of a decision as perhaps it sounds, and it still requires planning. For example, I was tempted to do it a couple of days ago but realized it wasn’t fair to do so right before my mother left for Pennsylvania. She and her sister who is moving to Oregon, are going to roadtrip back here together. I didn’t want to send her off with that huge news. I think it’s important to initiate that conversation when she’s in a comfortable place and when my parents are together. I’m guessing she’ll be home in 2-3 weeks.

Now that about three months have passed since my dad’s heart surgery and recovery has been going very well, I think I can now come out to my parents without worrying about my dad’s health too much. I don’t know if this fear was valid before, but I wasn’t willing to chance triggering another heart event. Telling your parents you don’t identify as the gender they’ve believed you to be since the day you were born (they saw my parts!), and requesting they stop referring to you as “girl,” even to your dog, is big.

I need to do it. I need to finally move on with this part of my life.

It’s unclear why I feel so certain (as certain/calm as I can be, I suppose), that now, or almost now, is the right time to do this. Stuff with FKS and D wasn’t the best the last couple of weeks, and that’s taken a lot of my brain and heart space. FKS bailed on her suggested coffee date two days in a row, and D and I transitioning from a kinda-relationship to friendship hasn’t been as smooth as hoped. Somehow I think these things just helped solidify thoughts on what I need for myself. Coming out to my parents now is one of them.

Also, my birthday is in a month. I considered coming out to my parents for my college graduation/birthday last year (in a “because you asked, this is what I would like” sort of thing), but it never happened. I don’t want another year to pass without telling them.

I’ve realized I’m a very private person—more private than I ever realized, even with my topless photos on the Internet. With my parents, I hold my cards very close to my chest. Largely because of my nonbinary identity, probably.

I think I owe it to all of us to finally start this conversation. It’s time to finally put words to who I am and why I behave/act the way I do sometimes.

Honestly, I think it will help me become a better person and kid.

I hope it’s not too hard on my parents. And I hope that they can eventually comfortably regard and love me as their nonbinary kid.

lemonade, cayenne, and walking away

May 22

L,

I’ve lost my appetite again. Even when I think I want food, even when I have some, I struggle to finish even half of what’s before me. What I swallow is not enough to satisfy my hunger. Hunger I know I have, even if it doesn’t quite resonate.

One of my strengths is looking for the bright sides in my life (if not the broader world when I think about systems of oppression) and looking for the best in others. There’s a lot of beauty so that’s not difficult. But there’s a part of me that’s asking to be allowed to be express my hurt, too, when something is amiss. And also, what is not quite anger (or perhaps a small dose), but impatience and sass.

My main instincts are to be gentle, compassionate, and self-deprecating, but there is both cayenne and strawberries in the lemonade I’m sipping.

Perhaps someday the gentle me will smile and bow to the sassmaster me, and the sassmaster will laugh to those who need to hear it,

“Manners and all, I’m the baddest b you’ll never have again,” and walk away.

 


I didn’t need Lemonade when it was released, but I’ve listened to it nearly nonstop the past week. Thanks, Bey.

I don’t explicitly refer to gender or sexuality in this or some other pieces, Les, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t on my mind, or part of this. I don’t have energy for nouns on target today.

May Day

May 1

Happy May Day, Les.

I long associated the first of May with the old practice of placing flowers on neighbors’ front steps then running away. I don’t think I’ve ever actually done that myself, and now I wonder why, because it sounds great.

May 1st (May Day) is an important day for other reasons too, however: workers’ rights—specifically, the eight-hour workday. While many people are underemployed or work more than eight hours a day, most full-time workers have eight hour workdays with breaks. Thanks in part to workers over 100 years ago, and unions today, I have a job in which I am required to take at least 30 minutes for lunch. In every four hour period, I get a ten minute paid break.

On Industrial Workers of the World‘s website, Eric Chase describes the origins of May Day.

May 1st is a big strike day. And an official holiday celebrated by over sixty countries despite being little known by many US Americans, including myself. Still, there were still several demonstrations around the United States today, including a march by immigrant workers and supporters in Seattle and LA. 460x.jpg

I wish I had gotten this kind of education in college, Les. Or better yet, elementary school. I was active on my campuses in advocating for better policies, especially greater inclusion and support for students of color and queer and trans folks, but I wasn’t aware of the significance of May Day to workers.

Did you ever strike on May Day?

Fireflies, Cactus Flowers, and Apologies

April 30

Dear Les,

I’ve had words jumbled in my head and buzzing electric like fireflies in a jar the last couple of weeks. In the beginning, I just didn’t feel like writing you. To be honest, my words weren’t really flitting in your general direction. Then, I guess, the moon waned. I needed light to see. I needed some fireflies to escape. I’ve had lots of different things to write about but just thought them. I didn’t tell you about being homecoming queen in high school or how I’m in a constant state of grief even when I marvel at how in love with the world I am. There is so much to love. Grief and love aren’t opposites though, of course.

I didn’t write you. Sometimes we don’t get our words down. Bugs buzz and bounce around off windows and lightbulbs and we know they will die—or they make it through a door and disappear from us, maybe forever. Who knows where those bugs go. Who knows where the words go.

I’ll write about my grief another night. I’m not sure it’ll make sense to you, if you read it. I’m not mourning a person or relationship or single event. I have no personal issue I’m in despair over. You have no reason to worry for me. You wouldn’t anyway, Les. We are beautiful strangers. Wherever you are, I hope it’s filled with peace and hope and joy. Fresh air. Soil filled with life.


FKS sent me a message on Facebook this afternoon. I can tell you that. I saw the message request tonight—we were never Facebook friends so I didn’t get a regular notification; I only saw the request because I had to open my FB inbox to send a whale watching trip link to a friend (we’re going!!). After finishing my phone call with my pal, I read FKS’s message.

It was short. A well-written, thoughtful apology. The first words I saw in the preview during my phone conversation were: “Emily, I want to apologize for the way…”. After the whale call I read all of that first sentence: “I want to apologize for the way I decided to handle the intimacy we shared.”

The message jarred me a bit. D called a short while later when I was still texting my sister, and I was distracted on the phone. Distracted because of my already present fireflies and that message. She noticed, I offered an apology and explanation, and we hung up. I’m grateful for FKS’s note, Les. She hurt me. It sounds so strange to say that, but I was hurt when she ghosted. It was a sharp, disorienting pain and a confusing, unnecessary way to end things and part ways.

I’ll thank FKS for her message tomorrow. What I did tonight was reply to an apology another person messaged me two and a half years ago—a year after we had parted ways at the end of our semester in Arizona. I appreciated her message but couldn’t bring myself to respond at the time. I finally replied tonight and thanked this classmate. Even though I haven’t messaged FKS yet, it feels like things have already begun to come full circle. I had felt bad for letting that apology hang between that peer and me. FKS inspired multiple responses tonight.

Les, somewhere in Arizona, lots of somewheres, there are cacti blooming right now. I know some prickly greens are blossoming in the Grand Canyon out along paths or tucked away. It doesn’t matter if there aren’t fireflies by the canyon. Even a sliver of moon and milky way will provide light to see a flower. Just see its shape. It doesn’t matter if I can’t always make sentences or light from the words in my head.

There are cacti blooming in deserts right now. That’s enough for me.