I said, go away sunshine

Mom ended up asking me to send the letter, anyway, but, I had scrapped the original this morning, and ended up sending this instead.

Sorry, but I am not going to send that letter. But I will say this much….

The fact that (brother) and I are at odds is because of his actions and words he has directed at me. His saying he would have me arrested if I attended the family reunion last year. His calling me a liar, and a narcissist are other reasons why he and I are at odds. The fact I was told to not contact his kids is yet another reason. His actions and feelings towards me are not your responsibility. He’s a big boy and no one else can tell him what to do or how to think. You did a good job in raising us with the values we needed and then it was up to he and I on how to implement those values into our adult lives. I am in no way saying that I mastered all those values, either.

I never expected you to be June Cleaver or Carol Brady, but I do wish we could have been closer to the point we would have shared more with each other, emotionally speaking. All those times I went straight up to my room I wish I would have instead gone to sit by you and hold your hand and tell you that I loved you. I wish I would have told you how confused and depressed I was. You had a lot going on in your own world and I incorrectly assumed you didn’t need to hear my “feelings” because even to me those feelings were seriously enexplainable and I thought they would eventually go away. It is painfully clear to everyone now that those feelings stayed and continued to grow stronger.

There were signs of my struggles, perhaps. I spent a lot of time in isolation in my room. The nights I spent out on school nights. The days I missed completely or partially from school, especially my senior year. I barely graduated on time with a 2.0 GPA and if I hadn’t passed government class with a D- that year I wouldn’t have even graduated. It’s not your fault I abused alcohol and drugs to the point of being high almost all the time. Before or after family gatherings I would smoke pot so that I could make it through whatever thing we would have going on at the time. When I was maybe 16 or 17 I remember passing out drunk at the kitchen table with you & (step-dad) sitting there only to find you both gone when I woke up. My plate still sitting there. Sure, I was a good enough kid I guess, but, even the good ones make poor judements. Not everything is just “a kid being a kid”.

When (step-dad) and (brother) would go at it I would sit in my room crying my eyes out swearing that I would never allow what I said to get me in trouble like that. I refused to allow my speaking up to result in being whipped with the next limb off the tree. For pete’s sake I was nearly whipped just for sniffing too much. Bury my feelings is what I learned from those days, but, anything that gets buried so deep still has a good chance of rising to the surface eventually.

I will never again make the mistake of presuming how you may feel, Mom. From where I stand I have only assumed that you are not interested in anything I am doing here in Columbus because of the fact everything I do revolves around me being Karen M. Patrick.

Is the idea of me living as the person that gives my life purpose and meaning really so awful for you to not try and be happy for me? How I dream of the day that you and I can sit, hug and have a good cry with each other over all of what we have been through together, and seperately.

Mother nature is a mad scientist and I am merely the result of one of those experiments. My being the way I am today is not your fault, and I cannot say it clearly enough how you are not to blame for who or what it is I am. This may freak you out but as I get older I see more and more of you in me.

I love you mom,

Karen

Sunshine go away today

Mom’s response to my letter to my aunt:

Listen Marcus,

Don’t ever presume to know how I am feeling because you never will and never can!!!!!!!

I remain,
Your Mother

I am truly going to miss the “person I thought I knew”.

So, I wrote a long letter to mom last night but don’t think I will send it because it seems the more honest I am the more trouble it seems to cause. This is an uncomfortable place to be stuck in.

The words I heard the night I was forced to out myself to my parents still ring in my ears from time to time. They were very specific words that one doesn’t forget when they seem to be directed at you. Words like disgusting, sinful, evil, satan, ridiculous, impossible are words that can come back to haunt a person. Until I hear something dispelling those feelings what else am I to presume? This is a question that surrounds my very existence. At what point will I no longer hear the words that hurt me so much? I hear them when I am awake. They invade my dreams at night. I cannot escape them. I am a tortured soul caught between self-acceptance and self-loathing.

(sigh)

Family Ties (that bind)

My aunt sent me this e-mail/link today. The link is for a “recovered” transsexual whom I agreed to meet with almost 2 years ago as my family was struggling to accept my being transgender. They thought if this person could be saved then I could be saved as well.

http://www.leaderu.com/stonewall/pages/jerry_l.html

Here is my response to my aunt and a glimpse into what struggles I face from a family point-of-view.

While I have met with and heard Jerry’s amazing story firsthand it does not mean that he and I are on similar wave lengths. Yes, many trans people share a very similar story, but along the way there are instances where the individual story line takes a different path from what others may go through. I respect what Jerry went through & even respect that much more the fact he realized what was best for him before it, perhaps, could have been too late for him to recover. Our stories may be similar in some ways, but, it is very different in others.
 
Sure, while I was first attempting to deal with my feelings I thought that sex was the only way to express the woman in me. And for a few years I did things that I am not proud of to try and express those feelings outwardly towards men. Thankfully I managed to survive a few instances that could have turned ugly, and I now know that I was acting out in an un-healthy and, unnecessary manner. Many never get a chance to learn that lesson. Many lives get cut short because they put themselves in the dangerous position of thinking sex is the answer. I have been lucky to learn that lesson before it was too late for me. Sex doesn’t equal respect.
 
If I recall correctly before I agreed to meet with Jerry I laid out the proposition of my family needing to meet with my therapist as an equal payoff for me meeting with Jerry. Out of love for my family I agreed to meet with Jerry knowing full well you all would never offer on your own to meet with my therapist afterward. I now re-extend the offer for you all to meet with my therapist. You could do this with me there or without me there. It doesn’t matter either way. Meet with her and don’t even tell me about it if you choose. But one thing is for sure you all need to let go the idea of me and Jerry being similar to the point that I will wake up one day and feel the need to ask God for forgiveness. I did ask for forgiveness, but, it was not for being who I am. It was for being the shell of a person I used to be and for my actions while I was lost for the first 30 or so years in the vast ocean of life.
 
Until you can grasp the idea that most of my life was spent in a depression filled fog in which I was unable to express my feelings about what I was going through you will not be able to feel happy for me that I am now no longer living with that fear and depression. Depression is a powerful thing as you know and having been there I am very determined to not go back into that chasm again. I do still get down sometimes just like anybody else would but for reasons that aren’t so much about who I am but for who it is my family can’t accept. I have nephews that are told I am sick and that is why I don’t call them. I have a sister that is scared (I think) to reach out to me in fear of being rejected by the family for trying to understand my situation. I have three very beautiful cousins who are like my sisters that perhaps feel the same way. I have an aunt that tells me she serves an awesome god that loves all the creatures he creates but somehow fails to recognize that her awesome god made me this way for a reason. Unfortunately I have a mother who is stuck in the middle of watching her two oldest children fight like two kids on a playground that want the best seat on the swing set.

Since I have moved to Columbus I have accomplished things I only used to dream of doing. I enrolled in college (this time because I wanted to) and made the honor roll 2 terms in a row. I have been accepted into a program being sponsored by the United Way of Central Ohio that is training me, as a member of the GLBT community, in what it will take to one day be in a position to help those less fortunate than I am. I have found a job where I can be my self and not feel the fear of being rejected by co-workers because I may be different in the eyes of the customers I interact with on a daily basis. I am only one person, but, I am a face of the Ohio Historical Society. Everyday and at every special event OHS puts on I am trusted to be in a place, not where I can’t be seen, but, rather, in a place out front like any other trusted employee should be: greeting the public. Since December of 2007 I have been on the board of Trans Ohio. My duties have involved speaking at OSU and a few other places to show that I am just a person dealing with many of the issues facing everyone in today’s world. The minor difference being that I happen to be transgender, or, at least, minor in my mind, anyways.

For all I have put my family though I am truly sorry, but I refuse to accept all the responsibility for what has happened since I came out to my family. Why, you ask do I not accept all of it? The reason for that is due to the fact that from the day that I came out I have been told how wrought with sin I am. I’ve been told there is no possible way that I would be welcomed back into your homes if this is the path I am taking. I have been, basically, put in exile in (your) hopes of being saved from my destiny.

I understand you miss me, Aunt Lisa. I miss you too. We used to be so close. You are one of the reasons for the kind of person I am today and believe it or not there are still people who think I am a good, caring, understanding person who is always willing to listen to others in order to try and help them work out a problem they may be going through. I always wanted to tell you sooner than I did, and there is a reason I told you first. You were one that I trusted to understand what it was I was going through, and ultimately you are one that I hope can stand by my side as my Aunt, as a supporter, and as some one that loves me for who I am today. Not the person you thought I used to be. The values that I was taught by those closest to me while growing up remain with me to this day. For that I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Just because I now live as the female I should have always been doesn’t make me any less of a person in my own eyes. In fact, the self respect I have gained by taking control of my autonomy tells me there is potential for great things in my future. Agreeing to disagree is a cop-out on all of our parts. Doing that does nothing to address the real issues at hand. I can no longer pretend to be Marcus for the sake of being semi-welcomed back into everyone’s lives. How would you have felt if I rejected you after confessing to me your eating disorder you struggled with years ago? I realized how difficult it must have been to tell me, and for you trusting me with that piece of you I felt that much closer to you. I felt that much more love for you. I didn’t get angry for you not telling me sooner. I chose to try and understand that side of you, and to love you as you were at that moment.

I’ll never stop loving my family, ever. But until we can all come to terms with me being transgender, until everyone stops feeling sorry for themselves and for me, and that I am so helplessly lost we may forever be stuck at the impasse of what it truly means to love some one unconditionally. Diversity, Love, Family, those words have more powerful a meaning when we actually take the time to comprehend what those words enable us to understand.

Sincerely,

Karen M. Patrick

 

Educating the World – Person to Person

I had a rather cool experience recently which showed me how small the world is – and how the right approach can cause people to be accepting even when you don’t expect it. My friend Abby suggested I share it with you all.

It all started one day at work – I was at lunch with my boss, co-worker G. and my trusty retirement-age volunteer worker D.

G. was talking about practicing guitar with his Tucson-based death metal band the night before and his musical history and aspirations. After some time, D. said to G. “You don’t happen to know a musician called something Blackstone, do you?”

G: “No, I don’t think so…”
D: “I forget his first name… something beginning with B…”
Me: “Bruce, perhaps?”
D: “That might be it. Yes, because the interesting thing about him was that he was in the paper recently…”
Me: “Oh, yes – I know him.”
D: “Yes, the paper wrote about him – he came out as a cross-dresser. So, how do you know him?”
Me: “Um… oh, the paper my husband worked for wrote an article about the band he is in…”
D: “Maybe that was the article!”
Me: “Oh, no… you read the recent one about the IFGE conference. The other one was back last year some time.”
D: “Oh, okay. Anyway, he does wonderful cabinetry. He did our whole kitchen. Very nice guy.”
Me: “Yes, he is.”

And that might have been the end of it. Except that, of course, it wasn’t. On reflection, I sent this email to D. after he’d left for the day:

You might be amused by this video that a friend of ours made, interviewing Bruce right after he’d talked to the Arizona Daily Star reporter

D. only volunteers for us one day a week, and he didn’t return my email, so I was a little apprehensive going in to work the next Wednesday. As I was walking up from the parking lot, I saw him, and he stopped to wait for me to catch up. He had a broad grin on his face and the first thing he said to me was:

“Thank you for that video link you sent me with Bruce in it. We really enjoyed watching that one! Yup, that’s our Bruce!”

I felt so happy to have been a part of helping educate the straight, white middle-class neighborhoods of Northeast Tucson!

On hearing of the reaction of D. and his wife, Bruce said:

Thank you for letting me know about [D. and J.] They are repeat clients of mine and great people.

Since I am becoming more and more out, I realize that eventually the knowledge of who I really am will inevitably creep into my work life sometimes. This has caused me a little bit of concern because I am self employed and loss of income can be frightening … so far as I can tell there have been no consequences to my business by my being out. So , thank you for letting me know about [D. and J.] – it’s also good in that [they] are now far less likely to have a negative reaction to other trans people.

The message I hope to get across is that it is truly worth it to share your true selves and those of your friends with others, even if you think they may not be accepting. Their reaction will often depend upon your demeanor as you talk to them. I tried to be as matter-of-fact as I could be, presenting the fact that I knew “that side” of Bruce as perfectly normal and natural. Whether you are yourself transgendered, or a SOFFA, you have a role to play, large or small, in educating the rest of the world.

A Girls Night out! May 04, 2008

I must say that yesterday was a busy day. One of my girlfriends invited me to join her and another friend of ours out to a local (semi local to me, 1 hour away) LGBT bar in CT called Triangles. It also happened to be on a night that Vicky was working and I had nothing planned for the weekend. It didn’t take me long to realize that it’s been a long time since I’ve been out and about. I was excited about the opportunity to be able to hang out with a good friend.

Well, as I watched the time go by yesterday morning, I tried to get a few things together before I had to take my daughter to a student council picnic where she was to hang out with the incoming freshmen and answer any question they had about the school. I dropped her off at her school and went back home to try and put together what I wanted to take. I couldn’t decide on what to take so I ended up packing several outfits that ended up filling a duffle bag that came to my waist. I packed a couple pair of shoes and a pair of boots that I’ve been waiting for the right time to break them in, along with makeup and a few other little necessities for the evening. I’m just glad that bag had wheels so it made it easier to move around.

We were supposed to meet up at a hotel that most of the girls rent out for the night, this place is TG friendly (specially on the evening of the TG party). When I finally got there, there was several other girls there getting dressed. My friend Brittney and A?? greeted me and we shared a big hug. I proceeded to get ready for the evening and after my personal makeover, I was really starting to get excited about getting out to Triangles. In a way, I was surprised to see so many getting ready at the same time. But it actually turned out to be a nice evening. I met another TS girl, she was very nice and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that she was TS/fulltime. We talked a little bit at the changing room, and later in the evening. It was nice to get to know other TS’s in the area.

Brittney and I had a great time talking and catching up on what’s been going on with each other. She even got out on the dance floor, but I stayed to watch the table. As the evening went on there were more guys that would show up, and I was enjoying watching these two guys dance together. They were pretty good as they dipped and spun around. SH*@, I just realized something. Last night was one of the most freeing times I’ve had in a long time. I felt more confident in myself, but still got a bit of self doubt. I felt more comfortable being myself last night then I do in my drab mode (remember duality?). I think maybe I’m feeling a pendulum swinging but it’s starting to lean more towards the person I need to be. Last night I did not want this feeling to go away. Last night I felt, I don’t know how to explain it. As if something in me was just freed, I felt like I never felt before walking around the bar. And being able to spend this time with a great friend was awesome. One other thing that happened last night was a guy asked me to dance. I said to myself, “What the heck should I say.” I blurted out the only thing I could think of, “I’m sorry but we are leaving in a little bit”. I was flattered that someone would ask me to dance, but I think my shyness got in the way. We left shortly after that. Once we got out side we exchanged hugs. On my drive home last night, I looked back on the evening with a great since of freedom. The Freedom to be myself, the freedom to enjoy the evening through, MY EYES! It’s a nice place to be J I hope I can hold on to it for a while longer.

I’d like to talk about something that Suzi talked about in her blog, “Reaching out”. You never know what a difference you could make in someone’s life. Brittney and I have reached out to each other at times to help support each other in what we were about to do. I see a bright and cheery future for her. I think in a way I was trying to reach out last night. I have been feeling shallow lately and was in need of some justification of me! As we talked I felt more at home in my own self than ever before. I hope this is not a fleeting moment. How do I hold on to it? I know with some of the local and online friends I’ve made, there are a few I admire what they have gone through to get to this point. They all reached out at one time or another and it saved many from feeling worse. Their collective knowledge went along way to help others. I hope that we can continue to do the same for others. I Love what Suzi had said YOU SHOULD NEVER BE ALONE. Remember to reach out…please. So when you’re feeling down, really think about what the song SO SMALL by Carrie Underwood is saying. Find that love for yourself and be free.

P.S. Oh hey, Those boots. They were GREAT! I felt great in them all evening.