Inside & Out: Transformations (11/2/2016)
 
 Warning: This post contains adult content and language!
The  past haunts my days quite frequently. Not because I have regrets, or  feel wronged..but because I feel misunderstood. My sibling has recently  reached out to me for the first time in two and a half years, which  brought back many hurtful memories from times past. When I married  Allan, my sibling was nine. I didn’t call to inform her I was gone. She  came to visit on weekends to our father and step-mother’s home, where I  lived prior to eloping. She had a hard time understanding and was  extremely sad to find me not in our shared bedroom. Since then, we’ve  not had a strong relationship, with sporadic periods of interaction  between the two of us.
The ten years I spent with my father, was  complicated for me mentally, emotionally and physically. He was single  for several years and as a child I washed his laundry, cooked supper and  kept our trailer cleaned. He worked long weeks supporting me and paying  child support for my sibling. He needed help and I didn’t see why I  couldn’t pitch in. My sibling chooses to taunt, tease and ridicule me  and say things such as “Mom and daddy could care less if you’re  transgender” and “you have seriously lost your mind” and “I’m done..  you’re a fucking lunatic and you are out of your fucking mind” and “bad  bad life, poor pitiful you.” This is how our parent’s taught my sibling  and I to treat people with different lifestyles than us. I can hardly  believe my sibling chooses to speak in this fashion. This is just one  example, my parents that raised me also used this type of language  toward me.
I let her know how incredibly hurtful she was being and  that she need not contact me again but that I was sorry she believed it  was okay to verbally abuse me. I tried to be open, informative and  patient with her regardless of how insensitive, abusive and hurtful she  was being. I told her that it isn’t appropriate to speak to someone this  way and that if she could only move away from the people in the south  that taught her this, she would get it eventually. So badly do I want to  educate her and my entire family on intersectionality, forms of abuse,  oppression and ending the cycles of violence. But, no matter how much I  try, it just ends up causing panic attacks, flashbacks and painful  memories to even have one conversation.
Now, it’s hard to explain a  life worth of negative events causing my parents to not want my  friendship and my sibling to have this attitude toward me. But, I will  try...
My birth parent’s Fancy and Saul were married a couple years,  attempted to have children and couldn’t seem to. After a surgery to  repair Fancy’s damaged Fallopian Tubes, she was told a child was now  possible. A year later, Fancy found she was pregnant. My parents  traveled to a few different states for work through the first years of  my life. When my mother was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, I was still a  toddler. At three, my father worked long days, and I was home with my  mother. I would climb onto a chair, onto the counter and retrieve her  medications each morning for her and the “special milk” I called it,  which was basically a supplemental nutritional shake. I would put her  medicines and milk on the bedside table and arouse her for the day.  While she prepared for the day, I would begin watching cartoons.
Eventually,  my father and mother decided to make the move to Mississippi, back to  where my mother grew up, to be closer to my grandmother, Francine.  According to my mother, several of her friends, my aunt and grandmother,  Saul was an adulterer numerous times over. My mother claims that once  they moved back to Mississippi, Saul left her. I haven’t a clue  honestly, but the point I’m trying to make, is that people aren’t  perfect and each person has a “he said/she said” history, whether it’s  totally true or not.
My mother found out she was mis-diagnosed and  the doctors wouldn't refill her steroid prescriptions. This being the  1980’s, apparently the doctors didn’t wean her off the medication and  she turned to street drugs. With me by her side, she lived the life of  a prostitute and crack addict. After four years of being raped,  molested, used, abused and neglected by a substance abusing mother, my  father was awarded full custody of me. At this time, I was eight years  old.
I spent ten years living with my father. During those years, I  was wrestled to the ground, put in head locks between his knees, punched  for “practice” and bruises left behind and lots of  corporal punishment dished out by Saul. Apparently this is considered  “normal” and “playing”. Let me say, I don’t treat my children this way,  regardless of how “right” some may see these behaviors.
I can only  remember lying as a child twice, I’m sure I did it more often, but I can  honestly remember twice. However, when I was taken to a psychologist at  twelve, she informed my father, I had fabricated my entire story about  what happened to me while living with Fancy. There was no way I went  through what I was claiming. From that moment on, nothing I said was  believed, this continues to this day. Thanks mental health! I’ve had a  major issue returning to mental health, but regardless have been  in counselling for 6 sessions now.
I spent several adult years, after  the death of Allan, getting extremely inebriated and tried to nullify  my pain through drugs. I felt that if my mother could choose drugs over  me, then there must have been something to it. I smoked crack, took  extasy, drank heavily multiple nights a week, ate active psychedelic  mushrooms and even experimented with research chemicals. All in all, I  found the experiences unfulfilling. I saw friends judging me, my  parent’s were lashing out at me frequently (once physically) and heard  rumors of people saying I was my mother made over.
It’s been over six  years since I stopped experimenting with street drugs, four years since  I quit taking research chemicals, and going into my third year  completely substance free. But, where is my family? Where are those  childhood friends Annette and Ashley? Gone. Annette told me when I came  out as transgender to “consider me someone you used to know”. Ashley,  has ignored every phone call for over a year. I would have much rather  have had the conversations that we had gone astray and repair our broken  friendships. But, they wouldn’t give me the time of day. Que Sera  Sera...
Personally, I don’t find either of us to be horrible people.  Rather, I find both of us to be more knowledgeable, more daring, and  more grounded due to all life's experiences. I know I’ve lived my life  with no hold backs, no regrets and no qualms. Although I’ve lost  friends, family and respect. I have my own life to live and my own deeds  to live with. Not them, so why be judgemental?
I’m the crazy  lunatic, the druggie, the loser, the black sheep. Really? I don’t find  any of these things to be true. What I see, is a damaged person, that  was trying to find emotional contentment and release. What I see is a  person misjudged, misunderstood and cast away like garbage.
I see  good hearted individuals healing from the inside out and helping others  to do the same. We have rallied for women’s rights at the capital  building in Austin, Texas. We’ve spread awareness, campaigned and  canvassed for Planned Parenthood. Katherine counsels countless people  through her work with the Lifeline. We cook and give meals to homeless  people, while being under-housed ourselves. We deliver food to friends  in need. We volunteer and reach out to other transgender people that  need encouragement or resources. I assist with a support group for  transgender folks over thirty. Yet, those people I used to be friends  with, are hitting up the same bars, being arrested for worse drugs and  going through divorces. We’ve been attempting to get our lives together  for over two years. They have yet to convince me I’m not worthy of love,  or am horrible, but I will be honest, at times it has been hard to see  my own value and worth.
Katherine and I were different people then  though. All of these occurrences seem like a lifetime away now. We have  transitioned in many aspects of life. We made the transition to  sobriety, the transition to vegetarianism; we’ve transitioned from the  eastern united states to the west, we’ve transitioned into wonderful  people. We are adults I’m proud of. We transformed ourselves and our  lives, from the inside out, literally. We’ve had to learn to not allow  the judgements of others to bring us down, hold us back or change how we  view ourselves and one another. We may live in a tiny camper, but we  are finally able to live up to who we truly are, inside and out!