Friday, July 21, 2017

The First Time My Mom Got to Meet the Real Me

It's been a crazy July. Seriously. In general I'm an introvert, but somehow in the first 18 days of July we managed to have two blocks of five social days in a row. Literally, we did five straight days hanging out with people around the 4th of July and five straight days hanging out with people this past week. As an introvert, that is insanely exhausting. I do have fun around people, but being around people also stresses me out. I need me-time to destress and untie all my knots. 

But, of course, the big stress factor was that this super busy social time involved my mom and her husband staying with us and meeting Faith for the first time. As regular readers of this blog will know, I came out to my mom back in January. It went really well. Both her and her husband have been super supportive of their new surprise daughter. They've even been going to PFLAG meetings where they've learned a lot and met a number of LGBTQ people. My mom even friended me on Facebook.

So she's seen a lot of pictures. The first time she liked one of my pictures (this one), my heart smiled. It was so nice that my mom accepted me enough to like my photos on Facebook. It's a such a small thing, but it's weird, it really meant a lot to me. 

Since I came out, she's been talking about wanting to come visit us here in Brooklyn. So we planned something for July. At the time July seemed like so far in the future, but it was quickly upon us. I wanted to look perfect. That was part of the reason I had put so much emotional stake in my most recent haircut. As I've said before, I feel like the better I look, the more serious I think people take me as a woman. You know, I don't want to show up looking like a joke. This is my own insecurity. I understand that, but it's something I get anxious about before big moments. What bigger moment is there than your mom meeting the real you for the first time? 

Years ago, I remember looking at a dress catalogue. In it there was this picture of a striking young woman in a beautiful dress. And I looked at that and imagined being that striking young woman and maybe wearing a beautiful dress like that to meet my mom for lunch or something. This is another weird one, but I used to listen to "If it Makes You Happy" from Liz Phair's whitechocolatespaceegg (one of my favorite albums). In it, Liz is talking to her mother about her new guy and in the chorus her mother responds "Listen here young lady / All that matter is what makes you happy." I have no idea why, but somehow that lyric always stuck with me. My mom had never called me "young lady." Maybe one day. Hopefully not in a scolding way though, even though that really is a term used only in scolding.

This meeting was going to be years in the making. I wanted it to go well. I wanted my mom to treat me like her daughter. So I bought a brand new wig and thought hard about what to wear. It had to be feminine, but also casual. 

They were arriving on Saturday morning. She'd let me know that they'd be around at 11ish. So, Kath and I got up early and, since we had some time, went out to get an early breakfast. At around 9:30am, we were sitting eating when I got a text that said "Flight got in early. We're in a car on the way over." Shit. I was in lazy mode and I did not want my mom to meet Faith for the first time in lazy mode. So I hightailed it home and started rushing through my makeup and prep. Inwardly I laughed, this was the first time I've ever rushed to put ON makeup because my mom was about to show up.

Well, luckily I got ready in time. I'm getting pretty quick with my makeup these days and can slap on a pretty good look in fifteen minutes or so. They showed up and it was great. At first we just talked and they were great; referring to me with those beloved female pronouns. 

The first day we decided to explore Brooklyn a little bit. Then we'd walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to see the 9/11 Memorial and some other parts of Lower Manhattan. I'd given Kathleen a secret mission; to get as many photographs as possible. But, unfortunately, we only ended up pausing a couple times to get pictures. The first spot was on the Brooklyn Bridge. And the second was down in DUMBO, where we explored on our second day. 

I'm okay with just a few photos. Not everyone enjoys taking pictures quite as much as I do. I can't help it. See, I'm making up for lost time. In my heart though, I know that memories are better than photographs. Pictures can never truly capture a beautiful vista or a wonderful moment. At best they can provide a memory aid. And I think on this weekend we made lots of memories.

It felt wonderful to just be out with my mom. It's so funny because while I feel totally normal as Faith (It's me. It's who I am and always have been), I still got all these weird moments where I thought "I'm wearing a dress and makeup around my mom! I'm out as a girl having lunch with my mom!" The same thing happened when I met Kath's parents; these little flashes of This Is Real! 

On the second day, we actually talked about the transgender subject. It's funny because I feel like people would love to leap right into that question but they also want to appear super cool and accepting. Still, it's a huge subject so it had to come up at some point. We had a really good discussion. I told them about how I felt growing up, like there was an itch that I couldn't scratch, that I knew something was wrong but I didn't have the language, heck society barely had the language, to talk about it. They told us about all transgender people they've met at PFLAG and how their stories sounded so similar to mine. It was really great to talk about it with them. And I am insanely thankful that they are so supportive.

Seriously I want to have them on an episode of Gender Rebels to talk about being a parent of a grown up trans kid. I almost blurted it out but I chose to keep cool for now. We didn't have time to record anyway. Maybe one day we'll have that episode. I think it would be fun and informative.

Speaking of fun, we even got to bash my dad a bit. I've told Kath about my dad but she's only met him once. So it's fun to have someone around to tell stories about his hoarding, his shitty behavior, his know-it-all attitude, and how terrible his attitudes are for his new family. I told my mom and her husband that I really didn't want my dad in my life and thus didn't really want to come out to him. But, they did explain that with my sister's kids it does create a sort of awkward situation about when to use boy name and when to use girl name. So, we'll see. Maybe I'll come out to him. I don't know. I did give them permission to refer to me as Faith, but the coming out should really be from me. Ah well, I don't have to make a decision today.

It was really amazing to get to meet my mom as the real me. But as I write this, nearly a week later, I'm still fairly exhausted. Thankfully this weekend I have nothing to do but relax and un-tie all my knots. I'm looking forward to it. And I'm also looking forward to getting closer with my family now that I no longer have to hide who I am. We already discussed a visit down to Atlanta in March where my sister and family can meet Faith too. 

And now I've gotta get some more goodies ready to be sent out to some of our new Patreon supporters.

I know a few people remember my old YouTube channel, well, I'm doing a Patreon because I want to get some new lighting equipment and camera bits to start filming some really professional looking YouTube videos. There are two channels in the works; Gender Rebels TV, which is going to be like the podcast but with pictures! Great for visual things like makeup. The other channel is going to be my person, which will be Transjedi where I discuss all things Star Wars from a transgender woman's perspective. If you can support, that will help us make some really awesome free content. Plus you get goodies.