If my family or any of my RL friends find my blog and figure out who I am…I am going to be a dead woman after this post…
Let me begin by saying, I am not one who asks for things. If someone happens to give me a gift, I typically could care less what it is so long as it comes from the heart. Previously, I have written about gratitude and trying to have an attitude of gratitude. Its one of my goals in life. I don’t always succeed but I do my best to keep that kind of mindset. Its what’s gotten me through my darkest days.
While my family doesn’t do much in the way of gift exchanges, with me not having kids, cousin, aunts, uncles and my sister will often ask me what I want for Christmas. Despite me telling them not to worry about getting me anything, they will usually get me something, usually something small which is fine, because I am often buying something for everyone’s children. I think they figure that since I have no kids…I should get something for what I give to their children.
As I said before, I typically could care less if I get a gift and, if I do, what it is. You want to give me a gift card? No problem. You want to give me a bottle of wine or liquor? Go right ahead. A gift card for car washes…less money I have to spend out of my pocket. We are all good. Want to give me homemade cookies? So long as there’s chocolate in them…cookies for the win! I know that sometimes, ESPECIALLY in SL where we can have anything, it can be hard to figure out what to give someone. I get it. I struggle with that myself a lot of the time.
What does hurt though is when someone specifically asks you what you want and they get you something that doesn’t even fall within the same conversation topic. That’s hard because it makes you feel like either you weren’t heard or someone didn’t respect what you asked for, especially if it was something needed. And for me, it hurts too when it is something related to my transition because it leaves you questioning a lot of things.
So the other year, someone very close to me called me and asked me what I wanted for Christmas. After telling them several times they didn’t need to get me anything, they kept pushing for me to share what I wanted and so I was honest with them. I told them that if they insisted on getting me anything, to get me something that would help me along in my transition. Now this was early on, so I really didn’t have much of anything. So I told them that ANYTHING that would help me would be fine. Lotion, hair dryer, flat iron, make up, clothes, a gift card for any of those things. As we closed the discussion, I reminded them they didn’t need to get me anything. The closed stating they knew they didn’t have to but wanted to do something for me.
Over the next couple of weeks, I pretty much forgot about our conversation as I got caught up in the business that comes with the holidays. Parties, dinners, shopping, etc. all takes up so much of our time and sometimes we just forget things. That’s what happened with me.
A few weeks later, several of us got together for a holiday celebration. We were having a great time together. All of them knew I was transitioning, so there were no concerns there. As the night started to come to a close, the person I had spoken with previously came up to me all excited to give me the gift they had gotten for me. I’ll admit…I was excited! This person had asked me what I wanted and so as they gave me the gift bag, I was hoping to would be something, well, girly. Maybe some make up samples. Even a $10 gift card can go a long way when you are just starting this journey.
As I was getting the tissue paper removed from the gift, my heart sank. In the gift bag was something that was, well, super masculine. It was a gift that was anything but me. In all honesty, it wasn’t even something I would have bought before I started transitioning. That’s how masculine a gift idea it was. Now, I will say thatisf this gift had been chosen by others I know, I probably wouldn’t have flinched. Hell, if the person hadn’t asked me what I wanted for Christmas, it wouldn’t have phased me either.
The part that hurt the most was the fact this person had asked. They had asked not just what I wanted…but what I needed. This person had heard me talk a hundred times about how expensive transitioning is. What hurt was this person asked…and then went and did the exact opposite. As much as I hate to say it this way, it hurt the same way it does when someone who had been close to me before transitioning swore to me they would never call me by new name.
Now, I understand that it can be hard for people who have known me for years to change their mindset about me. I am aware that for some, as much as they want to support me, it can be uncomfortable getting used to the female me versus the me they know for all those years. The hard part though is that with others struggling with their being uncomfortable in silence…it leaves someone like me feeling uncomfortable around them too…along with being uncomfortable around everyone else who feels uncomfortable around me. And with someone like this person, it does leave you questioning things.
I don’t know. I want to say that I am not petty and I still love this person very much. I have also forgiven them for what happened that year. But it does bring to light the question of how to confront situations like that. I know I am going to confront them at the family wedding this coming weekend. This will be the first time I have seen most members of my family in about two years. It will be the first time I have seen my sister in law and the kids in just as long. I know that many of them are going to be uncomfortable around me. I know many of them are going to struggle to interact with me.
I am going to do my best to do what I did with the Christmas gift situation. I am going to put on my prettiest smile and do all I can to make the most of the situation. I am going to do my best to have a good time. I am going to make sure that if something negative happens, to just step away. I am going to do my best to love my family and others who can’t support me, even though I don’t like their choices and views.
And I am going to remind myself that there is no way they will ever be able to understand what has gone on inside my head for over 40 years.
So what do I want for Christmas? I mean, I have written a short story to get to this point. What I want for Christmas is this…
- To be able to present full time soon because this back and forth is killing me;
- For all of us, myself included, to become more open minded to different cultures and lifestyles;
- For people to understand that who we love and what gender we choose to express has nothing to do with whether or not we are a good person;
- For people to listen…especially when you don’t understand something. And, after listening, take into account what was said and apply it to how they interact with others;
- For all of us, I include myself in this again, to remember that we typically have little to no understanding of the journey another person has taken or is currently on. Find out more about it before you go and judge them on that one aspect of their life.
That is what I want for Christmas this year. Granted, I know it isn’t possible on a large scale. But maybe if just one person I know who is struggling in dealing with me or any other cultural minority can learn these lessons…next year it will be two people. The year after that, four…and so on and so forth.
I guess only time will tell…
See it on Flickr.
Granny’s Winter Cottage Carper, #15
Christmas Tree 2017 Decorated