Thursday, March 7, 2013

Trans 30 Day Challenge - Day 7

Day 7: Who do you look up to?

For most of my life, I looked up to my Dad. He was my role model and hero in a lot of ways. He was patient, kind, friendly, cheerful most of the time, and tried to hold to what he believed was his moral code. Since transitioning, a lot of my views have changed and in some ways, my Dad holding to those same views and beliefs that I looked up to him for, now disappoint me. Yet I can still find positive things in some of the qualities I am frustrated with as well.

For example, my brother and I agree that Dad lets Mom get her way and/or push him around too much. Of course there are compromises to be made in any relationship but we think he may compromise his own happiness a little too much. That being said, it's this type of behavior that reminds me of his general loving approach to others. He always approached us children in a loving way, even when disciplining. He did have a temper and when he lost it with us, he always apologized later. When I had girlfriends in the past, even when nobody else in the family liked or approved of them, he still approached them in a loving way. He was also never too man enough to stop giving us hugs. I miss him a lot.


In my first job out of college, I met a man who I took a liking to. He approached situations much differently than my other coworkers. He was an atheist and even though he knew I had very fundamental christian beliefs, he respected them and we often argued different points. At one point he changed my belief forever that atheists have no morals. I tell people now, one of the most moral men I've known is an atheist. Now that my own beliefs are not quite where they used to be, I can appreciate him even more.


My brother is an actor, an artist really. He lives for new chances to play characters in productions that allow him to express himself in ways he could not otherwise do. It's very obvious to me that acting is his passion and though he works a thankless job, in his free time, he's constantly looking for his next chance to follow his passion. He's lived this passion since he was very young. I remember in middle school, he and his friends would make videos that often would get played for the whole school. This type of activity continued through high school and after graduation as well.

Sadly, my family did not really understand what it meant to be an artist. My parents constantly pushed him to move towards college graduation and a 9-5 job of some sort, knowing it would provide the same stability they experience in their own lives. In some ways, their intentions were good; they merely wanted a good life for him in the only way they knew possible. On the other hand, I grew up following in their footsteps, going to college, getting a good job, getting married, and buying a house. I look back on how much he must have been compared to me in a negative light and I feel guilty. I'm sure they said things like 'why can't you be more like your older brother?' in their heads if not aloud.

This caused my brother to struggle over the years. I never understood it until I came out and found myself in the same light (or dimmer) as he was all of those years. I have to admire his strength for being able to continue in an environment where everything he did was always wrong. Mind you, I'm not saying he never did anything wrong, we all make mistakes, but he was overly criticized. And now he's still following his dreams. He's accomplished so much in the last couple years and I've been so very proud to be a part of his life and to call him brother.


Finally, I wanted to talk about one more person I look up to, my adopted mother. She turns 60 this month and has had quite the life. She grew up in a time period where being gay was more frowned upon than not and being transsexual was completely ghastly. She did all of the things she was expected to do as a 'boy' and then a 'man' by getting married and having children and providing for them. There were times growing up where she considered transition and decided against it because the world was not ready for it and neither were her children. She struggled with people who took advantage of her and didn't allow her to even consider what her true passions were, let alone strive for them.

When she finally came out and transitioned in her late 50s, her wife divorced her and her biological children pushed her away. Because of her age and health issues, her transition has had to be one accomplished without the power of estrogen and up until recently she has only been able to consider minimal surgical corrections as well. In a lot of ways because of the way 50 years of her life were led, she has to go through a lot of emotional growth. She has also had issues financially for the past few years. Yet even with all of these things going against her, she has still been able to stand up and say "I am a woman" everyday. I've always looked up to her for that because I know that if I had been able to wait and transitioned at a much later time in my life, it would have been so much more difficult. So I'm definitely proud of her.


Cassidy said...

Lovely post, Debra. Thank you for sharing this.


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