i am just a rodeo calf with tender feet and sewn-on horns
i read most of original plumbing and their blog like i do cosmo (i flip through it when i remember about it or see it on someone’s coffee table and generally shake my head), but recently there have been two posts that have given me pause, especially being at home.
oliver bendorf wrote about love and hurt, and chris mosier wrote about getting “girled” by his mom and it was weird for me to read, because i constantly give my family passes. i never ask that they use the right name and pronouns with me, though i am out about it all at this point. and they never do.
i’ve been asking myself the same questions here the whole time i’ve been here. why do i give my family a pass when i don’t give other people nearly as many passes? part of it is that my family is always going to be my family, while it’s easier for me to drop acquaintances. part of it is that i don’t ever want to drop my family, and for whatever reason—being rural, being raised in a faith that santicifies birth families, being a taurus to my mom’s cancer—i can’t even think about what “dropping them” would look like.
If my mother was not supportive, we wouldn’t be talking. I’m grown and living an adult life in NYC. I believe family should be supportive and should love unconditionally. If there were big issues, I know that I would act accordingly and not call, not answer calls, and not make visits to see her or allow her to visit me. But she’s my mom and I don’t want that to happen. Therefore, I can rationalize not accepting and verbally reflecting back to me my identity as a “small issue” and not a deal breaker. Part of this rationalization includes me questioning my own reaction and wondering if I am making too big of deal of this, or of anything. This sort of thought process leads to a cycle of being hurt, not saying anything, blaming myself, suppressing my own feelings about it, and then being hurt again.
i don’t necessarily think this is the wrong way to approach things, but i don’t know how you cut off your family. maybe it’s that my mom and dad still wants me to be in touch with them, relatively speaking, and hate the distance between us. but as i let further barriers down, as i become more and more out with them, worse and worse things happen. tonight my mom and i went to a big used bookstore and as i was digging through the james section, she came up to me and asked if we were ready to go. suddenly she turned and one of her old coworkers came up and talked to her. my mom turned from me as if she didn’t know me, blocked me from the view of her former coworker, and didn’t introduce me.
i don’t know if she did it consciously but it broke my fucking heart.
i’ve been thinking about the young man who killed himself in my hometown recently, and what i would want the most to happen is for my family to do something about it, to come out about me being queer and/or trans, to look me in the eye and face the world with me rather than hiding me in plain sight. it’s ridiculous, i think, because i feel like it’s this big open secret; i’m that kid who went off to the city and then off to wisconsin and is just never coming back, too gay to fit in and too ambitious to sit still. i want my mom to tell me that we should do something together, write a letter to the editor or speak at a board meeting together or even just write the director an email together about what it’s like to be queer in the cheatham county school system. i want her to ask me how to support queer kids more thoroughly in her own school, to ask me what it was really like and finally listen to me.
but i know it’s never going to happen and worse, if i did anything on my own, both of them would spurn me even harder than they have before.
i don’t know; the worst part is i’ve tried before, i’ve tried to hold them at arm’s length, and they just blamed me for the distance. they didn’t take it personally or thought they could be to blame. they read it as the product of escape velocity, part of my pretention that i could leave home, that i could be good enough to leave this town behind.