About a week ago, I was chatting online with my cousin-in-law; she had told me that my father would be having cataract surgery, that she thought the surgery would be performed the following week, and that I perhaps should take the opportunity to talk to my mother. Against my better judgment, I called a few minutes ago.
My mother answered the phone. When I asked how it was going for my father, she replied that he had not yet had the surgery, that he was going in next week. Then she told me that if this -- my transition -- is what I wanted, that I should go ahead and do it, and that maybe she'd call once and a while. I don't know whether she listened or just heard my voice when I told her that, to obtain my diagnosis, I had sat before a panel of medical professionals, that I was under a physician's care. She only said that she didn't know who was going to take care of her and my father now. She told me that only God is going to take care of me now, that I had better say some prayers. Incidentally, she knows very well that my philosophy is atheist. As she closed the call, I told her that I love her. Her reply was "Goodbye."
What we transfolk endure is not pretty. We are presented with the choice between the pain of living a lie in order to have people around us and the pain of isolation for living our lives as the people we know ourselves to be. Most of us hide ourselves for years in order to avoid rejection; and when we finally come out because we can take no more, we are castigated for not having said anything earlier, and are rejected anyway. I lose count of the number of times that my mother has told me that friends are useless, that family is all one can count on. I have learned the true meaning of that statement, I have learned that it contains a tacit element. I have learned that the full statement is
Friends are useless; you can count only on family as long as you are what we want.
Outside, it is a cold December day, as I write this. I am, in a way, grateful for the infernal hot water heat I have in this apartment, even if I have to sleep with my bedroom windows open. Even so, I am cold. I once stated that, in coming out to my parents, I gambled everything and lost. As I sit here, I realize that the cold feeling comes of never having had anything to gamble in the first place.
This is probably the last time I will speak to either of my parents; I will probably never see them again. I think back upon my adolescent days, when I knew that I had all of the answers, when I knew that my parents were wrong about everything. I think back upon the years I spent in hiding because I felt that I could count upon my parents' total rejection, were they to know about me. I think back upon what my mother told me so many times, that family was all I could count on.
As much as it pains me to say it, my mother was right.