Sunday, January 11, 2009

My Sister: Jan. 11, 2009

I was brought up in family of 3(really only 2) boys, me being the oldest. I remember holding my brothers in my arms when they were born. I helped my mom take care of them many times as children. In those young years I felt as I was their older sister. I was gentle and calm. As I got older I felt things changing around me, but something inside was not. I still felt like I was their sister (a girl), but the world around me started to demand that I was something else. Something that I did not want to be, a boy. It felt all wrong, but the power of the binary is strong, and trying to go anywhere outside that binary, you are ostracized for trying to be who you are. So I held it in. Throughout our life, my brothers and I have been through some not so great times (actually some Crappy TIMES), but we seemed to have survived everything that life put in front of us. I always wondered if this binary thing would cause tension in my family or not. As a kid, I was to scared to find out. I guess I had many chances to tell my brothers, something always held me back to telling. Be it fear, or not sure how to best explain how I felt. As I got older I felt the clamps of that gender binary claw its way into my life. To protect myself I built this barrier around me. This male barrier shielded my feminine voice from speaking, I felt as if I was trapped in a cage. A cage that had no locks, but thunder would roar once the door was opened.

That was many years ago. Even though I longed to be called their sister. The knowledge of knowing that I was there, they just couldn’t see it yet. You see I build that gender binary shield pretty good. Well sort of. As the years rolled by the strength of the Gender Binary weakened, but the long effects of testosterone has taken its toll. I would not know tell I was older how It would awakened new possibilities in my life.
So what has become of a quite little girl stuck in her room her whole life. The little girl who used to look out her window up in the sky and wonder will I ever be who I’m supposed to be. Nobody really knows her, they’ve only seen the shell of the true person inside. No one saw the passion and joy from the inside, only seeing the shy person I became. As I came out to my family I was terrified that something would get lost between our family. But as I told each of my brothers, my mother, then my dad. I became stronger in my conviction to do what needs to be done as I told them how I was feeling. It took some time for things to sink in, but I have also been taking things pretty slow lately. This year will be even more changes
What brought all this on, was a unexpected comment from my brother to my blog "A Sons Perspective":
That was an extremely well constructed verse on how a young man feels enlightened by a parents wish to become a complete person. I admire you also, Michelle, your reality has been hidden for to long. I welcome you to a shared reality by which I to am proud to call you my sister.

We have had several chats over the years about the trans issues and things seemed as if they were cool. But to be honest I was not quite expecting his response. You know how long I’ve been waiting to hear that! ? For a long time! Lol. It is short, it is sweet. But in those few words I was filled with such emotional joy I had to sit. As I sat there, I thought about what I just read. "My Sister". OMG, I read it again after clearing my eyes from morning slumber. I wanted to scream with joy, but didn’t want to wake anyone up, lol. I took a deep breath and was overcome with this emotional release as I stood looking out the back window, it freed some of the barriers I preserved. I realized in that moment how much those two words meant to me. "My Sister". There is so many thoughts rolling around my head, but I must thank you from the bottom of my heart for you support. Having family back me means a lot to me because I never wanted to lose the ones I grew up with. That meant so much to me. We were there for each other in the hard times and the good. Its an experience to feel these firsts in my progression to be true to my reality. And each of these firsts adds to the strength I didn’t think I had, to move forward and live my reality. As I move forward in my journey I will be taking a lot from my sons letter and my brothers comments to heart. The knowledge that my son is strong in his convictions and yet he is even tempered and very thoughtful person. I’ve seen him stop many times to go help out his grandfather, or one of his aunts. He does have a compassionate heart for his family and friends. I admire his strength. To my brother, I Love You. I’ve always admired you also. You were always yourself. You were loud and let everyone know your option. I always thought if I could just be like you and just tell everyone, maybe things would have changed a long time ago. But to be honest, I couldn’t change then because I was not ready. I am ready know, more than ever.
On a closing note. Quoting my son:
Personally, I would rather be proud and shout out for who I am, than desperately be trying to live a life for who I am not. And I feel like you would agree with this, and I hope that someday I will have as much courage as you do.

I do agree with this. I’ve become more proud of who I am every day. The more I do, the more strength I gain. I think you do have the courage, it’s in you. You must always be true to yourself. Never let anyone hide your voice. Be heard! For me, being locked into the binary has brought me both pain and joy. The pain of living a life in a shell, but many joyful moments I’ve found down this path. The family being the most important. I’m letting my voice be heard now, and that will never change from this day forward. I’m proud of who I am, and will live true to my reality. I know this year is going to be some of the biggest changes so far (well, except for breast), I expect several more changes by this time next year. So I look forward to what 2009 brings. I have more positive changes planned I’ll fill you in on as the year roll along. ? To all my friends out there, take my son advice "Be proud and shout out for who you are". In this way our voices and hearts can be heard. Let them see the beauty within. The binary can be broken, I prefer to think of it as expanding the binary. As my friend Lori always says "live. Authentically". I hope everyone has a great year.
Hugs Michelle


Keri Renault said...

Family has a huge impact on our emotional well-being. I'm touched to read how family has come to your support, Michelle. Ultimately, we each must walk our path alone, but it's more reassuring when we know that friends & family are by our side with unconditional love.

My take on the binary is that its toxic influence is wielded across all walks of life: gender, sexuality, social status, career, avocation, spirituality...the list goes on. Nothing, absolutely nothing is absolute in this life (except death). A white/black mentality is conformist and as such holds the individual back from uncovering and embracing their authentic self-realization. That will always be an "inside job" best left to the individual with the world suspended at an emotional arm’s length.

Here's my personal irony. Now that I've liberated myself to express the true nature of who I am, I'm less stigmatized by my biologically male origin AND less enthralled by embracing a cultural "Barbie-doll" mentality of femininity---including the cliché attributes that go along with the societal “feminine ideal”. What I do own is this: I am and always will be a transgendered woman.

Live and let live as an individual. When life is this simple, it’s also THIS good. The rest naturally takes care of itself.

I'm delighted to read how positively re-affirmed you are on your own personal path, Michelle. Wishing you all the best in 2009. Cheers!

Lori D said...

I am in the middle of seeing you begin to really blossom, sweets. I love it!

Being true to yourself, living authentically...whoever imagined it would be so wonderful?

Michelle said...

Hi Keri,
Until recently did I really think about how binding the binary is. As I've gotten closer to being liberated, it seems as the choke hold has loosened up from my tugging. But whats more powerful, is the knowledge the liberation has begun. I'm finding more strength in the fears I once had as they fade. Many of those fears of the binary kept me silent most of my life, Not anymore.

Hi Lori,
As the year progresses I will be living more authentic to who I am. The support of my family has fluid the desire to live authentic to myself and others. Even through the hardest times, deepest despair, I somehow found enough hope to carry on. I know you have gone through similar things. That desire to be authentic is a powerful thing. Isn't that what everyone wants? To be true to oneself, your identity! I admire you Lori for having that strength that you have. I see it in your eyes, now, more than ever. I think it's time for a few more flowers to blossom :)

Unknown said...

You have a wonderful family hon... what more could you ever ask for?

You have touched on something that has been bothering me for some time - I just long to hear those words - JUST ONCE from any of my family that would validate or confirm their acknowledgment of my change. So far, I am thankful that they at least talk to me... hopefully in time.

BTW, I am moving my Blog "Pink Thoughts" to Private, Invitation only. I would like you to remain a follower, but I need to send you an invite via your email. Can you email me directly at: and let me know if you'd like to remain? Thanks dear.