I had an interesting conversation with my therapist yesterday. We talked about the kids and my work.
We discussed where Youngest Child is on their gender path and what that is going to mean. We went to UCSF yesterday partially to start the paper trail that my child’s gender expression has been non-standard from very early childhood. No one can ever go back and rewrite this story and say that my kid hasn’t been asking for this. It’s not coming from me. I’d be fine with having two cis children. But that’s not what I got and I’m just as happy having what I have. I just need to help them figure out how to walk this path.
Speaking of which, UCSF was great. Everyone was friendly, helpful, and accepting. The only push back/denials we got were the staff members expressing the current limits of the law and medical science. That seems like a perfectly reasonable place to say “no”. “Medical science can’t give you a body that is half and half. You have to sorta let it go one way or another. Then you can alter within a set of parameters… but you have to kinda have more estrogen or more testosterone. Some way.” They were clear that legally you can’t be nonbinary. I kinda smiled and internalized that we need to go talk to a progressive lawyer because they can’t help and that’s ok.
We talked about Eldest Child. It’s kind of hilarious right now: my therapist and all of the aunties are in full agreement with me that it’s time for this kid to walk off the ledge. It’s time to be responsible for your own education or it’s time to go to school. It’s… weird/neat/wonderful that I’m getting such universal agreement that how I perceive this situation is how other people perceive our current circumstance. It’s time for this shift. JUMP OUT OF THE NEST, LITTLE BIRD. Not in the sense that you have to move out or anything… birds don’t move out the day they leave the nest either. It’s a process. This girl needs to start just… taking responsibility instead of waiting for it to be handed to her.
Or it’s time for school.
The official line is she is on probation. Either she starts taking initiation by July…. as in habitually just doing it through the end of May, all of June, all of July… in August I’m signing her up for school. It’s time.
Especially since you want me to have a baby… I’m done babying you.
I love you. I believe you can do this. You don’t need my direction all day every day.
hahahahahaha let’s see.
Then we get to the part that is more about me. That is more about moving the needle in life. I care about a lot of shit and there’s a lot of fucked up shit in the world I wish I could have influence on. I wish I could impact homelessness, poverty, racism, sexism…
The simple reality is that moving the needle on one of those topics is a full lifetime of work and most people who pour themselves into them don’t move the needle. It’s fruitless and frustrating. If I continue to bounce around freaking out about tons of things at once… I will waste all the energy of my life.
Many people have described me as having the energy of a star being born. I don’t want to waste that.
Incest. I want to move the needle on incest.
That doesn’t mean I’m going to top caring about all the things I care about, but I need to seriously be focusing my research, reading…. and more of my money on this topic if I’m going to do what I want to do.
When I die I want to be remembered for the work I did on helping people understand incest. That’s my hill to die on. That’s my cause. That’s my thing.
That means not caring about a lot of other things very much.
I told my therapist that I don’t know how I’m going to be a one issue pony because I’m not really a one issue pony. She laughed.
She told me that my worry about needing to learn more about different cultures before I can talk to them about incest is good… but not as necessary as I think. She specializes in incest. She’s seen a looooooooooooooooot of patients with incest backgrounds. She’s white. She has lived in countries where there were almost no white people doing this job. She might know a bit more than me about what it means to work with culturally diverse incest participants.
I’m trying to figure out how to talk about these things. Perpetrator/victim language is very complicated in incest where a lot of the contact isn’t all that exploitive. When there is a huge age difference incest is often predatory and negative, but similar age family members explore sex together all the time and it isn’t the same thing as an adult hurting a child. It just isn’t. Acknowledging one set of experiences often feels like it is erasing the different points of view. I think they all matter.
I don’t think I will ever understand incest if I think of it as all bad.
There are even pieces of what happened to me that aren’t ALLLLLL bad. It’s complicated.
My shrink told me that working on my facial expressions so that I can absorb things more placidly without reacting would help. She told me that when it comes to working with people who don’t look like me… if I treat people like valuable individual human beings…. I’ll be ok. I’ll have problems sometimes… but no work exists without problems.
I’m highly spooked by the experience I had last summer. I keep telling myself if that person has the identical traumatic experience with every white person they talk to no matter how the white person in question behaves… maybe I can’t do anything to be safe enough for all people. There are going to be people who are so traumatized by people who look like me that I can never be a real person in their perception. That doesn’t mean I should decide I can’t talk to anyone in their demographic.
All people deserve to be given a shot at telling their story/presenting who they are. If I have a pattern of making people express that I’m silencing them then I need to change. If it is one person and the other people I talk to tell me that what I’m doing is positive for them… maybe I need to accept that I can’t reach everyone and keep going forward.
I think I am overall pretty good at helping people feel heard and like their story matters. I ask questions. I listen. I don’t assume that people are like me.
I’m going to fuck up. I really will. I will hate myself for every error I make. But I can’t make progress without making mistakes.
Noah points out that at this moment in my life my emotional barriers are still kind of thin. I’m not ready to take on a bunch of new traumatic stories. Not yet. But I want to work on that. That is the next step to master.
I kind of wonder if having my own room will help a bit. My shrink points out that I often create my boundaries with literal walls. I deal with the world when I can handle it and otherwise I stay home. If I have a literal room where I can take all of my big scary feelings and process them… maybe there will be less leakage. I wasn’t ready for such a specific container in the past. I’m not sure if I’m ready now but it seems like a good time to start working on this exercise.
I’m going to make a grief alter in my room. I spend so much of my life faking happiness I don’t feel that I need a concrete, physical representation of the grief I feel all the time. I want to honor the reality of my experience on this planet.
I am absolutely overfull of grief.
Maybe creating a better space for my grief will allow me to be a more healthy conduit for the grief of others.
Sobonfu, this world is a much worse place without you. Thank you so much for being willing to share your knowledge with unworthy, ignorant people such as myself. I am glad you are no longer in pain though. I hope you are resting in love.
Phew. Time to rest my arms. I love the new set up. My neck already feels less pissed off. My shoulder is still tweaking though. My forearms are barely tingling instead of burning. Smart time to stop.