Note on image: when I don’t know what to include, I’ve just been picking clothes out that I’d like to buy. It’s calming. And while I love the top here, I don’t have boobs. It won’t look as good on me.

I finally had a long talk with my sister yesterday. She tends to be quite a busy person and we are rather different, so while it’s not like we hold anything against each other, I’d be hard-pressed to say we’re close.

But we’re still family. I wrote her a long-ish email explaining my gender identity to her, not really knowing what to do about it with respect to family. I don’t know how to talk about it with them.

As it turns out, though, they’ve been talking about me. According to my sister, she, her husband, and my parents sat down and had a long chat about me at Christmas. That’s very unsettling to me.

My mother’s first comment was that I must surely be gay or bi. My sister pointed out that I’m not (she knows that, if anything, I’ve been a bit too much into women), but not disclosing how she knew that bothered my mother.

My father commented that they want to be supportive and don’t want to push me away. Good. I don’t want that either.

But then my mother goes off, in the lack of calm which can be her trademark that she doesn’t seem to notice, about what I would be wearing to my cousin’s wedding this summer. Like, in her mind I would show up in a dress or something.

I would consider wearing something completely femme in the future. But not at an event like that, stealing the spotlight from a family member. Nor would I do that without talking to my family about it first. Fuck, it’s like she forgets what kind of person I am when she goes off like this.

I digress.

That kind of outburst is exactly why I haven’t wanted to talk about this. They have noticed my clothes and the bits of makeup I wear. They haven’t said anything. Okay. That’s fine.

The problem, according to my sister, is that they are utterly lacking in context to understand this, something I completely believe. My sister has a friend with a gender non-conforming child. He’s 5, and some days he gets up and puts on cargo shorts and a shirt; others, he puts on a dress. Never will I have owed so much to a 5-year old if this helps.

I then proposed that my mother and I exchange questions and answers in writing. I’m afraid of my mother’s tendency to run off with assumptions and my own difficulties managing emotions. That was a long-time problem for me, and it can be the case when I’m put on the spot out of the blue. When I was younger, I had no idea how to handle it. And it cropped up right around the time Blankie was taken away from me, so the one tool that manages to calm me down I didn’t have. Now I tend to be a bit more polished thanks to some time as a politician and an academic, and while I still feel deeply and passionately about things, I don’t combust in the process.

And that’s where we are. I won’t see my family again before June, so plenty can be hashed out from a distance. In many ways, I’m thankful that I’m a couple of thousand miles away here on the left side of the country. It’s a safety net of sorts for me.

But there is that churning in my stomach as well. They’re talking about me, judging me, and I’m not involved in that conversation.

I’ll let you all know how it goes.