Thursday, December 1, 2011

They are the broken ones

Do any of you watch the TV show, "Glee?"  Admittedly, both Bulldog and I watch with DJ.  Many weeks that show annoys the holy crap out of me, particularly the petite dark haired girl with the beautiful voice because she always looks like she's constipated.  But, once again, my attention deficit disorder has intervened and caused me to digress.

Santana, a cheerleader on "Glee" is a lesbian who was outed at school.  She is forced, therefore, to come out to her parents and grandmother.  Her parents accept her, but her grandmother flat out rejects her and basically kicks her granddaughter out.  The actress that portrayed the non-accepting grandmother was quite convincing.  I could almost imagine having to personally face a person like that, and I could imagine the humiliation and pain of being subject to that kind of rejection. And then, this afternoon, I found a wonderful comment from one of my blog followers who commented on her own lack of support from family.  I ached for her.

Add to that, my own fragile feeling in light of recent events in DJ's world, and I felt defeated.  And please, it's not even my own personal pain we're talking about here.  Yeah, I'm DJ's mom, and that's about as close as a person is going to get to being in another person's shoes, but who am I to talk about my pain?  Because, seriously, you folks who must live with being "different" are truly the tough people. I don't know how you do it, I really don't.  But can I say I admire the hell out of each and every one of you? You may not choose to be born this way perhaps, (none of us gets to choose that) but you do choose to be who you truly are, who you were created and meant to be, in spite of potential and actual rejection you face.

With DJ's recent setback, I am reminded again how limited so many of us are.  And how important it is for me, as DJ's mom to remind her that rejection she faces is NOT about her limitations or undesirability as a person, but is about the limitations of the person who rejects her for being who she is.  Why is it when a person publicly mistreats us that we feel like idiots?  How can the limited person make the object of their ridicule feel like she is the flawed one, when the reverse is so clearly true?

I had to share with DJ my own moments of being ridiculed.  I had to share with her the deep pain I felt when others verbally assaulted me: how it made me feel, initially, like I deserved it;  how I wanted to change myself to avoid a repeat of the ridicule.  And how crucial it is to dig in and hang onto the truth that you are not deserving of someone else's meanness and insensitivity. Bulldog and I couldn't let her continue to think that if she were just prettier, or thinner that they would actually treat her differently.  We have to let our kids know that no amount of changing ourselves will make the other people nicer, or make them accept us because, to borrow Bulldog's words, "they are the ones who are broken, not you."

These people who don't accept and who mistreat others-they are the broken ones.  Do not let them break you in the process.  Keep on keeping on.

How to make the horse drink the water

We've had a bit of a setback with DJ.  It's gut wrenching.  I don't know what happened, something at school, from the little she has conveyed.  She has not been herself in weeks and has lost a scary amount of weight in a very short time.

Why can't she talk about it?  This aspect of her personality-difficulty sharing feelings with others- could be the biggest obstacle of her life.  Being transgender is a pretty big challenge in this non-accepting world, but if you can talk about how you feel, you can work through it.  If you can't, you may pay for it in the end either through depression, isolation, feelings of despair, inability to eat, cutting, sadness, feeling suicidal, or the worst case scenario, acting on those suicidal feelings.

I want to blame myself, as most mothers might were they in my shoes.  Why didn't I catch that she wasn't eating well?  Why didn't I act when I saw she was moody?  Well,  I did catch both of them, but accepted her explanations.  "I'm full" or "my stomach is upset" were her explanations when I asked why she was eating only half of her dinner.  And since DJ just started two new medications both of which could lead to tiredness and one of which to moodiness, we chalked it up to that, as did she, when we asked.

I have to lay most of the responsibility for this at DJ's feet, unfortunately.  We have discussed the importance of talking about her feelings of loss, sadness, isolation that are bound to be a by-product of her coming out, especially in light of the fact that she lost the circle of friends that had been an integral part of her life since she was about seven years of age.  We asked questions about the friends, and she told us what she thought we wanted to hear.  And truthfully, I'm not even certain that something about this loss is the precipitating event that has led to her recent setback because she ain't tellin'.

Then, I go back to blaming myself.  Did we ask our questions the wrong way? Did we not ask frequently enough?  Did our reactions to her responses somehow serve to prohibit her from sharing more with us?

And in true pendulum fashion, I swing back the other way again:  We tried to stay in touch with how she's doing.  We met with her therapist and shared our concerns, chief among them, our suspicion that DJ was acting more ok than she really was.  But it's true, you can lead a horse to water, and you CANNOT make the horse drink.

The next and crucial step is to get DJ to see the graveness of her mistake in withholding her feelings.  And to make her understand the importance of trusting her therapist, or us, or a trusted adult with her feelings.  Otherwise, I am terrified of a domino effect that we won't be able to stop.

Please send prayers and thoughts of support our way.  We all need them, especially DJ.