Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Darling and Sprite

It's been a long time since I've written and I'm not sure why I feel compelled today.  Listening to my gut is something I've learned to value in my increasing age, however, so I will listen once again this morning.

There's a new show on Amazon called "Transparent." I watched the pilot and it seems like it might be a good show.  I came to know about this show because Romeo and Juliet's good friend from college came to visit and shared this with me.  (Romeo and Julie live with us for the time being as they attempt to find decent jobs and save some money.) This good friend, who I will refer to as Darling because he is both physically and soulfully such, is gay.  He has not come out officially to his parents, although he thinks they suspect.  Their solution to his homosexuality was therapy, initially, so you can imagine that he will never share that some of this theatrical pursuits have included roles in drag.  Darling is one of those men who is not transgender, nor transexual, but does seem to enjoy the aspects of cross-dressing when he plays the role of a woman.  Frustratingly, to this woman, he looks better than most women when he is in drag!!!!

Darling shared this with me as he is a staunch supporter of DJ, naturally.  I say "naturally" not so much because he is gay and therefore more accepting of other marginalized people, although that's true, but more because Darling is naturally more accepting of anyone because that seems to be who he is.  He and I have had some remarkable conversations, some of which pertain to the topic of the transgender subject, and DJ specifically.

As a result of my sharing some of our story with Darling, I am reminded of what a remarkable journey it's been, and still is, with DJ.  The first few years were pretty rough and I frankly am concerned that my blog may have made light of our struggles.  The last thing I would want to do is paint a glossy picture so that other parents who might read this would worry that their child isn't doing as well as DJ seemed to be in my blogs.

There were so many days that I felt hopeful and I wrote prolifically on those days.  There were many, many, many days where Bulldog and I were full of despair as we watched our darling girl struggle, hurt, self-destruct, only to try again and not give up.  Some days were very dark indeed and in desperation, I acted out on more than one occasion; to his credit, Bulldog never did, however.

The worry that parents experience is double what they normally experience with their children whose insides and outsides match.  Parents whose children have other significant challenges may understand this dynamic, as well.  Raising children who are pretty much the norm is hard enough; raising children with special attributes is harder.  To be a "good enough" parent for most kids is simply "good enough."  To be a "good enough" parent to a child with special attributes or special needs requires the parent to be more than "good enough" and it's not easy.

It's important for parents to know that when you falter, and you will, as long as you continue to love and accept your child, you have not failed.  If you failed to love and accept your child well, you are permitted another chance to try again, in most cases.  Most kids (even adult kids) just want their parents to love and accept them.

DJ is doing quite well but it took four and half years to get here.  She recently came off of her mood-stabilizing medications and is doing well.  She actually took a road trip to see a friend at college and had a great time. We will call this friend "Sprite" as she is a tiny little person with a joyful personality despite some devastating personal losses.  Sprite has been a wonderful friend to DJ and we were worried about her leaving for her college which was three hours away.  But it doesn't seem to deter their friendship and it's provided DJ with an impetus to strike out on her own a bit more.

She continues to love physics and loves learning. This has sustained her in many of her dark and lonely moments.  Music, learning, physics were her friends many times, when her other friends deserted her.   It sounds sad, and in some ways, is sad; but her resilience was in finding solace in these friends, for which Bulldog and I are grateful.

Know that this parent of a transgender young adult is always thinking of other transgender kids, and their families, as well as transgender adults who are finding a way to conduct their lives and be true to themselves.  All of you folks are an as yet undiscovered wealth of strength and information that others would be lucky to embody.  Peace to you all and I will be in touch again.