In Place

Suburbs of Cleveland
Were the landscape of my childhood.

We didn’t have money for much,
But travel was something else.

We drove all over
The eastern U.S.
In our Astro minivan.

I didn’t even want to go
To France
On my first airplane ride,
But my mother told me I was going –
And paying for half.

That was all I needed
To know –
That I could go –
I didn’t stop moving
For fifteen years.

And then I discovered California
With two children.
The beach
The mountains
The forest
Culture.
Isn’t this everything?

But suddenly I’m not moving.
There is nowhere to go,
Not within a reasonable distance.
And so I am held in place,
Tethered,
Spinning,
Nowhere to go.

My children hold me,
The space binds me.

And I scream
To be free.

To go.
To roam.

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Filed under Children, Parents, poetry, Social Issues

Empathy

You reach,
You whisper.
Tears fall
In silent shadow.

I run ahead,
Like an enthusiastic puppy,
Ignorant of its owner’s
Exhaustion.

Tell me of your pain.
Rewrite the agony in blood.

I start to see
The trail of pain
Left
As we wonder.

Not me,
Not me,
Not me.

Fix this,
Fix this,
Fix this.

There is no fixing.
There is only healing.

I reach,
I whisper.
Tears fall
In silent shadow.

You run ahead,
Like an enthusiastic puppy,
Ignorant of its owner’s
Exhaustion.

I’ll tell you of my pain.
Rewrite the agony in blood.

You start to see
The trail of pain
Left
As we wonder.

Not you,
Not you,
Not you.

Fix this,
Fix this,
Fix this.

There is no fixing.
There is only healing.

We reach,
We whisper.
Tears fall
In shadow.

They run ahead,
Like enthusiastic puppies,
Ignorant of their owners’
Exhaustion.

We’ll tell you of our pain.
Rewrite the agony in blood.

They start to see
The trail of pain
Left
As they wonder.

Not them,
Not them,
Not them.

Fix this,
Fix this,
Fix this.

There is no fixing.
There is only healing.

 

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Filed under poetry, Seeking Health, Social Issues

Facing the Past

Every single day I go into Facebook and, using the On This Day app the site provides, I review every post I’ve made since joining Facebook on that day. Essentially, every post with reference to my daughter’s deadname gets deleted. No mercy.

There are theories and stories about young transgender children. I really can’t bring myself to link to them, and I am grateful to know that there are better resources available now – even just a few years later. Even this wikihow is better than stuff I’ve seen, but it does contain some elements of what I find problematic. Many such lists do not include the fact that every person’s experience is different and that your child not exhibiting this behavior does not mean that they are not transgender. Sorry, I know that is a lot of nots.

For our family, those lists have been largely rubbish. Stories of other families with transgender children rarely reflects our own story. That’s okay. At least, it was okay once we figured out that it was okay. We looked into our past and said, she wasn’t: telling us she was a girl, playing with stereotypically ‘girl’ toys, hating her body, being sad, angry, distant…none of that.

And that is true. Mostly. Every once and a while, though, I find a photo of her all dressed up in beads and crowns with a caption about being a princess. At the time, it wasn’t something that I applied any deeper significance to. Why would I? I taught my children that colors are for everyone and toys are for everyone, this simply fit in with that.

Today, doing my daily Facebook clean, I found a post that shared this exchange:

Me: Are you a big boy?
Eldest: Girl, actually.

She was two. Seven years ago. Four years before I noticed.

At the time, again, it was just cute to me.

It has her deadname in it.

How do I delete the first record of her telling me who she is?

 

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Filed under Children, Parents, Social Issues