I was sitting in a Zoom group for the mental health program I attend, and someone brought up the notion of writing a letter to someone expressing your thoughts and feelings about that person, and then not even sending it, or maybe even destroying it. This gave me the idea for this post—write a letter to my mom trying to explain my thoughts and feelings I was having these days in relation to her. These suggested letters are often written to express anger or other negative feelings† toward that person in relation to how they might have treated you. This is not my intent here. Some of these thoughts and feelings may even be on the pleasant side, fondly remembering something about her. I share it here that others may see one of the issue with being a transgender or gender non-conforming person, and also that someone will find it helpful in putting together their thoughts in a similar situation.
[Note – this will be written in a time linked manner. I will be writing of my thoughts and feelings on that particular day, and maybe some reflection on them later, so some of the events will no longer be in the present.]
Hi Mom, it’s your daughter, Stephie. I wanted to call you on Mother’s Day and tell you how much you have and still do mean to me. But, I’m scared. Will you know me? Will you know I’m your daughter? Will you know I am Stephie? I hesitate to inquire from dad how much you comprehend about my transgender status. He has not been forth coming with information concerning your mental capabilities.
Two Thanksgiving Days ago at Craig’s, you seem to be confused a lot of the time. I could not tell how much that might have been due to your hearing loss. I delayed coming out to you and dad back then, and postponed it to right before Christmas. When I told you and dad that I was a transgender woman, while dad responded with some questions (hrt and my hair), you sat there looking blank. Did you understand what I told you. I could detect no positive or negative change in your interaction that day.
I almost feel like an orphan when it comes to being your daughter. Is it my lot to be grateful for the support given to me by dad, and resign myself to be but a blur in your mind? While I have had contact with dad, at least several times a month, often more, I have spoken to you only twice. The first time you thought I was Bette. I found that out when you called a couple of days later asking to talk with me because you had not gotten the chance during that first phone call to do so. You did ask one lucid appearing question that day. “How does Bette feel about all this?”
Did this indicate that you knew I was your daughter now? I hope so, but I cannot be sure. One reason is that on another call I heard dad tell you, “it’s your daughter, your daughter, Stephie,” next to last time I talked with him.‡ It was said with a raised voice. The TV was on full blast, so it was difficult to tell if you couldn’t hear him or you didn’t understand. Dad hung up soon after with no chance to ask questions.
Several weeks ago when I spoke to dad last to tell him that I would soon be fully vaccinated, and found out the same for both of you. With that in mind I ask dad if it would be possible to come over for a Father’s Day / my birthday like I used to do in the past. He said that would be fine without hesitation. I feared him saying no because I had been thinking he might want to protect you from any potential shock seeing me presenting as Stephie for the first time ever. But, the ease with how it said gave me hope that you would be fine with it.
So, I want to call you tomorrow, and wish you happy Mother’s Day and express my appreciation I have for you being my Mom. I wonder if you will come to the phone. You rarely do now. At the very least I will have dad relay my wish and appreciation to you. My mind trembles at what might transpire between us if we do get the chance to talk. I hope both of us will feel comforted.
So it has been two and a half weeks since Mothers’ Day when I called to wish you a happy one and share how much you mean to me as a mom. Honestly, it went as expected; you could not come to the phone. I worry about you, fearing to lose you, and fearing that I have already lost you mentally. Dad did say he would relay my best wishes to you for me. But, it saddens me that you couldn’t come to the phone. The question comes up in my mind is dad protecting you. The reason you did not get to the phone.
I am still looking forward to seeing you when I come over for Fathers’ Day / my birthday. I am hoping I can handle what I will see. I can imagine wanting to bursting into tears seeing you, falling into dad’s arms. This is wanting to, as I cannot see myself actually doing that. But, due to hormone treatment it would be a possibility.
Well, the date and time for me coming over is set. I will see you on Father’s Day the 20th at 1 pm. I am so looking forward to seeing you and dad. I do not know how you will react to seeing me as a woman for the first time. I am hoping you will be please with my progress.
It was so nice to have seen you and dad on Father’s Day. It allayed so many of my fears relating to you. When I saw you, I saw you were not too worse for wear from when I was over to tell you and dad that I was a transgender woman. I had been worried as I said about your physical condition. Your mental state was better than I expected too. You seemed to be actively participating in what little conversations we had, which I had hope there would be more of, but with both you and dad not hearing well and not using your hearing aids conversation was difficult. Lastly, you seemed to warm up to me after your initial shock of seeing me present as a woman for the first time.
“I am shocked,” was the first words out of you mouth. At first I did not know how to take that, so I let it pass. You also said you liked my hat twice. It did sound like you were searching for ways to communicate with me. I am aware that it could not have been the easiest of things to do. After all in some ways you hardly know me, although I am much the same person when you take away the change in gender identity.
After lunch we all watch the Nationals’ game with not much conversation, which in a way was fine because I had been worried about how much to share about my transitioning. I know on the phone that dad never seems all that thrilled when I talk about it with him. So, we watched the game together for awhile, and I felt it was time to go.
In away saying goodbye was the most pleasant part of the visit other than just seeing you and dad in person after such a long time. After holding my father’s hand you got up and we approached each other and gave our traditional pecks on the cheek. Nearly melted my heart that one did. As they say actions speak louder than words. And then I left.
So, I was gone and started to think more about the visit. The first was that neither you or dad said or did anything negative. Some would say that you informing me of being shocked would be seen as a negative. But, for me it did not. It was an expression of how much I now look like a woman. Before all you saw was a son. Now you saw me as a daughter. I still do not know what your thoughts were of the visit, but I was quite pleased and thought it was a good beginning.
Still I pine away for doing mother/daughter things with you. But, let’s face it, it would seem a bit odd at our age.
I am and will always be your loving daughter, Stephie.
† I do not mean by negative feelings that they are inherently bad; only that these kinds of feelings most often affect us negatively.
‡ Afterwards I was riding a gender high as I went on my walk because this was the first time I heard him refer to me as a daughter, or refer to me as Stephie to anyone.