Family of Me

by Daphne
Updates Mondays and Fridays

Scene 1: The Mask

Past Me: I made this!

Present Me: Neat! What is… Oh.

Past: It’s a mask. When I screw up real bad, I can put this on and be “the kid that screws up.” And the kid that screws up is okay with screwing up. Heck, they might even become good at it!

Present: Yeah… They get very good at it.

Past: Oh yeah? I thought it’d be useful!

Present: It is. We use it for a very long time. But it’s becoming kind of a problem. I’ve been looking for a way to get rid of it.

Past: What? Why? This keeps us safe!

Present: (deep breath) This is going to take a bit of explaining, and it’s going to feel scary, but I want you to know that we’re in this together. Okay?

Past (worried): Okay.

Present: You know how you’ve been going to bed night after night, wishing that you were born a girl?

Past (scared): No-one’s supposed to know about that.

Present: Things are different in the future, and we see other people telling secrets like that. Lots of them. And it’s okay! Because it turns out you were born a girl.

Past (crying): I was?

Present: Yes! It takes us a long time to understand, but yes. And we name ourselves Daphne, and we grow into a beautiful woman, and the world opens up to us.

Past (still crying): I’m a girl.

Present: You are. We are. And it’s wonderful. But it’s made using this mask awkward.

Past (drying her tears): Why? I can still hide behind it to feel safe.

Present: You can, but… We get really good at putting it on. So good that it happens automatically; we put on the mask without thinking, and it’s hard to take off.

Past: But we’re safe while it’s on.

Present: Not exactly. The “kid who screws up” is a very specific person. Being okay with screwing up is a tricky thing to rationalize, and we did that by tying it to male privilege.

Past: I don’t understand.

Present: Basically, screwing up is okay because it’s okay for boys to screw up. And we feel bad for taking advantage of that, but it’s still better than feeling like a screw up.

Past: Oh. So when we put it on…

Present: …we feel like a boy.

Past: I… I don’t want to be a boy.

Present: I don’t either; that’s the problem. So I’m trying to get rid of this mask.

Past (worried again): But without the mask I don’t feel safe. Am I… The girl who screws up?

Present: No! No. We made that mask because we couldn’t handle the feeling of being a screw up. But we couldn’t handle it because we didn’t have emotional support that worked for us, and we didn’t know how to support ourselves. Things are different now. We’re surrounded by people who love and support us in the way that we need. And… You have me.

Past: What do you mean, “I have you?”

Present: Well, when you transition later in life, you sort of become your own parent. You’re responsible for raising the little girl inside yourself who’s been trapped in there and never got to express herself.

Past: Oh. That’s…

Present: That’s you, yeah.

Inner Child: So you’re… My mom?

Me: Yes. Kind of. For this, yes.

Child: I still want this mask.

Me: I know you do. It was really important for a long while. It kept us going through a lot of tough times. But you don’t need it anymore. You’re so strong, Daphne. You have better tools to deal with those feelings now. And when it feels like too much, or even when it doesn’t, I’ll be there to help you process.

Child (teary eyed): … Promise?

Me: I promise. It’s going to be hard. And it’s going to hurt sometimes. But you’re going to be okay, because I know you can handle this. We can handle it together. I love you, and I’ll always be there for you, now and forever. So can we try things my way? Without the mask?

Child (sniffling): Okay. I’ll try.

(My inner child and I embrace.)

Me (proud): That’s my girl.

Child: Thanks, Mom.