Family of Me

by Daphne
Updates Mondays and Fridays

Scene 17: Feminine Qualities

Lark (20s me): Hey Mom?

Mom (Present me): Yes Lark?

Lark: I wanted to talk to you about our other life goal.

Mom: We talked about financial independence, so I’m assuming you mean our goal to start a family?

Lark: Yeah. We accomplished that goal, right? So we must have been doing something right to attract a mate.

Mom (annoyed): Ew, don’t call it that. And no, we do pretty much everything wrong.

Lark: Wh… How!? Then how do we get married?

Mom: Luck, mostly? Well, that’s not really fair. Once my partner and I were in a relationship we started growing together. But it was a rocky path at first, and it started entirely by luck.

Lark: So what, you just ran into each other at a bar?

Mom: Yes, actually — at a show for a friend’s band. She’d had one of the worst dates of her life the night before and had just sworn off dating, her friend was planning to set her up with your roommate, and you almost didn’t go to the show at all. But you did go, and you started talking to her before your roommate did, and she enjoyed her time with you. She wasn’t really looking for a relationship and was just having a good time, so you just kept hanging out and one thing led to another.

Lark: Wow. Well at least I was manly enough to get things going.

Mom: Womanly enough.

Lark: Oh come on! You’re going to make *this* a trans thing too!?

Mom: Not me this time; her. Later in life you understand that the reason why she was attracted to you was because you were genuinely listening to what she had to say and asked questions about her life instead of just waiting for the next opportunity to pump yourself up.

Lark: That’s just being considerate!

Mom: I would agree. And yet, she found it remarkable. Even later you come to understand that it was your femininity that bonded the two of you together in the first place.

Lark: My… My femininity!? That’s ridiculous! I’m not feminine! I don’t dress femme, I have a deep, masculine voice, and a pretty unmistakably masculine body!

Mom: All of that is true; you don’t look especially feminine. But the way you act? I already mentioned how you were interested in making a genuine connection rather than putting on a show of dominance. You also prioritize communication and learning throughout your relationship, always trying to genuinely understand her point of view and become a more equitable person. Every time you’re given the chance to lean into your socially granted advantages as a man, you break against the Patriarchy. Every time.

Lark: Again, that just sounds like being considerate. Shouldn’t everyone want equality with their partner? And the Patriarchy sucks; hating the Patriarchy doesn’t make me a woman.

Mom: No, hating the Patriarchy doesn’t make you a woman. Striving for understanding doesn’t make you a woman. Wanting equity with your partner doesn’t make you a woman. None of these things individually makes you a woman, but many men aren’t interested in any of those qualities. And you seem to have all of them.

Lark: That’s… I have to have some manly qualities!

Mom: Maybe? Regardless, to your partner those qualities read femme, and that gave you a sort of gender neutral vibe that she was attracted to. And it’s true, you can come up with other explanations for why you’d have each of those femme qualities, but there’s a much simpler one that explains them all.

Lark: I’m not convinced.

Mom: Fight it all you want. Heck, I *did* fight it for another decade afterwards. But eventually I accepted the truth and as soon as I did everything else just fell into place.

Lark (defeated): Fine, I admit that it’s the simplest explanation. But that doesn’t make it the right one. I just don’t find it convincing.

Mom: I understand. Just give it some thought.

Lark (pensive): You really mean that, don’t you? You’re not going to push me to accept this or punish me for fighting you.

Mom: No I’m not. I want you to be you. I happen to know who that is because I *am* you, but still. There’s no rush.

Lark (tense): I just… I know I have to do things the hard way.

Mom: You do things *your* way. There are reasons for it that we can discuss another time, but you’re valid and it’s okay for you to process this your way.

Lark: I’m valid… Has anyone said that to me before? I guess I’m used to being told I’m wrong in one way or another.

Mom (tearful): I know you are. That’s something we’re still working through… But I’m never going to push you like that, Lark. We’re together here to come to terms with each other, and you deserve to get there in your own time.

Lark (also tearful): Okay. Thanks Mom.