Family of Me

by Daphne
Updates Mondays and Fridays

Scene 23: Safety Net

Lark (20s me): Hey Mom?

Mom (present me): Yes Lark?

Lark (hesitant): I wanted to ask you about something. It really feels like… There’s a lot about me… That would be explained by being a girl.

Mom: Yes, I’d agree.

Lark: There’s a part of me that wants to try being a girl. But I’m afraid that certain people will… Have trouble accepting me.

Mom: I don’t know how things would have been in your time. When I came out, nearly everyone was supportive. You get pretty good at picking affirming friends as you get older.

Lark: *Nearly* everyone? That’s not *everyone*.

Mom (sighing): No it isn’t.

Lark: It’s just… I think I can take some disappointment, you know? I could weather losing a friend or two. If work wasn’t supportive, that could make life hard.

Mom: Fortunately for me, I wasn’t the first trans woman to transition at the company I worked at. That fact helped me feel safe there and my coworkers handled it wonderfully.

Lark (quiet): So friends and work are fine. That leaves… Family. Our parents don’t handle the news well, do they?

Mom (sadly): No. They do not.

Lark (worried): I mean, I kind of knew they wouldn’t. It’s a big change, right? I can give them time to come around to the idea. I’ve heard stories about parents of gay children where they’re shocked initially, but they go on to become great allies!

Mom (tearfully): Yes, that can happen. Not to you, though.

Lark (stunned): So they just… Don’t come around?

Mom: They haven’t yet. As far as I can tell, they aren’t really trying — it feels like they think their feelings are all that really matters and they shouldn’t be expected to change their behavior. Maybe they’ll eventually change their mind? A dear friend of mine told me it took her parents three years to start using her name and pronouns. I’m only halfway to that milestone, so maybe there’s hope.

Lark (crying): But… They’re our parents! What if something happens? What if we need them? They’re like our safety net, you know? We don’t have other close friends we can rely on!

Mom (calm): It’s true that you didn’t have other relationships like that. But things change. We have our own family now. And one of the most important things that we unlock when we transition is the ability to make intimate bonds. We can finally forge connections to other people that are deep and meaningful and durable. We can be part of a community and not just feel like we have some interests in common, but feel like we truly belong. We’re weaving a new safety net, and we’re making it stronger every day.

Lark: That… Still feels scary to me. How do you know things will be okay?

Mom: I told you before, Lark. I don’t. They might not be okay. But there is no version of reality without risk. We can manage risk somewhat, but never eliminate it, especially not now. Remember though, that our past wasn’t without risk either. My life was already unraveling when I decided to transition. I had no future living as a man — womanhood was the only way forward.

(Lark takes some time to contemplate what I’ve said.)

Lark (resigned): So that’s it then, huh? It’s inevitable. I’ll have to become a girl, and there’ll be no way back.

Mom: Of course there’s a way back, if you want. The process is safe and the early changes are fully reversible. Besides, you live inside my head. If you wanted to try being a girl you could just do it, and if you wanted to go back to living as a guy you could do that too.

(Lark hesitates for a few moments before answering.)

Lark: I won’t want to go back.

(I hesitate for a few moments too.)

Mom: No, you won’t.

(Lark is silent for a long time.)

Lark: I’m sorry… I just can’t. I need more time.

Mom: Always, Lark.