Family of Me

by Daphne
Updates Mondays and Fridays

Scene 38: Sapphic Disaster

Libra (College me): We really are a sapphic disaster, aren’t we?

Lark (20s me): Are you still talking about that?

Libra: I just can’t get over it! I fell into a deep depressive spiral over not being able to get a girlfriend, remember? I almost failed out of college because of it.

Lark (pensive): Yeah, we did, didn’t we.

Libra: To think that entire time I was never going to find a relationship that works. Not the way I was going about it. Not when I thought I had to be the man in a relationship.

Mom (present me): Don’t be too hard on yourself, Libra. We were in college in the early 2000s. Even if we’d had any notion of queer culture, no-one else we knew at the time did. Who would we have found?

Libra: Surely there could have been someone, even back then. Besides, that’s not my point — my point is that I spent months and months in a deep depression in service to an idea that was never meant for me. That never even applied to me.

Mom: If that isn’t the “late-in-life-transition” experience I don’t know what is.

Libra: I… I guess so.

Lark: Isn’t it strange though?

Mom: Isn’t what strange?

Lark: The women we were romantically interested in — the whole list we just made. How we keep falling for people we’d made emotional connections with. That doesn’t strike you as strange?

Libra: Come to think of it, Mom… I’ve sat with you on Discord in private channels where other trans women are discussing their kinks — you don’t seem to share any of them.

Mom (avoidant): You don’t know that… It’s not like we’ve tried them.

Libra: Maybe not, but they don’t awaken any tingly feelings inside you, do they? Not like an emotional story does. Not like a deep, personal connection does.

Mom: So? There’s nothing wrong with wanting a connection to a person first. Maybe I’m demisexual.

Lark: I don’t think so… I’ve been there when you’re turned on too. It doesn’t *have* to be a deep emotional connection. Sometimes an idea hits us just right and we feel our breath catch and our head gets warm and swimmy…

Mom (uncomfortable): Hey, this is sensitive stuff! You girls might not have to worry about how other people see you anymore, but your Mom still does! When did this become the “drill into Daphne’s romantic interests” discussion?

Lark (defiant): Fine then, let’s skip past the probing. What are they?

Mom: What are what?

Lark: Your romantic interests! The things that turn you on! What are they!?

Mom (flustered): You… You mentioned some of them! The story thing? And emotions are incredible! Of course I want intense, powerful emotions! And… Uh…

Lark: You don’t know.

Mom (upset): *You* don’t know! *I’m* married, remember?

Lark: Sure, you know what you want in a *partner*, but not what you want for *yourself*. They’re two different things. And you’re right, I didn’t understand the difference, and I didn’t know what I want — but I’m *your* past, so when did you figure it out?

Mom (distressed): I…

Libra (upset): Lark! That’s so harsh!

Mom (tearful): No Libra… Lark is right. I don’t know what I want for myself. I’m still trying to figure it out.

Lark: Exactly.

Libra (annoyed): Exactly what, Lark? You went out of your way to antagonize Mom, and for what? To score some sort of argument point?

Mom: You seem to have it figured out, Lark — why don’t you explain it?

Lark: The point is we don’t know what we want. We never did. We keep falling into these strange relationships because we gravitate towards what feels good, but we can’t take aim at what we really want because we don’t know what that is. We just have a sort of “I’ll know it when I feel it” attitude.

Mom: Not only is that a bad strategy for us, it’s also an awful burden to put on potential partners, because they have to do all the emotional labor of figuring our desires out for us.

Libra: Goodness… It’s no wonder we had so much trouble romantically. We never took the time to truly understand what we wanted. Why did we ever think that was okay?

Mom: Because we used to think we were a man, and in general, men expect the women in their lives to do all their emotional labor for them. After all, the storybook romance that’s sold to us all is meeting a woman who can teach us about life and love and give us meaning. That expectation is so ingrained culturally that it’s quite difficult to counteract. We fell victim to that cultural pressure too.

Libra: That’s depressing — but we’re married now, so something went right.

Lark: Maybe so, but we still owe it to our partner to figure ourselves out.

Libra: Oh, definitely.

Mom: Yes, definitely. I think that’s the takeaway here — I’m a little closer to understanding myself, and it’s up to me to figure out what I want so I can aim at it and communicate it to everyone around me.

Libra: That’s not going to be easy.

Lark: Sure, but what is?

Mom: That’s the spirit.