Family of Me

by Daphne
Updates Mondays and Fridays

Scene 108: Intimacy Newbie

Lark (The Dreamer): Good morning, Mom.

Mom (Me): Hello Lark. How are you this morning?

Lark: As well as anyone can expect, I think. How are you doing though?

Mom: I’m doing fine, why?

Lark: Are you? I’ll be honest, Mom; I’m a little troubled by Ivy leaving for a while. I know she’s not leaving the family, and of course she’s free to come and go as she pleases, but it’s still hard to cope with someone you love deciding to be away from you.

Mom (hesitant): It is, but… In the end, it’s healthier this way. It’s like I told Ivy; distance is an important element of functional relationships.

Lark (insistent): Mom, this is sad. You don’t have to protect us from your feelings; there’s no need to hold them all in like this. You’re allowed to cry. You’re allowed to feel.

Mom (tearful): I… How do you…

Lark: I’m the Dreamer, remember? What happens to all those emotions you don’t let yourself feel, all the desires you can’t hold onto? They come to me.

Mom: I’m sorry Lark, I didn’t mean to…

Lark (insistent): It’s not a burden, Mom. I’m part of you. Let me do my job — let me help you. You don’t have to shoulder this alone.

Mom (crying): It hurts, Lark! It really hurts. I thought I was doing the right thing, but now I’m not sure, and all I can do is give her the space she deserves.

(Lark Stroud forward and wraps her arms around me.)

Lark (comforting): That’s *not* all you can do. You can also reflect and change so you don’t take the same approach next time, and hey, you’re already doing that. Ivy needs a different approach.

(I relax hug Lark back for a bit before releasing her and continuing.)

Mom: What do you mean?

Lark: I mean Ivy’s older. She’s not like the rest of us kids — Aura and I are technically adults, but you’re still kind of old enough to be our parent. Not so with Ivy, and besides, she’s the Companion. She’s looking for a partner, not a parent.

Mom: Maybe, but I’m still her mother. You know how it works in here.

Lark: I do, but that doesn’t mean you have to treat her the same as Bloom.

Mom: I suppose not, but… to be honest, I’m not sure I know how to do that.

Lark: What do you mean?

Mom (deliberate): I mean… I don’t know how to have an intimate relationship with someone. With anyone. That’s supposed to be Ivy’s entire focus, right? And yet, she was never able to do it either. We weren’t able to form intimate bonds until after transition.

Lark: That feels like a good thing to bond over to me.

Mom: I suppose so. Maybe we can learn together, since it’s an entirely new skill to us… At one point our partner realized that I don’t have any experience with intimate friendships. She was right — I’d never had any intimate friendship before transition; not in the way I experience intimacy now.

Lark (concerned): Hang on. That’s not true, is it? We had close friends… Friends that we shared private, personal details with.

Mom: Granted, but that was just sharing parts of our history. It lacked the key element of intimacy: Vulnerability. We didn’t open up emotionally, even then. We let people into our world, but not into our heart.

Lark (pensive): Huh… I suppose that’s true.

Mom: Now that we’ve transitioned medically, we find ourselves loaded with estrogen and reveling in our fresh capacity for vulnerability. It’s no wonder we trans girls fall so fast and hard for each other. We grow up learning that you only open your heart to someone you love romantically, and then we’re suddenly able to open our hearts to so many people, many of them just as intoxicated with second puberty. In an atmosphere like that, it can be difficult to make a distinction between friends and lovers.

(Lark considers that thought for a moment.)

Lark: So… How do you tell the difference?

Mom: I don’t know. I don’t think we necessarily have to? We’re learning something new, so it’s okay for our feelings to be a little messy.

Lark: What if the person you’ve connected with doesn’t feel the same way? Messy sounds a little… Dangerous, I think. Someone could get hurt if expectations don’t align.

Mom: I think there’s an important distinction to make here. It’s okay to have messy, blurry feelings as we relearn ourselves. It’s *not* okay to be inconsistent with communication or just leave things unsaid as we figure things out. Even if we don’t quite understand what we feel, it’s important to try and talk about our feelings honestly, even if we have to muddle through it. Communication is key to every relationship, intimate or not.

Lark (annoyed): It’s so frustrating though, trying to talk my way through a forest of messy, half-formed feelings.

Mom (understanding): I really get it; I get frustrated by that too. But feelings are especially important to share when they’re difficult. Talking about those them with someone might help you sort them out.

(Lark ponders a while longer on this.)

Lark (nodding): I’d like to sit with this conversation a bit. It feels productive, but I need time to really internalize it.

Mom: Of course, Lark. Take all the time you need.