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Dec 25 2014

Understanding the Actions of My Parents

NOTE: This post is a little less clean and edited then others — It was originally written as a Reddit post but then I realized it belongs here too.  Also, this post started as a factual post not ever meant to speak to them directly but in the end mutated into a letter that I am going to end up printing and giving to my parents today during Christmas brunch.

My dad’s side of the family always does Christmas on Christmas Eve and gives presents at that time. I bet my best gift this year (I haven’t done Christmas with my mom’s side yet) will be one my dad gave me last night. It wasn’t even an intended gift. He gave it to me because he finally thought I “was ready” as an after thought to the evening. There was no pop or circumstance, it wasn’t really a gift… but it feels like it to me.

I’ve been struggling over the last couple years to piece my past together and that lead me to realize that I’m trans* bla bla bla (unneeded details)

He gave me the gift of understanding just a little bit more of my past particularly the actions of my parents. He provided me a set of documents (which I have since read) which are all the documents related to my psychological testing done as a child/high-schooler/college student. My parents are both psychologists so they saw though with testing so that they could hopefully figure out why I was under preforming in all areas of my life… School, emotionally, and socially. The ages of my testing ranged from 13-19.

Here’s the kicker to me, I think he knows, and I know if he had given me these documents any earlier (before I came out) they would have freaked me out and caused something very bad to happen. The documents have no answers without details I have now… They would have only caused more questions. The last thing I could handle was more questions. I was not ready for the documents until now, and somehow my dad knew that, even if subconsciously. So while I am thankful for him giving them to me now, I am equally thankful that he withheld them so many years. (I’m 29 now, I’ve had a legal right to these documents for 11 years already) Until last night, I didn’t even know these documents existed.

To me, the documents have subsequently reinforced the conclusion that I have reached myself. These documents paint a picture of a depressed and anxious boy who was refusing to accept many things in his life. Those things revolved around various changes happening in his life at the time. None of those changes, were his fault, but they hurt and stressed him deeply. While the finger was not pointed at Gender Dysphoria, it did exist at the time. However, it was the 90s and therefore gender dysphoria was a sexual disorder. Is it possible this disorder was not considered for me because at first I was not sexually active and then subsequently din’t report any sexual problems? Is it possible the issue just didn’t occur to anyone? Was it possible that because I had already hidden key pieces that it was impossible to find? The studies showed there were borderline issues relating to: depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, “cognitive problems”, and ADHD.

Since they were all borderline not a single one provided a situation severe enough to diagnose. I was failing in school, emotionally, and socially for ‘un-explainable’ reasons. Since nothing was in the range where it could be diagnosed, I was not eligible for any kind of special education assistance. This of course devastated my mom and dad. They always tried to help the best they could at the time but the limits of psychology had made it so they were trapped in a corner. The only person that could break the code, was me. There was nothing they could do until I was able to provide more information. Now I know when they seemed so excited when out of the blue I told them one day that I had found the issue behind all my mental, emotional and social problems. I had cracked the code that many good people have been working to figure out for many many years. With the new information I have, now I can ask for help. They, among others who have tried to help, can finally help.

I had no idea of most of these details, I just knew they were taking me in for testing what seemed like all the time, and nothing ever happened. That was a juvenile perspective of course. There wasn’t actually that much testing done but it made me angry at the time. I kept saying to myself “what was the point?” My parents however, had results. Tests suggested I should join a “study” of some kind, usually relating to sleep disorders and also implied further testing. Most did not have any kind of reasonable conclusion. I understand why they pushed me so hard to do things that I refused to do (like homework) I understand now why they always asked me “why” I did something. I hated that question because I never had an answer. I understand, now, that they really cared, even though a lot of what they did felt so painful, antagonistic, and abrasive at the time.

There was no psychological, medical, or explainable reason why I was under preforming. I have intelligence, and my ability to concentrate is there. I have interests and I can succeed socially. Now I know why I was constantly distracted, why I was constantly depressed, why I was constantly anxious. I was plagued by thoughts of fitting in, and how I was incapable of doing it. I was plagued by trying to figure out why I was different from everyone. They didn’t really start until 6th grade but they had always been present. These thoughts took my time, both at school and at home. They caused me to show these symptoms that I experienced. Each thought made a little bit more of the girl inside me hide, and a fake construct of a boy/man come out. As that occurred, and I moved into high school and college I fit in more in society but I became more angry, depressed, and unhappy with myself. While I was not experiencing depression as a root cause… Gender Dysphoria, I’m realizing, a lot of time causes depression and all the other symptoms I had (sometimes at a low level) to appear as a symptom.

I was a real pain during a great deal of these times. I was combative, lazy, evasive, and secluded, among other things that made it hard to reach out to and connect to me. Mom and Dad, I’m sorry. Please accept my apologies. I tired to lie my way out of things, I tried to avoid every confrontation I could. I did my best to keep you both out of my life and make it so that you couldn’t help me. I did my best to do the bare minimums of what would not get me in trouble or would be what people expected of me.

Thank you dad, for doing everything you could. Thank you for providing me the documents you did; they really opened up my eyes.

Mom, I’m so very sorry. For my entire life, I have misjudged you. You really have always had my best interests at heart… I was just never able to see it. The more I lied, the more I avoided the more you pushed. It created conflict in my heart that conflict made it so that i tried to stay away and detached from you.

I really am sorry, that I was not able to piece this together sooner. I feel like I’ve wasted quite a bit of time when I should have been growing together and connecting with the both of you. I’ve been pushing you guys, and many others away. It’s time for a change. <3

Love Always,

~Jo

About the author

Josie

I’ve never been good at writing about myself. I’ve never been good at ‘talking up my strengths’ but at least I should try…

I am a 30 year old (gasp), woman. To me, it is just that simple. My life is slowly coming together into a form where I can be proud to call it my life.

Who am I? I’m a strong, loving woman that was assigned male at birth and is finally correcting that egregious error by biology. For most women if they have an urge like wearing a sundress, they just do it. For my first 29 years on this planet, that wasn’t a possibility.

I write to heal, then publish to inform. I hope my journey can make the journeys of people that come after me just a little less painful.

I also have a ‘day job’ as a Data Center Technician. I do an incredibly physical job lifting fixing and moving servers. I daily, walk into and then maintain ‘the cloud.’ Servers are still quite a bit larger and heavier than your desktop at home. So much so that I am the only woman on my team of 20 and one of 5 in the entire building of about 75. Technology is without a doubt a male dominated industry. Which makes me quite sad.

I wish I could better express who I am. I don’t feel like I’ve done justice to my history, my life, and my story, but for now, this will have to do. To me the most beautiful thing in the world is understanding and empathy. If we can have only one thing for each other person on this planet, I choose empathy.

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