(28 Oct 18)
‘If I Sent A Letter To My Sister’
One of the broadcast network news programs commented that this October is a month to recognise the issues of domestic violence.
My history is fairly standard among us – having endured family domestic violence during my childhood years growing up, during my teens, during my young adult years, through current times. Sometimes physical abuse, other times emotional, psychological, mental.
If I sent a letter to my sister Kathy under current circumstances in my life today, then it would probably be what will follow.
Such a letter would discuss present issues on my mind as if we had been having an exchange or conversation.
But writing and sending letters to Kathy seems pointless. She probably does not read the letters and e-mails that I send to her. That is my conclusion based upon the dearth of correspondence from her, her children, her husband, as well as other relatives she has likely convinced to shun me.
No, that letter that I would send to Kathy would be more something that I do for my own therapy. Writing is good therapy, after all; writing is a positive way that allows oneself to clarify their thoughts and release their emotions.
I shall use initials in place of real names of persons and locations – to ‘protect the innocent’, as the saying goes. Of course, you all know Kathy, whether that is her true name or one that I have fabricated all these posts.
(28 Oct 16)
I seriously doubt you have bothered to read this far and are not likely to read any further. This composition is for my benefit, my therapy. If it works for you, then so much better for both of us.
How did I come about this composition? Perhaps it is my reflecting how we spent our lifetime fighting each other into disaster rather than working together.
I recently experienced a sleep-time dream. Allow me to share it.
I know nothing of flying an airplane. Yet there we were – we were flying in the cockpit inside that small, single-engine propeller airplane. You sat at the seat to the right, I sat on the left. We each had a steering wheel; you controlled your wheel, my hands were off mine in deference to your control. Your left hand was there on that single control stick between us.
Beverly sat in the rear seat directly behind you. She was goading you into disaster. I do not know why she was in the plane with us; perhaps her presence reflects her re-appearance in my current life.
You were in complete control of the plane and its flight path as you flew the plane low over homes and office buildings and trees. Your flight actions frightened me.
I saw a rise ahead of us – something as a cliff or hillside. There were more homes, buildings, and trees along the rise and at the top.
I asked you if you were aware of the danger of flying so low. I again asked more urgently as we approached the rise. You said nothing, you refused to answer me.
I became more desperate as we fast approached head-on toward that land ahead. I raised my voice at you. ‘Do something, Kathy!’ You are the pilot here, Kathy, you are in charge.
Bev had quite a different perspective from her position at her seat behind you. She was encouraging you to crash the plane into the hillside and kill us all. ‘Do it!’, she chanted at your ear.
I quickly grabbed that control stick and pulled it toward me hoping that my act would make the plane rise; it did, ever so slowly. But you would have none of that. You countered my effort. Your effort pushed the stick forward keeping the plane flying directly toward the mountain or into the homes at the top.
What seemed forever was life in slow motion – you forcing the plane to fly into disaster and certain death while I fought to raise the flight trajectory and clear the approaching obstacles. It was tug o’ war for our lives – you versus me with Bev egging you on.
I was the stronger in this event. We barely rose above the buildings; we lost the static landing gear as it crashed into the roof of one home. We clipt the trees. We veered to the left in a long turn not much higher than a few feet above those homes and trees below us.
That was how this nightmare ended as I suddenly awoke.
Did a crash in the dream wake me?
Is this unknown ending meant for me to determine the ultimate conclusion?
Was it prescient or symbolic?
‘To live is to sleep; to die is to awaken.’
You intrigued me about that blonde-haired boy.
I speculated to you that my thought is that maybe he is cousin Stevie. I probably have not seen him since perhaps either when Dad and I travelled to New Jersey for Christmas 1970 (why I speculated he is Steve in that Christmas photograph) or before I moved to Greece (Summer 1971). I repeatedly ask you to tell me what happened to Steve; as yet you have not once replied directly, you evade me.
You send a picture of a stranger and omit family.
Likewise other T family relatives, I know that you maintain contact with them: you refuse to comment on them and deny to me the opportunity to contact them. What’s going on? Don’t forget what I know about Uncle Frank; you’re one who hides from his truth.
Nancy and I had years of great pen-pal correspondences while growing up and into our 20s. Then she began sending Seventh Day Adventist brochures condemning me of my completed transition (1985). Shortly thereafter, she broke contact with me; she has not written to me during these past 30 years. I found Nancy on-line last year. I sent a few e-mails to her but she did not reply. One day I browsed Nancy’s Facebook site and was saddened; she posted to me that she wants no contact with me.
Your actions again add to the proof that I am NOT family. You would not refuse me if I am family. I am merely a stranger whom you do not want in your life.
You tainted your husband G and children M and R against me.
Cousin D is your buddy, not mine. Of course, as I previously reported to you, she spilled on you as easily as not wanting any more to do with me. Some friend, family – huh.
There are few other B family for you to engender my disrepute.
There is little leap that you likewise tainted other T family against me.
So it is that I find it curious that you sent a picture of someone who I do not recall and probably have little shared life experiences while you omit pictures and contact information of people whom I was raised to accept as family and desire a relationship.
I sense a lifetime of your hate toward me – you are either an extension of our parents or this is direct from you. Let’s review the last occasions when we actually made personal contact with each other.
- You hated me when I visited in June 1985. I did not demand any ‘red carpet’, I humbly asked for frank conversation in the quiet of your home as I began fully presenting as female. Instead, you proved your antipathy the way you made every effort to belittle me – you continually yelled aloud my old name ‘Nick’ and that I am your ‘brother’ to the employees and anyone near and far when you took me to the restaurant and when you took me to Improv.
- You hated me in June 1989. You chose to spend all your time with cousin D and not barely five minutes with me during the two weeks we were both there when Dad died at M. I begged you to talk with me and not leave me alone; you refused, same as Mom would that day when she arrived.
- You hated me the time I visited you at SD or when you visited me at T (both during 1992) to deal with Dad’s estate matters. You could not get rid of me fast enough; you could not leave fast enough. You lied portraying your life to me.
- You hated me the last time we saw each other – June 1993. I merely wanted to say ‘hello’ and be on my way, to see you without being an intrusion; you made me feel hurt and un-welcomed. I was uncertain whether to stop to visit on my return route. I drove to your home, I observed for a few minutes from across the street, then I continued on my way home – crying.
Let’s not forget your dad and your mom – specifically the circumstances about their deaths.
- You called to me in April 1989 to tell me that you and DS were taking your dad to the airport for cancer treatment at Sloane-Kettering. I later learned from your dad’s medical records that he got a terminal cancer diagnosis in January. Both you and DS had been acting in secret during the prior months as early as January 1989.
- You completely withheld information about your mom. She turned ill and died in 2002. Not once did you call, send an e-mail, send a letter to me. You did nothing. It was not until 2010 when I confronted you via my e-mails that you bothered confirming what I learned on my own years earlier after her death. I waited nearly eight long years – nothing from you or anyone else.
How did I learn that your mom died? It happened at work one day years before 2010. I took a break and went browsing Social Security’s death index. There was your mom’s entry. I paused – maybe 10, 15 minutes. I cried a little. I was sad, hurt. No one as much reported to me at that time in August 2002 what happened to your mom. Why did no one communicate with me – either before or after her death?
Your mom was now dead; whatever the situation, you and her both kept this from me. I knew you, Kathy, were party to the silence. I would wait for a reply from you, or someone else, to respond to my correspondences. I waited. One year. Five years. Not one letter, call, e-mail from any T family, B family, or any one else in the entire world. Dead silence, literally. You finally replied to my e-mail confronting you for your silence eight years after your mom died. You had some nerve blaming me for her death and all your pathetic inconveniences that you created in your eight-years cover-up!
Your repeated excuse to me is that you forgot my e-mail, telephone, snail-mailing address, pony express route, telegraph exchange. I dunno. What? My address, telephone, e-mail have remained stable for 30-some years. I’m certainly not hiding from you or anyone else. And you can’t find me?
Oh, yeh, you texted something a few weeks ago that took me time to accurately interpret your words until it hit me as a ton of bricks while taking pictures of my home for you. You and cousin Bev and other LS family have been spying on me. That’s why you know where certain items are located at my home but not visible from that ever-present Google Maps satellite view or street view. How much you wanna bet that Beverly in fact made numerous trips to my home, trespassed both the front and back yards, took notes and photographs for you, and not once left a message for me to come collect ‘The Box’? Or you?
This is not old stuff, Kathy, this is still now because you refuse to be honest with me to this day. Remember what I told you last year – do not lie to me, tell me the truth and I shall forgive you.
In all these issues, I meant nothing to both your dad and mom; you prove that I mean nothing to you. By extension of your influence, I mean nothing to G, M, R as well as any other B or T family.
You complained in your letter that you placed inside ‘The Box’ that you can’t deal with me reconciling my past – that what I experienced living with you and your mom and your dad makes you feel ‘depressed’. You’re ‘depressed’? About you and your family abusing me? Gee, thanks for the empathy. How do you figure I have had to deal with three strangers pretending to be ‘family’ all the years of my life! Yeh, a real happy party. You can ignore all you want but it does not make these matters magically disappear.
Sad part of this is that your mother and your father abused you, too. I empathise with you and for you. I strive to raise us both from our shared experience of depression.
I knew where Dad kept his pistol – third drawer down, under his clothes, right side, of his bedroom dresser, curious place for a leftie. Many days after school I sat on Dad’s bed (sometimes dressed in your clothes) and considered my options. Some days I merely gazed at his dresser. Other days I opened the drawer and stared at his gun. Other days I held his gun in my hands – sometimes shaking, sometimes with calm deliberation – not knowing what to do next.
Professionals explain that suicide can be an expression of one’s anger against another. You, Kathy, would have been the first to discover my corpse when you came home from school at some time after me. Now maybe that would have really, truly made you ‘depressed’. Or perfectly happy – satisfied that I was once and for all gone from your ‘depressed’ life.
As for me, perhaps I was most angry at you than your mom or your dad that I would have wanted you to find me first. I know through my life during all these many years that I can accept that I was angry – at you, Mom, Dad, maybe other people, maybe my predicament. What you apparently do not perceive is my maturity. I came to comprehend how an abused child becomes destructive toward others. I changed my outlook – I accepted that I had to forgive others in order to cleanse that anger from me. Until you recognise that in me, until you release your own denials, you will hold your own anger against me.
As I wrote, my counsellors can’t comprehend why I bother with you. Don’t tell me you have no idea. You are NOT that stupid! You know exactly what you are doing. It is because I never – NEVER – close my life to anyone. Through all his abusive years, I was with Dad, forgiving him when he died. I forgave Mom despite her absence. Perhaps it is my sense of reconciliation toward you; perhaps it is my sense that no one is totally disposable and we are all forgiveable.
As you recently wrote, ‘You should go on with your life with out my presence involvement or approval. Whatever’s it takes just be happy!!’ (sic). Then you added in a follow-up text, ‘u should be rid of me. U hold quite a grudge.’ (sic). Curious you projecting me as holding a ‘grudge’ when I am the one open to forgiving you for the abuse you set upon me. How is my effort a ‘grudge’?
You want me to be ‘happy’? How about you, G, M, R, and others welcoming me into the family. For real, not a facade.
There is a scene early in the movie ‘Godfather – 3’ when Kay first appears. She is gazing at family photographs beginning more than a decade earlier; she is pondering lost years among her splintered family.
I recognise Kay’s sadness in my real life. Seeing your picture that you messaged to me the other week was a shock. It represented the past 23 years that we have lost because you hate me. I was polite to remark that you look ‘nice’. Yes, you do. Your appearance is aged. Well, 62 may not be ‘old’ old, but again, your image represents that span of these past 23 years that we lost; we can never restore them. It was your choice to separate, not mine. You are cold to cast off 23 years so casually light.
You surprised me mentioning Mrs. D and her daughter P. I know that Mrs. D is your Godmother. Dad rarely mentioned much about them throughout the years. I frequently wondered what was any relationship she might have had with Dad. I doubt that I held any fantasy of Dad marrying Mrs. D, let alone ever re-marrying anyone. You do know that she re-married during the 1970s.
Dad and I visited F and P maybe a few times. I drive past their home on occasions when I go to that part of the city.
You question that maybe F and Dad getting married would have changed our lives. Perhaps some elements might have changed, maybe your life; I consider certain pieces of my life were long earlier pre-ordained. How do you think F, P, and their family would have accepted me? Accepted my feminine protesting tantrums? I was too much for the strangers who raised me; no way another stranger and their family would have accepted me. Both the D family and G family could not deal with me during the Summer of 1963. P, you, me playing together? Ha!
Dad’s dating practises could be outright bizarre. He had a girlfriend who resided at Gallup, New Mexico, during that school year when we lived at Ramah. Dad would take me with him when he went grocery shopping at Gallup. There were times when he visited that woman at her home. She and Dad disappeared for an hour or two (to her bedroom?); they left me sitting on her sofa, bored, doing nothing but twiddling my fingers. I was naive then; it grosses me out now knowing that Dad dragged me along on his sex jaunts when I would have rather stayed home doing anything else.
You speculated that Dad marrying F would have improved my teen years and high school. Maybe from your perspective. Well, I can’t expect you to know; we lived separate lives. You experience life from your perspective and I experience life through my very different perspective.
I referenced this week’s PBS ‘Frontline’ episode for a purpose. To open your eyes to what a trans child encounters – un-perceived by family and friends as does that trans child.
Do you recall when I worked that paper route when I was in 8th Grade? There were four boys one or two years older than me at our station; they abused and taunted me nearly every day.
The newspaper supervisor did nothing to control or discipline those boys as they escalated their abuse; I felt that Dad did little to support me. One morning, those boys followed me through my route, confronted me at an isolated location, and assaulted me. My protection from worse was my thought to keep my bicycle between them and me.
To his credit, Dad apparently was following me that morning and probably realised that I was gone too long from sight. He approached the scene and chased those boys from me. I completed that day’s route but remained shaken the remainder of that day and the remainder of my time delivering my route.
My recollection of Dad was that he held little compassion for my continued plight.
What I am getting to is that all those four older boys attended S High School; I could not attend S High School because of those four bullies. In those days, I could not have attended a different school in my district, meaning that C High School was not possible though it was closer.
Nor could I have attended S M High School. Several class-mates from O L P H bullied me throughout my time there and were attending S M H S you know those boys from our home neighbourhood. Do you really think I would have placed myself in such a position for another four years?
There’s no point including B. From where I resided, it was the other side of the universe and no way for me to get there.
The other option was attending G High School with you. Do you really think I would have willingly gone there and faced you and your crowd? It was bad enough that you told many stories to me how you disliked G to dissuade me from attending.
What remained for 9th Grade high school was S F as my only choice – B for boys and SFX for girls.
Do you really think Dad would have allowed me to transition and gotten me admitted to SFX? I seriously doubt that a Catholic parent would pull that off nowadays let alone 1970. Thus it was B. Funny to think about it. I went last Summer to obtain documents from my B school record. The secretary whispered to me that she thought my change was ‘cool’; not so the manager who put on her scowled face the entire time we conducted business.
Don’t think that B was a piece of cake. My 9th Grade class-mates bullied and attacked me most every day; I was imprisoned with nowhere to go.
Gym class at B was torture. My anatomy was actually transforming to female. I was developing breasts ‘up top’. My ‘down below’ was not the ‘normal’ male that I observed of the boys at gym; G and M know what I’m saying. My gym class-mates taunted my strange, ‘not male’ appearance. Dad refused to take me to any physician to reconcile what was happening to me. In fact, Dad frequently yelled at me, ‘What are you doing to yourself?’ as if I had absolute control of my involuntary chemistry.
You can’t begin to comprehend what my life was like during my teen years. There I was – female identity, my body haltingly maturing into something quasi-female, but forced by strangers to live as a boy. My external genitalia was not quite ‘normal’ as for a male child. Then, by age 14, my physical anatomy was modifying toward female; I would be what I variously called my self as either ’50 / 50′ or ‘half-and-half’ – a female mentally, a freak externally, who-knows-what internally and elsewise.
Can you honestly tell me that you never sensed or noticed anything about my behaviour? Maybe my confused physical anatomy was at least partly why. Yeh, you thought I was kinda weird. But I mean the way I acted was clearly not male or masculine. Back then people likely presumed that I was ‘queer’ as in what today they would rudely call ‘gay’. Only few openly spoke that to my face. Instead they beat and bullied me. Dad, Mom, you, the school kids, the neighbour kids.
Traveling to and residing at Greece was originally a curse that I made to be a blessing. Yes, I hated moving. But as I commented above, I had nowhere to go to attend high school, only a new school at a new location could help resolve my environment dilemma. I did face similar trouble at Pinewood, but not nearly as bad as previous school. My focus was to absorb the foreign experience as a diversion at least to my internal struggles. In the latter, I did okay.
Dad told me ‘the riot act’ many times leading to our move to Greece, many times during our transit, many times while we resided there, many times during our return home, and many more times throughout our days at S V while I attended 12th Grade. Again, it all comes to the fact that I had to accept there would never be any change under Dad – whether as a minor child or as that miserable dependant adult as how he worked hard to keep me.
Kirtland Air Force Base (Albuquerque) offered a Pharmacy Technician appointment to me (May 1978). Dad pressed me to decline that federal appointment and return to S V with him. I made quite a mistake, yet my declining that offer was a major, positive turning point in so many ways.
You can’t begin to imagine my life if I stayed with Dad at S V rather than taking that subsequent Forest Service appointment (December 1978).
As the saying goes, the rest is history and you were there. We are a pioneer trans family dating from the 1950s.
Remember when I came to visit you and Mom at P during February 1979? Do you not recall my appointment with the Janus counsellor? Do you not recall the whispered conversations you and Mom had about me? One of those conversations included when Mom discussed with you that she was ‘one and done’ with you. I overheard Mom speak those words many times in the past; February 1979 was the first time I realised precisely what she meant – that she is your mother but not my mother. Either you two deliberately spoke loud enough knowing that I could hear or I got lucky eavesdropping.
You wrote well of your children – M and R. I am happy for them that you consider that you raised them well and that they are good adults.
Yet your children do not know me, do not know that I exist. How? You never told them of me?
Or they do know of me but you tainted them about me. Or maybe you did tell them who you consider me. You told them that I am nothing more than your ‘wack’, ‘f***ed up’, crazed, insane, mean-spirited, nasty ‘brother’ who is fat, bald, wears dresses, and thinks ‘he’ is a woman and who writes ‘Sharon nasty-grams’.
Either way, I find something wrong with what you did to your children. You have not demonstrated otherwise to me.
M and R have never corresponded with me. That begins with your influence. You either commanded them not to write to me, or that I am not worthy of their presence, or that I am not family. I suppose that I would cherish a ‘drop dead’ e-mail from either as much as anything.
I offered my desire to you to spend time with M to meet and to bond with him when he travelled to Asia this past Summer. Neither he nor you responded to my efforts.
I seriously doubt that I can expect an invitation to R’s wedding, no different than your wedding. You certainly do not want me present – this bald, beer-bellied, old man who wears female attire as you presume me to be.
You boast that you are a great parent to M and R. I make no judgement to disrupt your own assessment. I can only describe my observation from my perspective.
And yet you complain that I do nothing to bring you or your family into my life?
You wrote that you do not want to know about my past – that you only want to know my present and future. To know me, you must know and accept my origins.
I presented my life to you in its present tense in the past; you belittled both me and what I did. I tested you in recent e-mails to you about my life; again you expressed no concern. I would write to you about my life but why should I waste my effort when you express no interest.
You derided my fortuitous excursion to A. I begged for you to join me – even for a week or two if not my three months. Neither time nor expence are of any matter to you, yet you could not take two hours to see me at the airport – two measly hours in a lifetime. You could not be bothered; you hold so little value of me. I drop everything for friends – including my own personal welfare.
You are still trying to wrap your awareness about my presence as female by inter-sex. Maybe not. You demanded proof, then your wrote to that you wanted no proof.
- My primary physician sent me for ultra-sound to examine my abdomen (2000) – specifically the condition of my gall bladder and liver following my collision injuries (1999). The ultra-sound doctor was provided no advance knowledge of my trans or inter-sex condition; she made no comment or question while examining my internal anatomy. Whatever appeared via that procedure, she made neither note nor comment as to any irregular presence of internal male structure. My internal anatomy is absent male anatomy (correct for female).
- My primary also sent me to undergo a full-body MRI shortly thereafter. Again, the radiologist had no advance file describing my anatomical status. That radiologist likewise made no comment or question of any appearance of internal male organs; whatever was apparent in those MRI films presented that I have no internal male anatomy for him to observe, for him to question.
In both those occasions above, those medical professionals observed my hysterectomy scar. They likely presumed I endured a hysterectomy if they observed an absence of internal female anatomy. Of course they did observe my abdominal gonads, ‘ovaries’ as my nurse re-confirmed to me last year (September 2015).
My gynecologist made an observation to me at my August 2016 appointment. What she told me surprised me. Yet considering my not ‘normal’ anatomy, it should not be such a surprise. She said it appears that my intimate anatomy has two clitorises – one in the ‘normal’ position and the second directly below it anatomically. She commented that they are my own and not something that any surgeon could have created. To quote my friend M: ‘That is sooo cooool!’
To quote Dr. Phil McGraw:
‘It takes a thousand ‘atta girl’s’ to overcome one ‘you’re a dumb ass’.
There is more to my life than to be keeping that score. This letter certainly counts many forms of you and others telling me that I am that ‘dumb ass’ with few instances of a barely plausible ‘atta girl’.
You clearly are not a ‘dumb ass’. You know exactly what you do and the effects you create. I have looked up to you my entire life – I am as much a reflection of you. Even now I still hold hope, as crazy as my counsellors tell me that I am, wanting to care about you.
A truce is hardly too much to ask.
There you see. I have shared my philosophy with you. I have kept you informed of my life when I have been sending letters and e-mails to you during our lives.
Whereas you, Kathy, are the one who writes nothing. Not even in all your pages that you enclosed inside ‘The Box’. You wrote very little of you, your life, your thoughts, your experiences. I open my life, I began putting my life on-line; you do not even have a web-site where I can read about you even if you do not directly tell me about you.
You hate our past, but limited pieces of our past is all the shared experience that I have with you. You never shared your school years with me – not T, not O L P H, not G. You tell me nothing about your college education. You tell me nothing about your work careers. You tell me nothing about where you travel, what you do, and places you explore. You tell me nothing of your future, your hopes, your plans.
Nor do you tell me about your opinions or perspectives.
Believe me, we have a real ‘Deplorable’ among relatives; she proudly wrote to me that she is ‘all of them’. I have been corresponding with her on-and-off for nearly 15 years. She somehow writes to me that she accepts me as trans despite her harsh words against trans persons in general – such as calling for our murder.
I will still love you if you are a card-carrying NAZI. Oh, I wanna know how and why if you are a NAZI, too, but I shall still find a place in my heart for you. If N and I can do it, then why can’t you and me?
On the other hand, my politics are well-known.
As are my efforts.
How about you?